R32 information

Exterior pictures

Interior pictures

Wash & Wax


Mods, Parts & Accessories

2003 VW GTI (sold)

Favourite links

Mindless minutiae

Events and GTGs


Parts & Accessories

Why is everyone who drives slower than me an idiot, and everyone who drives faster a maniac?


Parts & Mods list:


*  antenna angle adapter


*  DRLs, disabled


*  pen, “.:R32”

*  antenna, S2000 type


*  DRLs – city lights as DRLs, with LEDs


*  Pirelli Pzero Nero M+S

*  antenna, Sharan


*  Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D


*  poster,"R32"

*  AWD dynometer decal


*  ECU upgrade


*  power steering fluid

*  5-brake light mod


*  emblem cover, VW smoked


*  .:R accessories kit

*  battery, VW OEM


*  foam tool holders, VW


*  .:R-line monster mats, VW OEM

*  bootliner


*  Gorilla-Gear system


*  Rheostat

*  brake light switch


*  Haldex Performance, sticker


*  short shift, EIP Tuning R32 6-speed

*  Bridgestone Potenza RE960AS


*  headlight covers, Lexan, VW OEM


*  spare tire, EIP R32 conversion

*  Bridgestone Potenza RE050A




*  sunglass holder, grey, Golf/Jetta IV

*  bumper, front,  VW OEM Golf R32


*  Hold the Phone


*  sway bar, rear, H&R 21mm adjustable

*  bumper sidemarkers, clear, VW MkIV


*  intake, EIP CCAI Special Edition


*  Tail light

*  CD changer, 6-disc, VW OEM


*  key chain, “.:R32”


*  temperature sensor, ambient

*  CD player


*  key fob, .:R-badge


*  transmission mount, EIP VW MkIV/R32 modified lower rear

*  coilover suspension, HPA SHS


*  license frame, VW 4-Motion


*  valve stem caps

*  coolant temperature sensor


*  mirrors, aspherical blue, VW OEM


*  Venture Shield

*  Dash vents, upper, billet aluminum


*  passenger seat knob, VW OEM


*  wheel center cap

*  Dogbone mount




*  wheels, O.Z. Crono HT





*   wiper blades, VW OEM








Sharan Antenna

*     Hillside Imports.

*     Part No. 7M0 035 849 E.

Recently I’d been wishing for a different antenna since the angle adapter (and S2000 antenna) was becoming difficult to line up properly and it was too loose to maintain the desired angle, defeating its original purpose of preventing the antenna from touching the rear spoiler.  Back in the day the VW OEM Sharan antenna from Hillside Imports was always sold out so I let it go, but a couple weeks ago I discovered they finally had some in stock.

*     Why not order it from a VW dealership?  First, the Sharan isn’t available in the U.S. or Canada.  Second, if memory serves there’s some modification needed with the threads to make it fit the R32 antenna base.



Sharan-01 thumb

The Sharan stubby doesn’t touch the rear spoiler.




Back to top






Venture Shield

*     VentureShield; installed by Mobile Film Installation.

I decided to install some clear sticker protection for the R’s front – much cheaper than getting it repainted.  I didn’t anticipate the need for relief cuts, but all in all I’d still recommend it.  The sticker covers the front bumper, front parts of the hood and fenders, and HIDs (Good-bye, Lexan Covers.  Twas fun while it lasted).  As an added bonus, the sticker makes it much easier to wash off bugs.



VentureShield-01 thumb

Arrows point out the stickers’ edge.

VentureShield-02 thumb

Unnoticeable a short distance away.



Back to top






Bridgestone Potenza RE050A Pole Position

*     TireRack

*     225/40R18 88Y, Max Performance summer tires.

I purchased these asymmetric summers in a package with my O.Z. Crono HT wheels.  



PotenzaRE050A-01 thumb

PotenzaRE050A-02 thumb



Back to top







O.Z. Crono HT wheels

*     TireRack

*     Bright Silver Paint; 1-pc low pressure cast; 18x8; 35mm offset; 5.86” backspacing; 5x100 bolt pattern; recommended tire size 225/40-18; 19.5lbs each; made in Italy; 2-yr finish warranty.

In preparation for warmer temperatures I needed to get some wheels for my summer tires, the stock 15-spoke Aristos having been relegated to winter wheel status.  Anywhoo, TireRack is having a close out sale on these wheels and despite the sizeable chunk customs and duties would rip out I was more comfortable purchasing from a company I had experience with.

*     At 19.5lb the O.Z. Crono wheel weighs 8-9lb less than the Aristo (27-28lbs each). 

*     I went with 5-spoke wheels because no matter how much I like how they look the 15-spoke Aristos are a pain to clean.

*     I’ll need centering rings to install these on my R.  They came with the wheels – but what I really want to know is whether they’re re-useable.  Anyone?

*     No in situ pictures, yet, as it still hasn’t been sufficently warm on a consistent basis.  The Land of Tim Hortons even had snow on Monday (6 April 2009).

*     UPDATE (9th May 2009):  I finally installed my summer wheels.  Looks great, eh?  I think the Crono wheels look more aggressive, cleaner than the Aristos.  Mikey, I think I like ‘em!



OZCronoHT-01 thumb

O.Z. Crono HT

OZCronoHT-02 thumb

O.Z. Crono HT installed.

OZCronoHT-03 thumb



Back to top






Ambient temperature sensor

*     VW of Canada

*     Part number 1J0 973 702.

After I had my city lights wired to work like DRLs I noticed that seeming at random the R’s outside temperature on the MFA read -50°C.  Subsequently the Climatronic would blare out suffocating heat – a problem I solved by turning the darned thing off.  Anywhoo, I finally had it looked at and was informed that when I had my DRLs installed by Pro-Imports they had forgotten to reconnect the ambient temperature sensor, leading to corrosion.  A new sensor and some wiring were required to repair.


tempsensor-01 thumb

Part no. 1J0-973-702.

tempsensor-02 thumb

Corroded temperature sensor.



Back to top





Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D

*     TireRack

*     Performance winter tires (225/40R18)

In preparation for relocating to the Land of Tim Hortons I decided winter tires were a necessity.  Once again I based my decision on two criteria:  pricing and ratings.  I haven’t had any problems with the Dunlop SP to date as they’ve successfully taken the R over snowy, mountainous highways and snowy city streets for over 1,200 miles.


