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December '09 Featured AZ'er: biketsai's 2001 A4 Sedan

December '09 Featured AZ'er: biketsai's 2001 A4 Sedan

December 21, 2009 - By Audizine Staff
User Name: biketsai
Real Name: Chris Tsai
Location: San Antonio, TX USA
Year of Vehicle: 2001
Model of Vehicle: A4 quattro sedan
Engine of Vehicle: 1.8T
Color of Vehicle: Brilliant Black
 
Do what you love, and love what you do. Great words spoken by a great man, and also by the Featured AZ'er for December, Chris Tsai (AKA: biketsai). We're a big fan of that saying, and it certainly hits home with the story of Chris and his car. You see, Chris is deeply, madly, passionately in love with his 2001 A4 1.8T quattro sedan. If he could legally marry a motor vehicle in the wonderful God-fearing state of Texas, I believe he actually might do so. Marriage license or not, it's better or for worse, till death do they part.

You know it's love when you've invested not only thousands of dollars in parts for your car, but hundreds of hours and gallons of blood from turning your own wrenches. We're not talking the easy stuff either, like changing your light bulbs or installing a K&N air filter. Chris and a few of his closest buddies have tackled projects as serious as turbo upgrades, coil-over suspensions, and a custom made front-mount intercooler. The pièce de résistance though is a full automatic-to-manual transmission swap. That's right, Chris is so attached to this car that instead of dumping what was once a Tiptronic equipped A4 in favor of one that already came from the factory with a stick shift, he decided to just swap out the whole damn tranny instead!

Your hat just has to come off when you hear about such dedication, not to mention when you see the gorgeous car that Chris has created. In taking all of the best pieces from the Audi parts bin, and a number of items from various aftermarket parts companies, he's got a car that not only looks great but has the guts to back it up. Armed now with a solid transmission that can take the power upgrade of his PES T28 turbo kit, along with a serious suspension upgrade, his Brilliant Black A4 can really hustle. The "OEM Plus" items come by way of several models such as the TT, S4, RS 4, and A8. Other notable tuner upgrades are an exhaust from APR, coil-over system by H&R, front and rear sway bars courtesy of KW, and adjustable control arms manufactured by CPP. Thankfully for all of us, and especially the B5 A4 Forum, Chris isn't afraid to spread the love.

Current Modifications

 - Engine/Exhaust:
  • PES T28 Turbo Kit
  • PES Exhaust Manifold
  • 2.5" Testpipe to APR Exhaust
  • DIY FMIC
  • GReddy Profec Spec II EBC
  • EVO MS Diverter Valve
 - Suspension/Transmission: 
  • H&R PCS Coilovers
  • KW Front and Rear Sway Bars
  • LLTek Upper Tower Bar
  • CPP Adjustable Control Arms
 - Wheels/Brakes:
  • B5 Audi RS4 Replicas; 18"x8.5"
  • Audi TT Carriers/A8 rotors
- Interior:
  • S4 Seats
  • S4 Cluster
  • DIY Carbon Fabric Trim
  • 15% Tint
  • Blitz Turbo Timer/Boost Gauge
 - Exterior: 
  • S4 Sideskirts
  • S4 Rear Lower Valence
  • B5 RS 4 Grille
  • DIY Clear Corner Mod
  • European Style Trunk Lid from '96 A4
  • European Plate
Future Modifications
 
Water/Meth Injection, BBK, and a Built Motor/Bigger turbo.
  
Q (Audizine): How long have you owned the B5?
A (Chris): I have owned this A4 since June 2007.
 
Q: And your ownership with the car, how has it been overall?
A: It could not be any better. Occasionally it becomes a love/hate relationship but the car never fails to put a smile on my face or joy to my life. Luckily the car has not required much maintenance although I like to think that upgrading parts has sort of become the preventative maintenance.

Q: Think you'll be getting another one anytime soon?
A: As much as I would like to, being a full time student has its expenses. At this point with the amount of modifications I have done to this car, there is no return or possibility of parting ways. Over the past year I have put my car on the market a few times to test the waters because I was at a brick wall with the limitations of the automatic transmission only to buy a manual B5 A4/S4. Since I have swapped to a 5-speed I have not looked back. This B5 is staying with me forever!
 
Q: Is it your first Audi? If not, which others have you owned?
A: No, unfortunately I used to have a 2001 Santorin Blue B5 A4 1.8T FWD Tiptronic which was totaled out after four months of ownership.
 
Q: How long have you been into Audis and in the European tuning scene?
A: I have been into Audis and the European tuning scene for about three years. Right when I got my first Audi the first places I went to were Audizine.com and NorthTexasAudiGroup.com. From there I found local events and meets straight away.

Q: And how long have you been into cars in general, as an enthusiast?
A: I have been into cars ever since I can remember. I suppose it all started with the giant box of Hot Wheels that I had as a child. I instantly became an enthusiast when I came across Audizine and my local Audi forum about 2.5 years ago. Since then my passion has grown dramatically.
 
Q: Where do you think the love comes from? Can it be traced back to anyone or anything?
A: I definitely have to say that my passion for cars comes from my mother. She used to own a '94 Mercedes C280 that she babied like no other. I used to tag along with her when she would spend three-plus hours at the local car wash and wondering how she could possibly spend so much time cleaning! She was always into the handling and power aspects of her vehicle and always shared those things with me before I even had a clue. Still to this day she claims that she loves cars more than I do. Well just about a year ago I converted her to Audi. She now drives a B6 A4 Ultrasport in black.

Q: What's your most favorite thing about the A4 you have now?
A: I absolutely love the body style of the B5. In my opinion the lines of the car are perfect. As many B5'ers have said, 'the body style is timeless'. Back when the A4 was introduced it was ahead of its time. The best feeling is knowing that a car that was produced 8-13 years ago can look just as good as most modern cars. Nothing is better than taking a step back and admiring the way the B5 looks, it gets me every day.

