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Ivan M. Davila ( - December 25, 2001
I'm looking for a Automatic Transmision for a 1989 Cabriolet

Jim Farrar ( - December 12, 2001
your vehicle is eqipped with a two stage fuel pump system, the primary is located under the vehicle at about the righthand side backseat area. The helper pump is in the fuel tank. The problem is most likely the tank pump. I had a 1984 that was built during a strike in Germany and it had components from the 1985 model for the fuel system. The problem you describe sounds the same only not as bad.

John Folgy ( - December 11, 2001
To Becky on November 22. Your water drains are probably clogged ( one on each side). They are located next to the firewall close to the windshield wiper motor. They get clogged with leaves and dirt and when it rains water finds it way thru the heater core box. Take a long screwdriver and clean them out.
Good luck

Aly ( - December 4, 2001
I have a 1988 Cabriolet 5-speed that has been sitting in my garage for almost 3 years now. Dare I ask what it is going to cost me to get it going again? It needs a new top as well. I haven't had any serious problems with it in the past other then a leaky roof which comes with the territory I suppose. Thanks!

Kevin Wilson ( - November 30, 2001
I have a 1984 Cabby for sale! I have had 6 VW's and love them, but the new Honda Civic Si Coupe was just to irresistible! now I need garage space. I'm looking at getting $3800 Canadian which I understand is something like $2500 American. I've had the car for 2 years, and bought it from a friend who had just replaced the roof (I have the receipt) and I have recently replaced the clutch and heater core. I have receipts for all the work that my friend did and I have done. It's in really good shape, and runs like a dream. takes up space in my garage, (I have stored it in the winter), that I need for the Honda. I don't want to scrape windows every morning....Canada can be quite cold!! If you are interested, drop me an e-mail or call me at (905)679-4740

Heather McKeon ( - November 28, 2001
Hey, i just wanted to say that i also own a 87' cabriolet and i love it. I wen through some troubles with mine as well. I am from Michigan and i was searching all sumer long for a VW, but everytime i would find on ei liked, it would suddenly get sold like minutes beofore i looked at it. So i decieded that maybe a VW wasnt the car for me.
Well i was going to move down to south caorlina to attend college, so i wanted a cute car, and with all the hot weather i wanted a convertible, so i kept looking and sure enough the first VW i looked at , the orginal deal fell through and it was offered to me and i scooped it up!

I love it so much!!!
please keep me posted with the problems your all having , so maybe i can fix my future problems!

Becky ( - November 22, 2001
I have a 87' VW Cabriolet and since I bought it I have had nothing but bad luck. I have dropped $1500 into it.(not including the new top) My problem is, has anyone had problems with when it rains, the floors get soaked, all the dummy lights come on & the car just won't run? Also, are 87' cabriolets just normally loud? I fix the car myself and I have no clue as to what it could be or how to fix it. If anyone could help-it would be appreciated.

Lorne Udy ( - November 21, 2001
I hope you find the stalling problem. My daughter's 87 Cab is doing much the same thing- random stalling but will start up again after a few cranks. I've done most of the checks that Haynes suggests, all ignition and most of the fuel things. It can idle away for as long as it takes to warm up then at any time it will stumble a couple of times and stall. Cracking the fuel lines shows pressure everywhere, pump works, air valve is smooth, press reg checks out, etc.. I need to get some fittings so I can check the actual fuel pressure but other than that I've run out of ideas. I can't find a PCV valve anywhere either- does it have one? Help!

Isaac ( - November 13, 2001
i've been here once before, but it's been quite a while since i've been back. looks like some works been done. If you need any help feel free to email me or my website

Ysmael ( - November 11, 2001
Hi David! I've just joined the Cabby club. Today I bought a Red '87 for 500.00. It's running, but I need to fix/install the muffler, get a new radio and maybe a new top next year - The one installed is OK. I've had a real good time reading your notes. You are really talented (not just music, what is good, but also in writting). Keep up developing young man.

