So, the other day I’m driving down the Turnpike and my low coolant light comes on. I had a small leak in the past up by the plastic fill ball that I just figured was leaking again. So I kept driving, keeping an eye on my temperature gauge to make sure that the car did not overheat. I made It home without incident and popped the hood. To my horror I did not find any trace of coolant leaking anywhere! I instantly feared the worst and thought it was a head gasket. Turns out that it was not and the leak was in an upper radiator hose!
Anyway, since I thought the worst, I of course started thinking of an engine rebuild. I’m all or nothing….I figured if I have to pull the head off any way I may as well freshen up the bearings and pistons while I’m at it. Of course I will upgrade those components to handle more power. I need to jump the power up to insane levels to set the cruise on the Turnpike!
Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, it seems that these motors are pretty stout from the factory. Most of the aftermarket stuff is running the same compression ratio as the stock motor. Raising or lowering the compression ratio seems to mess with the complicated direct injection system. Go figure, my dreams of upping the compression ratio and popping some bigger cams in this thing are out the window!
Now if the motor was actually shot, I would rebuild the bottom end with stronger pistons and rings. The crank would stay in place because I have not found any aftermarket pieces. Not that I would replace it for the hell of it but I was thinking stroker!
I would go with the stronger APR pistons to help with the boost levels that I would want to run. This would make the compression ratio slightly higher with a 9.7:1 ratio. With a fresh rebuild I would definitely want a turbo upgrade. I may even want that now!
I would also go with the Integrated Engineering forged H-Beam connecting rods. Capable of handling 700+ HP, this would be more than enough for anything that I would plan on doing. This would still remain a daily driver.
Since the head would be off the block. I would order a set of Ferrea valves, intake and exhaust. I would order them +1mm oversized for maximum flow and have the head machined to make the fit properly. After that work was done, I would install them using the Ferrea valve spring and retainer kit. This will ensure that there will be not valve float while under high boost.
Since there are no compression modifications or camshaft upgrades for this motor, stock will just have to do, but why do all this work to the internals to just leave it like that. Seems like overkill……Hmmm…….What should we do now?
Turbo Upgrade! I would probably go with the tried and true K04 turbo upgrade. Most likely I would go with the kit from Borg Warner. This unit costs just under $2000 and comes with everything needed to bolt up the turbo. Unfortunately I would need to get the car tuned as well. This will most likely be a custom tune that will require my car being there. Since the internal were beefed up, might as well get the most out of them. I would just explain what I looking for and let them build a good reliable tune that keeps everything well within their tolerances.
It would be nice to have a trouble free, reliable, VW that puts out 400+ HP.
In reality, from the internet research that I have done, it seems that these motors are pretty good and with the right amount of tuning you can pretty much get that without doing any of the internals. Just bolt-ons! How crazy is that?