GOLFMK8
GOLFMK7
GOLFMK6
GOLFMKV

CaptainRatty's is38 GTI.. I have no idea what I'm doing (kind of) build

CaptainRatty

Autocross Champion
Location
Winston-Salem, NC
Car(s)
MK7 GTI
Brief background on me. I’m a noob when it comes to modding and I generally have no idea what I’m doing. Prior to the GTI, I drove econoboxes or Jeeps for 10 years. I have limited mechanical skill and everything I’ve done to my car I’ve done with careful research on this forum or on the advice of experienced GTI/VW owners. I’ve garnered a lot of knowledge over the years spending countless hours reading and learning and it’s time to put this journey in chronical order and share what I’ve done, why I did it, mistakes I made along the way, and what I would have done differently.

June 2017
2017-06-17 16.01.22_First Day.JPG


August 2021

DSC_5507 copy 2.jpg
 
Last edited:

CaptainRatty

Autocross Champion
Location
Winston-Salem, NC
Car(s)
MK7 GTI
June 2017
I traveled 400 miles away from where I lived at the time in Greenville, NC to bring the GTI home. Why you might ask…. Well diesel gate buybacks were in full force and GTI’s could be had in the DC market for much cheaper than the rest of the country. I think I paid $23,500 before TTL. I tried to bring the offer to my local dealer, who was at $27,xxx to see if they would match it, but they said no thanks telling me the deal would change once I got there and forced me to head north. It didn’t and I bought the car.

2017-06-17 16.01.22_First Day.JPG


July 2017
Window Tint. Greenville, NC is the armpit of the south and I was tired of driving in a fishbowl. SunTech ceramic tint to the darkest allowable in my state. I asked the installer if he would do the triangles upfront to which he said yes, and then said nope when he actually saw them and at that point he already had the rear glass and passenger side done. I have to get a window re-done soon because my cargo scratched the shit out of it and I’ll find an installer who will do the triangle sections that I know are a pain in the ass.

2017-07-14 11.07.55_Tint.JPG


August 2017
IE V1 Intake. This had me giggling all the way home. Remember... First time driving anything remotely quick and now two months later it makes cool noises too!? Little did I know that it probably began chaffing the hard coolant line that’s next to it on that day. More on that around Nov 2020. If I could do it again, I wouldn’t buy IE products.
Intake.JPG


August 2017
I bought Neuspeed RSE 10’s from a random Vortex member. They were in pristine condition and came with new MPSS tires which I unmounted and sold making my wheels cost less than half of what I would have paid retail. I’m glad I went with an 8.5” wheel which allows me to run a 235 tire and gives the look I was after (nearly flush) and ET+45 is flush to the front fender without spacers. A 3mm or 5mm spacer in the rear might make it completely flush, but it never bothered me.

Neuspeeds.JPG


June 2018
Baun Performance V1 DP. This was long ago when Jake was welding on his knees out of a two-car garage. At this point, I knew I was going stage 2 when Unitronic (more on that later) had their fall 2018 sale so I did the DP and Vibrant resonator and ran that on the stock tune until Nov 2018.

tempImagevxlRBh.jpg

Downpipe.jpg

Nov 2018
Stage 2 Unitronic ECU & DSG. This is probably what got me hooked… I had never driven anything this quick before. I chose Uni because of their reputation of being conservative, but obviously quicker than stock. At the time, I had a loan on the car and the SHTF scenario (engine go boom) scared me to death. Knowing what I know now, the tunes by the big boys are all safe. In the end, it ended up being a waste of $1,200 after moving to EQT (more on that later) in the fall of 2020. My biggest gripe with the Uni DSG tune was the shift points… 6th gear between 47-49 MPH isn’t a fun place to be. The driving experience between Uni stage 2 and EQT stage 2 is a night and day difference.

Feb 2019
Baun Performance FMIC. It has been well documented here as to why this is a great choice. Second to none build quality, looks mean in the grill, and effective. +5HP for red couplers.

