View Full Version : To upgrade turbo and control arms or not?

08-16-2018, 02:37 PM
So this may seem like a dumb post for this forum, but I'll take the abuse. I may rant slightly, bear with me, here goes:

I got bit by the audi bug about 7 years ago. Bought a 1993 100cs and it was a great car, ride was the smoothest I'd had up to that point. Since then I've owned a 1997 a6 and then a 1998 a6. I was able to get both insanely cheap and put 50,000 miles on the 98 in a year. It was a great car but due to budgetary restraints, I wasn't able to pre-emptively address the timing belt and it went out on me. I walked away from the car since I didn't have the time or funds for a rebuild/swap.

After the a6 went out, I knew I wanted another audi (of course) but was interested in better gas mileage, so I looked into a4's. After a lot of forum reading, I decided to go b5 over b6, as the b6 seems to be plagued with issues.

I found a 1999 a4 1.8t in running condition with high miles (211,000) for $1200. No window issues or other common problems, wired with subs and with 07 passat powder coated wheels. Interior in immaculate, black leather is perfect. Engine is running strong, shifts smooth, basically everything was great. Control arms were all squeaking but I didn't mind going fcp euro there. The guy I bought it from was a mobile mechanic for 30+ years and did let me know the turbo might be going.

Well yesterday the turbo went out, at least based on my hobbyist level diagnosis (dentist drill whine before no whine/whistle, loss of power in low rpms, intermittent boosting as if turbo was re-engaging for short periods, some smoke in exhaust, not tons tho). Planning on doing dv while I'm at it. I'm not extremely experienced turning wrenches, but I'm learning and have been slowly tackling more complex jobs. I'm hesitant to get in over my head, but it seems the turbo is something I could do with the right amount of research and patience. It will be my first engine work outside routine maintenance, but I think I'm ready to give it a shot.

So, with that ramble over, here are my questions:

I am thinking of going with an oe replacement on the turbo and control arms. Mostly due to two reasons; I don't think I can afford stage 2 currently and I'm not looking for a track car. Is there any benefit/ reason to upgrade either system if I'm happy with stock performance?

When the car is ready for a new engine I think I will go with upgrades but for now I think I'll keep it stock. The high miles don't necessarily bother me, mostly because everything else about the car is the what I was looking for and I'll replace the trans/engine eventually.

I know I'm breaking a cardinal rule of audi ownership: trying to own one on a budget without a large wealth of mechanical knowledge to tackle all issues as they arise. But I don't want any other car. I drive my gf's mazda 6 and its just boring and cloth and plastic inside.

Lastly, any brands I should avoid looking for turbo's? Any cheap brands that aren't garbage? I appreciate any input. Thanks

08-16-2018, 05:17 PM
If money is an issue, just pick up a used factory one for like $150. People sell them all the time. This is what I did when my turbo blew. As for control arms, just changed these on my car a couple weeks ago. OE is Lemforder brand and I was able to piece a full kit together for around the $600 mark (Rock Auto, FCP Euro, and Ebay). Reason being is I expect them to last at least 100k vs other brands when longevity can get compromised around the 50k mark. The saying you get what you pay for, applies here. But when it comes to the FCP warranty, ordering any kit from them would be the best route due to warranty alone. This is why many run the FCP kit. When a part blows, they simply get a free replacement. But then you have to swap the part out.

08-17-2018, 08:38 AM
Yeah the warranty is what sold me on fcp. I was looking at their delphi kit, had good reviews from what I saw and the lifetime warranty is just unheard of in other brands. So for used factory turbo, is best bet the local pick a part? Or classifieds on here? Are there any companies that do a good rebuild?

08-17-2018, 09:04 AM
G Pop Shop

08-17-2018, 10:00 AM
Yeah the warranty is what sold me on fcp. I was looking at their delphi kit, had good reviews from what I saw and the lifetime warranty is just unheard of in other brands. So for used factory turbo, is best bet the local pick a part? Or classifieds on here? Are there any companies that do a good rebuild?

FYI, there's a 5% off coupon running on FCP: pla6764

08-17-2018, 10:23 AM
That's great, thanks for the heads up. Looking on Rockauto I see they have a cardone select new turbo for $285. From what I've been able to figure cardone is owned by adp which now owns rotomaster (formerly garrett) so is this just a repackaged/alternately branded rotomaster? It's not the a1 cardone reman which is also on rock auto. Does this sound like I'm on the right track? Anyone know how far off I am?

08-17-2018, 11:58 AM
You can also just send your current turbo to G Pop Shop and have them rebuild it for $350. Or for a few more coin, have them rebuild it and turn it into a k03/k04 hybrid. This can be ran on the car everything stock and be fine. Then when your budget increases and you want to get tuned, you purchase a k04-15 tune (not a stage 1 for stock turbo), upgrade your exhaust system and more power to you [drive]. There are people till this day very happy with running a k04 upgraded turbo and it should also hold decent value if you ever want to upgrade from that and resell it (figure you can resell anywhere from $350-$700, whatever people are willing to pay).

This way you are not just replacing your turbo, but you are setting it up for the future at the same time. You won't be able to utilize the extra power the k03/k04 hybrid can grant it till you get a tune for it, yet safe to run on a stock engine and untuned ECM (7psi for the AEB). If in your shoes (wanting to mod, on a budget, but need to take care of maintenance first), this option assists in the modding aspect of your vehicle while you do maintenance.


Joe Jr.
08-17-2018, 04:14 PM
good link Seerlah, i've been planning on having them do the conversion on a spare k03 i have this winter. It looks like they are pretty well known also and do good work. really not bad prices at all.

08-18-2018, 10:20 AM
Thanks for the info, all definitely worth considering. I think I might end up going rock auto just because the car is my daily driver and my truck gets horrible mileage comparitively (1990 ford f150 with 302) so I think waiting for a rebuild from g pop might be a little too long. But I'll probably go that route when I'm ready to go bigger.

08-26-2018, 09:06 AM
If you have any questions about Mods let me know. I have a 99 aeb 1.8t, and has been a wonder to drive with the past 40+ miles. I use the f21, which is a KO4 hybrid, biggest difference is the turbine larger compressor wheel allowing it to flow more than the ko4-015. Not a huge difference, but could be about 40-50chp depending on the tune and other mods you have.

09-03-2018, 10:07 AM
Quick question on dv's, any way I can test the one I have? Didn't order a new one when I ordered my turbo, I assumed (like a jackass) that they'd be cheaper at autozone than $86. Want to replace it since it's so easy and probably due, but would rather order one from FCP for $41 with lifetime warranty. I'd like to run the old one for the few days while I'm waiting for shipping. Any risk to doing that? Any way to tell if it's working or not besides the way the car runs? I'll eventually do it, but would like to get the car back on the road in the meantime before the new one gets here. Should have everything back together this afternoon

09-03-2018, 10:12 AM
You can run it fine till new one comes in. Not sure how to test the stock one. You should have also ordered the Kayser 710n. Much more stout than stock and comes stock on the TT 225.

09-03-2018, 10:38 AM
Awesome. Thanks man, I'll look up the kayser

Joe Jr.
09-04-2018, 10:40 AM
there's usually a forge or similar for sale here in the classifieds. I bought an 034 diverter and really liked it, they are $100 but actually liked it better than the Forge i'm using now.

did you end up with the turbo from Rock Auto?