Fleet update: r3GTI – some bad, some itchy finger


Much has happened over the last two months since my last update on the r3GTI. Even though I’ve only had the car for some nine months, the r3GTI is quickly approaching four years old, and will soon be out of warranty. I’ve covered some 15,000km since taking ownership and I forsee getting close to 20,000km in the next three months.

Towards the end of 2015, I picked up a slight vibration in the steering wheel when driving, especially at higher speeds. This was later diagnosed as a damaged steering rack, which was thankfully covered under Volkswagen’s Extended Warranty Program. My service advisor placed an order for the part and the r3GTI was back to full health. Yep, I dodged a massive bullet – a steering rack replacement would have cost me some RM7,000 otherwise.

Remus axleback (6)

Some weeks later, I picked up a leak in my downpipe – this is audibly noticeable, sounding like an empty tin can during throttle loads. Had the car jacked up and noticed that one of the o2 sensors was hanging loose, leaving a hole. Luckily, this was also an easy patch job that didn’t put too much stress on the wallet. Although it did leave me contemplating if I should have just gone for a larger diameter cat-less downpipe.

Just last week, the r3GTI had a flashing check engine light incident – a clear sign there was an engine misfire. Logged the car on vagcom to scan for errors, which confirmed the issue was with cylinder #2. Luckily, I have a set of spares around and  changing coilpacks is pretty straightforward: remove engine cover, unplug the connectors, then just pull the coilpack out. This is the third time I’ve had to swap an ignition coil out now, after previously changing a set of spark plugs. Think I’m due for a set of red top R8 coils – some say they’re just add aesthetic value, although there are others who mentioned they’re colder coils and perform slightly better at low rpm. Good thing they’re not too expensive  to replace, and I’ll probably change them out over the next week or so.

Remus axleback (3)

Remus axleback (2)

Now here comes the itchy finger bit – I stumbled upon a used Remus axle back exhaust system, and at a reasonable price. Having previously considered larger tips, I found it pretty easy to justify this purchase. Made my way to SUPERCIRCUIT in Sunway to get it installed. It was a pretty straightforward plug & play affair as both the axle back and downpipe ends are 2.5 inch, so no need for cut and weld.

I’ve been told that the car sounds a lot more aggressive on the outside now. Not much difference on the inside; some droning and farts don’t sound louder – at least not from the driver’s seat. With regards to the drone, its nothing music, played at a higher volume, can’t fix. Most important is that it attains the significant other seal of approval and while I didn’t get the happy smile I’d hoped for, the Remus axle back still managed to get okay-ed. But the best part, at least for me, is how the significantly larger Remus tips fit flush against the stock diffuser, improving the car’s overall looks.

Remus axleback (9) Remus axleback (5)

Since I’d already taken time off work to sort out my exhaust, I decided to change my brake pads to Hawk SPS ones which I’d bought some months back. During my last service, I was already told that the front brake pads were wearing thin. And since the pads were due for a change, I took the opportunity to upgrade the standard rubber brake hoses to stainless steel ones. The r3GTI is running on a Stage 1 Revo map; I’ve yet to dyno the car, but there is notably more power. Not so much power to justify needing the SSBH upgrade; at least not for street use, but itchy finger syndrome can be difficult to reason.

Remus axleback (1)

Driving the r3GTI has been a semi-painful affair over the last two weeks; there has been an insane squeaking sound coming from what seems like every corner of the car. I’d forgotten about it; the culprit is actually the velvet area on the door linings – just wax it down with a candle or crayon and the squeaks magically disappear (which also magically restores your mental health). If you have a squeaky Mk6 Golf, this is definitely worth trying out.

Small issues and mods aside, the r3GTI has generally been running okay. I’m considering changing my set of BBS to a set of VMR Wheels, but nothing concrete yet. I guess we’ll find out in my next update!



About Author


From supercar spotting on the streets of Kuala Lumpur, Won has moved onto the realms of motoring journalism since 2011. He has a keen eye for automotive photography, a penchant for fast cars, and the occasional hunger for munching corners.

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