Just Stopping By: Orlando’s Audi 8P A3 and Will-Call Parts Pickup

By popular demand, we have reinitiated our Will-Call order option for customers who want the option to pick up their parts at our facility. This gives folks the option to get their orders as soon as they are boxed up and ready to go out the doors and it gives us a chance to interact with our customers. The influx of tuners to our office has brought with it some awesome cars driven by enthusiasts like Orlando, who brought down his incredible 8P A3 for some information on tuning software.

Orlando bought the Audi in 2013 and immediately began to upgrade it. Some key features you may notice upon first glances are the carbon fiber side skirts, hatch spoiler, and sport bumper conversion. These subtle exterior modifications, paired with the beautiful purple factory paint, hint at the real work Orlando has invested into the little hatchback’s power plant.

The TFSI engine powering this A3 has received extra special treatment over the five years Orlando has spent with the car. Prominently displayed are the APR carbon fiber intake and Integrated Engineering intake manifold, but little else is visible thanks to the compact engine bay. Just because you can’t see it, though, doesn’t mean it won’t hurt you. The K04 turbo-powered engine produces 354awhp and 388lb/ft of torque to make this 8P one to contend with some of the most powerful production sedans on the market, despite being an older Audi.

Reigning in all that power are Porsche big brakes retrofitted from a Cayenne and stuffed under the front wheels. In the rear are the other Porsche calipers alongside a dual caliper setup for independent braking between the parking brake and foot brake to ensure the rear wheels lock when he wants. All that face-ripping stopping power makes this beefed-up hatchback something safer to drive, according to Orlando, who hinted that ‘it stops very quickly from 150mph to 0.’ I won’t question how he knows this, but it definitely proves the need for brakes capable of handling upped power.

Orlando has tastefully modified his 8P A3 to be subtle, yet interesting, powerhouse. Enthusiasts like him are the driving force behind ECS and the results of their work are our pride and joy. We want to say a special thank you to Orlando for bringing his Audi by today for us to enjoy. Remember, you too can be a part of the ECS story when you come by for parts. If you are local (or up for a good road trip), you can request a Will-Call option and we will see you in the lobby when you come by for a personal hand-delivery. Stay tuned for more customer features and keep building!

See more of this car on Instagram @Orlandovlore

Build List:

• Complete APR Cold Air Intake
• DV+ Performance Diverter Valve
• Carbon Fiber Spoiler
• Carbon Fiber Rear Diffuser
• Carbon Fiber Side Skirt
• Rs4 19’ Wheels
• Stage 5 Big Brake Kit – Slotted 358x32mm Rotors
• Rear Big Brake Kit – Plain Rotors (310×22) Brembo 4 Pistons
• Integrated Engineering 2.0T FSI/TSI Intake Manifold- Red
• IE MK5 & MK6 2.0T TSI Recirculating Catch Can Kit
• CTS Turbo Gen 3 Downpipe – w/o Cat (MK6 1.8/2.0 EA888.3)
• Jetex Audi A3 2.0FSI Exhaust Quad Pipes
• Torque Solution TS-VW-012 Engine Mounts
• SPM Trans mount
• ECS 6-Speed Clutch Bleeder Block
• The Neuspeed short shift kit
• Neuspeed Hi-Flow Turbo Discharge Conversion kit
• Neuspeed Hi-Flo Intercooler Pipe Conversion
• Wagner Tuning Competition Intercooler
• H&R Street Performance SS Coilover Kit
• R8 Red Coils
• APR KO4 Turbo
• South Bend Stage 2 Daily Clutch and Flywheel Kit
• S3 Straight Bottom Steering Wheel

5 Ways to Make Your Next DIY More Fun on Your Audi, BMW, MINI, or Volkswagen

When you own a vintage or performance car, the goal is to have more fun times driving it than you have moments that make you frown. As with any hobby, however, there are those times that something goes wrong or its just time to take care of that nagging maintenance. Whether you are driving something old or something new, it is always critical that you take care of those concerns before they turn into something much worse. Even though its just basic maintenance, it is still part of the fun in owning something special like a classic or performance vehicle. Here is how you can be sure to have a fun time even doing something that many would consider tedious.

First and foremost, working on cars is always best enjoyed with a good friend or group of friends. Owning these cars makes us part of an exclusive club where we are sure to form tons of lasting relationships based around our common interest. These maintenance jobs are the perfect opportunity to strengthen those bonds as well as make basic grunt work on your car fun. So grab your friends, a few frosty beverages, and come up with a game plan.

Next, you need to be serious about ensuring the work is done properly and with the right parts, but don’t get so engrossed that you take the job too seriously. Remember, as long as you are careful and meticulous, you have nothing to worry about in your DIY job. Be relaxed and enjoy the time you spend wrenching on your car with the end-goal always in mind that it will get you back on the road with a smile on your face and the satisfaction that you did the job yourself. One easy thing to do is set out a piece of cardboard and place all your hardware in order into the cardboard. It makes putting things back together incredibly simple and stress-free.

Make sure you have the right parts and tools for the job. Often, one of the things I enjoy most about DIY’ing is how much my tool collection grows. If I don’t have something I need to work on the parts I am attempting to replace, then I get to use that as an excuse to justify the purchase. Schwaben has pretty much everything from your most universal to incredibly specific tools to help you get the job done right, while our Assembled By ECS kits come with all the right parts hand-picked by our team to ensure you have the best replacements all in one box to go start to finish on your DIY the right way. With all the components for your job start to finish included in one box, you won’t have to make back and forth trips to the closest parts store and pay a premium: if they have it.

