Latest Update: Jan 1, 2001
I collected a bunch of info on engine power upgrades for the A2 GTI/GLI. See also the other *_Power_Upgrades, the collins files, & the Performance FAQ.This archive does not cover the G60 and VR6 equipped cars.
The biggest gain can be had with a better down pipe and exhaust system.85 GTI:
Change ignition map by cutting wire #11?? on the ignition control unit and grounding #3 (which was connected to #11). Yields 2 HP additional, torque peak occurring at a lower rpm. See also 85-87 GTI for additional power.85-87 GTI: KE-Jetronics:
Advance ignition idle timing to 12 degrees BTDC or until knock. (factory specifies 6 degrees +/- 2). Gains 5-8 HP with >= 92 octane fuel, very noticeable at the low end. Note, it may reduce the life of your catalytic converter.90-92 16V GTI/GLI:
Motronic Power chips from Autothority & APS.See also the Performance FAQs for additional references.
Article: 35363 of rec.autos.vw
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Kim)
Subject: Chips for /// cars
Date: 11 Jul 1994 18:41:03 GMT
Q: Would anyone mind posting some numbers here? What are typical prices?
A: I've got a '91 GLI, with Neuspeed's P-Chip.. Purchased at $190. MSR is $250 per APS. HP gains are (according to Aaron Neumann) 7hp. MPG through personal experience) down modestly 2 MPG highway, no change city. High end is boosted considerably. Still pulling quite well up at 115mph. Redline is moved from 6700 up to near 7500(?). In town driving feels a bit easier, read more torque.
You asked what the differences between an '85 Golf and Golf-GTI were? '85 Golf=~85Hp 8.5:1 Compression Ratio, standard Hall sender Electronic Ignition, Bosch K-Lambda Jetronic fuel injection. '85 Golf-GTI=100Hp 10.0:1 Compression ratio, Knock sensing ignition system, Bosch KE-Jetronic (3 wire O2 sensor) fuel injection.
A: OK, lets get this straight. According to my GTI expertise, you can not 'chip' any 8V GTI/GLI prior to 1990 (when they went to Digifant injection. The 85 to 89 8V GTI/GLI/GT had CIS-E injection and a separate knock sensor ignition system. The knock-sensor computer cannot be modified (I've opened one up to look). The CIS-E computer alone cannot make hp gains. The 16V GTIs had motronic injection (combined gas/spark functionality) since 87, so maybe they can be 'chipped'. The 2.0l GTI 16V with the latest Motronic system can be 'chipped' as can Corrados. To my knowledge, you can only 'chip' a car that has a single engine computer controlling both spark and gas delivery (and manifold pressure, a la turbo), such systems are Digifant and Motronic.
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 94 07:27:50 EST
Car design is a series of compromises and tradeoffs. The manufacturers design their cars with a specific set of buyers, laws, and environmental issues in mind. You, on the other hand, might prefer a different set of compromises.
For instance, VW might think that their buyers, in general, are willing to sacrifice a little power in order to pay less for fuel (87 octane Vs. 93 octane). You, on the other hand, might be willing to pay for the fuel, and would like your engine to be optimized for it.
A: Well all I can say is wow! I installed a Advanced Motorsports Power Prom in my '91 2.0L 16v and I am very pleased with the difference. No bogginess when starting, more torque, and at around 4-5000, it becomes two hands on the wheel fun. Really noticeable difference at the cost of some gas I'm sure but much more pleasing to drive.
If you call Marc at Advanced, he will tell you what he does to the chip, they have a FULL TIME programmer, and don't use voodoo magic or untrained people or claim unreasonable 18hp gains like Superchips does. Your factory diagnostics still functions, and this chip is always learning via lambda sensor, so will adapt further if cams and a free breathing exhaust are installed. Its the best money I've ever spent on this car, and has given it new LIFE!!!
By next week I hope to have a pair of Schrick 268 inlet/exhaust cams in, and will report on the results. And later this summer, when the importer GTA in Montreal gets their poo together, I'll install the Devil stainless exhaust, which by the way looks amazing.
