GOLFMK8
GOLFMK7
GOLFMK6
GOLFMKV

Carmen - HoyaDub's 2017 Tornado Red GTI

HoyaDub

Ready to race!
Location
Washington, DC
Car(s)
2017 VW GTI Autobahn
Well it has been a while since I update this thread. Since last time I did my front and rear brake pads. The Endless pads up front are fantastic! Low dust, and they stop the car like a dream. I had bought what Nengun claimed were rear pads for my car, even called them to confirm, only to find out on install that they were definitely NOT rear brake pads for a MK7. If anyone knows what car they belong to, please let me know, those pads are a bit spendy to have go to waste if I can find someone to take them off my hands. As a result, I replaced the rears with Hawk HP Plus pads, and flushed the brakes so I could use Motul RBF600 fluid. Also threw on the AWE Touring exhaust, because why not?

The car as she sits right now:

IMG_20200709_192457.jpg

Conveniently, immediately after the new brakes, and install of the exhaust, my wife and I were en route to Tapoco Lodge, in North Carolina for our friends wedding. Now for those not familiar with the area, this place sits literally at one end of Tail of the Dragon, 2 miles from the Killboy center and the Deals Gap motorcycle resort. I could not miss such a great opportunity to test everything I have done to the car thus far. Over the course of the weekend I drove the Dragon five times, Moonshiner 28 three times, the surrounding roads a couple times, and the Cherohala skyway once on the way out. I can certainly understand why people travel from all over the states to drive these roads. Now for pictures and short reviews of the newly installed goodies!

Filling up with gas at the start of our trip. She has a nice booty, so I figured I would take a pic.
InkedIMG_20200715_142634_LI.jpg


Review (AWE Touring Exhaust): The AWE Touring exhaust is fantastic, by itself it is a bit too tame, a noticeable difference from stock on cold starts, but otherwise no louder under normal conditions. I think it will be even better once my downpipe finally arrives, giving the right balance between daily driveability and noise. Without an aftermarket downpipe there is no drone at all, regardless of speed, and is deeper than stock without being much louder. From what I have heard, the lack of drone is retained after downpipe. The newest update from BMP on the downpipe is that it should ship "soon". No pics of that install, decided even though it is a simple job, given the stupidly hot temperatures we have been having, the street being my only place to park the car, and my desire to get the full exhaust system out of my office floor, it was worthwhile to pay a shop to do it for me. Eventually I will record a sound clip.

On the way in I experienced my first run of tail of the dragon, but given the roads were wet and my wife was in the car we took it easy. I have to admit, prior to this trip I had heard a lot about people being careless on the road, and I was pretty sketched out by the wet roads and 11 miles of hairpin turns. After arriving at the lodge, I had to take a quick picture of the car. The lighting and the water from the drive on the way in made for a great picture.
InkedIMG_20200716_192828_LI.jpg


For anyone who has never been to Tail of the Dragon, and who wants a nice escape from reality, I highly recommend the lodge. There is absolutely no cell phone reception there, so you can truly disconnect from the world, while being surrounded by some of the best driving roads on the East coast. The scenery is beautiful, and aside from driving, there is tons of hiking ranging from family friendly waterfall hikes, to multiple day long treks. There is great fishing nearby, and even whitewater rafting. My wife and I are already planning a fall trip (provided restrictions allow it) to explore the area some more, and see the leaf change.

The morning after arriving, I woke up to drive Moonshiner 28 and see the Fontana Dam. The dam itself is pretty impressive. Unfortunately the visitors center was closed due to Covid, and I was not able to explore it as much as I would have liked, but something about standing on a structure that is containing a wall of water several hundred feet high is awe inspiring. So much so I totally forgot to take pictures of the damn dam. Fortunately, I found a pretty great pull off for photo ops, so here's one of the car!
InkedIMG_20200717_130428_LI.jpg


After getting back to the cabin and taking a nap, the soon to be groom and I rode to the Killboy center to get my souvenir pint glass, and free sticker. As we were leaving to head back to the lodge, which is a right turn, we decided the roads were dry so it was as good a time as any to see what the old GTI was made of. We turned left, romped the throttle and began my first run on the Dragon with dry roads. I have loved this car since the day I got it. I loved it in stock form, and I have loved every modification I have made to it prior to this trip. Nailing apexes on the Dragon exponentially increased that love. For what I describe as the perfect "jack of all trades" vehicle, the ultimate in practicality, this thing exceeded every expectation I had. It handles on rails and does not give up.
 