Take your time: sometimes, especially with northern cars, you have to fight your way through uninstalling the faulty or worn parts. This can easily frustrate even the most patient at-home mechanic, so keep a cool head on your shoulders and a cold drink on hand while you focus on one piece at a time. Know the job will be finished and you will not become discouraged. Keep chugging away at it and don’t put too much stress on completing the job right then and there. It may be a little more inconvenient to place a restriction on yourself and know you aren’t going to be finished in one sitting, but it is better to take your time and spend a few days on a job than to rush and mess something up or become aggravated. Remember, we want to have as much fun as possible so maintaining our cars is still a hobby and not a chore.

Lastly, consider filming the whole process. You can easily set up your phone to record and show places as you encounter them that give you trouble. Look at it as a chance to help someone out in the future and maybe make a video that gets a ton of views. This can make the process more enjoyable as you will have something to make you slow down and step back on occasion rather than rushing through the job. It also allows you to go back and reference your pictures or video should you forget how something goes back together or where you put something like that pesky 10mm socket.

With a successful DIY complete, you always feel a sense of accomplishment and pride in knowing you are capable of taking care of your car. With the Assembled By ECS kits, which are kits we assembled based on our own need for a start-to-finish project all in one box, you can be confident everything you need will be there for you so you don’t have to keep going back and placing orders for that one thing you forgot. Take the guesswork out, lower your stress, slow down, have a drink, and enjoy your next DIY with Schwaben Tools and Assembled By ECS complete service kits.




Controversy in Style: XKGLOW Lighting Solutions for your Audi, BMW, MINI, or Volkswagen

The automotive world is vast and full of countless styles, influences, and motivations from nearly every aspect of life in general. It is a beautiful hobby to have, in that automotive enthusiasm allows drivers and owners to express themselves and draw upon inspiration from other facets of their personal lives to create something that wholly reflects their vision. This automotive expressionism, especially in its purest form, often leads to brutal debate over whether or not the car is ‘cool’ or ‘well done’ without much thought as to what brought the build together in the mind of the owner. Several styles and trends have been ‘love-it-or-hate-it’ in the past few decades, but one of the most controversial modifications has consistently been underglow and full spectrum lighting. One company who stands on the side of self-expression and creativity is XKGlow, who produce some of the finest automotive lighting solutions for nearly every make and model with high-quality, usability, and functionality in mind.

Underglow is just one of those things that either make you drop your jaw at the unified theme of the car on which it is equipped, or something that makes a little bit of bile rise up your esophagus. For this writer, underglow was something that was amusing, became uncouth, and has now returned full circle to a smile-inducing aspect of any car. XKGlow offers the ability to give your smile muscles a work out with their full-spectrum lights for interiors, exteriors, and even headlights that you can control from either a fob or your smartphone for instant satisfaction.

The systems are incredibly easy to install and use. From your smartphone, you can control brightness, strobe, color, and create customized presets that give your car a unique light show to flex with at the next local car meet. While there are no performance benefits to additional lighting options, there is no replacement for the amount of joy you can give yourself by changing the color theme of your car at night at the touch of a button.

Make the risky choice and throw underglow on your build to see just how much fun everyone had in the 90’s rolling around with neons under their civic. You can balk all you want, but I know that when I flip the switch under my BMW and enjoy some mood lighting, nothing else bothers me. Seeing the smiles and smirks alike make part of expressing your individuality enjoyable, but at the end of the day, finding something that means something special to you alone is the only thing that matters. Express yourself with XKGlow on your next project to see what we mean when we say ‘smile-inducing’. 

Interested in Purchasing?

XKGLOW Lighting Solutions





How to get 35% More Horsepower from your MINI with ChipWerke Performance

The triple-threat for useable, instant, reliable power is a tried and true combination of parts. Each performance upgrade performs a specific function to improve the factory output of your MINI, and all three are a sure way to make a significant increase in horsepower, but not all upgrades are equal in their benefits. Those ‘big three’ early bolt-on power upgrades are traditionally a cold air intake, underdrive pulleys, and performance software tuning. ChipWerke Performance produces the latter, which offers an instant plug-and-play tuning upgrade for nearly every vehicle. The ChipWerke device is designed to be one of the easiest ways to improve your driving experience at an incredible horsepower per dollar ratio that is both safe for your MINI and undetectable at the dealership.

ChipWerke modules are the next generation in stealth performance. The removable device is a direct plug-in to your engine management that cannot be detected once it is removed. The ChipWerke device does not overwrite any original software, so no footprint is left in the ECU. Rather, the ChipWerke device uses stored information, specific to your vehicle and its software, that it uses in place of the factory software. Now when you take your MINI to the dealership for service or a software update that nothing is lost by removing the device to protect your warranty. All information is returned to the vehicle as soon as the device is reinstalled after your trip to the dealership.

Since the ChipWerke device doesn’t void your warranty and boasts an 18-35% horsepower increase (depending on model), this makes their module one of the best around for convenience and performance. The easy to install unit comes with everything you need to improve your MINI’s power output to either start your quest for more power or round out a series of solid beginner bolt-ons.

