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    Thread: My New Mk3 Golf! What to do first?

    1. Member Eskimio's Avatar
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      02-05-2012 05:40 PM #1
      Hey everybody, been lurking around vwvortex for a while now more or less just trying to absorb as much knowledge as I can. Well, the day finally came... yesterday I purchased my first VW. A black 1998 Golf Mk3 GTI! I've only had it for 36 hours and already I can say that I absolutely love it.

      And without further adieu, PICS!

      Pretty clean overall, a few small issues here and there but all-in-all I'm more than happy with the outcome. Also, if anyone knows where I could find a replacement rocker panel for the passenger door, lemme know because mine is rusted.


      Straight, clean, almost completely stock (except sound system) and drives like a champ.


      105k miles on the clock, super clean interior.
      I do have a question though, does anyone know what that little toggle switch above the purple diagnostic port is? I've asked a few guys and nobody knows what it is...


      Ahh... the pièce de résistance. This VR6 is the lifeblood of my new baby and I cannot WAIT to pump out some serious power with it.


      The car isn't perfect, nor is it a clunker. These next few months may be a little rough what with college and being low on spending money but in the end I know this car will go the distance.

      So, I wanted to put it to you guys and see what you thought: What are some good low-budget, college-kid mods you can do to these cars? I'm totally open to anything and I wanna get the brain juices flowing so I need some suggestions.

      EDIT:
      Changed the title seeing as how my GTI is no longer *new* to me, plus I finally decided on a name for it. I quite enjoy the comparison between a VR6 and the sound Chewbacca makes so... Wookie it is!
      Last edited by Eskimio; 06-28-2012 at 12:39 PM.

    2. Member Sonic303's Avatar
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      02-05-2012 06:02 PM #2
      Man, I love black GTis!

      For power you might want to add a metal headgasket from the fourth generation VRs ('99-01.5)
      Cold air intake or leave your stock airbox and get a chip tune and exhaust. That's pretty much it for low budget without going over the top. Lower it, keep it clean and you should be good.
      Quote Originally Posted by LG6R View Post
      Got any Viagra so you can go **** yourself?
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    3. Member Dutchsider's Avatar
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      02-05-2012 06:05 PM #3
      If one rocker is rusted out, you likely have a lot more rust elsewhere. I'd pull up the carpet and inspect the floor pans, strut towers and behind your side skirts.
      "Builds a sh*tty/ugly car, gets made fun of, calls everyone a hater" - Dubbers
      If you wish to get a hold of me, EMAIL IS THE BEST WAY Dutchsider2@yahoo.com

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      02-05-2012 06:19 PM #4
      That toggle switch is custom. Thats where the OEM rear window switch went. It might be to turn on an amp or something like that.
      Quote Originally Posted by X37 View Post
      I'm drunk and your thread annoys me.
      Quote Originally Posted by swirvtheman View Post
      And then when im on the on ramp to the highway I punch it and wind out 3rd gear and hear that intake and the exhaust together in perfect harmony as it rips a humongous hole in the ozone layer and causes the spontaneous explosions of tree huggers faces.

    5. 02-05-2012 06:22 PM #5
      What to do first? Maintenance. Then worry about go fast bits.

      ECStuning.com sells replacement rockers for like $30-$40.

    6. Member BASKUTKAYZ's Avatar
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      02-05-2012 06:56 PM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by miseryindeath View Post
      What to do first? Maintenance. Then worry about go fast bits.

      ECStuning.com sells replacement rockers for like $30-$40.
      This!

      Check your brake pads and rotors, spark plugs wires cap and rotor, check your fluids and replace if needed, air filter, wiper blades, etc.

      Do maintenance first then worry about spending your college money on "mods".

    7. Member Eskimio's Avatar
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      02-05-2012 11:09 PM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by Sonic303 View Post
      Man, I love black GTis!

