vw golf mark2 1.3 - Pete Brayshaw
My mark2 golf 1.3 is woefully underpowered, anybody got any ideas about how to improve it
Re: vw golf mark2 1.3 - Guy Lacey
There's not a great deal you can do to improve your situation I'm afraid. The 1.3 is underpowered because it has such a poxy engine for the car and that engine is not very "tuneable". Also, any mods to the engine will simply make you realise how "woeful" the suspension and braking set-up is on the 1.3!

Having owned Golf MkII GTI's for many years I hope you understand the line I'm taking! MkII Golf GTI's are two-a-penny (except my prize-winning LPG mota!) so if you can afford it I would sort out a ~130k mile G, H or J-plate MkII GTI for anywhere between £2-4k. Now these engines are tuneable.

I realise I haven't really answered your question but I cannot think of anything realistic that can help you I'm afraid.

Try TSR Performance (Bridgwater, Somerset) on 01278-453-036 or www.tsr-performance.com - but I suspect they will simply say the same. There's plenty of improvements about for the GTI engines but zilch for anything smaller.
Golf Driver - David Woollard

Don't forget the excellent Golf Driver for those on a lower budget.

A 1990 tidy red one up the road here for £750, and I bet the seller will haggle.

David (temp Golf supporter)
Re: vw golf mark2 1.3 - Ben Chapman
Guy is right- the 1.3 engine is not great. There are a few engine options available. It all depends on what you want to spend. I do not think it would be economically viable to put a completely different engine in the car- best to start with a GTi.
2k-4k is way too much to pay for a mk.2. Late mk.2 golfs go for silly money. Best buys are well maintained earlier cars- in particular the early 16v's are the quicker than the later cars. In standard trim the 8v is more flexible, with more power lower down the rev range, however when reved the 16v is noticeably quicker and my prefered choice. 16v Jettas are available for £300 upwards.

Modifications. I believe TSR performance is one of the worst places you could go for modifications. There workmanship is often very poor, particularly their "performance engines", and their power claims are rediculous, as admitted to me by Tim Stiles over the phone. Their rolling road figures are way over.

For the biggest power for your money, invest in having the cylinder head worked on by a proper race engine builder who willl be able to flow test the cylinder head. Both engines suffer valve guide wear, and these must be removed if the tuner is to port the head properly, so these may as well be replaced at the same time. A properly ported 16v head can produce power increases in excess of 20bhp! The limit for the 16v engine is 230bhp in race trim in either 1800 or 2000 form. 8v's can make up to 180bhp- fast road 8v's can make as much as 150bhp and the same in torque. The 8v is cheaper to modify.

In addition to the head work, it would be a good idea to fit a fast road cam-shaft. They are around 65 exchange for the 8v, and 120 exchange for the 16v (available through rally design www.raldes.co.uk). Unfortunately cam companies are arseholes at times and do not time them up properly forcing you to buy an adjustable vernier pulley, so budget for one of these. Additionaly it is a good idea to change the cam followers when fitting a new cam. 16v tappets are available for 5.50 + VAT from Stealth Racing. Dont touch the exhaust system on a 16v its great. Its basically a productionised version of the old 4-2-1 performance manfold. Nearly all of the "performance" systems on the market offer no addtional power over a standard system. Nearly all of them are more expensive. Stainless steel system often crack, particularlt performance manifolds if you dont have brutal engine mounts. When it comes to rolling road set-up on a 16v get the operator to remove the warm-up regulator and drill out the copper plug. The fuel control pressure can then be readjusted using a k-jet fuel pressure tool. A good cheap lace to go for rolling road set-up is Stealth Racing.

If you choose to go this route, you must remember you will need to upgrade the suspension and brakes. Get 15" wheels and fit 280mm front brake and a larger master cylinder a 22mm or preferably a 23.8mm Corrado vr6 set-up. Use 16v springs, mk3. vr6 VAG topmounts, Bilstein Sport dampers and Eibach anti-roll bars. This gives great handling, and does not completely destroy the ride.

