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Mods you're wasting money on...

GTI Jake

Autocross Champion
Location
Charlotte, NC
I realize everyone has their own opinions on mods, so don't take this as an attack or personal. I just feel like misleading marketing tactics are tricking several mk7 owners into believing certain products are required to see performance gains. While dyno charts can show before and after gains, they should also be taken lightly, since conditions and dyno calibration can drastically effect the results. They are simply used as a go/no go tool to test back to back set ups to make sure results net a gain in HP & TQ vs stock. With that said, any "performance" product sold without proof via dyno graph is not very likely to improve performance...otherwise they'd show off the results? Right? Right. So with that said, here's my non brand specific list of mods to avoid, or at least save for last on your mod list and considered "bling or dress up/cosmetics" even tho they're advertised as "performance". I know this will piss a lot of people off, so to them I ask this. Prove me wrong. Prove these products are worth the investment.

1. Turbo Muffler delete- So the outlet of our turbo is the same size as the turbo outlet pipe, which leads to the intercooler, throttle pipe, throttle body, intake manifold, then finally into the head. What little turbulence may or may not happen way back at the turbo muffler (or delete) has no measurable effect on the HP and TQ you feel from the drivers seat. It's purely deleting an acoustic device designed to tame the turbo noise for the masses...that's it.

2. Turbo inlet pipe- That little 90* bend at the inlet of the turbo connecting it to your intake, is it a restriction? Well, no. It's not. The inside diameter of the turbo compressor housing isn't getting any bigger just because you slightly increased the piping just before it. You could do dyno pulls with an open turbo, no inlet pipe or intake at all and the results would be nearly identical. The turbo is not restricted by the stock inlet pipe.

3. Turbo outlet pipe & throttle pipe- Yes, the stock units are plastic and not perfectly round tubing. So is our intake manifold. Guess what? Several cars are making over 400-500whp with all of that ugly plastic in place, because for our turbocharged 2.0 they flow just fine.

4. Cold air intake- The stock intake is well designed, and can very cost effectively be improved with a drop in filter. Dyno results prove that no intake no matter what brand or price point has ever improved power by more than roughly 10whp. Now consider that many intakes cost the same or more than a piggy back power module or real tune (which can add 30-80whp) where is your money better spent? 10<80...there no shame in going the drop in route or even a hated open intake. Both with get you that minimal hp gain, but without the $500 price tag the extravagant carbon fiber units carry (with the same gains)

5. Cat back exhaust- Dual tips, quad tips, ten tips! It doesn't matter, the stock catback is not a restriction even at 450+whp. Proven by the current 1/4 world record holders both gti & R are running stock cat backs. If you've met your power goals and want more aggressive tone go for it, but stock or not you're paying $500-2000 for sound, not HP & TQ. Our cars benefit greatly from a 3" down pipe (esp when tuned to match) and added bonus this also wakes up the exhaust note with most down pipes (excluding those with cat & res options to keep noise to a minimum). Look again at hp gained per dollar spent. How much is 20-30whp worth?

6. Catch cans- Direct injection allows boost and timing otherwise impossible to run safely on pump gas. It also has one drawback that comes to mind, carbon build up on valves. While any modern direct injected turbo charged engine will circulate some oil film/foam thru it's recirculated PCV system ours does a pretty good job of minimizing it. Regardless of installing a catch can tho, between the inevitable oil blow by (damn turbo) and carbon deposits left from direct injection, you WILL need to clean the intake valves. If emptying a can of soupy oil broth helps you sleep at night spend the money on a can, but either way you or your mechanic will be cleaning those valves someday. Nature of the beast.

7. Aftermarket DV, BOV & spacers- The stock DV or diverter valve cuts boost pressure then dumps it back into the inlet of the turbo. This being completely controlled by the ecu and working with our electronically controlled waste gate can adjust boost in fractions of a second to match the engines demands virtually instantaneously. After market DV use old school methods such as dumping boost atmospherically and or by vacuum actuation (simple spring and piston held open or closed depending on boost/vacuum in the charge pipes). Some even modified the stock valve to "ensure reliability" but at the end of the day there's no fault with your stock DV! No point in spending money on a part proven to support 500+ hp reliably.

