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Old 6th February 2019, 15:05   #1
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Default My pre-worshipped Volkswagen Polo GT TSI with lots of DIYs

The GT TSI was launched in India in 2013, which is incidentally the year in which I purchased my first car, the Polo 1.2 MPI. Ever since, it has been the answer to this question: "Which is going to be my next car?" The only car that came close to changing the answer was the Abarth. However, I wasn't really in the market at the time of the Abarth's launch, and reports of a notchy gearbox and bad ergonomics didn't help. By the time I seriously started considering an upgrade, the Abarth was out of production. So I went back to my first love.

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Old 6th February 2019, 16:37   #2
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Default Likes and Dislikes

  1. Engine + Transmission - Pages have been written on our forum about the TSI + DSG combination, and it is indeed one of the most potent at its price point. I was a manual purist for a long time (even when I was lusting after the GT TSI), but the DSG has converted me. I have a total commute of 45 kms on weekdays, in medium to very heavy traffic, and upgrading from the Polo MPI to the GT TSI has made a huge difference. It is equally accomplished on highway runs, and it is easy to hit silly speeds. Overtaking is a breeze, either with the kickdown option or the S mode.
  2. Mod-friendliness - If you have a fat wallet and are ready to open it, there is an endless list of mods that are available for the GT TSI. Popular mods include remaps, the GTI steering wheel, and the GTI instrument cluster. In addition, there are any number of DIYs to keep you busy. Mod Gannu's GT TDI is a great example.
  3. Looks - In my completely biased opinion, the Polo is by far the best looking hatchback on an Indian market flooded with nausea-inducing Japanese and Korean cars. It is a timeless design that has matured like fine wine ever since it was introduced in 1975.
  4. Build quality - It is an aspect that VW cars are well-known for. Having said that, my 2015 MY GT TSI doesn't feel as much of a tijori as my 2013 MY Polo MPI. The doors, for example, definitely feel lighter.
  5. Need for Speed - Lastly, after driving the Polo MPI for five years, it is a genuine pleasure to drive a truly powerful hatchback that pushes me back against the seat when I floor the throttle. I have a spirited driving style, and the Polo MPI just didn't have the horses to satisfy me. The GT TSI, on the other hand, is a car that begs to be driven fast. Unfortunately, given the state of the roads and the traffic in Mumbai (only exacerbated by the Metro work happening all over the city), I don't get to indulge myself as much and as often as I do.

  1. After-sales - I am a VW customer since 2013, and while their A.S.S. has improved over the years, the only way to get assured service is to identify a good workshop (a problem in the Mumbai-Thane-Navi Mumbai area, in spite of having 6 workshops) and then build a rapport with a competent service advisor there.
  2. DSG woes - It is the Sword of Damocles that is perennially hanging over the head of every GT TSI owner. Even though I have read that there are fewer issues reported since 2015, reliable statistics are not available to support that claim. I baby the DSG as much as possible (e.g. moving to N for the shortest breaks), and the recent introduction of add-on warranty helps.
  3. City driving - While it is a very accomplished fast hatch, the GT TSI is at its happiest when driven sedately with uniform acceleration and deceleration. There is a lot of hesitation in the D mode, especially when you want to accelerate quickly but don't want to kickdown. A remap helps a lot, and I have documented my experience in a later post.
  4. Missing equipment - Though some of these features (marked with an asterisk) are available in the latest model, I miss the following features in my GT TSI:
    1. Sportier suspension setup - It is the same as the regular Polo. For the love of God, VW!
    2. Rear disk brakes - While the stock brakes are adequate for city driving, it can get scary at higher speeds.
    3. Electrically folding ORVMs with integrated blinkers*
    4. Auto-dimming IRVM*
    5. Smaller things: Boot lamp, glove box lamp, rear footwell lights, etc.

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Old 6th February 2019, 16:51   #3
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Default Purchase Journey, Car Review, and Initial Ownership Experience

Purchase Journey

This was not much of a journey in the real sense, because I already knew my destination at the beginning. It was really about the choice of route: new or pre-owned. Having read GTO's eye-opening thread (The 'not-so-obvious' advantages to buying pre-owned cars) on pre-worshipped cars and other positive experiences on Team BHP, I eventually came around to the idea of going the pre-worshipped route. I started looking out some time in May 2018, with only three non-negotiable purchase criteria:
  1. Not more than 3 years and 40000 kms old
  2. Under extended warranty
  3. Carbon Steel color

The first promising lead turned up on 27.06.2018, when I pinged fellow Team BHP member abhishekulkarni to enquire about an ad he had placed in the Classified section. I am thankful to him for answering all my questions patiently. All my lingering doubts about buying a pre-owned car were cleared after I drove his impeccably maintained 2015 GT TSI. But unfortunately we couldn't close the deal, and he has gone on to keep his car.

