By on July 16, 2014

(photo courtesy: eurotuner.com)

Evan writes:

Sajeev (Sanjeev need not apply),

My previous car was a MKV GTI that I, in my youthful excitement for all things automotive, chipped. I shelled out the big dollars (on sale) for the name brand company that had a good reputation as being conservative with their programming.

And yet, that car was nothing but trouble from that point on. Sure, I could have turned off the extra horsepower with a couple minutes time in a parking lot, but once you get that extra power going back is really hard. As a nonsmoker, I understand how hard quitting smoking must be now. I just couldn’t do it. So I lived with a car that ate a variety of parts all the way until I sold it, reset and locked into stock mode.

I am now in another 2.0T car and on principle am not intending on any modifications of the car that could possibly effect reliability. It just wasn’t worth the pain, suffering, and time spent in a VW Service department waiting room.

But was my car, which I bought used, just an aberration? Or do chips really cause with breakage?

Thanks!

Sajeev answers:

Be it chip, tune or a computer swap to something worthy of a mechanical engineering laboratory, I’ve only considered two reasons why a new program breaks a vehicle.

  • The nut behind the keyboard.
  • The nut behind the wheel.

I own modified and tuned EEC-IV/V Fords: generally robust EFI vehicles that are open source like Twitter’s API. It’s been this way for 25-ish years! So my world of tuning is straightforward and simple, even my SCT tuned Mark VIII is a frickin’ indestructible Corolla compared to your tuned VAG product!  That’s because, as mentioned before on TTAC, a late-model GTI is barely durable/reliable when left unmodified.

So do chips/tunes cause problems? Hell no, it’s the entire machine that’s the problem. Or not the problem.  So let’s try this again:

  • The nut behind the keyboard.
  • The nut behind the wheel.
  • The nut behind the decline of German Engineering from a high watermark to a nightmare outside of short-term leases and certified pre-owned warranties.
  • The nut that invented Limp Home Mode (just kidding)

That said, I wonder how those Ecoboost SHO/Focus ST guys fare when they crank up the boost? Odds are they still break, just in fewer places for less money.  Perhaps a Corvette, Mustang, Charger, or maybe even an Ecoboost F150 is a better vehicle to tune, sans German driving experience? Probably not up your alley, nor is my tuned 2011 Ranger. Which is unfortunate!

Sanjeev retorts:

Unfortunate? Listen jerk, you bet your ass he’ll never drive a girly truck with a re-flashed computer.  He’s not retarded…

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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68 Comments on “Piston Slap: Chipped or just Broken?...”


  • avatar

    If you tune a Dodge Charger or a CHRYSLER 300, you can end up in a situation where the car’s transmission can’t handle the extra power so it drops itself into limp mode.
    I don’t need a chip to do this: I have a predator tuner and a Trinity. They come in handy when you add a turbocharger or a supercharger or if you just want to change the shift pattern so you get better fuel economy.

    You’d have an easier time changing a rearwheel drive V-8 car then an all-wheel-drive or front-wheel-drive car like the Taurus or Taurus SHO.

    The Taurus transmission can’t really handle much power that’s why the highly capable EGO-boost V6 is tuned down. Nor models rely on torque vectoring from the computer in order to make them steer better. If you mess with the computer you definitely will get into trouble.

    • 0 avatar
      ellomdian

      Chip tuning on most performance-oriented vehicles is only going to get you so far – typically the manufacturer is going to lean on the “reliable under warranty” side of programming. That’s why you will often see bigger HP gains on the ‘stock’ version of a given platform – there’s just more headroom to push it.

      As for the ‘EgoBoost’ in the SHO – if you’re going to gripe about the car, complain about the interior packaging (which gives it comparable interior space to a Fusion) or the absurdly high beltline (which makes it awkward to drive if you’re under 5’8. Don’t complain about harsh shifts (which can be ‘fixed’ by a new transmission map) or an intercooler condensation issue (which, if you live in a particularly humid area, should be fixed by a TSB.) You can make 30-50 HP on a chip tune and a new exhaust if you really want to, or you can push ~120 on stock drivetrain components if you are willing to go with bigger turbos and a new tune. Once you break ~150 hp, parts of the drivetrain start to have significant issues.

