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Just purchased a 1982 Volkswagen Rabbit convertible (102k miles, 3rd owner), originally wanted an 80's Mercedes 380sl but parts are expensive, not really a commuter car, and I have no idea what I'm doing. I thought the Rabbit would be the perfect car for me to not only commute (8 miles round trip) but to learn how to work on cars myself, a good first-time oldie to gain experience. The guy before me seems to have put some work into it, and is a classic car guy himself, and had the same mechanic work on it the past 4 years.

Passed smog in 2018
Fluids are good
New Master Cylinder booster
New brake pads
New muffler hanger
New radiator
New water pump
New timing belt
New gasket cover
Most of this work was done in 2019


Body is good with a little rust on the back bumper corners, Reupholstered seats and exterior of soft top. On cold/wet mornings the timing belt seizes up and it sounds like I'm peeling out so I make sure to spray a little belt conditioner every morning before I start her up.
I need to get it re-smogged, kind of nervous about that but there's nothing alarming that tells me it wont pass, just my first oldie so I'm anxious.

Two things about the car that need work.

He says a couple days before selling to me he pressed the button under the odometer and speedometer and that section of the dash cut out and is more than likely a loose wire or a wire replacement. Electricity wise it seems the dash is split into 3rds and it's only that 3rd that isn't working which I think is a good sign? Is this something I should try to fix myself? (i really would like to if but if its a dumb idea obviously I would rather play it safe and have it fixed by a mechanic) and if so any advice would be AMAZING I am a beginner. Don't know how to get into the dash and don't really know what I'm looking at once I'm in there.

And then as I was driving today I noticed a little whistling sound (super super faint) and when accelerating it would go away only when I let up off the gas or was stopped in gear could I hear it. I was thinking Vacuum leak? is this also something I could fix myself? Let me know your thoughts, all alone here (no mechanic friends and internet is all I've got but really want to be self sufficient and do it myself as much as possible)

Thank you in advance for any advice I get!
Tire Wheel Car Vehicle Sky
 

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Just purchased a 1982 Volkswagen Rabbit convertible (102k miles, 3rd owner), originally wanted an 80's Mercedes 380sl but parts are expensive, not really a commuter car, and I have no idea what I'm doing. I thought the Rabbit would be the perfect car for me to not only commute (8 miles round trip) but to learn how to work on cars myself, a good first-time oldie to gain experience. The guy before me seems to have put some work into it, and is a classic car guy himself, and had the same mechanic work on it the past 4 years.

Passed smog in 2018
Fluids are good
New Master Cylinder booster
New brake pads
New muffler hanger
New radiator
New water pump
New timing belt
New gasket cover
Most of this work was done in 2019


Body is good with a little rust on the back bumper corners, Reupholstered seats and exterior of soft top. On cold/wet mornings the timing belt seizes up and it sounds like I'm peeling out so I make sure to spray a little belt conditioner every morning before I start her up.
I need to get it re-smogged, kind of nervous about that but there's nothing alarming that tells me it wont pass, just my first oldie so I'm anxious.

Two things about the car that need work.

He says a couple days before selling to me he pressed the button under the odometer and speedometer and that section of the dash cut out and is more than likely a loose wire or a wire replacement. Electricity wise it seems the dash is split into 3rds and it's only that 3rd that isn't working which I think is a good sign? Is this something I should try to fix myself? (i really would like to if but if its a dumb idea obviously I would rather play it safe and have it fixed by a mechanic) and if so any advice would be AMAZING I am a beginner. Don't know how to get into the dash and don't really know what I'm looking at once I'm in there.

And then as I was driving today I noticed a little whistling sound (super super faint) and when accelerating it would go away only when I let up off the gas or was stopped in gear could I hear it. I was thinking Vacuum leak? is this also something I could fix myself? Let me know your thoughts, all alone here (no mechanic friends and internet is all I've got but really want to be self sufficient and do it myself as much as possible)

Thank you in advance for any advice I get!
View attachment 17344
Congratulations on wanting to learn more and work on your newly found treasure. Firstly I'd strongly recommend getting a Bentley manual for your vehicle to familiarize yourself with the car's systems and operations before undertaking any work. Also check with various VW forums for instruction and advice on how to do repairs. I found YouTube also being a good resource. It helped me when working on my '85 Golf diesel. Good luck and best wishes!
 
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