December 27, 2005

Project Audi B6 A4: Performance Chip / Injectors / Exhaust / Shifter
Text & Photos by Steve Sherwood

Thinking back to the beginning, when we first laid our eyes on the B6 platform A4 1.8T Ultrasport, we remember the feeling of satisfaction regarding the aesthetics and the aggressive look. Similarly, when we first sat in the car we were mesmerized by Audi’s class leading fit and finish. The only small drawbacks were the funky cup-holder design and the plain-Jane seats that look more apt to belong in a base Jetta than a loaded Audi A4.

All the goodness came crashing back to earth when we turned that ignition key for the first time and experienced the painful lack of guts under the hood. It was then and there that we came to the conclusion that something MUST be done to get more horsepower and torque into the vehicle. Thus began our engine performance tuning quest, a quest that many 1.8T owners before us had already made.

The chipping program options on the market today reflect the maturity of the 1.8T platform. Five years earlier the field of tuners offering bonafide programs was literally half the size. The advantage serves the consumer well since owners can choose from a number of very nice chip programs – everything from mild to wild (and everything in between).

For this project we considered some of the more aggressive programs out there, knowing that the more established tuning companies out there would probably be best at squeezing the most out of the 1.8T engine. The stage 3 kit was briefly considered but the car is first and foremost a daily driver, we backed off the stage 3 kit and decided a stage 2+ system would be sufficient for our needs.

In the end, we literally flipped a coin and the fX program from GIAC incorporating bigger (380mm) fuel injectors was chosen. Having previously owned chipped B5 platform A4 1.8T cars in the past, we were looking forward to comparing the chip tuning potential of the B6 versus the B5. The butt dyno anxiously awaited our subjective testing.

Fuel Injector Installation

Since the fX injector program needs the bigger fuel injectors we had to find a place that not only could help us with the injector install, but could also download the fX program to our car via the OBD2 port. We contacted our local GIAC reseller, Dick Chiang at nearby Dynospot Racing, to arrange for the chip program download and the injector upgrade on the car.

The fX injector program is maximized when both the chip tuning and the larger injectors are combined. GIAC offers a chip-only program, but the injector program takes the performance to another level. After a bit of back and forth we decided to try this fuel injector installation ourselves (having had some experience installing fuel rails and injectors in another car). It seemed pretty simple in theory, of course, but would it be simple in practice?

Dick provided excellent instruction in order to lay out what needed to be done and we proceeded to remove the stock 286mm fuel injectors. We were a bit surprised when we pulled out the first injector when gasoline sprayed all over us and the engine. Good thing we were wearing safety glasses!

The rest of the removal of the remaining injectors was uneventful. The smaller stock injectors were replaced with the GIAC-specific bigger injectors (380mm). The new injectors needed to have spacers and longer bolts in order to hold onto the fuel rail properly, and luckily Dick happened to have a set of spacers handy. The install took about thirty minutes total, mostly because we were taking our time since gasoline was involved. This is an installation that the average Audi owner could perform, but if you are getting a chip at the same time, it might be better just to have the tuner do the install.

After everything was checked and double-checked (anything fuel-related should be checked with the utmost caution) the car was started and we immediately began looking for any leakage. The injectors were installed correctly and no further adjustments were required. We then proceeded to the next step, the chip tuning itself.

Chip Tuning

Dick flashed the car with the GIAC’s fX program, which takes the bigger injectors into consideration. The fifteen-minute process was uneventful and completely painless. As we understand it, the chip resellers have the various programs on their systems and need to get a key from GIAC to unlock the program and make it work on the car being tuned. This makes it very simple for GIAC resellers to “stock” chip programs for different vehicles. There is also effortless tracking between the reseller and GIAC.

Once the car was chipped and the injectors installed we of course needed to take it out for a little test drive; we could tell immediately that this was truly a different feeling from the stock car. The car had been transformed and this was with only 91 octane California gasoline. We couldn’t wait to pump it full of 100 octane and see what she would do.

Under the assumption that the ECU would need to “learn” how to explore the more aggressive tuning we were diligent not to push it too far for the first couple of weeks. One thing was certain: the days of “will I be able to accelerate through that hole in the traffic?” were gone forever. The tuned car was really moving nicely.

Special Data Logging/Program Tweaking

After the initial install we talked with Jeff Moss at Torque Factory. Jeff stated that he would be up in the area soon, and he offered to do some data logging to really see what kind of values this injector program was putting out.

Jeff was the one that worked directly with Garrett Lim of GIAC to really maximize this fX injector chip programming, so we were excited to have Jeff look at our car personally. We have nothing but the utmost respect for Jeff and Garrett – and after a short period of tweaking we felt confident that we were getting the best of what chip tuning has to offer. The car accelerates quite respectably now and makes us wonder what would happen with a decent front mount intercooler and some 100 octane gas. If anyone needs any special tuning needs, Jeff Moss can really roll his sleeves up and get in there and respond to your specific tuning needs.

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