View Full Version : TheBenior's GTI and Ducati Monster 696. Da Bears, dabears, dabears, dabears.

February 27th, 2014, 12:53 AM
2008 Mazdaspeed3:


Mods: Corksport short ram intake and turbo inlet pipe (https://scontent-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash2/t1/27692_10150169146900696_6981545_n.jpg?lvh=1), turbo-back exhaust (https://scontent-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash2/t1/31382_10150180135275696_2651509_n.jpg?lvh=1), 3" top mount intercooler, TRZ rear motor and side transmission mounts, Cobb AccessPort reflash, Goodridge stainless brake lines, 18x8 Andros Spec D wheels with Potenza S-04s in the summer, 17x7 MSW Type 14 wheels with Dunlop Winter Sport tires in the winter. The power mods are good for 295 hp and 291 lb-ft of torque at the wheels. (https://scontent-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash2/t1/29082_10150191587215696_1603961_n.jpg?lvh=1)

Purchased new in 2008, now has a big 34k miles on it in spite of a few road trips. Owning another vehicle for most of the time I've owned it and living close to work have kept the mileage low. It's got great rolling acceleration, isn't the greatest from a drag (like most overpowered FWD cars), and definitely has torque steer, has mediocre fuel economy, and the mechanical LSD has been invaluable in the winter.

When I mounted my winter wheels last year, I found that the right rear shock as leaking again. The original rear shocks were replaced under warranty at 13k, and the replacements lasted about 20k before the aforementioned leak was found. Since the Mazdaspeed3 has different valving than the regular Mazda3, my strut/shock options include factory (crap), Bilstein, Koni, and various coil-overs. I have enough ground clearance and front end scraping issues at the stock ride height, so coil-overs are out, which left me debating Bilsteins or Konis for a while. Lo and behold, Shox.com has a 25% off Koni coupon code, so Koni yellows were ordered tonight.

1978 Suzuki GS550:


Purchased in late 2012 with 13k original miles, now it has 14k on it. It's listed as having 49hp @9000rpm, making it supposedly good for a 13.7 1/4mi and a 112mph top speed.

Mods/maintenance: Bridgestone S11 Spitfire tires in the metric equivalent to the factory size, leaky fork seals replaced and factory springs replaced with Progressive springs, and dangerously dim sealed beam headlamp replaced with halogen Indian copy of a Cibie. I'm quite satisfied with the Progressive springs, which have made the bike handle better and in an unexpected bonus, also lowered my front end by ~1", making flat-footing easier.

Future plans: The intake pipes and o-rings, and carb seals could probably all stand to be replaced. I have the parts, but haven't gotten around to getting them put in. I'm getting atrocious fuel economy (25mpg city), so something's not running right. I paid to have my carbs looked at right after I got the bike, but I can't say that I'm entirely satisfied with the results. My intake air box boots could stand to be replaced, but they're no longer in production, which means that I may have to go with pod filters if I want good sealing, and that means I'd probably have to get the bike dyno tuned if I want it running properly. Front brake lines should be replaced, and probably with stainless lines since the factory single disc front braking system needs all the help it can get. I'd also like to replace the rear shock/springs and get the seat recovered. Hopefully, I get a house with a garage this year so that I can do more work myself.

February 27th, 2014, 04:19 AM
Definitely go with stainless steel brake lines, new fluid and fresh/different drum brake pads if you've got a choice.

Also, bar-end mirrors & Clubman bars. :rawk: #hooligan

February 27th, 2014, 11:08 AM
Ah yes, those are on the list too. Along with a better regulator/rectifier. Except my uncool bars and mirrors make for safe, effective city riding implements, so those stay.

February 27th, 2014, 11:18 AM
Bar-ends or bust for me.

Or perhaps Bar ends = bust(ed). Who knows.

March 12th, 2014, 06:19 PM

Picked up my suspension bits today, still waiting on Ground Control bump stops. I could install the struts using front bump stops that came with the KYB strut boots, but I'd still be lacking the rear bump stops for the shocks, and I have no plans to reuse nearly 6 year old rubber if I'm going through the trouble of taking them apart.

I remember when I got Koni Sports for my Sentra, the boxes were pretty beat up. This set came straight from Koni NA with only slightly less beat-up boxes, so I guess Koni doesn't care if struts/shocks end up slightly protruding from the packaging during shipping.

March 13th, 2014, 08:59 AM
ROFL! I've never gotten an intact box from them either. The suspension for the Fiero was drop-shipped from Koni and they were all beat up.

Thinking about it, I don't recall ever buying shocks that weren't Koni. Maybe that's how they all come. :D

March 13th, 2014, 09:10 AM
The boxes for the KYBs I got for the Camry showed up mangled, as well.

March 13th, 2014, 05:43 PM
The chance of shock boxes not being mangle is slim to none from my experience.

March 14th, 2014, 06:54 AM
Costs too much to fix vs how much customers care?

May 21st, 2014, 02:46 PM
Picked up the Suzuki from my buddy whose garage I stored it in the past two years, hopefully for the last time since I'll soon have a garage of my own.

May 21st, 2014, 08:20 PM
Just ordered new front brake lines, pads, and speed bleeders for the GS550.

May 21st, 2014, 09:01 PM
woot woot.

May 23rd, 2014, 10:40 PM
I've wanted the Ogio No Drag Mach 5 backpack for a while, but couldn't rationalize the price (~$150 online). Janelle ended up getting it for me for my birthday this year, and like all Ogio bags, the finish appears to be pretty good (in this case, the finest carbon fauxber). I got nervous when I tried it on and the shoulder straps seemed too wide for my shoulders, but then I had the good sense to try it on while wearing my motorcycle jacket, with which it fit much better.


I finally got to try it out at highway speeds, and it actually works. My regular backpack definitely had more drag at highway speeds. The only noticeable pressure with the Mach 5 was the chest strap, which I had fastened too snugly over my motorcycle jacket. And the two handguns underneath said jacket in a shoulder rig. I'll need to try it out with heavier items besides a uniform and my lunch inside to give my full approval, but so far, so good.

May 24th, 2014, 12:00 AM
How much can it carry?:

May 24th, 2014, 01:03 AM
According to Ogio (http://ogio.com/no-drag-mach-5), 1,025 cubic inches or 1475 cubic inches/24.17L expanded. They claim enough room for most 15" laptops. It would be a tough fit to fit my gym stuff and work clothes compared to my other backpack.

May 24th, 2014, 12:11 PM
Baller :up:

May 24th, 2014, 03:54 PM

May 30th, 2014, 04:37 PM
The Mazdaspeed3 passed our OBD2 scan that is our emissions testing in Illinois.

As for the Suzuki, front stainless lines (I went with blue) (http://slingshot-cycles.com/products-page/suzuki/77-80-gs400-gs550-ss-braided-brake-line/), EBC FA38 front brake pads, and speed bleeder showed up this week. I also got some motorcycle jeans (http://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/joe-rocket-rocket-denim-30-jeans) and a better back protector (http://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/klim-d3o-viper-t5-pro-back-protector) since the one that came with my jacket isn't CE certified.

Brake bits will get installed Sunday if it doesn't rain.

June 2nd, 2014, 01:32 PM
After riding for the past week, I found that my right mirror had the alarming tendency to get blown out of position at highway speeds, while the left one stayed where it should. The right mirror did this regardless of how tight the top adjustment nut was, so the ball joint itself needed some surgery, or probable replacement. Since an OEM mirror lists for $58, and aftermarket replacements that are pretty close list for $30+, I decided to get some KTM folding mirrors (http://www.moto-science.com/product/ktm-oem-folding-mirror-243mm-perch-10x125mm-0097y-each) that I'd been eyeing for a while.

The mirrors went on easily enough, apart from me dropping a washer in the seed pods visible in the picture below, and one of the factory mirror cushion mounts was rusted inside. Being 10x1.25mm thread set in rubber, it got cleaned with polymer safe gun scrubber (which is really just the good Brakleen formula that we can't get in IL) and a 9mm/.357 cleaning brush.


Also visible in the photo is the top line of the stainless lines that I installed yesterday, which went off without a hitch. Changing pads was a bit trickier since my buddy's piston pushing tool wouldn't work for the tiny motorcycle brake pads.

June 5th, 2014, 03:53 PM
Changing pads was a bit trickier since my buddy's piston pushing tool wouldn't work for the tiny motorcycle brake pads.

C-clamp FTW!

June 5th, 2014, 07:11 PM
Yeah, I can echo that statement

June 5th, 2014, 09:50 PM
I'm wondering if I got all the air out of my lines with the bleeding I did. I can only squeeze the lever about halfway down with one hand, but I can pull it slightly further back with less effort than before.

Mind you, I have no experience of how the brake lever pull should feel as I'm pretty sure the lines were original as there were bits of rubber floating around in the old fluid. That being said, it definitely doesn't feel bad like some bikes I looked at from CL.

June 6th, 2014, 09:05 AM
*Sounds* like air, but the only way to know is more bleeding. I don't know anything about bikes, but I imagine a reverse bleed would work pretty well - fill a big syringe with brake fluid and force it into the bleeder at the caliper. That will force fluid and air back up, which is the natural direction air wants to go anyway. You can't really do that on a car due to volume, but it tends to work great on hydraulic clutches. I imagine a motorcycle brake system is similar.

June 6th, 2014, 12:13 PM
Hrmmmm....I have never heard of reverse bleeding. Makes sense though. (I still wouldn't do it)

June 7th, 2014, 12:14 PM
... and a planned motorcycle trip this coming weekend to STL may not happen due to a parking hit-and-run on my bike. My upstairs neighbor saw it and got a plate#, but the damage seems confined to my right hand grip and my right foot peg. The foot peg is bent pretty good, and appears stretched and cracked on one of the two mounting eyelets. Shockingly, my turn signals aren't even broken.

OEM foot pegs are no longer available, so it's eBay or aftermarket. The only aftermarket foot pegs are rearsets, which I'm not interested in for a bike primarily used in city riding, so it looks like I'll need to go eBay.

June 7th, 2014, 01:07 PM
Hrmmmm....I have never heard of reverse bleeding. Makes sense though. (I still wouldn't do it)

I have been doing it for years - like 15. No worries.

October 21st, 2014, 11:45 AM
So... this happened today:


October 21st, 2014, 11:57 AM
What kind of asshat would park his motorcycle in your driveway? How did you get the 3 out?

October 21st, 2014, 11:59 AM
Some Mediterranean Papist, I'd reckon. Should've never let them become white people post-WW2.

October 21st, 2014, 12:13 PM
Hoss Ross the Ducati Boss! :up:

October 21st, 2014, 12:23 PM
Sounds like an awesome wedding gift.

October 21st, 2014, 01:55 PM
He has joined the darkside...

October 21st, 2014, 06:15 PM
Last hurrah for the GS550, a 40 mile round trip ride though the city with a fellow UJM:

At the end of the day, I started tallying up all the parts that the GS550 could stand to have replaced and weighing all the time I don't have to work on it now that I have a house and have been pulling extra shifts at work. Replacement parts alone matched or exceeded the value of the bike before any labor costs were factored in.

