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    Thread: Project Storm Trooper

    1. Member
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      08-26-2012 10:44 PM #1
      I got active in the on-line VW community soon after getting a MK VI TDI DSG JSW (enough acronyms?), which was a bit of an impulse buy. The car has been a blast in part because it’s such a great car, but every bit as much because of the strong VW & TDI community support that helps you get the most out of the car. I’ve learned a lot from the community and my TDI is much the better for that.

      Somewhere along the line I saw mention of the 2.0t SEL JSW that could be had with a 6MT. Sounded really cool… a stealth GTI. So I started casually looking and discovered there were only a few around. (I did a couple of nation-wide searches, but never came up with more than 12 SELs DSG & 6MT combined.) I found a 6MT a few miles away, but when I showed up for a test drive, it was already gone. Luckily, I had found a Candy White 2.0t SEL sitting on a dealer’s lot in Ohio and an odyssey was about to begin.

      Somewhere along the line, my boys saw a white B5.5 Passat with a considerable amount of blackout. Its Euro plate read STRM_TRPR, so the boys gave my SEL a name when they found out that I'd actually bought it. It was a long wait while my car worked its way from Ohio to VA, even though it was only about 10 days from when I bought the car until it arrived at the house. I looked at planes, trains, and automobiles as options to get myself over to the car, but in the end it was cheaper and more convenient to use the transportation industry.

      Here’s the car about a month after I got it. The pinstripes (!) are barely visible. Fortunately, these were simply tape, so they are now a tapeball in a nearby landfill.



      I want this car to be a super nice OEM plus car that can be a daily driver. I also know 6MT SELs are fairly uncommon, so I don’t want to run it in to the ground. So within these confines, I want to fix it up, drive it, and keep enjoying it.

      I'll try to keep this updated by section, but there will be a running list of tasks and entries.
      Last edited by Outrider6; 09-24-2012 at 08:45 AM.

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      08-26-2012 10:45 PM #2
      I've been helped at just about ever turn when getting this project ready. Here are a few of the folks who've helped.

      JC @ Douglas Auto Parts – amazing parts support
      Maloosheck – wiring components and expertise
      Barry T82 – RNS-315 components and expertise
      JarHead567 – wiring
      rico_arg – Thunderbunny and VW accessory support
      4ceFed4 - JSW suspension advice, Tail Lights
      Julia H @ Lindsay VW – Service Writer extraordinaire (and great person)
      Aaron @ Stohlman VW – Dealer Service Tech (everybody needs a dealer based mechanic they can count on)
      Danny @ Lindsay VW – Dealer Service Tech (another dealer based mechanic who knows his stuff)
      Manny White @ Subaru of Kings Auto Mall (an honest and dedicated used car salesman—these do really exist)
      The JSW experts on Vortex, TDIclub, and myturbodiesel – knowledge beyond compare, offered quickly and generously

      If I have forgotten anyone, please take no offense. Nobody gets a project like this done on their own. I have had more help than I can remember, but I am truly grateful for all of it!
      Last edited by Outrider6; 12-11-2012 at 10:41 PM.

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      08-26-2012 10:46 PM #3
      Hecho en Mexico: 10/08
      For Sale: 7/20/09
      Sold: 3/15/10
      Turned in: 5/30/10
      Sold: 8/4/10
      Turned in: 12/31/11
      Bought: 2/25/12

      The ’09 JSW is a MK V car. MK V JSWs were placed in production starting in about 2005 but they were not sold in the US until the 2009 model year. The 2.0t SEL featuring the 2.0 liter turbo EA888 TSI/TFSI gasoline engine was a low production model with pricing at the top of the JSW range. This engine seems only to have been put in JSWs for one year with all models exported to the US (and Canada?). That said, these cars weren’t that popular when new (as measured by sales). I'd love to say "limited edition," but that seems the result of disinterest, not of design.

      It was pretty crazy of me to buy this car sight unseen. I’m not sure I’d do it again, but it did work out well enough. At the time, I didn’t think there would be that many opportunities to get a 6MT SEL with relatively low mileage. It was important to get the car at a good price, too. Having found something suitable, I figured I’d give it a go.

      Any ’09 JSW 2.0t SEL 6MT is statistically unusual. There were about 3000 DSG 2.0t SELs and about 1500 6MT SELs imported to the U.S., so there probably won’t be many opportunities to buy. I would have preferred Laser Blue and I could have lived without the sunroof, but there were no deal-breakers for me in color (Candy White) nor in equipment.

      I took a chance on the dealer (Subaru of Kings Automall in Cincinnati, OH) being willing to stand by the car if it got here with problems, which it did. I documented the problems, got the work done at a local VW dealer (Stohlman VW), and sent a letter along with the bill back to Cincinnati. These guys could have weaseled but they did not. They were apologetic and quick to reply and to re-compensate me for the service. I would not have taken such chances from a used car lot, but I’m sure glad that I gave Subaru of Kings Automall in Cincinnati, OH a try. (I don't mean to shill for somebody, but the truth is they did the right thing, right away. That's huge, and it deserves recognition.)
      Last edited by Outrider6; 12-15-2012 at 08:11 AM.

