Well my plan was originally to just do some H&R lowering spring, but the more pictures I saw of people with that setup the more I didn't like it. It just wasn't enough to set it a part from the OEM ride height. While browsing around eBay I noticed JHM was selling their 2" lowering spring kit for $149USD. Immediately I thought this was a scam, but after contacting JHM via their official store front, it was real. That said, that was immediately purchased.
While I was looking at my shocks to make sure they weren't leaking, I noticed a problem that I kind of expected. I heard some snaps and pops when turning the Q5 at low speeds. Sure enough every single control arm bushing was torn. As I know this platform loves to eat control arm bushing, but the fact they were all torn makes me thing they have been serviced in the past and were not properly preloaded before torqued down. Oh well, I ordered a complete upper and lower set for the front from FCP euro so I had the lifetime warranty.
Hopefully in a couple of weeks the car will be looking way better than this...
This is likely the easiest, fastest, and cheapest install you can do on a modern Audi. I did the same on the B8.5 S4 and it was just as simple for the Q5, maybe even easier as I didn't need to jack up the car.
All you need is the following
For me what I notice in ever car I've installed this in, is that the transmission just shifts smoother. There is less of a "jerk" or rubber band snap like feeling between gear changes. All the play is just gone and it make the car feel new. I highly recommend it.
The Q5 is getting a little taste of the "R" line with a flat bottom steering wheel from a 2014 RS5. I bought it from a local guy taken from his parts car. He sold it to me for $600 which likely the best deal out there for both a steering wheel and airbag. It is nice to see some people out in the world that sell at a fair price and don't pass along the "Audi Tax" on everything. That said, I wasted no time, picked it up, and got this installed. As a word of advice, you do need a Triple Square socket set to get the steering wheel removed once the airbag it out of the way. As for the airbag it is either bolted behind the steering wheel or snaps in. For my case both the existing airbag and the new one were snap style. I found it very helpful to use a borescope with a pick to unsnap each side. There are many Youtube videos out there that go over it. As for code the paddle shifters, I used retrofit option in OBDEleven, which cost 10 credits (you can get free credits watching ads) and got that enabled in about 10 seconds. Likely took about 1 hour to remove the old steering wheel and install the new one. I can't remember doing back to back installs on a Audi (exhaust and this steering wheel) where everything just went smoothly. (knock on wood)
My wife isn't the biggest fan of the perforated which I can get, but it does have a nicer feel vs the solid leather. Not to mention, as a bigger guy, the flat bottom just gives so much more clearance to get in and out of the car without your legs hitting the steering wheel. Lastly, it is so nice to have the same paddle shifters like my B8.5 S4. You can have the same fun drop down a few gears to making a pass on the highway.
As for the RS5 logo, likely going to just lay some piano black vinyl over it to make it less noticeable. I found a few places that want $20 for a new sticker which doesn't really seem worth it. We will see....
You can find my existing steering wheel for sale here:
Automotive detailing is my happy place... I know it's weird, but its calming for me... Put on the some music, get out all the supplies, and start cleaning. At the end you are tired and sore, but the results make it worth it. That said, I'm been putting this off because the previous owner did a terrible job and left dried polish/wax in hard to reach corners like between the door handles and body of the car, and in-between the letters in the emblem. Rather than taking the time to tape off areas you don't want to get polish/wax on, some people just go crazy every where. Oh well, looking way way better now.
Up next, looking for a SQ5 flat bottom steering wheel, 034 Motorsports lowering springs, and the RSQ5 front grill. I'm always looking for new wheels, but at the same time, I'm going to loose that comfort you get with the 19's if you go bigger. Don't think I would do anything bigger than 20's as I like that meaty look vs the super low profile tire.
My wash method:
We only put maybe 50miles on it, so this is just a short initial sample of how it sounds. For best results listen with headphones.
The last time I did a cat-back exhaust install was back in my MK3 Jetta VR6 days, 10+ years ago. I remember that being a extremely frustrating experience with almost everything going wrong. Didn't have the right tools, clamps broke, saw blade respectively broke (this was a hand saw)... and worst, I was young and inexperienced. Thankfully this AWE Touring kit was a super easy to install, and I've gotten wiser with ago... maybe. I will say using some silicone spray with exhaust hanger removal pliers made the process of removing stock exhaust stupid easy. The stock exhaust was off in less than 20mins. I did used penetrating oil on the down pipe clamps, waited 15mins and remove them no problem while the exhaust was still warm. Figured I could use the existing heat to my advantage to break them loose and it worked great. One thing to remember when removing the stock exhaust is to keep the stock down pipes from sagging if you plan on using them. I found using a floor jack and some wood keep them in place no issue. If the down pipes do sag they can tear and leak.