Dave ( - November 1, 2001
WOW! I can't beleive all the problems that everybody has! I have an 85 with 137,000 on the odometer. It was purchased at my wifes insistence and under protest from my 5 year old daughter. (No Dad! that car is ugly!)Being a former watercooled, fuel injected beetle owner, this car is a walk in the park. Owning an older VW is like being married; things don't always go smooth, you have to learn to compromise and you only stick with it because you have too much money, time and love invested to bail out now.

A previous owner committed the ultimate sin and painted my fine german automobile Honda heather mist silver. The color looks good but it's just not right! I lowered it 1.25", did new struts all the way around and put 17" wheels on it.It has 400watts of stereo with Mb Quart and sony speakers in the factory locations and a 10 subwoofer in the trunk. One problem that I have is I never get to drive the car in the Summer, my wife and kids insist on rolling the tires off of it.

Mechanically the car has been good to me. If anybody can tell me how to replace the blower motor it would be a great help. The Chiltons manual that came with the car is only useful as a shop rag.

Web site is great! Good to hear from others that have the same car and see problems that may occur. To all cabriolet owners good luck and go topless!

Lane ( - October 30, 2001
Hello! I recently just purchased an 87 cabby for $1000. Ihave been putting a lot of effort in making it look good. I have to replace the shocks and struts, the exhaust, convertible top, and some other minor things. I love this car soo much! After reading your stories about your cabby, I am getting scared that it is going to just break down on me. What should I expect? P.S.- good luck on your cabby.

James Cavallaro ( - October 23, 2001
HELP!!! Had rough starts and stalls. Used Techron 2 times w/in 1000 miles (2 separate tankfuls) after removal of fuel filter and saw filth it contained. Changed filter. Cabriolet stalled and wouldn't restart. AAA towed to school where I teach English (towed to Auto Tech class/shop). Car started once and never again.
Now won't crank, though there is power to coil (i.e. sparks ok).
Checking reveals: testing gas distributor lines - gas coming through! At compression testing: cylinders two and four ok - (i.e. getting gas "mist") BUT cylinders one and three shoot fluid/liquid gas out even as far as radiator/car front. What's up??? Fuel injectors stuck open/faulty??? Fuel distributor problem?? What is the problem??? Also, how do we detach fuel injectors from cylinders? Is there any way to view/download pix of engine setup, etc. without shop manual?
P.S. Will sell this 1988 VW Cabriolet A/T; cold A/C; leather interior; ABS; radio cassette - ONLY 70,000 miles - BEST OFFER
Reply to: (reside in Austin, Texas - please help!!!)

Alexis Jade ( - October 10, 2001
Love those VW's! I have owned my 83 Rabbit Convertible for about 4 years, it has over 153,000 miles on it, never had any problems (except the exhaust, fan, and top)! One question-does your sub in the trunk sound pretty good? I recently installed a CD player, but the speakers are shot. I am pondering putting my box back in the trunk. I love your site, I have seen many of them and yours is very informative. Keep it up!

Susan Hiatt ( - September 27, 2001
I just bought one of those about a month ago for $300 and my dad is going to fix it up for me. He is putting the motor out of a VW Fox in it, and going to repaint it. Right now it is about that color. But just wanted to say cool car.
P.S. Mine is an '87, also.

Steve Haare ( - September 24, 2001
I've had a 1981 rabbit covertible for about a year and 1/2 now. Bought it for $700. As I told all my friends you don't by a car for $700 you by a project. I didn't know anything about VW's when I started by now I'm almost a expert on A1's. For those of you who work on your own there is a great newsgroup It if frequented by a bunch of VW fanatics that enjoy help VW newbies. Good luck with yours I still love mine

octavio delgado rodriguez ( - September 1, 2001
espero´poder contar con un sitio para tener informacion con respecto a vw cabriolet.

Mauricio Rozo ( - August 28, 2001
November 2000 I bought a 1987 Cabrio. Business was done via internet because I am living in Guadalajara and the car was in Houston! Car looks very well preserved and I paid 2400. I only put gas and drove it back into Mexico. Here parts and labor are quite unexpensive so car is almost "100 points". Now I have run the car 20k miles without problems.
Love that car!!!