My pre-worshipped Volkswagen Polo GT TSI with lots of DIYs-mvimg_20180712_190750.jpg

I continued my search, and on 12.07.2018 I saw this OLX listing by Quick Car World in Andheri. I took two test drives, and all seemed to be well. I even convinced the dealer to allow me to get the car inspected at the VW workshop. In course of a conversation, he informed me that he has sold several cars to Team BHP members, including GTO's 530d. This gave me a lot of confidence, and I closed the deal. The odometer reading at the time of purchase was 37693 kms, and the car was under extended warranty until August 2019. I paid Rs 6.75 lakhs (inclusive of dealer commission).

Detailed Car Review

I have driven about 7000 kms since buying the car, and here is my review of the VW GT TSI. I have scored each review parameter on a scale of 1-5.

Styling & Design (Score: 4.5/5):
It is hard for me to stay unbiased while reviewing the styling and design of the GT TSI, especially since it is a subjective matter. I am a huge fan of VW's design philosophy, and love all their cars except the Ameo. The GT TSI looks like it means business, and it goes about that business in a clinical manner that betrays its Teutonic heritage. It is extremely well-proportioned, with not a single unnecessary flourish. My only complaint, and the reason why I have docked half a star, is that VW haven't made a greater effort to distinguish the GT twins from their poorer cousins, except for a spoiler and the badge on the C-pillars.

Build Quality (Score: 4.5/5):
Build quality is definitely one of the GT TSI's strong points. The doors close with a satisfying thud, and panels gaps are consistent almost everywhere. Paint quality is superb, and I love the metallic shade of my car which looks smashing in bright sunlight.

Wheels & Tires (Score: 4/5):
The GT TSI comes with alloy wheels (except the spare wheel, which is made of steel), and their design complements the overall look of the car. In my opinion, VW missed out on another chance to differentiate the GT TSI from the regular Polo by using the same wheel design in both. The beast definitely deserves better than the stock Apollo tires, and most GT TSI owners upgrade to better-performing tires.

Interior Quality (Score: 4/5):
I definitely prefer the sportier all-black interiors of my GT TSI to the black and beige interiors of my Polo MPI. The plastics everywhere have great fit and finish, even though you would be forgiven for being disappointed that there are no soft touch surfaces in a car that costs so much. The leather wrapped flat-bottomed steering wheel is a joy to hold, and the leather wrapped DSG knob feel premium to the touch.

Ergonomics and related aspects (Score: 4/5):
It is very easy to find a comfortable driving position in the GT TSI, thanks to its height-adjustable driver's seat and steering wheel which can be adjusted for both reach and rake. My wife is 5'3" and I am 5'11", and neither of us has a complaint. I do wish at times, especially on highway runs, that the under-thigh support was better. The ORVMs are generously sized, and along with the IRVM provide a complete view of the back and surroundings. The GT TSI definitely needs a dead pedal (which it gets) and armrest (which it doesn't, but is available as an accessory). The rear seats are comfortable for two occupants only, especially on long journeys, because of the transmission tunnel hump.

Features (Score: 3.5/5):
VW cars are not really known for being loaded with equipment, and Hyundai takes the crown there. My 2015 GT TSI definitely misses out on a lot of equipment, especially when I look around myself in 2019. Glaring omissions include a touchscreen HU, projector headlamps, electrically folding ORVMs, and auto-dimming IRVM. Useful features that ARE available include cornering lights, a very intuitive multi-function steering wheel, and front footwell lights.

Audio Quality (Score: 3.5/5):
The stock 4-speaker setup will please the ears of the average non-audiophile. My wife definitely prefers it to the stock setup on her Grand i10. I prefer the sound of the engine myself, and only use the HU for Bluetooth calls.

Air Conditioning (Score: 3/5):
One of the weak areas of the car, the AC seems to be designed with European winters in mind. The throw barely reaches the front seat passengers with the fan speed at the minimum level. My mother-in-law, who usually sits in the rear, is guaranteed to complain about it every time.

Interior Storage (Score: 4/5):
There are plenty of storage compartments in the GT TSI, including, among others, a large glove box (with a dedicated compartment for sunglasses and slots for coins), two cup-holders under the central console, 1 litre bottle holders in all four doors, and a spacious boot. The armrest comes with its own storage. The boot is large enough to hold two large suitcases and a couple of smaller bags, which is sufficient for most airport runs for a family of three.

Engine Performance (Score: 5/5):
The 1.2 TSI turbocharged petrol engine is the heart of the GT TSI, and is powerful enough to set an enthusiast's heart racing,a fact belied by its refinement. Coming from my noisy 3-pot Polo MPI, it was a revelation when I first turned the key and I didn't hear or feel anything. Talking about the numbers that matter, the maximum torque is 172 Nm @ ~2700 RPM, and kicks in right from 1500 RPM. There is minimal turbo lag, and the GT TSI easily tackles city driving even in bumper-to-bumper traffic. But the car comes into its own on the highway, when you slot the DSG into the S mode, bring your right foot down on the gas pedal, and hold on to the steering wheel for dear life.

