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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Memoirs of a GLI - A love affair with imperfection

I have decided that the perfect car for me does not exist. That leaves me no choice but to build it myself.

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TIMELINE

I have wanted a GLI for years. The MK4 GLI is one of my favorite cars of all time and since the first time I drove one, back in 2008 or so, have needed a GLI of my own. It's something about the understated elegance that the car offered - a modest body kit or subtle interior differences that set the car just slightly apart from the rest of the proletariat Jettas on the road. In 2012, I test drove a MK6 GLI and fell in love. Several year later, was finally in the financial position to purchase my first new car and there was no competition in my mind.

I adore the GLI. From certain angles it is stunning and has many features that I enjoy - the adaptive front lighting system is borderline intoxicating. I love watching the headlights sweep back and forth across the road as I drive curvy two-laners at night. The powerband from the factory is strong and very linear. Wide open throttle in third gear gives an incredibly smooth rise in RPMs and speed. The factory steering wheel is magificent. It is thick, comfortable, and fits my hands extremely well. Features like keyless access and heated seats are simple pleasures as well.

I knew then, and still know now, however, that the GLI is by no means a perfect car. The factory seats leave a lot to be desired in the bolstering department. The Fender audio system is poor at best, and having been a musician for two decades, that was a massive letdown for me the first time I cranked the volume. The factory tires are absolute trash. The brakes are competent, but not great, and pedal feel is dull at times. The throws of the shifter are accurate and clean, but very numb and far too long to be entertaining. Banging through the gears during hard acceleration is more of a task than a thrill. Finally, the GLI is extremely limited by its biggest performance weakness, front wheel drive. In the end, the things I loved about the car outweighed the things that I didn't love and I pulled the trigger. But I will not be leaving the car the way that Volkswagen left it for long. From the very beginning I had a vision - I wanted to drive a jack of all trades. I had the car that I wanted, but it was not the perfect car for me. But then again, do I really want to buy a car that is perfect for me from the factory? Do I really want to purchase a vehicle and come to the realization that my preferences as far as comfort and aesthetics are so similar to the rest of the world that I don't need to put my own heart into the car? Would that mean that I am not unique? Am I the same as everybody else? No. I have decided that the perfect car for me does not exist. That leaves me no choice but to build it myself.

I have become obsessed with building a car that is unique. Building a car that is just as at home carving back roads and bombing highways as it is turning heads and breaking necks sitting in a parking lot. I need a car that handles well but is still comfortable enough to satisfy my gorgeous wife when we go out on date nights. I want a fully custom audio system that allows the music to consume me and lets me feel the bass from my skull to my balls. I will need a host of ridiculous electronic upgrades. Lights, sirens, all of it. Most of all, i want power. Lots of power. Nothing is more manly than a fast car and nothing gives me a stronger boner than the feeling of a massive turbo throwing me backward into my seat.

So here begin my memoirs. Here begins my journal in which I will document everything I know about this car, the good and the bad. Here begins my quest to build the perfect car for me, an extension of my personality and my heart. I have named my car Vela, and this is her story.

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The car:

2014 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Edition 30 with Navigation - Reflex Silver, 6 Speed Manual.

Factory options
-Monster Mats
-Mojo Mats
-CarGo System with Heavy Duty Trunk Liner
-Roadside Assistance Kit

Purchased on October 7, 2014 at Sheehy Volkswagen of Springfield, VA. Financed through USAA. The car had 75 miles on it at the time.

Full timeline, with my impressions and dates (at the time of purchase, and for the foreseeable future, I work in sales for Sheehy Volkswagen in Springfield, VA. I will be using this to my advantage and abusing employee pricing, probably doing additional oil changes, and utilizing all perks of working at a dealership to my full ability):

10/7/2014
-Took delivery of vehicle. First full detail by Shock @ First Class Auto Detailing. Shock removed the rear "GLI" badge as well as the "Edition 30" fender badges at my request.

10/14/14
-Noticed that rear seat fold down latch on passenger side was faulty. It was replaced under warranty by Raheel at Sheehy Volkswagen.

10/18/2014
-VAGCOM modifications
-Fogs as cornering lights
-Disable audible door lock confirmation through MFI
-Windows up/down through fob
-KESSY: Lock car while running - stellar mod. I use this every day.
-Enable DRL off/on through MFI
-Coming home with fogs
-Disable "wink" - LED DRLS on with turn signal - hated the factory setting where the LED is disabled with the blinker on.
-Mirror adjust in MFI
-Set torque steer compensation to 1 - night and day difference - everybody should do this.
-Set electronic differential lock strength to 2 - almost completely eliminated wheel hop at factory boost levels.

10/26/2014
-Second full detail by John @ First Class Auto Detailing.

10/31/14
-1000 mile checkup and first service. Changed oil and filter for the first time.

