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Old 11-19-2010, 02:33 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Rabbit vs. Chevette

I am in the market for a small diesel car.

In the area are two cars both are the same price $1300
I'm sure there is room to work with the price on both.

One is a '79 VW Rabbit Diesel W/178,000 miles

the other

is an '84 Chevy Chevette Diesel W/198,000 miles

Both are rated at 33mpg city

the VW 40 HWY

the Chevy 42 HWY

The VW is a 5spd...I'm waiting for an email about the transmission in the chevette.

They both have a very similar profile, but the chevette has the advantage of being RWD.

I plan to do extensive aero mods, and eventually a WVO conversion (the VW already has one)

Which one would you pick? and Why?

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Old 11-19-2010, 03:12 AM   #2 (permalink)
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VW all day long, for the durability, interior quality. Plus i think it looks better! I sat tin the passenger seat of friends gas Shuv-ette on a did 6 miles - was scared and wanted to get out ASAP it felt like it was about to dissolve around me
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Old 11-19-2010, 09:26 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Never had a Chevette, but was on a Rabbit kick back in my university days and owned six in a row, model years in the range of 1977-1984.

One thing I really liked about the Rabbit was how easy it was to work on. Everything was laid out where you'd expect to find it (nuts/bolts). Don't know if the same can be said for the Chevette.
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Old 11-19-2010, 11:45 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Get the rabbit, then get all the tools that are only ever used on VW's to fix it.
The Bentley shop manual (what the dealer uses) for the VW rabbit says if your mileage drops below 45mpg that something is wrong, of course it also says that if you can't find winter grade diesel to mix up to 10% gasoline in with your diesel fuel.
Right off you are going to want to replace the timing belt, soon you will find your suspension is gone then replace your cv joints, after all that you might be trouble free for 50,000 miles.
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Old 11-19-2010, 11:51 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I liked Poor Richard's manual. Just remembered that.
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Old 11-19-2010, 12:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Never having owned eather of these cars I would go with the one that is the most commen in your area as that would be the one with the most parts available for repairs. I suspect that the Rabbit is the one. The other advantage of the rabbit is that lots of people have done modds with veggie oil and biodiesle. I have a friend who has a rabbit on veggie oil who spends zero cash in the summer for fuel and maybe $200.- per year on fuel for winter driving.
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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There is precisely one Chevette and one Rabbit in this town (rustbelt Ontario). Actually, I haven't seen the 'vette for quite a while, now that I think of it.

I think that's good advice for the Rabbit argument though. Much bigger modding community to lean on for support.
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Old 11-19-2010, 03:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
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...just remember, that's an Izusu diesel in the Chevette (I owned one, briefly) not a GM product (for better or worse).
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Old 11-20-2010, 10:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Tele man what was your impression of that car?

I see the one good thing about the chevette being RWD is that if the engine ever crapped out I could probably swap in a cummins 4bt
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Old 11-20-2010, 11:29 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I don't think the front suspension will take kindly to replacing a ~300lb engine w/ a ~800lb engine.

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