Project MKVI Golf TDI: Rawtek Exhaust and Malone Tuning

by Steve Rockwood

Modern diesels are light years ahead of their predecessors when it comes to power. No longer is the diesel owner subjected to white-knuckle freeway merges at school zone speeds, scary amounts of noise, smoke-screen plumes and honking horns as fellow motorists pass them with windows down. That doesn’t mean they can’t be faster. This goes doubly true when you consider Project Golf TDI’s sporty looks. Getting passed by Mom in the minivan with nary a glance was getting a little depressing.

TDI: torque for days, but just not a runner at the stoplights. Yet.

Yes, yes, we know common rail TDIs have 236lb-ft of torque, and yes, this is a fairly healthy sum. However, while that makes the motor feel strong, especially with how effortlessly you can pass people or squirt through traffic, it doesn’t mean you won’t get passed by late soccer moms at a merge. Go ahead, Google it. If you’re in a Golf TDI and a Honda Odyssey, Chevy Equinox, Toyota Sienna, or even the lowly Chrysler Town and Country pulls up next to you, you’d better hone those reaction times and hope mom’s settling a who-touched-who tussle, or you’re going to see some tail lights.

That, and we just like making things go faster. This goes doubly true for cars that can’t beat minivans. If you think this silly, please check in at Basketweavers Weekly.



To start our mods out, we decided on the eviction of the device that offends not only our demanding backsides (acceleration, you twits), but also our pocketbooks. Project Golf, like most diesels built after Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) was released in 2007, comes with the questionably effective and much resented Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) – one can spend hours scouring the Internet for information on these nasty devices. No doubt that the DPF, like the catalytic converter before it, will morph into a nearly unnoticeable byproduct of the modern era, but for now it’s a device that keeps us up at night with its power-blocking potential and fuel-wasting regen cycles. During a regen cycle, fuel is literally introduced out of cycle and into the exhaust stream to burn out trapped particles in the DPF instead of being used for useful and fun explosions. Economy suffers. Huge EGTs are made (some vehicles see constant 1400-1500 degree EGTs during regen) and reliability suffers. And having a giant exhaust filter can’t be good for power production.


The stock exhaust system, while mandrel bent and reasonably-sized, features a lot of pollution control devices of dubious effectiveness.

To slow the exhaust during regen cycles, VW installed this exhaust flapper thing. At least VW had the decency to use V-band clamps everywhere.

Luckily, the folks at Rawtek make a beautifully crafted turbo back exhaust (downpipe, midpipe and cat back) that eliminates all of this nastiness and more. Before we continue, we must warn you that this modification is not road legal, and we cannot recommend you install this on any vehicle intended for use on public highways. Of course, if you listened to everything we said, you’d try something stupid like tossing a Hayabusa motor into a Miata simply because it makes racy vroom vroom noises, so proceed at your own risk.

