5 Ways to Make Your Next DIY More Fun on Your Audi, BMW, MINI, or Volkswagen

When you own a vintage or performance car, the goal is to have more fun times driving it than you have moments that make you frown. As with any hobby, however, there are those times that something goes wrong or its just time to take care of that nagging maintenance. Whether you are driving something old or something new, it is always critical that you take care of those concerns before they turn into something much worse. Even though its just basic maintenance, it is still part of the fun in owning something special like a classic or performance vehicle. Here is how you can be sure to have a fun time even doing something that many would consider tedious.

First and foremost, working on cars is always best enjoyed with a good friend or group of friends. Owning these cars makes us part of an exclusive club where we are sure to form tons of lasting relationships based around our common interest. These maintenance jobs are the perfect opportunity to strengthen those bonds as well as make basic grunt work on your car fun. So grab your friends, a few frosty beverages, and come up with a game plan.

Next, you need to be serious about ensuring the work is done properly and with the right parts, but don’t get so engrossed that you take the job too seriously. Remember, as long as you are careful and meticulous, you have nothing to worry about in your DIY job. Be relaxed and enjoy the time you spend wrenching on your car with the end-goal always in mind that it will get you back on the road with a smile on your face and the satisfaction that you did the job yourself. One easy thing to do is set out a piece of cardboard and place all your hardware in order into the cardboard. It makes putting things back together incredibly simple and stress-free.

Make sure you have the right parts and tools for the job. Often, one of the things I enjoy most about DIY’ing is how much my tool collection grows. If I don’t have something I need to work on the parts I am attempting to replace, then I get to use that as an excuse to justify the purchase. Schwaben has pretty much everything from your most universal to incredibly specific tools to help you get the job done right, while our Assembled By ECS kits come with all the right parts hand-picked by our team to ensure you have the best replacements all in one box to go start to finish on your DIY the right way. With all the components for your job start to finish included in one box, you won’t have to make back and forth trips to the closest parts store and pay a premium: if they have it.

Take your time: sometimes, especially with northern cars, you have to fight your way through uninstalling the faulty or worn parts. This can easily frustrate even the most patient at-home mechanic, so keep a cool head on your shoulders and a cold drink on hand while you focus on one piece at a time. Know the job will be finished and you will not become discouraged. Keep chugging away at it and don’t put too much stress on completing the job right then and there. It may be a little more inconvenient to place a restriction on yourself and know you aren’t going to be finished in one sitting, but it is better to take your time and spend a few days on a job than to rush and mess something up or become aggravated. Remember, we want to have as much fun as possible so maintaining our cars is still a hobby and not a chore.

Lastly, consider filming the whole process. You can easily set up your phone to record and show places as you encounter them that give you trouble. Look at it as a chance to help someone out in the future and maybe make a video that gets a ton of views. This can make the process more enjoyable as you will have something to make you slow down and step back on occasion rather than rushing through the job. It also allows you to go back and reference your pictures or video should you forget how something goes back together or where you put something like that pesky 10mm socket.

With a successful DIY complete, you always feel a sense of accomplishment and pride in knowing you are capable of taking care of your car. With the Assembled By ECS kits, which are kits we assembled based on our own need for a start-to-finish project all in one box, you can be confident everything you need will be there for you so you don’t have to keep going back and placing orders for that one thing you forgot. Take the guesswork out, lower your stress, slow down, have a drink, and enjoy your next DIY with Schwaben Tools and Assembled By ECS complete service kits.




New Product: Volkswagen MK4 1.8T (Transverse) Ignition Coil Harness Replacement Kit

The Volkswagen 1.8T found in the MK4 generation is a staple in the European tuning community. This engine spanned almost a decade in one version or another and found its way into a number of different VW chassis that benefit from its awesome low-displacement power curve and turbocharged goodness. As the engine ages and phases out of parts production, however, those of us who still stick to the tried and true 1.8T are left with fewer and fewer replacement options from the factory. That’s why our engineering team has developed yet another headache cure for VW MK4 owners in the form of our new MK4 1.8T transverse engine Ignition Coil Harness Replacement Kit.

