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sabo 05-29-2016 02:12 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Finally decided to spend some time (and go back in time) to log my trek back to VW. My life of vehicles has been '85 chevy blazer (my first love), '99 VW Jetta (first manual), '05 Nissan Murano (first solo purchase) and currently and most recently '16 Golf R 6MT (my first Turbo). So, I came back to the Vdub family after a decade with a crossover. My Murano was a great car with only major maintenance was brakes and tires. Logged 11 yrs and 100k.

It was labor day last year when I decided to head out to window shop for a new, sportier vehicle.....and this one caught my eye. Until that moment, I was unfamiliar with the 'R' line from VW....well, that ended my search. Purchased on the spot.

The deal was fair, especially on my Murano trade for almost $7k....Came off R MSRP about $500 also with 1% financing, so all-in-all no complaints. Although the Dieselgate scandal broke mainstream a couple weeks later, so timing probably cost me at least a little (maybe?).

Me in a nutshell: Well I am no 'car guy' (but slowly turning), so modding wasn't on my radar, but the sales guy showed me a showroom GTI that had several APR upgrades....They are a certified APR dealer. But I really didn't have a clue or appreciation of this community and culture, but soon I'd get the bug and start a new hobby in my life. I am a handy guy, mostly house reno (pic below of a bathroom I gutted and overhauled) so it was just a matter of getting comfortable around cars....really its just about willingness to learn and taking chances.

So far I've tackled the following, listed in chronological order and the whole list is linked (just click each to navigate)

1. No-Drill Front License Plate Mount
2. Center Armrest Cubby Unlock
3. Driver's Storage Box Felt-Lining
4. Trunk Organizer Foam Inserts
5. Warning Triangle
6. DeAutoKey Leds - Glovebox and Trunk
7. P3 Digital Multi-Gauge
8. Dark Cherry Euro LED Tails w/ DAP Harness
9. Sunglasses Holder +1
10. VCDS Tweaks
11. DeAutoKey Reverse LEDs
12. Center Armrest Felt-Lined Organizer
13. RGM Door Sillguards
14. VW Cargo Liner
15. WeatherTech Mats
16. Front Door LED Warning Lights
17. Power Folding Mirrors
18. Front and Trunk 12V Hardwire Tap
19. Front & Rear Hardwired Dashcams
20. Accentglowled Cupholder LEDs
21. Custom Garage Opener w/ OEM Switch
22. DieselGeek Sigma 6 Short Shifter
23. DAP Shifter Bracket w/ TorqueSolution Bushings
24. BFI Black Alcantara Shift Knob
25. F1 Llumar Pinnacle 35 Tint (Professionally done)
26. LED Light Strip Under Hatch Cover
27. Llumar Air80 Windshield Tint (Professionally done)
28. Euro Switch for Rear Fog
29. DAP Euro LED Tails Dynamic Turn Signals
30. Lower Engine Cover
31. Low Profile Euro Rear Headrests
32. Front Cubby Light Up
33. USB Reroute
34. Rear Wiper Delete
35. 2nd Cabin Filter
36. Shift Knob Redo - Raceseng
37. Soundskins Sound Deadening/Noise Reduction
-More Soundskins - Doors
-More Soundskins - Rear Seat

38. Shorty's Custom OEM Short Shifter Upgrades
39. OEM Engine Skid Tray


-DIY First Oil Change
-Personal Touches
-Washing Foamer and Stuff

Sandman GTI 05-29-2016 05:23 PM

Thanks for posting the update.
The rest of us learn from others.
New members can learn and use the information.
I am not sure why some dealers do not do more in house work such as this.
Legal reasons I am sure.
Even small non performance mods could be offered like S2T paddle shifters, BFI shift knobs etc. The dealers labor cost is in house and they could use young/new mechanics to do work as they are low risk an offer good hands on experience. An easy way to make some money.
Share more about the R. If cars still around then this will be my 60th Birthdaypresent unless all GTI's then are built like Clubsports!

Diggs24 05-29-2016 05:46 PM

Nice job on the bathroom!

I think you should do license plate LEDs too.

sabo 05-29-2016 06:57 PM

1. No-Drill Front License Plate Mount
3 Attachment(s)
1. No-Drill Front License Plate Mount

Cost: Loose change for zip ties and foam bumpers

Advice: One of the first requests you should have of the dealer is to NOT mount front license plate bracket as they will drill holes right through your bumper. One of the first thing I learned off this forum (post vehicle purchase mind you), but my dealer was thoughtful enough to inform me of this and didn't install.

Choices: Probably the popular choice is the tow-mount brackets, however I really don't like that look. So, I took some forum ideas for the front grille mount and did something similar.
I also wanted to avoid mounting low over the front grille that takes up too much of that area (some forum opinion is this impacts the car performance. I'll leave that to the experts). Some other alternates:

Bracket Install: I simply used the VW holder provided with my car, flipped it upside down. The 'lip' on the one end fits nicely into the upper most grill opening. Drilled two extra holes beside the recessed hole provided to complete zip tie loop. Zip tied to the grille of each side and put the bracket as high as possible. Making sure the zip tie head/knot is recessed in the cavity so the plate would sit flat. Tightened well enough to not have any play, but don't over do it.