Transmission (Score: 5/5):
If the engine is the heart, then the DSG is the soul of the GT TSI. A match made in automotive heaven. It is unfortunate that it has such a bad reputation for unreliability (thoroughly deserved, undoubtedly), because it is a never-ending source of joy when it works. Upshifts are lightning fast, and almost imperceptible. Downshifts are smooth if the car is driven sedately with gradual acceleration and deceleration, but do get a bit jerky in the lower gears if driven with a heavy right foot. The D mode is definitely designed for sedate driving with most upshifts at around 2000 RPM, and there is some hesitation in responding to quick accelerator inputs. For short bursts of speed (e.g. overtaking), the kickdown mode may be used (frequent kickdowns are not recommended as they put a lot of stress on the DSG). The DSG is a lot more responsive in the S mode, and most upshifts are at in the 3000-4000 RPM band. In both D and S modes, the engine will happily rev all the way to its redline of 6000 RPM, making sounds that are music to a petrolhead's ears.

NVH Levels (Score: 4/5):
Thanks to the 4-cylinder setup and cladding on the underside of the bonnet, very little engine noise enters the cabin. Wind noise is also not intrusive at legal speeds. The stock tires, however, are extremely noisy and spoil the driving pleasure. Thankfully they had reached the end of their life on my pre-owned car, and the Michelins (details below) have made a huge difference.

Fuel Efficiency (Score: 4/5):
Kitna deti hai? While enthusiasts may consider it sacrilegious to discuss fuel efficiency in a GT TSI review, it is a pleasant surprise every time I calculate it using the tankful method. The car returns figures of 9-11 k.m.p.l. in city traffic, and 14-16 k.m.p.l. in highway traffic. I get similar figures from my Polo MPI, which is another testament to the brilliance of the 1.2 TSI + DSG combination. Do note that the fuel efficiency figures are pretty sensitive to the driving style, and that frequent urge to switch to the S mode, while a lot of fun when fulfilled, will mean more trips to the petrol pump.

Suspension & Handling (Score: 3/5):
The suspension, as discussed earlier, is one of the weaknesses of the GT TSI. There are good after-market options available (the Bilstein B6 kit being the most popular one), but it must not be a very good feeling for the owner of a new GT TSI to have to spend ~Rs. 50000 on a suspension upgrade after paying more than 10 big ones for the car. The stock struts do a strictly acceptable job, and are very noisy. Thanks to its small form factor, the GT TSI handles well and is rock solid at high speeds, with little body roll unless you are role-playing your favorite F1 driver throwing his car around a chicane. The stock tires do not help.

Steering (Score: 4/5):
I will confess that I have never driven a car with a hydraulic steering unit, so I don't know what I am missing out on the GT TSI's EPS unit in terms of feedback. Having said that, the steering is perfectly weighed - light at city speeds, and becomes heavy as you go faster. It is also extremely accurate, and instantly responds to the smallest inputs.

Braking (Score: 4/5):
The GT TSI uses brake-by-wire technology, which means that you don't get the same feedback from the pedal as you would in a brake-by-cable setup. It needs a period of adjustment to appreciate the difference, and modulate your input. I used to over-brake a lot in my first few weeks, but my braking has become a lot more smoother as I learn to trust and work with the brakes. High-speed braking is satisfactory, and the car stops without a fuss when you stand on the brake pedal. But given the potential of the car, VW missed a trick by not giving the GT TSI an all-disc setup.

Ground Clearance (Score: 4/5):
The GT TSI can tackle most speed breakers and potholes without a problem. I have scraped the underbody twice so far, once over a really huge speed breaker outside my parents' house and the other time over a huge pothole near mine. In both cases, the car was carrying 4 passengers, and I hadn't slowed down as much as I should have.

After-Sales Service (A.S.S.) & Cost of Ownership (Score: 3.5/5):
VW definitely has issues with the quality of after-sales service. It is my opinion that this is a result of poor leverage of the parent company over the dealerships, given the insignificant market share and inability to grow it even after so many years. There is also a lot of churn, with workshops closing down and/or changing ownership (e.g. VW Thane and VW Andheri East). All this results in an uneven after-sales experience, which can be frustrating for customers. In fact, I have had a SA tell me off the record that he always advises his friends and family NOT to purchase VW cars. Coming to maintenance, the service interval of 15000 kms/1 year is a blessing. A standard annual servicing will cost you in the ballpark of Rs 8500-10000. Genuine VW parts are expensive, and not yet available for sale over-the-counter.

