Almost 2 years ago I had a minor front end accident. At the time I repaired the mechanic bits and put bandaid stickers over the dented body work.
That was “good enough” for then and the bandaids got a bunch of laughs. But I’d grown tired of a haggard car.
My friend owned a silver S4 that was rear ended and available for parts, so I pulled the front end off.
Freshened up for the cruise to Great Lakes GTG a few weeks ago (ignore Casey). Also, new wheels (pictures soon).
So that took care of the front end. The rear end also needed some attention. The rear bumper & 1/4 panel needed a respray and the trunk had some rust coming through around the license plate frame & lights. Off to paint:
Finished pics coming soon!
It was bound to happen.. my 1-2 shift collar locked up at the track in October. The early 01E transmissions have a 1st/2nd gear shift collar tolerance that is too tight. If any burring or wear develops in the collar it will not slide smoothly. In addition, the stock brass synchronizers wear down prematurely and need to be replaced. I bought a rebuild kit from Scott @ Advanced Automotion. He took good care of me and helped me through any questions I had. I also sent him the center differential to modify to have a 4:1 rear bias. To make the rebuild easier I ordered a instructional DVD from JHM. This DVD was very helpful, without it the rebuild would have been a lot more confusing and stressful.
If you want to tackle this job you’ll need a few basic mechanics tools and some more specific tools like a gear puller, hydraulic press, c-clip and snap ring pliers and various little picks and things.
I borrowed a used core trans from a friend to reduce down time. This one was also in need of a rebuild. I used a pair of vice grips to shift through the gears. 1 and 2 were impossible to engage.
I popped off the tail housing and pulled out the center diff, and reached inside and pulled out the debris magnets.
They had some metal on them, but nothing abnormal.
Pulled the shift level out.
To remove the tail housing a bolt on the end of the input shaft had to be removed. To do this, I had to engage two gears at once to prevent the input shaft from spinning. The input shaft bolt is on quite tight and since I was working alone I had to strap the trans to the bench to keep it from rotating.
Once the bolt was out I had to pull the housing off from the input shaft. Undid the case bolts first. There is a bearing race that is pressed onto the shaft and holds the housing. I used a gear puller, though a modified steering wheel puller like that one used by JHM in their rebuild video would have worked better. I would tighten the gear puller a little, then pry between the case, then tighten the puller, then pry a little more, etc.
Then off came the 5th and 6th gears.
Then popped off the center housing & the gear sets. I installed a worm clamp on the end of the main shaft to prevent the front diff shaft from balling out and the bearings falling all over the place.
Here’s the center casing partially disassembled. Reverse and the input shaft have been removed, along with the shift forks and front diff shaft. I also painted the case.
After this I didn’t take many pictures. The remaining process involved pressing the gears off from the input and main shafts and reinstalling them with new synchronizers and 1-2 shift collar. That part was straight forward and went very quickly.
Reassembly was basically the opposite of removal. Some bearings & guides were heated and hammered on. I spent about 12 hours over the course of 3 weekends with the whole thing. I’m sure I could do another in a day or two.
The transmission has been completed for a few months waiting for the right time to install it. Hopefully soon!
Today I went to my friend’s house and installed my WOTBox 2-step launch control. The instructions are awesome! Full color photos and very detailed and specific instructions. It was pretty easy to set the stall RPM, but after I set it I went out for a drive and found that the box was cutting the ignition even when the clutch was out and preventing me from accelerating past the specific RPM. So I disabled the box until I could figure it out later.
Afterwards I wanted to track down an exhaust rattle I’ve been hearing since I put the car back together 3 months ago. I couldn’t find anything loose. It sounded like the source of the noise was the turbo itself, so I used a long extension and placed on end on the turbo and one end against my ear. Sure enough I could hear a metal on metal rattle. The wastegate flapper on the passenger side turbo was loose.
I put the car up on jackstands and crawled under. Fortunately the passenger side wastegate actuator bolts were kind of accessible. A few small turns of the adjuster nuts tightened up the wastegate. No more rattle.
As an added bonus, the adjusted wastegate actuator seems to have greatly improved my part throttle boost oscillation!
I have been experiencing over boosting ever since I got the car back together. I installed a manual boost controller (MBC) in parallel with the n75 and the boost would still creep up, so I suspected a torn wastegate line.
I hooked up a air nozzle with about ~10psi and could hear a loud hissing from the lower passenger side. When I crawled under the car I saw that the wastegate line on the actuator had torn clean in half.
Removing the old line was not as difficult as I feared. I was able to reach my hand up from the front of the motor, underneath the exhaust maniflold and above the motor mount and slip the hose off the actuator. and installing the repaired line.
I cut the metal line just past the bend and slipped on a new vacuum line. I should have used actual wastegate hosing with some shielding but it was late and was leaving for a trip the next morning.
Installing the repaired line was much more difficult than the removal. The wastegate actuator nozzle was just far enough out of the reach of my hand that I could not get my hand to push the hosing on. It took about 20 minutes to finally get the hose on and then a worm clamp over it to secure it.
My hand looked like I had pulled it from a garbage disposal.
Today was rear wheel bearing day. I almost stripped the axle bolt but managed to break it free by slipping a box end wrench over the 14mm socket. The rest of the suspension was a challenge, but with a hammer and an air chisel it came apart. I took the knuckle to my friend Darrel’s shop to use his press. I almost ruined the new bearing when I pressed the hub in without supporting the bearing from the bottom. Oops. It went back together very smoothly though.
