N54Door: Tim’s Built BMW E90 335i 6-Speed Review

Cars and pets often resemble their owners. Whether it be an intangible attitude or uncanny physical resemblance, somehow you can’t help but think the universe brought those two together whether they are aware of the similarity or not. Such is the case with Tim and his BMW. The two share an exuberant and positive outlook that builds incredibly fast, not unlike the turbo spool from under the carbon fiber hood.

I approached Tim and requested that he give me the run-down on his BMW with the intention of understanding what it is like to daily drive a nearly 500 horsepower E90. He was more than happy to oblige and invited me to lunch where we were able to chat about his car.

The car in question is his heavily modified pre-LCI E90 335i powered by the (in)famous N54. This, however, is not just any E90. Tim is clearly a fellow who likes to push things to the extreme. Both he and his car have this palpable aura of curiosity to see just how far they can improve on what they have. Tim is a positive and excited guy who very clearly works at maximizing his physical potential, which explains why his car reflects that attitude. The E90 has been modified extensively from the suspension to the engine to produce as much street-drivable power as possible while retaining its utility as a passenger sedan.

Although high-horsepower N54s are nothing new, (hell, the engine is over ten years old at this point,) Tim’s E90 seems to be the only one that has not experienced the issues for which the engine is equally well known. I was told there was a rocky relationship between Tim and his car as it has been under the knife several times and only sees the road somewhere around 50% of the time he needs a car. What I found, however, was unexpected. Contrary to my impression of power-chasers, Tim has a true understanding of how to take advantage of the N54’s potential without making sacrifices to drivability or compromising the car’s reliability.

He advised me that the common pitfalls with N54s are the impatient owners themselves, not necessarily faults with the cars. Yes, the N54 has wastegate issues and needs expensive walnut shell blasting to de-gunk the ports and valves, and the injectors occasionally spray fuel all over the engine, but it is otherwise the most usable German engine to rival the 2JZ or RB26. Again, the power capabilities of the N54 are news to no one, but the daily drivability that Tim’s car provides is something of a first in my experience. His work has quite obviously paid off, as the engine produced nothing but power and wonderful noises during our drive. I have driven a stock 335i sedan and was left unimpressed. This car, however, would completely change my mind.

The most important part of building an N54, like many other high-performance engines, is to address any and all maintenance concerns before throwing more power to the crank. Tim walked me through some of his early years owning the car, which primarily consisted of maintenance related parts. The benefit of an engine that is notorious for certain problems is that you already know where to start: he took care of the pressing concerns early on and then began building for the reliable power output he produces now. Just like keeping yourself physically fit begins with the foundation of a proper diet, the foundation of any build is the condition of the car itself.

This seems fairly obvious, but the number of blown-up N54s for sale on Facebook and Craigslist shows just how many people decide to tune their car before it can take the extra power. Tim took care of everything major before he began to make improvements; all the while he kept in mind a specific power goal. He knew the clutch un=pon which he decided would only take up to about 650 horsepower, so his terminal power output had to be at or lower than the ability of the clutch. With that in sight, he set to improving the E90.

Under the car, you will find a set of Bilstein PSS coilovers that drop the BMW down on a set of Avant Garde wheels and sticky Nitto rubber. The suspension, as well as the Cool Carbon performance brake pads, allow the E90 to easily apply all 500 horsepower to the ground in an astonishing punch. Riding in the car is surprising, but definitely not scary like some I have experienced who forgot that going fast means you need to stop fast. The factory calipers paired with those Cool Carbon pads are plenty to reign in the car from a full-out sprint, which is impressive, to say the least.

Powering the car is the Frankenturbo-equipped N54 which is fed a steady diet of methanol and upwards of 20 pounds of boost. Right now, according to Tim, the car sits conservatively around 500 horsepower on its JB4 tune and the current settings. However, with some minor modifications, the Frankenturbo Rev3 twins can push more pressure and the timing can be adjusted to make close to 650 horsepower, which is his present goal. The meth-injection kit for this car is one of my favorite modifications because it adds power as well as reliability. As we mentioned, the N54 is known for gumming up its ports with carbon buildup. Steam cleaning the engine with a water-meth bath is possibly the best form of preventative maintenances one could apply to an N54. One that also provides 1600cfm of power-boosting explosions.