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      08-26-2012 10:46 PM #4
      Fix items of immediate concern and get service aligned with mileage
      Lighting
      NAV update
      Thunder Bunny
      Wheels & suspension
      Appearance
      Brakes
      Engine / performance

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      08-26-2012 10:47 PM #5
      I saw a Thunderbunny kit for sale on one of the forums. Coincidentally, it was being stored locally. The TB kit happened to be pre-painted in the same color as my JSW. Turns out the guy who was storing it was an incredibly well connected Vortexer who was super knowledgeable and very friendly (rico_arg). A great guy to know and to have on your side.

      The TB kit was missing a few sheet metal clips and some fittings for the fog lights. I tracked those down, so the TB kit is about to launch.
      Last edited by Outrider6; 08-26-2012 at 11:59 PM.

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      08-26-2012 10:48 PM #6
      Our ’11 TDI JSW has RNS-315 thanks to the way VW packages cars. It’s a pretty good nav unit, even if the display size is smaller than an RNS-510. The RNS-315 has a built-in BT module, which might get me a few features otherwise unavailable in an ’09 JSW. So I thought the RNS-315 might make a good upgrade to the SEL, even if there were going to be a few hurdles to getting it working the way I want.
      Last edited by Outrider6; 08-27-2012 at 10:43 PM.

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      08-26-2012 10:49 PM #7
      I don’t have show cars and I live in a DC metro suburb. I deal with potholes and speed bumps every day. I don’t want to scrape up the bottom of my car, nor to keep buying rims & tires, nor to get any passenger complaints about noise & jarring. I generally stick to OEM unless the alternative is demonstrably better for my needs.

      The car sits on its factory wheels for now, but I will soon change it over to Goals. I’m undecided on 18 inch silver or 17 inch anthracite, since each has advantages.

      I have some VW/Eibach lowering springs for a MK V Jetta sedan, but those are not yet a high priority.

      I put an upgraded rear swaybar on our JSW TDI that does what you'd expect...it reduces body roll in turns. I'll get something like this for the SEL. The unit on the TDI uses VW's mounting hardware. I may look at aftermarket options for improved linkages.
      Last edited by Outrider6; 12-15-2012 at 08:16 AM.

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      08-26-2012 10:50 PM #8
      I’ve considered some brake upgrades for the JSW, mostly R32 components. I expect I will upgrade the fluid and pads on this car in the near future just because those seem cheap, easy & effective. What’s not to like about that?

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      08-26-2012 10:50 PM #9
      My boys want me to chip the car, upgrade the turbo system, and to get a new exhaust. They also want me to pay for their college… The car already has 200 HP and great torque…

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      08-26-2012 10:51 PM #10
      This is a mix of the sensible and the superfluous.

      Paint shield
      Rear guard – from NGP Racing, an awesome shop in Aberdeen, MD and in Lorton, VA
      Mud flaps - Just the OEM parts.
      R Black mirror caps - ECS Tuning
      Blackout mirror indicators
      Rear reflectors
      Blackout window trim



      Last edited by Outrider6; 08-27-2012 at 05:48 PM.

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      08-26-2012 10:52 PM #11
      This will be a running list
      (R&R = remove & replace)

      R&R Panoramic sunroof drain tubes
      R&R CV joint boot
      Oil change
      R&R Battery cable - (stripped out by the U-Haul mechanic who installed the Curt trailer hitch)
      R&R cabin air filter
      New VW Battery 12 14 12
      Last edited by Outrider6; 08-27-2013 at 12:53 PM.

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      08-26-2012 10:53 PM #12
      Ed lights
      Clear Side Marker Lights
      Hella Third Eye
      LEDs



      My older son slammed in my Ed lights before I realized it. You can also see the white side markers, which replaced the stock amber ones. I'd considered black/smoked, but I think white/clear is a better choice on a white car because the reflector blends in so nicely. OOTH, the Reflex Silver TDI got smoked side markers because there's really no easy way to get silver side markers that still let the light from the bulbs shine through. The dark markers almost look like a duct tape bandaid, but they still fit in the blackout theme pretty well.
      Last edited by Outrider6; 08-29-2012 at 10:23 PM.

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      08-26-2012 10:54 PM #13
      Dash cubby
      VW OEM short shift kit
      42DD shift bushings
      Warning triangle
      First aid kit
      Cargo barrier
      Last edited by Outrider6; 08-27-2012 at 11:49 AM.

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      08-27-2012 02:55 AM #14
      I envy you!

