The Red Mist, An RS5 Tale and introduction

Hi, I’m Ape! If you haven’t seen a Schmee! video on youtube, google it. Anyway, wanted to introduce myself and explain my journey into the Audi universe. I own a 2013 Audi RS5 in Misano Red. Best car I’ve ever owned. I know a lot of you know me either personally or through the internet so the below is literally a step back in time. I’ve expanded quite a bit over the last few years and even went so far as to form a company to product transmission cooler kits, and other products. Here, I don’t have to hide that fact like I do on other sites. I’m a very enthusiastic enthusiast.

YouTube channel-
Instagram redmist5
Edit: This is now my official build thread. I’ll keep the top up to date with modifications for future reference.
Klassen ID M10 Wheels in High Gloss Black Powder Coat 20x10, et25
285/30/20 Michelin PS4S tires
AWE Tuning Track Extreme Exhaust (now with resonated AWE downpipes)
Eventuri Intake with the Version II Filters
Bilstein PSS10 Coil Over Suspension
H&R Front and Rear Sway Bars
CR-15 Front Reinforcement Bar
STERN Upper Control Arms
034 Motorsports subframe bushings
ECS Tuning Front Adjustable Sway Bar Links
034 Motorsports rear sway bar end links
034 Motorsports Upper Shock Mounts
Whiteline Upper Control Arm Bushings
EBC RED Rear Disc Brake Pads
ECS Tuning Stainless Steel Brake Lines
Apikol Rear Diff Front Bushing
ECS Rear Diff Rear Bushings (2)
Euro Tail Lights
Euro Head Lights
Black Lip Spoiler
Maxton Design Front splitter
Maxton Design Side Skirts
Black Rings Front and Rear
Black RS5 Logo, Rear
Red Trim Start Button
Pinalloy Red Shift Paddles
Pinalloy Carbon Fiber Valve Stem Caps w/Audi Logo

The first sip of coffee from my spill-proof cup came two and a half hours later than expected. As I ascended up the mountain pass, the road hid, swooned, up and around crests, undulating back and forth without warning. Dense fog meant visibility was at a premium and with flashers blinking, I attacked a damp, unfamiliar road with abandon and 450 horsepower. The blunt nose of the Red Mist tore through the damp atmosphere, the sound of the exhaust bouncing and ripping through the surrounding forests with a mixture of upper harmonic screams and low, thundering pulses as it swallowed mile after mile of asphalt. A dull stretch of straight road appeared just as the mist and adrenaline waned. I took that first sip and knew all was right in the world. I’d made the right choice.

I remembered my very first sighting in the wild as the RS5 tore away from traffic, it’s exhaust wailing in the night air. I’d decided right then and there that the RS5 would be, somehow, some way, mine. Not terminally rich where nothing satisfies, I knew despite all the articles and armchair philophs, the RS5 was for me. Time, and depreciation, made it possible.

Let’s back up. My journey began on a Friday afternoon flight out of Texas to chase a car I’d never laid eyes on in person. In fact I’d chased this very car through two different states and when it once again, appeared for sale, I pounced.

Like all airline flights, the trip out was arduous, longer than needed and topped off with bad food. At least I had a good beer. I landed in Little Rock and crossed my hotel room’s threshold a bit after 11pm.

Shit. It’s late. I need to be up early to grab breakfast before the driver picks me up at 7:30am. It’s a two-hour journey the the small town of Clarksville.

I’m restless. For the past 24 hours, my mind had been engaged in active sabotage as it ran over every little last possible thing that could go wrong. The plane could crash. The driver could crash. I could get delayed on my layover. After getting bumped out of my seat, I could get forcibly dragged off my flight by law enforcement. The car could break down on the way back. Worst, it wasn’t as described and a whole lot rougher than I was expecting and I’d have to walk. Donald Trump could decide to attack North Korea. Sad.

I forced myself into sleep, somehow, but woke in a cold sweat at 4:30am, my usual time for sleep intermission. My mind ran over the trip home, 12 hours to be exact; the scenic route. I dozed off and woke to my phone’s alarm. Painful.

My driver arrived early and I wasn’t packed or fed. I made it down to the $3.95 breakfast buffet and wolfed down what could have possibly been three eggs, two slices of bacon and a glass of OJ in a minute-fifty flat.

I settle at the front counter and walk out to greet my driver. He’s an elderly gentleman who seems happy to see me despite the fact he’s just driven two hours and was probably out of bed at 4:30am. Unlike me, he couldn’t drift off for another two hours.

The first two curves leave doubts we’ll make it there in one piece. The highway on-ramp was particularly scary as we drifted over the white like and he jerked to keep the Ford Escape on course. The tires loaded up and started to roll over on their sidewalls. I clenched multiple orifices. Fortunately, I thought, the highway is pretty straight from here on out and loosened my grip on the passenger’s seat grab handle as the road straightened out.

I convince him to stop at Starbucks in Russellville. Surprisingly, he knows where it is. It’s the only one for 50 miles and I want to fill up my no-spill cup with something drinkable laced with caffeine and sugar. We’re 22 minutes out at this point and I’m nervous as all hell. I can’t get there soon enough and I’m hoping the dealership is right off the highway and not 15 minutes inland on a slow, tortuous 25mph road designed to infuriate. Murphy’s law, right?

Jackpot! We’re in middle America and there’s a Chevy dealer on the right of the highway, and a Ford dealer, where my RS5 is, on the left. Josh, my salesman, has it sitting right out front. It’s so red, I easily see it from 300 yards away out of the corner of my eye. I dare not look to long. I don’t want to appear desperate.

We pull up and I jump out. Holy hell is that thing red. It glows. I’m smitten. I’m hooked. It’s not the first Misano
Red I’ve seen or driven. It is, however, the first that’ll be mine.

Josh comes out with a big smile and a bigger handshake. I’m a decade his senior but we’ve been talking and texting non-stop for two weeks. This has been a long time coming.

Test drive. He asks if I want to put my luggage in the trunk. I say “Ok” and he pops the trunk and I set everything inside. I haven’t even taken it for a test drive or looked it over I thought. It ain’t mine yet. I pop all the doors and hood and check for damage repair. I look in every corner of the interior, the wheels, the nether regions of the engine bay. Everything as far as I can tell, looks good. “Let’s go,” I say nervously as I jump into the driver’s seat and he into the passenger’s seat. The car has definitely been detailed and I’m ok with that.

Backed up against the front entrance, I hit the magic button and the engine fires quickly. It sounds like the growl of a T-Rex. If there’s anything you need to understand at this point in time it’s that the car is very red, very loud and seems very angry. I can see the building’s large panes of glass vibrating as the exhaust pulses hit it. I don’t blip the throttle.

Pulling away, I’m steered to a winding road which dead ends into a scenic park. The route is lined with homes. This car is LOUD. I take it easy. I’m five over as I go over a blind crest and approach a T junction. There’s a cop in an SUV sitting there watching. This car is red. This car is red. I quickly snip it into 7th and it’s reasonably quiet. The cop pulls out and heads the other way. I really don’t need a ticket on the test drive. Josh turns his head and does a 180 to see if he’s following. This alarms me.

I make it back to the dealership and hand over more hard-earned cash. The deal has been made. I do convince him to put the car up on a lift. I want to dial the Bilsteins down a bit for the trip home. The lift wasn’t an easy proposition as the car is lower than stock and the side skirts are deep. The mechanic gets it up after rolling the car onto some 2x4’s. Up in the air it goes. I quickly go to work and dial the shocks full hard before dialing them back five clicks all-around. I’m thinking about tackling all the roads I’ve Google mapped and sent to my phone.