This kit is a must for any aging 1.8T as either a replacement for a failing factory harness or a preventative maintenance measure to keep your engine firing on all cylinders. The OEM harness is both no longer available (NLA) and requires a full replacement of the harness section. Our kit allows you to replace the ignition harness itself with OEM-like fitment but additional heat shrink wrapping and beefy construction for added protection against dust, grime, and other contaminants that can cause misfiring issues and short circuits in aging factory harnesses.

The procedure is almost no different than a regular replacement, as the ECS kit includes the full harness but does not require you to replace the entire section. Included in your kit is a specialty crimping tool for proper installation as well as extra small parts in case you make a forgivable mistake in replacing these tiny components in your VW.

This kit is perfect for anyone wanting to maintain or restore their 1.8T powered MK4 by offering an OEM-like segment but with the added protection of heat-hardened ignition coil harnessing and improved quality materials for peace of mind. Keep your VW MK4 1.8T happy and firing regularly with this preventative maintenance harness that fills the gap in VW’s parts catalog without any extra steps seen in similar kits.

Interested in purchasing?

MK4 1.8T Ignition Coil Wire Harness Replacement Kit


Vendor Spotlight: CTS Turbo means Big Power for your Audi or Volkswagen

The old phrase “there is no replacement for displacement” has met its match in today’s aftermarket performance world. The recipe for huge horsepower was to have the biggest bore, most aggressive cams, and a fuel economy that was measured in feet from the largest engine possible. While turbocharged engines are not a new concept, the reliability and potential for forced induction engines have become rivals to their naturally aspirated cousins. CTS Turbo is one of the foremost aftermarket manufacturers who capitalizes on the turbocharged Audi and VW engines and forces respectable power from small displacement forced induction platforms with their performance contributions.

Just like Simba’s reign covered everything light touched, CTS Turbo offers performance upgrades for everything air flows through and more. Their improved charge pipes, intercoolers, inlet pipes, outlet pipes, exhaust systems, and more open up the crucial airways that make forced induction effective. CTS Turbo’s focus is clearly turbo-related support, but their product catalog extends beyond those accessories.

Hardware like subframe inserts, transmission mounts, catch cans, and short shift kits broaden CTS Turbo’s reach into the VAG market and give a range of options for the performance-minded Audi or VW owner. Making big power, adding rigidity, and improving drivability are all key concepts involved in a well-rounded build, and that is just what CTS aims to provide. Their mounts allow for reduced deflection, which means the additional power from their K04 turbo upgrade, more efficient intercooler, and better flowing exhaust will actually be transferred to the wheels rather than lost in drivetrain flex.

CTS Turbo allows you to cover all your bases in your Audi or VW build by providing power, chassis, and drivability improvements without breaking your bank. Their accessible upgrades offer incredible performance upgrades to your forced induction engines and are designed for perfect fitment. Since technology has finally advanced in the forced induction community, we are starting to see outstanding horsepower output from small displacement engines thanks to companies like CTS Turbo. Give your Audi or VW that extra power you know you want with CTS performance parts, on sale now!


Interested in purchasing?

CTS Turbo Parts and Accessories


Best Ways to Spend Your 2018 Tax Refund on Your VW with ECS

Once again, the time of year where we are required to make a major decision is upon us: should we responsibly save our tax return, or does it become a race car stimulus package? Here at ECS, we expect you to make the proper decision. Naturally, we compiled a list of products on which to spend your government refund for your VW!


Of course, the easiest way to spend your tax return is on a shiny new set of shoes. New wheels for your car dramatically change the look and give you a new appreciation for your car every time you see it. Whether you just want your VW to look fresh or you need lightweight options to eliminate unsprung weight, there are several trusted manufacturers we support to provide whatever you need. Check out some of these fine companies to give your VW a makeover:

BBS Wheels



Flush Kits

If stock wheels are your game, but you are tired of the sunken fitment, ECS has you covered, too. Our Wheel Flush Kits provide everything you need to give your VW a wider and more aggressive stance. The discerning VW driver will pair a Wheel Flush Kit with lowering springs to achieve a hunkered look and flush fitment. While this may require some fender rolling, it is an excellent way to drastically improve the style of your VW without running through the entire tax refund in one go! We really do have your best interest at heart.