Installing the actually AWE system was pretty easy. You don't want to fully tighten any of the clamps just enough to keep the pipes all loosely connected. From that point it was just about aligning everything. I likely spent about 50% of the time getting the rear mufflers to be parallel with the ground and all the upstream pipes aligned properly. I did run into one problem where I didn't have a deep 16mm impact socket for the clamps, but Harbor Freight saved me
Lastly, I had the wife decide how far out we wanted the exhaust tips to poke and we were all good to go. I think in total it about an 2.5-3hr job and this was just putting the rear end up on ramps to raise the car. I'm sure this would be even faster on a lift. More videos to come when the exhaust has at least 400-500 miles on it.
I thought I had another month to go, but FedEx made a surprise delivery today....
Yep, we went with the AWE Tuning setup for the wife's Q5 3.0T. Ceder from Rowe Tech in Portland, OR hooked me up with a great deal and with the added bonus of no sales tax because Oregon doesn't have any... it was meant to be.
I just finished going over the entire AWE Tuning setup with Blue Magic Polish as it also has a sealant in it. I'm not too worried about rust as salt is not really used in my area, I just want the exhaust looking good for a long as we own the Q5. The muffler really do pop now that they are polished. As for the exhaust tips, I did two coats of CarPro CQuartz Dlux Ceramic Coating. As it is made to withstand high temps, I'm sure it will last a solid year or so. I've used CarPro Ceramic coating on my S4 and after 3 years it is still holding up.
I hope to get this system all installed before the end the week. It's funny the last time I bought and install a cat-back system was in my MK3 Jetta VR6 days over 10 years ago. Man times fly by.
Well I'm going to be honest, the custom exhaust on the Q5 isn't what we are after. While it has gotten louder and the 4in tips look so much better, it just doesn't have the volume plus tone we wanted. And I know the original idea include a xpipe to replace the center muffler, but I'm a little annoyed by the very slight drone this setup has introduced when you are going up hill doing 65mph+ with just the rear mufflers replaced. I'm going to be honest, this is a very light drone, and most people likely would not even classify it as such, but as this is the family car it just kind of annoys me. Where we live just happens to be hilly and we travel at that speed for a good distance to and from work. My wife isn't bothered by it at all, but I'm the guy that will stop a road trip if something is rattling in the trunk 5mins from our destination. What I will say is that this setup give the Q5 a nice presence with the low refine growl that the stock very much lacked but really only at idle. No rasp, but it just still sounds too stock'ish at wot. If I'm going to have a little drone, I want the volume and tone that make you happy with the sound of the car. This setup just leave me feeling like it is missing something. And I'm sure the xpipe in the center muffler would fix it, but I just don't want to do any more customizations as I'm guessing with my money. I've done enough tweaking with exhaust on the S4, so I rather go with a known system that has tons of feedback and sound samples to hear.
My options are going Milltek and get a SQ5 diffuser or go with a AWE Tuning setup without changing the diffuser. Either way, it's expensive, but I know drone won't be a issue, but if it is, at least I know what the tone and volume will be like. There is no surprise with those setups as you got tons of examples to listen from. The wife likes the quad exhaust option if we went Milltek, while I like the more stealthy dual tip. That said, we found a dealer selling a new kit at a discount. As it is built to order we got to wait until mid April before it ships. For now you all will just have to wait and see which one we went with.
The rear mufflers have been replaced with MagnaFlow 11235 and add a pair of 4in Jones JST139 exhaust tips. The tips alone make the rear end look so much better. As for the sound/volume, the tone is lower now (wear headphones when you watch), but the exhaust is not very much louder. Take note the new rear mufflers are only a day old and the sound will settle more as we drive it. I'll try to do another update in 3-4 weeks if there is any significate change. Very possible we will do a xpipe to replace the center muffler, but likely another month off before that happens.
