Timeless Passion and Design: the MOMO Heritage

Whenever I ask a fellow car enthusiast what it was that first struck them about cars in general, the answer that follows is rarely short. For myself, I can remember being given a model of the then-new 993 Carerra Porsche when I was young. From the shape of the car to the articulation of the doors and rear engine cover, and even just that the steering wheel turned with the steering rack to simulate the front wheels turning all just spoke to me. The passion I felt then just looking at that Porsche model has carried throughout my life. MOMO is a company with that same passion, and one who evokes similar emotions from anyone who sees one of their classic wheels at the helm of a performance car. Their inception began as a one-off wheel for a personal racing car and grew to become one of the most dedicated aftermarket and OEM suppliers of thoroughbred performance wheels that are placed iconically throughout motorsport history in some of the greatest performing race cars to have ever competed.


MOMO began in Italy in 1964 when Gianpiero Moretti commissioned a local craftsman to fabricate a custom wheel for his personal racing car. From that moment, MOMO became synonymous with racing performance. Their dedication for exceptional grip and simplistic design that is both practical and stunning has translated to a benchmark standard in steering wheels that can be seen imitated by a number of companies in the industry, but none with the success of a genuine MOMO wheel.

Something about that ‘less is more’ style has always appealed to me. One of the first places I look in vintage or contemporary performance cars interiors is at the steering wheel. A traditional three-spoke alloy wheel with a thin grip in either uncovered wood or wrapped leather with a period-correct center horn button is the pinnacle of aesthetic pleasure in my opinion, which speaks to why I have so much love for the vintage MOMO design. Their timeless appearance and universal application make MOMO wheels perfect in anything from a vintage Alfa Romeo to a modern Volkswagen GTI to achieve a motorsport look with a deliberate nod to racing history.

Few brands stick out as a perfect heritage piece at home in any car from any country and any era as well as MOMO. Their industry-wide reach has set a standard in racing wheels that persists to this day while they continue to improve upon their manufacturing methods and add to their catalog. MOMO is one of the few companies that continuously pushes the boundaries of style and design while retaining their original message: “We turn cars from simple tools into a way of life”.

Check out our full catalog of MOMO wheels available on our site for your own piece of heritage. Each MOMO wheel is crafted with love for the sport, a passion for excellence, and the pride from decades of motorsport success to be the perfect integration between you and your car.

Interested in purchasing?

MOMO Wheel Catalog


A Month of VW MK7 Performance: Brand New Carbon Fiber Products

Winter has kept us indoors, but we haven’t been idle. Here at ECS, we have taken advantage of that time to produce a slew of parts for the MK7 platform. The MK7 Golf, GTI, and R are fantastic cars in their own right from the factory, but they can always be improved. Over the next few weeks, we will be releasing our new line of MK7 visual and performance upgrades which will help take your stock hatchback and turn it into something unique. So what have we been developing, exactly? Let’s take a look at some upcoming products hot off the ECS design tables headed straight to your doorstep.

Front and Rear Adjustable Sway Bar End Links

The theme of MK7 Performance is continued with the addition of our Adjustable Front and Rear Sway Bar End Links! For lowered MK7 owners, adjustable end links are an absolute must. Any performance-oriented MK7 will benefit from the ability to fine-tune suspension settings and more.

Our new end links help eliminate preload on the sway bar and assist in corner balancing, as the 11mm of adjustment can account for even the lowest of modified MK7s. These links improve your sway bar effectiveness and reaction times, which are translated through steering inputs. Best yet, these heavy-duty links are more resilient and durable than their factory counterparts so you can trust these links to be the weakest part of the chain!

Clutch Pedal Stop

To improve your driving experience this spring, get rid of all that dead pedal travel on your clutch! Our new Clutch Pedal Stop allows you to adjust the bottom position of your pedal so there is no more extra travel past engagement. This gives you faster shifts, quicker launches, and a more engaging driving feel. Confidently know each shift will be perfect when your pedal stops by never having to feel for that engagement again.

This fully adjustable stop lets you position the clutch pedal travel to your liking in seconds. Simply install behind the clutch pedal at the factory clutch stop location, adjust the height for your preference, and that’s it! Simple and effective often make for the most enjoyable modifications, and give you instant gratification with a noticeable change in driving dynamics.

ECS Carbon Fiber Fuse Box and ECU Clamshell Cover

Our theme is very Carbon Fiber heavy, so the newest product is no surprise. We are proud to offer a Carbon Fiber Fuse Box Cover! Our ECU cover fits immaculately over the unsightly fuse box and clamshell to provide a congruent theme of tastefully modified goodness. Our exceptional quality, hand-laid carbon weave, and uniquely styled cover follows the factory contour lines for an unparalleled fitment and perfect finish. Complete your build with the subtle touches that set your car apart from the rest!

ECS Kohlefaser Luft-Technik Carbon Fiber Intake and Air Duct

Next, we have developed a pair of carbon fiber engine performance upgrades. The Kohlefaser Luft-Technik Carbon Fiber Turbo Inlet is designed to improve the airflow to your turbo and pair with your aftermarket intake and software tuning. The factory corrugated inlet fails to provide proper airflow to the turbo, especially under increased turbo suction. Our hand-laid carbon fiber inlet tube is a smooth tube engineered for maximum efficiency in delivering enough air to maximize the effectivity of your turbo.

This inlet was designed and engineered in-house for the best fitment and attractive styling to provide both an aesthetic upgrade to your engine bay and a smoother transition of air to your turbo. Thanks to our countless hours of research and testing, we have found this inlet to provide the most consistent airflow in order to maximize the potential of your turbo’s performance.

