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SEAT Leon MK2 Cupra R 2011 (Revo 2+)

Discussion in 'Member's reviews' started by Legojon, Aug 24, 2018.

  1. Legojon

    Legojon This is the last mod, I promise.
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    Inspired by Jimbobcook's detailed review of his Cupra R, I've decided to do a review of my own. However, as he's already covered the factory car in depth, I wanted to try and review the additional modifications I've made over the last two years. Hopefully it might save someone some money or help make a decision. It's pretty raw at the moment, but if admins are happy with it to stay, I'll be refining and adding pictures. I've split it across a couple of posts to allow me space for additions and pictures. And I've split it into performance mods and handling mods.

    Please note that any specs, claims, measurements are all my own opinion and may or may not be related to actual science. If I've got any parts anyone wants to ask questions about or any questions about what I have included, please feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer.

    Performance:

    Stage 1:

    Likely the first upgrade most will go for. A Cupra / R will easily make 300ish bhp from just a software update alone. What’s not to like? The Cupra is pretty fast to begin with and this just makes it so much better. You’ll get used to it after a while, but you’ll definitely miss it when it’s not there. First time I had a flat battery and lost the settings, I found myself leaning forward into the acceleration wondering where the kick had gone.

    Most likely everyone will be wondering which map to go for. I went for Revo which is a pretty safe map compared to most. But then, I’ve spent all my savings on this engine and I need it to last.

    Stage 2:

    I’ve read much advice about skipping Stage 2 and going straight to 2+. Having done it, I 100% agree with it. The only good point is that Revo charge you a £50 software update fee. Ok, you’ll need an intake and downpipe as well making it slightly less value for money. My butt liked to think for the £100s I spent that it was worth it. The exhaust noise was slightly more pleasing (downpipe), but performance wise it actually felt maybe slightly more pull but slightly slower off the line. And at high revs felt completely flat.

    Stage 2+:

    Which brings me on to Stage 2+. This requires at least a HPFP. For those that don’t know, Stage 2+ is a way of linking your injectors directly to your fuel gauge. This is evident as whenever I floor it, I can watch the fuel gauge go down another notch. But, it also links the accelerator pedal to your face muscles. Evident by the smile on my face every time I plant my foot. It just pulls and pulls in every gear up to the red line. Previously 1st and 2nd had been fun. But this now adds 3rd gear to the line-up. It also makes you lazy because you can now overtake easily in 6th rather than having to change down.

    As much as I love the power and torque, there are 2 downsides. 1:- My fuel economy was never great. I can now easily knock another 6-7mpg off when on boost. 2:- I can now break traction in 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th. So it actually makes the car more difficult to get off the line fast as more skill is involved.

    Which brings me to upgrades:

    Intake:

    Likely the first bolt on upgrade will be an intake. I went for Revo because it seems to get the best reviews. I’ve never really felt the intake itself makes any difference directly to the performance or feel of the car. But it’s a necessary upgrade for Stage 2 onwards. Most intakes will be very marmite. You’ll either love the sound or hate it. Personally I love it, you get a whoosh on boost that’s audible from your glove box as well as outside the car that shouts “look, I’m fast”. But also, on quick shifts the guy your overtaking gets to hear the “randy owl noise”. This technically may be the quick dump of air through the dv, but again, you either love it or hate it. And I LOVE IT!!

    [​IMG]

    Exhaust:

    To go Stage 2 onwards, you’ll need at least a downpipe (turbo back). To pass an MOT, you’ll need this downpipe to have a cat (usually a 200 cell performance cat). From what I’ve read, a decent cat back adds 5-10bhp on as well. So a full exhaust system may be the best option. I went Milltek purely because the previous owner had kindly fitted the catback. Again, it’s a necessary upgrade for power, but definitely pleasing in making the throttle sound more throaty. And as my mom would say “I know when your in the street, I can feel the house shake”. I went resonated because I wanted to avoid motorway drone. But I’ve not heard non-resonated. So you take your chance and I’d listen first. Also, it’s shiny. And I like shiny.

    [​IMG]

    Intercooler:

    Do I need an intercooler? No, of course not, cause you’ve already spent a fortune and this is a good way of saving another £500+. I convinced myself of this for several months before getting the Dynodaze WellyCooler. This is one of my fav upgrades. I recall tfsi groups threads “is it me or is my car slow this summer?”. I couldn’t reply as It’d just be mean saying “Nope, I’m running great”. I’ve found with the WellyCooler that the hotter the weather, the more efficiently it does its job. I measured it on a 30 degree day, and as soon as I floored it at lights, my IAC dropped to 32 degrees! It also looks pretty awesome IMHO.

