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    1. Member
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      07-30-2015 10:00 PM #1
      Today, I went to the port in Baltimore and picked up my beloved A3. For those of you not familiar, I bought the car new in 2012 in Germany while living overseas, and had a blast with it. Fast forward over three years later, and it's starting a new life on a new continent. In honor of that, and to clean up a thread that was a bit messy at times, I'm starting a new one. It really is going to be completely different. I've got a bunch of plans in store for the littlest Audi available in North America, we'll see what comes to fruition. If you don't care or already read my previous thread (available here) go ahead and skip to post number two. If not, here's a not so concise guide to the timeline.

      Like I said, I bought the car in 2012 in Germany. Picked it up at the port in Bremerhaven and drove it for a good portion of the break-in mileage back to the Netherlands, where I was living at the time. A couple of pics from what it looked like new:





      When I decided to start modding the car, I skipped all of the normal steps that people go through. I never got new wheels (I'm still running the stock ones) and didn't slam it with coilovers or bags. (BTW, bags are for groceries. Sorry for anyone that likes 'em, but I think they're silly.) No, I went full throttle for an APR Stage 3 kit, just over a year after getting the car:



      And the dyno sheet. Right at 380hp at the crank. Not too bad, but needs more, which is why I'm doing this.

      The next mods I did were the HPA core interlock mount (aka dogbone mount) and their 3-setting haldex controller. Haldex went through the rear cargo area where the battery cable would go if I had a 3.2



      I soon realized that I really needed some help in the braking department; at this point I was still running the factory setup. I initially went with stoptech rotors, brake lines, ATE super blue fluid, stoptech pads, and the tyrolsport caliper stiffening kit.



      Then, I finally got smart and started adjusting the suspension. I went with VWR springs and Audi TT rear spring perch mounts over stock dampners at first. The ride was lower and stiffer, but I still had what I can only describe as a vague steering feel in the corners, plus the well documented understeer that plagues this forum.

      Lowered, it looks better, and from the outside, this is still how it looks today:



      I also had issues with the transmission; when I would hit peak boost on the car at peak RPM (7k on the tune I had), the TCU would force an upshift that would then cause a drastic reduction in RPMs, leading to boost loss then a jerk back forward as I went for peak boost again. Enter HPA. At the time, they were basically the only company offering a DSG tune and, IMO, they've still got it handled really well.



      I also got more serious about suspension, and started getting some better supporting mods. This was in the fall of 2013.

      I added the tyrolsport subframe kit, the 034 motorsport strut mounts, Audi TT control arm bushings, bilstein B8 sprint shocks and adjustable end links, as well as aluminum control arms, and H&R adjustable rear sway bar.









      I also got more serious about braking, and added the tyrolsport MC bracket and porsche / brembo calipers upfront with new stoptech pads.



      I also added wheel studs and spacers while I was at it.



      Then I did a few small things, like throw in an O2 spacer for an irritating readiness fault I kept getting because of the downpipe, and add a magnetic drain plug.



      With all these things sorted, I turned my attention to the overall driving experience. I really love the DSG transmission, but having only the "slap shift" method of shifting left me wanting more. So after a lot of research and prep, I was able to install and code a full MFSW retrofit with paddles.



      I also got around to doing a catch can install in prep for a new, bigger intercooler.



      I also did a DV relocate with some OEM wire, some parts from the unitronic kit, and a little bit of ingenuity. I had a few goodies waiting for install but ran out of time before life got in the way. I had to pack up and leave Europe last month, with quite a few things left unfinished. Then, right after I had all of my stuff picked up (including my tools), I had yet another leak on the oil feed line to the turbo. Some of you know about all the problems I had with those... most of the APR kit is pretty good and the tune is solid, but those oil lines are hot garbage. I had just replaced the return line, and then the feed line went. I wish I had a pic of what it looked like off the car; people would be shocked at the (lack of) quality.

      I ended up calling around to local tuning shops for help with only 2 weeks before the car was going to be shipped. Nobody local could help, and I ended up taking the car to a shop 3 hours away in Germany. The shop had a good rep with other military guys who were stationed in that area, and Jason, one of the workers there, assured me that it would be no problem. He originally attempted to get another APR line, and after finding out the cost, he opted to take the line off the car and take it to a local race boutique that preps various rally and GT cars. They made a one-off that is seriously awesome. I didn't have time to snap pics, but next chance I have to get under the car and get a good shot, I will. The total cost, including labor, came out to less than what APR quoted for the line. I was seriously happy, and would recommend Jason and his shop to anyone travelling in Southwest Germany.