ECS Wheel Flush Kits

Eibach Springs

H&R Springs

Kohlefaser Luft-Technik Intake System

Maybe all the visuals on your VW are taken care of already and performance is your game? The ECS Kohlefaser Luft-Technik Intake Systems are a perfect choice for any VW. These attractive carbon fiber intakes both look the part and put down measurable power. If you are making your first improvements to engine performance or need an intake system that actually produces power, this is the best choice on the market. Our engineers spent excessive amounts of time designing and developing these induction systems and our Dyno sheets reflect those efforts. Check out our fitment and the specific power gains for your car below.

ECS Kohlefaser Luft-Technik Intake Systems


For the extremely practical VW drivers, the tax refund may be more like free maintenance money. ECS carries the best in performance and maintenance parts alike for your VW, and we have a few recommendations on how you can make sure your car is ready to hit the back roads with confidence this summer.

Hawk Performance brake pads are designed for aggressive braking forces and provide exceptional pedal feel and stopping power. Their selection of street and track-worthy compounds give you a wide range to choose from based on your driving needs to give you replacement pads with fantastic performance. Pair these pads with a set of ECS Performance Rotors and take care of your service with funding from Uncle Sam.

Hawk Performance

ECS Slotted Rotors

Finally, the ever important oil service rounds out our race car stimulus package. We highly suggest picking up a Schwaben Fluid Extractor to make fluid changes a breeze and changing your engine oil with LIQUI-MOLY oils and additives. LIQUI-MOLY has been named the best German oil for seven consecutive years for a reason: their unparalleled molecular friction control is the pinnacle of lubrication technology. Their additives are chemically and molecularly structured to safely de-gunk your engine during an oil cycle as well as restore overall performance to peak power. Make sure to include LIQUI-MOLY additives in your oil change, and give Molygen oil a try to spot those tough leaks thanks to the UV-reactive properties of this unique oil.

Schwaben Fluid Extractor

LIQUI-MOLY oils and additives

Whether you are expecting a quaint return or something grandiose, ECS is the right place to turn for exceptional products and vendors who can help you make that refund a go-fast package. Make sure your VW looks and drives the way it should this spring by taking the government’s returns and give your car the attention it deserves.





Best Performance Modifications for your Turbo BMW

BMW has been fitting several models with turbochargers since their E10 2002tii. BMW turbo and twin turbo powered cars are capable of serious power. The accessible power explains why many record-setting BMWs have inline-six twin-turbos under the hood. Massive gains are easily achievable with light modification and tuning, which makes N54, N55, S55, and N20-powered cars popular among tuners and widely supported in the aftermarket community. To unleash some absolutely insane power, Vargas Turbochargers upgraded turbos, Fuel-It performance fuel delivery, and Burger Motorsports JB4 software makes up the holy trinity for forced induction BMW owners.

Vargas Turbocharger Technologies

This well-known company is dedicated to providing precision turbos and have built their name on years of experience. Vargas Turbocharger Technologies understands the importance of specifically designing their turbochargers for each individual vehicle, as there is no ‘universal fit’ when it comes to improving the turbos on your car. BMW produces high-quality engines for the truly discerning driver, so it should go without saying the highest quality aftermarket modifications should be the only choice.


Fueling your engine with the proper delivery system is critical when you increase the power. Stock fuel pumps are known to have low reliability, so Fuel-It! provides a series of upgraded components to take your fuel delivery headache and make it a strong and capable system. Their upgraded fuel rails and pumps allow your turbo BMW to receive all the petrol it can burn. Fuel-It! also provides high-quality kits for converting to E85, as well as Meth Injection, furthering your potential for massive power.

Burger Motorsports

With the upgraded turbos and fuel system on your BMW, you will certainly require proper engine management. Long considered one of the best N54 and N55 software tuning companies around, Burger Motorsports brings the JB4 software to our mix, completing the trident of power and performance in your twin-turbo BMW. Their considerable number of record-breaking awards make for an incredible resume in the world of competitive racing. Correct engine management software will make full use of your other modification to pull every shred of power within the engine.

To maximize the performance potential of your N54 or N55 BMW, the Vargas Turbo upgrades, Fuel-It delivery systems, and the Burger Motorsports JB4 Tune are essential. We highly recommend those seeking staggering power gains and a thrilling driving experience to choose these upgrades for their BMW. Of course, if you are interested in modifying your N54 or N55 powered 335i BMW further, you can read more about our favorite coilovers in our previous post.

