1.5 years later the planets aligned and finally got my box of parts installed. I have no plans to slam my S4 but i did lower the front by 1-1.5in and the rear 1in. A full review will come likely early July after I give it a month to settle down.
I know.... what happened to the Coilovers? Well they are still in the box as I just haven't had the time to install them yet. Maybe some time after Xmas if I'm lucky. As for now, I replaced my spark plugs with a new set of copper NGK BKR7E from ECS Tuning. This is my second set of these plugs and they have been working flawlessly. I normally keep the gap between .020 - .024 inches but figured I try the gap of .026 to see how the car runs. In the past I've had issues with misfires because I assumed the gap recommend on forums were correct, which there weren't. OEM spec is between .016 - .024 inches, so lets see what happen. The drive to work today with a few WOT's and no issues so far.
Next I installed the Aero Wiper kit from ECS Tuning and cleaned/re-lubricated the Wiper Transmission (linkage) found under the windshield. I used the steps from this YouTube video to learn how to take the wiper transmission/linkage out to perform the cleaning. It's actually a rather simple process, but as with anything on this car, you got to get a layer of unrelated parts out of the way. For this case, it was getting the ECU box and the ECU itself out of the way. Breaking down to clean/lube the wiper transmission/linkage was a breeze. I didn't go crazy with specialized grease, but rather wiped away any junk at all friction points (aka, any points that moved, minus the motor) and reapplied with a small amount of white lithium grease. Re-installed and even with the stock wiper arms still on, everything was noticeably smooth in the wiper's motion.
The following day, Aero kit arrived so I got that installed. That is literally just popping off the plastic caps on each stock wiper arms, remove two 13mm nuts, and gently pry off the stock arms. I used a 13mm wrench and slid the open-end of the wrench under the stock wiper arms to pry them off. Apparently there is a specialized tool that can do this, but the wrench method worked just fine for me. Install the new Aero wiper arms and a few rounds of aligning those arms via trial and error I was good to go..... I do have to warn, DON'T leave your hood open with the wipers on. The driver side wiper arm will come into contact with the top of your hood. I learned the hard way. Wipers work great now and they are fully ready for winter's worst... with a lower profile look.
After 5 years of waiting, my S4 is going to get a nice well deserved upgrade.....
What did I get?
First I got a complete front control arms kits. No, I didn't go with any "HD" kits as the price is just insane for them. Let face it, for most control arms kit the only major difference is how long they are going to last. I have a very short commute to work, and living outside of Seattle, the environment is not at all harsh to my car. This low budget kit is likely going to do me very help. Not to mention, I'm likely not going to have this car longer than another 3-4 years... assuming my stock turbos hold out until them.
As for the coilovers, I went with the Solo Werks S1 Coilovers. I first read about them on the Audizine.com forum a little over a year ago and have been tracking all the user reviews very closely. These coilover are said to offer a stock like ride quality and a great range for the ride height. For the most part claims like that aren't backed and the poor souls that purchase the kit typically finds out the hard way. That said, every review I've found for these has in fact reported very positive results. The common response was that they are "slightly" firmer than stock, but not at all as harsh or bouncy like other low budget kits. Keep in mind these coilovers are not designed for "race" setups but more the enthusiast commuter. Simply put, this is exactly the quality setup I'm looking for.
I'm going to try and get all of these install sometime this month if time permits and if I can get a open lift from my buddy Erik at I.P.M. Auto Service. I'll post a initial review and lots of pictures after that install is completed. The real test is how they feel after a couple of months of use.. so I'll make sure to post another review after that point. Until then...
My valve cover gaskets have been leaking for a few years now, but this spring it was getting really bad. To the point that the oil was getting on the exhaust and creating a lovely burning smelling within the cabin. Using the re-circulate is fine during the summer, but it would creating a fogged up mess if I had to use that during the winter. So I order the following kit from ECS Tuning:
I.P.M. Auto Service) and started the open heart surgery, as he likes to call it. As with most projects within this engine bay, 50% of the time is just getting stuff out of the way before you can even start replacing all of the parts. We didn't use every part in the kit, but here is what we did replace:
At the end of the day it was about 5 hours including a oil change to complete. The end result is to be determined at this point. When the the Valve Covers were removed, there was a fair amount of oil that leaked so it hard to tell what is new and what is previous. I'm think a few more days of driving should burn off the residual oil and then we can take a closer inspections to look for any leaks. With the oil change, I put in 0w-40, so if there is a leak, the thin nature of this weigh should find it when warm. Hopefully we are leak free.
Well we had a threat of snow this past weekend. Only 1-3 inches, but for the Seattle, WA area that considered a good amount. Sadly we only got a dusting and icy roads. Very lame that I could not take the S4 out in the powder and have a little fun. I can say that I'm very impressed how long my Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D tires have held up. I'm on my fourth season with them and they still look new with tons of tread left. Don't get me wrong they aren't crazy ice mastering tires like Bridgestone Blizzaks, but for a Performance Winter Tire they really do a great job on all surfaces when temps get low.
