Part 2 - Intake & Exhaust Upgrades Welcome back to our latest, if not necessarily most powerful, project: 2-Point-Slow. If you missed part one, we introduced our concept to take a budget car and transform it into a fun and rewarding driver's car.
Our 228000-mile '95 VW Golf Sport 2.0 had an exhaust leak that needed to be taken care of, among the long list. So our plan was to address this (plus gain a few horsepower) with a downpipe, catalytic converter and cat-back exhaust system from Techtonics Tuning. We'll also get more air into the engine with a Euro Sport Accessories Cool-Flo intake.
To help with the work, we took the project car to New German Performance in Aberdeen, MD. They'd treated our Mk5 GTI project with care, so Project 2.slow wouldn't present any hurdles.
Techtonics Tuning needs no introduction to anybody who's ever ventured into VW or Audi tuning. Its exhausts and engine parts are known to be among the best around, so we didn't hesitate contacting them for our Mk3.
The company supplied a stainless steel dual downpipe and high-flow catalytic converter to replace our rattling, decrepit one-piece unit. Typically, we'd only replaced the cat but that wasn't possible with our car - most Mk3s have a separate cat and downpipe, so you can save money here by replacing the cat alone.
On our 2.0 8v ABA engine, the exhaust is traditionally one of the easiest areas to gain power. So we threw Project 2.slow on the NGP dyno to see where we were starting.
A couple of pulls netted a solid 95whp and 113wtq from the stock motor, which is about right for power, but the torque was surprisingly higher than standard. Obviously, the little 8v was happy despite the miles on it.
The 2.25" cat-back Techtonics exhaust is made from aluminized steel, but we opted for the more expensive stainless steel Borla muffler as well for a more aggressive tone and longer life. The pipes are mandrel bent, which means all the bends maintain 2.25" throughout, ensuring maximum flow.
After a few hours wrenching, NGP's Jesse James Dalton returned Project 2.slow. First impressions? Quite good!
The audible rumble from the 2.25" Techtonics cat-back exhaust was immediately noticeable, but not excessively loud nor unrefined. The Volume was modest at idle and under normal acceleration, but more aggressive at wide-open throttle - perfect.
The ABA felt like it was making power, and the dyno confirmed it with the Techtonics exhaust giving us a peak gain of 5whp over stock, and as much as 7whp above that. Peak torque remained the same, but there were gains as high as 5wtq from 3750rpm up to redline, so we were pleased with that.
CAI The Euro Sport Cool-Flo intake replaces the entire factory air box, allowing increased airflow into the engine with improved throttle response. Comprising a powdercoated heatshield, gasket and ITG air filter, we hoped to see benefits without the worry of hydro-locking the engine: some more aggressive race-style intakes (which Euro Sport also sells) offer potentially higher gains but also risk ingesting rain water from deep puddles when running in inclement weather. Since we'd rather not risk that we played it safe, but you may feel differently depending on the weather you typically encounter.
Once fitted, the intake improved throttle response as we'd hoped. It also gave a nice, aggressive intake sound at full throttle.
Power gains over the TT exhaust alone were seen consistently from 4000rpm upwards, resulting in as much as 4whp and 3.5wtq, and ultimately raising the peak by 2whp.
With the exhaust and intake, we're up more than 8whp and as much as 7wtq with just these simple changes, and there's a lot more to come. That may not seem like much, but it's nearly 10% increase from where we started.
Now that we've got the underachieving 8v breathing better, we'll tackle more engine upgrades in next issue. We've got a 266° sport camshaft, adjustable cam gear and performance chip from Techtonics to round out our power package for Project 2.slow.
Techtonics aluminized 2.25" cat-back exhaust with Borla muffler - $385
Techtonics stainless-steel dual downpipe - $295
Techtonics high-flow catalytic converter - $270
Euro Sport Accessories Cool-Flo Intake - $219.95