Interested in purchasing?

BMW Performance Parts are a click away.





Burger Motorsports



ECS Kohlefaser Luft-Technik Intake and Turbo Back Exhaust for your VW MK5 GTI

One of the best ways to add power and enjoyment to your VW MK5 GTI is to add a performance intake and exhaust. When used with software tuning, your MK5 GTI can pick up considerable horsepower and torque while also providing a satisfying increase in noise. There are quite a few options for intakes and exhaust on the market, but we think our Kohlefaser Luft-Technik Intake and 3” Valved Turbo Back Exhaust are the best options for gaining power, performance and makes driving a pleasure.

The bigger of the two jobs is the exhaust installation. Exhaust increases the rate of flow for expelled waste gas and provides a throaty sound more fitting of a performance vehicle. A major drawback of aftermarket performance exhaust is that the increased volume can sometimes be obnoxious or too conspicuous.The stainless steel construction makes our aftermarket exhaust a lightweight system compared to stock, like most aftermarket exhaust, but ours has one critical difference. Our 3” turbo-back valved system allows you to flip a switch to have power and noise or switch back to a comfort and stealth mode to quiet things down.

The ECS Swivel Tips included in this kit allows you to perfectly set the angle of your muffler tips and is available in chrome or black to suit your preferences. The attractiveness, sound, performance, and adjustability make this comprehensive kit an awesome upgrade for your MK5 GTI.

Next, no stranger to this blog is our Kohlefaser Luft-Technik Intake System. The carbon fiber intake box, attractive intake tubing, and high-flow filter adds a tasteful look to your engine bay while improving the performance. The induction noise alone is a worthy benefit, but our system does more than just sound excellent. Our countless hours of research and development resulted in a system that not only looks good, but adds an impressive 17whp and 12Ft-Lbs of torque over the stock system with a tune and our turbo-back exhaust!

We are enormously proud of our dedicated hours of engineering and designing that have allowed us to bring quite possibly the highest performing, most attractive, and cost-effective aftermarket upgrades. Our intake and exhaust give you a more enjoyable driving experience and are perfect DIY’s to knock out in a weekend. We have installation documents you can read to make sure you get the job done like a professional so you can feel confident your new upgrades will install quickly and easily. Add power and performance to your VW MK5 GTI with ECS Performance Upgrades!

Interested in purchasing?

Grab your ECS Valved Turbo Back Exhaust and Kohlefaser Luft-Technik Intake Here!

Kohlefaser Luft Technik Intake


ECS Valved Turbo Back Exhaust


Best Mods for the BMW E36 3 – Series 1991-1999

If you have a BMW E36, you most likely have already begun to modify it in some way. The E36, which was produced from 1991 through 1999, was the successor to the highly-praised E30 chassis. The E36 featured a range of engines; the most desirable in America being the M5x line or the S5x line. The six-cylinder inline engines have been popularized by their steady power bands, high potential for modification, and incredibly balanced performance. We have devised a list of the best modifications you can make to get the most out of your E36.


If you haven’t already, taking full advantage of your engine’s potential is as easy as a plug-and-play software chip for your ECU. The Shark Injector Performance Software is designed to raise the rev limit, improve throttle response, remove the top speed governor, and improve the overall power output. If you have a stock vehicle or if you have hotter cams and an M50 OBD1 manifold you can select an appropriate software tune to maximize the output of your engine.


We highly suggest addressing the brakes on your E36, especially if you just purchased the vehicle. Our Performance Front and Rear Brake Service Kits adapts your E36 brakes to the floating 2-piece rotors and calipers found on the CSL E46 M3. These lighter weight rotors significantly reduce unsprung weight on each corner, which adds to the handling ability of your E36, while greatly improving your ability to stop effectively. Remember, more power means you need more stopping power, but you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to give your E36 beefier brakes.


The best way to make the most out of your Shark Injector Software is to equip your E36 with a high-flow performance cold air intake and switch your OBD2 Intake Manifold for the OBD1 version, which improves torque and horsepower dramatically. Both the addition of the OBD1 Manifold and the Cold Air Intake are taken into account with a specific tune and allow you to achieve the most reliable and consistent power from your modifications. The overall horsepower gains can be upwards of 30HP to the crank, so these are definitely highly suggested and inexpensive ways to improve your power drastically. We carry a range of intakes on the site as well as offering OEM manifolds and gaskets to ensure you are receiving the highest quality parts. DINAN has been the preferred choice by many to improve the induction capabilities of their BMW and bring years of excellence to the BMW tuning community.