After showing off the neat and tidy engine bay and walking me through all his modifications, we hit some back roads to take the long way for some lunch. Despite a carbon fiber hood and trunk combo, as well as the wheels and stance, the E90 still is not what I would call ‘attention demanding’. It is quiet and fairly unassuming until Tim puts his foot down. The car is completely tame and feels similar to any other 3-series at normal driving speeds, but a depression of the throttle utterly transforms the car with a massive squeal from the Tial BOV between shifts. Even with larger turbochargers, the boost is nearly immediate. This lead to some eye-widening accelerations as Tim pinned the both of us to our seats with an all-out pull.

Since the E90 is a sedan, it is usable on a daily basis for regular errands and work commutes. I had difficulty picking out normal sacrifices present in most other modified cars when we were sticking to the speed limit. When Tim punched it and the car rocketed down the Wadsworth back roads, I still couldn’t find anything that just stuck out as hard to live with. I actually had to ask if there was anything that made the car inconvenient after he had modified it to this extent. Surprisingly, Tim had trouble thinking of anything himself. Besides the amount of work that he invested in making the car what it is, it has never left him stranded or given him trouble as a daily commuter.

His goal, besides big power, was to have something he could enjoy driving at any speed, regardless of the trip. He wanted a car could take to work, shows, or the track without a moment’s hesitation. With the current setup, his car handles exceptionally well and provides more than enough power to get anyone into trouble, but doesn’t punish you for driving it that way. The four-door layout gives the E90 a utilitarian side and makes it something Tim can take anywhere without changing cars. This is in line with his ultimate goal of having one car that really can do it all.

Thanks to modern technology and the help of manufacturers who develop parts for the E90 platform, he has been able to realize that goal. The E90 335i is realistically limited in the amount of power you can safely pull from the engine, but Tim is determined to reach that threshold. His dedication and commitment to finding the true potential of the platform without extensively modifying the frame or switching engines speak volumes about his personality, which fits exceptionally well with his chosen car. For the last few years, it has undergone many revisions to bring us the powerhouse I had the pleasure of experiencing, but the spirit has remained true. Tim aims to find the upper limit of his E90 while still using the car as his daily. Thankfully, that power goal may happen sooner than later, as he plans to adjust the tune and throw the car on a dyno in the near future.

With our drive over, it was sad to say goodbye to such a wonderful car. As a vintage car enthusiast, it takes something special to make me think so deeply about a contemporary car. Speed and power have never been as intoxicatingly tantalizing as they were sitting in the saddle-brown interior of Tim’s E90. The car is well balanced between its excitable N54, the planted suspension, sticky tires, and high-energy driver. This E90 is the perfect example of one car that does it all, which truly reflects its owner. I look forward to seeing the car reach that 650 horsepower mark, and you can be sure we will cover that breakthrough when it happens right here at ECS Tuning.

SOWO Presents: European Experience 2018 – The ECS Tuning Official Coverage

After what felt like a never-ending winter, warm weather finally brought with it the show season and an excuse to leave the office to spend a few days on the beach in South Georgia. While the official debut of our sweepstakes GTI happened last month at Euro District, ECS Tuning attended The European Experience in Savannah, Georgia to show off the new additions to our VW MK7.5 we built with Racingline, StopTech, LIQUI MOLY, and other fantastic vendors. The GTI traveled in style in an enclosed trailer and our video team flew from Ohio to Georgia, but our writer drove his E30 convertible the entire distance to offer our readers a unique experience.