DunlopWinter-01 thumb


DunlopWinter-02 thumb



Back to top





City lights as DRLs

*     I disabled my DRLs to protect my OEM HIDs from being damaged, but now I need to have DRLs.  To have DRLs without abandoning and/or damaging my HIDs, I had my city lights wired to the R’s ignition so that they turn on automatically.

*     I replaced the stock city light bulbs with high-intensity white BAX9S LEDs (42 Draft Designs #SB-143).

  • UPDATE 03MAY2012:  After almost 11,300 miles and 42 months the BAX9S LED on the passenger side burned out.  I ended up replacing them, with new LEDs, on both headlights because although the driver's side was still working, it was noticeably dimmer than the new LED. 



The city light LED is below the high-beam, currently off.


City light LEDs.

City light LEDs + HIDs in poor light.

City light LEDs in poor light.

Back to top






.:R32 poster

*     VW of America

*     Roughly 18 months after purchasing my R (circa September 2005), I received a free R32 poster in the mail.  It was both completely unexpected and very gratifying—almost as if the poster itself justified buying an R32.  :o) 

*     This poster is 1 of 5000 mailed to each original owner of a 2004 R32—printed individually on the poster’s lower left.  Despite how much I might wish otherwise, the poster number has nothing to do with my R’s production sequence.  The poster says “Just in from Germany”, and in the lower right, “The 240 hp, 6-speed, all-wheel drive limited edition R32.  Drivers Wanted.”

*     The only poor note in this free gift was that it arrived slightly wrinkled.  Wangos.  Oh yeah, and lest you think VWoA is simply rolling in cash (who knows, maybe they are), I had the poster mounted and framed myself.



PosterR32 thumb

I took the pic at an angle to avoid glare and reflections.



Back to top






.:R32 key chain

*     VW of America

*     Part no. 1J0 860 357

This R32 leather key chain, extra key ring, and carabiner cost me around $30,000 USD.  It was a bargain since the dealer threw in a brand new R32.  :o)  I’d heard some new R owners actually finding the key chain “missing”, so I was relieved to receive mine.

*     The key chain may look marked up—that’s only because I’ve been using it since day one.  :o)



keychainR32-01 thumb

It came with the box, too.  :o)




Back to top






.:R32 ballpoint pen

This pen came with the owner’s manual.  A nice touch, and I was especially happy to have one since, like the R32 key chain, I’d heard others finding theirs AWOL.

*     The “R32” lettering (black) is much more legible than it appears in the picture—my camera’s oft annoying flash, again.



R32pen-01 thumb

This is the pen I use most often.  :o)




Back to top






.:R-badge for key fob


I found this advertised on VWvortex.  It’s constructed of aluminum and fits over the VW logo on MkIV and MkV key fobs.  Expensive ($10 USD), but life’s too short; I bought two of them.  :o)

  • UPDATE (2010):  Eventually the pattern on the R logo came off completely so that is was plain silver.  I removed it and haven't bothered replacing it with the extra I purchased.


keyfob-01 thumb

Key fobs as received.

keyfobbadge-01 thumb

Key fob “.:R” badge.

keyfob-02 thumb

The badge has an adhesive backing.



Back to top






Bridgestone Potenza RE960AS Pole Position

*     Tire Rack

*     Ultra-high performance all seasons (225/40ZR18 88W SL).

*     Max. load, 1235 lbs; max. infl. pressure, 51 psi; tread depth, 11/32”; tire weight, 24 lbs.

*     I went with all seasons because I don’t have the luxury of being able to store summer and/or winter tires.

*     FYI, I also had a four-wheel alignment done when the Potenzas were mounted and balanced.  My fronts “Turning” (see R32 alignment specs) was set at -2.3 to -2.4.  Pro-Imports said they couldn’t get it closer to stock spec without installing control arms.  They did say that I wouldn’t notice any handling differences or excess tire wear so I left it at that.

I chose these tires because they were rated #1 overall in their category by customers on Tire Rack, they were priced in my affordable range, I vaguely recalled reading some positive recommendations on VWVortex, and they were in stock (I was trying to avoid having to repair a couple slow leaks in my old Pzero Neros). 


Potenza-01 thumb

Bridgestone all-seasons

Potenza-02 thumb


Potenza-03 thumb


Potenza-04 thumb



Back to top






Dogbone mount

*     BmF Technologies

*     Part No. BmF006

I wanted to try something a little more aggressive so I replaced my rear transmission mount from EIP with one from BmF Technik.  I received the BmF Dogbone mount almost a month after ordering it.  This was due to a unexpectedly large number of orders.  I wasn’t too annoyed since BmF kept me updated, quickly responded to all my questions, and explained the cause of the delay—that’s how you keep customers happy.

*     Impressions, comparisons, and more pics—dogbone mounts.



DogboneBmF-01 thumb

Torque specs, and free stickers :o)

DogboneBmF-04 thumb

It’s orange!



Back to top






Gorilla-Gear system

*  VW of America

*  Part No. 1J0 061 166 H 469

I purchased this Gorilla-Gear system as soon as I learned Volkswagen was finally offering one designed for the MkIV R32—and it only took them three years to do it ::roll eyes::.  If you’re looking for a rear cargo mat I strongly recommend this Gorilla-Gear cargo mat over the flimsy piece of foam VW started offering several months ago. 

*  The Gorilla-Gear system includes a rubber-backed cargo mat that can be hosed off and four Gorilla-Grips cargo locks that attach using Velcro.


Gorilla-Gear-01 thumb

Gorilla-Gear-02 thumb

Part no. 1J0 061 166 H 469

Gorilla-Gear-04 thumb


Gorilla-Gear-03 thumb

Cargo Mat and Gorilla-Grips in use.


Back to top







*  VW of America

*  Part No. 1J0 061 161

When the 2004 R32 was first released Volkswagen didn’t offer a cargo liner or anything for the hatch.  Because of the 4Motion the R32’s hatch floor is raised—meaning that liners/mats for the Golf/GTI don’t fit the R32.  In winter 2006 VW finally came out with a bootliner designed to fit the 2004 R32.  Unfortunately, I read that it was just a piece of flimsy foam so I promptly forgot all about its existence until last week when I asked a local VW parts department about cargo liners.  Anywhoo, I decided to order a bootliner—since it has to better than nothing—and this morning I picked it up.  My verdict:  this bootliner is an expensive piece of flimsy foam… but it has to be better than nothing.


