Category Archives: Product Review

This is where I share what I think of the products I’ve purchased. Not everything here is in a “product review” format. But my writing style may or may not reveal strengths and shortcomings of the stuff I buy. My reviews will always be unbiased and feature items I’ve purchased myself. To date, I have not tested any sponsored items. I will disclose if I am writing about a product I did not purchase myself.

Dutton-Lainson Hand Winch for Baby Trailer

I’ve shared several stories and videos about how I put my baby trailer to use. One unsung hero of my setup is my Dutton-Lainson 2000-lb hand winch with 20-ft nylon strap. Calling this a “hand winch” is a bit of … Continue reading

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Pro Series 20×48″ Hitch-Mounted Cargo Carrier

As I make updates to streamline some of my web pages and menus, I found myself with orphaned information about my hitch-mounted cargo carrier. I used it a lot on earlier cars, but not so much with my GTI. I … Continue reading

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Stuck in the Mud; Saved by the “More Power Puller”

Have you ever wanted to take to the mud with your summer performance tires and see what your Mk7 can do? Yeah, neither have I.    But it still happened. I’ve made a few references to my yard projects in earlier … Continue reading

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Yakima Showcase 15 Wrap-Up (Pun Intended, Leaks Resolved)

If you’ve read my Long-Term Review of the Showcase 15, then you know that I was extremely disappointed to discover that many of its rivets leak during even light rainfall, causing the bottom of the box to pool with water. … Continue reading

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Getting Stoned With My GTI!

I’ve been working on a drainage project behind my house. My back yard slopes toward my house, which means that rainwater from the two homes uphill from me collects against my back door and eventually culminates into a river through the garage. … Continue reading

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Overheating Equipment in the Trunk?

My last few entries have been about changes to my stereo and ham radio projects. I’ll finish the series by answering a frequently asked question: “Doesn’t your equipment get hot or risk overheating under the trunk floor?” I considered that … Continue reading

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D-Dock Smartphone Dock and Android Auto

I’ve used smartphones in my cars for over 10 years. I don’t text and drive, but I like being aware of when I receive a message and will take a look at short messages. I WON’T read a message that’s … Continue reading

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Long Term Review: Helix Sound Upgrade

Believe it or not, I’m no audio systems expert, despite what this photo may compel you to believe. I just know more about stereo upgrades than the average driver; plus, I know how to get what I want in an … Continue reading

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Eight Inch MIB2 Display

I’ve been very pleased with the MIB2 infotainment system in my GTI. The display size is adequate, sound quality is good, and the system introduced me to AndroidAuto. If you’ve explored my site, then you know that I’ve upgraded my system … Continue reading

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OEM Pop-In Sunshades (Rear)

I tinted my glass a few months ago, but I was still intrigued by Volkswagen’s pop-in shades. The shades were recently on sale at Deutsche Auto Parts (DAP), so I made an impulse purchase. The kit comes with tight-fitting black perforated … Continue reading

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OBDEleven Scan Tool Holder

I have an OBDEleven scan tool. I learned the hard way that leaving the scan tool plugged in full-time isn’t a great idea. Mine has lived in the glovebox for the past 18 months. There’s nothing terribly wrong with that. … Continue reading

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Hüper Optik Ceramic Window Film

I enjoyed a moderate tint on my Mk3 Jetta TDI for over 16 years. There were times when the tint was old, faded, or even bubbled at a point or two. I had opted for inexpensive dyed film for both … Continue reading

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Vibrant 17950 Resonator

Upgrading to APR Stage 2 yielded great results, but the free-flowing downpipe also introduced a prominent drone, starting at 2800 rpm, even with an otherwise-factory exhaust system. At cruising speeds below 2800 rpm, the car sounded just as it did … Continue reading

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Firestone Firehawk Indy 500… and Bent Wheels…

When my car was in for the APR Stage 2 upgrade, the mechanic noticed that the tread on one of my tires was separating. I had just starting hearing some noise that sounded a little like the tread wear bars … Continue reading

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APR Stage 2

I had planned to add APR’s downpipe and upgrade to Stage 2 in the spring. Being a relatively new resident of Virginia (I maintained Texas residency during my military career), I had created a financial safety net so that I … Continue reading

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Subwoofer Power Upgrade – Rockford Fosgate T1S1

My subwoofer journey has been a series of incremental improvements. My first setup accidentally included a subwoofer with dual 2-ohm voicecoils instead of dual 4-ohm voicecoils. The difference meant that my 300-watt amplifier could only output about 200 watts since … Continue reading

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Nogaro Wheels: Will They Be “Rare” in the Near Future?

The 2017 GTI Sport came with 18-inch Nogaro wheels. I’m not sure why VW chose to equip this trim differently from the other GTIs, but the fact remains that these wheels were sold on a relatively small number of GTIs … Continue reading

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USP Motorsports Steel Oil Pan Conversion

Automakers continue to find ways to save weight for better fuel economy and performance. Some choose to eliminate the spare tire. Others, including VW/Audi, choose to use plastic oil pans on some of their engines. The risk of damage seems … Continue reading

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Long-Term Review: Yakima Showcase 15

I had some opinions about my Showcase 15 right away, but decided to wait until after its first real trip before writing a long-term review. I used the box on a Thanksgiving voyage from southeast Virginia to St Louis, Missouri, … Continue reading

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RSR Clutch Upgrade

I knew I was testing the limits of my stock clutch when I added 81 hp and 111 lb-ft with APR Stage 1.  The car drove great and the clutch held the extra power for over 15,000 miles (for a total … Continue reading

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Ultra Tow Trailer Hubs

This isn’t exactly a “GTI entry.” However, my “baby trailer” spends enough time behind my GTI that it’s almost a part of the car. Since the trailer is two years old and has a fair chance of joining us on … Continue reading

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My Tires LOVE Nails and Screws!

