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    Thread: Downstream impacts of a Tune

    1. Member
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      Current - '19 GLI AB 6MT; Dead - '10 S4 6MT; Gone - '01 S4 6MT
      07-31-2020 09:19 AM #1
      So I have a '19 GLI Autobahn 6MT. I really want the APR Plus tune, but I'm concerned about the downstream impacts that will force me to continually upgrade things. Obviously, the clutch is a weak point, but are there any other known items that typically fail with a tune? I replaced my 2010 S4 with this car to avoid the constant and expensive trips to the shop, so if it's going to be a PITA, i'll just deal with the stock form.

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    3. 07-31-2020 09:48 AM #2
      Quote Originally Posted by amusante1002 View Post
      So I have a '19 GLI Autobahn 6MT. I really want the APR Plus tune, but I'm concerned about the downstream impacts that will force me to continually upgrade things. Obviously, the clutch is a weak point, but are there any other known items that typically fail with a tune? I replaced my 2010 S4 with this car to avoid the constant and expensive trips to the shop, so if it's going to be a PITA, i'll just deal with the stock form.
      I guess it depends on the tune. Haven't put tune in my car yet, but a friend has a MK6 GLI and has been rocking JB4 tune for couple years now with everything stock. Although he did at some point upgrade his clutch and downpipe not bc he needed them but bc he wanted to make his car more race-car-like. I guess he's fallen into this trap since he's constantly considering some kind of mod. Bottom line, no one will force you to add more things, it's more likely bc you want to lol

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    4. 07-31-2020 09:52 AM #3
      I am wondering this same thing. I don't want to spend thousands on upgrades so it's choosing between wheels/lowering springs/APR Plus tune. Hasto be APR Plus because the warranty is one of the major things that attracted me to this car.


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    6. Member
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      07-31-2020 09:59 AM #4
      Really depends on how aggressive of a tune you're going for, what stage, and how you drive. The clutch seems to definitely need to be upgraded eventually, but otherwise, you shouldn't "need" to upgrade anything else, at a mild stage 1, like Apr low torque, or Unitronic stage 1. Unless you're racing, or otherwise hard on the car, you shouldn't be constantly breaking things tuned. But you might. You're running out of VWs intended spec when you tune. Luckily, they build some tolerance into most things (except the clutch). This is the decision we all weighed before tuning.
      All I can say is in my personal experience, I haven't broken anything on any of my tuned cars, aside from a burned out clutch in my STI, and a preemptive clutch upgrade on my GLI (wasn't really needed, had no slip, but I didn't want it to be a point of failure).

      But you're on your own when you tune. No warranties, unless you go APR plus, which is also probably the tune least likely to break anything, because it's not as aggressive as others. That's a decision for you to make.

      You also should perform more frequent oil changes tuned, and your spark plugs won't last as long, and need to be replaced more often. If you go stage 2 or higher, you need a colder spark plug.

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      Last edited by burgsprinta; 07-31-2020 at 11:28 AM.

    7. Member
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      07-31-2020 11:07 AM #5
      Thanks for the input guys. It would definitely be the APR Plus Low Torque tune if I do anything, so hopefully that mitigates any issues, as well.

    8. Junior Member Sius's Avatar
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      07-31-2020 12:35 PM #6
      This is from my experience with a 15 GTI SE 6MT with PP and running the Unitronic stage 1+ for a little over 30,000 miles of hard driving.

      I push my cars hard after oil is warm. Fun and keeps me from worrying about carbon build up. I ran Shell VPower 93 octane and made both short trips and very long trips. I did not dump the clutch from the start except a few times. I had no problems except the clutch starting to slip at 36k when I traded it in. I changed the oil at 1k miles and then every 5k after that. I put Michelin Super Sports on it after I bought a set of dedicated winter tires. Very good upgrade.

      I had to replace the dogbone with something better for sure. I went with ECS but would have to look up the details to figure out exactly which one. Got tired of hearing the engine hit the firewall. I would highly suggest this mod if you tune a MT car. Wondering if I will need to do that when I tune this car also.

      The clutch cannot handle extra power for very long in my experience and from what I have read from others so factor that in and start saving now... lol.

      Going to go with the same tune on my 2020 GLI autobahn and looking forward to the difference. I will say that even though it is heavier and longer I really like the GLI with it having DSG and it honestly feels very close to my GTI performance wise even though I only have 600 miles on it and is totally stock. I think I like the shorter gears on the 7 speed and of course how quick it shifts.

      I did a lot of research before spending my money and discovered that I like the way the Unitronic tunes seem to be more linear in power delivery. I also like being able to apply the tune at home. I can remove and add it back when I want. The only thing I regret was not applying the tune sooner! These cars are sleepers and feel like they have more power than they are rated at. I never put mine on a dyno but mine but it was "Go Straight To Jail" fast without trying. At least in Virginia... I always enjoyed my trips up and down the East Coast once I escaped our state boundaries and only had to worry about a fine if I got in trouble. Tail of the Dragon was a blast.