Bootliner-01 thumb

stock, carpeted liner; off black

Bootliner-02 thumb

stock part no. 1J6 863 463 P

Bootliner-03 thumb

Bootliner, foam


Bootliner-04 thumb

Part no. 1J0 061 161



Bootliner-05 thumb

Assembly required:  if you want access to two latches (which I do) you need to cut some holes in the foam as marked by the red circles in the above picture.  A simple task with a box cutter—but it certainly doesn’t make me feel any better about paying so much for a flimsy piece of foam.


Back to top






Valve stem caps

*  VW of America

*  Part no. ZVW 355 005-A, “VW” Black on Silver

I started with a set of four R-line valve stem caps but over time I was gradually reduced to one, it’s compatriots lost and replaced by “VW” black on silver stem caps (for some odd reason VWoA doesn’t sell R-line caps by themselves).  With my brother’s prodding I decided to retire the sole survivor.  Unfortunately, the VW stem caps also began to disappear so I decided to replace them with non-descript plastic black caps I already had on hand.  It’s months later and I changed my mind.  I’ll see how long these survive the sticky fingers of greedy larcenous thieves who should be knocked silly by repeated upsides delivered with great enthusiasm to their heads.



VWvalvestemcaps-01 thumb

Don’t worry—they come in sets of four.  One’s already been drafted. :o)

VWvalvestemcaps-02 thumb



Back to top






Haldex Performance

*  Haldex

*  The R32 is equipped with a Haldex AWD system so I was looking forward to receiving a “Haldex Performance” badge that Haldex was offering for free on their website.  I’d originally thought that high demand was the reason I hadn’t received it, yet, but the date on the letter is early December 2006—about the time I asked for one.  I guess mail from Sweden takes a few months to cross the Atlantic.

*  Haldex also generously included three stickers with the badge.  At first I was going to put the badge on my rear hatch—opposite the “R32”—but I’m thinking that would make it look too cluttered.  Besides, I’m hesitant about putting anything semi-permanent on my paint even if it is just a badge.  Instead, I put one of the stickers on the R’s right rear window.


Haldex-01 thumb

Bonus!  The badge PLUS stickers.  :o)


Haldex-02 thumb


Haldex-03 thumb

…and after.

Haldex-04 thumb


Haldex-05 thumb

Hmmm… maybe I should have positioned it a little lower….




Back to top






CD player

*  VW of America

*  Panasonic (Part no. PAN-AS9-999)

24 February 2007:  A few months ago my CD player went kaput and stopped playing any CDs.  For a while I managed to survive with my 6-disc CD changer but I finally got fed up with the inconvenience and took the R to a dealership.  The part finally arrived and this morning I had it installed under warranty. 



monsoon thumb

The old…

CDplayer-01 thumb

…and the new.



Back to top






Brake light switch

*  VW of America

*  Part No. 1C0-945-511-A-NAR

24 February 2007:  When I took the R in for some warranty work I was told that there was a recall for the brake light switch.  I hadn’t had any problems but others have—and not just R32s.  I think Golfs and Jettas have had this under recall for a while, but only recently was the R32 included (15 February 2007).

*  I think the old brake light switch is black, while the new and improved switch is green.

*  Symptoms of a faulty brake light switch are described in the FAQ.

*  A copy of the NHTSA recall notice can be found here or under my R32 maintenance section.



brakelightswitch-01 thumb




Back to top






Tail light

*  Tail and Side Marker light bulb, R10W or Osram/Sylvania 5008.

I noticed the other day that the R’s left tail light wasn’t working.  I wonder how long it’s been like that?  As for how to access the tail light assembly, you can see the instructions I have for the 5-brake light mod.

*  You can see a full list of light bulbs for the R32 under my maintenance section, or click here.


Tail light-01 thumb

What’s wrong in this picture?

Tail light-02 thumb

Culprit identified.

Tail light-03 thumb




Back to top






Wheel center cap

*  VW of America

*  Part No. 1J0-601-171 ($10.13 each)

The other day I noticed one of my center caps was missing.  Wangos.  Luckily, I had time today to stop by my local dealership to pick up a stock replacement.  The cap just pops straight in.  I briefly considered replacing it with a .:R-line center cap, but then I would have had to buy four, and I wasn’t sure how to remove the remaining center caps without taking off the entire wheel.


centercap-01 thumb


centercap-02 thumb


centercap-03 thumb


centercap-04 thumb



Back to top





ECU upgrade

    • APR 3.2L Stage I ECU upgrade (+22 HP, +20 ft-lbs. torque).

      • Exact OEM Calibration Stock Mode
      • 91 Octane Performance Mode
      • 93 Octane Performance Mode
      • 100 Octane Performance Mode
      • Fault Code Erase
      • Throttle Body Alignment
      • Security Lockout (when activated, requires PIN to switch modes)
      • Anti-theft (engine won't start even with key)
    • Realistically, I won't be using all of these features, but it was an all-or-none package.  I do like the ability to easily switch between the 91 and 93 octane programs, and the anti-theft feature is nice.
      • APR allows you to access and activate all its features/programs using the cruise control buttons -- APR EMCS instructions for 2004 VW R32.  You can get more details from their website.
    • Initial impressions:   It's subtle, but I think there's definite improvement in driveability when in the lower gears, which is primarily what I was looking for, when I decided to have the R32 re-flashed, rather than top-end power, though that's pretty nice, too.  :o)  Overall, I'm satisfied with the expense.

*  EIP Tuning

  • UPDATE (September 2011):  I decided to flash over the EIP software with APR in the hope of obtaining a smoother power delivery at lower gears.  See above for details.

