Thursday, June 23, 2011

Life on Fast mode or mods

Keeping to its promise, the Fast has indeed made me proud and felt like road warrior! hahah

All in all, the car was superb in its power category. Was told its stock, but to be honest - I reckon it has been ECU remapped....WALD tune perhaps and well thrashed?!?!

On the other hand buying a used Fast can be challenging to maintain, after all it made me a very sensitive person to any issues that made me worried. Err, did I say worried? Yes. Since it is a performance car, safety comes first.

There are some experience that I would like to blog about and this may give some heads up to some potential future owners of GTI MK5 out there. Please note that these pointers are not applicable to all used Fast in the market.

Surprisingly, there are also those who known me and has asked the same questions about maintaining the Fast. My Fast was aged 4.5years with about 48k km milleage on it. Maintenance was supposedly fully done by an authorised service center at Sg Besi.

Let me share some of my pointers and experiences with it. :)

1. Experienced 2 major breakdown incidents. One of which was due to Steering Rack and the other the Alternator. Both of these incidents had caused me some traumatic on-the-fast-lane experiences, whereby electronically the car failed to function and the dashboard alert lights litted up like Christmas lighting! Well, I am lucky to have survived both incidences stranded beside the roadside and calling SOS for my car to be towed. One thing to look out for a potential failure on the steering rack is the scraping sound when doing full stationary turn from one side to another.

2. Other minor pointers are like:
- Cam Follower (this is only for MK5, a regular check will prevent engine rebuilding!)
- Coil Packs and Spark Plugs (for smooth acceleration)
- Fuel filter (may be due to poor petrol quality)
- DSG oil and filter change (do this every 40k km or earlier!)
- Air cond service (to avoid being choked up by the HAWT weather)
- Cooling fans (loud noise and malfunction)
- Wheel bearings (early wear and tear due to our infamous 'road craters')
- Shock mount and bearings
- Arm bush knocking noise from front
- Cabin noise (which is surprisingly normal)

3. DO NOT speed through flood - no matter how shallow it seems. DSG unit has a breather that takes in air and also any water that goes on top of it!

On the other hand, I would like to also share some cool mods I have done. More interesting than the things above! haha

Before the mods

After the mods

1. BBS CH 19" wheel - this is a cool upgrade to transform a Fast to a mean Fast! It was on met black with red pin stripe! YUM! This is one of my favourite that I traded in my Detroits for it! Later did I found out that the Detroits have great value and demand....hahah
2. 3M Crystaline window tint - not really effective considering its top of the line.
3. R-line fog grill - cool cosmetic upgrade!
4. Votex lower bumper lip - got this from Singapore. A cool cosmetic upgrade and a favourite for many!
5. Stage1+ Unitronic - ECU remap - one of the best bang for buck performance upgrade! Overtaking on the fast lane has been so addictive and effortless!
6. C-tech full underbody brace - nice mod to stiffen the chasis
8. RNS510 replica with HD touch screen - generally good but not very stable? Nice screen resolution.
9. Pivot XV - multimeter for oil, water and max boost readings. Cool gadget!
10. DIY 3M carbon fiber stickers on door and dashboard trims. Looks better than the plain aluminuim strips!

Oh great! After listing down I have indeed fast forward on all the mods done....what a productive life...hahah

Monday, June 20, 2011

Fast forward!

Time flies much that I need to Fast forward my chronology to becoming Fast! *grin*

*Flash back*
"What? Changing your brand new sedan (Jetta) for an old and small hatch (Golf)? That can't be right....", a general and cynical remark from a sane and logical person. *SIGH*

Oh yes.... I have been poisoned hard. All I did was getting onto a stock Silver Reflex MK5 GTI! THAT was the greatest mistake for another roller coaster ride in my pursue to be Fast.

THE ride was as simple as a lunch date with my ex-boss. Everything thereafter was history! Well, the difference was beyond how I can stretch my both hands to the opposite direction as if to measure how wide the earth is - err Heaven and earth?!? The ride is firm, steady and lively! Power on tap everytime I need. No more sluggish gear change with the excellent DSG predicting each of my gear change, ear pleasing exhaust note, chasis rigidity with confort and my hunger for acceleration has caused a disease spreading on right foot with no antidote to the midst of the calm cabin ambience where we chat softly.....WOW!

Next I know, I was hunting for a second hand ride at most dealers and also other makes. I must say its quite hard to beat on papers. One of it was the 308GT Peugeot. Well its not up to par....mainly its also my confidence on after sale and also the capability of upholding the value in the used market. It never dealer would take my Jetta at a reasonable price as they do not know how to value my ride since its only 2 months?? Damn....

