Just Bought a 1990 Cabby, Got a few questions

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chloeroxymax
Posts: 29
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What year is your cabby?: 1990

Just Bought a 1990 Cabby, Got a few questions

Post by chloeroxymax » Mon Oct 22, 2007 8:02 pm

I just bought a 1990 Cabriolet. Exterior is in great shape (needs a top) but the interior is very rough. It's basically a one-owner that got pulled behind a motorhome for a lot of its life.

I have read thru some of the forum posts, and I've seen that putting on a top is challenging, but not too hard for someone willing to do the work, which I am. But right now, the top is really the least of my worries.

I'd like to drive this thing at least close to daily, but I've got a couple issues that must be fixed right away so I can, namely:

1. The headlight switch is disconnected. It doesn't appear to work. When I pull back on the dimmer switch, it works, so I know the headlights are OK. Is there a good source for that part, and do I need to work thru the circuitry to be sure everythings OK before I can try to fix it with a switch?

2. There's some sort of rattle in the steering column, close to the wheel. Is there potentially a bolt or bolts to be tightened, or is there a u-joint problem?

2. Someone has damaged the trunk lock. Can I get into the trunk from inside, or do I have to go in thru the back? Can I get the lock working by myself, or do I need a locksmith? They guy who sold me the car tells me there's a set of jumper cables and a cover in there... right now I'm using a tarp.

3. A door bushing on the passenger side door appears to be broken. Is this an easy enough fix for me and a six-pack, or should I take it to a body shop?

4. Does anyone have technical wiring diagrams for the electrical stuff, or should I just buy and refer to a Haynes manual? Any recommendations for good technical manuals? I don't mind doing the work if I have good reference material to work from.

Thanks in advance for any help/advice/info you can provide. I'm interested in finding other owners locally for technical help.

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CalAltaDubber
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Re: Just Bought a 1990 Cabby, Got a few questions

Post by CalAltaDubber » Mon Oct 22, 2007 11:14 pm

First off, Welcome to TRF.There are a lot of people here that can help you with what you want to know. I would suggest you also look at http://cabyinfo.com. That's Kami's site (one of the folks here), and she has a lot of good information. She is "redecorating" so you might have to ask her for a file or two.
chloeroxymax wrote:I just bought a 1990 Cabriolet. Exterior is in great shape (needs a top) but the interior is very rough. It's basically a one-owner that got pulled behind a motorhome for a lot of its life.
Once you get all your "bugs" worked out, I'm sure you will love driving the car.
chloeroxymax wrote:I have read thru some of the forum posts, and I've seen that putting on a top is challenging, but not too hard for someone willing to do the work, which I am. But right now, the top is really the least of my worries.
Briano did his a few months ago and has probably the best write up i've seen. Kami has it. From what I can tell, it wasn't that hard if you follow Brian's instructions.
chloeroxymax wrote:I'd like to drive this thing at least close to daily, but I've got a couple issues that must be fixed right away so I can, namely:

1. The headlight switch is disconnected. It doesn't appear to work. When I pull back on the dimmer switch, it works, so I know the headlights are OK. Is there a good source for that part, and do I need to work thru the circuitry to be sure everythings OK before I can try to fix it with a switch?
It could be the switch. When you work the dimmer switch, you are engaging the high beams. But it would be a good idea to check the two headlight fuses (probably numbers 21 and 22). There is one for each side, so I think it is probably the switch.

The switch is not hard to replace, and is the same one used for many later MK I Volkswagens. They may still be available at your local dealer, but you will find them cheaper on EBay, or some place like German Auto Parts. They are cheaper still at your local auto wrecker. I paid something like $2 or $3 each for them at my local Pick 'N Pull. It's always good to have a spare. Just look for a Rabbit, MK I Jetta.
chloeroxymax wrote:2. There's some sort of rattle in the steering column, close to the wheel. Is there potentially a bolt or bolts to be tightened, or is there a u-joint problem?
This is one where i'd need a little more information. I forget off hand which year the driver's airbag was introduced. If your car has an airbag, I can't help you (my two are older ones w/out airbags). If you don't have the airbag, you can pry off the centre section of the steering wheel and see if the nut is snugly in place. A picture of this would be a great help.
chloeroxymax wrote:2. Someone has damaged the trunk lock. Can I get into the trunk from inside, or do I have to go in thru the back? Can I get the lock working by myself, or do I need a locksmith? They guy who sold me the car tells me there's a set of jumper cables and a cover in there... right now I'm using a tarp.
This is tough. The rear seat has a lock on the latch that requires the trunk lid to be open so you can fold the seat. If you can find a way to lift the center section of the rear deck (called the parcle tray) out you will be able to move the seat back and access the trunk lid from inside the car. It might br easier to get a locksmith to open it. Once unlocked, it can be used until you decide to repair or replace it.
chloeroxymax wrote:3. A door bushing on the passenger side door appears to be broken. Is this an easy enough fix for me and a six-pack, or should I take it to a body shop?
Tough call with out seeing it. Can you post a picture?
chloeroxymax wrote:4. Does anyone have technical wiring diagrams for the electrical stuff, or should I just buy and refer to a Haynes manual? Any recommendations for good technical manuals? I don't mind doing the work if I have good reference material to work from.
Don't waste your time with a Haynes manual. they do not provide very good wiring diagrams. Everyone in the VW community will tell you to spend the extra money and buy the Bently Manual for your car. These are the official manual for VW and do have the best information.