*  Stage I ECU upgrade

This ECU chip pushes the rev limiter to 7000 rpm (from 6500 rpm stock) and removes the speed limiter added to U.S. spec. R32s (130 mph), returning the stock top speed back to European spec. (153 mph).  On top of that it provides consistent gains of 8-9 wheel hp and 8-14 wheel torque.  Here are results of some dynos I took from the EIP website:


*  wheel hp @ 5500 rpm

*  wheel hp @ 5800 rpm

*  wheel hp @ 6200 rpm

*  wheel torque @ 3150 rpm

*  wheel torque @ 4550 rpm

*  wheel torque @ 5250 rpm


*  Here are some more dyno sheets from EIP comparing an R32 (+ CCAI) with or without the EIP chip: 

*  3rd gear hp

*  4th gear hp + torque (@ 6100 rpm)

*  4th gear hp + torque (@ 3400 rpm)


*  EIP has said that an R32 with both their Stage I ECU upgrade and CCAI sees around +14-15 hp and +21 torque at the wheels.  I have no idea what the correct way to calculate stuff like this is, but assuming a 15% drive-train loss and using the formula, Torque = (bhp*5252)/rpm, I come up with the following numbers:

*  R32argent:  267-276 bhp @ 6200-6400 rpm; 270 ft-lbs @ 2800-3200 rpm

*  stock: 240 bhp (probably closer to 247 bhp) @ 6250 rpm; 236 ft-lbs @ 2800-3200 rpm (R32 technical specs).


Back to top



Power Steering Fluid

*  VW of America

*  Part No. G-002-012 (355 mL; 12 fl. oz.; $11.00 incl. tax)

Recently I’d noticed a whine whenever I made a moderately sharp turn.  So for the first time I checked my power steering fluid level.  It was *low*.  With the engine cold, the level was about 2 cm below the min mark, and when warm it was still 1 cm below the mark.  I haven’t noticed any leaks, so I don’t know where the fluid went.  Posts on vwvortex indicate that others have experienced low levels before 30k miles, as well.   Anywhoo, today I picked up some power steering fluid from my local dealership and topped her up.  You can bet that checking the power steering fluid has made it on to my monthly to do list along with tire pressure, engine oil, coolant, and windshield washer fluid.




CCAI 2 thumb

The power steering fluid reservoir is on the left—it’s the green cap next to the coolant reservoir.  You might need a screwdriver if the cap is too tight.


PowerSteeringFluid-01 thumb

This is sold in two sizes—I bought the smaller one.



Back to top






Hold the Phone

*  VW of America

*  Part No. VW8888 or VHC002

Since 2004 I’ve been using this handy holder in the R not for its prime directive but for a place to put a pen.  I placed it in the rear cup-holder so it wouldn’t interfere with the parking brake.  The original part no. was VW8888 but DriverGear changed the logo and the part no. is now VHC002 ($10.00 USD).



cell phone holder-1 thumb

cell phone holder-2 thumb

Hmmm… I guess it’s time I detailed the interior again.


Back to top






Battery, VW OEM

*  VW of America

*  Part No. 000 915 105 AD

Never had something so simple taken so long to fix. 

*  0650: R didn’t want to wake up.  When I tried the ignition all I received for my efforts were flashing warning lights.  Ugh. 

*  0930:  I finally get a jump and immediately stopped by the closest VW dealership to see if they could fit me in.  The first service guy said I could leave the R overnight and they’d look at it tomorrow.  I left, but had to return to request a jump.  Second service guy came out to help and told me they could look at the R, but not until the afternoon.  As I still had illusions of making it to work, I said thanks but no thanks.  I drove to PepBoys since I thought they would have a large selection of suitable batteries and would be the safest bet. 

*  0950:  PepBoys would be able to take a look… in 2 hours.  They manage to look at it in one.  Yipee!

*  1100:  I had a dead fuel cell @ 24,470 miles, 28 months (10.51V; measured 0 CCA; rating 550 CCA).  Unfortunately, PepBoys had no batteries suitable for the R.  What the ?!  PepBoys phoned Congressional VW (booooo!) for an OEM battery and was told it would be delivered in 2 hours.  Fine.

*  1430:  Still no battery.  I get PepBoys to phone Congressional VW to request an update.  Apparently the Congressional parts person filled out the paperwork but… ahem… promptly forgot about it without handing it in or telling anyone to make the delivery.  They would deliver in another hour.  Grrrrrrr. 

*  1540: Battery finally arrives.

*  1605: Battery is installed, and I’m out of there.  I’m too annoyed to go to work.  The first thing I do when I get home is write an e-mail to VW Customer Care complaining about Congressional VW.   I have doubts about how useful this will be since the battery install wasn’t at a dealership, but I really don’t care.

·       I reset the one-touch auto windows (key in driver’s lock—lock, unlock, lock and hold for at least 1 second) but unexpectedly I didn’t need to input my radio code… eh?


Battery-01 thumb

A pictorial depiction of the OEM battery part number.

Battery-02 thumb

New battery installed with battery cover removed.

Battery-03 thumb

With the new battery installed the center rectangular black plastic piece doesn’t sit nicely in the battery cover’s cut-out.  I’ve fiddled with it but this was the best I could do. Wangos.



*  Update (08OCT2006):  It’s kind of embarrassing to admit this, but I now know why the center piece wasn’t sitting properly under the battery cover.   You can literally see the reason why in the upper right corners of the above pictures.   Oops.  I can’t believe I didn’t notice it until today—I mean, today was far from the first time I’ve popped the hood since I had the battery replaced.  My observational skills, or lack thereof, are truly embarrassing.

*  But who I *really* blame for my latest mortification is PepBoys (Boooooo!).  I thought they could handle something as simple as this, but I guess I’d have been better off taking the R to Pro-Imports (overkill, I’d have thought), or better yet start learning how to do things myself.


Battery-04 thumb

Part No. 1JO 915 345

Battery-05 thumb


Battery-06 thumb

Missing piece installed.

Battery-07 thumb

Much better!


Back to top





Coolant temperature sensor

*  VW of America

*  Part No. 059 919 501 A (Green-top coolant sensor); Part No. N 903 168 02 (O-ring); Part No. 032 121 142 (black plastic clip).

One of the TSBs out for the R32 pertains to the engine coolant temperature (ECT) sensor failing—it reads a temperature that’s below the true temperature and may negatively affect gas mileage as well as performance at cold starts.  The new ECT sensor has a green top instead of black.  As a preventative measure, I decided to replace my black ECT sensor at the same time I had a MIL warning checked out by Pro-Imports.

