I wasn’t lying last month when I said that swift progress has been happening with Project GTI.
I would probably go as far as saying that this is one of the most significant updates so far. Having just installed a more free-flowing Scorpion exhaust and previously a less restrictive air intake, it was time to adjust the engine’s management software to take full advantage of the hardware installed to date.
Of course, you can’t have a car mapped when it’s wearing the worst that Irish roads can offer over the winter months. Sadly, it probably stayed clean for all of 20 minutes.
Happily, it did mean that I happened upon an absolute peach of a car which I’m going to be featuring in the coming months. The cars hidden here in Ireland never cease to amaze me.
I’ve got distracted again, sorry. I couldn’t afford to hang around too long in Dublin as I needed to make progress in a northerly direction.
My destination on this particular day was a business just outside Belfast in Northern Ireland called TG Performance; a small but potent company which also happens to be the only fully-fledged REVO dealer on this small island. It’s time to bring Project GTI to stage two…Border Crossing
Before crossing the invisible line in the proverbial sand that separates the Republic and Northern Ireland, I was instructed to make sure the GTI was full of petrol. Reason being that Northern Ireland typically has a higher fuel quality than the Republic. At our pumps (in the Republic), petrol is only offered at 95RON octane where as across the border, unleaded petrol can be acquired at 97RON and 99RON.
Fuel prices here have been dropping recently (they’ve since dropped another €0.07 per litre), so that’s always something to be happy about. This particular top-up works out at about US$5.22 per US gallon.
Whatever your preconceptions are about Northern Ireland, you’re probably wrong. Sure, the country has had a difficult past in recent decades, but today it’s one of the nicest places on earth you could visit. It’s a beautiful country with great people, plenty of whom I’m proud to call my friends.
Because Northern Ireland uses imperial and south of the border uses metric, speed limits can be tricky when your clocks only read in km/h. Thankfully, Volkswagen have accounted for this and allow a small alternate speedometer to be displayed on the MFI. Pretty neat.
With the island of Ireland being so small, it only takes a few hours to get from bottom to top, but it absolutely feels like a different country when you cross the border. It’s a strange one, but strange in a good way if that makes sense.
Before I even knew it, I had the car reversed into the TG Performance workshop and both Chris and Graham were preparing it for its new REVO software.
What I didn’t know beforehand is that REVO had very kindly donated their extraordinarily clever SPS Pro hardware upgrade for Project GTI to accompany the new software. I’ll come back to that in a moment.
As I said at the start of this story, I already had the hardware in place for a significant power jump. You can view the details on REVO’s website, but essentially I decided to skip Stage One – which requires no additional hardware – and go straight to Stage Two.
What really pushed me towards choosing REVO though was the ability to flash both the ECU and TCU at the same time. Project GTI is a DSG-equipped car, which means that the gearbox software can also be upgraded to allow for a better performing driveline. Shifts are faster, manual mode becomes an actual manual mode with no auto-upshifts, the rev limit is raised to 7150rpm and launch control is set to 3200rpm.
After checking the car over, Graham would load the Stage Two engine software, followed by Stage Two DSG software. It’s absolutely crazy how much performance can be added – or unlocked – with simply a laptop and the correct knowledge.
Meanwhile at the front, Chris had removed the wiper linkage to access the car’s CAN bus Gateway to install the SPS Pro unit. It’s hiding behind the large black cover beneath the windscreen.
It’s a very simple looking piece of hardware and once the wiper linkage has been removed, is as easy an installation as you could ever imagine.
The SPS Pro plugs directly into the car’s Gateway module which in-turn is reconnected to the car.
I’m going to go into more detail in a future post, as it’s quite in-depth, but the SPS Pro unit essentially ‘borrows’ a menu screen on the factory MFI system (it actually shares with the phone menu) and relays information from the ECU to the driver, along with allowing lots of customisation.
Not only does it allow me to easily revert the engine’s software to stock, it also lets me select an appropriate map depending on fuel quality. ‘Performance A’ is my Stage Two software for 95RON fuel. Modes ‘B’ and ‘C’ are for 97RON and 99RON fuel respectively. There’s way more to it, but I’ll try make a video for the next update to show it off better.
Before we could run the car, one additional hardware change had to be made.
I’m running an upgraded Forge Motorsport recirculating diverter valve in the car, which features a small spring for stock boost levels. The boost has been increased with the REVO software, so we needed to match the spring to the new boost level of around 22psi (1.5bar).
Uprated spring on the left, original spring on the right. Chris commented that it was actually much easier to work with the Forge DV compared to the OE DV.
There’s more room to work around the Forge item which makes it easier to remove and install. It was literally only a few minutes to get it off, spring changed and back in the car again.