Unfortunatly my Bently only covers to the '89 MY or I would be able to pass more information to you.
chloeroxymax wrote:Thanks in advance for any help/advice/info you can provide. I'm interested in finding other owners locally for technical help.
No problem there, that's what we like to do on this site. All we ask is that you let us know how your issues work out, and keep in touch.

Again welcome and hope I've given you something to help.
Phil

'87 Cabriolet, "Topless Bunny"
'88 Cabriolet, "Posh Bunny"
'04 Golf
'12 Golf Wagon TDI
'69 Manx type Dune Buggy (New Toy)

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tolusina
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Re: Just Bought a 1990 Cabby, Got a few questions

Post by tolusina » Mon Oct 22, 2007 11:16 pm

chloeroxymax wrote:...putting on a top is challenging, but not too hard for someone willing to do the work, which I am. But right now, the top is really the least of my worries....
Briano1234 is the resident top replacement guru. I'm pretty sure he's got a thread here on the TRF, you can also find his write ups linked on the 'How To' page of http://cabby-info.com .
chloeroxymax wrote:...1. The headlight switch is disconnected. It doesn't appear to work. When I pull back on the dimmer switch, it works, so I know the headlights are OK. Is there a good source for that part, and do I need to work thru the circuitry to be sure everythings OK before I can try to fix it with a switch?...
1st, the key must be on for the headlights to work.
2nd, it may seem unrelated, I promise it's not, check the wipers and the heater fan, what do they do with the key on.
And this one will seem really odd, with key off, wiper and heater switches on, headlights on, every other pull of the headlight high/low beam stalk should cause the heater fan and wipers to run. Do they?
chloeroxymax wrote:...2. There's some sort of rattle in the steering column, close to the wheel. Is there potentially a bolt or bolts to be tightened, or is there a u-joint problem?...
Most common problem is the lower steering column shaft bearing falling loose from the column tube. Look down there, see if yours is flapping freely. The bearing is inexpensive to purchase and readily available, it's an hour or two (at least) to install, it is a bit of work.
Far simpler, quicker and even less expensive is to simply stuff the bearing back in place, use a hose clamp to keep it there.
chloeroxymax wrote:....4. Does anyone have technical wiring diagrams for the electrical stuff, or should I just buy and refer to a Haynes manual? Any recommendations for good technical manuals? I don't mind doing the work if I have good reference material to work from....
Get a Bentley, especially for the wiring diagrams, they are exact factory diagrams, complete with factory (and factory only) errors.
I'll only buy or use a Haynes if nothing else is available.
---
Pics of the door bushing might help, unless it's just the bushing on the striker pin. Striker pins are easily replaced, if you can get the old one loose. A deep broached 15 mm Craftsman brand deep socket helps. The deep broach style is weaker than shallow versions, in this case the deep broach clears the striker pin head and reaches the wrench flats.
---
The trunk lock is a real Catch 22. Fold the rear seat, climb in and remove the plastic trim clips on the trunk lid panel, you can then release the latch manually

and repair/replace whatever is broken from there.
The 'Catch', the trunk lid must be open to access the seat back release knob. :banghead:

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Briano1234
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Re: Just Bought a 1990 Cabby, Got a few questions

Post by Briano1234 » Tue Oct 23, 2007 6:00 am

The only thing I can add is Welcome to the TRF. All my how-too's are posted here... Usually under the General help section.

The Door is probably sagging....