Another added benefit of the ChipWerke module is their ability to improve the fuel economy of any vehicle equipped with the unit. While it does not actively change the mapping to make your MINI behave differently in fuel delivery, what it does provide is a significant increase in low-end torque and horsepower. This allows a driver in normal conditions to shift earlier and save more fuel: up to 15% in some cases, depending on how you drive!

With the benefits of more horsepower, torque, and miles per gallon, and no downsides like a voided warranty or trip to an expensive dyno technician, the ChipWerke tuning solution is the perfect instant power option for your MINI. Whatever you drive, ChipWerke can help pull more power and better fuel economy from your engine for a more spirited driving experience. Everything you need in one box to start producing up to 35% more power in your MINI with a risk-free element is a rarity in the tuning world, which is why we think ChipWerke should be taken seriously for anyone looking for instant, usable on the street, reliable, and safe power.



A Dream Realized: Andrew’s LS-Powered BMW E46 M3 Drift Car

Generic clichés are generic because they are so frequently used. One we enthusiasts are familiar with is the timeless classic “hard work and dedication is all it takes to be successful”. It is often the case in the car community that projects start and are never completed or that something somehow impedes us from finishing our goals. A benefit of working in the automotive aftermarket community is that you have many opportunities to meet people who share your passion and have followed through with their ambition. Andrew is one such passionate individual who is a shining example of dedicated discipline and enthusiasm that has resulted in an incredible car with an inspiring driver.

Andrew first contacted me four years ago while I worked for an equipment company where he inquired about some wheel and tire equipment. Upon further conversation, it came about why he was interested in purchasing commercial equipment for personal use. Andrew spends his time much the same way many of us do: underneath his BMW E46 M3 or slaying tires around a drift course. Being a BMW enthusiast and collector myself, Andrew and I were able to find a common connection and enjoyed a fantastic conversation about his plans for the E46 in his garage. When he told me what his build was going to be, I became incredibly excited and the phone call quickly excluded any talk of equipment purchases and transitioned exclusively to speaking about his idea.

Since that conversation, Andrew has entered his second year of competition with the M3 we spoke about those few years back. Recently, I was able to catch up with him after his last event to speak with him more in-depth this time about the whole build. His BMW E46, which you may recognize from “The Smoking Tire” or from various features in print and online, is quite the melting pot of fandoms. It actually started life as an E46 330i but an LS-swap, a complete facelift with genuine M3 body components, and several other pieces of the car transformed it into what you see today. In our latest conversation, Andrew took me through the entire history of this unbelievable build.

Before the monstrous M3 was sliding around with an aggressive livery and covered in sponsor’s decals, it was sitting at a friend of Andrew’s with a blown up M54. Andrew was driving a z33 350z he had built as a show car, and barely driving it at that. After an unfortunate collision on the freeway that sent his car into an uncontrollable spin, he made up his mind that he wanted to learn to drive a car more seriously and in his words “I wanted to be able to control a car that is out of control”. It was after this crash that he would dive headfirst into the world of drifting and the adrenaline addiction it becomes.

“I didn’t get to enjoy the (z33) car. I was too scared to drive it. Too scared to scratch it, even. I only put like 5,000 miles on it. With my 240, I didn’t care.”

Andrew purchased a 240sx for little money (before the drift tax) and decided to begin building something he could be more relaxed with behind the wheel. He had known drifting would be his sport of choice since a young age. In the early 2000’s, Andrew worked at a motorsport event and experienced drifting for the first time. He was instantly hooked, but it would not be until he purchased the 240 that he would begin to hone his skills on the track. Unfortunately, or fortunately, in this case, the 240 had other plans for being the car Andrew would be known for and made the choice to set itself on fire. After the 240 burned, an LS engine and manual transmission he had intended to drop into the 240 would need a new home. They found their home in the blown up E46 that was still for sale sitting a few miles away at his friend’s house. A quick drive with a trailer found Andrew returning home with his ‘new’ BMW and his pocket a little lighter.

With the engine and transmission already in his possession, his idea came together quickly. The implementation, however, would take much longer. He knew the LS would power the E46, but did not have any immediate plans to go full-on competitive with the car. The intent was to budget around $5k for the build, drop the engine in, weld the diff, and get sideways. A local fabrication shop designed headers and motor mounts for the swap, but when the motor mounts didn’t fit and the engine had to wait for its new home, things began to ramp up quickly for the E46. An SLR angle kit, OS Giken LSD and clutch, and several other highly competitive parts found themselves in the car, which inevitably leads to countless other racing-specific modifications. As is a common occurrence when building a car, a number of unplanned additions made their way into the build alongside the original ideas Andrew expressed to me about the car.

“When it came to the body, I didn’t intend to swap to the M kit. I actually found a friend who widebodied his E46 M3, so I was able to source all the front M body pieces for just a few bucks.”

With the front end completely converted and the beefier fender arches allowing for the extra width from the angle kit, the rear needed the same treatment. Andrew actually purchased a totaled E46 M3 and had a shop make molds of the rear quarter panels to make overfenders that would match the aggressiveness of the front end. Finally, the real M3 trunk (still sporting the badge, for which he receives quite a lot of disdainful looks from purists) and an M3 rear bumper on a quick release to his custom bash bar were installed on the E46 to complete the transformation.

Before the build, the amount of fabrication needed was minimal and was to be performed by local shops. As the build progressed, Andrew began learning fabrication for himself. He designed his own cage and several other components on the car out of necessity as the project became much more seriously involved, while DR Concepts took care of a few of the more difficult parts like the bash bar mounts.

