What should my next project be?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Poll: My next project car

With my 135i sold it's time to figure out my next mode of transportation. I've modded my cars ever since I could drive starting with my Honda Civic. On one hand it takes up a lot of my time and money and we know we never financially get our return on our investment. However, the fun, joy and excitement of performance automotive, for me, can't be quantified and I truly enjoy the hobby. Do I continue my passion of performance automotive, spend more money and time or do I save the money and buy something more economical and practical? You decide. Vote at the top of my blog.

If I do buy another performance car I know I want AWD and I know I want the car to be up to par in condition and modifications. I've limited the options to the following. Click on the link to view more information on the cars, but vote at the top of my blog. Thank you for participating.

Option 1: 2001 Audi S4: Widebody, Tial605 Turbo Kit

Option 2: 2001 Porsche 911: Turbo AWD

Option 3: 1990 Audi CQ: 20v Turbo S2 Clone

Option 4: Beater Car: < $5000

Option 5: None, Take the Bus

Project 4: 2008 BMW 135i

I bought the 135i through eBay from a Eurocharged, a performance shop in Chicago. I bought the car already 80% modded. The good is that I don't have to spend all the money and time on the modifications. The bad is that you are are not certain if the mods were done right. Unfortunately, you are almost certain the car was pushed pretty hard. The seller was a performance shop and I spoke to the seller so I felt pretty confident that the car was in order. I paid for the car having never test drove or seeing it in person. The car was shipped, delayed due to a bad East Coast winter storm, but I received it in January of 2010.

When I received the car it had the following parts: Performance Spearco Intercooler, Eurocharged Stage II Software, Riss Racing Down Pipes, CP-E Exhaust, AFE Dual Intake, Spearco Intercooler and Vogtland Coilovers.

Aesthetics wise I had the front bumper license plate holes filled. I used the tow hook to mount the front plate. I added LED interior lights and LED headlight halo bulbs. I had the interior wood trim painted matte black. I tinted the windows and added CSL style rims painted shadowline black. I also added shadow line black kidney grills. Finally I had the rood painted shadow line black.

Performance wise I added  a UUC short shifter (JHM doesn't make a short shifter for these cars), custom designed quad exhaust, STETT blow off valve.

Recently, I worked with SurgelineTuning to help test and develop their accessport software on my 135i. The guys at Surgeline are top notch and really know their tuning. They are able to safely and reliably extract power from your cars without compromising drivability.

The car made over 400 whp/wtq. The problem with this car for me was the RWD. With the amount of power and how light the car was it was pretty scary. I missed the confidence of AWD. So after a little less than 2 years of ownership I sold the 135i.

What to get next...

Company Spotlight: CobbTuning

Featured Product: BMW 135i UUC Short Shifter

One of the most important connections that a driver can have to a car is the shifter. A shifter can make or break how confident the car feels or how well it can be driven. Too loose and the car feels sloppy and shifts are slow. Too tight and the shifts are notchy with the potential to miss a gear and damage your transmission. Having purchased my 135i with very few miles I knew the inprecise shifting was not due to wear, but instead design. So I looked for a few options to reduce the throw of my shifter as well as give me the precise tight feel I was looking for. I was recommend to try the UUC shifter. After talking to a few experts I contacted UUC and got one in my hands. I knew right away I was holding a quality piece. The shifter was heavy, precisely machined and packaged very well.

The UUC Ultimate Short Shifter is unique, completely different than anything else available.  It utilizes T-304 stainless steel, T-6061 aircraft-grade aluminum, precision bearings, a self-adjusting and lubricating primary pivot bearing, and the finest-grade silicone vibration absorbing material.

Some of the main features are the following:

  • Height adjustment via upper-section length change (this does not change linkage geometry like moving-ball designs).
  • Flex and rotation-free lever construction with full-length vibration-absorbing bushing.
  • Linkage geometry perfectly corrected, with self-adjusting primary pivot bearing that permanently retains lubrication and precision (some models).
  • Zero-tolerance lower pivot bearings that never require lubrication and eliminate significant mechanism friction. These do not wear or ovalize like solid-metal or plastic designs with expanding tolerances.
  • 100% stainless steel and aluminum construction, machined to exacting tolerances for a flex-free lever.
  • Lower pivot point enhanced with standard stainless steel bearings.
  • Primary pivot equipped with self-adjusting bearing mechanism that retains lubrication.
  • Delrin carrier bushings that eliminate carrier movement.
  • Precise calculations of linkage geometry and ergonomic placement (correct shifter position).
Price: $355 + S&H
Installation Difficulty: 4/10 (instructions)
Quality: 10/10
Design: 8/10
Performance: 8/10
Customer Service: 9/10
For more information on UUC, this short shifter or their other products visit UUC's website.

