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2017 GTi PP at VIR

victorofhavoc

Ready to race!
Location
Kansas City
Winter Mods - Cooling Upgrades
Purchased some cooling upgrades during the Black Friday sales. IE Intercooler and a CSF radiator.The IC will keep IAT’s in check. I’m curious to see how the radiator impacts cooling. I had a long chat with the guys at GMP Performance at my last track day and they strongly recommend an upgraded radiator based on their DE rental GTi. APR were at VIR testing their tunes on a couple turbo Caymans and a FX M3. They also recommend upgrades to the the cooling system/capacity based on their Porsche testing.

I had been leaning towards a Unitronic tune for my car, but decided on going with the APR low torque stage 1. GMP is a APR Dealer and they are at most of the DE’s I attend at VIR. If I have any issues, I have support on hand at the track. They have also helped out checking and clearing the odd code I get at the track. ABS Sensor and Tire Pressure monitoring being the main culprits.

I unboxed this evening and fitted the two coolers together. They fit together reasonably well. There is a decent air gap between the two. I suspect that the radiator fans will be pushed inboard toward the motor by a 1/2” or so. Getting the driver side IC hose on may prove interesting. Not sure that I will be able to install the two coolers as a complete unit.....

They may be just a little to bulky, awkward and heavy to fit premounted. Some advice from folks who have installed an IC will be helpful.

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The intercooler/radiator swap is a big job. I broke some plastic along the way and had to wait for replacements to be shipped in. As a result my car was undriveable for 2 weeks. It's not particularly difficult, but there are a lot of parts. It's easiest to pull the headlights and entire front assembly.

Your bottom fitment looks good, but does that top clip in well? My stock radiator didn't do well with my unitronic intercooler, so I pushed some expanding foam in to keep noise away.
 

Mini7

Ready to race!
Location
Charlotte, NC
I also purchase a CSF main radiator + Apr IC for the upcoming season. Didn't really "need" it but I figure having some lower temps will be healthier in the long run. Both are still in the box and have even thought about putting them together. Don't forget the IE is already confirmed to fit with the CSF radiator.


Still stock tune over here and Unitronic is the front runner for me as well. Apr has bad customer service & friends have bad experiences with the personell at Apr so they tell me to avoid them. I'm also thinking of doing the dsg cooler as well because if I already have the bumper cover off I might as well so I don't have to take it off twice and damage the tabs more.
It makes sense to do the DSG cooler while you have it all apart. Plus it will up your cooling capacity.
 

Mini7

Ready to race!
Location
Charlotte, NC
The intercooler/radiator swap is a big job. I broke some plastic along the way and had to wait for replacements to be shipped in. As a result my car was undriveable for 2 weeks. It's not particularly difficult, but there are a lot of parts. It's easiest to pull the headlights and entire front assembly.

Your bottom fitment looks good, but does that top clip in well? My stock radiator didn't do well with my unitronic intercooler, so I pushed some expanding foam in to keep noise away.
I have watched a few YouTube installs. Humble mechanic, DAP. Auto Instruct out of Australia has a good step by step as does IE. The clips do look tricky not to break. Wondering whether I should buy the white ones ahead of time so that I’m not dead in the water if I happen to break one. I plan to remove the whole front clip, lights included.

The CSF top clip can be removed and bolted back in place. You can see them in the photos. Right now there is some wiggle at the top. It is not a snug fit To answer your question. The CSF aluminum “clip” is not very robust, neither does it possess spring tension to keep the top secured free of movement. I’m waiting to see what it is like when I fit everything into the radiator support/shroud. If I need to, I will insulate potential noise/vibration with weather stripping or vhb tape.

Thinking it may be a good idea to get a buddy to provide an extra pair of hands to put this back together. Especially if I try fitting the two coolers as one unit. Once I have the IC mounting lugs located in the radiator shroud. Add the fans and then bolt back into the front clip and start assembling.

Any tricky steps I should be aware of ahead of time?
 
