Today is the day I get my S4 back. Michael at Apex Performance and Fabrication (also found on Facebook here) just sent me these pictures last night.... and all I can say is WOW, just amazing work. If you live in the PNW and need exhaust or other fabrication (they do lots of stuff) I certainly recommend this place.
My initial thoughts of the sound? Yes it has some rasp, so I plan on wrapping the test pipes with exhaust wrap. There have been reports that this help cut down the rasp sound to have more of a pure engine note. Should be here this weekend and will try to have another video post install. As with any exhaust setup the sound is going to change no matter what so just keep in mind what you hear now might be different in a few months.
Well my passenger side cat (catalytic converter) cracked right before the flange that connects to the headers. It all happened when I would pulling away kind of hard from a intersection, heard a pop, and the car immediately sounded bad. Drove about 5miles home and captures this video of just how bad it sounds. My guess is that during our snow storm about a week below that I hit some deep snow and it caused too much flex on the exhaust. Likely formed a crack at that point and just blew when I pushed the car hard. Oh well I knew I would going to need to do something with the cats if I ever wanted to go dual pulley.
And just for reference this is how it sounded days before when I flashed the latest EPL tune update:
I had the S4 towed over to a Apex Performance & Fabrication. The plan is to take out the old cats, fab a test pipe from the header to the down pipes... and finish with new cats in a newly fabricated down pipe. The owner explained to me there is no point in trying to re-weld the old cats as they will just crack again. And we all know this is a common problem in this platform so that was no surprise. Anyway that is where it is now I will post again with some more videos of the sound changes (if any) once I get the car back.
Oh course I do! It only took me one lesson in my younger days to learn that having a radar detector is necessary when you drive an Audi. I personally go with the Uniden brand as they have been the most supported (aka they get constant firmware updates) and best performing in the past couple of years. I currently rock the Uniden R3 (gps enabled) model as I got it before the latest and greatest Uniden R7 model came out. I likely would go with R7, but it's just a little out of my price range at the moment. Anyway, the Uniden R3 work perfectly for my needs as I can block out annoying speeds signs or garage door openers with GPS memory option. So, it really only warns me of true threats.
I currently have it tucked pretty closed to the rearview mirror as shown in the picture above. I did go with the hardwire kit to keep a stealth look. You can cut out a small hole as show in the 3rd picture to the right to channel the wire up next to the rearview wiring. Then tuck it under the headliner going toward the front driver side pillar and down to the fuse book. I tapped it into the homelink garage door fuse as it only powers on when the car is running.
The major tip I can offer for all those new with radar detectors, a detector alone is not good enough. A cop might not turn on their radar or have insta-on system until you are close by... so you need something like "Waze" to alert you of reported cops. This is critical when a cop is using "laser" gun to calculate your speed. Unlike radar, lasar have a near instant lock of your speed and only your car. You rarely will detect laser from when a cop is pointing it at another car ahead. Meaning, if your detector warns of laser, typically is just mean that your ticket is coming soon (if you are speeding). I personally just turn off laser detection for this reason. Only Waze and your esye help in this situation as a cop really need a good line of sight of oncoming traffic, which also means that they have to be visible for all passing cars. As long as someone reports a cop on Waze, you typically will have plenty of warning to adjust your speed. Obviously if no one reports a cop then there isn't much you can do (unless you want a laser jammer which are very expensive). In short your radar detector become a second layer protection before your eyes can be. You just need to get in the habit of having Waze running everywhere you go.
In summary, I wanted to share this info with all of you so you all can enjoy some extra piece of mind when driving your Audi like I do. Obviously avoid speeding and you won't need this, but if that isn't possible for you, well you got a good bit of info to help you out. Enjoy!
Even if the car is mostly sitting in the garage during the covid-19 "fun time", it still has to look good... So I had it dropped back down to 25.75" ftg later this week I'll put on the smoke peelers back on with my summer tires. This ride height isn't has low as last summer, but this in my opinion is a better height for a daily drivers. I'll likely leave it this height year around.
Went to add some washer fluid, walked away and came back to find this...
The sad thing, is that I seen this leak before. My B5 S4 has a similar front engine back washer fluid leak. It was coming from the the t-connector to the headlight washer nozzles.
I removed the driver side headlight, and found the t-connector... sure enough it was leaking just like how my B5 S4. I honestly hate the idea of a headlight washer system. In fact I disabled it via the vagcom (aka OBD11) so it would never be used when washing my windshield. I found the rubber hose that went back to the washer fluid reservoir, cut the hose and did this hack job to stop the fluid from going down to the head light washer nozzles. I'll come back later and properly plug it, but for now.... no leaks, problem fixed.