Believe it or not, I didn’t expect to be the blogger who’d write about his GTI every week. But purchases and events continue to give me something to say.  😉  This time, it’s tire repairs. Back when I built a … Continue reading

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Findway F518 Style 3D Floor Liner

I liked the WeatherTech floor liners I had in my Mk6 Jetta. So getting a set for my GTI last year was a no-brainer. My only gripes about them was their unwillingness to come clean and the lack of traction … Continue reading

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30,000 Miles!

The past 10,000 miles have flown by quickly, taking only three months! It’s hard to believe that I’m at this milestone before the car is even a year old. That should put me around the 35,000-mile mark by the car’s … Continue reading

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Aerodynamics, Noise, and Fuel Economy (Oh My!)

Adding a roof rack, cargo box, and other attachments has an effect on aerodynamics, noise and fuel economy (oh my!). I’m an analytical type who wants to know “how much noise” and “how much fuel economy” each option affects. So, … Continue reading

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Rhino Rack Fairing

My Rhino Rack Vortex 2500 RS is a very quiet rack. Still, I had to know if it could be even quieter with a fairing, particularly with my ShowCase cargo box mounted. My only concern was whether the fairing’s mounting … Continue reading

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Rhino Rack Vortex 2500 RS

I used a Yakima roof rack on my then-new 1988 Nissan Sentra for about 10 years. My 1992 VW Golf saw time with the same rack. There was no denying the marring to the paint over the years from long-term … Continue reading

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Yakima ShowCase 15

I’ve been on many road trips over the years. I’ve come to dislike having baggage or cargo in the passenger compartment. With my Jettas, anything that didn’t fit in the trunk usually found its way into a 10 cubic-foot cargo … Continue reading

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Canvasback Cargo Liner

I’ve been very happy with the VW “Car Go” Heavy Duty Trunk Liner accessory that came with my car. I’m confident that it would contain most spills due to its raised lip. However, there was one area of the trunk … Continue reading

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More Broken Glass

It’s been just three weeks since replacing the windshield and I already find myself needing more glass. This time, it’s the passenger side rear door window. I noticed the shattered glass after cutting my lawn, so I’m certain that I … Continue reading

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20,000 Miles!

Seven months of GTI ownership has passed; I’m now at 20,000 miles. If you’ve read my other blog entries, then you know that I’ve been fairly busy with some modifications. Unlike many VW enthusiasts, I haven’t gone wild with performance … Continue reading

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Cracked Windshield; Replacement by Fuyao

I’ve had plenty of rocks bounce off my windshield without apparent damage over the past several months. Two days ago, I had something hit my windshield that was barely perceivable. About ten minutes later, I heard a strange noise that … Continue reading

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More Power, Much More…

The first generation TDI was one of the first cars in VW’s North American line-up to be able to make substantial gains from what was then known as “chip tuning.” The chip was physically removed from the ECU and replaced with … Continue reading

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EcoHitch and Carry-On Trailer

I just wanted to post a quick note to announce two new pages in which I detail my EcoHitch and Carry-On trailer. I don’t think subscribers are informed when I add new pages (unlike posts such as this one). Feel free … Continue reading

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First 10,000 Miles – Broken-In

It’s hard to believe I’ve already accumulated 10,000 miles, all in just four months! My commute is 53 miles each way, so I’m quickly racking up the miles. That’s okay; I buy my cars to be DRIVEN! If you’ve read … Continue reading

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Convenience Mods

I can’t speak for what other auto brand enthusiasts are doing to “hack” their cars, but Volkswagen and Audi owners have some fantastic options. An enthusiast named Ewe Ross (Ross-Tech) backwards-engineered a VW/Audi dealer diagnostic scan tool into something for … Continue reading

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Helix Sound Upgrade

I had been pleased with Volkswagen’s MIB II base stereo. It’s no powerhouse, but it has cool features and adequate sound output. To add deeper bass, I would have been satisfied with simply tapping into the rear speaker wires to … Continue reading

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WeatherTech Floor Mats

I love WeatherTech floor mats! They’re molded to fit the exact contours of the floor and protect more than standard floor mats or even the factory “Monster Mats.” They’re wonderful for containing slush and snow, which inevitably wind up in … Continue reading

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3M Clear Bra

I treated each of my Mk6 Jettas to 3M clear bras within 24 hours of purchase. The hood on my Mk3 was chipped-up pretty bad after 10 years, so I hoped to protect my newer cars since I planned to … Continue reading

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First 1000 Miles – Impressions, Part 2

I wasn’t quite ready to discuss performance impressions when I wrote Part 1. I’m ready now, even though I STILL haven’t completely unleashed the GTI’s power. I had been driving with a party-pooper diesel redline of 4600 rpm for the … Continue reading

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