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 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.

ECS Transmission Street Shield for your Audi B8 A4 Quattro or B8 S4

Fresh out of our Research and Development department is a new protective measure for your Audi B8 A4 Quattro or S4: The ECS Transmission Street Shield Aluminum Skid Plate! Protecting your transmission is critical, especially in lowered vehicles. Potholes and various road hazards are frequent moments of terror that plague lowered and slammed cars. 

This Street Shield gives you peace of mind in taking the hit for you should an unavoidable obstacle find itself in your path.

Constructed from4mm thick 5052 Aluminum, the ECS Street Shield can take an astounding amount of punishment that would otherwise put your critical undercarriage parts at risk. 

The Street Shield is constructed in such a way that it provides excellent protection without adding significant weight.We all know protection and functionality are both paramount in a skid plate, but who said they have to be without style? The ECS Street Shield logo is embossed in the milled finish of your skid plate, giving the exposed side a subtle hint of style.

Installation with provided hardware is a simple process, meaning you can enjoy your B9 with fewer worries in an afternoon. The skid plate is easily installed and fitment is a direct bolt on for a quick and confident installation.

Interested in purchasing?

Transmission Street Shield.


Stage 3 Big Brake Kit Installation Instructions (MKV, VI, Jetta, EOS, Golf/GTI, and Audi A3)

The ECS Big Brake Kit provides big improvements in braking power with a specially packaged kit containing quality brake components from the best names in the business.

Start with large diameter ECS two-piece, drilled and slotted floating rotors that dampen lateral vibration for smooth, strong stops.

Add ECS premium calipers, stainless reinforced brake lines, and upgraded Hawk pads, and your modified ride will brake with sure-footed authority.

This post will take you through the installation process and help you install more aggressive brakes on your VW MK5 or MK6.

Red Calipers can be found here,

Blue Calipers are here,

And Black Calipers can be purchased at this link.

Here is what you will find in the package once you unbox your new Big Brake Kit:

  • Two-piece semi- floating rotors – assembled, trued, and balanced (2)
  • ECS Tuning Exact-Fit stainless steel reinforced brake lines (2)
  • 1 liter ATE Super Blue brake uid
  • ECS Tuning 993T Big Brake Calipers (2)
  • Caliper-to-carrier bolts (4)
  • Hawk Performance brake pads
  • ECS Tuning caliper carriers (2)
  • Brake pad dampers (8)

High temp brake lube


  • 3/8-inch ratchet • T30 Torx© driver • T55 Torx driver
    M6 hex driver
  • 11mm brake line wrench
  • 14mm combination wrench/socket
  • 17mm combination wrench
  • 19mm socket
  • 21mm socket
  • 10-150 ft lb torque wrench (ES2221244)
  • inch-pound torque wrench (for banjo bolt)
  • impact driver with Phillips driver (ES11416) or Phillips screwdriver • common screwdriver

Step 1

Safely raise and support the car.

Remove the wheel bolt trim caps.

Loosen the wheel bolts and remove the wheel and tire.

Step 2

Using a common screwdriver, pry the u-shaped retainer clip from the brake hose bracket at the strut knuckle.

Step 3

Follow the brake hose to the chassis. Using the same common screwdriver or similar tool, pry the u-shaped retainer clip from the chassis support bracket.

Step 4

Using an 11mm brake line wrench and a 17mm backing wrench, loosen and disconnect the rigid brake line from the brake hose.

Tip: Transfer the rubber cap from the caliper brake bleeder screw to the end of the disconnected rigid brake line. This will keep brake fluid from draining onto the floor.

Step 5

Using an 21mm socket and ratchet, loosen and remove the caliper retaining bolts from the knuckle. Keep the bolts handy; we’ll need them to attach the new caliper carrier.

Step 6

Slide the caliper forward, o the rotor.

Remove the caliper and flexible hose together.

Step 7

Remove the Phillips-head rotor set screw (arrow).

Step 8

For rusted set screws, an impact driver (ES11416) with a Phillips-head bit is far more e ective than a common Phillips screwdriver. (As you strike the head of the driver, it forces the bit against the screw head and rotates it in a single motion to prevent rounding.)

Note: If you round out the screw head, you will have to drill out the old screw.

Step 9

• Remove the old rotor.

• Clean away any heavy rust or scale from the face of the rotor hub. A drill or die grinder with a mild abrasive disk works well.

Step 10

Remove the three T30 Torx head screws from the brake rotor shield.

Remove the shield.

Note: If you live in an area where the car is exposed to road salt or ocean spay, you may wish to reinstall and tighten the rotor shield bolts in their holes with a dab of anti-seize compound. Doing so will keep the threaded holes in the knuckle clean, should you need them in the future.

Step 11

Using the two caliper bolts removed in Step 5, bolt the caliper carrier to the knuckle, as shown here.

The carriers are identical; no left or right to worry about.

Step 12

Using a 21 mm socket, torque the caliper carrier-to-knuckle bolts to 142 ft-lb (190 Nm).

Step 13

Install the new rotor on the hub. Use brake cleaner (or a similar) to remove the thin lm of oil applied to the rotor braking faces.

Install the set screw and hand tighten with a screwdriver.

Note: ECS Tuning has replacement set screws made of stainless steel to resist corrosion better than the original plain steel screws. (ES257461)

Step 14

Your kit contains brake damper discs in two di erent diameters to match the large and small brake pistons.

Install two large and two small disks in the matching pistons in each caliper.

Step 15

Install the calipers onto the caliper carrier studs.

Extremely Important: The brake calipers must be installed with the brake bleeder screws at the top; install them upside down and you won’t be able to properly bleed the brakes.

Make sure both attachment nuts are screwed in hand-tight before torquing either to specification. This will ensure that the caliper seats flush against the carrier.

Step 16

Using a 12-point 14mm socket, tighten the caliper attachment nuts to 88 ft-lb (120 Nm).

Step 17

Your Hawk Performance brake pads are packaged with a 7 gram packet of brake paste. This paste is used to reduce pad noise, when applied properly.

Apply 1-2 grams of brake paste to each brake pad metal backing plate. Spread a thin lm of paste over the metal surface of each pad, concentrating on the general areas where the pad will contact the caliper pistons.

CAUTION: Do not apply too much paste, and NEVER allow any paste to get onto the friction surface.

Step 18

Slide the brake pads into the caliper with the slotted friction lining facing toward the rotor.

If you wish, you may wipe a thin lm of brake paste onto the upper and lower edges of the metal backers (arrows) to help them slide freely and reduce brake noise.

Apply the paste sparingly, and DO NOT allow any paste to get onto the friction surface.

Step 19

Install the brake shim over the brake pads, as shown. The “v” in the stamped metal shield should engage the notches in the pads.

Insert the caliper bolt tubes against the brake shim. Press inward on the tubes as you slide the long pad retainer bolts through them.

Screw the long bolts into the caliper body threaded holes, and hand tighten them.

Step 20

Attach the new ECS Tuning Exact Fit brake lines to the calipers.

Your new brake lines come complete with a banjo bolt and two new copper sealing washers. Make sure you have one copper washer on either side of the hose fitting, as shown.

Step 21

Insert the banjo bolt through the washers and hose tting.

Thread the bolt into the fluid hole in the rear of the caliper body.