      For power you might want to add a metal headgasket from the fourth generation VRs ('99-01.5)
      Cold air intake or leave your stock airbox and get a chip tune and exhaust. That's pretty much it for low budget without going over the top. Lower it, keep it clean and you should be good.
      I KNOW! When I saw this black Mk3 for sale I instantly set up a date to go look at it. They're by far my favorite.
      Actually, I think I read about the metal headgasket fix in a thread a few days ago. I'll have to make note of that.
      As far as the CAI goes, I've heard a lot of people say unless you're willing to put the intake under the fender you're not going to make any real gains and then you have to worry about hydrolocking and such. From what I understand, as long as you keep a clean paper filter in the stock air box, it should do it's job well until you start needing some serious airflow for, say, a turbo.
      Regarding chiptunes, I'm fairly unfamiliar with them... what all does it entail? Is it expensive? What kind of pros and cons are there?
      But yes, I plan to lower it, do some bolt-on mods, sound system, etc. But I still haven't worked out what parts, kits, brands or anything so I need to start figuring out what to buy, who to buy from and where to get it.
      In any case, thanks for the response! I'll be honest, I figured this post would get little to no attention, but I'm glad to see some people took the time to put in a reply!

      Quote Originally Posted by Dutchsider View Post
      If one rocker is rusted out, you likely have a lot more rust elsewhere. I'd pull up the carpet and inspect the floor pans, strut towers and behind your side skirts.
      Believe it or not, my father and I did a pretty good search for rust when we went to look at the car and the only really notable rust spots we found were the passenger rocker panel and up near the top corner of the passenger doorframe where the trim meets the body theres some paint that's bubbling. Beyond that there really isn't much rust. My buddy whos a VW mechanic took a quick look at the car and said it looks pretty solid. I'm not TOO worried but I'm not going to be ignorant and completely write off any and all rust that could possibly be on the car. I'm definitely going to keep an eye out and make sure there isn't any rust anywhere, and if there is... to repair it asap so it doesn't get worse. Thanks for giving me some places to inspect though! I'll definitely check out those locations and keep an eye on them in the future.

      Quote Originally Posted by samiam0295 View Post
      That toggle switch is custom. Thats where the OEM rear window switch went. It might be to turn on an amp or something like that.
      You know, that's probably what it was. The previous owner had a 5 channel amp with a sub in the rear (he took both when he sold the car) so I wouldn't be surprised. My buddy is gonna come over next weekend and we're gonna hook up a 4 channel amp he has lying around in the meantime so I can get my speakers up and running until I can afford my own. While we're working on it I'll check and see if I can figure out where the wires are running.

      Quote Originally Posted by miseryindeath View Post
      What to do first? Maintenance. Then worry about go fast bits.

      ECStuning.com sells replacement rockers for like $30-$40.
      That's what I figured. Repair/replace/maintain whats needed then once it's all good, THEN start upgrading.

      I saw them and figured that would work fine but when I asked my VW friend about it he said they're hard to come by because it's such a common issue that they're in demand and most places are out of stock. =/ Guess it couldn't hurt to see if they actually do have them on hand.

      Quote Originally Posted by thecrackajack View Post
      This!

      Check your brake pads and rotors, spark plugs wires cap and rotor, check your fluids and replace if needed, air filter, wiper blades, etc.

      Do maintenance first then worry about spending your college money on "mods".
      Haha, I guess the rocker panel is definitely a priority then? I figured as much, but you guys just reinforced it for me.
      Front brake pads are pretty good, rears need replacing... I should check spark plugs & wire caps, haven't really gotten that far yet. Rotors could use some work, might do that in the near future but it's not an immediate concern. Fluids are good, but I could use another wiper fluid reservoir cap. If you look in the picture of my engine bay, off to the right side you can see there isn't one on there. I figured if it really needed something on top I could put duct tape overtop or something? Haven't checked the air filter and the wiper blades are okay, but the driver side could use replacing. It hops and squeaks unless theres serious water on the windshield.

      ~~~~~
      TL;DR - Maintenance first, then mods. Gotcha!
      Last edited by Eskimio; 02-05-2012 at 11:24 PM.

    8. 02-05-2012 11:25 PM #8
      Take the maintenance advice seriously, unless you just want to throw money at your car and end up with a blown engine. Do that stuff, then modify.

      Use this as a guide: http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthrea...e-powerful-Vr6.

      Edit: ECS has the rockers in stock. Scroll to the bottom. http://www.ecstuning.com/Volkswagen-...Repair_Panels/
      Last edited by miseryindeath; 02-05-2012 at 11:27 PM.