11/8/2014
-Third full detail by John @ First Class Auto Detailing.

11/22/2014
-Ordered yellow tinted Lamin-x skin for foglights. Update: 1/1/15 I have decided against using these and will be going with white LED bulbs in my foglights instead.

12/25/14
-Received aspherical mirrors and USPMotorsports Spulen Short Shifter for Christmas.

1/28/15
-Received Blackforest Industries Heavyweight Shift Knob for my birthday.

1/30/15
-Installed BFI shift knob at roughly 4,500 miles. I ADORE this knob. It feels phenomenal and the throws are much heavier. I can see myself transferring this knob to any car I purchase. By far one of the best mods I've done to any car I've ever owned.

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2/5/15
-Received passenger side seat tray as a gift.

2/16/15
-Fuel rail replaced under factory recall @ Sheehy Volkswagen of Springfield by Lee.
-Second oil change at 5,856 miles.
-Windshield wipers replaced under warranty for poor function by Lee.

2/18/15
-Noticed that key fob battery was dead already. Took to dealer. Battery not dead - Reza removed battery and put it back in, everything functioned properly after that.

3/2/15
-Ordered Euroswitch from eBay.
-Fourth full detail by Shock @ First Class Auto Detailing.

3/8/15
-Recieved Euroswitch. Immediately installed it myself.

3/12/15
-Installed USPMotorsports Spulen Shoft Shifter (front to back) kit myself at roughly 6500 miles. This shifter is adjustable. At max throw reduction, it is roughly 40% shorter than factory. This did an excellent job of cleaning up the slop that is so prevalent with the factory parts. Shifts are now crisp and notchy, just how I like them.

4/13/15
-Noticed speakers buzzing in both front doors and rear sub. I hate the Fender Audio system.

4/18/15
-Euro aspherical mirrors installed - accidentally broke stock passenger mirror in the process. Then, since I love breaking glass, i said **** it and took a baseball bat to the non-broken driver side stock mirror for ****s and giggles. It shattered. Wonderful! The aspherical mirrors are an amazing modification. Highly recommend these.
-Fifth full detail by John @ First Class Auto Detailing.

4/26/15
-Massive setback. Hit a huge, unavoidable pothole coming out of DC and absolutely destroyed my front passenger wheel. Bent the rim and the face was completely separated from the barrel. Tire looked to be usable.

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4/27/15
-Ordered new wheel through Sheehy Volkswagen of Springfield.

4/30/15
-Wheel was received by the dealership. I immediately had it installed along with the factory tire that thought was still useable by Fred. During install, he noticed that the tire was holding air, but had developed a bubble, presumably from the pothole. purchased a tire right then and had it installed @ 8,971 miles.
-While the dealership had my car in service, I decided to have them fix my Fender Audio system under
warranty.
-After playing with my system for a couple of hours, Lee found no issues. They called me in and asked me to show them what was hearing. OF COURSE, I was not able to replicate the speaker buzz with the technician in my car.
-Had some free time, so I decided to rip my Soundaktor off. I followed a DIY on YouTube and wow, what a difference! I went from a 1.8T MK4 with full bolt ons to a MK6 GLI, and I had forgotten how much missed being able to hear the turbo hissing and breathing under load. Amazing free modification. Highly recommend to anybody.

5/4/15
-Coilovers installed @ roughly 9,000 miles. I really wanted air suspension, but budget did not allow it. Time was quickly running out before SOWO, so I asked around for some help. My buddy Josh Hannabas, who is a technician at Lindsay Volkswagen in Sterling, Virginia, reached out to me with a solution. He had just done his own air setup and had the set of ST coilovers that were on his TDI Jetta just laying around. He suggested that I borrow them for the show and he would do the install, and two hours later, my car was on its nuts. I love having good friends. Josh had modified this particular set of coilovers - there are no bumpstops and the front springs were cut slightly and leveled. They also ride SHOCKNGLY well. Very slight rubbing on hard turns at full lock. They are not bouncy or noisy at all.
-5 miles after leaving Josh's house, my TPMS light came on. All tire pressures were accurate - I hit the TPMS reset in the glove box. The light went away and did not come back.
-Manually adjusted the Bi-Xenon leveling using a Phillips head screwdriver according to a DIY I read on golfmk6.com. After lowering my car, the sensor in the rear suspension assumed that the trunk was under load and compensated by aiming the headlights downward, which is the same problem that everybody has who lowers a car with auto-leveling headlights. Turned each of the white nylon screws about seven times to find the correct height. AFS was not affected by the change.

5/12/15
-10k service by Fred @ Sheehy Volkswagen. Third oil change, tire rotation, filters, alignment at 8,982 miles. Spoke with Fred, and asked him for a custom camber setup as opposed to the specs set by Volkswagen. Fronts set to -0.50 degrees and rears set to -3.50 degrees to make room for spacers. SOWO prep almost complete.

