A4 1.8TSport - best mods for track car

johnspackman

New member
Points
26
Location
Bristol, UK
Car
Audi A4 1.8TSport
Hi everyone,

I have a 1996 A4 1.8TSport that I've owned since 1997; 15 years and 130,000 miles later my g/f and I have done a few of track days in it and want to do more but it needs some improvement...and we don't know what changes would give the best results. We want to keep spending to a minimum (we want to be sure we really like it before investing heavily) and concentrate on getting the best fun.

The two things I notice are power and understeer.

It's frustrating always having to pull over *all* the time so I'm thinking of chipping it; that should get me around 210bhp (up from 150bhp) but I've heard there are different models, and that some are smoother/more controllable power than others. Are some better than others? Are some better for novices than others?

For handling, I find that especially on long, sweeping corners the tires are squeeling a lot the time to keep up - I don't think I can go any faster through the corners and I'm using as much of the road as I can (I think - feel free to tell me I must be wrong). There's lots of advice about mod'ing for handling but a lot of it revolves around expensive suspension replacement or similar with vague promises of making it "better"; I don't want to spend lots money right now, particularly when I can't tell which (if any) of Google's advice is going to be worth it.

Are there any minor things I can do? Strut bars or other bracing? If you had the choice would you/in what order would you (a) have more training (b) get a whole new set of tires (c) fit a strut bar (d) give in and think seriously about that new suspension.

I'm also planning to rip out the carpets, headlining, and anything that isn't welded to the cabin.

BTW, this isn't a road car anymore - we might keep it insured for the next month or two but 3rd party insurance just went up £100/year today so a trailer is probably in the works.

Thanks for your help
John & Katie
 

obi_waynne

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Staff member
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1,137
Location
Deal, Kent UK
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A3 1.4 TFSI 150 COD
A decent set of tyres would make a massive difference. Get some road legal slicks for dry track days.

Rear bushings are probably shot anyway so get them replace if they haven't been done yet.

New suspension will transform the car. Coilovers would be best but don't drop it more than 45mm.

A brake upgrade would also be a good idea. You can actually (if your alloys are big enough) fit large porsche discs on the front. Braking is just as important as accelerating on a track.

For power upgrades then a remap is your best bet. Ideally you should uprate the diverter valve as well and a newer KO3s turbo will allow you to make more power from your remap.
 

stamford

Pro Tuner
Points
382
Location
Hampshire
Car
MG ZS200
The 1.8T will respond very well to tuning and what you do will depend on budget. I would look at polybushing some of the suspension, anti-roll bar bushes first. Coilover suspension will be top of the list for handling as you can set this up to suit your driving style and track. There are track day tyres available but are expensive, I always go for quality used tyres that have around 4-5mm tread max on a spare set of rims, new road tyres will overheat and possibly breakdown over a few fast laps, been there before! Strut braces are a good addition if going full time on track, some can be too tight if still used on road. Mine doesn't have them as it is tight already and as I still use it on road the braces would make the back end nervous for everyday use. Once you get the handling sorted to your liking then go for uprated brakes if they need it, be wary of what you buy as some performance items offered are no better than OE ones, unless you intend to go the 4 pot plus route. Take gradual steps so you can feel the changes and use what you have now as a benchmark, too many mods all at once will not help as you will be forever fiddling to find the best set-up and limit of the car and yourself.
 

pgarner

TC ModFather
Points
417
Location
Lockerbie, SW Scotland
Car
Octy smoke machine
Hello and welcome to the site mate

96 will require a newer turbo to get 210bhp as the one thats on it will struggle to get 200.
if you can find one in good condtion from a scrappy (think it will be the 190 models in the a4 ) then look to having it hybridised with larger internals, this should see you around 240bhp with decent mapping.
as its not going to be road legal ditch the cat, this will remove restriction in the exhaust and help spool the turbo quicker.
get a decent set of coilovers and all the bushes changed

brakes get a set of ds3000 pads for it just now and start looking around for an sensible upgrade - if you click on my signature then my brake setup is in there, the same one will fit on the a4 - iirc it has 312mm brakes as well - however you would need different carriers for the callipers, if you fancy going bigger then there are other options
 

johnspackman

New member
Points
26
Location
Bristol, UK
Car
Audi A4 1.8TSport
Hi guys

Thanks for all your replies - there's definitely a lot to think about! :)

I've just been out and had a look at the tires - they're one "astar", two "capitol sport', and an "mxm" - so replacement it is. If the tires are good quality does it matter if they're different makes front vs back?

