1 2
mfennell
mfennell Reader
5/19/20 1:04 p.m.

This is not the crazy I-started-with-a-piece-of-rebar-and-a-welder project some of you guys do but it was fun.  In September I bought a '19 Golf Sportwagen with a 6MT.  I was sick of fixing my '04 V70R and I noticed this was my last chance to get an AWD, 6MT wagon.  Which I rather like.  Because I'm weird.

Stock, these cars are just flat boring.  170hp in a 3200ish lb car.  In '19, the GSW was only available in 'S' trim, which means it's about as stripped out as a modern car gets but it still has CC, heated seats, Android Auto/Apple Carplay.  Cloth seats.  No sunroof (they leak and this an outdoor car.  No advanced driver aids.  No keyless entry.

The cool thing is that VW/Audis are Lego cars.  All kinds of things can be swapped around and the aftermarket is deep.   After a lot of obsessing, I settled on a plan:

  • is38 turbocharger found on the Golf R, Audi S3, etc.
  • clutch from Audi TTRS
  • Golf R springs
  • Golf R rear antiroll bar
  • Koni SAs (which had good reviews as a reasonable but sporty ride)
  • 312mm front brakes (vs 288 stock)
  • shifter kit from the Audi S3
  • an intake tube and elbow.  A resourceful guy did a bunch of tests and found that these two parts plus a free flow filter int he stock air box flowed within a few percentage points of the expensive aftermarket stuff
  • 18" VW "Pretoria" wheels
  • Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires

My goal was to have an unexpectedly fast little skateboard without ruining it.  The choice of the is38 was a risk.  The GTI turbo (is20) would have been a safer bet.  More about that later.

Anyway, I'm fortunate enough to be able to WFH  so I had a fair bit of time on my hands so I ordered everything at once, pulled the car in the garage, and started turning wrenches.

mfennell
mfennell Reader
5/19/20 1:07 p.m.

It begins.

Occaisional small helper.  She hit the brakes so I could loosen the CV joints.  Later she helped bleed the clutch.

I already had an engine bay brace (cool) but it didn't align properly (not cool).  I didn't fully realize at the time that letting the engine rock back would create a bunch of headaches later.  Lesson learned.

That escalated quickly (it really didn't - I'm slow-like-glacier).  First time working on a modern VAG product so I took forever to do anything.  Almost to the point of absurdity.  Trouble with a connector?  Let's go back in the house and search YT videos.  It will be there tomorrow.   OTOH, I completed the whole project without damaging anything.

One advantage of doing everything (clutch, turbo, suspension) at once is that everything is apart.  That makes it easy to take it really apart.  In this case, it was 6 or so bolts to drop the whole subframe since so much was already disassembled.  So much room for activities!  It made the turbo install easier later too.

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise SuperDork
5/19/20 1:11 p.m.

Can't wait to see it!

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/19/20 1:18 p.m.

"Slow-like-glacier"

A fitting description of my project progress as well.

mfennell
mfennell Reader
5/19/20 1:24 p.m.

I was lazy with pics.  At this point the trans is back in and I'm about to remove the turbo.  Normally, removing the turbo on an AWD Golf is a gigantic PITA.  The worst is an 8mm triple square under the turbo but, since I had so much apart already, it was easy to gain access.  Although I had put the trans back in, I decided to pull the bevel drive.  It was only a handful of bolts.

As I get older, I'm happy to trade fast for easy.   Spending a few extra minutes to make something easier.  I would go broke as a pro.

So this is the view up with the bevel drive (and subframe) out.  So. Much. Access.  The guys on the VW list thought it hilarious that I had pulled so much off the car for the turbo but, like I said, so much was taken apart already.

The original little turbo.  The cool thing is that externally, the 'bigger' turbo is identical and drops right back.

mfennell
mfennell Reader
5/19/20 1:28 p.m.

All buttoned back up.  Against all odds, it started right up.  No fires, funny noises, etc.  I ran it up to temp and rowed through the gears before hooking the axles back up and installing the suspension.

Next up, suspension.  The goal was to make it mildly more sporty and a bit lower.  Also, I needed red.  :)

 

 

mfennell
mfennell Reader
5/19/20 1:41 p.m.

And all buttoned up.

Somehow I didn't screw anything up.  I haven't touched a thing since I finished.  I just drive it around.  How did I do?

Well, that answer is complicated.

The ride is exactly what I had in mind.  It's still comfortable while being considerably more firm.  "German sporty car ride" is what I was aiming for and what I got.  The car won't be disassembling itself over bumpy pavement but it also won't wallow all over with the sticky rubber.  I have yet to actually get anywhere near the limits so there could conceivably be some surprises I guess.

Before I messed with everything, I had updated the ECU with a "1+" tune from Unitronic in Canada.  I timed a 3rd gear run from 2-6k rpm up a slight hill near my home.  Stock: 12.9 sec.  Tuned: 9.8 sec.  A scarcely believable difference.  With the new turbo and their tune specifically for the is38 with the 1.8t: 9.6 sec.  :)  Of course, it happens completely differently.  Stock, the party is long over at 6k.  With the is38, your eyes are still getting wider.

The tuned stock turbo shows 1.2bar at 2k rpm.  The big turbo, 0.2.  By 3000, it's at 1.4 and holds that essentially to 7000rpm.  I kind of expected a huge whack of power but that's not really how big turbos work, I now understand.  The power ramps up much more smoothly from slow to plaid.  It is really fast past 3k.  The marketing numbers claim 350hp (from 170 stock!).  The reality is probably 320 but that still 10lbs/hp.