    9. Member BASKUTKAYZ's Avatar
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      02-05-2012 11:33 PM #9
      Check your accessory belts and look into getting your timing done too. It's a mk3, trust me, if you overlook something it will come back to phuck you.

    10. 02-05-2012 11:43 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by thecrackajack View Post
      Check your accessory belts and look into getting your timing done too. It's a mk3, trust me, if you overlook something it will come back to phuck you.
      Accessory belt I can agree with, but they usually last a decently long time. VR's don't have timing belts. They have timing chains. And to make the job easier, the engine and trans should be pulled, since the trans has to come off to do a full timing chain job anyway. Which, while you're in there, the clutch, flywheel, and pressure plate should be replaced to. As I said, a "while you're in there" job since the trans needs to come off anyway. It's possible with the engine in the car, but makes it a complete PITA.

    11. Member BASKUTKAYZ's Avatar
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      02-05-2012 11:55 PM #11
      For the record, never said timing BELT. Lol.

    12. Member derakicksyou's Avatar
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      02-06-2012 12:07 AM #12
      ESC has driver side rocker panels in stock, passenger side on order.
      I'm in for that fix as well, (including floor panels) as soon as i get the cash!

      Definitely maintenance, maintenance, maintenance!

    13. 02-06-2012 12:24 AM #13
      I'm working on a mk3 gti myself as a senior high school student, I got a 1996 gti vr6 custom from scratch. For body kits euro has the best looking stuff I think but technically I think body kits dont look that good on gti's well all mk3 really bc they look huge on small cars. Small mods for power would be exhaust and cold air intake with the chip tune, which is all I have and think it's plenty for now as daily driver, interior bolt ons would be momo steering wheel and pedals with sound system. I'll have pics of mine on here soon. It will be custom blue

    14. Member Danny P.'s Avatar
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      02-06-2012 12:43 AM #14
      Spark plugs, spark plug wires, fuel filter, check your coil pack for cracks. If its cracked you can epoxy it till you have enough money to replace it. Engine oil and gear oil change. Check for coolant and oil leaks. Timing chains, clutch and fly wheel, bushings all around. That's all I can think of for maint. For performance, chip( I like the c2 motorsports chip its a bit pricey $200 but worth it), exhaust, and intake to start. Then you can go with cams and the mk4 head gasket. There is alot of info on pretty much anything to make your vr go fast on here. Check out the mk3 FAQ thread and shop around. 3 websites I always order from are www.germanautoparts.com , www.ecstuning.com , and www.mjmautohaus.com. I've never had any problems ordering from them. Good luck hope to see some progress on this. Black mk3's are money.


      Sent from your Mom's house using your Dad's IPhone.

    15. Member Eskimio's Avatar
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      02-06-2012 12:49 AM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by miseryindeath View Post
      Take the maintenance advice seriously, unless you just want to throw money at your car and end up with a blown engine. Do that stuff, then modify.

      Use this as a guide: http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthrea...e-powerful-Vr6.

      Edit: ECS has the rockers in stock. Scroll to the bottom. http://www.ecstuning.com/Volkswagen-...Repair_Panels/
      Of course! I'm not some hothead kid who throws a bunch of power adders on his car expecting massive horsepower with no repercussions... I have a lot of friends and family in the automotive business and I've been raised right, this car is precious to me and I'll treat it the way it should be.

      Thanks for the links! I'll read up on the VR6 thread and educate myself.
      As for the ECS link, mine's a 2-door and from what I can see they're on back order, ETA March 2nd. But hey, now I know where to get them and I'll probably snatch one as soon as they come in.

      Quote Originally Posted by thecrackajack View Post
      Check your accessory belts and look into getting your timing done too. It's a mk3, trust me, if you overlook something it will come back to phuck you.
      With the accessory belts, I already noticed a squeak which I asked my VW mech buddy to take a listen to. We decided it's either the tensioner or the water pump pulley. Either way, the serpentine belt is looking worn so I figure that's a near-future fix (all three while I'm at it).
      I'm very aware of the timing chains in these engines. While diagnosing the pulley squeek, we took a listen to the chains and he says they're a little noisy but they don't sound too bad. I expected as much seeing as how they're routinely recommended to be replaced around 100k-120k miles. I knew this coming into ownership of the car and I'm ready and willing to tackle it.

