I love humps and bumps

Finally my wait for the kit is over.

Got the kit setup after 1.5days of installation, but the wait was worthy.

First impression when driving the car home, along BKE and then PIE was just unbelievable. When entering the first slip road after fitting with the new roadholding kit, the bodyroll then was practically non-existence. The feeling of car toppling over while I corner finally disappeared, and for a moment, I thought I was driving a kart!

Driving along undulated road, I can feel the road even more, but vis a vis with my stock setup using the same 18″ wheel, the 'feel' is only marginal and I attributed that to my 18″ setup. Still, the roadholding kit makes the feel more firm, not floaty. You actually feel more confident when driving along undulated road. Obviously do not expect the ride to be posh and comfortable like a luxury sedan on a 16″ wheel. But make no mistake, it does not mean it is harsh either. As a driver, you just feel that you are closer to the road, and because it reacts very well with the undulation, you begin to appreciate the bumps and humps.

Now for some practical test after a yummy supper session.

We drove to east coast parkway road, where there are full of humps and speed stripes, to see how the kit reacts. Holy, the stripes were as if they were non existence. Okay, I was exaggerating, but then again, you would be forgiven if you think that you are rolling over the road and wonder why the road is painted with lines! At one juncture, we missed the hump (damn, the xenon needs to come) and while we were late in slowing down considerably to clear the hump, the car just rolled over without feeling bottom-out! Second Holy ….

Well, perhaps it is time for the ultimate challenge. Where would we be able to find the ultimate stripes and humps? We decided to drive the car down further to Changi Coast road. For those uninitiated, there is this long stretch of road where the stripes are probably as high as your girlfriend's 2″ heel. Okay, I am exaggerating again, but I swear that whenever I drove my KW'ed Volkswagen bora along Changi Coast road, I would have dread that stretch of stripes because it would definitely send my teeth juddering. This would be a good test.

So while cruising along the Changi Coast road, we began to anticipate for that dreadful stripes. And when we were over it … WOW! While the stripes are more obvious now, but you will ask yourself, how would these stripes ever discourage a driver (be it a truck or a sedan car) to speed beyond 100km/h (Ops, on a 70km/h road)

Not believing ourselves, we made a U-turn, and tried it once more. There's no 'Ta-da-de-deTa-da-daTa-dade' … but just 'Tr-um-tr-um-tr-um…'. The conclusion is affirmative. Saab has done a great job in balancing the comfort and driveability needs. Top class.

the review continues after a memorable drive up to Renggit yesterday.

While there's no opportunity for me to see how RHK can push the car to its new speed limit, the B-road drive does bring out the potential of RHK.

On the stretch of road leading to Kota Tinggi Waterfall, the bends demand the best of car's roadholding capability and driver's handling skill. When entering the bend in excess of 90km/h, the car cornered effortlessly, without any trace of body roll or undesteer. I was told that 'someone' actually swept his car around the bend at 100-120km/h without a sweat. notworthy.gif I believe the ARB contributes most to this achievement, as I do not believe a marginally stiffer spring and uprated dampers would help much in reducing bodyroll.

However, the stiffer spring and uprated dampers were much appreciated when overtaking on B-roads. I just experienced that, overtaking on B-road requires not just sheer huge amount of torque, but also road holding capability. At the moment of burst during overtaking, it is important that the car remains composed and controlled on the undulated road. Failing which, you may find your car swing out of control. Of course, the torque remains as an important variable of the equation, otherwise, you may find yourself staring at icecream advertisment on the side of the icecream truck, for good few seconds.  On the otherhand, the use of 18″ tire does give additional benefit to the driver, with better feel of the road undulation.

In a nutshell, the RHK pass the acid test with flying colours, again. However, I do believe, and must acknowledge that, the RHK alone, does not contribute to the overall driving experience. The chassis, the tyre (I chose a comfort performance tire over pure performance tire), are part of the many variables that ensure a well handling without any sacrifice in comfort, drastically. A KW setup, if it exists in the first place, may give the RHK a run for its money, but I am pretty sure that the comfort level achieved in a Saab93, not withstanding of the presence of RHK or equivalent, would be impossible in my ex-ride. So thumbs up once again for the Saab engineering.

Thanks to Dr, Td_04 and Pilot, for making this dream a reality

Bulls and Horses, courtesy of TD Performance tuning exercise

Click here for larger imageI tried a bora before and after the tdperformance piggyback chip.

The bora is equipped with a supersprint muffler, grounding and a voltage stabiliser, prior to the piggyback.

The pick up is just bearable (considering all factors), while the mid and high end has the feeling of “cleared sinus” due to the supersprint effect.