Particular Likes
  1. The stock fabric upholstery has a nice pattern and is a practical option for Mumbai's climate, and I haven't put on any seat covers. The tartan pattern available in the GTI would have been a bonus, and I read that it is offered in the latest facelift.
  2. The GT TSI has automatic windows with one-touch UP AND one-touch DOWN features for all seats.
  3. The multi-information display (MID) on the instrument cluster shows a lot of useful information. For example, Trip 1 (which resets after a 2 hour interval) and Trip 2 (which can be reset every time you refuel the car) have both time and distance fields, in addition to a separate Trip option which toggles with the odometer reading and can be used for long trips.
Particular Dislikes
  1. There are many instances of cost-cutting. For example, the handbrake lever cover is made of plastic. My 2013 Polo MPI Highline, in comparison, comes with a leather handbrake lever cover. It also has an illuminated cigarette lighter, which is missing in the GT TSI. VW has also skimped on rear footwell lights.
  2. The D1 to D2 gear shift is often very jerky and unpleasant.
  3. The windshield washer reservoir is smaller than the one on my Polo MPI, and needs to be refilled more frequently.
  4. The GT TSI really needs an armrest.
Car Review Summary

Here is the TL;DR version of the above detailed review.
  1. The GT TSI is a competent fast hatch that is a versatile performer in both city traffic and on the open road.
  2. It has a turbo-charged engine and an advance automatic transmission, which balances power and fuel efficiency.
  3. The biggest letdown, if you are an enthusiast, is the suspension and handling.
  4. If you are a risk-averse car buyer, the frequent problems reported about the DSG and the reputation of VW A.S.S. in India are factors that may weigh heavy on your mind.
  5. Lastly, with a lot of modification options and DIY projects available for the car, you are guaranteed to keep busy if you are a tinkerer.

Based on my scores in the above review, I have categorized the parameters into three buckets:

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This categorization will help you get a good idea of the strengths and weaknesses of the car.

I have also done some further number-crunching, and assigned weights to each parameter because they are not equally important. Here is the result:

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Note: I have attached the source Excel file to this post, so please feel free to play around the weights as per your priorities and see the effect on the final score.

Initial Ownership Experience

Tire upgrade (10.08.2018) The stock Apollo tires had another 4-5k kms of life left, and were very noisy. I am an employee of Reliance Industries, and got a good deal from the AutoZone outlet at my office campus on the Michelin Primacy 3 ST 195/60 R15. I am very happy with the tires, and highly recommend this upgrade to all GT TSI owners.

New rotors and brake pads (23.08.2018) The brake pads were almost worn out at the time of delivery, and the discs had a lot of scoring marks. I got both the discs and pads replaced at VW Andheri East. The car also got new mudflaps.

ABS sensor replacement (06.09.2018) I took my car to VW Kurla for an ABS warning on the cluster. When I went to take delivery of the car, it had scratches and dents all over and a broken headlight which looked like it was swapped in. I was shocked and distressed at the way they had handled my car. After raising a huge ruckus with the workshop staff and VW, they repainted almost half my car and replaced the broken headlight with a new unit. For a huge VW fan like me, it was a sobering reminder of why VW A.S.S. has such a bad reputation.

Suspension related repairs (15.09.2018) I wasn't happy with the overall handling of the car, and suspected that the suspension struts were at the end of their life. Team BHP member Maverick1977 introduced me to N1 Racing, a shop in Lower Parel, Mumbai that specializes in German cars. Rahil Mehta from N1 took a test drive, and agreed with my assessment of the struts. He also informed me that they are expecting a shipment of Pipercross filters (stock replacement for the GT TSI), so that got added to my cart.

Engine remap (02.10.2018) I am a hugely risk-averse guy, and if you told me that I would get my DSG equipped car under EW remapped barely three months after buying it, I would have laughed out loud and asked you what you were smoking. But the itch was real, and the ball got rolling when I started reading up on remap options while waiting for the Pipercross shipment to arrive. N1 Racing is coincidentally the official dealer for Superchips, so I consulted them. Rahil was very patient with all my queries, and I decided to get the Superchips Stage 1 remap.

I took the car to N1 taking advantage of the holiday. On dismantling the struts, it was clear that they were pretty shot. In addition, the lower arms and steering linkages would also need to be replaced. With the remap and air filter already purchased, I was looking at a huge bill. I decided to get the struts replaced later, and got the rest done.
Feedback on remap: My primary intent in getting the remap was to increase the driveability of the car, and the Superchips map has more than delivered the goods. The slight hesitation in the D mode is gone, and the car goes mental in the S mode. There is no impact on mileage when the car is driven sedately, as I found out the one time I did so for research purposes only.
Annual servicing (08.12.2018) The car was last serviced by the previous owner in December 2017, so I decided that it was time for the 45k service. I took the car to the newly opened VW Goregaon workshop. You can read more about it here (My experience at VW Mumbai West (Autobahn)).

Struts replacement and first accident(18.12.2018) I got all four struts replaced at N1 Racing. I also had my first accident when I was on my way over to there, when I braked too late while descending a flyover and rear-ended the car in front. The front bumper developed a huge crack, and the license plate fell off. The owner of the other car was surprisingly gracious, and drove off with a wave and a smile after we pulled to the side of the car and I apologized to him. Even though the damage to his rear bumper was significant, he refused my offer to pay for the repairs.

I got the car repaired at VW Goregaon under insurance. The front bumper and grille were replaced, and the bonnet was repainted. The workshop did not have a cashless setup with my insurer Universal Sompo, and it took more than a month and several follow-ups for the money to finally get credited to my bank account.