FMIC.JPG


April 2019
Bilstein B16 Coilovers- I LOVE the way they ride, but these were a mistake and here’s why. It’s $1,500 for the B16 with adjustable damping or $1,000 for the B14 with pre-determined damping from Bilstein… I tried fiddling around with the damping on the B16 and ended up running 6 front and 5 rear. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve adjusted the damping since. At the time of writing this post, the B14 are OOS but can be had from FCP for $1044 with a lifetime warranty. Add the install kit which is a must as most of the hardware is one time use and you’re out the door for about 1.2k. Before & after pics. I settled on a ride height a bit lower than what the second picture shows. I'm about 3 threads from bottom now.

tempImageLpe6U6.jpg

tempImageDLzgEi.jpg


Nov 2019
CF Steering wheel. It’s not for everyone but I love it. This one is a no-name brand from Taiwan brokered by some kid out of CA. I sent him $500 with PayPal buyer protection and said a prayer. 4 weeks later, it was delivered. Is it worth $500? Well that’s for you to decide, but I’m reminded of how I like the way it feels and the way it looks every time I drive.

Steering Wheel_2.jpg
 
Last edited:

CaptainRatty

Autocross Champion
Location
Winston-Salem, NC
Car(s)
MK7 GTI
May 2020
H&R 24mm RSB & Moog End links. Really glad I got this… It makes a noticeable difference when pushing it in the mountains. These end links are the ones to get; paint them so they don’t rust if that’s a concern where you live.

RSB.jpeg



Nov 2020
Ed’s HID headlights. They are an excellent replacement aesthetically for the stock halogens and they make nighttime driving more enjoyable (and safer). I had an issue with the ballasts and bulbs not being included and I’m honestly still a little confused as to how they were supposed to be delivered. They were advertised as “plug and play” with the HID’s installed but mine were not and so when the shop put them in and brought them out with the halogen bulbs that were in the stock lights (pointed towards the sky I’ll add), I was totally confused. I sorted it out with Ed who basically said my bad and that was that. These have since been discontinued but BMP’s Luminator series is a comparable replacement. If I was buying again in 2021, I’d get the LED version.

Headlights Fixed.JPG


Nov 2020
BFI Stage 1 Engine & Transmission Mounts & BFI Stage dogbone 2 Insert. Allow me to back up for a second… Before I did the engine and trans mounts, I installed the stage 2 insert in the summer of 2018. Remember… I’m a noob…. I have no idea what “significant NVH” is like. What I did know was that it was cheap, supposedly made a world of difference, and was easily reversable. Well, when I first started it with the AC on full blast, it was jarring. The “what have I done” which I experienced one other time (we’ll get there) with this build immediately hit me. Apparently the NVH is worse with the DSG. BUT, I was encouraged to stick with it until it breaks in after 1000 miles, so I did and I’m happy with it. The engine and trans mounts made an appreciable difference as well. I could definitely feel the motor rocking when I let off a heavy throttle before I had them. Expensive upgrade, but an underappreciated mod for sure.

BFI engine Mount.png


Nov 2020
cUsToM intake pipe bro! Well, yes, but by accident. The IE V1 intake pipe comes extremely close to the hard coolant line and over time it rubbed and took off a couple thousandths of an inch of the coolant line and it rubbed right through the aluminum intake tube. We were scheduled to run the back of the dragon literally 3 days from then so Jake fabed me up a new intake pipe and it was as good as new. IE has discontinued V1 and now sells V2 with completely different pipe routing and a quick search on in the interwebs revealed that I wasn’t the only one with this issue. I later had it powder coated red for another +5 HP.

tempImageTNGOJb.jpg


Nov 2020
EQT Stage 2 ECU & DSG. Jumped ship from Uni during the Boost Weather sale. I knew I was making this move around June of 2020, but damn it if I’m going to light $1,200 of Unitronic tunes on fire, I’m going to save $250 by waiting for 6 months. EQT includes their OTS tunes for free with the purchase of the AP so I was OTD for like 1050 and I own an AP that I can re-sell and re-coup some funds eventually. Hate to keep shitting on Uni, but I don’t think this is a controversial statement among the 2.0t crowd… The EQT tunes blow the Uni tunes out of the water in max power and every day driving.

Jan 2021
Baun Performance Less Aggressive CBE. If you’ve been following along, you’ll notice I have a ton of Jakes parts on my car. His day job requires a strong attention to detail and he certainly brings that skill to the parts he builds.