Go a dashcam for my bday and figured I might as well us that so you can see what these retrofitted fogs look like from the drivers point of view. Honestly I can't figure out why Audi didn't do this from the start, but it's parent company VW put it on MK3 Jetta's and GTI's. Seems a little backward, but oh well it working good.
To see the original DIY click here.
Not a lot has been happening lately. Proudly I can say the S4 has been pretty problem free for some time now. That said, it kind-of feels odd when something isn't wrong.... so, you go looking for something to fix. In that past that can get me trouble so I figure I keep it simple. I put in my K&N Air Filter back when I first got my car, 80k miles or more ago, and I'm sure it likely due for a cleaning. If you have a K&N filter you know it comes in a cherry wood red like color, but mine was more of a charcoal gray.... clearly it needed to be cleaned. Ordered the cleaner and oil kit from Amazon and two days later went to work.....
Not a lot going on lately. Thought I had a bad battery or alternator as I was getting low voltage warning and a poor start. Later discovered one of the terminals under the dash that I have my radio connected to, came loose. After tightening it up the voltage warning went away. So that was the only recent scare.
Anyway some pics of the clean S4...
If you haven't done the timing belt before on your S4 but read how large of a job it is... it's no joke. Soooo much stuff to move out of the way. Basically everything on the front of the card minus the inner coolers needed to be removed. Erik from I.P.M. Auto Service again helped me out a ton. Let's be honest I was more of his assistant on this job (like I normally am). Messing with anything in regards to the engine's timing is not something I wanted to learn the wrong way.
I know I sound like a 2 year old but, I can finally say after 6 years and a lot of $$$ my S4 is finally paid off. So maybe 2014 will be the year I can finally start a big projects or two.... assuming I can get the "OK" from the wife.
Over the weekend my wife and daughter went camping near Mt. Rainier. I joked with my wife that the S4 is going to be jealous that we got to go on some sweet twisty roads... little did I know that some how my S4 was tipped off about these roads. We get home, open the garage and find a nice large puddle of coolant sitting under the car as if it was giving me the finger. Oh, happy days.
So I got a coolant leak somewhere. Unlikely the Aux water pump as that was replace recently and the coolant temp sensor is looking fine and it was replaced recently as well. I hope it was just a hose that came off or something simple. In any case, I need to get my thermostat replaced (it's stuck open 75% of the time) so this might be the sign to get it done. Which also means I should replace the timing belt. Let's not forget the rear brake pads are in need of replacing (hope there is enough rotor left). Anyone got a credit card or two I could borrow? ;)
For the time being, the S4 is staying in the garage for a week or so since I don't have the $$$ for parts to fix it.
I have an aftermarket Alpine stereo installed and love it. No it's not as clean looking as the factory setup but, it offers the missing features the factory stereo just could not offer. That said the one thing that I really liked about the factory stereo was that it did not shut off until you pull the key literally out of the ignition. Installing the Alpine deck many many years ago lost that feature and I've always been searching for a way around that.
So for the past view days I've been literally sitting in my car trying to find something I could tap the "remote switch" wire from my aftermarket stereo into that I knew would not turn off until the key was pull out of the ignition. I only found two options, was the power windows or into the one of the small L.E.D. bulbs for the window and lock buttons on the driver side door. The down side to this is that once the door opens those stopped receiving power. Not exactly how the factory stereo worked before... but it was close.
I used the projected fog lamps that came stock off a MK3 Jetta GLX VR6. No, not my old car, but my little brother's car as he was donating it. His car had seen better days so I took what I needed before it was towed away.
Eye'ing the MK3 fogs and a spare set of stock B5 S4 fogs I had, there looked to be some possibility to making it work. Obviously I'm looking for simple functionality because the 3000k HID's I have in my stock fogs now just weren't being used to their full potential.
First time in years I can finally say... my S4 is error code free! Fixed a recent misfire and replaces the bank 2 sensor 2 O2 sensor. My Evap Purge Valve was acting up, but I put some Seafoam solution in it and to my surprise that cleared up that code. Let's see how long this last....
Ok well that didn't last long... just got a new code for the Bank 2 sensor 1 O2 sensor. I knew I should have replaced both. Oh well I was just trying to get past emissions at the time so another fix for another time.
If it hasn't happened to you, it will some day. Our cars have a weak point with the headlight washer pump that causes all of the washer fluid to leak out of the system. Likely it's related to removing the front bumper from over the years... not sure. Anyway, since I would rather not wasting my money on filling up the washer fluid once a day, I just let it go dry. The down side is that everytime I start the car I get a chime and Mount Saint Helens like animation goes off in the cluster. At the time I discovered the leak and found out how involved it was to get it fixed, I figured I could live with the washer fluid warning light.... 3 months later I'm getting sick of it! I know, "just fix the leak", you say, but replacing the EGT's was just a pain in the a$$ and I'm a little low on motivation and cash.
