Review of Tiptronic Sports Mode + Enabling Instructions
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  1. #1
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    Review of Tiptronic Sports Mode + Enabling Instructions

    NOTE: Since originally posting this, I've added additional clarification in the form of an addendum at the end of this specific post.
    As previously discussed in this forum, the Tiptronic transmissions (at least late model) have an undocumented sports mode that can be activated with a VAG-COM. Additionally, there is a semi-documented setting regarding "old strategy" vs. "new strategy" Tiptronic shifting.

    Somewhere, buried in the posts from the old forum software, are posts discussing these settings, but I can't find them to give you the link. I'll put some data here in this post regarding the settings. (See end of this post.)

    The data I have is for US market vehicles. I don't know how well this relates to other markets.

    5 or 6 months ago, I activated both the sports mode, and the "old strategy" shifting mode. I found both to be highly enjoyable, and worth using.

    First a word on the "old" vs "new" shift strategies.

    "Old Strategy" shift mode - The "new strategy" shifting has an annoying habit of downshifting for you when you don't particularly expect it. Here is what the Bentley has to say about the two strategies:

    "1) Tiptronic strategy "old" means: when the selector lever is shifted into the Tiptronic gate, the transmission shifts up and down when the selector lever is shifter forward (+) or rearward (-). If the vehicle is braked to a standstill, first gear is automatically engaged.

    Tiptronic strategy "new" means: when the selector lever is shifted into the Tiptronic gate, the transmission automatically shifts up or down before the RPM limit is reached. It also downshifts automatically when the accelerator pedal is depressed to kick down. "


    The Bentley also mentions being able to engage the old strategy shifting for "test purposes", and advises technicians to be sure to re-engage the "new strategy" before returning vehicle to customers. I chose not.

    Did you notice the New Strategy "improvements"? If shifts up or down BEFORE the RPM limit is reached, and it downshifts when you fully depress the accelerator.

    I found the "old strategy" much more suitable for the purpose of Tip-shifting. The whole point of Tip-shifting is to select the gear yourself, right? Okay, I buy the concept of shifting automatically at redline, and I buy the concept of automatically down-shifting when the car creeps to a crawl. Unfortunately, the "new strategy" goes much further, including downshifting when you hit the gas. Usually, I've already downshifted in Tip-mode before hitting the gas; I definitely don't need any further assistance here, okay?

    The "new strategy" was most annoying when coming in to corners; I would down-shift, then hit the gas the in the corner, and bang now I'm in yet a lower gear. Like, too low.

    The "old strategy" was what I expected the Tip to be. I still have redline protection, and it will still downshift to 1st, if I come to a stop and forget to downshift. But, that's about all the "assistance" it gives me, which is just the way I like it.

    Sports mode - Now for the good stuff: The Audi A4 Tiptronic has a "sports mode" setting that can be engaged with the shift stick. This was not surfaced in the Passat's controls. (Why would you want that in a "family car"? :wink: ) However, someone on this forum previously posted how to engage it with a VAG-COM, at least on certain models of the Tiptronic. I've only tested it on my own (April 2002 build), and it does work. Not sure what other years are applicable. (See below for details on engaging it.)

    Once engaged with the VAG-COM, the setting is there to stay, until you hook back up with a VAG-COM and disengage it.

    After engaging it and going for a test drive, I noticed a definite and pleasant improvement in shifting behavior. The car would downshift more easily (for instance, accelerating on a freeway entrance ramp), and overall the car was much more enjoyable to drive in a sporting mode.

    My gas mileage didn't seem to suffer. (I've got a 1.8t.) When you start driving aggressively, you are already going to do serious damage to your mileage from turbo boost, so earlier shifting doesn't particularly make a big difference from what I saw. Highway driving at a consistent speed still brought in good mileage.

    As a sanity check, yesterday I decided to disengage "sports mode", and return to "regular".

    Took a test drive and Whoa! What happened to the car I was driving before? I was back to the sluggish response and conservative manners of the stock mode. And it was quite distinct and boring. Back to "sports mode" for me.