Martyn Kerluk'91 GTI 2.0 L 16v
Sender: "MICHAEL H. CHIN" <MHC@ussu.Ciba.Com>
Subject: -- More VW TidBits - Autotech Power Module --
The Power Module has 7 selectable fuel curves that control peak fuel delivery. Finer adjustments can be made by a tuner or yourself if you are familiar with adjusting currents using a potentiometer. Gains range from 4 to 14 HP, depending on the type(s) of engine modifications. Installation can be performed in 30 minutes. The Power Module is an easy, inexpensive ($150) way to gain more performance.
From: email@example.com (Anthony Paul)
Subject: Got a "chip" for my '90 8v GTI!
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 1993 18:53:07 GMT
More news then...Anthony Paul
Article: 44027 of rec.autos.vw
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Gary Andrew Yuen)
Subject: 94 Golf GTI 2.0 8V
Date: 23 Nov 1994 00:49:38 GMT
"I have a 1994 Golf LE which is supposed to be the American version of the GTI (GTI body kit, Twin bulb headlights, wider tires set on the Orlando rims, sport seats, 5 speed, etc.). So far I have gotten rid of the factory air box and replaced it with a Neuspeed/K&N P-flow air filter for 5HP extra, you can definitely feel the extra boost in the upper RPM range. There are also chips available that will add extra horsepower, which I plan to add next. These are a couple of easy, not to expensive ways to add HP to your Golf."
One thing that surprised me was the article in the current EuroSport Car zine. There was an article on budget VW performance and they did some testing with the P-Flow, P-Chip, and Eurosport Exhaust on the same golf you had. They had 0-60 numbers, which were something, like this: (can't remember exactly)
P-Chip: 8.6 or something like that
P-Chip, P-Flow, & Exhaust, 8.3
Article: 50628 of rec.autos.vw
From: email@example.com (Martyn Kerluk)
Subject: speed bolt ons to go good ní fast ní get speeding tickets
Date: 7 Feb 1995 23:53:17 GMT
Increase RPM rev limit. It is useless to add anything else without this limit increased because, all the bolt ons will add power >5500 RPM. Also, the chip will help torque, which you will inevitably lose slightly once bolt ons are fitted. And, the chip will aid in increased fuel requirements that your snappy engine will want.
Note: Watch your timing. Make sure your timing is set correctly, 6 Degrees is what my chip manufacturer recommends. Anything awry of that, and ping n knock will pay a visit.
E) Do the air filter mod (see FAQ.)
3) Camshafts/knockenwellen (SP?)
Note: These babies are good but expensive. And in my humble opinion, Schrick is the best.
Buy an alarm with fuel or ignition cuttoff, and go hunt Corrados :) Take it easy Corrado owners, you have more torque, I know, so chill already.....
Article: 28273 of rec.autos.vw
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Keith Watson)
Subject: [W] GTI Tuning
Date: 10 Mar 1994 19:09:22 GMT
85 Golf (Canada) - CIS
85 Golf (US) - CIS-E
85 GTI - CIS-E with throttle stop switches and knock sensor
86 Golf - CIS with one wire change for California or 49-state cars
86 Golf - CIS-E (appears to be the same as 85 Golf CIS-E)
86-87 GTI 8V
87-89 GTI 16V - CIS-E with throttle stop switches and knock sensor
Does anyone have more info on which cars use the same computer?
Disclaimer: The following test results are for my car and my engine
setup and will probably be totally different from what you would see
on your car.
Below are the acceleration times I measured for different settings
of the Autotech Power Module installed in my car. First a little
about this little black box. It's purpose is to increase the amount
of fuel enrichment when at full throttle and above a certain rpm.
From measurement, yes it does increase the full enrichment signal
and this only takes place above 3500rpm.