With the paperwork and two keys in hand, I tell Josh I’m going to sit here for a bit and configure everything to my liking. I get my phone synched, launch my preferred route and get the radar detector plugged in. I’m ready. Shit. They didn’t fill the tank.

I pull into the Shell station and lovingly pump in 93 premium at $2.58 a gallon. I remember they gave me a free ride from the airport. Still, would have been nice. It’s 10:30am and rain is expected late-night. I believe I’ll make it home before the rain hits. There are patches of swiftly moving clouds and beams of sunshine. I pinch myself as I click the gas cap into place. Dialing in some classic Rush, I take a left and head for a short stint on the highway to the next exit. I take it slow and manage to see yet another cop before I exit onto one of those must-drive roads.

The suspension is taunt, the engine is warm and ready and there’s not much traffic, if any, as I head through the first set of curves. Three miles in, there’s a trail head and a place to park. Yep, gotta take pics. I snap a few and two young women appear out of the woods and walk back to their SUV. They stare. RS5’s are a bit on the rare side round these parts, Walton’s be damned.

Ok, I need to make some progress. I make it across the bridge and into a good set of turns, uphill as I let the engine rev out, coast, downshift and repeat it all again. Things are looking good. There’s a spot or two on the windshield and it’s looking a bit misty. I begin another climb, round a corner and run into a wall of fog. It’s 30ft. fog, as in that’s my visibility. The car is dotted with condensed water vapor and I’m able to keep the windows and sunroof cracked.

I drive by an intersection where two young helmet-equipped kids are on a moped waiting for me to pass. I blast by thinking they really picked the wrong time to drive a road like this. I need more pictures and pull into a mislabeled scenic overlook. With the fog I can’t see a damn thing but it makes an interesting backdrop for the red RS5. I spend 10 minutes shooting a few photos and see the two on the moped pass by. Shit. I’m going to get stuck behind them. I snap some more photos and begin to make my way uphill again.

I never see those kids again. In fact, except for one small stretch, I don’t see anyone. No mind. I tackle the task at hand with eyes wide open and begin to push harder and harder. The car responds and it is in all honestly, unflappable. I could probably double my pace but I have a LONG way to go.

The descent is every bit as fun and I almost never have to rely on the 380mm carbon ceramic brakes. Looking back, I honestly couldn’t tell you if they were any good or not. The car and the road flowed for miles on end.

The wet mountain roads turned into sunny b-roads, the sort you find in the English countryside, minus the sunshine. The pavement is less than perfect, not that wide but twisty none-the-less. Farm-lined, the carbon ceramics are ready to keep the front end out of a tractor’s rear end.

Like all deer, the buck in the middle of the road appeared out of nowhere. I scrubbed 30mph of speed, put five inches of my two passenger wheels (they’re 10 inches wide) off the non-existent shoulder and could have slapped him on the ass as I passed. F*ck.

The road straightens out and I let myself and the car relax. I also take that first sip of coffee. It was still hot.

To be continued….


If I’d just met him on the street randomly, I never would have guessed he owned a car dealership. Honestly, I would have thought he was a minister at one of those new-age churches. About my age, fit-thin and neatly dressed in a plaid shirt and khakis, he spoke softly, in that “God voice” as I like call it. I apologized to him multiple times for purchasing the car so soon after it’s arrival. Like the day after. He still managed to get another 200 miles on the odometer before I’m sure, someone on the sales team politely took the keys away from him. Spoken for. How a way-too-red RS5 ended up in the bible belt small town of Clarksville, Arkansas is a bit of a story in itself.

The owner is a true enthusiast and even though he owns a Ford franchise, their team scours the internet for other “A” list cars that offer something special at just the right price. He often drives them for a bit but also offers them for sale. There were several interesting cars, easily visible from the highway, including a newish Z06, a Mercedes-Benz or two and a few well done/tricked out Jeeps. He flew to Dallas personally to drive the RS5 back to Arkansas. The team put the car up on the web, sans photos or many details, before the car even arrived.

I have multiple alerts set up to scour the internet and when a new RS5 popped up with the VIN, scant details and no photos, I looked up it’s window sticker and saw it had every option available. “Nothing left to want” I said to myself. I then realized it was the same car I’d seen in Dallas weeks prior. At that time, I knew a bit about what was on the car but not all. I googled Klaassen M10 and RS5. Shawn’s German Pacific images popped up and I followed it back to the original thread, here, on Audizine. Looking over the mods and adding up the cost, I was pretty sure this would be the car. Everything had to check out of course and the nerves set in as I circled the red RS5 like a digital vulture.

Full service history? Check. Audi care? Check. I still needed to see the car in person and go over everything. A quick email had the sales team jump into action. Josh was exceptional and must have answered a hundred questions. He supplied photos, videos, you name it. They knew there were some mods on the car but probably not the full build. I kept those details to myself and negotiated the price down to something I thought was fair for both parties. They agreed and the deal was struck. Honestly the best car purchase experience I’ve ever had but more on that later.

Back to the drive. Having left the confines of fog and 40 turns a mile, the road opened up into rolling plains and fast sweepers connected with long straights. The occasional chicken farm and tractor kept things interesting. F*ck me, chickens smell. Small towns along the route kept me honest and out of the immediate arrest and deportation zone.

I took a brief break in one small town to fill up on fluids. I parked along “Main Street” and a series of buildings looked to have been built in the early 1900’s. A seemingly stray dog bolted across the street in front of me, followed 50 feet back by his owner as they made their way to the same convenience store. “Wow, that’s a red car! What is it?” I told him about the car and the road trip explaining I was taking the scenic route. With a laugh he burst out. “Scenic route!? You took the wrong road! But I’ll take a ride!” He was keenly aware my laugh was a nervous one.

Topped up with fluids I headed out of town over some tracks and past a modern church with dozens of kids roaming out front. Some sort of fall event. The car barked as I downshifted into second. They all seemingly froze, stopped what they were doing and stared. I saw one boy point and I slunked down in the seat, half-embarrased by a really juvenile display. Still, I snickered softly.

Arkansas must be a state full of late-risers. Traffic was on the rise but still sporadic. Having burned off the fog, the sun was now a constant companion. With windows down and the sunroof cracked, temperatures were still in the low-70s and oh so perfect.

Small beat-up pickups with too many people crammed into the cab were ubiquitous. I became audibly frustrated as passing zones were virtually non-existent and I was being forced to tackle roads at a crawl. “I’m missing out” I thought to myself and looked for any opening to blast past slower vehicles. The redline scream from the cockpit is truly intoxicating, one of the great automotive aural pleasures I’m sure. I can only imagine what it sounded like as I passed. Part of me wanted to be crammed into that cab just to experience it. A very, very small part of me.

The rest of my psyche was in the “pig in sh*t” stage (What say ye Freud?) and busy multitasking by scanning my surroundings looking for errant animals, cops or anything else that would generally ruin my day. Progress was starting to become a priority with fewer turns and more traffic building up my anticipation of finding a major highway and a high rate of speed and a cell signal.

For the past few hours, I’d had no cell reception. The GPS still worked of course and I’d made it a point to download the creme de la creme of my music library. This was happenstance as I’d updated my phone recently and in the process, my downloaded music had all been deleted. I did not discover this, however, until I sat down on and put the phone in airplane mode. Really? I frantically downloaded almost 100 songs in between sitting down and actual takeoff. Yes, I stopped before the plane took off. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

The hills diminished and I found myself in Texarkana, the highway and the realm of concrete slabs. Seems like this part of the world doesn’t believe in quality asphalt. Cell reception returned as did half a dozen texts from my wife asking when I was going to be home. I may have forgotten to mention the scenic route to her.

