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My Deathtrap GTI build

etmanning1

Go Kart Champion
Location
NJ
Car(s)
2018 GTI
After lurking around for years, it’s probably time I properly introduce myself and my MK7.

This GTI was (Is) my first car, and I have had a blast learning to drive and work on cars throughout my ownership. I purchased my car new in may of 2018, and have been improving it incrementally ever since!

Current mod list (Timeline below)

Engine:
> EQT Vortex hybrid turbo
> Walbro 450 LPFP
> PM4 fuel controller
> Autotech HPFP
> APR Ignition coils
> 5/4 bar MAP sensor upgrades
> Protuned through Cobb AP

Intake/Exhaust Mods:
> APR intake + ECS silicone hose
> CTS (?) TIP
> EQT Discharge pipe
> ECS Throttle pipe
> Ebay "Majesty" Intercooler
> CTS 3" downpipe + cat-back exhaust

Suspension/Wheels/Chassis:
> Bilstein B16 coilovers
> Konig Dekagram 18 x 8.5" Et 43
> Firestone Indy 500 255/35
> Porsche Macan BBK
> BFI stage 2 Engine/Trans/Dogbone mounts
> Roc-Euro stabilizer arm
> Euro-Sport front strut brace & Rear hatch brace
> ECS front & rear adjustable endlinks
> ST 25mm Rear sway bar

Supporting/Misc. Mods:
> Southbend stage 3 endurance clutch kit
> Dieselgeek Shifter setup
> Fuel-it ethanol sensor
> IE PCV replacement & catch can system
> iAbed Billet Rear main seal
> 30% / 20% Ceramic tint
> 034 DD Aluminum Wheel spacers
> Rear wiper delete
> SAI delete
> A/C delete (haters welcome)
> USP Stainless steel clutch line
> ECS clutch bleeder block

_______________

I purchased my 2018 mk7.5 GTI SE new in May of 2018 for ~$32,000. I was able to get all of the options I was looking for- Leather, 6MT, PP, and of course the red color :cool:

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I also purchased a set of OEM rotary wheels in anthracite, which were mounted on the car when It arrived.

This was (is) my first car, so I struggled at first with driving manual, but quickly got the hang of it and put a few thousand miles on the car.

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At 1,000 miles I added a stage 2 BFI dogbone insert. About 500 miles later tint was applied, as well as a short shifter and I deleted the rear wiper at around 2,200 miles. The car was already coming together!



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After driving for another ~500 miles, I decided that I needed more sound! Unfortunately, I purchased a cheapo $92 catless downpipe to fit up, and struggled with exhaust leaks and rattles from poor fitment.

Eventually I was able to get the install sorted, and enjoyed the downpipe for another 25,000+ miles.

When the car rolled over 5,000 miles I installed a Jb4 to bump the power up a bit. After running map 2 and a custom map 6 for a while, I removed the system after only 4,000 miles. No other mods were done during this period, but the dealership did perform a free oil change at some point.

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I then drove the car stock for a while during a move across the country, and managed to make it to 18,000 miles with no hiccups, with an oil change or two in between.

The modding bug hit hard again in the spring, and I installed a MAP open intake, as well as a new JB4 unit and WVR lowering springs to tie it all together.
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Over the summer, I continued to update the car, adding the following in close order: ECS Flush kit, whiteline front endlinks, EBC redsuff pads, Indy 500 245/40 tires. At this point, the car was in Arizona, and I was tearing up canyons regularly with friends. The car performed great in the twisties with the small power pump, slight suspension changes, and other small tweaks done at this point.

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I also sent it a little too hard one night, and roasted the stock clutch at around 23,000 miles. In went a BFI stage 3 kit and the car was all good again, if a bit chattery.
 
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etmanning1

Go Kart Champion
Location
NJ
Car(s)
2018 GTI
The car moved back to NJ in the summer of 2019, and I began planning for the next setup.
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A friend was parting out their car, so I was able to grab a Vortex turbo to install, as well as suspension, intake, and more!

