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View Full Version : APR Stage 3+ installation notes and initial impressions (long)



mmart6545
12-23-2005, 04:28 PM
A bunch of you guys have emailed me asking for my impressions with the APR stage 3+ kit. In this post, I will summarize my installation experience with Champion Motorsport and describe my initial impressions with the kit.

I’ve been a stage 3 owner for about a year. I loved the kit through and through, and there is plenty of information in the archives with regard to the quality of components, tuning, and attention to detail that accompanies the “normal” stage 3. The reason I upgraded was because I was getting bored. Again, I had to make the same decision as when I initially went stage 3…should I get a new car or continue upgrading money into my Audi. Purchasing an already stage 3 S4 was very tempting, but I figured I’d have to spend over $30k to get a used car without a warranty. At that rate, I might as well get a new STI (no Evos for me).

During October APR was taking preorders of the 3+ kit, and I knew the rumors were going to become a reality. I ordered the day Stephen announced the kit was in the works and close to being available. I followed up my order the day APR announced the kit was ready to be shipped, and got my kit in the mail 2 days later. I was really happy with the service APR provided me during this part of the upgrade. They answered all my calls, and Chris George even called me back with tracking information.

I decided to let Champion handle the installation since I don’t have the patience, experience, time, or resources need to accomplish an installation of this magnitude. Furthermore, no one has any real experience with this particular kit. I figured I’d let their experienced technicians deal with whatever was needed to make this kit happen. I had previously seen Champions service and quality installation on GatorAl’s stage 3 S4, so I knew I was in good hands. FYI- this isn’t the dealership Champion. This is Champion Motorsports, a subsidiary which handles all their aftermarket products and installations.

I scheduled an appointment with Ben at Champion. I accompanied the 3+ install with a host of other upgrades and maintenance items:

Replace Fuel Filter
Install S4 Motor Mounts
Replace Evoltuion Motorsports electric fan kit with new OEM viscous fan
Replace transmission and rear differential fluids with OEM
Retorque my AWE transmission bar
Coolant temperature sensor.
Compression check.
Clean up secondary air pump hoses and installation

APR included every single item and gasket needed to complete the installation sans a few things. For one, they should include an intake manifold gasket. The manifold needs to come out to tap the injector seats (more on this later).

Champion took a total of 5 work days to complete the install. I know they weren’t dedicated solely on my project, but I do know that far more time then anticipated was required. Ben at Champion is CLEARLY the man. This guy called me each and every time something came up, often inviting me down to the shop so I could see exactly what they were talking about and how they were planning on remiding the situation.

About half of the installation “problems” were because of existing modifications. For one, my evolution motorsports FMIC has hard pipes coming off the turbo. The 28r has the pressure sensor hole in the cold side of the turbo, the 28rs does not. The 3+ comes with a new turbo to crossover pipe silicone hose with a bung for the n75. I could not use this hose. Instead, Champion welded a new bung into my existing FMIC pipe. They did a VERY clean job. Huge kudos to them. If your FMIC uses the existing x-over pipe, then you will not run into this problem (A la the APR FMIC).

Another task I had Champion include in the installation quote was to clean up the secondary air pump hoses. This took them a while, but they routed all new hoses. Again, users of the APR fmic wont have to deal with this, because it keeps the pump in the OEM location. I really wish I took this route in the first place.

Ray Khan sold me a tap for the manifold. The tap is used on the injector seats and YOU SHOULD NOT ATTEMPT THE INSTALL WITHOUT ONE! Ray was also gracious enough to provide a bolt to ease the removal of the OEM seats. Champion called me and told me they started the car and the injector seats were leaking. When they pulled the injector seats back out, the sealer had not completely cured (after it sat for 5 days!). Be careful when installing your injectors to make sure the seats are sealed completely. Kudos to champion for making sure everything was tight before sending me on my way. The fact that the sealer had failed to cure could have been disastrous. Champion used a sealer used on their race cars instead.

The turbo inlet hose was designed for the b6, there is no doubt about that. It can be forced to work with the B5, which is what Champion did for me. There are 5 holes in the hose, and there should be 4. Even the early version B6’s need only 4 holes, but the later B6’s have an additional spot needed for an evap line (I think?). One of the holes need to be pluged, and that’s kind of ghetto in my opinion. The turbo inlet hose also hits the headlight and the timing belt cover. There isn’t much room to work in there. The B6’s have more room to ‘clock’ the hose so it can fit without hitting the headlighlt. Champion had to take a small amount of material off the hose to make it so all the screws can be used to hold the headlight. Right now, the headlight is holding on for dear life, and it is pointed very high. I’m going to have to reaim everything. Also, when you look at the front of the car, you can clearly see the headlight is not in correctly. This kind of bothers me. I was thinking about maybe upgrading to the ATP inlet later on down the road, who knows…but it is working now.