I made my way past dozens of burgeoning small towns, the neon glow of strip mall signs and gas stations matched the ambient light of the setting sun. For some reason I’ve always had an affinity for dusk. It just seems magical to me. The car continued to rumble and howl around me.

Kathunk. Kathunk. Kathunk. The expansion joints created the rhythm as concrete barriers and the road ahead guided me towards Dallas. Left lane drivers provided an opportunity for a downshift or two and quick right-lane passes. The acceleration was as entertaining as the exhaust ripping off the concrete barriers. Slow drivers weren’t even obstacles and I felt no need to rage. I kept the music fairly low and the tunnel vision had set in as the sun went down. The sky was made black by the bright lights of cars and businesses in every direction. Cracked windows and a cracked sunroof provided access to the night air.

At this point I started paying attention to gas mileage. Shame on you! It’s a curiosity killed the cat sort of thing. I always like to know just how far I can push things past the “E” on the gas gauge. Just ten more miles. More time saved, more time driving, less time stopped.

It was impossible to miss the low fuel warning in the center cluster and I’d already decided not to push it. My last car had three more gallons in reserve with the gas needle buried well past empty. You’d have to be really, really stupid to run out of gas in that car. The RS5’s gauge was an unknown so I found a top tier station and pulled in. I was at what, an eigth of a tank? The pump clicked at 13 gallons and change. Looks like the gauge is pretty accurate.

I repeated that routine two more times. As bad as I’d been, the mileage was actually good and better than expected. I had expected the gas bill to come in somewhere round the price of a first class air ticket.

The rest of the trip was uneventful bordering on anxious as I waited to see familiar roads, my home and eventually my wife and three dogs. Only one of them will ever get to ride in the RS5. Shame.

Ultimately this’ll form into a build thread as I make small changes here and there. Yesterday I had my first opportunity to wash and wax the car since the purchase. I looked at the forecast and no rain was scheduled for the foreseeable 10-day future. I of course checked the weather again after completing my detail job and it’s now going to rain on Thursday. Two clean days are better than none but FU mister computer weather man algorithm.

Anyway, here’s some wash porn along with some interior detail shots. I’ll do a full exterior shoot at some point.

So far I’ve changed out the front and rear chrome rings with Audi OEM black ones, added the paddle extenders, a CR-15 front “strut” bar and done a few coding things. I’ve purchased a Ross-Tech vag-com cable and I’ll hopefully have Elsawin up and running today after battling file sizes, installation woes and general sh*tty dealings with Windows. Seriously, worst OS ever.

I’ve also managed my first oil change with Motul Specific and changed out the spark plugs as well.

The car came with the trunk mat and I located a used but mint condition Audi OEM cargo net.

Posted these in another thread but it shows off the new black badges front and rear. With a heat gun, it’s pretty easy to accomplish.

I’ve had the Canyon Road CR-15 bar on the car for a few weeks now and feel I can comment on it. It seems to have lessened the car’s desire to wander over ruts and made the front end a hair tighter than without. I may remove it just to see if I indeed notice those changes. It’s not a dramatic increase on an RS5 and I may try one of the under braces as well. I think both offerings are billet aluminum and they may drop a pound or two from the steel OEM unit.

Updated video. Better equipment this time.

So today was the official “tone down the RS5 day”. A big hat’s off to AWE who produced a set of resonated downpipes and got them to me two weeks earlier than expected. Exceptional customer service.

I unpacked their resonated downpipes and was pretty surprised at how large the “resonators” were. Hell, these are mufflers. Light though, they really don’t add noticeable weight over the non-res.

Took me a few hours to install due to distractions but I eventually got them in. Not a fun project when on jack stands but doable. I will say the AWE instructions are not very good from an explanatory standpoint. It would have been nice to know clearances for the resonator section and how far up to rotate them. I rotated them what I thought was fairly high up (but not too close to the driveshaft) and I didn’t make a good judgement of the ground clearance. As such, I managed to scrape my first time backing out of the garage. I’ll have to hoist it up again tomorrow and rotate them even higher.

On the noise front, all cabin drone is GONE. You do hear the exhaust out the back but that’s it. I’d say it reduces the overall sound output by two thirds. You can hear the exhaust in steady state cruising but it’s non-intrusive. Wide open throttle still sounds exceptional but the overall volume is greatly reduced and it’s a bit smoother in sound. It’ll still get you noticed at WOT. Definitely not as aggressive and bad-ass sounding as the non-res downpipes. At first I really thought it was too quiet. After a second jaunt, I think it’s going to be perfect, just what I was looking for. Cold start is also much quieter and I don’t feel like I’ll need to keep the garage door closed when starting the car up in the morning.

Shot of the resonated downpipes:

Resonated and non-resonated:

Of interest, one could theoretically swap between the resonated and non-resonated just by swapping out the post-flange section of the downpipes. The flanges, and their angle, look identical. I actually thought about just swapping the rear section but one of my band clamp nuts decided to just spin and not actually come off. I pulled them in their entirety to rectify the situation as they say.

First video with the resonators on, cold start.

New video, AWE Touring exhaust, hot start, revving and hard acceleration from outside the car.[video=youtube_share;GQentg1MXP8][/video]

I’m going to start logging engine parameters since, other than the exhaust, the car is “currently” stock. I want a baseline of how the car performs under various conditions. With the weather changing so much as of late, it’s a good time.

I’ve actually already logged air/fuel and IAT’s (air intake temps) using an iPhone and bluetooth OBD dongle. The sample rate is very slow despite having the Kiwi3 dongle. I’m getting maybe 2-3 samples a second. I’d like to see 8-10 for greater resolution. Reading more, it may be ECU limited, not the interface.

I’ve had a Ross-Tech VCDS USB cable for a few months now but used it for the first time yesterday to reset my service indicator. I also plan on changing a few adaptations, specifically disabling the automatic seat heating level change as well as adjusting oil service intervals to 5K miles.

Here are the codes for those two…

Disable seat heating level 3 to level 2 after 10 minutes.
[08-Auto HVAC]
[Channel 50] level 3 to 2; adjust value as required; default value = 10 (minutes); value 0 = off
[Channel 51] level 2 to 1; adjust value as required; default value = 0 (minutes)

Set Oil Change Interval to 5k Miles
[17 – Instruments][Adaptation – 10] ->Channel 50 (Basic Distance Value for Oil Change Fixed Service Interval)
Set to 80
(1 interval = 100 km, therefore 80x100km = 8000km = ~5000mi)

For how to data log with the VCDS, go here;

There’s a open source/freware program called VC-Scope which allows you to graph data in real time and play back files.

Unfortunately it’s still not exactly what I’m looking for as the resolution (speed at which it logs data) can be very slow. Ross-Tech recommends the following;
[I]" The sample rate for viewing and logging data is largely determined by each controller in the car. There are a few things you can do to speed up the rate for a given controller. First, logging one group at a time, rather than two or three, will help greatly. In order to get the highest sample rate possible go to the Options screen and set Blk Int to 25 and Char Int to 0. Note, however, that this may cause unreliable communications with some controllers. Changing KP2 time to a smaller value speeds up the sample rate in Measuring Blocks on control modules that use the KWP-2000 protocols. Try setting it to 0. If any of these adjustments cause unreliable communications, change them back closer to the defaults. If in doubt, use the Restore Defaults button!