Snug the the banjo bolt using a 14mm wrench, then final torque to 12 ft-lb (144 inch-pounds). Use a small torque wrench, calibrated in inch-pounds instead of a larger, general purpose torque wrench adjusted to its lowest setting.

Step 22

Route the new brake hose over the knuckle and attach it to the support bracket with the u-shaped clip removed in Step 2.

Make sure the clip straddles the groove in the hose collar.

Push the clip all the way down until it snaps in place in the support bracket.

Step 23

Make your nal brake hose connection by screwing the rigid brake line at the chassis into the Exact-Fit brake hose.

Reinstall the u-shaped retainer clip, then hand-tighten the fitting.

Step 24

Have an assistant turn the steering wheel back and forth as you watch the hose and speed sensor cables. Make sure the brake hoses do not rub or bind as the steering is turned back and forth.

Repeat all steps shown so far to install the opposite side brake kit.

Step 25

Bleed the brake hydraulic system.
Your kit includes a 1 liter container of brake uid.

Add uid to the brake reservoir, then pedal or power bleed the system to remove all air. Be sure to bleed at both bleeder screws on each caliper.

(ECS Tuning has a video demonstrating general brake bleeding procedures, available free online.)

Step 26

Here’s a final quality control list to ensure trouble free braking.

After bleeding the system, correct the fluid level in the brake fluid reservoir. Pump the brake pedal several times. The pedal should be hard, and stay hard as you maintain pedal pressure. Check for fluid leaks. Even if the pedal feels good, visually inspect all hose connections for leaks.

Turn the steering from side to side one more time. Make sure the brake lines do not rub or contact any components.

Reinstall the wheels. Tighten the wheel bolts on a star pattern to 89 ft-lb (120 Nm). Make sure your wheels spin freely and that they do not contact the brake caliper.

Your brake installation is not complete until you bed the brakes. Bedding makes your brakes work as they should. Use the instructions on the brake box, or follow the steps below.

1) Test your brakes before going out on the highway. The pedal should feel rm and responsive. If it is soft or spongy, check that all air has been removed by the bleeding process, and that there are no uid leaks.

2) Take the car out on the road. At vehicle speeds of 50-60mph, gently apply the brakes several times to slow, but not stop, the vehicle. This warms the brakes.

3) Make 6-10 stops from 35 mph to 5 mph, applying moderate pedal pressure.

3) Cruise for several minutes without applying the brakes, allowing them to cool.

4) Make 2-3 moderately hard stops from 45 to 5 mph. Brake aggressively, but not hard enough to trigger the ABS.

5) Do not ride the pedal. Either apply the brakes to slow the vehicle or fully release them.

Let the brakes cool for 10-15 minutes. Then drive normally.


Thank you for purchasing an ECS Tuning Big Brake Kit. We appreciate your business, and hope this installation

guide has been helpful.


DIY: MK6 Kohlefaser & Luft-Technik Intake Installation


Required Tools:

Flex Driver For Screw Type Hose Clamps*

Phillips Screwdriver

Torx T25 bit

Torx T30 bit

3/8” ratchet

1/4” ratchet with 6” extension

5mm Allen socket

Spring clamp pliers (or locking plier)

Schwaben VAG connector tool*

*Available at

Before Installation, familiarize yourself

with the ECS Tuning MKVI 2.0T Carbon

Fiber Intake Kit

(1) Carbon Fiber Airbox

(1) Carbon Fiber Lid

(1) ECS Tuning High Flow Air Filter with clamp

(1) Carbon Fiber Air Filter Tube

(1) Carbon Fiber Turbo Inlet Tube

(4) Stainless Hose Clamps 65mm-89mm

(2) Stainless Hose Clamps 59mm-83mm

(5) 6mm Bolts with nylon washer 10mm long

(1) 6mm Bolt with large stainless steel

washer 15mm long

(2) Airbox grommets

(1) 3” Straight Coupler

(1) 3” Hump Coupler

(1) 2-3/8” Straight Coupler

(1) 4mm short Allen key

*Kit for CBFA adds:

(1) Filter for Secondary Air Pump

(1) Filter Clamp

  1. ECS Tuning Aluminum Filter Adapter

1 Carbon Fiber Air Box and Lid

2 ECS Tuning High Flow Air Filter with clamp

3 Carbon Fiber Air Filter Tube

4 Carbon Fiber Turbo Inlet Tube

5 3” Straight Coupler

6 3” Hump Coupler

7 2-3/8” Straight Coupler

Step 1

Remove the engine cover by

pulling up on the front two corners until

the front grommets release, then pull

up on the rear two corners until the rear

grommets release. Lift the cover off and

set it aside.

Step 2

Remove the two T25 Screws that

secure the original intake duct to the

radiator core support.

Step 3

Separate the intake duct from the adjoining

intake tube by pulling the two pieces apart.

Step 4

Disconnect the mass air flow sensor by

releasing the locking tab on the connector.

Use the Schwaben VAG connector tool

(ES2628676) to release the clip.

Insert the tool into the MAF connector as

shown, and gently pull back on the tool to

release the connector.

Step 5

Pull the mass air flow wiring harness out

of the retaining clip on the back of the

intake connecting pipe.

Position the harness out of the way.

Step 6

Fully loosen the 8 Phillips head screws

that hold the original air box lid to the

original lower air box.

Once loosened, these screws will remain

in the airbox lid. It is not necessary to

completely remove them.

Step 7

Remove the injection intake pipe by

squeezing the two tabs together

Step 8

Pull the air injection pipe off of the air box

lid, and set aside away from your


Step 9

Using the special spring clamp pliers,

release the tension on the spring clamp

holding the connecting pipe to the main

intake tube. Slide the spring clamp onto

the connecting pipe and leave the spring

clamp pliers in place.

Tech Tip: If you do not have spring clamp pliers, you can use

channel locks or standard pliers to release the tension on these

clamps. If you do so, be very careful. The clamps can spring off

and cause serious personal injury or damage to your car.

Separate the connecting pipe from the

main intake tube by pulling it off the tube.

Step 10

Lift the airbox lid up and remove it with the

mass air flow sensor and connecting pipe

still connected.

Remove the spring clamp along with this

assembly, then carefully slide the spring

clamp off of the end of the connecting pipe,

and using extreme caution, release the

tension on the clamp.

Step 11

Using the same caution and method from

page 8, release the tension in the spring

clamp holding the connecting pipe to the

mass air flow sensor.

Step 12

Pull the connecting pipe and spring clamp

off of the mass air flow sensor.

Carefully slide the spring clamp off of the

connecting pipe, and using extreme

caution, release the tension in the spring


Step 13

Using a T25 Torx bit, remove the two

screws holding the mass air flow sensor to

the original airbox lid.

Pull the mass air flow sensor out of the air

box lid.

Step 14

Using a 5 mm Allen bit on an extension,

remove the bolt holding the lower air box in


Step 15

Using both hands, lift up on the lower air

box to release the two insulating grommets.

Step 16

Pivot the lower air box around the coolant

air bleed hose and remove it from the car.

Step 17

Using a T30 Torx bit socket, remove the

bolt holding the main intake tube to the

heat shield in the rear of the cylinder head.

