Greetings BMPers! If you follow my Instagram, you already know that I recently had some issues with my clutch. When we loaded the IE Stage 1 Tune, we chose the low torque file since I still had a stock clutch. The GTI had 20k miles on it when I bought it, so it wasn't a new clutch.
I was driving home from work one day and I noticed some strange behavior from the car. Since I was driving in Dallas traffic, I couldn't really troubleshoot while driving, but something was definitely different. The next day I was planning on joining some friends at a car meet after work, so I headed to my favorite car wash before work and that's when it happened.
I was driving on the freeway when I noticed that the gear indicator was disappearing and the car was revving high with any light press of the gas. I exited off and when I went to turn onto a side street, it wouldn't go into gear. Luckily I was on a hill and was able to roll down the street and limp into a Kohl's parking lot. The GTI was now immobile.
If you've ever had major car troubles before, you know the feeling of sitting there in your thoughts, speculating just how much money this is going to cost to fix while you wait on a tow truck. It's not a fun experience by any means. After all the anger had flushed out of my system, I felt a little bit better.
My tow truck driver was cool and handled the GTI with care as he loaded it. He's also a car enthusiast and recognized the work done to the GTI. We had a good conversation on the way to the VW dealership. He told me stories about having to pull his gun on people while doing towing jobs. He even hit me up to help him rebuild his website.
The dealership took great care of me and got me in an Arteon loaner. They later confirmed that the clutch needed to be replaced. Rather than throwing another OEM clutch into the car, I took this opportunity to upgrade the clutch so I can go to Stage 2. I ended up purchasing the South Bend Stage 3 Daily Clutch which is rated for 500 lb-ft of torque which should be enough for my plans. The clutch arrived the next day and was delivered to the dealership to get my GTI back on its feet.
The same day that my clutch died, I found Coleman struggling in the shop with a problem of his own. He was getting an education in torque specs and why you shouldn't torque lug nuts to 50,000 lb-ft. One of his lug nuts refused to come loose. He attempted to use a breaking bar and sheared off a couple of socket adapters in the process.
He broke out every tool in the book trying to remove this stuck lug nut, but nothing seemed to work. His frustrations and his anger were rising and no one could blame him for feeling that way. Finally he started drilling it out and eventually got it removed.
Now that I have my GTI back and have had some time to reflect on it, it seems silly to me. Every true car enthusiast knows the heartaches of a 30 minute job that ends up taking all weekend, or the struggles of having your car break. We devote our lives to these machines and no matter how many times something breaks, or we get caught up in a 3 day "30 minute" job, we continue to keep coming back for more.
It's part of the life we have chosen as car enthusiasts. No one enjoys taking an 'L', but we deal with the issues, curse under our breath, and mumble to ourselves "&#$* this car. $#&% this job. I'm never touching this #$*&@%& car again!", but we all know we will be back. It's a strange bond we have with these machines that non-car people will never understand and we can't explain it to them. Even when we are taking an 'L' and are pushed to our sanity's limits, we wouldn't trade our cars for something stock, boring, and problem free. It's the life we chose when we got into cars and it's how we are going to keep living until we die.