I know I know, it’s been a while since my last post but I’m back now and will be updating this more frequently!
“You must not have a girlfriend if you’re spending so much time and money on your car.”
That is literally, word for word, what my mom said to me not too long ago. Sad part about it is that she’s not wrong.
For those of you that don’t know, I have recently, in the last year, become re-interested in cars. For the last four years now, I have been doing my own car maintenance which has led to becoming an enthusiast, a Volkswagen enthusiast to be exact. Because I have loved the process of maintaining my vehicle for all the driving I do, I thought about starting a blog geared towards car maintenance for musicians. I was going to call that blog something along the lines of “The Traveling Musician.” I know, very clever…don’t steal my idea! It’s still in the back of my head and I would like to still do it but at the moment, I have other priorities. If I were to do it though, I’d probably do it as a vlog series where I would get to be funny and dorky on video.
As my enthusiasm for cars and Volkswagens has grown, more and more modifications have been done to my car. Modifications to make the car cosmetically more appealing, to me at least, as well as mods (that’s what the cool people say these days) to increase the overall safety of the vehicle.
This has turned into a hobby, outside of photography and music for me that has kept me busy and out of trouble. It’s also been therapeutic for me. I’ve also made some new friends in the car scene that have proven to be great!
I drive a 2014 Volkswagen Passat TDI (Turbo Direct Injection). Yes, it’s a diesel and I love it. Yes, it was a part of “Dieselgate.” Here is a Wikipedia link to a quick overlook on Dieselgate, for those of you who don’t know. No, I didn’t buy it to be “green” (I know, I’m soo dirty).
This VW is actually my second one. I totaled my previous 2014 Passat back in April after owning it for three and a half years and 175 thousand miles! I’ll explain the accident in another post down the road. This second one is the exact same car as my first one but a step up in trim level. I bought the same car because, well, I love the car and I also had parts from early modifications done to the first car. It made it easy for me. Because of Dieselgate, it also made prices on these cars cheaper which also made it a no brainer for me. If it wasn’t for the accident and the costs accrued from it, I’d probably have a pretty mean diesel machine right now!
Anyways, on to some of the modifications I’ve done to this car so far. Most of the changes I’ve done to the car have been done by myself. My dad has helped me when it comes maintaining my car. He has also helped in locating where certain parts are when I can’t find them, like the thermostat and water pump on this car (the location of those two are literally a pain!). After him helping me with a lot of those things, figuring out everything else has been done by me researching as well as trail and error. Anytime I get stuck though, you can bet I always call him! It has also been fun spending time with my dad as he has helped me through some of this. I am forever grateful for that opportunity to spend time with him. He’s the best!
The car is currently stock in engine performance. I got the ECU tuned by Malone Tuning as well as the DSG. I decided to get the car tuned to help with fuel efficiency since I’m big on trying to get those MPG’s up! I re-flashed back to stock because I took it back to the dealer to get some work done on it and didn’t want to run in to any issues with the warranty on the car. I haven’t flashed the tunes back on because I still feel the car isn’t sitting right. Once I feel it’s 100%, I’ll start re-tuning the ECU to make it run better. I also have a Neuspeed P-Flo Cold Air Intake that I have off, but will be putting back on shortly. I can hear the turbo a little big more which I enjoy.
I swapped out the suspension and added the Solo-Werks S1 coilover suspension package to the car and it rides lower and much better. I also added ECS Tuning strut mounts, bushings and end links to help. I started tracking the car and although this suspension offers a lot better rate than stock, because it’s a budget kit, it doesn’t perform as well on the track. I might upgrade to a Bilstein kit down the road, which is stiffer and geared for track, but costs a LOT more. One thing at a time…
The brakes and lines are upgraded as well. I decided to keep the car looking OEM by upgrading to the 2008 VW R32 brakes. The advantage is that the rotors are a lot bigger than stock and offer 2 piston calipers instead of the stock 1 piston calipers. They bite a lot harder and stop the car much quicker, even with stock R32 pads. Best part of it all is that it’s a direct bolt on without any modifications to holes and brackets. I bought EBC Red Stuff pads and ECS slotted rotors but haven’t put them on the car yet. I’m waiting to wear out the stock set first. The lines I am running are ECS stainless steel red lines, which help with brake performance as well as looks. At some point, I’ll probably upgrade the front set to a Porsche set which will fill the wheel in nicely and give that added performance of 6 pistons, but once again, that’s more money and for now, the R32 set is working great! The one thing I like about these OEM VW calipers is that I can put the “R” logo on it and make the car look clean. I also got them powder coated matte black so they’re less flashy when I’m out and about working in random places.
I swapped the stock 19mm rear sway bar out for a Neuspeed 25mm bar. Holy cow, the car handles soo much better! I added their brackets as well as their bushings that help out immensely. I bought a 28mm bar last month that I want to swap out to hopefully make the car even more nimble around the corners. I bought a 28mm front sway bar but because the car is front wheel drive, I might just keep the 19mm stock front bar to help with maintaining oversteer.
Interior-wise, I swapped the stock steering wheel with a GTI wheel with flat bottom which I really like and the stock brown trim was swapped for silver trim that also matches the steering wheel much better. I added a Polar FIS device to read all of the sensor values to the dashboard instead of installing gauges which has worked out really nice.
Finally, I bought two Neuspeed sets of wheels for the car. One set is a matte black 18”x8.5” RSE10 and the other set is a bronze 18”x9” RSE10. Both sets have an offset of ET45. The black set is my “stock” set which have Nexen 235/35/18 tires for my daily use. The bronze set have a set of Falken RT-615k 255/40/18 tires on them for the track. Those tires are definitely grippy!
That’s it for now. I’ll slowly add some more to the car but for now, that’ll be it. I can’t spend too much on it right now since I’m moving out and need extra money for rent cushion, for now.
Next on the list is the DPF, DEF and EGR deletes with a possible turbo upgrade 😈. That’ll push the car with a lot of power and somewhere around 50-60 MPG’s.
Here are some pictures I took of the car.