29 October 2009 ~ 1 Comment

Our cars: 1991 Polo GT Coupé –
report one

PoloDriver.com contributor Simon Kimber updates the story of H714 ERP, his 1990 Polo GT Coupé that he has has owned for 15 years

H714’s speedometer is now reading over 108,000 miles and of this, I have driven 75,000 of them. Yes, it has taken a while to do it, but the annual mileage now is only 8,000. Throughout all those miles, I have not had one major mechanical failure and the fuel consumption has rarely dipped below 40mpg. On the rare occasion it has hit 50mpg, even though I do drive it quite hard – slightly higher tyre pressures and slotting it into fifth as soon as possible all helps.

I have lost count the number of tyres I have had to replace, though. The original boots were Michelin MXV, with MXV2, MXT following. I then got fed up with those and moved size from 165/65 TR13 to 175/60 HR13 in Toyo’s RoadPro 610 series. I finally moved on to Toyo Proxes C-1 and I can tell you that these tyres are pretty good both in the dry and in the wet stuff too.

I do seem to be replacing them more often than i used to, though. They usually stay on the car for 4 years, with the brand new pair always put on the front. They may be a bit loose to begin with, but they soon scrub in. The fastest that has happened was in after 10 minutes at a trackday.

The MOT has reared its head again, so it was time to have a good look over H714. Finding something that would fail an MOT, I discovered a leaking nearside front shock absorber was quite damp. The rebound was very soft compared to the other side, too and there were no two ways about it – they had to be changed! Oddly enough the rear shock absorbers were in rude health. Suffice it to say, that at 80,000 miles and counting, no doubt I shall be replacing these at some point… not just yet though.

1990 Volkswagen Polo leaky damper

I had trawled the net for the best aftermarket shock absorbers I could find and most of them were in kits, but only in lowering heights from 30-60mm. My only option was to contact C&R Enterprises and see what could be done. Those of you who may know me from previous articles, may know that I prefer standard length uprated shock absorbers.

The car is fitted with a set of Weitec shock absorbers and they were so special they had to be specially made for the car. That stock has now run out due to the popularity and due to the fact that KW now owns Weitec, the company now has ‘no plans to manufacture any more shock absorbers for early Polos.’

1990 Volkswagen Polo Weitec damper

C&R told me that there weren’t many new shock absorber options open to me. Koni were recommended as they are the only manufacturer able to supply sport shocks in standard length, let alone straight off the shelf. So a pair were duly ordered on the Monday from Koni HQ in Farnborough, arriving the following Wednesday afternoon.

The shock changeover was carried out in a car park with only the aid of what should be the right tools for the job – a jack and an axle stand. The whole swap took around 2 hours to complete with relatively little in the way of problems.

One of the bump stops was contaminated with oil from the shock absorber and it was the breaking down of the bump stop which allowed the matching shocker to bottom out, resulting in failure and no damping. The top mounts on the other hand could have been used again, such was their condition. With new shock absorbers, bump stops and top mounts fitted it was now time for the road test to reveal just how they would all work together…

Costs this month: £274.32 (2 x Koni 86 1922SPORT shock absorbers £223.00; 2 x 871 412 323A top mounts £37.30; 2 x 861 412 131 bump stop £11.16; 2 x 861 412 135 dust cover £2.86. All parts prices are subject to VAT, and where applicable, fitting.)

2009 Polo Particulars Kimber 291009

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