HoyaDub

Ready to race!
Location
Washington, DC
Car(s)
2017 VW GTI Autobahn
Inked2992816_LI.jpg


First thing I noticed is that the Michelin tires truly are fabulous. Their grip in the corners is incredible, and their confidence far exceeds mine! By far the best "mod" I have done to the car so far was the PS4S. After driving the dragon one way, I decided to give the groom the keys as he had never driven a MK7 before, and let him drive on the way back. He is big into the Subaru scene and has one of the more unique cars of anyone I know, a RWD converted Impreza RS with more suspension and handling goodies than you can imagine, a roll cage, and a stripped interior. He was immediately impressed with how well the car handled whatever he threw at it, all while retaining a very daily friendly demeanor, and while being comfortable enough for long drives with two people and two dogs. About halfway down the road, he determined he wants a GTI. Score one for VW!

After making it safely back to the lodge, the groom had to get ready for his wedding rehearsal, I had to go enjoy the air conditioning because it was hot as hell outside. During the rehearsal dinner, one of the other guys mentioned he had brought his mini to the wedding, and we decided the next morning would probably need to involve another run before it got crowded with other drivers and the 5-0.

InkedIMG_20200718_102710_LI.jpg

Inked2992812_LI.jpg


Review (Neuspeed 25mm RSB): This was my first opportunity to really test what the rear sway bar had done for the car. My god it is night and day difference from stock. There is certainly still some body roll at the limits, but the car handles on rails, and does exactly what you tell it to. There was essentially no understeer at all. The Neuspeed 25mm RSB in my opinion is difficult to beat if you are looking to add some playfulness to the rear of the car, without it being too crazy. No matter how hard I pushed the car, it stayed confident and refused to give up. At one point it stepped out a little on me, but with relatively little drama it was back in line and asking for more. The following three photos document my only minor "oh shit" moment of the whole trip, entered a corner a little hot, lifted the rear driver side tire, but no drama whatsoever from the car.

Inked'13226010-129Slayer_LI.jpg

Inked'13226015-129Slayer_LI.jpg

Inked'13226016-129Slayer_LI.jpg


These were my last two daylight runs of the dragon. It is incredible how exhausting it is to drive a road like that in each directionback to back. Later that night my friend in the mini and I decided to give it a go at night. Horrible idea. That road is absolutely terrifying at night, at some points you can barely see in front of you, and even though we were driving it slow as hell on account of the darkness, there were a couple times I am pretty sure a little poo came out. When we got back to the lodge, we decided we had enough of the dragon for one trip, drank several beers to celebrate our friend's new marriage, and then I slept like a baby until it was time to leave the next morning.

Few more pics, just because:
Inked2992813_LI.jpg

Inked2992815_LI.jpg


Review (Brake pads): Prior to this trip, I only had the front brake pads install as a result of the aforementioned "eff up" by Nengun, which unfortunately, seems unlikely to be resolved. The Endless MX72 pads up front are fantastic. They stop well, produce very little dust, and are noise free. The rear Hawk HP Plus pads likewise are fantastic for what they are, a fairly aggressive track focused pad that retains the ability to be safely used for street driving. As well as the car stopped before upgrading the rear pads, the Hawk pads made a bigger difference than I thought they would being in the rear. They dust quite a bit, but no more than the OEM pads, so the added performance is worth it with one caveat. My car was silent with the Endless front and OEM rear pads. NOT the case with these. When relatively minimal pressure is applied to the brakes, the Hawk pads squeal like crazy. For a while it was bad enough that I was considering removing them and reverting to OEM rears due to the embarrassing screech they would make during normal braking. After breaking them in over the course of the drive to and from North Carolina, they have gotten quite a bit better so I will keep them on the car, but I still have to find the right balance of pressure to apply to avoid the squeal when braking from low speeds.
 