With the improved airflow through your turbo inlet handled, the new weak point becomes the Intake Ducting on the core support, which is the first site of air induction for your engine. For factory performance, the stock duct is adequate. Any tuning will require improved airflow. We designed our Carbon Fiber Dual Intake Duct to improve the airflow to your engine by increasing the volume by 285%. That massive size difference between our duct and the OEM duct provides a drop in intake air temperature up to 26 degrees (F).


Your MK7 will benefit from lower temperatures, more consistent airflow, and a greater volume of inducted air in order to let your engine breathe as well as possible. Improving your performance increases your engine’s demand for air, so this pair of upgrades are perfect to take full advantage of any supporting modifications and give your engine bay an attractive carbon fiber theme.

The performance increases and visual improvements from our carbon fiber Turbo Inlet and Air Duct are just the beginning. Over the next month, we will release a number of unique products designed in-house to personalize your MK7 and improve your driving experience. Stay tuned for each update to learn more about everything available to modify your VW MK7 Golf, GTI, or R.

Interested in purchasing?

ECS Kohlefaser Luft-Technik Turbo Inlet and Air Duct

The highest quality in engine performance upgrades!


DIY: MK4 Hatch Pop Kit

Now you can pop your rear hatch with the press of a single button on your key fob. The innovative Hatch Pop Kit includes a solenoid-operated latch release, wire harness, spring loaded stop bumpers, two strong lifting struts, and all the mounting hardware you need.

Installation requires removal of the rear hatch inner trim panel. Inside the hatch, you will install mounting grommets, a new solenoid actuator, and a special patch harness designed for plug-and-play simplicity.

Tools required are simple, and include a non-marring plastic trim removal tool, Phillips and common head screwdrivers, and pliers.

Let’s jump right in!


Raise the rear hatch.

Remove the two Phillips head screws located inside the pull recesses in the rear trim panel (circled).

Use a trim removal tool to pry the inner panel away from the hatch.
The panel is held in place by metal spring clips (arrows) that should pop free one at a time as you pry around the perimeter in the panel.

After removing the two screws in the trim panel, pry down with a plastic trim removal tool.

Work around the perimeter of the panel until it comes loose. Remove it.

Note: The trim tool shown is from the 5-piece trim removal set, ES517779.

With the panel removed, the lock and latch mechanisms are exposed.

Original Hatch Components

This schematic illustrates the factory installed components and their general locations inside the rear hatch.

We’ll concentrate on the components involved in the installation.

A voltage signal on the OEM wire harness (1) activates the lock control solenoid when the unlock button is pressed on the key fob.

The latch release rod (2) connects the hatch pull handle to the latch release lever. This will be replaced with the new latch release rod in the kit.

Press the two mounting grommets (3) in your kit into the factory holes in the hatch metal. These grommets will be used to mount your new latch release solenoid.

Special Note: On some early 1999-2000 Golfs, there is no hole for the lower grommet. If this happens, print out the template on page 16 of this pdf. Be sure to print it at 100%!

Mount the template as shown in the photo, temporarily locating it with the Torx head screw for the latch handle. Using the template, drill a new 5/16-inch hole and install the lower grom- met in the newly drilled hole.

Caution: Be careful as the drill bit breaks through the inner bracket. Do not let the bit strike the inner surface of the rear hatch outer skin or you may leave a dent that can be seen from the outside.

Preparing the solenoid module for installation

The rear hatch mounting grommet hole locations in German and Brazilian-made Golf hatches are slightly di erent. To accommodate these di erences, your ECS hatch kit mounting plate has extra mounting holes.

Start by identifying your car’s country of origin using the first three characters of the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). This number can be see through the windshield on a plate mounted to the lower left hand corner of the dash.

If the rst three characters are WVW, the car is German-made. If the rst three characters are 9BW, the car is Brazilian-made.

The pivot arm stud in your new assembly ships in the Brazilian location.

If you are installing the assembly in a German-made Golf, loosen and remove the locknut on the back of the pivot stud. Re-locate the stud to the upper (German) hole, then reinstall the locknut and tighten it.

Install the New Release Mechanism

Here is the solenoid assembly with the pivot stud mounted in the default Brazilian mounting hole.

Note that the solenoid assembly mounting holes are elongated slots that allow sideways movement of the mechanism on the grommets. This allows the mechanism to be adjusted against the relay rod that connects the pivot arm to the latch release lever. See adjustment details on page 8.

Unplug the car harness (1) from the lock control solenoid.

Connect the car harness (1) to the short side of the patch harness (2).

Plug the shorter lead from the patch harness into the lock control solenoid (3).

Remove the original latch release rod (see item 2 on page 4) and replace it with the new latch release rod in the kit (4).

Your hatch pop kit includes a 3mm steel push nut.

When installing the new latch release rod, push the end of the rod through the white plastic grommet in the latch release lever. With the rod fully inserted, reach around from behind and press the 3mm push nut over the end of the rod to lock it in place, as shown in the illustration to the right.

Use the silver mounting screws (5) from the kit to attach the latch control solenoid assembly (6) to the grommets. Do not tighten the screws completely; just snug them enough that the assembly can still be shifted side-to- side on the grommets.

Run the long lead from the patch harness (7) along the edge of the stamped metal opening in the hatch, and plug it into the latch control solenoid (8).

Secure the patch harness to the edge of the opening in the hatch using the OEM harness clip and
the extra clip included in your kit (9).

Adjust the New Release Mechanism

In this step, we will use
the elongated holes in the assembly to adjust the contact point for the linkage.

Proper adjustment ensures that the solenoid will move the linkage the correct distance to open the hatch.

• With the mounting screws just snug enough that the assembly can still be slid side-to-side, move the assembly laterally until the link arm just touches the new latch release rod. Then bump assembly a little farther in the same direction until the latch release lever just starts
to move. This slight pre- load ensures positive engagement and full latch lever travel.

