Project MKVI Golf TDI: Rawtek Exhaust and Malone Tuning


Now that we’ve got our much simpler and freer-flowing exhaust system in place, we need to get our ECU reflashed or it’ll shit the bed having lost a couple of its closely-monitored friends. Unfortunately, manufacturers are making this more and more difficult due to government pressure, and our Golf was no exception. In order to have the ECU re-flashed, it must be removed from the car and sent to someone capable of reprogramming the ECU (no tune loader is available that we are aware of). Rawtek partners with Malone tuning to complete their DPF and EGR removal process.

That’s not to say that the Malone ECU is just there to resolve the problem presented by a lack of pollution control devices. Indeed, the Malone ECU, a Stage 2 reflash in our case, adds some power into the mix and a whole boatload of torque (it is, after all, a diesel). Beyond just adding power, the Malone reflash works to improve a lot of the lazy pedal response (no throttle with a diesel, remember?) that goes into the stock ECU tuning to keep the DPF clog-free and the tailpipe soot free.

Seeing as we’ve removed just about every emissions-control device on our TDI, Jeff will no longer be swearing on bibles as he did in Part I.

While this kind of soot-free operation is great for emissions, limiting the engine to zero smoke is a bad way to make power in a diesel engine. Counter to gasoline tuning, with a diesel adding more fuel means more power and higher EGTs instead of less power and lower EGTs almost regardless of how much air is being ingested (within reason). To the layman, this seems entirely logical, but to those who know, this is back asswards. Care must be taken to ensure that power and response is improved without ending up in a no-man’s land where a clueless driver is likely to damage the engine, as adding too much fuel without adding more air means meltdown. However, simply requesting more air out of the turbo to make up for the added fuel runs into the problem of compressor surge as requested flow rates and boost levels (helped along by the response of VNT turbos) often fly way out into the surge zone of the stock turbo at low RPM. Those geniuses you see “rolling coal” clouding over entire city blocks in their diesel pick-em-up-truck are likely a couple of smoke shows away from melted pistons or injectors or worse, and those that are making huge torque at low RPM are likely running on the ragged edge of their compressor’s surge threshold. Combine a poor tune with a clueless driver who’s deciding to just keep it in top gear at 50mph with his foot to the wood, and you’ll likely see skyrocketing EGTs or “gobbling turkey” sounds from the turbo or both. This is why it is critical to select a tuner that knows what they’re doing.

With no tune loader available, we’re forced to retune our ECU the old-fashioned way: rip that sucker off and mail it to someone. Circled in red is where the fart-nanny exists. Expect some downtime for the turnaround.

After removing the ECU from the windshield cowl area…

VW ECU anti tampering screws

You’re going to have to customize the lame anti-tampering bolts by cutting a groove in the blank bolts to turn them into flathead screws…

TDI ECU Removal

And remove that stupid bracket…

With the bracket out of the way, simply unplug the connectors and remove the cradle to ship your ECU off to Malone. I’m really disappointed in ze Germans’ opinion of us car geeks, as this feeble attempt to thwart us must mean they think we’re terribly lazy, or that they’re checking off boxes on some government mandate somewhere.

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