With the GTI loaded Thursday morning, Stephan and Zach seated on a plane, and a 1300 mile road trip ahead of him, this writer made final preparations to drive his 24v swapped E30 Vert. As with any long drive in a vintage car, being ready for anything is key. A fresh oil change with LIQUI-MOLY Molygen 5w-40, new Bosch spark plugs, and Oxygen sensors were all installed as precautions taken to ensure the now twenty-year-old engine would be perfectly happy running at 3500 RPM for nearly 24 hours. KONI yellow dampers, Lemförder tie rods and control arms, and Turner Motorsport Monoball FCABs were also installed, replacing all the same components which had extended their service life. These replacements wound up becoming some of the best decisions for the trip. The ride on the adjustable dampers was extremely comfortable despite the thirty-year-old car’s best efforts to make the trip more inconvenient. Lastly, a fresh set of comfort tires were swapped out for the Yokohama S-Drives on the car to improve the ride quality for the cross-country drive.

The maintenance was hurriedly completed, the luggage stuffed into the compact BMW, and the top was dropped for the longest road trip this E30 had ever taken. A lonely, boring, and extremely loud drive to Nashville went quickly with almost no incident.

Once in Nashville, the real adventure began. A quick ‘driver’s meeting’ at a convenient highway exit, brief introductions between some new friends, and a fresh resupply of energy drinks and gas all took place before we jumped back on the road. We departed around midnight; our troupe of BMWs (and a token W124 Mercedes) rumbled onto the highway for a full night of pothole dodging, bleary-eyed, driving.

The uneventful trip found us in Savannah just after dawn. Ordinary beachgoers would make the sensible decision to unload at their hotel or Air BNB. Because they are car enthusiasts, our intrepid crew thundered over to Tybee Island for beach naps and the impromptu satellite car meets that would happen throughout the weekend.

Possibly more fun than the actual events themselves, one of the more beautiful phenomena surrounding large-scale enthusiast events is the crazy spike in modified vehicle traffic around small population towns. Nearly every corner sported a Porsche or Audi bagged to the ground and every stoplight featured lines of European vehicles causing the disproportionately small number of ‘normal’ vehicles to feel outnumbered. The anticipation for the next day’s European Experience was magnified by seeing the teasers just driving around Tybee and Savannah.

The next morning brought unexpectedly beautiful weather for the show. The line began piling up just before 8:00 AM with the doors to not officially open for another few hours. Either due to excitement or just the knowledge of all the poor air-cooled VWs idling in line, the event staff decided to open the gates early and let the descending enthusiasts pour into the venue. Thanks to the split environment, a distinct divide in atmosphere gave EUEX a unique feeling. Vendor booths were situated in a pit-stop style setup with the other show participants trafficked between them to the pasture-like field adjacent to the main concourse. A relaxed vibe befitting a grassy field near the beach offered shady sanctuary, while the high-energy half of the show took place around the main stage and vendor booths. Our own MK7.5 could be seen near the entrance, parked with the Black Forest Industries crowd.

The personally owned cars tend to have a different feel than the professionally sponsored cars, though they often exhibit equal or better quality. Between classic cars and contemporary builds, the whole EUEX show offered a wide variety. We enjoyed spotting ECS products nearly every time we turned around and loved all the kind words. Several times in conversation we were given a wonderful surprise by someone pointing out all the parts of their build to which we have contributed with our parts or services. It is always nice to see the cars and owners that we only see once or twice a year, but even better to meet new folks who are so excited to be a part of the community and to see faces from the other side of the internet.

The aspect of immediately knowing each other, despite having never met, is an incredible one among the enthusiast community. With the normality of social media and instant communication, the network of European automotive enthusiasts both grows and shrinks. Events like EUEX give us the chance to party together and enjoy our hobbies.


The first day of EUEX was exceptional. There were a palpable energy and excitement that hovered over the venue while still feeling relaxed. Our group had the opportunity to walk the show and chat with owners and enthusiasts quite informally. The benefit of being by ourselves meant the freeform schedule allowed us to follow what we were interested in and spot our favorite cars rather than be held to a strict requirement for sponsored content.

We did, however, take a few chances to show off some of our products and our vendor’s products featured on several cars who were part of the show.