    Summary - If you are a conservative driver, who bought the Passat as a family car, and you think Tip-shifting is an interesting concept, but not really for you, then leave your car as-is. On the other hand, if you bought the Passat as a bargain-priced sports vehicle, then I can highly recommend both the "new strategy" shifting, and the "sports mode".

    Neither of these made my transmission throw any diagnostic codes, and both settings are easily returned to stock if you think your dealer might care when you bring your car in for service.

    Disclaimer - Any mods you make are on your own responsibility. In my opinion, these are both highly-safe mods. But, you need to decide for yourself and take your own responsibility.


    How To

    These are both done through "coding" of your transmission with a VAG-COM. If you are not familiar with the use of a VAG-COM, then please refer to http://www.ross-tech.com for further information. Basically, if you don't already know how to code controllers with a VAG-COM, then you should research it further at Ross Tech or get a friend to help.

    You do not have to "log on" to make these changes.

    New vs. Old strategy shifting
    The next codes are apparently for B5 generation vehicles, i.e. earlier than 2001.5.

    All engine/transmission codes without EPC AND ALSO for 6 cylinder TDI engines, EU-II (2.5 L/110 kW V6 TDI) with EPC. (EPC = 'Electronic Power Control' and is Volkswagen's term for "Drive By Wire")

    Transmission Code 00000
    Old Strategy or vehicles without Tiptronic

    Transmission Code 00010
    New Strategy

    --------------------------------
    The next codes are for B5.5 generation vehicles, 2001.5 and on.

    All engine/transmission codes with EPC

    Transmission Code 00000
    unpermitted code

    Transmission Code 00102
    (New Strategy) USA All Wheel Drive (4Motion)

    Transmission Code 00104
    (New Strategy) USA Front Wheel Drive (FWD)

    NOTE: My car (April 2002 build, 1.8T) has a different coding, and will not accept the 00104 stock coding. My coding is:
    Transmission Code 01104
    (New Strategy) USA Front Wheel Drive (FWD)

    I suspect this is true of the 2003 models as well.

    When you first access the transmission controller, check the coding to see what is "stock" for your vehicle, and record the information somewhere, so you can return it to "stock" if so desired.

    -----------------------------
    Here's how to engage "Old Strategy" (from the Bentley):

    For test purposes, control modules with "new" strategy can be recoded to "old" strategy.

    To do this, set the 4th position from the left of the code number to -2- (e.g. 00021).

    After completing the test, ALWAYS recode to "new". To do this, set the 4th position from the left of the code number to -0- again.


    This appears to be ONLY for the B5.5 cars, since the table above already shows the difference between Old and New strategy coding for the B5.

    So, from the table above for B5.5 one derives:
    Transmission Code 00122
    (Old Strategy) USA All Wheel Drive (4Motion)

    Transmission Code 00124
    (Old Strategy) USA Front Wheel Drive (FWD)

    Very late model Transmission Code 01124
    (OldStrategy) USA Front Wheel Drive (FWD)

    I I've never tested this on anything but my FWD 1.8t April 2002 build. Presumably, it would work on all others, as per the Bentley. You may need to code to 01122 for very late model 4Motion.

    --------------------------
    Sports Mode

    Sports mode on a B5.5 is engaged by setting a different bit in the same place (4th digit from the left). The bit to set is the '1' bit.

    Since the B5 is already using this bit for "new" vs "old" strategy, it doesn't appear to apply there. You will have to experiment on a B5 to figure out what is what, if anything.

    From the table above for B5.5 one derives:
    Transmission Code 00112
    (New Strategy + Sports Mode) USA All Wheel Drive (4Motion)

    Transmission Code 00114
    (New Strategy + Sports Mode) USA Front Wheel Drive (FWD)

    Very late model Transmission Code 01114
    (New Strategy + Sports Mode) USA Front Wheel Drive (FWD)

    POSSIBLE CODING Very late model Transmission Code 01112
    (New Strategy + Sports Mode) USA All Wheel Drive (4Motion)

    I don't know if this works on other years besides my own, or on 4Motion. I know it does work on an April 2002 FWD 1.8t

    -----------------
    Putting it All Together
    Finally, you can engage both, like I did. (At least on a B5.5.)