    To answer some concerns I had: Yes you can keep your aircon. And yes, the aircon still works as well with the intercooler in front. I’ve come to think of it as this. You may make whatever bhp, but every run, every degree of outside temperature is taking that bhp away from you. A decent intercooler not only keeps your turbo happy, it keeps that smile on your face.

    [​IMG]

    HPFP:

    If your going 2+, you’ll need a HPFP. I went LOBA because 1:- I wanted a sealed unit and 2:- my original HPFP would be 7 years old with ok only 40k miles on it. But I wanted to go for the best solution possible. The LOBA claims to be able to supply 50% more fuel and I concur. The Stage 2 had been quite flat in places. I assume because the fuelling had literally just maxed out. But with the 2+ and the HPFP, if you’ve fuel in the tank, it’ll throw it in. The unit itself seems really well made.

    [​IMG]

    Intake Bolt:

    Technically not a performance mod, but related to one. How many times have I opened the engine bay to find the bolt and washer holding the intake have vibrated free!? Hmm, about 3-4 times. I have a selection of metal washers, rubber washers and 2 bolts somewhere loose in there. First thing I'd do after getting it fitted, put a load of threadlock on it!

    [​IMG]
     
    #1 Legojon, Aug 24, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2018
    Rob66, Makreq, Syphon and 1 other person like this.
  2. Legojon

    Legojon This is the last mod, I promise.
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    Handling:

    Springs:

    I’ve had H&R lowering springs on my FR and now on my Cupra. And I’ve always loved them (from a handling perspective). As I’ve got older and my bones become more sensitive, my spine and my butt have grown to hate them. I love the lowered stance, the cornering feel and response. But I find myself swerving to miss every pothole and they don’t really suit UK roads. I may have to swap these out for coilovers just for the comfort. But keep in mind also, I put new springs on 7 year old factory dampers. So maybe a spring / matched damper kit would be just as good.

    [​IMG]

    Spacers:

    I’m not sure 10mm wider on each wheel makes any performance difference. But 1:- they make the wheels match up to the arches and 2:- more importantly you can fit larger brake kits without them catching. I went H&R because I’ve heard cheaper brands can do more harm than good.

    [​IMG]

    Dogbone Mount:

    Ah, the magical fix all. This can go one of two ways. I went with the cheap polybush and hated the extra harshness. I now would only ever go for Vibratechnics. An uprated dogbone definitely produces a sharper take up of power you can feel as the clutch bites. And it’s also a requirement for some aftermarket exhausts (so worth checking first). From a noise/vibration review, from the time the Vibratechnics was fitted, I didn’t even notice it was there. Did it stop the wheels spinning up? Nope. Maybe it helped a bit. But nothing worth writing home about. But for feel and for handling the extra power (and saving the exhaust) I’d definitely get one.

    [​IMG]

    Engine / gearbox mounts:

    My longest pondered upgrade. I didn’t really want these. I again went Vibratechnics which I believe was a good call. The exhaust sounds a bit meatier and starting the car sounds like a bigger bucket of nails. But the engine has 0 movement in it. There was the smallest extra vibration at idle which went within about 200 miles. You wouldn’t even know they were on. So why bother? At Stage 1, 2, I wouldn’t. But at Stage 2+ I was concerned of the dogbone taking the extra torque on it’s own. But also keep in mind, I wasn’t comparing aftermarket mounts to oem mounts. I was comparing it to 7 year old rubber mounts. So for peace of mind, I did it.

    [​IMG]

    Anti-roll bars:

    I had H&R ARBs on the FR and loved them. When you snapped the steering, you could literally feel the bars pull the car across. When cornering fast, instead of the weight of the car pushing it slowly wide, it stayed planted. In fact, you could corner hard and still steer in and out, the biggest concern was clipping the inside of the corner cause you were used to fighting the weight of the car.

    So I instantly went for Eibach 26mm front / 23mm rear. Unfortunately on the Cupra, they didn’t seem to make much of a difference in handling. I’ve thought long and hard on this. Perhaps the roll bars on the Cupra were already bigger than the FR? But also, don’t forget this is the R so comes with 235mm as opposed to 225mm tyres. I wonder if the lowering springs, spacers, wider wheel base and perhaps already bigger roll bars negate the effect of aftermarket arbs. However, they look nice and seem well made.

    [​IMG]

    Anti-lift:

    Also one of my favourite upgrades. You don’t know it’s there, but you’d miss it if it was gone. I never realised how much I moved round in the driver’s seat. But instinctively would lean forward into acceleration and back when braking. I found myself driving home after getting this fitted leaning forward and back and wondering why. Then it hit me, they hold the car flat under heavy braking and acceleration. Which makes it much more predictable and helps keep the nose down. I went with the SuproPro as they add extra Caster and have more favourable reviews for durability.