With the tdperformance piggyback, the pick up seems to have improved, but not much. The mid and high end feels like having a “mint” effect, after the “sinus is cleared” Very Happy

Can't quantify the improvement, unless a dyno is being run.

From a test-user perspective, I can do feel the difference, and I can relate to one of the fellow enthusiast's earlier comment that “this investment is by far the best mod he has done todate”

When turning off the aircon, I can just run the car effortlessly, but in the context that it's a 1.6l (don't compare it with a 2.3l V5 or a 1.8T la)
Obviously, with the aircon off, there's expected power gain, but I find the acceleration exceptionally smooth, vis-a-vis stock w/o aircon.

And my face is filled with glee. Because the tested bora happens to be my ride.

All these, as a result of some 3 hours nerve breaking process. Not for the weak heart!

Installation Process

Click here for larger imageThe installation is per what I had described earlier. The tapping of wires are done professionally. Soldering of the wires ensure that the signal are not distorted, where I believe the level of distortion can impact the management of the engine somewhat.

The O2 wire, which was rerouted to the TDperformance chip, before routing back to the ECU, are also soldered and properly insulated. Overall, I feel that the installation of the piggyback chip is professionally carried out, and you can feel the assurance that your car will not stalled because of poor tapping of harness, as what a fellow enthusiast had experienced when he first had his bora uni-chipped. The box is slotted nicely behind the firewall, beside the ECU box, and well concealed.

Removing the cover for ECU access, and you will find the ECU exposed itself along with the transmission ECU.

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Tapping on the right signals, for the piggyback box to intercept and modify the signal before feeding back to the ECU. First you need to identify the wires to be tapped, from the ECU and piggybox. ADM uses a voltmeter to test the signal to ensure that the wires matches with the factory wiring diagram completely. You don't want to mess the wiring and give the ECU the wrong signal altogether!

Wires from the piggybox that will be tapping on ECU signals

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Tapping the wire requires soldering to ensure proper wire contact. This ensure absolutely no signal lost due to the improper wire connection.

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A complete setup will look like the one below (right)

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First reaction

After the installation, I could feel the throttle feel lighter, but I was inclined to brush it off as psychological factor, based on previous mod experience.

After 10-15 minutes of driving, while the throttle was felt lighter, and the car seemed more torquey , I still did not want to conclude the improvement.

Deep diving …

2 days of driving after the piggyback chipping, I felt as if the ECU is learning, and that the car is “more fun” to drive. Granted, don't expect a TD-performance chipped car to pick up like a 1.8T or even a 2.3V car. Instead, I can feel the car torquier than previously, with the power ready to be unleased anytime.

The improvement is felt mostly in its mid and high range. This is pretty in consistent with the dyno which Silbora has done on his car. The gear holds longer before it upshift, and the process of hold and upshift is very linear and smooth. Overtaking at 80km/h is now a breeze, although you must see the opposite party lah.

Beyond 120km/h, the car still feel torquier, and I can still push it further effortlessly. As I said previously, if I say putting a supersprint muffler is akin to clearing my sinus, adding on the chip is like having a mint effect!

Drag the car to 170km/h, that's where I feel the car starts to feel alittle lethargic. Did not try any further, due to the road condition factors.

Fuel consumption seems to remain unaffected, if not improved, despite my spirited driving in the last 3 days. It hovers around 10.8l/100km, which is quite a good mark given that I would have expected 11.5-12l/100km easily on normal day.


My bottomline, I have to agree with a fellow enthusiast's comment wholeheartedly — This mod is the most satisfying modification I had done to date, if I could rewind the clock, I would save all my money that was spent on ecotek, magnet, grounding, etc and go straight into this piggyback chip right away!

Obviously, more observation is needed, especially on the fuel consumption, as well how long the drivability factor continues to hold. But right now, I am very satisfied with it, and would strongly recommend to anyone, as long as they are not expecting a F1 performance gain (exaggerating, but you know where I am driving at!) Smile

Final verdict: Two thumbs up

Some of my takeaways on my decisions

Between Upsolute & TDperformance (the two tuning companies under consideration for my ride's tuning option), the decision was deliberated for a long while. In the end, I go for Tdperformance, not because it' the best, but in terms of overall performance + cost + effort + risks , I feel the latter is much more worth for me.

Firstly, you should know that upsolute do a fuel remapping, advance ignition timing possibly, etc to increase the performance. Because it's an NA engine, that's so much it can improve on. Whereas, Tdperformance make use of O2 value to advance ignition timing & fuel adjustment, by “sniffing” on the values of throttle position and air flow rate, to intercept and modify the value of O2 to be feed into the ECU.

as you can see, upsolute will be all rounded as compared to tdperformance, but in terms of the performance gain, I reckon the difference between the 2 is not signficant, given that we are dealing with NA engine (will be alot of diff if we are talking abt turbo engine). So would I want a perfect chip up, that goes along with the hassle and risks, is something individual owner needs to assess for himself/herself.