Last edited:

pointerDixie214

New member
Location
South Central, PA
Car(s)
2019 GTI; 1971 MGB
Pics look great - nice write up. Glad you guys had fun.

You have just about sold me on your tires after my stockers go bad. Since I run winter wheels'tires anyways, I am not too worried about how they'll perform in the snow.
 

HoyaDub

Ready to race!
Location
Washington, DC
Car(s)
2017 VW GTI Autobahn
My downpipe finally arrived, and just in the nick of time! With any luck I will get it installed no later than this weekend and flash to Stage 2 with a DSG tune.

IMG_20200731_160329.jpg


Over the last few weeks I have done a few minor things to the car. The Hawk pads came off the rear and were replaced with OEM rear brake pads. After putting a couple thousand miles on them the squealing noise from the pads when stopping became too much for daily driving. I am keep the pads for track days, but I am happy to have a quiet car again.

Otherwise, I replaced the stock coolant hose with the APR reroute one, honestly that was a much larger pain in the butt than I was expecting. Most of the job was simple, but getting the one way valve out of the old hose, and into the new one proved to be quite annoying. No idea why APR didn't just include a new valve in the new hose, seems like kind of a stupid oversight.

IMG_20200901_171959.jpg


In addition to the coolant hose reroute, I figured since I will be flashing stage 2 soon I would update the coilpacks for the hell of it. Urotuning had their Velt coil packs on sale, and I had a twenty dollar coupon since I have given them too much money so I figured why not. Super easy install, took all of five minutes, now I have some red accents! One observation: Our engine is hideous without the cover on it. Can't tell any difference in the car now, but figure it will help the car run smoother after the Stage 2 tune.

IMG_20200819_140426.jpg


Lastly, is Eurocode's rear chassis brace. Eurocode had the front and rear brace on sale, and I figured why not go for it? At the very least they look cool. After a couple weeks of waiting because Eurocode needed to annodize the front bar, they arrived. Super high quality feeling pieces. I installed the rear almost immediately because it does not involve jacking the car up. After the install I took it for a quick spin. It might be a placebo affect, but the car did feel a little stiffer and more responsive afterward! I am excited to get the front installed for the full affect.

IMG_20200828_091249.jpg


Overall this car is really coming together just as I envisioned it. There have been some hiccups along the way, mostly related to brake pads, but I am incredibly happy with the car. I have not yet decide what all I will do next. Probably a front sway bar, and maybe some more handling goodies. Once the car is Stage 2 I am done with adding power unless something breaks.
 
Last edited:

2010GTI4me

Go Kart Champion
Location
NJ/NY
Car(s)
2017 GTI Autobahn
I meant to jump on the Eurocode sale to pick up their front brace, but I just checked again and it's back to full price. Did you install it yet?
 

HoyaDub

Ready to race!
Location
Washington, DC
Car(s)
2017 VW GTI Autobahn
I meant to jump on the Eurocode sale to pick up their front brace, but I just checked again and it's back to full price. Did you install it yet?
Not yet, but @pointerDixie214 is letting me use his driveway and garage to throw the downpipe on this weekend, so I will take the front bar to install too and report back. Maybe for the first time in months I will have an office that isn't full of car parts since everything left is easy to install
 

HoyaDub

Ready to race!
Location
Washington, DC
Car(s)
2017 VW GTI Autobahn
This last weekend was an exciting weekend with the car! Officially sent it, and went APR Stage 2 with TCU tune. If anyone happens to live near Lebanon, PA and needs a good shop, the guys at AP Tuning were able to get me in last minute on a Saturday to get the two flashes done, so shout out to them!

