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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

11lb Lightweight Battery for $65

My battery died recently and took with it my desire to replace it with another clunky, 30lb hunk of battery. So I looked into options for a lightweight battery.

An extremely popular choice is the Deka ETX14. This is the EXACT same 11.5lb battery that Braille sells for $150. At 11.5lbs, it's at least a 10lb savings off any OEM equivalent battery. More important to me though is the size...the thing is TINY! Frees up a whole lot of space in the engine bay. To give you an idea, here's the thing next to a juice box:

Better yet, it can be had for ~$65, which is about the same or less than OEM equivalent batteries. Search around and see what kind of price you can find, but this is where I got mine:
Big Crank ETX14

A lot of places, such as the one above will rebadge this battery with their own name or something but they are all the Deka ETX14.

You'll also need terminals to make the battery work with your battery cables...these are available from Summit Racing:
Summit Racing Battery Terminals

Then, if you want to replace the ugly, clunky, stock mount you can order a fancy aluminum mount from Braille or MMP:

MMP Battery Mount

Braille Battery Mount

Friday, September 18, 2009

DEFCONs: Full Review + Cost Info

If you don't know what DEFCONs are, read up on MCPi/Vortex/AudiWorld/wherever first.

Anyhow a while back I noticed my tires were worn HORRIBLY unevenly, totally bald on the very inside. How? I had an alignment only a few months before! After asking online, someone on Vortex said that worn control arm bushings could cause such wear. I had definitely noticed my control arm bushings wearing out rapidly after lowering my car.

So I decided to upgrade while I was at it.


Originally, before I purchased the DEFCONs, I had intended to just replace my worn bushings with new OEM bushings to save money. I remembered MJM Autohaus had a really good deal on the said they fit all Mk4 cars and the TT...sweet! Got all four bushings for $45.

I received them and noticed something...the front ones were very small. Having seen a DEFCON setup in person before I had a sneaking suspicion that a call to my dealership verified...these were pre-recall style front bushings! The rear bushings never changed fitment so I could still use them. I called MJM and they said they don't carry any other version of the bushing...I informed them of the fitment issue with recalled TT's and that they might want to revise their website to reflect that...notice their website no longer says the bushings fit TT's...that's my doing ;)

Here's the link:

These aren't OEM manufactured bushings...they are OEM equivalent knockoffs. But you know what? For a piece of rubber, I could really care less when I can get all FOUR for the price a dealer wants for ONE.

So obviously this is what lead me to purchase the DEFCONs for $125 shipped. Buying OEM front bushings would have cost almost as much as a set of DEFCONs.


I pulled the control arms off myself (easy, get a big breaker bar) and cruised over to a local tire shop to have the DEFCONs and bushings pressed in. Came out to $46 for the installation. Put them back in myself and got a front end alignment for $45.


I took a cruise around a few back roads - and was disappointed. The steering felt better...but not that much better. I didn't understand what everyone was raving about. Going medium speed the turn-in still wasn't that impressive.

Then I hopped on the highway.


I can see why Audi undid the control arms from this design. The car responds so well that I can easily see how some dumb bloke would send himself into a wall with an excessive, jerky steering input.

Overall the car is SO much more responsive and controlled at high speed. The steering even FEEDS BACK somewhat. The car's steering is far more accurate at the limit through a high speed turn; you feel much more in control. Amazing!


If you haven't been keeping tabs:
DEFCONs: $125 shipped from Modshack
BUSHINGS: $45 shipped from MJM Autohaus
BOLTS: Just reused the originals and put some Loctite blue on them.
INSTALL: $45 to press the DEFCONs + bushings in at the local tire shop.
ALIGNMENT: $45 at the local tire shop.


Had I just bought OEM bushings from the dealer, the bushings alone would have cost me $160. Even on online they would have still cost ~$120. A DEFCON setup using the MJM bushings is only marginally more expensive and is a worthwhile upgrade if you're into high speed cornering.

If you track your TT or enjoy taking it around turns at high speed in some form or another, these are great. I couldn't find a cheap OEM/OEM equivalent rubber bushing kit ANYWHERE online for less than the dealer's insane price ($40 for a piece of rubber. Come on AoA...seriously) which makes the DEFCONs + MJM bushings an excellent buy if your bushings need replaced.