Radiator leakage (19.01.2019) As early as the third week of December, the car developed a problem of coolant leakage. The reservoir would empty frequently, once in just two days. I got it checked out at the VW workshop during the 45k service, and was told that the secondary radiator has developed a leak. However the workshop would not start processing warranty claims until January. I decided to wait, and finally my SA called me some time in the second week of January to tell me that the warranty setup is in place. On inspection, it turned out that the secondary radiator was damaged at one location on its front face, and its replacement would not be covered under warranty. I ended up paying for the new part, and the total bill came to Rs. 17021. Ouch.

My pre-worshipped Volkswagen Polo GT TSI with lots of DIYs-img20190118wa0007.jpg

And it felt like a cruel joke when I went to take delivery of my car and found a sizeable dent on the LHS fender and scratches on the bumper. And this after I had informed them of my earlier experience at VW Kurla and begged them to take care of my car. The workshop manager apologized profusely, and the fender and bumper were repainted at their expense.
Attached Files
File Type: xlsx GT TSI Score Calculations.xlsx (12.7 KB, 164 views)

Last edited by TheLizardKing : 13th March 2019 at 15:01.
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Old 7th February 2019, 18:21   #4
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Default Mod Fever!

I am a huge fan of moderator Ganesh Balan (better known as Gannu, and referred to by that name in the rest of this thread) and all the DIYs he has carried out on his GT TDI. Once I bought the GT TSI, I found myself re-reading his DIY threads. Some time in December 2018, I finally took the plunge and started ordering parts on AliExpress and tools on Amazon.

My pre-worshipped Volkswagen Polo GT TSI with lots of DIYs-mvimg_20181217_224455.jpg

Here is a picture I took once the first set of tools were delivered. I have gone on to order more, and here is a list of my tools (in chronological order of purchase) for anyone who wishes to embark on a DIY journey:
  1. Adjustable Spanner
    Model: Taparia 1171-8/1171N-8 125mm Steel Single Sided Adjustable Spanner Wrench (Grey)
    Source: Amazon for Rs 270
  2. Torque Wrench with Socket Set
    Model: Taparia SA46 Steel Socket Set (Blue, 46-Pieces)
    Source: Amazon for Rs 2,049
  3. Screw Driver Set
    Model: Taparia BS31 Steel Bit Driver Set (Multicolour, 31-Pieces)
    Source: Amazon for Rs. 377
  4. Needle Plier
    Model: Taparia 1408 Long Needle Nose Mini Plier
    Source: Amazon for Rs. 162
  5. Allen Key Set (Imperial Units)
    Model: Taparia KI 10V Steel Allen Key Set (Black Finish, Box Packing, Pack of 10)
    Source: Amazon for Rs. 205
  6. Soft Face Hammer
    Model: Taparia SFH30 Soft Face Hammer with Handle
    Source: Amazon for Rs. 199
  7. Trim Removal Kit
    Model: Magideal 4PCS Car Radio Stereo Molding Door Clip Panel Dash Trim Removal Pry Tool Kit
    Source: Amazon for Rs. 518
  8. Ring Spanner Set
    Model: Stanley 70-394E Matte Finish Shallow Offset Ring Spanner Set (8-Pieces)
    Source: Amazon for Rs. 599
  9. Crimping Plier Set
    Model: Stanley 84-253-22 Crimping Plier Set (Yellow and Black)
    Source: Amazon for Rs. 459
  10. Utility Knife
    Model: Stanley Classic 99 Retractable Utility Knife with 3 Heavy-Duty Blades (Steel Grey)
    Source: Amazon for Rs. 391
  11. Soldering Iron
    Model: Themisto Electric Soldering Iron/ 25w
    Source: Amazon for Rs. 299
  12. Heat Gun
    Model: BLACK+DECKER KX1800 1800-Watt Dual Temperature Heat Gun (Orange and Black)
    Source: Amazon for Rs. 1,364
  13. Needle File Set
    Model: Digital Craft 10Pcs/Set Size 5X180cm Metal File Set
    Source: Amazon for Rs. 699
  14. Chisel Set
    Model: Stanley 16-089 Metal and Plastic Chisel Set, Black, 3-Pieces
    Source: Amazon for Rs. 449
  15. Measuring Tape (5 m)
    Model: Stanley STHT36067-812 5-meter Tough Case Tape
    Source: Amazon for Rs. 299
  16. Glue Gun
    Model: 20W 20 WATT 7MM HOT MELT Glue Gun with ON Off Switch and LED Indicator
    Source: Amazon for Rs. 239
  17. Allen Key Set (Metric Units)
    Model: Taparia KM-9V Steel Metric Allen Key Set (Black Finish, Box Packing, Pack of 9)
    Source: Amazon for Rs. 199
  18. Mini Electric Rotary Tool
    Model: Digital Craft LRUXOR Mini Electric Rotary Tool DIE Grinder with Flexible Shaft & Accessory KIT/DIY Crafts KIT Free Combo
    Source: Amazon for Rs. 2999
  19. Baby Vice
    Model: CLIMAX Cast Iron Professional Table Baby Vice Clamp, Type 60 Mm
    Source: Amazon for Rs. 649

Disclaimer 1: No I am not related to Jeff Bezos. Most of these tools may be available at your local hardware store for cheaper. I prefer the convenience of shopping online, and Amazon tends to be my go-to source. I am also not affiliated to any of the vendors in the above list.

