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Project IS38 Wagon by Unitronic - Part One

Nov 17th, 2020 Technical
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In an effort to #savethewagons, Unitronic is excited to announce a new build series where we’ll take this Golf Alltrack from zero to hero with the help of our Performance Software and Hardware. Follow along as we document the road to IS38 in this three part series and cover all aspects from planning, installation, dyno testing and more. At last, practical vehicles don’t have to be boring!


What makes the Alltrack special and why are we upgrading its turbo?


Recently, VW confirmed they will no longer be bringing wagons to North America due to struggling sales and the increased demand for crossover SUV’s. While we appreciate the commanding driving position and increased ground clearance crossovers offer, the Golf is famous around the world for its nimble driving characteristics and the wagon models add a lot of practicality to this great driver’s car.


Unitronic Mk7.5 Alltrack


Unfortunately the R wagon never made it to North America but the 4motion Golf Sportwagen and Alltrack feature a 1.8TSI engine with great tuning potential and a very sophisticated Haldex AWD system. The MK7.5 Sportwagen and Alltrack could be some of the last wagons we see from VW in a while so we thought it only made sense to build this one up properly and give it the full Unitronic treatment.


Unitronic Mk7.5 Alltrack


In stock trim, the 1.8TSI MQB engine comes equipped with an IS12 turbocharger and develops 170 hp and 199 lb-ft of torque but VW left plenty of room for improvement. With our Stage 2+ Software and Genuine IHI IS38 Turbo Upgrade Kit, we will more than double the horsepower to 352 HP and increase the torque to 324 LB-FT on this Alltrack. These power levels are within the safe limits of the engine and DQ250 DSG transmission equipped on our vehicle and the required hardware upgrades will help ensure trouble free operation and maximized performance long term.


What Unitronic Hardware is required in order to upgrade to Stage 2+ IS38?


In order to maximize the flow of air entering and exiting the turbocharger, Unitronic Stage 2+ IS38 Performance Software requires a Unitronic Carbon Fiber Intake System with Air Duct, Turbo Inlet Elbow, Downpipe, and Intercooler Upgrade to achieve published power figures. We'll also be upgrading the Charge Pipes to further eliminate restrictions and maximize power on this 1.8TSI engine.


Unitronic Mk7.5 Alltrack


Starting at the front end of the vehicle, our Carbon Fiber Air Duct takes advantage of both air inlets available in the OEM grill and its smooth transitions provide an alleviation in the restrictions present with the OEM front air duct. This ultimately lowers turbocharger shaft speed to achieve target torque and thus, boost pressure, resulting in lower stress due to slower rotational speed. A turbocharger that incurs less stress typically experiences greater reliability and benefits from an extended lifespan as well.

Unitronic MQB Intake with Air Duct


Next, our Carbon Fiber Intake System, provides increased power, air velocity, and throttle response, while also decreasing air intake temperatures and turbo lag. It’s specifically designed to take air in from its oversized air inlet and continue through its proprietary air filter featuring a radius-faced filter base, acting as a velocity stack to assure smooth and laminar flow between air filter and inner aluminum intake tube. Airflow continues through its five-ply silicone turbo inlet hose, to the Turbo Inlet Elbow.


Unitronic MQB Intake Air Box


Our Turbo Inlet Elbow is designed and engineered to further eliminate airflow restrictions found in the OEM unit, allowing for it to both outflow and outperform anything on the market. It is optimized to perform to the maximum up to 50 lb/min, which far exceeds the airflow demands of any IS-model turbo and hybrid variant.

Unitronic MQB Turbo Inlet Elbow


Further downstream, air will flow through Unitronic's bar and plate MQB Intercooler which provides a dramatic reduction in charge air temperatures and ensures peak performance is achieved and sustained while resisting heat-soak after repeated efforts and in harsh climates and conditions. Our Intercooler is constructed of T5052 Aluminum featuring a unique staggered and louvered fin configuration to maximize efficiency and allow for cooler, more dense air to be ingested by the engine.

Unitronic MQB Intercooler


Given the scope of the project, we'll also be alleviating intercooler plumbing restrictions with our Charge Pipe Upgrade Kit which is comprised of an upgraded Turbo Discharge Pipe, Throttle Body Pipe, and reinforced silicone intercooler inlet/outlet hoses. This kit features high-flow designs that eliminate restrictions in the boost (charge) piping leading from the turbocharger outlet to the engine, allowing for unrestricted airflow and more power.

Unitronic MQB Charge Pipes


On the exhaust side, we’ll be utilizing our 3" Downpipe for 1.8TSI MQB AWD vehicles. It is constructed of T304 stainless steel mandrel bent tubing and T316 stainless steel flanges. This Unitronic downpipe comes equipped with a 200-cell high flow metallic catalytic converter and an OEM-inspired heat-shield which protects against unwanted heat radiating in the exhaust tunnel. All transitions are flow-matched to allow for maximum performance and installation is made simple with the help of an easy-to-use v-band exhaust fastening system which also ensures precise fitment.


Unitronic MQB 3in Downpipe for 1.8TSI


Last but not least, the factory IS12 turbocharger will be upgraded to a genuine IHI IS38 Turbocharger also found on the Golf R and S3 2.0TSI MQB engines. With the help of our Stage 2+ Software, our little 4 cylinder 1.8TSI engine will be producing 352 HP and 324 LB-FT of torque which will undoubtedly help improve passing power and acceleration times.


Unitronic IHI IS38 Turbo Upgrade


What ECU/TCU Software is required and how is the vehicle flashed?


Once all hardware upgrades are complete, we’ll be flashing the Alltrack with Unitronic Stage 2+ IS38 ECU Performance Software and Stage 2 TCU Performance Software since the vehicle is equipped with a DSG transmission. Manual cars will definitely need a clutch upgrade at this power level and we highly recommend Sachs Performance clutches.


Unitronic Stage 2+ IS38 Dyno for 1.8TSI


In order to flash the vehicle, we’ll be using our UniCONNECT+ Cable to easily load our Performance Software onto the vehicle’s ECU and TCU. With the ability to upgrade Performance Software, flash back to stock, and also perform diagnostics, UniCONNECT+ is a complete end-user programming and diagnostic interface that provides control over your vehicle from the comfort of your own home or garage.


Unitronic UniConnect+


Check back for regular updates on www.getunitronic.com/news and follow @unitronic on social media for more content as the build continues and we install all the required hardware on our Alltrack. If you've got a similar build project in mind for your car, see what Unitronic products are available for you here.


Unitronic Mk7.5 Alltrack


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