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Colored in Light's Mk7 GTI Project

coloredinlight

New member
Location
Dallas, TX
Car(s)
MK7 GTI Autobahn
Hi all, introducing myself here with the intention of opening a build thread for the first time since, years admittedly. I'm glad to see this forum active, and existing in general since it seems most of Facebook has taken over the online car scene.

I've been big in the Miata game for the last 5 years now building my NC MX-5 from a budget roadster to basically ready for track duties now. It's currently in the process of getting a Ford Fusion 2.5 Duratec engine dropped in, which called for a new daily - hence the GTI.

Another reason I added the new car to the fleet was my wife and I found out in January we were expecting our first kid. The Miata is not car seat friendly to say the least, and I've lusted after a golf since the Mk5 came out. I remember my dad taking me to the dealership before I had my license just to look at them. I got the "Find Your Fast" marketing DVD and watched it over and over. When I knew it was time for the turbo hatch I had always wanted - I checked out the Ford Fiesta/Focus ST, Hyundai Veloster, Subaru WRX and of course the GTI.

It was a pretty easy decision, especially given that Texas has been hit hard by Covid-19 that it's not ideal to be out and about testing cars and shaking hands. All my research had been done online, watching reviews and relying on the internet. But the GTI was always at the forefront for me. The flaws never outweighed the negatives.

Project Dad Wagon began in June, with the intention of turning this 2017 Mk7 GTI Autobahn into a nice looking daily with the capability of hitting the back roads of DFW without missing a beat. My builds usually start small, in an effort to learn about the car. Springs come before coilovers, etc. Here's the dealership photo below, and since I've already started on this project, I'll continue the posts below in order of the mods.

I'd like to mention that all my car modifications and projects are featured on my YouTube channel. I'd love to welcome some of you GTI guys to take a look and subscribe if you find the videos interesting or entertaining!

103161146_260684898346789_3250859824230118615_n.jpg
 

Faceman

Drag Racing Champion
Location
Long Island
Car(s)
'17 GSW 4Mo
Wagon?
 

coloredinlight

New member
Location
Dallas, TX
Car(s)
MK7 GTI Autobahn
I brought the car home and had been tooling around in it for about a week. Of course I had to introduce it on my channel and give my first initial thoughts. I'm certainly not a car reviewer, I know what I like and what I want in car.

The Autobahn trim was what I was really after, I wanted the bells and whistles. I wanted the performance pack, the lighting package, sunroof and leather seats. Did I REALLY want the plaid seats? Yes, but I've never had leather seats in a car before so in a way wanted to experience it for myself. The interior is my favorite part of the car, it's so comfortable and just a complete 180 compared to the MX-5. Of course the cars are just totally different, but it's nice being in something with more creature comforts.

The dealership sold the car with the Austin wheels that were a little rashed and there was also some minor, but well covering hail damage. We worked in the deal of replacing the wheels and fixing the hail damage. Much to my surprise their PDR guys really got rid of all the dings and the wheels look better than ever. The car overall has some marring in the paint from a roof rack and some love marks here and there. It lived a life mostly outside, so etching from bird droppings is noticeable to a detailed eye.

Otherwise, at 28,000 miles it's certainly been cared for to an extent and I'm overall very very happy with the car.

GTI reveal.jpg


GTI teaser-2.jpg


GTI teaser-3.jpg


GTI teaser-4.jpg


GTI teaser-5.jpg


GTI teaser-1.jpg
 

coloredinlight

New member
Location
Dallas, TX
Car(s)
MK7 GTI Autobahn
After getting the car, and all week while I waited for the PDR and new wheels to be completed, I started digging into aftermarket sites and reading forum posts. It's not in my character to leave a car unmodified. I'm a big believer in making things your own and putting your own person touch on it. I started simple with a set of aluminum extended paddles shifters for the DSG transmission. I'm not psyched on the automatic transmission, but while the MX-5 is a 5 speed manual, the wife needs to get around in the GTI if needed as well. The DSG transmission really is awesome. It shifts so quickly and when using the paddle shifters I wanted the experience to feel a little more involved than mashing a piece of plastic.

I went with the brushed aluminum paddle shifters. I found these on Amazon, and they fit really really well. The install was easy, and the clicky noise you get when initializing shifts is much more satisfying.

DSG Paddle Extensions-2.jpg


DSG Paddle Extensions-1.jpg
 

coloredinlight

New member
Location
Dallas, TX
Car(s)
MK7 GTI Autobahn
It was interesting to learn that the fog lights were all one unit without a replaceable bulb. I was happy to know that the units are LED, which is something I like to add to all my cars. I always liked the look of yellow fog lights and love the yellow hue to offset the bright white of the headlights at night. I found the lamin-x kit that is a straightforward addition, but read that there is some light bleed possible and that the blue-ish hue can create a green effect when switched on.

I decided to go with the yellow film I used on my MX-5 which has held up really well over the last few years and adds a nice sold color change. Removing the GTI fog lights were pretty easy to do after a little research. They drop out from the fender wells with only a couple bolts removed. The units themselves are easy to add film to, although I did find that while nothing out of the ordinary happened on my first go on the passenger side; it seems I may have peeled off a protective clear coat on the plastic (driver side). Not a huge deal since I was covering up the lenses anyways.