So far, I've only ridden the Monster 696 home from the shop, so here are some quick thoughts:

-More power is definitely nice.
-Modern brakes are perhaps even nicer.
-Bike feels very light (65lbs lighter than the GS550 was), and CoG feels noticeably lower, making parking maneuvers a breeze.
-Bike reacts much faster than the GS550, making it a bit twitchy at highway speeds in comparison, though it was also really windy today.
-V-twin surprisingly requires more clutching to avoid stumbling at lower speeds than the GS550 did. Some people switch to a 14 tooth front sprocket to shorten the gearing for better commuting, which I may have to consider.
-I'll need some sort of luggage solution, as I'll be unable to lash a bag to the short tail of the M696 like I did with the GS550.
-Lack of fuel gauge and gear indicator are a bit of a disappointment on an otherwise modern bike. I embarrasingly stalled it not realizing that I was in 2nd instead of 1st.
-Neutral is much less of a step up from 1st gear than it was in my Suzuki and requires a lighter touch not to skip past it.
-I'm glad that now I only have to deal with carbs in my yard power equipment.
-Engine break-in is below 6000rpm and varying engine speeds for 600 miles. Which may not happen this year.

October 22nd, 2014, 07:00 AM


October 22nd, 2014, 09:02 AM
I briefly buying considered a Ducati-branded Dainese jacket which was 50% off that looked a lot like that.

October 22nd, 2014, 02:46 PM
I can attest to dianese quality. I would suggest held for their gloves. I love my Full Metal PROs, but I think held has a more comfortable product.

October 22nd, 2014, 07:18 PM
Both were D-Dry jackets, one was all-black with subtle Ducati lettering for $560 msrp, but lacked any reflective bits (seems important to me for a fall/winter jacket), and the other was red/white/black with more blatant Ducati branding for $520 msrp. I'm not real keen on manufacturer-branded gear, but in any case I'd be better off spending money on some non-ventilated gloves and boots for fall. My First Gear jacket is a bit snug for layering when I'm riding to work, but otherwise fine. The only parts where cold seemed to be coming in when I rode the other day was along the cuff, but that could be largely due to my ventilated AlpineStars SP-1 gloves.

I just found out that Dennis Kirk actually has some pretty decent closeouts in their outlet store. However, their site navigation sucks, so I guess that shouldn't be a surprise :lol:

October 22nd, 2014, 09:27 PM
Check on dianeses site also. They run the specials too, and sometimes are cheaper than the retailers. The suit I was looking at was 760+ on retailers but 710 directly from the d-store with free shipping.

October 22nd, 2014, 09:28 PM
Super. Nice.

I'm super jelly too.

October 22nd, 2014, 10:16 PM

The dealer still has a 20th Anniversary 696 with the Sport 100 Art Kit in stock (http://www.motoworkschicago.com/default.asp?page=xInventoryDetail&id=500583&p=1&make=ducati&s=Year&d=D&year=2013&fr=xFeaturedInventory), though you'd probably be a bit cramped on one since I think you're a little bigger than me. However, there's also a 2013 796 with the titanium Termignoni pipes for $10k (http://www.motoworkschicago.com/default.asp?page=xInventoryDetail&id=635759&p=1&make=ducati&s=Year&d=D&year=2013&fr=xFeaturedInventory) if you want an epic road trip ;)

Edit: I forgot to mention the story of why the dealer had these leftover 2013s. Turns out that their initial allocation of 2013 Monsters sold out pretty quickly, so they requested more from Ducati. They then waited, and waited some more. Then Ducati sent them more bikes.

In November. Which was a bit of a backhanded reward in Chicago. :lol:

October 26th, 2014, 06:04 AM
Had a good ride yesterday in the NW Chicago exurbs with 3 friends; all told it was about 80 miles round trip for me, so the mileage on the bike is up to 137 now. I topped off the tank this morning; my fuel economy was 48mpg in almost all exurban/rural/highway riding.

The guy with the HD Dyna had already left by the time this picture was taken at the end of the ride. I like how it shows 3 takes on a standard motorcycle; Italian sport standard, American cruiser standard, and Japanese UJM standard.

October 26th, 2014, 06:40 AM
Lookin' good. :up:

When do the Woodcraft clip-ons & rearsets, bar-end mirrors, Termignoni exhaust and tail tidy arrive? :D


October 26th, 2014, 06:51 AM
Stop it, Carlo!

October 26th, 2014, 07:49 AM
Stop it, Carlo!

Carlo speaks the truth. :)

October 26th, 2014, 08:07 AM
Lookin' good. :up:

When do the Woodcraft clip-ons & rearsets, bar-end mirrors, Termignoni exhaust and tail tidy arrive? :D
Never on the first 3, because my morning commute is Chicago rush hour traffic. Perhaps next year on the other two. Unless I get a screaming deal on a Termignoni, I'd probably go Arrow (http://www.arrow.it/eng/prodotti/motociclo.asp?IDM=7&IDTab=890), Competition Werkes (http://www.competitionwerkes.com/products/Ducati/2012/monster-696/slip-on-exhaust-2), or even the Vance and Hines (http://products.vanceandhines.com/store/40509/), which has an interesting angular look. Some people still end up running lean with the Ducati Performance ECU, so I'd lean towards a custom tune. As for the tail, I was looking at a few different kits like the Competition Werkes Fender Eliminator (http://www.competitionwerkes.com/products/Ducati/2012/monster-696/standard-fender-eliminator-3).

I did order some gold reflective rim strips (to add flair and safety!) and the Givi 3D603 tanklock bag (http://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/givi-3d603-tanklock-tankbag) since my old magnetic tankbag doesn't work with the Monster's plastic tank. Despite being listed as having an extra liter of capacity, Ducati Performance Pocket Tank Bag (http://store.proitalia.com/ducati-pocket-tank-bag) appears to be the exact same bag as the Givi 3D606 with a Ducati badge for $60 more :lol: I'm also considering the Ducati Performance tank bag, which can be found slightly used at substantial discounts on eBay.

October 26th, 2014, 08:12 AM
this was the Comp Werkes I was thinking of. (http://www.competitionwerkes.com/products/Ducati/2012/Monster1100Evo/gp-slip-on-exhaust-monster-1100evo-WDMON3-S) But I doubt It would work on yours...

My vote is the Vance and Hines.

:D Clicky (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmB2ceqftio)

October 28th, 2014, 10:19 PM
Spark makes a "MotoGP style" full exhaust system similar to that Comp Werkes, but it probably loses some low end power (I've heard the same of cans without the dB killers/silencers), and it's 112 dB and I'm not trying to be the asshole with a super loud exhaust warming up my bike at night.

Motowheels does offer reduced pricing on ECU reflashes when you buy an exhaust, so one could be in on Competition Werkes slip-ons, a high-flow air filter, and a reflash for about $1060. That'll be pretty tempting next year.

I just tried out my new last-year's model First Gear Fargo gloves with 40g Thinsulate lining, and they did their job in 50F nighttime highway riding. I'll get to see how they deal with a 40F rush hour commute in the morning. My Givi tank lock bag should show up today.

October 29th, 2014, 07:23 AM
I have found in 45F at night with my full metal pro is more than capable. Hands are cool, but not uncomfortable.

October 29th, 2014, 11:51 AM
"MotoGP" style would be "none." :p

October 30th, 2014, 02:29 PM
They've got cans (http://www.fastdates.com/PLN.Images2009/PLN.RossiAction01Wheelie.jpg). Tiny cans of dubious effectiveness (http://www.sc-project.com/racing/motogp/2013/ASPAR/RANDY_DE_PUNIET_TEAM_ASPAR_CRT_SCPROJECT_EXHAUST_A RT_APRILIA_SILENCIEUX.jpg), but they're there. Yamaha had some rather long ones (http://www.ret-monitor.com/articles/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/exhausts-fig1.jpg) back in the early 2000s.

In car news, a buddy and I finished putting the Koni Yellows I bought a while back on the Mazdaspeed3. The ride at city speeds is vastly improved, but highway impressions will have to wait until traffic dies down. Lane changes and cornering are flatter, and the rear end (the end that had the leaking shocks) doesn't hop around over bumps anymore.

November 5th, 2014, 11:33 PM
Today it got into the high 50F range, so I decided to take the Ducati out to top off the tank and get the Stabil I'd added a day ago throughout the system. After meeting with a buddy on his lunch break, I was throwing a leg over it and this happened:


Judging by posts on Ducati forums, broken signals from fairly innocuous contact are fairly common. The broken bit of mine is part of the rear fender, so I guess a tail chop is on the list for next year. I'm leaning towards the Evotech (http://www.monsterparts.com/p/7427/Evotech+Fender+Eliminator+for+Ducati+Monster+696,+ 796+and+1100-1100EVO.html) at the moment; as I hear it works with saddlebag racks like the Givi or Ducati Performance models.

November 6th, 2014, 04:00 AM
JB Weld? ;)

November 6th, 2014, 12:53 PM
If we get an unseasonably warm day that looks good for a ride, I'll probably just duct tape it in place :D

November 29th, 2014, 08:38 PM
Well, I didn't take a picture, but the duct taped (Gorilla brand tape, actually) turn signal did happen on this unseasonably warm day. :D

NW exurbs, with my Honda Nighthawk 750 owning riding buddy again.

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpa1/v/t1.0-9/10394006_10154835974135696_2223152695008864291_n.j pg?oh=076d887497663e4c42bf762bbfd9296b&oe=55156FFF&__gda__=1428057577_7e94a05a56ecc90e94f9ad763fd06f3 a

Chasing the low winter sun:

https://scontent-a-ord.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/v/t1.0-9/10397810_10204251386258923_2895181213332119226_n.j pg?oh=400e41d61923e6057892c658c36cadef&oe=550E5ABF

I attached the mini-fairing/flyscreen that came with my black Darmah art kit body panels (20th AE models like mine delete the flyscreen) last week, as it required ordering about $30 worth of brackets and fasteners. I didn't notice a huge difference on the highway with it when not tucked into a sportbike riding position, which led to noticeably less wind pushing on my helmet. However, I was a bit less fatigued after riding today, so perhaps the difference is subtle, but effective.
https://scontent-a-ord.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpa1/v/t1.0-9/10153877_10154835663190696_6540372475879005476_n.j pg?oh=dd911e643704700dcf511dba589e34ac&oe=55075AF1

November 30th, 2014, 02:49 PM
:up: :up:

February 9th, 2015, 12:05 AM
I picked up an Evotech Tail Tidy (http://www.evotech-performance.com/ducati-monster-696-2008-onwards-tail-tidy) for $80 off of eBay (vs the going rate of $140-150). Naturally, it couldn't go perfectly, and it was missing the LED license plate light inside of the sealed package. I emailed the seller and Evotech about it, and am subsequently hoping to hear something back before I go and get some aftermarket plate light.

In the mean time, I also ordered a tinted integrated tail light (http://www.ducatimonstertailchop.com/monster-659-696-796-1100-fender-eliminator/integrated-taillight-659-696-796-1100/) for a couple of reasons. One is for looks, but functionally, if I mount the factory turn signals on the tail chop, they're liable to interfere with the passenger grab bars I'm leaning towards getting with the intent of using them as luggage tie downs.

February 9th, 2015, 05:42 AM
Do the OEM mirrors show you more than your elbows/shoulders? Mine don't.

February 9th, 2015, 11:02 AM
Mine show me what's to the left and right of me, but not that far behind, or anything directly behind me. My 20th AE came with round mirrors (http://www.moto-science.com/product/ducati-monster-997998-20th-anniversary-mirrors-52340031c52340021c) instead of the regular more oval mirrors, which I'm not sure is any better or worse. The OEM rectangular mirrors on my Suzuki worked a lot better, but that also had a more upright riding position.

I was considering bar-ends, and looking on Moto Science, I could get some bar-end mirrors made by FAR s.p.a. for $130 for a pair. Half the price of CRGs, which is good, and from an Italian OEM supplier, which may or may not be good :lol:

February 9th, 2015, 11:12 AM
Ye Gods, NOBODY but you is gonna know that you're rockin' this $45 pair (http://www.motorcycle-superstore.com/45432/i/bikemaster-folding-bar-end-mirrors)... ;)

February 9th, 2015, 11:26 AM
Non-European parts!??!?!

