Dave T

I am the creator and owner of the SWDubs site and have been around the scene for more years than I can remember. I can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Google plus talking crap and posting updates to the Scirocco 16v project I have going. Google

Apr 082014

Firstly, I wanted to say that I am not shutting down SWDubs forum. We still get loads of questions and great threads on there (mostly in the for sale section these days), so I will be keeping the old girl going for the time being.

I started SWDubs back in 2004 as a place to get together online with a group of VW mad friends. The site and forum were learning tools for myself with regards to building websites (the first site was horrendous) and how to install a forum and manage it. This was due to me starting in a new job in SEO (search engine optimization) and wanting to learn more about how sites were made and functioned.

From that small start the forum exploded into life with new members joining and adding their personalities into the mix. Over the last 10 years the forum has been through many ups and downs. From the time when we were attacked by members from Barry Boys forum for posting about an MX5 accident near Exeter (long story that is better off not recalled), to small local clubs being spawned from members meeting on the forum (DKM anyone?). We have seen our fair share of technical difficulties too, with server crashes (2 so far) and whole site and forum hosting migrations.

photoshoot old swdubs

Photo Shoot from many years ago (2005 maybe?)

Over the years the forum has seem members come and go, with a core of people sticking around to share their knowledge and wind up newbies. However even this looks to be in decline. Overall the number of active users on the forum is falling, with most users using only the for sale sections of the forum and not the car or even the general chat. I myself am guilty of this, with things in real life taking a toll on the amount of time that I am on the forum, with new projects and new work changing how I interact with my own site.

Ten Tors Meet old swdubs

Ten Tors Meet in 2009

I am not sure this is the only reason though. I think car forums are starting to become a little old hat, with people wanting a more convenient way to interact with people of the same interest.

In steps Facebook. Now, I am not saying that Facebook has killed all forums, but it is a hell of a lot easier for someone to check on a community if they are already there several times a day telling people about the funny looking dog they saw in the street. Facebook groups are like micro forums, with people being able to post straight onto a wall that everyone see (awesome, no move getting my thread moved by mods right?).

SWDubs mega meet 2010

SWDubs Mega Meet 2010

Now, SWDubs has two Facebook ‘pages’ I hear you say. And you would be right. There is a SWDubs Group that was set up when the forum was down for a short period many years ago, and a newer SWDubs Page that was created by me to spread cool VW stuffs when I can be assed (and spread the word on the SWDubs mega meets). The Group is the micro forum type page that I mentioned above, it has many users all posting things that go straight onto a single wall. This is usually littered with poor for sale ads written by people who cannot be bothered to describe what they are selling. This micro forum is easy to use, quick and notifies you when something new pops up or if someone comments on your post. Awesome right? But as a whole there is no community there, it does not have the atmosphere created by people within a forum environment. It is just a single wall with people jostling for position of their for sale post.

Now, the SWDubs forum is still alive and kicking and still gets new members looking for answers to all those juicy dub related questions. But it just does not have the activity that I once saw.

swdubs mega meet 2014

SWDubs Mega Meet 2014 (image from S4 Gar)

Over the next month I will be trying to use the forum more. I want to see if it is possible to reignite the community into engaging more and rebuilding the great a atmosphere we once had. I want to get the banter started again where people would take the piss and then help out. I want to get the technical areas busy again with questions from newbies and experienced dubbers around all aspects of VWs. I want to get the meets section buzzing for new summer meets and shows.

I do hope that I am wrong in thinking that car forums are on the way out. They are a great way to get to know people like you in your local area, and gain some valuable knowledge at the same time. Some of my best friends have come from meets and shows arranged on SWDubs, so I would say it is worth a another go.



 Posted by at 9:38 pm
Dec 292013

Merry Christmas everyone, and a happy new year.

Christmas time means many things to many people, giving, love, hope, faith. But to a small number of people it means some quality time off under the car to get some work done.

I popped in to do some work on the Jetta today after Adam telling me that the rear beam needed to come off so he could weld up the chassis leg behind the mounting point on the drivers side thanks to some 30 year old rot. So I dropped in to get the old beam off (it wont be going back on) and help free up access to the rear arches for Adam to finish up the welding on them too.

