Car mods rabbit hole.

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by imwjl, Jun 4, 2020.

  1. imwjl

    imwjl Poster Extraordinaire

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    Someone might need to stop me here. Long ago I was into working on cars. Fixing stuff, restoring and keeping a Model A alive. I did suspension and engine mods to my Jeep and Mustang GTs. I thought I was done.

    I see our new VW has a huge array of mods available because of all it shares with a GTI or not sold in US Golf R Estate. Just like guitar stuff I'm trying to maintain some sensibility. As is the car is a lot more sporty and peppy than my Outback. Also, just keeping up fitness and life is not enough free or guitar time.

    Still, it would be fun as all heck to have some of that stuff. Do we have any Golf (or other platforms) mod fans here?

    :)
     
  2. kylejf90

    kylejf90 Tele-Meister

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    Guilty as charged! I had a MK6 GTI for a few years. Great car. I considered modding it, but knew whatever I spent on mods to make the car more fun would be better used as a downpayment for something that was more fun out of the gate. I traded it for a 2014 Impreza WRX hatchback and haven't looked back. I still love my little VW, but don't regret the change!
     
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  3. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    I'm an air-cooled VW guy. Did my time with first gen Rabbits. Worked professionally as a VW mechanic for a few years. Wouldn't touch one of the new ones with a sharpened stick.

    Although...

    A second generation Jetta with a first generation Passat VR6 swapped in showed up at the garage I used to work at. VW eventually offered that package in the later GTIs. It fits and drives better in the earlier Jetta IMO.

    Still not sure I'd touch one of the new(er) ones with a sharpened stick.

    The part that puts me off is the myriad of plastic doo- dads that break off in my hand, things like the door handles. That and the "Vee are Cherman!" technology. You need to be an engineer to work on them.

    Oh, wait. I am an engineer. It's still nice to be able to hang that up at the door when I come home.

    I drive Toyotas now. They never break. I work on 'em when I feel like it. I don't have to work on 'em if I don't feel like it.

    I'm still going to build up a '60s Bug on Thing suspension.
     
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  4. trapdoor2

    trapdoor2 Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    The car I drove to high school was a 1966 VW Type III, fastback. I hot-rodded the heck out of it. Dad was a post-WWII southern California hot rodder and he taught me to do many things that would eventually become normal hot-rod items for the VW. My eldest brother worked at the local VW place as a mech.

    I created and brazed together my own custom intake manifold (so I could run a Holley carb). I ported and polished the heads, ground 3-angle valves and seats, installed a Crower cam (Dad knew Bruce Crower, I got free cams) modified a Type 1 header to fit the Type III, removed the swing-arm rear suspension and replaced it with the independent suspension from a 1970 Type III, flared the rear fenders to accommodate wider tires, welded in custom air scoops over the rear louvers, fitted a quadraphonic 8-track system...

    It was ugly and I drove the heck out of it. I usually ruined the engine by Friday, spent the weekend rebuilding, back to running hard on Monday. Life of a teenager in a family of mechanics.
     
  5. stormsedge

    stormsedge Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    My granddaughter purchased a clapped out New Beetle with hopes of fixing it up. Between the plastic bits just falling apart, the intricately engineered and proprietary electrical system, and the crazy prices on some of the parts, we had to let it go to the salvage yard after about 8 months. The motor ran like a top...the rest was pretty much junk. I'd been working on cars for almost 50 years, including stints as a mechanic and in auto parts, but that one was the worst. Cute, but terminal.
     
  6. dkmw

    dkmw Friend of Leo's

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    There’s a couple of guys in my neighborhood deep down the hole on VWs; Golfs and Jettas mostly. They are constantly tinkering. There is for sure an abundance of parts, there is a whole VW cult to sell to.

    I get most of my jollies just cleaning and maintaining two decent cars. But I think every car I’ve ever owned, I’ve done something (at least wheels and tires) to.

    I have a long list of mods I’d like to do on the Boxster, but they’re mostly dream$$. New suspension? $3K+. New exhaust? $900. I thought, maybe a new steering wheel? Even that was about $850 for anything I’d actually put in the car:eek: so the only mods I’ve completed so far are new wheels and tires, and replacing yellow side marker lights with clear euro-style. Oh, and I removed those awful yellow airbag warning stickers on the sun visors...
     
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  7. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Super Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    I am a huge fan of the 3rd generation Honda Prelude (1988-1991). I have owned two of them, both 5-speed manuals, with four-wheel-steering (read that again to make sure you caught it). It is not the greatest of platforms to mod, and when I owned the first one (early 90s), there was zero community support for mods.