For upsolute chip, you need to pay around $100 for the desoldering of your eeprom chip from your ECU, and solder the upsolute chip onto the ECU board. there's a risk of mis-soldering, etc that you need to bear, as the installer you engaged locally is unlikely going to bear any risk of the consequences of the chip if that happens, since they are not agent for upsolute, but just a “solder-er” … Furthermore, if upsolute does not have current software mapping of you stock eeprom chipset, you will need to extract that currently in your ECU (and the process can be as tedious as desolder the stock chip, extract it, and resolder it back to ECU). Bearing in mind that anything can goes wrong during these process, and upsolute is absolutely not hold accountable for any problem, neither does the installer. But of course, upsolute will bear the issues if it's proven that there's bug in their software, or some upgrades they have developed, but all upgrades are done at your own cost (since u are engaging a 3rd-party installer to install for u..)

basically, for me, while I go for the notion of “mod don't scare, scare don't mod”, I find that in this case, it'll be too energy draining for me to go for upsolute,i go for a perfect enough solution, rather than a perfect solution (at an imperfect cost & timing), so hence tdperformance.

I have just installed it, and am pretty happy with the incremental performance gain. It improves the driveability, that's all (don't expect a chip to improve the performancel ike a 2.3V5 )

Some Technical information on the wiring

1. There are total of 5 wires out of the tuning box, which consists of microprocessor, etc that read, computes & intercept signals that otherwise go to ECU and transmission chip.

2. There are total of 2 signals that the tuning box tap on. Throttle position signal & Air flow signal. To tap on these two signals, the tuning box needs to tap on 2 wires that go into ecu, where the tapping is done via soldering. These ensure correct reading of the signal, and no wire is cut at this point in time.

3. The O2 wire, going into the ECU, will be cut. The cut is necessary to intercept the O2 signal. By intercept, it means the tuning box takes in the old reading, computes based on the value of throttle-position & air flow, (and other built-in parameters possibly) and send out the modified O2 value. One end of the wire goes into the tuning box, while the O2 output signal (out of tuning box) goes into the ecu's O2 pin. The wires are soldered and properly-insulated.

4. The 5th wire is actually a grounding wire. so pretty straight forward.

All the wire connectors are properly done, and soldered. I don't think there's any way where the wire connector will be loose and cause a signal fallout.

If one is worry or panicky about the cut of O2 wire, then I reckon he will be more panicky and worried when he see the stock & new eprom chips being desoldered and resoldered back onto the ECU board respectively.

To revert back to stock, there's 2 way

1. Tune the tuning box to stock by turning off the dip switches.

2. Cut off the 2 wires that taps on the Airflow and Throttle-position signals. Then “rejoin” back the two O2 signal wires (by soldering).

#2 will be useful if you want to take out the tuning box and bring it to your new ride.

A Baby step to bodywork customisation

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As some of you are aware, I had a good respray job done on my car. The bodywork, particularly on the bodykit, however, is still some distance away from perfection, and although the spray painting shop had promised to fix them at another visit, I was too lazy to go back for a follow up.

By chance I happened to come across a shop that provides dent and scratch repair as one of their speciality. They have offered their service, and it is just a half-day job. Seeing a few cars (an audi TT, a vintage mini and an alfa) in their shop going through some minor and major “surgery”, I thought why not, and it might well be another option for the brothers here in the future.

The cleaniness and the setup of the workshop impressed me that it is also another reason why I decided to let them take up the job.

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The workshop has the machine that formulates the paint.

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My sideskirt in its worst shape, notice the blemishes on the edge, due to overspray of paint on the sealant :`(

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The first job is to remove the blemishes by scratching off the overspray.

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The craftman will feel the surface for any uneveness or roughness, to assess any further prep work required

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He then use the fibreglass material to fill the edge of the sideskirts. My request was very simple “Just get it done nicely” and the craftman decided that he will integrate my sideskirt with my car lower body like original.

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With the fibreglass material filled, the sideskirts were also wet-sanded to remove the clearcoat and paint.

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He then proceed with putty over the fibreglass filling, before wet-sanding it again.

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Finally, the craftman put on the last coat of putty, supposedly the finest grain polybest material, so that the surface will be smooth for the paint job.

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And before the paint job begins, the sideskirts are wet-sanded once more to ensure the surface is ready for painting.

