RETIRED Super Stealth Moderator
After a hiatus of several months, with very few nominations for POTM, this is starting back up again. I can't think of many here who are more deserving of POTM. Usually, I have to edit the dickens out of a submission, but I think I'll just leave this one exactly as it is - here's the POTM for September, 2013 - keithwbloom! Take it away, Keith!
I was thoroughly shocked and thrilled at the same time to receive notice that I had been selected to be the first recipient of a resurrected POTM campaign. I have to admit, I was very disappointed to see it lapse for the last year or so. I saw a thread start recently calling for a renewed program, and then I guess because I didn't chime in, I lost track of the developments that led to a swell of enthusiasm to bring it back.
And I am insanely proud to be honored as the recipient of POTM September 2013. To those who cast nominations and included me, I am very grateful.
This is going to be fun. I get a whole thread to assemble my gratuitous pic whoring into one slutty corner of Passat porn through my own eyes. For reasons I may elect to explain later, I once tallied up how many photos I have hosted on my server of my car and the various project elements I have described along the way on PassatWorld. The count as of today? 2,134. Yep. I have been busy for the last ten years (almost.) But I am not going to use this occasion to re-publish all two thousand plus images. I get to do a "greatest hits" gallery. And that will be fun. Like looking through a scrap book of an old friend. And fair warning, I will be a tad windy here at the beginning, to give your browser time to download all the yummy images I have included in the closing gallery.
To conform with recent POTM narratives, I shall start at the beginning. In 2005, I had a 2002 Wolfsburg Jetta 1.8T I had purchased new that was getting too small for my growing family. Fun to drive it was, spacious for growing boys in back, not so much. So I settled into looking for a Passat because I had seen so many at dealership visits for service on the Jetta. I was pleased to learn it was available as a W8 6MT, and I shopped AutoTrader and Cars.com and found a 2003 W8 in Reflex Silver with low miles I was ready to pull the trigger on, but I just wasn't sure enough yet to buy a plane ticket to the Gulf Coast to pick it up. So I told the seller I had found a V6 5MT locally that I would go and test drive for a sense of the "giddy-up" difference from the familiar 1.8T I had found lacking in the bigger, heavier Passat. On a rainy Sunday afternoon, I drove 55 miles to Cook Volkswagen in Bel Air, MD and got my first drive in "Betty."
About 15 minutes later I was calling my wife telling her I was leaving the Jetta there and we would have to pick it up tomorrow because I was bringing this CPO 2004.5 GLX V6 with only 10,400 miles on the odometer home with me. Actually that is not how it went, but that was the effective outcome nonetheless. It probably went more like "Hey, honey. I think I want to buy this car I am test driving. Can I please have it? Is that OK?" Wifey had grown weary of the small confines of the Jetta, so she assented, and I was off to the closing department to seal the deal. I remember my boys were with me and they said they approved which helped a great deal. I think they were totally stoked they got to play at the Lego table in the customer waiting area for another 2 hours while the paperwork and delivery prep was completed.
So I have offered this before in several contexts, but here it is most appropriate. Some cool (and creepy) facts I found out after I had all the documents and papers in hand:
- The original in-service date of my 2004.5 B5.5 was February 16, 2004, my 37th birthday.
- The previous owner's name was William Keith. My name is Keith William [Bloom].
Kismet. Karma. Fate. It was meant to be.
So on that day in April 2004, she came home with me and I took these pictures the following day:
And that's pretty much how she looked for 5.5 years. I the interim, I had a few other projects going: a new family addition (my daughter); a complete remodel and expansion of our family home; and a few career direction corrections. When I finally turned my attention back to my VW, she was still beautiful, but has lost some of the lustiness I had found in her when I first drove her. So I started looking for smaller ticket mods I could acquire for monies I would raise by selling off old stuff I didn't need on eBay. I think among the first items I did acquire was a PhatNoise digital music system on clearance for $119. I then spruced up her insides with new Mojo logo floor mats from the dealer for about $120. I added a pair of In-Pro chrome mirror caps shortly after that, also on clearance sale, for $25, IIRC. The "leather" on my shift boot had worn through a second time (replaced it the first time under warranty) so I upgraded to a RedLine boot for $40. A pre-painted M3-style lip spoiler was next, $40ish, and a fifth Vancouver 16x7 wheel was bought to replace a bent OE unit. I think about that time I started buying into the PassatWorld "must" mods and picked up a Euroswitch for $25.