In Engine controllers using KWP-2000, there is a [Turbo] button when using a HEX interface… This can significantly speed up sampling, in some cases to over 30 samples per second. See the Measuring Blocks page for more information. In Engine controllers using UDS, there is a “Group UDS requests” checkbox that can improve sample rates. See the Advanced Measuring Values page for more information."[/I]

Related info to logging speed here:

The Ross-Tech software is very “Windows”. It’s most definitely not a WYSIWYG program like most folks find in modern operating systems and programs. So…once you log lambda from the on-board wide band sensors on the RS5, you’ll need to take those values, dump the .csv file into Microsoft Excel. Yes, you’ll need launch that lovely program. For air/fuel ratio, you’ll take the lambda voltage and multiply it by 14.7 across the board. You can then chart it and see what your air/fuel ratio looks like across your rpm range.

There’s a really good performance logging guide created by user jran76 here:

I used to tune on the street and I do not recommend it unless you find somewhere that’s seriously isolated. I my younger, less than optimal years, I’d go out very late at night, say 2-4am, on the highway and make data logging/tuning runs. There were stretches of the highway that would see virtually no traffic and it was long and straight with no hills. I’d log from 40 to 140mph repeatedly. I was young and stupid and I do not recommend it. At the time, it was the best way to load the engine properly and take into account real world conditions. It was very risky and I never ever did it around other cars. I could “feel” any changes and it was also the best way to monitor knock and EGT’s. It was also pretty fun (still, so so stupid looking back) as the car was a measly 2500 pounds and had about 603hp at the wheels. It’s fun nailing fourth at 85mph and having the car go sideways. Really.

Anyway, logging can be quite fun and and informative. When I was tuning/logging, had a very good understanding of how the engine operated, timing schematics and optimal air/fuel, EGT, IAT, knock, peak ignition pressure, fuel supply and duty cycle, etc…what the engine needed to stay intact and how far I could push things. There’s very, very little technical information on the RS5’s engine unfortunately. I hope that once JHM really delves into their RS5, they’ll share a bit of info with us geeks.

From the few logs I’ve done, surprisingly, the air/fuel ratio is pretty dialed in, hovering around 12.3:1-12.4:1 at WOT above 4k rpm. I’ll try to plot something out and post it here but again, the resolution just sucks. Which may be why it’s so nice and flat.

Edit: This isn’t my best one, I Have a third gear pull but I’ve somehow misplaced the file.

A few very small mods, new carbon fiber valve stems with the Audi rings on the tip. Surprisingly high quality for the cost. Metal threads so you’ll want to use a dab of anti-seize.

I had a few squeaks along the sunroof so I did a cleaning and lube using this really expensive magic in a bottle, aka Krytox 105…$35 for that little thing but man does it work. Took care of the sunroof squeak as well as a squeak I had on the driver’s door window without taking off the interior panel.

Next I need to recalibrate the driver’s side window. It doesn’t drop down quickly enough and catches ever so slightly on the rubber frame when you open the door.

Edit: I later used the Krytox to take care of squeaks coming from the trunk area. I thought my sunroof squeak had returned but it was actually the bump stops on the trunk. A very small amount was applied to all the plastic stops. Completely eliminated all the squeaks over uneven pavement/driveways/speed bumps, etc…eerily quiet in that regard now. I’ll post some photos illustrating where to lube. Still getting a pop from the sunroof area. Need to investigate more.

I’ve been meaning to do a photo shoot for months now and it seems like the weather always gets in the way. I live in a major metropolitan area so that means Sunday morning is the ideal time. Got up early and hosed off several days worth of rain and gunk, packed the trunk with camera gear and a ladder and headed out to check out a few locations. I work Saturday nights so it makes it difficult to prepare in advance when the weather is so up and down. I didn’t get out the door early enough for the great morning light so I relegated the adventure to a scouting trip. Regardless, I found some great locations and worked with the light I had. I have tons of images to process and I’ll be posting a small grouping here as they get toned and cropped. I don’t do a lot of heavy photoshop work and pretty much shoot “as is” and use the light to my advantage. If anyone has photo-related questions, ask away.

So a few updates. I’ve now installed the following:

-034 Motorsports rear subframe bushings
-ECS Tuning rear-most differential mounts
-eBay special solid transmission brace

Out of all of them, I believe the subframe braces made the most difference. I already had the Apikol Red differential brace (front) which is why I probably didn’t notice the ECS mounts as much. The solid transmission mount increases vibration at idle but I don’t notice it anywhere else. I am detecting slightly more noise from the rear with the subframe mounts but it’s minuscule.

I’ve spent the past few weeks acquiring all the nuts/bolts and aftermarket parts to do some work on the front and rear suspension. I received my 034 Motorsports solid rear end links yesterday so I should be ready to go.

I’ll be installing the following;
-034 Motorsports Density Line upper shock mounts
-ECS Tuning front sway bar end links
-New upper control arm bushing for the Stern adjustable arms (someone installed the wrong bushing)
-034 Motorsports rear sway bar end links

All the nuts/bolts need to be replaced and their cost is almost as high as the aftermarket parts. I may try to do all of this tomorrow if possible but I may put it off a week as I may try to hit the dyno on Monday and don’t want anything holding me up from going.

Whelp, I’d made the decision to tackle all of this tomorrow but unfortunately the bushing size for the upper control arm is 46.5mm OD and my bearing press OD is 44.5mm. I don’t think I’ll have enough on the bushing shell to push it out or in. So I’ve ordered a press and pull set that has a 46mm bushing. Won’t be here til late next week. Grr

I decided to install the 034 Motorsports rear sway bar end links this morning before heading to work so I could asses them on their own with the H&R rear swaybar. Figured it would take me an hour tops given that it’s four bolts. Whelp, too a bit longer, mostly due to limited space for the top inboard-facing bolt and nut. The bottom one literally takes five seconds to remove.

There are no instructions on assembly or installation on the 034 site. BUT it’s pretty straightforward. Standard disclaimer, this is my experience and if you undertake this on your own, it’s at your own risk and expense. I offer no warranty or protection from you screwing things up or even hurting yourself.

Tools I needed
-A jack and two stands
-Block of wood
-Torque wrench that’ll read down to 29
-Shorty ratchet for sockets
-16 and 17mm sockets, long and short, can be all 3/8 depending on your tool set.
-16 and 17mm wrenches of various lengths. A good set of shorties and ratcheting set work well.
-If you don’t have those, 5/8” will work to get them off.
-Synthetic high tack lubricant (optional)
-Small, battery-powered impact gun (optional) for removal of bottom bolts. Can be done by hand though.

A few pointers.
-The bushing’s smaller end goes into the bearing on each side. There are four bushings per link, two for the top, two for the bottom.
-I used a little bit of synthetic grease on the outer side of the bushing where it fits into the bearing. I did NOT lube the inside of the bushing as it would collect on the threads and throw off your torque reading.
-I did lube the solid part of the bolt aft of the threads.
-Make sure you have plenty of 16mm sockets and wrenches, preferably a stubby and/or a ratcheting wrench. A 5/8th’s works in a pinch to get everything off.
-The new hardware is 17mm.
-The original nuts/bolts are not on there very tight, so no breaker bar needed. You can use a reasonably long wrench and some muscle to get them off.
-Take the tires off. Yes, technically, you can get them off with the tires on the car but it’s far easier with the tires off.
-A stubby 3/8 ratchet with a long 16mm and 17mm socket will make getting the nut on and off that much easier. Trust me.
-You’ll need a jack to get the car up obviously, but make sure to put it on stands as you’ll need the jack and a block of wood to push one side of the suspension up a bit for alignment purposes. More on that later.