It's interesting to note that the Mk4 arms use the pre-recall fitment of bushings (OEM Mk4 bushings are softer though, hence pre-recall TT bushings are a popular upgrade). This makes for an interesting possibility...if you swapped Mk4 control arms (with the pre-recall TT bushings in them), Mk4 ball joints and bought a set of H2Sport spindles (see post about handling below) you could make a TT that handles extremely well...using Mk4 parts.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Doing a timing belt job? Choose your parts carefully...

So towards the end of last year I purchased a complete timing belt/water pump kit for $280. I got everything I needed, including coolant, I was set! Had the stuff professionally installed, finally had peace of mind over my timing belt.

Recently, about 8 months and 18,000 miles later I start getting an intermittent obnoxious rattle from under the timing cover that only occured between ~1000 and 2000 RPM. After doing research, I realized the kit I bought has had numerous cases of the tensioner (specifically, the tension dampener - what actually creates the tension on the belt) wearing prematurely and making the horrible rattling noise I was hearing.

The reason is the tensioner parts are not made by the same people as the OEM VW/Audi ones - they are made by NTN in Japan. OEM ones are German made.

I started taking the car apart and sure enough I could push the tension roller around with minimal force - the tension dampener was obviously bad. This is the part I'm talking about:

So I started the process of removing the tension dampener. Meanwhile I called up the place I bought the kit from. Although it had been almost a year since I bought it, the customer service rep immediately offered to ship a new tension dampener to me.

So now I have a new one on the way.

My main point is it's not just one kit that carries the NTN tensioner parts...MANY places sell the same Japanes NTN parts as part of timing belt kits. Dieselgeek, ECS Tuning, basically any timing belt kit that costs ~$250 will consist of Japanese NTN tensioner parts and not the OEM German parts.

The OEM parts literally costs almost twice as much. ECS now sells a completely OEM kit and guess what, it's $550:
ECS Genuine Ultimate Timing Belt Kit

Their cheaper kit uses NTN parts as stated in the description:
ECS Ultimate Timing Belt Kit

Notice Dieselgeek's kit uses the same NTN parts as well:
Dieselgeek Timing Belt Kit

That said, not all these tensioners go bad so fast, obviously. A lot of people have had no issues with the NTN parts, however it might be a good idea to fork out the $130 for the genuine VW/Audi tensioning dampener if you're not comfortable with possibly having to replace the tensioner yourself or pay to have it replaced early. My OEM tensioner lasted 92,000 miles.

So choose what you buy carefully.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

TT Suspension Geometry Analysis: How Bad is Lowering for Handling?

I've always known that lowering cars past a point starts to impact handling...yes, for those of you unfamiliar with this logic, it seems counter intuitive. Lower car = lower center of gravity = better handling, right?

Problem is most cars' suspension geometry is not designed to sit low, hence when you lower a car, it can introduce things like bump steer or it can throw off static and dynamic camber.

Recently, I decided to look into the relationship between lowering and handling specifically in the case of the TT. I discovered this thread:

I must commend pyce on all the work he did to make those simulations...absolutely brilliant.

While it mostly deals with Mk4 VWs, the TT's front suspension is identical to a Mk4's, except for one critical component: the spindles (and matching control arms and ball joints to accommodate them)...more on that later.

Note: In that thread, "A4" refers to the Volkswagen A4 chassis which the Mk4 Golf/Jetta and also the Audi TT are built off of. It does not refer to the Audi A4 sedan.

The whole thread is a good read if you understand basic suspension concepts...I'll summarize my findings from that thread here.

First off, what's on everyone's mind: how can lowering hurt a car's handling? The TT uses a MacPherson strut design in which as the suspension starts to compress, the camber goes more negative (the top of the wheel tilts towards the inside of the car more). This is what you want for cornering to compensate for the large load being placed on the outer wheels to maintain as great a contact patch as possible. However, past a point, the camber starts to go more positive (bottom of the wheel tilts inwards towards the car), which is the opposite of what you want.

Lowering a car can often put its suspension geometry at the point where the camber is already more negative and as the car turns and the suspension compresses, the camber on the outer wheels goes more positive, which is opposite of what's desirable.