Little things started snowballing into bigger wants, so a to-do list of mods was born just so I could publish it, though I never thought I would ever, EVER get to the end of it.
In its first iteration, I think it started something like this: Ha! Looking back I was so naive. The PW culture swallowed me whole. My list just grew and grew. Until it was this: What I have done:
What I still want to do:
- Phatnoise 20GB DMS
- Black MojoMats with White PASSAT Logo
- Inpro Chrome Mirror Covers
- Redline Leather Shift Boot
- DubStop M3-style Trunk Lip Spoiler
- Fifth OE Vancouver 16x7 Wheel for Spare
- PES G2 Supercharger
- Bilstein PSS9 Suspension
- W8 Headlights
- Porsche 928 Phone Dial Wheels
- Votex B5.5 Front Bumper, Rear Spoiler and Side Skirts
To-Did List (in the order added):
Subtractions and changes along the way:
- Phatnoise 20GB DMSre
- Black MojoMats with White PASSAT Logo
- Inpro Chrome Mirror Covers
- Redline Leather Shift Boot
- DubStop M3-style Trunk Lip Spoiler
- Fifth OE Vancouver 16x7 Wheel for Spare
- Polished Stainless TOKSPEED Lower Grille Center Frame
- S5 Style TOKSPEED Fog Lamp Chrome Trim Rings
- Deck Lid Mounted Audi OE Warning Triangle
- New Beetle Sunglasses Holder
- MonsterMats for Driver and Passenger
- Votex Rubber Floor Mats for Rear Passengers
- VVME Ultra Slim 4300K HIDs for Projector Headlamps
- VVME Ultra Slim 3000K HIDs for Fogs
- Ziza Ultra White City Light LEDs
- 5mm chrome trim for W8 interior accent (I had installed 1/4" but it was too thick, so I sourced some 5mm from Sofia, Bulgaria)
- BlueSTAR VW A2DP enabled bluetooth module for analog OnStar (this converted my dead OnStar system peripherals into a hands-free bluetooth interface with my iPhone, A2DP streams playlists from my iTunes or apps like Pandora One through wireless connection)
- 5000K white LED license plate lights
- Bilstein PSS9 coil overs
- Custom Self-opening Trunk Mod (fabricated parts from stainless steel, sourced springs and buffers from Audi parts)
- Votex Cargo Net
- RH AD Cups (17x8s, ET60, professionally trued, restored and refinished)
- Continental Extreme Contact DW 225/45/ZR17s (summer shoes)
- H&R DRA Series 20mm Spacers (fronts) and H&R DRA Series 25mm Spacers (rears) (for installation of refinished RH AD Cups above)
- Logjam 2-Channel Auto Sensing Audio Switcher (plays A2DP stream by default through Monsoon CD changer harness, else Phatbox if no signal is detected)
- Custom Aluminum Pedal Covers, "V6" on Clutch, "30V" on Brake, Blanks for Dead Pedal and Accelerator
- 312mm Front Disc Brake Conversion with TT carriers (replaced later with BBK)
- PES G1 Supercharger and custom FMIC
- Audi S-Line B5 Tiptronic three spoke steering wheel converted to MFSW functions
- W8 FIS Instrument Cluster with restored VDO LCD panel
- Funk Button (still not hooked up to anything yet)
- Porsche Boxter 986 Brembo Calipers with EBC Redstuff kevlar ceramic pads and new 312mm Meyle Platinum rotors
- Rebuilt and refinished Lucas rear calipers and carriers with EBC Redstuff kevlar ceramic pads and new 245mm Meyle Platinum rotors
- Auto sensing Euroswitch
- Porsche Cup II track shoes in Retro Red Metalflake shod in Sumitomo HTR-Z 205/50-17 rubber with matching Retro Red Metalflake mirror caps and shifter knob
- MFD Navi-G Double DIN
Not yet ready, but in the works:
- Removed the silly dealer installed pinstripe
- Re-shod the OE Vancouver 16x7s in 205/55R-16 Dunlop SP Sport Signature Tires
- Re-shod the RH AD Cup 17x8s in 225/45-17 Bridgestone RE-11 Extreme Performance Summer Tires
On my active buy/short list:
- Euro rub strips with embedded Audi Supercharged fender badges
- 3.0L coil plug conversion with refinished cam covers
Want to do but not on my short list yet:
- Comfort blink module
- Custom LED Tails
- LED interior lamp conversions
Projects I still have simmering:
- RS4 Engine Mounts
- Wood trim refinishing to a dark poplar with silver particulates
- Group buy on fabrication of custom self-opening trunk mod parts (sourcing better reproduction spring design)
- Custom LED tails for B5.5 sedans and wagons, and B5 sedans (need to get extraneous SC build parts and leftovers from other projects off my work bench so I have a clean slate)
Memory lane. I just drove it hard. Wow.