Project 3: 1990 Audi Coupe Quattro

Nolstagic and rare. They only offered a little over 1700 of these babies in the USA. These things are AWD tanks with their unique 5 cylinder engines. For a 1990 car they were leading the competiton in technology with options such as electric adjustable, memory and heated seats, auto-dimming mirrors, defrosting key holes and mirrors. I looked for one of these cars for six months every week on eBay, Autotrader, Craigslist and Forums. I finally found one owned by an Audi certified mechanic in Lake Tahoe. It had over 250,000 miles on it, but was drove well and had great service records. I met the guy half way and drove it back home. The car was in mechanically good condition, but aesthetically in shambles. I tore the car completely apart down to the shell. I sourced parts from Germany and through forums and ultimately restored/updated the interior and exterior with better condition parts. Every little nook and crevice was cleaned. All bulbs were replaced. All joints were lubricated.

As for upgrades since it was tried and true and I loved my short shifter in my S4 I got another short shifter from JHM Motorsports. The rest of the parts I got through 034motorsports who specialize on these chassis. Javad, the owner is great to work with and a fellow enthusiast and a wealth of knowledge.

In the end the car was in much, much better condition than when I purchased it, but I'm use to having pristine condition cars that were fast and this one still needed a lot of work, especially body work and gofast parts. Due to other projects and space I sold the car. I had it for less than a year and put less than 1500 miles on it. Check out my for sale post here. For Sale: 1990 Audi Coupe Quattro

These cars do require a lot of maintenance and upkeep and have a slew of common issues. Here are some good resources for parts, questions, specifications and history:


I enjoyed the huge cult following and uniqueness of the car and thinking about buying another one that has been fully restored.

To see more pictures of the project check out my project galleries under 1990 Audi Coupe Quattro.

Event: WaterWagens

The NW's eighth annual premiere European car show event. Waterwagens has become one of the largest Audi and VW events in North America, and keeps getting bigger each year.

Come on out and enter your car in the show! Or, if you prefer more go than show, then come down and put your car on the drag strip to have a full day of racing with other Audi and Volkswagen enthusiasts. Or, if you can't decide, we have an option where you can do both!

Make your plans now for early August, and start getting ready for waterwagens!

Date - August 1st, 2011
Location - Pacific Raceways in Kent, Washington

We want to thank all or our event sponsors:

Bahn Brenner Motorsport

European Car Magazine
Eurotuner Magazine
Evolution Sports
SK Motorsport
Driving Sports Magazine
New Dimensions
HPA Motorsport

Hillside Imports
REVO Technik
Techtonics Tuning
Performance Cafe

Please see all additional information on the event at http://www.waterwagens.com.

Featured Ride for the Month of June: Chris's 2006 BMW M3

It’s a beautiful Alpine White/Black w/ Comp. Package and has no sunroof or power seats (ideal lightweight!!). The car has only 8800 miles on it and is like new in everyway with not a mark on it!! Got really lucky with this one!! Now onto the HPF Stage 2 Kit. Power: 1. Pump Mode: Feels great, has enough power to put you back in your seat and is great for daily driving around! 2. Pump + Meth Mode: A huge difference from just pump! Pulls VERY hard and will pin you to the seat! 3. Race Mode: Hits even harder than pump+meth and starts to push you through the seat! 4. Race+Meth: Ok, your officially driving from the backseat because the power has put you through the seat! The powerband is very smooth in all modes and lag is very minimal in all modes! In 2-4 the car has pretty much no traction in 1st and will loose it a bit in 2nd too, but when it catches or you shift 3rd, WATCH OUT!! It goes into warp speed! Drivability: 1 word: PERFECT! This car drives better than stock off boost. Someone riding in the car for the first time would never think twice that there was anything done to the car (so long as you stay off boost and don’t blow off). There is no jerkiness whatsoever, no stalling, no idle fluctuation, NOTHING! Just drives perfect and when you lay into it you are brought to triple digit speeds very quickly! For those of you worried the power is useless and you can’t drive it everyday, that’s just not the case. Sure 1st and 2nd will spin, but that’s true of any high HP car and even when it does spin it’s very predictable and controllable! Kit Quality: Extremely clean, professional and OEM looking! The BMW techs could not believe how nice the kit was! They have seen a lot of aftermarket cars come through and said they had never seen anything that impressed them like this! Exact words out of the master tech who works on my cars exclusively “Those HPF guys got skills man.” Sound: The car is running the kit with a stock section2 and SuperSprint Race exhaust. The SuperSprint is very surprisingly QUIET! I have heard this exhaust on non-turbo M3s and its pretty damn loud, but not with the turbo. I like it though, nice deep rumble at idle and deep throaty sound from idle to about 3K rpms. After 3K all you hear is the turbo and BOV (which is fantastic). So it’s nice and deep in the lower rpms and sounds like a jet taking off above 3K! Clutch: Very good feel. It is for sure a bit stiffer than stock, but nothing to cry over (and I just had ACL Knee Surgery 2 months ago!!). It does chatter every once in awhile depending how you let it out (yes even with a 6speed), but again nothing to complain about. It grabs great and is easy to feel the release point (no surprises!)

