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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ultimate Vendor List

I was going to compile my own vendor list, but I think when a whole forum puts its heads together the result turns out better:

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Notes: eBay parts

Admit it, you HAVE looked for parts for your TT on eBay hoping to stumble accross some kinda good deal. Yes, that turbo kit that lets you make 400whp for $100 must be out there somewhere!

Unfortunately, the reality of eBay is that 90% of the parts that are supposed to be for the TT suck. However, there are a few gems amongs the pile of garbage. I'll go over a list of some potential items you may have raised an eyebrow at:

Tail/headlight tint film - People have used this successfully. I'd still be leary of cheap headlight tint the same way as cheap window tint. I've heard that some of these don't fit the lights worth crap. And of course, you might end up with issues with bubbles during installation, and fading/peeling in the long run. I'd hate to have to take a razor to my lights to clean off adhesive. Personally, if I wanted my lights tinted, I'd hit up these guys:
Their tint jobs look amazing:

The eBay single frame bumper:
A guy on Vortex actually bought one and received it after several weeks (looks like the Polish guys are legit). He said while it's not the greatest finish quality, he can fix it up. It also comes with an A6 grill which is smaller than the typical A8 grill. I'd stay away since I would never want a fiberglass front bumper. If a big rock hits it, you could easily get a spider-cracked gel coat.

The eBay FWD downpipe:
Here is a gem! These work great and cost way less than other downpipes. Plenty of people run these on VW's without issue. Unfortunately, there are none for Quattros!

Audi Style Wheels:
I've never heard of anybody buying these. Personally, I wouldn't. Chances are, they are gravity cast wheels that weigh about as much as Fred Flintstone's wheels. That and maybe a half dozen potholes later riding on low profile tires and you'll have a set of stop sign shaped rims. Who knows, perhaps they're quality! But I wouldn't buy them.

Golf/Jetta MkIV intercoolers will fit the TT with some work. They make a reasonable difference with the stock turbo, but they aren't the best choice for big turbos. Overall, it's decent quality and works ok.

I've heard of people having issues with programming these. Ended up going through a few keys then just buying it from the dealer. I'd just get it from the dealer rather than go through several eBay pieces. Friend of mine got a new Passat key and it was $250 out the door...ouch. Don't lose your keys ;)

This is all the stuff I can think of for now. If you have questions about any other parts, feel free to ask me.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

KKK Turbos - K03, K03s, K04, etc...

The TT, in both 180hp and 225hp flavors, comes stock with a dinky turbocharger that has propelled it into being the butt of jokes stating that "TT" stands for "Tiny Turbo." Indeed, a lot of TT owners wonder about the feasibility and benefit of OEM turbo swaps, especially 180 owners out there looking for a little extra oomph. So let's get a rundown of the turbos used in the TT:

The TT uses a single turbo manufactured by KKK, Kühnle, Kopp & Kausch, which is owned by the larger company Borg Warner. 180hp models use a variant of the K03 turbo, whereas 225hp models use a variant of the K04. A lot of people get confused with the K03/K04 because they don't realize that there are many variations of the two. A good breakdown of K04's can be found here:

A quick breakdown...

The K03 comes standard in some early 1.8T engines. Check out the Vortex 1.8T FAQ to find out which yours has. Variants of the K03 are used on other cars as well, such as the turbo Mini Coopers.

The K03 sport (K03s) comes standard in later model 1.8T engines. It can make slightly more power and is a direct bolt on for any K03 based car.

The K04-001 uses some K04 internals and a K03s housing. It is a direct bolt on for any K03/K03s car but makes a fairly small power difference above a K03s.

The K04-020 is the stock turbo for the 225hp TT. It requires a new manifold, downpipe, oil/coolant lines and turbo inlet pipe to use, however. It makes decent power over the K03s, but most people say it's not worth the work/money for the conversion and they would have rather just gone with a big turbo.
To get the most out of a K04, one will need a set of bigger injectors and software for them as well.

Power wise, the K03s typically sees 220whp with lots of bolt ons. The K04-001 might make slightly more than that. A maxxed out K04-020 can see around 250whp.

A thing to watch out for when buying these turbos is whether they are made for longitudinal engine cars (A4, Passat) or transverse engine cars (TT, Golf, Jetta).

Fortunately, they're not hard to identify. This is a pair of longitudinal turbos...the outlet of the compressor housing is stubby:

Now this is a transverse K03 (bottom) and K03s (top). Note the elongated outlet on the compressor housing compared to the longitudinal turbos above. Easy way to tell the difference between K03 and K03s is look for the muffler on the compressor outlet, most K03s turbos have one, most K03 turbos don't. More reliably, you can count the number of fins...K03 has 12, K03s has 8:

This is a transverse K04 kit. Again, note the elongated outlet on the compressor. Also note the inlet pipe and exhaust manifold required to install it.