Then comes the “most” important part of the preparation work just before the spray painting. The folks are masking out parts of the body so that they will not be stained with the new paint. Because the craftman has decided to create an integrated look, he has to paint not just the sideskirt, but partially on the lower part of car body (including the door sill area) in order to have the clean look. I thought it was a big paint job, quite drastic just for a “sideskirt blemish repair” but the craftman told me, “Ai Zai!”

Before proceeding for the last step, i.e. the paint spraying, the craftman formulates the paint according to my paint code, and despite a machinery-formulated paint job, the guy did not take any chance of color-mismatch, and carried out visual check.

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And the craftman doing the last preparatory work, ensuring that the spray-gun is in top-notch condition!

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Now came the fun part, and is actually the easiest part, or at least it seemed to be. It looked easy, but not without a steady hand, and 30 years of spray-painting experience.

1st coat of paint …

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2nd coat of paint …
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and finally another 2 coats of clear-coat.

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The “easiest” part is over, and now … before calling the day, the craftman needs to do abit of wetsanding and polishing to ensure that the new paint blends well with existing paint work. Bearing in mind that the whole work is not just on the sideskirt, but blending it with the rest of the car body, that covers the door steps and the fender ends.

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And finally, the work after a half-day effort.

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Overall, I was very pleased with the result. It might well be an easy job from the result, but it certainly didn't look like it when I see through the whole process. The numerous steps of putty, wet-sanding, painting, shows the level of details the craftman actually went through, and taking pride in his job. And he definitely treats the whole job, just like any other job assigned to him, like an art, and not just any ordinary paint work.

As I was so amazed at the outcome, I have actually extended the work the very next day to customise my front projektzwo front lip spoiler .. and part II will come very shortly

Part II continues

and the story continues …

the sideskirt repair made my front spoiler looks like a dirt!

so I brought my car in the next day, and again, the request was simple — “Just repair it” Well, back in my mind, I was planning for a full projektzwo customisation, but I decided to hold back that thoughts. Hence, I term this as baby step to full customisation project.

My projektzwo front lip spoiler in its worst shape …

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Without further hesitation, the craftman decides to do a stage-1 1-piece bumper. And here's the end result

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At the end of the day, my satisfaction level jump up easily by three-folds, and all the results pave the possible next steps for a full customisation of projektzwo front bumper … just like this one

Big thumbs up to the folks in Advance Scratch Master.

To round up the story …

While I was there, I saw an alfa 147 GTA zooming into the shop.

Owner stepped out, in his well-ironed shirt and pants, disclaimed *in hokkien* “Uncle, my sideskirt has a dent and scratch caused by my wife's heel!”

The master went over to assess the damage, and confidently declared, “It's a small job, but I will not just paint that small spot”

From where I was standing, I looked over, and I pondered to myself … If he is not going to just paint over that small little patch, which by the way, is less than a 5c coin in size, does it mean that he is going to spray the entire sideskirt, and how expensive the repair work will be?

The Alfa owner, without any hestitation, agreed to what the master has proposed, and give green light to work on the dent and scratch immediately.

Speaking to the Alfa owner, he told me that he is a regular patron to the shop, and always come whenever there is a scratch or a dent on his car. As a matter of fact, he drove all the way from Jurong to Paya Ubi, just to have a less than 5 cent coin-size dent & scratch repaired. Either he's nuts, or this master is really somebody! I told myself …

Without further delays, I see the master quickly patch up the dent, alot of wet-sanding on the damage area, and the area where he was supposed to spray a coat of paint over. With careful masking of the car body, he spray-paint on the damage area and intelligently expand the painting area that's bounded by some contour angle, instead of the entire side skirt.

When the paint was dried, some wet-sanding was done again to “join & blend” the new paint coat and the existing paint body seamlessly. A polish on the painted and wet-sanded area, complete the job finally, and it is just within 3 hours.

and the cost, $50 for a sideskirt repair, where the sideskirt looks like new, as if it's fully repainted.

The whole process just further re-impressed me that the people are really skilled to do the job that has high demand from their customers. In such a high demanding environment, they were able to stay focus and passionate of their works, shows how serious they are in satisfying all their walk-in customers.

My takeaway is this is one rare spray-painting business who's willing to invest in equipment and technology, while at the same time, harness on their people's skill and experience to create a work that's called an art, not a painted car body panel. Let's hope they will continue to drive in such good spirit and business philosophy as they settle in their new place at Kim Chuan road.

Click here for larger imageAuthor note: Author does not have any commerical interest in the said commercial entity, readers are advised to make their own judgment when making plan to transact deals with the entity concerned. Authors will not be at all liable for any costs or damages inflicted due to individual's own judgemental decisions.

Advance Scratch Master
53 Paya Ubi Industrial Park
Ubi Ave 1
Singapore 408934

Call Yong @ 67471531

Change Color position ready … Color Change !