With the first day closed out, we left the venue for some home-cooked food and a good night’s sleep before the final day of the show Sunday and a long drive North. That evening, downtown Savannah was invaded by all the show cars and EUEX attendees, so the event really just changed locations. Again, more satellite meets, photo sessions, and otherwise unaffiliated gatherings took place throughout the night before the final day in Georgia.

Sunday brought a light drizzle and some cloud cover but was an otherwise pleasant day for more car spotting. The atmosphere of the show completely changed from the previous day. A more sociable, relaxed, and happily disorganized vibe hovered over the show. Since we planned to be back in Tennessee by the end of the day, we arrived at the venue early that morning to load in and enjoy the last part of EUEX.




The chill ambiance was amplified by the lack of structure to the parking free-for-all that became of the infield. Groups parked where they pleased and no one seemed to mind. The final day offered people opportunities to set up photo shoots with their crews, saw the low car limbo contest, and finally the awards ceremony. Since the judging was already complete, the second day saw more tomfoolery.

Our own E30 took part in the limbo contest. Though we did not win, the fun and excitement of piling everyone in arms reach of the car onto the hood, trunk, and anywhere with space for them is always a hysterical misuse of automotive technology.

Finally, the awards ceremony brought the best of the best European builds to the front and center. To be chosen as an EUEX Top 50 car is an honor in itself. To be selected for best of categories is an even more exclusive experience and justifies the hard work that brought you to that podium.






Though we had to leave fairly quickly during the awards ceremony, the whole weekend offered an incredible experience. Both in driving a vintage car further than it had ever been driven and in having the weekend to explore and observe completely unrestricted by schedule or obligation. We look forward to taking part in more shows throughout the season and hope to see everyone in Gatlinburg, TN for Slammedenuff Gatlinburg 2018!

Vendor Spotlight: CTS Turbo means Big Power for your Audi or Volkswagen

The old phrase “there is no replacement for displacement” has met its match in today’s aftermarket performance world. The recipe for huge horsepower was to have the biggest bore, most aggressive cams, and a fuel economy that was measured in feet from the largest engine possible. While turbocharged engines are not a new concept, the reliability and potential for forced induction engines have become rivals to their naturally aspirated cousins. CTS Turbo is one of the foremost aftermarket manufacturers who capitalizes on the turbocharged Audi and VW engines and forces respectable power from small displacement forced induction platforms with their performance contributions.

Just like Simba’s reign covered everything light touched, CTS Turbo offers performance upgrades for everything air flows through and more. Their improved charge pipes, intercoolers, inlet pipes, outlet pipes, exhaust systems, and more open up the crucial airways that make forced induction effective. CTS Turbo’s focus is clearly turbo-related support, but their product catalog extends beyond those accessories.

Hardware like subframe inserts, transmission mounts, catch cans, and short shift kits broaden CTS Turbo’s reach into the VAG market and give a range of options for the performance-minded Audi or VW owner. Making big power, adding rigidity, and improving drivability are all key concepts involved in a well-rounded build, and that is just what CTS aims to provide. Their mounts allow for reduced deflection, which means the additional power from their K04 turbo upgrade, more efficient intercooler, and better flowing exhaust will actually be transferred to the wheels rather than lost in drivetrain flex.

CTS Turbo allows you to cover all your bases in your Audi or VW build by providing power, chassis, and drivability improvements without breaking your bank. Their accessible upgrades offer incredible performance upgrades to your forced induction engines and are designed for perfect fitment. Since technology has finally advanced in the forced induction community, we are starting to see outstanding horsepower output from small displacement engines thanks to companies like CTS Turbo. Give your Audi or VW that extra power you know you want with CTS performance parts, on sale now!


Interested in purchasing?

