1988 VW GTI 16v 1.8
Sold November 2010 @ 269k
"Tornado" red in color for high visibility. Can be a liability.
Came to me in March 1994 with 100,300 miles already on it, now has 269,500.
As far as I could tell, all original engine and transmission then (except
of course normal maintenance items like belts and plugs).
Some kind of front-end damage and repairs before I got it, then I rolled
it March '95 in a big snowstorm on my way to Salt Lake to fly to Houston
for Beer-Bike with my then-girlfriend who dumped me immediately afterwards.
Kind of a saga. But the sheetmetal is fixed nicely, and the paint is now
better than it was before.
Out of the box, the car has a dual overhead cam 1.8 liter inline 4-cylinder
engine (code PL) rated at 123hp @5800RPM, 120ft/lb @4250RPM (at sea level). Bosch
CIS-E continuous fuel injection with electronic feedback control, oxygen
sensor, knock-sensing electronic ignition. 5-speed close-ratio manual transmission,
known to self-machine. Ok, it still has the original engine (I'm thinking
about messing with it) but I have been tinkering with some accessories:
- Like a Techtonics 2.25" mandrel-bent stainless steel cat-back
exhaust, with matching 2.25" outlet catalytic convertor, and K&N
re-cleanable high-flow air filter. Stock exhaust had a couple spots that
were around 1.75", though it had cool-looking dual tips - until one
rusted off, that is. Now it's at least 2.25" from the downpipe all
the way back to the tailpipe. Better flow means a few more horsies to play
- Bilstein Sport struts/shocks with stock springs. Feel a lot better
than the yucky ones they replaced. It's a lucky thing the bright yellow
color is concealed by the wheels. Just replaced a rear shock that was killed by bump stop disintegrating, causing dust to accumulate on top and ruining the seals. Warranty replacement, no problem other than down time.
- Felt carpet padding inside the C-pillars and under the spare tire to
cancel some of the extra exhaust noise.
- New speakers in the tiny stock locations. Bass - never had it, never
will. But fairly good imaging from the 2.3 watt/channel stereo the dealer
threw in with the car when I got it.
- Winter wheels with 185/60r14 Bridgestone Blizzaks - "the ice tire."
No more rolling in snowstorms! But not as good as the Hakkas on the Audi,
maybe Hakkas are next for the GTI... Yes, they are - much better, not like driving on erasers
- On the summer wheels, I just got some 195/55r14 Dunlop SP8000s. Whee!
And Pagid pads to go with new rotors in front too!
- Euro-spec aero headlights to replace the poor US-spec aero units.Seeing
at night is great! Highly recommended. I had to make up some wiring and
relays. Here's how!
- The long-awaited six-speed transmission, an Option-6 conversion from
VL Enterprises. Read all about it! It was fun
and good, then it blew up just out of warranty. Self-machined even though
it supposedly had a bolt kit installed. And now back to a five-speed, this
time a wide-ratio ACN box out of an 8v - I just had to have that cruising
- European intake camshaft. Don't notice all that much difference. Hmmph.
- Big bumpers. Kind of a pain to install, but look much better; no new
fender flares/trim yet, might wait on those for a while. Or there's Forever
This part didn't really go well with the new-accessories theme after
the last few items, so it will become the stereo section all by itself:
- New stereo! Panasonic detatchable-face 4x40W CD receiver, Panasonic
6-disc changer, Kenwood 120W sub amp, 8" SAS Bazooka subwoofer. Yeeha!
Another long installation, but oh so worth it.
- Stereo cruelly stolen! (font size decreasing as
the pain fades) Head unit ripped out along with piece of dash fascia, end
of changer cable. Driver's window broken while wallet, subwoofer, amp,
changer remain in car. Film at 11.
- Replaced window and fascia with parts from dealer (only $75!), temporarily
reinstalling 3.2w/ch Clarion while fundage slowly accumulates. Moved the
sub to the Audi.
- Fundage not accumulating, but taking advantage of exorbitant
credit limits and installment payments allows purchase of new Kenwood rotating-face
(ptthppt, thieves, and it's coded too!) 4x35W CD receiver, 10-disc changer,
another 120W sub amp and 8" Bazooka. Wires are all there, so it was
easy to slap this right in.
- If I ever have an outrageous amount of extra money (i.e. not any
time soon), maybe some other six-speed box just because.
- Autotech Power Module/Techtonics device to counteract a supposed lean
running condition at full throttle by increasing the control fuel pressure
- Wheel wants: Borbet Type E (though Ts are very nice) in 14x6,
now really on hold since I got the new tires which ought to be good for
- Someday, maybe a ported head and 2.0 liter kit
Pictures: (30-70K jpgs):
Visit the Unofficial GTI 16V Home Page.
There's also an A2 16v mailing list.
And of course the VW newsgroup.
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