I fully intended to start the downpipe install on Friday night, but alas, I got distracted by beer and catching up with family so we started the install Saturday morning. Overall the process wasn't too bad, there are three points of the process that proved to be kind of a pain, but not particularly difficult. The first was reaching the bolt on the inside of the stock downpipe. I could not really see it from underneath the car, so basically went in blind from the top. That thing was on TIGHT! Once that came off the rest of the process was smooth up until getting the downpipe out. After finagling it around for probably like 45 we took a break to curse at the car and eat breakfast. After breakfast the cursing helped us figure out that it works way better with someone helping from the top of the car. Downpipe out, and onto the install!

The install of the new downpipe was pretty easy. The only snag we ran into was that the reducer connecting my AWE catback to the stock downpipe was seized in the exhaust. Eventually we got that out after using a crapload of pb blaster and a large adjustable wrench to grip the reducer. Then we got the 3" connecting pipe in there and were good to go! Fired up the car, and drove it to AP Tuning for the flash. I am incredibly happy with the sound of the car now. It is definitely significantly louder on cold start or under WOT but is tame enough to be comfortable on long drives. I think the AWE Touring exhaust with downpipe is the perfect compromise for those who, like me, want the added performance of stage 2 without the noise being too ridiculous.

And a picture of the finished product, don't mind the dirty engine bay! I will try to upload a sound clip of the cold start eventually.

IMG_20200901_171931.jpg


And now for the reviews:

APR Stage 2 ECU Tune:
I am not really sure it is worth writing a long review of the tune considering you will not be able to get their Stage 2 tune anymore unless you have an activation code or it is a reflash, but overall I am happy with it. Definitely not the same level of gains as Stage 1 (obvious statement is obvious), but the car does feel faster and more responsive. Overall extremely happy with it! I did not get the pops and bangs tune, because I hate them with a passion, but the DSG farts are loud, and it has a fun burbling sound as the car decelerates that I love. Pretty short review because I got the TCU flash at the same time, which is far more impressive to me.

APR TCU Tune: I honestly was debating whether or not to even bother with the TCU tune, but I decide to do it for two reasons. First and foremost was that I was concerned about the long-term reliability of the DSG on a high torque stage 2 tune, and was told by many trusted sources that the TCU tune would help with that. Second was that even though I was on the fence, I didn't want to be "that guy" who showed up to the shop after they worked me in at the end of the day on a Saturday, just to hand over the sheet for the flash included with the APR downpipe. I am not sure how much, if anything, the shop gets of the sale of the tune, but if it was anything at all I wanted to make the trip at least a little more worth the shops time.

I have now driven the car a few hundred miles with the TCU tune and can safely say if I was to choose an ECU tune or a TCU tune, I am pretty sure I would choose the TCU. The shifts are incredibly crisp and instantaneous, the car shifts when I want it to in all modes now, whereas before it would upshift far too early, or wait too long to downshift. The car feels significantly faster as a result of the car shifting how it should have from the factory. Combined with Stage 2, this thing feels fast. If you are on the fence about a TCU tune for your car, just do it. You won't regret it. With these two tunes, this car is exactly what I was going for when I started this project. Over time I will add some more handling goodies, but in the meantime this thing is a blast to drive.
 

jimlloyd40

Autocross Champion
Location
Phoenix
Car(s)
2018 SE DSG
This last weekend was an exciting weekend with the car! Officially sent it, and went APR Stage 2 with TCU tune. If anyone happens to live near Lebanon, PA and needs a good shop, the guys at AP Tuning were able to get me in last minute on a Saturday to get the two flashes done, so shout out to them!

I fully intended to start the downpipe install on Friday night, but alas, I got distracted by beer and catching up with family so we started the install Saturday morning. Overall the process wasn't too bad, there are three points of the process that proved to be kind of a pain, but not particularly difficult. The first was reaching the bolt on the inside of the stock downpipe. I could not really see it from underneath the car, so basically went in blind from the top. That thing was on TIGHT! Once that came off the rest of the process was smooth up until getting the downpipe out. After finagling it around for probably like 45 we took a break to curse at the car and eat breakfast. After breakfast the cursing helped us figure out that it works way better with someone helping from the top of the car. Downpipe out, and onto the install!

