More interior bling

15 06 2011

I fitted a Vagmeistter shift gate last month.  A nice mod – it matches well with the standard interior and brings a bit of R8-style bling to the cabin.


Relatively straight forward to fit – see my previous post here:

I also added red footwell illumination which I love:

I then got thinking about how nice it’d be to have the shiftgate backlit in the same way.

Cue another purchase of some adhesive red SMD strip from eBay:


I wanted a feed that would come on with the sidelights, and dim with the dash dimmer.

I popped off the switch panel in front of the gear lever and took a feed from pins 2 and 3 of the fuel filler.  I did try Scotchlock connectors but the cabling’s a bit thin so it was easier to cut the wires and use


From here, if you remove the shift gate and gaiter, it’s a very easy job to thread the SMD strip through to the gear surround.  I cut a slit in the edge of the gaiter to pass the cable through, and then stuck the strip around the inside ring directly under the shift gate.  A 30cm strip is exactly the right length to go round the interior of the ring, which is pretty handy.


Pretty happy with this one, as it goes.  A nice, even and not too in-your-face glow, that dims with the rest of the interior illumination.  Job done.


Adding Stance – H&R spacers

15 06 2011

My car’s the facelift version, so it has a 20mm drop and RS4 18″ alloys from the factory.

They look pretty great, but don’t exactly shout out stance.

Off to the lovely Charlie The Vagmeistter for some H&R spacers.


These are more expensive than you might expect, but are great – they’re half the weight of some other models I tried, which reduces your unsprung weight and makes a big difference to the handling.

These are the hubcentric, bolt-on type – you bolt the spacer to the wheel hub with the supplied flush bolts, then bolt your wheel onto the spacer.

Rear ones went on first – these spacers are 25mm on each side, which is about the maximum you can get away with on standard wheels.


I then went to fit the 20mm front ones – driver’s side went on great.  When I got to the passenger side, I hit a snag – I couldn’t bolt them on so they fit tightly to the hub.  On closer examination the last couple of mm of thread on the hub was full of brake dust and corrosion – I cheated and got the excellent Glynn at GLT Motors in Handforth to sort this out for me.

Protip – an old wheel bolt with slots cut up the thread can be used as a tap to fix the threads.  Cue me coming back home to get a spare bolt (one of a pair which the aforementioned Charlie sent me for free after I snapped the head off a wheel bolt last week – don’t ask) and back to the garage.  After walking home, I then had to walk back to drop off the car keys.  Argh.






Much better.  No rubs, either.  Car’s got stance.

New nose

11 05 2011

After painting Anakin’s new TTRS rings black last weekend, I was wondering whether I should do mine.

I decided to give it a go today.   The process for removing the Mk1 8N front rings is exactly the same as that in my previous post, although the clips are a little easier to remove – I didn’t break any this time.

The rings were sprayed with Plastikote plastic primer, then Plastikote black gloss.  I was in two minds about what to do with the front Quattro badge, as I’ve removed the rear TT and Quattro badges and wasn’t sure if this should go as well.

I decided to try painting the Quattro badge black, and fill in the letters with Misano Red touch-up paint.


IMG 20110421 084801


IMG 20110511 155510

Painting the rings is exactly the same as in the previous TTRS post.

To do the Quattro badge, first I removed it by pulling it forward, hard.  The badge is held on with two metal spring U-shaped clips at the back, which will drop into the inside of the bumper.  Pop the front vent off to retrieve them.

I then cut a slot in a balsa wood sanding block to stand the badge on, and sprayed as before with primer and black gloss.

A quick bake in the oven at about 70 degrees for ten minutes, five minutes to cool down and then I used a very fine brush to paint the inset lettering.  Several coats later, I was finished.  I used a little of the black gloss paint and the same tiny brush to neaten the edges of the letters.

I refitted to the car with some hot glue, and then gave the OEM three bar grille a wipe down with GT85 silicone spray to give it a little bit of a shine.