• Tighten the screws so the adjustment will not change.

• Test hatch operation before reinstalling the interior trim, and adjust again, if necessary.

Install the Struts

CAUTION: Prop the hatch open with a rigid support that will not allow the hatch to fall on you as your remove the old struts and install the new ones.

Use a pick or small screwdriver to pry out the retainer clips at top and bottom that secure the ball sockets to the chassis studs.

Your new struts come pre-assembled. Just push the open end of the each socket over the ball studs until they snap and lock in place.

Make sure the springs are located at the bottom with the door closed.

Install the Stop Bumpers

Remove the two original hatch bumpers by twisting them counter clockwise one quarter turn then pulling them straight out.

Unpack the new spring loaded bumpers. They should look like the picture on the left with the spring locked in the compressed position. If they look like this, skip the next step and continue with installing the bumpers. If they are extended like the picture below, then perform the next step before installaing the bumpers.

Push the bumper cap in until the spring is compressed, then turn it clockwise approximately one quarter turn until the cap is locked with the spring in the compressed position.

Install the two new bumpers into the hatch by pushing them in then turning them one quarter turn clockwise.

Insert a 3mm hex bit into the center of each new bumper until it engages the small screw inside, then loosen the screw approximately three complete turns. You will be able to see that the bumpers are loose and you can wiggle them back and forth.

Note the position of the spring bumpers. The depth of these bumpers is adjustable. The bumpers will be extended as shown in the picture. Also note the number of teeth that are exposed on the main shaft of each bumper (arrow).

Completely close, but DO NOT SLAM the hatch. Reopen the hatch and the bumpers will have adjusted themselves to the correct position. Note in this picture how the main shaft of the bumper has been pushed in and there are fewer teeth visible.

Tighten the 3mm screw in the center of each spring bumper. This will secure the bumper in the adjusted position.

Grasp each bumper cap and turn it counter clockwise.

The bumper caps will release and extend as shown in the picture. They are now completely adjusted and ready for use.

Test and Reassemble

CAUTION: The rear hatch will open VERY quickly when released. Stand clear as you press the hatch release button on the key fob.

Note: Your hatch can still be opened manually using the bayonet key and hatch release handle.

When you have tested hatch operation, snap the inner trim panel back in place and replace the two Phillips screws removed earlier.

This completes the installation of the ECS Tuning MKIV Golf/GTI Hatch Pop Kit.

Thanks for purchasing the ECS Tuning Hatch Pop Kit.

We appreciate your business, and hope this tutorial has been helpful and informative.

Interested in purchasing?

MK4 Hatch Pop Kit

Easy installation gives you access to your trunk with the touch of a button. No more struggling to open your hatch with your hands full!


Evil Touring: Evan’s E61 535xi/M5 Touring Build

One of the most incredible things about the car community is the use of forums and social media to coordinate, swap parts, share knowledge, and most importantly: post build threads. When we found Evan’s E61 535xi Touring build, we sifted through his sixty-plus page build threads and were absolutely floored by the amount of work and passion present in what we would call an unusual choice for a project of this type.


We say unusual because, as Evan mentions several times in his threads, E61 Touring AWD models were almost exclusively automatic in the states, and were generally driven by your local well-to-do elderly ladies shuttling casserole dishes to church luncheons. Evan was able to see past the grandmotherly exterior and envisioned a brutally evil spirit lurking just below the paint.


Developing a devastatingly quick Touring was not his original intention, however. Evan originally planned on taking a stock, one-owner E61, and turning it into a bit of an M5 clone powered by the original N54. He extensively modified everything from lighting, interior trim, and bumper covers, to more extensive custom fabrication under the hood and even some fairly aggressive coilovers from KW.

After quite involved aesthetic and performance modifications, Evan decided on a manual transmission swap for his wagon. Anyone familiar with manual transmission conversions in any car knows their difficulty. Evan approached the manual swap with the same attention to detail present in the entire build and was rewarded with one of the only manual transmission E61 Touring in existence, and an incredible sense of accomplishment.

The engine saw some heavy modification as well, but unfortunately for Evan, disaster was right around the corner. As the gruesome pictures show, the E61 decided it needed to remodel its block on its own. A complete and total self destruction is the only way to put the catastrophic detonation depicted here.

Evan found a 335is N54 for little money and went to work cleaning the valves, replacing belts, gaskets, studs, seals, and more. All the engine work paired well with nearly a complete rewire; Evan’s engine bay was given its due attention while the motor sat on a stand.





When it was time to put everything back together, Evan took great care to make certain every inch of the rebuild was flawless and meticulously cleaned for a perfect fit-and-finish that would make any enthusiast drool. Final touches included a beautiful polished plenum from Evolution of Speed, which mated to a new fuel rail by the same company. 

This whole build could only be described as a fairly exploratory conversion: the N54 Touring saw an M5 Driveshaft, M5 LSD, M5 Axles, M5 Brakes, M5 Rear Suspension, and of course the manual transmission. The transmission swap also took Evan into new territory for USDM BMW’s. His conversion included a RWD setup as opposed to his original AWD factory setup. This required a custom driveshaft, fabricated transmission support, and additional coding in the programing.


Lastly, Evan sorted out a unique shifter that he pieced together himself in his now hybridized Touring. A gated shifter almost found itself at home in the wagon before ultimately it was decided to be fitted with a more traditional setup.






Overall the Touring rebuild is a monument to absolute perfection. The pristine, show-quality, professional vibe one is imbued with as a result is astounding. Evan, we at ECS salute you and your immaculate 535i/M5 E61 Touring!

Tyler’s B8 A4 Daily Monster

Modifying cars for many enthusiasts is not only a hobby, but a form of expression you take with you everywhere. More accurately, this form of self-expression takes you everywhere. For our friend Tyler that was exactly the purpose behind this B8 A4 build.

