The S4 Project
After about two years in storage we drag the brand new engine out of a fabulously clean family owned and run house removal/storage company in Bangor
To buy one of these brand new engines as complete as this one (I just needed to add a power steering pump, starter motor, aircon pump and flywheel) would cost about £15,000, I was lucky enough to buy this for £3,500 and it was one of six from a bankrupt kit car company, very lucky indeed
Here we’re getting a feel of the tight engine and compression
The new unused exhaust port, lovely!
The compact standard exhaust manifolds were removed and a set of free flowing RS4 headers fitted, these arn’t a direct fit and had to be modified as the RS4 uses a different cylinder head with different port spacings, they really brought the engine to life and added a little more of a harsh sound and that was welcome
and out, they have been fitted to my car since November 2015 with no issues at all
The gearbox support brackets being attached
The flange surface being checked
This is the first look at the headers on the engine
Sitting nice, plenty of clearance so far
But when the water cooled alternator was fitted I could see a water cooling pipe had an issue
(Since doing this mod I realised there is an easier way round this issue and that is to fit the RS4 alternator bracket, spring loaded tensioner and belt)
The original manifold had more than enough clearance
but the pipe couldn’t be fitted once the headers were installed
To get round this problem I had to modify the pipe, cut at 45º then used the small part that fits into the alternator, I used a 4″ long steel tube with a outside diameter of 12mm and an old steel I spacer tube and drilled two 12mm holes
This is what I was looking for, just need a kink in the pipe to make it almost level as the air should not get trapped
Brazed to seal it up, a little kink to point it where it needs to go and the end heated and hammered to swell it to help keep the hose on when under working pressure
Pressure tested under water
Close but not touching so needed a little more clearance
Some heat applied and a little reshaping and it was ready to fit
and the JHMotorsport lightweight aluminium flywheel fitted
At first I went by the JHM fitting instructions which were to force it on (as it is an interference fit) but I didn’t like this idea so stopped and removed it, I found the harder crank shaft was scrapping little pieces off the flywheel that would be trapped between the crank and flywheel, this could cause the flywheel not to sit flat against the crank and cause an off balance vibration
Half an hour in a low heated oven to expand it so it would just slide on, the old fashioned way!
a new B7 RS4 clutch was fitted
Just in time mum
Time to get dirty
Drain all the liquids, washer bottle water, engine coolant, engine oil, gearbox oil, power steering oil and air con gas
Headlights and bumper next
Labeling the fan control module and ambient temperature sensor plugs
Air con gas still oozing and swelling the glove
The front panel next, all pipework and electrical connections will be marked when disconnected
Inch by inch, disconnecting things as they come into view or reach
So easy to break something at this point as you feel it’s got to come out now
Funny enough the last thing to disconnect is the starter as it’s cable is very long
Whats he grinning about, it’s to go back in again!
Split the box from the block
Side by side, now we can start swapping parts
Will it ever run again?
There really is a lot going on in there
Gunk, scrub with brush then power wash the worst items
The engine has been bought by an engineering company in Germany so has to be stripped
Wrapped and ready to travel, they were in the UK buying engines here and there then came to Ireland specially for this engine
More of mums scones tea and coffee
A popular upgrade for the S4 is the fitting of the RS4 B7 40/60 centre diff which replaces the S4 50/50, this puts more drive to the rear wheels makeing it easier to steer under power
I bought a low milage B7 RS4 box but the final drive ratio is different although the gear ratio’s are slightly closer so with a mix of the two I would have a one off box and the best of both worlds
Gardiner Transmissions were recomended by a friend and that was a mistake
the manager said “I’ll get them on a bench next week, strip them and give you a call to discuss what’s required”
That was great to get this done so quick as I was imposing on my brother inlaws garage space
I called “each week” to see how things were coming along
“I have a bench cleared and them on it and will get a look at them shortly” he said
After THREE weeks I’d had enough and drove up to see what was going on
I put them in the boot and put it down to a bad choice
A search of the internet and I found SNJ Motors, a quick chat with Neil and I knew he was the man so I left the boxes with him
later that day I was back to collect, no messing around here
These are the unused S4 gears and the RS4 diff
That same day the box was on
A JHM Delrin gear linkage bush was next to help tighten things up
The alloy JHM’s alloy short through shifter was fitted to remove the excessive movement that is apparent with the nylon Audi item
The man says it’s ready!
It’s that time again
Now to install it
It’s nicely balanced with the chains on the two rear lifting points
At this point it can still go wrong, things can get smashed, bent or forgotten
Along with two new belt pulley bearings and a new belt I added another aluminium part, the JHM Lightweight crank pulley, it may not look like much but the weight difference is amazing
The headers are sitting quite accessible
The RS4 B7 has two cats on each pipe, a pre-cat, and a main cat that’s high flow
Here the Pre-cats have been chopped out
Their sitting as they should, nice and high
The original exhaust would restrict the flow as the bore is now too small and the silencers arn’t free flow
and it looks tired too
Inside the cross over
Scott and I treated ourselves to a weekend of fantastic motorsport at The Goodwood Festival of Speed on June 2015 and stopped off at MIJ Exhausts in Birmingham on the way to have them make up a new stainless steel system, I had spoke to Jay (the proprietor) about the install on the phone and emailed him too
The first thing the guys done that I liked was to weld easy exhaust removal flanges
Lovely welds and a hand made system that lay flat on the floor with my X-pipe in there too
The lads took their time and done a fantastic job
One step at a time
They even made the silencers from scratch
Well fitted with plenty of ground clearance
Even though the straight through silencers are this small the sound was kept to a lovely soft tone but part of that is down to the X-pipe
The dreaded 2K drone was now a problem and I called MIJ from Goodwood and booked it in to have that issue resolved on my journey back to Ireland
The guys made up larger 6″ silencers
That helped a little but also silenced a little more, the drone was still a problem, since Jay was away having his Skyline ECU setup by professionals in Saudi I decided to leave it like that for the moment and talk to him later
I called MIJ and asked if Jay could contact me about the problem and left my number, I emailed and called again but the life time guarantee looks like internet data only, for the moment!!!
I have discovered a possible fix for the drone issue and spoke to another manufacture for costing for this, £200
I’ll get to that later.
Intake Manifold Spacers
The JHM Intake manifold spacers separate the aluminium cylinder heads from the aluminium intake manifold managing to accomplish at least two worth while improvements, (1) extending the length of the inlet tract, (2) reduce the intake air temperature, combined these make a noticeable improvement to the torque, a slightly sharper response and I’m lead to believe more power too.
I’ve had these a while now and eventually got round to fitting them, I kept my iPad nearby to refer to and it just a couple of hours.
It was interesting to see how much carbon deposite there wasn’t!
I thought it odd that the under side was sprayed black
Everything, no matter how insignificant you think it might be, all add up to make an impressive difference
The longer bolts supplied didn’t have washers like the original and I found that they wern’t going to be easy separated so I went ahead and fitted them without the washers, but as I tightened them I had a bit of a shock
even though I was being very careful it felt like I had just stripped the threads in the head!
I took the bolt back out and found the narrow head of the bolt broke off a sliver of the shoulder around the bolt hole in the manifold allowing the bolt to go a little farther into the hole, I fitted washers on all the fourteen bolts to be sure.
This is what it should look like
as expected there’s a slightly wider gap between the slam panel and the V8 – 4.2 trim
sitting a fraction higher now
To improve the handling Bilstein’s were fitted to the already lowered suspension, this gave a lovely controlled feel
Just before the next modification a set of RS4 B7 brakes were fitted.
To be continued