There are loads of 205/55/16 tires on ebay - when it comes to "good quality" is it ok to stick to big names eg bridgestone/pirelli/dunlop or do they have poor models too? ie check the model as well as make before ordering?

One step at a time is good advice so my second step could be coilovers or turbo and I think this comes down to budget; my local garage quoted around £400 labour to do all four corners plus £470 was the cheapest kit (Apex, on eurocarparts).

That seems ok (ish) but turbo sounds very pricy; I found out that my K03 won't 1-for-1 upgrade to K03S (Link removed by T9 man) so parts come to £1,200 (or more for a bigger turbo) plus £300 for remap. What would be the labour fitting a turbo? Is it a specialist job?

@pgarner: when you say newer turbo, do you bigger or just less worn? My turbo went about 35,000 miles ago and was replaced for a stock K03 reconditioned.

We roasted the brakes to complete, foot-on-the-floor failure (they're back but still a lot squidgier than they were) and I found this article: (Link removed by T9 man) - what do you think? What are the dumb mistakes to avoid when buying the bits? :D

Sorry, another long post - thanks for your advice and patience!

John

Links removed as per our T&C's - you need 10 posts before being allowed to post any links. T9 man
 
Last edited by a moderator:

obi_waynne

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Deal, Kent UK
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A3 1.4 TFSI 150 COD
Sounds like you need a brake fluid change as well.

Tyre wise, even big brands have good and dissapointing tread patterns. V groove patterns tend to work really well on cornering and soft tyres are good for grip. I had some Eagle F1s from Goodyear on my A3 and I really liked them apart from the fact they wore down in under 1 year.

For a track day I'd get the same tyres all round, it just makes things more predictable and they will typically wear at a uniform rate.
 

stamford

Pro Tuner
Points
382
Location
Hampshire
Car
MG ZS200
You could always drop these guys a line regarding turbo upgrades as they know a thing or two http://www.reyland.co.uk/index_2.asp They dropped a 1.8T into an MG ZS that ran around 300bhp and was mildly tuned.

As for tyres, stick with same all round if you can, the ones you have fitted sound like ditchfinders to me, get rid! I have used Hankooks and currently on evo's and are grippy. The benchmark R888s are great but darned expensive, have also used Toyo T1Rs but are a tad soft and wear quickly.

Sounds like you need DOT 5.1 brake fluid in there as this has a higher boiling point than standard stuff.
 

MasterAuron

Very Senior Member
Points
242
Location
379bhp 359lbft
Car
Mk1 Focus RS
Standard brakes even on some performance cars aren't up to a full-on track day. They will die, and die quickly. Good fluid and pad compound are the main things, although it all brakes down to heat management essentially.

Make sure you have the same tyre on all four wheels. Any performance based tyre will wear more quickly as they are softer. If I feel my AD08's they almost feel tacky, go and feel a budget tyre and most are like plastic. Hancook have some great tyres out at the moment for those that don't want to spend big money, but you should definately look at the AD08's I have if you don't want to fork out for 48's and the like.

Stripping it out will make quite a difference to every aspect of the car. Gutting it completely is free acceleration, braking and handling but be weary of upsetting the cars balance too much without coilovers to re-adjust.
 

Prince

Torque King
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242
Location
Northampton, England
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BMW E36 318is Coupe
If it's a dedicated track car then strip it out and get a roll cage in there (also negates the need for strut braces everywhere. Bucket seats will also make a difference too. Not only will they support you better but you'll get more confidence from not sliding around in your seat.

I would get some good spec coilovers. Fully adjustable (height, camber and castor), thicker anti-roll bars and poly bushes.

If you need somebody to install anything for you and get it set up then give James at Redish Motorsport (details found here) a call. He's local to you and very good (I travel from Northampton to use him).
 

johnspackman

New member
Points
26
Location
Bristol, UK
Car
Audi A4 1.8TSport
Hi all

Sorry for the delay in replying. I think I'm going to get a new set of tires and new brakes - tires because until there's at least a reasonable quality on all four corners I won't be able to see how much my "skills" test the suspension, and I can't measure any improvements without some kind of basis.