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One night, after a tiring flight from Cupertino CA, back from a week long business meeting, I just want to have a good bath and slipped into my comfortable home bed. But there on the bed, awaits a pleasant surprise for me, and upon opening up the surprises, I realised that my beloved wife has given me a wonderful birthday gift that I would have never dare to imagine. 'A painting re-spray job for my beloved Bora!' my eyes tell me and I was dumbfolded instantaneously. My wife was smiling in the background, and I know she loves doing all these car modification stuff with me just because she loves me deeply.

'Thank you so much, yeez … this article is dedicated specially to you'.

After exploring a few spray painting shops, we narrowed down to one shop called Yew Lip at Sin Ming. We were greeted by a very friendly young and sexy lady boss, whose father is in this painting business for decades, and obviously she's trying to pick some skills from him after rumouredly being a stewardess for years.

Mr Big Boss look at my car, and could not help but repeatedly smile and quietly praising the quality of the paintwork that is currently on my car. He certainly looks pleasant and friendly to me, perhaps that is where his daughter picked up this trait from.

We did not discuss much on the price, it was a rather fast and prompt negotiation of price, considering that it costs more than a thousand just to repaint the entire car. The foreman came forward as well, and upon inspecting the work required out from this job, he nodded his head repeatedly with a quiet sense of confidence.

To start off with, I gave Yew Lip the colour code of my desire paint colour to be coated on my ride. 'LD7X' is the code for Volkswagen Platinium grey, a colour that mersmerised many VWVortexer, including yours truly. Yew Lip proceeded to prepare the paint formula based on the given code.

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'2K' SPIES HECKER germany paint is being used, great quality paint according to the this thread and is now owned by Dupont.

The entire process took us more than 10 days. Various parts of the car were stripped to its bare, including the door interior panels, the side mirrors, the boot inner linen cover, door handle, bumpers and many more items. The folks have been very patient and careful in removing the items, and when they broke a couple of items as they dismantle the parts, they have them replaced with new parts without question asked!

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Cars in its most naked form

After a long enduring wait, the car was finally out from oven literally, and we were pretty happy with the outcome, except for a few blemishes which we took it to ADSM for further touchup. But make no mistake, Yew lip has provided an exellent service and deliver quality workmanship based on the price point they have offer us. Two thumbs up for them.

Before After
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More pictures of ride wearing its new coat of paint.

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Bimming away with a M3 rear boot lid spoiler

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I always find my rear very blend. I mean my ride. However, I do not like flashy items on my boot, (I mean my car’s trunk if you are an American reading this article!), definitely not an evo wanna-be. What an oxy-moron statement, contradicting myself big time!

In VWVortex, there are people who customised M3 rear bootlid spoiler for their Jetta (equivalent to our BORA in Singapore), and were done very tastefully. Not knowing if any of the local bodyworkshops were up to mark in carrying out such customisation, I did not venture until I found a good deal on a M3 spoiler replica. Even if the customisation turns out to be a disappointment, at least I have tried.

Well, the final result did not look that bad afterall, although there are some obvious trace of customization if you were to look closer. What the heck, who will be watching my boot (I mean my trunk) as my ride cruise on the road?

Customisation process

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Final result, my ride's butt showtime!

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Finale of the Trilogy – Shift boot replacement

Click here for larger image You can say that it's possibly one of my most-planned modification process, given the stages I planned and went through before ending so far. On the other than, it can be perceived as my typical Singapore kia-see-ism (n – state of afraiding to die) in act, wanting to make sure that everything is in order or validated before making the next move.

To be honest, I started just wanting to replace my peeling stock shift knob with a new one, and I accomplish that desire by replacing it with a Momo's automatic shift knob. Very soon, I realised it need not end there, as I can replace the entire chrome shift cover with something refreshing. But the process, through some IM (Instant messenging) correspondence with vwvortex's FEEL, seems complicated, and I want to be absolutely sure about my ability to execute it before embarking on the modification itself. Obviously, I am 'kia-see' as I don't wish my investment (of buying a replacement shift boot) to waste. But most importantly, I want to make sure I can do it myself, although I know that I can easily pay some shop and had it done professionally.

Hence, my assessment on the complexity of removing the shift console, prior to placing an order with hillsideimports for an Volkswagen OEM Sports edition shift boot (p/n: 1 J0 711 113 CD NEZ).

Before placing an order for the shift boot, one may be interested to know there exists a few variants of VW OEM shift boot that he can choose from. It's a matter of individual style preference, not so much of fitment choice :-

  • The 20th Anniversary shift boot has a brushed aluminium shift frame (or commonly known as ring ) and red-stitched black leather boot;
  • The R32 shift boot also has a brushed aluminium ring, and a white stiched black leather boot. (I believe you can opt for black-stitched one as well)
  • The Original Sports edition shift boot, has a chrome ring, with black-stitched black leather boot.