Well this is no shock for us B8/B8.5 S4 owners, the P0420 (Catalyst System Efficiency) is a known issue because of the placement of the cats to the engine. The cats warm up fast for emissions, but get too hots when you are Stage 2 or higher... even on some stock cars. I'm been battling this error since going Stage 1, so it's nothing new. It seems to throw a CEL when I don't allow my engine to warming up before driving it. Per my research it seems like it's always the driver side cat that seems to have issues first, and my S4 is doing just that.
At this point I have two options, the first is to try Magnaflow's drop-in replacement cats, which would be $900+ for the pair... not bad, but still expensive. The problem is that they are untested, meaning in the Audi community, we don't know if they are just going to fail in another 30-50K miles like the stock ones.
The second option is to gut my stock cats and go cat-less. Obviously this is going to make the car stink, but any flow issues will be gone. Also, the state Washington is no long going to be doing emission testing starting Jan 2020 so the bi-yearly fear of passing will be no more. I can add aftermarket cats further down the system later on if I go this route.
I know you thoughts are why not go high flow cats like JHM setup and get the best of both worlds. The cost is the major factor here, as it would not be a plug and play fit as my existing magnaflow x-pipe was install in a way where the down pipes is now welded onto the rest of the exhaust system. Meaning, I would need to take it to a shop to install the JHM kit, and move the xpipe further down the system. As well the JHM seems to add a lot of rasp to the sound of the exhaust that I'm not a fan of. I think if I could find used kit this might be the route to go, or another custom cat setup. The cost will just be another factor. We will see...
Back when I had a Mk3 Jetta VR6 I ran 20% tint and while it looked cool and cut down on the heat, it was a pain to drive at night. I think because of that I never got my windows tinted for the B5 S4, but with the B8.5 I really do want to happy medium.
So my search of a good tint shop around the Redmond or Monroe, WA area has started. Seems like going with a ceramic tint at 35% would be the best of both world for both, looks, heat reduction, and most important viability.
If you got any recommendation, comment below.
The S4 is back up and running! I think we started around 11am and wrapped everything up around 9pm. Yes, it was a long day, but we were taking our time to do it correctly. Getting to the Thermostat and Water Pump likely took the most amount of time as you have to get the car in service position, remove the supercharger, and pull out the coolant pipe. After that it was all about putting everything back together.
The last project was the Mercracing heat exchanger. It really is a pretty each install, as you drill 4 holes into the crash bar, bolt up the heat exchanger and cut the new hose to the correct length. Likely a few hours in total to it get all mounted up. At this point I forgot to take a picture but it looks very good. As I'm not running a dual pulley I know this is a little overkill at this point, but if the upgrade ever happy, I'll have a better chance to fight heat soak.
From this point it was all amount adding the coolant/water mix and purging the air out. Likely another hour doing that. Of course we had a pocket of air in the heater core, but with a little leveling magic on the lift (aka put the front end up high and the back of the car down low, we got the air out.
For the rest of the summer I have a few more project.
All the parts are in and today is the day the new thermostats, water pump, and new Mercracing heat exchanger is getting installed. The past two weeks not having my car feel like forever.... I Can't wait to get it back on the road!
A big thank you from Erik at IPM Auto Service for help and expertise with this project! He is a awesome mechanic, so hit him up if you need some work around the Redmond, Bellevue, Seattle area!
Well, my first significant issue has occurred since owning this car last weekend.... About 10 miles from home on my way to my brother's wedding, I noticed the A/C stopped working, thinking the A/C pressure sensor might have gone again I thought nothing of it. Then a few moments later, the cluster when into full Christmas tree mode and "over heating" warning flashed up. Immediate I pulled over and cranked the heat on full blast. I gave it a few mins to cool back down and then shut off the car for about 10 mins. After a few calls and scanning the car with my OBDEleven (no codes found) we came to the conclusion the thermostat was stuck closed. Unlike my previous B5 S4 where it was stuck open, the B8's are know for failing closed. Obviously a very stupid design, but as Audi can't seem to design any engine that doesn't go through thermostats every 40-60k, I'm not really surprised. Long story short, turned around made it home with the heat on full blast and kept the temps below 220F. Jumped in our 2003 Toyota Highlander and made it to the wedding just fine.