I went to work that fall, Installing everything needed for big power 😲

The following parts were installed for the first revision of the vortex setup:

>Vortex turbo
> Autotech HPFP
> Ebay intercooler
> APR intake
> B16 coilovers
> EQT discharge pipes
> Cobb AP
> NGK spark plugs

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After a few weekends of work, and a rushed dyno day, the car managed 419 wheel HP and 399 Ft-Lbs on the dyno at 29 PSI on pump 93. Procom racing did an alignment and corner balancing, and I took the car to it's second track event the next day.
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Unfortunately, I quickly found the limits of my braking system with the added power and grip, so the car was able to complete two and a half sessions before the brakes completely faded out.

I worked out bugs and tweaked the setup throughout the next few months, Installing an IE catch can system, as well as an upgraded clutch line and roc-euro bar to reduce wheel hop.

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etmanning1

Go Kart Champion
Location
NJ
Car(s)
2018 GTI
I continued adding supporting mods for the new power, most importantly a set of stage 2 engine & transmission mounts and a new dogbone insert at 29,000 miles.

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Nearing 31,000 miles I finally ditched the cheap downpipe and DIY exhaust for a full CTS turboback, which improved sound dramatically! In preparation for the 2020 summer, new wheels and tires were fitted. I went with an 8.5" wide konig dekagram for it's ability to fit a larger 255 tire, and as a huge weight savings per corner over the OEM rotaries (28 lbs vs 19 lbs per wheel)

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The car's setup stayed pretty much the same through spring/summer 2021. I added a PM4 and 4/5 bar sensors to squeeze a bit more out of my fuel system on pump gas. Also deleted the SAI system.

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At 31,000 miles I was noticing a slight decrease in performance, and decided to spend a weekend cleaning the intake valves. There was a significant amount of buildup for such low mileage, and I plan on doing cleanings every 20,000-30,000 miles in the future to keep up with it.

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Around this time I also worked on installing the Macan retrofit BBK. I was only able to use the upgraded setup at one track event, but it made a huge difference in stopping power and I can't want to push them in the future. After a failed attempt at refinishing the calipers, I assembled everything in stock form.

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etmanning1

Go Kart Champion
Location
NJ
Car(s)
2018 GTI
At 34,900 miles the BFI clutch went during a light street pull. I was able to limp it home and installed a southbend stage 3 endurance kit the following weekend.

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I also took the time to install a billet RMS for peace of mind and future-proofing.

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While the car was down and apart, I installed a few goodies including: ECS throttle pipe, Eurosport rear hatch bar, ECS bleeder block, fuel-it sensor kit, dieselgeek sigma shifter, and APR coils.

I also deleted the A/C system while the car was apart. I used it twice over the entire summer and haven't missed it once. I understand this choice isn't for everyone, but it works great for me!

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Chasing more power, I installed a 450 LPFP and PM4 controller, which allowed an E30 blend and where is the car sits currently around 470 Whp & 420 ft-Lbs at ~30 PSI.

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I decided to attend a drag racing event in early December 2020. I managed two 13.0X passes with slow launches, then managed to snap a shaft in the transmission on the 3rd launch. The car hopped once then lost all power and had to be towed home. I ordered a replacement shaft, which came damaged, before realizing that there was further damage and ordered a replacement transmission.

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weeks later, after 3 failed transmission pickup attempts, I managed to source a used transmission out of a 2019 GTI with <1,000 miles on it. The new transmission bolted up and The car is back on the road at 37,XXX miles.
 
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etmanning1

Go Kart Champion
Location
NJ
Car(s)
2018 GTI
Going into the spring of 2021, I aim to finish working out the bugs after a nearly complete rebuild, and work on improving suspension geometry and handling. I'm happy with the power level and don't have plans for a MPI setup in the near future. I'm planning on making my way back south and am looking forward to the track events and canyon roads coming soon!

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I wanted to thank everyone for the help throughout the years, I would not be where I am with the car without this forum and it's members. Here are a few of my favorite photos of the car. I'll update this thread as the build progresses in the future.

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PowerDemon

Autocross Champion
Location
Fredericksburg, VA
Car(s)
Mk7 GTI
Wow. I have to say this is one awesome build thread, I can’t believe that I missed it!! Mod for mod if money was no object to me your car is EXACTLY how I would do my car except maybe some different brands. Absolutely killer build man.