8. RS7 coil packs- not proven to improve anything, and there’s nothing wrong with the standard coil packs on our cars unless they’re worn due to high mileage

Fire away, bring on the arguments. But if this helps a few members spend their mod money more wisely in the name of performance I've done my job. Bling mod advocates don't forget to bring your dyno graphs to back up you're explanation of why I'm wrong! Go!
 
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mkygod

Ready to race!
What do you think about Automatic Hatch Pop Kits?

It makes it easier to pop the hatch open, but also makes it much harder to close it, thereby nullifying the convenience aspect, IMO.
 

GTI Jake

Autocross Champion
Location
Charlotte, NC
Sometimes it takes an unbiased opinion. I do some fabrication on the side including exhaust and intercooler piping. Sure it would be nice to have all the jobs because I told people they needed a custom TBE or a muffler delete, but that's not true. While it may be an option it's far from a requirement to improve these cars. In fact I haven't even built my own TBE yet, still rocking a simply muffler delete (just for sound) I built with extra bends I had laying around from previous builds because I don't need more flow yet. And because dad life ha
 

GTI Jake

Autocross Champion
Location
Charlotte, NC
What do you think about Automatic Hatch Pop Kits?

It makes it easier to pop the hatch open, but also makes it much harder to close it, thereby nullifying the convenience aspect, IMO.

I can't speak from direct experience since I only did the hatch pop kit on my first of three mk6, and haven't yet tried the mk7 kit.

From my mk6 I can say it's awesome being able to remotely pop the hatch! But as you pointed out making it harder to close is a big negative. Now that I'm married and my 5'5" 110# wife drives my mk7 that's a deal breaker. She'd be b*tching that I made it hard to close ha.

This particular list is aimed at performance parts only, which I guess I didn't specifically come out and say. The OEM plus creature comfort mods (lights, pop kits, folding mirrors, etc) as well as appearance only (wiper deletes, splitters, fender flairs, etc) are something you do purely out of want anyway. To judge that kinda things worth depends on each individual so I have no idea
 
Common knowledge over here, hardly anyone modifies their car for performance upgrades is it is not doing to happen. That type of mod died out in the 80's only the boy racers bolt on the go faster goodies all over their car. Re map or tuning boxes are all that will make a difference. I purchased my quad axle back purely for the deeper exhaust note and the looks.
 

greggles

Go Kart Champion
Location
usa
Excellent post. Fully agree with everything.

I'd actually add that replacing the stock DV can actually cause problems. The stock unit is THAT good. The ECU uses it as part of boost management, and fiddling with that can possibly cause odd quirks and problems.

On the outlet pipes. I'm sure you know (but just for others benefit) APR actually removed the aftermarket throttle pipes and charge pipes from a stage 3 car, because they felt they were causing issues. They put the OEM units back on, and the car was making roughly 540 bhp. (OEM DV, OEM Throttle Pipe, OEM charge pipe).

This car is definitely an excellent lesson in "leave it alone".
 

Willywonka

Ready to race!
Location
Nottingham pa
Now I changed a lot of that stuff in the engine bay. I think plastic in the engine bay is the ugliest thing. I change the intercooler piping with cts. A nice powder coated pipe. Changed the plastic turbo inlet pipe with the nice cts piece. The afe open intake that is nicely powder coated. Looks much better than plastic. I'll change my intake manifold when a nice one comes out. Even if it shows no improvement, I'll spend the money to make the car look the best to how I like it. I absolutely hate these engines (all makes) with plastic cover. But that is all there is going to be. No one makes a nice looking motor with a clean valve cover anymore.

Just to add, I changed the oil filter cover with an Ecs one. The dip stick with the usp piece. I hate the plastic that much.
 
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