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Guide: MK7 GTI EA888 Gen3 Engine air filter replacement

Its recommended to change your engine air filter every 60k miles on the MK7 GTI. The stock filter part number is: 5QM-129-620

Before we get to the guide there are some very important things you should know about the stock intake in the MK7. Its actually a really good intake already and unless you are running a very large turbo it will be more than enough, just as long as you put a high flow panel filter in like the K&N, AFE type filter.

I have seen a few threads on forums about drilling or dremeling the intake and opening it up more for better ram air flow. Although initially this sounds like a good idea, making the air take the path of least resistance, VW actually put a lot of design and thought into this intake. The air flow is designed be easily sucked in using a funnel like effect and also utilizes a phenomenon called the Helmholtz resonance which helps with the sound of the engine. Even though the path the air flows in not straight it ends up being very efficient due to way its engineered. This is why you really don’t get much performance upgrading to ram style intakes on these cars until you get to really big turbos. Due to this I suggest just getting a nice high flow panel filter over replacing the whole intake. About the only thing you will get from replacing the stock intake is more sounds from the turbo/diverter valve. Some people may want this but I don’t feel its worth the cost. A member on VWVortex did a fantastic job of explaining this, you can read more about it here:

Also 034 Motorsports did testing with a modified stock intake (snow guard removed, stock panel filter) vs the stock one and only saw 1hp improvement. Would be nice to get a dyno done with the performance filter and snow guard on and then removed as I think its mostly the panel filter restricting everything initially.

One other thing to note is these engines do not have a  MAF sensor like previous generations. Due to this oiled filters are less likely to cause problems unlike my previous two cars engines. The reason oiled filters were typically bad was because if you over oiled your filter or didnt let it dry before reinstalling it, oil particles would stick to the MAF sensor and ruin it. Sometimes you could clean it but most of the time it was a $150-350 mistake. Because of the way these new EA888 Gen3 engines are designed if you happen to incorrectly oil your filter or not let it dry enough, its less likely to cause a problem. I still used oiled filters in my previous engines and never had a problem but I was also very careful with my oiled filter maintenance.

Now onto how to replace this panel filter. You will need a T25 Torques bit and longer extension for it as some of the screws are in tight spaces. We will not be removing the whole top, instead just lifting it a little and sliding out the filter. This saves you from disconnecting all the hoses and such.

  • You will need to unscrew eight t25 torque screws, they are circled in red in the picture below.
  • The screws are not designed to come all the way out, at some point they will stop extracting and you will be able to pull them up a little but not fully out of the hole. Below shows how far the come up.
  • Once all 8 screws are up you can lift the right side of the cover up. You should be able to lift it up enough to remove the panel filter as shown below
  • In this case I replaced it with a K&N oiled panel filter (Part Number: 33-3005) as seen below
  • Screw everything back down and you are all set. Pretty easy huh?