All nuts are torqued to 29.5 ft./lb. plus 90 degrees. The first link I did took me a good 50 minutes, mostly figuring out the best position to be in to remove and install stuff. Definitely jack up both sides and take the tires off. The last link took me ten.

The bearings will loosen up a bit over time but as of right now, there’s no additional noise whatsoever. I didn’t get to hammer it and I couldn’t tell any difference initially until I arrived at a proper set of corners. The very preliminary results is that the rear end does indeed feel tighter transitionally with very very slight increase in willingness to rotate. I need a bit more time to fully assess. Should go well with the front end links once I get them installed.

Two end links and the associated hardware. Comes with it which is one reason why I purchased these over Eurocodes. No dust boot though. Once you open everything, you’ll notice there are eight bushings, four bolts, two nuts and three washers. The bottom bolt screws into the lower control arm housing so there’s no nut on the opposite side.

Stock, ugly end links.

Notice the smaller end of the bushing. The two meet in the middle of the bearing and provide support for the bolt. Small end goes inside the bearing. It’s a fairly exact fit so they’ll stay in there while you move stuff around.

Getting the top nut/bolt off is a bit of a trick due to tight spacing. If Audi had only used a different lower control arm design, with a nice triangle-shaped hole, it’d be cake. But no…Germans.
Anyway, just be patient and figure out the best combo to remove the nut and bolt. I found the shorty ratchet with a 16mm socket worked best. I put a ratcheting wrench on the bolt head. You’re not able to get a ratcheting wrench on the bolt head because there’s not enough clearance in between the bolt and the damper shaft.

Once you get the old links off, assemble the top portion of the link, washers and bushings on both sides. Stick the bolt through the link, then through the end of the sway bar. Put the washer on the bolt, then the nut. Make sure the bushing is in there too. Hand tighten, then once you hit the nylon portion of the lock nut, use the shorty ratchet again. DON’T fully tighten it.

Now here’s the tricky part (and the reason why you don’t fully tighten it). You’ll need to line up the hole in the end link with the hole in the lower control arm. The easiest way to do this is to use a jack under one side of the suspension. Place a block of wood on top of the jack and use the rear rotor as a jack point (unless you’ve converted to ceramics!). It won’t take much. Eventually, it’ll mostly line up and there is play in the end link to facilitate. You should be able to thread it in by hand. Sounds difficult but it took virtually no time. Another tip, LEAVE the jack there. Don’t move it as it pretty much aligns the holes on both sides of the car.

Torque both nuts down to The suspension does not have to be at ride height before torquing as they’re spherical bearings and the end links are non-adjustable.

Move on to the other side and repeat the above. And you’re done!

Ended up purchasing a used Eventuri intake for the car along with the Gen II filters. I wasn’t going to put them on initially but I needed to see how long it’d take me to swap them on for testing purposes. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I also wanted to get some seat time with them installed before the temps rose dramatically over what they’ve been as of late. Butt dyno calibration.

Was a fairly straightforward swap but you do have to be very patient in lining everything up. The driver’s side was easier than the passenger’s side in that regard. I also paid very close attention to the seal in between the front scoop and the bell of the intake. The passenger’s side had been mounted wrong and it deformed the seal into an awkward shape that didn’t seal. I fixed that and made that seal the priority and adjusted everything else accordingly.

One deviation, I did not install the front scoop first. I installed the bell (filter housing) first and hand tightened the 10mm bolt through the housing’s bracket and to the car. I then installed the scoop and worked on positioning the bell to the scoop before securing the 10mm bolt with a ratcheting closed end wrench. It’s a necessity to have one if you want to maintain your sanity.

Swapping out the filters is fairly straightforward. With the filter housing in hand, remove the t-bolt band clamp. You’ll have to pry a bit to separate the base mounting plate and filter from the rest of the housing. I used plastic interior trim pullers. Once it’s separated, the filter is exposed as is the worm gear clamp holding it to the base. Loosen the clamp to it rotates freely. Take the same interior trim puller to gently apply some pressure between the base and the bottom of the filter. It gets stuck on there over time but it’ll eventually pop free. Just work your way around the circumference. Piece of cake. Don’t forget to take notice of how the bracket is lined up/rotated in relation to the Eventuri tag at the top.

I took the car out for a run and there’s definitely a difference, especially from about 4K on up to redline. There does seem to be a bit more throttle “snap” down low. Changes the exhaust note (for the better) and there is more sound from the intake side. I’ll be dyno testing the intake vs. the stock airboxes with K&N filters. Fortunately, the Eventuri I bought had an extra set of scoops so I can swap the OEM ones back in with just two bolts.

Random gratuitous shot of the OEM headers. We don’t see them much so why not?

I knew today would be painful. My plan was to yank both front suspension assemblies, replace the top rubber mounts, one control arm bushing and the front sway bar end links.

Going in, 034 Motorsports Density Line upper shock mounts, an OEM style heavy duty bushing and ECS Tuning front sway bar end links.

For bushing removal, you’ll need a push/pull kit. I purchased this one off of eBay for less than $100. The bearings that come with it suck and will break after your first use but you can get by without them.

Ready for battle.

I started by taping off the line for the center cap and the top of the rotors. I could use this to “load” the suspension with the jack and tighten various nuts/bolts to spec.

I also have a set of race ramps which allow me to have the suspension loaded with the tires on. These are super light. Best way I can describe them is they feel like styrofoam but they have the ability to support 1500 lbs. each. They weigh about a pound. Cool stuff

I used the most excellent ECS Tuning guide to installing coilovers as it had all the torque specs and the steps are spot on. You can download the PDF off of the ECS website.

I jacked the car up and removed both front wheels. No need to have the car with the suspension loaded just yet. I covered the ceramic rotor with a towel, just in case. I then took a measurement of the spring perch height and came out to 5omm. The passenger’s side came in at about 53mm but I changed it to 50. I took the measurement because I’ll be loosening the bottom spring perch to relieve spring tension and allow me to remove the top mount.

I released the spring tension with the assembly still in the car but for the other side, I did it with the assembly out of the car. Per James’ suggestion, I have a screwdriver with a cut-off tip that I use to adjust it. But I also picked up a Bilstein wrench just to have it.

I purchased a schwaben ball joint breaker tool and it made removing the tie rod end super easy. Took like a minute and came apart without drama and no damaged dust boots. Highly recommended.

I did have to remove the lower strut mount fork. I couldn’t figure out an easy way to get it out with it still on the bottom of the damper. It actually saves quite a bit of time removing it as the shock tower to chassis brace and the damper come right out, easy as pie. I could have saved myself a good 30 minutes if I’d removed it from the start. Be sure to purchase the spreader bit off of the ECS website. It ensures you don’t damage the lower mount and allows for easy removal of the damper from the lower fork mount.

Once out, the arm with the “bad” bushing rotated freely whereas the OEM rubber style mount had a very limited range. I took off the arm that needed the bushing replaced and then used my bushing removal kit. Found the right press out size and assembled everything. There’s one cup that matches the outer size of the bushing shell and another, larger cup that the bushing gets pressed into. Both have slots so you can see your progress.

Assembled and ready to be pressed out.

And it’s out! It literally took 10 seconds and came out very, very easily. I was expecting a struggle but it didn’t happen. I did grease everything in the assembly to remove any friction.