    [​IMG]

    Brakes:

    Being a cheapskate, these weren’t on my list and the 345mm Cupra brakes are great up to and including Stage 2. But with the 2+ you can add 20-30mph onto the speedo in a couple of seconds. Then when a Suzuki Swift pulls out right in front of you, can you knock that 20-30mph back off in a couple of seconds? The answer is no. Hence the uprated Brembo brakes. I went with the J Hooked discs because, well, they look cool. And supposedly help in stopping by adding friction to the pads.

    I went for stock Pagid road pads as 1:- I was out of cash and 2:- I didn’t want loads of brake dust or ridiculous warming up times of track pads (and I believe they are illegal for road use). You know that first time you get in a Cupra, stomp on the brakes and throw everyone through the windscreen? Well, you get used to it. But it’s that all over again! Add to that, they are supposed to help with brake fade (not that I ever got it anyway).

    [​IMG]

    Clutch:

    To clutch or not to clutch. If you got away without it for Stage 1, so did I. Stage 2, I read fewer that do, but so did I. But if your chasing 2+ your going to need a new clutch. I found the pedal feel after getting the Helix to be more like a solid footrest than a clutch pedal. It’s certainly give my left leg a good work out. I had a fair bit of vibration pulling away in first that went after about 500 miles and 200 miles after that the vibration in reverse stopped. The pedal itself took about 2000 miles before it felt “factory” again. Or maybe my left leg is now massive. I’m not sure. But, from a “feel” perspective it adds nothing. But necessary to handle bigger torques.
     
    #2 Legojon, Aug 24, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2018
  3. Legojon

    Legojon This is the last mod, I promise.
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    OEM Parts:

    Before embarking on your upgrade journey, there are a number of OEM factory parts that may be worth refreshing.

    Diverter Valve (DV):

    There have been several revisions of the factory diverter valve. The latest (which I'm using) being G. I have on several occasions considered a DV+ and whilst some swear by it, I've read stories about them needing maintenance every 6 months or so to keep them going. For the price of a DV+ I could buy 3 OEM DVs anyway. Also, from my research, any kind of aftermarket dump valve is usually removed pretty quickly and definately isn't a requirement.

    [​IMG]

    PCV:

    Again, the factory PCV can be a weak point. The latest revision is R and doesn't cost a whole load of cash to replace. It also usually comes with a new gasket as well.

    [​IMG]

    DV Return Hose:

    I include this because shortly after going Stage 1, mine started to give up. So I replaced it with a snazzy Forge silicone hose. But note that Revo have since moved the location of the DV return connection so it was a real stretch (literally) to get it to fit. I'm not exactly 100% pleased, but what can I do?

    [​IMG]

    Cam Follower:

    The destroyer of engines. This tiny thimble size component is a particular weak point of the TFSI engine. Personally, for the price it's worth changing at every service. At 2+ it's advised to check it every 5k miles.

    [​IMG]
    RS4 Return Valve:

    The fuel return valve opens when the fuel pressure reaches a set value (127 bar I think). This was a problem with Stage 2 onwards because rumour had it the Revo maps requested 130 bar at their peak. So for 2/2+ it's recommended to go with the RS4 valve (135 bar).

    [​IMG]

    Fuel:

    Ah, not a day goes by without a "is premium fuel worth it?". My personal opinion is that putting premium fuel in an engine expecting 95 octane will at best clean it a little if it's filthy. It won't magically give extra BHP. The purpose of higher octane fuel is to avoid engine knock. If your going for a map, put V-Power or Momentum 99 in or you'll be greatly disappointed.

    [​IMG]

    Tyres:

    I debated putting tyres in the performance section. But, if you've gone to the time and expense of modifying a car to circa 380bhp, tyres are an essential not an upgrade. At Stage 2+ expect to wheel spin, a lot. And no mod short of 4WD modification will prevent this. Before someone jumps in, a limited slip differential will help going round corners, but is effectively "off" in a straight line. But with careful application of accelerator and decent tyres, the occurences of this can be minimised. If money was no option, I'd go Pilot Sport 4 every time. However, if on a budget my personal recommendation is Rainsport 3. If its tanking it of rain especially, be prepered to lay off the happy pedal.

