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upgrade ideas for my 86 5KCST

Hi fellow listers,

Over the past year and a half I have had many (expensive) problems with my
86 5KCST (auto), but I'm glad to say that as of late, after replacing many
major things, it seems to be cooperating.  I am starting to get the
feeling that the time may be OK to start dumping things into performance

I would like to get more power.  I also have a 97 Passat GLX, manual, and
the difference is quite pronounced.  I know that there are upgrades from
TAP and IA.  I think that certain listmembers may have also brewed up
their own chip/wg assembly, correct?  What are approximate prices, and
which direction should I go?  My only concern is that the chk engine light
still comes on when accelerating at highway speeds (say 70 mph).  Self
diagnostics reveal engine code 2041, which blames the knock sensor.  I
haven't had it replaced yet because no shop believes me, and they don't
test drive it long enough to find out for themselves...am I correct in
assuming that if the sensor is toast my car is in a constant state of
total timing retardation?  Would doing the performance mods regardless be

I am also interested in the feasibility of putting a manual transmission
in to replace the autobox.  About how much could I expect to spend?  I'm
not a good mechanic, so I wouldn't be doing this.  I may understand a
thing or two, but not that much.  Would it be worth the price?

-- Preston
86 5KCST