    From the table above for B5.5 one derives:
    Transmission Code 00132
    (Old Strategy + Sports Mode) USA All Wheel Drive (4Motion)

    Transmission Code 00134
    (Old Strategy + Sports Mode) USA Front Wheel Drive (FWD)

    Very late model Transmission Code 01134
    (Old Strategy + Sports Mode) USA Front Wheel Drive (FWD)

    POSSIBLE CODING Very late model Transmission Code 01132
    (Old Strategy + Sports Mode) USA All Wheel Drive (4Motion)

    I don't know if this works on other years besides my own, or on 4Motion. I know it does work on an April 2002 FWD 1.8t

    Last Note: There's not much else I can tell you. I've tried to explain this as best I can and as completely as possible. Have fun!

    ===================================
    ===================================
    Addendum
    After my original post (above), I see some points in the replies that I should clarify.

    Sports Mode applies to Automatic shifting
    Sports mode applies to the conventional automatic shifting, not Tiptronic shifting; i.e. when your shifter is shoved over to the left.

    New/Old Strategy Applies to Tiptronic Shifting
    The New/Old Strategy applies to Tiptronic shifting; i.e. when your shifter is shoved over to the right.

    Smoother?
    I notice that a concept "smoother shifting" has crept into the replies. Examining my original post above, you will not find this phrase or any other reference to "smooth" in it. I didn't notice an improvement in relative smoothness.

    Could I be more explicit with the perceived difference in Sports Mode?
    The specific performance differences I found with sports mode are:
    a) The car downshifts more easily. In other words, if I am cruising in automatic and I want to pass someone, by giving a little bit of gas I get a downshift right away, bringing up the RPMs. In "stock mode", the car tended to stay in the same gear; this would then prompt me to give it more gas, or perhaps force a downshift with a kickdown or even switch over to Tip mode and shift down. Sports mode allows more appropriate downshifting under increased load for performance-minded drivers
    b) When under acceleration the transmission does hold onto a gear longer before upshifting. When accelerating under a light load, the transmission still shifts fairly early, as one would want an expect. When accelerating under somewhat heavier loads, the transmission holds onto gears longer. This behavior is predictably associated with just how much of a load you are putting on it: more load = longer hold. The stock mode works similarly, however in sports mode, lighter loads induce longer holds.
    c) The sports mode works so well, in my opinion, that many times where I would have wanted to use Tip shifting, I find letting the transmission do it for me works as well, if not better.

    Better? What do I mean by "letting the transmission do it for me" works better?
    Part of the fun of performance driving is picking the appropriate shift points; i.e. shifting manually.
    However, the Tiptronic transmission is in intimate communication with your Passat's engine, and is very familiar with the car's operating characteristics. In some cases, the automatic shift points might actually be better, performance-wise, than what you pick yourself.
    If I am manually picking shift points, then part of my attention is on shifting, rather than on driving.
    Allowing the automatic to run automatically frees my attention.

    So why use the Tip-shifting at all?
    See above: "Part of the fun of performance driving is picking the appropriate shift points; i.e. shifting manually."
    Furthermore, there are driving circumstances where the tranmission really can't tell what is appropriate. The most obvious of these is entering a curve. When I enter a curve, I'd rather that the transmission already be geared down (downshifted), so when I am ready to hit the throttle I don't have to wait for the car to downshift. Automatic downshifting during cornering can throw off the car's handling during the manuever, and at bare minimum will delay your application of acceleration.
    Under such circumstances, an automatic transmission can't tell "oh, he's going to want to accelerate as soon as he is into the curve". So it just "thinks" you are normally decelerating, and will tend to stay in a higher gear.

    Does sports mode do anything to kickdown?
    No.
    Kickdown occurs when you fully depress your accelerator. By kickdown is meant you can force a downshift by fully depressing the accelerator while driving in 'D'. This is generally desirable behavior.

