1982 Volkswagen Rabbit hatchback 1.6L diesel from North America


Everything wears out, but the engine


Blown head gasket.

Master cylinder died.

Lots of leaks.

General Comments:

I own a 1982 Rabbit diesel that I drive to work and back, five days a week (at least), 65 miles each trip. I've been doing this for 3 1/2 years now, and other than a flat tire, the car hasn't let me down yet. Not too bad for a car with over a quarter million miles on it. The fluids that are supposed to stay inside leak outside, and the fluids that should stay outside leak in, the windshield is cracked, it rattles to the point where conversation is impossible, the CV joints are shot, and it's just plain ugly. (I think Rabbits were ugly when they were new). While it is not what I'd call a "babe magnet", it always runs, and will get 45 MPG on the freeway, if you drive slow. As an added bonus, the diesel engine will runs great on doctored-up jet fuel, which I can get free at work quite often. I guess there's trade-offs involved in everything.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th January, 2007

24th Sep 2007, 07:27

If your car shakes excessively, then chances are the passenger side motor mount has given up the ghost. The car should shake a bit, but should not seem like it is shaking itself to pieces. When this mount goes bad, it is essentially metal-to-metal between the body and engine, transferring every bit of vibration from the engine to the car's body, and from the car's body to YOUR body.

Unfortunately, this is a VERY tough part for the do-it-yourselfer to change. Essentially the entire front of the motor needs to come off. The motor mount is press-fit into a metal plate that runs all the way across the front of the engine (it is this plate that the injection pump mounts to). Once the mount/injection pump plate is off, the old motor mount has to be cut out with a Sawzall and a new one pressed in. And there is another complication. For some reason Volkswagen has a thing for 6/8mm Allen head bolts, and after 25 years these can be a BEAR to get off. I stripped out 2-3 of them.

I just did this on my '81 Jetta. Before this repair the car felt like it was going to shake itself to pieces when idling. Now it idles pretty nice! Not "new Lexus" smooth, but certainly tolerable. 1000% better than before. Try it!

7th Mar 2008, 07:09

This car is a character!!

Though troupers with engines go on and on and on the Golf/Rabbits are noisy buggers-hearing ones self think is tricky. Also it is important to note they become expensive cars to run for, despite looking after it well, everything bar the engine will give out.

I am afraid as these cars age they will not hold their value. Why?... sadly it's certain 'character' is often percieved as ugliness and it is this point which will prevent it from ever becoming an emerging classic.

20th Apr 2009, 18:53

In 1981, I bought a 1982 VW Rabbit Diesel. I drove it 120 miles round trip and at the end of 5 years, I had 60,000 on it. The VW company rebuilt my head as it blew a gasket, and did not charge me for it.

I got 45 plus MPG and if I drove just 60 mph it would get over 50 mpg. It was comfortable and roomy for my wife and two small children.

I too, wish for something like it now. It cost me $6500 brand new. The new ones are more costly. A rabbit, with diesel, like the 82, should be available for $12,000 USD, brand new in 2010. That would be awesome.

1982 Volkswagen Rabbit LS 1.6L diesel from North America


I would have to be out of my mind to even consider any other car than a Volkswagen Diesel


The 2 door 82 Rabbit was retired for metal fatigue. The engine was then installed in a 4 door 82 Rabbit LS.

During the "car change" the starter and clutch were replaced.

Only the belts and filters and occasional glow plug have been replaced.

Oil is changed at 4000 miles.

General Comments:

These car (s) are fun to drive, easy on the maintenance, and great when it comes time to fill the tank.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th July, 2006