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Hello! New member looking for advice

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Hello all, my name is Nick, and as of a few days ago, I am the proud new owner of a 1998 Passat 1.8t.  I go to school in the Springs, but I'm originally from Golden.  I want to pimp out this car somewhat and maybe give it a little more oomph, although I don't plan on racing it or anything.  Being a college student, I'm trying to do this for as cheap as possible.  I don't know too much about cars, but I've been reading up on my new baby on the internet, and I was hoping you guys could give me some guidance/advice.  

A little bit about the car:  Manual, it's got 104k, but the engine and turbo were completely replaced about 15k ago.  Pretty much everything is stock, except the cd deck - it's got a JVC El Khameleon.  

Here's a list of everything I want/need/would like to do.  Any suggestions on the best way to do this stuff, where to go, whether or not it's worthwhile, etc. would be appreciated.
New clutch (When I got a pre-purchase inspection, the mechanic said it's only got a few months left)
Fix the sunroof (apparently a track is broken, haven't had a chance to really check it out yet)
Get a tint (can anyone recommend a place in the Springs?)
Get some new wheels - it only has the plastic hubcaps on now.   Maybe 17s or so?
Get clear corners and indicators
Get xenon/halogen/HID lights (I guess I really don't understand the difference here, I think xenon is what I want though)
Maybe chip the turbo - from what I've read online, it sounds like this gives the best performace/$ ratio and I can do it for less than a few hundred
Add a little more bass to the sound system, I'm not sure if I need a sub, or just some better speakers will do the trick
Replace the stick shift leather dress (I think that's what it's called) and the piece of plastic that surrounds the drivers side window controls - both show serious signs of wear.  Anyone know if you can get these anywhere?

Thanks a ton to anyone who responds!


NIck, there are so many things you can do.  One place to check for cheap wheels and suspension upgrades is classifides.  Many people are selling their older stuff there, some great deals.  You can also find some chips for sale over there at very reasonable prices.  Don't know much about sound systems, sorry, can't help there.  As far as replacement parts for the shifter, called a shifter boot, you can find aftermarket ones for reasonably cheap, check out they will have HID options for you as well, Xenon has the bulbs and ballasts, where HID are just High Intensity Dispresion, Halogen.  You can get many options with the projector styles that are available for aftermarket, either H7 bulb power or D2S Xenon bulb power.  Plan on spending between $600 to $900 for those set ups.

Well, there are some starters for you, I am sure others will chime in.  Welcome to the club, hope to see you around sometime.


Hey Nick, welcome to the club.  UNless you have $900 - $1200 I would forgo the HID's for now.  However, you can get some clear HID look housings for around $300, these sales sometimes include the matching clear corners as well (check out the Group Buy forum on If you're on a tight budget Jon was right, has the best classifieds for our cars in terms of wheels and other componenets.  If you check out the Group Buy section there you should be able to get the clear corners and side markers.  If there are no deals there sign up at as a memeber, we get a discount (a small one)  that may help on that cost.

A chip definitley gives you the most bang for the buck, depending what that engine is, new or used, depends on what kind of gains you'd get.  I am going to guess that the timing belt went and the engine had to be replaced.  If that's the case they probably reused the same turbo and if that is so you ahve a stock 150hp.  With most chips you;ll get up around 195hp.  Upsolute has the most affordable chip on the market that does any good in my opinion.  However, the best chip overall seems to be from APR.  Giac has a very stable one as well.  I would avoid Neuspeeds chip, doesn't seem to be very memorable.

There's a few folks on here in the springs, hopefully yhey can shed some light on tint shops and a good place to get the clutch done.  Chas on here did his clutch himself and said it was the worst thing ever.  He does everything himself on his car so hearing that from him makes me feel it is worth the money to have it done professionally.

Hopefully we'll get to meet you in the near future, we get together often to work on our cars or just habeg out and geta  few beers.

Congratulations, Nick.  It's always nice to have another member of the club.  You'll find a lot of people here that were in your shoes just a couple years ago that have gone through what you plan on doing.  Because of that, these people are a great resource.  Even better, pretty much everyone on here is willing to go out of their way to help you.  I drive an A4 myself, so may not be the best to ask about your car specificallly, but I can tell you a couple things:
1.  First and foremost, chip the car.  As you noted, it's a great bang for the buck mod.  There are several out there, including GIAC, Upsolute, APR Neuspeed and some others I'm forgetting.  APR and GIAC might be the most popular, but I don't think there's a huge difference between any of them regarding performance.  One thing APR offers that others don't is multiple programs and some bells and whistles.  Check out for more info.  I have an MTM chip which isn't big in the Passat crowd, but popular in Audi circles.  If you do buy a used chip, do your homework!  There are a few different programs for different cars.  For example, a chip for a 1997 tiptronic might not work for a 1998 manual.  Just be sure it is compatible before laying down the moolah.
2.  17" wheels are a great compromise between performance and looks.  I've been on 17s for the last few years, but just put on new 18s this morning.  I'll keep the 17s for snow tires.  Take a look at the clubB5 and classifieds classifieds for some cheap used wheels.  They're on there all the time and if you're patient you can find great deals.  The B5 S4 and A4 use the same bolt pattern as your car, so if you find an S4 or A4 owner selling their old wheels, they'll work on your car, too.
I'm sure some other people will chime in soon with more info.
We're meeting at ColoradoB5's place Saturday, so stop by and hang out if you have time (see timing belt get together post).

congrats on the new car and welcome to the club. this club has alot of combined knowledge about dubs and audis, so if you have any questions i'm sure someone here can letr you know the answer or at least point you in the right direction....

my name is mike and i live in fountain (7 miles south of the springs) and go to UCCS,
 where are you going to school at?
 maybe we can hook some time for lunch.
we also have another new club member here in the springs (handle=mike618...) we should hook up and do a Rmcb5(-south) garage day down at my place when the weather gets a little better

also if i can get off work, and get my head back on by sat. i will be going up to winstons house to share some of my (recently gained) expertise in timing belt changing at the GTG/garage day, If you would klike to go gimmie a call 287-0929 and we can roll up together.

again welcome.


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