For gas cars, Yes thats usually what people go with. Also, for TDIs, I know Mk4s handle them well. I know a couple people who never had issues with them. It seems to be just the mk5/mk6 transmissions that have an issue with them.
DO NOT go with SMF on these cars. You will shatter the synchro's. Just take a quick search on here with people who have done SMF and how long its lasted.
With regards to your noise, without a video, sounds like the release bearing. Mine has been doing the same thing for months.
Im curious to monitor it with cars that have a full EGR delete since there is no warm air going back into the engine to heat it up quicker. I know cars that have a full EGR delete tend to take a bit longer to warm up and the coolant temp needle drops when coasting but goes back up when on some...
Wondering the same thing but Ive noticed it on cars that have DPF/EGR parts gone. Since there is no EGR, I know the temps drop alot easier but usually only when im stopped/idle. How could you tell the thermostat is bad in other ways?