Adam has been busy over the last couple of weeks, getting the drivers foot well, inner sill, outer sill and rear arch pretty much finished. He is off to New Zealand on the 7th of Jan, so we need to speed up the repairs so the majority can be done before he disappears (and I am left to weld the old girl).

Here is his progress on the drivers side,

Jetta Drivers ArchJetta Drivers Sill

Here is the beam, nice and rusty. (coilover was removed and put in a safe place).

Jetta Rear Beam

With the rear beam off we decided to have a little look at the underside of the old girl to see what else there was in store for us. Most of it looked pretty good, though some investigation into the fuel filler pipe and cap uncovered some less than great surprises.

Jetta Fuel FillerJetta Fuel Filler Pipe

Not an uncommon issue, but not one I was expecting. But oh well, not the end of the world, and the new parts are already ordered. To make the task of removing the filler pipe a little easier, and to get something else done we whipped off the petrol tank and gave it a clean out.

Jetta Petrol TankJetta Tank Area


Under the tank was actually really clean, with the surrounding areas just suffering from some surface rust. This will be cleaned up and sealed once everything is off the car.

Lastly, on the hunt for any more rust we took off the rear bumper to see what was underneath. There was some bubbling rust at the bottom of the rear panel, but I knew about that already. The biggest (and more amusing) find was the rear bumper itself. I think it has seen better days and I am not sure I will be using is again lol.

Jetta Rear Bumper Jetta Rear Bumper Bracket Jetta Rear Panel Rust


Well, after the morning of rusty fun and surprises we decided to go to the driving range and smack some balls. Adam is planning on getting the rest of the welding done on the sills and arches tomorrow, then we can work out the new areas over the next week.


 Posted by at 6:12 pm
Dec 042013

Even though I have been out of action for the last two weeks, that does not mean that the work on the Jetta has stopped completely.

Due to the main chunk of work that is needed at the moment being welding the many rusty holes on the car, Adam (my bro-in-law and expert welder) has been cracking on with the work (when he can be motivated to get out in the cold , sorry Adam).

So, Adam has been getting on and working his way from the front of the car to the back. There is a lot of cutting and welding to do on the old girl, and unfortunately for Adam I am after a pretty tidy finish. This means that he is having to cut out any and all rusty areas and neatly create new sections out of either repair panels (that came with the car) or more commonly shaped sheet metal.

I am then tasked with the job of cleaning up the welds so that everything is nice and new looking with minimal filler.

Anyway, here are some pics of the progress (more to come very soon) and a cool time-lapse of Adam cutting and welding the passenger sill.

Driver side wing repair

Passenger side wing cut out

Passenger side wing repair

Sill repair start


More updates coming very soon!

 Posted by at 11:13 pm
Nov 202013

If you read this blog at all (which, by looking at the analytics for this blog I can see that you don’t, naughty), you will know that I recently bought a Mk1 Jetta that I am now rebuilding to the highest quality (that I can afford and manage). With a new car comes a number of new questions, what engine should I have? What colour should it be painted, what interior choices should I look at? but one of the biggest and most difficult choices has to be, What wheels should I run?

It has been said countless times “the wheels make the car”, and though there are some cases where this is not true, 9 time out of 10 an average car can be made into a head turner by a quality set of wheels. Now, I am not someone who will look past a well maintained Mk2 Golf with standard alloys on if the whole car is to a high standard (Damien’s mint low mileage Mk2 GTI is a prime example), but many a show winning car has been made by a perfect set polished BBS RMss.

mint standard mk2 Golf GTI Damien

So, as I am recovering from having a useless piece of my intestines pulled out through a small hole (it is all keyhole these days), I have been doing to normal thing of wasting time on eBay looking for some shoes for the new Mk1 Jetta.

Now, this is a dangerous thing to do, as the car still needs so much work to even get the body work ready for paint, let alone the whole car ready for driving, but a little peak can’t hurt, right?

eBay is a wonderful place to see a range of wheels, from expensive ‘rare’ split rims to standard alloys off a range of makes and models. I currently have no idea what kind of price range I will be looking at for the Jetta’s new boots, but I have a feeling it will not be the BBS RS £1000+ region, but that has not stopped me looking. Anyway, here are some cool, interesting and different wheels that I just would love to have for the Jetta (chance are I will not though).