      Quote Originally Posted by miseryindeath View Post
      Accessory belt I can agree with, but they usually last a decently long time. VR's don't have timing belts. They have timing chains. And to make the job easier, the engine and trans should be pulled, since the trans has to come off to do a full timing chain job anyway. Which, while you're in there, the clutch, flywheel, and pressure plate should be replaced to. As I said, a "while you're in there" job since the trans needs to come off anyway. It's possible with the engine in the car, but makes it a complete PITA.
      As I mentioned above, my accessory belt is looking a bit rough so it may need to come off soon.
      The clutch feels like it's got a little bit left in it, but yes it will need replacement soon. I figured timing chains, tranny and clutch assemblies all could use a nice update at some point soon but thats a BIG job and a costly one at that so it won't be happening any time in the near future. Maybe towards the end of the summer if I scrounge up enough cash? Out of curiosity what would I be looking at price-wise for a job like that?

      Quote Originally Posted by derakicksyou View Post
      ESC has driver side rocker panels in stock, passenger side on order.
      I'm in for that fix as well, (including floor panels) as soon as i get the cash!

      Definitely maintenance, maintenance, maintenance!
      Oh man, competition! I hope they ordered a s***ton of those rocker panels!
      But yes! Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance! As if I needed a mantra with my new mk3.

      Quote Originally Posted by VwCollector View Post
      I'm working on a mk3 gti myself as a senior high school student, I got a 1996 gti vr6 custom from scratch. For body kits euro has the best looking stuff I think but technically I think body kits dont look that good on gti's well all mk3 really bc they look huge on small cars. Small mods for power would be exhaust and cold air intake with the chip tune, which is all I have and think it's plenty for now as daily driver, interior bolt ons would be momo steering wheel and pedals with sound system. I'll have pics of mine on here soon. It will be custom blue
      Cheers on the young buck mk3 owners!
      I agree, I'm not too interested in body kits tbqh as I'd rather leave the body styling stock. I've seen a lot of guys with pulled fenders that look super neat but they're mostly mk4s so I'm unfamiliar with whether you can do it to an mk3 and if so, whether its advisable or not (it might look like crap, idk).
      As far as exhaust goes, my first plan is to do something about the g**d*** suitcase muffler. Thing is huge, obnoxious and restrictive as all get-out. I'm either going to just delete the f****er or hollow it out... not sure which yet. Probably won't get into a CAI or short ram, might just clean up the stock intake. I like the idea of a sleeper car. Clean/neatly done mods that aren't obvious, etc.
      I could go for a momo steering wheel but I'm in love with the stock leather wheel my car came with, so much nicer than anything I've had so far.
      Pics ASAP!


      Quote Originally Posted by Danny P. View Post
      Spark plugs, spark plug wires, fuel filter, check your coil pack for cracks. If its cracked you can epoxy it till you have enough money to replace it. Engine oil and gear oil change. Check for coolant and oil leaks. Timing chains, clutch and fly wheel, bushings all around. That's all I can think of for maint. For performance, chip( I like the c2 motorsports chip its a bit pricey $200 but worth it), exhaust, and intake to start. Then you can go with cams and the mk4 head gasket. There is alot of info on pretty much anything to make your vr go fast on here. Check out the mk3 FAQ thread and shop around. 3 websites I always order from are www.germanautoparts.com , www.ecstuning.com , and www.mjmautohaus.com. I've never had any problems ordering from them. Good luck hope to see some progress on this. Black mk3's are money.


      Sent from your Mom's house using your Dad's IPhone.
      Wow, that's a compendium of info right there. Thanks dude! I'll have to sift through all that and see whats to be seen. Cheers!
      Also, yes. Black Mk3s ARE money.

      ~~
      Also, I want to add for the amusement of my peers that never having driven a german 5-speed I had no idea where reverse was until I accidentally stumbled upon it when I was screwing around with the stick shift and found that it would push in for reverse. I found this out AFTER having to get out and push my car while it was in neutral to get out of a parking spot. I know, I'm a dumba**...
      Last edited by Eskimio; 02-06-2012 at 12:55 AM.

