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Old 11-19-2018, 07:56 PM   #1
Drives: Unitronic Stage 2 GTI
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 2
How much it cost me to build my stage 2 GTI.

New to the forums, thought I might start off with a build thread.

I am a full-time student at the time, so this could be super spread out over time due to lack of funds for new parts, but I’ll explain what I have done so far.

Also, I’ll include prices of everything that I have on the car, not including labor (because its more fun and cheaper to do it yourself) just to give someone out there who is new to GTI’s an overview of what it would cost to do the things I’ve done so far.

I’ve always had friends that were into cars in high-school, but I never was into them until I started hanging out with them. I started with a 2005 Nissan Frontier in high school. It was my first car and as a high-schooler on a small budget, I kind of riced out the truck. Love the thing to death though. Anyways, it got up to about 202k miles on it, and decided to trade it in. Not sure why I decided to go with a GTI, but its always been a car that dad wanted so I started to look into them.

Ended up picking up a 2013 GTI. White, 4 doors, DSG (because I drive in a lot of traffic). The car had 36,xxx miles on it when I bought it in December of 2017. Currently its November of 2018 and I’ve got 65,xxx miles. Started to fall in love with the car more in more because I’d never really had a car faster than a mid-size truck.

Being performance oriented, and also wanting to be faster than my friends e46, I wanted to modify my car, but not rice it out. This was one of the biggest challenges I had, and honestly still do have to the day. I was 18 at the time and just started school holding a part-time job. The first thing I decided to pick up were some Solo Werks S1 Coilovers. I got these for $499.00 off of This is where a lot of my parts are going to come from just because they have good pricing and free shipping.

Wanting some better fitment on my stock wheels so I also grabbed some Modded Euros 15mm Spacers for the front and 20mm for the rear along with the extended wheel bolts for both pairs of spacers. Together these 4 spacers and bolts were $305.90. (only running the 15mm on the rear due to rubbing in the front and rear after buying coilovers)

Also picked up some clear side markers for $46.04 but ended up returning them because I bought the wrong ones. Whoops.

As a Christmas gift from the parents that year, I got my windows tinted. The Tint Guy in Woodstock GA did a very good job and did it very quickly. This cost $269.11 for 20% Tint all the way around. No tint on the windshield at all.

Looking for cheap things to do, I debadged the rear emblem with some dental floss and rubbing alcohol. Also, me being new to cars at the time and not 100% on how everything was, I tried taking the GTI badge off the front grille. Turns out its clipped in and not glued on. Broke both the clips getting the badge off, hated the way the random black square looked on the stock grille so I ordered a new OEM style black one. This was $99.99.

Started looking into the forums for how to better your performance and ended up running into some tuning options. Me being me, I wanted the highest performance for the least amount of money. I had read around that APR was really good, and honestly haven’t heard anything different. However, I also read that Unitronic was the more aggressive tune and haven’t heard of anyone running into any problem with it.

Started looking into Unitronic software, ECU & TCU, and decided that I was going to go for stage 2. I saw no point in going stage 1, stage 1+ if I wanted to be stage 2 eventually.

The next purchase was intake, downpipe and supporting mods. I ordered all these at once, because buy in bulk, and I’d rather my mom be mad at me once for ordering a bunch of parts rather than 2 or 3 times. Unitronic Intake was $349.99, HPA Catless Downpipe was $499.00. Not wanting a CEL, I also ordered a DFG O2 Spacer for $39.99 and this didn’t throw a CEL. I never knew what the VW Harmonics were until I put my intake on. It sounds like a flute noise coming from the engine. After getting roasted at caffeine and octane, I did some research and found Go Fast Bits DV+. Ordered this for $139.50.

After this I got super impatient and got tired of waiting on funds for the tune, so I went ahead and ordered the rest of my exhaust. Picked up a brand new 2.5-inch AFE Catback for $605.16. If you enjoy having a really loud car and lots of drone, you should definitely run a similar exhaust. The only thing I have is a resonator to keep the rasp down and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Finally I built up enough funds for the stage 2 tune (ECU & TCU). Got this off with the programming tool for $1,100.00. To flash Unitronic software onto the car, you download a program on your computer and flash it through the programming tool. One thing that I learned is that you should definitely save yourself the time and money and go ahead and purchase the Ignition Service Kit off After flashing the tune, it ran perfectly for about 100 ish miles before I started having really bad misfire issues. The new plugs and coils fixed this immediately.

Also, some of the other things I’ve ordered were the Lamin-X Headlight and Fog Light Covers. Smoked headlights and yellow fogs. This was $54.95, and it just adds a super subtle style to the car that you didn’t have before. I can see a difference in amount of light from headlights at night, but it’s nothing serious. Also wanted to get some things done with vagcom but didn’t want to pay the extreme amount for the proper cable, so I got the OBDEleven for $88.15 and did a few things through there and it worked great. Would also recommend that to a lot of people who are on a tight budget.

Overall, the cost of the build to this point is $3997.72. This is for a really loud Stage 2 GTI on coilovers and stock wheels with a little bit of styling mods.

Recently, I did an autocross and have started looking into some wheels and better suspension setup. The coilovers that I have now worked great, but if I continue doing autocross events, I’m definitely going to want some better coilovers and a wider stance. Also I'm going to need the frame notched, so if anyone knows anyone near Atlanta, let me know!!

A front mount intercooler would be nice and probably will be after wheels and coilovers.

Of course, everyone wants to have a K04 kit, and eventually I want one too. I want to push 420 to the wheels just for the memes lol
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Old 12-03-2018, 05:02 AM   #2
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Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 6
Sounds like you’ve done pretty well, on a budget so far.
You should post some photos

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Old 12-18-2018, 03:01 PM   #3
Drives: Unitronic Stage 2 GTI
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 2
Here are some pics from this weekends mountain run.

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