So just how much does lowering affect camber? Here's a graph based on a simulation pyce ran in the thread above:

(the graph is VERY close to true car is lowered right around 2" (50mm) and its static camber is 1.3 deg)

Now you can see why anyone driving a lowered Mk4 VW is liable to complain about the handling. The stock Mk4 spindles lowered anywhere over about a half inch are in the region where suspension travel causes camber to become more positive...and very rapidly! At just over 3" of travel the suspension is back to zero camber.

The TT, due to its different spindle design, has a far better camber curve. TT suspension can travel about 2" before the camber starts to become more positive and even then it doesn't go anywhere near as positive as Mk4 suspension. Notice how within an inch of travel (from 55mm to 80mm), it only goes about .1 degrees more positive.

The third spindle is the H2Sport spindle for Mk4s. It has an even more optimized design, as you can see in the camber curve. The key to the TT's highly improved camber curve over the Mk4 is in the placement of the ball joint on the spindle:

giving it far better camber characteristics.

The above graph however is with the wheels pointing straight, which is obviously not going to be the case going around a turn. When you turn the wheels, the camber changes, thanks to the ~8 degrees of caster built into the system. Here's a graph of what happens with the camber at various steering angles:

As you can see, when the wheels are turned the camber goes even more negative with the TT...meanwhile the Mk4 is still sucking at life and at one point actually sees positive camber.

So now, the bottom much worse are the camber characteristics of a lowered TT versus stock ride height, taking steering and now body roll into account?

Here's the graph:

As you can see, surprisingly the 60mm lowered TT actually has more negative camber (!!!) than stock ride height up to 4 degrees of body roll. As mentioned before, this is generally desirable in a turn. Past 4 degrees of body roll, the OEM ride height starts to have an advantage that at most (at 6 degrees body roll) is a half degree of camber.

So it looks like lowering doesn't impact the camber characteristics too badly. However, one thing that does change is the roll center. I won't go into detail with roll centers, but shifting the roll center can actually increase your car's tendency towards body roll. The roll center is positioned ideally right around stock ride height. The rule of thumb is that the roll center is optimized when the control arms are at or close to parallel with the ground. This is something to consider.

So what do I think?
From what the study shows, it is possible to have a reasonably low TT and not have it handle like crap. A lowered TT still maintains good dynamic camber characteristics, as shown in the graphs. At lesser degrees of body roll, the lowered TT's camber is actually more desirable than a TT at factory ride height.

As far as the roll center is concerned, while it tends to make the car more prone to body roll, there's all kinds of things you can do to inhibit body roll anyway:

-By lowering your car, you lower the center of gravity, which decreases the car's tendency to roll.
-Most coilover kits have stiffer springs than stock to help with body roll. Many of the springs are also progressive rate, meaning their spring rate gets higher (stiffer) the more they compress.
-Swaybars, the rear bar being an ever popular TT mod, also work to inhibit body roll.
-Tires can reduce body roll. Tires act like springs - when you apply a given force to them they give way somewhat based on how stiff the sidewall is and how large it is...just like the spring rate and length of a spring. Low profile tires with stiff sidewalls can work wonders in inhibiting body roll. A slight tire stretch can stiffen a sidewall even further. I used to run 19" wheels (which I don't suggest you do, they're too heavy) the fronts being 8.5" wide with a 225 series tire. It cut an amazing amount of body roll off of the stock suspension.

So there you have some brilliant research by pyce and my TT specific conclusions based on it. Hopefully this will shed some light on the TT's suspension to help you all choose your setups.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Vmaxx coilovers review

Vmaxx coilovers are the subject of a good bit of debate between TT guys, VW guys and even BMW guys. Basic issue is that they're so cheap, they can't possibly be good no matter what anyone says, right?

Not in my book.

I went ahead and bought a set of Vmaxx to replace my aging stock suspension. Having ridden in/driven numerous cars with aftermarket suspension, I had a pretty good basis for evaluating the performance of my Vmaxx coils.

That said, here are my impressions.

Build quality/fitment/ease of installation:
Build quality seems solid, nothing blatantly cheap about it. Installation was the same as any coilover install, except for one issue; there's no provisions to clip the brake line to the strut. I ended up using zip ties to hold the brake line down and make sure it doesn't rub. No big deal.