    So then what did I mean when I was talking about kickdown with old/new strategy?
    When using Tiptronic shifting (shifter shoved to the right), I do not find it appropriate to have the transmission kickdown. The "New Strategy" tip shifting does do this annoying kickdown.
    Presumably, this is because the average manual-shift-inexperienced American-driver while timidly experimenting with Tip-shifting, possibly won't realize that he better downshift before attempting to pass that semi truck on the freeway.
    An experienced manual-shift driver does realize it. It is second nature for many.
    If you've already downshifted in tip mode, then give full throttle, you probably do not want a kickdown. So the Old Strategy works better for the "manual-experienced" driver, in my opinion.

    Will it get rid of the Tiptronic shift lag?
    In one word: No.
    This mod doesn't appear to affect how long the VW Tiptronic takes to shift when you manually upshift or downshift. If you find the Tip shifting lag unacceptable, you'll need to get a GIAC Tip chip to resolve that.
    For those unfamiliar with the concept of "Tiptronic shift lag", what is meant is that VW's Tiptronic implementation takes its sweet time when you intiate a shift. It doesn't shift rapidly. There is a noticable lag. Presumably, this is to make the car more suitable as a family vehicle.
    In comparison, when you manually shift a Porsche 911 with Tiptronic, the 911 shifts right now.
    I've grown accustomed to the shift lag (even before these mods), and have adapted my shifting habits to somewhat account for it.
    Search elsewhere on this website for more information about shift lag, and GIAC's tip chip.

    Will these mods work with the GIAC chip?
    I don't know.
    If you like, try it and tell us what you discover.
    Perhaps, Garrett Lim of GIAC has already incorporated these mods into his chip, in addition to his shifting improvement.

    Will enabling Sports Mode make any difference in Tiptronic shifting?
    As far as I can tell: No.

    Can I configure the car to switch between sports mode and stock mode while driving?
    I can't. I am setting these modes by recoding the transmission. This is not something I would want to try while driving. Or even with the car parked in the driveway, running at idle.
    Since the Audi's let you pick sports mode with the shifter indicates that there might be a way to do it, but how to do so is beyond me.

    Will you like these mods?
    Beats me. Try them. :wink:

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  3. #2
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    awesome write up

    thanks for the info

  4. #3
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    This might be a good one for the Information forum. Great write-up

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    Re: Review of Tiptronic Sports Mode + Enabling Instructions

    This is great. I didn't even know that the Passat retained the A4 Sport mode under the covers... Fantastic description.

  6. #5
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    I don't yet have a VAG-COM, but now I have another good reason to get one. Thanks for the info.

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    Has anyone tried to get teh sports mode on a B5? Sounds very cool. gotta figure that out!

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    2000 DBW code

    Great write up. Old Strategy code for my FWD 2000 GLX V6 is 00124. I'll never go back to 00104, aka New Strategy . I'm about to try 00134. I will let you know. Besides disabling kickdown and the ability to stay in a gear longer what will Sport Mode add to Old Strategy? When you say "shifts smoother" does that equal faster as in TipChip?

    -egeek-

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    the tip system in my b5 is really weird...like i would put it into tip mode and be in 2nd gear, but when i floor it, it would drop to 1st and then redline and hit the limiter and then pop back into 2nd... :???: also its very slow when i manually shift it as well, it takes about a second to shift...where as leaving it in automatic form it shifts perfectly and goes right to redline when the pedal is floored...

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by crxgator
    the tip system in my b5 is really weird...like i would put it into tip mode and be in 2nd gear, but when i floor it, it would drop to 1st and then redline and hit the limiter and then pop back into 2nd... :???: also its very slow when i manually shift it as well, it takes about a second to shift...where as leaving it in automatic form it shifts perfectly and goes right to redline when the pedal is floored...
    That's how it works LOL.

    When you floor it you are probably kickinh it down which downshifts to the next lowest gear. Then when it red lines, the above mentioned new strategy kicks it back up. THat's so that when you need to stand on it and go, you can.

    The shifting lag is synonimous with the tip a tip chip will fix that.