I'd know, Carlo. I'd know.

Actually, the Two Brothers Silver Series slip-ons (http://www.twobros.com/cgi-bin/shopper?preadd=action&key=005-2490405DV-S) are on my short list since the CF version can be had for less than $700, and they've got an American flag in their logo.

February 9th, 2015, 11:29 AM
DO IT!! :twisted:

Our Triumph Street Triple rocks some cheapy bar-end mirrors. I do have to snug 'em up about once every 12 months. :lol: #unacceptable

February 10th, 2015, 11:09 AM

February 10th, 2015, 11:59 AM
Sounds sensible.

February 13th, 2015, 05:06 AM
New Haven Powersports, the seller of the Evotech Tail Tidy I ordered offered to give me a refund if I returned the Evotech Tail Tidy. I figured I'd hold on to it, because I'd still be coming out ahead even if I bought some generic license plate light.

I also emailed Evotech, telling them this, and they're sending me the LED license plate for free.

Oh, and my integrated tail light came in yesterday. Now I just have to hope that the plate light makes it over from Alford, Lincolnshire, sometime soon. And for it not to be super cold so I can install everything.

February 18th, 2015, 05:15 PM
Rear axle sliders, frame sliders, and an AlpineStars Nucleon KR-2i back protector for my AlpineStars Scout jacket came in today. I also included the Evotech Tail Tidy and Motodynamic integrated tail light in the pic for the heck of it. I installed the rear axle sliders since it took about 5 minutes, and slipped the back protector into my jacket to make sure it fit. The back protector is a fair bit stiffer than the D3o I put in my Firstgear jacket, but it's also a fair bit larger.

https://scontent-ord.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpa1/v/t1.0-9/10917292_10155180720025696_8095802976355459591_n.j pg?oh=57713234cc9dde7607eef6058569579d&oe=5559A260

February 22nd, 2015, 05:22 PM
Used my new propane heater while I installed my Shogun frame sliders, which went off without a hitch. I also took a picture of the R&G axle sliders/spindles after I was done.


February 27th, 2015, 06:50 PM
Evotech Tail Tidy and Motodynamic integrated tail light installed.


The install went off mostly without any hitches. I ended up having to splice some T-tap connectors into the stock wiring harness to put apply an optional (though not for me!) to keep the brake light's stop alert from flashing randomly. This of course required me to take the Tail Tidy off to do so. The Evotech plate light doesn't really light up the plate well, but eh, it's there.

Oh, and I found out that the plate holder for the Tail Tidy also wasn't shipped with the kit. Effing eBay :rolleyes: I zip-tied my plate on for the time being until I figure something out.

I'll have to get some pics of the tail light lit up when I have a helper.

March 1st, 2015, 06:25 PM
Much better. :up: :up:

March 10th, 2015, 05:38 PM
It got into the 50s today, so I went for a quick first ride of 2015. I also got to experience what the rear of my bike will look like when riding through water now that I've installed the Evotech Tail Tidy (why nobody can make an aftermarket extended rear hugger is beyond me).

Afterwards, I installed the Rhino Moto bar end sliders/mirror mounts and CRG Hindsight LS mirrors. Don't know when I'll get a chance to ride with them since it's supposed to cool down to more seasonable temperatures after today.


And, for the ultimate in mirrors, Quad Rounds!

March 11th, 2015, 08:58 AM
It got into the 50s today, so I went for a quick first ride of 2015. I also got to experience what the rear of my bike will look like when riding through water now that I've installed the Evotech Tail Tidy (why nobody can make an aftermarket extended rear hugger is beyond me).
Man, I am glad that my Springtime motorcycling feels are blunted now. I've started the bikes up in my garage but that's it, I have *zero* desire to go riding until we've had some storms to clear the roads. #filthy

I'm glad you changed your mind on the bar-end mirrors. :D :up:

March 11th, 2015, 10:37 AM
I only did a 6 mile round trip ride to Home Depot and back, so there wasn't too much grime to deal with apart from the deceptively dangerous slow right turns ;)

Speaking of which, the "creme" (really more of a mocha in person) AlpineStars Scout Touring DryStar Jacket (http://softsoftka.com/images/images.php?search=B001P4BK54) may not have been the greatest idea to combine with a tail chop, but fashion (tail chop) and cheapness (eBay and Motorcycle Closeouts Black Friday sale) won out.

I think that the 20th AE Mickey Mouse mirrors would've been good if the stalks were just an inch or so longer. I figured antenna-style mirrors would be useful like on my Suzuki, but I was wrong. I'm not sure when I'll get to ride and see how the CRGs work for me, but just sitting on the bike, they appear to actually show something behind me.

March 11th, 2015, 03:22 PM
I'd forgotten a few small things when I went to Home Depot, so naturally I took the bike to go there and do some light grocery shopping as well.

The CRG Hindsight LS are definitely better than the factory mirrors. The convex shape lets me see more, and reflected images still seem more clear in spite of it, so I wouldn't be surprised if they're of higher optical quality than the factory mirrors (made by F.A.R. Spa). I'll need to wait until my break-in period's done to see if they vibe at high revs, but they stay pretty still during the L-Twin's lumpy idle. Whether they'd be this vibration free without the Rhino Moto bar end mounts, I can't say.

March 16th, 2015, 05:09 PM
Attached the Ducati Performance passenger grab rails, which will exclusively be used as luggage tie-downs for a backpack.


March 27th, 2015, 11:18 AM
So this showed up today:

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xtp1/v/t1.0-9/11059448_10155322090910696_2267944010798918738_n.j pg?oh=b74114ce473a27eb0e9c5a206db9f8ec&oe=55B3A692&__gda__=1433834071_c4782b83b25949382caa10c1568439f b

The baffles haven't turned up yet, but it's unseasonably cold here (more snow? WTF?) anyway.

March 27th, 2015, 04:54 PM
Mounted it and took some pics:

Despite the baffles not having arrived yet, I started it up after mounting, because after all, I had to check for leaks :D
It was loud, but not as loud as I thought it'd be. Now I'm wondering if I should've gone with the 3-4 dB reduction baffles instead of the 7-8 dB baffles...

On the practical side, it's a lot easier to get to the relocated seat lock with the smaller mufflers.

April 1st, 2015, 04:46 PM
Two Brothers Racing P1X Power Tip noise reduction tips arrived a few days after the slip-ons and got installed.


Since it got into the 70s today, I went for a ~30 mile ride through the nearby suburbs to try out the new exhaust and new Dainese Carbon Cover ST gloves (http://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/dainese-carbon-cover-st-gloves). I stopped for a quick meal at a nearby hot dog stand, and continued further into the suburbs. It was a pretty good ride until I was halfway home and traffic picked up. The heat of the rear cylinder and/or it's header pipe throw out a lot of heat next to your left leg when stopped and standing in traffic. I stopped for some light grocery shopping and gas, and then went home. I got ~42 mpg on the tank, not bad given the old gas and the times I idled it over the winter just to hear the bike.

https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xaf1/v/t1.0-9/11080892_10155342060395696_1083209446907325367_n.j pg?oh=91c94a9cad82aea9dd117d38e2892a79&oe=55AC6276&__gda__=1437099458_01ad83b9893b953dd62f28d1a954778 d

The gloves were mostly comfortable, but will need a bit more breaking in. They're a little tight on my thumbs, some of the seams were pretty noticeable, and at one point my hands tingled a bit. I'm not too worried, because it was the first time I rode with them and they're all leather, so they should break in nicely. I remember the seams bothering me the first few times I rode with my AlpineStars Sp-1 gloves as well.

The TBR slip-ons with the P1X tips sounded great. TBR claims a 7-8dB reduction in noise, and the unscientific videos I've seen show 9-10dB reductions. The bike isn't much louder than stock at idle and has the right amount of extra noise and popping at cruising engine speeds without any tiresome droning.

April 1st, 2015, 07:08 PM
Looks sharp, Ross! :up: :up:

April 2nd, 2015, 08:52 AM
take off those reflectors from the front forks.


April 2nd, 2015, 02:35 PM
You just reminded me, I've got some reflective rim tape that I never got around to sticking on since it got super cold immediately after I ordered it last year.

April 5th, 2015, 11:16 AM
It got up into the mid-50s yesterday, so I rode up to Lake Geneva, WI and back yesterday with my Sportster and Nighthawk owning buddies. Between where we met up and getting home, it was about a 150 mile round trip for me.

Though I'm glad I took advantage of the relative warmth and lack of rain, it was a tiring ride due to strong winds (gusts up to 30mph according to the forecast). I was probably the most affected by them since I've got the lightest bike and also weigh the least.

But, on the plus side, I'm completely happy with the sound of my Two Bros exhaust with the baffles, a buddy said that my integrated taillight is nice and visible, and after getting back and filling up, I learned that I can get 56 mpg on a long interstate ride averaging 70-80 mph even on a windy day, and now I'm only 109 miles away from the break-in mileage.

April 26th, 2015, 05:58 PM
Got the bike back from the break-in service and dyno tune. Now I wish I'd gotten a baseline tune before I installed the Two Brothers Racing slip-ons, Termignomi air filter, and Ducati Performance airbox lid. FWIW, stock 696s seem to turn 62-67hp depending upon the dyno. The post-reflash power loss from 6000-6750 is a bit disappointing, but the bike's low end and off-idle response in particular felt more responsive now that it's not leaned out for emissions. I'll need to do a little more riding to be sure, but apart from knowing that my bike won't be running lean with the slip-ons and intake, I'm not really sure that it was worth it.


June 23rd, 2015, 06:41 AM
...and I may have just blown the turbo seals in the Mazdaspeed3. :/

I got some smoke from the tail pipe with the distinctive smell of burning oil after doing a hard launch to get across an intersection.

Blown seals aren't uncommon in pre-2008.5 Mazdaspeed3s and all Mazdaspeed6s (later MS3s got a revised turbo), even in stock trim, and I've been pushing more boost than stock in my 2008-point-nothing for a good 25-30k miles now. Supposedly stronger bolt-on aftermarket turbos go for $900-1100.

June 23rd, 2015, 07:26 AM
Can you do the work yourself?

June 23rd, 2015, 03:17 PM
Most of it is basically removing everything that's not the engine from the top of the bay (intake, intercooler, battery, etc), but getting at the downpipe without a lift and the appropriate impact tools and extensions is pretty difficult when new, let alone after 5 Chicago winters.

So I'm probably out 4 hours of labor on this one plus a dyno tune. This of course conveniently happens after I ordered a set of sway bars and end links (bushings were going, so I figured, "why not?").

June 24th, 2015, 11:27 AM
If you can, take the car off the road for several days before attempting the work and hose down all the turbo bolts (to manifold, to downpipe) in PB Blaster or Seafoam or both multiple times for several prior to the work. Personally, I'd order replacement hardware in advance and at least have it as backup, if not go ahead and use it regardless of whether something breaks. :up:

June 24th, 2015, 05:47 PM
I agree. Take it to a shop that has experience with this too.

June 26th, 2015, 03:15 PM
It seems that my turbo isn't constantly smoking, so the seals are holding when not under high boost for now.

In motorcycle news, I applied the rim strips I bought last year (when it was too cold to apply them):


June 27th, 2015, 06:58 AM
Pull those fork reflectors off

June 27th, 2015, 07:04 AM
:lol: :up:

September 15th, 2015, 07:34 PM
Future baby hauling duties will be performed by a 2014 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring:

https://scontent-ord1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpf1/v/t1.0-9/11218065_10156012598070696_7928258926490655434_n.j pg?oh=64136936ceaea41c5affe04b6fb6b229&oe=56A050B1

It's got the Tech Package (HIDs, Nav, city automatic braking), so it pretty much had every factory installed option. I'll need to do more driving to really get a feel for it.