5/13/15
-Fenders rolled on all four corners and 10mm rear spacers installed by my friend Carlo Motta, who has a fairly extensive portfolio of successful fender rolls. He also did the "screw delete" mod in the front two fenders. While working on my car, he noticed that one of the holes in the driver rear wheel hub was crossthreaded and would not accept a bolt. I have no way of knowing who is to blame, because a TON of people have now removed and replaced my wheels at various times. For the time being I'm going to run it on four bolts. I did call my service manager and let him know what the deal was, he told me to give him the car after SOWO and he'd take a look at it. SOWO prep complete.

5/14-17/15
-SOWO was blast. Car made it without any issues or hassles. Averaged 34 MPG on the way down, from Springfield, VA-Helen, GA. Averaged 33 MPG on the way home.

5/19/15
-Joey at Sheehy Volkswagen took a look at my driver rear wheel hub and I explained that it had been crossthreaded and would not accept bolts. He popped it onto the lift and retapped the hole. It works perfectly now.

6/23/15
-Using a pipe cutter, I chopped my shifter rod down by about 1.25 inches to further reduce the throw. It feels fantastic in conjunction with the Spulen short throw and the BFI heavyweight knob. I have not had an opportunity to get my car back into service, but the rattling coming from the Fender system is getting worse and worse.

6/25/15
-Fabricated a clutch stop from a DIY I read on golfmk6.com - dramatic change in feel for spending ~$3 at Lowe's.
-First time experimenting with plasti dip, I blacked out the chrome trim on all four windows.

Complete list of modifications, without explanation or my impressions.

Exterior

-Debadge "Edition 30" and "GLI" from rear of vehicle
-Aspherical mirrors
-All four fenders rolled
-"Screw delete" mod in front fenders
-2" of inner fender liner cut out from the rear
-Plasti dip chrome trim on windows

Interior

-OEM Monster Mats
-BFI Heavyweight shift knob
-Braketron phone vent mount - Now broken
-Euroswitch

Suspension

-Modified ST Coilovers
-10mm ECSTuning spacers in the rear wheels
-Front camber set to -0.50 degrees and rear camber set to -3.50 degrees


Braking


Wheels and tires

-OEM Ronal Lagunas.

Engine

-Soundaktor delete


Transmission

-USP Motorsports Spulen short shift kit (front to back)
-Shifter rod shortened by 1.25 inches
-Custom clutch stop

Exhaust


Tech

Various VAGCOM tweaks



Parts that I now have laying around

-Edition 30 and GLI badges.
-OEM headlight switch.
-OEM shift assembly
-OEM suspension
-OEM Mojo Mats

Sold Parts

Stock GLI shift knob: sold to VWVortex member

Broken parts
-Bracketron Phone Vent Mount
-One OEM Ronal Laguna
-Both stock side mirrors. One broken accidentally, one intentionally.


Problems I've had/things I've gotten fixed:

-Rear passenger seat didn't fold down properly - Fixed
-Key fob doesn't work - Fixed by dealer. Battery simply removed and put back in.
-Fuel rail recalled - replaced under warranty
-Windshield wipers functioned poorly - replaced under warranty
-Rattle from both front door speakers and sub in Fender system - not fixed yet
-Destroyed front passenger wheel - replaced.
-TPMS Light came on after coilover install. Manually turned it off using the button in the glove box. It has
not come back yet, must've been a fluke.
-One of the holes in the driver rear hub was crossthreaded and would not accept bolts - retapped and fixed.

People that 'd like to thank:

-Katherine McGinness: The best wife I could ask for. Her great credit score helped me get a low rate on this car. She also has been patient with me and dealt with my Volkswagen obsession for all these years.
-Jared McGinness: For being the best brother in the world. He always asks my advice on his numerous builds, and always offers me advice and help on my cars.
-John Mercer: Sales manager at Sheehy Volkswagen in Springfield, VA. He has given me phenomenal advice on cars in general, and hooked me up with a killer deal when I purchased my GLI. His knowledge is incredible.
-Josh Hannabas: Technician at Lindsay Volkswagen in Sterling, VA. Great dude whose car knowledge seems to know no end. He helped me out when I was short on money and let me borrow his suspension so could make it to SOWO 2015.
-The entire service department, writers and technicians, at Sheehy Volkswagen, but especially those who have personally wrenched on my car and helped get me to where am: Pete, Cee, Ray, Ben, Stacie, Raheel, Lee, Jeff, and Fred.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Stay tuned, I have enormous plans for this car. I will update as often as possible.

EDIT: Not sure what the face was for, ...jaS.
 