      Thus ends this huge post, and the story of my build up till now. This thread will probably update pretty slow; I've got a new baby on the way and he's already eating into my car budget, but I've juggled some things and have parts on hand that I haven't installed yet, plus some pretty radical ideas of where to take the car in terms of getting it "finished". For those of you that read this far, thanks, and for everyone, stay tuned.
      Last edited by npace; 04-26-2016 at 08:42 PM.

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    3. Member
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      07-30-2015 10:01 PM #2
      For those of you that skipped to here, that's cool too. It was too dark to take pics after getting the car back to my house, but it's still got all the shipping stickers, no plates, and everything. I still don't have the final customs document I need to get the car titled and registered. The looks I got on the freeway with no plates on the car, and yellow Dutch plates in the front and rear windshield were comical, to say the least. I'll get a pic up tomorrow in this spot to show off the "new" starting point.
      Last edited by npace; 07-30-2015 at 10:04 PM.

    4. Semi-n00b
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      07-30-2015 10:18 PM #3
      Awesome build process man. I'm doing a sleeper as well, fsi though (06) which sits At 140k miles now on a stage 2+ on a k03. Once I see the engine starting to let it go I will be deciding if I go big turbo or get the best I can from a k04 setup with proper internals and supporting mods.

      Suspensions I only did sway bars and I have not touched braking yet..., did the same changes to rotors, line but didn't get the stiffening kit for the caliper because decided to look into the 986 non S like you got.
      Do you feel break bias was affected? Was braking improved significantly or more the feel of braking improved (on stock the car can get a little wobbly on the back on hard braking if you above 100... - I do some tracking here and there) I'm looking to improve that and improve braking distance as well.

      Let me know your feedback on it bro. Still deciding on going the Porsche or a stoptech 328mm bbk since they can that their caliper don't change brake bias and what not....

      Congrats again. List of improvements looks dead on (for my sleeper eyes lol)

      Paulo.

    5. Member TBomb's Avatar
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      07-30-2015 10:21 PM #4
      Enjoyed the original build thread, and reading through this one so far Congrats on the upcoming addition to the family...I am in the same boat...expecting our first in February I am trying to get all of my last minute modding done before the end of the year! Looking forward to seeing what you have in store for your A3

    6. Member AngryGiraffe's Avatar
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      07-30-2015 11:13 PM #5
      Love this car! Can't wait to see where you take it from here. What did you do with the 30's frame you had( I'm pretty sure it was you) glad to have another Monza in the states.
      Sent from somewhere at bottom of the river between Vega and Altair.

      https://forums.fourtitude.com/showthread.php?7132668-AG-s-2010-A3-S-Line-Quattro

    7. Member
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      07-30-2015 11:47 PM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by beringela001 View Post

      Let me know your feedback on it bro. Still deciding on going the Porsche or a stoptech 328mm bbk since they can that their caliper don't change brake bias and what not....
      AFAIK there's no bias issue with the boxster brake setup. Bias changes have to do with how much fluid is displaced in the front vs the rear, so you could theoretically have a six piston or even 8 piston setup without bias issues as long as the caliper uses the same amount of fluid to displace the pistons. Where people get into trouble is putting on something like TTRS calipers, which are much bigger and have a lot more fluid displacement, and then they don't touch the rears.

      Quote Originally Posted by AngryGiraffe
      Love this car! Can't wait to see where you take it from here. What did you do with the 30's frame you had( I'm pretty sure it was you) glad to have another Monza in the states.
      Thanks. I still have the rolling chassis for the '32 Ford. I've actually never seen it; it was made in the US and shipped to my sister's house for safekeeping. Her husband and I are going to build it together.

    8. Member krazyboi's Avatar
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      07-31-2015 08:17 AM #7
      Welcome to the area Nick!! Can't wait to see your car. Also, depending on how you drive, just know that driving in Fairfax County can be nerve racking with all the cops. It's well known that it is probably the worse in the area.

      Quote Originally Posted by TBomb View Post
      Congrats on the upcoming addition to the family...I am in the same boat...expecting our first in February
      Congrats bro!!

      Looks like you both need to look at the car seat thread soon!
      722 pages, 25255 posts, and 1,015,739 views later... R.I.P. LoL Bump thread 03/27/2008 ~ 02/16/2011.
      Link to my build: Audi A3 3.2 VR6 BT
      CleanAudi.com feature

    9. Member TBomb's Avatar
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      07-31-2015 03:27 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by krazyboi View Post
      Congrats bro!!

      Looks like you both need to look at the car seat thread soon!