After the car had been stripped and almost completely rebuilt with new coilovers and other suspension components alongside the extensive modifications, the motor mounts absolutely needed to be finished. A few months of back-and-forth and a handful of shops later, the E46 finally received the attention it needed and engine arms were designed that fit and allowed the engine to be dropped into its final resting place for the build to be completed.

The modification list for the E46 is more than just extensive: Andrew built this car by tearing it down to a shell to the finished product you see here. Most impressively is that he did the vast majority of the work himself out of necessity. Many of you can relate to his decision based on the sheer cost, but it is still a testament to the concept that this sport is not out of reach to those who are committed and dedicated enough to dive into the opportunity head first.

“This was supposed to be a $5k project, and it just got out of hand. I ended up deciding to do it right. Fortunately, since the E46 was complete and in good condition, parting it out allowed me to make most of my money back.”

Finally, after well over a year and a half building the car and nearly three years since he had competed in any drift events, Andrew was able to drive his fresh LS-powered E46 M3 drift car. The livery and finishing touches were completed for the Bimmerfest 2016 debut with quite literal minutes to spare. The morning of that show saw the final completion and a rushed drive to the event. Since that debut, the car has exploded in the BMW community, drifting community, and even the LS muscle car world, having been present and competitive at Holley’s LS-Fest West.

“For three years I didn’t drift. I had to start again. When I got back in the car, my fear factor had grown from before and I had a lot to overcome. Now, it’s just a blast.”

Since the completion, the car has received minor modifications, including solid aluminum Turner Motorsport Differential Mounts and Subframe Mounts, ventilation fans, and tweaks here and there for drivability. Most notably, however, is, of course, the new livery and wide-er-body now bulging from each corner.

Andrew proves perfectly that someone with the dedication to spend the time necessary learning new skills and who has the passion to want that end-goal can build something. While it took quite a lot of his own money up front, since the Bimmerfest debut and “The Smoking Tire” episode, he has picked up quite the notoriety from several companies who have offered their support to allow Andrew to continue doing what he loves every day.

When it comes to wanting to do this yourself, Andrew offers some excellent wisdom as a professional. During his early stages in the sport, the few experts out there who could offer help with his build and become integrated into the world of BMW tuning were tight-lipped. Now, resources like Andrew exist so that people who share this passion can have a support network from where they can draw inspiration and learn from without the exclusivity that had previously existed as a hurdle. The key, according to Andrew, is a complete dedication and an unwillingness lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel. Knowing that it will be finished, that it has to be finished, and that you are only out there to have fun is all you need to get started so long as you have passion and commitment.

“We’re doing this because we love it and it’s fun. That’s the whole point and I think sometimes people lose sight of that.”

The biggest advice he shared with me is to keep that original idea in mind. That the minute drifting becomes anything other than just pure fun, it loses its point in the eyes of the drivers and that is where people become discouraged. Maintaining that relaxed feel and camaraderie among drivers and enthusiasts is why we do this sport that is so destructive to our cars and incredibly expensive to maintain.

The ESM Wheels look right at home on this car with the functional drift stance.

Andrew is an inspiration among enthusiasts and drivers with his incredible E46 M3. As a single person interested in joining the competitive world of drifting, Andrew has experienced severe challenges in keeping up with the high budget teams and opponents. The sport has become this insane horsepower competition and grown to be almost medically precise thanks to the gobs of money and support from companies eager for exposure in the demographic of drift racers and fans. Enthusiasts like Andrew who jump in head-first with no funding and a shoestring budget prove that anyone can still compete and have fun, even amidst the seemingly over-imposing opposition. We look forward to following his next phases of the build and will continue to check in with him as he becomes increasingly competitive over the next season, so be sure to follow along for more of his story and others.

What’s in the car:

S2r tuning composites
CSF Radiators
Feal Suspension
SLR speed
Fuzion Technique
Canton Race Products
Bride Japan
Dtm Fiberwerkz

HPS silicone hoses
Isky Racing Cams
ESM Wheels
MJD Direct
New Era Performance
DR Concept
SWR Motorsports
Syncro design works

Remus Sport Exhaust
Motorsport Hardware
Motorsport Fluids
OS Giken
Gearheadz International
Wisdm Productions
Milestar Tires
Advanced fuel Dynamics

Media sponsors:
AM Drift
The smoking tire
Wisdm Productions

SPECS of car:
M3 CSL Front bumper with carbon fiber
M3 Fenders

M3 Hood
S2r tuning Carbon fiber sunroof delete
S2r tuning Carbon fiber headlight delete

Bride Seats

Racepak dash
Gs werks Custom roll cage

S1 Motorsports switch Panel /fuse panel
Sparco Steering wheel
NRG Quick release

HPI Harnesses

Mason engineering Clutch Pedal
S2r tuning carbon fiber cluster delete
S1 Motorsports Hydraulic Handbrake
S1 Motorsports Floor panels
Custom wiring by SWR Motorsports
Custom Rear Firewall

Feal 441 coilovers
9k swift springs front and 4K swift springs in the
rear with true coilover conversion in rear
SLR super angle kit
M3 Differential
Syncro design works mechanical differential
(LSD Internals)