CTS Turbo Parts and Accessories


How To Make More Horsepower In Your Turbo Car with Water Meth Injection

When it comes to performance cars, tuners are generally in one of two camps: naturally aspirated or forced induction. Naturally aspirated vehicles offer a smooth power band, but the only way to pull massive horsepower and torque gains from an NA is with more displacement or by introducing a means of forced induction. Turbo cars have a huge benefit in that they are more efficient than large displacement engines, are easily upgradable, and require much less work to increase power outputs. One popular method of improving the performance of a turbocharged engine is to add a Water Methanol Injection System to increase performance and improve engine reliability. Let’s take a look at what you need to do in order to add horsepower to your German performance car with a Water Meth Injection setup!

How It Works

First, it is important to understand what a water meth system actually does to improve your engine performance. In modern turbocharged vehicles, air is inducted through the intake, through the cold side of the turbo, passes through the intercooler, and into the intake valve port where it is mixed with fuel and combusted. You may know that a Cold Air Intake and bigger Intercooler reduce intake air temperatures dramatically, which improves performance. This is because cold air is denser than warm air, meaning more fuel can be added to the mixture for a bigger explosion.

The idea of pressurized cool air is the driving principle behind turbocharged cars, as they pressurize the air for the same effect. Water meth injection further cools the intake air temperature by misting a mixture of 50% water and 50% methanol into the intake behind the intercooler but before the throttle body. This allows the mixture to vaporize rather than condense. The water-meth mixture is essentially steam as it enters the combustion chamber, where it has two main effects: both reducing the temperature of the intake air and producing a steam-engine effect. Both factors combine to make a significant increase in performance.

Power and Reliability

This already sounds like a big benefit, but water meth injection setups go beyond improved performance. The addition of water as pressurized steam effectively steam-cleans your engine internals, which helps with performance as well as reliability. Moreover, a common issue with turbo cars is premature detonation. This occurs when a pocket of heat in the combustion chamber reaches a temperature high enough to ignite the air-fuel mixture and compete with the ignition from the spark plug. This causes ‘knock’ and is commonly heard in turbo cars with an advanced timing for performance tunes or in vehicles that use low octane rated fuels. With water meth injection, the lower temperatures combat premature detonation and increase the octane rating. Higher octane ratings are more explosive, so the whole system effectively makes full use of all physical, thermal, and chemical properties to increase power and reliability.

Where To Get Yours

So what do you need to make your own boost juice kit? Snow Performance kits are available either as universal kits, or, in the case of n54-powered BMWs, available as preassembled kits. You need a tank to hold the mixture, lines to run the mixture, a controller to program for delivery, and an injector to tap into your intake. Power, ground, and a controller module make up the electronics, while a tank and nozzle make up the hardware. Outside of that, you will want to find where to buy methanol to make your mixture.

Water meth injection is a simple modification that offers multiple performance benefits as well as improved engine efficiency, engine cleaning, and knock prevention. Rarely do modifications offer as many upsides to performance, reliability, and ease of installation. This easy upgrade gives your boosted car a serious increase in power output as well as engine life. You can get everything you need to put your car on the boost juice diet right here at ECS. What are you waiting for!

Best Performance Modifications for your Turbo BMW

BMW has been fitting several models with turbochargers since their E10 2002tii. BMW turbo and twin turbo powered cars are capable of serious power. The accessible power explains why many record-setting BMWs have inline-six twin-turbos under the hood. Massive gains are easily achievable with light modification and tuning, which makes N54, N55, S55, and N20-powered cars popular among tuners and widely supported in the aftermarket community. To unleash some absolutely insane power, Vargas Turbochargers upgraded turbos, Fuel-It performance fuel delivery, and Burger Motorsports JB4 software makes up the holy trinity for forced induction BMW owners.

Vargas Turbocharger Technologies

This well-known company is dedicated to providing precision turbos and have built their name on years of experience. Vargas Turbocharger Technologies understands the importance of specifically designing their turbochargers for each individual vehicle, as there is no ‘universal fit’ when it comes to improving the turbos on your car. BMW produces high-quality engines for the truly discerning driver, so it should go without saying the highest quality aftermarket modifications should be the only choice.