Here's an email from Borg Warner. Notice how they don't call it a K03s...however they offer good info on the specific model designations of their turbos:

Dear Sir,

thank you for your interest in our products.

First of all, we don't produce any turbo that we call K03S. But I hope I can
answer your questions with the following explanations.

All the following turbos have the same installation dimensions and
thermodynamical performance. The differences are only in the actuator that
opens the turbine bypass valve:
K03-011 (5303 988 0011) 150 hp, 65 N actuator
K03-026 180 hp, 85 N actuator
K03-035 180 hp, 85 N actuator
K03-044 150 hp, 65 N actuator
K03-045 156 hp (Ibiza Cupra), 85 N actuator with 2 ports
K03-049 150 hp (Sharan/Alhambra), 65 N actuator
The 180 hp versions have an actuator with a higher opening force due to the
higher exhaust gas pressure (which is a consequence of the higher boost
pressure). Otherwise the valve would be pushed open by the exhaust gas

The following turbos are a further development (since 2000) and have an
improved and slightly larger compressor while using the same turbine (still
with the same installation dimensions):
K03-052 180 hp, 85 N actuator
K03-053 150 hp, 85 N actuator
K03-058 150 hp/180 hp, 85 N actuator

Consequentially, putting a 180 hp turbo on a 150 hp engine will not bring
about any change in performance, but putting on a K03-052/053/058 instead of
the older versions will bring a slight improvement in engine efficiency.
Additionally, with re-mapping the ECU you can achieve about 215 hp without
danger of overspeeding the turbo. With the older turbos, 195 hp is the

With the K04 that's also commonly used (5304 950 0001) the power output
should not be more than 220 hp. That means, changing a K03-052/053/058
against a K04 does not make a lot of sense.

I hope that these details answer your questions. If you need more info, one
of our service distributors will be glad to help you. Their addresses are on
our website

Mit freundlichen Grüßen/Best regards,
BorgWarner Turbo Systems GmbH

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Cool stuff: pics of the OSIR FCS

Seems that a lot of people like the OSIR FCS since it attempts to give the TT the look of the 3.2's front end. However it's expensive ($400+) and made of fiberglass so not many people have it, or for that matter have pics of it. Fortunately, I have some:

I ran accross this on AudiForums; while I like the stock red, it's neat that somebody did it:

Friday, February 8, 2008

Notes: Instrument Cluster

So if you're reading this, you probably don't know how much fuel you have left except for guessing by your odo, can't tell how hot your engine is and feel like you have 140/20 vision when you try and read your center display. Yep, your cluster is SCREWED.

A this point you have basically three options:

1. Dealership. Unless you can somehow finagle your way into getting a freebie repair from a dealer, and yes it has been done, you will be paying $1000+. Sorry. But you'll have a working cluster again.

2. Buy a replacement. This is where it gets sticky.

First, you have to make sure your cluster will be compatible with your car in general. I believe somewhere in 2002 Audi added CAN-bus capability which cut off compatibility of older clusters with newer cars. I'm not entirely sure. But you'll wanna check that out, usually speaking to a knowledgeable Audi tech can help.

Second, you have to worry about immobilizer. Somewhere in 2001, the TT got fitted with VAG's Immobilizer III technology. Immobilizer III requires that the ECU, cluster and key have an identical code programmed into them for the car to start. Up until '01, TT's came with Immobilizer II which only requires the key and ECU to match. Obviously, switching in a new cluster will give you a different code. Usually, you can determine if you have Immo III by turning the key to accessory power and seeing if you get a little key icon on the gauge face. Sure fire way to determine whether you have it or not is to remove the cluster itself and see if the car starts.

So your options for dealing with immobilizer consist of getting your cluster reprogrammed or getting an immobilizer defeat. The latter is $150 from APR.
Not sure if you can deal with Immo III through VAG-COM, check out Ross Tech's info about it:

Third, you have to get your mileage reprogrammed if you want to have an accurate odometer. The cluster will read the mileage IT came with, not your car. You CAN NOT do this with VAG-COM unless the cluster has <62 miles on it. Dealers I've talked to have been very vague on what they can do, but they pretty much told me they had no guarantee that they'd be able to change it.

For some reason, even high end cluster tools like VAGdashCOM (not VAG-COM, VAGdashCOM is an $800 tool that has to be imported from Germany) can not program TT clusters. A friend of mine who has programmed countless MkIV clusters could not even read TWO different used TT clusters I brought to him or the original one from my car.

At this point I think there is no way to fix mileage on a TT cluster short of having a dealer try (with whatever they use). Since my car is Immo II, I just swapped in a used cluster and left the mileage alone while taking note of my old mileage. My 90,000 mile car's odo reads around 25,000...I can deal with that.

