Sunday, September 29, 2019

Getting started with modding the GTi

Although I bought the MK7 GTi last week, I didn't take it home until this weekend (thanks Alex for the assist). I had already been buying requisite mods while I was waiting and finally got started with installing some of it today. The first thing I actually did was to unpack the car and take inventory of all the stuff the previous owner gave me which included a set of stock wheels with winter tires, the original downpipe and the roof rails.

Aww, the original downpipe...go straight to storage lol (9/29/19)
It's nice that he already upgraded the downpipe but I personally would've picked up one that has a flex pipe just like the OEM one to avoid cracking over time as the engine shifts. We'll be remedying that in the not too distance future. For now, I'm just keeping the original downpipe safe since you never know when you need to put the stock cats back on.

Proclip mount with Baseus magnetic base - 9/29/19
I general choose Proclip anytime I get a car mount except where there is a better design (i.e. the Rennline mounts for the Porsches) but there's a running joke that anytime I buy a proclip mount for a car before I actually buy it, I end up not buying the car. I was batting 0% so far but I was feeling good about this GTi so I bought the mount early and finally broke the curse. It felt satisfying to install a Proclip I bought in the car I actually intended to buy haha.

Raceseng Spherology Custom in Translucent Red - 9/29/19
I also ordered a custom Spherology shift knob from Raceseng in Translucent Red.  I have the exact same shift knob in the Cayman but in yellow. I think it looks and feels great and if I wasn't such a Mugen whore, I'd probably replace the Mugen shift knob in Bumblestook with the same kind. It sits a bit lower than stock and combined with the short shifter installed in the car makes the throws pretty short, maybe a tad too short but I'm sure I'll get used to it. It just looks so good with the little red accents in the car like the stitching. I also love that it's weighted. It just feels so good with every shift.

Raceseng Spherology Custom in Translucent Red - 9/29/19
Random weird things happen on the road all the time so I've started to equip all my cars with dash cams. I decided to basically do the same thing I did in the Cayman using the exact same hard-wire kit and camera. It's similarly easy to do on the GTi, you just have to remove the mini compartment under the steering wheel to get to the fuse panel. I opted to tap into the last 10A fuse slot in the lowest row which is for the left side DRL which is only on if the car is on.

Tapping into the fuse box - 9/29/19
Testing camera works when car is turned on - 9/29/19
Once I had all that working. I just had to pop out the side panel and the wire up the A-pillar then across the headliner. I may adjust things a bit further in the future but for now, this seems like a good spot.

Running power up the side panel into the a-pillar - 9/29/19
Tucked into the top of the a-pillar
dashcam mounted and operational - 9/29/19
I decided to standardize all my cars to run Titanium wheel bolts or nuts (whichever applies). The GTi is no different so I got a set of 27mm R14x1.5 Titanium wheel bolts from ECS Tuning. While they do offer weight reduction, my primary reasoning for getting these is not having to deal with rust. It also gave me a chance to double-check the torque specs on all these bolts. I generally don't trust anyone else when it comes to securing wheels on my car so I wanted to make sure they were all to torqued to spec anyway.

ECS Tuning titanium conical wheel bolt - 9/29/19
The last project I wanted to tackle, I, unfortunately, had to abort. I forgot that I left my triple square kit in the Cayman and it's at the shop getting work done right now so, for now, I spend time to take a look at what I need to do. The issue is that all Golfs including the might Golf R have plastic oil pans. This is totally fine. Lots of things on cars are plastic now but the problem is that it actually is one of the lowest points of the car and I'm worried that driving around NYC roads something will kick up and hit it and things will poorly.

That honeycomb looking thing is the oil pan - 9/29/19
Well, you can solve this a few ways including replacing it with a metal one and/or adding a metal aftermarket skid plate. However, another great option is actually OEM. The Golf Alltrack was designed to do a bit of "off roading" so it was fitted from the factory with a rugged plastic (and also kevlar reinforced) tray that extends all the way past the oil pan. You can buy these as a kit from several vendors so naturally, being the highly risk adverse person that I am, I picked up one of these.

OEM GTi splash shield
The Alltrack undertray with brackets and fasteners
You can see how much bigger the Alltrack tray is. It's secured to brackets that mount to the frame up front and 3 big bolts to the subframe plus a few screws on each side for good measure. It does mean this panel needs to be removed for oil changes but the extra bit of protection is worthwhile in my book. I'm not going to lower the car to the point where I'm worrying about any kind of direct big impact which I don't think this will help with anyway (i.e. hitting a curb) but for random rocks that might come flying, this will do an adequate job of deflecting those projectiles away from the pan. I'll create a separate post documenting that install when I get to it. Those brackets are particularly annoying to install and while there are many posts about how to install these in the forums, the lack of visual reference (photos) is sorely lacking.

I ran out of time today but there'll be a few more little bits and pieces that need to be taken care of before she takes the place of the Touareg in the city with me.

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