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I’ve always been into cars and i recently came across an 82’ Rabbit 1.6L diesel and it’s been sitting for about 15-20 years but it’s been cranked a few times since it’s been sitting im really considering purchasing the car being that it’s listed for very cheap and i know it’s gonna take some work to get running again but i just want to know what to look out for since it’s been sitting for so long and if there’s any great tips and tricks for this car.
 

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Since it has been sitting for so long I wouldn't be trying to start it right off the bat. Fuel could be bad and drawn up into the filter and IP and make more of a problem than it is worth.

I would want to check for rust at the window frame corners on the windshield and the hatchback. Also pull the carpet under the drivers and passengers floor areas. Or look from underneath. Hole are not good but are not a game stopper. You can buy replacement pans and weld them in.

I would take a 17 mm box wrench and put it on the crank bolt and turn the engine over several times, maybe even 3. That would be 12 hits of the various pistons at the top of their cycle. How much pressure do you feel on each one? Are a couple weak and spin over right away and the others are hard to get to turn through? These engines should have about 480 psi with good compression. If you have a gauge and the necessary adapter you can see if that will work for you. Spinning it with the starter is going to pull fuel. Not to do.

Check the electrical well. Take a Jump and Carry charger or a spare battery and make sure the ignition switch turns the glow plugs on and off. Take a meter to verify that on the buss bar. Check lights, wipers, blower functions. Brakes should be firm even without the vacuum booster helping out. Or do they go to the floorboard.

Do the doors hang down like an old mans pants? Are window seals good? Is glass good. Seats are generally beat but maybe not. Critters been eating at the dash and seats for a home?

Brakes will likely be locked up, But the cv joints should not be loose nor should the transmission linkage. Shocks toast? Locks work, how about the hood latch. Those seem to go in a hurry or just need adjusting. Mine did and works fine now.

Tires got tread? Doesn't much matter if they are that old as soon as you start driving on them they will be shot. Spare tire in place. More water than air in the wheel well of the spare? Rust in there or in the corners of the back lights?

If there are a lot of yeses to my questions you will be busy fixing it all and spending money doing that. But for some that is OK and exactly what they want to be doing.

Enjoy the look over. Post pics before buying if you can.
 

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19mm 6pt or 12pt socket to turn the crank.... There were 2 styles of bolts.
 

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Thanks for the correction. I have a 17 by 19 box wrench and I guess I just think I am using the small end when in fact I am having to flip it over to do the work.

Not good to be putting out bad info.
 

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Re: New to Vw’s

Do the doors hang down like an old mans pants?
Hey buddy! I'll have you know this old man's pants are elastic. No sagging here!

Seriously though, thanks for the cool writeup. Recently purchased a caddy with a hammer engine, but some of those rust spots you mention. Taking it out of service for a week to fix.

Thanks again!!
 
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