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What’s the best modification for a 1.8 GLS. It’s my wife’s car; she loves it and wants to keep it forever. It has 43k miles because she only drives it to and from work. She would like more power. It’s been a while since I did research but figure I’ve come to the right place.
 

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The best return of power for money is to have the car chipped, which ranges from $350.00 to $700.00. But most people who chip their car also put on a catback exhaust. About $600.00 for a good stainless steel system. I would suggest that you change the fuel filter (just a new clean one), install a K&N Drop-in filter and a catback exhaust. These three steps should really wake up her new beetle.
 

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Chip it. You'll probably want to upgrade the DV also if you do this, the stock one wears kinda quickish to begin with; but under the higher boost levels of a chip tuning, it'll go pretty fast. Other than that you should be good to go on that front.

And put in a rear sway bar. That won't make the ride noticably rougher, but will help stiffen the rear end and stop the the leaning while turning.

If you wanna go light-weight, but some nice gains, those are the 2 major modifications I'd recommend. If you're into doing stuff yourself you could probably improve the intake a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks!

We did the K&N some time ago, probably time for a cleaning;). What models are recommended for the chip and exhaust?
 

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A chip will give you the best power-to-dollar ratio. After that, it would be a turbo-back exhaust. A cat-back will give you more sound, but not as much power as if you went full turbo-back. When it comes to exhausts, figure out how loud you want it and then do the research. Milltek 2.5" is the quietest and GHL 3" is the loudest.


With chips, I went GIAC, but APR and Revo are the other two big ones. IMO, if you go the chip route, look for the closest dealer to you and go with them. If anything happens to go wrong, you'll want them to be a close as possible.

I'm afraid you're on the cusp of opening a Pandora's Box of possibilities ;)
 

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Yeah i am new to these cars also and sounds like chipping then a turbo back exhaust, down pipe and all is the best way to go. I am also looking into putting a Boost controller and a turbo timer to allow the turbo to cool down after a drive. With chipping then the boost controller boost about 20 -21.3 psi without going into limp mode. that should give me a net increase with chipping about 80 or so hp i am guessing.
 

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I got APR chip, 93 octane program for $500. I absolutely love it - chipping my car has made a huge difference. ECS Tuning does a great job - they make it pretty easy!! You may want to order a new DV from them at the same time... I got a Forge DV from ECS as well... $134, installed by yours truly...
 

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DV and Chip would be the first items if I were doing it again ... I wouldn't spend big $$$ on a catback exhaust ... changing the exhaust doesn't give much unless you change the downpipe and install a race cat converter ... like the APR DP has. You can free up the exhaust a bit and change the tone a bit by getting rid of the resonator and installing the diesel straight pipe in its place for under $100. Also for better takeoffs and to severly reduce the 2nd gear grind if you have a manual tranny ... get the urathane dogbone bushings for about $40.
 

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Is there such a thing as a manual boost controller for Bugs? Or is that a no-no with the engine management system?

That was a very inexpensive way for me to gain power (+30 bhp) with my Saab.
 

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blue 9-3se said:
Is there such a thing as a manual boost controller for Bugs? Or is that a no-no with the engine management system?

That was a very inexpensive way for me to gain power (+30 bhp) with my Saab.
Yes and no..

If you just put a MBC on our cars, it will spike to the set boost pressure, then the ECU will drop the boost back to the stock boost level.
What you can do is get the chip, most peak to 17-19 and hold to 15-17, then install the MBC and you can get spikes into the low twenties and hold around 19..

IMHO... THe extra boost does not make that much of a difference and everything I have read\heard is the 1.8T in the bugs, the internals and fueling dont like this level of boost.

I am not saying it is not possable , but you will want to start looking into new fuel injectors and fuel pump to keep from going to lean.

My plan ( once the budget gets approved by my loving and gorgious wife) is to go with a GT-28 turbo and then go with the 3" MAF and injectors off a 225hp TT and a in-line fuel pump.
 

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As someone who has ran the diode/mbc extensively, it IS NOT for the average person who's driving to and from work everyday. It requires much more attention to the throttle and the car becomes quite finicky. Most people aren't willing to deal with that. If you have no plans of eventually reaching faster than low 13's in the 1/4, or chasing down corvettes and vipers on the freeway, than a chip is where its at as a first mod. If you ever plan on doing a big turbo setup, save your money and don't bother blowing cash on stock turbo stuff unless it will carry over to the BT setup... software won't.

In hindsight, as much as I love my car and am proud of my oem turbo accomplishments, if i had put all of the money away that I spent on getting to this point with the stock turbo, i would have enough for 90% of a BT kit right now.
 
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