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alexktz's 2019 MK7.5 Golf R

ironicbadger

Ready to race!
Location
Raleigh NC
Car(s)
19 MK7.5 R EQT Stg1
Inspired by @DerHase I wanted to get a journal thread going. This is my 6th Golf and my 4th MK7!

Over the years I've owned a 1999 MK4 1.6 Petrol (in the UK), a 2011 TDi 2.0 dieselgate, a 2015 MK7 GTi from new (in the UK). Then I sold that, emigrated to the US and bought a 2016 GTi which was stage2 APR tuned (Carmax sold it that way!) and got a shock as to how much VW USA limit features vs Euro models. I finally achieved nirvana and purchased a brand new 2019 Golf R before covid but I had to sell it for various reasons.

Last year an opportunity presented itself to acquire another one and with the MK8 interior being what it is, I elected to buy the exact same car over again. A 2019 Golf R in Lapiz Blue - this one came from Tampa and had 5700 miles on the clock when I took ownership in May 2022. I flew down from Raleigh to Tampa to pick it up and came home via the Tail of the Dragon, Blue Ridge Parkway and the North Georgia mountains and was reunited with an old friend.

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My goal for ownership is to keep the miles relatively lowish but still drive and enjoy the car on the weekends. I'm lucky enough to WFH so no daily commute and have other vehicles I can use for daily chores. I also want to learn about how to do the maintenance and any upgrades myself. My plans are modest and mostly focused around an OEM+ type mindset looking at improving handling and mildly increasing power, rather than stance type stuff. A reliable HDPE weapon, you might say.

First year

In the first year I've mostly stuck to those goals. I ended up getting an offer from a buddy I couldn't refuse on an accessport so I flashed an EQT stage 1 93 off the shelf tune at around 7500 miles in October. Typical cliche line "this is how it should have come from the factory" applies. I swapped the spark plugs to one step colder plugs as per the EQT recommendations. Fighting the ignition coil clips was a "fun" learning experience but I got it done.

I'm a bit of a nerd with detailing and elected to do PPF on the front bumper, headlights and B pillars with a ceramic coat on the rest of the car. Absolutely love washing this thing, it cleans up so easily with CC and some snow foam.

I've fastidiously kept up with my oil changes at about 4000 mile intervals (thanks FCP) and learned how to do them myself.

I installed a radar detector with a blendmount and mirror tap. In the process I broke all the plastic clips on the trim and had to go to VW to get that repaired. Oops. Living in the Tampa sun probably did the car no favors there plus, I'm not the most patient with plastic clips in VW interiors!

I went for a Thinkware U1000 dashcam and ran the rear camera wires along the headliner (behind the airbags in the A pillar). I designed and 3d printed a rear camera bracket which needs no adhesive. In the process of running the cables through the hatch lid I broke a clip on the cable boots and now it leaks when I wash the car or it rains really hard - luckily the car lives indoors.

The interior of the car is a little quiet and I really miss the plaid seats from the GTi so I replaced the shift boot and shift knob with a Euroverse Designs GTE blue plaid boot and a BFI golf ball shifter as a nod to the cars heritage.

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The final cosmetic change I made were Euro tails with dynamic sweep and killallwipers rear wiper delete. I had some significant back and forth on the harness with @ZERO815 but in the end he got me sorted out and even though I never get to see them myself, I get a warm fuzzy feeling knowing I have amber indicators which in my opinion are the only safe option. I always thought rear wiper deletes were dumb but living in NC, it's a total non issue and I love the look (and ease of cleaning!).

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To cap off the end of the first year of ownership I got to take my R and my mk4 R32 (golf #7) to Wookies in April. These cars are just bits of metal and stuff to some, but to me they are so much more than that. I have some HDPEs coming up in the R throughout 2023 (just did my first at VIR with TSCC) and want to learn about the limits of this car and myself - I've never once come close to the limit of this car on the street imho. It just isn't safe to do so!