I made the miscalculation on this one. Once again, I’m a noob… I don’t know any better. I had a DP and loved the way it sounded but got greedy and wanted more. I watched all of the youtube videos and loved the sound, I talked to StealthGTI and used his input to inform my decision. I learned that I had a low tolerance for loud exhaust notes; it was just too loud in the cabin for me. Perhaps the exhaust combined with the mounts made a difference. I sold it and I’m very happy at OEM+ levels… DP+MP+OEM CBE.

tempImageL76go3.jpg


Jan 2021
StopTech ST-41. I was not expecting to do this, but an opportunity fell in my lap to get this kit for a significant discount (no this is no longer available) and I jumped at it. This is a S model so it came with the non-pp brakes. Do I track the car? Nope. Is this completely overkill for my needs? Yep. Don’t care. The brake feel is improved and fade is no longer an issue, which I did experience in the mountains once before. If I could do it again, I would have done PP rears as well. Those non-PP rears are tiny.

tempImagebwDioI.jpg


January 2021
Avalon King Ceramic Coating DIY. This one was fun. I generally keep my cars pretty clean doing a wash on the driveway at least every two weeks and doing this has kept them noticeably cleaner for longer, even have a solid drive in the rain. The paint was in good shape to start with so I did a basic DA one step correction, clay bar, and iron remover so I could start with the cleanest (or at least clean enough to my standards) surface. Once you get the hang of how much to apply and how long it should stay on before it's wiped off (temperature dependent), it's a smooth process. The end results were phenomenal... The paint pops in the light more than it ever did and the hydrophobic properties are still as good today as they were 7 months ago. In my opinion, the margin of difference in the results is not justifiable to pay 4x what I paid for the big brand labels of ceramic coating.

tempImageEGADtt.jpg


June 2021
New Exhaust Tips. These are based on the JST-139 and I had them welded on at a local muffler shop.

tempImageTMTRtO.jpg


August 2021
is38 upgrade. I knew I was eventually going to do a turbo upgrade in February and it took me until June to decide which way I was going to go. I was conflicted for the longest time between Vortex or is38. As with all of the decisions I made with the parts I chose, I read every thread, asked every question, and had individual conversations to determine which was the better route for my goals. After 1500 miles, I feel like I can give a fair assessment of the turbo.... It's great. The power band is much more liner and it pulls hard all the way to redline. Around town, I can feel a slight loss of torque, but not enough to really make a big fuss over. It's still plenty peppy and once you get above 3k, it's a whole different animal. You big turbo E85 people pushing 600HP on FWD are nutty! More thoughts on the is38 in this post.

is38.jpg
 
Last edited:

CaptainRatty

Autocross Champion
Location
Winston-Salem, NC
Car(s)
MK7 GTI
What made you decide on IS38 over Vortex?

IS38
Pros: It's easy, proven, factory swap. On 93 it's no sweat for the turbo, motor, DSG, etc. No HPFP required (I hate the idea of messing with fueling).

Cons: It is what it is.... It's not going to make vortex power in a sustainable way. Reliability? Meh. FCP FTW and I think that was an earlier revision issue.

Vortex- Significantly more expensive, but the power gains reflect the cost. Requires a HPFP for pump gas and one could easily go down the rabbit hole from there... Vortex can do 500HP on E.

420-440 HP on 93 with a Vortex. Ed will do whatever you want, but torque is usually limited to 420ish to preserve the DSG. The torque curve is hilarious... It goes straight up to 420 and just sits there the entire pull.

Pros: I'm sure it's fast. Room to grow... The Vortex is barely being pushed on pump gas alone.
Cons: For one, cost. No two ways about it, it's expensive. About 2x what I'll be all in for is38 with tuning. To get more out of a vortex, you have to do LPFP, MPI, race plugs that are $40 each and often go out of stock at FCP, blah blah. I feel like doing all of those fueling mods come at the expense of reliability. I have no stats to back that up, but the EQT FB page filled with seemingly knowledgable people (who at least had the means to drop 3.5kish on a turbo and tune), troubleshooting their fueling issues.

So in summary, the is38 delivers the kind of DD power for my goals and it fits within my tolerance for risk, reliability, and cost.
 

jimlloyd40

Autocross Champion
Location
Phoenix
Car(s)
2018 SE DSG
IS38
Pros: It's easy, proven, factory swap. On 93 it's no sweat for the turbo, motor, DSG, etc. No HPFP required (I hate the idea of messing with fueling).

Cons: It is what it is.... It's not going to make vortex power in a sustainable way. Reliability? Meh. FCP FTW and I think that was an earlier revision issue.