*  Update (28SEP2006): My opinion hasn’t changed regarding the improvement in performance after switching to the green-top ECT sensor.  Just by looking at my daily mpg, however, I would have sworn that my gas mileage improved by 1-2 mpg—after two months and 7-8 tanks of gas my mileage has only increased by a little over 0.2 mpg.  Eh?!  Oh well, I guess in this case I was more proactive than reactive.  :o)


coolant sensor-1 thumb

Only the engine cover was removed in this picture.  The red square marks the area of interest.

coolant sensor-2 thumb

Close-up: the arrow indicates the black top coolant temperature sensor.

coolant sensor-3 thumb

Close-up: the green top coolant temperature sensor



Back to top





Sunglass holder

*  ECS Tuning

*  Part No. 1J0 857 465 Y20

I decided I wanted to replace the driver’s side over-head grab handle with an OEM sunglass holder.  Unfortunately, VW only offers them in grey or beige—not black, which is the colour of the R32’s headliner.  I searched vwvortex to try to find someone that would save me the trouble of painting it myself, but no joy.  One company that had been contemplating it informed me that they had given up because of problems with paint quality.  Ugh.  Doesn’t bode well :p

*  I purchased the grey sunglass holder ($35.95), taped over the shiny plastic piece, quickly wiped it down with paint thinner, and then courageously added several coats of satin black spray paint.  I would have preferred using a flat black, but… oh well, I used what I could get.  Anywhoo, installation was a straight swap, the holder being attached by two screws.  There’s a compressed spring so the holder closes by itself just as the grab handle does (or did).


sunglass holder-1 thumb




sunglass holder-2 thumb

In all its original grey glory.

sunglass holder-3 thumb

Felt backing… nice!

sunglass holder-4 thumb

My dark, dastardly weapon.


sunglass holder-5 thumb

The camera flash makes the headliner appear more grey than black.




Back to top





Upper dash vents, billet aluminum

*  EIP Tuning

I bought these upper dash vent covers at the 2nd East Coast R32 GTG.  Regular price is $99.95 per pair, but EIP was offering a discount at the GTG.  The stock vent covers (Part no. 1J0 819 705 A) pop straight out, and the billet ones go straight in.  I thought the silver cast aluminum might look better given my R is reflex silver.


dash vents stock-1 thumb

Stockers, part no. 1J0 819 705 A


dash vents billet-1 thumb

Billet aluminum

dash vents stock-2 thumb

stock, left-side

dash vents billet-2 thumb

billet, left-side

dash vents stock-3 thumb

stock, right-side


dash vents billet-3 thumb

billet, right-side

dash vents billet-4 thumb

A look from outside


Back to top






VW passenger seat knob

*  VW of America

*  Part No. 1J3-881-634-B-B41

My passenger seat handle snapped off.  This is an easy fix/replacement—you just push it straight in, or pull straight out.  It cost around $25 at the dealership.


passenger seat handle new thumb





Back to top







VW .:R-line monster mats

*  VW of America

*  Part No. ZVW179002R

I thought it was about time I replaced my GTI monster mats with the .:R-line monster mats.  These are only the driver and passenger fronts, and come with both the oval and round retention clips.


monster mat part no thumb

monster mat left thumb

driver’s side

monster mat right thumb

passenger’s side




Back to top






HPA SHS Coilover suspension

*  HPA Motorsports, Inc.

*  Part No. HPA-201.

These KW coilovers are manufactured to HPA specifications for the R32, adjustable from stock ride height down to 35mm.  For more technical information you can check out the HPA webpage on the SHS.  If I remember correctly, “SHS” is an acronym for “Sports Handling System”.


The main reason I chose to purchase from HPA was because it could maintain stock ride height.  I didn’t want to have to worry about driving on bad roads (not uncommon in my area).  Furthermore, HPA has a good reputation, I was supporting a Canadian company, and most people who went with the HPA SHS seemed to be happy with them once some initial issues (some people were reporting squeaking) were dealt with.  I picked these up in a group buy last year but waited to install them because I wasn’t sure if I really needed to upgrade my suspension—especially as I would want to drop the ride height at most 10mm to match Euro-spec R32s.  I also didn’t want to drop it too much because that would upset the suspension geometry, reducing handling, as well as risk having difficulty (without installing control arms) in aligning the wheels.  Having said all that, I’m very happy I went ahead and upgraded my suspension.  I went with a 10mm drop, which is hardly noticeable, and as you’d expect control arms weren’t necessary for the alignment.


Driving impressions: Wow.  I’m really impressed with the SHS.  Squat, dive, and roll are all greatly reduced.  The way I normally drive they are virtually non-existent.  The R32 stays very flat in turns—the fun factor in taking corners has increased several fold—and with the reduced squat my launches feel a lot quicker, too, and as a result a lot more fun.  Ride quality has noticeably decreased, but not to a point where it bothers me—I just feel more connected to the road.  While I still have the occasional doubts about whether I really should have spent my hard-earned cash, it’s undeniable that driving the already fun-to-drive R32 has become even more enjoyable.  Now if only someone could do something about those darned gasoline prices….


*     UPDATE (2nd August 2010):  Earlier this year when I changed to my summer tires I decided to adjust the ride height for the first time.  The R had settled from the height I’d originally wanted and it had lost a slight forward rake (that came stock) after the initial installation.  HPA had included special wrenches to adjust the ride height, and six years post - installation I was relieved to discover that excepting some roughness due to dirt and grit the SHS coilovers were still easily adjustable by hand.  The ride height isn’t still quite where I want it, but I’ll make additional adjustments when I switch to my winter tires.


suspension stock thumb

click picture to enlarge

Stock (Munroe) suspension



suspension SHS thumb

click picture to enlarge


suspension installed HPA 1 thumb

click picture to enlarge

HPA SHS installed—it’s yellow!


suspension installed HPA 2 thumb

click picture to enlarge

HPA SHS installed—oooh, see the pretty colours!



ride height stock thumb

click picture to enlarge

Stock ride height

ride height 10mm drop thumb

click picture to enlarge

HPA SHS ride height—big diff, eh? ;o)




Back to top







VW OEM wiper blades

*  VW of America

*  Part Nos. 1J1 955 425 B (driver’s side), 1J1 955 426 A (passenger’s side), 1J6 955 427 (rear).

