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Carmen - HoyaDub's 2017 Tornado Red GTI

HoyaDub

Ready to race!
Location
Washington, DC
Car(s)
2017 VW GTI Autobahn
So this is my first car I have owned that has been worth modifying, and I am obsessed with it so far. I was originally looking at a Mustang GT, but decided to give the VW a shot as a much more practical daily driver. Once I drove the car I was in love. It didn't have the sound of the GT or the raw power, but it handled incredibly well, was plenty quick, the interior quality was infinitely nicer, and the car was less expensive.

I went home for the day to deliberate, and by the time I went to bed I had made up my mind that this car would be mine. The dealer had it at a pretty ridiculous markdown, and on October 18, 2017 I brought her home. I have loved every minute with it.

This build is not going to be a record setter, and will be tame compared to a lot I have seen, but nevertheless I am excited for it and wanted a thread to look back on when it is done. My intent is to end up with a car that I can use as my DD, that my wife can get in and feel comfortable driving by herself or with future kids, and that I can take to a track day or blast around mountain roads here and there and have maximum amounts of fun. My hopes are that this build will accomplish these goals, and will strike the perfect balance between them. These mods are listed in the order I foresee them happening.

Engine Mods
APR Carbon Fiber Intake - May 14, 2020
APR Carbon Fiber Turbo Inlet Pipe - May 14, 2020
CTS Turbo Inlet Pipe - May 14, 2020
Unitronics Intercooler - June 6, 2020
AWE Touring Cat-back exhaust - July 13, 2020
Brisk RF12S Spark Plugs - June 19, 2020
APR Coolant Hose Reroute - July 20, 2020
Velt Coilpacks - August 19, 2020
APR Downpipe - August 29, 2020
APR Stage 2 ECU Tune - August 29,2020
APR TCU Tune - August 29, 2020

Wheels/Tires
Summer - Neuspeed RSE11r Wheels, Hyper Silver, 18x8.5 - June 4, 2020
Summer - Michelin PS4S 245/40/18 tires - June 4, 2020
Winter - Random Moda 17" wheels
Winter - Bridgestone Blizzak ws80 235/45/17

Suspension
Eibach Pro Kit (Euro) lowering springs - June 5, 2020
Neuspeed 25mm RSB - June 19, 2020
SuperPro Rear End Links - June 19, 2020
Eurocode Rear Chassis Brace - July 28, 2020
Eurocode Front Strut Tower Brace - Need to install

Brakes
Endless MX72 Brake Pads (Front) - June 29, 2020
OEM Brake Pads (Rear)
Motul RBF600 Brake Fluid - June 29, 2020
RS3 Brake Ducts - Need to install

Other
Suntek Ceramic Window Tint - October 20, 2017
OBDEleven - Not really an install, but deactivated Soundaktor, and activated keyfob windows

Upcoming Vehicle Mods
Dogbone Insert
Golf Clubsport S Brake Rotors - TBD
Rennline Fire Extinguisher mount - TBD

Upcoming Driver Mods
High Performance Driving Classes

October 18, 2017 - The day she came home

Day 1.PNG


May 14, 2020 - CAI Install day

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CAI.PNG
 
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HoyaDub

Ready to race!
Location
Washington, DC
Car(s)
2017 VW GTI Autobahn
Moar parts! Got in my new wheels, still awaiting my tires to ship to Costco. Watching this sit in a corner in anticipation might actually kill me. Can't wait to see them on the ca
r!
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HoyaDub

Ready to race!
Location
Washington, DC
Car(s)
2017 VW GTI Autobahn
So I got some more goodies in the mail yesterday, and got notifcation that my tires finally shipped! So it was a great day. I received my Unitronics intercooler, ceramic coating for the new wheels, my OBDEleven dongle, and my BFI Stage 1 dogbone insert. Here is the unboxing of the intercooler! Super happy with my choice, it seems to be a very well made product. Installation will be this coming Saturday (June 6) so we will see if I am still happy with it then.
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pointerDixie214

New member
Location
South Central, PA
Car(s)
2019 GTI; 1971 MGB
OP's brother here.