Step 18

Remove the crank vent hose on the main

intake tube by pinching the release tabs

together using your thumb and forefinger,

then slide the hose off of the main intake


Step 19

Using the spring clamp (or locking)

pliers, release the tension on the clamp

holding the main intake tube hose to the


Note: This clamp is difficult to access. This picture shows

the main intake tube removed for reference.

Step 20

Remove the main intake tube and hose by

pulling upward on the main intake tube.

Remove the clamp with this assembly.

Using caution, remove the spring clamp and

release the tension on the clamp.

Step 1

Slide the 2-3/8 straight coupler onto the

turbo end of the carbon fiber turbo inlet


Step 2

Install one of the 59mm-83mm hose clamps

on the top of the 2-3/8 coupler and tighten it

using a flex driver for screw-type hose clamps.

Use caution not to overtighten.

While the flex-driver is the preferred tool for

this step, a 7mm socket on an extension will

suffice. Take extra caution to avoid marring the

carbon fiber surface.

Flex Driver For Screw Type Hose Clamps


Step 3

Place the other 59mm-83mm hose clamp

over the 2-3/8 coupler and install the turbo

inlet tube/coupler assembly onto the


Step 4

Tighten the lower hose clamp using the flex


Tech Tip: Some brackets may be in hard to reach

places. You may wish to use a small socket or flex

driver tool for screw type hose clamps.

Step 5

Connect the crankcase ventilation hose by

pushing it into place on the turbo inlet tube.

Step 6

Install the bolt holding the carbon fiber

turbo inlet tube to the heat shield on the

rear of the cylinder head.

Note: For Jetta GLI it may be necessary to adjust the

mounting tab on the heat shield approximately

20 degrees for proper clearance.

Step 7

Tighten the bolt using a T30 Torx bit socket

and ratchet.

Step 8

Place one of the 65mm-89mm clamps over

the end of the 3” hump coupler and push

the coupler onto the carbon fiber turbo inlet


Do not tighten the clamp at this time.

Note: Pay attention to the location/direction of the clamp

screw. All 4 clamps should be installed with the clam

screw in the same direction for ease of access as well

as uniform appearance.

Step 9

Connect the mass air flow sensor

connector to the mass air flow sensor by

pushing it on until you hear the faint “click”

with the connector locking tab engaging.

Step 10

Place one of the 65mm-89mm clamps over

the remaining end of the 3” hump coupler.

Push the mass air flow sensor into the 3”

hump coupler. Do not tighten the clamps

at this time.

Note: Pay attention to the arrow on the mass air

flow sensor to make sure it is installed in the correct

direction. The arrow points in the direction of air

flow (to the engine).

Step 11

Insert the secondary air pipe adapter into

the air pipe filter and tighten the clamp.

Step 12

Attach the air pipe filter and adapter to the

secondary air pipe, and secure

underneath the air box.

Note: You must choose an optimal location for the

secondary air pipe filter – the unit should be

supported such that it does not move around freely

in the engine bay, and has some access to air flow.

Our filter was secured under the airbox with a

zip-tie, proving to be an adequate location.

Step 13

Install the 2 grommets into the bottom of the

carbon fiber airbox.

Step 14

Align the carbon fiber airbox and duct, and

push down on the carbon fiber airbox

until the grommets are seated in place.

Step 15

Using a T25 Torx bit, install and tighten the

two screws that secure the carbon fiber air

box duct to the radiator core support.

Tech Tip: A small amount of grease placed on the tip of

the Torx bit will hold the screws in place and keep them

from falling off.

Step 16

Slide the ECS Tuning high flow air filter

element with the clamp in place onto the

carbon fiber air filter tube.

Hold the air filter and tube in place in the

carbon fiber airbox to adjust the position

of the filter. Do not tighten the clamp at this


Note: Use the mounting tab of the air filter tube as a

reference point in determining the correct location of the

filter. Make sure the air filter seam is at the bottom of the


Step 17

Lift the air filter and carbon fiber air filter

tube out and fully tighten the clamp on the

air filter.

Step 18

Install the 3” straight coupler onto the end

of the mass air flow sensor.

Step 19

Place both remaining 65mm-89mm hose

clamps over the 3” straight coupler.

Do not tighten the clamps at this time.

Step 20

Insert the carbon fiber air filter tube into

the 3” straight coupler.

Step 21

Be sure the Air Filter Tube to Air Box seals

remain in place during installation.

Step 22

Loosely install the 15mm long Allen bolt that

secures the carbon fiber air filter tube in


Step 23

Carefully adjust the carbon fiber air filter tube,

the mass air flow sensor, and both couplers

so everything is aligned nicely and both

couplers are properly seated.

Tighten all 4 hose clamps, paying attention to

the alignment of the clamps in order to obtain

a clean and neat appearance.

Step 24

Tighten the air filter tube securing bolt and

stainless steel washer using a 4mm Allen

socket. A ratchet extension can be helpful


Step 25

Place the carbon fiber airbox lid on top of

the carbon fiber airbox.

Be sure the Air Filter Tube to Air Box seals

are still properly in place during installation.

Step 26

Remove the battery cover by pushing the

release tab in the direction of the arrow on

the cover and lifting upwards.

Note: Removing the battery cover will allow you to more

easily access to the 2 screws on the back side of the

carbon fiber airbox lid.

Step 27

Loosely install all 5 Allen screws

with black nylon washers through the holes

in the carbon fiber air box lid, into the air


Step 28

Using the included short 4mm Allen key,

hand tighten all 5 screws, securing the

carbon fiber air box lid to the carbon fiber

air box.

Be careful not to over tighten these screws,

or you risk cracking the carbon fiber or

stripping the threads.

Step 29

Re-install the upper engine cover, and if

you have removed the battery cover,

reinstall the cover.

The Installation is now Complete!

Enjoy your free-flowing, show-quality,

full carbon-fiber intake.

The ECS Tuning Kohlefaser Luft-Technik System

will now deliver noticable increases in power

and throttle response!

Interested in purchasing?

ECS Kohlefaser & Luft-Technik Carbon Fiber Intake

Better throttle response, show quality, and more power with satisfying induction noise!


Power Stop Performance Brakes: The Right Choice

Similarities between performance cars and everyday commuter cars are incredibly limited. One crossover area that tends to hold uniform importance across all forms of motoring is the ability to brake properly. Put in simple terms, cars of all types need to match their braking force with how much power they produce. In this regard, choosing the right brakes is equally important; whether you are maintaining the grocery getter or improving your track fighter. PowerStop Brakes give you confidence in all situations.

Since 1995, PowerStop Brakes has provided excellent performance brake upgrades for an extensive range of vehicles. With focuses on providing OEM quality, copper-free, improved brake products, their customers can feel confident every time they mash the middle pedal.

When you know you are using quality parts, you experience a difference in confidence behind the wheel. When it comes to brakes, that feeling is expounded by the peace of mind you sense by using components you can be certain will keep your car out of sticky situations. PowerStop Performance Brakes not only allow you to experience that confidence but give you significant ethical advantages over similar replacement compounds. PowerStop Brakes produce their pads consciously of the environment!

PowerStop Brakes give you more than performance advantages in their makeup. All their pads are 100% Copper-Free. Copper and other heavy metals are known to cause major problems for fish and other aquatic wildlife when it is introduced to their environment in the form of brake dust. With the copper-free PowerStop pads, you know every time you hit the brakes you are making a difference by supporting companies who express an ethical drive to mitigate climate and ecosystem disaster.

