QS Rear Valance

28 04 2011

This is a great, cheap mod.  The standard rear valance on the TT is a body-coloured panel that looks like it’s part of the rear bumper.

The V6 and QuattroSport models came with a nicer black honeycomb version, in matte and gloss respectively.  I popped into http://www.awesome-gti.co.uk on the way home from work last week and had a look at one of the mechanics’ car that had the QS one fitted and ordered one on the spot.

£65 for a geniune VAG part, which I didn’t think was too bad at all.

Fitting it is very easy indeed: head under the rear bumper and on the underside of the valance undo the two T25 screws.  On each side, at the outer edge, there’s a strange fastener – push the center plastic rod upwards with the tip of a screwdriver, then pull the rod out from the other side.  When done you can carefully lever out the rest of the fastener to detach the valance from the bumper.

Once you’ve done this you just need to unclip the valance around the top and sides – it’s a push fit.  The valance is pretty flexible so be careful you don’t crack the paint if you’re going to reuse it.

As the Haynes manual says, “refitting is the reverse of removal”.  Job done.


Audi TT gloss front grille

22 04 2011

I dropped in at Awesome GTI on the way home from work yesterday.  I went in for a V6 honeycomb rear valance, but after the guy behind the counter showed me his Roadster fitted with the gloss finish Quattro Sport version, I decided that’s what I want on my car.

They were out of stock, so it should arrive next week.

This got me thinking – my front lower grilles are matte plastic, covered in stonechips and generally look a bit tatty.


First off, removing them from the car.  This is much easier than you might imagine – start with one of the side lower grilles, and gently prise it out using a large flat-blade screwdriver and your fingertips.

The grilles are quite flexible, so be careful not to deform the honeycomb section.

Once you’ve got the side grille out, you can reach through and unclip the centre grill at the side, top and bottom.  Do this on both edges – you’ll find the centre clips will still be attached but you can unclip them by sliding in a flat-blade screwdriver between bumper and grille – as both flex, you won’t scratch your paint doing this if you’re careful.


You can see the clips in the pic above.

Once I’d got the grilles out I thought it worth using T-Cut to get the accumulated road grime off the bumper around the gaps.


I brought the grilles into the kitchen (where all my mods happen!) and gave them a quick sand down with 400 grit.  After that a good clean and a wipe down with panel wipe (Methylated Spirits also works just fine).

The grilles are a flexible plastic and so I used Plasti-Kote Primer to give the paint something to stick to.



Two coats of this and half an hour of direct sunlight, and on with the gloss.

I love Plasti-Kote, it’s great stuff.  Great coverage, easy to apply and sticks to anything.


A couple of hours later, I snapped them back on the car.



Job done.  Just need that QS rear valance next!

Sun in Manchester

9 04 2011

Better make the most of it.

Today I spent the afternoon cleaning up the TT.  Gave it a quick wash, and then followed up with a clay bar to remove all the tar spots and other nasties stuck to the paint.  After this, on with the Autoglym Super Resin Polish, and then followed up with Harly Wax.  If you’ve not come across it, Harly Wax is awesome.  It’s pure carnuba wax, goes on incredibly easily and waxes off just as nicely.


Whilst I was waiting for the paint to dry after the wash, I tried some new stuff on the alloys.  She’s got the S-Line 18″ RS4 style wheels on, which have a few scrapes to the lacquer.  I’ve had some horrible experiences in the past with acidic alloy cleaner on wheels with missing lacquer (I remember vividly getting my old MkII Golf GTI with 17″ Kahn alloys on valeted half an hour before I sold it – I thought it’d be nice for the guy picking it up to have it clean – and watching big, black patches appear as the scrote cleaning the car gaily sprayed them all with acid) so was a little nervy about this.

I ended up going with Turtle Wax ICE wheel cleaner.  It’s pretty great – spray on, wait until the white foam turns red as the brake dust gets dissolved, then wash off with a hose.  Looks great.  I topped this off with Meguiars Tyre Gel dressing.


Bad points?  Found a hell of a lot of stonechips on the front end.  The TT’s pretty prone to them given that big vertical front face.   Still, she’s not looking bad at the moment.

A fairly productive day – next job is to take the stereo out, hack the wiring loom and install my MP3 line-in adaptor.


Kitchen soldering: Adding a line-in to the Audi Concert II head unit.

8 04 2011

OK.  Love the Bose factory stereo.  Head unit has a CD changer in the head unit, and a 6 CD autochanger, but no line-in or MP3 support.

So I’ve been burning CDs for the first time in about a decade in order to get my fix of Let It Bleed and my usual podcasts…

There are a number of products designed to let you add line in to factory stereos but they all appear deeply average, with no real ID3 tag support – plus you lose the autochanger.  Not good enough.  I’ll settle for managing the media on my beloved HTC Desire, and a decent line in.

So, line-in is just a couple of connections from the autochanger, right?

So once we’ve identified which connections on the big fat plugs on the back of the head unit are left/right in, it should be fairly straight-forward.  Hmm.

Then I came across Jeff Bipes’ stuff here: http://mk1tt.montebellopark.com/auxin1.html

Great – it’s doable.  I read this then hit up the kitchen with a bench PSU that my Dad made for me about 25 years ago…

After a quick trip to Maplins, I decided to use a DPDT relay rather than the 3PDT one Jeff used.  Makes the wiring simpler, too.


Basic premise is you find the L/R outputs from the CD changer and use a relay to allow you to connect either a line-in or the OEM CD changer to the head unit’s CD changer line in connections.  I used a micro toggle switch, and a 3mm red LED to indicate line-in selected.  This way you get to keep your autochanger, and fit a neat little toggle in the ashtray to fool the head unit into playing a 3.5mm line-in input when you click the toggle.


Checked it out on the kitchen worktop and it looks good: click the switch and the relay switches the input.

I test-removed the TT’s head unit using some £3 eBay-sourced removal keys and it came out OK.  Tomorrow, time permitting, we’ll start hacking the OEM loom to wire this in.

The idea is to fit the jack plug , LED and switch similarly to Jeff’s example.



Eunos replacement: Audi TT

8 04 2011


Ok, so the Eunos went to a nice gentleman called Dave, who used to run MGBs back in the day.  She’s gone to a good home, I think.
So, what’s replaced it?
A 2004 Audi TT 225. APR Stage 1 remap, blue Haldex,  Neuspeed ARBs and polybushes plus a Tarox big brake kit.
Not as grin inducing as a RWD convertible on a sunny day, but not bad.

Let the tweaking commence….