MK5 GTI updates

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It has been a very long time since I have made any updates about my GTI. The main reason is because it has been down for almost 6 months. The month of October is when I took my GTI to the dealership because I had a CEL I noticed, at the time, the engine took a tiny bit longer to start but the car felt faster and pulled harder for some weird reason.

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Naturally I took it the dealership in Austin because a couple years ago, I had the head completely replaced at that dealership because some idiot drove my car, and miss shifted which over revved and practically ruined my engine. The dealership took care of me and the work was spot on. Thankfully the insurance company paid for it and the dealership said I didn’t need a new engine. Well fast forward to two years later I got my CEL and I took it to same dealership.

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I did Vag Com my car before I drove to the dealership to see what caused the CEL. The Vag Com showed engine speed error. Well that could mean the sensor was going bad or my timing chain skipped a tooth or timing is off. I was hoping for the sensor, but that was not the case. Come to find out the engine balancing shaft seized, the timing chain skipped a tooth. The engine balancing gear popped out and caused the timing chain  to ride on the shaft. This was making the timing chain eat into the tensioners. My motor was dead. As in, I need a new F***King motor.

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I found it odd I had to replace the motor because I drove the car with CEL from Houston to Austin without any problems at all, except it just took a tiny bit longer to start. The car felt it pulled harder with the CEL, but Im guessing that was due to the skipped tooth on the timing chain. The engine sounded normal not showing signs it was on a bad health decline. But after seeing the damage, I guess it was just one drive away from being on the side of the road with a pool of oil and engine bits.

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I don’t really know how the dealership didn’t see this before, even when I come in to get it serviced. I asked the service advisor what could have caused this and said “overrevving.” WELL I know how to shift and never in my life, miss shifted and overrevved any car. Except when 2 years ago some idiot drove my car and that person miss shifted. I was hoping the dealership or the insurance would cover the damage because this was do to that incident. But after talking and reasoning, they just said its not covered under warranty and the insurance wont cover it. The main reason is because I did drive my car for 2 years before the CEL came on and they can say the car was driving just fine when I took it off the lot. Since my car is modified the insurance company automatically labeled me as a “streetracer.” But some parts could have been severely weakened and fail prematurely from the stresses of being over revved at that point. The dealership and insurance didn’t want to hear it. To them, its just money lost because the dealership was quoting me $10,000 to replace the motor with labor!!!

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I was in a deep hole and probably one of the lowest point of my life. This was my first car I bought after college and needed a heart transplant. I still owed $8,000 at the time plus a possibility of paying $10,000 for a new motor. Oh, I also had to pay $600 labor fee when the dealership took out the timing chain. This is risk of upgrading a car and still owning money, and the same reason why my parents said to pay off the car first before modding it. I just thought it wouldn’t happen to me but it did. I did have the Miata and thats all paid up but still the GTI was my first car I ever bought. Its was a present to myself for graduating college.

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After a lot of thinking I decided to screw the dealership, drop the old insurance because they suck and switched to a new one. I went to my good friend Joe and we go way back since middle school. Back in the day Joe and I would go to his bother shop and help around and just learn about cars during the summer. I was serious gear head before I could drive. I still remember when front mount air intake was the in thing and R34 GTR headlights on Hondas. I called my friend Joe to let him know I’m bringing the GTI to the shop and towed my car to Active Motorwerks in Austin Tx.

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I decided to keep my GTI and not sell it or part it out. I had memories in that car and I couldn’t let it go. I knew I had to rebuild her and come back harder. I worked over time at my hospitals. The last thing I wanted was to be a financial burden on my parents. After looking for a couple of months of searching, I found the right motor from Eurospec Sport, thanks to a friend who showed me the website. I could have bought a used motor but a brand new long block was just $1000 more and I want this build done right the first time using quality parts. I ordered the new long block and within a week the engine arrived. The shop is a two man team and they were working on a couple of cars before they could do mine. I ended up waiting a couple of months but I didn’t mind because that gave me time to save more money for the build and I didn’t want them to rush on my car.

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I bought Defi BF gauges with the controller about one year ago, and I wasn’t sure when to install it but since the car was going in for a heart transplant, that would be the perfect time to install the monitors. While the engine was out, I replaced the factory clutch since it was slipping due to the tune. I got the Excedy clutch which could handle my tune with the flywheel too. I even got BSH stiffer engine and transmission mounts so I can feel the car more. I bought the BSH oil catch can because I saw my old engine had a lot of oil build up on the intake due to the blow by from the turbo. Later I found out the engine that I bought is for the newer model GTIs but it bolted on perfectly to my car. I would say that was a good surprise.