Make the right choice when you go to service your brakes this season. Make the PowerStop Brakes choice and experience the advantages of quality, reliable, ethical, performance.

Interested in purchasing?

Power Stop Brake Products

Better stopping power, improved lifespan, and no copper!

Carista OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter

Most enthusiasts will agree that their car is part of the family. We all love our cars and the relationships we are able to build with them, but modification is what we do. The process of customizing, maintaining, and improving the functions and appearance of our cars is cathartic in a way. Just as adding more aggressive brakes or fitting performance suspension changes the driving dynamics of your vehicle, the electrical ‘convenience’ functions hidden in your onboard computer can give you added enjoyment. Carista brings us an OBD2 adapter dongle that pairs wirelessly with your Android or iOS device to give you diagnostic readouts, customizable function toggles, and reset service indicators.

The Carista Bluetooth OBD2 Adapter allows you to customize your car to your liking from the comfort of your own phone with an app available on both Google Play and Apple AppStore. With the in-app services, you can change vehicle specifics all the way from comfort access features to how long you want a one-touch blinker feature to stay on, depending on your car’s make and model.

Carista features more than just comfort and convenience customization: safety access to your vehicle including only unlocking the driver’s door with a first click of the remote button, the duration your doors stay unlocked when you start driving, and remote window access. With the Carista OBD2 Adapter, you have full control of your vehicle’s functions down to your preferences, but it does more than just make your car more enjoyable.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of the Carista Adapter is the access to manufacturer-specific diagnostic information. The app gives you the ability to access ABS, airbag, navigation, and unlocks your ability to reset your warning lights associated with those factory safety features. This, of course, is dependent on whether your vehicle is supported by this function.

Even if you are just looking for something to tell you what may be wrong with your car and save yourself a headache and expensive trip to the dealership, the Carista Adapter is definitely worth having. If you have an emissions check coming up, this tool is perfect for pinpointing the issue so you can quickly and easily pass that registration requirement without the ordinary hassle of chasing an issue or resorting to calling the shop.

This is the perfect gift for the Holidays to drop in an enthusiast’s stocking, or anyone with a supported vehicle, as the app is easy to use and handy for anyone who can use their smartphone with any confidence.


Carista gives you the power of a dedicated service shop to tackle maintenance and customization at home with your smartphone. Most of us enthusiasts enjoy the ability to change, improve, or delete what we see fit in our cars. This strengthens the relationships we build over time with the vehicle and make the driving experience more connected and enjoyable. With the traditional options on the market for simply reading CEL’s or the excessively expensive professional scan tools, Carista sits in a comfortable middle ground, giving you an affordable and powerful tool to make the experience you have with your car easy, convenient, and fun.

Interested in purchasing?

Carista OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter

Get the most out of your vehicle and keep those pesky check engine lights at bay.

DIY: BMW Single Vanos Rebuild Kit

BMW M5x/S5x Single Vanos Rebuild Kit Installation

BMW’s Vanos variable valve timing system is one of the most recognized systems in the industry. There are a number of different designs, and they all work off of ingeniously simple mechanical principals. Their notoriety, however, is not likely to be from their design and performance, but more so from the fact that they frequently wear out. Luckily, the majority of the problems are caused by worn seals, which can easily be replaced. Today we’re going to be installing our rebuild kit into the single Vanos unit that is found on the 6 cylinder M50TU, M52, and S50 and S52 engines. One of the symptoms of Vanos malfunction is the well known “Vanos rattle”. In the case of the M5x/S5x engines, it’s caused by excessive axial play in the Vanos piston bearings, and we offer a new ECS bearing ring to remedy this problem. Installing the rebuild kit into your M5x/S5x single Vanos is a pretty easy project, and it’ll restore smooth, consistent performance, some of which you may not even realize you’ve lost.

Take your time and enjoy the project. You can generally complete it in an afternoon, but it’s best to plan a whole day so you don’t try to rush through it. The best advice, as always, is to read through these instructions first to familiarize yourself with the project and make sure you have all of the required tools on hand. You’ll see that we don’t get too in-depth until we get down to the Vanos unit itself. The disassembly up to that point is fairly routine, and we’re confident you can handle it. Thank you for looking to ECS Tuning for all your performance and repair needs. We appreciate your business! 17mm or 18mm Vanos piston cap socket. Some early models require the 17mm socket, so it may be best to have both on hand so you are not delayed.

Note that these are not regular sockets. The chamfer in the opening has been machined off because the hex on the piston cap is so thin that a regular socket will slip off and damage the cap.

ES3131366 18mm

ES3131365 17m

This water pump and fan clutch toolkit will make disassembly much easier.


This required cam tool set allows you to lock the crankshaft and both camshafts in position to maintain engine timing for Vanos removal.


This sprocket turning tool allows you to rotate the exhaust camshaft easily during Vanos removal and installation. Although not an absolute necessity, it will save you a lot of time.


Component removal to get down to the Vanos system is pretty basic, and we’re betting if you’re going to tackle this job you don’t need us to step you through the easy stuff, but we’ll give you a quick run-down anyhow. The following items will need to be removed:

1. Air Box

2. Air Duct, Radiator Fan, and Shroud

3. Cabin Filter Housing (E39 Only)

4. Engine Top Covers, Valve Cover, and Ignition Coils

The Vanos system is located on the front of the engine at the top.

With the preliminary components and valve cover removed, you’ll have open access to the camshafts and the Vanos unit. Picking up from this point, begin by pulling off the plastic cover over the intake camshaft.

We’re going to lock the engine timing in place next and you’ll have to rotate the engine over, so begin by placing a socket and ratchet onto the crankshaft pulley center bolt.

Rotate the engine in a clockwise direction until the intake and exhaust camshaft lobes on cylinder#1 are pointing towards each other as shown.

At about the 11:00 position, there is a TDC mark on the crankshaft pulley and on the front of the engine. Rotate the engine in either direction as required so these two marks align. You may need to use a mirror and flashlight in order to see them clearly.

Safely raise and support the vehicle. From underneath, locate the hole for the crankshaft locking pin. It is on the driver side rear of the engine block, just above the oil pan. Remove the plug from the hole and insert the locking pin.

You may need to rotate the crankshaft in either direction, making a slight adjustment until the locking pin fully inserts through the block and into the flywheel/flexplate.

Back on the top side, remove the three valve cover studs on the rear of the cylinder head, and note the cast square on the end of each camshaft.

Slide the exhaust camshaft locking fixture (identified by the bolt hole towards the center of the cylinder head) onto the square end of the exhaust camshaft.

The exhaust camshaft has a hex cast into it in the middle so you can engage an open end wrench. If necessary, rotate the camshaft slightly back and forth until the camshaft locking fixture sits flat against the cylinder head.

Install the intake camshaft locking fixture in the same manner as the exhaust, rotating the intake camshaft back and forth as necessary until the locking fixture sits flat against the cylinder head.

Once both camshaft fixtures are in place and flat against the head, secure them together with the bolts and connecting piece that are included with the tool.

Remove the banjo bolt that holds the oil line to the Vanos (1), and unplug the Vanos solenoid connector (2).

Remove the engine lift bracket. It is held on by two bolts, one on top and one hidden underneath just on top of the coolant flange.

