my milquetoast grey rabbit


Go Kart Champion
Shakytown, CA
2019 Urano Grey GTI
This my 2019 GTI Rabbit Edition with DSG in its natural habitat.


It is pretty special to me as my first car and my grad school graduation present to myself. I like it very much and hope to drive it into the twilight years of internal combustion.

I don't think my "build" is very interesting or unique, but I'm starting this thread for a few reasons. First, I've been doing various kinds of crap to it which I often have to redo or take way too long due to my inexperience, so maybe someone google searching can learn from my mistakes, and maybe some of you nice folks can help if I run into trouble. I'll also just give impressions of the various products that go on it, and answer any questions about them. Any modding suggestions that align with my vision for the car are welcome.

Build concept
My build choices are motivated by a number of particular constraints and preferences for the different subsystems of the car.

Current solution: Stock springs and shocks, H&R 24mm rear sway bar, Moog endlinks
Most of this car's 46500 miles to date are roadtrip miles, often with passengers, often to mountainous camping and hiking places with lousy or nonexistent roads. This makes me reluctant to go with a stiffer and/or lower suspension, for ride quality and ground clearance reasons. Currently I'm on stock springs and shocks but in the long term I am open to a coilover solution, as I hear they can provide a straight upgrade without much compromise. I do enjoy putting down the power and feeling planted around corners on mountain roads.

Current solution: EQT Stage 1 E85 with EQT DSG tune, Autotech HPFP, CTS direct fit intercooler, BFI Stage 1 dogbone insert, 034 TIP
These are the circumstances where I go WOT in this car:
- Freeway merging, especially the ride-or-die entrances on the CA-110, if you know you know.
- Punching it into a faster lane in freeway traffic without making someone have to hit their brakes.
- Overtaking quickly and safely on country roads.
- Goofing around in the mountains for fun.

None of these things takes me very far into triple digit speeds so I don't really care about my 60-130 time, roll races, etc. For this reason I'm finding the IS20 pretty nice, and its quick spool helps with all of these real-world situations. So for now I'm resisting the temptation to put in a bigger turbo just to make a bigger number. I am also reluctant to mess around with downpipes and exhaust for fear of going down the expensive rabbithole of managing sound and drone. I would love to hear the turbo more so I might pick up a cold air intake, but it would have to be a good used deal.

Current solution: stock 18" Pretorias
The prets look pretty nice and make me happy. But I am considering one day getting some lightweight 17s with meaty tires to improve ride quality, robustness on bad roads, and acceleration. Current potential frontrunners: Neuspeed rse05, enkei RPF1, apex sm10

Current solution: Michelin Pilot Sport AS4
I want to be able to drive most anywhere safely, including snowy mountain roads during winter. I also cover a lot of miles, so treadwear does matter. With these constraints high-performance all seasons seem like the way to go. I'd like to taste the sweet nectar of sticky tires in the canyons one day, but only with the storage space to run 2 sets of wheels, which I do not have right now.

Current solution: stock PP pads and rotors, Motul RBF600
Stock pads still have plenty of meat still on them so I'm running them out. Will eventually be looking for an OEM+ type braking solution with low noise and favorable wear properties. I have pushed the brakes hard enough in the canyons to start getting squishy, so the system does need to take some amount of heat.

Current solution: regular carwashes, yearly detail, nothing else
I like a stock look, VW nailed it what can I say. It's nice to fly below the radar of cops and subi vape bros, and I'm also just not generally into racey-looking bits like aero, carbon fiber, etc. To me my car is in no way a racecar so it shouldn't look like one.

Consumables I use:
I have no real insight on these, just sort of use what people seem to like 🤷‍♂️
Oil: liquimoly leichtlauf 5w40 or motul xcess 8100 5w40
Plugs: NGK 95125 LFER7BHX Rutheniums gapped to 0.024"
Brake fluid: RBF600
DSG fluid: audi/VW OEM
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Go Kart Champion
Shakytown, CA
2019 Urano Grey GTI
Rear sway bar install: do it right, don't just watch ShopDAP

I installed my H&R 24mm sway bar with Moog endlinks March 2021. It took far longer than it should have because I followed the ShopDAP video which said you can get the bar out without dropping an exhaust hanger, which I persisted in trying to no avail - this might be a mk7 vs mk7.5 difference. Eventually I unscrewed the left exhaust hanger and was able to snake the bar out with the extra room.

