It’s a new year. Feels like my car is old and grey… wait. K, bad joke. Anyhow, In the near two months, since the last post, not a whole lot has transpired. Ideas and countless (and un-needed) part searches for things I don’d need or simply put, the quest for a ‘perfect’ car… We all know thats never possible. No matter how great the car. And while the Jetta isn’t a lackluster car, it leaves you wanting more from it. Especially being behind the wheel of other cars. But I digress. The Jetta, my Jetta, has proven to be a solid car. Even after the motor swap. I thought recently at how the whole motor swap is vastly approaching 7,000+ miles and all I’ve yet to do is an oil change. Its been great. The lack of frivolous power is made up with the reliability (and scream of the intake/exhaust) and ability to tach out at over 7,000 RPMs. It’s a true soldier.
But from time to time, soldiers do get fragged. Take for instance, Thanksgiving Day. While on my way to my parents for Thanksgiving dinner, I was 3/4’s of the way there, when I heard a pop and what sounded like I had caught a bag on my under carriage paneling. In my short-lived (read: never) experience in NASCAR, I proceeded to tightly draft a minivan to let what I thought was a bag, break free from my front end. As the noise persisted a bit longer, I decided it best to pull over. Dreading what I may find, on a lowered car, albeit on the side of a highway, had me a bit tense. As I made my way to the peak at the underside of the car, it looked like the under carriage tray that covered the engine/oil pan had caught something and split clean in two pieces. This causing the two pieces to sag and drag along the highway. I quickly grabbed my T-20, which oddly enough I always keep in my car. Seems between the T-20 and a few various metric bits, I could easily take apart a huge portion of the car at any given moment. However, I started at removing the under tray. While starting at one side, I see a set of wheels roll up and some audible noise. I continue on. A few seconds later, I’m met, topside by a CHP officer asking if everything was ok. I quickly told him my situation and he let me proceed. I will say it was a bit easing while I work on the driver-side portion of the car, mere feet from highway missiles and various kicked up road debris. Th officer remained behind me, lights ablaze, the entire duration, which was nice. Once the parts were removed, I threw them in my trunk and we went about our ways.
Now needing a form of skid plate, I shuffled through the various forum pages and websites seeking for a skid plate I had seen just a few days prior. Finally I stumble upon exactly what I was looking for. Low and behold, it just so happened to be Black Friday and many internet retailers were having weekend specials. I ended up finding a 1/8″ aluminum skid plate from Rennline back on the east coast for 10% + free shipping. Making it $225 out the door. A few days later, it had shown up and I quickly made way to the install. Very straight forward as it mounted in the same place as the OEM plastic cover, though it now extends to the front portion of the subframe. Which is great, considering I have a wire lead close to the lower side of the block for the Oil Temperature gauge. It had always been my worry that even while the wires were in a loom and zip-tied quite sung, that something could snag on them and split them. The Rennline skid plate now eliminates that worry. I had went with Rennline solely because it lets some air travel through, via two holes in the plate, versus the competitors with merely a solid plate construction. While I doubt it helps, its just something I had preferred.
A few weeks prior, I had noticed a bubble right at the crimp-point of the 42 Draft Design oil relocation kit. It seemed as if some oil had weeped in the surrounding area. I quickly contacted 42 Draft Designs to seek a replacement hose as the one installed, had only been a month or two old. I was quick to find that not only did they sent me the hose itself, but the entire relocation kit itself. While its only $40 to a vendor (at the end of the day) the type of quality customer service pays dividends in the enthusiast world.
After a few weeks had passed and I had looked into some LED lighting. I needed to get my Oil Temp/Pressure gauges some matching LED bulbs. I settled on a blue LED bulb that was purposely built for constant-on uses (gauge use). Also I had attempted to take another stab at amber LED turn signal bulbs for the front end. This time with a can-bus chip. I received that order and quickly popped in the blue gauge bulbs and to my dismay, only one of them worked. I tried in a variety of different polarities and sockets and to my dismay, only one bulb worked. I have yet to try the Amber bulbs but had submitted that the failed blue bulb be replaced.
Shortly after the new year, I had come upon a GTi/GLi aluminum pedal set that I had promised myself I wouldn’t buy. As luck would have it, no one had purchased this set in the near 4 months it had been posted. I made an offer and a few days later they arrived at my doorstep. I quickly cleaned them with Meguiar’s All Purpose Cleaner and a bit of elbow grease. After cleaning them up, I dried them off and proceeded to install them. While there is no real ‘gain’, they are a bit more aesthetically pleasing. And for the price for the 4-piece set, I couldn’t turn it down. My hopes is that with all the “small things” I wont continue to carry on with finding a reason to purchase them and simply leave the small (read: large) projects I have in front of me and achieve those first and then after, simply leave the car to run and not need to touch it / “perfect it” any further, but such is life
Since I’ve had the car, at low speeds it has succumb to the dreaded subframe ‘clunking’. Every morning I am plagued with this. Every afternoon as well. I got in touch with TyrolSport and found specifically what I needed. Thereafter, I found that NGP Racing was having a holiday sale, so I placed an order through them once more (ordered the oil relocation kit and gauges through them), so they should be here within a few days. i’ve very much looking to get rid of that dreaded noise and have my front end buttoned up as it should have been from the factory.
Lastly, this past weekend I got a chance to meet up with my good friend who owns a performance shop specializing in GM platforms. Being that he has been busy creating 700+hp sand rails, drift car motors, and a bevy of other wild builds, we got to chatting about how we (read: he) would tackle the endeavor of the R32 styled exhaust. After talking with him, I left feeling a bit stupid, in the sense of “why didn’t I think of that?”. So within the next few weeks, I will be hard at work, hacking up the rear end to get the exhaust setup just right.