I chose the chrome variant one, not exactly because I love chrome trimming, but because the brushed aluminium style will be a mis-match to my current interior trimming.


1. Remove the gasket if you have not done. Follow the link for a reference of step-by-step on gasket removal how-to

Click here for larger image 2. If you have just removed your gasket, and have not put back the shift console, take the opportunity to remove the shift guider as indicated by the red arrow. If you manage to remove the guider, then you may skip step 6.

Next, focus on the shift boot.

Click here for larger image 3. Flip the boot, so that you see the bottom of the shift knob, with the ring bracket that holds the leather to the knob. Slip out the metal ring fastener.

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Removing the knob from the shift boot

4. With the help of a plier and exerting abit of force, pull out the ring bracket. The shift knob is now freed from the leather boot, and I can then proceed with putting my aftermarket knob to this leather boot.

Note Step 4 is unnecessary, if you prefer to cut off the leather boot around the edge of the shift knob. That is definitely the quickest and easiest way to remove the knob away from the boot, but I prefer to remove with minimal damage.

Click here for larger image 5. Slip the shift knob chrome ring and Momo's bottom chrome cap back into the boot, as shown. I used some adhesive tape to secure the ring to the boot, and as the chrome cap is “dropped” into the ring, I also used a strong adhesive tape to ensure it doesn't slip off from the ring easily.

Now, the next step is necessary if you choose not to remove the shift guide, just as I have not. If you have done, as per step 1, then skip step 6, and go straight to step 7.

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The underside of the shift frame, the left side is one with the tabs cut-off, the right is with the tabs intact

The diagram shows the bottom of the shift boot frame. There are clips on each side of the frame, in order to clip onto the shift console firmly. Notice that at the rear side of the shift boot, there are 3 tabs, at the position indicated by the red arrows. These tabs are meant to secure the shift boot to the frame. These tabs interfere with the shift guide, and prevents the frame from inserted completely into the shift console properly.

Click here for larger image 6. Use a cutter, and cut off these tabs. The picture on the left shows the trimed shift frame without the tabs. The cutting is pretty easy since the tabs are made of plastic[/i]). Cutting of the tabs does not compromise the fitment of the shift boot to the console. Neither does it result in loose leather boot on the frame. So cut it with a piece of mind!

If you have not cut the tabs as per described in step 6, and you have not removed the shift guider, you will find that your shift boot pops out alittle at the rear.

With the shift knob removed,

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Inserting the frame into the console

7. Slot the shift boot over the shift shaft, and slide in the shift frame forward, and under the shift console. Insert the frame completely by pushing it down into the console.

You may find difficulty in securing the frame properly into the console, as the frame might be still popping out alittle. Here's some tricks and tips for your reference.

  • Push the two sides (left & right) of the frame inwards so that that clips go underneath the console.
  • Push the rear side of the frame inwards so that the clips go underneath the console, and then pull it outwards so that the frame shifts back, allowing the bottom of the frame to have clearance off from the shift guide.

Click here for larger image 8. Put back the shift knob, tighten the allen nuts, and pull up the shift boot so that the chrome cap can be secured with the shift knob, as shown.

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Other resources

1. Part supplier – Hillsideimports
2. Information Source – Vwvortex

Protect your Investment: OEM Headlight protector

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You have read earlier on the extensive effort and money involved in upgrading bora headlight to OEM HID. With the investment made, it is prudent to invest alittle more on a set of headlight protector to protect the headlight lens from any stone chips and cracks while on the road.

But of course, if you would like to protect your normal halogen headlights, nothing can stop you, since every part of our car are precious assets that any damages, no matter how minor they are, are a heartache to us!

These high quality protector are actually parts from Australia VW dealers. Although I have purchased this from a US online VW accesories dealer, you can have your friends at Down Under to ask the dealer there on your behalf, and you may save some dollars, who knows!

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The protectors are made of high quality acryllic material, and are mounted by placing an attaching hook (on the top of cover) to the top of headlight. The cover is then secured by clipping two attaching clips (at the bottom of cover) to the bottom of headlight, in between the headlight and the bumper, as shown.

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How to – Removing shift console

Click here for larger image Following my successful attempt to remove the shift knob and the shift gate, I was so determined to go ahead and replace my chromy shift cover to a leather boot that's commonly found in the manual version of Bora and Golf. So I did more research, and have several correspondences with a fellow vwvortex's member, FEELER, who had attempted this mod awhile back. One of the important task is to remove the gasket that's secured beneath the shift console, so that any MK4 OEM shift boot can be fitted on the shift console perfectly without any further modification. To do so, I have to remove the shift console, and before placing an order from hillsideimportsp, I decided to try taking out the gasket first.

