Sunday, December 19, 2010

Audi RS6: Changing Engine Oil and Filter

There are not many car people that require a Do-It-Yourself on how to change the oil, but the RS6 is one vehicle that is not very straightforward. The oil change is a bit more involved, but the oil change interval is 10,000 miles so you you won't have to do it that often. Most dealerships will charge $400-$500 for an oil change on this car and that includes fluids, filter, and labor.

You can purchase the OEM Audi/VW, which is Castrol TXT 505.01 specification synthetic oil. You will have a difficult time finding this oil at anywhere other than the dealership or speed shop. If you are interested in an oil that meets the 505.01 specification, but exceeds it in wear protection and performance, check out QuantumBlue from BND Automotive. Call Brian and ask him about their special blend for the RS6.

Tools you will need:
  • T55 Torx
  • Oil filter wrench that fits the OEM filter
  • 3/8" universal socket
  • Two 3/8" long extensions
  • Short flat headed screwdriver
  1. Start the car up for 10 minutes before starting the steps below as it will help the oil drain quicker.
  2. Jack up both sides of the front of the car high enough that the wheels are off the ground. Place jack stands under the chassis for safety.
  3. Remove the passenger side wheel.

  4. Remove the undertray using a flat headed screw driver. There are 9 quarter turn fasteners on the bottom of the undertray and 2 plastic quarter turn fasteners in the wheel well area.
  5. Place a large oil pan below the engine and use the T55 Torx bit to drain the oil. If you oil pan is smaller than 3 gallons, you will probably want to stop the draining process when the pan fills up. It is easy to forget the quantity of oil in the engine and have your pan overflow. Remove the oil filler cap on top of the engine to allow all of the oil to drain freely.
  6. Locate the two nuts on the swaybar bushings. If both front wheels are off the ground you should not have any tension on the swaybar. Remove all four nuts and pull the sway down a few inches.

  7. Assemble the oil filter wrench, universal socket, extensions like the following:

  8. Look inside the passenger wheel you should be able see the back of the oil filter through a hole near the front of the axle.

  9. Attach the wrench and socket to the oil filter and turn counter clockwise. After breaking the filter loose, you should be able to turn it off by hand. Be sure to have the oil pan below this area to catch the spilled oil. 
  10. Take the oil filter off of the mount and then lower it down through the gap created from disconnecting the sway bar.
  11. Let all of the oil drain from the car. Clean up any spilled oil on the chassis.
  12. Put a thin bead of new oil on the seal of the new oil filter. Install oil filter and tighten.
  13. Put the drain plug back into oil pan and tighten.
  14. Fill engine up with 2 gallons of new oil. Start engine for 1 minute and turn off.
  15. Check oil level and fill until the full mark on dip stick.
  16. Check for any leaks.
  17. Install undertray.
  18. Smile after saving $250 of dealer labor.
Contact me if you have any question.

    Saturday, December 18, 2010

    Audi RS6: Sportec Lower Air Vent Modification

    If you are a fan or owner of the Audi RS6, you probably have heard of the Sportec RS600. Sportec took the stock RS6, added bigger turbos, and a few other unique modifications. One of the biggest problems with the 4.2L turbo engine in the RS6 is that it gets very hot. Since heat is a performance and economy killer, getting rid of that heat is a good thing. Sportec came up with a solution to the heat problem that is easy to copy and apply to your car.

    One of the modifications to the RS600 was a vent on the engine's undertray. It was used to extract hot air from the front of the engine and give air coming through the radiators a place to exit. This was not just any old hole as the engineers came up with a good solution.

    Here is a picture of the bottom of the undertray on the Sportec RS600:

    You can see that the vents are large rectangular cut outs directly below the front of the engine. You also probably notice that there looks to be aluminum strips coming down from the front of the vent holes. Those are technically known as Gurney Flap and was named after motorsports legend, Dan Gurney.

    The strips of aluminum are facing down and a negative pressure area is created behind them as air rushes past. That negative pressure area causes the air to be pulled out from the engine compartment, and thus lowers ambient temperatures near the engine. This modification is pretty easy to do and one of those nearly-free modifications that will make your engine smile.

    Let's get started!

    First, roll the car up on some blocks of wood to give yourself a bit more room under the car. If you have a car lift, well, I'm jealous!

    Take off the undertray and if you feel motivated I would recommend power washing the plastic.

    Use blue paint edging tape to mark out where you are going to cut. If you click the image below, you will be able to estimate where I am going to cut. There are enough indentations to create reference points for your project.

    Take a large drill bit and drill holes in each inside corner of the soon-to-be vents. The holes are going to be used to the cutting process.