    I bought the second one in 2009, with 50k original miles on it, and I installed (in my driveway) a high end KSport Pro adjustable coil overs, and a set of 949 Racing 6UL aluminum wheels for it (15x8) and Hankook Z rated tires. I lowered the car two inches below stock, but not simply for looks... but to lower the center of gravity. It only had 190hp, but it only weight 2200 pounds. That freaking car drove like go kart.

    This is the day I sold it in 2017... that’s the new owner driving it away. I sold it because the AC compresspr went out again... and a warrantied replacement hasn’t been made for several years. The only thing you can do is scour the salvage yards and eBay for used parts... that stop working two weeks after you install them. You can use other Honda parts, but then you have to get into fabricating your own brackets and such... and I’m just not that skilled, or have that deep of a pocket. The kid that bought it didn’t care that it didn’t have A/C. He said “Ive never even owned a car with AC.” Good for him... but it stays in the 90s around here in the summer.

    90D80BD9-B8A4-4AD2-AAC4-0F6E129D3E4B.jpeg
     
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  8. Gardo

    Gardo Tele-Holic

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    Why bother screwing around with the car? I believe that if you want more out of life you need to have less in it. I started reading car magazines in 1967 , I was a gear head. Eventually I came to a point in life that I was trying to do so many things at once I had no time for anything. I had my street rod for twenty some years but I must have gotten old. I didn’t like the gas mileage with 3 carbs sucking it down and it just wasn’t fun to work on anymore with arthritis in my lower back. It was sold and now I get my fix with a guitar.
    I’m actually a better player than ever because I’m more focused. Instead of tinkering with the car I mod guitars
    In the movie City Slickers ,Curly said something like “the secret to life is one thing, find it and nothing else matters “
     
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  9. Coffeemutt

    Coffeemutt Tele-Meister

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    I have Mk. VII Golf (2015) that I bought used three years ago. Aside from the Arizona sun killing the battery once, and having to replace the fresh-air/recirculate valve under warranty it has been very reliable. The wife vetoed a manual transmission (she can't drive one) and to be honest, I wasn't looking forward to shifting in traffic on my commute, either. Automatics are really pretty good these days [ducks].

    I go back-and-forth on getting one of these: https://neuspeed.com/collections/volkswagen-golf-mk7-1-8l-tsi/products/neuspeed-power-module-641015

    An easily removable bolt-on for my 1.8 TSi engine, which would give 30HP & 55 ft/lbs increase under $400. (From my understanding, it tricks the turbo into thinking that it is under-boosting, so more boost is given). Then my rational side brings up that I have to burn premium fuel only and the I rarely get to wind out the stock ponies in traffic, anyway.

    Those engines can take a lot of boost, but anything beyond a Stage 1 (like above) will start placing a lot of strain on the stock non-GTI automatic gearbox. On the other hand, the GTI has the DSG automatic tranny and can handle the extra torque.
     
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  10. Mad Kiwi

    Mad Kiwi Friend of Leo's

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    ahmmm...yep MX5/Miata. This one road legal race car with turbo'd 1800 and 350 HP at the wheels.

    And another Toyota v8 4.3 litre VVT one being built currently.

    ACJS Taupo 23 Nov 2019 Fastback 4.jpg
     
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  11. Mad Kiwi

    Mad Kiwi Friend of Leo's

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    Love to see some pictures of this!
     
  12. lammie200

    lammie200 Friend of Leo's

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    I will have to post pics later because I am in a zoom meeting right now, haha.

    I have a 2017 FIAT 500 Abarth. Springs, shocks, spacers, chassis stiffening mods, performance exhaust and intake, ECU tune, TCU tune, Alfa coil packs, oil catch can, etc. Pretty easy car to mod and super good results from stock.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2020
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  13. 39martind18

    39martind18 Tele-Afflicted

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    One of the best cars I've ever owned was a 2010 VW Jetta TDI diesel station wagon, primarily because I bought it for $7000, and VW bought it back for $16500. Nice running car, hauled my equipment perfectly, and got 43-48 mpg doing it, but I couldn't pass up more than doubling my money in VW's buyback. Got a Subaru Forester with 16K miles on it for 9000, and banked the difference. Subaru only gets 25-30 MPG, but it's a great vehicle. I'm a happy camper!:D
     
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  14. cometazzi

    cometazzi Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    I tinker with most everything I own. I was mostly a Ford guy when I was younger:

    First car: '66 Fairlane that I got with a mildly warmed over 289. I warmed it over some more, but it got destroyed in a motorhome incident.

    Second fun car: '66 Falcon. Got it for almost free with a seized 144 and the rest of the car completely taken apart. Buddy of mine and I put it back together, painted it flat black, lowered it, put in a reman 250 L6 with a few mild mods (which didn't do much though) and it was a real sweetheart.

