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Old 03-23-2019, 05:50 PM   #1
MK6_Martinez
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Drives: Candy White 2012 GTI
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Central NJ
Posts: 152
2012 Candy White 2dr Base Model GTI, or Abby as I call her

Hi all, I've been slowly adding parts to my car since I got it brand new in 2012. Throughout that time (and to this day) the forums where always a great resource. I see the forums seem to be less active lately and hope to add my thread in here as my way of contributing back and being active.

This is a good time to start the build thread as I've recently passed 100k miles and am fine tuning my stage 2 set up. I plan to keep this car as long as it runs, and if I can afford it I will even likely spend more than most to fix it in the event of a failure. Absolutely love this car.

The most important mod is maintenance, I've definitely stretched a few oil changes but I've gotten it changed consistently throughout the life of the car. Just submitted a sample to Blackstone Oil Analysis for their most thorough tests and got good news on all fronts from them (I can post the results here if there is interest).

Maintenance:
-Oil Changes Every 10k
..-I've definitely passed that by a bit before.. Just make sure your level is in check and you aren't driving too hard when you are getting up there in miles. Recently I've even changed over to doing it every 5k as my engine gets a bit older I feel it can't hurt
-Tires
..-I've chewed through about 4-5 sets. A tad high, but I don't like riding them down to the last mm of tread. Always rotate, balance, align as necessary - these are your contact patches with the road for performance & safety reasons.
-Fuel Filter
-Carbon Cleaning
-Confirmed new revision of cam chain tensioner installed
-Accessory belt @ 105k miles

My performance mod list, in order - starting at about 1,200 miles:
-Unitronic tune
-Autotech Intake
-S3 short shifter
-Audi R8 Coilpacks
-NGK Plugs (changed 2x since then)
-Custom stage 1 intake (more on that to come)
-Solid shift bushings
-Southbend Stage 2 Daily Clutch Kit
-Autotech lower engine mount Insert
-Cobb Acessport (Currently running Stage 2 stock MAF OTS map)
-ECS Tuning downpipe
-EBC Yellow brake pads, Brembo OE Style Rotors (Front & Rear)
-ECS Tuning Engine, Transmission, Dogbone mount
-ECS Turbo Outlet Pipe
-ECS Silicon Intake hose
-Custom COBB Stage 2 flash from Justin @ Freektune

Accessories:
-Metal GTI Seat lever inserts
-Clear side marker set
-LED Everything I Can
..-dome lights, floor lights (red), rear brake lights, License plate bulb
-Traditional yellow bulb for city lights (kept blowing LEDs)
-Traditional bright white bulb for fog lights and side marker bulbs (side markers also kept blowing LED's)
-20% Ceramic tints on all windows but windshield (to this day one of my favorite mods to the car)
-Southbend boost gauge + Column turbopod (basically, boost gauge mounted behind my steering wheel)
-Euro-switch + trigger wire
-Heated Blindspot Mirrors (blue tint)
-Weighted shift knob
-I have a VAG-Com Cable so all coding most people want is done to mine
..-no beep on lock
..-windows open/close on hold unlock/lock on fob
..-brake lights flash on ABS activation
..-seat warmer memory (seat warmer stays where it was when turning car back on)
..-instrument panel sweep
..-3 flashes on comfort blinker
..-cornering lights (fog light turns on when turning wheel if not on already)
..-fog as DRL
..-some other things I can't remember at the moment - think I have a setting like fog lights with high-beams and others also enabled/altered

In my time with it, the car has certainly left me stranded a few times. I believe my numbers are higher than most…
-1 ECM failure
-4 or 5 water pumps (all warrantied)
-2 intake manifolds (all warrantied)
-1 fuel pump -will need to dig for the receipt on if high/low pressure, it was only one of them. (warrantied)

