29th Dec 2005, 21:13

My nice orange workhorse has been sitting here since about 1994 when the drive belt became damaged after I had mistakenly done something with the housing...nevertheless, it was good while it lasted. Also, since the price of fuel was (and is) so costly, I decided to leave it out of operation until today when someone actually offered to purchase it from me.

30th Dec 2005, 09:19

Veggie oil fuel is not zero emission, nor is it free. If McD's wasn't frying fries, and tossing out the grease, you would have to BUY veggie oil for your 'free' fuel.

Nonnetheless, veggie fuel is a great alternative, but you have embellished it a bit for the camera.

1st Jul 2007, 18:59

I love my little diesel bunny. It's an 81' two door LS model that I got for $400 cash! It's got a little over 220,000 on it an it's powerhouse. I plan on giving it a rebuild however to make it last even longer. I really like running it on biodiesel. It seems to run quiter and like it better. I think it's great that VW has stuck with producing diesel cars such as the new TDI technology as well as Mercedes. Why aren't we producing more "cars" that run on diesel such as in Europe?

13th Jul 2007, 09:03

I have an 81 Rabbit with a 1.5 from an 80 Rabbit Truck and I work for a small foreign car repair shop. Here's a trick for all you guys out there who work at a shop. I run my Rabbit off of used automatic transmission fluid. We have a transmission flush machine and we sell the transmission flushes as maintenance. It flushes 12 quarts (3 gallons) of fluid and I take the old fluid and pour it in my tank! It runs through a filter in the transmission about every 15 minutes, so it won't clog anything, and I just change my fuel filter more often. I drive about 50 miles a day, on Saturday I had just under 1/2 tank...we've done three flushes this week, I've driven it every day and right now, I've got just under 3/4 tank! I don't run straight ATF in the winter because it's too thick, but I will mix it. Planning a 5spd conversion soon.

25th Nov 2007, 21:17

At age 71 I go back awhile to my diesel rabbit which I think was a 1979. On the highway I got 50 mpg. As a missionary to Central America, I see small taxi cabs (diesel) which run and run. What is the problem that we cannot get any of these cars today? Are we really trying to economize? Americans, me included, are being given some bad medicine.

Also why can't I buy products made in America? Tom.

14th Apr 2008, 22:29

I had a '78 rabbit back in school... Manual tranny diesel. I inherited it with "60,000" miles on the odometer. Cost me a buck from friends. It had been flipped, TWICE. I swear I got 50+ mpg on that thing. On a hot summer day, I went from Canton OH to Cincy on less than half a tank. What a beautiful machine.

17th May 2008, 22:32

Learn how to work on your Rabbit and most of the complaints on this page will disappear.

A leaking injector pump is usually from having timing belt too tight.

21st May 2008, 11:03

"Most Volkswagen's are 40 or more years old"? What fried data set is used to compute that bold assertion?

I rarely see a VW that's more than 10 years old, and many of those have electrical problems and burnt-out taillights (millions of VW's are finally being recalled).

BTW: The new HONDA diesel engine is actually the cleanest, quietest, most durable, 'best' diesel ever made, and it's coming to the USA in 2009.

19th Jun 2008, 12:02


I regret the day I sold off my Rabbit Diesel's in trade for a 4x4 Chevy truck for a move back west.

At the time I was living in central Pa. I had a '79 VW Rabbit diesel 4spd., and a '82 VW Rabbit diesel 5spd. I later bought an '86 Jetta diesel 5spd., that lasted a very long time! - excellent car, though personally I'd recommend the '84VW Jetta diesel 5spd.

Anyways, lots of people are scared that the price of oil will never drop, think about the current transportation industry required to transport all that stuff we (americans) think we need. There ain't no way they'll (Gov.) allow the prices to go much higher, many large groups of people namely "Unions" will put up a hefty fight.

Besides, on the bright side, has anyone looked into the age-old concept of transferring water into hydrogen? With an emission of simply H2O (Hmmmmm?) this process can be utilized with both gas and diesel engines.

The only real problem is factoring around all that electronic garbage stuffed into vehicles; I mean, let's consider something absolutely real as reality itself. What made VW Rabbit Diesel's what they were? It had nothing to do with electronics?, but everything to do with diesel power! Air and fuel forced into the top of a cylinder under an extremely high psi.

Factor in combustion, followed by the power stroke within the engine itself producing an alarming high amount of torque, propelling that little rabbit to hoppin' on down the road as the exhaust valves completed their deed. Rather simplistic. Never needing to change the oil in the transmission, since it ran off the same engine lubricants, besides the diesel Jetta's & Rabbit's of old really didn't need to change the oil at all; unless you didn't mind spending extra money. Personally, I changed my oil once a year.

Oh well, I owned many VW's of many models and years; I even took pleasure buying a gas Jetta that had been totaled and was just sitting in a junk yard, so for fun I bought the car for 25 bucks, and gutted the beast, leaving only the shell. I built 2 gas VW's from 25 bucks and 3hrs of stripping (totally fun).

Right now I'm looking for a wrecked VW Rabbit diesel 5spd that I can overhaul - it would be nice to find another 1984 or 1986. But I guess I'd even settle for another 1990 Scirocco if I could find another. Anyone with some suggestions E-mail me @ swede18436572@yahoo.com

24th Jun 2008, 14:07

I drove both a 4spd German and a 5spd American Vw Diesel.

The German model got close to 50mpg. The American had head bolt problems, but still got 45-48mpg. Why can't Ford/GM make a newer version???

They don't want to!!!

So we must buy from others who can mfg. high mpg vehicles.


5th Jan 2009, 23:12

I just rebuilt an 84 VW diesel motor and put it in an 80 Rabbit. Dropped an FF five speed in and wow. What a wonderful machine. I find myself saying I love this car everyday. Plenty of power.

31st Mar 2009, 22:03

The seal in the injector pump is corroded, do I need a new pump or can I buy a new seal?

9th Sep 2009, 18:57

Re: 5 speed transmission. What is an FF transmission?

I would like to put a 1.5 NA with a 5 speed tranny in a newer Golf or Cabriolet. I am not worried about the power, but more the fuel economy.


8th Nov 2010, 10:49

Bought a brand new '78 Rabbit Diesel L 2 door.

The exhaust pipe broke in half, about 6 inches in front of the muffler (with only about 4,000 miles on the odometer!)

The timing belt broke (at 50K?) because I was too lazy to follow the maintenance schedule. That basically destroyed the engine.

I had the engine rebuilt, then shipped the car off to Gitmo Bay Cuba, back in 1985.

Then I sold it before shipping out to Bermuda.

Loved that car.

USN (Ret)

23rd Nov 2010, 19:15

I just bought a 79 diesel Rabbit.

The clutch went out before I could even get it home and then I realized after filling the tank that it was leaking fuel like crazy. Totally sad, and yet I'm still in love with the little thing. Can't wait to fix it and get it out there.

Any suggestions on increasing the pick up? I felt dangerously slow crossing intersections, hoping it had something to do with obviously faulty clutch...