The Techtonics Tuning Dyno Stories booklet has dyno results when
the used the power module on a modified 16V engine. They didn't
publish what the engine mods were. When the power module was used
there was no difference in the hp graph up to 6000rpm. There was
about a 15hp increase at 6500rpm and 7000rpm. TT mentioned that
their engine was running out of fuel at the top end. This could
also be interpreted as their engine was capable of flowing more air
than the fuel injection system on that engine was capable of keeping
I used a multimeter to measure the milliamp signal being sent to
the differential fuel pressure regulator to verify the operation
of the power module. The standard signal at any non-full throttle
settings varies between 9 and 12 mA. The stock full throttle
enrichment reading on my car is 15.7 mA. The power module has 7
different settings for the following cars:
Car: 1987 VW GTI 16V
Engine: stock paper air filter, ported intake manifold, stock cams,
relieved and ported head, balanced, 1.5mm overbore, ported exhaust
manifold, 2 1/4" (Techtonics) cat, 2 1/4" Techtonics cat back exhaust
Transmission: stock 16 gear ratios, Quaiffe limited slip
Tires: Yokohama A509, 205/50-15
setting mA 3K-6K rpm 2nd gear 5K - 7K rpm 2nd gear
------- ---- ------------------ --------------------
disconnected 15.7 4.4 3.8
3 18.5 4.3 4.0
4 21.1 4.4 4.0
5 21.9 4.3 4.0
6 23.6 4.3 4.0
7 24.3 4.5 4.0
I beleive a better way to measure the effects would be to either use
a chassis dyno or to measure top speed reached on a race track.
The conclusion I have drawn from this that the stock fuel injection
system on my car is able to keep up with the amount of air that my
engine is currently capable of flowing. I guess it's time to try
a free-flow filter and put on the Schrick cams that are sitting in
'87 VW GTI 16V
Article: 5636 of rec.autos.vw
Subject: GTI rev limiter help
From: ti@bazooka.Altos.COM (Ti Kan)
Date: 30 May 92 16:03:56 GMT
I think I should elaborate a little more here with ASCII graphics to avoid confusion:
| Ignition computer |
+----- 11 ------- 3 -----+
X = cut here |
This is true. The '85 GTI/GLI uses a slightly less aggressive digital ignition map, has a little less horsepower/torque than the '86, and has a lower rev-limiter rpm. The '85 setting does have the advantage that it tolerates low-octane fuel a little better. The '86 ignition map has been called the "Audi map" by VW&Porsche magazine because Audi uses the more aggressive map starting in 1985 on the U.S.-spec 4000S.
Q: Is there anyway that I can check if it can be adjusted? Or to find out if somehow my engine computer is from '85? The car was purchased in Feb 86, and was manufactured in late 85.
A: You are in luck. The '85 and '86 ignition computer module (officially known as the "knock sensor control unit") is the same part. So you don't need to change the ignition computer. There is no "adjustment" per se either. You can switch to the '86 ignition map just by cutting one wire. On the ignition computer, there is a brown wire (18 gauge) connected to pin 3. This leads to pin 11, and eventually goes to ground. Snip the wire at pin 3 and insulate it. This converts your car to the '86 spec.
Since you have the Bentley manual, just compare the wiring diagram between the '85 GTI and the '86 GTI under "Electronic Engine Control" and you'll see the difference that I just described.
DISCLAIMER: If you don't know exactly what you're doing, don't attempt this conversion. Improperly done, expensive damage can result!
Article: 51821 of rec.autos.vw
From: email@example.com (John Hamill)
Subject: A2 Golf performance chips?
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 1995 00:17:24
What the hell! is it a bolt on or not? or is it just one part of a performance package? it seems the later.
My question then, still remains. What power upgrade options do I have? I've got the 1.8l 16v with CIS-E injection system. I can't chip it, I can't get a new throttle body (at least haven't seen one) no intake mods available. I am basically looking to increase low-end torque, as I don't race, the top end can still get me into plenty of trouble with the local athorties. I've got an Leistritz exhuast (cat back). I just want to get a little more boost off the line.
Article: 4508 of rec.autos.vw
Subject: Turbo for A2 8v?
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MONSTER16V)
Date: 15 Apr 1995 12:08:10 -0400
Q: Is it true you can get a turbo for an A2 8v?
Velocity Sport Tuning, Inc.
Article: 4555 of rec.autos.vw
Subject: 1.8l,16v Power Upgrades
From: bernie@metapro.DIALix.oz.au (Bernd Felsche)
Date: Wed, 12 Apr 1995 05:17:08 GMT
If you are patient and resourceful, I think that it should be possibe to use a larger Digifant filter housing, siamesed with your 16V housing top, to increase the filter area. Check for clearance under the bonnet though - especially height. I don't have a 16V to try this on, but a friend's 16V looked like it would cope with the swap. Of course, this *should* only make a difference at higher engine speeds.