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19birel

Autocross Champion
Location
Pittsburgh
Car(s)
MK7.5 - MK4 - B8.5
Welcome to the forums! Gorgeous R! my GTI also came from Tampa, and had so much sand in it as a result hahaha

The .:R32 is gorgeous as well! You have the cooler version of my VW duo (I have a 7.5 GTI and a MK4 Golf 2.slow)

Hope to see you at VIR sometime!
 

ironicbadger

Ready to race!
Location
Raleigh NC
Car(s)
19 MK7.5 R EQT Stg1
From VIR, this is probably a fitting place to cross-post these. Was great meeting you in person and looking forward to Fastivus in October and VIR again in December!

You all being there with MQB cars totally took the sting out of my first HDPE event. It was fantastic. I made a video of a collection of clips I took throughout the weekend. I ran a 2:45.7 in the wet on day 2 - quite pleased with that one for being a n00b on track.


Absolutely got to get the data logging sorted out before I'm at VIR again in 11 days time. I want to log temps and all sorts of stuff in my totally mechanically stock setup. Tbh I'm tempted to even flash stock tunes for day 1 and go to stage1 for day 2 and get as much data as I can that way before I upgrade anything like the intercooler or such. I could use the accessport or I have a Machina A0 en-route for Simostools shenanigans.
 

ironicbadger

Ready to race!
Location
Raleigh NC
Car(s)
19 MK7.5 R EQT Stg1
This weekend just gone saw my first HDPE. Before going crazy with mods I wanted to get a solid weekend (or two) under my belt with the car stock and see what I noticed throughout the sessions. Following my OEM+ philosophy I don't want to do big turbos or crazy exhausts or anything like that - it's a 4pot after all. If you want the noise, the RS3 is available.


I went to VIR with TSCC and was in the green novice group with instruction. I prepped the car thoroughly (see this thread on why I'll never be doing business with Carbotech again) by replacing the factory brake lines with 034 steel lines, upgrading the brake pads to Ferodo 3.12 front, 1.11 rear and flushing the brake fluid with Castrol SRF.

I also got a set of delivery mileage Bridgestone Potenza S005 tires off a buddy for $500 from his MK8 R delivery (he wanted all seasons). I read that these tires are great in the dry and awful in the wet. I don't really know enough to form a proper opinion on the dry performance as I only had two properly dry sessions (my first two) with the remaining 6 being wet and slippery. I thought the tires felt pretty decent in the wet, quite communicative about when grip was going to give up before it did. I'm not sure I'd buy them at full price over a Michelin PS4S which I've run for many years on the street. But a second set of wheels with a more competitive dry tire (RS4 or V730 maybe) combined with something like the PS4S or S005 for when it rains makes for a great weekend. All the guys with powerful RWD cars went home - not me with AWD, it seriously felt like a cheat code in the wet.

Overall it was a bloody fantastic experience. I was super nervous going into the weekend I'd forget something silly and be prevented from tracking the car due to an innocuous oversight. Thankfully, no problems arose and I was able to run. Perhaps I was guilty of over-prepping but better that than the other way around imho. My fastest time in the wet was session 2, a 2:32 - I started off at *well* over 3 mins on Sunday morning on day 2, by the end of the day I was down to 2:45.7 - definitely plenty of time left in the lap and the car but having to drive the car home again is a powerful motivator not to bin it. No doubt I'll improve as I do more HDPEs but I was quite pleased with that 2:45.7 in the wet.

Apex wheels had a memorial day sale over the weekend so I purchased a set of 17x9 wheels and will be ordering a set of RS4 245/40r17 to go on them. After that I should try the v730 as I hear the heat cycling of RS4 wears them out before the tread is done - we shall see!

Future mods over the summer might include a DO88 or APR intercooler - I didn't notice any temp issues but it was barely 60f and wet all weekend so not the best test. I'm at VIR again in a few days and will use my accessport to log some sessions and a recently delivered Macchina A0 for others. I'd like to try and cure a bit of the understeer MQB cars tend to have with a rear sway bar and some camber plates. The understeer wasn't so bad on track, but definitely an issue for autoX.
 

ironicbadger

Ready to race!
Location
Raleigh NC
Car(s)
19 MK7.5 R EQT Stg1
Prepping for this weekend out on track at VIR I've made a few tweaks via VCDS to the brakes - still running the Ferodo pads. They did nicely at NCCAR last weekend with the big stop from about 130 not an issue.