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reverend_sean

Ready to race!
Location
Pittsburgh
APR low torque stage 1
Just another option for you to consider; last season I had Ed at EQT make me a low torque map. My goal was to be able to recoup some of my investment when I either get a more dedicated track car and just daily the GTI, or just sell the car outright. I got a second hand Cobb AP for $400 and the EQT tune was $175. Unfortunately I don't have any dyno results to show as I just didn't really care about the numbers. It is a very noticeable power difference though. I assume you are trying to skip the huge surge of torque that comes on at 3k rpm with most of the other tunes (for smooth throttle application)? That was my goal at least.
 
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victorofhavoc

Ready to race!
Location
Kansas City
I have watched a few YouTube installs. Humble mechanic, DAP. Auto Instruct out of Australia has a good step by step as does IE. The clips do look tricky not to break. Wondering whether I should buy the white ones ahead of time so that I’m not dead in the water if I happen to break one. I plan to remove the whole front clip, lights included.

The CSF top clip can be removed and bolted back in place. You can see them in the photos. Right now there is some wiggle at the top. It is not a snug fit To answer your question. The CSF aluminum “clip” is not very robust, neither does it possess spring tension to keep the top secured free of movement. I’m waiting to see what it is like when I fit everything into the radiator support/shroud. If I need to, I will insulate potential noise/vibration with weather stripping or vhb tape.

Thinking it may be a good idea to get a buddy to provide an extra pair of hands to put this back together. Especially if I try fitting the two coolers as one unit. Once I have the IC mounting lugs located in the radiator shroud. Add the fans and then bolt back into the front clip and start assembling.

Any tricky steps I should be aware of ahead of time?
You'll want to snug up that top connection somehow, because too much movement can break it (and the noise is annoying when the radio/stuff is off). I tried a wire first, but it kept coming undone or breaking. Eventually, due to space (it was already installed) I just used a can of fireproof foam (great stuff brand if you care) and sprayed the tiniest amount into it. That has been holding and reduced the slapping noise of the radiator to nothing. Since you've got it out already, I would use either fireproof fabric or some metal shims to snug it up now.

A helping pair of hands is probably one of the best things to have during this install. I had my wife helping once all the supports for the whole shroud assembly were off. It's essentially a floating thing attached to some water hoses once you remove the crash beam and the shroud supports. Since you're replacing both at the same time, you'll probably drain the water and can just unclip the hoses. This means you wouldn't have to balance the radiator and certain parts of what you remove. Unfortunately the AC lines don't allow for the most amount of movement, and you don't want to disconnect them due to the freon and need to recharge. You'll likely never get the condenser entirely out of the way, just pushed to the side. I used a floor jack to balance the whole assembly as I was assembling everything back into place, and I'd recommend you have a spare jack around, because the weight can get annoying on your helper if you're struggling with a few bolts.

As far as installing as one piece or two, it really doesn't matter. The intercooler is the base of the entire sandwich and everything clips into/onto it. The radiator would probably take about 2 hrs to replace and wouldn't require the same amount of disassembly as the intercooler. Doing it at the same time just saves you a bit of effort/time so it's a good time to do it. I would definitely get spare white clips, since it's a ton easier to just cut them than bend them out. I tried everything, even heating them up, and they never popped out easily, so I gave up and cut them out. I also broke one of the clips for the upper grill (not a big deal) and for one of the air guides. The grill I left alone, but the air guide I replaced.

I never found a set of instructions or a video that were truly complete, so I worked off of multiple instructions/videos to get a complete view, and even then some of the bolts were a bear. It wasn't horrible, but sometimes i just felt like a dunce until a moment of anagnorisis hit.
 

Crild

Drag Race Newbie
Location
Florida
I have watched a few YouTube installs. Humble mechanic, DAP. Auto Instruct out of Australia has a good step by step as does IE. The clips do look tricky not to break. Wondering whether I should buy the white ones ahead of time so that I’m not dead in the water if I happen to break one. I plan to remove the whole front clip, lights included.