The Mazdaspeed3 now has some bigger Corksport sway bars, pictured below is the rear, as the front isn't particularly visible:

https://scontent-ord1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpf1/v/t1.0-9/11999088_10156013312925696_4341946731128710653_n.j pg?oh=504a132557c7e29c75801af99f578fb1&oe=566A04E2

I also got an alignment shortly thereafter, and the car definitely takes turns with less drama than before.

In Ducati news, the bike now has CRG Roll-A-Click levers. They're a little more bright gold than I'd prefer, but they were $40 each from the CRG closeout web site. They have accomplished my goal of putting the levers slightly closer to my stubby fingers.

https://scontent-ord1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpt1/v/t1.0-9/12004792_10156013398700696_1332698485714914923_n.j pg?oh=12469dd4f04297d332dc73bd738a8a6f&oe=56A661DE

After a trip to Savannah, IL (straight west from me, across the Mississippi River from Iowa), I've put a bit over 2400 miles on the Ducati this year. There was some inadvertent riding on dirt/gravel roads after taking a wrong turn on some NW Illinois back roads. It was a bit nerve-wracking, so I do not recommend doing so while riding on sport touring tires :lol:

https://scontent-ord1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xat1/v/t1.0-9/12009617_10156013318655696_1031265822348312794_n.j pg?oh=2b1f932a66ed93685df2b87dac6d8c9f&oe=566B9887

September 15th, 2015, 07:53 PM
The CX5 might be the best looking Mazda right now! :up:

September 15th, 2015, 08:25 PM
I dunno, the sedans are pretty sharp looking, too.

September 16th, 2015, 03:13 AM
Some great toys you've got yourself there! :up: :up:

September 16th, 2015, 08:05 AM
Baby hauling, huh? ;)

October 1st, 2015, 01:52 PM

Having driven the CX-5 a few hundred miles, I'm still pretty satisfied with it.

I've driven it around on errands and grocery shopping, where the higher floor and bigger hatch in general have come in handy. I also drove it out to my cousin's farm about 30 minutes south of Dekalb, IL. Heading there, we took half interstate, and half state and farm roads. Although the CX-5 obviously doesn't have the acceleration of my 295 whp, ~300 lb lighter Mazdaspeed3, it's not exactly dangerously slow. Published acceleration times are in the range of 7.6-7.8 seconds for 0-60 times, and 15.8-16.0 for quarter mile runs. IIRC, that's about what V6 midsize sedans did back when I was in high school in the mid-to-late 1990s, and it would come down to a driver's race with my old 1997 Miata.

Handling is the CX-5's strong suit relative to the competition, with the general consensus being that it has the best handling in the segment. The only competitors I've driven are the Ford Escape and the Subaru Forester, and the CX-5 hands-down beats them for handling feel. The flip side of that is more road noise, but it's awfully quiet compared to my aftermarket intake, turboback exhaust, motor and trans mount equipped Mazdaspeed3.

It seems difficult to average less than the EPA city rating of 24 mpg just driving around, even with short trips, whereas I get around 16 mpg driving the MS3 around on short trips, and average 21-22 mpg in my half open freeway, half rush hour freeway, commuting. The highway rating of 30mpg seems difficult to achieve at typical interstate speeds, though beating it is possible on more relaxed state roads. With the absurd 60-80 cent per gallon premium fuel surcharge around here, it's nice to have a vehicle that runs on regular again, especially when I can't make it to Costco for gas.

All the the random safety features of the CX-5 are taking some getting used to. Using the backup camera is strange to me after nearly 2 decades of backing up using mirrors, so I pretty much just use the mirrors and use the backup camera for making sure there isn't a small child/dog/dwarf directly behind me in a lot. The blind spot monitors are kind of neat, illuminating in the mirror when a vehicle is there, and beeping if you put your signal on while said vehicle is there. If the 'Smart City Brake Support' has engaged, I haven't noticed. It's supposed to provide some extra assist below 20mph, and can supposedly stop the vehicle itself below 10mph. The adaptive headlights do their job on curves out in the middle of nowhere, providing a subtle, but effective increase in light coverage. I definitely like those. All in all, said safety features are worth $90/year lower auto insurance.

The dealership got back to me with the service history, as it was originally purchased and serviced at the dealer that I purchased it from. The owner did all their maintenance at the dealer, which not what I do because I'm cheap and I'm in a weird dead spot for Mazda dealers, but what I like to see when buying a used car. The CX-5 got oil changes every 5k miles, as well as getting the brake fluid flushed and rear diff fluid changed at 40k miles. This saves me some money on fluids for a while, as none of them for the CX-5 are cheap. The factory engine oil is a Mazda spec 0W-20 synthetic which supposedly has triple the molybdenum of other synthetics, which is apparently very tempting to oil forum weirdos. Shipping costs generally wipe out any savings ordering it online, but I did find a Mazda dealer selling it in oil change kits with 5 quarts and a filter for $40 and free shipping for orders over $100. The Mazda-spec FL22 coolant is only available from Mazda dealers in 55/45 pre-mixed jugs or Ford dealers, where you can get it in non-diluted form.

On the modification front, I've changed the interior and license plate lights with an LED kit I got from Amazon for $18. They're working well thus far. I also got some aftermarket door sill scuff plates from Amazon for $33 vs the $105+ for the OEM Mazda items.

One of the rear plates had a small edge ding, and one of the fronts has some small scratches. They all have fingerprints etched into them that will probably require being buffed out with fine steel wool. I'd rate the sill plates as being 1/3rd the price of the OEM sill plates, and 2/3rds the quality. I've been thinking about getting the OEM bumper guard, which is only around $20 more than aftermarket versions anyway. I'm still debating getting a separate set of winter wheels and tires. I could go as low as 16" vs the stock 19" wheels, which would make for fairly inexpensive wheels and tires. However, I need new winter wheels and tires for the MS3 this year. The tires I've had for the past 6 years are starting to crack between the tread, and 2 wheels don't hold air particularly well. One has a dent from a monster pothole, one is probably just due to corrosion.They pretty much all have peeling paint from exposure to said 6 winters. I'm also debating dropping the CX-5 down to 18" wheels once the stock 19" tires on it wear out. The stock 225/55-19 size of the CX-5 GT models doesn't have too many tire choices compared to the 18" size of 225/60-18, and the stock 7" width of the 19" wheels also makes them an oddball size.

October 1st, 2015, 03:15 PM
Using the backup camera is strange to me after nearly 2 decades of backing up using mirrors, so I pretty much just use the mirrors and use the backup camera for making sure there isn't a small child/dog/dwarf directly behind me in a lot. Same.
I'm several months in with the Cruze's backup camera and am still not used to it.

October 2nd, 2015, 04:42 AM
That's really all that the backup cameras were designed for, looking for small objects that are shorter than the bottom of the rear glass. They became mandatory because it's a relatively inexpensive fix for a growing problem (more people going to taller cars, and low cars with bigger/higher rear ends)

October 2nd, 2015, 12:41 PM
Ah, I remember the days when I could see out the back end of sedans. Now the view out the back of something like a rental Impala seems almost as tall as my father's old 1990ish 2WD F-150's tailgate.

October 7th, 2015, 07:16 PM
My Monster appears to be leaking oil from the filter while running. I tightened it slightly with a strap wrench, which reduced the rate, but it still drips.

Perusing Ducati forums, apparently gaskets failing on OEM Ducati filters isn't uncommon, because Italy, apparently. The recommendation seems to be to go with the K&N filter, presumably made by Champion Labs like 1/3rd of the oil filters out there.

My bike's almost due for its 1 year service anyway, which includes an oil and filter change (along with a valve and belt check, which is going to cost me a decent bit). I'll probably have them install my Oxford heated grips while it's in there as well.

October 19th, 2015, 01:14 PM
1 year service done, belts and valves were fine, and heated grips installed.

https://scontent-ord1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xlp1/v/t1.0-9/549427_10156109277830696_7110601175868769927_n.jpg ?oh=81e88681a608652214d397ca7a9bd8ae&oe=56BD5E56

They definitely throw out some serious heat at 100%

October 20th, 2015, 05:53 AM
"Once these get to 100%, you're gonna feel some serious heat."

Sorry, watched a BTTF reel earlier.

November 3rd, 2015, 07:03 AM
I decided to get new winter wheels and tires because my old 17" set that's 6 years old was due for replacement. Two had leaks that required adding air every week; one from a dent, the other probably from rim corrosion. The tires had plenty of tread, but were showing cracking between the tread blocks. I ended up going with some 16" Sport Edition CS1s and General Altimax Arctic tires in 215/55-16, because 16" wheels and tires are cheap, and maybe I'll be less likely to dent a wheel this time around. The Generals did surprisingly well in Tirerack's testing for a cheap tire, so I figured I'd give them a go.

https://scontent-ord1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpf1/v/t1.0-9/12049735_10156156150960696_2020954427498928146_n.j pg?oh=fcdde7c371f83a9443a65ac0d36b89a6&oe=56B5E741

The dog is destroying a dried leaf there, because that's what he does with dried leaves.

I also got an oil analysis on the Mazdaspeed3 back from Blackstone Labs. I had 3,120 miles on the Mobil1 synthetic, but I replaced it because it'd been 6 months. Trace metals were at good levels, though the analysis also said that the engine using 6 quarts of oil may cause some dilution of those levels. There was also no fuel or coolant contamination, and the total base number suggests that I could easily go for longer oil change intervals.

I changed the CX-5's oil so that I'd know for sure when it needs to be done, and also so that I'm not due to change it in February. Janelle would be all whining that she can't change the oil because it's cold and she just had a baby. I ended up going with the OEM Mazda "0W-20 GF5 with Moly" oil, which I've found cheapest after shipping from a dealer that sells a kit with 4.8 qts and a Mazda filter made by Toyko Roki Co. Ltd. As I've said before, supposedly the Mazda oil has triple the molybdenum level that most other 0W-20 synthetics do, which oil forum weirdos find intriguing. Anyways, the change went uneventfully apart from the drain plug having been cranked on by the usual dealer oil change gorilla and the upside-down orientation of the filter making for quite the mess when removing it. Oh, and that 0W-20 pours like water compared to even 5W-30.

November 3rd, 2015, 09:59 AM
Those wheels make that car look remarkably plain. :up:

November 3rd, 2015, 05:24 PM
I always thought that the stock 18" wheels made the car look plain, even if they did a decent job of filling the wheel arches. The first time that my father rode in it, he told me to give it some gas on a long straightaway. He was quite impressed, saying, "It doesn't look like it would be that fast!"

February 9th, 2016, 03:43 PM
Thanks to it being on sale and getting a $50 off holiday coupon, I picked up a Shoei GT-Air for $40 less out the door than the Revzilla price today:


February 10th, 2016, 12:01 AM
Noice! :up:

April 18th, 2016, 05:26 AM
To keep water from getting sprayed onto my back post tail chop, I ordered a Storm Aeroparts fender off of a Thai seller on eBay. It was listed for the Monster 795, which AFAIK was a 796 engine and the lower 696 chassis for Asian markets. Shipping was fairly steep, but it did get to my house in a week. The metal arm has a few nicks that occurred before powder coating, and the ABS plastic fender had one of the holes drilled out of line (I simply enlarged it with a round file), but other than that it was fine.


April 18th, 2016, 05:41 AM
Sharp, unique and functional. :up:

April 18th, 2016, 06:58 AM
Hopefully, I have yet to test it by riding through rain/puddles.

April 18th, 2016, 08:19 AM
Yeah, that's pretty decent looking - nice find!