End result

IMG 20110511 155458

Debadging a TTRS – black rings

7 05 2011

Today we tinker with something slightly expensive.  A shiny Solar Orange TTRS.

Screen shot 2011 04 24 at 21 39 21

Plan was to replace the standard chrome-effect Audi rings front and rear with black ones.  Anakin had bought a spare set of front and rear rings from the local Audi dealership – the front rings clip on, and you will break some clips on the original rings when you remove them.  You could just paint the OEM ones and then glue them back on I guess, but we were playing it relatively safe.

The rear badge just sticks on.

As we had spares, we started with the paint.  I used Plasikote Plastic Primer and Plastikote Black Gloss aerosols.  As the new rear rings are self-adhesive and stuck to a aper backing, you’ll need to cut around the rings with an Exacto knife or similar to leave the bare rings with the paper backing covering the adhesive on the rear.

Wipe the parts down with meths or panel wipe to degrease, and then spray with plastic primer.  Ten minutes later, follow up with another coat.  When tacky, start spraying black.  I used about 3 coats to get a nice even coverage and then warmed up in the kitchen oven for half an hour on a very low heat to speed things up.

Removing the OEM rings.

We thought we’d start with the front, which is definitely the trickier end – first off, removing the OEM rings.  The front rings are held on by a number of clips around the edge.  As the rings are inset slightly into the surrounding grille, it takes a little effort to remove these without either breaking a few clips or marking the surrounding grille.

To remove them, I used a nylon spudger.  If you’ve not come across these, they’re nylon tools designed to help you pry electronic gadgets apart without damage.   They won’t scratch paint and act like weak-ass pry bars.  You can also use nylon guitar picks.

We worked from the bottom of the rings, and prised out a single clip.  It’s helpful if you can then hold this clip in its pried-out position whilst you work on the next.   I didn’t have a suitable second spudger to hand, so I improvised:



Rawlplugs to the rescue.  This allowed me to pull the rings outward whilst unclipping each clip with another hand.  If you don’t have a spudger then a flatblade screwdriver wrapped in tape would probably do the job, but it’s pretty easy to mark the relatively soft black honeycomb grille surround – take it slow, and easy, and start from the underside.

I still broke a couple of clips though – and as we were fitting a new front part, these needed to be removed.  A small screwdriver and some needlenose pliers makes removing these easy – use the screwdriver to lift the broken tab up and then extract with the pliers:


Once these are removed, we waited for half an hour or so until the newly-painted rings dried, then refitted carefully – these are a simple push-fit.  Make sure you put them on the right way around – there is a top and a bottom!


Now to start on the rear rings.

Anakin decided that as well as the removing the rear rings, we’d also take off the TTRS badges.

Before you remove the rear rings, I’d suggest using some tape to mark out the position of the original badges to make refitting the new, black badge in the correct place.  I used some yellow electrical tape.

We used a hairdryer to warm up the badges, and a plastic credit card to remove them.


Take it slow, and the credit card will cut through the rubbery adhesive, leaving some deposits that can be wiped off using some methylated spirits and a paper towel.


After a quick wipe down:



I actually think the rear of the car looks pretty cool debadged, and we had a bit of a struggle deciding if we should leave it bare, or go with the newly-painted black rings.

Tricky decision, as I happen to think that a TTRS with no badges at all looks pretty damn mean.

In the end, we went with deleting the TTRS badges and going with the new black rings.


New front:


New rear.


Job done.  Total time taken about an hour.  I love simple but relatively dramatic mods like this.

Fitting a front lip spoiler – slight return

5 05 2011

Parts Department, Seat, Stockport: “Going on a SEAT, is it Son?”

Me: “Do any of them?”

We’ve been here before, haven’t we?

OK, this time let’s do it with the Audi.  Naturally, as everything is more expensive with the Audi I thought this was going to hurt the wallet.

Then I discovered how neatly the Seat Leon Cupra R front splitter matches with the TT’s front end.

