Archive | Polo 1994-2002

27 April 2014 ~ 2 Comments

Track day terror:
Davie Fraser’s 300bhp Polo GTI 6N2

Modified Polo GTI 6N2s are nothing new. But Davie Fraser’s is something special. A track day special in fact. With 300bhp and 330lb/ft of torque, Davie recalls what modifications the car has to give it a more than double standard power output

Davie Fraser's 2000 Polo GTI 6N2: 2012 track day

I have been a VW fan for years and have had several Golf 2.0 TDIs, both standard and remapped versions. My wife runs a Touran 2.0 TDI 170 which I use to tow my Brian James tilt bed trailer to Knockhill racing circuit, our nearest here in Scotland. And the track car which sits on the trailer? That’s a 2000 6N2 Polo GTI. It’s not standard, though…

I bought the Flash Red five-door ‘X’-registered 6N2 Polo GTI in 2010 with 83,000 miles on the clock just after we moved house, as I had to commute back and forth to work. It was certainly no minter but I have had a soft spot for the Polo GTI for years and always wanted one.

It soon became apparent that the gearbox was on its last legs, and after a bit of research, I found out that it was actually on its third gearbox, soured from a diesel Polo! (6N2 Polo GTIs are known to have gearbox issues.) I had toyed with the idea of building a track car, so made the decision then to use it on-track instead.

After sourcing and fitting a CWX gearbox from the 100bhp 16V 6N Polo, Raceland exhaust manifold, cone filter and a set of coilovers, it was ready for its first outing at Knockhill – a 130-mile hike from my home. The Polo was still road legal at this point so I had to be careful when I was out on the track, and couldn’t drive it like I had stolen it as I still had to drive home.

That first track day was really great. The GTI handled really well, even though it was on standard road tyres. I had a few spirited runs against a Golf VR6 and surprisingly the Polo did very well against it on the track. From then on I was hooked!

My second track day was also great fun, until I started to get blown into the weeds on the straights by bigger cars. Knockhill is only 1.3 miles in length and is a ‘power track’, so the Polo was never going to cut it with the big boys. The majority of cars that were attending the track days then were Subarus and Evos.

I made my mind up on the way home that I was going to build something that would put the cat amongst the pigeons and said to my mate Steve, ‘watch this space’. I then totally stripped the Polo including all wiring and interior in preparation for my build. I should have taken more time and thought it out but I was eager to get started on the transformation. I have a double garage at home so I was fortunate to have somewhere to carry out the work, much to the frustration of my understanding wife…

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13 August 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Our cars: 2001 Polo GTI – report ten

Shaking off its winter chills, Rich Gooding’s 2001 Polo GTI sprung into spring. But as the warmer weather arrived, so did a small list of jobs…

2001 Volkswagen Polo GTI

Not all old cars feel old. Take my Reflex Silver 2001 Polo GTI for example. Its funny when what’s termed as an old car is distinctly modern when compared to old cars a couple of generations ago. It’s been a busy five months since my last report on Y464 GHJ, which has now covered 92,000 miles, 24,000 of those under my ownership. It’s still proving to be an able and enjoyable companion, fast and feisty when you want to be, and quiet and comfortable when you don’t. That’s a trait which, in my opinion, a GTI should automatically have bestowed upon it, and Volkswagen did a commendable job 12 years ago.

It’s a common problem with turn-of-the-new-millennium VWs, but the interior door handles of my car were peeling dreadfully when I bought it. The plastic paint coating comes off the handles at quite a rate. To be honest, I didn’t take much notice at the time, but have wanted to replace them ever since. Back in January I ordered a set of door pulls with corresponding screw cover panels from Inchcape Chelmsford, and they were recently fitted when the car was in the garage recently for another job. And they look great, and improve the interior appearance no end. A job well done. Not all parts are available to order, though – the inset panels for the electric mirror controls and matching blanking panel on the passenger side are no longer available. I’ve made do with the old ones – thankfully you can’t see the join…