      Thanks JT! Crazy times I was looking at the Recaro kiddo seat...just need to convince my wife that I need a set to go with it

    10. Member
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      07-31-2015 04:51 PM #9
      Yeah, thanks. I already have a car seat; wife is due next month.

      Luckily I don't have to drive through/into Fairfax County often.

    11. 07-31-2015 05:03 PM #10
      Nice build!!

      Where in the Netherlands did you live?
      I'm from the Netherlands!!

    12. Member
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      07-31-2015 06:36 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by CorrieG60 View Post
      Nice build!!

      Where in the Netherlands did you live?
      I'm from the Netherlands!!
      Like two ships in the night..

    13. Former Advertiser CarNut84GTi's Avatar
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      07-31-2015 06:57 PM #12
      Love performance oriented builds

    14. Member
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      08-01-2015 12:33 AM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by CorrieG60 View Post
      Nice build!!

      Where in the Netherlands did you live?
      I'm from the Netherlands!!
      I used to live in Limburg, near Maastricht.

      Quote Originally Posted by CarNut84GTi
      Love performance oriented builds
      Thanks. Looking to sponsor any A3s?

      I realize I should've added a pic today, but things got crazy around here. Movers are bringing all of our stuff (finally) on Monday and I was trying to get everything ready for that. Will get a few pics up tomorrow for sure.

    15. Member TBomb's Avatar
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      08-01-2015 12:48 PM #14
      Hey, so I was curious to know...since you bought the car in Germany while living in the Netherlands, but I assume knowing at some point you would be returning to the US, did you have to buy a US spec car? It certainly appears to be...LHD, MPH in speedo, orange corner markers in the headlights...if so, how does that work with being able to drive a US spec car over in Europe for such an extended period of time?

    16. Member
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      08-01-2015 04:10 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by TBomb View Post
      Hey, so I was curious to know...since you bought the car in Germany while living in the Netherlands, but I assume knowing at some point you would be returning to the US, did you have to buy a US spec car? It certainly appears to be...LHD, MPH in speedo, orange corner markers in the headlights...if so, how does that work with being able to drive a US spec car over in Europe for such an extended period of time?
      Well, it's all a bit convoluted, but I bought the car from a company called AutoExchange that has now changed their name to Military Auto Source. As you can guess, they specialize in selling cars to servicemembers overseas. There are a few companies that do this, and each one specializes in different makes. These guys used to only do Audi, VW, and Toyota, but now they do several other brands as well.

      Anyway, I ordered the car with the options I wanted (sort of...) like I wanted quattro and DSG, but I also wanted sport seats, however, I wanted them to be manually adjustable, which wasn't an option with sport seats, and so I got less bolstering in exchange for dropping 50lbs of seat motor weight off the car. I got the CW package, but couldn't get NAV unless I also got a sunroof, which I didn't want, also because of more weight and less rigidity. So I compromised and got what I got.

      To answer your question, yes, it is a US spec car. As part of the Status of Forces Agreement (SoFA), service members in Europe may own and operate up to two US spec cars while serving in Europe on military orders. This comes back to bite some people who decide to retire and stay in Europe, but I digress. So then I also got to buy the car tax free, and when you return, depending on what state you register in, it remains so, which is nice. So when shipping it back, you then have to go through the customs process, but having a CARB compliant sticker on the car helps.

      So I have ownership / customs docs in the Netherlands and the US for our cars, which is kind of weird.

    17. Member
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      08-01-2015 04:31 PM #16
      And because I didn't want the above explanation mixed in with my "update", here's the pics I promised.

      This is how I drove back from the port. I even had a cop behind me at one point. Surprised I didn't get pulled over. Maybe they're used to seeing it.



      The customs and shipping labels are still on the car:



      When you ship your car, it has to have less than 1/4 tank. I decided that since it hadn't really been driven for a while and sat with old gas, I would add some of this at the fill up before the drive from Baltimore back to the DC area:



      Lastly, here it is from the front. Maybe you all can help with a small decision I'm trying to make. The sticker in the windshield on the passenger side is from Germany; it's basically like a consumption tax sticker that you need to be able to drive in certain cities in Germany. I'm trying to decide whether to remove it or leave it there. I think it's a little unique to the car and adds to it's history, but it's also, you know, an ugly sticker.


    18. Member AngryGiraffe's Avatar
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      08-01-2015 05:10 PM #17
      What do you think of the HPA dog bone mount? Is it worth the extra money? I've noticed that it's quite a bit more expensive than some of the other mounts out there.
      Sent from somewhere at bottom of the river between Vega and Altair.

      https://forums.fourtitude.com/showthread.php?7132668-AG-s-2010-A3-S-Line-Quattro

    19. Member
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      08-01-2015 06:03 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by AngryGiraffe View Post
      What do you think of the HPA dog bone mount? Is it worth the extra money? I've noticed that it's quite a bit more expensive than some of the other mounts out there.
      TBH, I got it for free; they threw it into a package deal because I bought the haldex controller and DSG tune at the same time. I don't know how the other inserts are, but the HPA mount is a full replacement instead of an insert, if that makes a difference. I actually really like it a lot, but it does add NVH.