I just have to comment that it's been fun watching HoyaDub go down the rabbit hole I have seen myself follow many times, with many hobbies in the past (cars, bikes (both pedal and moto), photography, fishing, home audio, car audio . . . . the list goes on). One thing always leads to another, and it's fun to build something as you want it. I CAN QUIT ANYTIME I WANT!!!!

Looking forward to the intercooler install on Saturday (that is a lie, but looking forward to hanging out anyways. lol) and seeing the beastie now that it has been tuned.
 

HoyaDub

Ready to race!
Location
Washington, DC
Car(s)
2017 VW GTI Autobahn
OP's brother here.

I just have to comment that it's been fun watching HoyaDub go down the rabbit hole I have seen myself follow many times, with many hobbies in the past (cars, bikes (both pedal and moto), photography, fishing, home audio, car audio . . . . the list goes on). One thing always leads to another, and it's fun to build something as you want it. I CAN QUIT ANYTIME I WANT!!!!

Looking forward to the intercooler install on Saturday (that is a lie, but looking forward to hanging out anyways. lol) and seeing the beastie now that it has been tuned.
What, you mean there is something more fun than installing an intercooler to do on a Saturday?

Pics of mounted wheels and tires to come, after the car gets a bath on Monday lol.
 

pointerDixie214

New member
Location
South Central, PA
Car(s)
2019 GTI; 1971 MGB
I don't think our dad would know a wrench from a snake, so no risk there. ;)

It'll be fun. I just know that the guys on here who say they did the intercooler swap themselves in 2-3 hours are either (1) master technicians with an arm lift or (2) FOS.
 

HoyaDub

Ready to race!
Location
Washington, DC
Car(s)
2017 VW GTI Autobahn
Alright, I decided to go ahead and post some pics because I am extremely happy with how they look on the car, and frankly I don't want to wait until Monday. I am sure I will have more pictures from this weekend to post later on anyway. Don't mind the bird crap on the rear quarter.

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And dat booty
Rear.png
 

HoyaDub

Ready to race!
Location
Washington, DC
Car(s)
2017 VW GTI Autobahn
Wrenching with my brother was more fun than with my dad. He always just yelled at me.

"Get me the wrench"
Which one?
"The 18, dammit"
I can't find it.
"IF IT WAS A SNAKE IT'D BITE YA!"
Very accurate, when I was in middle school I helped my brother install a cat back on his old 240SX, that was my first time meddling into modified cars. Now, 18(?) years later he gets to return the favor haha

I don't think our dad would know a wrench from a snake, so no risk there. ;)

It'll be fun. I just know that the guys on here who say they did the intercooler swap themselves in 2-3 hours are either (1) master technicians with an arm lift or (2) FOS.
This is also a very true assessment of our father's mechanical abilities.
 

pointerDixie214

New member
Location
South Central, PA
Car(s)
2019 GTI; 1971 MGB
Very accurate, when I was in middle school I helped my brother install a cat back on his old 240SX, that was my first time meddling into modified cars. Now, 18(?) years later he gets to return the favor haha
Dammit, I was hoping you had forgotten about that. That was a fun little car. I think we used a whole can of PB blaster to get those bolts free.

Plus note of working with a ton of plastic clips on your car - I can break them just fine without PB Blaster, and they're on your car and not mine!
 

jimlloyd40

Autocross Champion
Location
Phoenix
Car(s)
2018 SE DSG
It's so nice to see brothers getting along so well. I'll check back in Sunday after the IC install. 😂
 

HoyaDub

Ready to race!
Location
Washington, DC
Car(s)
2017 VW GTI Autobahn
Alrighty, so it was a pretty eventful weekend for Carmen. On Friday I took her to get the DSG serviced, and decided to go ahead with the lowering springs. On saturday my brother and I successfully (NOT in 3-4 hours) installed my Unitronics (not-so) direct-fit intercooler, more on that to come. This post will be about the springs.

