Aftermarket part pains

Sometimes  ‘upgrading’ to aftermarket parts creates unintended consequences.  In the process of removing and reinstalling the engine a couple of times I’ve found there are some aftermarket parts that are not conducive to an efficient pain free process.

Two items that are particularly noteworthy in this respect are shown below.

The Apikol transmission mounts use a very long bolt to secure them in place, this creates problems when trying to install the mounts.

apikol_transmission_mount_boltI’ve found that it can take as long to get these bolts into the mounts as it does to install the engine.  I’ve wrestled with these bolts for up to an hour each time during two engine installations.  The best method I have come up with is to bend  back the heat shield over the Apikol transmission mount, put the motor back in place so that the holes in the bracket and mount are aligned, raise the front of the engine with the hoist, and then put my floor jack under the car to raise the rear of the transmission.  If I lift the engine and transmission a couple of inches I then have enough clearance to wiggle the bolt through.


Apikol Transmission Mounts Installed

These Apikol transmission mounts have been sitting in a bag for a couple of years now, I finally decided to replace my worn 034 Motorsport density line mounts with the Apikols.

apikol and 034 motorsport Audi B5 S4 transmssion mountsWhat is immediately noticeable is how much thicker the Apikols are than the street density line.  I never had any complaints about the 034 mounts, but in keeping with aftermarket part advertising philosophy, if it’s bigger it must be better.

I was in the process of installing my motor when I made this swap, which seemed like a logical thing to do, it is, but I had an unanticipated delay with these mounts.  You see, since they’re thicker they require a longer bolt, a good amount longer as a matter of fact.  So much longer that my S4 said, uh-uh, that’s not going in without a fight.  Getting the passenger side bolt through was a major pita.  As a reminder, the bracket for the transmission mounts sits directly below the downpipes, those 3″ downpipes that all aftermarket equipped cars must upgrade to.  On top of that there is the heat shield between the down pipe and where the bolts sits, making it even harder to put the bolt through as you are putting the motor in the car.

Why did I choose to install these while putting the motor in?  So that with them not yet in place the transmission brackets would easily clear the sub-frame and make putting the transmission and motor in easier.

After a while, much too long, some profanity, thoughts of saying screw it I’ll put the old mounts back on, and an idea to reverse the bolt – which soon became apparent was not going to make things much easier, hallelujah!  It finally fell into place.

apikol b5 s4 transmission mountThe driver side was also a bit of a challenge, but not nearly so much as the passenger side.  In all it took longer to put those two bolts in place than it did to get the motor and transmission back into the car.

It better ride like it’s on pillows after all that effort.

F’ing Single Piece Driveshaft

After getting the car back on the road I discovered a slight vibration that would start around 40-50 mph growing more noticeable as speed increased to 60-70 mph.  It was unaffected by varying rpm.  I started troubleshooting with a trip to a shop to have the wheel balance checked.  That did not eliminate the vibration.  I then took the car back to the shop that routinely works on my car, HB Motorwerks, to see if they could diagnose the problem, their assessment was that it was related to the driveshaft.  I hate this type of troubleshooting where expensive and time consuming parts need to be swapped out.  At the moment I have a re-manufactured OEM two piece driveshaft being delivered from Wholesale Import Parts.  While I’m hopeful that this corrects the problem since if it doesn’t it will mean buying additional parts and more work changing them out, if it does turn out to be the Driveshaft Shop single piece driveshaft I’m going to be irate at wasting money trying this driveshaft.

Driveshaft Heat Shield

With the single piece driveshaft and 3.5″ single exhaust I was finding that the heat shield between the exhaust and driveshaft was in contact with the exhaust, the space is tight between those two main components.

Audi B5 S4 single piece driveshaft and 034 single 3.5" exhaust pipe

I took a hammer and started strategically creating flat spots so that the driveshaft and the exhaust pipe each had some space with clearance to sit within.  I still need to do a test drive to ensure the driveshaft doesn’t rub anything. When I pressed on the heat shield I was getting movement of the heat shield where if it were too close to the driveshaft I’d have expected that there wouldn’t be any movement.  Hopefully that’s a good sign that the clearance is sufficient.

Audi B5 S4 driveshaft heat shield


Driveshaft install

I’ve gotten pretty far behind on making product reviews.  Added to the slate are these Stern motor mounts which are replacing a set of RS4 motor mounts.

Audi B5 S4 Stern Motor Mounts

Another new addition is a Driveshaft Shop single piece drive-shaft.  The driveshaft support had been damaged on the manual transmission driveshaft and in weighing my options, one being to purchase an aftermarket support to try and install, go with a completely re-manufactured driveshaft, or purchase the single piece unit, I decided the added cost would be worth the easier install and slightly lighter weight.  I will be interested to see if I notice a difference.

Driveshaft Shop single piece drive-shaft

I also began to re-install the motor and transmission.  I decided to begin trying to install the axles while the motor was still a good ways out from the mounts so that I could have an easier time of it.  That didn’t work as well as I had planned and after a good 3 to 4 hours of work I finally had inched, literally, the motor into position where I could bolt the axles to the transmission.  At times I was lowering the motor a half an inch at a time to ensure nothing was being bound up or crushed.  I’m seriously considering just installing the axles after the motor is in place the next time I do this.

As an additional note, I connected the stainless steel slave cylinder line while the motor was pretty far out.  It was a fair bit more difficult to get the AN fittings to thread properly versus the stock configuration which just snaps into place.  I ended up removing the driver’s side primary O2 sensor so that I could get my hand into a position where I could get the threads to mesh properly.   With the O2 sensor out of the way things went smoother.

I also ended up removing the bottom portion of the transmission mounts so that I could manipulate the axles.  Yet another reason to think about installing the axles at the end the next time,

Audi B5 S4 engine installation