So I didn’t see this coming…Once i got the offending bushing off, I realized it was a poly bushing, most likely a Powerflex black race bushing (Edit, it’s a Whiteline bushing). It was a bit wide for the space it’s designed to fit into and I could see the end of the polyurethane had deformed a bit. Here it is next to the new OEM-style bushing.

Closeup of the serial number on the bushing. So this is why the suspension was squeaking without a doubt. EDIT: It’s actually a Whiteline polyurethane bushing. I don’t know if these are what Pacific German Performance had put on way back when or if they’d all been replaced with OEM style and the dealership installed them. Honestly, other than the slightly deformed end, and the squeak, they looked pretty good. Going to take the bushing apart and inspect it.

I put the new bushing in the freezer for a bit and used synthetic grease on the inside of the control arm. Made putting the new bushing in just as easy as removing the old. You can put the new bushing/arm on the upper mount and torque to spec out of the car. Just line it up with the other arm. The reason why they say to do it at ride height is the rubber only has so much rotational movement. By positioning the arm appropriately, you’re achieving the same thing.

At this point, having nothing go wrong, I was practically laughing out loud at how easy everything was. Then I tried to remove the top nut on the damper. Huge PITA. I did have the Schwaben tool specifically for this but it was still difficult.

OEM rubber mount on top, the 034 density line on the bottom. The original mounts showed wear. If you’re going to swap springs or go with coil overs, definitely get these top mounts.

I cleaned and reassembled the damper and top mount assembly and got everything back in fairly easily. It’s a bit of a struggle to get the strut/top mount up and in and then get one of the mount to chassis bolts threaded. Just takes a bit of muscle but easily doable by yourself.

I adjusted the ECS end links to OEM length and installed them per their instructions. I will say this…the top bolt is a huge, huge, HUGE pain to get in. I was cursing and I must have struggled for a good hour. I found that it would go in and then wouldn’t turn by hand. I figured i was cross threading it. Not the case. Once you get to that point, put a 17mm shorty on it and twist away. Goes right in after that.

I moved on to the passenger’s side and it went more quickly as I didn’t stop to take photos and I’d taken my time on the driver’s side. With the knowledge from the first ECS end link, the second one went in much easier. I did run into one snafu, the starter threads on the top of the Bilstein damper were tweaked. Couldn’t get a nut on it. I also couldn’t find my master thread repair kit and tried to use small files to repair the threads to no avail. So I ended up using a high speed cutoff wheel to grind a few threads off. Problem solved.

For the final step, adjusting the end links, I put the car up on the race ramps. I adjusted them for no load and finished buttoning everything up.

All told it took me a whopping 7 hours. To make matters worse, I discovered that the passenger side had one poly bushing too. Wasn’t obvious as it was even in the bore unlike the other which stuck out like a sore thumb. I’d only ordered one bushing and one nut/bolt for the driver’s control arm so I cleaned and lubed it with Krytox. Next time I have any work to do on the suspension, I’ll take care of the other bushing. I could probably do each side in less than two hours now. But I can think of better ways to spend a Sunday.

Leftover bag of (used) bolts, LOL.

I didn’t have a chance to take the car out until late today. Dead silence from the suspension. I did have a slight klink initially but it disappeared. Assuming this is the end links breaking in. I’ll most likely put it up on blocks again tomorrow and see if they need further adjusting. But not hearing any creaking from the front suspension was very nice for a change. I still get a “pop” from the sunroof over big inclines. If anyone has any suggestions on that one, I’d like to hear it. Have a feeling I’ll need to remove the liner.

Did a little video showing how to install the CR-15. I know it’s super simple but what the heck, I had the footage. Working on the spark plug installation video next while I wait for the Spurs to loose tonight.

Spark plug change video

Oil changes just got a whole lot easier. ECS Tuning, 25% off, couldn’t pass it up. Ordered some extra pucks for the pinch welds and jacking the car up when needed.

Despite the fact they had plenty of tread left, I jettisoned the Sumitomo HTRZ III tires today. I went with Michelin Pilot Sport 4s tires after I had a transformational experience with the Super Sports on another car. I would categorize the Sumitomo tires as very “Bridgeutone-Esque” with a very firm sidewall, good mid-corner stability and ok braking. They really reminded me of the RE050A’s.

I went up in size, from a 275/30/20 to the 285/30/20. The Sport 4s is slightly more square than the Pilot Super Sports in the same size and I’m much happier with how the wheel wells are filled out by the 4s. I’m not a fan of the stretched look and the Sumitomos looked very stretched. I now have a modicum of rim edge protection.

Not much to report on the driving front other than the increased bump compliance. I noticed it immediately over sharp bumps even at low speeds. They seem to roll more smoothly and make less noise. I could actually hear my exhaust more at lower revs/speed than I could previously. It was a notable difference.

It’ll take me a few weeks to really discern the handling differences and if I’ll need to make any changes. I’m expecting much better braking and more front end bite on aggressive turn-in than with the Sumitomos.

Pics of the Michelins;

The Sumitomos. Notice the edge of the rim really sticks out past the sidewall.

Have to say I’m really impressed with the Pilot Sport 4S. It would have been good to compare to the super sport back to back but no complaints. Dry braking is phenomenal. As in I could use more brakes. Stops from 100+ are like hitting a wall with zero ABS engagement. Time to upgrade to the Pagid RSC1 pads. In turns, I’ve added a good 5mph, maybe even 10mph in speed through some corners. A comfortable margin too, not on the edge. I can only imagine how good Sport Cup 2R’s must be.

Other than that, I was bored and installed a front splitter and side skirts last night after work. I finished up this morning before temps started to climb. I think it’s supposed to be a balmy 108 degrees tomorrow.

I’ll get better photos soon. For now I just have a few quick shots with the iPhone.

Car is still up on jacks here but it’s impossible to photograph the lip with the car fully in the garage.

Here’s a quick guide on how to install them. First, send wife to Austin for a girl’s weekend. Have house to self when you get home from work. Proceed with installation until you’re finished. It’s that easy.

But seriously, it wasn’t terribly difficult as it’s obvious how things line up. It does necessitate full removal of the under tray and the forward under tray. Good thing I did this as I caught a mistake made by the local Audi dealer. They’d changed my oil last time (Audi Care) and the rubber isolator that fits under the radiator and keeps air from going around said radiator wasn’t put on correctly. It was actually hanging out the bottom of the forward under tray which is a black plastic piece that sits in front of the main metal under tray. So…I snapped that back into place and buttoned everything up correctly. They didn’t have the under trays aligned correctly either.

So that’s basically the worst part of it, having to take out and reinstall the under tray system. There’s one other tip I have and that’s to have the five bolts on the forward edge of the splitter face down so the locking nut is secured from underneath the diffuser. That’ll allow you to slide the forward plastic under tray back in and lock it into place. Otherwise it’ll hit the bolt protruding up and you’ll have to take it all out again and rearrange. Ask me how I know.

One thing, the “front” side of my garage has a step up. When I park, nose in towards the house, the front of the car is high enough to get over this step. With the diffuser, and I knew this going in, it’s basically about 1mm above at best.

I think I’ll be backing in from now on but I do have a short but steep driveway. I’ve heard backing up, uphill with the DSG is not a good thing. Anyone else hear this? I’ve done it before but if I do this day in and day out, I’m wondering if I could prematurely wear out the clutch packs or something worse.

Whelp, I definitely scrape backing down the driveway. I’ve found a way to get up and down without scraping involving extreme entry angles. Drove around town today and it’s basically a concern everywhere, I’ll have to relearn where I can and can’t go with reckless abandon. It’s going to be interesting to say the least. I would not be a happy camper if the front splitter was expensive dry carbon.