Remember the gearboxes are the weak point of these cars. I would buget on getting the box reconditioned and having the diff bolted if you get a modified engine.

I've heard TSR is c**p also! - David Lacey
Yep, I've heard the same thing to about TSR!


Re: vw golf mark2 1.3 - Adam Going (Tune-Up Ltd)

Are we to presume that all the normal performance influences have been double checked ? Cam timing, ignition timing, compressions, full throttle operation, correct float level, no blockages in exhaust, no binding brakes, no clutch slip.

If all the above are OK, then Guy may be right !!

Regards, Adam
Golf Driver/Italian Tune-Up - Guy Lacey
Very true David - glad to see you are "on the turn" - so to speak.

Now there are a few things that can be done to the Driver and it does come with some of the GTI "features" and £750 sounds a very good price. However, I don't think this helps Mr Brayshaw!

I did assume the performance of the 1.3 was as expected - I suspect any poor performing mota would be highlighted by a thirsty one also. (?)

Could it be the 1.3 (favoured by middle-aged WI members) could be in need of an "Italian Tune-Up"?
Re: vw golf mark2 1.3 - Smiler
Have you checked the handbrake isnt on?
Re: vw golf mark2 1.3 - Phil Garner
I doubt he was looking for 180bhp - just a little less slow!

Anyway search in loot (motors.loot.com), there are ppl (in the SE at least) actually *giving* early running mk2's away. GTi's for a few hundred quid. There are absolutley masses. While other cars of its era are now long gone, there are still loads of mk2's on the nations roads.

My '87 1.6CL is a testament to that. Now doing 40mpg fitted with Weber carb, and still gives pretty good performance.
Re: vw golf mark2 1.3 - Peter
Check the Carburettor plugs, points etc, Ive had a couple of Golfs with the 1.3 engine and they didn't perform so badly, although the 1.6 is far better. I reckon something is wrong with yours if it feels very underpowered.

Why not sell it to an unsuspecting student and get a 1600 or 1800 engined version, I have seen H plated 1800 "Driver" models for around 750 quid - one of these won't be slow.
Slow VW Golfs - David Lacey
When I was 'on the spanners', I used to look after a 1991 1600 Driver.
It was painfully slow and felt horrible on the motorway.
The owners never complained of the performance, but whilst road testing, I had to return and check that all was well (Ignition timing, carburettor settings etc)
I could never make it any better

Just my experience!!

Driver/Jetta TX 1600. - David Woollard
Funny that David.

In 1986 I had the choice of a new Sierra 1600 or Jetta TX (own cash). I'm sure you know the Jetta TX was a Golf Driver with a boot.

The Jetta was so much more nippy and smooth than the Sierra. Plus it looked better, handled better, was built better and had superior trim for the same price. No contest.

I wonder if the Driver you drove had a cat?

Catalyst equipped! - David Lacey
Yes, this car had an unregulated (non oxy sensor) catalyst.

This surely accounted for some of it's lethargic performance.

Tim Stiles - Guy Lacey
Well, they ain't great but Tim Stiles used to be a History Teacher so what do you expect.

......and Ben - he wants a little extra performance and not a VR6 conversion - OK???
Point taken. - Ben Chapman
Point taken. I shouldnt post such long boring messages- sorry to all readers of htis group. I just dont like people who rip people off. I know a guy who bought an engine from Stiles for a few grand, and it blew the head gasket across three cylinders after 20k miles. Tim basically told him to go away. Not good after sales care. They is a lot of crap talked about these cars. I just thought i would put some of it straight.
BTW the VR6 is rather crap for tuning purposes- it has feeble inlet valve area. 2.8's make 165-170 and 2.9's make 170-175. VW's claim of 192 for the Corrado is rubbish, they are the same engine bar 70cc. Still a good, tough, road engine with a good power curve.

slow golf - Miller
I'm sorry but 55 bhp for a car weighing over a ton = slow!

Value my car