In February, the cold weather took its toll on the battery. After a quick and dirty recharge, it was back to Sani’s Motors of Chelmsford (01245 460040), my local VW specialist and the only garage I trust with the car, to see what the friendly chaps could diagnose. A new item was the only option and after a £69.60 (including fitting) lightening of my wallet, the GTI and I were on our way again. The new battery has needed charging once after I left it for over a week thanks to the arrival of a SEAT Toledo test car, but it currently seems to be fine (pun intended). In the spring I also fitted a brand new ‘GTI’ badge on the front grille and red ‘I’ badge on the tailgate (the ‘G’ and the ‘T’ still don’t look too bad – they’re only a little pitted) that I’ve had since Christmas 2012, but was waiting for better weather to get the job done.

March saw the MoT come and go. Uneventful at the time, there were advisories for the brakes. The nearside rear brake disc was worn and pitted, but was not seriously weakened. It was the same story for one of the front discs, too. The nearside rear parking brake only just met the required efficiency, and a similar affliction affected the rear service brake. Spring was a busy time for the Polo, as it was back in the garage again a couple of weeks later when it suffered a broken driver’s side wing mirror. Another driver was going slightly too fast down I road I used to use regularly (I stopped using it as was so busy but was running late that morning) and swiped the GTI’s mirror back against the window glass, smashing the mirror glass and cracking the case. The impact was so hard, there was no mirror glass left and the window now has permanent marks on it where the casing struck. £120 of new casing, glass and painting later and the Polo’s battle scar had gone. An expensive running late mistake…

2001 Volkswagen Polo GTI

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12 March 2013 ~ 2 Comments

Our cars: 2001 Polo GTI – report nine

Rich Gooding is now 18 months into Polo GTI ownership. The car’s proving largely reliable, but maybe the driver needs some attention…

Retro-fit aero windscreen wipers quieter than conventional items

March 2013 marks the full 18-month anniversary of the Polo GTI’s and my time together. We’ve covered almost 20,000 miles in that time, and I’m please to say, we’re still the best of friends. Y464 GHJ has had quite a busy life since my last report in December, with a few unplanned for jobs being completed. First up, was the fitment of aero-style wiper blades. First fitted to Polos from the 9N in 2002, the single-blade rubber wipers have no exposed metalwork, so that in theory, they should create a much quieter passage through the air. Fitting is easy: just insert the end of the wiper arm into the wiper and snap the cover shut. They’re cheap, too – for less than £5.00, I bought a set of two 19-inch items for the front, and one 12” blade for the rear. To be honest, with the repeated cold snaps, I’ve not noticed that much difference to the noise due to the blades being cold, but they look much neater.

2001 Volkswagen Polo GTI: aero windscreen wipers

Throughout the colder months, the car had been quite reluctant to start, too. It did start, but not without losing the temperature gauge and also the trip meter mileage display. It didn’t really matter how cold it was either, as there was no pattern as to when it would complain. Then, one morning in February, I was down at the local sorting office, when it absolutely point blank refused to start. A jump got me on my way, and I called in straight away to Sani’s Motors (01245 460040), who diagnosed a flat battery. By a stroke of luck, the ever-friendly chaps had a genuine one in stock, so managed to squeeze the GTI and I in there and then (I was on my way to work), and £69.60 later, we were on our way again. It hasn’t happened since.

Finally, just last week saw the car go back to Sani’s once more for its MoT. While it flew through with no immediate problems, there were a few advisories. Well, five to be precise. The handbrake only just met the required park brake efficiency, while all four discs and sets of pads will need replacing. They’re all worn and are close to the limit for efficiency, but as I’ve not replaced them in the whole time I’ve owned the car, it wasn’t a total surprise. The next service is impending, so I’ll get them sorted then.

Talking of flying, the Polo very nearly went for a hedge excursion the first week back to work after Christmas. Driving down the A113 which has a left-hand camber on a right-hand bend which then opens up to a left-hand corner, the car almost overshot the road, and trying to correct it, the back end stepped out. A final correction put the car back on an even course and in the right direction, but I will admit it scared me for the whole journey and I now take that corner much more carefully. I still don’t know whether it was the road surface or my entry speed, or a combination of both, but I suspect part of the problem that day was down to the sometimes overly-light power steering. The car feels like it’s on tip-toe sometimes, too, and it took me a while to start to trust it again.