Certain near-future mods
-DV solution - likely turbosmart replacement unit
-Body work
-re-paint front half of hood after 100k of rock chips (still unsure if I am going badgeless)
-re-paint rear bumper after small incident with other car caused stress cracks
-Paint-less Dent Removal on a few spots


One day I hope to have the money for/time to find/these would be nice to have…
-Rims that suit my taste & style
..-I already love the stock rims, but they are quite heavy
-Budget yet quality sound system
..-hidden/non obtrusive sub, new speakers + tweeters, amps - I am actually a fan of the OEM head unit so I may keep it
-Oil Pressure gauge
..-Not available on the COBB Acessport gauge view and it’s a good one to have. I'd much rather tow my car if I see an issue there than risk anything.
-Sway bars/end links/Bushings
..-clean up the handling a little bit now that I have a bit more power than stock. Definitely feel the power affecting handling when working through a curvy road (keep in mind 100k of wear and tear).
-Intercooler
..-Likely a drop in unit, I have my eyes on the CTS Turbo kit


I'm in love with the car the way it stands. I have always dreamed of going k04 but if the car drove any different than the way it does at the moment I wouldn't like it as much. I commute through heavy traffic daily. I drive 29 miles each way which per google maps (very accurate I've found) is typically 36-39 minutes with no traffic, and about 1-1.5 hours with traffic.
After my most recent install (all 3 mounts) I was a bit worried about the vibration in the cabin or if it would affect the way my clutch engages at all - both would affect my sanity in the heavy traffic I sit in at times. I feel like my concerns about the clutch engagement may have been ignorance, but the cabin noise and feel has barely changed. I can hear a bit more growl but feel barely any vibrations.

As I chew through my latest set of tires (Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval AS) I am really feeling the need for some better performance there. The only thing holding me back is my unwillingness to sacrifice wet-weather performance for dry-weather performance. I swear the Wide Ovals are better in the rain than they are on a cold day - and I love the confidence and ability that affords me even if I may not be able to get the best launch down. Will be spending time looking into tires once my tune is done.

And now, some photos. I've attempted to arrange them chronologically as I could (starting with a photo of the GTI I had before this). Since I've never changed the appearance significantly I don't necessarily have much to look at other than a mostly-stock GTI. None of the photos are of my mods. If there is interest, I can try to dig up some photos of the mods as they were done.
https://imgur.com/a/eQATmPj

The next time I have a moment to dig through photos and write up a summary, I will go into how/why I sort of made my own stage 1 intake for the GTI.

Feel free to ask any questions and I'll reply as I can!
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Last edited by MK6_Martinez; 06-20-2019 at 11:56 AM.
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Old 03-23-2019, 08:36 PM   #2
GolNat
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Drives: 2013 Base 6 MT
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: DE
Posts: 145
Nice progress in 6 years and nice mods to come!!
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13 GTI Base Coupe 6MT//Unitronic Stage 1+//GFB DV+//O.Z. Superturismo LM //Boost Gauge//Resonator Delete//Dog Bone Insert
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Old 03-25-2019, 03:11 PM   #3
NewGuy
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Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 328
Good stuff.
I would be interested in seeing the oil analysis report
Didn't know that was even a thing.
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Old 03-25-2019, 07:10 PM   #4
MK6_Martinez
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Drives: Candy White 2012 GTI
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Central NJ
Posts: 152
Bit of a maintenance weekend. Put in some fresh spark plugs (NGK: BKR7EIX) - my old ones appear to have been gapped way too big (.35). Swapped in some new ones at .28 and the car feels a bit more awake.

Spent Saturday night into Sunday morning working on swapping motor & transmission oil. First time changing the transmission oil on this car, definitely should have done it a while ago. Not any type of a noticeable difference so far, but its a maintenance item so it doesn't matter if it feels better or not anyway.
For anyone wondering I use Motul Specific - 5w40 & I used Motul 75w90 in the transmission.