The install of the new downpipe was pretty easy. The only snag we ran into was that the reducer connecting my AWE catback to the stock downpipe was seized in the exhaust. Eventually we got that out after using a crapload of pb blaster and a large adjustable wrench to grip the reducer. Then we got the 3" connecting pipe in there and were good to go! Fired up the car, and drove it to AP Tuning for the flash. I am incredibly happy with the sound of the car now. It is definitely significantly louder on cold start or under WOT but is tame enough to be comfortable on long drives. I think the AWE Touring exhaust with downpipe is the perfect compromise for those who, like me, want the added performance of stage 2 without the noise being too ridiculous.

And a picture of the finished product, don't mind the dirty engine bay! I will try to upload a sound clip of the cold start eventually.

View attachment 184699

And now for the reviews:

APR Stage 2 ECU Tune:
I am not really sure it is worth writing a long review of the tune considering you will not be able to get their Stage 2 tune anymore unless you have an activation code or it is a reflash, but overall I am happy with it. Definitely not the same level of gains as Stage 1 (obvious statement is obvious), but the car does feel faster and more responsive. Overall extremely happy with it! I did not get the pops and bangs tune, because I hate them with a passion, but the DSG farts are loud, and it has a fun burbling sound as the car decelerates that I love. Pretty short review because I got the TCU flash at the same time, which is far more impressive to me.

APR TCU Tune: I honestly was debating whether or not to even bother with the TCU tune, but I decide to do it for two reasons. First and foremost was that I was concerned about the long-term reliability of the DSG on a high torque stage 2 tune, and was told by many trusted sources that the TCU tune would help with that. Second was that even though I was on the fence, I didn't want to be "that guy" who showed up to the shop after they worked me in at the end of the day on a Saturday, just to hand over the sheet for the flash included with the APR downpipe. I am not sure how much, if anything, the shop gets of the sale of the tune, but if it was anything at all I wanted to make the trip at least a little more worth the shops time.

I have now driven the car a few hundred miles with the TCU tune and can safely say if I was to choose an ECU tune or a TCU tune, I am pretty sure I would choose the TCU. The shifts are incredibly crisp and instantaneous, the car shifts when I want it to in all modes now, whereas before it would upshift far too early, or wait too long to downshift. The car feels significantly faster as a result of the car shifting how it should have from the factory. Combined with Stage 2, this thing feels fast. If you are on the fence about a TCU tune for your car, just do it. You won't regret it. With these two tunes, this car is exactly what I was going for when I started this project. Over time I will add some more handling goodies, but in the meantime this thing is a blast to drive.
Congrats.
 

tpellegr

Go Kart Champion
Location
Boston, MA
Car(s)
2016 GTI S 6MT
This last weekend was an exciting weekend with the car! Officially sent it, and went APR Stage 2 with TCU tune. If anyone happens to live near Lebanon, PA and needs a good shop, the guys at AP Tuning were able to get me in last minute on a Saturday to get the two flashes done, so shout out to them!

I fully intended to start the downpipe install on Friday night, but alas, I got distracted by beer and catching up with family so we started the install Saturday morning. Overall the process wasn't too bad, there are three points of the process that proved to be kind of a pain, but not particularly difficult. The first was reaching the bolt on the inside of the stock downpipe. I could not really see it from underneath the car, so basically went in blind from the top. That thing was on TIGHT! Once that came off the rest of the process was smooth up until getting the downpipe out. After finagling it around for probably like 45 we took a break to curse at the car and eat breakfast. After breakfast the cursing helped us figure out that it works way better with someone helping from the top of the car. Downpipe out, and onto the install!