      Also, torque vectoring uses the same engine maps, you just need a tuner capable of doing more than just a Fuel/Air map. If you are looking to get serious numbers out of a legit AWD setup across the board, there are many garages happy to take your money (ahem, GT-R.)

  • avatar
    Charles T

    This is one of the few arenas where Saab did a pretty good job. My 9000 Aero has easily handled a bump from 225 to roughly 300 HP, and a proportinate increase in torque, with just intake/downpipe/exhaust and a reflash, and the whole drivetrain has been thoroughly reliable, though that might just be because I seldom stomp on it.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Even if you stomped on it, Saabs were laggy (and I like laggy!) so the shock to the drivetrain wasn’t too bad. And the drivetrain was reasonably stout, pity about much of the rest of the car…

      I believe later models limited torque at in the (automatic) transmission’s programming as well.

  • avatar
    92LX302

    We’ve been running our ’11 5.0 Mustang Auto pretty hard with a Lund Racing tune since new without any issues, plus Ford dealers aren’t finicky about modded cars & warranty.
    Car currently has a set of Stainless Works headers, a C&L intake and a Magnaflow cat-back with said tune and 63 000 kms. No problems here.

  • avatar
    koshchei

    Evan: I hope that you disclosed to the subsequent owner that you tuned the car.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    As Sajeev said, with an experienced tuner and a reasonable driver, tuning can pay huge dividends and be quite reliable. I’ve had countless cars tuned, running the gamut from AMG V8s/V12s to various Vettes and Mustangs, to my DD blown Navigator. They have largely been as reliable as stock, just with a lot more power. The end user does need to realize that tuning will decrease the margin of safety to some degree…..just part of the game. It is usually a favorable risk/reward ratio in most cases.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Yay I love those small bits of Sanjeev input!

    • 0 avatar

      Sanjeev will one day pay for what he says. Pay dearly.

      • 0 avatar
        3Deuce27

        “Pay dearly”… Count on it.

        Truth tellers and whistle blowers pay dearly and suffer for their principled stand. But few are as valuable to a society, then they are. They were once revered, that they are no longer, is a marker on the condition of our and other modern societies. As a result we are all diminished and suffer.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    Which company was it? I am assuming APR Stage I. I haven’t heard of issues above and beyond and VW issues due to that tune. If it was beyond a Stage I tune, there is a host of recommended upgrades to go along with the tune. That could be part of the problem.

    You need a new, non-VW, drug. As someone who owned four different MKV Golfs/Jettas (Jetta 2.5, Jetta Wolfsburg, GTI, R32), it feels good to have cut ties with my VW dealer.

    • 0 avatar
      cackalacka

      Had APR Stg 1 installed by a local tuner for a year/17,000 miles.

      Did not cause any long-term mechanical problems, but was not a net positive experience.

      Installation was botched, tuner cracked the motherboard. Then the local tuner played dumb. APR came to the rescue and re-soldered/repaired.

      Had to get a new ECU less than a year later, as a CEL appeared and was likely due to the botch/repair. Four figures of installation/repair, and numerous weeks of bumming a ride later, and I’m back to Stage 0.

      At least I was able to find a good mechanic out of the ordeal.

      Will never tune again if the tune cannot be directly ported into the computer (i.e. if bench-flashing requires some flunky to break open a circuit.)

      Before tuning, definitely do your homework as it relates to long term wear and tear.

      Even if the tune is conservative and does not appear to impact long term reliability, do your homework on the local tune shop. It’s pay to play, not pay to get played.

