Side pre-note: Today we're registered for Sno*Drift, though we've known we've been going for a while. I'm looking forward to the event weekend for both our ICEngineering autonomy and teamwork: autonomy in how we'll finally be support self-sustained with my new favorite truck, and teamwork in our lodging, where we'll be lucky enough to be renting a cabin and garage with both G2 teams Billy Elliot/Mary Warren and Dmitriy Martynov/Jon Tinsey. It'll be a full house, hopefully an idle garage.
As for the GTI
I've got a spare transmission, so I've got it in my head to weld the diff. I figured: a) It can't hurt, and more importantly b) I've always wanted to try it. So I've turned my working (if tired) 2nd trans into a useless pile of gears (that's called progress, right?). I haven't done anything in the past week to weld it and put it back together...
But for a long-term solution I've found that the original 020 transmission for the mk2, while decently durable under 140hp, lightweight, and decently geared...is too old. Final drives, differentials, and especially gearsets are either too expensive or simply not available. Luckily, VW's are made like legos, and literally any 4-cyl transmission is likely to fit. I'll be bolting up an 02J (as opposed to 02A only because that's what I found available) once I get the internals sorted. Thanks to the VW community in Michigan here, I've been able to round up nearly all the stock parts I need, and for a really decent price. Side benefits include supporting all the torque I could ever make, eliminating the shift linkage mechanism, and an elevated shift box placement option thanks to the same. Below picture shows my 2(!) 02j boxes, both uniquely broken, a bucket of gears which is likely junk but maybe has some spares or little pieces I can use, and the cable shift box with cables. I'm only missing a cable-clutch adapter setup and starter.
Regarding the standard repairs after Black River Stages, everything's together except for the exhaust. See the shots below for the boxed transmission brace, new PU trans mount, and PU inserts on the new rear mount. That engine doesn't wiggle a bit. Also, see if you can spot all the engine-as-pinball damage still present from BRS, including some light inadvertent machining work on both halfshafts. Nothing past cosmetic though. And yes, there's a lot of oil all over the place, both the engine and trans have ...significant weeps.
As for the exhaust, we could just replace the cat with a spun, metal core one, but we'll do a little better. The exhaust was too loud. Apparently, I could have figured this out before trial by some basic research, and found naturally aspirated motors of all types require more than a useless resonator and a cat to pass sound requirements. Not to mention it was a bit difficult inside the car to hear each other. I've ordered a short hushpower 2 to replace the stock resonator; we should be more reasonably-toned, and also a couple pounds lighter.
Current exhaust v.1 setup on left. The 4-2 section of the 4-2-1 headers are on the engine. Exhaust v.2 will replace the resonator with the hushpower, replace the busted stock cat with a spun metal-core one, have another v-band instead of the slip fit, and welded-on hangers throughout. Hopefully v2 lasts a couple events without necessary revision. We can only hope...