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013 11:48 AM
I don't normally comment on this site, but, your writing style is brilliant and engaging. I hope you do more articles for MotoIQ or at least help with some of the other write ups. This is just so damned polished. Thanks.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013 1:41 PM
Damn, thanks man!
Tuesday, November 26, 2013 2:12 PM
I'm surprised that you guys only read 150HP and 269TQ. I got the Performance Diesel Engineering (now defunct) downpipe and GTI style cat back. I did the HP EGR hardware delete and LP EGR software delete with Malone stage 2. Only other engine mod is an Injen short ram intake with Greedy Airinx filter (more for sound than anything else). Not sure on the size of Rawtek's pipes but mine are 2.5 split to dual 2.5 in the rear. My dyno(Mustang 4 wheel roller) measured 187HP and 352TQ and when I told my tuner (Diesel Dubs in Shippensburg PA) he said that is a very unforgiving dyno. I highly doubt dynos can vary almost 100 ft lbs so I wonder what the difference is? My car is a 2011 Golf with the CJAA engine code.
Jeff Naeyaert
Jeff Naeyaertlink
Tuesday, November 26, 2013 2:38 PM
it's not worth trying to compare different dynamometers.. what was your net gain on that dyno that day? We got a +24% increase in horsepower and +30% increase in torque--values consistent with what Malone says their tune should be making.
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Tuesday, November 26, 2013 10:16 PM
I'm just so happy you two are getting back to your TDIs! Still feel pretty confident in stating that your 1.9 Steve could leave Jeff in the dust with very little work unless Malone is going to come up with a heavier hitting package than this one. Sorry Jeff :-( Um, I'm really pushing for project Mazda6-D racer starting next year!!!
Jeff Naeyaert
Jeff Naeyaertlink
Wednesday, November 27, 2013 12:00 AM
The Malone tune is at the safe limits of the turbo and fuel system without getting excessive EGTs and more smoke. Wait till we upgrade the turbo...
Wednesday, November 27, 2013 3:14 AM
I didn't do before dyno runs so I would only have factory power numbers to go off of. The car was tuned and DP installed and I had it dynoed at a later date.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013 2:46 PM
I think you are over boosting from the dyno graph, this is what kills the clutch...You want power/sporty car not a towing tractor.
Also on the vid i can see that the ecu pulls the fuel away at the end, before stepping of the gas (as if the sound/picture is in the same time) This could be the reason for low power up, over 4000, you need little smoke till right before the rev limit.

bv43 is the way to go on this engine 210-220 hp 5500 rpm limit with just 400-450Nm (clutch lives a long life)
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Wednesday, November 27, 2013 4:58 PM
The car is in fact a towing tractor ...but you'll hafta wait to see that ;)
Thursday, November 28, 2013 7:07 PM
Love these articles. Couple questions though. What's an approximate cost for the parts/tunes and then labor/install as well? Or what would be if they weren't doing it themselves... Would be nice to include in future articles even if it was just estimates. And I'd be curious about the same thing on the other articles for this car as well. And yes I can look up the costs for these individually but I'd have no idea what the labor would run. And it would be nice to have all in one place. Thanks in advance for any help with this.
Jeff Naeyaert
Jeff Naeyaertlink
Thursday, November 28, 2013 7:28 PM
The prices can be found on their respective websites.. links are at the end of the article and prices change--that's why we don't put it in there. If you're interested, we appreciate you visiting those pages so our partners know you found their stuff from our site. I installed this whole system and took all the pictures in a few hours (less the 4 days the ECU was gone for the tune--which i should mention, if you send it to them overnight they get it done the following day and back to you overnight if you need it). If you have the right tools and a lift it's easy. If you're working on your back in the garage it'll probably take you longer.

@Hexer, if we're going to the trouble and expense of replacing the turbo we're going for more than 220hp! Stay tuned (pun intended)
Wednesday, December 04, 2013 10:23 AM
Will you be replacing the fuel injectors as well? What turbo or turbos would work with this car? Didn't see the links at the end guess I scrolled right past them. Thanks
Mike 9
Mike 9link
Tuesday, December 17, 2013 9:17 AM
I know you guys mentioned that the exhaust is 'not road legal', but being that you're in California, were you able to pass emissions testing with this setup? I'm in Colorado, which I think is slightly less stringent on emissions testing, but would have to be able to pass none the less. Getting 45+ mpg in a somewhat sporty car sounds pretty sweet.

Also, with the increased torque, how bad is the torque steer? Or is it not noticeable over the stock setup?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013 10:35 AM
If a smog tech knows what he's looking at, no, it'll fail. That being said, the CA diesel smog check is a visual check for the presence of installed equipment, an OBDII function check (no CELs or trouble codes) and a laughably subjective "smoke test" where the operator revs it to xxx rpm and checks for "excessive smoke" which isn't specifically defined. So, if you keep the covers on and make it look legit, no one would be the wiser.
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