Tyler sat down with me at a small sandwich shop in Ohio to give me a better idea of what he wanted his Audi to be. An avid enthusiast, Tyler is not new to modifying cars. Since his DC2 Integra GSR in 2001, Tyler’s car history is filled with Subaru and Honda enthusiast vehicles. All of his builds have been heavily modified. Specifically, most of his previous cars included big turbos, extensive performance modifications, were intended for dedicated ‘spirited’ driving: both on tracks, or back roads.

Alzor 349 19×9.5 square sets on 235/40/19 tires finish off Tyler’s stance with an aggressive, yet classic look.

The Audi he most recently built tells something of a different story. A few years ago, Tyler made the switch to German performance with the purchase of an Audi B7 A4. One of two automatics he has ever owned, he enjoyed the B7 for its comfort and reliability. While he is not looking for something to put earthquake-inducing power into, an important factor in his driving experience was to be able to enjoy the car every time he drove it.

His B8 is exactly that: a beefed up, mature, and comfortable daily driver. With a new Frankenturbo, new pistons and rings from Audi, aesthetic changes like the ECS Carbon Fiber Trunk Spoiler and Engine Cover, and a few bolt-ons, Tyler took his run-of-the-mill A4 and turned it into something special. This car is an extension of his personality. He is as much an outdoor enthusiast as he is a car enthusiast, as you can see by his bike and kayak racks. The Audi checks those boxes perfectly.

“The car was supposed to be something I could drive every day. That could take me kayaking, hiking, or snowboarding. Something I could rely on year-round and still enjoy”

This idea is apparent when one hops in the rear seat and looks over to see a Recaro baby seat. Tyler and his wife are expecting shortly, and have already purchased things like the seat and VW clothing to indoctrinate their new son as quickly as possible into the way of the car enthusiast. The inclusion of his new family addition is exactly what the Audi was ready for.

While His B8 makes significant power over a stock equivalent, the car remains comfortable over bumps and is never excessively loud. Even more surprising is the traditional manual transmission equipped with the Quattro rather than the now favored automatic. The signs of an enthusiast are all there, coupled with the reliability and panache of a classy every-day utility vehicle.

ECS Carbon Fiber beauty and performance pieces accent the natural beauty of the Audi under-hood, and do more for performance than just sit pretty.

Overall, Tyler is able to drive a well equipped and comfortable Audi that is still able to satisfy his enthusiast bug without making hardly any sacrifice. Isn’t that what tuning is about?

Tyler’s B8 A4:

ECS Carbon Fiber Trunk Spoiler
ECS Luft-Technik Intake
ECS Carbon Fiber Engine Cover
Maxton Gloss Font Lip
Honeycomb Grille
Alzor 349 19×9.5 et+40 square sets on 235/40/19
Black Forest Industries Shift Knob
ECS Boost Gauge and Vent Pod
Frankenturbo Upgraded Turbo
CTS High Flow Cat
Malone Stage 3 Software
Recaro Baby Seat!
SoloWerks Coilovers
Prosport Oil Pressure Gauge Red/Blue
ECS Exhaust Swivel Tips
ECS Wheel Spacers (8mm rear)
ECS Billet Aluminum Oil Dipstick Upgrade
Mishimoto Intercooler Charge Pipes
Carista OBDII Dongle
ECS Billet Boost Tap Kit
42 Draft Designs 4-Way Oil Pressure Splitter


Schwaben Professional VAG Scan Tool – B7 A4 Audi Door and Belt Chime Disable

‘We know the door is open, Audi, we opened it!’ This is something everyone who owns a newer car that dings at you every time you do anything. Fortunately, with our Schwaben Professional VAG scan tool, you can eliminate the chime for ‘open door’ quite easily! Below are the steps to help you take care of that nuisance once and for all.

1: Switch the ignition on (do not start engine) and plug the scanner into the OBDII port

2: Select “VAG”

3: Select “Audi”

4: Select “Systems”

5: Select “Control Unit”

6: Select “Electronics 1”

7: Select “17-Instruments” 

8: Select “Coding”

9: Write down the original values before attempting to change anything

10: Select “Software Coding”

11: Select “OK”

12: Select “Keyboard”

13: To disable the door chime (for B7 models only) go to the next step

     To disable seat belt chime go to step 16

14: Change the fifth digit from a “2” to a “0″

15: Go to step 17

16: Change the second to last digit to a “0″

17: Select “Finish”

18: Select “Yes”

19: Select “Set complete”

20: Select “Save”

Note: This will change change your clock, mileage, and date from american to European to change it back double click the reset button on the wiper stalk and scroll through the menu to change it back

21:Enjoy opening your door with out hearing a chime

Interested in Purchasing?

The Schwaben Professional Scan Tool for your Audi gives you complete control over all systems and functions of your car while enabling you the coding and reading ability normally exclusive to dedicated facilities. 


Showstopper: ECS Tuning MK5 GTI Full Build Feature

From simple cosmetic upgrades to our massive Stage-5 Six-Piston Porsche Cayenne Big Brake Kit, the ECS MK5 GTI completely transformed. The GTI has experienced a Kafka-style metamorphosis being cocooned by an enormous list of modifications to arrive, stunning and gleaming, as it hovers above the ground before you.


ECS developed this build to create something unique; to be something contemporary yet traditional. As a show car, the MK5 catches looks and double-takes. As a driver’s car, one behind the wheel might discover a fiendish smile with every touch of the throttle or dive into a corner.

With each modification designed to fine-tune and enhance the performance of the GTI, this show stopper is more than just a pretty face.

