Does your automatic Cabriolet have an upshift light?

If you are going to go anywhere, better make sure your tranny can handle the load. Gear changes for the power hungry should be talked about here. Is that a LSD I see in your pocket?

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gull
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Does your automatic Cabriolet have an upshift light?

Post by gull » Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:54 am

Picked up a cheap 1988 Cabriolet with an automatic, with the idea of possibly fixing it up for the wife to drive. I have reason to believe this car has had some parts swapped around by people who might not be entirely clueful, so I'm curious about something. The instrument panel has an upshift light on it, right wher ethe temperature gauge is on my '89, although of course it doesn't do anything. Is this normal? I could see VW just using the same cluster on automatics, seeing as the automatic was an option, but it seems odd they wouldn't blank out the space for the light.
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Re: Does your automatic Cabriolet have an upshift light?

Post by Briano1234 » Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:11 am

No, my 90's and my 89 (all automatic's) don't have a up-shift light. I too think it is a little redundant.
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Re: Does your automatic Cabriolet have an upshift light?

Post by gull » Thu Nov 04, 2010 12:28 pm

I think they had eliminated it entirely by '89, because my manual-shift '89 doesn't have one, either. I'm idly curious if having one on an '88 automatic is normal, though. Obviously it's not a problem, I'm just always interested in trying to figure out what exactly has been done to a car by previous owners. ;)

My immediate challenge will be getting it to pass emissions. The idle RPMs are too high; they won't test if it's over 1100. I haven't had time to really dig into it, but it looks like someone got over-zealous while removing the A/C and took out both idle boost solenoids, so it idles too high in park and too low in gear. If that's it, it shouldn't be too hard to fix. I can temporarily rob the solenoids off my '89 for testing.
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Re: Does your automatic Cabriolet have an upshift light?

Post by kamzcab86 » Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:53 pm

The upshift indicator was eliminated beginning with the 1988 model year.

No automatic left the factory with an upshift indicator in the cluster.

Either the trans has been swapped, or the cluster has been swapped. If the car still has its build sheet sticker in the trunk, the transmission code is listed on that sheet; that will verify which component has been swapped.

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Re: Does your automatic Cabriolet have an upshift light?

Post by gull » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:46 pm

Good to know. I'll see what I can find out. Actually I'm starting to suspect an engine/trans swap, but I'll know more when I get time to work on it this weekend.
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Re: Does your automatic Cabriolet have an upshift light?

Post by gull » Thu Nov 04, 2010 11:33 pm

Curiosity overwhelmed me, so I went out with a flashlight and looked. The trans code on the build sheet is TNA, so it looks like it came with an automatic originally. Must have been a cluster swap. I may end up doing another one, because the speedometer is WILDLY inaccurate. The odometer reads correctly, but the speedo reads at least 2x actual speed.
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Re: Does your automatic Cabriolet have an upshift light?

Post by CalAltaDubber » Sat Nov 06, 2010 7:12 pm

I have done a little investigating here.

Back in '86 when I was looking to buy my Cabby, I remember one car I looked at (an '85) had an automatic and the upshift indicator was in the instrument cluster. But being an auto, it did not illuminate.

Moving on to modern times, my '88 does have the indicator in the cluster, but again it does not illuminate. The owner's manual points out that the upshift indicator is not installed in the '88 model year.

I believe that the light is installed on all cars up to 1988, but not necessarily working.

I have never seen an '88 or older cluster with out the LED, so it seems to support my therory that they only had one cluster design. This would reduce the costs to have a second design.

Mostly conjecture, but my observations.
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Re: Does your automatic Cabriolet have an upshift light?

Post by Briano1234 » Sat Nov 06, 2010 7:48 pm

gull wrote:Curiosity overwhelmed me, so I went out with a flashlight and looked. The trans code on the build sheet is TNA, so it looks like it came with an automatic originally. Must have been a cluster swap. I may end up doing another one, because the speedometer is WILDLY inaccurate. The odometer reads correctly, but the speedo reads at least 2x actual speed.
You could create a flat black blank, place it over the upshift indicator, and then place your favorite term, saying or whatever over the new plate.