Following this, we went for a quick spin where Graham data-logged the car and reviewed the information to ensure everything fell within REVO’s own safe parameters. It passed with flying colours. We could have easily extracted more performance from the car, but then you’re running the risk of blowing the thing to pieces. It’s important to remember that this is not only my daily driver, but also my only car, so reliability is key. In saying that, on the drive back south I discovered that Project GTI has essentially become a whole new car…Providing Proof
My initial reaction involved a lot of expletives that I will not repeat here. It’s not so much the power that impressed me, but how it makes the power. There’s a proper push of torque from low down that didn’t exist before, and the power just carries right up to the end of the rev counter. What’s really impressive is that the car hasn’t lost any of its previous characteristics; it can be subdued when you need it, but when you let it loose now it’s a whole new thing.
The shifts are fast too and remain imperceptible when around town. The extra control in Manual mode is a godsend. There’s no kick-down in M and the car will not auto-upshift as it did previously, so I have a manual mode that’s actually a manual mode now. I’m still adjusting to how different – yet somehow not different – the car has become. I just want to go out and drive it all the time now.
For your information (well, for mine as well I suppose) I wanted to have the car logged on a dyno. In a perfect world, I should have done this when I first purchased the GTI to have a baseline to reference against, but being a bit eager on getting parts put on the car, I would never have had a properly stock car to be logged. I shall consider this to be my baseline going forward.
I’ve visited Trackday Performance before, and have become good friends with Robbie over the years. I wanted to use a setup that was reliable and would provide me with consistent data for future upgrades. TDP use a New Zealand-made Dynapack setup which attaches directly to the hub and eliminates the variable of having wheel slip which might occur on a traditional rolling road.
This is just a shot to show how the hub is prepared prior to being inserted into a Dynapack module.
And this is a video of one of the power runs. Robbie is very thorough, and being an accomplished tuner in his own right he was sure to check everything he possibly could when running the car. So, how did Project GTI fare?
A flywheel estimated 276hp and 338lb/ft were recorded over pretty consistent runs, which is quite an increase over the quoted factory figures of 210hp and 207lb/ft. With peak toque arriving at 3300rpm and peak power at 5800rpm, it gives the car a really nice power curve. I still have an exhaust catalyst in place which is going to have an impact on peak power, but regardless, I’m absolutely thrilled with how the car drives.
You can see on this readout how the boost falls away from around 4000rpm, which is due to the small factory K03 turbocharger. A larger turbocharger would help to sustain boost higher up in the revs. Something like, say, a K04…
This has been a huge upgrade to Project GTI and I now need to harness the power and take care of other weaknesses that have become apparent due to the bump in power. I’ve enjoyed my time with the GTI so far, but for the first time it really has that sense of occasion that it was previously lacking.
This is now the GTI that should have come from the Volkswagen showroom.Cutting Room Floor
@loslogo I think a boost of ~65bhp and 131lbs/ft from a relatively mild tune with very little in the way of supporting hardware is actually really impressive. I've no real interest in the 135i, it's not a car for me. The coupe is too small and the hatchback is way too expensive here, probably four times the price of what I paid for the GTI.
Didn't know it's twice as much where you live. Along with a beefed up bottom end, you'd get the Haldex AWD as well......something to keep in mind.
@Alex Butti I've drove one on track and they're no doubt a very quick car, but they lack the driver involvement of the GTI. That could probably be addressed with some aftermarket magic mind.
Nice work paddy!
If you're opting for a K04... take a look at loba motoring, they make hybrid turbo's(modified K04's etc.) with a lot of potential.
But i don't know how much your bottom-end can take, so you might have to stick with a stock K04.
How do you like the SPS?
@pimstoop The standard GTI engines are pretty over-engineered but at the same time, I don't want to tempt fate either.
I really like the SPS unit, helped me diagnose a recent issue where the car wouldn't start after coming back from a trip. It's so neat too, just fits right in without having to run extra gauges in the car.
I don't know if there's stil a difference between the engine wich is fitted with a K03 and the models with the K04.
With the early generation tfsi 350hp is about the max for the K03 engines. But the K04 ones can take a fair amount over 400hp.
The bottomend of the S3 and cupra engines etc is a lot stronger.
@pimstoop The GTI is usually the K03 with the ED30 GTI, ED35 GTI & MK6 R fitted with a K04. There's a difference again between the TFSI and TSI engines too. 300hp is about the maximum that a K03 turbocharger can make, but the engines can handle much more. Plenty of people running 400+hp on stock internals with K04s and hybrid turbos.
