Current Modifications:


2006 Jetta TDI Package Two with Pure Beige Leather Interior
My goal was to replace my 2003 Nissan Maxima with
a car consumed less fossil fuel. Performance was
not my main concern because I have a 92 mile round
trip daily commute and I figured that cruising 87
percent of the time at 65 mph I was wasting fuel. I
also liked the idea of being able to use
biodiesel in
small blends to further reduce fossil fuel
consumption. The New Jetta allows me to
accomplish this goal in relative comfort without
sacrificing many convenience features or frankly
much performance either with the RocketChip tuning.

I have recently added some of the interior
convenience modifications: dash cubby, passenger
under seat drawer, Euro cup holder and Redline
Goods shift boot.  As my car ages and components
such as the clutch require replacement, I may begin
more power enhancements. I also have completed
the .681 fifth gear swap.

I hope you enjoyed this brief summary of my TDI.
Thanks for stopping by.

Happy motoring!

Ben
I took delivery of this car in November 2005, but not without a
little surprise. I had ordered a car with a DSG transmission,
but while I was inspecting the car I noticed the absence of
the DSC shifter and had a choice: take this five speed or wait
months to receive a similar car with a DSG gearbox. I opted
for the five speed and the rest is history.
















I added Hella E-code headlights almost immediately after
the first few days of commuting. They are a nice
improvement over the stock headlight pattern and the black
set looks nice on a black Jetta. My next modification was
swapping the stock chrome grill for a modified GLI
nosepiece. My first modifications were those that I could do
myself. I have attempted to keep new additions as OEM
parts or at least OEM or better quality.

  Latest Modifications:
For Your Information:

Here's a summary of my
Jetta's mileage after a few
modifications. My switch
from stock 16" wheels with
Michelin Energy tires to 17"
VW Visions with Continental
Contact Pro tires did not
seem to make a substantial
change in mileage.

All of the valleys are due to
hard driving. I define hard
driving as rapid
acceleration and cruising
near 3,000 RPM. You can
see with my commute a
variation in driving style
does little to effect mileage.
Hard driving after RC
tuning was a 3 MPG hit, but
more reasonable driving
caused consumption to
return to normal.
Reasonable driving is doing
the speed limit and "gentle"
acceleration.
Contact Me:
mail@benricci.com
This is a view of my engine RPMs
during my morning commute. The
evening commute would look
essentially the same, only reversed.
I have noticed my mileage is about
two mpg better on the morning run
due to less stop-and-go traffic. You
can clearly see the steady state
cruising at the heart of my drive.
The large spikes at either end of
the commute are merges onto
highways. The tighter more
condensed sections are urban
areas with lots of stopping and
starting. I made this graph during
the winter and I would estimate that
my mileage was averaging around
44 miles-per-gallon.
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Just for fun: The tale of my chameleonesque tails
When I bought my car the dealer had installed Driver Gear silver tail lights. I was on the fence about the silver on black look. I also had the stock tail lights as well. After some deliberation, but
mostly after seeing images of my car with the silver tails, I decided to switch to the stock red lights. I later decided to have the silver tail lights tinted to give my Jetta yet one more look. The work was
completed by
Jon's Tinted Tails, who does excellent work, in his Light-Medium tint. Ultimately I have changed to the Euro LED tails with amber signals and the rear fog configuration. Because I
have the EMT fog light kit installed I needed to add the "W12" circuit to allow both front and rear fogs to trigger using the Euro switch. You can see the DIY for the W12 mod
here. UPDATE: I have
since switched to a Kufatec fog wiring harness and OEM installation through the Central Control Unit. I no longer need the separate relays in the engine bay.
A Word of Warning About RocketChip: Be Patient!
Jeff Robertson is a busy guy. He's the sole production line at
RocketChip. He receives boat loads of e-mails and private
messages about his tunings-daily. It takes a while for him to
respond. He also receives a lot of phone calls during the day, too.
I was lucky and got an appointment right away, but do yourself
and your TDI a favor and be patient. It's worth the wait.
Here's Jeff, far left, at Impexfest in Cockeysville, MD. He was so
busy you would have thought he was giving away free ice cream
cones!
SlowRide
Chip It 'n Rip It!

After reading a significant number of posts and archived threads on TDIClub.com I decided to explore having
my ECU reflashed. I ultimately decided on RocketChip and their Stage I tuning. My Jetta is a primarily a
daily commuter and I wanted to maintain its durability and reliability. I also wanted to stay away from
upgrading the clutch or adding a boost valve or gauges until I had some extra fun money lying around. The
Stage I was said to improve mileage marginally while enhancing performance. So I contacted Jeff
Robertson, who is a one man show named "RocketChip," and asked about getting "chipped." Jeff explained
the differences between the tuning levels (Stage I through Stage IV) and set up an appointment. I'm glad I
did. Reflashing, at least with the Stage I, gives a TDI a new life. I can only describe it as if the engine
suddenly comes to life and takes on the feel of a V6 in the 2,000 to 3,500 RPM range. This is the sweet
spot for highway travel and makes climbing hills and passing traffic a breeze. With my tuning a trip from 60
miles per hour to 90-plus miles per hour takes almost no time at all and literally stuns many unsuspecting
SUVs and other gassers. The A5 Jetta is perfectly suited to this tuning and it just shines in the heart of its
powerband with the RC Stage I. If I can point to a downside it is the stock brakes are not happy frequently
dragging the Jetta down to legal speed limits from romps into triple digit land. In my opinion the RC Stage I
is a perfect complement to a basically stock vehicle and makes the Jetta/New Beetle/Golf platform an
incredibly satisfying commuter. There is NO reason to sentence yourself to the drudgery of windshield time
in an econobox with the availability of RC's tunings.
Oliver's Twist
Oliver Wegener is the crew chief of
Oliver Wegener is the crew chief of
RallyVW. Here's a few shots of Oliver
swapping out stock injector nozzles for .357
nozzles at Impexfest. Oliver was working in
tandem with Jeff Robertson in the tuning
area. Read more about Oliver
here.
Shopping List:

Short-term:


Long-term (when things start wearing out):


*Purchased and working through this challenging install!
Click Here for Hillside Imports Seat Drawer
Installation DIY

Here's another link to excellent DIY info
Vag-Com Log of My Engine RPMs
During My Commute
Click here to learn more about my
experiences with changing my stock .74
fifth gear to a .68 fifth gear.
I Dig This Dub I've owned a number of different VWs over
the years. I always wanted a Rabbit diesel pick-up. I nearly bought
one 10 years ago, but thought $4,300 was a bit much at the time for
a truck with 93,000 miles. What did I know? Not much, because that
same truck would probably have held its value well over the years.
Live and learn. Today these trucks are selling at premium prices--if
you can find a good one for sale. I'm forever on the lookout. This
truck was at
Impexfest 5 in Cockeysville, MD. The owner of this
caddy has it right. It's in excellent condition, but it isn't restored. I'd
love to have one just like this one.
Click Here for Other How-Tos and DIY Links