So if you can get all that taken care of, you will have a successful cluster swap.

3. BBA-Remanufacturing. These guys rebuild your original cluster instead of replacing it. I haven't heard much about them, and the little I have heard hasn't been good. You could give them a shot I suppose; they claim to fix all gauges and attempt to fix the center display but it's not guaranteed.

So there are your main options. Pick your poison.
Good luck!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Notes: Warning lights

The TT comes with an interesting array of warning lights and icons. Some are displayed on the gauge faces themselves whereas others are on the little LCD. Here's a rundown of some possibly unfamiliar lights you may encounter:

Gauge face lights:
Airbag - likes to come on and stay on when you unplug components of the airbag system (such as the seats). AFAIK, only a dealer can reset it.

Check Engine Light (CEL) - get used to it. It could be anything.

A hazard triangle with a circle around it - this is traction control. It blinks when you lose grip, it stays on when you turn traction control off.

EPC - Electronic power control. This light comes on when there's something amiss with your engine that makes the ECU feel the need to cut power. For example, if you overboost or misfire, the EPC light may come on.

A key and a car - this indicates an immobilizer issue.

BRAKE - your E-brake is on.

Icons in the center display

A lightbulb - means you have a burnt out bulb somewhere.

Something that looks ilke an erupting volcano - you're low on washer fluid.

(O) - your brake pads are worn.

There's more. These are just the not-so-obvious ones I know of.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Notes: Quattro

Quattro is almost as synonymous with Audi as electrical problems are. That said, there are a few things to know about the TT's Quattro system.

The TT's engine is mounted transverse (sideways) as opposed to longitudinal (straight). Therefore, it must use a different AWD system than the longitudinal engined cars (The A4, S5, etc...pretty much any Audi sedan). The TT's Quattro system is referred to as the Haldex system, named after the Swedish company that manufactures the differential used in it. Haldex also manufactures the AWD system used in the Veyron. The longitudinal version of Quattro is called TorSen, short for "torque sensing."

TorSen, first of all, differs mainly in that it maintains a constant 50/50 power split front and back. Upon traction loss, it uses EDL (electronic differential lock) to transfer power appropriately to regain control. This makes for a generally more neutral feel to the car.

Haldex, on the other hand, is heavily FWD biased. The system uses the standard FWD transmission with a Haldex clutch in the rear to engage the rear wheels when necessary. Due to the drivetrain design, power passes through the front differential first and then goes to the rear, therefore no more than 50% of power can transfer to the rear under any circumstances. Haldex is almost constantly transferring some power to the rear, however the FWD bias is people's main criticism of Haldex. The ability to disengage the rear wheels, however, results in less drivetrain loss and improved gas mileage.

Fortunately, for about $700 an aftermarket Haldex controller can be bought to increases the power shift to the rear. The Haldex "Blue" controller shifts 50% of power to the rear immediately, causing a more neutral feel and more inclination to oversteer. The Haldex "Orange" controller is the same as the blue, except it doesn't disengage the rear wheels under braking. The makers of the "Orange" claim that this allows the car to brake with the drivetrain, which is how the original Quattros managed to outbrake the competition. This has proven dangerous on the street though, and for any street application, the Blue is the better choice.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Notes: Maintenance

Some notes pulled from the Vortex 1.8T FAQ on maintenance/troubleshooting:

Symptom: Item to check

Rough Running At Idle: MAF, Ignition Coil, Spark Plug, VAC Leak, O2 Sensor, TB, CTS
Missfires under Boost Flashing CEL: Ignition Coils, Spark Plugs
Running Rich: Boost Leak, MAF, O2 Sensor, Coolant Temp Sensor
Running Lean: VAC Leak, MAF, O2 Sensor, Fuel Filter
Low Boost: Limp Mode, MBC, BOV, DV, Boost Leak, N75,
High Boost: MBC Setting, N75, Spark Plugs, Ignition Coils
Cold Start Problems: MAF, Spark Plugs, Fuel Pump Relay, CTS
Poor Gas Mileage: MAF, CTS, O2 Sensor, AIT Sensor
Cat Efficiency Below Threshold: Down pipe, CAT, Rear O2, RACE FUEL
No Start: Battery - ECU, Fuel Pump Relay, Ground
Start For 1 Second Stall: Immobilizer
Overheating: Waterpump, Thermostat, Head Gasket
oil in coolant: Oil Cooler, head Gasket, Water Wetter
Dies While Driving: Timing belt, Boost Leak, MISC
Shorts To ground CEL: Fuel Pump Relay, Bad Grounds
Oil in your IC/IC piping: Check your PCV system

If your synchros are grinding when you go to shift, a change in transmission fluid can help. For FWD's, Redline MT-90 is recommended and can be bought from ECS Tuning. For Quattros, there seems to be some uncertainty over whether Redline causes issues with the Haldex differential.

