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Buying a late 1980s Polo


Charlie Rickard

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Charlie Rickard

All three of my kids learned to drive in Polos - three cars in total.

I got to like these cars very much.

I am therefore forsaking my MGB GT and seeking a 1988 or 1989 Polo, preferably the so-called bread van.

I don’t want to invite a huge response from members, but any advice on what to look for would be very welcome.

In particular, where to look for serious rust issues, but also any other known problem areas.

Thanks in advance.

Charlie

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Check my build thread for where to look for rust lol

As far as 30year old + cars go they are pretty rot free, and most issues easily and cheaply enough sorted. 

- battery tray

-fuel tank filler neck (new repro tanks around £60)

-rear arches, especially up in near filler where dirt gets trapped

-can get issue stalling etc if crud in fuel lines from dodgy tank.

 

General advice buy the best/tidiest/low mileage example you can find. They have gone up in price in recent years but £1k-2k should get you a very good example

 

This looks nice and good for the £. I'd check vosa to see what failled mot on before

1989 VW Polo MK2 1.3 'Bread van' 3 door - LOW MILEAGE | eBay

 

This is maybe a bit dear, but 1.3 5speed

1986 Volkswagen Polo Breadvan 1.3 ranger 5 speed | eBay

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Charlie Rickard

Many thanks for your quick response - impressive.

i have checked the MoT history of both cars. On the face of it, one would expect the 1989 model to be better, but it’s MoT history majors on rust. 

The 1986 model, despite three years older and much higher mileage, has no mention of rust in the history. I also prefer the original wheels.

I will investigate both.

I have been in touch with a guy selling a 1988 model which looks pretty well sorted, but he is looking for £2950. One thing I noticed in the photos of the car is that the large diameter flexi hose (front left when looking at the engine from the front of the car) is missing. This looks like a heat transfer pipe from the radiator. Can you confirm this, and how important is it?

Best Regards

Charlie

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That's a warm air hose from exhaust manifold, which helps warm  up phase and prevents carburettor icing in damp cool weather and improves fuel atomization, so it stays in suspension in inlet tracts rather than condensing or pooling so the less and more volatile fuel molecules are all usefully consumed 

 

There's also an electric "hedgehog" heater in inlet to stop fuel condensing that activates while coolant is below 60degrees or so. Inlet manifold heating by engine coolant takes over above this.

But that's no help if the carb venturi or even throttle plate is encased in ice forming water droplets carried in past the air filter, restricting flow and dropping power up a hill from a misty, foggy moorland valley.

 

There's a vacuum powered flap controlled by a thermo valve in air filter housing

that this hose connects to. Flap starts in open position to let hot air in and closes as engine bay and sucked air warms. On hot days the flap closes quickly.

 

Don't let me digress on the Pierburg autochoke.

 

Cold air is denser so has  more oxygen and gives a more efficient burn, very cold air can effect mixture strength, damp air cools the intake charge which suppresses knock, but makes ignition harder. It's a fine balance for best power and consumption. VW engineers put the system there for year round trouble free operation all over the world. You probably don't need it in dry summer, but ice can form in carb at +4 degrees.

 

Very cheap to replace. 50mm internal diameter aluminized crinkly cardboard.

 

https://www.heritagepartscentre.com/uk/028129087a-cardboard-corrugated-heat-exchanger-air-intake-hose.html

 

 

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Charlie Rickard

Wow! Thanks for a very comprehensive response.

I suspected that the hose was not a vital component in the summer, but it’s clear that its absence could cause problems in the winter.

Thanks again.

C

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steveo3002

early ones can be better as they were german made vs spanish on later ones , it appears german steel /made do resist rust that bit better

 

hose isnt a worry...it a £5 part 

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There are a few on www.carandclassic.co.uk as well from £500 to almost £4k for a couple of mint low milers. There's a dark blue 1990 country with 50k in need of some TLC that looks like a decent project that wouldn't take much to sort out.

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Charlie Rickard

Wow! Thanks for a very comprehensive response.

I suspected that the hose was not a vital component in the summer, but it’s clear that its absence could cause problems in the winter.

Thanks again.

 

I have been seriously considering a 1998 model and am in touch with the owner. Hoping to view after 2nd December.

Thanks for all your suggestions.

Regards

Charlie

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Charlie Rickard

If anyone is interested there is a very nice MkII Polo for sale at KGF Classics in Peterborough.

Not for me - I want a late MkI, but it is very tempting.

Charlie

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steveo3002

if youre still wanting a late 80s polo...thats a mk2 

 

early 90s ones are mk2f ..f for facelift , its much the same with fresh bumpers and lights

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Charlie Rickard

My mistake. The Polo for sale at KGF is a MkIIF. The one I want is a MkII.

Thanks for the clarification.

Charlie

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