As I know most of the part are likely to be replaced again in a few years down the road, I figured I would give FCP Euro and their Life Time Warranty a try. I've heard nothing but good stuff...
The following has been order:
And for another weekend project:
The parts are likely going to take a week or two to get here so until then, the S4 going to experience its longest time being parked under my ownership...
We had a great turn out for the Monroe pre-meet this year! We had around 25-30 cars join, which is by far the biggest pre-meet I've hosted. All very cool people!
The drive up to Leavenworth was a little slower going then last year. A few us were starting to lose our marbles with the slow pace (myself included). Likely the perfect weather attracted more drivers.
I didn't spend as much time in town as I have in the past, but here's a quick video of our walk through of Leavenworth. Enjoy!
We are going to do another late morning pre-meet, this time in Monroe. Like last year it will be around 10am and leave at 10:30am'ish. As a reminder this is a drive not a race, so there will be "no" excessive speeding.
For more details after the pre-meet, find my Facebook event link below:
For info about the Official Leavenworth Drive 2019 see:
The family just finished our first road trip of the year with the S4. About 600 miles round trip from Monroe, WA to the small town of Pilot Rock, OR. I averaged 30.1 MPG, but I'm sure it would have been better if I was driving the speed limit. It was a packed car with 3 adults and one kid, and still the ride was very good with the Solo-Werks coilovers.
I ran a can of BG 44k fuel system cleaner in the first tank just to keep everything in good shape. I normally run a fuel system treatment once every 6 months when I go on a long drive. EPL recommend this so I figured I give it a try. Honestly, I can't really tell any difference, but it's just preventative maintenance. My wife 2003 Toyota Highlander is having a high idle issue so I'm going to try a can in that car and see if it helps.
Anyway... all is good and looking forward to the Leavenworth Drive on June 15th!
Wherever I live, if I have a garage, our cars are parked in there, no exceptions. Well, it's been almost 3 weeks of my car parked out in the driveway since we moved and it has been driving me crazy. I was able to get the wife's Toyota Highlander parked on her side a few weeks back, but we just didn't have room for mine. Yesterday, we installed overhead storage shelves and finally that freed up enough space for the S4 to come inside. This garage is a little smaller compared to our last home, but I'm just super happy it is no longer a tandem garage setup. Anyway, the S4 is finally where it belongs and out of the elements during the night. Fingers crossed nothing comes crashing down on it.
And lastly, I put together a 30in tool cart. It's from Harbor Freight, so not the highest quality, but at least I'm not working from a bucket of tools anymore (no joke). I'm really trying to stay organized for any future projects.
Well my family just bought our first house end of last month. All if this happen within about 4-5 weeks, which is stupid fast for buying a home right now. I'm super excited to no longer have a tandem garage, but rather a traditional side by side. The downside is the budget got super tight, so no new "add-on" for the time being... just normal maintenance items.
If you are in the Seattle area looking to buy or sell a home, I highly recommend Cristina Zalavarria, she is an absolutely awesome real estate agent. If you give her a timeline and you needs, she will make it happen. I also, have to recommend Ryan Niles if you want to go with a mortgage broker vs. a bank . We learned so much from his team and he got a crazy good rate for us first time buyer.
Well it is finally time to do the first oil change... I normally use either Mobile 1 or Liqui Moly, so I went with the Liqui Moly Molygen New Generation Engine Oil 5w-40 as it will glow under a UV light. I do have some oil consumption, so I just wanted to see if I'm burning oil or leaking. I think the drain plug was not torqued properly so I believe that was the problem, but either way I will have a better idea come the next oil change.
Also, I installed a Stahlbus Oil drain valve plug. This way I can hook up a hose to the drain plug and cleanly have the oil drain without any tools (minus removing the belly pan). This should make all future oil changes super easy and most importantly spill free.
My car feels like a new beast post alignment at Achtuning. It just coasts forever! Also I noticed I'm rubbing a lot less. Two thumbs up for them!
Next, I found this on Audizine and man are they are great price for cf engine covers. I think I'll be adding them to my wish list.
The S4 is at Achtuning in Redmond, WA getting aligned today. If you are in the Seattle, WA area, I highly recommend them for alignements. They are the best in my opinion.
Also I did make some adjustments to the ride height. Fronts are at 25.5in fender to ground and rears are 25.75in (F2G). There is a little rubbing in the front, but I have to be going around corners hard. I might roll the front fenders in the coming months as I do have a fender roller.