Haldex Fluid: The fluid in the Quattro's AWD unit (i.e. Haldex clutch) needs to be changed every 10,000 miles. Buying the wrench and fluid to do it is much cheaper than having it done.

Oil: use synthetic, else your engine could suffer from sludge buildup.

MAF: Cleaning the MAF with some MAF cleaner (get at auto parts store) can sometimes sort out issues with the engine.

Diverter Valve: If you have a Forge 007, lube it up with some fresh oil every oil change, else it'll wear out. For a stock valve, you don't need to.

Spark plugs: From the 1.8T FAQ:

OE Plugs: NGK PFR6Q - .032" gap
For Stock Cars - .032" gap:
* Autolite 3923
* Denso Iridium IK20
For Chiped Cars - .028" gap:
* Autolite 3922
* Denso Iridium IK22

**Avoid all non copper plugs, reommend to change every or every other oil change to keep from misfiring.
General Rule of thumb: For every additional 50HP over stock, a general rule is 1 heat range colder and gap shrinks by .004
--So, a chipped 1.8T would make good use ofa plug one range colder gapped to .028
>Tightening torque 30Nm (22 ft-lb)
>Tightening torque for Coil Packs 7ft lbs

I use BKR7E's. They're $9 for four of them off ECS Tuning. It's recommended to swap them every other oil change.

Notes: Intakes

The debate over intakes/cold air intakes is a pretty heated one (ha) over on VWVortex.

I think for the most part, however, that people agree they don't make a huge difference. Personally, I just chopped up the bottom of my stock airbox and got the induction noise and diverter valve noise I wanted with no real change in anything else.

Wak TT did a comparative test of several different intakes, I run something like the "Wak Box":
Wak's Induction Test

IMO, for several hundred dollars, there's better mods to do than an intake. That money could be put towards a chip, intercooler or water/methanol injection, all of which create much more significant gains.

Notes: Exhausts

Aftermarket exhausts are a commonly discussed topic.

For a stock turbo:

-There's no point in getting an aftermarket exhaust manifold for a stock turbo. It's not a restriction for a stock turbo.

-The real restriction is the downpipe. However, it varies between the 180FWD, 180Q and 225Q models. A downpipe for a 180FWD is the same as for a MkIV VW (Golf GTI/Jetta 1.8T); therefore, a quality 3" downpipe can be bought off eBay for just over $100. For the 180Q, there is currently no aftermarket downpipe (as of 2/2/08), however some are supposed to be in the works. 42 Draft Designs makes a 3" downpipe for the 225Q that costs around $600. This pipe will NOT fit a 180Q because the 225Q uses a different turbo and manifold and therefore requires a different downpipe design.

-The stock catalytic converter isn't very restrictive either. It's a pretty wide unit (4.5" wide or so) so if you want to run a cat, have a shop grind the ends of the cat so that the openings are 3" and just weld that up.

-There's many options for catbacks. The cheapest for Quattros seems to be the Blue Flame (i.e. Forge)catback. There's other options such as Borla, Remus, Milltek etc. A 180Q can be converted to dual exhausts easily with a new catback, however replacing the stock 180Q catback with a 225Q's won't make any performance gains. On the FWD, the spare tire compartment sits in the way of where a muffler would on the Quattros, therefore there is no non-restrictive FWD dual exhaust solution. Remus makes a dual exhaust, it's $1600, and Milltek makes one that's $1000. Neither of them flow well. Just take a look at the Milltek:

-Sizing: downpipes should be 3". For the catback, there's a lot of debate between 3" or 2.5". Personally, I would run a 2.5" if sticking with a stock turbo since 3" is rather loud.

-Custom systems: if you want a downpipe for a 180Q, for the moment you'll have to go to an exhaust shop and get one fabricated. You could get a whole exhaust fabricated too, or if you have the skills make one yourself.

This FWD exhaust's by Steve Larson ( he can make you one too if you contact him.

-Excessive vibration: sometimes the downpipe will rub the heatshield when the engine moves under high torque. This can be solved by 1. bending the heatshield and 2. replacing the sloppy, soft dogbone mount bushings. The mount is what influences how much the engine moves under acceleration; a stiffer one will keep it from moving and therefore keep the downpipe from rubbing. This greatly reduces wheelhop and improves shift feel. I ran the Energy Suspension bushings but the vibration was too annoying after a while and I removed them. It made an incredible difference in drivetrain feel, but simply too much noise for me, some people don't mind though.

I might go with a softer set of bushings. This post lists durometer (hardness) ratings of different bushings.


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