I have gone through few potential buyers but the deal did not went through. But in the end, I manage to find a buyer who was also looking for the same model. Thank God!!!

Thats when I am more active in looking for a good condition and well taken care MK5 GTI. Looking for one is difficult as it seems the second hand value is upholding quite well. Imagine a 2007 manufactured at that time is still asking for 155k-170k thereabouts! I keep looking around until I managed to pass by Pudu area whereby a shimmering Tornado Red 2005 WALD MK5 GTI was as if asking to "I am here, take me!" hahah, mind you that this is the 4th test drive.... I am getting tired too as some has very basic features and the engine seems quite overworked!

It was the perfect combination of specs that I ever wished for... a sunroof and 18inch Detroits wheel. :)

With some haggling, I managed to own it after a short test drive.....WOW!

My Tornado Red FAST waiting to be driven back!
Historical date: 20th July 2009

Sporty blue lited and colourful meter cluster with low mileage reading

Thereafter my life on Fast is indeed "Fast" forwarded....why a small hatch? think again, its the experience that will get you hooked!

Monday, February 22, 2010

My first two months with Jetta....

The big day comes when I have to leave my office after work to collect my new ride!

It was a nice experience enjoying the quiet ride with comfy german handling. I enjoyed so much that I missed a turn towards my home!! Moving about is a breeze with this mid sized sedan. Totally enjoyed the ride, while driving it slowly.....slooow....

While many would ask, what? Why a Volkswagen? Jetta? Is that a jet or some sort?? silly remarks...but as soon as they got to see the car, they are confident with most Malaysians would do a typical shutting-door-test.... "THUD!"....hmmm

This was the first month.

Then I started to look for mods, my usual self surfacing once more...OMG! Surveyed some of the popular forums, well nothing on Jetta. Ermm, more like nothing on 1.6A version....arggh....but fortunately, I found This forum has a cool community with some Jetta 1.6A owners...Well, very soon I learnt that this is a car not to be 'touched', period.

Hmmm....nevermind, at least I just enjoy the ride!!

Another week passed, discovering more of myself and my Jetta. Going through traffic jams are kinda tough as I began to discover the car in front of me begin to accelerate faster and my 6-speed tranny could not keep up...wait a minute! why? I began to suspect the gear ratio is kinda wierd, it tends to rev quite high and the engine note began to sound harsh.....A quick check at my favourite forum and most concurs the same...."Do not touch the engine, its an old but proven engine!"

I started off doing the tint work to protect the interior from the scorching hot sun. Chose Ecotint, since my salesman recommended to go for them as they have been doing many VWs to date. The service was good and professionally done....overall satisfied.

My next mod-hop, ordered a Witson 720d multimedia head-unit with Debetz rear cam from a fellow forumer. Well, that costs me quite a bit with the workman ship to install. The rear cam works wonders as I could easily park rear-in without breaking a sweat! Cool thing it has DVD and GPS navigation support as well with a touch screen.

The next lobang was the Jetta side skirts, its an OEM unit where I have to personally order and delivered from Singapore. The moment it arrives, I DIYed the installation. It wasn't easy to remove the torque screws at the wheel well. Finally it was done.

That was all the mods I put in within the second month.....looks great now, just the sluggishness!

Next, how I join the Fast?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Joining the VW clan!

Hey, I know its been a long time since I I better start doing so. ;)

Its an interesting make, I must say as I always liked how the Golf 's curvy back and aggressive front coupled with a beasty engine! Hey, that would be a GTI...thinking twice and tried my luck asking the salesman, "Any stock? GTI?", and the salesman quickly says "No more, and for now we have not got any". And that leaves me thinking I better get what is within my means...allowable limits that is....

Well, after the quick favourable grin from my Madame and several round of simple arithmatic...I did my part by quickly shoving my credit card for the deposit. This is it....I am gonna live with it, after all a VW not a hot hatch but a Jetta 1.6A. Yes!

Right after the depost and paper work, I quickly asked about which unit will I be getting? Can I take a look at it since its a pre-registered unit? To my first shock, its the unit that I test drove! OMG!