Brakes, well, you can't have too much of those although if I didn't have half the parts already I might have just changed the fluid as stamford and MA suggested :)

My other task will be stripping it out - a little labour won't hurt and might make all the difference (yeh, ok...;))

All I have to do now is choose the tires. I can't find anything that anyone's recommended but I think that's because I'm looking for 205/55r16's and the popular (buyable) one's are slightly different sizes. I'm still trying to figure out what options are compatible - any suggestions would be great; they're standard 16" alloys, what do you have?

Thanks for all your help
John
 

Prince

Torque King
Points
242
Location
Northampton, England
Car
BMW E36 318is Coupe
You might find that bigger brakes don't fit behind the standard 16s, so why not upgrade the alloys to lightweight whilst you're at it? I'd go for a 17 inch. This would allow you to get decent tyres as well, and fit the bigger brakes behind them.
 

johnspackman

New member
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26
Location
Bristol, UK
Car
Audi A4 1.8TSport
You might find that bigger brakes don't fit behind the standard 16s, so why not upgrade the alloys to lightweight whilst you're at it? I'd go for a 17 inch. This would allow you to get decent tyres as well, and fit the bigger brakes behind them.

I'm not allowed to post URLs yet, but I found some instructions that say it's possible (google for "audi a4 brakes to a8 upgrade") - I'm kind of holding my breath that I've done my part number homework correctly and the parts fit :blink:

If they don't I'll definately give it some thought. It sounds expensive though so it might have to wait until something pops up on ebay...

Thanks for the idea,
John
 

Prince

Torque King
Points
242
Location
Northampton, England
Car
BMW E36 318is Coupe
I'm not allowed to post URLs yet, but I found some instructions that say it's possible (google for "audi a4 brakes to a8 upgrade") - I'm kind of holding my breath that I've done my part number homework correctly and the parts fit :blink:

If they don't I'll definately give it some thought. It sounds expensive though so it might have to wait until something pops up on ebay...

Thanks for the idea,
John

It wouldn't suprise me if you could fit the brakes from an A8. When fitting brakes from another model it's often the rears that cause problems (if any). Check that the handbrake is not affected as this may be overlooked.
 

pgarner

TC ModFather
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417
Location
Lockerbie, SW Scotland
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Octy smoke machine
sorry for the delay in getting back

by newer turbo i mean one from a newer model, as said i think its the 190 models that got the 03s turbo. im surprised that they say its not a direct fit as they are essentially the same turbo - in fact on the transverse engines if buying from VAG themselves they will now give you an 03s

re brakes the 312mm will fit under the 16s. 4 pot brembos (porsche setup ) need 17s going up to the 19s for big 6 pots

if youve heavily cooked the brake fluid then a full change by bleeding wont be enough, you will need to bleed the abs as well. this requires to be done using a diagnostic tool such as VCDS (formally vagcom)

most places wont hybridise the 03 itself as its too small on the inside to get much better while keeping reliability.
 

johnspackman

New member
Points
26
Location
Bristol, UK
Car
Audi A4 1.8TSport
sorry for the delay in getting back

by newer turbo i mean one from a newer model, as said i think its the 190 models that got the 03s turbo. im surprised that they say its not a direct fit as they are essentially the same turbo - in fact on the transverse engines if buying from VAG themselves they will now give you an 03s

From what I've read there's some confusion on this because there were some early 03s model numbers which were pretty much 1-for-1 but AFAICT it's not true in the general case. I think I found the article on uk-mivs but can't find it anymore, the guy went into a lot of detail about exactly what turbos would fit, what they would achieve, etc - I'm completely out of my depth here though so don't take my word for it!!

if youve heavily cooked the brake fluid then a full change by bleeding wont be enough, you will need to bleed the abs as well. this requires to be done using a diagnostic tool such as VCDS (formally vagcom)

Thanks for the heads up - perfect timing because a mate's going to change the brakes etc over for me and I'm not sure he's got the kit!

Cheers
John
 

pgarner

TC ModFather
Points
417
Location
Lockerbie, SW Scotland
Car
Octy smoke machine
problem looking on ukmk4s is the same as im having. i dont know the longitudinal engine. i know its set out differently to the transverse and alot of parts are different inc the turbo. so an A4 turbo wont fit on the a3, TT and vice versa

but like i say if you were to go in with an early a3 turbo part number they would now give you the new turbo which the part number comes back with later models 03s - of couse VAG make it hard by saying there is no 03s.

i havent reinstalled ETKA so i cant check out is theis is the same case in the A4.
 
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