So your stock Bose system has finally yee’d its last haw? Maybe you just want more bass. Whatever the reason, you don’t have many options for staying relatively “stock”.
To start, this upgrade works best if you have removed your spare tire. Therefore, I wouldn’t suggest doing this without roadside assistance on your insurance policy. Additionally, if you have replaced your Radio with an aftermarket head unit, you are good to go. If not, you will need some crossover adapters for the audio output.
Okay, the spare tire is removed…now what? You need an 8-inch low-profile subwoofer. The brand doesn’t really matter too much if you stick to those parameters. You also need to replace your factory amp with an aftermarket single channel.
Once you have your necessary components, its as easy as installing a standalone subwoofer.
- Run your power wire from the battery, through the firewall, and to the trunk.
- Run your audio output wires from the radio/crossover to the trunk.
- If you have an aftermarket head unit, connect your remote amp turn-on wire to the blue wire on the radio harness. (If you are using a crossover, you can connect it to any ignition wire or fuse using an adapter).
- Connect your ground to any solid metal point in your trunk.
- Then pull your rear deck and subwoofer.
- Swap the new subwoofer, and replace the rear deck.
- Connect your amp to all appropriate wires and mount it in the spare tire location.
- Run your speaker wire from the amp to the new subwoofer.
That’s about it for keeping a stock looking system.
The very first suspension modification we will be talking about in this 3 part saga is adjustable front upper control arms. This happens to be the only part I would recommend replacing even if you want to keep the car relatively stock. This is mainly due to the fact the B7 has no way of adjusting the camber from the factory. Therefore without adjustable control arms, if your camber is off and starts heavily wearing your tires unevenly, there is no way to fix it without replacing the upper control arms.
In terms of pricing, most adjustable upper controls arms will cost about $500 for all four with one exception; adjustable bushings. Most of these brands can be found on ECS Tuning as it’s pretty much a one-stop-shop for the B7 platform.
034 Motorsport makes two types of adjustable upper controls arms for the B7. Both are around $500 except one is made for lowered vehicles. The difference is the ones specific for lowered vehicles are spherical and smaller in diameter.
The only exception for getting full replacements is adjustable control arm bushings. They will essential allow for the same amount of adjustment, however, they use the factory arms. So if yours are blown this may not be a suitable option for you. But if your stock arms are fine, POWERFLEX makes a kit for $215.
At the end of the day, if you can find a reputable company with a lifetime warranty, buy them. These are just my recommendations for reputable companies.
The most tedious part of owning a B7 A4 is the maintenance. Although, it doesn’t have to be if you use the correct parts and fluid. In fact, it will actually prolong the life of your car.
Here is my list of common maintenance to perform before tuning (or even daily driving):
First of all and I cannot stress this enough, make sure you are using the correct weight oil with Audi-approved standards. Personally, I use Liqui Moly as they are a German-based company that must meet or exceed the exact specifications Audi follows. In addition, the owner’s manual states that you must change the oil every 10,000 miles. But, in reality, change it every 5,000 as it is way better for the life of the motor.
The most important maintenance item to check is your timing belt. Which Audi recommends changing every 90,000 miles. It is very simple to replace given you have the special tools and little common sense. But fail to replace this belt and you will total the vehicle. In today’s market, a new motor for our cars can be just as much as buying a complete high mileage B7. Even if you do all the work yourself, you will still be in the hole upwards of 3-4 thousand dollars.
Coolant! Should I get green or orange? NEITHER! Surprisingly enough, put anything other than what is recommended by Audi, and your coolant system will literally crumble apart. B7’s use a special pink coolant labeled as G12 that has special additives to help prolong the coolant system. It has become more common to find this at an auto part store, however, online or the dealership is your best bet.
Honestly, I could go on and on about what is known to fail and when. But if you follow those three guidelines and treat your car with respect, you should be fine.
Most tuning companies have a setup for most car brands and the B7 platform is no exception. However, if you decide to go against mainstream car culture, you will find multiple tuning companies that are reputable and much cheaper. To start, let go over the brands you would know if you have followed car culture for a few years.
As a side note, horsepower is how fast you hit the wall, torque is how far you take the wall with you! As a rule of thumb, you can squeeze more horsepower out of a car, if you can keep the torque from denoting your motor.
APR, a company known for head studs, makes a very solid stage 1 tune for the B7. However, it is relatively pricy for what you are receiving. Their stage 1 tune costs $600 and claims to add 40 horsepower (HP) and 75 ft-lb of torque. While a stock engine can hold this additional power relatively easy, you can squeeze more out of that B7 for cheaper.