So I did a little reading online and came up with a idea, I'm sure I'm not the first, but I didn't find any exact D.I.Y.. Sorry no pics as I did this about 5 mins prior to leaving for work this morning. Steps below the break:
Finally replaced both my driver and passenger side EGT Sensors. One was completely dead and the other was having intermittent issues.
Passenger side was easy to replace, but the driver side was not fun... not fun at all! I'm convinced that there is some sort of speciality tool to get it out. I'll put it this way, it took way longer then the suggest 2 hours. Even with help from my friend Erik from I.P.M. Auto Service, it took a while to get it out. I hope I never have to replace those again.
Last on my list to replace is the Bank 1 & 2 Sensor 2 O2 Sensors. Those are the very rear sensors that you can easily get to from under the car. And finally replace a leaking EVap Purge Valve. Again another easy fix when I get the parts.
I can say that the car pulls harder with the EGT Sensors replaced. It's still hitting the same boost level but likely has a better air to gas mixture. Not really sure as I'm no expert. I'm still running into issues were the car will do this randomly and light bucking/surging when on partial throttle. Very noticeable going down a slight hill with the cruise control on. Already replaced the TB and now the EGT, so I'm running out of possible causes for it. Maybe there is bad motor mount allowing too much movement. Or a ICM is going bad. Not sure and I don't want to throw parts at it. Need to do some more research and testing....
If you've seen my car in person there likely one thing you've noticed is my low hanging exhaust piping. Not a subject that I've wanted to talk about as I could have likely gotten it fixed a few years back, but I really did not like the place that I went to. When my wife noticed it a few weeks back I knew it was time to get it fixed.
So I went to a local muffler shop (mufflerkingperformance.com) just down the road and had them fix it. Told them while they were at it to go a head and remove the resonator as my exhaust just seemed too quiet for my likely. I don't want to wake up the neighbors... but I still DO want people to hear me as I'm passing them at full WOT!
Anyway, two hours later and for $120 my exhaust was finally the way it was suppose to be. They replace the piping from the cats to the muffler. Now I just need to clean it up and give it a wash, polish the tips, and likely take some steel wool to get ride of a little rust around the old welds. I'll give it a few months and will do a new videos so you can compare the sound difference.
I've been wanting to convert my brake lights to LED's for some time now, but simply the technology was just not there yet. I did replace the bulbs for my center brake light in the window some time ago which has worked flawlessly ever since. As for the actual brake lights it was going to be a little bit of an investment. This bulbs aren't cheap. About $17 a bulb which will likely to out last my car. As always I went with Superbrightleds.com. I order two 1157-R3X1W bulbs.
Front Rotors & Pads, Right Rear Bearing, and Rear Swaybar Links. Plus possible Coilpack 2.0t Conversion
The S4 is back under the knife. Finally I'm getting my Power Slot Cryo Slotted Rotors and the Akebono Ceramic brake pads all installed at I.P.M. Auto Services. Also my right rear bearing decides it was going into retirement so that is getting replaced. I just had the rear driver side replace 2 months ago, go figures. Rear Swaybar link are pretty shot so those are going to be replaced as well. And lately the bots that adjust the camber are likely going to need to be replaced. I can't remember the technical name of them but my right rear tire was maxed out and my last alignment Firestone could not get it perfectly in spec.
As for Coilpack conversion this has been something I've been following for a little while. As we all know the B5 S4 does not have the greatest record when it comes to our expensive Coils and ICM. I have been through 6 coil at this point. The great thing for this conversion is for one, you eliminate your ICM's. Keep in mind that if once of your ICM goes bad you are going to be misfiring on 3 cylinders as each ICM controls half the block. The 2.0t coils have them build into either coil, which cost $15-$25 each compared to the stock coils of $50-100 each.
Also, the 2.0t coil have a easy twist on/off feature which makes replacing them extremely easy and insanely fast. And lastly they offer a much improved spark. Some Audizine users have said they have gapped their plugs up to .044" to experience a butter smooth idle and power delivery. No results on if this improves MPG but I have a feeling it likely will help maybe 1-2 mpg. To learn more about this conversion feel free to check out http://www.audizine.com/forum/showthread.php/452609-Teaser-2-0T-Coil-packs.
I just learned that 034motorsport.com offer the complete kit, but it's a pretty big investment. I might be interested in getting the wiring from them but I'm still pricing around for the coils and checking if a local machine shop could make the brackets if I can find the specs.
If you've been following my blog for a while you know we don't get snow often in the Seattle area. Well, we finally got some and of course I'm not going to miss my chance to take the S4 our for some fun... I'll add more picture later this week.
Also I'm still looking for a hood. Let me know if you got one for same that is the same color. Thanks!