How-to step by step

the prerequisite of this how-to is to remove the shift knob, and optionally the shift gate. If you have not done so, just refer to the shift knob removal and shift gate removal articles.

Click here for larger image 1. First of all, using a torx screw #15 driver, remove the 2 torx screws, which are located at the front end of the shift console, just under the dash console, as shown.

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2. Next remove the cover as shown in the above picture on the left, and unscrew the torx screw. There are 2 torx screws on each front side of the shift console, which secured the shift console firmly to the ebrake console.

Click here for larger image 3. Remove the ash-tray component from the shift console. First slide open the ash-tray lid, and remove the ash-tray casing, and it will expose a torx screw at the bottom of the ash-try, as shown on the left. Unscrew the screw, and slowly slide the ash tray out by pushing the ash tray forward alittle before pulling up and away from the shift console.

If you have problem trying to move the ash tray, chances are the plastic tab at the bottom of the ash tray is clipping on the metal piece, as shown in the picture on the left (the two tabs are located on each side of the centre torx screw). Pry the tabs slightly so that the metal piece is off the tabs' hook, before sliding up the ash tray. In my case, it's very easy to take out the ash tray without even prying on the tabs.

Click here for larger image 4. When the ash tray is taken out, unplug the harness from the ash tray lighter, as shown in the diagram on the left

Click here for larger image 5. With the ash tray removed completely, you will be able to see a metal bracket as shown in the photo on the left. Pull out the left side of the bracket.

Click here for larger image 6. With all the screws and ash tray removed, you may start wiggle the shift console, pulling it up and backward.

First of all, pull up the shift console away from the bracket at the front, where you previously unscrew the 2 front torx screws. This free the front console, and then you can start to pull back the shift console.

Click here for larger image When you pull back the console, wiggle alittle so that the 2 finger-like plastic pegs on the shift console are out from the main console's bracket completely. When these plastic pegs are not cleared from the bracket, you will find it difficulting pulling out the shift console at all. Once the pegs are cleared, the console should be freed from any clips or brackets, and you can slowly pull it out, leaving the shifter as shown in the diagram on the left.

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7. Remove the shift guide & optic cover from the shifter, by unclipping the 2 tabs at each side of the cover, as shown above. Apparently, this is required for the OEM shift boot to be inserted into the shift console perfectly without any obstruction. Once my shift boot arrives, I will confirm if this step is required or not.

Click here for larger image 8. With the shift console taken out finally, the next step is where the real intent of removing the console is about. Flipping the shift console, you will see the gasket attached to the underneath of the console with 4 philip screws, as shown on the left photo.

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When the gasket is detached away from the shift console, you see that the rubber trimming around the chrome cover is also removed. The rubber trim is actually fitted onto the gasket, before tightening all 4 screws on the gasket to the console. With the gasket and hence the rubber trimming removed, it creates some gap around the shifter, presumeably for the OEM manual shift boot to be fitted on properly.

More information will be shared once I get hold of the shift boot and figure out how the shift boot will be attached to the shift console.

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In the meantime, I have ordered a shift boot from Hillsideimports, just couldn't wait for it to come. To be continue in 10 days time, hopefully!

How to – Removing the shift gate

Click here for larger imageFollowing the removal of my auto shift knob and replacing the stock shift knob with MOMO auto knob, I have been exploring options to “perfect” the look, hiding away the bare metal shaft like the picture on the left. One of the option is to remove the shift gate (from the layman point of view, the chrome cover seen in the photo on the left) and replace it with a manual shift boot. To do that, the first thing to do obviously is to figure out how the shift gate is secured on the console, and hence how to be removed without damaging the parts.

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1. First of all, remove the shift knob, regardless of whether it is a stock knob or aftermarket one. This will facilitate the removal of the shift gate, as you will see later on.

Click here for larger image2. Next, push the shift gate (the chrome cover) to the right with alittle force, you will be able to see some gap, like that on the right. The shift gate should be firmly secured at this point of time, so alittle force is required to open up the gap.

3. With the interior pryer tool, I try to fiddle with the shift gate edge and pry out. Becareful of prying to hard, otherwise, you may unknowingly broken the notch at the edge of the shift gate. With abit of trying and patience, I manage to have the notch out of internal slot, and when you do that, you will notice that the shift gate is starting to loosen on the left side as shown in the diagram below.