Impossibly obvious and attention grabbing, the ECS Carbon Fiber Fender Flare Kit garnishes the corners with carbon fiber. For German performance cars, the widebody treatment is always reserved for the most extreme, race-bred applications. This performance and styling effect distinguishes the sporty model variants from the truly dexterous and radical performance cars.

The bolt-on ECS flares display exceptional fitment, and allow up to an additional 75mm of wheel and tire clearance for the use of fat rubber and a stunningly wide stance. the cavernous wheel wells, extended by the flares, encouraged our decision to develop a custom set of 3 Piece Custom Rotiform Style LVS – 11″ Wide, 19″ Diameter, completed with a Copper Face Finish.

Not quite hidden behind these stunning wheels are the massive ECS Stage 5 Six-piston Porsche Big Brake Kit, featuring the ECS 2-Piece Cross-Drilled and Slotted Rotors in the front and back. This 352mm finishing touch not only looks great behind the copper face of the wheels, but gives you the stopping power of a gravity well.

In designing the suspension, we chose a complete Slam Series Digital Combo Air Lift system with AutoPilot V2 digital air management. This Air Lift system gave us the versatility we needed to maneuver the most treacherous roads comfortably, fly through rhythm sections effortlessly, and drop to the pavement: all with the simple push of a button.

Between giant potholes, speed bumps, and uneven terrain, we constructed a 3/16″ (4.76mm) thick 5052 aluminum Street Shield Skid Plate. This skid plate is constructed and fitted to protect the exposed underbelly from a variety of impacts which can ruin an oil pan or other critical components.

Under the Hood:


There are modifications strictly for a vehicle’s curb appeal, and parts that exclusively intended for performance. Our goal was to include as many parts capable of utilitarian performance chasing and exude an aesthetic brilliance. We strove to create a part that has both proven performance gains and is aesthetically pleasing.




Our ECS Kohlefaser Luft-Technik Intake System features a carbon fiber box and polished aluminum tubes for stunning under the hood looks, and maximum power gains of +17 WHP at 5,750 RPM and +12 Lb/Ft of Torque at 5,700 RPM.



Complimenting the intake is the ECS High Flow Charge Pipe Coupler Kit that is capable of withstanding greater heat and higher boost pressure than stock. The kit does this all while achieving greater reliability, less turbulence and less restriction.


Moving down the sequence, we see the ECS 3.0″ Valved Turbo Back Exhaust System. Having a genuine appreciation for a smooth and sporty exhaust note that doesn’t drone or leave ears throbbing is something illusive. Smooth and refined is agreeably conservative, but there is a time and place for the sound of guttural anger.



With a remote key fob-controlled, vacuum operated, valve diversion, the exhaust flows at your convenience. With the valve closed, the exhaust is tuned and quieted through directionally louvered internal tubing. With the valve open, the exhaust follows an unrestricted, straight through path, and the dyno results confirm the difference. Don’t worry, though, you won’t need a chart. You’ll notice a Mr. Hyde style alter-ego emerge with a flattened throttle pedal. Bruce Banner would be proud.

Ever important to a highly modified motor is the brain controlling all of your critical systems. The factory computer was digitally altered and programmed with the aggressive APR Stage 2 Tune.


To harness all of this extra power, we have fitted the GTI with the ECS in-house designed Performance PendulumEngine, and Transmission Mounts. These mounts are composed of a perfected polyurethane formula to deliver smooth power transfer through the driveline to the ground, while equally present to minimize chassis feedback.

With a panoply of modifications, one could spend hours drooling over the complete parts list. While this is a dedicated show car, the performance capability is there thanks to the design of the components involved in bringing the MK5 GTI a viscous Moreauvian style genetic modification are all available through us here at ECS Tuning. Below this article you can browse the complete list of modifications and turn your own MK5 GTI into something terrifyingly gorgeous.

Exterior Mod List:

Lighting Mod List:

Performance Mod List:

Engine Mod List:

What to Know: Buying Your First BMW E30 3-Series

Regarded as one of the most successful and desirable enthusiast cars, the BMW E30 3-series offers a connected and dynamic driving experience in a vintage car without being overly expensive or difficult to maintain.

Known for their rear wheel drive, six cylinder, manual transmission variants, BMW continued their sport-compact segment with the new E30 3-Series in the early 80’s to provide a sporty coupe with the convenience offered in competitive sedans offered at the time.

Regardless of your familiarity level with cars, E30’s provide a fun and challenging ownership experience supported by a massive network of enthusiasts to help you every step of the way. In this post, we will specifically discuss what new enthusiasts should keep in mind when looking to purchase their first E30.

Before we get started

The biggest aspect you need to be aware of when looking for an E30 of your own is age. Even the newest E30’s are 25 years old. With that in mind, many of the key points we will cover in this post are going to be maintenance and age-related.

Before you are discouraged, however, remember we will be showing you what to look for and providing tips along the way to help mitigate or remedy some of these known faults. Ideally this, as well as other sources, will help you find the right E30.

In our experience, looking for an unmodified or unmolested E30 with a straight body, livable interior, running, driving, example is going to be a bit of a journey. The ideal purchase needs to be something that requires as little cosmetic attention as possible, is running and driving but may need some work, and is around a $5,000 budget. This should be doable with some discretion and a little searching.

Pick your E30 variant

There are a few versions available to most buyers:


We will cover the basics, which include early model (1983-88) and late model (1988-1992) coupe, sedan, and convertible 318i, 318is, 325e, 325i, 325ix and 325is. This article will not be covering what to look for specifically in E30 Touring models or in the E30 M3. The E30 M3 is not only the most expensive by a country mile but also shares incredibly few similarities with non-M3 E30s. Also tough to find are the E30 Touring, Baur, and Diesel models. For the purposes of simplicity, this post is focusing on the most common E30 variants.

