Our family of four made our 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.
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.
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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. We will see about that.
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.... oh well. 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).
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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:
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