I went with 2 layers of tint on each. I think ideally 3 would be the go to amount to get a really deep yellow, but I'm happy with how they look for now. Leans more yellow rather than green when the lights are switched on too with no light bleed since the film is folded over all sides.

yellow fog lights-1.jpg


yellow fog lights-2.jpg
 
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coloredinlight

New member
Location
Dallas, TX
Car(s)
MK7 GTI Autobahn
In an effort to blend in the led strip on the mirror, I first thought tinting would be an option. When I started searching for other solutions, I came across a lot of owners replacing the entire unit with these dynamic LED signals. Then I found a pre-smoked version which sold me pretty instantly. I love the way they flow across the mirror and add a subtle hint that you added a little touch to the exterior of the car.

The install was pretty easy, only needing a little prying and unclipping to get the mirror caps and led units out. I'm really happy with the result and can move onto the next bit of items. I'm really excited to make my way into adding some engine related modifications in the coming days!

dynamic turn signals.jpg
 

coloredinlight

New member
Location
Dallas, TX
Car(s)
MK7 GTI Autobahn
This was somewhat of a tier 2 modification for me. In a sense that, I wasn't entirely ready to mess with the engine mechanics, but understood enough of the engineering of the intake system that I felt immediately comfortable installing this. Yes yes, it's an unbranded piece from eBay. But I tried to keep my budget in mind when I spent the $60 compared to a brand $80 piece. I figured any bad welds or design would be noticeable and I would just return it if need be. Turns out, the eBay special turbo inlet pipe wasn't half bad on quality. The welds looked good, it was powdercoated and didn't present any air leaks when tested.

I did realize that reaching the back of the engine while standing meant stretching your MCL to the point of ripping and a sore back for the next day, but it was worth the learning experience.

Final Thoughts: While surely the design accommodates a larger volume of air and smoother design, I don't know it adds any truly noticeable differences in sound or power. I'm sure it DOES do something, maybe it's better grouped with other modifications. At the end of the day, I like it, I'm not mad I bought it or installed it. Onto the next!

turbo inlet pipe.jpg
 

coloredinlight

New member
Location
Dallas, TX
Car(s)
MK7 GTI Autobahn
Slap on a JB4, pull the snow guard, drop in an AFE filter, mount some sticky tires, dogbone insert and splash some ethanol in the tank.
I've got a whole little intake set coming and will be removing the snow guard as well! I appreciate the suggestions. I've got the dogbone insert saved, looks interesting.
 

hotbascosauce

Go Kart Champion
Location
Seattle, WA
Car(s)
19 GTI SE DSG W/DCC
Congrats. Me and my wife are expecting our first kid in December. Ive done all the same mods as you except the turbo inlet pipe, and the ones daconchslop recommended. JB4, better tires, and the dogbone make the world of difference.
 

coloredinlight

New member
Location
Dallas, TX
Car(s)
MK7 GTI Autobahn
Congrats. Me and my wife are expecting our first kid in December. Ive done all the same mods as you except the turbo inlet pipe, and the ones daconchslop recommended. JB4, better tires, and the dogbone make the world of difference.
Thanks! Congrats as well. We're due for September, so just a couple more months now. What kind of tires would you recommend? I had the Firestone Indy 500 on a previous car and thought they were great for the money. In Texas, we don't have to mess around with all-seasons much since we don't really get a winter here.
 

hotbascosauce

Go Kart Champion
Location
Seattle, WA
Car(s)
19 GTI SE DSG W/DCC
Thanks! Congrats as well. We're due for September, so just a couple more months now. What kind of tires would you recommend? I had the Firestone Indy 500 on a previous car and thought they were great for the money. In Texas, we don't have to mess around with all-seasons much since we don't really get a winter here.
I went with General GMAX-RS. After installing JB4 on my stock Bridgestones, the tires would just spin and then traction control would interfere. I sold the factory tires for $300 locally with only 3000miles on them. There was a $70 mail-in-rebate on them in the spring. Another mod that makes a world of difference on these cars is a rear sway bar. I have a Hotchkis 25.5mm one with Moog endlinks, but pretty much all the brands of rear sway bar are good.
https://www.hotrod.com/articles/generals-g-max-rs-may-change-the-way-uhp-tires-are-made/
 

PowerDemon

Autocross Champion
Location
Fredericksburg, VA
Car(s)
Mk7 GTI
Thanks! Congrats as well. We're due for September, so just a couple more months now. What kind of tires would you recommend? I had the Firestone Indy 500 on a previous car and thought they were great for the money. In Texas, we don't have to mess around with all-seasons much since we don't really get a winter here.

The Firestone Indy 500s are great on my car. If your budget allows the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S is an excellent choice. It is the gold standard for a summer street performance tire as far as I am concerned. Stickier options such as the Nitto NT-05 are available at the expense of noise, longevity, and quickness to warm up.
 
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