The biggest visual difference that can completely change the profile and stance of your E36. Our own Alzor Wheels brand offers several BMW fitments for improving the visual appearance of your BMW and lowering unsprung weight. With myriad styles, sizes, and offsets, Alzor Wheels offer a great upgrade to your car’s aesthetics while being relatively inexpensive. Alternatively, Apex Wheels are known for their dedication to providing lightweight and trackable wheels specifically designed for BMWs. The incredibly popular Apex ARC8 wheels are featured on many track and street BMWs and have been dubbed as one of the best wheel choices around to improve your BMW.


Without going into a full exhaust setup that can get incredibly pricey, the best way to gain some power and increase the volume of your engine is to equip a cat-back exhaust. UUC, a premier BMW performance company, offers a stainless, true-dual, lightweight dual exhaust that is 2.38 inches in diameter as opposed to the smaller diameter factory exhaust. This eliminates back pressure and allows the exhaust gas to be expelled more quickly, which increases your performance slightly. Paired with software tuning and supporting modifications, you can expect noticeable power gains and a throaty growl to put a smile on your face at any RPM. The System U Exhaust runs from the midsection all the way to the exhaust tips and includes a muffler that mounts identically to your factory exhaust to provide the easiest and most secure fitment.


With the above modifications to your E36 complete, you can expect dramatic increases in both power and driving pleasure while enjoying a unique look with the aftermarket wheels and a more enjoyable exhaust note thanks to that UUC cat-back. The lighter weight components help increase what the performance gains will actually do for your acceleration, and the lower unsprung weight from the improved brakes will improve your cornering ability noticeably. Make sure to grab all this and more right here at ECS to build the perfect E36 for the street or track!

Interested in our other products for your BMW E36 3-Series? Shop by car here!


Aftermarket Cold Air Intake Mythbusted: Audi B9 A4 Luft-Technik Intake

If you have ever modified a car, then you are most likely well aware of the age-old argument “do aftermarket intakes add any real power gains?” Several YouTubers, bloggers, and self-proclaimed experts have weighed in on the argument. Despite miles of information regarding the subject, there is still a distinct divide between camps. There are those who insist the factory airboxes in vehicles perform identically to aftermarket intakes, and those who claim horsepower and torque are trapped in the restrictive factory designs. We at ECS have been drafting, designing, engineering, testing, and producing performance intakes since our earliest foray into aftermarket modification world, so we decided to share our data to settle the debate conclusively.

Our most recently developed performance induction system is the B9 A4 Kohlefaser & Luft-Technik Cold Air Intake. The 2.0T TFSI-powered B9 A4 produces a respectable 249BHP and a whopping 273 LB-FT of torque without any modifications and utilizing a factory tune. Our Dyno numbers confirmed those figures over an average of identical tests to determine a scientifically accurate baseline. While the B9 A4 2.0T pushes the upper limits of what should be possible from such a small displacement, we felt improvements to the induction system would provide power increases.

Our Objectives

The goal of this intake development and all other intakes we design is primarily oriented around functionality. We design our induction systems to function at optimal efficiency and demonstrate peak output for the intended use. In this case, our intakes are engineered to provide the highest power gains, most consistent pressure, and to minimize the temperature of induction air. These intakes are then tested in simulations, on the Dyno, and finally, on the street. Our combination of rigorous and thorough research and development procedures ensure the collection of accurate data in all situations, including the often unpredictable real world.

A secondary goal which shares nearly equal importance to functionality is the appearance of our intake system. A part that functions perfectly should also look as though it is the pinnacle of function. Our designs include a fit and finish to give the intake a functional, yet incredibly attractive, style. Even hardware and fastener locations are taken into consideration in order to grant easy access without compromising the aesthetics of the intake, heat shield, or beauty cover.