    16. 02-06-2012 12:57 AM #16
      Ya the fender pulls are legit on mk4 not quite the same on mk3, I still got stock leather wheel myself, my mk2 Jetta has the momo steering wheel, if you dont want much louder exhaust id say hollow it out or take it off and make it straight right there, I have a 5zigen exhaust from the cat back and is not to loud I love it. And cheers to all young bucks for sure bc vw is the way to go

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      02-06-2012 02:31 AM #17
      CLick on the FAQ on the top of the page or search rootbeers how to build a relitivly inexpensive vr... a lot of good info in there welcome and be careful to many young kids jump into a vr and hurt themselves or others. timing chains around pa usually go for about 1800... shop wise do it yourself your looking at 600 roughly with a new clutch its not bad at all just do your research buy yourself a bently and your good to go!
      Last edited by CasuallyWreckless; 02-06-2012 at 02:33 AM.

    18. Member granny1986's Avatar
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      02-06-2012 08:40 AM #18
      Look into a "Jetex" exhaust ... lasts a lifetime I have the same car and I put it in mine

    19. Member Eskimio's Avatar
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      02-06-2012 09:14 AM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by VwCollector View Post
      Ya the fender pulls are legit on mk4 not quite the same on mk3, I still got stock leather wheel myself, my mk2 Jetta has the momo steering wheel, if you dont want much louder exhaust id say hollow it out or take it off and make it straight right there, I have a 5zigen exhaust from the cat back and is not to loud I love it. And cheers to all young bucks for sure bc vw is the way to go
      Yea, mk4 fender pulls are so sexy... You have an mk3 & and mk2? Nice! I'm jealous. =P I had a chance to buy an mk2 w/ a brand new 2.0L swap with 5k miles on the engine as well as brand new brakes and such... but the car was a little rough around the edges and I needed it to survive the semester. I got a warranty with my mk3 so I shouldn't have to worry about much, if anything, for the next 3 months! :
      As for exhaust, I don't plan to replace the entire system for a while, if at all. I like the sound of muffler-deleted VRs. I rode in a muffler/resonator-deleted mk4 when looking for a car and it was loud as HECK so I decided not to go that route. But yea young bucks unite!

      Quote Originally Posted by sweetrocco420 View Post
      CLick on the FAQ on the top of the page or search rootbeers how to build a relitivly inexpensive vr... a lot of good info in there welcome and be careful to many young kids jump into a vr and hurt themselves or others. timing chains around pa usually go for about 1800... shop wise do it yourself your looking at 600 roughly with a new clutch its not bad at all just do your research buy yourself a bently and your good to go!
      Word! I'll have to check that out!
      Now, I understand your warning about getting hurt... but I've been around the block with a few kinds of vehicles. The first vehicle I drove regularly was a '98 Dodge Dakota 2x4 V8 Magnum w/ a posi-rear & supercharger. That was too much for a first car, I got in some close calls driving that thing. My next car, and the first car I owned personally was a '94 Ford Ranger w/ a 2.3L turbo swap from an '88 Ford Thunderbird. That thing was a project car, lemon and moneysink all in one. I ended up having to sell it so I could buy my next car... a '00 Chevy Cavalier. That thing was reliable and got great gas mileage but had no power and was uncomfortable as all get-out. Gave that to my sister and bought my next car off my dad. A '92 Ford Mustang 5.0L w/ cam, CAI & exhaust. That was a beautiful car... until someone ran me off the road and I totalled it. Which brings me to present day, looking for a reliable car in my price range that can also be a fun car to drive, great on mileage and on top of all that - there's a HUGE following and an enormous scene that I'm dying to get into. All-around best car decision ever.
      Anyway, timing chains... I'll have to look into it. I've got some VW buddy mechanics and multiple shops at my disposal plus my dad can get OEM parts at cost so I'm sure I could work something out.

      Quote Originally Posted by granny1986 View Post
      Look into a "Jetex" exhaust ... lasts a lifetime I have the same car and I put it in mine
      I've heard of the Jetex exhaust but I haven't seen pricing/looks/sound yet, I need to do that. How do you like yours? Hows the exhaust note? Power gains? Etc?