Disclaimer 2: This is in no way an exhaustive set of tools required for DIYs. However, I am sure that 9 out of 10 DIYs on Team BHP can be executed with the help of the above tools.

I also got a tool box to keep all these tools. In hindsight, it is a size too small, and I may have to purchase a bigger tool box in the near future.
Tool Box
Model: Taparia Plastic Tool Box with Organizer (PTB16) Black & Orange
Source: Amazon for Rs. 740
I also bought a head-mounted lamp, which will come in very useful while working under the dashboard and also at those times when the Sun sets before my DIY is completed.
Head-Mounted Lamp
Model: FLIPCO ABS Zoom Headlamp
Source: Amazon for Rs. 299
In addition to the above tools, I also bought the following consumable items:
  1. Fuse Kit
    Model: MagiDeal 100 Pieces Automotive Car Motorcycle 3A-40A Mini Blade Fuses Kit With Puller
    Source: Amazon for Rs. 541
  2. Heat Shrink Tube (2 mm)
    Model: G&S Polyolefin 2mm Black Heat Shrink-Tube Sleeve (2 Meters)
    Source: Amazon for Rs. 99
  3. Zip Ties
    Model: SCHOFIC UV Resistant Halogen Plastic Polyamide Nylon Cable Zip Ties (4.8mm Width, 200mm)
    Source: Amazon for Rs. 275
  4. Fuse Taps
    Model: Magideal 5 x 15A Zinc Add Circuit Mini Blade Fuse Box Holder ACS ATO ATC Piggy Back Tap
    Source: Amazon for Rs. 748
  5. Electrical Cable (1.5 mm sq)
    Model: DMT™ Toran PVC Insulated Wire
    Source: Amazon for Rs. 780
  6. Heat Shrink Tube Kit
    Model: Zorbes 530pcs Heat Shrink Tubes Insulated Wire Cable Sleeving Wrap
    Source: Amazon for Rs. 649
  7. Soldering Wire & Flux
    Source: Local Hardware Store
  8. Masking Tape
    Source: Local Hardware Store
  9. Insulation Tape
    Source: Local Hardware Store
  10. Steel Wire (5 m)
    Source: Local Hardware Store

Last edited by TheLizardKing : 28th March 2019 at 13:51.
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Old 8th February 2019, 13:21   #5
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Default Mini-Mod: Auto Headlight Switch

I started with the low-hanging fruit, and replaced the OEM headlamp switch with an after-market headlight switch with a built-in light sensor. This is a very popular mod here on Team BHP, and different models are available with many sellers on AliExpress.

Source: AliExpress
Price: $39.68, with free shipping

My pre-worshipped Volkswagen Polo GT TSI with lots of DIYs-headlight_switch.jpg

Feedback: When I received the package, I was disappointed that the knob had a chrome finish instead of the brushed aluminium finish on the listing. After some thought I decided to keep it anyway, since it was not worth the hassle of raising a refund/return request. The unit itself works well, and there are a lot of configuration options available (refer attached PDF sent by the vendor). However one configuration setting related to Coming Home/Going Home (CH/GH) stopped working after a few days, which is one of the reasons I have turned the entire CH/GH functionality off. The other reason is the warning chime that sounds when I open the door while the CH/GH is active. It is pretty irritating, and keeps reminding me that I am using a non-OEM solution. The light sensor is well-calibrated and has the right degree of sensitivity.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf LETO Volkswagen automatic headlight manual.pdf (3.52 MB, 1823 views)

Last edited by TheLizardKing : 12th February 2019 at 16:11.
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Old 8th February 2019, 16:46   #6
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Default DIY #1: Armrest Installation

This is another very popular mod among the GT TSI owners on this forum, but one that I did not consider for a long time due to the following concerns:
  1. I knew that I would want the OEM GTI armrest, because only the best will do for my car. The best, unfortunately, comes at a price.
  2. I didn't think it would make my driving experience appreciably comfortable.
  3. It was a potential source of rattles (as reported many times on this forum), and I can't think of another thing I hate more.

Well. Cometh the hour, cometh the armrest. Helpless in the clutches of my mod fever, I decided to take the plunge. After making a lot of enquiries, I reached the conclusion that I would not be able to source the GTI armrest in India. That left two options: AliExpress and my friendly neighbourhood VW workshop. I read Gannu's DIY thread (VW Polo DIY: OEM front armrest) and thought to myself, "Hey this looks simple." So I went ahead and ordered it, only to realize the next day that I had ordered the cup-holder version. Thankfully, use bowser has published a very detailed thread (VW Polo DIY: GTI-spec Front Armrest installation) with pictures, without which I would never have thought about attempting it.