Anyway, then I probe further....I asked "How about the tyres?" From my basic knowledge on how to read tyre codes on manufacturing date, its been like two years old.....hmm, and I quickly tried my luck by asking "Will VW be able to arrange to swap the tyres to a newer units?", the sales agent mumbles "Ok, I will try to ask for you". Then, my Madame pushed me to tell the supervisor, at least I get to know whether its possible quickly. And to my surprise, the supervisor without even thinking he responded a stern "NO". What? I was quite agitated by the supervisor's tone, and I quickly responded "This is my first VW, and aint VW a brand that promotes safety??" And again, he again responded a "NO". He then mentioned "If you think this is not as per my expectation. You may cancel the sales order." Well then again, my desperate nature as asking me to keep my gap shut and live with it....Anyway, I liked the car so much that I decide to just go with it.....I know, I know, some of you may just walked away but I am a pure sucker to VW and the deal I am getting.

That was my first encounter with VW 'during' sales service.... *sigh*

Lesson learnt, prepare all things to ask, and ask all questions with reasonably acceptable answers from the sales agent before putting down a deposit. Any sales agent will try to promise the 'sky' as the limit, and in the end more disappointment.

What next?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Was it my turn?

Mandate to put on seat belts for rear passengers? Since my wife's car can only accomodate 5 passengers, its about time to hunt for a bigger car. Btw, she was driving a Hyundai Matrix and it was already ageing. This car is definitely not to be driven fast! Going up hill is agonising. Its a highway cruiser though, comfy enough to overtake Kancils! :p Just joking, its neck to neck with big trucks when it comes to up hill revving.

It so happen during my wife's oversea assignment, I took the opportunity to roam around looking for a 7 seater to replace her ride. This would solve the growing family demand for space while travelling on the road. Mind ya, with kids eventhough they dont seem big physically, they can take a lot of spaces!

Off I go, looking at several major automotive makers like Honda, Toyota and Mazda. Being a Jap ride lover, my opinions are skewed towards Honda :) with the new RSZ kitted CBU Stream. The Stream however has only a new 1.8 iVTEC power plant, in which I reckon is quite underpowerd for a big family car. The white is nice. But my wifes preference is higher ride height, then we have also considered CRV. Wait, thats not a 7seater right?

As for Mazda, there was this CBU Mazda5. It has been built with cool features carefully designed mainly for family. The ride was good and comfy. With its 2.0L engine puffing away, it has good pull even for a heavy car with full load. We loved the white too.

For Toyota, there werent much choice as Wish was not as fancy in terms of design as Stream, but I heard its going to introduce a face lift soon. Furthermore, there was no test drive units.

Then, I suggest why not try to have a look at the contis since I heard there could be some special deals going on. That's where it gets interesting....

Its so happen that there was a nearest conti shop at VW showroom at Puchong.

We were looking at the nice Toureg, but a red 1.6L Beetle caught my wife's attention. We began to bring it out for a test ride. It is a cool iconic car with a fake flower (why?) sticking out at the dash beside the steering wheel. The handling was good with a tad underpower for the heavy body. The white is nice too with a sense of elegence!

Then came the Jetta, that comes with a 1.6L and a 2.0FSI power plant. All of us hopped in the 'test' car with 1.6 option and quickly started the engine....for a moment we thought wow, the engine sounds good with antracite grey leather that smells new! The striking blue and red combi meter cluster were nicely cluttered with nice silver trimmings adding touch of class. Not long after I quickly press the accelerator and went through some road humps tests. It has a very different feel in handling and suspension behaviour, very continental indeed unlike the Japs. Not forgetting it has ESP too, which is a combination of ABS, brake assist and traction control into one. Wow! This car is feature packed.

The good part is the cars will be discounted due to pre-registered. The difference is the car wil be registered to VW first, then the 'new' actual owner and all this is reflected in the car registration card. This is a common 'method' nowadays for big automobile companies to sell the car at a much lower price. The main purpose is to clear old stocks. The units are all new, some with very low milleage. After all it has a new smell to it!

Some shots using my iPhone's crappy camera!

My wife gave me the grin of satisfaction, witnessing my eagerness in getting the car. My kids behind us were having a cool time too. (Not forgetting they also liked the Beetle, hahah....)

Shall I?......

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Next choice of ride, an upgrade perhaps?

I still remembered I need a comfy car badly and that's when Honda launched the next successor of City. As with most Honda design, the car seems futuristic, with looks and richness in technological features being the main selling point. From close viewing the car seems acceptable for space and practicality, however, while rolling the view can be quite disturbing from far! Then came Toyota, with its more proportion compact Vios. IMHO, the car is cool but has less rear passenger headroom. and more ponies. I guess fuel economy is the in-thing then but City tops it with iDSI variant coupled with CVT 7 speed ala paddleshift! Colour, yes both has black body colour options. Black is cool! I quickly then make a booking at a Honda showroom. Thereafter, I went to strip my Wira naked selling off its parts to get some cash for more mods on the new City.