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When the left side of the shift gate's notch is out of the securing slot

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4. With the left side of the shift gate loosened, pull up the gate slightly and wiggle the shift gate to the left, so that the right side of the gate can be loosened as well. Becareful again not to wiggle or pull out the gate too hard, otherwise, the notch at the right edge of the gate may well give way and break.

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5. With sufficient patience and wiggling, I manage to loose the right side of the shift gate as well, and just carefully feel the touchpoints between the shift gate and the shift console so that you can free the shift gate completely from the console.

Click here for larger image6. Once the shift gate is loosened completely, just lift up the gate and away from the shift shaft. What remains is the whole shift guide in bare, with the optics that indicates the gear position.

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Done: when the shift gate is removed completely, this is what you will see

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The underside of the shift gate, to show you the structure of the gate that allows the latter to be mounted to the shift console.

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A closeup look of the 2 notches at one side of the shift gate. This is the part where the shift gate is most fragile at

what's next … ? A search for a nice OEM looking shift boot to replace the shift gate! and the search continues

Removing of shifter knob for 4-speed automatic transmission

Changing of automatic shift knob, to certain people in Vwvortex community, is a taboo, or in a certain VW modification cult group, is socially unacceptable. Well, I must emphasized that such mentality only prevails in a small group of vwvortex'ers, fortunately.

Perhaps, the strong feeling against the act, is based on the assumption that anybody who attempt the modification is trying to be manual-stick wannabe. That to drive an automatic-transmission vehicle is a joke of century, at least to this unique group of interesting earth inhabitants. In the true spirit of Veedub modification culture, I am sure this is a fallible thinking.

Anyhow, not withstanding such a dark force, I decided to go ahead with the modification, although I am still in search for a well-styled aftermarket automatic shift knob.

1. Turn on the engine, and shift the gear to Neutral. In many versions of How-to guide, the instruction said D or gear 3 or 2. For 4-speed automatic transmission vehicle, it has
been verified that either of the modes mentioned is okay. This might not be the case if your vehicle is tiptronic transmission, and should stick to gear 3 as most has suggested.

2. Pull down the chrome sleeve that covers the shift shaft as shown on the left. This will unlock the gear, and the knob button will be loose.

3. Then press the knob button and pull out the knob with some amount of force.

If you inspect the shift rod closely, you notice that the only movable mechanism is the plastic rod that's contained within the shift rod. When you press the shift knob button (with the stock knob intact), it actually depresses the plastic rod, and mechanically unlock the gear during "P" and "N" position. Hence, one can conclude that for 4-speed automatic transmission vehicle, one can replace its stock shift knob with any universal aftermarket shift knob, since it does not have any tiptronic plate or overdrive mechanism.

Upon looking at the internal of the knob, you notice that there isn't any complicated mechanism in the knob button. The knob button basically will keep in contact with the tip of plastic rod when the knob is plug on the shift rod. The plastic cylindrical clip within the knob is designed to held and clamp on the shift rod tightly.

Tips: I realised that if the car is parked under scorch hot sun for a few hours, it will be easier to take out the shift knob. This is possibly because that the plastic clip inside the knob has expanded due to the heat, and hence make it easier to plug out the shift knob.

With the stock knob removed, I begin to hunt for a nice aftermarket automatic shift knob to replace, as my stock knob surface is starting to peel. I wanted to make sure that the DIY removal of stock knob is possible before I commit myself with a new aftermarket shift knob.

The hunt for the new shift knob is not easy. There's little market for automatic shift knob, and alot of nice shift knobs made by Rapid, Momo and Sparco are mostly for manual shift stick. I bump across OEM automatic shift knobs like those for Audi and Porsche, but they cost an arm (more than US$150). My choice was thus limited to the Momo automatic shift knob, as shown below.

4. Insert in the chrome cover bottom as shown in the picture.

5. Screw 2 allen nuts to the Momo shift knob such that they are flushed to the inner wall of the knob. The Momo shift knob comes with allen key and nuts, and the knob itself has 3 holes at the edge of the thread (as shown on the left photo) for one to screw the allen nut so that the knob can be firmly secured on the shifter shaft rod.

6. With the allen nuts in the knob, slot the knob into the shifter rod as shown on the left. Do not over-screw the allen nuts, otherwise the knob can not be inserted down the shifter rod.

7. With the knob sits nicely on the plastic shift unlock rod, turn the knob so that wording "MOMO" is aligned, and depress the knob slightly (not all the way round), and begin to screw the 2 allen nuts tightly. The reason of depressing the knob before screwing the nuts, is to have the knob as low as possible.

Knob is secured by 2 nuts, the 3rd allen nut is not required as it'll prevent the bottom chrome cover not able to cover the knob.

8. Screw in the chrome cover bottom, as shown.

and voila, a new aftermarket shift knob for my automatic gear transmission BORA.