Solid subframe and diff bushings
Wilwood calipers rear (Dual caliper kit)
M3 Rear calipers
Brembo Big brake kit (front)
Massive brakes Dual caliper bracket
Brake quip brake lines
SLP Control arms
Garagistic front subframe

2001 Chevrolet ls1
Ls6 intake manifold
DR Concept Motor mounts
CX racing headers
CX racing y pipe
Custom 3” stainless dual exhaust
Holley retrofit oil pan
Canton Racing Accusump
CSF Radiator

CSF Oil Cooler
Mishimoto overflow bottle
Tennessee Clutch
APS Racing Driveshaft
Moroso Oil Catch Can
Wiring specialties wiring Harness
Turn one power steering pulley and pump
Aeromotive A1000 with 6 gallon fuel cell
Greddy oil filter block with thermostat
AN lines and fittings for everything

Disclaimer: None of the images used in this article are the property of ECS Tuning. The images used are credited to Andrew A. or any other respective photographers and are not used in association with marketing or monetized purposes.

Give @andrew4reel a follow on Instagram!

Vendor Spotlight: 60 Years of Sonax

What sets apart a car enthusiast from the rest of the inhabitants in his neighborhood? Do we look at the countless nights spent tinkering in the garage, or the constant arrivals of parts to their front door? While it may be a combination of several intricacies of an enthusiast’s life, one unifying activity found amongst all enthusiasts is the hand washing of one’s car. That is definitely something the fellows at Sonax take seriously, as they provide some of the most well-known car care products to enthusiasts all over the world who enjoy the cathartic release of cleaning their vehicle with the best stuff around.

What began 60 years ago as a silver polish has blossomed into one of the go-to names in automotive polish and cleaning products. Almost assuredly any car show or get together you may attend features shiny show cars using their products to achieve the highest level of attractiveness.

If you are preparing for your next show, don’t leave out Sonax car care products during your detailing work. Their engine cleaner is perfect for tackling the nasty grime and grease that builds up and makes you embarrassed to show off your car’s power plant. Be confident and take pride in what’s under the hood this time with the Sonax engine cleaner.

If your wheels are looking a little darker than they should and a normal wash just won’t cut it, Sonax wheel cleaner PLUS wheel cleaner is just what you need to bring the shine back. This cleaner is safe for all wheel types and works stronger and faster than other cleaners to ensure a pristine like-new finish without spending back-breaking hours polishing those lips by hand. This wheel cleaner is ideal if you have neglected wheels you are trying to restore or need a super quick detail after driving to a show, just make sure you have some water handy!

Sonax also offers interior cleaner, bug remover, and other sanitation products to cover every base in taking care of your car’s appearance and smell. Of course, you do need a way to dry everything off. Once you have finished washing your vehicle and are ready to prevent any water spots, the Sonax microfiber drying cloth is the perfect finishing touch.

Save time with your next detail and see the best results with the 60 years of excellent experience behind Sonax and their car care products. Take care of your favorite cars the right way and keep them as clean as the day you brought them home without jumping through hoops of trying to figure out the best products to use. Sonax is the name we all trust thanks to their extensive experience in polishes and cleaning products for a good reason. Check out their full inventory of accessories here at ECS Tuning.

DIY: How to Bleed Your Brakes the Right Way


This article will give you all the information you need to successfully bleed your brake system. The following topics will be covered:

  • When and why you need to bleed your brakes

  • The different methods you can use

  • The different tools that are available

  • The different types of brake fluid and why it is important to keep it sealed

Bleeding the brakes on your car is quite often thought of as one of the most annoying and confidence-shaking tasks that you can face. The fact is, it is actually one of the most misunderstood processes. All it requires is a little bit of patience and you will find that it is rather simple. Once you read and understand these processes, you will be able to successfully bleed a brake system with ease.

Brake Fluid Warnings

Brake fluid can be extremely dangerous. Always use caution and wear safety glasses when working with brake fluid. All brake fluid containers will have safety and emergency information printed on the label.

Brake fluid is hygroscopic which means it will absorb water from the atmosphere. This absorption will alter its chemical characteristics and reduce its effectiveness. It is critical to keep brake fluid containers sealed at all times and only open them when adding fluid.

Brake fluid is extremely damaging to paint, even if it only contacts the surface for a brief moment. We recommend using protective fender covers wherever possible. It is also a very good idea to keep water, a quick detail spray or cleaner, and a soft rag close by. In the event that brake fluid contacts the paint on your car, rinse it off immediately, followed by spraying a detail spray or cleaner on the surface and wiping it clean with a soft rag.

General Preparation and Safety Information

ECS Tuning cares about your health and safety. Please read the following safety information. This information pertains to automotive service in general, and while it may not pertain to every job you do, please remember and share these important safety tips.

Park your car in a safe, well lit, level area.
Shut the engine off and remove the key from the ignition switch.
Make sure any remote start devices are properly disabled.
ALWAYS wear safety glasses.
Make sure the parking brake is applied until the vehicle is safely lifted and supported.
If using an automotive lift, be sure and utilize the factory specified lift points. Lifting a vehicle incorrectly can cause damage to the suspension/running gear.