A few pics. First, the step in my garage. I can simply back in or stop prior to getting to the step.

Getting into the garage over the initial lip isn’t an issue at all.

Looking good backing down the driveway…

Snap! Houston, we have contact.

A few photos to highlight the front splitter and side skirts. The gloss of the matches the front grille and side grilles well. The black optics of the window trim is more satin.

Forgot to post this totally random information when I was checking over the car and had a wheel off. The forged Klassens weigh about 26 pounds. Weighed the entire wheel tire package and it came in a 54 pounds even. The tires are 28 pounds each. So the wheels are actually two pounds lighter than the tires. Go figure.

But now I’m thinking I can probably loose three pounds per wheel with a different design. Grr.

Headed on a long road trip next week and taking the RS5.

I’ll be changing the oil, having the alignment checked and generally going over the car on Sunday and Monday. Tires are brand spanking new with a road warranty.

I’ve started to make a list of what I have or think I need for the trip in no particular order.
-Basic tool kit with various bits, sockets and screwdrivers
-Slime emergency tire repair kit w/air pump, tire plug kit
-Large assortment of road trip music burned onto the HD (plus USB thumb drive backup)
-Mechanics gloves
-LED Flashlight
-Rain gear, jacket and umbrella
-Tire gauge
-Radar detector, Escort Max360 w/Escort Live subscription
-Phone charger
-A liter of 50/50 premixed Audi-specific coolant
-Car cleaning kit (thinking maybe a washless cleaner and a bunch of microfiber towels
-Paper towel roll
-Eight gallons of high octane coffee
-Catheter and pee bottle (I kid)
-Road trip food. I don’t eat fast food or anything that’s processed so I’ll have a good-sized cooler with me.
-Seam weld puck if I have to jack the car up. Maybe I should bring something hard and flat to put underneath a jack.
-Jumper cables

If it were 1976, I’d add a six-pack but you know, progress. :slight_smile:

I’d bring my aluminum quick action jack but I think that’s a bit much and I’m not that paranoid. I did think about getting one of those electric/hydraulic jacks though…

The car does not burn or leak oil in between changes so I’m not taking any with me. Anything else that’s a “must have”? I’ll of course have a smartphone with me. Doing the trip alone and it’l be about 1300 miles in two days over, unfortunately, some rather boring highways. Then 1,300 miles back with a majority of the driving again over two days. Lots of stopovers on the way back though.

Time for some new wheels! Bottom right. I think it’ll give me a nice increase in ground clearance and keep my front splitter intact.

Ok I kid. Over at Blackjack Speed Shop right now (Tim Duncan is not hanging out this early in the morning) for an alignment check. Doesn’t feel out of whack but new tires and a 3,000 mile road trip, I’m not taking any chances.

New alignment numbers. Everything was pretty good except for toe. Looks like it’s easy to knock the toe numbers out of spec. I ended up going to -1.4 degrees all around for camber and kept everything else in spec. I was starting to get some vibration on my last set of tires and it was likely due to the toe being out.

Oil change using the extraction methodology

Airbox Removal

A few more DIY videos


Service Position/Bumper Removal

Dyno Run with JHM Stage 1

AWE Touring vs Track

Thought it’s about time for a Michelin PS4S review. I had them installed last July and I’ll need to double check what my mileage was at the time but I think it was right around 46,000 miles. I’m at 55,000 miles and I’ve been rotating them every 3K miles. Had the wheels off today to change the brake fluid and I decided to measure the tread depth across the tire to see how things are wearing.

I’m using the 285/30/20 size and it has four main radial grooves. I’ve labeled them outer, outer middle, inner middle and inner. Overall they’re wearing quite well and a lot of that comes down to alignment. More on that later. I believe the tread depth new is 8mm.

Tread depth in mm
Passenger Front
Outer middle-6.47
Inner middle-6.56

Driver Front
Outer middle-6.42
Inner middle-6.4

Passenger Rear
Outer middle-6.57
Inner middle-6.50

Driver Rear
Outer middle-6.59
Inner middle-6.31

If I’m shedding 2mm every 10,000 miles and there’s 6mm of usable tread before hitting the wear indicators, I’ll get 30,000 miles out of these tires (about three years). That’s pretty bad ass given their performance.

The tires were recently rotated and unfortunately they did rears to front and crossed them. I had one tire which had a slow leak and it turned out to be the rim bead that was leaking. They rotated the tires while they were at it.

Overall no real complaints to speak of. I’ve used the Pilot Super Sport on a previous car and really liked them. Basically the PS4s hasn’t ever given me a concern. It’s a big step up in the braking dept. and handling wise, it’ll handle anything you throw at it on the street. They warm up very quickly and have a ton of grip dry or wet.

They have started to get a bit noisier. I have a very low frequency drumming which I think is coming from the rear at 70mph. Nothing below or above. Rotating the tires did not help so I think it’s just the tires making noise. Rotating them didn’t change the noise. Could be a wheel weight. It’s very slight and the radio has to be off to hear it.

They’re still doing very well in the wet. No complaints.

I may revisit my alignment numbers. A fairly recent weekend canyon run had the car feeling somewhat unstable, especially under braking and a bit nervous overall. Part of it, I think, was the pavement and grading. I’m going to go to Audi this time and have them check the alignment. I have the adaptive cruise control which, if adjustment is necessary, adds $200 to the bill. I’ve had two alignments at a performance shop and the acc is working just fine. Heck, I even had the car in service position. So maybe I’ll get lucky.

My best drag run to date.

Carbon cleaning the RS5, part 1.

Carbon clean part two.

After a recent back road session in Mexico, I made the decision to bleed the brakes sooner than I had planned. My confidence in them had been waning due to fade after repeated high speed stops. That’s not supposed to happen with CCB’s. Initial bite was off the charts good and like any powerful CCB system, I actually noticed the issue about a month or two after purchasing the car and I thought it was a pad issue for various reasons. As of late, it just wasn’t linear even for one hard braking event. I just used more force to compensate and the car would brake just fine. I had decided to replace the pads at some point with either the Pagid RSC1 or RSC2 pads.

I’d been putting off the pad swap and wanted to get measurements on the original pads first to determine wear rate. I already had a few bottles of brake fluid ready and I was going to do both at the same time. After my recent stint in the twists, I decided to go ahead and bleed the brakes first before swapping pads. just to see if that was the issue. Cheap stuff first, right?

Anyway…I decided to do a how-to video for brake bleeding. Set everything up, got the car up on blocks and was ready to roll. I open the brake fluid reservoir, pulling up the cap and the attached fluid level sensor. Lo and behold, the brake fluid was BLUE!

Why is this such a shock? Because ATE Super Blue hasn’t been legal to sell in the U.S. since 2013.

In addition, Audi specifies changing the fluid out every two years. My car had four Audi Care installments and the dealer did all of the services up until the 45K service. At some point, the fluid should have been changed. Twice.

Now is it possible someone just had a few containers of Super Blue lying around and used them? Sure but there have been many new fluids introduced since 2013 which are superior. Seems kind of strange. I’m willing to bet that Pacific German (Shawn, correct me if I’m wrong!) originally swapped in the Super Blue back when he owned the car and it hasn’t been touched since.

No wonder I was getting fade! Six years on the same brake fluid. Heck, even five! Not good.

