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VW GTI (All styles)



  • I just finished looking at a new 2003 VW GTI, color silver. The only options on this VR6 engined car were the 17" alloy wheels & tires. YUMMY!!!!!!!

    Oh, by the way, I also looked at a new 2003 Jetta with the VR6 motor. Black with gray leather interior. YUMMY!!!!!!!
  • 4fisch4fisch Posts: 11
    I just traded my '00 Jetta 1.8T for an '03 GTI 1.8T, silver, 17"-ers, leather, monsoon and sunroof. What a pocket rocket!!

    I had a long and very frustrating experience with the Jetta and multiple chack engine lights. Although the car was great and never ran poorly with the MIL on, there were numerous valves in the air/intercooler/turbo system replaced and an ECM. Long story short - VWoA rules the engine was inhabited by the "check engine demon" and gave me a generous buy-back to apply toward a new VW. I got the GTI for $4000 UNDER invoice, and I'm very pleased to give VW another chance.

    As for the issue on grade of gas. I was told by the lead VW mechanic that VW has a new position on grade of gas in the 1.8T. My old '00 manual said "premium only." The '03 manual says "premium recommended." The reason is that while the 1.8T is a complicated engine, it's plenty sturdy to handle regular 87 octane fuel. Many VW engineers believe that the extra additives and chemicals in premium gas can acctually contribute to the occurance of MIL lights. 87 burns a little hotter and should not affect performance/mileage that much. I plan to run through several tanks of both after my engine breaks in and see what works best for me. I also plan to use Mobile 1 synthetic 5W-30.

    If anyone has questions about my 1.8 experience in the Jetta, just ask. Have to say I'm impressed with how VW backed me up by paying for out-of-warranty repairs and ultimately giving me an out.
  • I traded a 00 Passat turbo for my 02 GTI turbo last year - the Passat was perfect, never had a warranty repair just wanted something smaller and more nimble - I love the GTI.

    I always use premium gas in my GTI - I spend the extra couple dollars a tank for premium plus it gets better gas mileage on premium so the $$ difference is neglegable. The VW turbo will run on any grade of fuel, if it detects cheap gas the knock sensors retard the timing so you get less performance and gas mileage on cheap fuel. I like Chevron premium with Techron, my GTI runs great on it and I get 25mpg in combined driving with a heavy foot.
  • 4fisch4fisch Posts: 11
    So have you compared regular to premium in your '02 GTI? How many miles on it, and have you had any problems at all? So far, I love the GTI - for a $20K car, handling and performance is hard to beat! Plus plenty of luxury.

    Has anyone used plastic film on the front end to protect it from chips and pitting? I'm into preserving my cars' finishes, but hate the maintenance of a front end mask.
  • Has anyone else discovered that parts availability for the '02-'03 GTI's is less than great? I'm in the unfortunate position of having had to wait twice now for parts for my 2003 GTI. First I waited nearly four weeks for a replacement wheel (huge pothole!) and now for a replacement parking brake cable (big board on the Interstate).

    I've spoken with VW America and VW AG, but parts in general seem to be scarce. Even worse VW does not seem to have a systematic way to track availability. My current wait for a brake cable is at weeks and counting and no one at VW is sure when I will get the replacement parts.

    Has anyone else had similar problems with parts availability?
  • adg44adg44 Posts: 385
    I have never heard of anyone having to replace their e-brake cable, and I doubt they have to very often on late model cars, so it wouldn't make sense to keep them in stock.

    What wheels do you have? The Monte Carlos? 5 spoke with gunmetal inserts? That's really weird it would take so long for a wheel though.
  • I agree that backorders or general availability problems can occur, but so far I've been waiting two weeks for the brake cable with no end in sight. More distiurbing - VW (dealer, Americas, or AG) has no estimate for when I will receive the part(s).

    I hit a piece of wood on the highway at 2 AM that kicked up and ripped the e-brake cable right off the rear dirver side. They do hang pretty low on both sides.

    The wheel - I have the standard 5 spoke 17 inch gunmetal Monte Carlo wheels - the replacement took four weeks to get. I assumed its unavailability was an anomaly, but the issue with the break cable is really making me worry.