      In my mind, I would probably opt for a replacement style mount anyway. So that would leave the HPA mount, VWR mount, or 034 mount as options.

    20. Member
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      08-01-2015 08:28 PM #19
      Great thread, looking forward to the continuous updates.

      I vote you keep the sticker until it fades. I think it's neat.

    21. Former Advertiser CarNut84GTi's Avatar
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      08-02-2015 10:57 PM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by npace View Post
      I used to live in Limburg, near Maastricht.



      Thanks. Looking to sponsor any A3s?

      I realize I should've added a pic today, but things got crazy around here. Movers are bringing all of our stuff (finally) on Monday and I was trying to get everything ready for that. Will get a few pics up tomorrow for sure.
      Haha, yes, mine! . But on a serious note, I don't handle sponsorships, if you were interested in something like that, you would have to submit an application.

    22. Member
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      08-07-2015 08:00 PM #21
      As some of you know, I'm a little unhappy with the fitment of the Ground Control coilovers on the ohlins suspension. This is part of the reason that I haven't finished installing all of my suspension items and moved forward. Well, here's the problem:



      As you can see, the lower collars don't fit at all. I reached out to a few others who have a similar setup (JRutter, Ceese, JBrehm) and they also had mixed feelings about the GC setup. I'm happy with the springs, and love the fact that they let me specify spring rates for the car. Also, I want to note here that I'm not in anyway complaining about GC as a company. They produce really nice products and have been awesome to deal with. I reached out to them and sent them pics, and I expect an answer back soon on either getting some good shims, new collars, or both.

      One of the issues I had was that I didn't have access to a digital caliper until recently (today). My $70 craftsman one from sears broke, and I was too lazy to order a new one since I wasn't really needing it. So I stopped by Advance Auto parts and got the car craft one you see in the pics below.

      It's hard to see, but the Ohlins strut is 53.90mm in diameter



      The collars are 56.40mm in diameter



      And the threaded sleeves are 55.25mm. So, with that in mind, I hope they get back to me soon on getting some better fitting collars and some shims for the front tubes. Otherwise, I'm going to have to go to a machine shop and get some collars made.

      That's all for now, but I should have some more / better updates in the near future.

    23. Member cleanA3's Avatar
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      08-08-2015 11:51 AM #22
      Car is looking tuff love what you are doing

    24. Member Ponto's Avatar
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      08-08-2015 01:35 PM #23


      2007 A3 3.2vr Lava Grey S-line | Killed in Action
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      2013 Allroad 2.0t Scuba Blue

    25. Member
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      08-08-2015 06:02 PM #24
      Lol. ^^^ that Joker GIF is creepy.

    26. Member TBomb's Avatar
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      08-08-2015 08:27 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by npace View Post
      As some of you know, I'm a little unhappy with the fitment of the Ground Control coilovers on the ohlins suspension. This is part of the reason that I haven't finished installing all of my suspension items and moved forward. Well, here's the problem:



      As you can see, the lower collars don't fit at all. I reached out to a few others who have a similar setup (JRutter, Ceese, JBrehm) and they also had mixed feelings about the GC setup. I'm happy with the springs, and love the fact that they let me specify spring rates for the car. Also, I want to note here that I'm not in anyway complaining about GC as a company. They produce really nice products and have been awesome to deal with. I reached out to them and sent them pics, and I expect an answer back soon on either getting some good shims, new collars, or both.

      One of the issues I had was that I didn't have access to a digital caliper until recently (today). My $70 craftsman one from sears broke, and I was too lazy to order a new one since I wasn't really needing it. So I stopped by Advance Auto parts and got the car craft one you see in the pics below.

      It's hard to see, but the Ohlins strut is 53.90mm in diameter



      The collars are 56.40mm in diameter



      And the threaded sleeves are 55.25mm. So, with that in mind, I hope they get back to me soon on getting some better fitting collars and some shims for the front tubes. Otherwise, I'm going to have to go to a machine shop and get some collars made.

      That's all for now, but I should have some more / better updates in the near future.
      Soo...I'm having difficulty envisioning where those collars go. They have notches like they are supposed to be spun or tightened, but I don't see any threads in them. What am I missing here?

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