I picked up some replacement wiper blades from a local VW dealership.  My only concern was with the rear blade—it’s longer than the original.  Luckily it still doesn’t touch my rear spoiler, though it comes close.  The VW parts guy told me that this is the only rear wiper blade VW has.

*     UPDATE 25AUG2007: The passenger-side wiper blade has a new part no., 1J1 955 426 B.  The others remain the same.



wiperblade-1 thumb

click picture to enlarge

wiperblade-2 thumb

click picture to enlarge

wiperblade-3 thumb

click picture to enlarge

Back to top





AWD dynometer decal

*  VW of America

*  I received this in the mail from VWoA.  Being full-time AWD, this decal tells all and sundry that the R32 is exempt from I/M testing on two-wheel dynometers.



AWD dyno sticker thumb

click picture to enlarge

Back to top



VW foam tool holders

*  World Impex

*  Part Nos. 8N0 012 109E and 8N0 012 109F.  These foam inserts fit into the spare tire well along with the spare.  Unfortunately, they don’t fit the jack and I had to modify the left side to fit the tow hook.  Oh well, you can’t have everything :o)



foam tool inserts thumb

click picture to enlarge


Back to top




DRLs, disabled

*  I disabled my Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) in preparation for my HIDs. 

This was simple.  To remove headlight switch:  while switch is off push it in and turn clockwise until it stops; pull out switch from dash; disconnect wire harness from switch; look for pin labeled ‘TFL’ on reverse side of switch; tape or bend TFL pin; reverse steps to reinstall switch.


pre-disable DRL thumb

click picture to enlarge

The ‘TFL’ pin is on the top, third from the right.


Back to top


disabled DRL thumb

click picture to enlarge

I decided to bend the pin instead of using electrical tape.




*  ECS Tuning

*  Part No. ES#1249 ($32.95) for the rheostat, ES#2993 ($37.95) for the HID leveling motor wiring kit.  I actually bought this last year and I can’t find the rheostat VW part number, so you’ll have to make do.

The rheostat controls the dashboard illumination as well as the leveling motors found on the HIDs.


rheostat wiring thumb

click picture to enlarge

This is the wiring kit.



Back to top


dimmer switch stock thumb

click picture to enlarge

This is the stock switch that controls dashboard illumination.

rheostat thumb

click picture to enlarge

Here’s the installed rheostat.


VW OEM HIDs, Bosch

*  Part Nos. 1J1 941 016P (right), 1J1 941 015P (left).

I bought these brand new HIDs (they’re not blems!) from a guy I originally contacted via VWVortex.  These are increasingly difficult to find and the prices keep on going up.  So although they carry a hefty price tag I decided I better buy them now.  I wanted HIDs because after the occasional drive at night, I really wanted to improve the lighting situation.  FYI, here is how I aimed them properly.


Adapters 10-12 pin thumb

click picture to enlarge

You’ll need these 10-12 pin adapters.


Headlights RandL stock thumb

click picture to enlarge

Stock headlights.

HIDs RandL thumb

click picture to enlarge

HIDs :o)  They change the whole look of my car.

HID ice thumb

Beware:  HIDs can freeze over in winter climates.







Back to top

Headlight R stock thumb

click picture to enlarge

Here’s a close-up of the stock headlight.


HIDs R thumb

click picture to enlarge

Close-up of the HIDs.

HID beam pattern thumb

click picture to enlarge

Beam pattern of HIDs.  Nice!

VW OEM Lexan Headlight covers

*  Hillside Imports

*  Part No. VWA0013.

I put these on before I drove anywhere with my HIDs.  Gotta protect my investment!  Unfortunately, the driver-side cover is already cracked (but still useable).  Note to self—do not let anyone else close the hood.

*     UPDATE 17AUG2007:  Serendipitously, someone cracked their passenger-side Lexan cover so we decided to split the cost of a new pair.  These covers are more than worth their price; I took a close look at them a short while ago and while they’re marked up, my HIDs still look pristine.   :o)

    • UPDATE (May 2009):  I removed the Lexan covers after I installed the VentureShield clear sticker.  I have to admit that I prefer how it looks without the Lexan covers.


Lexan covers RandL thumb

click picture to enlarge

These are made in Australia.


Back to top


Lexan covers RandL installed thumb

click picture to enlarge

Here they are installed.


Lexan covers R thumb

click picture to enlarge



EIP R32 Complete Cold Air Intake (Special Edition)

*  EIP Tuning

I had a pleasant surprise when I had this installed.  Because this was a door-prize at the East Coast R32 GTG, installation was free, too!  Normally the R32 Special Edition CCAI is a $379 value.  So I was only out-of-pocket $49.95 for the AEM Bypass Valve (#D392-22) upgrade—which I strongly recommend, for peace of mind if nothing else.  Oh yeah, ‘Special Edition’ just means it’s OE R32 colour matched.  Only $309 for normal colours.

*  Here are results from some dynos comparing the CCAI versus the stock air box.  I took them from EIP and depending on which rpm you look at the improvement ranges from 7-19 hp at the wheel and 9-28 wheel torque: 3rd gear dyno; 4th gear dyno; 5th gear dyno.


Engine stock thumb

click picture to enlarge

Pic of engine before CCAI installation.


Back to top


CCAI 2 thumb

click picture to enlarge

CCAI, installed.  Removing the stock airbox certainly frees up a lot of room.


CCAI 1 thumb

click picture to enlarge

Here’s another pic, the CCAI in all its glory ;o)


H&R Rear Sway Bar 21mm Adjustable (Audi TT/VW R32)

*  Evolution Sports

*  Part No. HR71431.21 ($222.50 including S&H)

I waited for H&R to release their RSB instead of choosing a different brand—because H&R advertises theirs as never needing to be lubricated.  I’ll have to wait and see if they’re true to their word (knock on wood).  I think the stock RSB is 16mm(?).