June 8th, 2016, 02:13 PM
I've since ridden through wet roads and light rain, and the Thai fender kept the stripe off my back.

In preparation for an upcoming trip, I bought a Kappa WA401S 30L saddle roll bag (http://www.kappamoto.com/Soft-Luggage/Tail-bags/WA401S). I figure I may also use it as a gym bag for when I hit the gym before work. I've been strapping on a 35L Ogio Metro backpack with cargo netting and a ROK strap (to keep it from sliding forward), but it is kind of annoying balancing it on the Monster's little rear seat, keeping the straps underneath, and tucking the top so that it doesn't partly block my tail light.

Seems to fit nicely, though I'll probably use my ROK straps to strap it down instead of the included bungees.

September 7th, 2016, 09:12 PM
... and my car has joined the smoking turbo club. It's become noticeable not only after high boost, but also while idling in traffic. :/

An OEM K04 turbo is $1000, a Dorman OE replacement is $700, and a Corksport built K04 is $1100, but would require a custom tune. (http://corksport.com/mazdaspeed-3-turbo-upgrade.html)

September 8th, 2016, 02:46 PM
Custom tune is moar powahs, no?

September 8th, 2016, 07:12 PM
At 295 whp, my car is pretty close to dangerous territory on the stock connecting rods (at above 300 whp, having a good tune becomes very important). Going much higher would necessitate stronger rods.

Also, ~300hp in a FWD car is kind of silly already.

September 9th, 2016, 05:43 AM
Speed is just a question of money -- how fast do you want to go?

Dial back the boost and shorten up the oil change intervals?

September 9th, 2016, 06:03 AM
Law of diminishing returns, and saving for kid stuff. Go buck mild.

September 11th, 2016, 05:35 AM
Speed is just a question of money -- how fast do you want to go?

Dial back the boost and shorten up the oil change intervals?
Maybe, but pre-2008.5 Mazdaspeed3/6 had weaker turbo seals. Turbo warranty coverage got extended to 7 years/70k. I may try changing from 5w30 to 5w40 at my next oil change (Mazda's recommendation before they went and extended warranty coverage after half of the 2007 owners were already past the mileage limit).

Law of diminishing returns, and saving for kid stuff. Go buck mild.
I really can't find any info on the Dorman OE replacement turbo or Rotomaster rebuilds, which makes me a bit wary of them. However, the next cheapest option after just using 5w40 is a K04 rebuild kit, which I might do if I'm feeling particularly ambitious.

Also, baby on motorcycle!

https://scontent-lga3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/14224863_10157367070240696_3718352966657288850_n.j pg?oh=883abe25485b35686260c2c31af8fd1f&oe=587436EB

September 11th, 2016, 05:49 AM
Adorbs :up:

February 20th, 2017, 02:24 AM
I took advantage of the record setting warmth Chicago's had for the past few days by riding in to work last night. Normally, it's not warm enough to ride at night until mid-March, and even that can be hit or miss. I probably had less than a half gallon left in my tank from last season, so I dumped a little old 87 octane from my lawnmower can in to make sure I made it to Costco, because fuck paying $1/extra per gallon for 93 octane, even if it's less than 3 gallons. So I guess I've got the equivalent of 91 octane in the tank at the moment.

It was my first time trying out both my Sena 20S and my Triumph Bright gloves.

Initially, the Sena 20S didn't get off to a good start right before I was about to leave my house, momentarily dropping the connection with my phone. However, it lasted about 5 seconds, and reconnected on it's own. It didn't give me any more problems after that, but I'll have to be on the lookout for that. The volume level still doesn't get high enough for some podcasts, but music was intelligible at speeds where I wouldn't hear much of anything with my SMH-10R (I almost always wear earplugs to filter out wind noise). If I pay attention, I could tell that the much larger 20S control unit (relative to the SMH-10R) makes more wind noise, but that's not a big surprise given the size of it.

The Triumph Bright gloves are indeed quite bright (http://thumbs.ebaystatic.com/images/m/ms8D1bKUEdB94_VtqYMuFfg/s-l225.jpg). They seem a bit tight and fatiguing compared to my nicely broken-in Dainese Carbon Covers, but I'm sure a lot of that is due to the Brights not being broken in. The backs of the Brights are synthetic, but the palms are goatskin. They also felt thicker, which I guess they always will since they have a waterproof Outlast liner. They don't claim to be insulated, but they're definitely a little warmer and lack ventilation compared to my Carbon Covers.

February 20th, 2017, 02:23 PM
Have you upgraded the firmware on the 20S? They update it fairly regularly and are pretty good about addressing user issues. Might help with the connection bit, if it persists.

February 20th, 2017, 04:02 PM
I updated the firmware as soon as I unpacked it.

Haven't tried the configuration app yet, though I've found some humor in the 1-star reviews by idiots who couldn't be bothered to read that it's not compatible with their older Bluetooth 3.x SMH devices.

April 6th, 2017, 08:43 PM
My Monster 696 now has a 4" taller dark smoke tinted Puig Racing windscreen. I haven't gotten to do any long rides on it, but it seemed to reduce wind on my chest in what limited riding I've done this year.


The Mazdaspeed3 was giving me some trouble shifting, which was apparently due to the brakes being worn, and the brake and clutch system sharing the same fluid reservoir. The pads still had 30-40% thickness, but the rotors were worn to the minimum allowed thickness. I replaced them with Centric/Stoptech street pads, slotted front rotors, and 'high carbon' rear rotors.


In more exciting news, I had my smoking factory K04 turbo replaced with a Corksport replacement K04 built to higher specs (https://corksport.com/mazdaspeed-3-6-turbo-upgrade.html). In addition to the leaking seals, the factory turbo had a bit more play in the shaft than it should've. Driving home, I peaked at 20 psi, which is 2 higher than my Cobb AccessPort V3's stage 2 off-the-shelf-map targets (which doesn't account for my thicker intercooler or the turbo, of course). Power delivery also seemed a bit smoother, but that could be in my head. When I bought the Cobb AccessPort V3, I didn't realize that Cobb no longer gives a free copy of their consumer focused Accesstuner Race software. Now they make you take a $150 online course from some third party company on top fo $500-650 for the AP V3 (Mazda AP V3 are $650). They claim it was due to fear of the EPA (not entirely unwarranted due to Harley Davidson settling with them over their engine tuners), but the main effect seems to be screwing over small tuners who couldn't/wouldn't pay for the Cobb Accesstuner Pro licensing fees. My mechanic gave Corksport a call about their "plug and play" 3.5 bar MAP sensor which requires changing some values, and they seemed to be of the same opinion.


Speaking of shifting, I got a Corksport Short Shift plate (https://corksport.com/corksport-mazdaspeed-short-shift-plate.html), which offers a claimed 20-32% throw reduction. I picked the 20% setting since the instructions mentioned some cars having possible difficulty shifting into 2nd gear in the higher reduction setting. Even at 20%, the throw reduction is noticeable.

Also, VW 1.9 TDI turbos are super kawaii!


That's in my hand. My hands are size smedium.

April 7th, 2017, 04:34 AM
So what's the next step? Unclear as to what you're going to do -- switch over to the Corksport setup? I'd think you're now at "custom tune time".

Great work! Looking forward to hearing about the new power at the wheels! :D :up:

April 7th, 2017, 05:10 AM
I was planning on a custom tune from the beginning, I just didn't know that Cobb had amped up their dickishness as of late. Had I known, I would've bought the Versatuner software and saved $250.

My mechanic is going to look into what it costs to get the Cobb Accestuner Pro software. They just started selling APs for the Mk 7 VW GTI, and there is the potential Ford ST market (I see plenty of them around Chicago). If it's not worth it for him, I'll have to contact one of the tuning shops in the area that sell Cobb products. If they don't do it, I'll have to go with a remote tune where I send data logs to a company who make a tune and email it to me. A company called Freektune does this for $250.

April 7th, 2017, 09:02 AM
At least we have those options today instead of mailing EPROMs around! :)

April 7th, 2017, 12:19 PM
Hell, there are still places that you mail your Ducati ECU to for a reflash.

April 13th, 2017, 07:27 PM

My Mazdaspeed3 is either leaking or consuming coolant. Not sure when I'll get a chance to determine if it's something simple like the coolant line not being tightened all the way or if everything is going to have to come off again.

April 14th, 2017, 04:17 AM
But you gots boost amirite?? :assclown: :up: #whysoserious

April 14th, 2017, 08:28 AM
Could always throw a little dye in there and wait. :D

August 8th, 2017, 07:06 PM
The turbo was actually weeping oil from one of the banjo bolts. Guess I was just used to smelling oil/coolant mixture on high mileage Crown Vic's :lol:

The shop that did the work torqued it sightly higher than the instructions suggested, and it's been fine ever since.

However, a month later, a coolant reservoir return hose popped out of the fitting securing it above the radiator, then bounced into the cooling fan and got sliced, showering my engine bay with coolant. Thankfully, I was a few blocks from my house when it happened.

One OE Mazda hose later, I was good to go. Or so I thought. I also picked up a screw with one of my tires on that hose slicing trip, which flattened my tire in the week my car was out of commission. I plugged that with a plug kit, which is holding air nicely.

August 8th, 2017, 07:21 PM
You can't trust rubbers!

June 21st, 2019, 02:47 PM
In the past year, I replaced some the rusting, leaking rear Koni Yellows with some Sensen Mazda5 shocks, which was the cheap Mazdaspeed3 shock upgrade. I had a forward shock bolt break on me, which is a common 1st Gen Mazda3 issue. It was tack welded from the top, so I dropped it out (huge PITA), replaced it with a bolt and had my cousin weld the top of the new bolt. Hatch struts also got replaced since it would fall on me when it was in the single digit Fahrenheit range.

However, the drivetrain started making a lot of noise at idle, which is typically valves caked in carbon deposits. That's a common direct injection issue with early DI engines like this one. I've heard it's worse with short city trips where you don't really open up the car, which is what I spent most of my first 6 years of ownership doing.

My Potenza S04 tires were also starting to dry rot from age.

These two things wouldn't be that big of an issue, but since I'd crawl under the car now and then, the underside had gotten distressingly rusty over the past 11 years. A month back, I was driving to work when I heard a clunk and saw something flying behind me on the highway. A thin brace had broken in half, the remaining half dragged until I got to work and cut it off with bolt cutters. The sad thing was that I wasn't surprised that a rusty brace broke; I was just surprised that this particular brace was the one that broke. That was pretty much the last straw for the Mazdaspeed3 for me. I could spend a while cleaning the valves or pay somebody a grand to do it. I could get new tires. However, the rust dissuaded me from dumping the better part of a couple grand into an 11 year old car.

June 21st, 2019, 08:16 PM
Part 2 now that I'm on a device with a physical keyboard:

With that in mind, I thought about cars to replace the Mazdaspeed3 with. A new hot hatch was preferred since I'd like the option to cart my kids about if the CX-5 is in the shop for any reason, and the boy is still rear facing, which takes up a ton of room. If that weren't the case, I'd be shopping BR-Z/86, ND Miatas, or even a pony car. However, after a brief renaissance, US market hot hatches seem to be in decline again. Mazdaspeed is gone, the Focus is gone, the Fiesta ST and MK7 Golf are in their last model years (rumor has it the regular Golf MK8 at the very least will not be coming to the US market).