Billy Gentry (ORION5000@xxxxx.COM) - August 28, 2001
The fuel filter is located on top of the fuel distributer on the right side of your engine bay..(The cannister looking thing)

James & Karen ( - August 26, 2001
Great stories! We had a good chuckle. We just picked up an 86 Cabrio (in a little better state of being). Good luck with the car, at least for now I work for a VW dealership in Canada, so cheap parts are a help. We just went out for our first ride with the top down. We didn't want to end it! Take care. James and Karen. P.S- Karen wants to know how much time is lost to the repairs on your car by upkeeping this website?

Ricky & Lucy ( - August 22, 2001
Hello, We recently purchased a 87 Cabriolet and were wondering if you know if it has a fuel filter by the fuel pump at the fuel tank??? Ours acts like it is running out of fuel now & then. Just wondering what the piece from the fuel tank to the fuel pump is. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Ricky & Lucy

Knut ( - August 21
Hi David,

I bought a 1989 Cabriolet new in Germany and broughtb it to Canada with me. Has over 250 000 km on it and till runs great. however, I need a new roof. Car is hite, so is the roof. Any ideas how to go about getting the roof? Does someone sell these or do they have to be custom made? To answer one of the questions that came up from other owners. Yes, there is a light in the automatic transmision console. You can just carefully pry up the cover and replace the bulb. Sometimes the wires to the light break since the light moves with the shift lever so that it's always underneath the gear designation that is seected.

Regards, Knut

Wes ( - August 21, 2001
Its like Deja vu reading about your exaust woes. I took my 87 Cabby to the shop just over a month ago for a new down pipe and its still there. I hate mechanics. Good luck with your cabby...


Jeff ( - August 16, 2001
I am getting a kick out of hearing about all of your cabriolet woes. I myself bought a 1986 cabriolet for $400 and have since put $1000 more into it to get it running. Mine runs good now but still needs alot of cosmetic work including paint and new top. fortunately I am a mechanic for a living so I save alot of money doing everything myself. I have had alot of trouble finding any donor cabriolets parting out. Did you install your new top or did you have it done. How much did the labor cost to have it installed? I think I am going to buy my top, pad, and headliner from like you did. Well keep up the good work and keep us clued in on your VW adventures.

Michael ( - August 14, 2001
Great Job David. I own a 1988 Golf Cabriolet. It white, on white, on white. I just bought this really cool windshield decal for it and I think it would look really good on your Cabriolet as well. E-mail me if your interested.

Keep up the good work David


Tiffany Brown ( - August 4, 2001
I am still in the process of buying a 1987 cabriolet. It seems like youve had a lot of trouble with yours. sorry to hear that. I am spending $2700 on mine, but I plan to replace the entire engine with one that is more reliable than the original vw engine. I know that my tires need replacing and my fuel injectors are bad. unfortunately the cabriolet came with a really cute body and a crappy engine. hope that you have better luck. tiffany

Miranda Collard ( - July 28, 2001
Hey! Well, I was happy to find your page because I will be buying a '93 Volkswagon Cabriolet this month. It is good to see that other people are willing to work on these cars, because they are just so cute! I'm a chick, but, no I am not a cheerleader. I have wanted this car since I was 14 years old. I am now 17, and this will be my 3rd, and hopefully last car for a while. I just wanted to say, good work on the Cabriolet, and I hope it serves you well. =)
Miranda, Ca

Jim McKeever ( - July 8, 2001
Hi David,

My wife and I have a white on white on white VW Cabriolet Boutique with 75,000 miles on it. We bought it new in 1989. At first I hated the car. At the time, for the same price, I could have bought a fully load Honda Accord with change to spare. I only bought the VW because my wife wanted it. I wrote it off as the downside to marrying a blond cheerleader. But over the years, the car has kind of grown on me. It’s quirky. It has a typical VW air conditioner. Which means it blew its last breath of cold air about ten years ago. Its other VW traits include CV boots that are only good for 25,000, brakes that squeal no matter what shims the dealer installs, weepy valve gaskets, and so little power that you instinctively lean forward when driving uphill. Also, why did it take so long for German engineers understand the concept of cup holders?