Since the exhaust tips are pretty trashed (yes that's my excuse ;), I'm going to try something a little less common when it comes to custom exhaust for the B8.5 Audi Q5 3.0t. Most, like what I've done on my S4, replace the front "baby" resonators and straight pipe the the center muffler (or in reverse order), while keeping the stock rear muffler in place. This time around for the Q5 I'm going to leave the front and center exhaust components alone and and will replace the rear mufflers and with MagnaFlow 11235 and add a pair of 4in Jones JST139 exhaust tips. This was inspired from this video https://youtu.be/DTHTNY8IhFc except I don't plan on adding the xpipe right now. I'm sure just replacing the rear mufflers will increase the volume and change the exhaust note to a lower tone, but I'm not going after a "look at me loud". The wife wants a sporty sound, but no drone, so this should give the best of both worlds. If it is still too quiet, we can always add a xpipe to replace the center muffler at a later time.
At this point I just need to book the appointment with our exhaust shop and get it installed. As the tips are polished stainless steal I'm going to polish them more and ceramic coat them so they stay super clean and protected for a long time. Hopefully we will have a update and some sound clips before the end of the month.
Our family of four made our Q5 first road trip over this holiday weekend. It was about 600 miles in total, and the Q5 ran like a champ. I was nervous with the Michelin all season tires (no sure of the exact spec) as I had no idea how they would do in the snow, but they did great! Luckily we never ran into any ice, but with compact snow, they felt very solid. With the roof rack, full car, and the mountain passes, we still averaged in the upper 20's mpg, which is absolutely impressive for how loaded we had the Q5. Likely the EPL Stage 1 tune helped with MPG's.
As much as I would like to get a clean looking hard shell roof cargo box, I'm not going to drop that kind of money for something I'll used 1-3 times a year. Second, I already have a cargo bag that is waterproof and will work just fine. The cargo bag worked great for our previous Toyota Highlander as I would just sit it on the roof directly... but the Q5's roof is nearly all glass roof, and I'm not going to have this bag get close to the roof and the problematic sun roof rails. We did got OEM roof racks with the Q5 so a roof basket seemed to be the best choice.
Below are the test fitting pictures I took post painting just to see how it turned out. The "u" bracket that goes under the roof rack rails is not installed so keep that in mind. That said, for under $150, I'm happy with how it turned out and believe it will work great.
When we get it all loaded up, I'll make sure to take a few more pictures and update this post.
- Amazon affiliate links were used in this post
First off, we have been running the EPL Stage 1 and TCU tune for the past few weeks. We absolutely love it and the wife is already ready to go dual pulley asap. I think I would rather go the route of a oversized 200mm+ crank pulley rather than, messing with the supercharger pulley. We will see about that. Likely a summer project.
Next, we have a new 034 Motorsport intake pipe to allow more supercharger whine. While the sound is great, I was not happy with the fitment of the intake pipe. I wish ECS offered a Carbon fiber intake like they do with the S4.... The new aFe 11-10121 (affiliate link) air filter is on order. The OEM filter was pretty bad and needs to go.
For lighting we got 3000k yellow HIDs installed in the fog lamps which is a must in our rainy Pacific Northwest weather. Also soon there will be some new 5000k Morimoto D3s bulbs going into the headlamps. Looks like the previous owner did not replace the bulb in pairs so they are mismatching in colors.
And lastly, I did a LED conversion for all the interior lights. FYI, the list below is the location, number of bulbs needed, and type of bulb.
Below is the bulbs I used, base off being the brightest and best reviews. Obviously you can use what works best for you, this is just what I picked....
Finally got the wife the Audi she so deserves! It's a little up there in miles with 113k, but I know the 3.0t is a great engine so it's nothing I worried about. Came with some new Michelin tires and almost perfect condition wheels. This was a one owner car and they had all the work down at Audi of Seattle. Luckily the CarFax shows the thermostat and water pump were replace last year so that is one less thing to worry about. Zero sun roof rattle, which is near unheard of for the Q5 and SQ5! I do have to say I'm loving this zf transmission. Even with the stock de-tuned setup the car still very quick and responsive.
The future plans....
Honestly don't think this car will go past a Stage 2 single pulley tune, but still will be a fun family car.
Just got back from the drive and it was pretty good. With a pretty full car now, I think I'm done driving highway 2. The road has so many huge dips my bump stops likely look like foam washers. Honestly I like the driving more, so going I-90 would be a little more fun. As for Leavenworth there was for sure a good group, not the biggest gathering in years past, but still a good turn out. There was far more Audi's there then I've seen in a long time which was pretty cool. What I thought was a little odd was the complete lack of police to make their presence know. People were getting a little crazy with their pop and bang tunes, and launching their cars on the main street. There is a place to have a little fun, but with so many kids and young families, this was not the place. Luckily my 2 month old slept threw it, but I shouldn't need to bring ear protection for a event like this. I know I'm getting old and I love a good sounding exhaust just like anyone else, but I love this drive more and as a community I think we need to be on better behavior or risk having no drive. Ok dad rant done....