They come with a two year warranty on them as well, so frankly, I'm not too concerned about them wearing out early or something like that because I can get replacement parts for the next two years.

Ride height:
Since a lot of other aspects of this review depend on the ride height, figure I'll mention it first. They go plenty low for me, with more room to go. The fronts still have 3/4 - 1" left to go down. The rears are all the way down with perches in. This picture isn't exactly on flat ground but it gives you a rough idea:

(if the pictures are cut off, right click and and click "view image" or "show image")

And one in the grass for better to look supar low! w3rd!

My height is set pretty low but still driveable. I don't subscribe to the "as low as you can go" school of thought. My subframe is close enough to the ground as it is, I'd rather it not be any closer. It doesn't rub at all daily driving either. Sometimes if I hit a bump/incline taking a turn real fast it'll rub up front a tad, but it's minimal. I'm running 8" wide ET35 wheels with 15/20mm spacers front and rear, respectively.

Technically it's too low for optimum handling right now, since the control arms are tilted upwards slightly, throwing off the roll center. When I hit the track this summer, I'll pick it up some, but for now I'll leave it this way for looks.

Ride quality:
The ride is great. It's obviously rougher than stock, but it's not uncomfortable by any means. It has not elicited complaints from any passenger's so far, including females.

I've actuallye ridden in cars that ride far, far worse. My car rides about the same as my buddy's Mk4 GTI on Koni coilovers. It's only rough enough to be slightly annoying when you're on really TERRIBLE roads, but what can you expect from a lowered car? I think the moral is that as long as you don't slam the crap out of them, they will ride fine. Then again what coilovers actually ride nicely when slammed to the ground? I doubt any do...

Night and day over stock. Body roll is almost completely gone. What impressed me a lot however was that the car does not lurch forward and back anywhere near as much under braking/acceleration/corner lifting like it did with the stock suspension. This is excellent for braking stability and leaves some margin for error when going too fast into a turn (i.e. you can slow down and not lose the back end). They also don't bump steer or anything like that.

I purchased an accelerometer and managed to pull just over 1 G on a highway on-ramp as well. Take that, domestics ;)

While they could be set a bit stiffer, I think if the setup was any stiffer it would start getting uncomfortable for daily use. Therefore I'm quite happy with how they're set up.

Overall I'm definitely impressed with how they handle.

So for me, Vmaxx is an excellent buy. I think most of the hate either comes from prejudice towards a cheap product or simply bad experiences with slammed cars, which don't ride or handle optimally (especially Mk4s, with their crappy spindle design...but that's another story).

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Door sensor fix - DIY

I wasn't aware of how common this problem was until I experienced it - my door sensor stopped working i.e. the car wouldn't detect that my driver's door was open. This meant my window wouldn't do the slight roll down when I opened the door, the dome light wouldn't come on when I opened the door and most importantly the car wouldn't "bong" at me when I left my lights on...which lead to several instances of a dead battery.

Upon investigating it turns out this is a fairly common problem. There was some info I found in the AudiWorld FAQ but now it's FUBAR'd and I can't find it.

Here's how I went about fixing mine:

1. First I removed the door panel...probably the easiest thing to do on the whole car.

You have to first twist off the round metal cap at the base of the door handle (the thing that caps the metal cylinder where the window switches are). I believe you turn it counter clockwise. Once you have that off, there will be a lone torx screw in there...unscrew it and remove it. Then, grab the handle and lift up on the door card and you should feel it slide off the door.

Once you have access behind it, unhook the cable that attaches to the upper door release handle from the handle. Then, to get the card out of the way, just set it down on your door sill where it would normally sit when the door is it's conveniently out of your way.

2. Next you have to get the door latch assembly out; to do this you need to undo the two bolts on either side of the latch. You should use a 12 point bit to do this, and by "should" I mean "you can get away with using a torx bit carefully." However AutoZone and other parts stores do sell the 12 point bits, so I had a set to use.

Once you have it unbolted you have to disconnect the cable that ties the latch to the door handle. You have to turn the end of the cable the right way to let it slide off the lever that attaches it to the latch assembly. You can see the cable end here:

This was a bit tricky for me.