I went ahead and changed over to Motul 5.1 which I’ve used before and like for street-driven ABS-equipped cars. If I were tracking, I’d go with something like Motul RBF or Castro SRF. I haven’t pushed the brakes hard yet but that sensitivity is back and there’s more initial bite. Sort of reminded me the first time I used the CCB brakes in the RS5; you have learn how to use them and recalibrate your braking foot.

I’m super anal when it comes to brake bleeding as I’m not a fan of any dead travel in the brake pedal. I went through two liters and used every last drop. Bled each wheel twice.

I’m super disappointed I didn’t catch this right off the bat. I just assumed, incorrectly, the brake fluid would have been changed with the Audi Care package at least twice in the car’s lifetime. Maybe the brake fluid isn’t part of the Audi Care package but I’m going to inquire and see if it is. If it is, it makes me wonder what else the dealer didn’t do.

Forgot to add my pad thickness…

I’m at 55k and as far as I know, the pads are original. The minimum thickness for the CCB pads is right around 8.4mm including the backing plate. I’m a long ways away from that as I believe the original thickness is 16.8mm. Not 100% sure on that. A rough calculation has them lasting to 96,000 miles or approximately another 41,000 miles if my numbers are correct.

Pad thickness CCB fronts (8.4mm minimum thickness)
-Driver 12.68mm
-Passenger 11.98mm

Pad thickness rears (EBC Reds) (8.8mm minimum thickness)
-Driver 9.78
-Passenger 9.53

The rear pads don’t have much life left. Good time to upgrade!

Here’s a little how-to video on bleeding the brakes. The car now stops exceptionally well and I can pretty much engage ABS with just a bit more pressure. The effort is now consistent throughout the braking event though so it really was the fluid and not the pads. It’s warming up so we’ll see how hard the car will stop with a bit of heat in the asphalt.

Throttle body cleaning how to video. Takes less than an hour if you’re not also shooting footage of it. [:D]


I went to the local 1/4 mile drag strip last night, hoping to take advantage of the cold weather and make a sub-12 second run. The track has been closed for a few months and this was their first test and tune night. I was planning on experimenting with tire pressure and shifting techniques as well as logging a few runs.

Unfortunately, everyone and their mother was at the track. The line was easily 100 cars long (two lines!). My first run came 2.5 hours after my arrival due to the number of cars as well as a bunch of ratty “drag only” cars breaking. Seems like it’s the semi-pro guys that always ruin the night. Oh and the primed/rusty Hon…Acura that blew it’s tranny on the start line. Good times.

So instead of thermally managing my temps down, I was managing them up, trying to time everything just right. Knowing I may only get one run in, I managed to red light my first time after accidentally deep staging. I never red light. Ever. So…that run by Dragy, was a 12.3. When you red light, the track system starts to record your ET even though you aren’t moving. My trap speed was, according to the track, 115mph, three mph higher than the Dragy reported and I trapped the same on my second run.

My second run was a measly 12.5 and I actually managed to spin the rear tires. I chose the left lane this time but it no longer had any grip thanks to the Acura blowing its transmission. Neither 60ft. was exceptional and I ran 45psi front and rear this time hoping for a hint of wheel spin. Recorded a 1.89 and a 1.97 (second run) on both the time slip and the dragy, no wheelspin on the first run that I detected but I may have been too busy cursing over the red light. Since I sat there for half a second, the late model Camaro got a good jump on me. I reeled him in at 3/4 of the track and just drove right by. Was kind of nice. Most of the late model Mustangs were running 13’s or even 14’s. A Nismo 370 was in the 15’s. There was a Golf R with mods who said he was running low 12’s but I never caught any of his runs.

Even though the entire night was pretty much a cluster*ck, it was still fun. I used to spend a lot of time at the drag strip and now, every time I go back, I remember just how much fun I have. I love the smell of race gas in the morning.

I don’t think there’s an 11.9 in the car, mostly due to the transmission. I could probably drop it down to a 12 flat if I had a chance to experiment with tire pressure and damper settings. I ran my dampers on the firm side. If there’s a next time, I’ll soften them up. I’m on the original TCU software from 2013 too. It’s never been updated. I’ll have to wait patiently for the JHM stage 2 software I guess!

I do worry about premature wear but honestly, it doesn’t seem faze the car at all. It just goes like stink and I never get any funny smells, sounds or behavior. The TCU software probably does a great job of preventing damage when launching and if you look at the R8/Lamborghini guys who hit the strip, they’re launching the car a hundred times with no issues. Wheel hop is generally bad for longevity of drivetrain parts and my RS5 has none. I’m also not making 20 runs a night although it’d be great to get five or six in. Wishful thinking at my drag strip.

Knock on wood, I haven’t had a single thing go wrong with the car but I do know others who have. I do go above and beyond maintenance-wise As the car sits though, everything is pretty under stressed. If I throw a supercharger on it, it’ll need supporting mods and there’s a high risk I could break things like axles or CV joints (at the strip) for which there’s no replacement other than OEM currently. That’s the price of speed though.

Spent the day Saturday tearing up the “twisted sisters” roads in Texas hill country. Truly spectacular roads. It rained cats and dogs and the Audi group was the fastest, by far, of all the car clubs that went out that day. The F cars and Corvettes really held us up at times. But huge props to the Ferraris for even going out in that weather. Detailers everywhere were rejoicing. They must have been hammered with all the business come Monday.

HUGE props to Michelin PS4S tires. Just absolutely killer in the rain. I had maybe 90% of the grip I would in the dry. The car was just covered in grit at the end, spent Sunday giving her a thorough clean so the birds could sh*t on it come Monday.

The JHM tune was spectacular. Just pulled like a freight train from down low and up top. Mostly third gear tight stuff but the car just ripped and I could steer with the throttle. On an AWD car. Just awesome. I’d been on some of these roads before but somehow missed the two really good ones. There were two other RS5’s on the journey but I didn’t spend much time with them in the twisty bits as we all got somewhat separated due to traffic. There was also a supercharged R8, two TTRS, an RS3, S4’s and S5’s, lots of killer stuff.

There was a “pro” photog sitting near the top of one of the mountains snapping pics so I bought one. Rest are my photos.

So I’ve been tinkering. Been working on a few things to say the least. Asher got me thinking about the air pump hoses which run over the top of the valve covers and I couldn’t let it rest. I’ve spent weeks redesigning and sourcing parts to come up with something that’s “bolt on” and doesn’t necessitate cutting the stock hoses. It’s fully reversible.

This is the working prototype. I have a few other changes I’m making and I’m also going to machine a special adapter to eliminate a few of the components and make it more simple to manufacture. Yes, I’m making more in case anyone else wants an air pump relocation kit. Will work with the OEM airbox and with the Eventuri intake. It may work with others as well.

Anyway, we all know what they look like and once seen they can’t be unseen. They really are an eyesore.

And with the hoses rerouted. So much cleaner.

The Eventuri with the hoses rerouted.

There’s a good deal of heat coming off of the headers despite the heat shield on them so I had to source components which would take sustained 300 degree temps. The hose itself is also abrasion resistant and won’t chew up other components. There’s an additional heat shield tube over the critical section to further ensure there’s no burn through. In addition, the hose has to be a certain size to ensure proper flow yet remain small enough to pass through and underneath the intake without being pinched. Took me forever and a day to try and engineer something that’ll work and is completely reversible. The heat shielding will be black in the future although I also have red for those who have Misano cars or want a bit of contrast. You really won’t see it without really looking so the black is best for an OEM look.

If anyone is interested in a kit, shoot me a PM. I’m still finalizing a few components and details so it’ll be a few weeks before I start making them en masse.