A sad day in November for me. I passed the Corrado on to a young man from New Hampshire where the car came from when I purchased it five years ago. It is going to a good home and the new owner is happy to get behind the wheel of a Corrado.
The Corrado email list came through. A fellow lister, Ben, sent me a used G60 downpipe and a new manifold to downpipe gasket for the cost of shipping! Now that is a decent Corrado owner right there. I had some time in the past week to install it along with some fresh studs and bolts from the VW dealer to keep the downpipe secured to the manifold. I even re-tapped each hole to clean out any rust or debris.
The flex bellows failed on my downpipe, likely from the installation of the Techtonics cat-back exhaust which was installed twice over the years because the 1st one was not stainless and I did not notice until I saw rust on it a year later. Anyhow, all is quiet now around the exhaust manifold with the new (used) downpipe from Ben. I also replaced the outer drivers side CV boot that tore a few weeks ago. My good friend from high school, Alex Smith, who influenced me into VW's more than 15 years ago, let me use his garage and impact tools to handle some stubborn bolts on the strut housing. Not to go off on a tangent, but what a nice luxury it is to work in garage for once and having the right tools in a nice secure garage dwelling. I am tired of working outside in the driveway on uneven pavement out of an apartment! Lastly, props to Beverly Gas & Tire for hooking me up with a "laser" front end alignment in short order. Spoilers Up!
I had a minute coolant leak at the upper radiator flange where the nutsert stripped on the 10mm bolt. I could have drilled through it and replaced with a long bolt but figured I would replace everything in the cooling circuit anyhow. As a result, I replaced the water pump, thermostat, radiator, radiator fan switch, serpentine belt, and power steering belt. It was overkill, but I will have the peace of mind of no leaks and no weak link in the cooling system. The radiator fan was replaced last year.
A water pump replacement procedure is a pain in the arse. The charger has to be removed and the a/c compressor needs to be moved away to access the bolts to the charger bracket and then the water pump. Furthermore, the power steering pump needs to be dropped and out of the way to get to the bottom of the waterpump and lower hoses. The job seems simple on paper but is tricky on the 'ol back. As long as the coolant was drained, I was sure to replace everything else including the radiator anyhow.
As the heat of the summer approached, it was time to fix the A/C. I was dreading it because I would have to pull the front bumper to reach the fitting of the line as it connects to the A/C condenser. The A/C line underneath the airbox was rotted. I picked up a mint one from someone in Florida last summer. Two cans of 134a charge and a can of lubricant oil later, the A/C was blowing ice cold, down to 42 degrees to be exact.
While the bumper was off, it was a perfect time and excuse to clean up the intercooler and install the Eurosport Intercooler Boost tubes that I picked up last fall. Big thanks to Patrick Taylor who took this task upon himself. Upon inspection of the tube closest to the battery, it had a nice nickel sized hole. In addition, there was a nice mess of grease in that immediate area. Now I know what a boost leak can look like on a G60. What a mess that was.
I noticed the Corrado was getting a bit hot (water temp and oil temp) on the Rt 128 traffic so I installed a low temperature thermostat and radiator fan switch. It cooled things down considerably. In addition, I changed the grade of Redline to a 15W50 for the summer.
With the Callaway Turbo Rabbit up and running, it was time to pay attention to the overall output of my G60. I was sitting on a rebuilt g-lader from Kompressor Kanada since last August. I was a bit hesitant about doing it by myself as I had no prior experience with replacing one. However, I as have learned before, there is only one way to learn. That is by first hand experience. In addition, I talked to Oliver from ORZ Motorsports last fall on what I should replace when I was there so I had all sorts of bits handy such as a new oil line feed, return line, crush washers, et cetera.
I used some directions off of vwvortex and took my time with it on a Saturday afternoon. The car was running later that night for a test drive. I used the same 6 ribbed belt as I had for the 78mm (stock) pulley. I think I will get a smaller one in the near future. I liked what I felt for boost on a fresh charger even though I could not drive aggressively nor could I exceed 3,000 rpm during a strict break in period of which was obtained the week prior to taking the car to Waterfest in New Jersey.
Within two weeks of coming back from Waterfest, I installed a Stage IV SNS chip. Usually, the Stage IV chip is used with all the modifications that I had plus a upgraded cam. However, Sam at SNS said that I would be fine. In addition, Patrick helped me out with installing the 3.5 bar Fuel Pressure Regulator. Now I can really hear the roar of the RSR Outlet on the Charger!
As a result, I have installed every upgrade that I intended to do to the Corrado since last summer. One exception was installing the ISV re-route kit that I may do later but did not feel like splicing into the stock rubber hose at the moment. I would strongly suggest that rebuilding your G-Lader is the best modification that one can do. In addition, it should be done anyhow as maintenance to keep the life of the charger.
I was a Junior in High School and our assistant basketball coach gave a few of us a ride to a local hamburger joint. He just bought a brand new red Corrado. It was VW's answer to a sport luxury coupe and it would turn out to be the last. I remember how tight it was in the back seat, hardly enough room for two passengers. Forget about the head room and leg room. It did not exist. I did not even own a car back then, but was intent on getting a VW Beetle as soon as I got my license.