When lifting a vehicle using a jack, always utilize the factory specified lift points. Lifting a vehicle incorrectly can cause damage to the suspension/running gear. ALWAYS support the vehicle with jack stands.
ALWAYS read and follow all safety information and warnings for the equipment you are using.
Brake Bleeding Tools:
Brake Fluid Catch Bottle

The most essential of bleeding tools, brake fluid catch bottles are available in a couple of different styles. The Schwaben Brake Bleeder Catch Bottle is ideal for manual bleeding or pressure bleeding. It is easy to hold and easy to see through. The 90-degree bleeder nipple is easy to grip and is made of a soft yet resilient rubber which will easily push on and seal to all sizes of bleeder screws. The angle of the bleeder nipple also keeps the weight of the hose off the bleeder screw, preventing it from falling off. The clear tubing allows you to see brake fluid flow, and more importantly, the presence of air bubbles.

The Schwaben Power Bleeder Catch Bottles are ideal for gravity bleeding or manual bleeding when you are working solo. They are easy to hold and see through. The key feature of these bottles is a stainless steel lanyard which allows you to hang them from the suspension, allowing the bottle to remain connected while you perform other tasks.

Pressure Bleeder

The Schwaben Pressure Bleeder is very useful for many brake bleeding applications. They are a quick and efficient way of bleeding brakes, and very helpful when you are working solo. It features a high strength plastic bottle with an easily readable gauge on the side and a built-in hand pump in the

lid. A machined aluminum cap which fits most European master cylinder reservoirs is attached to the flexible brake fluid supply hose.

Vacuum Bleeder

The Schwaben Professional Vacuum Bleeder is also very useful when working solo. It features a high capacity plastic tank with an easily readable gauge on the side and a built-in vacuum pump in the lid. The added value of a vacuum bleeder such as this is that it can be used for evacuating any fluid on your car, which makes it a very versatile, valuable tool.

Bleeder Wrench

All wrenches are not created equal. Bleeder screws by nature are in tight locations, and quite often they are rusty. They are always very small, so it doesn’t take too much rust or corrosion to weaken their structure. Using a 12 point wrench can easily “round” them and give you nothing to grip.

The Bleeder Wrench features 11mm (a very common size for European cars) 6-point boxed ends. The six-point ends will firmly grip bleeder screws, allowing the twisting force to be applied evenly to the threads. A different angle on each end allows for easy access to the bleeders, and on some cars even with the wheels installed.

Pressure Bleeding Kit

Complete brake bleeding kits are also available on our website. We offer different kits which are specifically tailored to your car depending on the brake fluid type. This kit shown here includes a pressure bleeder with a high strength plastic bottle, an easy to read gauge, a built-in hand pump, and a pressure port all on the lid. Two brake fluid catch bottles, a Schwaben Brake Bleeder Wrench, and Pentosin Super DOT 4 Brake Fluid is also included. Look up your car at ecstuning.com to find the complete brake bleeding kit for you.

Here is a helpful video demonstrating these tools and techniques:

Brake Fluid Types:

There are different types of brake fluid and it can be a very involved topic, but for all practical purposes, we only need to concentrate on the
basics. Why are there different types of fluid? The greater the demand of your braking system, the greater the requirements of your brake fluid. As automobile and braking technology changed over the years, brake fluid had to change as well. The most common fluid types are DOT 3, DOT 4, DOT 5, and DOT 5.1. Here is an overview:

Brake Bleeding Theory:

In order to understand why you need to bleed your brake system, you must first understand the basics of a hydraulic brake system. In a hydraulic brake system, the mechanical input force from the brake pedal is converted to hydraulic pressure within the master cylinder. The hydraulic pressure is distributed through the brake lines to the brake calipers or wheel cylinders. Since the brake fluid does not compress, the hydraulic pressure created in the master cylinder is therefore transmitted to each wheel.

In a brake system that has air in it, when you apply force to the brake pedal, the force is converted to hydraulic pressure, however, the hydraulic pressure acts on the air in the system. The air compresses and as a result, the reduced hydraulic pressure is transmitted to each wheel, producing a brake pedal that feels “spongy” and brakes that are ineffective.

It is important to understand the different bleeding procedures and also to realize that it is not uncommon, due to the complexity of today’s braking systems as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each method of bleeding, to have to use more than one procedure to remove all the air from the system.

Regardless of the method you use, the goal of each is the same: Force the air out of the brake system.

How often should a brake system be bled? Your brake system will need to be bled every time it is opened, such as when you are replacing a worn out hydraulic component, or when you are installing performance parts, such as one of our Big Brake Kits.

Flushing a brake system should be performed every two years regardless of mileage. Normal wear of the internal components of the brake system will begin to contaminate the fluid, and moisture is also absorbed by the fluid over time, even from opening the cap to fill or check the fluid. Even small amounts of moisture will react with the brake fluid and be very damaging to the expensive components of your brake system. Flushing a brake system can be performed using any of the bleeding procedures described here.

General Bleeding Procedure:

Gravity Bleeding:

Gravity bleeding uses the natural gravity flow of the fluid to force the air through the system.

Advantages of Gravity Bleeding:
• You can perform this type of bleeding by yourself.
• The pressure is so low that it will not affect any metering valves and fluid flow will not be restricted.
• You can let one wheel bleed while you work on another, so it can same time.
• It is a very clean way of bleeding with little mess.

Disadvantages of Gravity Bleeding:
• It can be slow.
• In some cases, it is not as effective due to brake system design.