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwilker
    Quote Originally Posted by crxgator
    the tip system in my b5 is really weird...like i would put it into tip mode and be in 2nd gear, but when i floor it, it would drop to 1st and then redline and hit the limiter and then pop back into 2nd... :???: also its very slow when i manually shift it as well, it takes about a second to shift...where as leaving it in automatic form it shifts perfectly and goes right to redline when the pedal is floored...
    That's how it works LOL.

    When you floor it you are probably kickinh it down which downshifts to the next lowest gear. Then when it red lines, the above mentioned new strategy kicks it back up. THat's so that when you need to stand on it and go, you can.

    The shifting lag is synonimous with the tip a tip chip will fix that.
    then vw has a stupid system...cause if im in tip mode and i floor it, i want it to be in the gear i already have it selected not drop down a gear like if i was in auto mode...

  12. #11
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    no arguments there. LOL That's why I am looking at doing these two mods.

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    ok I tried it on my 2000 B5

    I was 00104 OE

    Changed it to 00124 which seemed to get rid of kick down. I stood on it and never had it down shift on me.

    I tried 00114 but that didn't do anything. I think I went back to normal. Had kick down and everything. Any one have luck with the sport mode on a B5??

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    Try 00134

    Jwilker; It's 00134; 00104=NewStrategy (factory for DBW starting with MY 2000); 00124=OldStrategy and 00134 supposedly=SportMode.
    Let me know what happens.

    -Mike-

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    00134 seemd to do something. No kick down didn't seem to upshift as I approached red to the next gear. It did still down shift as I decelerate.

    I can't say whether shifting was any smoother or faster.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jwilker
    00134 seemd to do something. No kick down didn't seem to upshift as I approached red to the next gear. It did still down shift as I decelerate.

    I can't say whether shifting was any smoother or faster.
    How does it drive in "D"?

  17. #16
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    Who drives in D? I'll have to see tomorrow.

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    Re: Review of Tiptronic Sports Mode + Enabling Instructions

    WoW, you KICK BUTT!!!! THank you so much!!! Anyone know how much a Vag Costs, and where to get it??

  19. #18
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    You can get one directly from www.ross-tech.com

    Or in the LA area Torque Factory. THat's where I got mine. Great tool. I've barelly scratched the surface of what I can do with it.

    J.

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    I have a 99.5 A4 and have tried this recode with my VAG-COM. For some reason it will not accept the recode. Do you know the lower imput request code that is necessary to get it to accept the recode?

  21. #20
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    any bay area b5'ers with a vag-com?

    I'd love to try this with my 4mo.

    also, if anyone has built their own serial interface, I'd like to hook up with you. I am handy with soldering and so I'd like to give a try at building one. paying $99 for the vag-com (if I must) is way better than $200. hard to believe a simple passive cable is $99 (sigh)...

    if I can build a cable and get it to work, I might build a few (while I'm at it) and pass them along at cost. not a lot of quantity, but maybe a handful, just for good measure.

  22. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by linux-works
    if I can build a cable and get it to work, I might build a few (while I'm at it) and pass them along at cost. not a lot of quantity, but maybe a handful, just for good measure.
    I'll fund your project


    Let me know when you get the goods ready.

  23. #22
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    Excellent write up. Now I must get my hand on those cables :wink:

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    Anyone know if it would be possible to add a switch to do this real-time? That is, to be able to switch between sport and non-sport mode.

    My experience with VAG-COM and the transmission interface is zero, so I may be climbing way too far out on the limb...

  25. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by turk
    Anyone know if it would be possible to add a switch to do this real-time? That is, to be able to switch between sport and non-sport mode.

    My experience with VAG-COM and the transmission interface is zero, so I may be climbing way too far out on the limb...
    wow, great idea!

    I know how to do it, too. but BUILDING it might take time..

    since its just a serial protocol, its possible to store the command strings in NVRAM (on some PIC controller that someone would have to build) then when you select mode 1 or 2 it would send the right string to the vag port. any college student in EE should be able to build one of these..

    now all we have to do it - FIND THE RIGHT COLLEGE STUDENT ;-)

    I bet a bunch of people would buy this. or some kind of module that lets you change settings (more than just tranny) on the fly. think about it if it had a small lcd display and some menus/arrow buttons. you could scroll to the item you want to change then press 'enter' to toggle it.

    so .. any EE's out there need a project for the summertime? ;-) ;-)

  26. #25
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    I wonder if it can be done while the car is in motion?