Plate Mounting: Used short enough bolts not to hit the bumper and capped nuts just to be safe (but they were not touching). The bracket was positioned so lower plate bolts would be in the grille opening, so no caps there. I added some felt bumper cushions to the back of the cavity mold (again just for some protection from plastic to plastic rubbing). The top of the holder can be pulled away some by hand, but does not rattle or move in the wind.

sabo 05-29-2016 07:03 PM

2. Center Armrest Unlock
1 Attachment(s)
2. Center Armrest Unlock

For us in US, this cubby area is 'locked' from factory due to DOT regs....

Loose change for zip-ties

Advice: Free storage, DO IT!

Mod: Follow this link. I used the zip-tie method to isolate the rachet teeth. Others used tape, thin plastic strips, etc. The zip ties takes some patience to thread but it was the cleanest in my book.

sabo 05-29-2016 07:45 PM

3. Driver Storage Box Felt-Lining
2 Attachment(s)
3. Driver Storage Box Felt Lining

Another easy mod for those with rattlephobia. I use this compartment for loose change, extra keys, spare fuses, so all things that rattle. The factory plastic finish just doesn't cut it...

Cost: <$10

Mod: Find an adhesive-backed felt paper (local craft store, Amazon) and patiently line the inside of this compartment.

sabo 05-29-2016 08:24 PM

4. Trunk Organizer Foam Inserts
2 Attachment(s)
4. Trunk Organizer Foam Inserts

Not necessarily a mod, but a purchase to finish off the trunk space. Disappointed this doesn't come standard from factory, but upon research it seems hit or miss if you get these with your new vehicle purchase.....I did not :mad:

Advice: Ask for these with your purchase deal! ESC sells these, but I ended up picking up from my from local VW dealer who ran a 20% off and I also saved on shipping by picking up, so I got mine for around $100.

  • Bow: Before installing, I would suggest connecting the pieces out of the car and place some heavier boards over the top as the pieces from factory are bowed. Give it a few days under some weight. This way they will sit flush in the trunk. Otherwise place in trunk and close with something heavy on top.
  • No spare option: The subwoofer fits in the center. The power cable will need to be drilled out under foam to allow enough slack for attachment.
  • Spare Tire Option: Also, a genuine S3 spare tire will fit but the foam will need to be modified, the plastic rear trim carved and subwoofer removed. I did not chose this option due to the added weight to the vehicle. Link for this DIY:
Cost: $110-$130

sabo 05-29-2016 08:30 PM


Originally Posted by Diggs24 (Post 275808)
Nice job on the bathroom!

I think you should do license plate LEDs too.

Thanks! Bathroom, kitchen, hardwood floors - that was/is my thing, but now the golf is fast approaching second love hobby

plate LEDs, i'm most certain they come standard on my model. Although, now you have attention. I should check tonight.

sabo 05-29-2016 08:44 PM

5. Warning Triangle
3 Attachment(s)
5. Warning Triangle

ok, so that little latch and cover on the inside hatch had me fooled for some time (before researching on here). I honestly thought it was some secret maintenance hatch that went nowhere. :D

After discovering this, my OCD had to fill this space. If its designed for a warning triangle, even if I'll likely never use it, gotta do it.

Advice: Buy the OEM one and don't take the triangle out of the case just to check it out. It took me 30 minutes to get it back in the red case. :mad:

Cost: $20-$30 (Part # 1Y0-093-055)

Sandman GTI 05-29-2016 08:47 PM

I have a suggested mod I have not seen.
As many cars now do not have under hood lighting, how about making a mod
To install two LED lights under the hood? Either active by manual switch when needed or and auto on off when hood open. You could share the parts used and source for power tap.
I watched a video using a LED work light and thought having mounted bright LED lights underhood would be nice for emergencies and when showing car at a Friday night meet.
Could be red for GTI ,blue for R or just a crisp bright white.

Deautokey might even want to take up. They have all the parts.

sabo 05-29-2016 08:59 PM

Late Fall '15
4 Attachment(s)
Late Fall '15

By this time I've had many spirited runs with the vehicle, but the cold weather and winter is setting in. This means and couple coats of wax to get me through the winter. I chose Collinite 476S. Applied two coats, two weekends apart.

Made her shine.

Also, cleaned up the garage to allow a covered home. Previously are other cars wouldn't fit inside, but there's now just enough room for the R.