Next, just disconnect the wiring harness and the latch assembly should be free.

3. Now that you have the latch out, you can pop the sensor out (follow the blue and red wires, undo the clip and pull it out). Most likely you will see that it stopped working due to the rubber cap on the plunger getting worn off - it's no wonder. The design is crappy; you have rubber rubbing directly on another surface, it's BEGGING to wear out.

You can see here how it's worn the surface of the latch as well:

(door closed)

(door open)

In case you haven't figured it out, the worn part slides into contact with the plunger on the switch to close the circuit and let the car know that the door is open.

4. Apparently, there's a switch sold at Radio Shack that people use in place of the OEM switch, but I couldn't find any switch of this style at my local Radio Shack. So I resorted to a switch I had laying around, albeit much larger than the original piece:

So I ended up orienting the switch perpendicular to the OEM orientation to make it fit. I drilled a hole to attach it with a screw on one side and positioned the other side to sit against the body of the latch itself to prevent the switch from moving. Here's a picture of how it turned out:

So how you rig it depends on what switch you get a hold of, but that's how I did it.

5. Make sure you reassemble everything correctly. The paddle looking thing here:

Is what actuates your lock mechanism. Make sure it sits where it's supposed to in the latch assembly. Don't forget to reattach the cable for the handle as well.

Good luck!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ultimate Timing Belt DIY

For those of you who need your timing belt done, some people have done it themselves. While you can get it done at independent shop (i.e. not a dealer) for $500-$700, you can also do it yourself with ~$250 of parts.

The best DIY I've seen for this is the one by BlueTTop:

I have yet to see a more thorough and detailed writeup out there. Nice work :)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Suspension install DIY and tips.

DISCLAIMER: Follow these at your own risk. I'm not responsible for you damaging your car/injuring yourself/harming anything or anyone else. You shouldn't be touching suspension unless you have a good idea what you're doing.

I just got done installing coilovers and figured I'd share some of the things I picked up on while doing it. I went by this DIY for MkIV coilovers...they are almost identical up front (minus the swaybar links) and the rears are very similar to a FWD TT.

Keep in mind, I have a FWD which is different in the rear...however even the quattro doesn't look that different.

Tip #1: Use air tools.
If you don't have air tools find someone who does. A lot of nuts in the suspension are nylon locknuts and an incredible pain to remove by hand. This way you also won't need special tools to remove nuts from the strut towers.

Tip #2: Make sure you have a spindle spreader tool and proper spring compressor.
You have to pry the front spindles apart to remove the front struts; there is a special tool for this. It's just a little socket tool with an oval shaped bit that's used to pry the spindle apart. It's available on ECSTuning for about $25 if I recall.

Also, if you rent spring compressors from AutoZone ($50 when you rent them, you get the $50 back when you return them) make sure you ask for STRUT SPRING COMPRESSORS. Initially I rented a pair of "spring compressors" and they were not the correct parts. You need "strut compressors" or "strut spring compressors" even though most people and DIYs just call them "spring compressors."

Tip #3: Replace your front strut bushings/bearings.
Not only is this good for refreshing your suspension, it also saves you from needing to take apart your OEM struts to retreive the bushings/bearings.

Tip #4: Use loctite blue.
Suspension components are constantly exposed to vibration and don't want the bolts working themselves loose. Get a tube of loctite blue and put it on all the bolts you install...a lot of the nuts are locknuts but I still used loctite anyway.

Tip #5: Removing the front struts.
The front driver's side comes right out. You can get the control arm plenty low enough to just take the strut right out and put the new one right in.

However the passenger's side, for whatever reason, does not go down anywhere near as low. This makes it a bit of a pain to get the strut out.

At first I tried to compress the spring far enough to get some clearance to remove the strut....I hit the damn thing with four spring compressors and it still wouldn't come out. Point behind using more than two was that compressing several of the coils would give me access to the other coils then I'd compress those with the other pair...but this still wasn't working. I was doing this at a friend's garage and he didn't have a socket to remove the upper strut nut (deep 21mm) I couldn't get the bushing out. If I could have gotten the bushing out I MAY have had enough clearance to remove it.