Locate the vacuum pipe that runs across the front of the Vanos and remove the two nuts that hold it in place (arrows).

We are performing this repair on an S52 engine. Some models may not have this vacuum pipe, but instead a cable bracket which you will need to remove.

Disconnect the vacuum hose from the diverter valve, then pull the vacuum pipe forward slightly, out of the way as shown.

Remove the two Vanos exhaust sprocket access caps.

Place a rag underneath just in case you drop one, then remove the four exhaust cam sprocket bolts. The lower two are accessed through the sprocket cap holes. Be sure and remove the rag when you are done.

Press down on the timing chain tensioner, then insert a locking pin or similar tool through the tensioner housing and onto the chain pad. This will relieve tension on the chain.

Remove all of the (remaining) Vanos mounting nuts. Depending on model, such as the S52 we are working on, some nuts will already be removed.

Engage the turning tool into the exhaust cam sprocket, then simultaneously rotate the sprocket clockwise and pull the Vanos off the cylinder head.

Removal is complete. It’s time to start the rebuild!

Place the Vanos unit on a clean work surface, then remove the five piston cover plate bolts.

Pull the piston cover plate and piston out of the Vanos housing, then thoroughly clean all of the components.

Closely inspect the cylinder walls of the Vanos housing. Marks or discoloration from the Vanos piston seal is normal, but the cylinder walls should be smooth and free from grooves or pitting.

Carefully cut the Teflon sealing ring and the o-ring underneath, then remove them from the piston groove. Be extremely careful not to score the piston groove.

The original Teflon seal and o-ring will be difficult and dangerous to remove with any other type of device other than the fine tip of an exacto knife. Be careful not to score or scratch the surface or the groove of the piston.

After removing both the Teflon sealing ring and the o-ring, thoroughly clean the piston groove.

Install the new o-ring into the piston groove.

Prepare the new Teflon sealing ring by dipping it into a container of warm water for a few minutes, or even holding it in between your hands. Start the Teflon sealing ring on one side, then guide it around and into the groove. As it nears the opposite side, you will feel tension build on the sealing ring as it reaches the point shown in the picture on the right. Hold the seal here, then continue with Step 8.

Using your fingers, keep constant tension on the Teflon sealing ring and slowly pull on it until it slips around the top of the piston and fully seats in the piston groove.

If you are installing a new ECS bearing ring to solve the well known Vanos “rattle”, skip to Page 25 and perform the Single Vanos Piston Repair. If you are not installing an ECS bearing ring or performing the anti-rattle repair, continue with reassembly on the next page.

Coat the Teflon sealing ring with clean engine oil, then start the piston back into the housing at an angle as shown.

Carefully rotate the piston fully into the cylinder, then line up the bolt holes on the cover plate with the holes in the Vanos housing.

Install all five bolts until they are all threaded in fully, then tighten them in an alternating pattern to 10 Nm (7 Ft-lbs).

Push the transfer gear (and piston) all the way into the Vanos housing.

For correct Vanos timing, you must make sure that the transfer gear remains in this position during installation.

You are now ready to reinstall the Vanos unit! Skip to Page 39 to continue.

Before you continue, it’s best to get a deeper understanding of how the system works, as well as the terminology that we are using. Over the next few pages, we’ll explain the basic operation and theory of repair, then get back to the job on page 31. As you can see with what you already have apart, the piston protrudes through the cover plate, and the transfer gear (which is secured to the piston), is splined to the intake camshaft and sprocket. When the Vanos is assembled, the piston cover plate is fixed to the Vanos housing. When oil is directed to the front side of the piston, it is pushed outward, resulting in the transfer gear being pushed into the camshaft sprocket. When oil is directed to the back side of the piston, it is pushed back into the piston cylinder, resulting in the transfer gear being pulled back out of the camshaft sprocket. Since the transfer gear has two sets of angled teeth that are splined to the intake camshaft and sprocket, the in and out motion in turn causes the camshaft to be advanced or retarded.

The actual Vanos “rattle” is caused by axial play in the bearings which are housed inside the piston. The key to solving this problem is to remove the axial play (tighten), and ideally, provide a slight preload on the roller bearings. To accomplish this, you’ll check the amount of play, install the new ECS bearing rings in place of the originals, then recheck the amount of play. Due to very strict tolerances and the different rates of component wear from car to car, some fine tuning may be required. After bearing ring installation, you may find that the bearings are still slightly loose (axial play), that they are too tight (not good), or that they have no axial play and a slight preload (perfect). If necessary, adjustments are made by removing material from either the new bearing ring (tightening the bearing) or the bearing race (loosening the bearing). This is a very critical adjustment, (approximately .005 -.015mm), but it’s easy to do. We’ll show you how in just a little bit but first, use the exploded view below to familiarize yourself with all of the piston components, then continue on the next page.

Axial Play, Radial Play, and Preload:

Any looseness in the piston bearings is axial play. This measurement is strictly determined by “feel” and is easily detectable. To check for axial play, hold the piston stationary with one hand and gently move the transfer gear in and out with the other. Side – to – side, or radial play, which is felt by moving the transfer gear left and right in relation to the piston, is normal. When bearing clearance is properly set, you should feel a smooth, even resistance when holding the piston and rotating the transfer gear.

When the piston is assembled, the bearing race and roller bearings fit inside the bearing ring (which we have made transparent in this illustration), and are then “sandwiched” in place as the end washers are seated against it. For Vanos rattle to be eliminated, there should be no clearance between the roller bearings, the bearing race, and the end washers.

What is the difference between the original bearing ring and the new ECS bearing ring, if an adjustment may still need to be made after installation? The new ECS Tuning bearing ring is actually much narrower than the original, getting the adjustment very close, so fine tuning is a quick and easy procedure.

This illustration shows the cause of axial play in the bearings. The bearings are too loose due to clearance between the roller bearings, the bearing race, and the end washers. The bearing ring in this case is, in effect, too wide. The bearings are tightened and clearance is eliminated by decreasing the width of the bearing ring.

In this illustration, the bearings would be too tight. The bearing ring in this case is, in effect, too narrow. When the piston is assembled, the end washers will “crush” the bearings as they attempt to seat against the bearing ring. In this situation, since you cannot increase the width of the bearing ring, to solve the problem you will loosen the bearings by decreasing the width of the bearing race.

Now that you understand the theory, we’ll get back to it. First, check for axial play in the Vanos piston bearings, then follow the flow chart below to check and adjust the axial play/preload of the Vanos piston bearings.

The piston cap must be removed so we can get to the components inside. You’ll have to hold the piston and cover plate in a vise, and there are only a couple safe ways of doing this. You must not damage or distort the piston in any way, or it will be ruined, so be careful. If you have nylon vise jaws, they will work perfect, and the only other alternative is a couple pieces of wood as we are using here.

Look closely at the hex on the end of the piston cap. You’ll see that it is very shallow. It is for this reason that you MUST use one of the special Vanos piston sockets. These sockets have the chamfered end machined off so they can grip the shallow hex. Using a regular socket will result in a damaged piston cap.

Hold pressure inward on the socket to prevent it from slipping, then loosen the piston cap.

Once you have loosened the piston cap, reposition the piston and cover plate so they are secured horizontally in the vise.

Unthread and remove the piston cap.

Lift out the first end washer and roller bearing.