Yes i know, on the MK6 the R has stronger internals. Nah just stick with a normal K04 upgrade, a 350hp golf will be one hell of a daily driver:D
@pimstoop to sort it out ( as Paddy already said):
Mk5 GTI TFSI (EA113) K03
Mk5 GTI ED30/ Pirelli TFSI (EA113) K04, other camshaft,pistons,...
Mk6 Gti TSI (EA888) IHI/K03
Mk6 Gti ED35/R TFSI (EA113) K04, other camshaft,pistons,...
The EA113 K04 is from the ED30 and Pirelli (230ps) ,the ED35 (235ps),the Cupra
(240ps), Cupra R (265ps), the S3 (265ps) and the TTS (272ps)
the Base Engine with only differences in ECU,Exhaust and Intercooler
and this Engine has plenty of easy accesable potential left
the EA888 from the Mk6 GTI is the successor for the EA113 and far as i know ,was never used with a K04 from factory, Audi used var. valve timing on it for more Power
but with a K04 it develops similar specs as the EA113 K04
The EA888 from the mk7 R has changed internals , another charger compared to the "base" EA888
tasteful and subtle, considering the modified scene in Ireland is mainly VAG diesels slammed on cheap ebay coilovers with what sounds like the car sneezing through gear changes, its nice to see something that can really be pushed round a back road! Looking forward to that r34! Clubman spec?? :D
@Steve_McGowan Thanks, Steve. I'm certainly aware of the "Felt" brigade here and trying to avoid a similar outcome at all costs. I think the Japanese theme sort of confuses them anyways!
Torque is impressive
and your DSG can deal with a it, the manual would be crushed :).
Congrats and credits, curves nicely done
A K04 (and some small surroundings )would turn your actual lbs in bhp.... Do It !
@Riddlah Thanks, the DSG certainly has its advantages when tuning as they can supposedly take 400+whp before needing to be upgraded.
@Riddlah @Paddy McGrath It has been done and is capable when done correctly too with proper consideration. One of the people who's helping me with this is Ryan Stewart from Garage Midnight, this is his MKV Golf when it made 450hp, makes even more now: http://www.speedhunters.com/2013/03/unstoppable/
@Paddy McGrath @Riddlah :) No Offense!.sure is can be done
( the EA113 with the K04 and the EA888 upgraded with one can achieve ~380bhp without going too deep ) ,also manageable and credits, where credits are due ,but too much and too bonkers for myself with those no. on the front even with a LSD
But with this level of support for your project, waitin´what´s coming up next :)
@T7mada The very same, or at least I can't see a noticeable difference either way when daily driving.
Wow, I sure am glad gas isn't that expensive over here in the States! I filled up the other day for $1.75 for 90 octane gas. Which really helps considering I get 14 mpg on a really good day! So when's that K04 gonna happen? ;)
@Dill Pickle Man, I'm jealous of those fuel prices. I'm over in the US on holidays next month, better hire something and contribute my bit to global warming xD
K04 is going to be a while, I think. It's certainly the end game plan so I want to have a car that can comfortably handle the power bump. Brakes, suspension, LSD etc. need to happen first.
Wow, so nice that you can toggle performance modes right on the MFI. The APR tune I'm using on my MK6 requires you to toggle with the cruise control when the car is off and you have to select based on the number of check engine light flashes...unless you buy extra hardware. Interesting.
@Tinj Toggling the performance modes is just one of many. many features on that SPS Pro. I'm going to write more about it in future as I'm only getting my head around it now.
@Deathdog7 276hp at the flywheel, would need a larger turbocharger to make that sort of a number at the wheels on this.
@LukeEVOVIII It's a beast, really excited to shoot it.
@LukeEVOVIII It's not a Z Tune, but does wear a couple of Z tune parts.
But how can you have full tank of fuel by 12:17 and less than half tank of fuel by 13:29?? Haha. Anyway, awesome article, can't wait for the K04!
@Bima Leksono Somebody may have forgot to take photos of the SPS Pro on the same day.
@pmcgphotos seems like you're now nudging your toes to the line of 'daily-beast' with talk of turbos,Paddy \U0001f609. Good update matey
@LegroomGaming A K04 would keep it civilised and reliable, but deliver around another 100hp safely. Would need an IC, LSD & brakes first!
@pmcgphotos Sounds good. Level headed as ever. Your model of little steps and keep it reliable will be what I follow on the next car.
@LegroomGaming If I had the finances, there would still be little steps but they would happen much faster :)
@pmcgphotos wouldn't we all! I (& many others) like that Project GTi is progressing in a relatable way. I love Bryns Volvo but can't relate
@pmcgphotos really happy to see you're enjoying your life with the GTI and moving on from the BMW. Wanting to see the next article 'bout it