Of course, all our intake kits include every necessary nut, bolt, washer, fastener, and all other hardware for a complete and total installation out of the box. While this does not speak to our design, exactly, it does demonstrate our interest in ensuring your car is equipped with everything needed to improve performance without the headache of tracking down bolts or resorting to zip-ties in order to install your new parts.

Stock versus Luft-Technik

Returning to the question at hand, what did we find about our B9 A4 intake from all that development, simulation time, and testing?

Our final iteration of the intake post-development was put to the test against the stock assembly. We established yet another average between several successive recordings on the Dyno in order to guarantee accuracy in the factory figures with which we compared our intake. The next Dyno session, which immediately followed the previous stock runs, included our Luft-Technik intake. With the stock tune and otherwise stock engine, our induction system gained +11WHP and +10 FT-LBS WTQ when averaged with all recordings on the Dyno. Impressive numbers, to say the least, which can be observed on the Dyno sheet below.

These noteworthy gains were consistent across the usable power range on stock management, as well as an APR tune. The APR software tune alone significantly increased the horsepower and torque at the wheels on our Dyno, but there was more left to squeeze from the little turbo four-cylinder. After successive back-to-back runs on the APR tune with the factory airbox to establish our baseline average, we switched to the Luft-Technik intake and were once again presented with average gains of +5 WHP and +9FT-LBS WTQ with the APR Stage 1 ECU upgrade. You can observe our Dyno figures for these runs below.

Pressure Drop Data

With the most pressing question of power increases measured and accounted for, we believe we have seen definitive, empirical, and surprising evidence in favor of a properly designed intake which utilizes improved flow, decreased induction air temperatures, and a more consistent atmospheric pressure across the intake filter. While all intakes and engines perform slightly differently, these figures are within the range of consistent averages found on all our Luft-Technik intake systems across all supported models. Of course, there are distinct differences in performance where some outliers produce comparatively low power increases, and some offer relatively high power gains, but on average, consistently improved figures on our products match closely to the Luft-Technik Intake System designed for the B9 A4 2.0T TFSI.

Have you found something different? Do you have a question, comment, or suggestion? Let us know in the comments below or on social media! We encourage you to share this information with your friends using the buttons below and hope to see your input as we build a better blog.


Interested in purchasing?

Luft-Technik Intake

Better sound and proven performance!

Best MK6 GTI Mods and Upgrades to Increase Power and Performance – The ECS Tuning Guide

The VW MK6 GTI, which ran from the 2010 to 2014 model years with the 2.0T TSI engine, is incredibly popular among tuners for its availability and potential for some incredible power. With the newest update just hitting dealerships and the last iteration showing up more frequently in used car markets, the MK6 GTI has just entered that sweet-spot for affordability. The earliest model years are less than a decade old, which means even the highest mileage examples of these cars are still realistic to purchase with a hope for reliability and minimal required maintenance. If you are one of the number of enthusiasts jumping to capitalize on the MK6 GTI bubble, chances are high the modification itch will begin shortly after purchase. Thanks to our knowledgeable Volkswagen team here, we have some ideas to help get that modification process started for your MK6 GTI that will make the question of ‘where do I begin’ much easier.

An effortless and affordable modification to make your MK6 more livable and unique is to update the interior lighting with our Ziza Interior Lighting Kits. These LED kits are incredibly popular because they install in minutes with nearly zero required skill while giving the interior a much more modern feel. Luxury vehicles with standard LED interior lights have a soft illumination that is neither too harsh nor too dim. Our kit will give your MK6 GTI a similar feel.

While interior lighting kits on their own are less than impressive in terms of actual modification, you will find the brighter interior more convenient on dark mornings and evenings with added enjoyment from the modern color bathing your interior. Among the simplest of our suggested modifications addressed, we can move on to more fun improvements sure to add enjoyment to your driving experience.

Induction systems are quite common initial performance modifications. They are a simple way to add some power and noise at a low cost and are incredibly available. Nearly every performance company with VW parts has an intake system with their name on the box. What makes the ECS Luft-Technik Intake System your optimal choice is our dedication to providing proven power results and equal attention to aesthetics and fitment. We take pride in our incredible commitment to precision in all of our kits. This and every other ECS kit include all mounting accessories and hardware to make your afternoon in the garage that much easier.