There is BARELY ANY clearance to even get spring compressors in there...even the spring coils themselves are hard to get the spring compressors onto. Here's what I'm talking about:

What I ended up doing was disonnecting the tie rod from the spindle and removing the ball joints. This allowed me to move the spindle enough to get the strut out. Here's a pic of it removed...notice how I had four spring compressors on it by this point:

I'm not sure if spring compressors would have been necessary to remove it this way, I'm going to guess that they wouldn't have.

Make sure you put the ball joints back where they were or at least both in the same position. They are usually the whole way to the inside of the control arm. They should pretty much sit themselves in this position when you go to reassemble anyway. If you move them it adjusts your camber.

The part of the tie rod end that bolts into the spindle doesn't have any adjustment, so you shouldn't throw off your toe just by removing it. You'll need an alignment for the rears anyhow if you're quattro so you might as well get an alignement for good measure.

Tip #6: Removing rear springs.
Since my car is FWD, its rear suspension is a torsion beam setup. The torsion beam is pretty robust, however the quattro fully independent suspension might not be so robust.

That said the way I removed the rear springs on my FWD involved two people. I jacked up one corner, put it on stands and removed the wheel (obviously) then had my buddy stand on the rear brake caliper while I snatched the rear spring out. Again this might not be a good idea with rear control arms in the quattro (or in general) but it worked for me. Worst comes to worst you would just use a spring compressor to compress the spring and then remove it. However using my method you can have the spring out in notime.

Tip #7: Removing rear shock mounts.
You'll notice if you just try and unscrew the shock mount off the shock the shock will just spin. Have a vice grip or a pair of channel locks and a rag (to not damage the old/new one) ready to clamp down the shock so you can remove the nut that holds the mount.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

How to look up part numbers and get OEM parts cheap

Dealers use a fancy catalog program called "ETKA" to pick out and order parts...ETKA looks something like this:

It provides one with an exploded drawing and a list of part numbers that correspond to the parts pictured...very useful. But what if you need something from the dealer, but don't want to go to the dealer and get ripped off on it...or you just need to look up what a certain part is by its part number? Let's assume you can't get a hold of a copy of ETKA.

Fortunately, there's a free website that is pretty much just like ETKA, except the drawings are a bit lower quality:

To view drawings you will, however, need to login. I've registered an account that all of you may use:

USERNAME: filipsresource
PASSWORD: auditt

With this you can view drawings and pick out the parts you need.

When you're ready to order parts, go to Apparently, these guys order parts through a dealer (Miramar VW/Audi, going by how their email is and their stuff ships from California) but sell it to you for less than a dealer would. I've ordered parts through them before and have been happy with my purchases.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

How to replace your brakes with Porsche Boxster (986) brakes

The 986 generation Boxster S uses a sweet set of four piston Brembos, meanwhile TTs are stuck with single piston VAG parts bin calipers. How lame is that?

Fortunately, Boxster front brakes swap very easily onto our cars. They use the same rotors, and you can keep the same brake lines. You can get a set of Boxster calipers on eBay for ~$400 or so. If their paint is in lousy condition, send them my way! I'll powdercoat them in the color of your choice.

Here's l88m22vette's thread on how he did his upgrade:

Here's his parts list:
arts/price list:
* Mk1 Porsche Boxster (986) front calipers - $415
-- Porsche parts numbers 986.351.421, 986.351.422
-- Brembo 1pc 4-piston aluminum calipers, as opposed to the stock steel 2pc 2-piston calipers. I got them from German Auto Parts Distributors, an awesome source - 706-865-5200. Ask for Joe. I received the calipers in great condition.
* 986 replacement hardlines and bleeder valves - $180.
* Pure Motorsports 986 carriers (with carrier to caliper bolts) - $175
* Hawk HPS pads (or whichever you like)
--- Boxster front pad #: HB289F.610 - $95
--- Audi 225TT rear pad #: HB364F.587 - $50
* SS front/rear brake lines (with spring clips) - $150, ECS
* Boxster caliper-specific banjo bolts (different thread pitch than VAG) - $25, ECS
* New plain, vented replacement rotors for 225 - $160, MJM Autohaus
* Brake fluid - Motul RBF600, $45...I was going to use ATE Superblue, but that will eat up seals.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Want to find out how much a set of wheels weigh?