RSB 1 thumb

click picture to enlarge



Back to top


RSB 2 thumb

click picture to enlarge


During the drive home immediately after installation, the rear seemed to be very lively and jumped around a lot.  But the following day there was none of that—just a great feel when taking corners :o)


R32 spare tire conversion

*  EIP Tuning

In lieu of a spare tire, VW included the Tire Mobility System (TMS), Part No. 8D0 012 619 A.  TMS basically works like the fix-a-flat stuff, but I’ve read discouraging anecdotes of fellow R32 owners trying to use TMS.  So I decided to fork over the cash for an 18-inch ‘Donut’ style spare tire.  This fits in the factory spare tire well, and has the correct overall diameter so as to not affect the AWD system.  The only drawback is that it won’t clear the OEM front brakes—it has to go on the rear axle.



Foam insert thumb

click picture to enlarge

Pretty huge, eh?  This is what’s stock in the spare tire well.  The air compressor works like a charm :o)


Spare tire thumb

click picture to enlarge


“The Doughnut”

Spare mounted rear thumb

click picture to enlarge

Wow, can you see how narrow it is compared the Pzero Nero!?

Spare mounted left thumb

click picture to enlarge

In profile.  Ugh.  Believe you me, having to constantly remind myself to avoid fast turns and > 50 mph speeds was agonizing.

Back to top





5-brake light mod

*  What does this mod do?  By adding light bulbs to the rear fog sockets (European cars come with rear fogs stock, but U.S. cars do not and hence these sockets are empty) you get five bright red brake lights instead of the normal three.

*  This mod is very easy to install.  Hey, even I could do it!  I bought everything I didn’t already have at Pepboys and Home Depot.  There are comprehensive DIY instructions on VWvortex so all I’m posting are abbreviated instructions.  One thing I did do is temporarily remove fuse #14 before I started fiddling with the lights.  This was to prevent me from having to buy a new fuse if I shorted something out.  This step won’t be necessary if you’re even moderately careful—and if you’re not as paranoid as I am.


brake lights stock thumb

click picture to enlarge

This pic is pre-5-brake light mod.  You can see that only the top middle, and one each on driver’s and passenger’s side are lit.

5-brake light mod thumb

click picture to enlarge

Ta-da!  Looks great, eh?  You can see there are now two lights lit on each side, and with the top, that makes five :o)

P21W bulbs thumb

click picture to enlarge

A. You’ll need these.

5-brake light mod step 3 thumb

click picture to enlarge

B. You’ll need to prepare these:  two 8 inch 14 gauge wires with small female connectors on each end.  Wrap in electrical tape so no metal is exposed!  This prevents shorting something—or you can just use insulated connectors.

5-brake light mod step 1 passenger thumb

click picture to enlarge

C. Remove panel. (1) Unplug wiring harness.  (2) Push these clips inwards and pull out the bulb holder.  This pic is from the passenger side.


Back to top


5-brake light mod step 2 driver thumb

click picture to enlarge

D. The arrow points to the empty socket. Insert P21W light bulb.  This pic is from the driver’s side.

5-brake light mod step 4 thumb

click picture to enlarge

E. Flip bulb holder face-down.  (3) Attach wire to top-most connector, labeled “BR”.  (4) Attach other end of wire to connector labeled “RF”.  This pic is from the driver’s side.


F. Reverse steps to reinstall bulb holder.  One thing to note:  in the rear light housing there was a circular plastic piece blocking the rear fog bulb from going in.  This piece is easy to remove by twisting and pulling.  Do not drop piece into housing—that would be bad.  I have no idea how difficult it would be to fish it out.

VW Golf R32 front bumper

*  VW of America

*  Part No. 1J0 807 217 K GRU

right day 4 ripple thumb

click picture to enlarge

You can see the ‘ripples’ inside the red ellipse in this pic with the original bumper.  They run just below the join with the fender (hey, at least I can see them!).  There were more in the same relative location on the driver’s side.





Back to top


A few months ago while washing the R32 I noticed some ‘ripples’ on both the left and right sides of the front bumper.  It wasn’t just a paint defect, but actual deformations.  Anywhoo, I immediately checked the R32 forum on VWvortex to see if anyone else had them.  Lo and behold, I wasn’t the only one.  I phoned VW Customer Service and they told me to take it to a dealership.  I decided to wait until other R32 owners had dealt with it.


To make a short story even longer, I took my R32 to a dealership in December ’04 where the assistant service manager said the VW area representative had to look at it.  I made an appointment to see the VW area representative for two weeks later, who upon said appointment told me “it’s a known issue on only a few R32s—replace it”.  I was happy (hey, it was under warranty!), and he assured me that the ripples wouldn’t reappear after simply replacing the bumper.


So, early January 2005 I had my front bumper replaced.  All was good, except that I had to make another appointment to buff out some scratches and a paint run.  All was good redux, except the buffing at the body shop the VW dealership uses couldn’t completely fix the scratches/run.  They said the body shop would need a day to repaint.  So off I drove with a rental (Nissan Sentra, ugh). Next day after a frustrating trip through the beltway during evening rush hour, I finally picked up my R32. All was good, finally (and since rush hour was over by then, I shaved off twenty minutes on the return trip—driving at the legally posted speed limit, of course!).

Pirelli Pzero Nero M+S

*  The Tire Rack

*  Ultra-high performance all-seasons (225/40WR18).

In preparation for the winter months I replaced the stock summer Goodyear Eagle F1s with Pirelli Pzero Neros.  I know they’re not winter tires, but it’s a compromise. Important because living in an apartment I have no space to store winter tires during spring/summer/autumn.  I had the Pzero Neros directly shipped to Pro-Imports and had them mounted and balanced, with wheel alignment.  I can’t wait to test them out in an empty snow-covered parking lot—especially since I’ve never driven an AWD in the snow before.

*     UPDATE (07SEP2007):  After three years and roughly 31k miles I decided to replace my tires.  The Pzero Nero’s still had more than 4/32” tread depth left (don’t know what they started with when new) and while they didn’t stick as well as they once did these tires still had plenty of life in them.  So why change them now?  The reasons were three-fold.

*     First, I’ve had at least two flats and recently I had a slow leak on my driver-front, and possibly the passenger-front, too.  The first was caused by a nail, the others, who knows.  Instead of taking time and money to fix the slow leak I preferred to use the money for new tires. 

*     Second, I was stuck one day last winter.  I know the Pzero Nero M+S aren’t winter tires, but still, I was surprised and disappointed.

*     Third, as alluded to above, recently I’ve noticed minor tire squealing during maneuvers where they had never squealed before.

