Saturday, July 7, 2012

Leaky Oil and Battery Issues

The day began with the realization that I was leaking oil. I parked someplace slightly different and noticed several circles on the driveway, one for each day since my oil change this week. So I brought the car into Dorito Brothers and they eventually got it fixed. The rookie technician hadn't torqued the oil pan bolt properly.

90 minutes later and we were back on the road, although the Pioneer system was completely dead. When I got home, I did my battery disconnect trick, which worked fine to reset the unit, although the bolt on the negative battery terminal cable was really stripped at this point.

I went shopping and found a couple "standard" bolt replacements and since the wife was back in Walnut Creek, I had her check to see if I could purchase a 10mm bolt from Dorito Brothers. It turns out Volkwasgen doesn't sell that part. You have to buy the entire $125 negative terminal cable. Later on I discovered the bolt was integrated into the cable, so that was really the only option.

Ebay came to the rescue. I wouldn't normally buy used parts, but the negative battery terminal cable is probably the simplest, brain dead easy part on the car. So $25 later and I'm waiting for my cable to arrive from Texas.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

20,000 Mile Service

I just had my 20,000 mile service and my records showed 7/32nds on my tires and 12mm front and 9mm rear remaining on the brake pads.
I can forecast when I'll need new tires based on a few numbers. 3/32nds is when the tires need replacing. The Pirelli P-Zero Nero M&S start at 11/32nds. 7/32nds wear at 20,000 miles means I've used 50% of my tires. I'm good for another year, perhaps.

The break pads started out with 14mm front and 12mm rear. Doing a bit of research, 5mm is probably a good time to change your pads. So doing more math, I've used about 22% of my front pads and 42% of my rear pads. So I'll likely need a rear break job when I get tires in another 20,000 miles.

This also seems to be the case on the Rabbits we looked at, as all the CPO rabbits seemed to have gotten a break job at around 35,000 miles.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


A recent discovery of 2011 GTI owners is the Soundaktor. This electronic device pipes resonant, synthetic engine noise through a speaker during throttle applications. It provides a throaty, resonant noise that I'll admit is not entirely unpleasant, despite being entirely fake. I suppose I should feel like it's a premium feature, as there's a similar system in the BMW M5, but as a Gen Xer, authenticity is more important. Previous model years featured a "noise pipe" that was promptly removed by everyone in the know.

A quick YouTube search found the instructions on how to unplug the device without too much trouble. I zip tied mine in a plastic bag once it was unplugged, just in case, but clearly it's a rather useless addition to the car.

The sound without the Soundaktor is more aggressive, more throaty from the little 2-liter engine with more turbo noise. I love the turbo whine, so that's a win for me. It's also quieter in the cabin without sound being pumped in. A quiet, sophisticated, cabin was a major consideration when I bought the car, so pumping engine noise into it is a major fail. So quieter overall with a more raw sound on acceleration. Perfect. Did you not think that was good enough Volkswagen?

Oh and I got my 20,000 mile service today. .