Bad Fifth Gear
My '85 VW Cabriolet has more than 220K miles but still runs strong. I have the original engine, and the compression is within specs. I have also added many modifications myself: Neuspeed throttle body, dual-exhaust manifold and TT down pipes, adjustable cam gear, suspension and braking upgrades. The car is lots of fun to drive. However, within the last year I consistently hear a high-pitched squeal when I am in fifth gear, especially under load or climbing hills. Is this a sign that my transmission is going? A mechanic told me that as long as it doesn't pop out of gear the transmission, although worn, is OK for now. I had the gear oil replaced with quality oil from Redline, which really made an improvement with shifting, but just a little improvement with the sound. Is there some additional service needed? Also, I have a Neuspeed 272-degree camshaft that I never installed. Does it make any sense to install it on a car with such high mileage and possible transmission problems? If it does, can I use the existing value springs?
Michael Janisch
via the Internet

Unfortunately, that high-pitched sound you hear is the sound of a bad fifth gear needle bearing, which is a sign that your tranny was low on fluid at one time. This tends to affect fifth gear the most. With that many miles, it would probably be in your best interest to just rebuild the entire transmission or find a lower mileage one at a junkyard. If you decide to rebuild it, now would be the time to do the differential bolt kit and maybe put in a lower ratio fifth gear to reduce your engine rpm while highway cruising. As for the cam install, if you aren't consuming a lot of oil and compression in the motor is good, and you have no coolant leaks or other indications that your head gasket is failing, there isn't any reason not to put it in there. As for using the existing valve springs, with that type of mileage, I would definitely replace the existing springs with some heavier duty ones. In fact, I would do it even if the car had less mileage as added insurance.

Dire Need Of Help
Please help me find the right cam for my car, I drive a 1995 GTI VR6, and I can't figure out which cams are good for me. I know I don't want a long duration because I really love the big torque curve. But at the same time I want to get a wicked top end. If you could recommend a setup that would work for me (without any form of forced induction because I don't have the money) please help me, because I'm drowning in the sea of parts and I'd prefer to be floating.
Scott Lucas
via the Internet

There are so many different cams for the 12V VR6 that I can understand how difficult choosing one is. One of the all-time favorites is the Dynospot Racing street cam ( that can be installed along with a Garrett Integrated Automotive Corporation ( chip tuned especially for this pair of camshafts. It's a good all-around combination that offers good street performance at a reasonable price.

Bigger Turbo
I have a 2001 Volkswagen 1.8T and I was looking at installing a bigger turbo. I have looked at many different kits, including the Neuspeed's K04. My question is what other modifications would I need to be make to the car for a successful operation, including the drivetrain? Will I need to make any modifications to the fuel system in order to make the bigger turbo function properly?
Travis VanOrmer
via the Internet

There are a lot of things to consider when upgrading the turbo on your 1.8T. One of which is whether or not you want risk losing your driver's license! Joking aside, you need to look at what you really want out of a turbo upgrade. Do you want big horsepower numbers that will drop your quarter mile times at the local drag strip? Do you simply just want a little more power to increase the fun factor in your car as a daily driver? If it's the latter, the Neuspeed super K04 kit is looking very good, and at a suggested retail price of $1999 it's half the price of some other big turbo upgrade kits currently available. The other nice thing about this kit is that it comes with all necessary parts. You won't need to add anything else or modify the fuel system independently. Since the increased power output of this kit isn't extreme, you also won't need to upgrade a lot of drivetrain parts other than the clutch. However, it wouldn't be a bad idea to upgrade your brakes to the larger 12.3-in. units found on the higher performance MkIV VWs and add to that some high performance brake pads, fluid and stainless steel lines. This is a relatively inexpensive upgrade that will increase braking performance considerably.

New Beetle Mirrors
I've owned a New Beetle since 1998. All things considered I think it's an excellent car, and I don't plan on getting rid of it anytime soon. However, one thing I've never managed to get used to is the positioning of the outside mirrors on this car. The driver's side mirror, in particular, is directly in my line of sight whenever I need to look to my left. This means whenever I take a left-hand corner I have to slow down to a snail's pace or crane my neck to avoid hitting something (or someone)--and, since I live in a city, the number of times I have almost plowed down innocent pedestrians because I just plain couldn't see them is downright frightening.