    Regardless - it seems that there should be a few parts (no matter what they are) in the US for a model car that has been on sale for over a year.
  • I wasn't aware that parts are scarce for VW's. I put an Audi TT shifter in my GTI that I had to order and it was in stock in 4 days - it had to be ordered from a regional VW/Audi warehouse. Could it be your dealer? Try ordering a cable from a different dealer, I've run accross VW parts rescources on the web - try that too.
  • 4fisch4fisch Posts: 11
    Can you tell us more about the shifter you put in? I think the throws on the stock GTI shifter are rather long. Clutch petal travel is, too. Did the Audi unit match right up? Who did it for you and what was the cost? How do you like it?
  • The TT shifter is one of the best mods I've done to the GTI. $36 from the Audi dealer. The TT and GTI are identical underneath, the TT is built on the Golf platform like the New Beetle.
    The TT shifter reduces the throws by 20% and improves shift feel dramatically - it took about a half hour to install. You replace the part above the transmission - you don't touch the actual shifter inside the car. The Audi part number for an 02 GTI 1.8t is 8NO711051A. I'll post a link to install instructions.
  • for original equipment parts. They should have the Audi TT shifter too.
  • 4fisch4fisch Posts: 11
    I'm definitely in for the TT shifter part for my '03 GTI. Look forward to the install instructions! The long throws on the stock shifter was easily the first negative thing I noticed...
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391 has very detailed instruction on the shift linkage install
  • Thanks for the response. I've contacted VW America and they are telling me essentially the same thing as the dealer. If only I was in need of a shifter! :-)

    VW America is basicly saying that they have no systematic way to track parts availability or order status. I've spoken several times with them. If you need a part on backorder (like I do) you're SOL.
  • 4fisch4fisch Posts: 11
    I checked out this website, and saw their complete shifter kit for my '03 GTI. It was $125. Rickrover, did you just replace one of the shift plates with a TT part? The dieselgeek kit has two parts for both front to back and side to side shifting.
  • rickroverrickrover Posts: 602
    The TT shifter replaces the VW part that the cables connect to on top of the transmission. Look under the battery at the top of the transmission - you will see a silver part that has what looks like a handle coming off the top of it and the cables connect to it below the handle. If you have someone in the car shifting while you're looking down there you will see it moving - it's what the shift lever inside the car is connected to via a cable. That's the only part that you replace with the TT shifter - the TT part looks identical except where the cable connects on the TT shifter is in a different position for the shorter shift throws.

    You don't replace the part under the shift boot inside the car that the dieselgeek shifter does. The Audi TT shifter shortens the throw 20% but not side to side. The Dieselgeek part that goes under the shift boot shortens the side to side. A friend of mine did the Dieselgeek to his Jetta in my garage last weekend - I honestly like the TT shifter better and for $36 you can't beat it. The Dieselgeek is almost too short and notchy for me.

    Another mod I did to my GTI last weekend was replacing the motor mount bushings with poly bushings from Another friend did this mod to his GTI and really liked it. This is another half hour simple mod. Shifting is more direct, better traction, just more connected feeling for $16 in parts. The only minor downside is you feel a little vibration at idle. You get 3 bushings in the kit but you don't use the round one unless you race your car - I didn't use it. Amazing difference - these bushings don't allow the engine to rock under hard acceleration like the soft rubber factory ones do - the motormount in a GTI is also known as the dog bone from it's shape. sells 2 types of bushings $16 black and $18 red - get the black ones, they are softer.

    I also vented the fender liner behind the intercooler so the hot intercooler air has a place to go like in the Audi S4 - another simple mod that cost me $7 and about an hour total time - had to remove and reinstall the right front fender liner plus vent it. Let me know if you are interested in this and I'll tell you how I did it.
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    The part in the shift boot is for alignment purposes only. His "tool" locks the shifter on neutral, so that when you attach the cables to the fore-aft linkage, that it is proper.
  • 4fisch4fisch Posts: 11
    I like the sound of these mods. I don't plan on racing, but I do enjoy "spirited driving." If I ever find a test track or grand prix set-up, I'd love to drive it. One way or another, I'd like to mod the shifter, and the engine mounts sound great. I am concerned with creatng too much vibration with the 1.8T, though. In your opinion, which aftermarket mounts created the least amount of increased vibration, and how much was the increase?
  • adg44adg44 Posts: 385
    The Autotech mounts are fairly stiff, but most polyurethane mounts are similar in stiffness. The Engery Suspension ones aren't as stiff from what I understand, but I have read of a lot of people complaining about those being poor quality and breaking.