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Mario and Hass from Active Motorwerks really did a great job. Honestly, it took a while for everything but I wasn’t complaining. They take the time to make sure everything is done right and very thorough with the work .  All the gaskets, fittings, lines where replaced and was nice enough to do a 50,000 mile transmission service. They wire tucked my Defi gauges, and used MOTUL oil on my engine and transmission. They cleaned the engine bay before putting the new engine in. Even though it was their first time changing engines on a GTI they are not new to modifying cars. Active Motorwerks is a shop that does OEM and aftermarket installs mainly specializing on BMWs. The shop gets the exotic cars like Lambos and Ferraris for tune ups or repairs. GT3 Porshes come in for modifications and rotary powered cars for engine swaps. Every time I come in, the shop is always clean and organized with a lot of different style cars.

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When I actually saw my GTI start up for the first time in 6 months, it was like a seeing a old friend you haven’t seen in years. It just felt soo good and you remember the memories. The deep burble of the exhaust, seeing the Defi opening sequence, the familiarity of the Status racing seat, and gripping the leather steering wheel. I took the car on a test drive, and made me really miss the power. Hearing the spool of the turbo build up boost just brought smiles. The Miata is fun in its own way but the power and acceleration is something Im not used to in a long time.

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After getting my car back with a brand new, zero miles motor I immediately started putting some miles on it to make sure everything was working right. Just before my GTI called it quits, I bought a set of Work Kiwami. After many months of just sitting at my crib, and letting a good friend borrow them I finally got a chance to mount up my Kiwami. They were more aggressive spec then the Rotas but I was tired of rep wheels and I wanted real wheels again. I know the fronts will be perfect but I was worried the rears would be too aggressive for the maxed out rear stock camber.

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The front specs are 18×9.5 et5 205/40/18 with -3.5 degrees of camber. I just like how lightweight but strong these wheels are. Did I mention its deep concave specs too.

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As I suspected, the rears didn’t fit like a glove. I had to get smaller 225/35/18 tires because the tire shop had a super hard time fitting 215/40/18 on a 10.5in wide wheel. I ended up raising my coils to the max height and it still rubbed enough to burn my fenders. Stock camber was maxed to -4.5 but I needed camber arms. The picture above and below shows my fitment before camber arms with the coil overs at the highest setting.

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Some people say this is Mexi poke but its not. Just hella poke and hella stretch. You can still see the groves of the tire is still within the fender. Mexi poke is when the groves of the tire go past the fender. I could have gone with over fenders or went crazy and have a body shop widen the rears. But I like aggressive wheels with aggressive camber. I ended up purchasing Innovative Design and Fabrication (IDF) control arms from Bag Riders. The IDF is a better quality build then the eBay counterpart.  The bushings are quality Energy Suspension bushings which can easily be replaced if worn out and stiffer then OEM. The install is straight forward and a direct bolt on.

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IDF adds serious camber, if you are about that stance life. At the alinement shop,  the max camber is -12!!!! The camber arm is designed  so you can really lay frame without having the camber arm hit the frame. Don’t buy eBay ones, they suck period. You can never go wrong with quality that is backed with design and research. The eBay camber arms wasn’t a direct bolt on and I had to do some drilling for the factory bolts to fit. While drilling to make the holes bigger, the bushing literary broke off the camber arm. I didn’t even get a chance to ride on the eBay one because it broke during installation. Thats better then having it fail on you at highway speed. The thing with eBay products is the the quality is not there. Its a hit or miss, sometimes you get lucky and the part works but most the time the part fails and you are back to were you where in the first place.

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My main shop in Houston, is One Stop Automotive located on Bissonet and Hwy 6. The shop is dump friendly and have a chill shop owner. Ask for Fernando or Alex, they know to work on cars properly and are car guys too. This would be the second place to go to if I can’t make it to Active Motorwerks in Austin.

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With my camber arms installed I dialed the fitment to -8.5. I could tuck the 18×10.5 et0 rims but I wanted the slight poke of the fender to rim. This is static, and still had enough clearance if I hit a bump the rims would tuck under the fender.

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No place for hate. But let the haters hate. Stance is something you either like it or hate it. Some people respect it, some other people just don’t get it. I just build my cars for my satisfaction and enjoyment.

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Stay tilted.