If you’ve not come across it before, the LCR splitter has been fitted to pretty much every car you can think of.  It’s the Little Black Dress of front end mods – It’s relatively cheap (£35 from a Seat dealer), it’s made of nice, flexible ABS (hang on, this metaphor’s not really working, is it?) and it goes with anything.

It used to be even cheaper – I guess the Leon’s must be pretty low at the front, as they’re classed as a consumable.  I think someone at Seat noticed they’d sold more splitters than cars and decided to put the price up…


It’s a high quality part, with a nice three dimensional shape to it.  Some of the three dimensional bits need to come off to get it to fit the TT.  You can do this with a sharp knife, or be a little lazier and use one of these:


This is the Dremel plastic cutter.  If you’ve got a Dremel then this it’s probably worth buying one of these disks for this project, as they come in very handy trimming the side parts of the splitter.

I dug into the new splitter in the kitchen, as usual with my mods.  Cut off the bits of the tabs that stick up so that the top surface of the splitter is flat – see below.


Next you need to cut the two central supports down to size.  Measure 15mm from top surface of splitter up each leg and mark it, then cut off with the Dremel:


Once you’ve done this you can neaten it with a craft knife.

Next I used a 3mm drill bit to make a small hole in each plastic tab on the splitter.  These are where you’ll screw it to the car.  I drilled every tab, although when mounted on the car I decided to use less screws in total.  You want it to be a neat fit without necessarily using far too many screws, as there’s some merit in it being able to detach without ripping off your bumper should you hit something with it.

Those of you who read my previous post about fitting a fibreglass chin spoiler to the Eunos might recall that on its first outing I put a crack in the bloody thing parking up to a curb that was higher than I thought it was.  Nice thing about the LCR splitter is it flexes!

Now you’ll need to try fitting it to the car.  You can do this without jacking the car up or removing the front bumper, which is handy.

I marked the center line of the car on some masking tape and stuck it on the lower part of the painted bumper.  I stuck a matching center mark on tape on the top of the splitter, and then propped the splitter up in approximately the correct position using a short piece of railway sleeper.  This allowed me to make matching tape location marks on the corners of the bumper, and also stopped me scratching anything.

Now to screw it to the car – make sure you use stainless self-tappers.  I used 12mm long ones from B&Q.  You could use stainless bolts and nuts, but screws are easier and are more than strong enough.  Trust me, it won’t come off.  Even at very high speeds <cough>.

Start with a corner on one side – pass the screw through the previously-drilled hole in the splitter, and using a stubby screwdriver push upwards at the same time as you screw it in.  It’ll take a bit of doing to start making a hole in your painted bumper so you need a bit of pressure until it bites.  Tighten until the splitter is flush by that screw.

Then do the same on the opposite corner.  At this point you’ll notice that the ends of the splitter are longer than your bumper – you’ll need to cut off the end so that it sits nice and flush with the OEM undertray lips that sit in front of the tyres.  I was going to remove these bits of undertray from under the wheel to make this easier, but as the Torx bolts that hold them in get covered in crud in the wheelarch, they refused to budge.

Out with the Dremel and I cut off the end of the spoiler in sections, testing and refitting until it was the perfect length.


Go round the splitter, adding more screws.  I used eight, evenly spaced.  Make sure the line of the splitter matches the bumper – it flexes so you can get a very OEM+ look.

When the spoiler is attached, you’ll find there’s a little flex in the central section where the two cut-off upright supports are.  Using two longer self-tapping screws, push the screw up and through the center of the V of the support and screw it in.  It’ll fix it very neatly and nicely.


You should have something that looks like the picture above.


Here we go – all fitted.  Unlike my Eunos chin spoiler, which made a radical difference to the front end at speed, I think this is more of a cosmetic mod – I haven’t noticed the car feel any different, really.

However, it looks great, it’s solid at speed, and best of all it doesn’t catch on speed bumps at all so far.  My car’s running the facelift S-Line 20mm drop and I was a little concerned by this but I’ve not had a single scrape on the mean pothole-strewn holes of Manchester.


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.