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Zmacs, I think the perfect car for you does exist...it's just that you probably won't be happy with anything under $30k :)

I'm sorry that you have found so many substantial imperfections with the car...although if I felt like you did on my test drive, I probably wouldn't have taken it home.

I agree, VW cars are full of quirks. It feels like I'm always dealing with a minor issue (for instance, my "Darth Vader" sound coming from the AC right now), but that hasn't stopped me from loving the car every day from day one.

You mention again that you hate the Fender Audio system - You're not entirely alone, as others have also found rattles and buzzes (the bad news is that it's more than likely the car rather than the speakers, and any audio system in a VW will probably have these issues). My only problem with the audio was the sub rattle, which was perfectly solved with a tennis ball. That and the soundaktor delete have made these car much more enjoyable.

I think you have to take a step back, look at how awesome your car looks, and look at what you paid to drive it off the lot. You should realize that even with typical automobile quirks, this car is a fantastic vehicle and an awesome driving experience for the money.

:)
 

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If you're modding because you love to mod, then that's one thing. If you're doing it because you bought the car and wished it was something else entirely, then you probably would have saved a lot of money and time by investing another $5-8K in a better car. If FWD is the bane in your driving experience, then something like a Subaru WRX STI or even a Volvo S60 T5AWD (or countless other options - Audi A4, BMW 3-series, etc) would have probably been a better choice.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Zmacs, I think the perfect car for you does exist...it's just that you probably won't be happy with anything under $30k :)

I'm sorry that you have found so many substantial imperfections with the car...although if I felt like you did on my test drive, I probably wouldn't have taken it home.

I agree, VW cars are full of quirks. It feels like I'm always dealing with a minor issue (for instance, my "Darth Vader" sound coming from the AC right now), but that hasn't stopped me from loving the car every day from day one.

You mention again that you hate the Fender Audio system - You're not entirely alone, as others have also found rattles and buzzes (the bad news is that it's more than likely the car rather than the speakers, and any audio system in a VW will probably have these issues). My only problem with the audio was the sub rattle, which was perfectly solved with a tennis ball. That and the soundaktor delete have made these car much more enjoyable.

I think you have to take a step back, look at how awesome your car looks, and look at what you paid to drive it off the lot. You should realize that even with typical automobile quirks, this car is a fantastic vehicle and an awesome driving experience for the money.

:)
I agree - I think that I brought home the best car that I could have gotten for 30k. I am in no way at all displeased with my choice. I stated a couple of times how much I adore the GLI and how much of a great package it is. I am absolutely nitpicking at small things. They're all things that I am able to rectify to make the car into the perfect one for me. I wish it had AWD, I wish it had 500HP, but that doesn't stop me from loving the car in general. The body is sculpted. I love the way the MK6 GLI looks. I love the way that it drives. I just can't stand to have a car without "editing" it. I will mod every car I ever buy in my lifetime to make it into something that makes me happy. I absolutely love my car - I just am using this thread as an outlet. I want to keep a record of everything that I notice that is not perfect. And I want to make it perfect. I never want to find the car that is perfect for me from the factory because I love making cars my own.

If you're modding because you love to mod, then that's one thing. If you're doing it because you bought the car and wished it was something else entirely, then you probably would have saved a lot of money and time by investing another $5-8K in a better car. If FWD is the bane in your driving experience, then something like a Subaru WRX STI or even a Volvo S60 T5AWD (or countless other options - Audi A4, BMW 3-series, etc) would have probably been a better choice.
Again, I love this car. I wouldn't give up the things I like about it in order to have AWD. As I mentioned in the OP, the things I love outweigh the things that I don't.
 

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Looking good!

Insane what happened to that wheel! And people think knockoffs are bad...this is OEM!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks Ripoll, Reef Man, and ahfunaki!

Yeah, the wheel thing was ridiculous. Can't get over how week these are. Unfortunately, the GLI Lagunas are my favorite OEM wheels ever and the OEM+ look really appeals to me and my wheel choices. I couldn't believe it had split. Since the dealership that I work for is not far from VW Corporate, we do get a lot of execs and important people coming in to visit. One lady who worked for VW came through a couple of weeks ago to take a look at our renovation and she saw the split wheel sitting on the ground beside my sales desk and started talking to me. I don't remember her name, but she told me that she had done an 8 month lease on a 2014 GLI which had the same wheels and she ended up replacing two of them in that time.

Crazy!
 

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Discussion Starter #12

Current rear camber/spacer setup. Nothing aggressive, just enough to widen up the ass and make me happy.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
It's my first new car. I want to document everything that I do to the car and everything that goes wrong with it. I want to keep 100% of records for myself and for the next owner.
 

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Why did you remove the badging? The 30 Edition looks fantastic on the car! Also, you lowered it quite a bit... I assume there is rub?
 
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