    [​IMG]

    Oil:

    Up to Stage 2+, I used 5W30 Castrol Edge. It's perfectly normal for these engines to "use" up oil in normal operation. I was topping up from just over min to the max mark once a month. So I switched to 5W40 (as the engines now running hotter) and now do the same top up around every 2 months. This will of course depend on mileage and usage may vary. I use Millers NT+ because nothing says I love you to your car than buying really expensive oil. But in the words of a recovery vehicle operator "any oil is better than no oil". < Ask me how I know.

    [​IMG]

    Spark plugs:

    I spent months researching online trying to decide whether to go Platinum (PFR7S8EG (1675)) or Iridium (NGK-BKR7EIX). In the end I went with "if it ain't broke don't fix it". As far as I can tell, there should be no discernible performance difference between platinum and iridium. But note that there may be a big difference between plugs that have done 100k and any new plugs. Basically Iridium lasts longer at higher temperatures. But as my car is running great on Platinum, I chose to keep with the Platinum and change them more often if needs be. At £30 a pack, once every other year is hardly going to break the bank.

    [​IMG]

    Coil Packs:

    Red are best right? Well, technically, although the resistance is different to the OEM packs. There's no evidence to show that the red coil packs work any better or produce more bhp over the OEM packs. But also worth considering that new coils may produce a couple of extra bhp over 10 year old coils with 100k on them. However, that said, as will all mods: anything red (including decals, body pieces or aftermarket parts) adds at least 20bhp (Disclaimer - they really don't). So I got them anyway.

    Probably also worth mentioning at this point, if you've removed your engine cover (which if you have an intake you probably have). Keep an eye on cylinders 1 & 4 as they tend to get water in them. This can cause the coil to rust, and if you have the red ones, you'll likely be splashing out on four new ones.

    [​IMG]

    Cambelt:

    If your asking yourself "Do I need a new cambelt"? The answer is probably yes!

    Do I need a new cambelt? No, no I don't. I had mine done last year. It didn't "need" doing, but as I didn't know the history of the car circa £300 now should save me circa £3000 later. If I recall, it has changed several times from the owners manual, but I believe it's now 4 years or 60k miles. And yes you should do the tensioner and yes you should do the waterpump if your doing the cambelt. I believe Seat offer a 5 year warranty on new cambelts and Indys 2 years. So make sure to do your homework first.

    [​IMG]
     
    #3 Legojon, Aug 24, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2018
    stel94 likes this.
  4. Jimbobcook

    Jimbobcook SCN sticker = +20bhp
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    Great write up!

    I have a few questions if you don't mind...

    With all the power you have at your foot, are there stock parts of the car that failed during your modding that would of normally been fine? Maybe good to prep anyone looking at doing this sort of thing...

    Now you've done it all has it been worth it (money) or you think you wish you stayed with the 265bhp?

    How long has it taken you from buying the car to getting stage 2+?

    Most important question... How the hell do you keep your exhaust so bloody clean! can we swap?

    Great colour by the way haha
     
  5. Legojon

    Legojon This is the last mod, I promise.
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    Phew, think I'm done. Have made an OEM part section to cover common faulty parts and just some common sense stuff. I think the trouble is the ABD (Adaptive Butt Dyno). Whatever mods you put on, it gets used to. So you always want more.

    I love the power, the pull through all the gears. And it's fast. I've upset cars worth 5 times the amount. Even if I did have to wait till corners to do it. But it's not a case of spend £x and you get a fast car. The more performance, the harsher the ride and the more difficult the car becomes to control and drive. You learn quickly everything is a trade off and there's no magical fix all or one off upgrade.

    I've owned the car 18 months now. And was supposed to be 2+ June next year. I got carried away. LOL.

    Um, it's white diamond metal polish, if you look closely at the pic you can see the top of the bottle LOL. Right now it's filthy!
     
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  6. theoldboy

    theoldboy Why buy new when you can Mod it better

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    Great Car, Great Colour (but don't tell that other bloke who has a garage just to clean his car) and good sensible / practical review. Hopefully give some ideas to people before the embark on the build process.
     
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  7. Syphon

    Syphon SCN Admin
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    Great write up - thanks for sharing - shared via FB and Twitter.

    Scott
     
  8. Legojon

    Legojon This is the last mod, I promise.
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    Cheers, I want to try and do more guides. Trouble is, it's often difficult to photo your own repairs when your hands are covered in oil and multiple types of grease.
     
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  9. Legojon

    Legojon This is the last mod, I promise.
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    Just added a quick update: Oil, plugs, packs and cambelt. Just wanted to share my opinion on the choices I made as researching eg sparkplugs nearly drove me to madness.

    Oh yeah... and just to reiterate, I'm not an expert, but if anyone has any questions or anything I may have missed. Shout up, I'd be happy to add it or explain in more detail.
     

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