Vortex- Significantly more expensive, but the power gains reflect the cost. Requires a HPFP for pump gas and one could easily go down the rabbit hole from there... Vortex can do 500HP on E.

420-440 HP on 93 with a Vortex. Ed will do whatever you want, but torque is usually limited to 420ish to preserve the DSG. The torque curve is hilarious... It goes straight up to 420 and just sits there the entire pull.

Pros: I'm sure it's fast. Room to grow... The Vortex is barely being pushed on pump gas alone.
Cons: For one, cost. No two ways about it, it's expensive. About 2x what I'll be all in for is38 with tuning. To get more out of a vortex, you have to do LPFP, MPI, race plugs that are $40 each and often go out of stock at FCP, blah blah. I feel like doing all of those fueling mods come at the expense of reliability. I have no stats to back that up, but the EQT FB page filled with seemingly knowledgable people (who at least had the means to drop 3.5kish on a turbo and tune), troubleshooting their fueling issues.

So in summary, the is38 delivers the kind of DD power for my goals and it fits within my tolerance for risk, reliability, and cost.
You could have gone with a Vortex and just the HPFP internals and had around 440 HP. No need for MPI etc. But you made a great decision to buy the IS38 from FCP. If you're happy with the power that's all that matters.
 

gixxerfool

Drag Racing Champion
Location
New Jersey
Car(s)
2016 Golf R
IS38
Pros: It's easy, proven, factory swap. On 93 it's no sweat for the turbo, motor, DSG, etc. No HPFP required (I hate the idea of messing with fueling).

Cons: It is what it is.... It's not going to make vortex power in a sustainable way. Reliability? Meh. FCP FTW and I think that was an earlier revision issue.

Vortex- Significantly more expensive, but the power gains reflect the cost. Requires a HPFP for pump gas and one could easily go down the rabbit hole from there... Vortex can do 500HP on E.

420-440 HP on 93 with a Vortex. Ed will do whatever you want, but torque is usually limited to 420ish to preserve the DSG. The torque curve is hilarious... It goes straight up to 420 and just sits there the entire pull.

Pros: I'm sure it's fast. Room to grow... The Vortex is barely being pushed on pump gas alone.
Cons: For one, cost. No two ways about it, it's expensive. About 2x what I'll be all in for is38 with tuning. To get more out of a vortex, you have to do LPFP, MPI, race plugs that are $40 each and often go out of stock at FCP, blah blah. I feel like doing all of those fueling mods come at the expense of reliability. I have no stats to back that up, but the EQT FB page filled with seemingly knowledgable people (who at least had the means to drop 3.5kish on a turbo and tune), troubleshooting their fueling issues.

So in summary, the is38 delivers the kind of DD power for my goals and it fits within my tolerance for risk, reliability, and cost.
Sound reasoning. That is likely where I would have landed. My biggest deterrent would have been the rabbit hole. I’m in them constantly. I’m still on a stock tune, will likely go stage one at some point but really have no desire for stage two since stock power in my area is practically useless with all the traffic.
 

swcrow

Autocross Champion
Location
Virginia
Car(s)
7.5
Sub’d!
 

CaptainRatty

Autocross Champion
Location
Winston-Salem, NC
Car(s)
MK7 GTI
The shop where I had my is38 installed left me a nice present 🙄.

CE388ECA-5088-4D4C-B681-2BEDD74291E1.jpeg
 

swcrow

Autocross Champion
Location
Virginia
Car(s)
7.5
Ooooooh that rattle
 

Daks

Autocross Champion
Location
Toronto
Car(s)
GTI PP
Is that the downpipe touching something?
 

CaptainRatty

Autocross Champion
Location
Winston-Salem, NC
Car(s)
MK7 GTI
Is that the downpipe touching something?
Yep. That's the V-band making the connection between DP + MP literally sitting on the cross brace... The clearance was tight before, but there was at least 1/4". The shops response "this is to be expected as parts shift with heat cycles" 🤯.

LOL- nah, this is because your lazy tech said nope, just fucking send it. I heard the rattle a few hundred feet from leaving the shop, but it was late, the shop was closing and I had to get home. Initially I chalked it up to DSG noises as I had just flashed the is38 DSG tune and thought it might need a re-learn, but that theory was quickly dispelled once I distinctly heard the rattle over bumps.
 
Top