The CSF top clip can be removed and bolted back in place. You can see them in the photos. Right now there is some wiggle at the top. It is not a snug fit To answer your question. The CSF aluminum “clip” is not very robust, neither does it possess spring tension to keep the top secured free of movement. I’m waiting to see what it is like when I fit everything into the radiator support/shroud. If I need to, I will insulate potential noise/vibration with weather stripping or vhb tape.

Thinking it may be a good idea to get a buddy to provide an extra pair of hands to put this back together. Especially if I try fitting the two coolers as one unit. Once I have the IC mounting lugs located in the radiator shroud. Add the fans and then bolt back into the front clip and start assembling.

Any tricky steps I should be aware of ahead of time?
Easier to pay a shop to install it. There's 30+ clips iirc to remove do the install so that's a lot of risk imo. My mk6 I busted some holding tabs so the bumper cover never sat completely correct lol.

I'm also going to have them do a coolant flush when it gets installed. Figure I might as well even tho i think VW quotes it as lifetime?
 

Mini7

Ready to race!
Location
Charlotte, NC
Here are some close-up of the top radiator clips. There is a block that slides into the IC and then you have the small piece of flat aluminum. You can see it in the last photo. It won’t fall out, but is likely to rattle about during everyday driving. Unless secured in some way.

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EFE74D02-D7CA-4244-84F3-B81A16CFD131.jpeg
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victorofhavoc

Ready to race!
Location
Kansas City
Yeah I had a similar amount of play. It definitely slapped around and made noises. The foam was the perfect solution in my case, but since it's not already in the car I would try shims first.
 

Mini7

Ready to race!
Location
Charlotte, NC
I’m thinking that some wooden dowels on the side of the radiator lug that fits into the IC. VHB tape on the flat clip will likely chafe through. Maybe some RTV for around the flat tab. It will be flexible and tolerate some movement. For disassembly, the tab can be unbolted. Once out, a Stanley knife can cut it free of the IC
 

victorofhavoc

Ready to race!
Location
Kansas City
I’m thinking that some wooden dowels on the side of the radiator lug that fits into the IC. VHB tape on the flat clip will likely chafe through. Maybe some RTV for around the flat tab. It will be flexible and tolerate some movement. For disassembly, the tab can be unbolted. Once out, a Stanley knife can cut it free of the IC
Not sure how hot that area for the dowel gets, but wood in sustained heat areas wouldn't be my preference.

You could always use some of the exhaust wrap stuff to wet down and form around the clip. Maybe too thick? I tried a couple weather strips, black tape, and wire to tie it down, but everything kept melting, failing, breaking, and whatnot. Foam was my last ditch effort because getting it off is annoying.
 

Mini7

Ready to race!
Location
Charlotte, NC
I’m guessing, whatever the max coolant temp....? 215F...??? I’ve been told that the digital gauge is a placebo to keep folks from freaking out.

I wonder if there is a VCDS work around for the water temps displayed. I’m assuming there is a sending unit somewhere in the cooling system.
 

jmason

Ready to race!
Location
Frederick, MD
I’m guessing, whatever the max coolant temp....? 215F...??? I’ve been told that the digital gauge is a placebo to keep folks from freaking out.

I wonder if there is a VCDS work around for the water temps displayed. I’m assuming there is a sending unit somewhere in the cooling system.
On a cool day (about 40 deg) at the track, the coolant temps (measured through the OBD connector) ran less than 200 deg F, cooler than in normal traffic (around 220 deg F). This is in my GTI that does not have any engine mods. And yes, the dash gauge is nearly useless.
 

Crild

Drag Race Newbie
Location
Florida
On a cool day (about 40 deg) at the track, the coolant temps (measured through the OBD connector) ran less than 200 deg F, cooler than in normal traffic (around 220 deg F). This is in my GTI that does not have any engine mods. And yes, the dash gauge is nearly useless.
According to the sport display gauge not the dash the highest I've ever seen was around 216 for coolant(while actively on track). After my drive to work this morning it's showing 194.
 