For the first few months I owned the car I figured I'd eventually get used to this "front blind spot," but I never have. Yes, I am short (5'6"), but cranking the seat up only makes the driving position awkward. Since New Beetles now come with mirrors mounted about six inches lower than they did back in '98, what I'm wondering is whether I can retrofit a pair of these newer mirrors to my NB. I don't mean the newest ones with the built-in turn signal indicators. I mean the plain ones that were made approximately from 2001 to 2003. How difficult would it be to mount a set of these mirrors? Is it even possible, or would I have to swap out the doors, too? If I could just get rid of that front blind spot, I'd feel safer, and I think the pedestrians around here would too!Also, does anyone else with a MkIV VW who lives in a cold climate have a problem with their emergency brake freezing? Mine does whenever it gets below 30 degrees, which is like six months of the year up here. Any advice on how to combat this problem?
Dave Lucsko
via the Internet

Today is your lucky day. Yes, you can swap the new mirrors for the old. In fact I've found a Web site that has all the information you need, including a step-by-step process for completing the swap along with pictures and tools needed. Just go to for your parking brake freezing, check the cables and the rubber accordion boots for holes and tears, which could let moisture in and freeze the caliper. You'll most likely wind up replacing the cables to remedy the situation.

Boosting a 1.8T or a 2.0-liter
I'm interested in purchasing a '98 Jetta and I'm hoping to get a 1.8T, but may have to settle for a 2.0-liter. I'm really interested in coaxing a little extra horsepower out of my car, but unfortunately I will only have about $800-1000 per summer to put into it because I also have to pay for some of my university expenses. I was thinking about putting in a cat-back exhaust system (not sure what type yet) and an Injen cool air intake system. I've also had people suggest I put in cooler spark plugs and even that I get it chipped. However, I don't really know much about the chips and how they work so I guess my questions are as follows:

1. Do you agree that I should look for a 1.8T rather than a
2.0L if I am not going to be able to make any really significant changes?
2. Can you explain a little more about how the chips work, what they cost and power gains, etc.?
3. What do you think I should do and in what order?
4. What kind of gains can I realistically expect from these changes?
5. Approximately how much will each of these upgrades cost me?
via the Internet

Unless you plan on swapping a 1.8T engine into that 1998 Jetta, you'll have to settle for the 2.0-liter or a GLX with a VR6, as the 1.8T engine was not available in the MKIII chassis and wasn't available in Jettas in the U.S. until the MKIV chassis arrived. That said, based upon your goals and your budget, you'll definitely get more for your money by investing in a VR6 Jetta.

With your initial $1000 I would invest in a suspension upgrade for the car consisting of shocks, springs, an upper strut bar and a rear anti-roll bar. If you take the time and shop around, you should be able to do this for under $1000 if you do all the work yourself. This will provide the best performance upgrade for the money.

Next, I would look into chip and exhaust upgrades and possibly cams if your budget allows. This chip and exhaust combination will yield approximately 20 hp and make a significant difference in performance throughout the rpm range. The chip and exhaust upgrade should be in the neighborhood of $500-800 depending on the chip and exhaust that you choose. I'd look into the Garrett Integrated Automotive Corporation ( VR6 chip or the Neuspeed chip ( and the Techtonics Tuning full stainless 2.5-in. exhaust with a Borla muffler. Eurosport ( also offers an excellent exhaust for the car, although it's a bit more expensive than the Techtonics one.

Restoring a 1992 16V Passat Wagon
I'm restoring my 1992 16V Passat wagon. It's no 1.8T, but still fun to row through the gears even after 120,000 miles. My teenager will probably inherit it when he gets his license, so I'm planning only modest upgrades that I think it should have had to start with: a leather shift boot, Bilsteins, plus the Raceware head studs I put in a few years ago.