Without a garage, the Cabriolet’s 12 years of life has been spent parked on the street. Because of that, a lot of the trim has faded and peeled. The driver’s side map pocket / radio speaker got accidentally kicked off. I blame the wife, she blames me. I’d like to replace these parts, but they are difficult to find because the Boutique was a limited edition trim line (characterized by white honeycombed aluminum rims that are next to impossible to clean once stained by disc brake dust). Can you recommend any web sites or clubs that might be helpful in my search?


PS Also, if your Cabriolet is an automatic, could you confirm something for me? On the shifter console are white letters indicating the gear you’re in. “P” for Park, “D” for Drive, “R” for Reverse, etc. My wife claims that when the VW was new it had a light inside the console so you could see which gear you were in when driving at night. I say she is confusing the VW with a more logically designed car that she must have driven in a previous life. Do the letters on your shifter console light up?

Taylor Cathey ( - July 6, 2001
My problem is I want to get more performance out of my 87 Cab, but it runs off a vaccuum. What can i do? Can you respond my e-mail?

Suzanne ( - July 6, 2001
Last June we bought the car of my daughter's dreams. A white 87 Cabriolet. We had it repainted this spring after a rough winter, and are debating if we should put a black or white top on it. Two weeks ago - the car wouldn't start. Right now it has been at the mechanics for two weeks, while they try to figure out the problem - but they aren't giving me much hope. Does anyone have any ideas? They say it isn't getting fuel and there is no spark.

Keith Shequin ( - June 26, 2001
David, My wife and I just bought our first VW cabriolet; 1988 red. We did not get an owners manual. Two questions for you: 1. Are oil dipsticks supposed to be round instead of flat? 2. There is the word "set" on the lever that controls the brights. Is this cruise control?
Keith in Orange County, California

Kobi ( - June 25, 2001
Hi There . I really enjoyed reading about your VW , it is really great . I'm about to buy one too !!! an 88 only it's "Karmen" which is a small series they made , specially with the exterior , please let me know if u had any more problems with it.

Steve ( - June 19, 2001
I have an 1989 cabrio. Has anyone else questioned why the rear windows will only go down halfway on a convertible? Has anyone figured out how to retro fit a fix for this?

Derek ( - June 18, 2001
thats a great story about the v-dub. I have been into vw's for a while, and do a lot of work on them myself, anyway, i just bought a cabby 2 weeks ago, a white 1990 for $1500.00. And it needs a new roof, did you put the roof on yourself or did you have a shop do it, just curious, if you did it yourself, is it easy? if not how much was it to have it done? good luck with the Dub!! and glad to see that things are coming along well with it.

Doug ( - June 18, 2001
I have own two VW Cabriolets in the last fifteen years. My first one was a '86, which I purchased new($14000, I invested in the stock market and got out before the crash in 87) during my junior year in college. My girlfriend(now my wife) and I had a lot fun during the four years I had it. We put over 150,000 miles on it in a short four years. You may ask why so many miles? I live in Atlanta and the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Great Smokey Mountains is only a couple of hours away. The cabrio is perfect for mountain driving and so my wife and I made many a trips to the Blue Ridge along with regular trips to Florida. But with marriage comes children and we needed a family car, so I traded it in and bought a 1990 Jetta. Seven years and a Dodge Caravan and Nissan Pathfinder later, I still missed my old VW. So I sold my Pathfinder and Caravan and bought my wife a new Suburban and with some money left over I purchased an '87 Cabriolet exactly like my '86. Tornado Red with black interior. I purchased it for $3000 from the original owner. It had over 500,000 miles on it at the time and since '97 I've added another 50,000 miles. Since purchasing it I have converted the air-conditioner to the new enviroment-friendly freon, along with replacing some bushings, cv joints, alternator, and a gearshift coupling. Besides these items and some regular maintenance I have had few problems. In fact, on the rare ocassions when I do take it in to the local VW dealer for work only they can do, all the sales and service people come look at it, since I have the highest mileage of any car they currently service. The thing I like best about this style Cabrio '80-'93 is it is the only practical convertible in recent times to be built. It has more backseat space for two full-size adults than most regular small cars, and has as much and sometimes more cubic trunk space than most cars it size. I all I can do is wish good luck on restoring your Cabriolet, and hope you have as much fun as my wife and I had in college with ours.