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This car has brought me ups and downs kinda like life. I was really down when I found out the motor was dead. I was seriously thinking of just cutting my loss and just sell the car as is with a broken motor and pay off the rest of the car. But I felt that was worse then trying to come back harder and rebuild her. I did not to give up. I took my time finding the right engine, I towed my GTI to a shop that I trusted. I saved the money from the overtime and paid for everything. I wanted to do things right the first time and no short cuts. No matter how tough life can get, if there is a will there is a way. Hard work and determination gets you where you want to go in life, and not just in cars but everything you do. Taking shortcuts, laziness, and making excuses wont do you good. Every problem has a solution. Its what you do about your problem determines what kind of person you are. We all have downs in life, what matters is how to deal it. Don’t let the down get the best of you.

 

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StanceNation Dallas

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Been a while since I last posted here but busy with life and priorities. Fortunately I had time off and was lucky enough to be accepted at Stancenation. My roll in time was actually a day before the actual event, which meant I had to leave my car overnight. I didn’t really understand why, but my guess is it wont be soo chaotic if all the cars rolled in at once on the big day. 

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I worked the night before and was hoping to leave work early but day shift came 30 minutes late and I still had to get clothes for the extra day staying in Dallas. I had no time to eat or wash my car. I just went to my crib, grabbed some clothes, and my camera. 

 

 

 

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The meeting place was at Greenspoint Mall (AKA GUNSpoint mall) in northeast side of Houston. I rolled out with my buddy Donnie and Mayday Garage was having a Stancenation rollout to Dallas. By the time I got to the meeting point there was about 15 cars and everyone was getting ready leave. Just barely in the nick of time. I love to drive in packs, because it makes the drive less boring and makes long drives feel short. Mind you, I had zero sleep from night shift, and eating my Dunken Donut sandwich combo in the car. 

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I was glad I got my GTI back from the shop because I was sure enjoying the cool blast of AC. If this was the Miata, I would be miserable because the forecast called for high temps and humidity with a chance of rain. Sucked for Donnie because his CRX has no ac.

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At the very last stretch in Dallas it was like all the cars kinda went their separate ways and it seemed like I was leading, for a brief moment. But honestly I had no idea where the meeting point was at for lunch or knew where I was going. I just kept on the highway hoping to find another car to follow. Fortunately I did find a car from Houston and just followed them. Turned out, the meeting point was In and Out Burgers but Donnie and I ended up eating at Pluckers with some people from Southernfresh. I didn’t mind, since it had been a long timeI had pluckers and I was hungry and tired being a awake for 24hrs. 

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After eating and getting my Pluckers fix, Donnie and I went to our hotel to check in. We got a great deal on our hotel but it was 20 minutes away from the venue. LOL. Thanks to Donnie’s girlfriend, she drove after work from Houston and headed to the venue so she can pick us up. 

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I didn’t really had time to enjoy the hotel or sleep even because our roll in time was coming up and we didn’t want to be late, thinking we might get a crappy spot. Donnie is a member from team Squirrel Squad, and I ended up rollin with them too. Squirrel Squad is a team mainly based in San Antonio but Donnie was repping the Houston side. 

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Upon checking in, everybody got free Meguiars quick wax spray and air fresheners. I do love free goodies. At this point I was delirious and just plain tired. The things I do for car shows seems impractical. Dedication. 

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My car was very dirty, and I haven’t washed my car in over 2 weeks from the Houston rain. Luckily I did remember to bring towels and some quick detail spray, but I was hoping I could have gone to car wash and give my GTI a quick spray at least. Donnie came prepared and had his car detailed the day before the roll in. Fortunately Donnie brought this Meguiars car wash spray, which is actually called Meguiars ultimate wash and wax spray. This was my first time hearing about this product but its literally a life saver, especially at car shows. Basically if you don’t have time to wash your car, then you can use this spray with a clean rag to clean your car. No mess and no fuss. Made my dirty car looked like it came off of the paint shop just dripping wet. My car honestly got more bad looks then good ones, because I’m guessing I was too hella poke in the rears especially. Oh wells. 

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After cleaning my car, I went around to take some shots of cars. Plus we were waiting on Donnie’s girlfriend to pick up. One of the best things about showing in a show is that you actually can take pics without people in the way and just take your time. You don’t have to stand in line for the doors to open or battle the crowds to wait for that one shot. Just the perks of being in a show. 