    I did not want to mod the tranny cause the 02J tranny (5 speed) is really really picky, and mine was already replaced once on my GTI. Of course if you do notice some problems, you can always put back in the stock shifter and take it to the dealer. ;)
  • rickroverrickrover Posts: 602
    You want to get the softest polyurethane mounts for the 1.8t - the black $16 bushings are the best I've come across. I installed them in a half an hour in my GTI last weekend. The bushing kit comes with 3 black poly bushings two fat oval shaped and one small round with a metal liner in the middle - you only want to install the two oval shaped bushings NOT the round bushing with the metal center liner. The round bushing is the one that causes too much vibration at idle. I have just the slightest extra vibration at idle and nothing once it's underway. You can adjust the stiffness of the motormount with a torque wrench. I adjusted mine to 18 lbs - there is one bolt that joins the motormount halves, the oval bushings are on each half - you torque that one bolt - if it vibrates too much you could back off the torque - 18 lbs seems perfect for me. Try it for $16 - if you don't like it you can always put the original bushings back in - It's one of the best mods I've done along with the TT shifter - I had no problems ordering the TT shifter for $36 from the Audi dealer, they had one in stock that my friend got so I ordered one and it was there 4 days later. This was about a month ago.

    I installed a Neuspeed 25mm rear sway bar yesterday - absolutely amazing what this did to the handling. It's adjustable with 3 settings - I have it on the lightest setting - understeer is gone, I swear I'm driving a rear wheel drive car. No sway whatsoever, also an easy 1 hour install - it bolts on to the rear suspension, the GTI really doesn't have a rear sway bar. You want to use a 25mm rear bar if you don't change the front bar, no need to touch the front bar with this rear sway bar - unreal difference in handling. Where it used to plow and squeal the tires in a tight turn it just turns right in with no tire squeal - unbelievable change.

    My next mod is getting the Koni sport shocks installed, I have to adjust them and have them installed. The fronts are adjustable on the car, the rears have to be adjusted off the car. I've done a ton of research on the best adjustment on the web - it appears one click firmer on the front and no extra firmness on the rear is the way to go - I'll see.
  • Just wanted to thrown up this post on my never ending MIL nightmare. My '02 GTI 1.8T has been in the shop 4 times now for an MIL that never seems to shut off. The first time, the dealership reset it and upgraded some software on the ECM and sent me on my way. A month later, they said it was sporadically misfiring and replaced the ECM. Five weeks later, they said no trouble codes were showing up and the misfiring was probably caused by old oil (the car was a demo and the dealership did not tell me they hadn't replaced the oil; so 9k later, old oil). They replaced the oil and sent me on my way. A few days later, MIL on again. This time (and if the stories I've read about VW owners and their ignition coils are true, they'll never believe this), they can't find a thing wrong with the car, but it's still misfiring. So VWoA tells them, replace the ignition coils--all of them. So they do and now they tell me it's running fine. I still don't have the car yet (tonite hopefully) because they want to be absolutely sure there are no other issues with this car. Although this has been annoying, I still love the car. And my dealer in Houston is terrific. If you want any more information, please feel free to email me.
  • How long does the misfiring go on for? If it is just the first couple minutes after being started then you might have the same problem I did.

    My dealer in Austin told me to switch to a lower octane gas from 93. I now use the mid grade(89 or 90) and haven't had a MIL light since.
  • Good question. I don't know really. This is the diagnosis that they came up with (misfiring) and then I would actually notice it after the MIL came back on. In all of the cases, the MIL always came on within the first few minutes after I started the car. I'll call my advisor and ask him about it.

    As a follow up, I found out that the ignition coil packs were taken off a new vehicle on their lot and put on my car just so they could get the problem solved. Funny if its just an octane issue.
  • adg44adg44 Posts: 385
    I have to agree 100% with what you said. The rear sway bar did wonders for my GTI, I also went with a 25mm, and switched out to a 22mm H&R front sway (needed the extra driveshaft clearance).

    What a difference, especially with Bilstein sport shocks, H&R race springs, and a neuspeed strut bar, that car handled like it was on rails. Add the Bridgestone S03 Pole Positions on some 17" forged wheels and I was set.
  • rickroverrickrover Posts: 602
    It is absolutely amazing what a difference suspension upgrades make to a GTI. So far I've done the Neuspeed Front strut tower brace, 25mm rear sway bar (don't need a front one, no rubbing), race springs, Koni sport adjustable struts/ shocks.

    The last few things I want to do to is the Neuspeed lower front tie bar for $90 and a rear upper stress bar (goes between the towers behind the back seat) both of these mods are supposed to make big improvements in body rigidity. There are a lot of designs of the rear stress bar - anywhere from $90 to $200 for a removable one. A stock or slightly modified GTI doesn't need stress bars but when you start modifying the suspension a lot past stock it is a good idea.

    I'm investigating replacing various suspension bushings with poly bushings as well - I think I'll replace the front A arm bushings first. Replaceing the bushings seems to be a lot of bang for the buck. This car will be my first foray into bushing replacements. Whats nice about poly bushings is that if I don't like them putting the stock one's back in isn't a big deal. Last but not least are the tires - I'm doing my best to wear the original 17" Michelins Pilots out - can't stand these tires - I'm either getting Falken Azenis or Kumho MX on the stock 17" alloys. I plan to get some used 16" alloy wheels with some type of track tire for AutoX too.