After that I plumbed the meth up and installed the new coolant tank. Then realized I didn’t have enough G12
Today, with the help of my father, I removed the the motor and transmission. It was not a complicated process and as many have said before it is a series of small steps. There is a lot of unplugging and looking around. With a mechanical ability and time and patience this could be tackled by anyone.
After removing the front core support, disconnecting the battery and removing the airbox, Y-pipe, intercoolers and draining the oil I raised the case on jackstands.
Under the car
- Disconnect and remove the cat-back exhaust
- Remove the drive shaft heat shield, 4 10mm bolts
- Remove the transmission tail cover. I forget the size of the 2 Torx bolts. Becareful not to strip these!
- Remove the 6 6mm hex bolts on the drive shaft to transmission. Jam a screwdriver in the center U-joint to prevent the DS from rotation. Use a long extension and be careful not to strip these! If the DS is stuck to the transmission go at it with a hammer.
- Unbolt the transmission mounts (2 13mm on each mount) and the engine mounts (13mm). Removing the transmission mounts gives you a little more clearance, but I didn’t find it necessary.
- If you have a drive train stabilizer bar (DTS) you only need to unbolt the center mount from the bar.
- If the front axles have triple square (12pt) bolts you must use a 10mm triple square socket to unbolt them. If you try to use a hex socket there is a strong chance you will strip it. I stripped one but fortunately was able to remove the bolt with a borrowed triple square socket.
In the cabin
The shifter linkage is easy to disconnect but it is adjustable so be sure to mark the two linkage rods before unbolting them! They may already be marked. The rubber boot also needs to be pushed out of the shifter box.
You’ll want to remove the AC compressor from the motor and swing it out of the way so that you don’t have to drain the AC refrigerant. Unbolt the oil pan bracket for the lines and also remove the front coolant pipe, oil filter and unbolt the hard coolant pipe that goes up behind the timing cover to the coolant reservoir. This should give you some room to get the compressor out. It is held with 3 13mm bolts. 2 in the front and 1 in the middle of the back. It’s difficult to see but if you look up from the side you can see it. Removing the lower charge pipe gives you some additional access.
Behind the motor
Every wire that goes from the engine to the firewall needs to be pulled through the firewall and laid on the engine. Look around for things to disconnect, there’s a lot of little things.
- The brake booster hose disconnects by pulling straight out of the grommet in the secondary firewall.
- Disconnect the power steering hard line, some fluid will drip out.
- The coolant hoses from the back of the engine go up under the secondary firewall to the heater core. You can either disconnect them at the heater core and push the grommet out of the bottom of the firewall or disconnect them at the back of the engine. The connections at the back of the engine are the same as the radiator (the difficult pressure ones). If they’ve never been disconnected before they will likely be on very tightly and it will be easier to disconnect at the heater core.
- The ecu box has a bunch of connections. There’s the 2 big ECU harnesses. Those are easy. The group of connectors down in the back of the box are “wiggle out” connectors. You don’t need to pry on them. Just wiggle back and forth while pulling upward. It’s a little difficult to get your fingers in there.
- The positive battery cable gets pulled through the firewall with the grommet. It runs down the frame rail in a plastic holder. That’ll pop out of the frame rail using a flathead.
- There are two ground locations: 1) underneath the passenger frame rail at the front next to the motor mount, and 2) on the secondary firewall underneath the ECU harness.
When removing the engine and transmission you will need to put a floor jack under the transmission to lift and support it over the cross member. You will also have to reposition the jack to get past the cross member.
When you start to remove the engine and transmission be careful not to break anything you may have forgotten to disconnect. You will probably spend a lot of time looking around to check clearances. Be specifically careful of items behind the motor that can get crushed between the transmission and the tunnel.
When the motor is about a foot or so forward you can reach back and disconnect the slave cylinder. It is attached with a hard line that can kink or break, so be careful when moving the motor/tranny out and when moving the slave around.
In my case, everything came out as expected with the exception of the front axles. They were a big pain because I was trying to remove them incorrectly. I thought they had to come out under the transmission then realized they came out the side of the car.
Once I got the axles out everything was smooth sailing.
I have been dealing with a slight vibration for the past year. The vibration only begins after 65mph. In September I thought the source might have been corroded rotors, but replacing those did not eliminate the problem. New wheels and tires (balanced) also didn’t fix it. I had concluded the source was the drive shaft, more specifically the drive shaft’s center support.
I ordered a rebuilt drive shaft from Wholesale Import Parts and went to my friend Darrel’s shop to do the installation. Unfortunately, after removing the old one we discovered the new driveshaft I had ordered was the wrong one. It was a few inches shorter and probably meant for a Tiptronic transmission. After some time on the phone with one of the WIP’s techs I was sent the correct drive shaft. I was very happy with their service.
Installed the new (2nd) drive shaft and ran the car on jack stands. The vibration has finally been eliminated!
I received a ticket for my non functioning rear plate lights on Sunday. Tonight I picked up some new bulbs and when I went to install them I discovered the source of the failure was massive corrosion on the bulb connections. One of the plastic mounts for the housing was also broken. I repaired that with some glue and cleaned up the corroded connections with sand paper. Good as new!
As it turned out, the pump he sent me was very worn. The pump I got from Brian worked great though!
Today I started noticing a howl while driving. It’s coming from the rear and I suspect it’s the wheel bearing. Probably another casualty of winter parking lot drifting.