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Cars were starting to roll in and people detailing their cars for big event tomorrow. Mayday Garage RX7s are definitely a show stopper. This is David’s RX7 with the Car Shop Glow LED taillights and I must say it really looks great in person. Just ridding next to this car while heading to Dallas felt like seeing something beautiful for the first time in your life. If there are any RX7 owners, these are a must have, and worth the price. Japanese built and Japanese quality. 

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All lined up

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Now this is Tom’s S2000 and always killing the S2000 game at every show. I remember seeing this car at the Wekfest Austin roll in back in 2012 with Work Misters, shaved and wired tucked engine bay, and unboosted. This time it boosted with super rare Mugen MF10 wheels and more details. Tom took the s2000 to Wekfest LA just to show the Texas scene. This s2000 is wearing the first Car Shop Glow S2000 LED tail lights even before being released to the market at the time of Stancenation. 

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For those of you wondering what the LED look like in action. 

 

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This car has gone a long way since Wekfest Austin 2012, which did win best S2000. Just to give you some perspective. 

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One the things that is becoming popular is bags and air ride suspension. Air suspension have really gone a long way now in the car scene market. They are more reliable and the support is readily available on most cars. You have the convenience to be slammed, hard parked, raise it up for driving, and then go 4×4 when you go over bumps with a push of a button. I will eventually go bags but I still like riding static and slammed just because set it and quit it.

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Booty

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Faces

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Mazda 3 on rebarreled Work Emitz with overfenders. Wish I didn’t sell my Emitz and just rebuilt them. Maybe that was the Emitz I had…. or maybe this one……

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Oooohh kill em with the copper bronze, deep dish

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This Lexus has the AIMGAIN widebody body kit is one the VIP heavy hitters in Texas. I don’t think there was one part on the car that wasn’t touched with some type of VIP accents. 

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On point fitment.

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VIP everything. 

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The Euro scene was also strong at Stancenation. I like the how VW can play the OEM plus style very well. I remember when I used to rock the Mercedes Alphards  on the GTI but then I went for more stance and poke. Sigh.

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Leo’s creamy clean MK4 GTI. This guy also drives a 135i convertible with TE37s or BBS E50. Showing the euro scene from Houston. 

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I heard this VW was static. The one thing about VWs, is either you are bagged and laid out, or static and laid out. Or on the other side of the spectrum, raised 4×4 status. 

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S line. 

 

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This Mercedes is owned by the guy the that drove a green custom bagged MK1 Rabbit at Wekfest Houston last year. That rabbit used a beer keg as a gas tank and I thought it was the air tank. Soo much custom work and attention to detail on that rabbit. The owner did all the custom work too all the way from Kansas. This year he sold that car for this Merc and Im sure next time I see this car it will probably be on bags, shaven doors, and more euro goodies

 

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This M3 was sporting the Euro JDM look rocking the Work Equips.

 

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The Miata gang. NA, NB, and NC. 

 

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2JZ no shit. This will decimate all.

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This was a clean and simple Lexus. Just wheels and a drop will completely change the look of a car. 

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Much fitment on this TL with upsized BBS RS wheels. 

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The TL, by the way, is a boosted V6… vtec

 

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Team 16niss always having some the best cars out there. 

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Team BRG also with killing it the crazy fitments.

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Rat rod is always cool. Style and looks comes first and safety is the last priority.

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A Takata tow strap for a touch of JDM

 

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This Honda wagon from team status was clean and simple with a shaven and wire tucked engine bay. 

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This wagon has extended top hats with wheel arches raised so the upper control arm wont smash into the body. Something you don’t notice unless you know something about honda suspension when slamming it. The reason why most people wont notice, is because this was done cleanly and not hacked at, just flows with the car. Its all in the details.

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Seen this car at many shows, and has a LED stars in the engine bay. VIP.

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Wrapped cars seem to be big this year too. Still want to keep your paint? Wrapping is another alternative. 

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The new 86 rocking the louvers.

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Pop that trunk with custom air setup and hardwood floors.

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Emmanuel’s murdered out TL type S. Daily static too.

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Mervyn’s recently bagged Genesis from team Prospekts. I think every single car in that team is bagged. 

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Manny’s dope TSX, from team Apokalypse on aggressive Work LXZ, and a new updated Mugen front bumper. This car also has gone a long way since Wekfest Austin 2012. 

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This is the first Stancenation show in Texas and I was glad show in it. I wish my camber arms came in time for the show, but getting in is an accomplishment considering how many cars applied to be in the show. A lot of quality builds and I hope they will have one next year, but this time in Houston or Austin. The 4.5 hr drive plus no rest was very tiring. As soon as I got to my hotel that night, I just passed out.