Amina ( - June 6, 2001
Your story has warmed my bitter VW heart. I own an '87 cabriolet but it hasnt run in about..oh lets say a year? I bought it for $1100 and it drove for about 5 months with multiple problems. Small fixable ones though- replaced hoses, the clutch, the top etc. However last summer, the car died and i went off to college not thinking much of it. Now that im back we've discovered that i've blown a gasket. So now im trying to decide whether to get another car or try again with this one. My family hates the car and my sister has even nicknamed it the V-Dud. So yea, it was nice to read your story about your crappy cabrio and i realize im not alone :0) We should start a support group. Oh yea, one more question-what did you do to distinguish 1st gear from 2nd? I cant find the 1st gear!!! It's sometimes there...sometimes not...damn moody german cars!!

Tanya ( - June 2, 2001
I loved your page! I am thinking of buying an older Cabriolet (88-92) and am wondering if you can tell me if Golf parts fit the Cabriolet.

Eric Irr ( - May 29, 2001
I, too, own an '87 cabrio. I have a few questions that it seems you might be able to help me out with.

1)my roof is in good condition, but my rear window leaks ... can I replace the window without replacing the top? and ...

2)You said you had work done on your linkage ... was it shifting hard? 'Cause my cabrio will sometimes give me touble shifting into 1st gear.

Andy Witt ( - May 22, 2001
I just purchased a 1987 Black Cabriolet for $1200.00 with 127,00 miles. It needs an exhaust system, including new exhaust manifold gaskets and catalytic converter. (flanges are completely rusted. I also need the heater/AC controls. (If anyone has info on where to get these I would appreciate it. Some front end work and a new headliner and I should be good to go. Good Luck with your car.

Kenrick - April 6, 2001
I bought a 1989 cabriolet in December which I'm trying to fix up to look nice & drive nice, just like you. Everytime I fix a problem then drive it for a few days, something breaks. I've made up my mind although I've spent over $6000 cdn (I live in Canada), I'm ready to sell it as soon as it starts giving major problems. Good luck, you'll need it and so will I..

Tony J. ( - March 11, 2001
I recently bought a white 1987 cabriolet, but I bought it not running and paid $1300 for it. Since then I fixed that non-running problem by adjusting the timing. I hope to get it completly done by summer, but how done is done?

Felix ( - February 12, 2001
I'm going through the same ordeal; the cabrio i bought only cost $400.00, but it needs a water pump, which i bought from Autozone. At the same time I'm replacing the timing belt and tensioner. The car also needs a new muffler which I bought off a friend. It came off a 92 cabrio for $75.00-- that's a complete exhaust including cat. By the way, mine is an '86. It also needs a master cylinder. Hopefully the car won't take too much of my '83 GTI budget. That's my every day car... not stock of course. Good luck with your car. Send me an email. I'm in the Bronx, N.Y. Good luck, Felix.

Andrew Paula ( - February 6, 2001
I have a '90 Cabriolet. I seem to break speedo cables a lot. That's probably why the speedometer doesn't work. Also, I couldn't get the OXS light to reset so I took the cluster out and cut the wire that goes to the light. Also, don't lower the car too much. Believe me, wheel alignments can get expensive. I know I've done about five since picking up my car Fourth of July weekend. E-mail me if you have any questions. Good Luck!

Liz Jones ( - February 1, 2001
Just wanted to let you know that I loved your Cabriolet page!

I, too, bought a non-running Cabriolet on Ebay in December of 2000. Mine is a red '89. I laughed at myself when I read your worries over how to transport the car 60 miles, since my boyfriend and I, fools that we are, drove all the way from Kentucky to MIAMI to get my car. hahahaha. We're nuts.

I have been keeping track of Cabby prices for months and months now. Everybody asks too much for them because they don't really want to sell them. On Ebay there are SO many Cabriolets that never even get bid on because the starting price is too high. And lots more that get listed 3 or 4 times because the seller always puts the reserve too high.

