Golf R Electronics Tweaks
One of the great things about owning a VW is access to the coding of the various electronic control modules (ECMs). If there's a feature of your model VW/Audi/Seat/Škoda anywhere in the world and you have the hardware on your car to use it, chances are you can enable that feature in your own car. You can also use it to reset service reminders, log data and view real-time graphs and gauges, read and clear diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs), perform adaptations and more.
VAG-COM Diagnostic Software (a.k.a. VCDS) from Ross-Tech has been around for nearly two decades. They're a trusted name in the Volkswagen and Audi community. It's likely your local VW shop uses VCDS alongside the VW factory diagnostic software tool as it generally provides a superior user interface as well as a few features missing in the factory tool. And it's at least an order of magnitude cheaper than the factory tool so even dealerships that already have one probably have one or more VCDS setups in the shop.
Like all such tools, VCDS connects to your car via the OBD-II interface. You purchase one of several adapters ("dongles") that have a microcontroller and internal software that interface with your car at the OBD-II port. At the other end of the adapter is a USB or WiFi interface used to connect to your laptop running the free VCDS software. (The adapter activates your software license.) Most enthusiasts can get all they need from the $200-$450 adapters (depending on features and number of unique VINs the adapter will service). Professional-grade kits with more parts, features, capabilities, training and tech-support are also available. I bought the previous generation HEX-USB+CAN adapter for 10 VINs for $300. It's since been replaced with the new HEX-V2 model with some nice updates. I've already spent 3 VINs on my own cars and expect a few more for friends. (Offering VCDS services to local friends, clubs and other VW owners can help pay for your system. Or find someone in your area willing to sell their VCDS services.)
Unfortunately the VCDS software is Windows-only which means I'm stuck buying a Microsoft license for Windows in a VM. The user base for VCDS on Linux or MacOS is likely not sufficient to fund a cross-platform code base, so I don't see this changing anytime soon (especially with new competition from OBDeleven). But let me assure you, Ross-Tech, that I would be happy to purchase a VCDS for Linux license immediately.
Mk7 Golf R Tweaks
I used the following resources to figure out what options were available to me for tweaking. A number of the tweaks listed are already enabled on the Golf R either because it's an R or it was built in a different factory from other Golf models.
- Automatic Air Recirculation
- Remember the A/C recirculation setting across car restarts. This makes it work like a proper mechanical switch in the stop/start case. It still resets recyc to the default off when you hit the "Auto" button on the climate control system.
- Enable fan level display on Climatronic Auto
- Shows the fan level in the LED segment meter on the fan speed dial even when the automatic climate control system controls the fan speed.
- Passenger Mirror Dip
- Automatically lowers the passenger side mirror when shifting into reverse gear to provide a better view of the tire path. Automatically raises mirror after shifting out of reverse. Only operates when mirror adjustment switch is set to the passenger side mirror.
- Comfort Open/Close
- Open and close the windows and sunroof by pressing and holding the unlock and lock buttons (respectively) on the key fob. This is great for cooling the car on hot summer days before you get in.
- DRL Option in MiB
- This puts the DRL on/off setting in the MiB settings menu.
- Change Comfort Blinking Count
- Activating the turn signal lever left or right without moving it all the way into the locked position and then releasing it activates "comfort blinking" in that direction. The turn signal blinks a number of times in that direction and then automatically stops. The default is three blinks. I prefer four.
The soundaktor is an artificial noise maker that uses the windshield as a speaker. The sound is not entirely unlike a buzzy engine that closely mimic's your actual engine's RPM. A number of other manufacturers have added these things using various means such as the car's stereo system. It's a swell way to enjoy zoomy sounds without sharing the extra racket with everyone outside your car. (But maybe that's the reason you want to make noise….) Anyway, this tweak lets you set the sound actuator attenuation in the DCC "Race" mode.
If the sound is artificial anyway, why not make my Golf sound like a Ferrari? Whatever. I avoid it by setting everything except "Interior Engine Sound" in my Driving Mode Individual settings to the top just like Race mode and use Individual instead of Race.
- Power Folding Mirrors