My brother installed a turbosmart DV kit which replaced his existing 42dd boost tap. While super clean looking, the included boost tap on my newsouth kit has never seemed too robust in my eyes. I jumped all over the opportunity to swap the 42dd one onto my car, I always had the OEM hose on me anyway incase of failure on the newsouth unit. Gauge seems a bit more responsive but it may just be me hyping up having gotten rid of a point of anxiety of mine.

Speaking of my brothers GTI - he found 5 loose boost hose clamps on his car. Turbo inlet & outlet pipes as well as another one I can't remember. Of course, this was after I dropped my car. So I raised it up, pulled off the belly pan, and found my hoses were all tight. This is all to say, some of you should go check your hoses

As a stage 2 GTI owner in a state that has inspection, I am now wrangling with that pesky CEL. I have a CBFA to add to the fun. Tried a single o2 sensor spacer from 42dd, but now my car throws two codes
p2275: o2 Sensor Signal Stuck Rich; Bank 1 Sensor 3
p0145: o2 sensor circ. Bank1-Sensor3 Slow Response
I am...a bit past due for inspection.. so since I need to make sure I get this done ASAP I've ordered a mini cat for the o2 sensor. For those who don't know, it is quite literally a catalytic converter built into a spacer.

I am also seriously considering changing all 3 o2 sensors as the car - definitely at least the one that is giving me an error. As I said, a bit past due on inspection so I need to hit these codes with the heavy hammer and since the car already has 100K+ miles, may as well swap the other two while I am playing with the system and chalk it up to maintenance.

Absolutely itching to order that charge pipe kit from ECS. I already have a few other ECS parts installed that all seemed to be good quality so I am trusting of their work. Seems like the turbo muffler delete is sold out though, and I'd like to give myself a bit of time to save for that kit + sway bars at the same time so I might be perfectly OK with waiting.

While I am here writing in the thread - may as well also mention my intake woes. Looking to swap my home made stage 1 set up (write up on that coming one day) for a real intake. Always heard stage 1 is more than enough but I wouldn't mind getting a full system. Seeming like a battle between the unitronic & evoms intake for me. I know my DV has that issue where it whistles from a previous intake, so I will likely be ordering the drop in replacement from Turbosmart to install alongside my intake.

Hope everyone feels free to comment on and critique my choices & train of thought - don't mind hearing back from other experienced VAG owners.
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Old 03-25-2019, 07:20 PM   #5
MK6_Martinez
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Drives: Candy White 2012 GTI
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Central NJ
Posts: 152
Quote:
NewGuy Good stuff.
I would be interested in seeing the oil analysis report
Didn't know that was even a thing.
I've attached the report - seems like my numbers where mostly in line. I also took another sample this most recent oil change and will likely do so every 10k from here on out. Very good peace of mind for someone who drives like me
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Old 03-25-2019, 10:06 PM   #6
MK6_Martinez
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Drives: Candy White 2012 GTI
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Location: Central NJ
Posts: 152
Aside from ordering that Minicat, I've also just placed an ECS order for my Turbo Outlet Pipe as well as a few small items including oil filter, accessory belt, cabin filter, and a few drain plug washers.

I went with the ECS pipe. Was debating between the Neuspeed but I have a few other ECS parts I have been very happy with so I decided continue to put the parts on my car. Nearly sure they are just buying out companies that are some-what good and putting their name on it anyway, which I am A-okay with.

Was going to order some more motul specific for my next oil change, but I decided next I'm going to get a cheaper oil and see if I notice any substantial difference. I am beginning to feel that as long as its not the cheapest generic oil, is fully synthetic, and hopefully is optimized for hard driving, that it's probably all down to splitting hairs after that. Especially considering I am changing every 5k where the oil barely has a chance to get used.
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Old 03-30-2019, 11:18 AM   #7
MK6_Martinez
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Drives: Candy White 2012 GTI
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Central NJ
Posts: 152
Got a few boxes in so I decided to jack the car up last night after work. Had little motivation but the budwiser kept me company as I worked through a small to-do list.