      Hope this rant helps even a little bit.

    9. Member
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      07-31-2020 01:26 PM #7
      Definitely do the dogbone mount on the GLI, like you did on your GTI. It's not "required" but it enhanced drivability and my shifting experience. And it's cheap! I'd do that whether you're tuned or not, though. Also, if you're DSG and you're tuning, do not forget about the DSG tune. Without it, you could potentially have an expensive problem on your hand if the clutches start slipping. Manual folks need a clutch eventually, DSG needs a DSG tune, when you start pushing the limits. Without the DSG tune, on stage 1, the car's torque will still be limited to 258 ft-lbs, and your transmission will start to do weird stuff when you hit that limit. At stage 2, it'll start slipping, because you're way past that limit.

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      Last edited by burgsprinta; 07-31-2020 at 01:37 PM.

    10. Member
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      '19 GLI Autobahn 6MT, '13 Golf 2.5-5MT (daughter's), '10 GTI-6MT, '03 Passat 1.8T-5MT
      07-31-2020 03:31 PM #8
      According to APR, our stock engine on 93-octane produces 274 lbs-ft of torque. APR states their low-torque tune (87-octane) is rated at 320 lbs-ft of torque. On 93-octane, their low-torque tune increases to 326 lbs-ft. Their high-torque tune on 93-octane produces 351 lbs-ft of torque.

      Our stock clutch (brand new) can probably handle around 360 lbs-ft of torque. But as the clutch wears, its friction threshold will cross below each of those torque thresholds (351, 326 or 320) and eventually slip. The amount of time that takes is a function of how hard you are on your clutch and how quickly you wear it down. But eventually it will happen with all tunes and technically even to an untuned car too, just hopefully after 150,000+ miles. To me, if you intend to spend the $700 (?) for the tune, you should also set aside the $1,500(?) for a performance clutch, regardless of a low torque or a high torque tune.

      With more boost you know there will be more blow-by. To minimize the speed in which carbon builds-up and the need for a cleaning, you might consider a catch-can or perhaps a direct vent (with a vent-filter). Aside from the cost of a performance clutch, I suspect you can avoid other repairs with smart driving. Sometimes there’s a fine line between driving hard and abuse. Like Burgsprinta mentioned, if you can avoid abuse (racing), you’ll probably be OK. On the subject of abuse and to echo what Sius mentioned, I consider using heavy boost (100,000+ turbo-rpm) before the oil is fully warm abuse to the turbocharger. Driving hard on "cold" oil might cost you downstream.

    11. Member
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      07-31-2020 03:52 PM #9
      If you have a manual, do the clutch. Mine wasn't slipping after 10k tuned miles, but the price was right (on sale) for a new clutch, so I bought it. I couldn't be happier because the stock clutch feels awful anyway. Labor to install was only $750, and you can find a clutch at whatever price point you want, depending on your needs and budget. Mine uses a lightweight single mass flywheel, So it can chatter, and you could hear driveline sounds when I was on stock hardware, but with my turboback and intake, you can't hear it anymore, at all, so problem solved. A dual mass flywheel is quieter, but more expensive, and heavier, and I personally don't like the feel. But the install labor should be the same cost, regardless. If you get real lucky, and replace your clutch before it slips too bad, you might be able to have your flywheel resurfaced and reused. Anyway, you'll need a clutch eventually, but I guess you could wait until it starts slipping. I didn't want to do that, because it might be at an inopportune time.

      If you have a DSG, this is even more important: do the DSG tune. Otherwise your clutch-pack is more expensive to replace than the manual clutch, and it could be avoided for the rather reasonable cost of a DSG tune. The TCU will only allow 258 ft lbs of torque (nominally) without a DSG tune, and from what I read, the transmission starts acting really quirky when you hit its limit, including random shifts and jerkiness, and it won't allow your car full use of available engine torque (annoying and inefficient). Worse, it starts to slip when you exceed it too much (expensive).

      Depending on your transmission choice, do the DSG tune or prepare for a clutch if you're pushing the torque limits. Most tunes will be!

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      Last edited by burgsprinta; 07-31-2020 at 04:06 PM.

    12. Member
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      07-31-2020 05:55 PM #10
      Cliff notes:
      -APR+
      -Let oil get up to temp before beating on the car
      -Don't try and dig race the car/ride the clutch excessively/use the clutch to stop the car when backing up and shifting to first to get started
      -Set money aside for a clutch after a few years (Literally $50/mo would more than pay for the new clutch + install by the time it died)

      My buddy did APR+ on his GTI and the clutch went at like 55k. Put another stocker in it and at 90k when he sold the car the clutch was still fine.

      For the price of APR+ though you could honestly do any other tune in the market, buy a Sach's clutch disc and have it replace the factory clutch (reuse factory flywheel) and not worry about it. You can't resurface a DMF though, FYI. My intent is just to wait until my clutch slips and replace it all. Hope that setup lasts the length of how long I own it and make it the next guys problem to replace it again.