Source: AliExpress
Price: $66.6 (A portent I missed at the time of ordering)
Delivery: FedEx
Customs Duty: Rs. 1683

The armrest was delivered in good time, and one fine Sunday afternoon the wife and I went down with my newly acquired tools to install it. It took us almost 5 hours, with (thankfully) no blood, a lot of sweat, and some (metaphorical) tears shed. We finally took a break for dinner, having skipped lunch completely. The dreaded final screw (used to fix the cup-holder) went in at around 11 PM, after what seemed like the 1000th attempt.

Scene from my car the next morning:

My pre-worshipped Volkswagen Polo GT TSI with lots of DIYs-img20190107wa0004.jpg

Feedback: There are no rattles after a couple of months of use, but the armrest pad itself makes creaking sounds every time I put my elbow down on it. It has made my daily commute (~45 kms round trip) immeasurably more comfortable, and I regret not getting it earlier. Well. Better late than never, as the wise men say.

Last edited by TheLizardKing : 12th February 2019 at 15:33.
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Old 8th February 2019, 18:06   #7
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Default Mini-Mod: Anti-glare ORV Mirrors

My pre-worshipped Volkswagen Polo GT TSI with lots of DIYs-594055527681113217.jpg

(Image Credit: AliExpress)

I wanted to execute this mod ever since I read about it on Team BHP. It was a little difficult to track the right part down on AliExpress, but it has been totally worth it. The glare is cut out completely, and my eyes thank me every time I drive at night.

Source: AliExpress
Price: $39.6

More details and pictures here (Volkswagen Polo 1.2L GT TSI : Official Review).

Last edited by TheLizardKing : 12th February 2019 at 15:55.
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Old 11th February 2019, 12:53   #8
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Default Mini-Mods: Antenna replaced & Wheel lug caps installed

I wanted to get a VW OEM sharkfin antenna because they look really cool and make the car look so much more premium. But after reading about the reception problems with the Jetta antenna sourced by many forum members from ECS Tuning, I had to drop the idea. I was clear I did not want the cap type available on AliExpress and Amazon. After a stray dog in my neighborhood bit the end of the antenna off, I knew I had to make up my mind.

My pre-worshipped Volkswagen Polo GT TSI with lots of DIYs-antenna.jpeg

As a compromise, I settled on a stub antenna.

Source: AliExpress
Price: $2.22

I also got plastic caps for the wheel lugs.

Name:  Caps.png
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(Image Credit: AliExpress)

Source: AliExpress
Price: $3.78

More details and pictures here (Volkswagen Polo 1.2L GT TSI : Official Review).

Last edited by TheLizardKing : 12th February 2019 at 16:06.
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Old 11th February 2019, 13:21   #9
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Default Mini-Mod: Dome Light (OEM Replacement)

My pre-worshipped Volkswagen Polo GT TSI with lots of DIYs-dome-light.jpg

This post (VW Polo DIY: Upgrading cabin light, headlight switch & installing footwell lights) in one of Gannu's DIY threads has all the details of this mini-mod.

Source: AliExpress
Price: $12.64 + $4.18 shipping
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Old 11th February 2019, 13:50   #10
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Default DIY #2: Gas Strut for Bonnet

I love mods that fix the little things that make life hard. So when I read Gannu's DIY thread (VW Polo DIY: Installing a gas strut to lift the hood) about installing a gas strut to raise and hold the bonnet, I knew my GT TSI needed it. Gannu mentions in his thread that a gas strut with a force of 350N should be able to lift the bonnet by itself, so that is what I ordered.

Source: SGS Engineering (Gas Strut - 1 no., End Fixings - 2 nos.)
Price: 17.01 (strut) + 3.70 (free when ordered with strut) + 11.75 shipping
Delivery: Royal Mail + India Post

However on installing the strut, I realized that the bracket to which the lower ball stud was screwed was too weak to bear the closing load of the bonnet, and I needed some way to transfer the load to the fender. Pictures here (VW Polo DIY: Installing a gas strut to lift the hood).

After scratching my head a bit, the solution came to me in a Eureka moment. I sandwiched the fender between two washers, and then tightened the ball stud.

My pre-worshipped Volkswagen Polo GT TSI with lots of DIYs-img_20190206_132508.jpg

Problem solved!

Additional Notes:
  1. Even with a 350N strut, the bonnet won't spring up by itself. After studying the locking mechanism, I have reached the conclusion that this is so by design for safety reasons. The bonnet lock consists of two independent stages, the first operated by the lever in the cabin and the other by the lever underneath the bonnet itself. In order for the bonnet to lift automatically when the lever inside the cabin is pulled, the second stage has to be disabled. It is fairly easy to do so, but I have decided to respect the intent of the manufacturer.
  2. Ironically, for some reason, the bonnet doesn't pop up slightly on pulling the lever in the cabin (like it does without this mod). I am not sure if that is because of the higher strut force or some defect in the strut. The situation has improved slightly after I removed the OEM bonnet propping rod, and the bonnet now pops up maybe once in every three attempts. It will continue to bother me until I find a solution (if there is one), but I am living with it for now.