2001 Volkswagen Polo GTI

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12 December 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Our cars: 2001 Volkswagen Polo GTI – report eight

With the rattles banished to the bin, Rich Gooding gets on with the job of enjoying his 2001 Polo GTI, whatever the weather

2001 Volkswagen Polo GTI

I was wrong. One of the rattles that I commented on last report month did turn out to be a wobbly exhaust, One of the hangers attached to the system had rotted off, so a small welding job was all that was needed to suffice and the frustratingly annoying rattle has now gone. The other bothersome noise which I thought was a rear wheel bearing, turned out to be just that. While Y464 GHJ was in the ever dependable Sani’s Motors once again, the offending bearing was replaced, too. So now, the cabin is an oasis of calm once more.

The recent cold weather has thrown up a couple of interesting observations. Depending on temperature, the digital trip display under the total milage resets itself back to ‘0.0’, trying its best to undo any fuel consumption records I may be trying to keep. It’s a good job the software I use works out the distance travelled since the last fill up for you. There’s no logic to it either – at -6 there was nary a digital flicker, but at -2, there it was. Strange.

2001 Volkswagen Polo GTI

The cold snap has also not been good for the heated washer jets. As in they don’t seem to work. Twice I’ve had to get out of the car halfway to work and pour water on the windscreen to clear it – if I don’t, by the time I’ve finished my 25-mile commute, the screen is almost opaque with wintry road spray. And this morning, I’m sure something at the back end was frozen on, as there was creaking noise emanating from the rear end, sounding similar to a handbrake being on. Otherwise, it’s cosseting and refined fun, fun, fun all the way.

2001 Volkswagen Polo GTI

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12 November 2012 ~ 1 Comment

Our cars: 2001 Volkswagen Polo GTI – report seven

Rich Gooding’s 2001 Polo GTI has had an eventful couple of months. First, new boots and a health check, then a change in regular usage. Are the now noticeable rattles a sign of protest?

2001 Volkswagen Polo GTI

Life for Y464 GHJ has just got calmer, or tougher, depending on how you look at it. I’ve just taken a new magazine designer full-time job, and, if you’re a glass half-empty person, you’d say that the more regular use the car will get is a bad thing. But, if you’re a glass half-full kind of being, then the fewer miles it will do on more regular trips will be a good thing. I’d like to think that I’m the latter, but the more regular use does worry ever so slightly. Still, the miles will be much fewer each day: 50 daily miles in total to my new office, compared to 170 miles per day when I was heading to Bauer Media in Peterborough.

So, as you can see from the pictures, the new daily, five-times-a-week commute will probably mean me spending more intimate time with Messrs Bucket, Sponge and Shampoo. And I have noticed, the Polo takes a lot more scrubbing when it’s dirty, even if it doesn’t look that dirty. One thing I will have to look for in the near future is rattles. Y464 seems to have become infested with the things, coming from the nearside front air vent, the dashboard, and, most annoyingly, the passenger seat area. It’s this last one which is the most frustrating, because, a) I can’t see where it’s coming from, and b) it’s quite a loud plastic-on-another-material-type noise. And honestly, it’s really quite literally driving me nuts.

I thought it may have been down the two new tyres I’ve had fitted in the intervening two months since the last report (the old fronts were shifted to the rear). But, no, I don’t think it’s that simple. They’ve had time to bed in a little now in any case. While the wheels were off and the tyres removed, I had the one wheel which was kerbed refurbished, so once again, I have a ‘clean’ set with no damage. Let’s hope it stays that way. Otherwise, nothing else to report. The gearbox is the least enjoyable part of the car, as sometimes it’s just downright reluctant to do what you want it to, which suggests a bush kit, or something maybe a little more major. Like I said, glass half-empty, or glass half-full…

2001 Volkswagen Polo GTI

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