If you never plan to go really fast, you can change the final drive ratios to give you more revs/mph in all gears. You'd probably want a specialist to do the modifications though.
Fit an older 16V intake manifold with smaller diameter tracts. The higher flow velocity gives more torque at the bottom end, at the cost of high-end power.
Try advancing the timing on the intake cam. Again, this will cost power at higher rpm.
Article: 5020 of rec.autos.vw
Subject: Turbo for A2 8v?
From: email@example.com (TurboTim)
Date: 14 Apr 1995 14:05:15 -0400
Subject: How to make your VW fast.
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 1999 04:07:29 EDT
Hi, this is an informative write up for all owners of '85-'92 VW's. I've already sent this to everyone on the 16V mailing list, and they were very pleased with it. This write up covers what most people don't know how to do:
TUNE THEIR CAR.
Please consider posting this on your website,
Subj: How-To make your VW fast.
The following is for cars with CIS-E injection, and Motronic injection.
I highly recommend that you only do this if you have some sort of mechanical
knowledge. I also recommend that you get the Bentley service manual, if you do not have one.
If anything is unclear, or seems wrong, please write to me and tell
Before doing anything, you need to check all your intake boots, and hoses, and vacuum lines for cracks, tears, or anything that could cause a vacuum leak, since this will affect your fuel mixture reading. If your injector 0-rings are bad, replace them.
You will need a multimeter that can read milliamps, and a long 3mm allen
Turn to the fuel section of the Bentley. Page 54 gives a brief explanation of the procedure, and pages 73-74 have the adjusting values.
First thing you want to do is to hook up you multimeter inline with the wires going to the differential pressure regulator (DPR). The DPR is on the fuel distributor, on the side facing the engine, NOT the side facing the right fender. It has a two wire connector going to it. There are many ways to go about wiring this up. You can either get the factory test harness (which makes things a lot easier), VW special tool # VW 1315A/1 (order # TV1 315 0A1 25 ZEL), or you can put wire taps in the wires to the connectors, or you can make your own harness, using 02 sensor type connecors. If it's all hooked up, and you start the car, and it's running rough, and the meter is pinned at zero, you probably have the wires switched. Change them around and try again.
If you are using an analogue meter, set it to the 10mA or 25mA scale.
When you check your mixture, your car should be at normal running temperature.
That was the "hard" part. Now that everything is hooked up, start your
After just starting the car, your meter will read a constant 8 or 9 mA. Let it sit for a minute, and the reading will start to fluctuate. THIS IS NORMAL.
The reading should be bouncing back and forth consistently. The range of operation is 1-12 milliamps. The reading shouln't be below 1mA, and never above 12mA (if you want your car to run right, at least). The reading should only fluctuate about 2-3 milliamps, for example, the stock setting for a 1.8 16V is 5mA. This means the meter should be jumping between approximately 4 and 6mA, averaging 5mA.
Next thing to remember: the higher the number, the leaner your car is running. The lower the number, the richer the car is running. If your 16V is getting a reading of let's say 10-12mA, it is running too lean. If your 16V is getting a reading of 1-2mA, it's running too rich.
Before actually messing with your mixture adjustment, CHECK for vacuum leaks, because they will throw the reading off. Most of this is pretty straightforward, I hope I'm not making it sound more complicated than it is.
What if your meter reads a constant number, and doesn't fluctuate? The
most common cause of that is: a bad oxygen sensor.
What if your meter is hooked up correctly, but is pinned at zero? You car is set WAY, WAY too rich, and should be very sluggish to drive, and have no throttle response. Lean out the mixture slowly, until the reading starts coming up.
Turning the mixture screw clockwise will RICHEN the mixture, and of course turning it counterclockwise will lean it out. Never turn the screw more than an 1/8th of a turn at a time. You will see that it is very sensitive.
I HIGHLY recommend that all mixture checks and adjustments be done at
night, so that you get consistent results. This is because the computer
adjusts the mixture rich, during the day when it's hotter outside. If you
check your car's mixture during the day, and it reads a lower number than
what you set it to the previous night, don't worry, it's normal.