Anyway, I had a special situation because a friend was willing to sell me his '84 Scirocco for $1000. He's done a lot of work to the engine and suspension, so it's a fast and fun car. Stock Cabriolets are pretty slow, as you will see when you start driving yours around! Anyway, my boyfriend (a former VW mechanic) suggested that I buy the Scirocco, find a Cabriolet that wasn't running, and swap out the guts.

I'm sure you figured out that it is VERY hard to find a Cabriolet that isn't running but isn't wrecked. Since every Cabriolet owner is in love with the car, it's rare to find mistreated ones. It was complicated by the fact that I wanted the '88 - '93 body style, and preferably an '88 or '89. Also, I have a strange hatred of white cars, and lots of Cabs are white, so that made it a little tougher.

Finally I saw a red '89 from Miami listed on Ebay. There was no picture and a very short description.

We emailed the seller and got a little more info: the car had been repainted; the seats had some tears; it overheated and then wouldn't start, and had been sitting sadly under a tree for months and months.

Realizing that I was insane for buying a broken car in Miami sight unseen, I nevertheless bought it for $830.

We used my boyfriend's dad's truck and a friend's tow dolly to go get the car. Gas, hotels, food, toll, etc. made the total price of the car around $1200. So, after I buy the Scirocco, total cost will be $2200. (labor is free, courtesy of my VW boyfriend and his pals)

When we got to Miami we found that the bumpers were sort of scratched up, and both front seats were ripped. Seats and front door panels were dirty. Rear door panels are missing entirely. Top has a small tear. Headliner has several tears. Front door panels had holes cut in them for little speakers that are no longer there. There were also a few pleasant surprises: the car was already lowered and has Neuspeed swaybars, so we can sell those. (we are going to use the better ones from the Scirocco) My boyfriend talked about putting them on his '84 diesel Rabbit. That would be a sight. Also, the seller and her family were really nice and gave us lots of food for the trip home.

We are planning to do the engine swap in March or April, and then my little Cabby will be on the road!! Currently it's sitting at my parents' house.

My car needs: seat covers, door panels, new top and boot. I bought a headliner on Ebay for $50 the other day. I think I might buy different front seats from the Scirocco guy and then just re-cover the back seat. It also needs speakers and a radio. It could stand a paint job, but I'll prob. put that off for a while. It looks pretty good right now.

My current car is a '91 Corolla (mom's old car) with 267,000 miles. I am so ready for this Cabriolet.

Here's a picture of it -- ignore the pimp chrome over the wheels and the ghetto hubcaps. Those will be gone very soon. Front headlight needs to be reset. I am thinking of putting a tan top on it instead of a black or white one. what do you think?

I loved your site because that's just what I was planning to do with my car -- chronicle its journey. I feel pretty good about rescuing a great VW from the junkyard. And I think it will be fun to watch it progress and fix it up a little bit at a time.

Anyway -- I will check back in on your site, so keep updating it! If you want, I'll tell you when I have a site up. You might want to check out -- he has a section on his '85 Cabriolet and detailed instructions on changing the top, putting on seat covers, and installing speakers. All of which I need to do. Another page with info on installing a new top is here

sorry for the long email -- I tend to bore people talking about this car. Good luck with your Cabriolet!!!!


Eddie ( - January 30, 2001
I bought a top from Rocky Mountain Motorworks but it didnt come with instructions. I went online searched "cabriolet". The same way i found your page i found this guy named Nick's page. He has instructions on replacing the top. I didnt actually do the job but a friend of mine did and he said the instructions helped and it was pretty easy. Maybe you should look into that after you get the car running. Also about getting the car running, if youre not too sure about the engine thats in the car, why not just upgrade to a better engine?... Everybody and their mother is selling engines these days.. Just a few thoughts for you. good luck..............

Pliska L. Gilliam ( - January 19, 2001
Congrats on the deal! I own an 83 GTi and 83 Cabby (both purchased last year-Gti:$250, blown motor, Cabby:$900, tired motor). Both are "projects in work." I spend lots of time trolling boneyards in search of parts to make them road worthy.

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