A2 is the American chassis code for 1985-1992 Volkswagen Golfs and Jettas. Some Volkswagen Corrados are A2 chassis cars, but some aren't, so I'll leave the Corrado out of this writeup. Some Americans refer to A2 chassis cars by their British designation, Mk2. A2 chassis cars are still popular today because of their lightweight design, large aftermarket support, ease of maintenance and modification, and in my case, fanatical A2 drivers on the www.vwvortex.com forums. Many A2 drivers only drive A2 Volkswagens, but for some, the A2 is a good choice for a winter car or daily driver. It is also a popular car for many forms of motorsports. A2s are used heavily in SCCA racing, primarily in SOLO I and SOLO II and also in Performance ClubRally and ProRally.

A2 cars come in many trim levels and engine/fuel injection combinations, and also many special edition models. I'm not familiar with the special editions other than the names, so I'll leave that aspect of the A2 chassis Volkswagen up to another user.


Volkswagen Jetta GLi
Volkswagen Golf GTi

From 1985-1986, these cars came equipped with a close-ratio 020 transaxle, a 1.8L 8v engine with 105 hp and 100 ft/lbs of torque, disc brakes on all four wheels, and Volkswagen "racing" seats with larger side bolsters. In 1987, this model lost the rear disc brakes, drums replaced the disc units. From 1985-1987, this car was equipped with CIS-E fuel injection. The 1988-1992 models feature Digifant II fuel injection.


Volkswagen Golf GL
Volkswagen Jetta GL

This is the base level Golf/Jetta. The stock engine is a 1.8L 8V engine that produces 90 HP in stock form. This car comes with the most basic options package. The fuel injection system for the engine in this car is CIS.


Volkswagen Golf GTi 16v
Volkswagen Jetta GLi 16v

This car was the introduction of high-performance engines in Volkswagens. It comes stock with a 1.8L 16V DOHC engine that produces 127 HP in stock form, a close ratio transaxle, and Recaro seats. The fuel injection system for this car is CIS-E Motrontic, and it was the first fuel injection system that was easily upgraded by a performance chip.


Volkswagen Golf GL
Volkswagen Jetta GL

This is the base model Golf/Jetta. It is similar to the previous base level Golf/Jetta as far as the body and interior go, but it has a new type of fuel injection, Digifant II, which was created by Volkswagen. Previously Volkswagen borrowed Bosch fuel injection systems for their cars. The Digifant II 1.8L 8V engine produces 100 HP in stock form.


Volkswagen Golf GTi 16v
Volkswagen Jetta GLi 16v

This is basically an upgraded version of the previous GTi/GLi 16v car. It still has Recaro seats and a close ratio transaxle, but it has a 2.0L 16V engine that produces 134 HP. The CIS-E Motronic fuel injection system is retained for this model.

Some of these things are specific to certain models of A2 Volkswagens. As a reference, mine is a 1986 Volkswagen Jetta GLi. It has a close ratio 020 transaxle, 1.8 L 8v engine (engine code RD), and CIS-E fuel injection.

I just recently started working on my A2 Volkswagen, and I've noticed a few things.

-Volkswagen is infatuated with 13 mm and 17 mm fasteners. Make sure you have spare 13 and 17 mm wrenches and sockets during the course you choose to maintain your A2 Volkswagen yourself.

-The need for specialty or uncommon tools is a rather common occurance. Before changing a CV axle, make sure you purchase an 8 mm triple square to remove the axle from the halfshaft and a 17 mm allen wrench to open the drain and fill plugs for the transaxle. You'll either need to special order a 17 mm allen wrench because it is incredibly uncommon, or you can be creative and make one using a bolt with a 17 mm head.

I also needed to order a special tool to remove fuel injectors, so if you come across this problem, the tool you are looking for is a CIS injector puller. I ordered mine from www.germanautoparts.com

-When diagnosing electrical problems, make sure to check the grounds. I had a problem with my ignition coil, and i assumed the component was faulty. I replaced the ignition coil, and my car still did not start. After cursing my shit luck, I noticed that a ground that attaches to the igntion coil had broken off. I reattached the ground and the car started just fine.

-Let it sit. This is not a solution for all problems, but it may work for fuel delivery problems during the winter. A few weeks ago, my car wouldn't start when it was rather cold outside, 0 degrees fahrenheit cold. I pulled out the spark plugs to see if my cylinders were flooded, and two of them were. I figured the problem was faulty fuel injectors, so I ordered a CIS injector puller. I went out to start working on the fuel injectors last night, and I decided to humor myself and try to start the car. I put the spark plugs back in, connected the spark plug wires, and after a few tries, the car fired right up. The problem was most likely fuel line freeze, and this is the only problem that will be corrected by letting a car sit for weeks on end, and it will have to warm up.

I'll add more to this node when more things break on my Jetta.

For a time, I too owned a 1986 Jetta GLi.

One good thing to remember: you have two fuel pumps. There's the main one, of course, but also a smaller "helper" pump that is accessible via a trunk hatch.

I'd been having problems with seemingly random stalling and hesitation; after replacing a number of suspect parts and bits of wiring, I took the matter into my own hands and ordered the $60 pump from a VW catalog. This was after asking the advice of a couple different shops and getting responses such as "not likely" and "two fuel pumps?" Of course, the problem was resolved immediately upon installation.

Which leads to my second point: find a good source of advice--another owner-DIY A2er, a knowledgeable, specialized shop. Their reputation as somewhat fickle, other-than-common-sense autos is largely deserved.

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