Cleared my bulb out error for the rear LED bulbs I have - bye 18 from 03 to 1F seems to have done it.

Installed my Turbo Outlet Pipe
This was pretty straightforward. Once you have access it's not a terribly hard part of the car to work on. Took a short test drive and built about 20lbs of boost on a quick spin and nothing popped off so hopefully everything is done correctly

While the TOP was off, changing my serpentine belt took record time. Nearly sure it was under a minute and then a few more seconds of double checking to ensure it's all seated correctly.

Also got my mini-cat and new 3rd o2 sensor in (CBFA) - wasn't able to unscrew the 42dd spacer or the o2 sensor, so probably going to take it to a shop. I don't want to leave it a bit loose and have an exhaust leak or anything.

While I was under there, decided to address my small oil leak from the drain plug. Guess the copper washer I used was just a tad too big, I tightened the hell out of the drain plug but it was still dripping. Out with the motul, in with some Castrol 5w-40 - and the right sized washer, and seem to be in better shape now.

Thinking its time for an intake and a real tune...I've been thinking about reaching out to Freektune to see what they can do for the car. The Intercooler might have to come after some other interior & maintenance things I plan to do which won't be for quite some time.

Really wanting to step up the interior a bit, will likely get that OEM Android Auto head unit and thoroughly clean the carpets sometime soon. Will update when I settle on what the next round of mods are or if there are any questions.
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Old 04-18-2019, 02:54 PM   #8
MK6_Martinez
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Drives: Candy White 2012 GTI
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Central NJ
Posts: 152
Fun stuff since the last update - this one will be short as there is not much of an update to give but definitely another mile stone.

Went to replace my spark plugs the other day - as I was taking one out I realize it was broken entirely and the threads where stuck in my head while I had the rest of the plug in my hand. Towed it to my mechanic who was able to pop the threads out with a left handed drill bit real quick.

Now back on track - just ordered my tune from Justin @ Freektune. Sent in my entire modlist & such in the email already so now hoping to make some progress by Tomorrow if possible, if not Monday. Will be sure to report back during the tuning for others to see what the process is like.
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Old 04-19-2019, 09:43 AM   #9
MK6_Martinez
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Drives: Candy White 2012 GTI
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Central NJ
Posts: 152
Itching for my tune since I ordered it yesterday, being very impatient awaiting my email of more power.

Last night I replaced zip ties for spring clips on my boost gauge hose as the zipties were getting a bit brittle - also added an inline filter for fun since I had it laying around.

Replaced the O ring on my oil dip stick as well as the O ring/gasket under the oil fill cap as they have a few years under their belt now.

Also went ahead and unplugged my Soundaktor. I have been meaning to do it since I got the car really but I have just never gotten around to it. I must say, definitely not a huge difference but I do feel that I notice its a bit quieter in the car now. Then again my car already has mounts and clutch chatter so I am not the best test case.
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Old 06-20-2019, 11:53 AM   #10
MK6_Martinez
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Drives: Candy White 2012 GTI
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Central NJ
Posts: 152
Ok so the tune is finally done and has been on the car for a bit of time so I can review the process & results.

Overall, took about 8 weeks. Bit of rain delays on my part for logs, overall usually took about 5-7 days for a new revision from Justin which is exactly the expectation he sets from the start.

Whether or not I am right or just ignorant I may never know, I have much more peace of mind knowing that my car has a tune custom tweaked for its own needs. On top of that, its also undeniably faster.

I never took any baseline virtual dyno logs but so far I've seen consistent averages of about ~235hp and ~280tq. This is over about 20 pulls on a few different stretches of road over 2 days. This is while spiking at about 21-22lbs of boost.

I am hoping to get some better logs now that I have confirmation the tune is done and I am not paranoid the car will blow if I try to really push it.
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