So let’s take a look at the car we will be using as an example; my 325i cabriolet. The vert is a great car to provide some context as ’88 vert specifics allow us to make some observations about early versus late model, and will add to the inspection checklist.

The Inspection

A big issue on these cars can be rust. Depending on where the rust is and how extensive the problem, you can make a decision to move forward with the purchase or walk away.

Places to check for rust include: around the tail lights, around the license plate, in the battery tray up front, both sides of the trunk, under the trunk carpet, shock tower mounts, wheel wells, and floor pans.

For convertibles, a must check is the soft top. All vert soft tops original to the car are going to be in various states of Swiss-cheesery. Be sure to closely inspect the function and condition of the top, including the rear vinyl window, and note how the top seals around the windscreen and windows.

One place we have noticed can be a definite walk away rust spot are in the rear floor pans around the plastic drain seals. These have a tendency to rust out leaving an open hole through the chassis. The floor pan rust is incredibly important as new floor pans are unavailable and must be cut from an existing E30 lacking the rust issue.

Beyond the floor pans, other notable rust spots are the front battery tray (unused on all models except convertibles) and the rear battery tray in the trunk on the passenger side.

While this is not the factory M20, the battery sits in the factory location for convertibles. Make sure to take the battery out and check underneath for rust if you have a convertible. Rust is more noticeable there without the battery located in the front.

When we move to the trunk, be sure to note the presence and condition of the tool kit. My tool kit snapped its locking screw and is removed, but this is how far too many E30’s will look:

Check the trunk out for the notorious rust spots in the rear of the car. Don’t forget to look under the carpet and spare wheel if you can.

Lift the carpet to examine the metal beneath:

Check the battery tray, and the side opposite. Rust tends to hide underneath the carpets if your trunk seals are going bad:

The pictured vehicle is my convertible and you can see where some discoloration is starting. If tackled early, this rust can be prevented. Be sure to check both sides of the trunk and the spare wheel well for rust.

While still in the trunk be sure to take both tail light housings out and examine the inside and outside of the body for any rust around the bezels and check underneath the license plate.

Lastly, check the shock tower mounts in the rear. Pictured is the convertible shock tower mounts, which are located inside the convertible top compartment under rubber covers. In the rest of the E30 lineup the shock towers can be found inside the trunk underneath the carpet lining.


Interior functions

After you have examined the car for rust and found it to be worth moving forward, it is time to test the functionality of a few features known to be frequent issues.

First, check the door locks and central locking. The easiest way to test this is to lock and unlock the car from the trunk. If your central locking is out, we have the replacement BMW E30 Central Locking Control Unit at this link.

Pop the hood and check the coolant reservoir and the oil. Look for clean coolant. Milky or black will mean a head gasket failure, be prepared to replace the BMW M20 Headgasket. This is a time consuming but “DIYable” task. Make sure the oil is not sludgy or milky as well. If you notice that sludge, your potential E30 will need full service

Turn the key to accessory position and check the BMW E30 blinker stalk and wiper stalk to make sure they function properly. Both are known to fail but are fortunately easy to replace.

Check the windows and sunroof; window switches are a common fault in E30’s and can be easily replaced to fix a slow or non-functioning window. However, regulators are known to fail often enough that changing the switches and checking function is something we usually encourage if possible when looking at the car. Keep a good test switch around for this purpose. The BMW E30 Window Switches are available here.

Another noteworthy check is the circuit breaker switch; that BMW E30 Circuit Breaker Switch can be found here.

While around the window switches, give the shifter a few good throws to test the amount of play. There will most likely be some play in the assembly. Fortunately, you can find a new assembly and beefier bushing to replace it with here without too much effort. One can assume any E30 that hasn’t had its shifter refreshed – needs it. Upgraded bushings are available for a better-than-new-feel, even without replacing the entire shifter assembly. BMW E30 M40/M42 cars require this kit  ,  BMW E30 M20 up to 09/1989 take this kit, and BMW E30 M20 from 09/1989 need this one.

Now turn the car on to test the A/C and Heat. Heater cores are generally fine but A/C is a known problem in these cars. Some will have been converted to r134 but most will still be r12. If your r12 system is out of Freon, you will have a hard time finding someone to refill it and service the hoses unless you convert the fittings to r134. While testing the HVAC, listen for blower motor chatter; it can be anything from a catching vibration sound to a terrible screeching noise. These are not a fun replacement but they are not incredibly difficult either. Fortunately, we offer a solution for this as well! Replace a faulty blower motor with our BMW E30 Hella motor here.

While idling, make sure the temperature doesn’t creep up. This could indicate a bad fan clutch or thermostat. We generally recommend replacing the thermostat as part of your first maintenance after purchase, so we will just test the fan clutch. Go back to the engine bay and take a lightly rolled magazine to the spinning fan blades and see if the blades shred the magazine or slow to a stop. If they shred the magazine, your fan clutch is in good condition. If your fan clutch is on its way out, you can find a replacement BMW E30 Fan Clutch here.

The test drive

If you are satisfied with the condition so far, then it is time to take it for a drive. We suggest trying to take the car without the owner if possible. This gives you a chance to put the car through its paces without someone nervously sitting next to you.

Before you test the suspension and brakes, look at your odometer and all gauges on the cluster. SI boards tend to be a weak point; the SI Board replacement for BMW E30 clusters can be found here.

Odometer gears and all gauges tend to have issues. We will soon offer replacement gears to fix this issue. They are not difficult to replace, but definitely something worthwhile to have functioning. It is important to know what the actual mileage of the car is to prevent odometer discrepancies. If you have these problems, ECS offers the solutions!

Sometimes, the fuel level gauge will have a ground issue on the cluster itself causing it to jump based on throttle inputs. This can be often mistaken for a bad fuel sender, but is generally board or ground related.