      Found an SEL on Carmax a few days ago...loaded CW 6MT with 40-something thousand miles. I literally lost some sleep debating whether or not to have it shipped in. Figured I could flip my TDI for it. Miles were roughly the same and I could swap over probably 90% of my mods. It's gone now. Oh well, probably a good thing I didn't do it...or so I'm telling myself.

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      08-27-2012 05:56 AM #15
      I wouldn't believe it if the facts weren't there... Mine has spent over a year for sale on the dealer's lot throughout its four years of existence. (You'd think it was an AMC Pacer w/o air conditioning.) Yet somehow SELs are never there just when you want them. Crazy...

      CarMax and Autotrader are good resources for a long-distance search. So is VW's website if you're looking for CPO. There are lots of 2.0l turbos out there, but most turn out to be diesels and many "manuals" turn out to be DSGs. (My point is that people mislabel cars all the time, not to 'dis DSG TDIs.) I'd say the search is half the fun, but it can border on obsession.

      I do think it's very important to maintain perspective if you want to close the deal without overpaying. If you are too eager, you're hooked--something you'll pay for. If you're too disinterested, you'll lose out because somebody will eventually realize what the SEL really is. If you get things just right, you'll end up with the car without breaking the bank. FWIW, TDIs seem to have much higher resale so you can tell yourself an SEL is a bargain.

      For any car buyer... Figure out what the car's worth and what you can afford. Get your own financing worked out before you walk in. Get to know what's wrong with the car--and what it costs to fix it right. Find out how long the car's been for sale and the rest of its history. Then start dealing...
      Last edited by Outrider6; 08-28-2012 at 07:26 AM.

    16. Member NoVaSpeed's Avatar
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      08-27-2012 09:06 AM #16
      Love this thread (of course I'm partial because I have the "special edition" JSW myself). Bought it new when wife was pregnant (now daughter will be turning 4 in January!). Watched it turn over 47,000 miles this morning and love it nearly as much as the day we bought it. Only real problems have been a replaced intake manifold and a incontinent sunroof--both fixed under warranty. Now we have two kids and the car is as practical and sporty as the day we bought it (well, more so thanks to a few add-ons--xenons, fogs, underseat/dash cubbies, and a Ferrari airhorn that my daughter loves to hear in parking garages and tunnels: http://youtu.be/OVldoWYa-jQ

    17. 08-27-2012 09:17 AM #17
      Outrider: I like the theme... and your boys should be happy that you're paying for their school (they will when they're adults, be sure).

      I bought the Rearguard from NGP myself. Here's a bit of a PSA for those of you that are considering buying one:

      While the piece appeared well-made and nicely cast, it didn't sit completely flush with the line of the bumper on the ends by the taillights (I'm not sure if this was by design, to allow water to channel away from the car).

      At any rate, I had it on for a few days, then took it off; I felt that it changed the overall ldesign of my silver '09 MKV JSW for the worse.

      The top plane of the bumper is visually broken by the black plastic, so it doesn't have as graceful of a downward curve from the taillights to the bumper itself. Yeah, it's obsessive of me, but as a designer visual stuff like that is ingrained... and it's my car.

      Also, a mechanical issue I had was that closing the trunk door became more difficult; you had to really slam to get the lock to engage fully. That might be fixed by making sure you have the Rearguard very tightly butted up against the trunk gasket (maybe actually pulling the gasket away before you install), but that 3M tape is a bitch to work with. It would be great if 3M made a tape that you could move around for a little before the adhesive set.

      I might put it back on when we get dogs... I mean, the functionality of the piece is unquestionable, as far as protecting the top of the bumper from scuffing.

      Now, I assume that you've already stuck it on, Outrider... but for those that are considering the Rearguard, I'll belabor the point that it tends to stick out more "visually" on light-colored cars than I thought it would from the online photos... so before you stick it on, sit and stare at it for a while from different angles to make sure.

      BTW, my JSW has 17K miles on it; and I've owned it since Dec 26th 2009. Yeah, we don't drive much.

      Sorry to derail your thread...
      Last edited by John Reid; 08-27-2012 at 09:38 AM.

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      08-27-2012 11:44 AM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by John Reid View Post
      Outrider: I like the theme... and your boys should be happy that you're paying for their school (they will when they're adults, be sure).
      I just asked them whether they'd want me to "chip in" to the Storm Trooper or to "chip in" to their school...

      As to the rearguards, here's a shot of the one we have on the TDI...



      This particular rearguard is installed on top of 3M paint shield, so the 3M adhesive from the rearguard isn't likely to cause issues on the bumper skin. You're right to worry about thickness and alignment. The body panel gaps are tight on these cars and there's not much room between the hatch and the rearguard. I suspect in some cases, you'd have to realign the hatch to keep things from rubbing.

