Where we last left off our wagon update, the motor was in, and mostly hooked up. Now we needed to hook up the remaining elements, mainly the front end, intercoolers, charge piping, and downpipes. We will get to the down pipes in a minute (Probably should have put them on before we put the motor back in but whatever). We decided to go with a set of Wagner intercoolers from 034 Motorsport after reading about our different options currently on the market. Wagner had been making intercoolers for our cars for a while, and the quality seemed to be top notch, which was critical to us, given how much intercoolers can cost. Our new intercoolers came within two weeks and we are pleased to say that the Wagner units don’t disappoint. The build quality is superb, the intercoolers are robust and well built. So now that we had our set, it was time to fit them.
First, fitting any aftermarket intercooler is typically going to be a bit tricky and probably require some modification to the supports etc. In our case, this was compounded by the fact that our car had never had intercoolers, to begin with. So for those of you doing a similar project at home, make sure you pick up a set of S4 or A6 intercooler brackets, you will need to screw, bolt or rivet them to the frame of your car. Luckily Audi already had the location holes pre-drilled. Now that we had our brackets in place, we could follow the provided instructions (Not very clear, unfortunately) and work on fitting these massive blocks in our front end. To help aid with other’s installs we are going to break ours down into a few parts.
- Cutting up the passenger side fender and fitting the passenger side:
- Due to the size of the new Wagner intercooler, we had to clearance the fender around the front lower corner. To do this we used tin snips, but an angle grinder would also work well. The Wagner instructions provide a semi-decent picture of the area you will need to remove, but basically, you will have to cut off a square section of the lower hidden support section of the fender. You can see much we removed in the photos below.
- In some cases (BUT NOT ALL) you may need to cut into the core support to take a few inches of material off when mounting the passenger side. In our case, the intercooler actually cleared nicely (Perhaps a different bracket part number?) We did have to do this on the driver side of the car, so you can see what we removed in the photos for that side. We figured we would need to do it on both sides, but it just wasn’t required.
- Wagner states that one of the bolts used to mount the bumper shocks to the core support would need to be cut down so it didn’t impact the fins of the intercooler. On both sides we found this to be unnecessary, as all the bolts cleared with plenty of room. However, you should check your own application to ensure the bolts won’t ruin your brand new expensive intercoolers.
- Cutting up the driver side fender and fitting the driver side:
- We had to copy our cut from the passenger side fender for the most part. We also ended up taking a bit more material off, as the driver side intercooler sits higher in the core support. Check out the photos for a better idea of what you may need to cut out.
- On this side of the car, we had to take some of the core support off. We did this using a small cut off wheel and an angle grinder. Be careful to only remove what you need to fit the bigger intercooler, and make sure to mark and move any other wires, hoses etc that may be in the way.
- Same bolt stuff from the passenger side, make sure to check on your application.
With that all in place, we could then begin reattaching the hoses and their respective hose clamps. We opted for a slightly more robust clamp design, using T style clamps at 2.5” diameter. Make sure to get good stainless steel ones to avoid rust and corrosion. With that, we could call the intercoolers done and turn our attention to the down pipes.
We opted to get the simple, cheap down pipes and then clean them up ourselves, rather than spending four times as much for name brand ones. So far, as of writing this, that hasn’t been a problem. We shall see over the long run, however. So we got the pipes and on initial inspection, the quality was meh, but not horrible. We scuffed them up and then applied a header/ downpipe paint to inhibit rust. Once we had let the pipes dry, we coated and wrapped them in DEI titanium exhaust wrap. With the downpipes looking a lot better, we headed for the install.
Installing the downpipes with the motor on the car was difficult. But if we are being honest, not the worst thing we have done on this car. With the right tools, the job is actually almost pleasant. You will need a crow foot style or flex style ratcheting box wrench. It makes the top bolts so much easier and prevents the top bolts from becoming a rounded over nightmare. Grab a good set before doing this, or just remember to put them on before the motor goes back in. Install time with the motor in the car: 1-2 hours. Install time with the motor out of the car: 60 seconds. That being said, we got the new system in place and all back together within a reasonable amount of time. Check out the photos of our wrap job below. Stay tuned for the next update, where we replace a starter and finally turn this shit over.