When you are ready to go for a drive, test the feel of the clutch. A stiff feel with an engagement point nearer to the floor than towards the top of the pedal travel will indicate a working slave, master, and clutch disc. If you can start the car in third gear by just letting off the clutch, you know the disc is on its way out. If you feel the pedal has no resistance, chances are the slave and master are ready to be replaced. The factory replacement for a 2.5L car is here and the 2.7L can be found here, and our final M40/M42 version found here.

Next, get the car through the gears and up to highway speed. Let go of the steering wheel to see if the car drifts to one side. That will mean you need an alignment. Not a big deal, but keep it in mind as we are going to check quite a few suspension and brake components; if they are all bad, you could be looking at thousands of dollars in parts alone. Fortunately, all parts are readily available, but lets run this car through a series of tests first to find out what it may need.


After checking the alignment, we suggest giving the car a hard stop from about 60 mph. Listen for any grinding, make sure the car does not pull to one side, and also see if the ABS kicks on and functions properly or if your brakes lock and you skid to a stop. For brake service and upgrade, we suggest using the performance kits for BMW E30 which we feature here.

Definitely try out the cruise control. Often times the cruise function is not working for one reason or another. While it may not be the highest priority, knowing before you buy can be helpful.

We suggest taking the car to the red-line in a couple of gears. Both M20 and M40/42 motors are fairly stout and should be perfectly content being put through their paces. If there are any internal issues with the engine, this is where you will find them. Watch for excessive smoke, either white or dark, from the exhaust. Don’t forget to keep an eye on your temp. If your temp increases under hard driving and you didn’t notice any signs of a head gasket failure, then this can mean your water pump could be on the way out.

While driving, try to feel any vibration through the driveline. Sometimes this can be from wheels needing a new balance, but frequently in these cars the Center Support Bearing on the driveshaft, or the Guibo, can be worn out. Driveline vibration can also be caused by worn motor mounts, trans mounts, and subframe bushings. 

Finally, take some hard corners and hit some bumps or potholes. Grinding in corners could be a sign you are in need of new wheel bearings, which are generally expensive to purchase and to have pressed. Wheel bearings are near impossible to do on your own without the proper equipment. Check for blown struts/shocks by hitting those bumps. Clunks or wobbly bouncing can point to worn suspension components. A suspension refresh is something we recommend on any new to you E30. The suspension refresh kit can be found here.

Check for leaks

Lastly, if everything has passed your inspection, park the car and let it sit for a few minutes. After it sits, move the car and check the ground for leaks. The valve cover gasket for BMW m20 and for BMW m4x can be found at the provided link, BMW E30 rear main seal , BMW E30 rocker seals , BMW E30 oil filter housing, and oil pan gasket for BMW m20 and for BMW m42 are all common places to find oil leaks in these cars.

The pan gasket and rear main seal involve quite a bit of work, so those are the two most important places to check for leaking.

If the cosmetics, mechanical, electrical, and driving inspections are all within your parameters, then it might be time to make an offer!

If you do end up purchasing the E30, congratulations!

We hope this guide has proven helpful and insightful for your E30 search, let me know if you have any processes in your inspection we have omitted and stay tuned for a follow up post related to popular modifications and upgrades that can help you enjoy your E30 even more.

Thank you for reading, and look out for the upcoming E30 Maintenance Post and Top 10 Mods for your E30.


Schwaben VW/Audi Scan Tool: Gauge Needle Sweep for your B8 Audi A4

A common modification performed by Audi owners is an instrument cluster gauge needle sweep when turning on the ignition.  On many cars, the gauges remain at rest. With our Schwaben professional scan tool you can turn on the sweep option to give your cluster a more dynamic feel during ignition. We are performing this modification on our 2010 Audi B8 A4, but the procedure will be the same, or very similar, on most Audi B8 models.

This procedure requires coding the instrument cluster control module.  Please refer to our VAG scanner PDF on the installation tab of ES#2996394

Step 1:

Switch the ignition on (do not start engine) and plug the scanner into the OBDII port

Step 2:

Select “VAG”

3: Select “Audi”

4: Select “Systems”

​5: Select “Control Unit”

6: Select “Electronics 1”

7: Select “17-Instruments”

​8: Select “Long Coding”

9: Write down the original values before attempting to change anything

10: Select “Software Coding”

11: Select “Setting”

12: Use the keyboard to change the second digit of byte 1 to a 5

Note:The code begins with byte 0 and each byte is two digits long.

13: Select “finish”

14: Select “Yes”

15: Select “Done”


16: Select “Set Complete”

17: Select “OK”

18: Select “Save”

9: Sit back and admire your gauge sweep!



BMW E70 X5 Ziza Interior Lighting Package Installation

If you have an E70 X5 then you may have noticed the cabin lights leave something to be desired.

What are LEDs? LEDs are Light Emitting Diodes, solid state devices that emit light when connected to electrical current. They have no moving parts or wire filaments to burn out. They emit a whiter light, run cooler, and last longer that the incandescent (filament style bulbs) we are replacing in this tutorial.
Unlike filament bulbs, LEDs are polarity sensitive. They have plus and minus (positive and negative) electrical terminals that must match the polarity of the applied voltage. Installing the bulbs “backwards” in the light bulb sockets (with reversed polarity) will not harm them, but they will not light. Flipping the bulb 180 degrees in the electrical connector cures this problem.

This kit from Ziza will easily spruce up your interior and give your X5 an updated feel similar to newer high end models with the LED’s included in this package. This post will take you step by step through the installation process and help get you on your way to a brighter interior. Let’s take a look at what comes in your kit:

Pro Tip:

Make the job easier and prevent damage to headliners and other interior trim with ECS Tuning Trim and Molding Removal Tool Sets: ES2500877 and ES517779.