Anyways it was fun would still recommend it for anyone that hasn't gone in years past. And yes, I made another video like years past (see below). The sky was so clear and clean, the lighting was just epic. I need to invest in a better gimbal... one that doesn't die after a hour of use.... sorry the last half of the video being a little bumpy. Enjoy!
With covid crap going on I just wasn't putting many miles on the car to allow all the new exhaust components to break-in, so at this point I'm calling it long enough and here is the video everyone has been asking about.
Again, the setup is:
Winter is gone and time to get the smoked peelers back on, but this time with all new Micheline Pilot Sport All Season 4. My previous Pirelli tires were cracking and the tread was separating in places... they were pretty nasty looking. They came with the car when I bought it and it was time to ditch them. Not to mention the wife and I just had our second child, so it was time to get something that was far superior and more importantly safer. This new Michelin tires are pretty new and all the reviews I read were extremely positive and some people felt they were just as good as a true summer tire. With the baby in the back I haven't been able to fully test them out, but I will say the ride harshness is way down (but still solid feeling) and the road noise is vastly reduced. That all said, you really can't go wrong with Michelin tires these days.
Other than that looking forward to the Leavenworth Drive coming up. Hope all you can join and don't forget to get your Covid Vax!
I just got the Vibrant Ultra Quiet (affiliate link) resonators installed today and the rasp and snappy-ness is gone! The overall volume of the exhaust is quieter for sure, but the tone is so much smoother. The volume is closer to what it was before I had catted down pipes installed. That said, I know that the tone and volume is likely going to change over the next few weeks so as long as the rasp stays away, I'm good with it getting louder.
As a reminder, my current setup is test pipes, to catted down pipes, to the Magnaflow 11385 xpipe (affiliate link) , to the new Vibrant Ultra Quiet (affiliate link) resonators (in place of where the stock mid-muffler was), and finally the stock rear mufflers.
And below we got a pretty crappy sound clip. This is after a 25mins drive from the exhaust shop to my house. With the rain and my hvac running, there is just a lot of background noise (sorry).
- Amazon affiliate links were used in this post
Next Wednesday (3/24) I'm getting two 2.25in Vibrant Ultra Quiet (affiliate link) resonators installed where the stock mid-muffler used to be. It is going to be a tight fit, but the hope is that this will dial back the rasp I get at moderate to full throttle. Honestly when the exhaust is warm the rasp really isn't that bad... kind of has a exotic sound to it, but when the exhaust is cold, it is just bad. That all said, the current setup has almost no drone, which I believe is thanks to the front Magnaflow 11385 xpipe (affiliate link) and the rear stock mufflers. Another video to come once this is completed.
- Amazon affiliate links were used in this post
Update: Oddly I took the J shaped Vibrant O2 spacers off and used some straight spacers that were given to me with the test pipe. Since using them, no check engine light. No need to switch tunes, now.
With the new custom test pipes and catted down pipes, the O2 spacers I got just aren't cutting it. I got some different kind O2 spacers on order, but I fear I'm always going to have issues with the Check Engine Light (CEL). Sadly my current tune with EPL doesn't offer a "test pipe" tune. I really do love the burble and soft crackle you get with the new adjustable tune they just released. While they have been nothing but super helpful, I feel like my options are limited here. Honestly, I could just go cheap and put a sticker over the CEL and call it good, but then I can't visually know when there is another problem. This also applies when the CEL is always on, unless you go check for errors you don't know when faults start adding up. The 3.0l is a pretty reliable engine so it's not like 2.7t where you might have a CEL on so much that it burns out the cluster bulb. I typically scan for errors once a month via my OBDeleven, but I really like to keep my car running as problem free as possible.
That all said, I know the current battle on the B8 S4 platform has been IE vs 034, but as of lately I've heard more good things from from 034 customers than IE. Also I've really enjoyed the transparency and info 034 offers on their Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/034motorsport/videos
I'm going to reach out to them to make sure they offer a "test pipe" tune, and hopefully in the coming months make this CEL go away. If you run 034, please comment on your thoughts. Thanks all!
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.
- Amazon affiliate links were used in this post
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 (affiliate link) (gps enabled) model as I got it before the latest and greatest Uniden R7 (affiliate link) 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 (affiliate link) 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!
- Amazon affiliate links were used in this post
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.
To all visitors, Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I do thank you for your help supporting this site and the projects associated with it.