I narrowed down my vehicle search to sporty compact 4 doors (preferably hatches) under $30k decently equipped since I've been spoiled by my Mazdaspeed3 and CX-5, both of which were Grand Touring trim. Better fuel economy than my Mazdaspeed3 would also be a plus since it was rated for 18 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, and I averaged 22-23 mpg in my mostly highway commute with moderate to light traffic that's 10 miles longer than when I bought my Mazdaspeed3. Vehicles I considered off the top of my head were the Fiesta ST, Golf GTI, Civic Si, and Corolla hatch. The Fiesta ST and GTI had fairly aggressive cash incentives or low financing, but the cash incentives were appealing since I could get excellent loan terms from my credit union. The WRX and Civic Type R fall into a similar class of vehicle, but they're both a bit pricey for me, and the WRX is not a hatch.

I wish I had tales of test driving everything in the class, but I went and test drove a GTI S. I was looking for a Cornflower Blue Rabbit Edition, but that one was still in transit from Puebla. The S trim's interior was nice enough for me where I didn't want to spend extra for an SE or Autobahn model, and the Rabbit Edition has the same interior. I don't think it's quite as nice as some reviewers make it out to be, even by class standards. The Civic Si does feel pretty cheap in comparison, but Titanium trim Focuses and Mazda3s had and have some pretty nice compact car interiors too. The GTI seemed zippy enough with its claimed 228hp (though they regularly dyno around that at the wheels). It's definitely not as overtly sporting as my Mazdaspeed was even when it was stock. I say that when you say you want to hoon about, the GTI says, "Ja, ve shall go for ein sporting drive," whereas the Mazdaspeed chugs a Monster Energy, slaps you in the face, and says, "FUCK YEAH, GO TIME!" Still, the GTI is the closest thing to my Mazdaspeed3 that's still for sale under $30k. Handling seemed pretty similar to what I remember my Mazdaspeed3 handling like when it was stock, though with a more comfortable ride.

So, the dealer tried to push a GTI from the lot on me, which I get since they know if you leave you're probably not coming back to buy a car. However, I made my willingness to put down a deposit on the Cornflower Blue Rabbit Edition to be known, and I waited a week for it to show up. I applied for a loan from my credit union the day before, and they told me that they'd get back to me in 3 business days. A week later, the GTI showed up a day earlier than the freight estimate, and my credit union still hadn't approved my loan in spite of my credit score being 150 points higher than the minimum for their best rate. I called them after the dealer called me, and the person I talked to said they'd email somebody to expedite things. They still hadn't approved it a couple hours later when I got to the dealer. I called again, and it turned out I got approval pretty quickly when I said that I was at the dealer that very moment.

So, here's the Mazdaspeed3 replacement:

The Rabbit Edition is mostly an appearance package with black wheels, black spoiler, black mirror caps, 2 special colors (CF Blue and Urano Gray) but also adds Adaptive LED headlights and keyless entry without having to step up to SE or Autobahn trims. For 2019, GTIs got an extra 8 rated horsepower, the Performance Pack brakes, and a mechanical LSD standard. In less beneficial changes, when VW did the 2018 facelift, they pulled the ability to easily upgrade the factory stereo to a higher trim model. 2018-2019 models have a dummy shark fin GPS antenna that merely plugs a hole in the roof. It doesn't even provide radio reception since that's in the back window. I could see this making sense if VW wanted to only make one roof, but the models that have satellite radio/navigation optional also have moonroofs, so they make 2 different roofs anyway. The stereo also lost 2 rear tweeters, going from 8 total speakers to 6. If I want to upgrade to an infotainment system that includes Android Auto/Carplay, I either need to go aftermarket and hope that all the car controls work, or go through the trouble of retrofitting the previous higher trim stereo, which includes replacing the glovebox among other things.

Other tidbits:
-Judging by VW's claimed 3031 lb curb weight and published review weights as high as 3261 lbs, there's a hefty difference between a manual S trim GTI and a DSG SE/Autobahn trim. The flip side of this is that manual transmission GTIs seem to often beat the 24 city/32 highway mpg ratings.
-Heated/blind spot monitoring mirrors, heated seats, heated washer nozzles!
-I kind of miss auto climate control already (only comes in SE/Autobahn models)
-I'm perfectly fine with not having a heavy panoramic sunroof
-A rear facing car seat fits better behind me in the GTI than it does in the CX-5 in spite of the CX-5's supposed extra 3" of legroom. Thinner seatbacks, I suppose.
-Mirrors are on the small side. You definitely need your mirrors set properly in the GTI. I'm thinking I could use the European aspherical mirror glass (https://www.shopdap.com/catalog/product/view/id/603366/category/15167/).
-Infotainment system is much faster than in my CX-5. Waze direction prompts still get cut off :l
-I'll probably get the windows tinted. Nothing too dark though, I don't want to make backing up my driveway in to my garage at night a pain in the ass.
-I easily averaged 29 mpg in a mostly highway trip to a restaurant in the burbs while the car was loaded with my family, and was seeing high 30s on the highway portion.

June 23rd, 2019, 01:00 PM
That is a gorgeous color.

June 23rd, 2019, 08:19 PM
So awesome. Seems like a great DD choice. I love those seats, too.

June 24th, 2019, 05:32 AM
My all time favorite colors on a car is french blue or a nice deep green. So I am all over that color choice. :up:

Car looks awesome as well, as Cuda stated, the seats are so choice.

June 24th, 2019, 06:59 AM
Thanks, speaking of the seats, I was surprised that the side bolsters hug my skinny self pretty well. I remember that not being the case in Mk5 GTI, and I weigh about the same as back then.

I went and ordered the factory Euro aspherical mirrors. However, they're backordered, so it may take a month for me to get them.

June 24th, 2019, 06:17 PM

Never saw that in the Mazdaspeed3, and not just because it didn't have a fuel economy display.

June 26th, 2019, 06:28 PM
Turns out the Euro mirror glass wasn't backordered, and I installed them and some generic Amazon front mudflaps today. I assumed that a 2015-2017 set would fit, but VW changed the rear skirt enough that the rears don't fit. Not too big of a deal since I paid $23 for the front and rear set, and the OEM VW front set alone would be $46+ shipping online, or $58 at a dealer.

The mirror glass swap went surprisingly smoothly, I didn't break the old glass, any plastic tabs, or the connectors for the heat and blind spot monitoring functions.

June 28th, 2019, 08:54 PM
Today I picked up the car from getting the windows tinted. I went with Illinois legal 35% on the side windows and rear window/backlight and a 20% strip at the top of the windshield.

I also put on a tow hook front licence plate mount to get it out of the front grille

July 16th, 2019, 01:36 PM
I picked up a set of VW Classix wheels for winter. Kind of like these (https://img.letgo.com/images/43/4e/c7/6d/434ec76d10da0b602e3eddbc3cb47b33.jpeg?impolicy=img _600), but not in as good of condition since they've had ~10 years of use. I'm debating getting them refinished and powdercoated before I buy tires for them. There's a place in a south suburb that'll do it for $50/wheel.

July 16th, 2019, 02:02 PM
Would look good in black, against the blue.

You know, like the ones you already have. :lol:

September 16th, 2019, 03:55 PM
2019 manual transmission GTI/GLIs have some sort of stalling issue that manifests itself when slowing to a stop with the clutch depressed while in gear. NHTSA has opened an investigation (https://www.nhtsa.gov/vehicle/2019/VOLKSWAGEN/GTI#investigations). My car has done it twice; once with under 400 miles, once at 862 miles. I've done about 1,000 miles since then without any stalls. Some people have cars that stall quite predictably; and some of them have had their cars bought back by VW. There are a lot of theories on why this is happening. AFAIK, the only differences between the 2019 and earlier models are switching to 0W20 from 5W40, and a different oil pump to work better with that change. Presumably there were some software changes (because VW loves changing things for the sake of change), but no engine internal changes are known.

Oddly, my GTI's fuel economy calculations generally read high by unpredictable amounts vs hand calculating. Could be 1 mpg high, could be 4 mpg high. My CX-5 seems to pretty reliably calculate fuel economy. If that's off, it's off by a 2-3 tenths, not a few mpg. In any case, the GTI is still averaging 29 mpg, 7 mpg better than my Mazdaspeed3 got.

September 29th, 2019, 05:36 PM
Wheels are back from the powder coater, they took a month vs the 2-3 weeks I was initially told, but I could've paid an extra $50 for same day turn around.

Results are pretty good, I can't tell where the curb rash was on the spokes/rims apart from one 1/4" spot that's not perfect. Now I just need to settle on what winter tires I'm getting. I also ordered some random eBay VW center caps that hopefully don't let me down like the "MAZOASPEEO" caps I bought before.


October 1st, 2019, 09:08 AM
That's hot.

October 16th, 2019, 08:13 PM
I got Continental Winter Contact SI tires in 205/50-17 installed on the wheels today. The 5mm of extra offset combined with being the wheels and tires being narrower (by 0.5" and 20mm, respectively), give the rear wheels in particular a tucked in look. If it really bothers me, I'll get an eBay spacer/bolt kit, because I'm sure not paying what ECS wants for one of their 'flush kits.' I also weighed one of my factory wheel/tire, and it came in at 45.4 lbs. The tires are listed at 22 lbs by Tirerack and 25 lbs by Bridgestone, so I figure the OEM wheels are 20-23 lbs. That's not too bad by OEM 18" wheel standards; my Mazdaspeed3's 18x7s were 24 lbs each.


October 17th, 2019, 04:39 AM
Still surprised you went with full winter tires.

That's a sharp looking car. Would look pretty awesome going fast around Gingerman next year.

October 17th, 2019, 12:12 PM
That looks like a pretty kickass winter setup to me.

(Disclaimer, I don't spend any time in snowy winter climates in winter).

October 17th, 2019, 01:48 PM
My experience with my Mazdaspeed3 has told me that FWD + LSD + winter tires is pretty great in the snow, at least until it's deep enough to high side on. I also like snaller diameter wheels and extra sidewall for peak pothole season.

The GTI's ground clearance isn't bad at 5", but if the snow's too deep for it, I've got the CX-5 and it's extra 3.5" of ground clearance for that.

November 15th, 2019, 06:51 AM
How's the turbo lag? How well does it pick up off-boost pulling away from a stop? How much feel and direct connection do you get through the pedals and steering? (ie, is the clutch vague or can you feel it and be consistent with it?). I suddenly am considering a GTI in the future. I'm hopeless. :lol: The BMW isn't quite pushing all the right buttons, mainly in terms of suspension (it'd take more than springs or shocks to 'fix' to my liking) and connected feeling. Moving to an ///M would solve all of that, but $30k does tend to solve a lot of things...

A little research is showing me the MK7 GTI Performance Pack can be tracked with just brake pads and fluid, which is a biiiig plus. On the other hand I wonder how much fun I'd have with FWD on track, destructifying front tires at an alarming rate... but as a do-it-all car for $15k used it seems like a solid proposition. The PP cars have a proper LSD, which is a must must if I'm to consider anything FWD. And the non-defeatable ESC can be defeated via the aftermarket. The interior looks nice. The power and fuel economy both look strong, a real enticing combination especially with a tune. But then there's the weak clutch, making a DSG seem tempting instead, but then I've heard it doesn't behave the way a performance driver wants until you give the DSG itself a $600+ tune. No car is perfect, but all cars have too many compromises. :lol: I think mainly what I'm after is something comfy like my BMW but more nimble feeling and more track-worthy should the desire arise. What we need is a GTI shape with RWD and a NA V6. Basically a 350Z shooting brake with useful rear seats and 20lbs extra noise dampening material.