    I used an electric jig saw to cut out the vent holes, but you can use whatever other method you choose. I also used an electric sander to clean and smooth up the edges.

    You will also need to cut slots up 1" (the width of the aluminum strips used below) where the two bumps are in the plastic. This is so that the aluminum strips can lay flat across the vent.

    Cut 1"x1" 90 degree aluminum strips the length of the vents on the top and bottom. You can buy these from most home improvement stores and they are pretty inexpensive. Also, make sure you pick up 3/16" stainless steel rivets and washers. I don't recommend aluminum rivets, because they don't pull tight enough before breaking off.

    Drill rivet holes in the aluminum every few inches and then transpose those holes to the plastic undertray. Make sure you label each aluminum strip so you remember exactly where they go and what direction.

    You will also need to purchase aluminum grill mesh that will be used to keep rocks and other debris from coming up into the engine compartment. Pep-boys and other similar stores usually carry these grills.

    Cut out the aluminum mesh so that it can be sandwiched between the plastic and aluminum strips. You will probably want to take a hammer and flatten out the mesh grill on the edges so you have a tighter fit.

    This is what the final product looks like from the top of the undertray (engine side):

    Here is what it looks like from the bottom:

    When installed it should fit snug and look like this:

    Congratulations, you've performed a pretty simple and cheap modification that will minimize the amount of heat soak from this Cosworth-built engine!

    Contact me if you have any questions.

    Sunday, April 4, 2010

    Lotus Elise: Installing a Odyssey PC925 Battery

    The stock battery in our Lotus Elise has completely died. After two winters of storage and not using a battery tender, it would no longer hold a charge. I went to the store to see if I could find a replacement, but all of the size 26 batteries were much heavier. On most cars this would not be a problem, but the additional weight would hurt performance while racing.

    The stock battery was only available in Europe and due to SCCA Super Stock rules, I could not go with a super lightweight dry cell battery. The battery I chose was the Odyssey PC925, which was the same weight and orientation as the stock unit. The only problem with the Odyssey battery was that it did not have the standard mounts to be held down with the stock brackets. Sector 111, which engineers Lotus performance parts, carries a part called the Xtender to allow a super lightweight battery to be installed in an Elise. The Xtender also has a cut-off switch, but does not work with the Odyssey PC925 due to being a larger battery. With some simple modifications, the Xtender can be used with the PC925 and below I will document the install.

    First, remove the stock battery by using an allen wrench to remove the bracket on the side of the battery.

    Behind the battery, you will see another metal bracket mounted on the vertical part of the trunk; that also needs to be removed.

    Place the PC925 battery in place and push it into the corner where the stock battery was mounted.

    Open up the Xtender parts bags and make sure you have all of the pieces pictured below.

    Turn the switch over and hook it up to the stock negative battery cable and the additional supplied cable.

    Mount the piece of foam rubber on to the aluminum Xtender as pictured below. I had a difficult time trying to bold the switch on the Xtender, so I took a hack saw and shaved the foam piece in half.

    Go to a hardware store and purchase a M8-1.25x60mm metric bolt, a package of fender washers, and a large spacer.

    Place the Xtender on top of the battery and ensure the battery is pushed into the corner. You will need to drill a new hole in the aluminum bracket as the available slots will not line up. Before you drill the hole, make sure the battery is in the corner and the Xtender is tight around the battery.

    After you drill the hole, you can trim off the extra aluminum that will not longer be needed.

    Mount the switch to the Xtender bracket and tighten down the 4 bolts and the battery cables.

    Place the stock battery bracket into the original location. Test fit the assembly by taking the new bolt and making sure that the Xtender bracket and hole lines up.

    Measure the distance from the bottom of the Xtender to the top of the stock battery bracket. Subtract from the distance the thickness of one of the fender washer. Cut the spacer the required distance and use a sander to make sure it is cut square.

    Install the newly cut spacer and place a fender washer between the Xtender and the spacer. Take the bolt with a washer and slip it through the drilled hole and tighten it into place.

    Push the battery into the corner, hold the Xtender onto the battery and tighten down the bolt with a 13mm wrench.

    Install the battery cables and verify all cable bolts are tight.

    Verify the battery is mounted snug and the battery cannot move in any direction.

    You have successfully performed a custom install of an Odyssey PC925 in a Lotus Elise. You should buy a battery tender to keep the battery charged during storage. Charging an Odyssey battery with a standard automotive charge will cause permanent damage.

    Let me know if you have any questions or help with your install.