      BTW, the Mark V and the MK VI JSW rearguards are different shapes though the bumper covers appear identical. (The MK V and MK VI JSW hatches are different though, but that's another post.) Anyway, I think the MK V rearguard is going to require a bit of trimming for fit. I plan to pull the trunk hatch seal up to get a clear straight shot at the bumper skin. As you noted, you only get one shot with that 3M tape.
      Last edited by Outrider6; 08-28-2012 at 03:21 PM.

    19. 08-27-2012 12:06 PM #19
      Derp..

      I saw the first pic of your car (which looks like the MKV front), so the fact you wrote "MK VI" in the first line of your first post didn't register. That's why you're saying it's so special.

      The 3M paint shield is a good call... I was able to take off the piece using fishing line with a knot every inch (acts like a saw blade, this is what 3M recommends to do), and then elbow grease and denatured alcohol to get the residue off. If I ever do put it back on I'll lay down some of the paint shield first.

      Carry on.

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      08-27-2012 12:39 PM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by John Reid View Post
      Derp..

      I saw the first pic of your car (which looks like the MKV front), so the fact you wrote "MK VI" in the first line of your first post didn't register. That's why you're saying it's so special.

      The 3M paint shield is a good call... I was able to take off the piece using fishing line with a knot every inch (acts like a saw blade, this is what 3M recommends to do), and then elbow grease and denatured alcohol to get the residue off. If I ever do put it back on I'll lay down some of the paint shield first.

      Carry on.
      Actually, I think you got it right. I rejoined the VW community when I bought my MK VI TDI JSW in May '11. I got my MK V 2.0t JSW in February '12, not really knowing much about it other than... it goes fast and it has a different front end than the MKVI. I didn't get clued in to the production numbers (and therefore the rarity) until well after I'd bought the car.

      The white Storm Trooper is, at the moment of my writing this, a mostly vanilla MK V JSW. The Reflex Silver JSW with the rearguards is the MK VI TDI. It's got a few things going for it, but that's another thread.

      I keep telling myself that together both JSWs are much cheaper than the replacement cost for my old 5 series wagon. (Isn't rationalization handy at times?)
      Last edited by Outrider6; 08-27-2012 at 08:17 PM.

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      08-27-2012 05:40 PM #21
      When I started up my car for the first time, I saw:



      And when I checked out the spare tire, I saw:



      And when I got it up on the lift, I saw:


    22. Member
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      08-27-2012 06:01 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by NoVaSpeed View Post
      Only real problems have been a replaced intake manifold and a incontinent sunroof--both fixed under warranty.
      My SEL had the same problems. When I got it, the spare wheel well was full of water. (The photo I took was after draining it out!) Both rear drain tubes were leaky. The purple tinge on the "white" paint shows you how rubber reacts to being stored wet. The seller paid for this repair as they had worked on it before without actually solving the problem. RTV (Silicone Rubber Caulk) won't fix this. You need new tubes.

      I just replaced the driver's side front drain tube myself and have one for the passenger front ready to install. I pulled the history of the car before I bought it and saw that the intake manifold had been replaced in June, 2011.

      I've seen a few of the photos you've posted and I had read your comments about enjoying the SEL before I rolled the dice on mine. Obviously, you were persuasive...
      Last edited by Outrider6; 08-27-2012 at 08:12 PM.

    23. Member LEBlackRob's Avatar
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      08-27-2012 07:54 PM #23
      Looks like my axle. So some one slammed this car before you got it.

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      08-27-2012 08:11 PM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by LEBlackRob View Post
      Looks like my axle. So some one slammed this car before you got it.
      Tough to know... It was just a split boot with hardly any grease slung out.

      The suspension on the car seemed stock and there weren't any witness marks that indicated something had been removed & replaced. The car also came with a Curt trailer hitch installed which seems to me to be the opposite of lowering for appearance. But you never know... (I think I've seen a few lowered cars here with Curts...)

    25. 08-28-2012 01:12 AM #25
      Outrider, I like your choice in VWs. We have a bunch of them, too, and the SEL is our newest one, which we purchased used 1/'12. We were originally shopping for an A3, but after '09 they started holding their value more than I thought they would, plus the ones we were looking at had the FSI engine, which I was less enamored with, so one night I was perusing the local CL listings and decided to type in a search for "sportwagon" instead of with an e and an SEL popped up(!). I immediately emailed the seller (midnight on a Saturday night) and she actually responded, so we went to go look at it the next morning. Because it was a salvage title car there was a pretty significant difference in pricing from what we'd been looking at, but after a pretty comprehensive drive and inspection we bought it. I have to say, for a salvage title car, it's been near-perfect. I think the most we've spent on it was for a scheduled DSG gear oil service (the one @ 40k). The SEL is our only autotranny vehicle and I'm determined to keep it bone stock so I appreciate living vicariously through you guys. 'Looking forward to updated pics as your project progresses.

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