The Procedure:

It is as simple as it sounds. Fill the brake fluid reservoir, connect a bleeder bottle to a bleeder screw, open the screw, and let the system bleed. If you have more than one bleeder bottle you can bleed more than one wheel at a time. Keep an eye on the reservoir to make sure it does not run dry and watch the fluid levels in the bleeder bottles. You will see the level in the bleeder bottles increase as the fluid flows out of the system, bringing the air along with it.

Manual Bleeding:

Manual bleeding uses the help of an assistant to depress the brake pedal while you open and close the bleeder screws.

Advantages of Manual Bleeding:
• This is one of the most effective methods the majority of the time.
• Your assistant can let you know how the feel of the pedal is improving during the process, saving you from getting in and out of the car.

Disadvantages of Manual Bleeding:
• It requires an assistant (which may not always be available).

The Procedure:

Fill the brake fluid reservoir and have your assistant pump the brake pedal three or four times, then hold pressure on the pedal. Connect a bleeder bottle and open one of the bleeder screws. Have your assistant tell you when the brake pedal sinks to the floor. Make sure they hold the pedal to the floor while you tighten the bleeder screw. Repeat this procedure until no air bubbles are visible in the hose when the bleeder screw is opened, then repeat for the remaining wheels. Have your assistant pump the pedal up and check for pedal firmness in between wheels.

There is an alternate procedure for manual bleeding in which you leave the bleeder screw open while your assistant slowly pumps the brake pedal
up and down. This procedure is equally as effective, but you must make sure that the end of the hose which is attached to the bleeder screw remains submerged in brake fluid at all times or air will be drawn back into the brake system.

Pressure Bleeding:

Pressure bleeding uses a pressurized tank of brake fluid to apply pressure and force the fluid through the brake system.

Advantages of Pressure Bleeding:
• You can perform this procedure by yourself.
• The pressure bleeder will keep the brake fluid reservoir full at all times during the procedure.
• This method is very effective on most vehicles.
• This is an excellent method of flushing brake fluid.

Disadvantages of Pressure Bleeding:
• On some vehicles, the pressure may not be high enough to bypass some metering valves or ABS valving.
• It can be messy where the pressure bleeder connects to the reservoir. Use extra caution not to allow brake fluid to drip on the car while installing or removing the bleeder on the master cylinder reservoir.
• The master cylinder is usually overfull when the procedure is complete. You will have to draw the extra fluid out.

The Procedure:

Connect the pressure bleeder to the brake fluid reservoir and pressurize it according to the bleeder manufacturer’s instructions. Connect a bleeder bottle to one wheel at a time and open the bleeder screw. When the fluids flow with no bubbles present, bleeding is complete. Repeat the procedure for the remaining wheels.

Vacuum Bleeding:

Vacuum bleeding uses vacuum in a tank to draw the brake fluid through the system.

Advantages of Vacuum Bleeding:

• It is a very clean method of bleeding. All fluid is drawn out at the bleeder screws, preventing the leaks that can occur between the bleeder bottle hose and the bleeder screw.
• You can perform this procedure by yourself.
• This method is effective on most vehicles.
• Bleeder catch bottles are not required.

Disadvantages of Vacuum Bleeding:
• There is an increased risk of running the master cylinder dry since the fluid may pull through quicker than you expect. • On some vehicles, the vacuum may not draw the fluid past some metering valves of ABS valving.

The Procedure:

Draw a vacuum in the tank using the vacuum bleeder manufacturer’s instructions. Connect the vacuum bleeder hose to one of the bleeder screws and open it. When the fluid flows with no more air bubbles, bleeding is complete. Repeat the procedure for the remaining wheels.

Proper service and repair procedures are vital to the safe, reliable operation of all motor vehicles
as well as the personal safety of those performing the repairs. Standard safety procedures and precautions (including the use of safety goggles and proper tools and equipment) should be followed at all times to eliminate the possibility of personal injury or improper service which could damage the vehicle or compromise its safety.

Although this material has been prepared with the intent to provide reliable information, no warranty (express or implied) is made as to its accuracy or completeness. Neither is any liability assumed for loss or damage resulting from reliance on this material. SPECIFICALLY, NO WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR ANY OTHER WARRANTY IS MADE OR TO BE IMPLIED WITH RESPECT TO THIS MATERIAL. In no event will ECS Tuning, Incorporated or its affiliates will be liable for any damages, direct or indirect, consequential or compensatory, arising out of the use of this material.

Best Coilovers for your BMW E30 3-Series from CATuned

When it comes to modern companies focused on vintage BMW support, the list is not a long one. Over the years, names like Hartge, AC Schnitzer, Zender, Husco, and more have been replaced by contemporary equivalents. These new companies refuse to let the aging pre-90’s BMWs fade away into obscurity. CATuned is one of the foremost breakout companies who focuses on providing unique support with either reproductions or entirely new parts and products for the vintage BMW community. Their builds are inspiring throwbacks brimming with subtly updated touches to make these classics more appropriate in the world of million-dollar show cars.

CATuned is no stranger to the spotlight. Their E10 ratrod that debuted at SEMA 2016 featured one of their specialties, a built M20 turbo, as well as custom Turbofans sporting Mtech colors, and an almost nameless number of performance upgrades. Their attention to detail is what makes CATuned one of the biggest names in vintage BMW performance today.

Working with their E30s, E28s, E9s, and countless other classic chassis, CATuned has developed a catalog of parts that makes owning one of these vintage BMWs less of a headache. Their support includes performance suspension, brake conversions, rebuilt transmissions, engine blocks, heads, camshafts, and everything you could need to restore or improve that classic BMW in your garage.