Check this place out:

Lots of weights of different aftermarket wheels.

Monday, February 9, 2009

One year and counting!

The resource has been up for just over a year now, some may have noticed the first post was in January of last year.

To date, it has had just over 30,000 views. In the beginning, the average was about 4-5 views a day. These days, most of the time it receives about 150 views a day, sometimes as high as 250.

The site could have never been even remotely popular without the TT enthusiast community reading up and spreading the word. Many thanks to all of you and I look forward to spreading much more knowledge to the Mk1 community.

P.S. some of you may have noticed that I cut the formatting down to five posts per page. This is to make the site a bit more manageable for 56k and even broadband users. Due to the large number of pics on a single page, one would have to wait for them all to load or suffer through jumpy browsing as the pictures came up. With five posts per page, this issue is eliminated, and the page can be accessed from phones etc more easily.

FAQ: Coolant...what to use, where to get.

Many wonder (I wondered myself) where to get coolant for the TT.

The TT only takes G12 which is a proprietary VW coolant. Therefore you won't find it in your auto parts stores, you have to go a VW or Audi dealer. It's about $25 for 1 gallon of concentrate, which gets cut 50/50 and makes two gallons, way more than enough to fill the system.

If you're replacing the coolant I HIGHLY suggest you do a flush. My heatercore had all kinds of gunked up coolant in it; after I cleaned it out, my car's heater warmed up amazingly quickly compared to before.

Friday, February 6, 2009

How to set the clock.

Common issue...with a simple solution.

Pull the little silver stalk right next to the clock display on the cluster. Turn it left or right to adjust the hours...pull it out again to move to the minutes...pull it out again to adjust parts of the date. And voila, your clock is set.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

HID Upgrade/Cheap Replacement DIY

A fellow TTer I know started having issues with one of the ballasts/bulbs on his car recently and instead of trying to find an OEM replacement he decided to replace the entire ballast/bulb combo with aftermarket 55W units. This all cost <$100...which is probably less than you could get a used ballast for. While I'm leary of stuff off eBay, this is such a cheap alternative I think it's worth a shot for anyone who's having issues with the HIDs (which seem to be common).

Here's Joe's writeup:

Friday, January 23, 2009

Now Sponsoring AudiFreaks

I'm now offering powdercoating through out my gallery etc. And sign up for the forum while you're at it, you'll notice I'm on there all the time answering people's TT questions and what not :)

email for quotes etc.

Monday, January 19, 2009

TT Engine Info

There are four different 1.8T motors that were used in the TT, by engine code they are:
In the 180 - ATC, AWP
In the 225 - AMU, BEA

Here's some facts pertaining to high performance applications of these engines:

All 1.8T TTs have a forged crank and pistons.

Yes, all TTs, right down to the FWD have forged internals (minus the rods). The stock crank has yet to break from a high HP applicatoin, same with the pistons; they are made by Mahle and have withstood over 700 bhp. The part prone to failure is the rods, which is discussed below.

Rods in 1.8T TTs vary in size, but some 180 and 225 models have the same rods.

The ATC engine, used in model year 2000 TTs, uses 20mm wrist pin rods, which makes its internals identical (strength wise) to those used in both 225 motors. However, in 2001, Audi started using the AWP motor which does in fact have weaker 19mm rods. The rods shouldn't be trusted for applications above roughly 300 ft-lbs of torque.

The 225 has a "webbed" block...but nobody has broken a 180 block yet anyway.

Audi included some "webbing" around the 225 block to increase its strength. However, at least in the short term, someone has yet to cause the 180 block to fail.

Some TTs have wideband oxygen sensors, some have narrow band.

Early TTs did not use a wideband oxygen sensor and later models did. Not all 225s have wideband; the AMU 225 motor, used until somewhere in 2003, still uses narrowband. The AWP 180 motor, used in TTs since 2001, incorporates wideband. In a nutshell, ATC 180s and AMU 225s don't have wideband, AWP 180s and BEA 225s do have wideband.

Wideband is a highly desirable option for tuning, since it allows the engine to precisely control air fuel ratios to the point where the engine can run without a MAF sensor, given the proper ECU software.