I created a new water temp gauge and in small teeny tiny font, I spelled out
Katie's Cabriolet...

or

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Briano

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Re: Does your automatic Cabriolet have an upshift light?

Post by gull » Sat Nov 06, 2010 8:38 pm

Started digging into the thing in earnest today, with the intention of getting it smogged next week.

Got the vacuum lines sorted out. Someone got "creative" with them. Among other things they tied the HVAC vacuum reservoir into the distributor advance circuit, which must have made for a really interesting ignition advance curve. Got that sorted and plugged some vacuum leaks, and it's starting to run pretty good.

Is there a good photo anywhere of the timing marks on an automatic? All the photos I can find are of manual transmission timing marks, and what I see in the bellhousing hole on this automatic doesn't look much like what I'm used to.
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Re: Does your automatic Cabriolet have an upshift light?

Post by Briano1234 » Sun Nov 07, 2010 1:59 am

There is a steel timing plate that is welded to the flex plate (starter ring).
It has marks at BTDC 8 6 4 0 6 4 ATC Sorry that I never got a snap of it, but I think there is a good pic of it in the Bentley.
Briano

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You can lead a user to a link, but you can't make him Click.... :screwy:

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gull
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Re: Does your automatic Cabriolet have an upshift light?

Post by gull » Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:04 am

OK, thanks for the clue. I'll turn it over by hand and see what I can see. The manual I have is the Haynes, which doesn't have anything about automatic timing marks.

Are the marks fairly clear or are they the usual cryptic VW notches? ;)
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Re: Does your automatic Cabriolet have an upshift light?

Post by Briano1234 » Sun Nov 07, 2010 5:00 am

No it is a steel stamped plate that is welded to the flex plate about 2 inches or 3 inches long Very easy to read, no notches at all.

looks like the standard ford or chrysler timing on the front pulleys.
Briano

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You can lead a user to a link, but you can't make him Click.... :screwy:

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Re: Does your automatic Cabriolet have an upshift light?

Post by gull » Sun Nov 07, 2010 12:47 pm

Ah, a luxury! ;)
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Re: Does your automatic Cabriolet have an upshift light?

Post by gull » Sun Nov 07, 2010 8:19 pm

Well, it took all afternoon, but I finally got it to idle right. Actually, the boost solenoid was mostly irrelevant; I put one in, but it works just fine with it unplugged now that everything's adjusted right. The main problem was a broken wire in the wiring harness to the CPR, causing the control pressure to stay low and the mixture to be too rich. Once that was fixed I still had to adjust the idle and base mixture. They were far enough off that I had to alternate between them and approach the right settings stepwise, or the engine would stall.

I'm going to take it to be emissions tested on Tuesday. It's running pretty well, better than my '89 (which has always passed easily), so I'm optimistic.
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Re: Does your automatic Cabriolet have an upshift light?

Post by kamzcab86 » Mon Nov 08, 2010 3:54 pm

CalAltaDubber wrote: I believe that the light is installed on all cars up to 1988, but not necessarily working.

I have never seen an '88 or older cluster with out the LED, so it seems to support my therory that they only had one cluster design. This would reduce the costs to have a second design.
I concede it may be possible that some pre-'88 autos left the factory with a non-functioning upshift ("just grab that cluster off the shelf, Fritz; we've gotta keep this line rolling!"; that's what happened with the Porsche 356's during the latter part of their production), but the overwhelming majority did not. For that matter, most of the manuals in Europe did not have an upshift indicator as standard equipment.

Some examples:
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1981 automatic Rabbit in the USA

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1984 manual Golf Cabriolet in Germany

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1987 manual Golf Cabriolet Quarttet GTI in the UK (MFA cluster)

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1981 manual Golf Cabriolet GLD in the UK

Now you can longer say that you've never seen a non-upshift cluster. :mrgreen:

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