Fueling your engine with the proper delivery system is critical when you increase the power. Stock fuel pumps are known to have low reliability, so Fuel-It! provides a series of upgraded components to take your fuel delivery headache and make it a strong and capable system. Their upgraded fuel rails and pumps allow your turbo BMW to receive all the petrol it can burn. Fuel-It! also provides high-quality kits for converting to E85, as well as Meth Injection, furthering your potential for massive power.

Burger Motorsports

With the upgraded turbos and fuel system on your BMW, you will certainly require proper engine management. Long considered one of the best N54 and N55 software tuning companies around, Burger Motorsports brings the JB4 software to our mix, completing the trident of power and performance in your twin-turbo BMW. Their considerable number of record-breaking awards make for an incredible resume in the world of competitive racing. Correct engine management software will make full use of your other modification to pull every shred of power within the engine.

To maximize the performance potential of your N54 or N55 BMW, the Vargas Turbo upgrades, Fuel-It delivery systems, and the Burger Motorsports JB4 Tune are essential. We highly recommend those seeking staggering power gains and a thrilling driving experience to choose these upgrades for their BMW. Of course, if you are interested in modifying your N54 or N55 powered 335i BMW further, you can read more about our favorite coilovers in our previous post.

Interested in purchasing?

BMW Performance Parts are a click away.





Burger Motorsports



Aftermarket Cold Air Intake Mythbusted: Audi B9 A4 Luft-Technik Intake

If you have ever modified a car, then you are most likely well aware of the age-old argument “do aftermarket intakes add any real power gains?” Several YouTubers, bloggers, and self-proclaimed experts have weighed in on the argument. Despite miles of information regarding the subject, there is still a distinct divide between camps. There are those who insist the factory airboxes in vehicles perform identically to aftermarket intakes, and those who claim horsepower and torque are trapped in the restrictive factory designs. We at ECS have been drafting, designing, engineering, testing, and producing performance intakes since our earliest foray into aftermarket modification world, so we decided to share our data to settle the debate conclusively.

Our most recently developed performance induction system is the B9 A4 Kohlefaser & Luft-Technik Cold Air Intake. The 2.0T TFSI-powered B9 A4 produces a respectable 249BHP and a whopping 273 LB-FT of torque without any modifications and utilizing a factory tune. Our Dyno numbers confirmed those figures over an average of identical tests to determine a scientifically accurate baseline. While the B9 A4 2.0T pushes the upper limits of what should be possible from such a small displacement, we felt improvements to the induction system would provide power increases.

Our Objectives

The goal of this intake development and all other intakes we design is primarily oriented around functionality. We design our induction systems to function at optimal efficiency and demonstrate peak output for the intended use. In this case, our intakes are engineered to provide the highest power gains, most consistent pressure, and to minimize the temperature of induction air. These intakes are then tested in simulations, on the Dyno, and finally, on the street. Our combination of rigorous and thorough research and development procedures ensure the collection of accurate data in all situations, including the often unpredictable real world.

A secondary goal which shares nearly equal importance to functionality is the appearance of our intake system. A part that functions perfectly should also look as though it is the pinnacle of function. Our designs include a fit and finish to give the intake a functional, yet incredibly attractive, style. Even hardware and fastener locations are taken into consideration in order to grant easy access without compromising the aesthetics of the intake, heat shield, or beauty cover.

Of course, all our intake kits include every necessary nut, bolt, washer, fastener, and all other hardware for a complete and total installation out of the box. While this does not speak to our design, exactly, it does demonstrate our interest in ensuring your car is equipped with everything needed to improve performance without the headache of tracking down bolts or resorting to zip-ties in order to install your new parts.

Stock versus Luft-Technik

Returning to the question at hand, what did we find about our B9 A4 intake from all that development, simulation time, and testing?

Our final iteration of the intake post-development was put to the test against the stock assembly. We established yet another average between several successive recordings on the Dyno in order to guarantee accuracy in the factory figures with which we compared our intake. The next Dyno session, which immediately followed the previous stock runs, included our Luft-Technik intake. With the stock tune and otherwise stock engine, our induction system gained +11WHP and +10 FT-LBS WTQ when averaged with all recordings on the Dyno. Impressive numbers, to say the least, which can be observed on the Dyno sheet below.