BBS RM splitties. Now I know, RM’s are ‘played out’ on retro VWs and having a set on the Jetta would  just be boring. But I can’t help but love the old cross spoked design, and you cannot argue that they still look great. There are plenty on eBay, with many having been refurbished already and demanding over £1k in price, but you can find the odd gem on eBay where the wheels need a little bit of love. These less shiny RM’s are currently priced around £400 to £500, with varying amounts of work needed to bring them back to their former glory.

BBS RMs eBay

Next up are some of my favourite wheels on the market, OZ Turbo’s. OZ Turbo’s are much more rare than BBS RM’s, but have the same retro 80s feel and demand the same kind of level of money in today’s market. I have wanted a set of OZ Turbo’s since my first Mk2 Golf many years ago and have not quite been in the right place with the right car to get some. Sets come up on eBay every now and then and can demand anywhere from £500-£600 for an okay set, to £700-£1000 for a set that have been refurbed to a high standard. The set on eBay at the moment are firmly within the latter category, with the wheels being up for £900 with a fresh refurb on them. I am not sure if I would actually buy these (not sure about the centre colour) but they are a beautiful wheel none the less.

OZ Turbo eBay

Now, there is always something a little more understated (and cheaper) to choose from on eBay. There is a host of different one piece wheels that either came on a car as standard in the 80s-90s, or was an after market wheel back in the day that would still be perfect for a little retro looking Mk1 Jetta. One example that I am currently following is a set of OZ Aero’s. I am not sure if these were ever an optional extra on old Vauxhall’s or something back in the 80s or 90s, but they have that retro look about them that works really well with the boxy shape of the Mk1. What do you think? The biggest issue with retro standard wheels is that they are usually 6-6.5 inches wide, which is a little skinny to look ‘cool’ from the back. But I guess width is not everything.

OZ Aero eBay

OZ Aero Mk1 Golf

Last but certainly not least are some more BBS’s, but something a little different from the norm. Now, for the Jetta I will be looking for something that is 14-15 inches in diameter. I think that 14′s or 15′s look the best on any Mk1 platform and anything smaller or larger seems a little much. With that being said, something like these BBS E30 Magnesium Motorsport Wheels could make me make an exception to that rule. Now I know, the wheels in question are 4×108, so they would not fit without a re-drill or some adaptors (or maybe a hub conversion), but they are so cool and rare (properly rare, not the normal eBay rare) that I just couldn’t not include them. The wheels are 13×8 and are so beautifully retro they almost make me want to buy an old Ford to have a car to fit them on. Of course, they have a pretty nice price tag to go along with them too, starting the bidding at £950 might see them reach as high as £1500 by the end of the auction. But a man can dream.

BBS E30 eBay BBS E30 eBay

Well, the search continues (and will for a while), but if you have any suggestions for cool wheels for a retro Jetta project let me know in the comments.


 Posted by at 12:55 pm
Nov 182013

It has taken me a little longer to update this blog this time around, and not because I am being a lazy git again (though that is the usual reason), it has been due to me being in hospital for the last week with appendicitis (poor me).

Anyway, I am back at home now and ready to update everyone on the progress made on the Jetta over the weekend.

After getting the Jetta to the farm the weekend before there was no time to waste getting all the parts out from inside the old girl and working out exactly what Chriz had left me with.

Unloading all the parts that Chriz had collected to fit the Mk1 made me think the car was more of a bargain than I already thought it was, with inner front wings, both sills, front wings, bonnet, rear wheel arch repair panels and loads more all in there.

Jetta Spares Jetta Spares 2 Jetta Spares 3 Jetta Spares 4 Jetta Spares 5 Jetta Spares 6

As well as all of the above parts, there was a little bit of water in the foot well from the rain in the week…

water in the foot well

After getting all the parts in order and packing up a load of the bits not needed for the initial welding, we moving the car over into the garage (nice and dry for welding) and we planned the attack.

Jetta Parked in the Dry

The decision was made that the front inner wings would come first, so I needed to work out how I wanted to do this. Now, you probably have no idea what I mean, but this would map the rebuild of the whole car. Either we could just cut out the rusty bits and weld in the repair panels, or we could strip all the inner wings of all sealer, cut out any bad bits and then weld in repair parts.