Now 6 months later with this wax wearing off, I'm thinking maybe a professional detail and sealant (Opti, Gtechniq, other)??. We shall see...

sabo 05-29-2016 09:04 PM


Originally Posted by Sandman GTI (Post 275906)
I have a suggested mod I have not seen.
As many cars now do not have under hood lighting, how about making a mod
To install two LED lights under the hood? Either active by manual switch when needed or and auto on off when hood open. You could share the parts used and source for power tap.
I watched a video using a LED work light and thought having mounted bright LED lights underhood would be nice for emergencies and when showing car at a Friday night meet.
Could be red for GTI ,blue for R or just a crisp bright white.

Deautokey might even want to take up. They have all the parts.

I like this concept. This is going on the shortlist. If you happen to tackle, let me know. Likewise from me... I will continue to play catch up with my journal. Rainy holiday Sunday, so not much going on...

sabo 05-29-2016 09:39 PM

6. Deautokey LEDs - Glove Box & Trunk
2 Attachment(s)
6. Deautokey LEDs - Glove Box & Trunk

So not sure why VW chose to upgrade interior lights to LED and left out the glove box and trunk?? Cost savings? Very strange to me. That said, easy fix. has all you need that is LED

Advice: For trunk, I would buy the entire housing, Stage III. Brighter and easier install. They also offer a trunk led strip as an alternative style. Also, for those with models without other LEDs (overhead, vanity, reverse, tails, headlights, etc). Deautoled has those as well.

Cost: $30-45 depending on trunk type (total for both trunk and glove box)

sabo 05-29-2016 10:08 PM

7. P3 Digital Multi-Gauge
1 Attachment(s)
7. P3 Digital Multi-Gauge

If I'm being honest, this purchase was merely for looks. :cool: I can say, I really have no interest in the readouts of this gauge (as I'm not a racetrack junkie), nor do I fully understand reading boost (Critics may boo now). I loved the factory look of the vent mount style along with the matching blue R lights. Install was easy on included directions. Took under 45 minutes.

Cost: $375 (multi-gauge option).
$225 (boost only option).

Sold by many mod sites. Direct at

sabo 05-29-2016 11:00 PM

8. Dark Cherry Euro LED Tails w/ DAP Harness
4 Attachment(s)
8. Dark Cherry Euro LED Tails w/ DAP Harness

For the first 'real' mod, let's do as the do in Europe. LED TAILS! I enjoyed reading a now infamous group buy on this form for Dark Cherry Euro tails plus harness. That was a great saga I followed for a few months. Those involved know what I'm speaking of...:D. But I bet they are all happy now! These tails look so great and that amber turn signal strip, whoa.

Cost: $300-800 depending on style, OEM or replica, harness, no harness and supplier. I purchased my OEM Dark Cherry through Ed at Ed also worked a great deal with me for purchasing power fold mirrors also, so I know I made out on the total purchase price. Sometimes all you have to do is ask. At the time I had separately purchased a wiring harness and Ed wasn't offering one yet, but later Ed honored those who purchased tails from him the option to buy the harness for $12 shipping only. I turned and sold it on the forum for a nicely discounted price (win win for both) and it further reduced my overall cost for tails. Let's put it this way, with the combo buy from Ed, sale of additional harness and ultimate sale of my stock tails on ebay (sold sets separately), I only paid about $150 for my Euro tails. :D

Install: I used these links.

Without wiring Harness (amber turns won't work), but tails work like stock

With adapter wiring harness. Amber turns work. Coding required.

Adapter Harness Install


Color Options: Bright Cherry, Dark Cherry, R Tint

Install Options:
No Harness - Lights work like stock, but not amber turns
Hatch Harness - Amber turns work with coding (my mod)
Front-Back Harness - Full ROW functionality, but involved/more difficult harness install

Amber Turn Signal Vid

Best modification to date!

sabo 05-29-2016 11:21 PM

9. Sunglasses Holder +1
4 Attachment(s)
9. Sunglasses Holder +1

I can't be 100%, but I may have invented this mod (at least the way in which I did it). So the R doesn't come with a sunroof option (to the disappointment of some, not really me). Consequently, the overhead sunglasses holder is oversized. When I first started using it, I noticed I could probably fit two pair up there. And like most cool cats, you gotta have different shade styles :cool:. However, there wasn't anyway to support an 'upper' pair of shades without stacking them clumsily.

Cost: <$2

Advice: I used a single push type plastic pin (one shown is short) and I later replaced with similar but with a longer pin length. The pin should have a flat a head as you can find as this will create a bump against the compartment.

I simply punched a hole in the back of the rubber insert and made a 'hanger' for the second pair. Certainly the size of the shades you own may impede the other, but mine fit perfectly.

sabo 05-29-2016 11:43 PM

10. VCDS Tweaks
1 Attachment(s)
10. VCDS Tweaks

ok, ok so the title may be deceiving....I've only done one tweak as pic'd below. I did have to run coding for other mods i did, including euro tails, power fold mirrors, door warning lights, but those were necessary, not optional tweaks.

Purchased my cable from Ross-Tech at

This thread has all you need to know on other tweaks (some my MY already had):

Added the 'Refuel Qty' to the menu. Can't say that I really use it, but its odd enough to like

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