Frankenturbo F4H-BT

Note: The write-up below is incomplete and piecemeal.

For now this comparison with the TiAL 605 kit is all that I’ve got as far as an end-to-end discussion goes.  F4H-BT vs TiAL 605

The dilemma

As the tuning of my TiAL 605 kit was dragging on I began to think that perhaps I had made a mistake in giving up my K04 turbo’s. Two things were combining to make me question the level of satisfaction I would get from the 605’s responsiveness, the software tune was not yet dialed in, and the final tweaks were being done in July and August. As I expressed in the 605 write up, I feel the 605’s have some noticeable lag as compared to K04’s, not to the point that they take away from the driving experience, but something that requires the driver to adjust for, in my case in a way that I was unwilling to adjust. Dropping into second gear at 30 to 40 mph is not something I am frequently doing. When the temperatures go up, this lag becomes greater. Consistency is something I value, I like to know how the car is going to respond and getting similar performance in hot and cold is a desirable trait for me, even if it requires giving up the top of performance to get that consistency.

At about the same time I was struggling to get my car to where I thought it should be I learned about another option, the FrankenTurbo F4H-BT. A K04 based hybrid that was being beta tested on the S4. The goals for the F4H were very appealing to me, quick turbo spoolup, near K03 performance, but top end capacity near what the RS6 turbo’s were capable of. The opportunity to participate in the evaluation of a new product caught my attention. Because the beta group would be guinea pigs the product was offered at a discount for a small group that could afford to be without their car for some time, and would have the ability to collect good information of the turbo’s performance.

I decided to hedge my bet and volunteered to help out with the beta testing by purchasing a set of the F4H-BT’s. Thus began an ongoing discussion between my self and the staff at FrankenTurbo over how best to proceed. Because I still had some concerns that my car was not functioning as it should due to a hardware issue, I wanted to make sure my car was verified healthy before making a switch from the 605’s. As the time went on another consideration came into play, I would be able to demonstrate on the same vehicle, the two most desireable options for a stock motor S4.

March 27, 2011 – driver’s side turbo on. **BETA WARNING** – These are beta turbo’s, these are not production representative.

It didn’t help that I had removed the TiAL lines from the car, so it wasn’t fresh in my mind how the stock hoses connected, and while I thought it was a pain connecting the TiAL lines, the stock ones were worse. Nor did the fact that Dave was leading the way the last time my motor was out help me this time going solo.

I started off working on installing the pressure lines to the compressor housing and wastegate. After about half and hour of struggling to get the banjo bolt to line up with the hole I bothered to reference the ETKA blow up of the turbo system and realized the reason it was such a pain was that I was trying to attach the passenger side line to the driver’s side turbo. LOL! After taking the time to list out step by step which lines I’d attach in what order to make it go smoothly I didn’t check to make sure that I was attaching the lines to the proper side. “Measure twice, cut once” – words to live by.

The struggle then continued until after I finally realized that the braided portion of the compressor signal line would rotate, things got a little easier then. It still took a while to get almost everything bolted up when I encountered this problem. I couldn’t turn the coolant line bolt because it was hitting the turbine housing.

I was pretty well over working on the car any more this day after I hit this road block. Another valuable lesson from the 605 experience was to consider my car down indefinitely once the swap began, that way I wasn’t under any pressure ($$$) to get it back up and running.

A little bit of research on one of the beta testers experiences that was documented on QW showed another beta set of turbos had this same problem. **BETA Alert** These are beta turbo’s that I have, not production representative. The solution was to re-clock the turbo so that the coolant line could be attached without the blockage by the turbine housing. Not too hard to do, there’s about 8 bolts to loosen on the turbine housing, except that in the position the turbo was at I couldn’t reach all of them. Uh. So off came all of the lines. Loosened the bolts, got the coolant line on, and tightened things down. Then everything went back on fine and thankfully that side is essentially done.

I also decided to put some foil around the silicone reducer joining the TiAL inlet to the turbo. There’s an air gap between it and the exhaust manifold, but I’m thinking the radiant heat will still be pretty high, so hopefully this will provide some useful shielding.

Frankenturbo upgrade

I decided to install the Frankenturbo F4H-BT turbocharger in my car when I realized that I missed the quick response of my previous K04’s.

In September 2010 Frankenturbo was beginning beta testing of the F4H on the S4 and I inquired about the possibility of participating. I was invited to participate and several weeks later I purchased a set of the turbo’s. I also began searching for a tuner to work with me on getting the ECU tuned to work with this new product.

Initially I approached a tuner that worked primarily on the 1.8T engines but that did not prove fruitful. I then reconsidered my options among the major players in the 2.7T realm, Autospeed, EPL, and VAST. At this stage none of the tuners had any experience with the Frankenturbo so there was no reason to select one tuner over another based upon familiarity with the product. I had just completed working with EPL on the 605 tuning and was interested in trying something different. Autospeed and VAST both were open to tuning the Frankenturbo’s, but as time went by VAST was expected to tune a Frankenturbo car prior to my being ready to do so, and I decided to go with the shop that had some time with the turbo, even if it was very minimal.

Choosing VAST Performance turned out to be a huge mistake that did nothing but suck up my time, money, and expose me to a corrupt business. Click here to read about that mess.

Following the disastrous encounter with VAST Performance I decided to work with a shop that I had personal dealings with and knew to be honest and helpful, EPL.

I swapped out some of the car’s components, the MAF housing and fuel injectors, and replaced them with the same components that I had used during the 605 tuning, an 85mm MAF housing and 72# Bosch EV14 fuel injectors.

Audi B5 S4