    20. Member granny1986's Avatar
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      02-06-2012 09:25 AM #20
      I think I paid around $500. Sound is excellent, deep, and yet probably the quietest available. Slight increase in performance. I think it's an inch or a half inch larger diameter than stock. I'm not really into performance type stuff myself... so I don't know much more than that

    21. Member Eskimio's Avatar
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      02-06-2012 11:08 AM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by granny1986 View Post
      I think I paid around $500. Sound is excellent, deep, and yet probably the quietest available. Slight increase in performance. I think it's an inch or a half inch larger diameter than stock. I'm not really into performance type stuff myself... so I don't know much more than that
      Hmm... that's not bad. I like way you described the exhaust note, it sounds appealing. As for the diameter, I HIGHLY doubt that it's 4" in diameter... lol. From what I've read, these engines do perfectly fine on 2 1/2" di. but some people to bump it up to 2 3/4". I think I read there's only one manufacturer of exhaust systems that produces a 3" diameter exhaust, but that's as big as they go. I think for now I'll delete the suitcase and either leave it straight pipe or put a high-flow muffler like a magnaflow, flowmaster, borla, or something to that effect.

    22. Member Eskimio's Avatar
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      02-06-2012 04:31 PM #22
      On a somewhat related note, rolled into the parking lot at college today (classes started today) and the first parking spot I came across was right next to a black mk3 jetta. As I parked and got out, so did the driver of the Jetta. Lo and behold we started chatting about our cars and the next thing I know, I've got his name and number. I ****ing love my car.

    23. Junior Member KiiNgLiiNdO's Avatar
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      02-06-2012 05:04 PM #23
      coilovers.. brakes.. intake.. full exhaust
      DO OR DIE IN MY GLI

      HOT CHIX DIG ME

    24. Member LG6R's Avatar
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      02-06-2012 07:50 PM #24
      New guy of the year. He's down to earth, doesn't ask dumb questions, seems to know enough but is always looking to learn more, knows how to search and uses full sentences in English. This is amazing! Welcome. Your car looks like a nice example of a clean mk3.

    25. Member Eskimio's Avatar
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      02-06-2012 08:12 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by KiiNgLiiNdO View Post
      coilovers.. brakes.. intake.. full exhaust
      Check... check... check... check... all added to my "must learn more" list. Trust me, that text file is HUGE by this point, and growing bigger by the day.

      Quote Originally Posted by LG6R View Post
      New guy of the year. He's down to earth, doesn't ask dumb questions, seems to know enough but is always looking to learn more, knows how to search and uses full sentences in English. This is amazing! Welcome. Your car looks like a nice example of a clean mk3.
      You honor me sir! When I saw your post I was instantly flattered without even reading it's contents. Believe it or not, I spent a good 3-4 hours last night going through your road trip threads because they were so full of fantastic photographs and gorgeous landscapes. It even motivated me to go on a hike today! (Took the mk3 to the local state park! Haha! ) Your jetta is my roll model, seriously. An all-in-one car that you can literally live out of, yet still have it looking sexy enough to get some rubbernecks.
      Seriously though, I really appreciate the compliment. I'm always willing to learn more and I've been trying desperately to get into the scene. I have a buddy who lives in Carlisle, PA who has a red mk3 Jetta which he just put aside and replaced it with another mk3 jetta (black, wolfsburg edition) that has a fraction of the mileage. I have two other buddies who I just met through a coworker (Mike & Eric @ Eurowerks in Clifton Heights, PA) and now I have my new friend from college who I met this morning. On top of all that, my father's best friend has a mk4 passat with aftermarket suspension, steering, brakes, rims and he's ready to supercharge the beast. I'm SO attending shows and events this year... they just can't come soon enough. Anyway, as I've started driving the car I've started noticing smaller idiosyncrasies and other little things that may need fixing/repairing in the future. I knew what I was getting into, I've been lectured on VW pros and cons by at least 5 people at this point (and read twice as many threads on vwvortex) so I'm sure I'll take each bump in the road like a champ.

      On a side note: Does anyone know where I can find a replacement cover for the OBDII diagnostic port? I did a preliminary search but didn't turn up much because any results are either too broad and flooded with people whose cars are throwing out codes or too narrow and I get results that don't answer my question. I'm sure I could get one from a dealer for $5-10 or something like that but I figured it couldn't hurt to throw my feelers out there.
      Last edited by Eskimio; 02-06-2012 at 08:19 PM.

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