  • avatar
    cronus

    A tuner with a turbo can be asking for trouble. Increased boost pressure means increased cylinder pressure which kills head gaskets.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Boost pressures does not kill head gaskets, detonation does. Today’s computer programming calculating airmass has been the most accurate it has ever been in the past, except for the spark ionizing used by SAAB which takes measurements between pistol events. Add to that the use of direct injection to help control torque and spark knock at lower rpms greatly enhances drivibility lessening the chance of knock retardation.

      The Trifecta Tune used on the new turbo Buicks has been perfect in the whole uploading software to drivibility of daily driving or holliganing. I have one with a manual and another with automatic transmissions and either have any problems with the extra torque of the turbo.

      • 0 avatar
        cronus

        I am well aware of your 500hp, 50mpg Saaverano. Which is why I ignore everything you say as the bullshit that it is.

        • 0 avatar
          Maymar

          What he’s not telling you is that with a Trifecta Tune, your reliability is so improved, GM gives you a lifetime warranty. Not only that, they give you a 30% discount on repairs on the other vehicles in your fleet. On a good day, if you drive by a broken down car, it magically fires back to life.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            True enough, but I heard that Motor Trend did a figure 8 test with a Trifecta tuned Verano, and went so quickly that they exceeded the speed of sound and the driver went back in time to when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and almost got eaten by a T-Rex.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Please, a T-Rex couldn’t catch a Trifecta tuned Verano.

            Also, 18″ rims and 45 series tires are perfect for late Cretaceous terrain….but only on a Verano.

      • 0 avatar
        3Deuce27

        ‘Detonation’ kills pistons and valves, and piston rings, wrist pins, rods, and bearings. there can also be upstream and downstream damage.

        Heat spikes and continued heat overruns kill head gaskets. Especially with iron blocks and aluminum heads.

        Modern engine management has reduced greatly, those conditions, allowing for higher compression ratios and boost levels.

        • 0 avatar
          cronus

          Engine management has improved turbo engines but you can’t just add 5-10psi more boost on that same engine and expect factory reliability. There just isn’t enough safety margin for what might be a 20% increase in peak pressure.

          • 0 avatar
            3Deuce27

            Reg; ” but you can’t just add 5-10psi more boost on that same engine and expect factory reliability.”

            5-10 pds. of boost is on average, 50-60% to over 100% over stock static boost. Modern engine management systems allow those levels of boost on stock block turbo engines during peak boost.

            Engine management systems will allow very high peak boost under certain parameters in engines built for turbos. It all depends on the support systems and applications.

            I ran nearly 30 PSI peak in my SVO with no issues other then vehicle control at peak boost. The SVO was mostly used as a cross country GT machine and survived many miles on the road and a lot of boost bursts. Of course how you use a turbo engine, helps with its longevity. You have to understand what is going on internally in the engine to get good life out of it.

          • 0 avatar
            cronus

            The basic engine management doesn’t change, you’re just adding fuel and air, the gains that can be made by modern FI systems are already present in the stock engine. As for your SVO (Mustang?) I’m not saying it’s impossible but you’re still sacrificing long term reliability. Do you think you could put 100k miles on it without problems?

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            Cronus, over half way to 100K on a 2.4l Exotic with the14 psi of boost. With 300 whp/350 wtrq the stock clutch finally started slipping on a3rd gear autocross runs. Ran fine otherwise considering doubling the output of the stock motor in a Saturn Sky.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    Here’s my tuner experience: a car that ran really rough while ambient temps were near freezing. Black smoke at full throttle. A power curve that added a little kick at one RPM in order to make it seem faster, but probably ran slower at other RPMs in order to make the illusion complete.

    As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter if a “tuner” uses German words on their website, they still don’t have the resources and knowledge that a manufacturer has. Their tunes won’t work right when it’s cold, or when it’s hot, they will dump fuel at WOT “just to be safe”. It’s amateur hour out there, and their claims always sound like teenage bravado.

    Running at the limit can be fun for a hobby car, so I have no issues with the tuner business in general.