Fast forward about a decade and several VW's and cars later, I have been in the mood to give my 1991 VW Jetta Gli a rest. I always told myself that if I was going to get another vw for a daily driver, that it would be a Corrado. The prices were a bit out of touch for me over the past few years. However, recently, with the exception of Ebay, I have seen the pricing drop considerably. I did the research as to which motor did I feel like maintaining: the supercharged 4 cylinder G60 or the six cylinder VR6?
If you took a survey of what the Corrado owners preferred about five years ago in North America, I'll bet the response would be to favor the VR6. As a result, I was leaning toward the VR6 a few years ago. Since then however, the vw warrantly has run out on such cars no matter which application (G60 or VR6), and now the vw owner is now repsonsible for the maintenance. Corrado ownership is expensive. This is exactly what my vw friends and mechanics have been telling me. They told me that I'd be crazy to get one.
As for those who used favor the VR6, the miles were starting to pile up and now the dealer needs to replace the timing chain the VR6 around 100K miles. Owners were crying "How much does that cost?" They were now paying the invoice out of thier pocket. The cost to maintain a G60 does not seem so bad, right? Well, not exactly.
VW took on production of the g-lader and tossed it on the 4 cylinder motor back in the late 80's in Europe. A smaller G-lader, the G40 was in production and doing well. But the G60's then seemed to have a average life span of 80K miles. I think VW was repsonsible for replacing the units if still under warranty. As a result, I think VW lost a lot of money on the G60 design. The Corrado was only around in the United States for three years: 1990-93. I think Canada was spoiled and got them through 1994. World wide production of the Corrado seized in 1995. As a result, Corrado parts are hard to come by from the dealer and very expensive. Exterior parts can't be borrowed from the A2's or the A3's. The Corrado is the Corrado.
I talked to a local friend who works on VW's 40 hours a week and mentioned how competitor garages hated to work on Corrado's and that they were sending the work to him. It seemed the they were a biatch to work on. VR6 motors were despised of. I just did some heavy work to my ever so simple Rabbit Gti and started to favor the G60 if I had the opportunity to purchase a Corrado. How hard can ownership of a 8V be?
At any rate, I'm always browsing the Internet Ads and local classifieds for parts and cars. I stumbled into a real simple ad in the local want advertiser. It wasn't the usual ad that I have been witnessing with the 17" wheels, tint, a million dollar stereo loud enough to get me arrested, and every mod done to the car for a $10K price tag. I've had enough of buying someone elses modification nightmare. Quite honestly, I don't trust the installation of anything aftermarket on anything. I have seen too many botched jobs and hack-work to write a book on.
This ad was for car that was meticulously owned and garaged. There was no mention of modifications. The price was a little high for a G60, but I called anyhow. The owner called me back the following morning and we talked for about an hour about the car. The car had some issues but overall sounded like a decent car.
The items that had me concerned were the high miles, but that I wouldn't know it if I saw the car. The car was repainted. The car was rear ended but fixed back in 1998, hence the new paint work. The car had no radio. The car had no A/C. The motor was replaced with another several years ago. The charger was replaced with another with unkown miles. Basically, the situation had signs that this car has been overhauled by technical hands all along the way.
I drove up to see the car two days later. As soon as I pulled up, I was stunned at the sight. It looked like a show winner. The paint on the car was incredible. The interior was clean. Under the hood showed a clean bay that was taken care of. The OZ Monte Carlo rims stood out and amplified the lines of the car. Everything was pampered by the owner. It was one of those cars that you don't even want to negotiate with in terms of the price of the car. The presentation of the car was overwhelming, almost distracting to pick up on the flaws. I've seen worse at the previous VW shows that I attended this summer as a spectator.
I drove the car out on the highway and some side roads. The O2O Cable shifting transmission was different than my rod linkage O2A that I've been driving everyday for 5 years. The Corrado felt heavy. It did not have the pull that I have had with my 16V cars. The G60 was consistent, but you had to get the boost going at full throttle and most of the talent is above 4K. I was not too impressed with the G60. That was my same assessment that I made before when I test drove a black 1990 G60 Automatic Corrado weeks before I settled with my 1991 Jetta Gli back in 1998. No balls on the G60. Maybe the charger was toast?
I let the owner drive the car with me in the passenger seat. We got the MFA to give us the Intake Pressure at the Manifold. There is a conversion chart as to how much boost the charger is putting out. The g-lader on this car was replaced several years ago but it had unknown miles on it. The charger on this car gave us a reading of 224 which is pretty damn close to 12lbs. That was all I needed to see to say that the car was worth purchasing.
I looked the car over in the lot after our second drive. It was so clean. The minor flaws, no A/C, stereo, a dent on the fender, rippled paint on the front bumper, scratches on the rear bumper, chips on the drives side door, high miles on the chassis, were all over shadowed by the overall presentation of this beautiful car. I was buying a Corrado from an owner who put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into this car. This is the owner you want to buy a car from. Meticulous care was ingrained into this Corrado. The rest is history. I intend to give the car the equivalent attention.
It's been about a month since I have purchased the Corrado. I have stocked up on some parts that will make it's way onto the car. I intend to install a rebuilt g-lader that was rebuilt by the good folks at Kompressor Kanada. Dave at KK is one of the most trusted and reputable G60 rebuilders in North America. His shop is coming up on their 300th rebuild this summer. I have purchased some other goodies to make the G60 spin faster and breath easier. Stay tuned.