    Sunday, March 21, 2010

    Audi RS6 - Lightweight Battery Install

    The Audi RS6 is a high-performance luxury vehicle and along with that status comes a lot of weight! Even though 500hp+ sounds good, the weight of the car is over 4,000lbs. The car is still quick, but handling, performance, and fuel economy could be improved through weight reduction. The general rule of thumb is that every 10lbs lost, is equivalent to gaining one horse power from the engine. Not only do you get increased performance, but you also get increased fuel economy.

    My previous Audi was a S4 and at one point I had an Odyssey PC680 battery installed. The PC680 weighs less than 15lbs., and with mounting brackets, it weights 17lbs. The custom aluminum PC680 bracket for Audi's can be purchase from a person known as Jet Jocket in Canada. When I sold the S4, I kept the lightweight battery so that I could install it in the RS6. The only negative side to a battery this size, is that you could accidentally drain the battery very quickly. You do not want to sit in the car with the radio playing or lights on, for more than a few minutes. It drains as quick as it charges! Don't dispose of your stock battery, as you will probably want to put it back in during the winter.

    You will first need to remove the battery cover in the truck by removing the two 1/4 turn fasteners.

    Next, with a 13mm wrench, remove the two black brackets on the front and side of the battery.

    You will also need to remove the negative battery terminal, as you will have to later relocate it. The negative terminal needs to be relocated, because the PC680 is much shorter and the cable won't reach in the stock location.

    Disconnect the terminals from the battery, and you should now be able to remove the battery.

    How much does the stock battery weigh compared to the PC680 (with brackets)?

    That is almost a 40lbs weight savings!

    Next, slide the PC680 battery into the battery tray with the positive terminal closest to the back seat. Slide it all the way up and toward the outside of the car. The custom aluminum bracket I am using is the same width as the stock battery, so it should fit snug.

    Take the black side bracket, remove the rubber washer on the bottom, and loop the negative terminal through the bolt. Screw the bolt, negative terminal, and bracket into the threaded hole near the corner of the battery's aluminum platform.

    You will want to angle the bracket as seen above and then tighten down. After this bracket is installed, the battery should not be able to move in any direction.

    Reconnect the battery terminals, charge the battery, and enjoy a nearly 40lbs weight savings!

    Audi RS6 - Replacing Vacuum Lines

    Turbocharged cars like the Audi RS6 require many attributes of the engine to be performing perfectly to maintain optimum performance. One of the cheapest fixes and hardest to diagnose, is vacuum and boost leaks. Many of the emissions and accessories on cars are controlled from vacuum generated in the intake system of the engine. Components related to performance and accessories, are all tied together into the same system. One leak in any rubber hose can lead to degraded performance from a turbocharged engine.

    I was inspecting the condition of my stock rubber vacuum lines in the RS6, and a few of them fell apart in my hands. I decided that instead of replacing one, I would replace them all with quality silicon hoses. I ordered 15' feet of blue silicon hose from ECS tuning, which is my usual preferred vendor for Audi/VW performance parts. In this blog post, I am only replacing the small braided rubber vacuum hosts on top of the engine.

    To replace the hoses, you first must remove the carbon fiber air intake system on top of the engine. This requires removing the silver air intake tubes, two nuts on the bottom of each black air intake tube, and a large center bolt.

    After you have the air intake system off, you should located all of the vacuum hoses. I previously replaced the vacuum line to the bypass valves, but I am still going to replace them again with the quality hosts from ECS Tuning.

    Before going any further, you should stuff rags down inside the turbo inlet ports on the back of the engine. If anything falls into them, you are going to have serious problems.

    The most difficult task of replacing the vacuum lines, is removing the stock metal clamps on the ends. I don't have a special tool for this and if you can find one, I would recommend it! This could have been a thirty minute job, but removing all of those clamps turned into two hours.

    While I was installing the vacuum hosts, I also relocated the pickup line for my boost gauge to the fuel pressure regulator. The distance between the fuel pressure regulator and the intake port, was not a far enough distance to connect a boost guage T-fitting. I had to loop the silicon hose around the regulator and back to the intake port to allow for enough distance to install the T-fitting. If you do not have a boost gauge, then you will not have to worry about this problem.

    I used small zip ties to tighten the ends of the silicon lines. Pull the zip ties snug and then cut them off with a side cutter. Once you are complete with changing all of the lines, reinspect all of the ends to make sure you didn't miss installing a zip tie.

    When complete, you should have something that looks like the following.

    Before putting the intake back on, make sure that you remove the rags from the turbo inlet ports. You should also unplug the batter for ten minutes, and reset the ECU codes, to ensure the engine takes advantage of any leaks fixed.

    I hope this has been helpful and let me know if you have any question.