    Your best option is to get a car that’s already tuned from new. In your case, that would be a Type R GTI. More money for sure, but way less hassle.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      It is funny that so many enthusiasts are eager to believe that a couple of guys working in a small shop are going to do a better job than a team of dozens of OEM engineers who had a significantly larger budget.

      If the manufacturer opted to produce lower output from a given set of components, then there was probably a sensible reason for it. (Those guys who suffered driveshaft failure by removing the speed limiters from their V6 Mustangs got to learn this the hard way.)

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        +1

        Thank you.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        Many OEM priorities – emissions, marginal fuel economy improvements, smooth shift feel, more easily controllable throttle tip in, product segmentation, etc. – have no value to the enthusiast. I don’t believe emissions and product segmentation have any value even to the non enthusiast. It doesn’t take a team of mechanical engineers with a multi million dollar budget to successfully trade those away for better performance.

        The problem is how much durability you’re also trading away along the way. There’s only one way to find out.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        “If the manufacturer opted to produce lower output from a given set of components, then there was probably a sensible reason for it.”

        That depends. Sometimes there’s a good technical reason for the state of tune of the motor.

        Other times it’s purely for market differentiation. The VW 1.8T drivetrain wasn’t appreciably different between is lower- (like the Golf) and upper-tune (Audi TT) trims. You could boost your GTI to about the same output as the TT without much risk (or rather, much more risk than any MkIV 1.8T, flakey buggers that they are) but going past the TT’s output would be risky.

      • 0 avatar
        3Deuce27

        Reg; “Those guys who suffered driveshaft failure by removing the speed limiters from their V6 Mustangs got to learn this the hard way.)”

        There was only the bottom line for that speed limiting, it didn’t have anything to do with ‘Sensibility’. Another Ford cheap out.

        Don’t give us 300+ Hp and then put cheap components behind it cuzz you don’t want to spend the money for drive line capable of utilizing the Hp we payed for. Ford is selling an illusion… and guilty of fraud.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Some of you guys are really out in left field.

          It’s some the cheapest horsepower that you can buy. Adding parts that could handle the extra speed would have raised the price, making the car less affordable for those who may have wanted one and defeating the purpose of offering it in the first place.

          The trade off is that you can drive ***only*** 113 mph, which is 28 mph higher than the highest speed limit in the United States. Unless the autobahnen come to America, this is not an issue.

          If you want to go faster, then it’s simple: Pay for the upgrade. (Ford will happily sell you a faster car if you want to pay for it.) Otherwise, don’t whine if you lose a driveshaft when you try to get something for nothing.

          • 0 avatar
            3Deuce27

            Reg; “Some of you guys are really out in left field.” Whose left field?

            Those extra parts were comprised of a GT drive shaft. Adding those parts to the price of the car or the cost of the car and the Performance pkg, would have added less then 1/1-1/2% to the cost of the base car and even less on the averaged optioned vehicle. Or, including it in the Performance pkg at additional cost while informing all Mustang V-6 buyers of the imposed limits on their 300+ Hp Mustang, would have been a standup/principled position for Ford to take. Sorry, the Ford Bean counters screwed us again.

            And I stand by my position, that if you build something with certain levels of torque and Hp, you better build the rest of the drive train to handle it.

            And, it is more then the Speed limiter, we would have gotten programming that would have allowed greater acceleration.

            And using the argument about legal speeds to justify the inferior parts, is a specious argument.

            I don’t want to be dismissive of your comment, as they are usually pretty solid, Pch101. I suspect your a Ford fan. Even when we like a particular brand of car, we can’t overlook their failings. I have owned more Fords than any other make, but I call it the way it is, no matter.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            In addition to a different driveshaft they would also need to fit tires with a higher speed rating.

            As to calling PCH a Ford fan he is anything but based on his comments here, he is just stating the obvious facts. The reality is that 113 is faster than any speed limit in the US and that most people who buy a entry level pony car aren’t looking to find its top speed. They are looking for a car that looks cool to them, is fun in their normal everyday driving and won’t break the bank either in purchase price, insurance, or fuel. The V6 Mustang fulfills those criteria pretty well for a number of people.

