Updated on 5/15/2017 – What started as a plan has now become a list of mods. I add a photo and a link to a blog entry as I complete each project (if ever). Here is my list, starting with what has been done and ranging to what may eventually happen:
Convenience Mods – (completed on 11/13/2016) – Modern VWs and Audis come from the factory with many conveniences which make driving and ownership a little better. However, most owners never know about the features that are not activated at the factory that can be activated at home. I’ve enabled features such as remote window opening/closing and disabled some annoyances such as the seatbelt chime. Those are just a few of the many things that I’ve done. Click the link to read more.
3M Clear Bra – (completed on 11/28/2016) – Rock chips: Everyone hates them! Touch-up paint never really looks quite right and the damaged area is subject to rust if you don’t fix it soon. A clear bra is a great solution! A 3M clear bra is expensive, but I knew it was worth it after the first time I saw a rock fly over the center median and strike my hood without damaging it. A close inspection of the bra reveals several tiny gouges in the material, but none of the damage goes through to the paint. PRICELESS!
Helix Sound System – (completed on 1/20/17) – This Volkswagen accessory used to retail for $660. Volkswagen has discontinued it and slashed its price to $300. I found one dealer selling it for $235 shipped (after 10% rebate). The system includes a 5-channel amplifier with digital signal processing and a small subwoofer which replaces the spare tire. I found a dealer that would install it for $312. No thanks! I did it myself. Read this entry to see how i did it.
Rockford Fosgate Subwoofer System – (completed on 1/30/17) – This upgrade was going to happen with or without the Helix system. I had actually started assembling the parts and building the box before the Helix price dropped. This upgrade exchanged the Helix subwoofer for a 10-inch unit that will allow me to keep the spare tire (to say the very least). There’s far more to this upgrade than what I’ll write here. See this entry for more info.
Amateur Radio Suite – (completed on 2/1/17) – I’m not an avid ham radio operator. But I like my toys and enjoy having the capability to get things accomplished. While not a “Doomsday Comms” or “Prepper” setup, my suite can offer digital communications without relying on cellular services or public intrastructure. I’ve installed only my VHF/UHF transceiver for now. I’m undecided about whether I’ll ever install my HF radio. See this entry for more info.
TorkLift EcoHitch – (completed on 3/25/17) – I’ve always been one to put my car to work. I refuse to buy a pickup truck. I have a small utility trailer that gets a lot of use; plus, I have a cargo tray that plugs into a hitch receiver. It’s great for carrying dirty items that I don’t want inside the car. It’s nice to be able to run stuff to the dump or carry bicycles outside of the car without resorting to noisy roof racks. See this entry for details.
APR Stage 1 Tuning – (completed on 5/15/17) – I went back and forth about when I would tune the car. APR had a sale in May; plus, I had an opening in my work schedule that would allow me time to tune the car during the week without a loss of pay or productivity. The timing was good enough for me to take a plunge. 🙂 I was suitably impressed, to say the very least. I cannot believe the difference! Read this entry for details.
Window Tinting – (June 2017?) – This is not a high priority, so the date is a bit soft. I think the car looks fine without tint, but I may still add a 50% film to improve heat rejection. Temperatures near 100°F, sometimes higher, are common in my area during the summer.
Emmanuele Designs eMMOTION Springs – (???) – I like the way the stock GTI looks and rides. Still, I think about lowering it “just an inch.” These springs will lower the car 1.2 inches, are compatible with factory dampers, and keep the factory ride. I’ll probably wait until it’s time to replace the factory dampers, saving some labor costs… or not.
South Bend Stage 2 Clutch – (???) – The stock clutch is a weak point in the driveline. It may not last long with 381 lb-ft putting it through its paces. This clutch will hold 465 ft-lbs, a limit that I don’t ever expect to exceed.
APR Stage 2: Downpipe and Tune – (???) – This upgrades the engine output to 336 hp and 404 ft-lbs. The low-end grunt is diesel-like, with 350 ft-lbs available at just 1900 rpm! I drive mostly in the low-to-mid rev range. So this is perfect! Fuel economy will even increase a tad if I can practice some self-control. What’s not to like about THAT? This seems like a perfect place to stop if the “mod bug” doesn’t bite too hard. 😉
17″ Wheels of Some Sort – (???) – The 18-inch Nogaro wheels have grown on me. I’ve become accustomed to the firm ride in my GTI. However, I think I might like the car more if I could take the edge off some bumps with 17″ wheels. I’ve considered many wheels. Neuspeed’s RSe05 is a lightweight wheel; I also like the looks of their new RSe16. This is not important enough for me to chase immediately. But I’ll be looking harder when it comes time to replace my tires.
APR Intercooler – (???) – The APR intercooler is far larger than stock and is a solid upgrade for someone who drives in hot climates. This is pretty far down the list for me because I don’t expect to use maximum horsepower on a regular basis. Still, it’ll have to happen if I want the most out of my GTI.
Ultimate Racing Catback Exhaust – (???) – I don’t want any drone and can tolerate only a minor increase in exhaust sound. As a result, I’d spec this exhaust with dual mufflers and a pair of resonators. With two mufflers and two resonators, I firmly believe that this is a cosmetic upgrade, not a power mod. It almost goes against my “stealth” styling philosophy. C’mon, admit it: It looks SWEET! Regardless, I don’t think I’ll do this mod until the factory exhaust begins to rust. We’ll see.
IS38 Turbo w/APR Tune – (???) – This upgrade that may never happen because it increases maintenance needs and removes some of the low-end torque I’m sure to love. BUT, if my stock turbo gives me any trouble or fails, I will instinctively see it as a good time to upgrade since I’d have the turbo removed and shelling out money anyway. The IS38 is the factory turbo found on the Golf R. With an APR tune and the downpipe that I’d have with a Stage 2 setup, this turbo will support 386 hp and 403 ft-lbs! My output would be a little less because I probably won’t upgrade my airbox (I’m not a fan of cones or oiled filters). But I can live with that.
That’s it. Isn’t it enough? What do you think?