Our Luft-Technik Intake System boasts a hefty maximum power of 31 WHP on APR Stage 2 software and some simple supporting modifications. The intake will make an unimaginable difference in performance as you modify your engine and software accordingly. Initially, you will find the noise, appearance, and power amplification are incredibly satisfying. Further down the road as you improve your exhaust and software tuning, the performance difference will be more noticeable thanks to your induction system choice. Before making further power additions, however, key suspension upgrades should be made to optimize the efficiency, and enjoyment, of your future modifications.

While suspension modifications do nothing for your actual power output, they allow you to use your power more effectively by keeping your tires in contact with the road longer. This will allow fewer horsepowers to escape as a result of the vehicle’s shifting weight through corners. By upgrading the rear sway bar of your MK6 GTI you can assure less body roll and experience a more planted rear end. The ECS Ultimate Rear Sway Bar Upgrade Kit is a 23mm sway bar and a set of billet mounts and polyurethane bushings attached to adjustable end links.

The bar itself is more rigid and grants you a stiffer feel. Paired with those polyurethane bushings, the sway bar gives up the supple feeling rubber bushings and makes the increased rigidity of the sway bar more effective. Our adjustable end links included in the kit are incredibly important as well. Not only are they sturdier than the factory links which they replace, but they allow you to adjust the position of the sway bar to clear driveline components when you alter the vehicle’s ride height. The adjustability to account for ride height conveniently brings us to our next area of improvement.

Car modification tends to lean toward either form or function. Ideally, the form will follow function. When lowering your MK6 GTI, important aspects to consider are how you will drive the car most often and whether looks or drivability are more important to you. Most would recommend improving a daily driver with lowering springs and possibly changing the dampers. This cuts down on cost and gives you a more ‘flush’ look, but does not improve your handling to the degree we would prefer.

With affordability and performance considered equally, we have found the Solo-Werks S1 Coilovers to be the best choice. They carry a 3-year limited warranty, offer ride height adjustability improved handling, and demonstrate significant benefits over stock suspension components. Additionally, Solo-Werks S1 Coilovers are not any more expensive than replacement OEM parts. Since your second-hand MK6 GTI will be due for refreshed suspension, this kit and our Ultimate Sway Bar Upgrade kits will increase your performance, give you a more enjoyable driving experience, improve your car’s stance, and take care of some necessary maintenance concerns all at once. If you want to check out an installation for these, we have a convenient document outlining the whole process in a downloadable .pdf!

After taking care of some early modifications, the best way to tie everything together for a good first stage is to improve your engine management software. COBB Tuning is the preferred choice in nearly all forced induction cars for their highly successful Accessport. The V3 AP is their most recent update and features a larger screen for displaying a range of customizable gauges. By using their off the shelf mapping, drivers are able to determine the optimal software tune for their fuel octane level, existing modifications, and make overall efficiency changes in the total function of the system.

The COBB AP is more than just a chip; it is a handheld device that has an incredible amount of power while also simple to use. Being a standalone system, the AP gives you total control over the vehicle’s computer should you want to make any changes to your tune, monitor system functions, troubleshoot issues, and optimize the overall performance of your car with a few clicks on the device. Your first modifications should certainly include this powerful device.

This list includes our top recommendations to take your MK6 GTI from completely stock to unbelievably fun, engaging, and interactive. With these modifications, you are able to address performance output, handling, some maintenance, and convenience features that will completely change how you drive (and admire) your MK6 GTI. Stay tuned for more tips on modifying your MK6 GTI in the near future and please let us know in the comments if you have any questions, concerns, or advice!

Interested in purchasing?

Our Best 5 First Mods for your MK6 GTI are right here for your convenience.


DIY: ECS Performance Lightweight Power Steering Pulley

Installing an ECS Tuning Performance Power Steering Pulley is an afternoon project that can be completed with relative ease. It rewards you with

the performance and dependability of our meticulously engineered products, and it is an excellent opportunity to replace worn drive belts at the

same time. Before you begin, read and familiarize yourself with these instructions and make sure you have all the required tools on hand. Thank

you for purchasing our ECS Tuning Performance Power Steering Pulley. We appreciate your business!

Inspect your serpentine and air conditioning belts before beginning this installation (see page 11 step 10). If they need to be replaced, be

sure to order them so you have everything you need to complete the job. Belts for your application are available at ecstuning.com.