Anyway I ran it for about 5000mi before I started getting clunking sounds every time the rear suspension loads or unloads. Retorquing it "fixed" it for another 3000mi but then the clunks came back. Rocking the car side to side made the clunk each cycle, so I guessed an endlink was shot and swapped the OEM bar and endlinks back on because I needed the car ready for a roadtrip without scaring the GF. Skip ahead to now and I finally have the H&R back on with fresh Moog links - and it turned out an OEM endlink nut popped off the bolt at some point, so I effectively had no RSB at all during that time - I thought the stock one was just that bad!

It's not clear what exactly caused the failures I had, but from reading around I now know there were a bunch of things I was supposed to do but didn't.

1. Grease the endlinks. The Moogs come with a small amount of shelf grease but are intended to be greased once installed. Get a grease gun and pump grease into the zerk fitting on each endlink until it starts leaking out of the boot. Top it off whenever you get under the car every oil change or 2.
2. Don't reuse hardware. None of the hardware for the RSB and endlink assembly is technically reusable. I got fresh hardware for the latest install.
3. Line up the bushings. The bushings on the H&R bar can slide back and forth, and depending on their position the bar can be offset to the left or right in its installed position, potentially resulting in uneven loading and wear on each end, and reducing the articulation range. I found the best way to get everything lined up was to get the bar and bushings in a centered position on the car without the brackets, making sure each end is an equal distance from your spring on each side. The brackets must be off at first because the bushings won't move once the brackets are on. Then just pop the brackets on with the help of some lube and screw in the bolts.
4. Torque under load. Once the hardware is installed and hand-tight, lower the car onto some rhino ramps and get under there to get the final torque with the suspension in its loaded position.
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Go Kart Champion
Shakytown, CA
2019 Urano Grey GTI
46700mi: E85 and intercooler

Within a few days of each other I flashed EQT Stage 1 E85 and installed my CTS stock location intercooler.

So the E85 tune. I threw an autotech HPFP upgrade in, job wasn't bad at all for a noob but I did get a faceful of gasoline for my trouble when I cracked the hard fuel line loose. I tested a few stations near my place and my work and got straight 83% across the board, great. I've heard the E is pretty nice in CA.

It's total clown show compared to 91ACN gas. The IS20 spools like hell and the torque hits like a punch in the gut. It also gives 0 fucks about your IAT, I have yet to see a single timing pull in 90deg weather. I am very happy with where the car is at in terms of power. I want to say this is my endgame setup for power but I won't jinx it.

Got EMD Auto in Anaheim to do the IC, took em 2.5 hours so probably at least 6 if I were to do it myself, money well spent compared to DIY garage rates around here. The IC was not such a night and day difference, but quite possibly because I was already on E where the timing's made up and the IATs don't matter. Maybe a little bit better spool, idk. Measured IATs were lower, you can get 10-15 above ambient under boost if the car is not heat soaked. Definitely the kind of thing that you want if you're going balls out on the track with pull after pull.

It's kind of interesting to compare logs from the the EQT Stage 1 91 tune on a cold Midwest day with a E85 pull on a hot CA day with the AC on just to emphasize how much better the E85 setup is. Here are 4th gear pulls on EQT Stage 1 91 and EQT Stage 2 E85 respectively, with the latter also having the IC but otherwise the same car and setup. The target boost maps looks the same if not identical, but the E85 setup runs 8-10 degrees more timing (see "ignition timing final degrees") at the same RPM and has no knock corrections throughout the pull, all while the IAT is 50 degrees higher. Should be pretty fun when boost weather comes.

Another fun thing to look at is what happens to the IS20 at altitude. I took it up to 6000-7000ft where there is 20% less air around and noticed slower spool and lower max boost during pulls, so I did a log with some 4th gear torture test pulls to see what was going on. Looking at the wastegate duty (turbine act. final value, I think) the wastegate is shut nearly the entire time and we fall a couple psi short of target boost during most of the pull. So there you have it, if you live at altitude you will max out the IS20 on a stage 1 tune and a bigger turbo is probably needed to run the nominal boost. I worry this will tempt me to the dark side because a lot of my hard driving is at altitude.

I am wary of the reports of the 2019+ Continental injectors not taking well to E85. In a 1000mi or so I plan to pull them to see how they're holding up, and potentially throw in some more-reliable Bosch ones if they don't look good.
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