I've run into some problems sourcing replacement parts, though. The upholstery shop says the Sahara Beige seat cloth is unobtainable, and the dealer says he can't get it either. I don't want to put on an ill-fitting K-Mart seat cover. Any suggestion either for a source for O.E. seat fabric or a cover that actually fits? Also, the antenna base is loose and getting worse, and the dealer says I can't replace the worn-out antenna base without installing a new antenna cable since the new antennas have a different connector. The $100-plus price of the cable doesn't bother me as much as the thought of installing a cable from the back of the roof to the radio. I don't see those Fuba ads in ec anymore, do any of your advertisers have a suggestion?
Kirk Banner
via the Internet

Unfortunately, the dealer is correct that that the seat covers are not obtainable from the factory anymore, as they generally only retain parts supplies for ten years. Your only real option is to either have them recovered by the upholstery shop in a similar fabric or as you mentioned try a seat cover or replace it with an aftermarket seat. Try a Google search on seat covers and you'll be surprised at the number of companies that can make custom seat covers for your Passat. Since you're going to have to take the headliner down to replace the antenna base, you should check to see if the bolt is simply loose. If you need to replace it, call around to a few wrecking yards to see if you can find one.

Blow-Off vs. Diverter Valve?
I have a question maybe you can help me with. I noticed a lot of German cars (Audi, VW, Porsche, etc.) that are turbocharged have diverter valves as opposed to blow-off valves. I understand that a diverter valve "diverts the excess boost" back to the intake tract as opposed to blowing it off to the air like a blow off valve. Because of this the diverter valve is fairly quiet, letting out only a slight "whoosh." Is that the only difference or are there any specific performance benefits to either one? Currently I have a 2000 Audi TT Quattro, and yes I do have an aftermarket DV (Stratmosphere), but I was just wondering.
Vanderbill King II, SSgt, USAF
via the Internet

As you mentioned, the main purpose of either the diverter valve or blow-off valve is to let off excess boost. The primary reason that Audi, VW and Porsche use a diverter valve is due to their use of the Bosch Motronic engine management system and a Mass Air Flow sensor. It's programmed to expect the "extra air" which is rerouted back into the intake tract and adjusts the air/fuel mixture based upon this. Therefore it's simply the design of the system and there is no real performance benefit to one or the other.

Which Year is Better?
I was looking into buying a VW GTI and after some research I found that the 2002+ models put out more hp and torque etc. with a lot of the upgrade parts. But the thing is, the 2000 and 2001s are cheaper. So my question is, which year do you think is a better buy, 2000, 2001, or 2002?
Jake P.
via the Internet

You are correct, in 2002 VW upped the horsepower of the 1.8T to 180hp from 150hp in the GTI and Jetta. If you're looking at keeping the car stock and not modifying it, I would opt for the more powerful 2002 model, although it's going to be more expensive. If you plan on modifying the car, the potential for both the 150 hp and 180 hp engines is about the same. In my opinion, and especially with VWs, you're most likely better off with the newest version you can buy, and the later model 2001s have proven to be more reliable than the 2000s. The AWW engine found in the 2001s is essentially the same as the AWP engine found in the 2002s, but it's running less boost pressure and hence makes only 150 hp.

MkIII 2.0-liter Euro Head
I have a 1996 VW Jetta 2.0-liter I want to start working on it soon. If possible, one thing I want to do is do a 16V (Euro) head swap on it, but I cant find a place to get the head. Do you know of any sites?
Jonathan Atkinson
Augusta, GA

I'm assuming that you're referring to the Euro ABF head that came on the later model 2.0-liter 16Vs in Europe. While there is a slight benefit over a U.S. 9A head, due to the 35mm shorter valve guides and VR6 valve retainers, the heads are essentially the same. I'd just find a good 9A head and use that. You can find nicely reconditioned 16V heads at Eurospec ( I'd also check out your local wrecking yards to see what you may find, or try the VWVortex engine and transmission classified forums (

Raising a GTI
I have a 2003 GTI and need to raise it about two inches to take it on ferries and transport boats. This car has 18-inch rims and sits really low to the ground. I'd like to keep my 18s and just put bigger rubber and good struts on it. I can always switch back if needed. Do you know of any good struts that will lift the '03 GTI up in this manner?
Art Sherman
via the Internet

I'm not aware of any suspension upgrades for the MkVI chassis which will raise it up two inches over stock. However, H&R makes the "Dune Buggy" coilovers for the car. They're threaded-body strut and shock bodies with specifically designed springs designed to raise the car an inch in the front and rear or sit at stock height for those who need extra ground clearance. I think if you want to combine these with some higher profile tires, you might achieve the ground clearance you're looking for. Give Mike or Kristen a holler at Virtual World Parts ( as they stock these coil-overs.