·       I replaced the Pzero Nero M+S with some Bridgestone Potenza Pole Positions.



Pzero Nero 1 thumb

click picture to enlarge

Back to top


Pzero Nero 2 thumb

click picture to enlarge

VW MkIV Clear bumper sidemarkers

*  42 Draft Designs

*  Part No. 42-041

I also bought yellow light bulbs for these (Pair 194NA lightbulb, Part No. LB-001).  I assumed it’s legally required to have yellow lights on the bumpers.  Hey, I don’t make the rules! I think the clear sidemarkers make it look much cleaner—especially with a silver car.  The bulbs were $4 for a pair, and the sidemarkers on sale for $25 per pair.  The stock sidemarkers were easy to pop out, but I had to shave some of the plastic clips to get the new ones in. Plus, they didn’t fit perfectly flush with the bumper, i.e. there’s a slight gap between the lens and bumper.  It’s not that big, but I hope it’s okay if a little water gets in there.

*     UPDATE (08NOV2008):  After 53 months I learned the 194NA bulb had melted the housing on the driver’s side (see picture below).  I decided to buy new sidemarkers from someplace else.


yellow sidemarker thumb

Picture with the stock bumper sidemarker.

clear sidemarker thumb

42 Draft Designs clear bumper sidemarker.

bumpersidemarker-01 thumb

I’m meeeelting.




*     ECS Tuning

*     Jetta/Golf IV Diamond Style Clear Bumper Side Marker Lenses-With Bulbs, Part No. ES#4852.

*     As I said above the housing was melted on my bumper sidemarker from 42 Draft Designs.  With the ECS Tuning sidemarkers I replaced the included bulbs with yellow 194 LEDs (42 Draft Designs, Part No. SB-005) to reduce heat.  These also fit perfectly, unlike the previous ones.

*     Replacing bumper sidemarkers:  Push in on the front part of the sidemarker (there’s a spring behind it).  Slide sidemarker slightly to the right and then remove by angling it out to the left.  Bulb pulls straight out from bulb holder.



bumpersidemarker-02 thumb


bumpersidemarker-03 thumb

Is this really made of diamond?



Back to top






.:R Accessories Kit (VW “R” Kit)

*  VW of America

*  Part No. ZVW 355 018

This kit ($39) comes with a license plate frame, keychain, and valve stem caps—all with the .:R logo.  I didn’t want the frame, but serendipitously a fellow vortexer gave me his extra keychain and valve stem caps. Woohoo!

R kit thumb

click picture to enlarge


R valve stem thumb

click picture to enlarge

Here’s a picture of one of the .:R valve stems installed


Back to top



S2000 type antenna

*  Enfig Motorsports

*  Enfig Perfect Fit S2000 antenna

I like the look of this antenna— however, with the hatch opened the mast would touch the rear spoiler.  It wasn’t too bad, but it annoyed me.  Luckily, my brother suggested a solution other than buying a different stubby antenna.


s2000 and stock thumb

click picture to enlarge

You can see from this picture that the S2000 antenna mast is much shorter than stock.

Antenna angle adapter

*  VW of Japan

*  Part No. J00 CE7 A01

My brother arranged to get this for me from Japan.  It just screws in between the antenna base and mast, allowing you to adjust the antenna angle.  You can see the slight change in angle that I made to avoid it rubbing the rear spoiler.


s2000 thumb
click picture to enlarge

Back to top



angle adapter thumb

click picture to enlarge

VW OEM blue aspherical mirrors

*  Hillside Imports

*  Part Nos: Left, 1J1 857 521C; Right, 1J2 857 522C

I bought these because they increase the field of view and the blue tint reduces glare.  Incredibly easy install.  These pictures are actually from when I had them on my GTI. Apparently they come driver’s side stock in Europe.


stock mirror thumb

stock mirror

click picture to enlarge

Back to top


aspherical mirror thumb

aspherical mirror (please excuse fingerprints!)

click picture to enlarge

Smoked VW emblem cover

*  VW of Japan

My brother gave this to me. It fits pretty easily using double-sided automotive tape.


stock emblem close thumb

stock, close-up

click picture to enlarge

smoked emblem close thumb

smoked cover, close-up

click picture to enlarge

stock emblem thumb

stock, from farther back

click picture to enlarge


Back to top


smoked emblem thumb

smoked cover, from farther back

click picture to enlarge

VW 4-Motion license frame

*  Impex Foreign Auto Parts

*  Part no. ZVW-355-014

I originally saw this in the VW Driver Gear magazine.  I bought it at Impex since it was less expensive, even with S&H.






Back to top

4motion frame thumb

click picture to enlarge

EIP Tuning R32 6-speed short shift

*  EIP Tuning

Wow! This along with EIP’s motor mount makes a much bigger improvement than I had been expecting.  I was able to test both the 25% and 40% reductions in throws, and I decided on the Street Series (25%).  I opted for silver instead of blue, to make it look more stock.


VW Mk4/R32 modified lower rear transmission mount

*  EIP Tuning

Had this installed at the same time as the short shift.  EIP is about an hour drive from me, so it was a great drive back!

*     Impressions, comparisions, and more pictures—dogbone mounts.


EIP ss thumb

click picture to enlarge


Back to top


EIP motor mount thumb

VW 6-disc CD Changer

*  VW Driver Gear

*  Part no. 1J6 035 111

I bought this used from eBay, for much cheaper than for a new one from VW.  Installation was easy—pretty much plug’n play.  The hardest part was finding the correct size screws to secure the unit in place.  The changer fits in a compartment built into the trunk.  So far, this is one of the better purchases I’ve made for the R32.


CD changer thumb

click picture to enlarge




Back to top

Disclaimer: Everything described on my website has worked for my particular car and me. I assume no responsibility for any incorrect information posted on this site or for any modifications you do on your car. Any part numbers are numbers I used and may be different for different models and years and is subject to change. Please verify everything with your dealer. Laws in your country/state/region/ may differ. Always check with your local authorities.

Please send comments or questions about this site to comments AT


All images and logos on this site are copyright and/or trademarks of their respective owners. This site is not affiliated in any way with Volkswagen AG or its subsidiary companies.


Creative Commons License
This website and its contents by are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.


free counters

 Visitors since 29 January 2011