Q: And what's your least favorite thing, the one thing you dislike the most?
A: Well at first my biggest peeve was the fact that the car was an automatic. At the time it just seemed like there was no other way to overcome this until some members on Audizine led the way for the manual swap. The only other thing that bugs me is my awkward factory colored interior, the brown/gray dash. Eventually that will be changed out to make the interior completely black. Gotta love local junkyards!

Q: Can you explain your modding style? Do you prefer more go, more show, perhaps a combo of both?
A: My modding style is definitely a combination of both show and go. Having looks, or power, is just half of it. With both combined I am truly satisfied with what the car has to offer every day. I modded the car with every aspect in mind; handling, speed, and looks. With some modifications of the body and engine, the B5 A4 has a lot more to bring to the table. Before I went with a bigger turbo I learned to truly appreciate having a nice looking car without much having much "go". As stated earlier, the body style is just something I can admire alone.
 
Q: Do you prefer to do the work yourself, or do you have a favorite shop handle the wrenching for you?
A:  I prefer to work on everything myself. Not only do I gain experience and knowledge of the car, but with it comes self satisfaction. There may be tough and frustrating times when wrenching but it is all worth it in the end. It's almost ridiculous thinking back on all of the work that I have done and how much it would have cost if I brought it to a shop. From the way I see it, we are all human. Anyone is capable of doing the work as long as you have the right tools, directions, and some logic.
 
Q: Which mod are you the most proud of or happy with?
A: The recent manual swap is by far the mod I am the most proud and happy with. Not only is my car now capable of many greater things, but the A4 has become everything I could have ever wanted. Just until late this summer, July of '09 in fact, the directions for swapping to a manual weren't there. Thanks to a few Audizine members (zrowcool/werewolves182) who stepped up to the plate and did the manual swap, the dream turned to reality. Before I swapped it I was doubted by many and given that "I don't think you can do it" look multiple times. Just finishing the swap in my girlfriend's garage on jack-stands, with the help of a couple friends and without much previous transmission knowledge, made me feel accomplished. I proceeded to put together a complete DIY writeup on the transmission swap to clarify anything and everything for future reference so that others can do the swap. The writeup can be found in the B5 A4 Projects & Builds Forum.

Q: If you can, please describe your fondest memory of owning, modifying, or driving this vehicle.
A: My fondest memory is also one of the saddest memories as well. During my manual swap I created a huge short with the starter cable (details in the DIY). The short caused my positive battery cable to catch fire, setting fire to three spots in my engine bay right as I was about to start the car for the first time. As I ran around my girlfriend's garage looking for something to put the fire out I was thinking of all of the great times with the car, and mods that I put in. It was just like a movie; the relationship I had with the car flashed before my eyes. It was truly the saddest moment, thinking that it was going to be gone just like that. Luckily the water hose saved the day! This event also brought to my attention the importance of electrical fire safety.
 
Q: What would be in your ultimate two-car garage, if money were no object yet you could only choose two vehicles?
A: Hands down, a B5 Audi RS 4 and a BMW E30 M3. Both are magnificent machines that will always have my interest and might become future additions to the stable.
 
Q: What do your friends and family think about your passion for Audis?
A: To put it in a short sentence, they believe that I think the world revolves around Audis. My parents don't mind at all, I have even invited them to a show before. My friends think that I am so madly in love with Audis and Audizine that they have even put money on the table to bet that I couldn't speak of Audis or visit Audizine for a full day. Just recently my girlfriend said something pretty funny, "Chris, I just got this new Safari browser that tells me the top 10 websites I visit...FOUR OF THOSE ARE AUDIZINE!"
 
Q: How does your love for cars and Audis affect your life? Does it play a  big part at all?
A: My love for Audis plays quite the role in my life. I've met many new people through the car community and it has helped network in many ways. My car is my pride and passion.
 
Q: And what brought you to Audizine? Also, how long have you been with us?
A: Google. Where would I be without Google?! I have been a member of Audizine since June of 2007. The Audizine community was exactly what I was looking for; a place to meet other enthusiasts and a place where I could learn about my car.

Q: When you're not on The Zine, or out wrenching on the Audi, what do like to you do for fun?
A: I also share a passion for biking which I have been actively doing for the past six years. I ride a 20" BMX freestyle bike for fun and occasionally competitively. I recently started playing racquetball as well which is extremely addicting!
 
Q: Do yave an interesting day-job, something you enjoy?
A: Currently I am unemployed, although at one point I used to make sushi!
 
Q: Mmmm, sushi... Any word of advice for your fellow enthusiasts, a bit of wisdom you've gleaned over the years?
A: Do what you love; love what you do. All the information is there, you just gotta find it!

Q: Truer words have seldom been spoken! So before we go,  do you have anyone you'd like to mention or thank?
A: I would like to thank my family and friends for being there and putting up with my Audi talk (which probably makes no sense to them).
  1. biketsai's 2001 A4 Sedan - Chris Tsai

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  2. biketsai's 2001 A4 Sedan - Chris Tsai

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  3. biketsai's 2001 A4 Sedan - Calvin Yeh

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  4. biketsai's 2001 A4 Sedan - Calvin Yeh

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  5. biketsai's 2001 A4 Sedan - Chris Tsai

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  6. biketsai's 2001 A4 Sedan - Chris Tsai

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  7. biketsai's 2001 A4 Sedan - Chris Tsai

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  8. biketsai's 2001 A4 Sedan - Chris Tsai

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  9. biketsai's 2001 A4 Sedan - Chris Tsai

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December '09 Featured AZ'er: biketsai's 2001 A4 Sedan
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