GDare New Reader
7/26/21 9:00 a.m.

I wasn't sure if I should start a thread on the car since it's kind of boring, but I think I'll be able to squeeze some drama out of this mid 2000's econo hatch.  Want somewhere to keep track of past rally cross chronicles and pics.  Going to start with a little backlog

Picked up the car on marketplace about 2 months ago, its a 2006 VW Rabbit 2-door with the 2.5L inline 5 cyl.  Came with rust hole in driver rocker panel, hood not latching, driver seat stuck, mysterious plastic undercarriage damage up front, exhaust half missing, got a pretty good deal.  Also, very fortunately, beefy snow tires already.

Hood and seat rails were fixed in my driveway for <$50 and a lot of swearing.  Put in a new head unit and I had car that I could drive to work instead of my parents' mini van.  (yes I am living with my parents, its ok I'm a broke college kid)

I took off the hubcaps and was going to paint the wheels (rally cars have white wheels, everybody knows that) but I guess I got lazy and only ended up doing the rears.  It's ok, it's quirky.  It's probably going to look like E36 M3 in a few months anyway, I never really found something that worked to clean up the steelie surface well.

GDare New Reader
7/26/21 9:18 a.m.

First rallycross with the car (my second ever) was Susquehanna SCCA region June 26th. It's about 5 hours away from me, so I traveled the night before.  Tried to get some of my buddies to tag along but it ended up being a solo adventure.  Camped in the Tuscarora state forest and got my first taste of driving the car in the gravel.  Loads of fun.



The event was awesome, they have a great course and the volunteers make everything go very smoothly.  Everybody I talked to was really friendly (as expected). I think one of the reasons rally cross is more fun than auto cross is it all matters, there's no mess up runs.  Throughout the day I really started to figure out how to get faster by finding the right line and getting the car to rotate well instead of just send it and try to hit as little cones as possible. 


(credit to Tom Hamm)


I was around middle of the pack until my last run of the day.  Really tight technical section towards the finish, I got a little too cocky pushing the car too hard and kind of got back into the panic  mindset. Way too hot in the middle of the tight turns, I'm heading right for a cone, slam on the brakes, and stall it.  Cost about 7 seconds which dropped me 3 places.  I think the best advice I need to remember is go as fast as possible on the fast turns and don't go too fast on the slow turns.  Finished 5/6 in SF.  That's real grassroots motorsports, drive 5 hours in your race car, beat the E36 M3 out of it, drive the car home on the street and then to work on Monday lmao. 


GDare New Reader
7/26/21 9:37 a.m.

Last weekend was the NEOhio rallycross event #1, my "home" event I guess.  Got my dad to come with me and we both drove the rabbit.  There's been a lot of rain here recently, and it rained off and on throughout the whole day, so the course was sloppy to say the least.  The track was on a sand/pea gravel lot, so truthfully it drained pretty well for the circumstances.  But where the water was standing, it was deep.  This was on the second iteration of the course after the organizers had to route it around a puddle that soaked an intake sock.


For most of the runs here I could mostly focus on driving the best line, only slight panic mode.  I think if it hadn't been raining with huge watersplashes on the course, I was ready to be a lot smoother with the car.  Its feeling a lot more familiar the way it handles on a loose surface.  My dad had a harder time than me I think, he's a bit out of practice driving manual, and this was not exactly an easy course to drive an unfamiliar car on. 


(credit to Scott Zimmerman)


I was running in 1st by 3 seconds after 3 runs in the morning, but almost all of the field here runs in modified.  I was seeing my times get slightly slower, so I wanted to put in one killer lap before lunch.  I really sent it, and almost at the end I stalled again.  Except this time, it felt like it should have kept running.  The engine begrudgingly started up, limped me across the finish line and died again.  I kind of freaked out, and a quick inspection showed oil leaking out of a fresh hole in my oil pan.  Hit a rock I guess, that was the end of the racing for that day.  Called AAA, everybody at the event was super helpful, rolling the car out, helping us get all of our gear out of the paddock.  Dropped the car off in my driveway, looks like I'll be driving the minivan to work again this week.

GDare New Reader
7/26/21 10:40 a.m.

Ordered a replacement oil pan, and took off the old one.  The one sweet thing about living at my parents house is they have a service pit in the garage, so you don't even have to jack up the car to get underneath it.  Looking back, I wish I had done a closer inspection on the oil pickup straw and everything else down there, everything looked fine at a glance but we'll get to that.  I really need to get a Haynes manual or something for this car, everything so far I've just picked up off scattered VW forums and fb groups.

old oil pan, battle scars and also Ohio crust, but you can see that hole there.


Definitely wouldn't say I'm an RTV master, but I squirted some on and bolted up the new pan.  The instructions for the RTV say install, then wait an hour before torquing bolts to spec which is the perfect amount of time to have 2 or 3 beers.  I think more products should come with that dedicated break period in the instructions. 

I filled it up with oil, turned the key, and it started just fine.  But pretty quickly it settled into a lopey idle, the engine was jumping around under the hood, and a flashing CEL which all point to a cylinder misfire.  I think I got scared and turned it off, then tried to restart it and it wouldn't start.  I'm not going to berkeley with it anymore until I figure out what's actually going on.  And then I look under the car and there's oil leaking out of the oil pan seal.  Gasket will need to be redone I guess.

Anyways, this brings us up to the present and I think the first thing I need to do is pick up a scanner to run the CEL codes, which probably isn't going to tell me anything I want to hear.  I'm trying to theorize what my problem is, and I guess the only thing I can think of is a compression issue.  I'm not that experienced with diagnosing engines, I'll probably have to get some help on this one. Oh also, I was planning on driving this car from Cleveland to Atlanta in about 3 weeks for school so that puts a time crunch on everything. Exciting!

GDare New Reader
7/27/21 8:24 a.m.

Whew yeah, I've got some semi-serious problems going on with the engine here.  Code reader picked up a whole bunch of codes: pending misfire codes on all 5 cylinders, MAF sensor implausible signal, Crankshaft/camshaft Timing misalignment, secondary air injection system valve circuit.  Really exciting stuff there.  Also took a look down the intake and it looks like a small amount of sand and water were sitting right outside the throttle, kind of concerning.  Compression test showed 120psi, except in cylinder 4 where it was more like 90psi.  Also pretty sure some junk shot out of cylinder 4 when the spark plug hole was open.  This engine is not healthy, yeesh

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