The install of the new downpipe was pretty easy. The only snag we ran into was that the reducer connecting my AWE catback to the stock downpipe was seized in the exhaust. Eventually we got that out after using a crapload of pb blaster and a large adjustable wrench to grip the reducer. Then we got the 3" connecting pipe in there and were good to go! Fired up the car, and drove it to AP Tuning for the flash. I am incredibly happy with the sound of the car now. It is definitely significantly louder on cold start or under WOT but is tame enough to be comfortable on long drives. I think the AWE Touring exhaust with downpipe is the perfect compromise for those who, like me, want the added performance of stage 2 without the noise being too ridiculous.

And a picture of the finished product, don't mind the dirty engine bay! I will try to upload a sound clip of the cold start eventually.

View attachment 184699

And now for the reviews:

APR Stage 2 ECU Tune:
I am not really sure it is worth writing a long review of the tune considering you will not be able to get their Stage 2 tune anymore unless you have an activation code or it is a reflash, but overall I am happy with it. Definitely not the same level of gains as Stage 1 (obvious statement is obvious), but the car does feel faster and more responsive. Overall extremely happy with it! I did not get the pops and bangs tune, because I hate them with a passion, but the DSG farts are loud, and it has a fun burbling sound as the car decelerates that I love. Pretty short review because I got the TCU flash at the same time, which is far more impressive to me.

APR TCU Tune: I honestly was debating whether or not to even bother with the TCU tune, but I decide to do it for two reasons. First and foremost was that I was concerned about the long-term reliability of the DSG on a high torque stage 2 tune, and was told by many trusted sources that the TCU tune would help with that. Second was that even though I was on the fence, I didn't want to be "that guy" who showed up to the shop after they worked me in at the end of the day on a Saturday, just to hand over the sheet for the flash included with the APR downpipe. I am not sure how much, if anything, the shop gets of the sale of the tune, but if it was anything at all I wanted to make the trip at least a little more worth the shops time.

I have now driven the car a few hundred miles with the TCU tune and can safely say if I was to choose an ECU tune or a TCU tune, I am pretty sure I would choose the TCU. The shifts are incredibly crisp and instantaneous, the car shifts when I want it to in all modes now, whereas before it would upshift far too early, or wait too long to downshift. The car feels significantly faster as a result of the car shifting how it should have from the factory. Combined with Stage 2, this thing feels fast. If you are on the fence about a TCU tune for your car, just do it. You won't regret it. With these two tunes, this car is exactly what I was going for when I started this project. Over time I will add some more handling goodies, but in the meantime this thing is a blast to drive.
Looks awesome man. Great work!
 

HoyaDub

Ready to race!
Location
Washington, DC
Car(s)
2017 VW GTI Autobahn
Thanks everyone, it definitely feels great to have this car pretty much where I wanted it to be at the start. Down the road we will see if that changes, I have vowed to only replace things from now on if they break (if the turbo goes I will install an is38, when the dampers go I will swap to coilovers). But for now I am loving it! I did recently get one last modification, but I figure this one is for safety. My thought process is since the car is now running significantly more power than it used to, and I do intend on tracking the car it was needed. So I picked up a Halguard fire extinguisher for the car prior to my October trip back down to Tail of the Dragon. Seeing the picture in the Killboy center of the GTR that caught fire due to dry leaves hitting the brakes is what drove this purchase.

IMG_20200910_181127.jpg


I took her for a quick spin this morning in the cool air (it was 55 here this morning). She LOVES the cool air, and I got a little bit of wheelspin from 30 so that was exciting. The downpipe has since broken in a little bit, and the sound has only gotten better. During normal driving and at idle it is about the same volume it was with just the catback, but a little more "burbly" and deep. Under hard acceleration it is loud and sounds fantastic! The DSG farts are amazing, and make it sound like it has a little bit of a crackle without having the pops and bangs tune. This is perfect because driving around DC it is generally frowned upon for your car to sound like gunshots. I am 100% convinced if you want a car that sounds great, without pissing off your neighbors or creating an obnoxious drone in the car, this setup is the way to go.
 
Top