victorofhavoc

Ready to race!
Location
Kansas City
On a cool day (about 40 deg) at the track, the coolant temps (measured through the OBD connector) ran less than 200 deg F, cooler than in normal traffic (around 220 deg F). This is in my GTI that does not have any engine mods. And yes, the dash gauge is nearly useless.
According to the sport display gauge not the dash the highest I've ever seen was around 216 for coolant(while actively on track). After my drive to work this morning it's showing 194.
The only times I've gone over 230 (in menu gauge) was when I was on track with oil above 275 for a while, as stage 2. The issue was much worse when using the rs7 spark plugs. This was on 95+ degree ambient days. If I can get my oil to stick in the 250s, I think water won't be an issue, unless on super hot/arid days
 

Crild

Drag Race Newbie
Location
Florida
The only times I've gone over 230 (in menu gauge) was when I was on track with oil above 275 for a while, as stage 2. The issue was much worse when using the rs7 spark plugs. This was on 95+ degree ambient days. If I can get my oil to stick in the 250s, I think water won't be an issue, unless on super hot/arid days
I'm still stock tune and Max oil temp.ive ever seen was 258 or 260 and this was probably a 90+ degree summer day (road America). That's the main reason I'm going for an upgraded IC & RAD to help combat the oil temps and keep them nice and low. Plus I'm tempted to get tuned now lol
 

victorofhavoc

Ready to race!
Location
Kansas City
I'm still stock tune and Max oil temp. I've ever seen was 258 or 260 and this was probably a 90+ degree summer day (road America). That's the main reason I'm going for an upgraded IC & RAD to help combat the oil temps and keep them nice and low. Plus I'm tempted to get tuned now lol
I'm not sure a radiator will help much with oil temp, especially when tuned. Stock might be okay, but tuned the turbo just cooks oil. It's worth noting that intercooler design can impact airflow to the radiator, though, so some intercoolers could negatively impact the water temp. Thing is, with the Uni IC I saw a drop in oil temp, and a very slight drop in water temp. Based on how much I have seen the oil temp fluctuate with virtually no impact to water temp, I would believe the reverse relationship of lower water temp having virtually no impact on oil temp to be true. I know CSF says otherwise, but I'm very averse to marketing black magic until proven true.
 

Crild

Drag Race Newbie
Location
Florida
I'm not sure a radiator will help much with oil temp, especially when tuned. Stock might be okay, but tuned the turbo just cooks oil. It's worth noting that intercooler design can impact airflow to the radiator, though, so some intercoolers could negatively impact the water temp. Thing is, with the Uni IC I saw a drop in oil temp, and a very slight drop in water temp. Based on how much I have seen the oil temp fluctuate with virtually no impact to water temp, I would believe the reverse relationship of lower water temp having virtually no impact on oil temp to be true. I know CSF says otherwise, but I'm very averse to marketing black magic until proven true.
CSF builds proven stuff. Again no one I know of has one except awesome? in the UK which has data shown on their stage 3 R. Cooler coolant/engine temps = cooler oil. Again I'm not expecting a 20 degree drop but a healthier over all system in the long term.


 

victorofhavoc

Ready to race!
Location
Kansas City
CSF builds proven stuff. Again no one I know of has one except awesome? in the UK which has data shown on their stage 3 R. Cooler coolant/engine temps = cooler oil. Again I'm not expecting a 20 degree drop but a healthier over all system in the long term.


The claim there is 50-60F drop in oil temp. I'm calling for a very healthy dose of BS on that. That would mean my car would go from 290 to 240-230 on hot days, and there's just no way. The aftermarket marketing BS on this platform is far worse than anything else I have dealt with in the past.

You're right that cooler overall is usually a good thing. From my experience with turbo cars, I can't imagine that a radiator would be able to ever reduce oil temp by more than 10 degrees F, and that's assuming there's no other auxiliary oil cooling and that the heat exchanger for oil is plumbed into the radiator. If the water and oil temp were so closely related, as they claim, then we'd be seeing water temps rising 50-60 degrees in coordination with the oil. My water temp is not typically in the 270+ range. It has been before briefly, but removing RS7 plugs (back to stock) brought me back down into the 220s-230s, based on what I have seen in the car's display metrics anyway...

I'd love to be proven wrong on this, though.
 
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