            If you want to hot rod it, fine just don’t think that you can get away with making some changes w/o doing the other things to back it up.

            I am a Ford fan and I certainly don’t hold a grudge against Ford for making the V6 Mustang so “slow”. Personally I’d buy a V8 and I still likely would never exceed 113mph in it.

          • 0 avatar
            3Deuce27

            Geez! We go from stating the obvious, to mis-representing my comment(‘calling PCH a Ford fan’), to “he is just stating the obvious facts.” Really? To stating the obvious, again, to unsupported market analysis, to stating the obvious again, to Hot Rodding ’101′, to making excuses for Ford and telling the world you have no balls, while completely missing the point. A true fanatic(?) or something else. I will forgive you if you are under the age of consent.

            Geez! Did I fall off my stool and land in the CarScoop sandbox comment section. Is there any critical thinking on car blogs? No wonder we have the government and products we do. Isn’t there any critical discernment any more? Are we really just a bunch of sheep?

            OK! CarScoop… err I mean TTAC needs to ban me or moderate all my comments for posts that are not issued by Sajeev, Kreutzer, Ronnie, and a few others. Oh hell, really doesn’t make any difference, I nearly always have to bite my tongue reading the comments, despite the quality of the post.

            Relief is at hand, in one more month, I will be at sea for two weeks and away from this amazing, but pesky device that can waste my time and aggravate the hell out of me.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The reality is that cars are made to a price point.

            The base model has T-rated tires. Remove the limiter, and the driveshaft and tires both have to be upgraded to match.

            Upgrade those components, and the price of the base model goes up.

            If the price goes up, some sales will be lost.

            If those sales are lost, then the price of the remaining models will also have to be increased to make up for the lost revenue.

            And this repositioning may wreak havoc with Ford’s margins, which must already be questionable, given that the current Mustang provides no platform sharing over which to amortize the costs. (The original pony cars were intended to amortize the cost of family sedans; this version of the Mustang provides no such benefit.)

            The base level Mustang is competing on price. It has to if it is to produce the right balance of volume and margin. It isn’t meant to be a hot rod; that’s what the GT is for.

            This is the reality of the auto business, and in this case, the particular OEM in question has nothing much to do with it. If it was GM or Toyota or VW or Peugeot, I’d say the very same thing. As a consumer, you can choose to buy the faster product at a higher price if that really matters to you, but the automaker has to make compromises between performance and price in order to keep the model viable.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I find the Golf R to be less fun to drive than a GTI. It takes the good things about the GTI, doesn’t make them much better (if at all), and prices it above a Mustang GT. Thanks but no thanks VW.

  • avatar
    ExPatBrit

    There’s a big difference with chip tuning a normally aspirated motor over a blown one.

    With a turbo or supercharger chip tuners turn up the boost which can cause all sorts of mayhem , often the junk rubber intake plumbing won’t take the increased pressure and things like diverter valves fail. This gets worse because of the increased heat as the car ages, hoses split.

    On a VW a lot of folks replace a failed DV with a blow off valve which makes that “whoosh” sound but causes the car to run rich and causes all manner of other problems.

    I had my Audi TT chipped, 30 extra horsepower was nice (the extra torque was awesome) but I fitted an upgraded DV not a BOV. It was mostly reliable but I didn’t beat on it and kept an eye on the boost and temps.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I had an edge tuner in my dodge diesel for years. Zero issues. I never ran beyond level three, the one time I ran it on level five, the manual tranny made some really strange groaning noises that I assumed could result in expensive visits to the dealer..

    As for the tune…woke the motor up. Jumped mpg by 2 per mile, made driving a 3/4 tone a lot more entertaining. With a manual, it was hard to go anywhere ‘fast’ as you can’t shift fast enough. But the stupid amount of torque made mountain driving an absolute blast.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    Don’t know much about the Mk5, but the 1.8T in the previous generation (along with the B5 Passat and B5/B6 A4) was very amenable to chipping and a Stage I tune from a reputable shop doesn’t have any reported effects to the reliability of the motor. (Which is actually pretty good, as long as you use quality oil and change it on-time.)