How quiet is it on the highway? My BMW is the first car I've had where you can have an easy conversation at 75, in person or on Bluetooth. I like that. And can I just put my BMW's seat in everything from now on? :lol:

November 16th, 2019, 05:50 PM
How's the turbo lag? How well does it pick up off-boost pulling away from a stop? How much feel and direct connection do you get through the pedals and steering? (ie, is the clutch vague or can you feel it and be consistent with it?). I suddenly am considering a GTI in the future. I'm hopeless. :lol: The BMW isn't quite pushing all the right buttons, mainly in terms of suspension (it'd take more than springs or shocks to 'fix' to my liking) and connected feeling. Moving to an ///M would solve all of that, but $30k does tend to solve a lot of things...
Generally, I find my GTI (PP equipped, as it became standard in 2019) to be a lot more insulated than my old Mazdaspeed3, which would've felt less insulated stock, let alone before I added a turboback exhaust, intake, big sway bars, poly trans/motor mounts, and Koni Yellows. The GTI steering feels about as good as I'd expect it to on the mediocre stock grand touring all-season tires (Potenza RE97AS), let alone the winter tires that are on there now. FWIU, the feel in the MK7 GTI's electric power steering was generally regarded as much better than the F30 3-Series' steering feel when they were both newer. Torque steer is considerably less pronounced than in the Mazdaspeed3; it won't punish you for skipping the gym. The clutch feels vague compared to my old Mazdaspeed3, but there are some commonly done cheap fixes (https://www.golfmk7.com/forums/index.php?threads/how-to-make-a-mk7-6mt-suck-less.349809/).
Overall, when pushing the GTI hard enough to make the tires howl, it just kind of goes about things with less drama than the Mazdaspeed3 did. When you want to drive the Mazdaspeed3 hard, it chugs a Monster, slaps you in the face and says, "GO TIME, FUCK YEAH!" The GTI, OTOH, says, "Ja, ve shall go for sporting drive."

A little research is showing me the MK7 GTI Performance Pack can be tracked with just brake pads and fluid, which is a biiiig plus. On the other hand I wonder how much fun I'd have with FWD on track, destructifying front tires at an alarming rate... but as a do-it-all car for $15k used it seems like a solid proposition. The PP cars have a proper LSD, which is a must must if I'm to consider anything FWD. And the non-defeatable ESC can be defeated via the aftermarket. The interior looks nice. The power and fuel economy both look strong, a real enticing combination especially with a tune. But then there's the weak clutch, making a DSG seem tempting instead, but then I've heard it doesn't behave the way a performance driver wants until you give the DSG itself a $600+ tune. No car is perfect, but all cars have too many compromises. :lol: I think mainly what I'm after is something comfy like my BMW but more nimble feeling and more track-worthy should the desire arise. What we need is a GTI shape with RWD and a NA V6. Basically a 350Z shooting brake with useful rear seats and 20lbs extra noise dampening material.

How quiet is it on the highway? My BMW is the first car I've had where you can have an easy conversation at 75, in person or on Bluetooth. I like that. And can I just put my BMW's seat in everything from now on? :lol:

My understanding about 'weak clutches' on MK7 GTIs is that they're weak once you add 80-100 wheel horsepower via tune and downpipe. I haven't heard much of anything good or bad about how they hold up to stock power levels on the track or autocross.

What you've heard about the DSG agrees with what I've heard. Sure, the DSG can take more power and shift faster, but tune the ECU, you need to tune the DSG. Since I bought new, the $1700 a DSG + tune would cost would go a long way towards a new aftermarket clutch. Buying used, you really want to make sure that the 40k DSG service wasn't skipped. It's about $140 in parts and fluid, or ~$400 at a dealer.

Getting decent fuel economy while still being fun and quick is nice. I'm averaging 29.6 mpg, much better than the 22.1 mpg I averaged in my Mazdaspeed3. Heck, my best tank ever in the Mazdaspeed3 was 26.5 mpg.

I wouldn't call the GTI Lexus quiet, but it doesn't seem too different than my CX-5 when it comes to wind noise. Pre-Mk7.5 facelift GTIs may be slightly quieter, as they had more insulation in the hatch area, and the hood insulation was deleted entirely for the MK7.5. As for seats, Audi A3/S3/RS3 seats can be made to work (https://www.golfmk7.com/forums/index.php?threads/8v-rs3-seat-swap-into-a-golf-mqb.366350/). I was pleasantly surprised that the GTI seat side bolsters fit me fairly well. I remember sitting in a MK5 GTI and finding the seat bolsters to be a bit widely spaced for me (5'7" and 145 lbs).

November 18th, 2019, 08:39 AM
Thanks man. It's probably one of those things that I ought to experience for myself. Like you say the F30 steering is not well liked - yet BMW aficionados seem to gush over E90 steering and I think it's not all that (my love for the E9x M3 overlooks this flaw.. :)). Electric power steering can be pretty decent - the Twins do it well, so does Porsche these days.

It dawned on me after writing that post that I should probably test drive a 2019 GTI before too long, as I'm sure it's mostly the same drive as a 2016 and the MK8 GTI is probably not too far away from taking over dealer showrooms.

Glad you're enjoying yours :up:

Yesterday at the autox there were a few Golfs, including a blue Rabbit edition like your that had suspension mods, wide wheels and sticky tires, and presumably a tune. I say presumably because I watched/listened to it on part of one of its runs and coming out of a corner in 2nd gear it looked like there was a bit of lag that transitioned immediately into wheelspin. :lol: It was a manual, so longer gearing, and the class it was in doesn't allow aftermarket clutches...

There were also two MK6 Rs there, a 2dr and a 4dr, which both looked really cool. AWD would seem pretty useful for squirting into traffic. Something MR2s are really good at and I got spoiled with for years. The MK7 GTI interior seems like a huge upgrade over the MK6, plus the availability of an easy 100hp with a tune is awfully tempting once already out of warranty. And 2016 was the first year for Android Auto, which would be really nice to have.


The funny thing is I'm sure I've taken at least a half dozen MK6-MK7 GTIs out for instructor runs at Evo Schools, but they've never made an impression on me other than having an understated competence. I'm generally so focused on helping my student that the car itself fades into the background somewhat unless it's spectacular in some way (vintage Porsche handling, manual steering on slicks, crazy power, etc). I do, however, remember having a student earlier this year in Kansas with a MK7 R that was a lot of fun, and the format of this school was more advanced with instructors really going for it over more runs. On that autox course, though, I still had more fun in the MR2 Spyder that was there...

Anyway sorry to clutter up your thread with my head in the clouds ramblings. :) Carry on.

November 19th, 2019, 04:19 PM
Off the top of my head, the only possible perfomance differences between a PP equipped 2016 and a 2019 (PP standard on all 2019s) are that you could still get the 2 door in 2016, which weighs less (sources differ on the exact amount, I've seen anywhere from 5-60 lbs claimed), the newer 7 speed DSG has shorter ratios (7th is the same as the old 6th), and you could still get it with summer tires as an option. MK7.5 facelift cars got rid of the summer tire option (Potenza S001) in the US, so they're all limited to 125 mph unless you do a tune. Oh, the 2019s also switched to 0w20 and got a claimed 8 extra horsepower.

Other minor changes include the aforementioned elimination of some hood and hatch insulation, elimination of separate rear tweeters, elimination of the under driver's seat storage bin/drawer, elimination of the cooled glovebox, a change in infotainment unit (brain no longer in glovebox, post-sale factory upgrade now more difficult/expensive), and they got rid of the pre-wiring for satellite radio/navigation on trims below SE. The shark fin on current S and Rabbit edition trims is a dummy cover for the inexplicable hole in the roof. VW still made 2 roofs since all SEs and Autobahn trims have moonroofs in the US.

2019 manual transmission cars have a problem with stalling while coming to a stop in gear with the clutch pedal depressed. The prevalence varies; some people had cars that constantly did it, some never had it happen. It happened to me twice, the last time being at 862 miles. I'm over 2800 miles without any subsequent stalls. Some people have had cars bought back and/or replaced with DSG models and a NHTSA investigation has been opened (https://www.nhtsa.gov/vehicle/2019/VOLKSWAGEN/GOLF%252520GTI/4%252520DR/FWD). Last news was that VW filed for an extension to respond.

November 21st, 2019, 07:14 AM
Why does that make it sound like the pre-facelift car is better? BMW did the same thing with the E90 - the post-facelift car has a few cost cutting measures like cheaper sunvisors, elimination of the hidden lock cylinder on the trunk (in case of battery failure), and no more self-charging flashlight in the glovebox.

2dr and 4dr GTIs are the same exterior dimensions and interior volume, right? Just a matter of the door(s) and location of the B-pillar? 5lbs is nothing. 60lbs, that's enough to make a performance difference for sure.

November 21st, 2019, 10:22 PM
The MK7.5 did get better lighting (LED) so long as you didn't get the S, which got LED tail running lights, but soldiers on with terrible halogen headlights. The changes did seem to be mostly cosmetic and cost cutting, but then VW made the performance package (LSD and, bigger brakes) standard in 2019. 18" wheels became standard with the facelift. I might be wrong on some details; VW likes changing things for the sake of change for different model years and markets.

I'm fine with losing little interior bits in exchange for the standard LSD and 'Golf R' brakes. I can add some noise insulation to the hatch and rear seat area for a lot less than it would cost me to add the Performance Package bits. The LED headlights are pretty nice, especially since I slightly raised them. They were aimed a bit low from the factory; I think IIHS said the same in their evaluation.

2 and 4 doors are the same exterior size and wheelbase, which makes me skeptical of a 60 lbs weight difference. You've got about the same amount of glass and a longer side impact beam vs 2 shorter ones. So weight savings would be 2 power window motors, lock mechanisms, and a little bit of metal from where the front and rear of the rear doors would be folded over. 15-30 lbs seems more plausible to me.

December 6th, 2019, 01:39 PM
VW rolled out an software update related to the stalling issues today

ECM Software
Under certain conditions, the engine may stall at very low speeds (such as while the vehicle is coming to a stop), or when the vehicle is already at a stop with the engine running.
Update the engine control module (ECM) software. This ECM software update will address the potential issue stated above, and also improve drivability, enhance certain On Board Diagnostic Monitors, and address other matters to enhance customer satisfaction.

I haven't had any stalls for over 2200 miles, or any of the engine stumbles were a stall feels imminent for at least a couple hundred miles, but it's good to know that the fix exists. I'm also glad I didn't have to get my car bought back like some of the people who had much more pervasive stalling problems than me.

January 10th, 2020, 07:17 PM
I got the reflash update a week ago, which took a bit over an hour at the dealer.

Initial impressions after ~300 miles:
-Apart from feeling a bit smoother down low, I can't really tell any difference in power delivery like some have reported.

-I haven't had any false gear positions displayed on the dash gear indicator.

-No engine stumbles/roughness when I slow to a stop while in gear with the clutch depressed.

-Trip computer calculated fuel economy was still optimistic by 10% on my last fill-up, but half of that amount was pre-reflash, and I don't know if it was idling for any length of time at the dealer.

January 11th, 2020, 06:58 AM
Glad you seem to have sidestepped this stalling issue. :up:

February 16th, 2020, 08:44 PM
Still no more stalls/stumbles, haven't noticed any fired economy change for the better or worse, but it is winter now.

Costco had a $150 discount for Michelin tires promotion that ended today, so I decided to order some Pilot Sport 4S to replace the mediocre OE Bridgestone Potenza RE97AS tires. Oddly, the Sport 4S were a good bit cheaper than the PS2, and a little less than the older Super Sport that they superceded.

I'll get them installed on my 18" wheels in a week or two, then probably install the wheels on my car in late March.

My VW/Audi specialist keeps telling me I should get a tune, but it seemed kind of pointless to do so with the stock all-season tires.

February 16th, 2020, 08:55 PM
RIP to the Conti ECS dream.

February 22nd, 2020, 01:31 PM
This week I learned that ice forming by the base of the windshield/firewall can cause the SOUNDAKTOR to make more of a buzzing sound than a faux intake sound.