Quite possibly their biggest addition to the aftermarket vintage BMW community has been their adjustable coilovers. The CATuned adjustable super sport coilovers for the E30 chassis are special, as the E30 notoriously requires welding the front wheel hubs to your coilover strut body, which can be a pain for anyone who has never had to weld them before.

CATuned offers pre-welded coilovers in either the standard or max-low options for a direct fit with brand new hubs and bearings to boot! Even better, send your old hubs back for a core refund. The overall cost ends up lower than purchasing a set of coilovers from anywhere else and having them welded. What’s more, the CATuned coils have been proven as exceptional suspension components both on and off the track. The easiest solution is also one of the most capable, which is a rarity in BMW performance.

Fortunately for those of us with vintage BMWs, CATuned is here to help us keep our cars on the road and better than ever with their incredible product support and inspirational builds. Making the choice to drive and modify classic BMWs is often a tough one due to the lack of parts availability, but with the help of companies like CATuned, we are able to continue to enjoy these incredible pieces of motorsport history.

Wheel and Tire Guide: How to give your car perfect fitment

Wheels and tires are an important part of differentiating your car from every other commuter vehicle on the road. Whether you are looking to ‘kill the game’ with an aggressive set of wheels and tires, or just change your car’s look, your wheel and tire choice will play a big part in making that transformation happen. Understanding wheel and tire sizes are key to pick the perfect setup you are trying to achieve, so we have broken down everything you need to know about deciding on the correct sizing the first time.

Wheel Size

Wheel sizing is defined by the wheels three dimensions: diameter, width, and offset. The diameter of the wheel is the total distance from one side of the rim flange to the other. If you have a 20 in wheel, then your wheel diameter is 20in, flange to flange. The common misconception surrounding the word ‘rim’ is that ‘wheel’ and ‘rim’ are interchangeable. In fact, ‘Rim’ refers to the actual flange around the outer edge of the wheel. You will find most commercial vehicles feature a ‘rim’ with a .5 degree angle for the flange, which meets the bead seat for the tire.

The wheel’s width is easy enough, too. The distance between the inside of inner flange to the inside of the outer flange is the width value of your wheel. Often, people will measure from the farthest points from side to side. You want to make sure you are measuring basically bead seat to bead seat for a proper width measurement.

Wheel offset is the distance from the face that mounts to your wheel hub from the middle of the wheel. If your wheel is 6in wide, and your offset is positive 20 (ET20) then your wheel will be ‘offset’ by 20mm from the dead center. Positive tells you which direction. A positive offset moves the mounting face farther away from the inner flange, a negative offset moves it towards the inner flange. Neutral offset, or ET0, is when the wheel hub mates with the wheel directly in the middle of the wheel. On a 6in wide wheel, the face would mount with three inches on either side, giving it a neutral offset.

Tire Size

Tire sizing is determined by the wheel dimensions. You can read the side of a tire to find out its specifications. The notation is as follows: P225/40R/18. While these numbers are arbitrary, the P denotes “passenger”, 225 is the millimeter width of the tire from inner to outer tread, 40 is the aspect ratio or ratio between the total diameter and width, and the 18 is your wheel diameter and the distance from bead to bead on the tire.

Speed Rating

Load Rating

Picking the right wheel and tire sizes for your car is easy! Make sure your total rolling diameter will clear your inner and outer wheel well on lock-to-lock steering, determine the right offset you need to fill out your car’s track, and close up that wheel gap! We also offer wheel fitment kits to help you find exactly what offset you need to make your wheels perfectly flush. Just rent the kit, measure and test fit, then return it when you know what you need!

Product Spotlight: New ECS Center X-Pipe Exhaust Section for your Audi B8 S4

We love the B8 S4. The incredible power band, comfortable interior, and connected driving feeling still present in the late-model Quattro are just a few of the things we like most about our own S4. Unfortunately, the exhaust note is somewhat lacking in our opinion. Of course, there are full exhaust options that can add gobs of noise and some power benefits, but what if you are just looking for a little more grunt and not a deafening roar? Our new B8 S4 Center X-Pipe is just for you.

While the S4 doesn’t exactly have immensely restrictive exhaust, it is tuned from the factory to provide a quiet and comfortable sound more than anything. In its stock form, the only audible sounds that make us giddy are those from the whiny supercharger stacked on top of the engine. This is one of our favorite supercharger noises, especially paired with our X-Pipe. The bolt-in replacement exhaust section fits just like your factory exhaust mid-pipe but adds a throaty resonance to the sound produced by the 3.0T engine.

We have prepared a comparison video here below for you to listen to the difference between a factory setup and our new X-Pipe to hear exactly what a change the X-pipe provides. The B8 S4 now growls from a launch and has a noticeable increase in volume during the camera fly-by, but is not as attention-demanding as the noise from full aftermarket systems.

Since our exhaust is just a bolt-in swap for a restrictive piece, you can improve your driving enjoyment easily from your own driveway or garage with basic hand tools. Your B8 S4 will sound more like the powerful German sedan it is known for without leaving you deaf or ever having to break out a welder. Make sure to add the ECS Tuning Center X-Pipe to your B8 S4 for better sound and more fun!

Interested in purchasing?

Give your B8 S4 a volume increase!

ECS Center X-Pipe Kit for your B8 S4