Top replacement guide:
viewtopic.php?f=27&t=1611

Reducing top wind noise:
viewtopic.php?f=27&t=1473

Door sagging:
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1476

Best type of wrench ya can buy.... 10mm, 13mm, 15mm.
viewtopic.php?f=27&t=1618
Briano

Yes as matter of fact, I have the Luck o'the Irish...everything I touch turns to fertilizer of the bovine variety.
You can lead a user to a link, but you can't make him Click.... :screwy:

chloeroxymax
Posts: 29
Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2007 8:01 am
What year is your cabby?: 1990

Re: Just Bought a 1990 Cabby, Got a few questions

Post by chloeroxymax » Tue Oct 23, 2007 8:29 am

Thanks for all the info.

As far as the steering wheel, it does have the airbag. If I have to pop the wheel off, that'll certainly complicate matters, tho hopefully it's the shaft bearing.

The door hinge bushing is what the guy who sold it to me said was wrong. He said is daughter sat on the door while it was open.
The door still lines up perfectly and opens and closes with a little assistance. Fortunately, the car has never been in an accident, and the body is straight and rust-free.

I didn't realize the deal about the headlights needing the key to be on. I'll try all that at home tonight. I'm not sure I can get the blower fan to run; someone's done a real number on the dash. The existing headlamp switch is in the car, but it appears to be stuck in the on position. I'll try it with the key on and see if the lights will come on. I'll also test the stalk pull/key off scenario with the wipers (which do work, as I had to drive it home in the rain).

I fiddled with the trunk issue last night too... and I discovered two things: something must be limiting my ability to drop the seat from the inside (ha) and that there seems to be some sort of broken linkage between the lock/button and the catch that actually holds it closed. So I'm very nearly certain that the only way in for me will be thru the parcle tray and then fix whatever is broken.

After posting last night, I found the Bentley manual on ebay, and it really wasn't much more expensive than the Haynes, and since you guys confirm it as the best choice, I'm going with that for sure (once I solve some of the simple issues to make this a driver).

That's my hope for this car: to be my second driver. We had only one car until yesterday, and I need to have a second car about once a week. If I can get this one going reliably (and dry), I may make it the around-town driver and relegate the minivan to family outings.

To top it off, it started raining here yesterday about 20 minutes before I picked up the car, and it's expected to rain until Friday. With the leaky top, I've got the thing under a tarp to keep it as dry as I can. We've hoping for some sun on Saturday, and I'll take a boatload of pics and post the best ones to the forum.

Thanks again for your help, and I'll update everyone as the job goes on.

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Briano1234
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Re: Just Bought a 1990 Cabby, Got a few questions

Post by Briano1234 » Tue Oct 23, 2007 9:19 am

There are no door bushings on the rabbits.. It is either the pivot pins, hinges, or the latching pin has moved... Since you said the "daughter sat on the door when it was opened" would indicate to me that the hinges are bent, and the door is straightening because the latching pin is putting the door back to true when closed.

Removing the door from the car and re-aligning the hinge points will probably fix the door problem, and part of the top is leaking problem.

DO NOT remove the air bag until you disconnect the battery and wait for 20 minutes, otherwise POP may go the Weasel

Also any time you are going to smack on the car a bit.... Disconnect the battery and wait 20 minutes....
Briano

Yes as matter of fact, I have the Luck o'the Irish...everything I touch turns to fertilizer of the bovine variety.
You can lead a user to a link, but you can't make him Click.... :screwy:

chloeroxymax
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What year is your cabby?: 1990

Re: Just Bought a 1990 Cabby, Got a few questions

Post by chloeroxymax » Tue Oct 23, 2007 1:08 pm

Found this:

http://www.amazon.com/Volkswagen-Cabrio ... 769&sr=8-1

On amazon. Is this the Bentley manual that is best, or is there one more specific to the 1990 Cabby? $35 is cheap for a good manual.

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Briano1234
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Re: Just Bought a 1990 Cabby, Got a few questions

Post by Briano1234 » Tue Oct 23, 2007 1:26 pm

in a few words... buy that one...

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CalAltaDubber
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Re: Just Bought a 1990 Cabby, Got a few questions

Post by CalAltaDubber » Tue Oct 23, 2007 1:58 pm

Like Brian sad. That's the one.
Phil

'87 Cabriolet, "Topless Bunny"
'88 Cabriolet, "Posh Bunny"
'04 Golf
'12 Golf Wagon TDI
'69 Manx type Dune Buggy (New Toy)

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chloeroxymax
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What year is your cabby?: 1990

Re: Just Bought a 1990 Cabby, Got a few questions

Post by chloeroxymax » Tue Oct 23, 2007 6:58 pm

Fiddled with the lights a bit when I got home from work... no luck with having the key on. Haven't had a chance to try the fuses yet. It's pouring rain here and the forecast says it won't let up until at least Friday... what a great time to have bought a convertible :( .