Code:
+ 03 ABS
    + Hydraulic Brake Assistant
        + Security code used - 11966
        + Factory - Normal
        + Changed Not Activated
    + Brake booster
        + Security code 25004 or 40168
        + Factory - 4
        + Changed to 1
        + Apparently changes higher = softer / lower = firmer down to 1
    + Hydraulic brake booster
        + Security code - 11966
        + Factory - 8
        + Changed to 6
        + Apparently shifts to slightly more rear brake bias
    + Straight ahead brake stabilization
        + Security code 25757
        + Factory - activated
        + Changed to not activated

After a fairly short but spirited test drive around my local area last night I can report that the top of the pedal engages sooner and feels firmer. There didn't seem to be any rear wiggles under heavy braking but it's just not really possible to tell on the street so the real test will be at the weekend.

I also took delivery of some (memorial day sale) Apex SM-10 17X9" ET42 wheels and Bridgestone RE71-RS tires yesterday, I went for 255/40R17. I was going to go for Hankook RS-4 but stock was an issue and the whole heatcycle out thing made me think twice about just getting a grippier tire anyway. I think they look great, if not a *little* bit Subaru. Fender screw mod has been done so hopefully there'll be no rubbing - these are WIDE, MEATY tires!
 

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ironicbadger

Ready to race!
Location
Raleigh NC
Car(s)
19 MK7.5 R EQT Stg1
Returned home shiny side up with a new PB of 2:27.3. Lots of very fast Porsches there this weekend, some with very slow drivers but that's what green group is for I suppose - and who doesn't like lapping a 992 in an ecobox? I got the sign off for Blue so I'm very pleased about that! Best lap of the weekend was my last. Lap 10 of this video.


The new tires were sublime. Such a crisp turn in compared to the streets which I ran on day 1, saving the good stuff for day 2. They really allowed me to lean on them coming out of T1 without any real complaint - it was a great comparison running the streets one day and Re71-RS the next. The streets really greased up in the later laps of the day as the ambient rose to 85 but the re71 just didnt seem to care. Also pleased to report no rubbing with these wider tires and the fender screw mod :)

The brake changes made for a really interesting weekend. Day 1 I ran the changes listed above and everything was fine. I thought for some reason, let's just try reverted the hydraulic brake booster and brake boosters back to factory for day 2. In the first 2 30 min sessions on Sunday coming off the back straight at VIR (130 down to 45 ish) it felt like what I can only describe as brake fade. Whether it was or not I don't know, but it wasn't consistent or confidence inspiring.

For session 3 I changed the values back to the values above and the pedal felt better and more consistent throughout the entire session. i had clear traffic most of this session (this is the YT vid above) and was my fastest of the weekend so heat built up the most. I added the RS3 ducts after the first session but didn't really notice much a difference in pedal feel.

I would support the theory that hydraulic brake boost moves the bias rearward because my rear tire PSI came in 2psi higher after that last session than the one before. more heat? or just driving faster? it's hard to know for sure.

@DerHase analyzed some of my OBD2 data from the accessport and the short story is, it's time for an intercooler. Lots of ignition timing pulled (almost 8 degrees pull at some points). DSG temps never rose above 101c, but they were still climbing so maybe a DSG cooler would be a smart move alongside the IC.

Future upgrades before the fall sequence of events will be camber plates and IC. Maybe a rear sway bay.

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ironicbadger

Ready to race!
Location
Raleigh NC
Car(s)
19 MK7.5 R EQT Stg1
3 months ago I'd never even done a brake job. I just finished replacing my intercooler on the R and so far everything seems so good! It wasn't hard persay, just a little tedious - job took me, a total novice, around 7 hours total. And the only thing I broke was a $3 hose clamp (more on that later!).
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The intercooler I went with was the Integrated Engineering V2 unit due to shipping times for the DO88. There isn't much to choose between these aftermarket ICs with some having better flow and others having better cooling. This IE unit is certainly a HUGE upgrade over the stock unit. Just look at the difference in thickness!

I followed a combination of videos from CPO, HumbleMechanic and VA-Guh. Each video had a certain bit that was useful when it came to certain clips.