  • avatar
    Pantherlove

    I have a 2009 Cobalt SS with the GM provided Stage 1 tune. No problems after 15k miles and its a heck of a lot more fun.

  • avatar
    zerofoo

    I had an 08 GTI with the CCTA motor. It still developed the dreaded carbon buildup in the intake and valves. This results in rough cold idle.

    I got rid of it at 80,000 miles. The car wasn’t totally unreliable, but I could see the writing on the wall after owning two other VWs to around 130,000 miles.

    My GTI was bone stock, some days driven hard, and other days driven like a granny. It was fastidiously maintained…..yet it still developed problems.

    I loved driving it, but did not want a long term relationship. Pretty much like all of the women I met before I married my wife.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I had an 08 Wolfsburg with that motor. It started getting carbon buildup at 40K miles. My 09 GTI, with the newer motor, seemed to do much better. I currently own a vehicle with a Ford 3.5GTDI engine. It crossed 60K recently, and there is no indication of carbon build up. I still worry though.

      • 0 avatar
        olddavid

        I’m curious as to why water and/or Seafoam couldn’t alleviate your carbon build-up? Is there some design aspect that keeps this from being feasible? And why doesn’t regular high speed cruising help keep the build up down? Is this a natural product of the direct injection? The way all the VW owners seemed to be aware of this problem without some factory research into a fix puzzles me. Carbon build up on valves and any combustion chamber piece can prove catastrophic. Why no VW help? Surely their CPO used cars are suffering too.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          The carbon build up is one of the prices you pay for direct injection. With DI, you have to put it in the intake, not the gas tank. The VW enthusiast way to do this is pull out the O2 sensor and get a Dixie cup worth of seafoam in there. I think its a smoke show more than anything, but some swear by it.

          There are a number of different services available. Before we purchased our MKT, I made the dealer do the BG Direct Ijection Engine Service which includes manually cleaning the valves.

          • 0 avatar
            olddavid

            Thank you. That sure seems to be a high price to pay for the benefit. I usually put a spray bottle to the brake vacuum booster hose and de-carbon that way.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I’ve tuned three of my last five vehicles in the last 12 years, never a failure I could remotely point to and go, that was the fault of the tune.

  • avatar
    mitchw

    And there’s always the option of getting some performance driving training so you can get more out of your OEM car without breaking it.

    Skillz.

  • avatar
    Fred

    My 20T A3 had a GIAC chip in it and never had a problem. The programable chips is where folks get into trouble changing settings without understanding the trouble it might cause somewhere else.

  • avatar
    toplessFC3Sman

    I had tuned my ’06 Saab 9-3 (2.0T, part of GM’s “Ecotec” 4-cyl engine family) when I first got it used in 2009 with 20k miles. I didn’t regularly push it too hard, but I did autocross it a few times a year, and certainly enjoyed the extra mid-range torque when getting up to highway speeds. I eventually de-tuned it at 80k because the clutch started to slip when the extra boost hit – it seems to be that the dual-mass flywheel springs are too soft for the extra torque, and they bottom out, jolting the clutch & causing it to slip. The car now has 140k on the same clutch and is mechanically doing well. It burns about 1 qt of oil every 2-3k miles, but that doesn’t seem all that unusual.

    I’ve also tuned (as in, I’ve made all the fuel & spark tables, tuned idle, O2 correction, boost control etc) for my project car, a 1988 Mazda RX-7, but who knows how that’ll last. Its got 180k on the body, with 30k on a turbo engine that I had rebuilt when swapping the car from NA to turbo.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    “That’s because, as mentioned before on TTAC, a late-model GTI is barely durable/reliable when left unmodified.”

    Jesus, you’re annoying.