And all the projects just flew by like blurry roadsigns along the way:
- I re-engineered a GM-based product to convert a dead OnStar system in my Passat to a hands-free bluetooth phone connection that works with my Monsoon (and now MFD Navi) VW head unit. This project was so successful, I turned it into Passat project capital by selling over 60 installations nationwide. Owners of Phaetons love them, ditto for RS6 owners, because I allowed for them to have real bluetooth connectivity for their treasured rides at a very reasonable cost.
- Group buys for hard to find or source items (chrome fog light trim rings and stainless lower grille surrounds from Germany, SRS-style rear sway bars.) Not entirely altruistic, I got a little working capital for Passat pursuits from each deal. Thanks everyone for your patronage.
- Projects I just did for myself, but documented here on PW for anyone who cared (or dared) to follow:
- Conversion of OE halogen fog lamp projectors to 3000K 35W Xenons
- Audi B5 S-Line Tiptronic steering wheel conversion to emulate all B5.5 MFSW functions
- Rebuilding, refinishing and adaptation of PES G1 Supercharger setup including custom FMIC
- Restoration and reprogramming of a bricked W8 cluster (which I bricked in the first place)
- Restoration and refinishing of Porsche 986 Boxter Brembo brake calipers and carriers
- Restoration and refinishing of OE Lucas rear calipers and carriers
- Restoration and refinishing of Porsche Cup II wheels and center caps
- Adaptation of MFD-G RNS Head unit to work as designed on B5.5 CAN bus chassis
So now the formal introductions: Betty, er, Sabine — Miss POTM September 2013
Betty's four corners 9 years later:
Almost 10 years since I first saw her, she has a highly refined split personality these days. When the momentum picked up about midway through my To-Did List above, when I finally got the PSS9s installed and RH AD Cups mounted up with the summer performance Conti DWs, I had to name her. She was bad. She was black. And right about that time a SuperBowl VW commercial for the coming New Beetle featured Ram Jam's Black Betty (Bam-a-lam). It fit. We have enjoyed an extended honeymoon, I have proudly accented her wardrobe and selfishly provided a few implants. Under her bonnet, she is packing in the neighborhood of 290-300HP, provided by a PES G1 M62 Eaton supercharger plumbed through a FMIC and pushing 9ish pounds of boost. She drinks 93 octane through 6 rebuilt B5 S4 red top injectors. But she still exhales through the stock 2.25" exhaust. She has two sets of shoes at the moment, both shod in summer ultra performance rubber. Under her shoes, she maintains control of her momentum with a set of Porsche 986 Boxter calipers squeezing 312mm vented discs in front with EBC RedStuff kevlar ceramic pads, and OE Lucas calipers pinching 245mm solid discs in the rear with the same EBC RedStuff composite pads.
