Colourful day in our Street

4 05 2011

Colourful day in our street!

The Orange TTRS belongs to a mate.  And no, he wouldn’t let me have his wheels.


Shift-gate fitted

3 05 2011

Finally got around to refitting the retro shift-gate I bought 2nd hand from a member.

Whether it’s my car’s gear linkage or something else, I had to modify the back of the gate fairly severely to get it to slot into reverse and sixth gear correctly.


An hour with a Dremel, and I was fairly happy.    The shift-gate came in two parts – the slotted gate and a metal ring that fits beneath it on top of the OEM plastic.  I had to drill a small recess out of this ring in order for it to fit over the plastic locator peg that sticks up from the transmission tunnel.

I’d previously polished the gear shaft using fine-grade wet and dry followed up with some Autosol and a Dremel polishing bit.

I used a similar process on the shiftgate itself to bring it to a mirrored shine, to contrast with the OEM brushed ring of the gear surround.

Once I was happy with the fit, I took a new leather gear gaiter and chopped an inch off the top with a sharp knife, then used hot glue to attach it to the gearshaft.  You have to do this as low as possible in order for the leather not to interfere with the gearchange.

The outside edge of the gaiter is secured by the extended bolts passing through the pre-cut holes on the circumference of the gaiter.

The gearknob itself is a cheap Aluminium Richbrook universal fit one that I think goes pretty well with it.

OK, so a fair amount of hassle.  Was it worth it?  Let’s see…


I’m quite pleased.  Following the example of forum member on the, I’m going to add a red LED strip around the underneath the inside edge of the shift-gate, so it glows red through the shift-gate pattern when the sidelights are turned on.  Watch this space…

Adding footwell illumination

3 05 2011

I like the interior of the TT.  It’s one of it’s best features.  I especially like it at night, when you get the contrast between the crisp instruments and the red background lume to the secondary controls.

The new model TTs have an (expensive!) optional interior lighting pack that adds some nice touches like footwell illumination.

After driving mine at night I decided I’d like something similar…

A quick scan of eBay brought up lots of LED flexible strips that looked like they had potential.  I bought two 30cm strips of flexible, red LED strips for around £10.  These are the low-profile ones, and come with peel-off 3M adhesive on the rear – something similar to the pic below:


I test fired them using a bench 12V power supply – they looked great, with nice, even illumination.  Now to wire them to the car…

First off I needed to identify a 12V supply that turns on with the sidelights, and also dims with the dashboard illumination.  I noticed that the light around the cigarette lighter looked suitable and was nearby to the footwells.

Getting to the wiring for this is pretty easy – open the ashtray and remove the single Torx screw in the middle:


You can then pull the ashtray assembly down and forward – on top you’ll see a small, black plastic clip that covers the earth and live feed for the existing light.

I then tried touching the terminals on the SMD strip to the terminals and turned the sidelights on, and was pleased to see them illuminate.  I dimmed the dash lights and the SMD strip dimmed with them.  Yay.

I took some black twin-core cable, and with the ashtray removed taped the end to an opened-out coathanger, then pushed the wire from the ashtray so it appeared in the footwell at the side of the transmission tunnel.  This was surprisingly easy to do without removing any trim and then soldered the SMD strip wire tails on to the twin-core cable.  I repeated this on both sides.

Next, I soldered the left and right hand twin-core cables to the existing light in the center of the removed ashtray.

If you’re not familiar with soldering, then tinning your joints makes this much easer – twist the end of the multi-core cable into a single wire, dip your soldering iron into a little solder, and run it along the twisted wire end to coat it with solder.  When you come to solder it to something else, it’ll be a much easier job.

Once in, I tested the LED strips – turn sidelights on and both illuminate nicely.  So far so good – that’s all the hard part out of the way.

The strips are self-adhesive so I stuck them out of sight just around the corner of each footwell like so:


It’s not a bad idea to give the surface you’re sticking the strips to a wipe with Meths or IPA just in case the previous owner was a fan of silicon dash polish.

At night they look like this from close up – from above there’ll just be a nice, diffuse red glow that illuminates with the sidelights.


It’s difficult to capture on camera what the result looks like, but it’s pretty spectacular.  It looks like Audi fitted them at the factory, and is nice and subtle.  It doesn’t distract at all during night driving.  It looks exactly the same colour and intensity as the existing factory red glow between the knee braces that shines down from below the ashtray.



Job done – total cost, a tenner.  Happy days.

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 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:

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.