This is my page for people who are bored enough to read about my GTi. I used to have this thing up here bragging about how cheap my car had been, but I've put a bunch of money into it now, after running it for two years, so that's not here anymore. I think it's also fitting that my "Live Cheap or Die" sticker disintigrated into nothing. I just bought her a new head with a G-grind cam in it, had it planed, pressure checked, and the valves adjusted. I put the head on on June 15, 2000 and then found out that the header that I'd been meaning to put on was for an A2. Grrr... so I had to get a dual outlet manifold, and while I was at it, I had it ground out to bigger than stock in some places. I then had the same guy (Dana Richardson of Henniker, NH, who does beautiful work but is a little slow) make me a custom downpipe, which is the best downpipe I've ever seen - much better than the TT. All of the welds are perfectly smooth and even and well, it's just mighty impressive. But it'd better be, because it cost me more than the TT unit, too. I also had him portmatch the intake manifold to a Golf throttle body, which he again did a wonderful job of doing. I was impressed enough that I had him weld my floor, and he impressed me again, completely reconstructing the frame rail to better-than-original specs. Every time, though, he took much longer than he said he would.

I then fought with some 2" exhaust for a very long time and finally got it right, with the help of my brother Jonah and a guy at Monroe muffler and brake who bent us up the piece to go over the rear axle for $30. He did it wrong, but we cut it up and made it work, and now it's fine. A bit of a hack job, but it's perfectly solid and 2" mandrel-bent the whole way back. Claudia's all about looking like crap and going like hell anyway.

So I finally had her all together, and she ran like junk! She sounded pretty darn cool, but I didn't care much about that. I gave up for a week (had to go back down to my place in MA and work), and then came back the next weekend, and tried everything I could think of. One night in my sleep it occurred to me that it must be the warm-up regulator on the block, so I woke up and pulled one off the Golf motor I had, and she ran perfectly! It made me very happy. She still needs an O2 sensor and a frequency valve to get the kind of gas mileage that I'd really like her to get, but she runs great and has so much more power than she used to that it makes me giddy. I need to time her 0-60 time sometime. I wonder how much faster she'd be if I put a close-ratio in her like she's supposed to have, but I really like the wide gearing on the highway.

My GTi
Claudia, awhile ago, with clean wheels (rare, believe me) These wheels have actually since been sold - they were heavy and not wide enough - I'm sticking with 14" for now because they're lighter and more stealth)
Claudia, on the 7th of August, 1999, with her new red door, and dirty wheels again. That's what I get for using Pagid pads (but I love them)

Claudia is no longer unreliable and finicky. I've replaced more parts on her than I really want to think about. I've put well over $2000 into her, above and beyond the original cost of the car. But it's been worth it. Now all she needs to be mechanically perfect is a steering rack (the one on her right now has a little bit of play in it). Cosmetically, she still suffers, but I don't really care about such things much, and neither does she.

Performance Mods

Claudia has: Neuspeed 22mm front/28mm rear anti-sway bars, 16v front lower stressbar, Neuspeed front upper stressbar, Bilsteins with some unknown lowering springs, G-grind cam, Golf throttle body (portmatched to intake, of course), dual outlet manifold and downpipe (both smoothed and modified or custom-built), and some 2" mandrel-bent exhaust or other. Oh yeah and she has a K&N and poly front and rear motor mounts. I hope to make a ram air setup for her, too, by cutting a hole in the front air dam and making a funnel of some sort into some dryer hose, and then route that into the air intake on the bottom of the airbox.

Homemade Modifications

I've done lots of interesting small modifications to my car, some just because my car is old and such things need doing, some because I'm an idiot and had to correct stupid mistakes, and some just because... This first mod (putting in an A2 Jetta radiator) happened because I had to leave for a trip once and my radiator randomly started leaking. I didn't have the correct radiator around, but I did have one from the Jetta I rolled, so I just put that one in. It required making some custom bracketry and drilling an extra hole in the core support for the little plastic pin in the bottom of the radiator, but it was worth it (no big deal really). Now my GTi runs much cooler than it used to. It used to run at like 1/2 to 3/4 on the temp gauge, and now it runs at like 1/4 to 1/2.
Here's a pic of how the whole radiator fits in the car: (click on it to get a bigger one)
Here's a picture of the custom bracket I had to make to hold the top of the radiator in on the right side of the car. It's basically just a strip of metal that has two holes in it for the two screw holes on the side of the radiator and then another hole in it up top to hold it to the core support. I guess I shouldn't actually say I made this bracket... my dad did. (We were working together, fast, trying frantically to get me off on this trip)
I went off on the trip without hooking up the radiator fan, because the plug was different and I didn't feel like hooking it up. I figured I wouldn't get stuck in any traffic. Wrong. I did, and had to figure out how to wire up a two-speed plug to a three speed fan. I just cut it apart with a knife and stuck it in there, on the high speed setting. Works just fine, so I've left it that way. Here's a pic of it, in case you're interested (it's probably pretty self explanatory)
I accidentally broke off that little aluminum loop that's on the block that holds the alternator bracket, so I had to fabricate this new one. Don't ask how I broke it off, I'm a dumbass... (this actually isn't there anymore because I put a new head on, but I'm going to leave this pic up because it's like, cool or something).
You know how the fuel pump brackets always rust away to nothing and break? Here's my solution....

Page last modified on July 24, 2000, 7:26PM ET
(Damn, I just changed this date and the one on here was August 7, 1999... I should update more often!)

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