Check out more pictures and info on Chris' M3 in the Readers Ride section.

Project 2: 2002 Audi S4

Me drag racing my 2002 Audi S4.

While I worked on my B20vtec car I saw the civic turbo guys making 600-800 whp and I knew my next setup would be a turbo car. I wanted something a little more luxurious and plush and I wanted it to be a sleeper. Enter the four door, silver 2002 Audi S4. Twin turbo, AWD, 250 hp/tq from the factory. Again, I purchased the car bone stock in 2006. I bought a chip from GIAC chip and it increased my boost from 9 psi to 18 psi and it gave me an additional 100 whp/100wtq. WOW!!! That was not enough though I ended up upgrading the turbos, downpipes, exhaust, manifolds and intercoolers with AWETuning components. With the additional power I need to be able to steer and brake as well so I purchased the Ohlins motorsport coilovers and Alcon brake upgrade kit from Stasis-Engineering. For all the technical help, advice and turbo install I worked with Matrix Integrated. These guys know there stuff and their customer service is absolutely top notch. Highly recommended. Due to boost creep and throttle cut (damn drive by wire!) issues with the GIAC software I switched to JHM Motorsports fueling and software. I also utilized JHMs shortshifter. After coming from the super tight, buttery smooth Honda gearbox the Audi shifting left a lot to be desired. I updated all the transmission components when I bought the car used and the shifting was still sloppy. I went through 2 other short shfiters and finally worked with Jason at JHM to produce the JHM shifter and I am much happier. It is by far the best option for the Audi S4. To add the cherry on top I installed a water methanol system from Coolingmist. This injects a mixture of water and methanol into the intake to reduce air temperature and increase octane. The end result was 440whp/460wtq and below 12 sec quarter miles.

Engine/Transmission Performance:
AWE interoolers, downpipes, Twin2 Exhaust, JHM software/fueling (24 psi)

South Bend Stage 3 Clutch, RS4 flywheel, 4:1 Torsen Differential

Ohlins Motorsport Coilovers, Titanium Alloy OZ Superleggeras, Alcon Big Brakes

Interior wood was replaced with piano black trim, interior lights were replaced with bright white LEDs. Exterior headlights were clear corned, RS4 grill, debaged all emblems

I owned the car for about 3 years and sold the car to a business partner in 2009. My favorite thing about this car was the sleeper status, AWD confidence and plushiness paired with the power. Check out more pics in My Projects Galleries under 2002 Audi S4.

Project 1: 1998 Honda Civic

Ahhhh the memories...My very first car and of course it was also my first project: A 1998 Honda Civic. I bought the car in 2002. It was bonestock except for a greddy exhaust and suspension. It was originally a gas saving HX trim. That changed pretty quick. A few friends and I sourced an LS-vtec motor. We found out that motor would not work right with my OBD2 setup. Luckily we figured that out before we put it in and before we fully paid for it. We ended up putting in a B20-vtec. At the time these swaps were relatively new and cutting edge. This is where the B20 block from a CRV is used with a higher flowing, higher reving vtec head. This allows for more displacement. The only issue is the relatively thin cylinder walls of the block. Fortunately or unfortunately the block I bought had super high compression pistons in it, which made the car knock with anything less than 104 race gas. This forced me to put lower compression pistons in the car. While I was at it I had Golden Eagle reinforce and sleeve the block for the added safety. The legendary Brian Green from Track Forged tuned my car using the Hondata system. The car made a little over 200 whp/150ft-lbs and could rev to 10,000 rpms. Not bad considering the car originally made under 100 whp/wtq.

Engine/Transmission Performance:
Greddy Exhaust, AEM intake, Skunk2 short shifter, STR cam gears, AEB intake manifold, JDM 4-1 Header, Spec stage 3 clutch and of course the power steering and A/C were removed.

Tokico Coilovers, Camber Kit, Type R strut braces, H&R sway bars,

The interior was upgraded to leather and gunmetal. The exterior was a murdered out black theme with lightweight Rota rims. The headlights were upgraded as well as the tail lights to the later model civic (red/white). A Type R grill was installed as well as the very rare factory SIR lip.

I had the car for a little over three years. I sold it to a buddy of mine in 2006. My favorite thing about this car was the high revs and butter smooth, quick, confident shifting. Check out more pics in My Projects Galleries under 1998 Honda Civic.


Welcome to the Gearhead's BlogSpot. The place where a fellow enthusiast shares all things cars. I'll share some of my past projects, favorite links and favorite companies. Each month look forward to product reviews, reader rides and featured companies.  I'm welcome to any suggestions, comments or feedback. Post a comment, shoot me an email, IM me on AIM or friend me on facebook. Performance automotive is my passion and I look forward to sharing it with fellow enthusiasts. Enjoy your stay and I hope you'll come back.