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    Quote Originally Posted by linux-works
    Quote Originally Posted by turk
    Anyone know if it would be possible to add a switch to do this real-time? That is, to be able to switch between sport and non-sport mode.

    My experience with VAG-COM and the transmission interface is zero, so I may be climbing way too far out on the limb...
    wow, great idea!

    I know how to do it, too. but BUILDING it might take time..

    since its just a serial protocol, its possible to store the command strings in NVRAM (on some PIC controller that someone would have to build) then when you select mode 1 or 2 it would send the right string to the vag port. any college student in EE should be able to build one of these..

    now all we have to do it - FIND THE RIGHT COLLEGE STUDENT ;-)

    I bet a bunch of people would buy this. or some kind of module that lets you change settings (more than just tranny) on the fly. think about it if it had a small lcd display and some menus/arrow buttons. you could scroll to the item you want to change then press 'enter' to toggle it.

    so .. any EE's out there need a project for the summertime? ;-) ;-)
    whoa!

    gotta be someone that loves this stuff. mebbe Ian (shokwaverider) - who did the integrated guages?

  28. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by turk
    Quote Originally Posted by linux-works
    Quote Originally Posted by turk
    Anyone know if it would be possible to add a switch to do this real-time? That is, to be able to switch between sport and non-sport mode.

    My experience with VAG-COM and the transmission interface is zero, so I may be climbing way too far out on the limb...
    wow, great idea!

    I know how to do it, too. but BUILDING it might take time..

    since its just a serial protocol, its possible to store the command strings in NVRAM (on some PIC controller that someone would have to build) then when you select mode 1 or 2 it would send the right string to the vag port. any college student in EE should be able to build one of these..

    now all we have to do it - FIND THE RIGHT COLLEGE STUDENT ;-)

    I bet a bunch of people would buy this. or some kind of module that lets you change settings (more than just tranny) on the fly. think about it if it had a small lcd display and some menus/arrow buttons. you could scroll to the item you want to change then press 'enter' to toggle it.

    so .. any EE's out there need a project for the summertime? ;-) ;-)
    whoa!

    gotta be someone that loves this stuff. mebbe Ian (shokwaverider) - who did the integrated guages?
    update: its not as easy as I first thought (the passive cable). its NOT passive! it has opto isolators and other stuff in there. yes, a real circuit for just the vag-com cable - nevermind the other controller (laptop) part.

    sigh. I'm told its about $50 in parts to build the cable. I wonder if its worth another to buy it or to build it?

  29. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwilker
    I wonder if it can be done while the car is in motion?
    The original post indicates that that A4's sport mode was selected using the shifter. Not that this translates directly to the Passat, but it would seem to suggest that its at least worth investingating...

    Unfortunately, I'm a lowly CS grad, easily spooked by soldering guns, EEPROM, serial interfaces, etc... :-P

    Maybe chip tuners? Garrett?

  30. #29
    Neutral
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    San Francisco CA USA
    Posts
    88
    Ok, so I'm not too bright-- does "Sport mode" only pertain to the shifting pattern when the shifter is in "D" (non-manual-Tip) mode? Can someone clarify? :???:

    I'm happy with how my Tip works in "manual" mode, esp b/c I never come close to redlining, but I'd like regular automatic mode to be more aggressive in downshifting. I frequently feel like I'm 1-2 gears higher than I want to be.

  31. #30
    1st Gear
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Temple City(LA), CA
    Posts
    215
    I've always been wishing for the sport mode on my car, I wish mine can be reset. Someone please confirm.

    But I would like the tip to work like the ones in the Bimmer: when you shift into the shift gate, the sport mode engages; if you move the stick up or down then it engages manual mode.

    I would think "smooth" means slower shifting, does that mean we can adjust the setting to make it shift faster? I would like to know. If so, who needs the tip chip?

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