I decided to do the CPO method by taking the front end off the car and slide everything into the radiator - IC - AC condenser sandwich without having to drain any coolant or refrigerant.


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Taking the front bumper off was extremely daunting until I actually did it. Wanting to try and avoid the ACC needing a recalibration, I disconnected the battery for the duration of the job. In the end I took my time and went nice and slow and didn't break any clips or have any real issues doing it. Charles's video was best for removing the front bumper and the white plastic intercooler clips.

Next was removing the front crash structures, air intake baffle and headlights. Removing both lights was perhaps a little overkill but it is only a couple of minutes per light so if I did this job again I'd probably still do that. One of the more difficult parts was releasing the hood latch from the driver side front brace, that kinda stinks but you gotta do it. Notice the mechanics stool at the ready to support the weight of the rad sandwich as I began to undo the bolts that supported that to the vehicle.

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The most difficult part of the entire job is removing these white plastic clips. Folks say to just cut them and replace but the part number for the R shows these clips as being about $50 so I made some effort to try and not break them. Once I figured out how and where to pry it was quite easy with a couple of flathead screwdrivers. Removing these clips probably took about 40 mins in total. I got them both out without breaking.

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Once these were unclipped it was time to coax the factory intercooler out of the sandwich. Disconnecting the boost pipes was easy enough but undoing a couple of the clips around the rad / ic connection were quite delicate. Just take your time and it'll be OK.

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Elapsed time to this point was about 4 hours and 11.30pm. So this is how I left the car overnight. The AC condenser and rad balanced on my mechanics stool with the folding chair there as extra support during the IC removal. The AC condenser rested on the chair and the rad on the stool with the IC wiggling out the middle. I don't have any pictures at this point as a third hand would have been useful as it was!

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The next day I came back to finish the job and began by putting the new intercooler into position. Finagling the IC back in the plastic carrier shroud thing was a bit fiddly, as was attaching the AC condenser at the front. Make sure to hook up the bottom left pin first as it gets blocked by AC lines when the other pins are in place. The other tricky-ish part was making sure the metal locating pins on the bottom of the IC located fully into the rubber grommets on the plastic carrier bracket as well as being careful to line up the rad into the receiver brackets on the IC. Again, not difficult just requires some patience and mechanical sympathy.

Most of the rest of the job was just the total reverse of the deconstruction. There was nothing really of note during that process. Just make sure to remember the reconnect all the connectors including ones you can't see behind the front bumper and the two little yellow crash sensors - they're easily missed.

On first start up of the car, the ACC system lost its damn mind. I took the front grill off and on again which did the trick after a full power cycle with the battery disconnected and reconnected again as well. I guess the grill with the sensor wasn't quite seated right. Always a fun time to see your dash light up like a christmas tree after a big job like that!

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Now remember I said one of the boost pipes caused an issue? Well... it was my fault. One of the hose clamps on the hot side of the IC broke when I was taking it off the factory IC. I went to Advance and got a new clamp for $3, but before I went I though I'll just take the whole boost pipe with me to get the right size. I loosened the other clamp on that boost pipe but the pipe itself was on there good and tight so I just left it loose. I forgot to retighten it afterwards, didn't I?

With the whole car buttoned up and put back together nice and methodically, I took the car out for it's first test drive and on the first application of throttle which requested more than 25psi boost there was an almighty POP as the hot side boost pipe I forgot to tighten, flew off. I limped the 2 miles home again with my tail between my legs hoping I hadn't broken anything too badly (I had a clue what I'd done).

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I wiped off the slightly oily water that you can see in the picture, reattached the pipe, *tightened* the clamp this time and so far so good. I've driven about 25 miles and done 6-8 WOT pulls and it seems to be holding just fine and the engine seems to be performing fine as well.

Overall, a really fun job to tackle even for a novice. So far I've noticed absolutely NO difference but I'm at the track again soon and that's where the upgrade should make itself apparent.

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ironicbadger

Ready to race!
Location
Raleigh NC
Car(s)
19 MK7.5 R EQT Stg1
Went over to ACI in Gibsonville yesterday to get some track prep done. Josh is a former VW master mechanic and setup ACI last year, I met him and his crew at VIR last year for Dave's race when they were working on Arul's RS3. Josh is quite the character but let me hang around in the shop with him all afternoon as he worked, and I learned a lot watching. Really nice to spend a good amount of time under the car on a real lift giving everything a proper look (those boost pipes seem fine btw).