Initially, I was a bit disappointed by the experience but I like it better every time I drive it.  The smooth rush of power is pretty cool.

To give an idea of how fast it is, if I had a DSG transmission, this would probably be a high 11 second car in the quarter.  With the smaller is20, people see 12.3-12.4.  I'd never be able to replicate with the manual trans unless I was unimaginably abusive, of course.

EDIT: one of my favorite changes was actually changing the shift bracket to the one used in an Audi S3 (and others, I'm sure).  The claim is 15% shorter throws but it feels much more and totally changes the shifting experience.  I love it.

Also, I didn't point out that my exhaust is completely stock.  "Everyone" claims I'm not really leaving much power on the table and I just love being fast in silence.

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise SuperDork
5/19/20 2:23 p.m.

The drop/wheel/suspension very much on point 

classicJackets (FS)
classicJackets (FS) Dork
5/19/20 2:26 p.m.

Awesome

xflowgolf (Forum Supporter)
xflowgolf (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
5/19/20 2:41 p.m.

awesome project!

Geil. 

Arosa14tdi
Arosa14tdi New Reader
5/19/20 3:34 p.m.

Sweet and subtle I like that

1kris06
1kris06 HalfDork
5/19/20 3:53 p.m.

Interesting. I wasn't aware the sportwagen came with awd. Thought only the alltracks did. Nice start.

FatMongo
FatMongo Reader
5/19/20 5:21 p.m.

Very cool!

I would be surprised if that thing went 12's, but no doubt you've picked up a bunch of power.

Awesome work. Any chance you'll get it on a dyno any time?

Slippery (Forum Supporter)
Slippery (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
5/19/20 5:37 p.m.

I love everything about this. After seeing an R Sportwagen in Sweden I always wondered how difficult it would be to replicate. You pretty much answered that question. 

dj06482
dj06482 UltraDork
5/19/20 6:52 p.m.

Love it!

R56fanatic (Forum Supporter)
R56fanatic (Forum Supporter) New Reader
5/20/20 12:23 a.m.

Nice!  Now you have me thinking about hotrodding my wife's Alltrack.  I could drop a tune on it and just not tell her...

What intake plumbing is that?

 

mfennell
mfennell Reader
5/20/20 9:14 a.m.
FatMongo said:

Very cool!

I would be surprised if that thing went 12's, but no doubt you've picked up a bunch of power.

Awesome work. Any chance you'll get it on a dyno any time?

I know it sounds unlikely but - again with the DSG and the smaller turbo - several people have documented 12.3-12.4 using Dragy, a high performance GPS performance meter.  They trap 110-111.  0-60 around 4.1.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1KiCuQ2Md4. One of the shops I buy from built an is38 Alltrack DSG and took it to a strip in NC in July.  12.7@108 and everyone gave them E36 M3 about it being slow!

Unfortunately, the relatively local shop with a dyno sold theirs.  They just weren't getting enough business with it.

mfennell
mfennell Reader
5/20/20 9:16 a.m.
R56fanatic (Forum Supporter) said:

Nice!  Now you have me thinking about hotrodding my wife's Alltrack.  I could drop a tune on it and just not tell her...

What intake plumbing is that?

 

MST.  I picked it based on testing done here: http://mygolfmk7.com/best-mk7-gti-air-intake/

 

mfennell
mfennell Reader
5/20/20 9:22 a.m.

Thanks for the kind words everyone.  It was a super fun project.  Working on an almost new car with no time constraints is such a pleasure I actually felt a little regret as I buttoned it back up.  

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
5/20/20 9:25 a.m.

That's a neat (and ambitious) project. I always enjoy the factory+ type builds. What could they have built if they tried? Probably comes from my youth reading about the oddball cars that the big three could build you if you only knew the proper way to ask. 

Well done. 

mfennell
mfennell Reader
5/20/20 9:26 a.m.
Slippery (Forum Supporter) said:

I love everything about this. After seeing an R Sportwagen in Sweden I always wondered how difficult it would be to replicate. You pretty much answered that question. 

I gather the 2.0, which has a more sophisticated valve management strategy (I forget if it's timing or lift adjustability), fills in the bottom end pretty well so I can't claim it's a close substitute.

I have been eyeing the Euro R wagon mufflers and rear valence though, just for aesthetics.  They're surprisingly well priced.

(Jesse) Ransom
(Jesse) Ransom UltimaDork
5/20/20 10:47 a.m.

That is a truly staggering jump in performance. I had no idea you could do something like that to one of these...

docwyte
docwyte UberDork
5/20/20 11:13 a.m.

Doubt that TTRS clutch is going to last.  Particularly if you install a downpipe and flash to stage 2.  My plan on my Golf R is to replace my clutch with a Southbend Stage 3 daily and then tune it with an E30 Stage 2 file.  450hp and 475ft lbs...

mfennell
mfennell Reader
5/20/20 3:23 p.m.
docwyte said:

Doubt that TTRS clutch is going to last.  Particularly if you install a downpipe and flash to stage 2.  My plan on my Golf R is to replace my clutch with a Southbend Stage 3 daily and then tune it with an E30 Stage 2 file.  450hp and 475ft lbs...

It's actually "stage 2+" in the random world of tune names.  The 'marketing torque' on my set up is about 30ft lbs less than a real TTRS so I'm hoping it will last.

If it fails, at least I'll get to use my hard won experience replacing it again.  Otherwise it would just go to waste!

1 2
Our Preferred Partners
gGHidIg6clkWAE9Wdcvj8dLXVk6KQUwDm6RU3pkW3nzjOer6b7RirxoukMRrrQZ8