I'll keep you guys posted.

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CalAltaDubber
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Re: Just Bought a 1990 Cabby, Got a few questions

Post by CalAltaDubber » Tue Oct 23, 2007 8:51 pm

chloeroxymax wrote:Fiddled with the lights a bit when I got home from work... no luck with having the key on. Haven't had a chance to try the fuses yet. It's pouring rain here and the forecast says it won't let up until at least Friday... what a great time to have bought a convertible :( .

I'll keep you guys posted.
Cheer up, When I bought mine, I thought how great it would be to cruise in the summer with the top down. Well to keep it short, it rained only once that summer. From the first week in July until the second week of September :(

I still think you are looking at a switch replacment. I will get some pictures of how to do it by the week end.
Phil

'87 Cabriolet, "Topless Bunny"
'88 Cabriolet, "Posh Bunny"
'04 Golf
'12 Golf Wagon TDI
'69 Manx type Dune Buggy (New Toy)

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tolusina
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Re: Just Bought a 1990 Cabby, Got a few questions

Post by tolusina » Tue Oct 23, 2007 9:25 pm

chloeroxymax wrote:Found this:

http://www.amazon.com/Volkswagen-Cabrio ... 769&sr=8-1

On amazon. Is this the Bentley manual that is best, or is there one more specific to the 1990 Cabby? $35 is cheap for a good manual.

That's the one, good price too.
Here's the link to the Bentley Publishing page..
http://www.bentleypublishers.com/product.htm?code=vs93
a clearer description.
The only more comprehensive source available is the Official Factory Microfiche Archived on CD-ROM listed a bit down on the Bentley page. Being in CD-ROM format it's both more and less convenient, varying with the situation. Also, the CD-ROM does no contain electrical schematics, nor does it appear to be currently available from Bentley. If you auger in to the VW technical literature site, http://www.vw.ddsltd.com/ , it does appear available there.

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Re: Just Bought a 1990 Cabby, Got a few questions

Post by kuklaki » Wed Oct 24, 2007 10:52 am

Well, these guys seem to have you covered pretty well, so I'll just say welcome to TRF :wink:
2nd 89 Cabriolet 8v (Crabby Cabby)
01 Jetta GLX (bun warmer)
87 Scirocco 16v (TWINS!)
71 Karmann Ghia (air sucker)
03 New Beetle turbo S (black widow)
01 Suzuki SV650 (go nekkid)

chloeroxymax
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What year is your cabby?: 1990

Re: Just Bought a 1990 Cabby, Got a few questions

Post by chloeroxymax » Wed Oct 24, 2007 9:51 pm

The guy who sold me the car called today and said he had a technical manual and some parts to give me... so I went and picked them up, and there were a few interior parts... and the Bentley manual! So I don't have to buy the thing.

As soon as I can get some dry weather I'm gonna get to work on those headlights... found some handwritten notes in the manual about the lights. Maybe the lights have been a problem on this cabby for a while.

Thanks again for everyone's help.

chloeroxymax
Posts: 29
Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2007 8:01 am
What year is your cabby?: 1990

Re: Just Bought a 1990 Cabby, Got a few questions

Post by chloeroxymax » Fri Oct 26, 2007 8:20 pm

Wanted to let you guys know: I got the headlights working. Rather than spending the $30 or so to get the real switch, or digging around in a junkyard, I went to WalMart and got some wire, quick connect terminals, and a rocker switch. I used the wiring diagram in the Bentley manual, and fed the 12v into the headlight via the switch, so now I have headlights (at least low beams, anyway) and I can at least drive the car around without worrying about being caught without lights.

All the rain soaked into the car... any ideas about the best way to dry it out?

Also: having difficulty getting the windows down... they are power, and the switches seem to be closing and activating a relay when pressed, but the windows don't go down. I've tried it with the key off, key on, and with the car running, no change. They obviously worked recently, as the windows were down when I first looked at the car, and up when I picked it up.

Thanks again for everyone's advice and help. If all of the fixes are as easy as this first one with the headlights, I'm gonna like working on this VW.

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