After the new tires and wheels, oddly the gap between the fender and wheels seemed more obvious to me, so after previously deciding I was not going to lower the car I reversed course in my typical, indecisive fashion, and had the shop throw on the Euro spec Eibach Pro Kit springs, giving the car about a 1" drop all around (a little over up front, a little less in the rear).

Aside from obviously looking incredible, I am extremely impressed with these springs. For the purposes I am after they are the absolute perfect compromise between comfort and performance. I have noticed no decrease in ride quality whatsoever. If anything, these springs seem to have mellowed out some of the harsher points of the ride before. This was something my brother, my wife, and I all observed so I think it is probably an accurate assessment. Other pros are that my DCC still works like a charm, comfort mode is still comfortable (thought it increases rubbing), while sport mode is even better than it was before. The handling is almost go-kart like now, and that is before the rear sway bar install. To top it off, the car now looks exactly like I wanted it to. I do not want the car to be overly flashy, so this strikes the perfect balance in my opinion.

The only con I have run into thus far is that even after doing the fender screw mod, I do have some minor rubbing on large dips and during aggressive cornering when there is a dip in the road. During regular driving it is fairly minimal, but still present. On my 2.5 hour drive home yesterday I encountered minor rubbing 2-3 times. I am now trying to determine what the best method is to eliminate the little bit of rub that is left. I have zero intention on running a narrower tire, and am not going back to stock springs, so I will probably need to roll the front fenders. I think if someone were running 235s with these instead of 245s they would probably be fine even before the fender screw mod, but definitely after. It doesn't help the Michelin's are quite beefy. Any recommendations on a good shop near the DC Metro area for fender rolling (or other alternatives) is definitely welcome! Without further ado, here are some pics with the springs installed!

Immediately after spring install at the shop:

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Back home, read side view:
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Front fitment (I think it has sense settled a little):
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And one of my brother and I's cars together:
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pointerDixie214

New member
Location
South Central, PA
Car(s)
2019 GTI; 1971 MGB
Just to chime in - those springs made a MASSIVE difference. ALL for the better too. The car feels so much more solid now. Even with two bikes on a hitch rack it handled way better than it did before without bikes and rack. And it looks great.

I'll leave the intercooler report for HoyaDub. Let's just say it's good I have a dremel with grinding and cutting wheels. lol
 

HoyaDub

Ready to race!
Location
Washington, DC
Car(s)
2017 VW GTI Autobahn
Alright, now on to the intercooler. First off I want to send a massive thank you to my brother for helping me out with this install. It would have been far more difficult to do without an extra set of hands, and thus even more time consuming. Second of all, unless other direct-fit intercoolers are more direct-fit than the Unitronics, you have a lift, and are also a master mechanic I find it difficult to believe this could be less than a four hour job. All in I would say it took the two of us roughly 7 hours of work. Closer to 8 hours of time because we took a couple breaks.

So first things first, here is a picture, pre-install, of my GTI with my brother's MGB, because I think this is a great picture of our two projects together. I got to drive the MG for the first time this weekend, and I now want either an MGB or another little British roadster quite badly. Once my wife and I have a garage, Carmen will have a new friend.
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Alright, on to the install! So I did not take as many pictures throughout this process as I wish I had, but the first thing of note is that this really is not a hard job, but is definitely time consuming. First step we got the car up on the jack stands (not harbor freight, didn't want to die really), and began disassembling the front bumper assembly. We didn't really run into too many issues throughout the disassembly phase except for a moment where we could not get the front bumper cover off the car. Not too bad, but a lot of plastic to remove. One thing to note, the instructions on Unitronics site for the install are kind of awful, the pictures are mostly way too small to actually be able to tell what you are looking at. That aside, between those instructions and a video on YouTube we were able to proceed with relartively few difficulties.