Easy Jetta Mods
I have a 2001 Jetta 1.8T and would like to enhance its performance. I'm not looking to do an 11.3 quarter mile but would like to push the horsepower over 200. What's the easiest way to complete this, without huge modifications or amounts of cash, i.e. chip? The second part of my question is can you recommend a place in Toronto (or Ontario) where I could get this done properly?
Steve Imrie
Toronto, Ontario

You are in luck, as the 1.8T in your Jetta responds extremely well to modifications. I would suggest a chip, cold-air intake and complete turbo-back exhaust (including a downpipe) which would push you into the 220-plus hp range. While not exactly cheap, these are all simple bolt-on modifications, with the exception of the chip which will either have to be soldered in the ECU or modified using the OBD port by a shop who sells the upgrade. As for a local shop, give H2OSport a call and I'm sure they can hook you up (

8V Instead of 16V?
I've been thinking and thinking and the only reason that I've found for VW producing 8V instead of 16V engines is that it's cheaper to produce an 8v engine with bigger displacement rather than a "high-tech" 16v engine with smaller displacement, resulting in a more less same performance. Am I right?
Joao Silva
via the Internet

You are absolutely correct. The venerable 8V engine has been around for years and offers lots of low-end torque, which is what VW likes the most. While it's undergone numerous changes over the years, it is still a very simple and cost effective engine to build as compared to the 16V.

2.0L or 1.8T
I have a 2.0-liter Jetta right now and I was wondering if it would be worth putting money into or if it would be a better bet to try and sell it for a 1.8T. I have been reading some articles that were on ATP's Web site. So far I've put in shocks, lowered it, added a rear sway bar, front strut bar and an air intake. I have an exhaust system on the way, but I do believe I could return it if I wanted. I do realize that all the suspension stuff should fit on the 1.8T, so I was just wondering what would be the best thing to do.
Robert Lynn Smith
via the Internet

The 2.0L is a great engine and has plenty of potential, but as you say, the 1.8T responds very well to inexpensive modifications such as a chip, intake and exhaust. Your decision should be based upon what your ultimate goal is. If you're looking for big power numbers, then the 1.8T might be a better choice, since the Stage II kits from ATP ( run about $3,000 and require a fair amount of labor to install. You can achieve 220-plus hp out of a 1.8T with the modifications mentioned above.

VW Golf 1.6: Stay or Go?
I own a 2000 Euro-spec Golf with a 1.6-liter engine in it. Can anything be done to this engine to increase the horsepower or am I better off replacing it with a 1.8T? I currently live in Germany and will be here for at least four more years before returning to the States, so of course converting the car to meet U.S. standards is also in mind. Can you give me any answers or at least point me in the right direction?
Cosby K Estell
via the Internet

While extremely economical, the 1.6-liter engine isn't going to be able to be modified to the point where it can compete power-wise with the 1.8T. If you want more power right now, you'll have to look into swapping in the 1.8T as you say, which may be a costly alternative. As for meeting U.S. standards upon your return, since your car is Euro-spec it will most likely be more cost effective to sell the car in Germany and buy a new one in the U.S. as you would have to change front and rear bumpers, lighting, etc. It's just not worth the cost. If it were me, I'd tough it out for four more years with the car you have, and then look into buying a used 1.8T GTI when you get back to the U.S.

MkII 16V
I have a MkII Golf and I want to get a 2.0-liter 16V engine. Is it possible to get 220-250 hp out of it?
Tobi Lubek
via the Internet

As they say, anything is possible, if you can afford it. The only way to get that level of power out of a 16V is to go forced induction. A good place to start is EIP Tuning and check out their complete 16V turbo kits. They are reasonably priced and have lots of options which should allow you to easily attain the figures you want. Log on at

2.0-liter Tuning Tricks
I have a 2004 VW 2.0L and I'm wondering, is it possible to use the 20-valve head off the 1.8T in this engine for normally aspirated purposes?
Jess Ortiz
via the Internet

It is possible to use a 20V head on a 2.0-liter block, but there are several issues including coolant and oil passages not lining up. Also, the 20V head and cams you're likely to get are designed with forced induction in mind and might not yield the results you are looking for. You might be able to source some better N.A. cams from Europe as they had a normally aspirated 1.8-liter 20V engine. If you don't intend to turbocharge this engine, you might want to consider doing some head and cam work to your 8V.

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