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First 10,000 km with the new cyberdog

Posted by cyberdog on November 14th, 2008 filed in Volkswagen

Have the Mk4 .:R32 for about 3 months and I think I’ve finally getting a hang of driving it. Yes, I know, 10k km and 3 months to get use to a VW is not really my style. I questioned myself almost everyday ever since I got the car. So what was the problem(s)? Is it just me getting old or is there something wrong with the car?

At first, I thought it was mainly because of the terribly stupid accident I had with the old cyberdog that got me all scare about driving fast. I just had this weird feeling that my R32 is not sticking on the road as it should be. I mean, I drove two different R32’s before, from their bone stock form to heavily moded form and I know it shouldn’t feel like that. I would be driving on the highway at speed not even close to what I had driven my old VR6 at and when I turned in a corner, the R32 just didn’t give me any response from the steering wheel like my old VR6 use to.

After about a month or so and a few MD with the R32, I started to realize it probably wasn’t me but there is definitely something wrong with the car. Here are some of the things that I observed:

  1. After MD, the front tires simply didn’t get heat up at all, they are virtually cold while the rear tires were melting like I’ve been drifting the car the whole morning and I wasn’t running any slower than I was with my old VR6;
  2. When the car is cold and I back it out of a parking space, even when the steering wheel was completely straight, the rear wheels were jumping like I have my rear differential locked on my Touareg while turning;
  3. In some occasions, when I’m in some multi-stories parking lot looking for a parking space, I would be driving at really slow speed and as soon as the car started turning, the ESP light would be flashing like crazy.

It got me thinking that maybe there is something wrong with the rear end of the car instead of the front of the car. It just so happened that I was about to order the Haldex competition controller unit and I was pretty sure the previous owner never change his Haldex oil. I tried and tried to find a Haldex wrench and oil but it seemed like they are either really hard to find or really expensive because of the shipping charges. So I called the VW service center and asked the guy how much it’d cost for them to change the Haldex oil and the guy kept calling it the rear differential oil which got me thinking.

You know, when you buy a 2nd hand car, you take it to your favorite garage and have them change all the fluid, right? I did that and the guy at the garage told me he couldn’t get to the Haldex and he couldn’t find the Haldex oil, so I told me I’ll take care of that myself. Something hit me as soon as this scene rushed back to my head. I called the garage and ask the guy if he changed the rear differential oil for me and he said, “of course not, you said you would take care of that!”

It all makes sense now! Turn out the rear differential oil has never been changed and it becomes so sticky that it was more or less like glue sticking all the rear differential gear together and thus dragging rear of the car all the time while the front was pulling it!

I finally had the time to get the oil changed a few weeks ago and suddenly I have a monster! Seriously, you wouldn’t believe how big the difference was. Not only the rear end doesn’t drag you in the corner anymore, it was actually pushing it out of the corner as long as you are willing to punch it. It’s like the car is so alive that as soon as you turn in a corner, it’s rear end is hurrying you to get to the next corner faster.

Before I had all these figured out, I kept thinking that my R36 is a much faster and better car but now, I can’t really decide anymore. True the R36 is a lot quicker on the straight and the DSG shifts so quick you are virtually driving on 6th gear most of the time because it already went through 1st to 5th without you even noticing it. But still, the R32 feels more like a monster especially in corners which we have tons in Hong Kong. 😉

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