Betty's 4300K HID Low Beam Projectors with Ziza Super White City Lights and Stealth Bulb Turn Signals:
Betty's 3000K HD Fog Projectors with Chrome S5 Trim Rings:
When Betty became "Betty"
Betty's MFSW converted B5 S-Line Tiptronic Sport Steering Wheel
Betty's Bluetooth conversion for defunct VW OnStar module
Betty's Restored RH AD Cups:
Betty's Custom CNC Machined Aluminum Pedal Covers:
Betty's Goodies Under Her Bonnet:
Betty's Porsche Boxter 986 Brembo Calipers and RedStuff Composite Pads:
Betty's Refinished Lucas OE Rears and RedStuff Composite Pads:
Betty's Calling Card:
When I put on her red track shoes, Betty now prefers to be called Sabine. The Porsche Cup II wheels are lighter and 7" wide vs the 8" RH Cups, but they give up little in terms of grip and cornering, and spin up noticeably faster. And I shod them in inexpensive Sumitomo HTR-Zs so I can chew them up if I want to and not feel the hurt so bad when they run thin and need replacement. That is the plan anyway. We'll see how long I can hold onto them. Wifey most definitely likes Betty more than Sabine, I think she thinks Sabine is a tramp. Not to worry, I can keep Sabine closeted until track days and roll on her rouge finery whenever she is poised for a few hot laps around a road circuit or auto-x course.
Sabine's Red Track Shoes:
Sabine's Harlot Red Finery:
Sabine's DayLite8 Fog Grilles (to make room for FMIC plumbing):
Sabine will share the DayLite8s with Betty, they are an accommodation to Betty's implants anyways. There is no room for the passenger projector fog lamp housing while Betty/Sabine is sucking up 6 gallons of air per second through the 3" FMIC plumbing. Good problem to have.
Miscellaneous Gallery Shots:
When B-5 let Betty soil his driveway:
Betty's SRS-Style SnunkBar Torsion Beam Stiffener
Betty's Auto-sensing Euroswitch:
Betty's MFD Radio Navigation System:
Betty's Digital Music Jukebox
Betty's Redline Leather Shift Boot
Betty, opening her boot for me:
Betty's Boot Lid Accessory:
Betty Sporting her Votex Roof Bars
Much Deserved Recognition and Thanks:
Betty/Sabine and I are hugely grateful to so many members of PW, as well as some other notables. First, let me open with the greatest of thanks to the following community members:
- PablitormDub: Picking up that FUNK switch from you got this whole "gotta have mods" run started. And you have been a great supporter and vocal admirer of all my mods. Gracias!
- VAGGuy: When we/you lowered my Passat in your garage that rainy Saturday on the PSS9s, it was a transformation. Your help and generosity in hosting my personal garage day were scarcely repaid with the case of beer you requested in trade. You are a cheap date. And a true gentleman wrench. And as it turns out, a qualified matchmaker. You introduced me to "Betty".
- vwb5t and V4VanGelder: For all the PMs you replied to when I was itching to do something cool and different with my V6, I am in awe of your collective knowledge. Matt, introducing me to NefMoSports whence I started my SC odyssey, brilliant! And Mikey, your generosity in loaning tools and a hand now and then for my driveway TB change, much obliged, sir.
- swcrow17: For stoking the flicker of a whim that resulted in an epic FMIC PES G1 setup under Betty's bonnet. You were the 11th hour call I made (literally at 11pm on installation day) when she fired up the first time so you could hear her rev and scream. Sucks that you haven't seen her yet now almost a year later. You better be at Mid-Atlantic GTG next month, I already have my hall pass for the day.
- B-5: For letting me use your driveway for TB change the night before last year's Fall GTG. Sorry for the coolant puddle, has the stain faded as yet?
- Polidori: OMG, what a champ this guy is. Without his help and garage for sometimes days at a time, none of the big stuff would have ever made it into Betty. He has a great setup, a fantastic tool chest, and plays some of the best 80's deep tracks on his iPod loudspeaker system all the while. And he also helped rescue Betty's complexion with a full tutorial on paint restoration and gracious use of his Menzerna library of compounds, polishes and waxes. I have since replenished many of the magic mediums I used from his stores, but I can never truly repay him for the use of his garage for Betty's SC implant, and then again for her BBK installation. Hat off to you sir.
