Turbo Information for the VW GTI 1.8T Turbo Engine

The turbocharger used on the 1.8T VW's is the Borg-Warner KKK03. The K03 turbo is a smaller turbo, capable of spooling up much quicker than other traditional turbos. Stock, the engine/turbo combination produces 150hp, with 150ft/lbs of torque that kick in at about 1750 rpms; all at a safe 7psi. The beauty of the engine is that torque stays on all the way through the rpm range, so full torque is available through almost all of the rpm range. This makes the car a joy to drive, with smooth consistent power always available.

Now add chip tuning to the equation. For about 500 dollars, chip tuners modify your ecu to perform at different levels. In the past, this meant a few percent gain in hp. Boost management is handled by the ECU, so chip tuners are able to generate massive amounts of power by modifying the stock programming. On the stock program, the turbo generates about 5-7 psi. For example, with the GIAC 1.1 bar chip, your car will now make about 15-16 psi of boost pressure. Under loaded conditions, the GIAC can spike at up to 20 psi. What does this all mean? Increasing your power by about 33% with just the chip makes large amounts of HP and torque available immediately. HP is up by about 47 over stock, and torque is increased by up to an amazing 90 ft/lbs!!!! For most drivers is simply the easiest, most effective power upgrade available.

All this power does have it's trade-offs. The K03 turbo was designed to run reliably at certain boost and temperature levels. By chipping, you are increasing the boost and temperature levels, which may decrease the life of the turbo. By using a simple bolt-on upgrade, such as a KKK04 (K04) turbo, power levels increase to around 230-240 hp, while the temperatures stay about the same. Stay away from full throttle, and temps will be even lower. Of course these levels can only be attained be updating the ecu programming, a feature only available to users of the baseline GIAC chip. For a small fee, you can get the K04 program on a chip, and pop it into the special board that was put on when you got the first GIAC chip. Most K04 kits with GIAC chip and all the extras (like gaskets and new thermostat) are available for under $2,000.

So that's still not enough power, huh? Even more options are available, but you better upgrade some other items before getting up to the next level of power. It would be advisable to get the following before going above 250 hp:

  • Limited Slip Differential (Peloquin or Quaife)
  • Upgraded Suspension
  • Larger Brakes or better pads
  • Larger/wider tires
  • Bailey DV
  • FMIC (Front Mounted Intercooler) or other cooling options

Although these modifications are not required, they are recommended so you can control the new amounts of power your 1.8T engine will put to the ground. Some people even do these mods at the 200 hp level. So what are all these things? We'll add links later so you can click them and get all the tech information.

Garrett turbocharger kits

K16 upgrade info

RS2 turbocharger information

Stage I - Usually chip, exhaust, filter - good for about 200 hp, 240 ft/lbs of torque

Stage II - Add a new K04 turbocharger, good for about 240 hp, 2xx ft/lbs of torque

Stage III - Custom turbo kits, capable of producing near or greater than 300 hp.

Posted in Submitted by deviantspeed on Fri, 2006-11-17 17:38.
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