As a result of the inlet hose being designed for the b6, the Carbonio intake was more hassle then it was worth. In hindsight, I would have skipped the intake and gone with something custom made by Champion. They prefer the canister type filters, and they were basically laughing at the Carbonio intake. They showed me a beautiful carbon fiber piece they designed for the 997S, and the physics seemed to make sense. (Price - $4000). The Carbonio is not an air box as advertised. It simply has shields on each side. APR contests they designed the canister type filters and had larger power gains with the carbonio, so I don’t know who to believe. The front of the ‘air box’ had to be machined some to accommodate the larger maf. The paint was too thick to make it work out of the box. Pain in the ass – this is something APR should have dealt with.

The combination of the poor fitting turbo inlet hose and half-ass airbox, makes the entire kit tough to ‘pull together’. Lots of time and struggle was had to make the stars align to get all the pieces to work. You can tell that it was a pain to come together just by looking at the installation from the top – especially my $500 xenon ecode.

I also installed the APR throttle body hose. It fit no problem! I installed new plugs with the kit and the compression check looked tasty –

Cyl 1 – 192
Cyl 2 – 189
Cyl 3 – 185
Cyl 4 – 195

I sent both my oil and transmission oils out to Blackstone Labs to have them look it over.

After all the struggle – the kit DID come together. It DOES work, just takes a lot of tugging and adjusting to get it there. Not something I want to take on myself, thanks. Overall, I am very impressed with Champion. I cannot say enough good things about them (especially my installer Victor and Ben the “service manager”). I cant see a laymen doing the installation to the Champion magnitude. Their attention to detail is amazing. I’d say they spent over 24 work hours on my car.

Now – for the good stuff. I haven’t had time to log the car yet, but at 21 psi, the car MOVES. I know Ray has been running his setup at 15 psi due to other parts failing on him, but I have had zero problems. Take everything you know about the stage 3 software, and apply it to the 3+ software with an additional 50 HP. The lag is almost the same. I can barely notice any difference. Full spool well before 4000 rpms. I’m not used to the power yet, but I love it so far.

I’ll post some more pictures of everything tomorrow. I started a new job this week, so I haven’t had time to do what I’ve wanted with the car (logs and what not).

I do have some more stuff I can keep rambling on about, but I have to go grab some dinner. I tried to make this informative and unbiased. Any more questions feel free to ask!

bitterchild
12-23-2005, 04:55 PM
Originally posted by mmart6545
APR included every single item and gasket needed to complete the installation sans a few things.

That wouldn't be every single item and gasket would it [;)]

Congrats on the whole deal and kudos to Champion. May I ask how many hours of labor you were charged for everything and why you went back to a viscous fan clutch?

AvantSpeed
12-23-2005, 04:55 PM
Great post!!! Get those pic uploaded : )

soupie69uk
12-23-2005, 06:25 PM
I am so glad to hear about your install.

Also glad that almost everything went to plan and this is not a ATP type install.

bigcfromcinci
12-23-2005, 06:56 PM
Sounds nice...not being nosy but how much did the upgrade cost?I have the stg3 kit as well & was thinking about going to the PLUS kit.

nizmosx
12-23-2005, 07:12 PM
so are they claiming a 50 hp gain for the + kit compared to the normal stage three. Also with a 50 hp gain it should feel like a whole different beast but it doesnt seem like your first impressions portrayed that. You did state that you need more time with the kit tho, so im curious to see what you think after you have had a week or so with the kit. I remember when i went from stock to chiped i said wow. I also remember when i went from chipped to ko4 i said wow again. i guess im just wondering if you felt the same way going from 3 to 3+

mmart6545
12-23-2005, 07:42 PM
Originally posted by nizmosx
so are they claiming a 50 hp gain for the + kit compared to the normal stage three. Also with a 50 hp gain it should feel like a whole different beast but it doesnt seem like your first impressions portrayed that. You did state that you need more time with the kit tho, so im curious to see what you think after you have had a week or so with the kit. I remember when i went from stock to chiped i said wow. I also remember when i went from chipped to ko4 i said wow again. i guess im just wondering if you felt the same way going from 3 to 3+

My steps were:
Stock, chipped, normal k04, J31, stage 3, and now this.

The stage 3 to 3+ jump is almost like being chipped again. I noticed a large increase in performance.

BranCKY3
12-23-2005, 08:19 PM
Just curious, how big was the jump from J31 to stage 3? You ran a 13.9 with the J31, correct? Did you ever take the stage 3 to the track?

AB18
12-23-2005, 09:17 PM
I did the normal stage 3 install by myself and i prolly spent 30hr on the hardware getting to where i want it. I have the b6/stage3+ inlet and turbo exit hose, and the fitment is terrible, and i had to plug holes aswell.

bitterchild
12-23-2005, 09:20 PM
you know how long it takes me :p

mmart6545
12-25-2005, 04:07 PM
Originally posted by bitterchild
you know how long it takes me :p

I ran some logs and posted them over on AW

http://forums.audiworld.com/a4/msgs/2465170.phtml