I have a few questions if you don't mind. Are you using the Walbro 450 with the PR kit or the Pagparts kit? Do you have any more installation photos of your PM4? I am considering putting one in this summer once I start Ethanol tuning and I have been having trouble finding installation instructions. It's very impressive how much power you've made through the stock DI injection system.
 

Dr Dad

Go Kart Champion
Location
Atlanta
Car(s)
17 Golf R 6MT
Man, your build thread is a great read. Very impressive work and honestly very well written!
Some of the issues you've had would nearly scare me out of modifications, but you seemed to just roll with the punches.
Beautiful car and impressive build!
 

etmanning1

Go Kart Champion
Location
NJ
Car(s)
2018 GTI
Wow. I have to say this is one awesome build thread, I can’t believe that I missed it!! Mod for mod if money was no object to me your car is EXACTLY how I would do my car except maybe some different brands. Absolutely killer build man.

I have a few questions if you don't mind. Are you using the Walbro 450 with the PR kit or the Pagparts kit? Do you have any more installation photos of your PM4? I am considering putting one in this summer once I start Ethanol tuning and I have been having trouble finding installation instructions. It's very impressive how much power you've made through the stock DI injection system.
Thank you! I purchased the LPFP used and pre-installed in a basket, so I'm not 100% sure, but believe that it is the PR kit. I do have photos of the basket if it would help.

The PM4 install seems complicated looking at it, but is very straightforward. Shoot me a PM if you need help with the install, I didn't follow any specific set of instructions.

Good luck with the E-tuning! I switch between 93 and E30 maps frequently, and the ethanol really is a huge upgrade in smoothness and overall power.
Man, your build thread is a great read. Very impressive work and honestly very well written!
Some of the issues you've had would nearly scare me out of modifications, but you seemed to just roll with the punches.
Beautiful car and impressive build!

Thank you for the kind words! This is my only car, so whenever it broke, I would have to fix it by Monday morning to get to work- pretty good motivation to get it back up running haha. Glad you enjoyed the read!
Nice thread, but why's it a deathtrap what did I miss?

21 year old with a 400HP+ car, what could go wrong?
 
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jay745

track sl00t
Location
Chicago
Car(s)
2 vw's
20 year old with a 400HP+ car, what could go wrong?
Oh boy....it makes sense now 😂

Highly highly recommend getting into an autocross school or beginner track program, a good instructor will teach you how to drive that car and you'll end up having more fun.
 

gixxerfool

Go Kart Newbie
Location
New Jersey
Car(s)
2016 Golf R
This is great build. In sleeper form for the most part. Looks like a GTI with wheels on it. I love it.

So the important question: Pork roll or Taylor ham?
 

etmanning1

Go Kart Champion
Location
NJ
Car(s)
2018 GTI
Since we're all stuck at home with nothing to do, I decided to take apart my damaged transmission to peek at the carnage!

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...but instead of metal soup, I was rewarded by a clean and intact set of gears. The differential had stripped out, but everything else remained unharmed.



My replacement transmission quickly developed a synchro whine in 3rd and 4th gear, and despite multiple fluid flushes it remains loud. Still drives perfectly.

This led me down the rabbit hole of transmission upgrades, and after much research I decided that I wanted to attempt to install a wavetrac differential into my damaged transmission, making it better than ever- and as a way to get around the synchro whine that I'm currently experiencing.

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Now my car currently has the VAQ E-LSD unit, which I have been thankful for during canyon drives and track days. But while I had the opportunity to replace the diff, I wanted to acheive the "best" setup possible.

So I decided to remove the VAQ diff, and install the Wavetrac + non-PP axles to make it all work.

While I had the transmission apart, I also took the opportunity to upgrade to steel forks and brass feet for a more direct feel.


The transmission build was a lot of fun, and I've learned a lot along the way. I was able to drill out the rivets and install the new differential hardware + bearings on day 1.

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Shimming the differential proved difficult, but after three trips to the parts store I had the right tools and got the job done. After that, everything goes back into place and I glued it shut.

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Thankfully, the output shaft and axle that I ordered seem to fit, but time will tell how they are in the car, as I'm currently waiting on some suspension components to arrive in order to install everything at once.


Until then, I am pretending that my car has some supercharger whine and hoping that it holds together. I currently have around 1200 miles on the new trans and it seems rock solid (if a bit noisy)
 
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