- k0mpresd: The big kah-tune-a. Rescued me from long nights of trying to figure out how to decode ATQ ECU maps and reorganize them to exploit the unique properties of supercharged forced induction. It's still a work in progress, but we are lightyears beyond the first unsteady versions with surging idles and rich conditions throughout that were returning 11MPG under a heavy testing foot. And I seriously don't think this man sleeps. I thought I was ADHD. Mad props to you.
- polo-mk3: I am just the ballsy tinkerer that isn't intimidated with a soldering iron and expensive electronic bits. Ben is the guru of cluster EEPROM coding, and he is the single-most important reason I was able to rescue the cluster I bricked in a novice VAGTacho session. He and his UKPassats.com.uk forum mates are the bees knees on some of the keenest EEPROM and ECU-coding related mods across the MkIV/B5 chassis. And he turned me onto neat finds like the auto sensing Euroswitch. Cheers mate!
- JayTheSnork: For fanning the flames of antiestablishmentism and including me in the gang of would be pioneers for that "someday when". You know what I mean. But it also fanned a sense of belonging that made me feel much more comfortable in our community, and prompted me to take a bigger part whenever I could. Sorry I couldn't scamper up there last fall. We'll catch up in person eventually.
- ColoradoRed and Steve In Chicago: For playing along with my puns and games, all the while contributing a lot to my projects in development and considered purchases. I love to read your threads and posts and I am thrilled when you respond and contribute to my own.
- SoundGuyBob and AmazingDave: We like to play with electronics, bits and bytes. You are my nerd heroes.
- BDubskii: For not dying last week, because you are always quick of wit, and because you still haven't collected your "bundle" as yet, though it has been a long time since I have known what is contained in the deal, or how much you will owe me for it when you finally ante up.
- To countless others (not nameless, just literally a long and distinguished list of PW members) who have contributed to my projects with posts, feedback or patronage of my group buys and picking adventures, you guys are great pals, and I have been honored by your support and commendations along the way. I wish all of you the best of luck and quick success with your own projects and pursuits.
And let me conclude that there are two other notables I have to thank, one or both of which will likely never read this, but thanks are overdue nonetheless.
- My neighbor, Mr. Williams: It sounds silly, but those who have followed my project threads undoubtably know that I do not have a garage or even a driveway to do anything Passat-related. So my neighbor has always been gracious enough to allow me use of his driveway and the overhead shade for car washes and waxing/detail days, and even better use of his garage for bigger mechanical projects I can complete in an afternoon here and there. Wifey was getting impatient with my curbside wheel swaps, coil over ride height adjustments, and SC plumbing test fits that inevitably had tools and parts scattered on the "city strip" between the street and our side walk. Perhaps my neighbor wasn't too keen on it either and that was his motivation for affording me use of his two car garage whenever he was out for an extended time. Whatever the cause, the effect was the same, I got shade and shelter and safety of a level floor when I truly needed it, and for that, I am most grateful.
- The Wifey: Not just because I would be publicly flogged for NOT including her, but because I sincerely think that even as she gave me mountains of isht for all the "bounty" I regularly brought home from my parts pickin' holes, and for all of the packages that arrived almost daily for weeks on end during bigger builds/projects, she knew it was a source of joy and pride for me to have these things, to "play" with them and to make something from the parts I had collected. She clearly couldn't give a rat's patootie about ECU flashing, super charger intake manifolds and FMIC plumbing, timing belt changes and/or big brake kits, but she didn't castrate me for any of it either. As long as her car got washed too, the honey-dos in the house didn't pile up too deep, and I wasn't shirking any duties at the office, I got enough car time now and again to keep thing rolling smoothly. And for her stubborn sense of propriety, I am also truly grateful, because she is not at all enamored with the Hussian hussy that Betty and mores her alter ego have become, she overtly organized a campaign with my kids to prod me into getting a convertible this summer — a more grown up car, she says. So I got Betty/Sabine a sister, a 2007 S4 Cabriolet 6MT. Ha! If only you really knew how much a V8, 6-speed, AWD, Luxury German Convertible elevates your pedestal to me, I may have some serious ground to make up. Thanks honey, you are indeed the best.
I gotta motor. I know there is a road out there calling for Betty and I to scream all over it. But she's presently shod in red, so it will be Sabine on the twisties today. Better still.
Thanks everyone! :wrench: