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Mint with hole rescue

Marm Toastsmith

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Garage have come back to me with a quote of £245 which includes cat, MOT and a sensor. Obviously I'd save a few quid by going DIY but it's too cold for fitting exhausts on the driveway. Fingers crossed  we should be road legal by the end of next week. Mechanic seemed pretty impressed with the car's condition, not all that surprising given the careful owner and low mileage. 

The leak is almost certainly caused by the accumulation of leaves/compost blocking a drain somewhere. In 2004 the Polo's previous owner gifted me his Mk1 Golf when he gave up on it and bought the Polo. It was also an automatic in a very similar shade of metallic blue, but with more lacquer peel. His garage had failed to solve the leak to the passenger floor (and steaming heater). I found it having had the same issue in a Mk1 Jetta - a blockage in the scuttle panel, but I sadly had to admit defeat when I noticed how rotten the floorpan was. I wonder if anyone managed to save it.

So the trees on the driveway where the Polo spent most of its life are bound to be the cause of the issue, and thankfully the floor is not rotten yet. I just need to find the blockage!

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At the front, the most likely water entry is though the door membrane....people have said that a build up of leaves and crap around the cabin filter can cause water to get into the passenger footwell.This needs the plastic at the bottom of the windscreen removing, the filter housing removing, all the rubbish removing, and a smear ofsealant on the foam seal, rebuild.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Long term signs of moisture ingress top of n/s a pillar. Currently dry(ish). I wonder if the drain tube is leaking?9E6079DC-1D90-4CEA-9BB4-7E11A8FA2039.jpeg

Water is no longer in the front passenger footwell...it's now in the back. Varies dependent on the hill...


Proof that I cleaned the seats!


@Sigmund Fraud was right about there being crap under here... not sure whether cleaning it out will help with the water ingress but deffo worth doing.





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Took the kids to the swimming pool, and then the supermarket in it this morning. They like it. It's a lovely little thing to drive and so easy to park. It's got that little big car feel, good balance of ride and handling, feels light but refined and quiet enough. With hindsight this was a good era for VW.

After lunch: Mrs M. had a go in it. She likes it. She's likely to become the main driver, which I'm quite jealous about.

Then I washed it again. Lots of organic matter removed from the car. Used 2 bucket method, even did the (filthy) door shuts. Then drove to the jet wash. Satisfying even though there are arguably more important jobs to be getting on with.

After the jet wash I noticed the headlining near the A-pillar had got wet again. The drain there doesn't appear to be blocked (although I will double check) so I think it must be leaking. Is it a rubber tube that could have come loose? Can I access it if I remove trim? Hmmm...

That's 29 miles so far and no sign of issues. The gearchanges have settled down too. I will treat it to a service though. Got some bits to pick up from Euro tomorrow...


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Focussing on the important stuff.

Ripped out the original radio. The fascia was missing and I couldn't work out how to remove it properly/didn't have the correct tools so I partially destroyed it in the process. Fingers crossed the original fascia doesn't turn up or I'll be gutted.

Dug out this Alpine head unit which I paid £5 at for at the car boot, was very grubby but apparently pretty high end. Cleaned up OK but some of the lettering/symbols on the buttons has worn off. Works, sounds pretty darned good and even has a USB socket on the rear. Radio is impressive especially given the Polo's broken aerial.

Annoyingly though the ISO adapter seems to have the permanent live and switched live mixed up - not holding presets etc. I CBA to change the wires round now but I'll get round to it eventually (when I also get round to doing the one on the Honda)...



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Had a productive couple of hours this afternoon.

Got under the headlining and found that sure enough the drain hose had come off. I attempted to reattach it but found that it seemed short/tight to get on to the outlet. Rather than yank it and hope for the best I found a short length of garden hose in my toolbox which was perfect for extending it - a nice tight fit at both ends so I didn't bother with a jubilee clip. Proof that you should always keep random bits of tat in your toolbox.



Tested it with a watering can, all good, water flowing freely out of the bottom outlet (door shut) and no signs of leakage (so far).

Quick clean up of the headlining etc., not perfect but much better.





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Next priority is to do something about the clunky gearshift. 1st-2nd is a bid violent when cold. HBOL says fluid level check is a dealer job - I haven't looked very hard for a dipstick but haven't found one so perhaps the Haynes book is on the money for once.

Gut feeling/hope is that ATF fluid change will cure it. I've got enough to be getting on with so gearbox specialist or local garage job? @HMC has recommended a gearbox place that are reasonably local so...

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Right so the plan was for me to use this for work and give it a long term shakedown before passing it on to Mrs M.

Today was my first day back to work following the Christmas break. I was late. Half way there the coolant light started flashing. I stopped at a garage on the way and sure enough the level was low. Had to buy a £2 bottle of Evian as they didn't have a tap - only a screen wash dispenser. It was probably 3/4 of a litre down.

The car was (very) low on coolant when I first got it but since topping up it seemed to be OK - no obvious leaks anyway. But obviously something is not quite right.

I freaked out slightly (OMGHGF) when I looked at the oil cap - I'm not so sure now though as some condensation wouldn't be at all surprising given usage (and lack thereof) and weather. I sniffed it, dunno why, smelled a bit fuelly though. Decided to turn around and go home and drove in to work in the MG. Polo behaved itself impeccably on the way back. Heater isn't getting mega hot but then it is a VW.




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11 hours ago, marm said:

freaked out slightly (OMGHGF) when I looked at the oil cap - I'm not so sure now though as some condensation

That gen of mint with a hole does create a nice layer of mayo on the cap when it's only used for short runs. One way to check it's condensation instead of hgf is to take it for a longer run and check the cap again. 

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4 hours ago, mintwth said:

That gen of mint with a hole does create a nice layer of mayo on the cap when it's only used for short runs. One way to check it's condensation instead of hgf is to take it for a longer run and check the cap again. 

Absolutely correct - don't worry about the mayo, those engines aren't prone to OMGHGF. Just find the cause of the coolant leak, my money would be on a corroded radiator.

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Thanks guys. This was my gut feeling once I'd got back in the car... I remember going to see one of these a few years back (an Openair) and walking away because of all the mayo - I probably should have bought it.

I'm planning to drive it in to work and back tomorrow, it's not a bad run with some hilly dual carriageway which should hopefully get it hot enough to clear the condensation.

If the weather allows it and I can be arsed I might change the oil on Sunday morning for good measure. Maybe do a few other bits. At the very least I'll open the bonnet and have a poke around for coolant leaks.

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Changed the oil and filter today. Haven't done one for ages and predictably enough I spilled oil everywhere. Having a steep drive is good in that the car is level on the ramps but not so good for collecting oil in the drip pan. Oh well. Will try harder next time. What came out was pretty clean but still worth doing I reckon.

Had a quick look for coolant leaks. Didn't find anything conclusive but the bottom o/s corner of the rad is rusty looking so maybe @Sigmund Fraud is right. I will keep a watchful eye on the coolant level and hope that it gets a little bit worse so that I can work out how to fix it but not so much worse that it grenades.

Also replaced the broken aerial. Radio reception is GR9 now.

Yesterday I got a spare key made locally (£45 due to having a transponder chip, could have been worse) but it doesn't fit any of the locks. Looks as if he needs to take a bit more metal off. I'll take it back, he was a nice enough chap so I'm sure it'll get sorted.








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  • 2 weeks later...

Broke the first rule of Autoshite ("Don't poke the crusty bits") today.

Boot floor was previously damp and tools covered in surface corrosion so I took the carpet and spare wheel out a couple of weeks ago. Today I thought I'd put it back together as it seems dry-ish now. Annoyingly it's started to rot around this plastic bung. For now I've just put it back where it was and decided to try not to think about it. It looks fine from underneath but the underseal has more integrity than the metal. Probably make sure I've cracked the ingress before I do anything with the rot.






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  • 2 months later...

Had a couple of jobs ticked off (slowly) by the local garage. Namely curing the leaking cooling system (turned out to be thermostat housing - with parts surprisingly difficult to source - hence the delay) and a gearbox fluid change, which hasn't completely cured the slippy gearchange from first to second when cold.

Despite curing the leaks from the sunroof drains the car remains damp under the carpet, mainly because the felt (?) sound deadening has a plastic/rubber coating so effectively traps any moisture it absorbs. I can't see any alternative but to remove the carpet. Not been looking forward to this "very time-consuming" job but I think I'm going to have a go today. Link below for my reference...




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