Mechanical Mods

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Bicycle/Cargo

Masterbuilt's Hitch Hauler II with various
                    cargo setups. CLICK THE PHOTO to read more about my
                    choice of hitch receiver.I had contemplated what kind of bicycle/cargo carrier I'd like for my car. I became interested in a cargo/bike rack that doesn't touch the paint after years of using roof racks which mar the paint and are time consuming to install and remove. The addition of a 1" hitch receiver allows me to use an ETRAILER CARGO CARRIER (pictured). BikeTight fork-mount bike carriers allows me to carry bicycles in the car's draft without marring the paint. The Hitch Haul is especially handy if my bikes are muddy (car top stays clean). I can even squeeze the tandem back there with both wheels removed. Best of all, the rack is easily removed within seconds of unlocking the receiver. An unplanned consequence is now I can tow a trailer whenever I want. I never imagined I'd tow on a regular basis. But it turns out the Jetta tows 1000-1500 lbs quite handily. It's almost like having an F-150 that gets over 30 mpg! ;-) CLICK HERE to see some of the loads I've hauled.

European Lighting

Image of
                  E-Code lighting upgrade. Main image is of high beams.
                  Low beams and factory foglight upgrade are inset.Since I do a lot of driving on dark roads, I upgraded my lights to a set of European Vento headlights by Hella. The lighting pattern is vastly improved and the bulbs are upgraded to H4s with "city lights." A side benefit is they maintain a factory appearance. I added factory foglights, too. Instead of using a factory wiring harness, I set up a relay that turns on the foglights automatically whenever I turn on the high-beams (hey, when I want light, I want LIGHT). Overall, I'm thrilled with the results.

More Storage

Image of extra glove box... This is a small mod, but nice nonetheless. The '93-94 Jettas came with a large glove box. The 95s came with a front passenger airbag at the expense of losing the glovebox. 1996 brought back a glove box, but in a lower, much smaller location. The lower box is functional, but only sufficient to hold the owner's manual, some papers, and MAYBE a pair of gloves. ;-) Some opt to install the glove box from the 93-94. This requires the removal of the airbag. I had disabled mine via VCDS anyway since my daughter frequently rides in the front seat. I used a 1-ohm resistor to trick the ECU into believing the airbag is still present. This prevents setting the airbag lamp. I use the much larger glove box for storage of a hidden three-way 12V outlet, a compact umbrella, my transceiver microphones, and some miscellaneous items too large to fit in the factory glove box (which would be just about anything). I can even squeeze my netbook in there with plenty of room to spare as seen in the GIF. ;-)

The Future...

Image of my car at White Sands
                  National Monument... The future may or may not hold minor upgrades. For the time-being, my resources are going into rehabilitating the car so my daughter can drive it. But I may still tinker. I may continue to contemplate turbo experiments. Naturally, a tuned TDI is a pleasure to drive. But I've hit a ceiling with this engine that seems can only be surpassed with money/efforts better spent elsewhere. The VNT conversions are ALMOST attractive enough to leap. Perhaps I'll make a move someday. Until then, I love my TDI and enjoy turning heads with a definite underdog no matter how "slow" my car may be against "better" cars. I still stand by my quote, "The TDI is the best performing economy car available to the the average person." I define "economy car" as one rated for over 40 mpg on the highway. Find anything that gets 40 or 50 mpg that can keep up with a tuned TDI and you have a winner! Regardless of all my efforts, my TDI will always APPEAR stock. After all, it's what's inside that counts. Isn't that what we're taught as children? :-) Read discussions about my TDI at TDI CLUB and VW VORTEX. Check out the "Videos" link at the bottom of this page for features of the build-up of this car.

Click here to see specs on my car...
Specifications: Stock vs. StealthTDI

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