Remove the transfer gear retaining bolt. Note that this bolt is LH thread, so it loosens in a clockwise direction.

Lift the remaining components out of the Vanos piston, clean them all thoroughly (if these aren’t spotless it can throw off your axial play/ preload), and lay them out in order. If this is the initial installation of the bearing ring, remove the original bearing ring from the line up and replace it with the new one, then skip to Step 12 on Page 37. If you have already installed the new bearing ring and need to tighten the bearing, proceed with step 10 on the next page. If you have already installed the new bearing ring and need to loosen the bearing, skip to step 11 on the next page.

To tighten the bearing (when axial play or no preload is present) – sand the bearing ring using the following procedure:

1. Place a sheet of 400 grit sandpaper on a solid, flat surface.

2. Using medium pressure, sand one surface of the ring back and forth 6-8”, approximately 30-40 times.

3. Rotate the ring 90 degrees, and repeat the sanding procedure.

4. Flip the ring over and repeat the sanding procedure.

5. Rotate the ring 90 degrees and repeat the sanding procedure.

This procedure will remove a very small amount of material, approximately .004 – .006mm from the total thickness of the race.

Thoroughly clean the bearing race and continue with step 12 on the next page

To loosen the bearing (when excessive force is required to rotate piston) – sand the bearing race using the following procedure:

1. Place a sheet of 400 grit sandpaper on a solid, flat surface.

2. Using medium pressure, sand one surface of the ring back and forth 6-8”, approximately 30-40 times.

3. Rotate the race 90 degrees, and repeat the sanding procedure.

4. Flip the raceover and repeat the sanding procedure.

5. Rotate the race 90 degrees and repeat the sanding procedure. Thoroughly clean the bearing race and skip to step 12 on the next page.

This procedure will remove a very small amount of material, approximately .004 – .006mm from the total thickness of the race.

Thoroughly clean the bearing race and continue with step 12 on the next page.

Reposition the piston and cover plate once again so they are secured vertically in the vise.

While holding pressure inward on the socket to prevent it from slipping, torque the piston cap to 40 Nm (30 Ft-lbs).

Return to Page 31 and follow the flow chart to check and adjust the axial play/preload on the Vanos piston bearings.

You may have to perform an adjustment procedure as many as three or four times in order to achieve the proper bearing preload.

Make sure the old Vanos gasket is removed from the cylinder head, thoroughly clean the sealing surface and make sure the dowel pins are installed in the corner holes.

Slide the new Vanos gasket into place, making sure the ends are placed onto the dowel pins.

Engage the sprocket turning tool onto the exhaust cam sprocket and rotate it clockwise as far as possible. You will notice that this will also cause the intake sprocket to rotate clockwise as well.

To make sure that the sprockets are rotated as far clockwise as possible, you may want to rotate them back and forth a couple times. This will also give you a feeling for the movement of the sprockets, which can help you during Vanos installation in the next few steps.

Make sure the transfer gear is pushed all the way into the Vanos housing (step 12 on Page 24), then slide the Vanos unit onto the mounting studs.

The transfer gear has an inner and an outer set of gear teeth that are offset, so they will engage the camshaft and sprocket at different rotational points. While pushing inward on the entire Vanos unit, rotate the transfer gear by hand so the first set of teeth line up and allow the transfer gear to slide in until it stops at the second set of teeth.

For correct Vanos timing, you must make sure that the transfer gear remains pushed all the way into the Vanos housing during installation. Do not pull the transfer gear out of the housing during alignment and installation, instead be sure to move the Vanos inward as a complete unit.

Engage the sprocket turning tool onto the exhaust camshaft sprocket and rotate or “bump” it very slightly counter clockwise while pushing in on the entire Vanos unit at the same time. As soon as the second set of teeth on the transfer gear line up, the entire Vanos unit will slide inward until it meets the cylinder head.

It is critical for correct Vanos timing that the camshaft/ transfer gear teeth engage at their first possible alignment. Only very slight counter clockwise rotation is required for this to occur. If you are uncertain that you have achieved the first possible alignment, pull the Vanos unit off, return to step 3, and repeat the process.

With the Vanos unit fully seated against the cylinder head, install the mounting nuts and torque them to 8 Nm (6 Ft-lbs).

It is only necessary to installand torque the nuts that will not interfere with the installation and reassembly of other components.

Push down on the chain tensioner and remove the locking pin, then release the tensioner.

Place a rag underneath just in case you drop one, then install the four exhaust sprocket bolts and torque them to 20 Nm (15 Ft-lbs). Remove the rag when you are done.

Reinstall the two Vanos exhaust sprocket access caps and torque them to 50 Nm (37 Ft-lbs).

Remove the camshaft locking blocks.

Remove the crankshaft locking pin and reinstall the plug.

Not too bad, huh? All you have to do is reassemble the components you removed to access the Vanos: • Reconnect the vacuum pipe and cable bracket if equipped. • Reconnect the Vanos oil line and solenoid. • Reinstall the intake camshaft cover. • Reinstall the valve cover, ignition coils, and engine top cover. • Reinstall the cabin filter housing (if removed). • Reinstall the air duct, radiator fan, and shroud. • Reinstall the air box.

If you’re not already, this is a good time to change the engine oil and filter. No break in is required with your newly rebuilt Vanos unit, so once you’ve started the engine and performed a quality check of your work, you’re all ready to go!

Piston Access Plugs……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….50 Nm (37 Ft-lbs)

Valve Cover Fasteners…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..10 Nm (7 Ft-lbs)

Vanos Intake Cover Plate Bolts …………………………………………………………………………………………………….10 Nm (7 Ft-lbs)

Vanos Oil Line Banjo Fitting …………………………………………………………………………………………………………32 Nm (24 Ft-lbs)

Vanos Unit Mounting Nuts and Bolt ……………………………………………………………………………………………8 Nm (6 Ft-lbs)

Interested in purchasing?

BMW Single Vanos Repair Kit

Bring your BMW Vanos Unit back to its factory performance and get rid of that pesky rattle once and for all.

DIY: KONI Adjustable Coilover Install VW MK6 Jetta GLI

Today we are going to do something a little different; we would like to focus on a specific coilover system one of our employees decided to use in his MK6 Jetta GLI. We installed the KONI Adjustable Coilovers on his MK6 Jetta GLI for a better look and more capable suspension performance. The installation itself is not too difficult, but having a friend around and some good old fashioned instructions definitely makes a difference. I will help talk you through the process and get your Jetta riding more stably and looking aggressive. Of course don’t forget to read all the way through to see those before and after shots of the car!

Our Jetta was already equipped with H&R Sport Springs on otherwise factory suspension, which dropped the car slightly. The biggest complaint on the old setup was the amount of body roll and the overall sloppiness experienced in hard driving. Not to say that setup is sub-par, but for a more planted and comfortable feel, the KONI 1150 coilovers are an excellent choice. Overall the suspension firmed up without sacrificing comfort, decreased the body roll, and made the car feel more stable through the corners. After a week of daily driving, the owner has expressed several times that the Jetta should have received these KONI coilovers from factory. Now let’s get you on your way to the same kind of driving enjoyment!

Let’s dive right in.