These noteworthy gains were consistent across the usable power range on stock management, as well as an APR tune. The APR software tune alone significantly increased the horsepower and torque at the wheels on our Dyno, but there was more left to squeeze from the little turbo four-cylinder. After successive back-to-back runs on the APR tune with the factory airbox to establish our baseline average, we switched to the Luft-Technik intake and were once again presented with average gains of +5 WHP and +9FT-LBS WTQ with the APR Stage 1 ECU upgrade. You can observe our Dyno figures for these runs below.

Pressure Drop Data

With the most pressing question of power increases measured and accounted for, we believe we have seen definitive, empirical, and surprising evidence in favor of a properly designed intake which utilizes improved flow, decreased induction air temperatures, and a more consistent atmospheric pressure across the intake filter. While all intakes and engines perform slightly differently, these figures are within the range of consistent averages found on all our Luft-Technik intake systems across all supported models. Of course, there are distinct differences in performance where some outliers produce comparatively low power increases, and some offer relatively high power gains, but on average, consistently improved figures on our products match closely to the Luft-Technik Intake System designed for the B9 A4 2.0T TFSI.

Have you found something different? Do you have a question, comment, or suggestion? Let us know in the comments below or on social media! We encourage you to share this information with your friends using the buttons below and hope to see your input as we build a better blog.


Interested in purchasing?

Luft-Technik Intake

Better sound and proven performance!

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 ECStuning.com

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!


HPA and ECS Tuning Photo Contest

If you have a 2.0T K03-powered Audi or VW and are looking to upgrade it this Winter, HPA Motorsports and ECS want to help make that happen! We are hosting a week-long photo contest open to the applicable models. For a full list of those vehicles included in the contest, see the end of this post. Only one photo may be submitted, so pick your prize to shoot for, upload your picture with the appropriate tags, and cross your fingers!

The contest is simple:

Submit a photograph of your car in a unique location to either Facebook or Instagram

Include the caption: “Please, upgrade my car this Winter @HPAmotorsports and @ECStuning”

Tag Three of your friends in the picture

Like ECS on Facebook and Instagram

Use #ecsandhpaturbo to enter the K04 Turbo contest

Use #ecsandhpahaldex to enter the AWD Controller contest

Use #ecsandhpaplenum to enter the Aluminum Intake Manifold contest

In partnership with HPA Motorsports, we are giving away a K04 Turbo Upgrade, a Touchmotion Haldex Controller, and an Aluminum Intake Manifold to present to our first, second, and third prize winners.

The contest will run from Friday, December 1st, 2017 through Friday, December 8th, 2017 and will terminate at 12:00pm that day with a live vote on Facebook where you will pick from our three finalists in the Turbo contest, the Intake Plenum contest, and the Halex controller contest. All three upgrades from HPA Motorsports are useful, desirable, and incredibly fun to have. The K04 Turbo boasts massive horsepower and torque gains and is a popular upgrade for any K03 Turbo equipped car. The intake manifold improves the airflow, reduces turbulence, and gives a noticeable increase in power and performance. Lastly, the Touchmotion Haldex Controller allows a Haldex AWD system to be controlled with more precision, giving the driver a range of driving dynamics to switch between.

Of course, if you were impatient, all of these parts are available through us, which you can find linked below.

So go grab your camera and your car keys, find that awesome secret photo spot, and submit your pictures for a chance to win excellent prizes from HPA Motorsports and ECS Tuning!

K04 Turbo Fitment Chart:





A3 8P















Golf V, VI



Jetta V, VI



Passat B6



Tiguan 1, 2


Touchmotion Haldex Controller Fitment:













Intake Manifold Fitment:





A3 8P



B7 A4






Golf R



Golf V



Jetta V



Passat B6


Interested In Purchasing?

K04 Turbo Upgrade:


Touchmotion AWD Controller:


Aluminum Intake Manifold:


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