The 180 and 225 have different compression ratios.

The 180hp TT has 9.5:1 compression whereas the 225hp TT has 9.0:1.

225s have bigger injectors

225s have 380cc injectors whereas 180s have 318cc. For almost any big turbo setup, however, injectors will have to be swapped out.

Some TTs have variable valve timing, but it's not for performance.

VVT is used on startup for emissions and makes for ridiculously expensive cam chain tensioners.

There are other differences between the 180 and 225, primarily related to the turbo hardware.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

TT Transmissions

There seems to be some misinformation floating around about what transmissions are used in which model of the TT, so I'll take a moment to set it straight.

180 FWD:
The 180FWD uses the 02J transmission. The 02J is an older and weaker design than the 02M. The 02J from the Audi TT FWD and other drivetrain components (axles, clutch, flywheel) can be swapped directly into a 1.8T MkIV Volkswagen and vice versa. I sold my old 02J to a local guy with a GTI who is now running it.

180 Quattro:
All Quattro cars use the newer 02M transmission. The 02M is a newer design and is generally bulletproof. For a high HP drag car, an 02M is rather desirable as the 02J has a habit of breaking from abuse.

225 Quattro:
The 225 uses the same type of transmission as the 180 Quattro, just with slightly different ratios and a sixth gear added. IT IS NOT a better/stronger transmission than the 180 Quattro's.

It is possible to swap a 6-speed 02M from a Jetta GLI or 337/20th AE GTI into a FWD TT in place of the 02J, however it's not cheap or simple. Apart from the transmission itself, which costs $1000-$1500 used, one must obtain axles, a clutch and miscellaneous pieces which total up to around an extra $1000 (going with used parts, mind you) on top of the cost of the transmission itself.

Here's a chart denoting the ratios for each:

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Angel Eyes - DIY

Angel eyes are without a doubt one of my favorite mods I've done. It's not hard to see why:

They look fantastic on the TT. Almost looks like the car should have come with them.

However if you look around, the only TT specific kit is the HIN Concepts kit...which costs $150. Fortunately, an excellent solution can be had for cheaper....about $35.

I bought a set of these on eBay from that very seller, who was very helpful and shipped them out really quickly. The high beam poriton of the headlight housing is about 100mm you want the 90mm set that I linked to. This is what the second set I got looked like:

The trickiest part is finding something to mount the lights with. I found a useful piece for this in the most unusual of places...

Go to your closet. Find a hangar that's used to hang pants...the kind that is straight with two clips at the end that are held together with U shaped metal clips. You want these metal clips:

Once you have your headlight apart, use these metal clips to secure the angel eye to the top part of the housing. You may have to bend the clips a little to make them fit tighter, and I'd highly suggest reinforcing the angel eyes with some high strength tape. This is what happens if you don't reinforce them tightly enough and proceed to track your car and later drive with high beams...(the ring vibrated off the mount and onto the high beam bulb):

Wiring is up to you, you could wire them to replace your running lights, or you can wire them to any separate 12V power source. I wired them to an ignition switched lead under my dash and then ran a switch in the cockpit to turn them on and off. I also removed my stock running lights for a cleaner look. I drilled a hole to run the wiring out the back of the headlights:

Since I didn't make this exceptionally clear, feel free to shoot me any questions in an email or Vortex PM. Good luck!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Cracked Bumper?

Being winter, I know there's a lot of TT owners out there busting their front bumpers on chunks of ice/snow in the road or from running off road to make up for people's dumb mistakes in the snow. Fortunately there are options and upgrades to those with messed up bumpers.

If you cracked just the lower portion, you can cover it up with a Votex front lip. Votex is OEM styling from Audi...which means OEM look, OEM fitment and OEM quality. They make rather clean side skirts and a rear valence can find them on If I recall, the front lip is ~$400. It can also be ordered from the dealership.

Pics of the lip:

No other lip gets the job done better/cheaper that I know of.

Other options include the OEM bumper ($400 from the dealer) the S-Line bumper (somewhere around $1200 from the dealer) or you can splurge on an aftermarket option.

For those of you who want to shave your alien doors, there's a version of the bumper without doors for headlight washers, the part number is 8N0 807 101 AA.


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