Last edited by TheLizardKing : 12th February 2019 at 15:36.
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Old 11th February 2019, 14:24   #11
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Default Mini-Mod: Rear Dome Light

As is well-documented, and is one of the primary reasons for most mods and DIYs, VW has eliminated a lot of features from the cars released in the Indian market, as compared to the international spec. One such feature is a dome light in the rear of the car. This is a very useful feature, and I wanted to fix its absence in my car.

While the OEM part is available on AliExpress, it will require mounting points and the necessary wiring, and also involve cutting the headliner. After doing a cost-benefit analysis, my risk-averse nature made me drop the thought. Instead, I bought this:

My pre-worshipped Volkswagen Polo GT TSI with lots of DIYs-20190211_141347collage.jpg

Source: AliExpress
Price: $9.77

It requires a small metal plate (provided along with the light unit) to be permanently stuck to the headliner using 3M 2-way tape (also provided), and the unit is held in place with magnetic force. It is rechargeable via USB (cable provided). It is operated via a touch-sensitive switch which controls both power (tap to switch on/off) and intensity (hold to adjust brightness). I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the intensity level is stored in memory when the unit is switched off and applied the next time the unit is powered on.

This is one of my most VFM mini-mods to date.

Last edited by TheLizardKing : 11th February 2019 at 17:26.
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Old 11th February 2019, 18:53   #12
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Default Mini-Mod: Reservoir Cap

My pre-worshipped Volkswagen Polo GT TSI with lots of DIYs-img20190205wa0028.jpg

I always thought that the windshield washer reservoir cap in both my VW cars is poorly designed, both from an aesthetic as well as a functional perspective. It is also one of my more frequent "touch points", especially on the GT TSI with its much smaller reservoir compared to the Polo MPI. So when I saw Gannu's post on replacing it with an Audi part, I knew I wanted it too. I looked at all the usual places (AliExpress, eBay, ECS Tuning, etc.), and to my surprise found the part on an Indian auto parts seller's website at a very competitive price.

Source: Boodmo
Price: Rs 800
Delivery: Delhivery

More details and pictures here (Volkswagen Polo 1.2L GT TSI : Official Review).

Last edited by TheLizardKing : 12th February 2019 at 15:38.
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Old 12th February 2019, 13:41   #13
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Default In the pipeline

Here is the list of mini-mods and DIYs in the pipeline:

  1. Glove Box Lamp* (Reference (VW Polo DIY: Adding a lamp to the glovebox))
  2. Jetta ECM IRVM Kit* (Reference (VW Polo DIY: Installing the OEM anti-glare mirror))
  3. Boot Lamp* (Reference (VW Polo DIY: Adding a boot lamp!))
  4. Instrumentation Dimmer Switch* (Reference)
  5. International-style RHD Tail Lights* (Inspiration (VW Polo DIY: Euro-spec Tail lamps))
  6. Cigarette Lighter (Illuminated) (Inspiration (VW Polo DIY: Adding a luminous ring to the 12v socket))
  7. Windshield Washer Fluid Level Sensor (Reference (VW Polo DIY: Windshield washer low-level sensor & dash warning))
  1. Grab Handle Dampers* (Reference (VW Polo DIY: Adding dampers to grab handles))
  2. Anti-Theft Wheel Lugs* (Reference)
  3. Mirror Adjustment Knob (Reference)
  4. Suspension upgrade: Bilstein B6
  5. Hatch Pop Kit
The parts required for the starred items have already been delivered, and I will be slowly executing them whenever I can take out time on weekends. For some of the remaining items, parts have been ordered. The front struts of the B6 kit are on back order at TDC Automotive, and I am on the waiting list.

For the Hatch Pop Kit, I am using this ECS Tuning design as the reference. I have already ordered the bump stops from eBay, and they are in transit. I intend to install them first and check how much they are able to push the hatch out. If it looks promising, I plan to replace the OEM struts (which have a rating of 325N) with compatible gas struts of 550N rating.

Last edited by TheLizardKing : 12th February 2019 at 14:51.
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Old 29th March 2019, 07:42   #14
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Default Re: My pre-worshipped Volkswagen Polo GT TSI with lots of DIYs

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 29th March 2019, 08:43   #15
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Default Re: Mini-Mod: Reservoir Cap

Originally Posted by TheLizardKing View Post
Attachment 1847717

Indian auto parts seller's website at a very competitive price.

Source: Boodmo
Price: Rs 800

More details and pictures here (Volkswagen Polo 1.2L GT TSI : Official Review).
Very interesting read and wish you happy and safe miles.

This specific replacement caught my attention, I had to replace the same cap in my 7-year-old Brio (thanks to ageing) and the cost was just Rs 47!

Yes, I got it replaced at Honda ASC.
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