To get an idea of the ride height change we want, we need to take an initial measurement if dropping from stock ride height in order to have an idea of where our finished ride height will be. Our car was already equipped with H&R Sport Lowering Springs, so the ride height is already lower than factory. Remember when you adjust for your ride height that the coils will settle a little. We use an estimate of about half an inch, so keep that in mind for your final height.

Front Suspension

First, if you are not using air tools like we did, you will want to break your axle bolts loose. With your wheels still on the ground, remove the center caps on the front wheels and with your 24mm socket and an impact (or an extremely sturdy breaker bar) and remove the main axle bolts. Some models may have a 17mm. Our MK6 Jetta GLI is the 24mm 12 point non ribbed bolt.


Next, if you do not have an impact, break your wheel lugs loose. This Jetta has a stud conversion, but a wheel hanger helps if you have the factory lug setup. With a 17mm, remove all wheel lugs (or nuts.)


We are going to now take the Front Sway Bar End Links off the strut assembly. Insert an 18mm wrench and an M6 Triple Square to prevent the link from spinning. 


Take your 10mm and remove the bolt fastening the ABS Sensor Wire and Brake Hose bracket to the strut. Be careful not to damage the wear sensor or lines during this process, and then move it out of the way once the bolt is removed. To keep track of your bolts, we suggest threading them into the new KONI front struts so it will be there when you install the bracket later.


Move under the knuckle and remove the three 16mm nuts securing the ball joint. Ours came off easily, but these can be extremely rusted and corroded, so go ahead and give it a good spray with your trusty penetrating oil. The ball joint is going to be pretty well stuck to your lower control arm, so take a pry bar and wedge it in to separate the two. For the next part, the easiest thing to do will be to grab your floor jack and use it to hold up the suspension, so go ahead and snag that now.



If you have headlight leveling sensors, don’t forget to remove the 10mm nut securing the bracket to the lower control arm.

Next, with the lower control arm still disconnected, pull the CV joint out of the receiver in the wheel bearing housing by pulling the housing assembly outward. We found giving a few light taps to the 24mm bolt helps get the process started and makes removal much easier. Don’t forget to leave those original bolts in place to prevent any grime from getting inside the CV shaft. We will not be reusing those bolts later, but this is a good idea to keep them in place so the threads of the new bolts stay clean for re-installation.


You will want to tie the CV shaft up out of the way for later with mechanics wire (or zip ties) and reconnect the lower control arm to the ball joint by hand threading the 10mm nuts back in place. No need to tighten these down at this time, just keep everything secure and easy to work with.



CAREFULLY support the front suspension underneath the control arm with a floor jack you grabbed a few minutes ago.

Remove the pinch bolts on the wheel bearing housing with your 18mm wrench and a Triple Square socket. On ours, it was an M14. Yours may be different depending on the model. Make sure you have a new set of pinch bolts and nuts, as these are torque to yield. Chances are, you will need to knock these bolts out with a hammer if they have not been removed for some time, if at all. Fortunately, ours came out by hand which made it easy enough. Just keep that trusty penetrating oil around and don’t be afraid to get in there with that mallet or hammer.


For this next part, if you are like me and new to working with VW’s, pay close attention. You will need a housing spreader tool on a 1/2” ratchet. Take the spreader tool with its bit facing vertically and insert it as close to the bottom of the slot on the back of the wheel bearing housing as possible. This will prevent it from needing to be removed in order to uninstall the existing front strut.


With the 1/2” ratchet, turn the spreader tool until it is horizontal rather than vertical to get the most space possible for the strut to be removed. It should stay in place by friction, but be careful as you remove the front strut for the spreader tool to not pop out of place and fall.

CAUTION: You may need to unbolt the lower control arm from the ball joint now in order to gain enough movement to effectively remove the strut from the housing. If the strut feels stuck, check your spreader first to ensure it is not catching the alignment tab on the back of the strut. Next, make sure the strut is not binding in the housing. If it is being ornery, have a friend lower the jack slightly and articulate the housing itself while you knock the housing lightly with a hammer. This should free any seized strut.


You may have to move the spreader tool a few times depending on the alignment tab, but the strut should come right out.

Next, moving to the engine bay, remove the three upper strut mount bolts with a 13mm socket and wrench. Be careful pulling back the dust covers along the corner panels to access the bolts and strut tower mounts. These covers are prone to cracking, especially in cold weather. Remove the first two 13mm bolts after you have access under the cowling.


With a hand on the strut holding it firmly and securely, remove the final bolt and let the strut drop down into your hand.


Carefully remove the strut from the wheel well.

With your old suspension out of the way we can move on to working with your brand new KONI coilovers!

Just to recap what we have done, we replaced the coilovers, the end links, and the strut tower mounts up front with this job. While not required, we strongly recommend using adjustable end links with any coilovers, as suspension geometry will change unless you compensate for the difference in height and articulation. And of course finish your coilover installation with an alignment to prevent any premature tire wear.

Before installing anything, thoroughly grease the threads on your coilovers. This will make adjustment now, and in the future, a breeze. Keep these threads greased over the life of the coilover to prevent seizing. Thread each adjustment ring to their lowest settings after having greased the threads to get the rings just as greasy and smooth.

Assemble the coilovers by placing the spring over the strut and indexing it with the lower spring perch. The spring will only install one way with the strut tower mount, but will install both ways on the lower spring perch, so double check that you have the spring oriented properly before installing the strut mount and new lock washer and nut. DO NOT reuse old hardware from the original struts.

If you did not receive the strut bearing and strut mount pre-assembled, put those together now. Keep your eye on the arrows printed on one side of the rotary-shaped mount. These arrows should be on the outside in relation to the car. I.E. they will face in line with the vehicle’s direction of travel and will be closest to the outside, away from the engine bay.


It is a good idea to take this opportunity to replace your upper strut mounts and bearings. We used the ECS Tuning kit, which includes the mounts and bushings and provides a stiffer feel. When you install coilovers, these are definitely an important replacement as they are constructed of 75a durometer that is more substantial than the factory rubber. This is especially helpful because they were designed to be used with coilovers or lowering springs and to withstand the added stress caused by lowering your vehicle. The factory rubber ones tend to wear out more quickly when you fit them with lowered suspension.

Install the strut mount over the shock rod, line up the arrows, and hand-thread the new shock nut on with its lock washer.

With a 7mm Allen key, and a 22mm strut nut socket or offset wrench, tighten the shock nut to 44 ft-lbs with the arrows’ directions in mind to remain facing with the direction of the car on the farthest side of the strut mount from the engine.

Index the spring with its perches so that it is sitting securely in its housing before moving forward. This is also a good time to reinspect your coilovers to check for any irregularities and to check your assembly work.

Lift the strut up to the strut tower mount, keeping the arrows properly aligned, and hand thread one of the bolts in place to hold the strut up. You can now easily orient the strut to match the remaining holes and tighten the three 13mm bolts to 11 ft-lbs +90 degrees.


Use the jack we placed under the control arm earlier to raise the suspension to be guided into the coilover. Make sure the coilover is completely seated in the housing before installing your new pinch bolts. We used the spreader again to ease the installation, being mindful of the larger alignment tab on the KONI coils versus the factory strut.