February 22nd, 2020, 01:47 PM
Can you simply unplug that thing is is there more to it?

February 22nd, 2020, 03:05 PM
Unplugging it throws a fault code, because VW.

It can be turned off with the Ross-Tech VCDS (formerly VAG-COM) or OBDeleven PRO software, but then I'd lose my fake intake noise. The VCDS is more expensive, but I'm leaving towards that because ROSS-TECH!

I should get one of them so I can play around with all the weird VW functions that we don't get here. Like say, lowering all windows at once with the remote, which VWs used to have here but no longer do.

February 23rd, 2020, 04:10 PM
I miss being able to roll windows down with the fob. :(

February 23rd, 2020, 06:41 PM
A sample of possible VCDS tweaks:

-Fuel used since last fill-up
-Set fog lights instead of headlights as coming/leaving home illumination
-Display battery usage/state of charge level
-Automatic rain window closing
-Alarm beep on lock/unlock
-Hot climate AC mode

March 3rd, 2020, 12:55 PM
I took advantage of a Costco sale on Michelin tires a few weeks back and ordered a set of Pilot Sport 4S max performance summer tires to replace the lightly used OE Bridgestone Potenza RE97AS all-season grand touring tires. I plan to sell the OE tires.

The Pilot Sport 4S has been the true street tire (as opposed to the more competition focused Pilot Sport Cup 2) to beat for the last few years, and is one of the OE options on Porsche 911s, C8 Corvettes, and some other performance cars, yet somehow still has a 30k mile treadwear warranty.

However, it's still dropping to around freezing here at night when I do my commuting, so it'll be a couple weeks before I mount them.


I also learned that a GTI can fit 2 full sets of wheels in the back.


March 8th, 2020, 06:45 PM
Sold my tires yesterday, changed the oil today. Only 4679 miles on the oil vs the 10k interval, but the car gave the 1 year lol change due alert. I'll be sending it off to Blackstone Labs for an oil analysis to see how much life was left and if there's anything odd that might be engine break-in related.


March 8th, 2020, 09:59 PM
Plastic engine cover removal required?

March 8th, 2020, 11:44 PM
Removal made it easier to get the filter housing off. The cover just pops off; no bolts or clips to mess with.

I may try using my oil extractor next time since that would preclude lifting the car. I use it for oil changes on my lawn mower and snow thrower and it conveniently has the same 6 quart oil capacity as the GTI.

April 5th, 2020, 03:59 PM
Over the last week:

-I finally mounted the GTI's new Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. The car unsurprisingly handles much better at highway speeds compared to with the Continental Winter Contact SI tires. The PS4S also seem pretty quiet for the performance that they offer; possibly quieter than the stock all-season Bridgestone RE97AS.

-I changed the CX-5's oil. I used Mobil1 Advanced Fuel Economy and a Mobil1 filter instead of the Mazda OE items since the oil was on sale at Costco. Shortly afterwards, I learned that Walmart has 12 qt cases for the same price per quart as Costco when they're running a sale (~$6/qt). I really need to get a different oil filter wrench. The one I have slips off of the filter when you put a socket wrench or extension in it, and doesn't grip all that tightly at the best of times. Naturally, I got it from a Mazda dealer when I was ordering oil and filters. I'm thinking about doing a drain and fill of the ATF since I'm out of the warranty period and I don't really buy into the idea of 'lifetime' fluids.

-I bled the brakes on the Ducati Monster 696. I've been doing that way too often over the last few years, which makes me wonder if there's a leak in the system. However, I don't see any leaks, judging by the lack of anything being eaten away by brake fluid or fluid spots where I park all the time. I then went for my first ride of the year and topped off the gas tank.

April 5th, 2020, 04:11 PM

April 5th, 2020, 05:10 PM
Jealous, I'd love to be able to get out and ride a bit and clear my head.

April 6th, 2020, 03:55 PM
That Ducati pic is on brand.

April 9th, 2020, 01:59 PM
I've done a bit over 100 miles on the Pilot Sport 4S tires, and I'm impressed so far. Plenty of grip in the wet and dry combined with a smooth and quiet ride. The car takes quick turns, transitions, and on/off ramps with almost boring competence.

I'm guessing that they're not 50% better than the Pirelli PZ4 (at Tirerack pricing the last time I checked), but if you can find a deal on the PS4S like I did, they won't disappoint.

April 20th, 2020, 05:17 PM
Sales got me to click buy on some sway bars and front control arms for the GTI.

Hotchkiss was blowing out sway bars on eBay. I didn't find out in time to get the front and rear set for $156, but I did get a front for $90. Normally, they're ~$260 each. The front is an adjustable 28.6mm tubular bar (https://www.hotchkis.net/product/2014-vw-gti-mk7-front-sway-bar-kit-from-hotchkis-sport-suspension-2/) with claimed 95/125% increase in stiffness. Whether that's based off of a regular Golf, GTI, or Performance Pack GTI, who knows.

Tirerack had Eibach products on sale, so I ordered an Eibach rear sway bar that was a good $90 less than the next cheapest option. The Eibach is a 25mm non-adjustable tubular bar.

Figuring I'd have to screw around with lowering the front subframe to install the front bar, I decided, "Why not get some aluminum front control arms with poly bushings and save a reported 4 lbs per side?" Turns out Whiteline makes a set for a lot less than SuperPro (https://whitelineperformance.com/products/vw-golf-mk7-control-arm-1) that can be found for a bit over $300. They add a claimed 1.5-2.0 deg of positive caster and 0.25-0.5 deg of negative camber.

Of course, further research suggests that I may not actually need to lower/remove the front subframe since I have a manual transmission and not a DSG automatic.

I'm also debating just buying new rear end links or to chance wrecking the stock ones attempting to remove them. Nothing fancy, just Moog OE replacement.

April 21st, 2020, 11:46 AM
As someone that paid full price for my Hotchkis sway bar set a few weeks ago, congrats to you.

Most of the suspension bits I bought for the SRT-4 are Moog.

April 24th, 2020, 03:45 PM

Yesterday I decided to give installing the Eibach rear sway bar a go, reusing the stock end links since they don't have many miles on them and my Moogs hadn't come in yet. What the hey, they're good enough for Audi S3s in spite of being plastic. FWIU, it's better to do a rear sway bar with the suspension under some sort of load to avoid clunking, so I used my wheel ramps under the rear wheels as jack stands. Eibach's installation instructions say to remove the exhaust to make it easier to remove the sway bar. I didn't do this, because eff pulling the whole cat back and prying it loose from the exhaust hangers. Other companies say to just support the muffler and remove the hangar brackets to drop it down a few inches, so I did that and was able to finagle the stock 22mm hollow bar out without much difficulty.

I finished up right as it started raining, then went inside, dried off and took a short test drive. I got a clunk from the rear end of the car after driving in to a parking lot with a number of elevation changes; it was quiet on the street.

Today, I decided to try leveling the car with the front on jack stands and the rear on ramps. I adjusted the bar placement (it was slightly further to one side, judging by the collar stops), loosened all the fasteners, then tightened them to spec. Eibach's instructions helpfully don't include any torque specifications, but I found them in another company's instructions and on the Golf MK7 forum.

Afterwards, I took a 20 mile drive, aiming for uneven road depressions and small potholes to evenly and unevenly load the rear wheels. I also drove over repeated railroad crossings, steep driveways, and parking lot speed bumps. The rear end clunk seems to have been solved for now.

The car's handling feels a lot more neutral now. I'm now a bit worried that I'll want a bigger rear bar once I have my front bar in.

July 2nd, 2020, 11:09 AM
NHTSA report on the stalling issue is out:

NHTSA Action Number: DP19003


Opened From: September 3, 2019–June 30, 2020

The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has completed its review of a defect petition received on 14 August 2019 requesting an investigation of an alleged defect of the manual transmissions in Model Year (MY) 2019 Volkswagen (VW) GTI, Golf GTI and Jetta GLI vehicles. The stalling incidents cited occurred without warning as the vehicle slows to a stop or prepares to make a turn across traffic with the clutch pressed in and the vehicle in neutral.

The hazard posed by a vehicle stalling event is manifested in the inability of the vehicle to move with the flow of surrounding traffic. Two factors have a major impact on the potential hazard to the vehicle, its occupants and surrounding vehicles: the surrounding traffic speed and the subject vehicle's restart ability. In the case of the vehicles that are the subject of this petition, restart is immediate and the stalls occur when the vehicle is slowing to stop for a traffic signal, making a turn, or is completely stopped. These circumstances substantially reduce the risk of harm to the vehicle, its occupants and surrounding vehicles.

As of March 2, 2020, out of the population of 11,333 subject vehicles, NHTSA has identified 214 consumer complaints in its database, with unique Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN), citing engine stalling as vehicles are being brought to a stop and/or preparing to make a cross traffic turn. When combined with the warranty, field report and customer complaint data received from VW in response to the Information Request letter sent, NHTSA identified 413 unique VINs alleging low speed engine stalling.

Volkswagen determined that the low speed / idle engine stall was the result of unwanted gases remaining in the cylinder caused by the intake valve camshaft not being in the correct position at idle. The intake camshaft is in an advanced position. This advanced position results in too much overlap with the position of the exhaust valve camshaft, allowing both the intake and exhaust valves to be open at the same time. The erroneous advanced position of the intake camshaft is a result of low oil pressure at idle and high oil temperatures, greater than or equal to 110°C/230°F combined with engine control algorithms in the Engine Control Module (ECM) that position the intake camshaft. Based on examination of returned engines, only engines manufactured at the Silao Mexico plant were affected due to a tolerance stack-up issue with the oil system of the engines.

In December of 2019, VW initiated a Service Action (24FD) to remedy the stalling issue in the affected vehicles. The warranty for the affected vehicles was extended to December 31, 2025. The software in the Engine Control Module (ECM) will be updated with a new calibration value for the adaptation nodes of the regulation valve. This is a directed action with letters being sent to vehicle owners asking them to bring their vehicles to their dealership to have the software update installed in their vehicle. The letters were sent in December 2019.

After thoroughly assessing the material submitted by the petitioner, information already in NHTSA's possession, information submitted by Volkswagen in response to an information request and the potential risks to safety implicated by the petitioner's allegation, NHTSA does not believe that the stalling condition as alleged by the petitioner indicates the likelihood of a safety related defect that would warrant a formal investigation, therefore the petition is denied. Further specifics can be found in the Federal Register Notice.

May 20th, 2021, 07:43 PM
Never made a post last year after I got my recall for the reflash, which took care of any stalling/stumbling that the car had when coming to a stop with the clutch pushed in. Naturally, in that time I got another "service action" for another reflash related to the rear O2 sensor monitoring possibly not detecting a failing catalytic converter. My independent VW/Audi guy said it changes all of 5-6 maps out of 100,000, though that's going from software version 6 to 7 (the previous recall was version 5).

Suspension work has been done for a while. Rear end links kept loosening and causing clunking until I replaced them with Moogs. Why the OE end links that are also used on the Audi S3 weren't good enough, I don't know, but have been good for a while now. The aluminum front control arms ended up saving all of 0.2 lbs each, and ended up being a pain in the ass to install because VW started using shorter ball joint studs in 2018, and they were too short for the thicker control arms. I had my VW guy do that install, because it got done at the same time as the front sway bar install, which looked like a pain in the ass to do on jack stands.

My worries about wanting a bigger rear bar were unfounded. The rear bar made the car understeer less, the front bar seemed to make the car corner flatter, but still pretty neutral compared to stock. Tomorrow I'm going to go get a mild ECU tune (since I'm still on the stock downpipe, clutch, etc).