It was a good experience and feel to own a non-Proton when the day came. Everything about the car seems to be perfect! Nice torquey feeling with CVT gearbox, and bright interior. On the contrary, however, I start to receive remarks about the weird stance the car has. Obviously a sign of being green with envy, huh! Surprisingly, it does not bother me at all. And I know I can change the looks later.

Not long after, being my normal self, I quickly jumped on my routine mod-quest passed over from my Wira days. I can't remember the stuffs I did in sequence as this was like 5 years ago. So here goes:

  • Air Cool tinting, two layers
  • Airmaster full bodykit, with two types of rear spoilers and an exhaust tip
  • Front sarong, imported from Thailand by a friend who is kind enough to buy and bring back for me! (TQ, Phuah!)
  • Hifi soundsystem and sound-proofing -
  1. Alpine headunit and 6disc CD changer,
  2. a/d/s/ amp and
  3. RS Audio loudspeaker systems.
  • Sport wheels, changed twice
  • Spray painted headlight reflective part to matt black
  • Grounding cables
  • Eibach pro-kit springs - to lower the car
  • Meter cluster face panel - with blue or purple illumination lights.
  • HID kit
  • Headlamp eyelid
My ride has been nicknamed the 'batman car' by my many colleagues and received many praises. And I am proud of it!

The sad part was I met an accident 3 months after. It was along KL-Seremban expressway when a taxi hit me from behind. Then again, I was reminded that being a black car! The whole back portion has to be reconstructed. Boy, I was so heart ache then. It took a whole good month to fix!

The second accident was at a private compound near Astro on the third year. This time was worse, and I must admit that its my carelessness. I smashed into a Gen2 which was turning in from my right to a parking compound on my left. My gearbox was disengaged and the debris all over the place with my broken bumper kit slammed on the dirty tarmac. The airbag did not fire. This time it took 2 whole months to fix. When I took delivery, it wasn't well done. It was no longer the City I owned, with gearbox leaking from a crack!! Refix my front bumper lip, thats all. Not doing anything more, and my plan is to just use it until God knows when.....

When it was fully done up (2006)

A closer look at the 'eye-lid'

Was I too Fast? I dont think so....

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Where do I start?

Yes, I have come a long way. Well, to be frank I started off as a clumsy driver. I still remember clearly when I took my driving license. Its tough. Full stop. Somehow, I never thought my passion for cars could grow on me.

My first car 'lust' was a 3rd generation Honda Prelude 2.0XX 4WS - 1991 Model, yeah a prelude to my long pursuit indeed! My influence was from a panther black ride shoved with 16inch rims. Mind you, 16inch rim is something BIG that time. Soon after, I decide to place a booking for one second hand unit. But the deal didn't go through after some violent objections....*sigh*

To keep me moving about, I drove my mom's Proton Saga 1.5 12v Magma Aeroback. It has ample power for me to enjoy the ride coupled with a 5-gear manual transmission.

Next was an offer for a Ford Telstar Ghia 2.0, a 'big' company car carrying a price tag of RM43k. Being impulsive in nature, I seize the opportunity and took a loan for it. Not long, I discover its a fuel guzzler and definitely not in the league where I can afford to support its thirst! Imagine a manual, and its not fuel efficient for a pathetic low income earner trying to save some pennies. I was traveling in jam very often and its not viable. The manual gear shift is draggy and not responsive. I sold it off not long after for a Proton, a car that every one from my generation would at least enjoy once! With this swap over, the Ford is well known for high depreciation - and I loose RM14k within just a year or so.

There you go, back to 1.5 cc powered national car. But this time an export spec'ed Proton Wira. A national hero, with better interior. Without knowing, I began with my endless mods ranging from rear anti roll bars to body kits to sport bucket seats to in-car entertainment systems and back to adjustable coil overs. The only stuff where I left bone stock is the engine block! What a car indeed... economical in every sense and potent for mods. At least I drove this car for a good 4 year and it has served me well, but I got bored with manual. I need an automatic transmission ride to relieve my left foot. It has been aching for all these years, years of agony I have been going through...yeah, I know I am fortunate enough to own a car back then with all the money plonked into crazy mods. Believe me, it is crazy enough to make my better half go cuckoo too!

Well then, what next?