Bulb Types

This kit includes two bulb types, classified by their general shape.

FESTOON – Conventional incandescent festoon bulbs have a shape and general appearance that is similar to a glass fuse.
Metal caps attached to both ends of a glass tube are sealed to the tube and attached to the bulb filament. End caps mount the bulb in its holder and also conduct electrical current.
LED festoon lights have the same pointed end caps, but are attached to a bank of LEDs instead of a filament tube.

WEDGE – Wedge style bulbs get their name from the shape of the bulb base. The tapered end of the bulb “wedges” into the bulb socket.
LED wedge lights fit the bulb socket like a filament bulb, but are commonly polarity sensitive.

Let’s take a look at where we will be working around your X5. Ziza provides a diagram of all the bulbs we will be replacing:

General Tips

• When prying down on the assemblies to remove them, pry on the notched end of the lens. Insert the narrow tool tip between the lens plastic and any metal collar used to reinforce the lens mounting hole. Push in on the retaining clip first to compress and release it. Then pry down.

• The spring bulb retainer is also the circuit conductor. If necessary, gently bend the metal retainer so it holds the bulb tight. This will help prevent intermittent or flickering LED operation caused by a loose connection.

• Install the bulbs with the LEDs facing toward the lens.

Front Dome and Vanity LED Installation

Front Dome – Step 1

The front dome light console is secured in the headliner by plastic tabs at the rear and by a pair of metal spring clips at the front. The metal clips snap against the front edge of the headliner to hold the console in place.

Working from the front, use a trim removal tool to reach up between the front edge of the console and the headliner. Press against the clips just enough to compress them and release the console so it can drop down.

Front Dome – Step 2

To give you a better idea what the metal spring clips look like, and where they are located, here is a shot of the console after it has been removed.

The spring clips (arrows) must be compressed to release the console.

Front Dome – Step 3

There are three bulb holders in the front dome light console.

Front Dome – Step 4

Twist and pull each bulb holder to remove it from its socket.
Remove the original bulbs and insert a new 5-chip wedge base LED array in each bulb holder.
These are polarity sensitive. If they do not work when initially installed, remove and rotate the bulb holders 180 degrees.

Front Dome – Step 5

Insert the rear of the console into the headliner opening until the plastic tabs catch at the rear of the hole, then lift the front of the console upward until the clips snap to hold it in place.

Vanity Mirror Lights – Step 1

Using your fingertips or a non-marring trim removal tool, pry down on the light assembly as shown to release it from the headliner.

Vanity Mirror Lights – Step 2

Replace the original filament bulb with a 42mm festoon array. The light chips should be installed facing the lens.

The LED array is polarity sensitive. If it does not light when first installed, flip the array end-for-end, and retest.

Snap the assembly back into the headliner and repeat the process at the other vanity light.

Glove Box

Using a trim removal tool, pry down the glove box light assembly.
Insert a new 5-chip wedge base LED array into the bulb holder. Test operation and flip it over to reverse the polarity if the bulb does not work initially.
Reinstall the light assembly.

Rear Dome LED Installation

Rear Dome – Step 1

There are two rear dome light assemblies, located in the headliner at the top of each C-pillar.

Rear Dome – Step 2

Using a trim removal tool, carefully pry between the rear edge of the light assembly and headliner until you compress the metal retainer clip (arrow).

Lower the light assembly from the headliner, as shown.

Rear Dome – Step 3

The rear dome light assembly has two wedge base bulb holders.
Install a 5-chip LED array in the rear bulb holder and a 6-chip wedge base LED in the front.

Test the LEDs. If an LED does not work when tested, its polarity is reversed. Remove and rotate the bulb holder 180 degrees, then reinstall it in its socket.

Repeat this process at the opposite rear dome light.

Footwell: Rear Hatch Puddle LED Installations

Footwell Lighting Front – Step 1

Front footwell lights are located in the panels beneath the dashboard.
Using a trim removal tool, pry the light assemblies out and drop them down.

Footwell Lighting Front – Step 2

Twist the bulb holder to remove it from the light housing.

Replace the original filament bulb with a 5-chip wedge base LED array.

Test the LED. If it does not work initially, its polarity is reversed. Remove and rotate the bulb 180 degrees in the holder and retest.

Repeat these procedures at the opposite side front footwell.

Footwell Lighting Rear

Rear footwell light are located in the vertical kick panel beneath the rear seats.

Use the trim removal tool to pry the light assemblies from the surrounding trim bezel.

Replace the original incandescent bulbs with 5-chip wedge LED arrays.

Test the LED. If it does not work initially, its polarity is reversed. Remove it, flip it 180 degrees, and reinstall it in the bulb holder.

Puddle Lamps

Each of the four doors has its own puddle lamp.
Using the trim tool, pry down on the notched end of the light. Remove it from the door, and replace the original wedge filament bulb with a 5-chip wedge array.

Test the LED. If it does not work initially, its polarity is reversed. Remove it, flip it 180 degrees, and reinstall it in the bulb holder.

Repeat this process at each of the four doors.

Trunk Lamps

The two rear hatch lights are the same design as the ones used in the puddle lamps. Pry down the assemblies. Twist the bulb holder to remove it from the light housing, and replace the original filament bulbs with 5-chip LED arrays.

Test each LED. If either does not work initially, its polarity is reversed. Remove it, flip it 180 degrees, and reinstall it in the bulb holder.

This should be your final light and will conclude the installation instructions; enjoy your brighter interior and as always thank you for your business.

Interested in purchasing?

Master LED Interior Lighting Kit (Ziza)

Update your BMW E70 X5 interior with the LED Interior Lighting Kit by Ziza. Enjoy a brighter interior and stylish LED light with this kit for your BMW.