80 VW Rabbit Diesel

Messages
25
Location
Northern California
I just inherited a 80 VW Rabbit pick-up that is a Diesel. The truck had been sitting in a field for about 7 years. I brought it home on a trailer and hooked a battery to it and it fired up on the first try. I live in Northern California and we have the low sulfur fuel out here. My question is, do I need to or should I run some kind of additive in the fuel? I have read that the low sulfur blend can be hard on the older engines, especially the injector pumps themselves. If I should run an additive, what would you guys suggest? Thanks.
 
Messages
322
Location
Virginia
Definitely run a diesel additive like Diesel Kleen and a biocide to kill the stuff growing in the tank. I also add MMO and a little 2-stroke oil for added lubrication. Mix the MMO at 4-oz for 10 gallons and a comparable amount of any two-cycle oil, no need to over do it. You might have some fuel problems for a while if the car has been sitting. Algae will clog your fuel filters until you get it cleaned out, took several months in my Benz after it sat for eight years.
 
Messages
993
Location
Wisconsin USA
A study done by the Southwest Research Laboratory several years ago listed several additives that provide lubricity to ULSD. According to the study, 2% Soy based biodiesel provided the best additional lubricity, followed by some commercially available additives. I personally add TC-W3 2-cycle oil (at 1/2 oz per gallon) and either Power Service Diesel Fuel Supplement or Amsoil Diesel Injector Clean. http://www.natbiogroup.com/docs/education/lubricity%20additive%20study%20results.pdf
 
Messages
1,800
Location
Rijeka, EU
No need really. Here we have a lot of old diesels, they work fine with low sulphur diesel.But with car sitting this long you can expect some issues with gaskets. Make sure you change fuel filter. Also OCI is limited on this cars because of fuel dilution of oil.
 
Last edited:
Messages
11,655
Location
Illinois
And stock up on window regulators for that car. I had an '81 and got pretty good at changing the regulator smile The engine is gutless, but bulletproof. Acceleration is measured with a calendar. Leaking windows, window regulators and electrical gremlins are the primary downsides of the car.
 
Messages
1,429
Location
quebec canada
Originally Posted By: Trigger
I just inherited a 80 VW Rabbit pick-up that is a Diesel. The truck had been sitting in a field for about 7 years. I brought it home on a trailer and hooked a battery to it and it fired up on the first try. I live in Northern California and we have the low sulfur fuel out here. My question is, do I need to or should I run some kind of additive in the fuel? I have read that the low sulfur blend can be hard on the older engines, especially the injector pumps themselves. If I should run an additive, what would you guys suggest? Thanks.
nha ,no need to do much .you all need a jerry can tho.always fuel in 0% biodiesel station .you go to a (whatever % biodiesel and calculate about 1 to 2% bio per fuel tank .yep this mean if you baught a 20% biodiesel gallon you divide the gallon by 20 or 10 you can go up to 2 % bio.and no you cant run ulsd 0% bio all the time .it would break something .but at 1 or 2% biodiesel?you all be tired of the thing before it break .assuming the 7years kept the various seal moist
 
Messages
2,406
Location
Chicago IL USA
Plan on sending the pump & injectors out to DFIS in Portland OR to be rebuilt. The evidence of seal shrinkage when going from high-aromatic LSD to low-aromatic ULSD is overwhelming and well documented. I would suggest you run a low blend of biodiesel (B20 or less) to help keep the seals pliable as long as you can get away with it, but nothing will save them in the long run aside from replacement with viton. Actually, I would plan on doing a full timing belt on it ASAP - 7 years without being run likely makes for some awfully brittle spots in the belt. And don't buy prothe parts!
 
Congratulations. FWIW, that truck is worth A LOT OF MONEY.. About twenty years ago, I took a job delivering parts for a local VW dealer. Used their old at the time Rabbit Diesel Pick-Up. Got around 44mpg day in and day out. A couple of the tech's had their own personal trucks. They and others were always looking for them and when found, the selling price was high. Price today has to be out of sight. In the six months I was there, the only thing that went wrong with it was the diesel pump stopped working. Rather than installing a new pump, the service dept removed the broken pump and sent it to a shop in town to have the pump rebuilt. (Cheaper that way). It was still running great last time I saw it.
 