Malone Tuning, a very well-known Audi/VW tuner, offers a stage 1 tune for the B7 as well. Their tune costs $550 and boasts an increase of 45 HP and 70 ft-lb of torque. While this is a step in the right direction, we can go further.
Finally, the tune I recommend is made by 06A Technik. This tune only costs $300 with an increase of 60 HP and 85 ft-lb of torque. This is an up-and-coming company that strives for customer success. I have personally been running this tune for over a year now with no issues.
At the end of the day, choose the tune you feel comfortable with using. This is just an outline of what to expect and what is available.
Imagine, your on your way to work and all of a sudden your Audi start billowing smoke from the tailpipes. What are you options? Maybe your turbo is still good but your looking for an upgrade. Well here is my list of possible turbo upgrades for your B7 A4 Platform.
Lets say you would like to keep your turbo stock. There are a few reasons why you may want to keep your factory KO3 turbo. For instance, most stage 1 tunes are meant for the stock turbo. But maybe you just don’t want travel down the rabbit hole. In either case, the best option for this would be having a reputable shop rebuild your turbo. The company I use is Gpopshop because of their expertise in the industry. They also have access to stronger aftermarket parts that increase the reliability of your turbo.
What if you’re looking for a little more pull, a little more power, and a more intense hit of boost. In this case, you can upgrade to a KO4 turbocharger. CTS Turbo makes a comprehensive hit for this upgrade. The reason for this is because you can’t just slap in a bigger turbo and expect the car to drive the same. When you upgrade to a KO4, your car also needs S3 injectors for the fuel system. In addition to a tune that compensates for the larger turbo and increased fuel.
Finally, we have what I call, THE turbo. This kits so expensive and rowdy, I have never actually seen it in a build. JH Motorsport’s stage 3 kit has everything you need to completely max out the stock internals of the 2.0t FSI. But the best part is, the kit can be pushed much further than the stock engine. Depending on what you have done to your B7, installing this kit could cost you anywhere between 3-7 thousand dollars. But if your in the market for those smiles per gallon, no other kit will have you smiling all the way to the bank.
To start, if you are only going to a stage 1 tune, these upgrades are not necessary.
Here is my list of recommended upgrades that will drastically improve your smiles per gallon! First off is changing out the faulty ignition system that the B7’s have factory. Most B7 owners know to keep a spare coil pack in their trunk for emergencies. These cars can have a coil pack fail at any moment leaving you stranded. The best upgrade for this is to change over to R8 coils (Red Tops). The R8 coils are able to deliver a more reliable spark with extra durability to withstand abuse. Replacement Redtops can be found for $200-300 on any European car site.
The next part I highly recommend purchasing is a Go Fast Bits DV+. This kit replaces the faulty stock Diverter valve that Audi tried to fix 4-5 times. The kit replaces the diverter mechanism with a metal piston which can within stand 50 psi of boost. The DV+ has a small hole on the piston allowing more pressure keeping the valve shut than open. The added benefit to the DV+ is the valve will only open as much as it needs to relieve boost pressure. Allowing you to get back into boost faster than the stock valve.
When you first start modifying the B7 A4 platform, its best to know what direction you want to take before starting off on your adventure. Last week we went over intakes and when/if you need one. This week will be the same involving high flow catalytic converters (HFC).
In terms of power goals, the stock catalytic converter is fine for a stage 1 build. Which is generally around the 250-270 wheel horsepower (whp) mark. However, once you enter a stage 2 build it is almost always mandatory to have a HFC. This is due to the increase in boost pressure; the turbo needs an easier path to dispose of the exhaust gases. Without a HFC, the turbo would experience lag and premature wear on the internals.
As far as options go, multiple companies have created their own version of a HFC with varying cell counts. The top three HFC’s for the B7 A4 platform that I have seen were designed by 034 Motorsport, ECS Tuning, and CTS Turbo.
My recommendation to you is to watch some videos on the sound quality of the HFC and get a feel for the sound. If possibly, go out to a car meet, find a B7 A4 owner, and see what is done to their build. I guarantee they will have no issue talking about their Audi.
When it comes to the B7 platform, there are various manufacturers that make an aftermarket cold air intake. However, depending on the horsepower you are looking to make, you may not need one.
According to other blogs and just all around research, the stock intake can support around 300 horsepower. Given that most Stage 1 tunes keep you 30-50 horsepower under that mark, they are really not necessary. But once you break into the stage 2 threshold and start making more than 300 horsepower, you will need to upgrade.
Here is the only perk of having a cold air intake under the 300 horsepower; the induction noise. The car makes an amazing sound under boost with the correct supporting mods. Now, most cold air intakes will run you anywhere from $300-500 dollars. So it could possibly be skipped if budget is a concern.