    Third fun car: '65 Galaxie. Someone had yoinked the stock 390 out of it and replaced it with a 429cj and Duraspark ignition. I added more carburetor and better exhaust. This was mid-90s when the import tuner scene on the Left Coast was in full swing, and none of those Metric Tuner Guys could believe that such a huge car could still pull away from them with a running start race. From the light I could smoke Vettes, most Mustangs, any Camaro and just about anything pre-1970 in town except a big-block T-Bucket. That thing actually scared me.

    I've always had a love for air-cooled VWs, but I've never had one. Other than a bunch of GM stuff from the 1990s up I pretty much just love cars. These days, I have a Toyota Matrix, which is really just a tarted-up Corolla. It's reliable, efficient, and I can cram all my gear into it easily. I occasionally get the itch to start 'messing' with it but I once promised myself that I wouldn't hot rod the daily driver. Besides, I don't have any money to throw at second 'fun' car (which is odd, because I didn't have any money when I was hot rodding '60s Fords either). Someday again when I have a house (and a garage) I'll probably get into something. A Baja Bug or an old Supra or (if there are any left) another Falcon. I'd love a '65 Falcon Sedan Delivery with a 2jz swap or similar.

    Mostly, I do the work on my car unless I don't feel like it. Prior to this I had a '99 Ranger that was dead simple to work on and I did it all myself. Parts were almost free and always in stock at the FLAPS. For a short time I had an Impreza Wagon on the side that I wanted to go all Tuner-crazy with but it made me broke just keeping it on the road.

    For now I just read a few online motor rags, watch re-runs of Top Gear, go to local races and occasional car shows.
     
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  15. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    I was into junk yard mods in college. Anything that could be unbolted from a wrecked Mustang 289 could be bolted into the 260 in my Fairlane 500. Horse power could be increased in $25 or $50 increments. Up to a point. The point being that driving like a maniac required bigger wheels and tires. Then a new rear axel to reduce the gear. Then the transmission was no match for 50% more power. It would have made more sense to throw the money under a mattresses until I saved enough to buy a Mustang. My advice to the OP is, save your money. Buy an Audi.
     
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  16. imwjl

    imwjl Poster Extraordinaire

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    Fun and funny stuff.

    @muchxs A level of modern is appropriate for what I do and I'm not worried about reliability to some extent I'm a long way from 6/72 warranty expiring. We have Toyotas too. My wife's "swaggerwagon" version of Sienna in pic too.

    @kylejf90 WRX and GTis interested me. There was a white and a red 2019 manual in the region still available with the huge incentives but I drive off pavement often and cary work stuff often. The sporty AWD wagon just made sense.

    @dkmw Your exhaust find looks like a relative bargain because the one that interests me "touring" vs track (not too loud) is more expensive than some. A European Golf R Estate exhaust system would require that car's rear bumper. As is it's a bit quiet with stock exhaust.

    @Coffeemutt In this case the car's manual transmission totally got my wife on board. She grew up with a Thing, Golf, and earlier took over one of my Mustang GTs. Her first wagon was the 1990s Volvo 855 with the big wheels, big brakes and extra boost. This last rev of the car has the 1.8 EA888 and electronics the earlier ones didn't have. The car we got has the wheel/tire and lights upgrade.

    @JL_LI No Audi interested me. Few cars did. I was surprised the way this car did. Maybe this one having particular options helped? Price and incentives sure did. A while ago now we switched to going for premium home and travel over premium cars.

    This thing could be a sleeper like our SHO and the 855 wagon were. It sort of is already. Maybe I need to stop watching YouTube and get back with my MTB or a guitar?

    :)

    [​IMG]
     
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  17. Turtleneck

    Turtleneck Tele-Meister

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    I've tinkered with German cars for years, Karmann Ghias, BMW 2002s, all kinds of VWs, then onto Porsche 356s, then Porsche 914 and 914-6s, now Porsche 911s.

    I built this; a '73 914 with a 2.4L 911S motor on Webers. All suspension mods too, deep sixes.

    Fun car, but 911s are even more fun for me now.

    IMG_6799.JPG
     
  18. Turtleneck

    Turtleneck Tele-Meister

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    This is my latest 911, a 1978 Targa 3.0L hot rod. I've posted pics of it before.

    PsZEE%%wRMCeVw8lRiMzVA.jpg
     
  19. Dreadnut

    Dreadnut Tele-Afflicted

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    Here's mine, a 1967, just a little interior work left to do on the restoration:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. Gardo

    Gardo Tele-Holic

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    B0CFFA7E-0A18-4C06-AE4E-3539D0F9370C.png
    This was the engine in my street rod
    The car was a 48 Chevy coupe with a 327 it was fun in it’s time but I don’t miss it either
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2020
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