Here is a picture of my brother removing one of the many sensors this car has on the front. Aside from those that were provided in the instructions, we also had to remove the ACC sensor from the front of the car during this process.
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After getting the mess of sensors out of the way, we were ready to removed the crash bar and began the process of removing the radiator assembly from the chassis, we got a little creative with our "support" for the radiator assembly, but it worked!
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To this point there were no major frustrations, once it came time to separate the condenser from the rest of the assembly was the first issue I recall running into. At that point it was onto the yellow clips that I had heard so much about. Getting those clips out proved to be kind of a pain in the butt, we probably spent 30 minutes trying to figure out how to get them to separate before realizing the trick was to compress them enough that they shift slightly back, and then slide a flathead into the area behind the clipping point on the yellow clips. After watching the video several times, we managed to get the clips separated and the condenser pulled away from the intercooler.
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We got the old intercooler out, which was not too much of an issue, but things began to get interesting on the reassembly phase. Here's a side by side of old v. new
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This is the point where I neglected to take more photos for a while. As PointerDixie214 alluded to, we came to the "shocking" realization that "direct-fit" was not so direct. The clips on the car were too large to fit into the new intercooler by about 1.5mm on the bottom, and about 1mm on the top. Thankfully between his dremel and files to clean up the work of the dremel we eventually were able to get the clips to fit nice and snug into the new intercooler. I believe at this point we had a celebratory beer. Here she is, clipped in and ready for reassembly!
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After mounting the intercooler we ran into our second issue. The areas to slide the condenser into the new intercooler also seemed to be a hair too small. No matter how hard we tried we could not get them to fit, so we CAREFULLY had to tap thefour corners into their respective clips with a hammer. Did not break anything, so we are good to go! We shifted our highly technical, brick support upright to bring the radiator assembly closer to where it needed to be and began reassembly. At this point, PointerDixie214's wife was highly amused at the increasing amount of cursing that was occurring, mine was not.

Here she stands, somewhat reassembled, on our "modified brick support."
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That is the last picture from the install I have. Reassembly from here on proved to be more time consuming that I thought it would be. We ran into issues with a couple of bolts not wanting to go back into place, but overall it was smooth sailing once we got the crash bar back on the car. We reconnected all of the sensors, and finished the job around 9:30PM. After reconnecting the battery (not sure we really needed to disconnect it, but figured with all the sensors we were messing with it was probably not a bad idea), I started the car and watched my dashboard light up like a Christmas tree. Thankfully, PointerDixie214 pointed out our cars like to do that after disconnecting the battery, and after a lap around the block it was back to normal. We celebrated with a couple strong martinis and some ibuprofen as it is now far too obvious I ain't as good as I once was.

After 7.5 hours of work, a whole lot of cursing, a couple beers, and our wives questioning their judgment, we were done. It felt like a pretty big accomplishment, and I am glad we got to work on this project together. Needless to say, this was far more complicated than the old 240's cat back install. And here is a picture from the parking lot of the next morning's bike ride, proof that the car got reassembled!
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On my way home yesterday I did a few pulls to see how the intercooler was performing, and I can safely say it made a pretty big difference in preventing heat soak. After a few back to back pulls, it seemed just as strong. I don't have any data to back that up, but it certainly seemed to help quite a bit. Oddly enough it also seems like my A/C is working better now. Not sure if that is related, or just that I spent so much time outside this weekend it felt that much better. I would say that the Unitronics factory mount intercooler is a great way to go if you are looking to upgrade your intercooler. Just don't expect a truly "direct" fitment, and don't believe anyone who says it is less than a four hour job unless you are extremely competent with these cars.

One more picture, I got her detailed this morning. My car hasn't been this clean since I pulled off the lot!
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