Messages
9,051
Location
Houston, TX
Originally Posted By: scurvy
Actually, I would plan on doing a full timing belt on it ASAP - 7 years without being run likely makes for some awfully brittle spots in the belt. And don't buy prothe parts!
+1 I had an 81 model and the belt skipped a tooth causing a valve to hit one of the pistons. Fixed it myself at a moderate cost, but you should not chance it. PS...I managed 55MPG in it, so it will be a miser.
 
Messages
25,814
Location
Upstate NY
I had a 1980 VW Rabbit diesel. Nice car. If a vehicle has a mechanical injector pump then adding some lubricant to the diesel fuel will ensure that the fuel has good lubricity. I use Walmart TCW-3 oil at 1 oz/gallon. There is an industry test for this called HFRR. In that test MMO made the diesel fuel worse (better using nothing than MMO). TCW-3 oil was a good one that is cost effective. If you Google HFRR you should find a few tests out there.
 
Messages
2,036
Location
North Carolina
Those VW diesel pickups go for some top dollar amounts on Ebay. I would change out all the fluids and filters, as well as the timing belt. If you plan on keeping it a water pump change out wouldn't hurt, that way it is out of the way and while you are doing all the other maintenance just makes sense. Also stick with a VW thermostat. Don't bother with anything other brand. Over heating is a major head gasket killer in these. It is easy to change out but as long as you keep an eye on the coolant temp and don't let it get hot you will be fine. My little 91 Jetta TD is a great economy ride and if you take care of them they will last a long time. A good place for parts is http://www.autohausaz.com/ I just run some AMSOIL Diesel Injector Clean in mine to keep things running smooth. I fill up about once a month and get 700 miles to a tank which works out to be 50mpg.
 
Messages
1,429
Location
quebec canada
Back then they had thermostat issue because of all the junk was in the coolant .now with long duration no silicate phosphate and other accronim I can recall .you won't have issue and if you mix it yourself make sure to use distilled water (avail at Walmart)
 
Messages
2,008
Location
grande prairie AB
awesome! The injector pumps are very easy to turn up. Get lots more power out of it. Just make sure it doesn't run away. a hair before that and you should get some good power.
 
Messages
5,091
Location
USA
How do you like the chest to steering wheel clearance? Back in the day,VWs were criticized for their lack of cab space as opposed to the similar (but shorter bed) Dodge Rampage.Whereas the VW favored cargo above all else,the Dodge went for cabin comfort.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Messages
46,117
Location
New Jersey
Plenty of folks run old IDI diesels without additives. That said, IDI diesels benefit from adds for other reasons not associated with lubricity or the Ni-S eutectic alloy that is more "lubricious". Low sulfur fuels with fewer aromatics also burn cleaner and dont deplete TBN as fast, both of which are more important in IDI than newer diesels. I agree with the above regarding biocide and some other stuff. Id get it running with the biocide in the tank, maybe a bit of fresh diesel mixed in for good measure. After you get it solidly running, Id use LM diesel purge, run directly on it (take the fuel pump, filters, etc. out of the loop and have the injection pump feed and return directly into a container running on the DP. But a bunch of filters as you may need them! Good luck!
 
Messages
3,558
Location
SE Pa
Originally Posted By: Trigger
I just inherited a 80 VW Rabbit pick-up that is a Diesel . . .
I owned an '80 Rabbit diesel. A legitimate 60 mpg vehicle and fun to drive, even if grossly underpowered and noisy. I remember mine could barely make a steeper upgrade if the AC were on. I don't think you'll need an additive in the newer fuels, but if you want to toss in a little MMO, it won't hurt it. Back when I had mine the practice was to run a 40 wt in them, as the pistons were sometimes prone to clogged lands and loss of compression with too light an oil. You could start the car as that developed, but you tended to overwork the glow plugs. I don't recall if any of the pickups were Westmoreland Rabbits, but if they were, be prepared for routine repairs - nature of the beast.
 
Messages
5,929
Location
DFW
A very good friend has a 1980 Rabbit diesel during my college years. It was lethargic, but rock solid. His used to blow head gaskets on a semi-regular basis. Hopefully, you won't have that issue.
 
Messages
25,814
Location
Upstate NY
Originally Posted By: DBMaster
A very good friend has a 1980 Rabbit diesel during my college years. It was lethargic, but rock solid. His used to blow head gaskets on a semi-regular basis. Hopefully, you won't have that issue.
I decided to re-torque the head gasket on my Rabbit back in 1980 and I did it properly. Blew a head gasket the next day.
 
Top