    I have a "test course" in my neighborhood where I take the GTI when I change something on the suspension. It has a series of extremely tight S turns going out to a high school in the back of the neighborhood - all one way with great visibility and totally abandoned on the weekends. I enjoy seeing the tangable, measurable improvements these suspension mods have made to the GTI - I've been practicing my 4 wheel drifts lately (not something I'd recommend with the stock suspension) - this is really, really addicting. My Michelins have left a perfect black line through my test track :-)

    Where a stock GTI has a soft almost floaty touring suspension with a good dose of oversteer. My GTI has been transformed into a nice tight but not punishing suspension that understeers like a rear drive car - no lean or sway, perfectly controlled, handles like it's on rails and this is on the stock all season tires.
  • adg44adg44 Posts: 385
    But yes, I agree with everything you said.

    VWMS makes a lot of stiffer rubber bushings instead of poly bushings if you were interested....

    Just wait till you get some super sticky tires on there, you'll be amazed even more.

    The stock Monte Carlos are a good wheel, they are 23 lbs (about average for a 17" cast wheel), and they are made by speedline. The Michelin tires are awful, I know what you mean. If you want to spend the extra money, I highly suggest S03 Pole Positions, they are about $150 for 225/45/17 last time I checked - not bad at all.

    As for the front tie bar, I have heard mixed reviews about just how beneficial this is. The rear strut bar however I was planning to do to my GTI, but then I sold it. The Alpha1 looks like a nice unit, and I like that it can be removed.

    - Anthony
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    I'm eyeing out a Turn-2 rear stress bar. I think it's needed on the Golf & GTI. The hatch design loses some of its torsional rigidity compared to the 3-box Jetta.
  • rickroverrickrover Posts: 602
    Yes - I meant oversteer -it turns right in, very crisp response now with the rear sway. I was testing it out again this past weekend. I have an AutoX event coming up as well, looking forward to getting it out on the track.

    That Turn-2 bar is nice, I have links to a few rear stress bars at home, quite a range in prices.
  • bruticusbruticus Posts: 229
    Here's the situation. I've been wanting a Subaru WRX for quite some time, but I've been unable to find insurance coverage for less than $2900/year, which I simply cannot afford (I like the car but will not pay $3000/year on the loan and $2900 more for insurance)

    I had put the GTI on my list but only as an alternative (mainly because a friend has had one for 14 months with some bad experiences) and am now considering its merits. If there are any posters out there like me (see below) I would appreciate information on your experience insuring the GTI.

    I'm 27, single, male and live in central NJ. I've had continuous insurance coverage under my own name since July 1998 (was on father's policy between 1993-1998). I have no accidents/claims on my record at all. In May 2001 I was ticketed for careless driving (while aiming for a highway exit ramp I moved off the road 100 feet too soon and was nailed for "driving on the shoulder to avoid traffic," a total line of crap but that's beside the point).

    I'm currently with AllState, have been since July 2000, and have paid ~100/month pretty consistently. Last January, when looking at buying the WRX, I got quotes for its insurance and was shocked to get nothing better than $2000/year. In the past few weeks I played the quote game again (thinking "probably not much change, but I can afford it now") and nearly had a heart attack at hearing the aforementioned premiums. The $2900/yr was from AllState, and agents of two other companies said flat-out "we're not going to beat them, and I doubt anybody else will."

    The USAA woman was really sweet, and took the trouble to determine that the reason those quotes are so high is due to the WRX qualifying as a "high-perf vehicle," based mainly on is hp:weight. Deleting my 2 points from the quote dropped it 10%, but changing back to a regular-old Impreza dropped it almost 50%.

    So, for all those GTI owners out there whose lives look a bit similar to mine, have you been seeing these kinds of premiums?

  • GTI 1.8t owner here who pays $1100/year. I'm 33 but have had a one ticket and one fender bender in the last 3 years.

    1.8t is a good choice because it is easily and cheaply modded and is a good way to get around hp/weight ratios that these companies use.

    Check out Geico as they were the lowest rate for me when I got my Saturn back in '95 as well as the lowest for my current VW.

    My other piece of advice is to take a defensive driving course if you haven't already. This course, in Texas at least, cost $35 and will take up 6 hours of your time. In return you get 10% off your insurance for a period of three years. At $3000/year you would save $900 for a $35 investment.

    Also you may want to compare rates on: Mazdaspeed Protege, Mini, Focus SVT, Mazda 6, etc. and see what they come up with.

    Good Luck!
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