    Your “late-model GTI” link was to a thread discussing FSI-engined GTIs. There hasn’t been an FSI-engined GTI in six years.

    The anti-German car bias on TTAC has just been done to death.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      Yeah, there’s a total disconnect between the number of high miles VWs on the road and TTAC’s scare stories.
      My theory: somebody’s prom date went home with in a guy’s (mom’s) Dasher. That leaves an emotional scar.

      No shout-outs to oil-sludged Toyotas, or rusted Mazdas, or Hondas with rotten brake lines. We don’t mention those, ’cause she definitely left in a Dasher.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Honda brake lines don’t rust out — sheeze don’t you read the posts of the B&B. Only Chevy truck brake lines rust out – and then the truck explodes in a fireball and then a hole opens from the 8th Plane of Hell and sucks the occupants souls down.

        • 0 avatar

          No, but Honda and Acura cats last 100k. I’ve never seen cats as a replacement part, oh, just out of warranty. Thanks guys.

          I thought it was my MDX, but then I started looking at Pilot, and Odessey web sites, and there are a LOT of bad cats at the 100k mark.

          My German cars never ate a cat….at 200 and 300k.

          Chip tuned my A2 GTi, and it definitely fattened the torque curve, at the expense of mandatory premium.

          I’m afraid to chip tune the TDi. I love the idea of 180 hp and GTD level power, but I too doubt that a bunch of guys in a garage with a laptop are smarter than VW-Audi AG. I think diesels already run 20 plus pounds boost…. I would buy a factory chip tune, like BMW sells for the turbo six.

      • 0 avatar

        “No shout-outs to oil-sludged Toyotas, or rusted Mazdas, or Hondas with rotten brake lines. We don’t mention those, ’cause she definitely left in a Dasher.”

        Right.

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/piston-slap-the-relentless-pursuit-of-sludge/

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/piston-slap-in-god-we-rust-part-iii/

        Actually you are right about Honda rotten brake lines, nobody’s complained about them so clearly that’s never happened.

    • 0 avatar

      “Your “late-model GTI” link was to a thread discussing FSI-engined GTIs. There hasn’t been an FSI-engined GTI in six years.”

      So, out of curiosity, how many FSI vs non FSI powered MKV GTIs were made? Because the OP owns a MKV.

      Sincerely,
      Annoying Blogger

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Most are FSI. 2006-2008 MKVs are FSI and the 2008.5-2009 MKVs were TSI.

        Golf/Rabbit/GTI/R32 sales 2006-2008 = 104K
        Golf/Rabbit/GTI/R32 sales 2009 = 15K

        The chance of someone having an FSI engine in their MKV GTI is probably better than 75%.

      • 0 avatar
        Fordson

        I think my point was that a car at least six years old can hardly be described as a late-model GTI: “a late-model GTI is barely durable/reliable when left unmodified”. You make a smartass claim about late-model GTIs, then you hyperlink the smartass claim to a thread about cars that are a minimum of six years old.

        Now that the Mk7 GTI is coming out, your reference-standard “late-model GTI” has an engine from two generations back.

        Probably time to update your Rolodex, too.

  • avatar
    Charlie84

    Cue the “VW is so unreliable (not that I’ve ever owned one)!” peanut gallery.

    For every anecdote like the above, there are hundreds of anecdotes on the VW forums of (chipped and non-chipped) GTIs which have proven to be perfectly reliable daily drivers.

  • avatar
    Lythandra

    My 03 GTI has been chipped (APR) for 120k miles so far and no problems yet.

    Theres a very good chance I’ll pick up a 2015 GTI towards the end of the year.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    Knocking the Germans, eh??

    My bud had an Audi 200 Quattro Turbo (sedan, not Avant) which, much to our delight had a nice, big, Superchips box wired in on the front passenger floorboard.

    DID it make a difference in power? Dunno, but it sure went like stink.

    Things didn’t break at all with that car, strangely…. it held up quite well But he did completely obliterate it on the highway while doing about 110.

    Ahhh. Good times, good times.


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