Now that the coilovers are both installed in their housings and the strut mounts, you can begin the reassembly of the rest of your front suspension and CV axles. In order, you will want to:

Unbolt the lower ball joint

Install the CV joint back into the wheel bearing

Install the lower ball joint and torque the nuts down to proper spec

Install sway bar end link and torque to 48 ft-lbs

Install the axle bolt and torque to spec depending on the type of bolt you have

Install the brake hose and ABS wiring bracket

Install the headlight level sensor if you have one

Install the front wheels and torque to 89 ft-lbs



Moving to the back half of the car, we are going to uninstall the rear shocks and springs.


If your car is equipped with a headlight level sensor, be sure to remove the 10mm nut on the lefthand side of the car just forward of the lower control arm.

With a 21mm wrench, remove the lower shock mounting bolts.


If you have not taken out the splash guarding inside the wheel wells, you will want to at this time to make the removal of your rear shock mounts easier.


With an extension and a 13mm socket you can remove the two shock mount bolts, freeing the shock from the car.


Now that the shocks are removed, take a floor jack and place it under the rear lower control arm. Raise it to meet the arm just inside the wheel hub and this will take some tension from the main bolt on the outer mount.


Using an 18mm wrench and an 18mm socket wrench on a breaker bar, you should be able to free the lower control arm. More than likely you will need to actually unscrew the bolt to pull it out of the mount.

Lower the jack and the control arm will lower as well. This allows you to remove the spring from its housing. Make sure your lower spring cushion remains in place in the control arm. The upper cushion does need to be removed, exposing the bare metal.


We took our old bump stops and cut them to the first pinch in order to prevent the new rear shocks from bottoming out, but to also allow for a lower ride height. They are fairly thick, so use a cutting wheel or something serrated.


Either re-use the old mount, or replace it with a new one, and place it over the end of the the shock rod. Our KONI kit came with lock washers and Nylock nuts.

Use an Allen wrench to hold the shock rod in place while using an offset wrench to tighten the nut to 18 ft-lbs.

Oil and grease the threads for the rear spring perch and thread the locking collar all the way to the base of the perch.

Reinstall the rear shocks with your extension and 13mm socket and tighten to 37 ft-lbs +45 degrees



Install the perch on the top of the spring, and install the spring into its housing in the control arm, careful to check it is properly indexed in the lower mount.


With the spring in the car, align the upper perch with the centering pin in the car. Raise your jack to ensure the spring perch is seated, and adjust the jack height until the outer control arm bolt hole lines up with the hub.

Install the the control arm bolt, but do not torque these down until the car is at ride height.



Install the lower rear shock absorber bolt until it is threaded all the way in but do not torque it at this time.

Finally, connect your headlight level sensor arm, install your wheels, and lower the vehicle for ride height adjustment.

Rear wheels – 89 ft-lbs

Shock absorber bolt – 133 ft-lbs

Rear outer control arm bolt – 66 ft-lbs +90 degrees

To adjust the ride height, you will need to move the spring perches up or down for the desired height. Keep these things in mind while adjusting your ride height:

Lift the car until all weight is off the springs before adjusting the perches

Use the original measurements you took before installing the coils as a rough guide to help you achieve a specific amount of drop. With the Jetta on these KONI coils, maxed low is 25” from the apex of the wheel arch to the ground, all the way around the car. This causes the rear to sag a bit due to the body lines of the car. We recommend raising the rear nearly an inch, and the front a half inch, from their lowest settings. These coils will settle, and the ride height is just about perfect with our measurements.

You will more than likely need to make a series of adjustments to even out the four corners.

Tighten the locking rings once you have the height set where you like it.

Once you have everything set in place, make sure you clear everything with your wheels or tires. Take your front wheels lock to lock before driving the car to see if everything clears.

Driving the car for the first time may point out a few adjustments you need to make, so don’t plan on your first trip being anywhere farther than around the block and back.

If you add any new components like fatter sway bars, control arms, polyurethane bushings, or other suspension changes, you may need to make further adjustment of the coilovers.

Lastly, always have your car aligned after making any suspension changes. As we said before, keeping your car aligned will keep your tires from wearing out too early.



Torque Specs:

CV Joint To Wheel Hub 12 Point Bolt: 147 ft-lbs +180 degrees

Front Upper Shock Nut 44 ft-lbs

Front Upper Strut Mount to Body 11 ft-lbs +90 degrees

Lower Ball Joint to Aluminum Lower Control Arm 74 ft-lbs

Rear Control Arm Outer Bolt 66 ft-lbs +90 degrees

Rear Shock Nut 18 ft-lbs

Rear Shock Lower Mounting Bolt 133 ft-lbs

Rear Shock Upper Mount Bolts 37 ft-lbs +45 degrees

Wheel Bearing Housing to Suspension Strut 52 ft-lbs +90 degrees

Sway Bar Link to Strut 48 ft-lbs

Wheels 89 ft-lbs

Interested in Purchasing?

Keep your VW close to the ground and stable through corners with quality and comfortable KONI Adjustable Coilovers.




Schwaben Professional VAG Scan Tool: Electronic Parking Brake Retract

In order to change the rear brake pads on the newer VWs and Audis with electronic parking brakes the internal parking brake mechanism must be retracted. With our Schwaben professional scan tool you can retract the rear calipers with out damaging them. We are performing this on our 2011 Audi B8 A4, and the procedure will be the same or very similar on most VAG models with electronic parking 

Note: Procedure may vary form model to model

Applies to:

B8 and B8.5 Models

C6 and C7 Models

Q3, Q5, and 4L Q7 Models

8v Models

D3 Models

CC Models

B6 Passat Models

MK7 Golf R and E-golf

VW Tiguan 

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 “Common Special Functions”

5: Select “Electronic Parking Brake(EPB)”

6: If you are not working on a Audi A8 then select “no”

7: Release the parking brake then select “ok” 

8: Select “Open Parking Brake”

9: Select “Start”

10: Press the “Back” button

11: Install the new brake pads

12: Repeat steps up until step 7

13: Select “Close Parking Brake”

14: Select “Start”

15: Click the “Back” button

16: Select “Parking Brake Test”

17: Select “Start”

18: Wait till the test is done

19: Parking brake procedure is now complete

Interested in Purchasing?

The Schwaben Professional VAG Scan Tool gives you the ability to scan, read codes, and customize your VW or Audi with the same precision and quality as a professional garage.



Schwaben Professional BMW Scan Tool: E46 SMG Adaptation

SMG Adaptation

Whenever you replace a major component on your SMG transmission, you will need to perform a system adaptation to insure proper functionality. Our Schwaben BMW professional scan tool works perfect for this.  We are performing this on our 2003 E46 M3, and the procedure will be the same or very similar on most BMW models.

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

2: Select “BMW” 

3: Select “BMW” again

4: Select “enter VIN”

5: Using the keyboard enter in the last 7 digits of your VIN 

6: Select the vehicle that you are working on

7: Select “Service”

8: Select “Drive”

9: Select “Transmission Control”

10: Select the component that was replaced

11: Select “Adapt Transmission Fully”

12: Follow steps 1-5

13: Select “Ok”

14: Select “Ok”

15: Select “Ok”

16: Wait until the Process is complete

17: Your SMG adaptation is complete

18: Test drive the car and make sure the transmission functions properly

Interested in purchasing?

Schwaben BMW Professional Scan Tool

With the Schwaben BMW Professional Scan Tool, you have the power of a dedicated shop right in your hand to code, read faults, diagnose, and customize!