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I opted for some 034 front camber plates and some rear adjustments got me to -2.2 deg front and back.

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I also had a DSG and Haldex service done. Even though the car only has 12k miles on, its about 4 years old now and with the track time I figure bumping up the intervals in terms of miles isn't going to hurt anything (except my wallet).

Next weekend I'm out with Chin up at VIR, really looking forward to seeing what difference the alignment makes on track. I took the back roads home from Gibsonville and when you're really leaning on the car in a corner it's like the rear actually wants to push you round, rather than be dragged. Hard to explain, but I think I like it. Acid test is next weekend on track.
 

ironicbadger

Ready to race!
Location
Raleigh NC
Car(s)
19 MK7.5 R EQT Stg1
I'm out with Chin this weekend so pre weekend maintenance is due. Planned / completed list below:
  • Cautionary bleed of brake fluid
    • Castrol SRF bled about 100ml on each corner - looked nearly new (it is)
    • Fronts mildly more discolored than rear fluid but marginal
    • Can probably leave longer next time if you want
  • Swap out DS2500 street pads to:
    • DS3.12 F
      • Swap inner and outer and the outer pads that have done 5 days on track are about 2mm more worn.
    • DS1.11 R
      • Does this car even have rear brakes?
  • Noted that front Zimmerman blanks have some pre-crack stress marks in them.
    • Make sure to check after every session - don't think they're that close to cracking yet though
    • Replacements ordered and will take to VIR this weekend just in case
  • Check fitment of wider race tires with new alignment
    • Seems to fit, about 1 fingers width ?10mm? between rear tire and rear suspension - keep an eye
I ordered a Garmin Catalyst as well as I'll be out solo this weekend and figured the coaching would be helpful.
 

ironicbadger

Ready to race!
Location
Raleigh NC
Car(s)
19 MK7.5 R EQT Stg1
Been a hot minute since I posted an update. new wheels and tires fitted on the car today. Apex SM-10 17x8.5 with Michelin PS4S 235/45R17. Such a great visual combo and I'll definitely be turning back to look again when I park up.


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so the story with these wheels…

memorial day weekend was my first track day and i decided that i needed a dedicated set of track wheels then. in between sessions, at the track I found that Apex had a sale on that weekend saving me about $80 per wheel. they arrived, i loved them and i wanted to get another set for daily. The 17s give such an amazingly smoother ride than the factory 19s - it really transforms the cars comfort.

I emailed Apex mid June asking if they'd honor the sale price if I bought another 4 and they said “we dont do discounts, our next sale is black friday”. so i waited.

i ordered a set of 4 on black friday and they took 2 weeks to arrive. slow but fine, ok. at the same time i ordered a set of michelin ps4s tires from costco which took 2 weeks to arrive as well, and then i had to schedule an appointment which was 10 days out.

a few days before my appointment i took the new wheels out the box to ceramic coat them and found one was dented (not a shipping issue, a QC issue as the box was immaculate). by this point its a week before christmas. i went back and forth for several days (yes, days!) with apex to get a replacement wheel sent out. i had to buy a 5th wheel and then send the dented one back to them. they put the replacement on 3 day shipping not ups ground at least. the support process was slow, and cumbersome.

the replacement arrived xmas eve - i spent xmas eve ceramic coating the wheels. i got a new appointment at costco for friday night just gone. Then today the garage was finally in a position where it was tidy and clean enough that i could do the brake job (i still had the track pads on after the TSCC event i did at VIR dec 13th).

hilariously, i have been waiting for the right time to buy a new set of PS4S tires since 2019 as well. i had just bought a brand new set on my GTI in august 2019 when the opportunity to buy the R came up at the dealer in October. i maybe did 1k miles on them and have been waiting to buy a new set ever since as they really impressed me.

this whole thing has been an exercise in multi-year patience but it is done! the wheels and brand new tires are on the car. i think they look big and chunky and totally awesome.
 
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