As much as I want to drive the Jetta already, and taking the full strip approach would mean the build would take longer, it was decided that we would do it all properly and the sealant stripping began (as Adam retired into the house with a handover).

So, here is the before and afters for the drivers side inner wing,

mk1 Jetta inner wing before

mk1 jetta inner wing after

And here is the passenger side inner wing after the strip

Jetta inner wing with small patch

Here is the first repair patch in too :)

inner wing repair

The patch still needs a bead running around the weld lines again and grinding back, but it is getting there (same on the other side too).

Of course, to get the inner wings this clean we had to remove the front struts, which were in pretty good condition (giving them back to Chriz for his white mk1),

Mk1 Jetta Front Suspension Coilovers

After having stripped the front wings down for Adam to cut and weld up, Lau and I decided to strip out the rest of the interior (minus the dash) to carry things on.

Rear seats out

Front seats out


With the seats out we also removed the carpets and sound proofing (which was dripping wet and falling apart).

No carpets

At this point on Sunday my stomach was hurting quite a lot so we stopped for the weekend (later to go to A&E :S ). Adam was also getting bored of welding the rusty Jetta and decided to make a fuel tank for his trike and ride it around lol,

Adam on his trike

While I was laying on the sofa in pain, Lau cleaned up one of the sun visors to see the difference. I think it came out like new,

Mk1 Jetta Sun visor

There will be more progress over the next few weeks as Adam gets the welding on the front started , but I will have to hold off on any more work on the car until I am all healed up. I guess I’ll have to get on eBay and buy some bits instead lol.

More coming soon.


 Posted by at 12:58 pm
Nov 032013

It’s been a little while since I have bought a new car to play with, and with the Rocco being off the road (and in need of some TLC) I started looking around for something interesting. Then, a good friend decided a much loved project was not going to get finished and put up a ‘feeler’ for selling. I bit his hand off with the promise of making her good as new and a deal was struck.

Since agreeing on a price and having a look at the current condition of the car a couple of weeks have gone by with me waiting for a free weekend to pick the car up. Today was pickup day and I was like a child on Christmas morning.

After having arranged a friend of a friend to come and help with a trailer I picked up my bro-in-law at 9.30 to get to the car for 10am. After driving right past the turning and having to turn around and drive back we finally go there for exactly 10am.

The car was down a steep drive with no battery and rust fuel lines. As the only car that could tow was towing a trailer already we had to find a way of getting the non-starting car up the drive before getting it on the trailer. Lucky enough for us the previous owner had looked after the old girl and had started the car up not too long ago. Knowing there was a pretty good chance the car would start we grabbed a jerry can and a jump pack and crossed our fingers. Sticking the fuel line in the jerry can after poring some fuel directly into the 1.3s carb, it only took a couple of almost starts for the old girl to fire into life. With some choke and some throttle the 1.3 jumped into life as if it had not been sat there for over 2 years.

The biggest problem was the Jerry can needed to be held in place to keep the fuel line in, so instead of wasting any time my bro-in-law jumped onto the front panel and held on for dear life. With Adam in the engine bay I reversed the car up the drive and out onto the road making sure to carry some extra speed so as not to get stuck on the peak of the drive entrance).

After the car was on the road with the hard bit out the way it was just a case of getting the car on the trailer. With a little lining up and a bit of bending of the front valance (sorry Chris) the old beauty was on the trailer and ready for the trip to her new home.

So, I have written all of that without saying what I have actually bought. As they say, a picture says a thousand words, so…

Dave's New Jetta

My new 1981 MK1 Jetta 1.3 :)


Daves new Jetta Front Valence

Dented and bent front valance

Daves-new-Jetta-rust2 Daves-new-Jetta-rust3 Daves-new-Jetta-rust4 Daves-new-Jetta-rust5 Daves-new-Jetta-rust6 Daves-new-Jetta-rust


Some passengers along for the ride.

As you can all see, it is a Mk1 Jetta with a little 1.3l carbbed engine in. It needs some welding (as you can see from the pictures) and some general TLC.

There are some big plans for the old girl, including transferring all of the good bits from the Rocco and getting a respray (not sure when or what colour, but it will happen :) ).

Let me know what everyone thinks, and any suggestions for mods in the comments :)


 Posted by at 8:43 pm

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