1.8 16V-averaging 5mA.
1.8 8V-averaging 10mA
2.0 16V motronic-averaging 2.5mA.
Performance tuning. Even a bone stock motor will benefit from a slightly richer setting. These are the settings I recommend for stock or mildly modified motors. The 16V settings are for maximum power between 4000 and 7000 rpms, so you might lose a little bit of low rpm power. If you would rather have the low-end, simply don't set the car as rich.
1.8 16V-averaging 3-4mA ("bouncing" off of 2.5mA)
1.8 8V-averaging 9mA ("bouncing" off of 8mA)
2.0 16V with CIS-E averaging 3mA ("bouncing" off of 2mA)
2.0 16V motronic - get a performance chip!
(what I mean by "boucing off of", is: the lowest number your reading drops to)
Note: If you put a 2.0L block in your '87 to '89 CIS-E 16V, the first upgrade you should get is an Autotech power module. The stock injection for those years cannot supply the necessary fuel to make the most out of a 2.0L motor, even a bone stock one. If you do not get the power module, your car will simply always be missing out on 5-10hp at high rpms.
All cars will respond slightly differently due to mileage, local elevation, running condition, performance parts,...etc. All the settings I give you, are approximate settings.
Any questions, please e-mail me.
I explained how to do the fuel mixture adjustment, but maybe I should explain what you are actually doing. I'm going to take the VW fuel injection, and make it sound horribly simple. It will help you in understanding the fuel delivery system of your car. This isn't exactly how the injection works, but if you think of it in this way, you'll understand what you're doing.
Your engine gets fuel in 2 ways, "mechanically" and "electronically". The "mechanical" part, being the fuel mixture adjustment screw, which will supply x amount of fuel. The "electronic" part being the full throttle fuel enrichment switch, which will supply a constant amount of fuel, a. a never changes. It is always the same. a+x = total fuel to your engine. When you adjust the mixture screw, x, you are changing the total amount of fuel going to your engine.
Once again, before the nit-pickers out there start going off, I know this isn't exactly how it works, but I want to put in terms that even non mechanically-inclined people will understand.
My friend has a CIS-E car, with a 2.0 16V. I have noticed that the fuel mixture is very sensitive. If the car is set at the stock 16V setting of 5mA, it will start up easy, idle nice, and have very good low end power, but not much high rpm power (the car will feel like an 8v motor). The setting that my friend actually runs his car at, 3mA, takes away a little bit of low end, and makes the idle a little less consistent, right after start up. But...this setting kicks ass at high rpm's.
I, once again, highly recommend that after every adjustment of the fuel mixture, you take your car out, and drive it hard. Get a good feel for your car, through the first 3 gears, and at part throttle, and full throttle. Small mixture adjustments will make the most noticeable difference at high rpms, in 3rd gear on the freeway.
Note: idle setting will affect throttle response at low rpms.
First thing to know: if you have a motronic 2.0 16V car, you might have an idle screw on your throttle body. Make sure it is screwed in all the way. Motronic idle is completely controlled by the computer, the screw should never be touched.
After checking and setting the fuel mixture on CIS-E cars, you'll want to check and set your idle. If you have the right kind of meter, you can follow the Bentley and do it the "professional" way. Otherwise, here's the home mechanic's way of doing it:
-1st, check to see if you can turn your idle screw with just your fingers. If you can, it probably means the 0-ring on the screw is bad. Go to a hardware store, and get whatever 0-ring fits snugly around the idle screw. If you do not replace a bad 0-ring, your idle will "self-adjust", on a daily basis, and you will come whining to the mailing list.
-Next, make sure your car is warmed up, and let it idle. Now, rev the motor to around 3-4000 rpms, and let off the gas. Watch the tachometer. Your idle should drop fast to about 1400rpms, and then drop slowly to 900rpms. That is a correctly set idle. If your idle "sticks" above 1000rpms for a while, then your idle is set too high. If the tach needle drops below 900 rpms, then jumps back up, past 900 rpms, then your idle is set too low. Turn the screw clockwise to lower the idle, counterclockwise to raise it.
Once the idle is set, I recommend putting a dab of silicone around the
idle screw, to make sure it doesn't move.