    13. Member Laccos's Avatar
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      07-31-2020 07:46 PM #11
      I think Aero1900 ran APR stage 1 low torque fwd file for a long while without having done the DSG tune. Ask him how it went, i know hes done a lot of upgrades since I last talked to him, he would have some good insight on this matter. AFAIK the DSG will be fine with low tq files like the APR+ if you want to maintain some form of warranty. Reach out to APR as well and see what they say about the DSG.

    14. Member S1ack's Avatar
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      07-31-2020 08:18 PM #12
      Downstream impacts of a Tune
      thinning wallet*














      *depending on platform, and hindsight
      If you are going at a speed that causes you to run off the road before ESC can provide any assistance, you may not experience the benefits of ESC

    15. Member
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      07-31-2020 09:15 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by Laccos View Post
      I think Aero1900 ran APR stage 1 low torque fwd file for a long while without having done the DSG tune. Ask him how it went, i know hes done a lot of upgrades since I last talked to him, he would have some good insight on this matter. AFAIK the DSG will be fine with low tq files like the APR+ if you want to maintain some form of warranty. Reach out to APR as well and see what they say about the DSG.
      Apr claims DSG should be fine on Apr+ and the low torque file. The manual should also last a while on that one, like 35th said. Unitronic stage 1 (not stage 1+) was pretty mild too, and should be fine on DSG, and was fine on my stock clutch for a little while. But I didn't like the torque limiting on Unitronic stage 1, though. One of the reasons I switched to Cobb was so I could control the torque limiting via Cobb traction control adjustments (works pretty well). Also, I wanted flat foot shifting (which I've never used on this car) and launch control (which I've also never used lol) and different maps.

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      Last edited by burgsprinta; 07-31-2020 at 09:22 PM.

    16. Member amorro's Avatar
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      07-31-2020 10:27 PM #14
      Even if you keep the ecu stock, I would do a tcu tune. The speed in which if shifts is incredible. Stock ecu the car would be faster because of it. I can’t recommend it highly enough, I run the Cobb aggressive dsg tune and stg 2 ecu, the car is a different animal. Change your oil, upgrade plugs to a colder plug, monitor your gauges and enjoy

    17. Semi-n00b
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      08-02-2020 11:20 AM #15
      The extra torque might cause your CV joints to wear out faster. My first VW was a '99 Passat 1.8L 5sp. I tuned it with APR Stage 1 at around 37k miles. Huge improvement! But at around 125k miles I started noticing some powertrain noise. The dealership recommended all new CV joints. It took care of the problem. I don't know that all four of them were bad, but I figured that the increase in torque (from 155 stock to 240+ tuned, I believe) probably had something to do with it. Something to consider.

    18. Member
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      08-02-2020 01:20 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by Gilligan19 View Post
      The extra torque might cause your CV joints to wear out faster. My first VW was a '99 Passat 1.8L 5sp. I tuned it with APR Stage 1 at around 37k miles. Huge improvement! But at around 125k miles I started noticing some powertrain noise. The dealership recommended all new CV joints. It took care of the problem. I don't know that all four of them were bad, but I figured that the increase in torque (from 155 stock to 240+ tuned, I believe) probably had something to do with it. Something to consider.
      Was your passat all wheel drive? Also, 125k isn't too bad for CV joints to need replacing. That might have happened stock.

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    19. Semi-n00b
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      Yesterday 01:59 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by burgsprinta View Post
      Was your passat all wheel drive? Also, 125k isn't too bad for CV joints to need replacing. That might have happened stock.

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      The Passat was FWD. I agree, 125k could have been normal, but the tune did increase the maximum stress on the CV joints by over 50% I'm guessing that, over time, it took its toll. The stock clutch held up nicely under the extra stress, though. Later I had a 2012 CC 6sp, APR stage 1, and I had to upgrade its clutch.

    20. Yesterday 06:15 PM #18
      As everyone has said, the 6MT clutch is the weak point.

      Aside from that, a mild tune (Apr Plus or Low Tq/ JB4) should be fine with little to no concern. I've had 3 APR tuned VWs and never had a single problem with any of them. But I also don't drive like an idiot. I drive my cars gently most of the time, and when I do romp on it, I'm sure the engine is warmed up.

      The APR Plus tune is very mild, and aside from the clutch, the car will deal with the power just fine. Go over to the GTI forums and see how much power guys are running on their GTIs. Its insane. EQT tuned cars with EQT turbos are making over 400 hp at the wheels. And they aren't blowing motors. I would not recommend such aggressive mods unless you are totally ok with having some seriously expensive repairs, but a tune that makes less than 350HP is pretty safe on these motors. Thats why there is such a huge number of people tuning these cars. And have been for years.

    21. Member Laccos's Avatar
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      Yesterday 07:29 PM #19
      Stage 3 has a hard time not spinning in third with PS4S on my buddies built GTI... Too much powah and not nearly as much as an EQT hybrid lmao.

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