Step 1:

Safely lift and support your vehicle and remove any lower insulation panels or

skid plates that are installed on your car.

Begin by loosening the three bolts (arrows) on the original power steering

pulley using a 13mm socket. Do not remove the bolts at this time.

Leaving the belt on for this step will help hold the pulley to keep it from

turning while loosening the bolts. If it does slip a little, you will be able to

hold it with your hand as needed to loosen the bolts.

Step 2:

Using a small flat blade screwdriver, pry off the dust cap on the serpentine

belt tensioner pulley.

Step 3:

Engage the center bolt of the serpentine belt tensioner pulley using the

appropriate socket (see note below) on the end of a long handle 3/8” ratchet

or breaker bar.

Depending on model year and engine, the center bolt of the tensioner

will require either a 3/8 drive 16mm shallow socket or an 8mm Allen


Step 4:

Push the ratchet towards the passenger side of the car, which will cause the

tensioner to swing downwards, loosening the tension on the belt. As soon

as there is enough slack in the belt, lift it off the power steering pulley, then

slowly allow the tensioner to swing back up to its rest position. Position the

belt out of the way above the power steering pulley.

Step 5:

Remove the three power steering pulley bolts (loosened in step one).

Step 6:

Remove the original pulley from the power steering pump.

If the pulley is stuck due to rust build up on the pulley hub, use a small

amount of penetrating oil and gently lever between the pulley and the

power steering pump to loosen and remove it.

Step 7:

Clean the rust and corrosion buildup from the pulley hub using a small piece

of sandpaper or emery cloth.

This is very important even if the original pulley was not rusted or stuck.

The new ECS Tuning pulley has a tighter tolerance and the hub must be

clean to prevent damage or distortion when tightening the bolts.

Step 8:

Apply a thin layer of grease to the pulley hub. This will allow for easier

installation and provide protection from corrosion between the hub and the

new pulley.

Step 9:

Install the new ECS Tuning Power Steering Pulley onto the pump and thread

all three bolts by hand until they are fully seated.

The pulley should easily slip all the way onto the hub, allowing for easy

installation of the bolts. If the pulley is difficult to install in any way, remove

it and check for rust or corrosion on the hub (see step seven).

Step 10:

Before proceeding read the following serpentine belt information:

Worn Belt (L) and New Belt (R)

• If your new power steering pulley is an underdrive pulley, a shorter belt may

be required. Check the specific belt requirements at ecstuning.com and see

 “Serpentine Belt Replacement”.


• If your new pulley is a standard drive pulley, closely check the condition of

your serpentine belt both visually and with a belt wear tester (ES#2642871).

Any cracks or wear on the ribs of the belt mean it should be replaced. For

replacement see “Serpentine Belt Replacement”.

If you are re-using the existing belt, continue with step 11.


Step 11:

Using the same method as used when removing the belt, swing the

serpentine belt tensioner downwards until there is enough slack in the

serpentine belt to loop it over the power steering pulley. Make sure the belt is

properly lined up on all the pulleys then allow the tensioner to swing back up

to tighten the belt.

Use a trouble light or flashlight to inspect the belt positioning on

all pulleys. If the serpentine belt is not properly aligned and seated

in each pulley, it may be damaged upon starting the engine.


Final Steps

Torque the power steering pulley bolts to 22 Nm (16 Ft-lbs)

Install the dust cap on the tensioner pulley.

Start the engine and make sure the belt runs true.

Re-install any lower insulation panels or skid plate.

Step 1: Belt Replacement

In order to replace the serpentine belt, the air conditioning compressor belt

must be removed. First, remove the dust cap on the air conditioning belt


Step 2:

Using an 8mm Allen socket and the same method used for releasing the

serpentine belt tension, swing the air conditioning belt tensioner downward

and remove the belt.

Step 3:

Carefully guide the serpentine belt around the radiator fan and out through

the top of the engine compartment.


Step 4:

Guide the new belt back in place. Refer to page 6 for routing.

Re-install the air conditioning belt and pulley dust cap.

Complete the pulley installation on page 12.


Interested in purchasing?

ECS Tuning BMW M52/M54 Performance Power Steering Pulley Installation

Free up horsepower and service your drive belts with the highest quality aftermarket and replacement parts.