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  1. #1
    Stage 2 Banner Advertiser Four Rings
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    Cool The #offroadaudi A8 D3 project is here...

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    Sometimes ideas come from the least expected places and as ridiculous as they sound on paper they just have to be set in motion...

    During the first test outing with Gorman Motorsports pro-class naturally aspirated Polaris RZR we found that we ran out of space inside the tow vehicle for all of the supplies and team members to all get into the desert. Well as luck would have it the A8 D3 has air suspension and a lift mode, so why not give it a shot. The car performed amazingly well on dirt, loose gravel and deep sand, even with less than capable performance all-season tires.



    The idea was borne that every race driver needs a limousine back and forth from the event, but even better yet a limo that can turn on a dime, deliver a mechanic or needed spare parts and roll through the desert in air conditioned ease.



    The seed was planted and the inevitable just had to happen. After some research on the biggest tire diameters possible, some test fitments and months of gathering parts the slow build up process yielded this, enjoy!

























    The car features a host of useful upgrades that any chase vehicle for an offroad team would need. A custom installed CETE air suspension controller allows for the fun of -55mm front and rear for parking and 30mm of additional clearance in lift mode which is still fully switchable through the factory MMI. Hella lamps were custom wired up with dual relays and wired to the factory front fog light switch with a hidden cutoff just in case we don't want to blind anyone while using the fog lights normally. Factory Audi crossbars hold a Loadwarrior rack with a full sized spare, additional gas, a shovel for any sticky situations and a 5ft VHF/UHF antenna for longer range team communications. The car is fully stocked with hand tools, power tools, jump pack, air compressor, emergency equipment, first aid kit and plenty of space for mechanics, driver's and spares in the unlikely event the car becomes the primary chase vehicle during it's first race 8/18 for the BITD Vegas to Reno race.

    Lighting
    4x Hella Rallye 1000 Black Magic Lamps
    Lamin-X Fog Light Film (Incoming)

    Exterior
    European License Plate Holder
    Genuine Audi Crossbars
    Yakima Loadwarrior Rack
    Yakima Spare Carrier
    Yakima Shovel Holder
    2x 5 Gallon Jerry Cans
    3M Clear Bra

    Interior
    S-Line Post-Facelift Flat-Bottom Steering Wheel Package
    S8 D3 Shift Knob

    Electronics
    CETE Air Suspension Controller (Custom Installation)
    Suakoi 600A Jump Pack and Air Compressor
    Boafeng BF-F8HP 8W Dual Band Radio
    Tram 5ft Whip Antenna Directly Wired to Handheld Radio in Console
    6x USB Outlets and 5x Cigarette Style Outlets

    Wheels and Tires
    Pacer 17x7" Black Steel Wheels
    BFGoodrich 225/65-17 T/A K02 Tires
    H&R DRA 30mm Spacers
    56mm Hardened Wheel Studs
    Aerospeed Aluminum 21mm Lug Nuts

    Supplies and Tools
    10 Gallons of Gas
    Full Sized Spare
    Bully Tools Short Shovel
    Full Hand and Power Tool Kit


    If you are an offroad racing fan or just want to see an A8 well out of it's element, or maybe this is it's element, don't hesitate to follow both instagram feeds here starting Wednesday 8/16 forwards with the main event being 8/18 at 9AM PST when we begin chasing Gorman Motorsports RZR in their quest to finish this grueling 540 mile race:

    Europrice.us - - - - Gorman Motorsports

    If all goes well next year you'll see this #offroadaudi in Baja, Mexico...

    Cheers!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Two Rings dnovak33510's Avatar
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    Please tell us more about this "custom installed CETE air suspension controller" that still allows control through the factory MMI

  3. #3
    Stage 2 Banner Advertiser Four Rings
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    Quote Originally Posted by dnovak33510 View Post
    Please tell us more about this "custom installed CETE air suspension controller" that still allows control through the factory MMI


    The CETE module is mainly offered for newer Audi models with air suspension, C7, D4, etc. However the systems in many of the earlier cars with air suspension are very similar but producing a plug and play harness would be near impossible or extremely expensive part and time wise because of the large ECU style plugs the D3 models use at the air suspension controller.

    With that in mind I was able to determine what wiring was being used on the newer installations and translate that for custom use on the D3 models. Hiding behind the glovebox is the air suspension controller on the D3. The CETE module required power, ground, wiring from each level sensor, a reference lead and CAN-BUS wiring. Then firmware that worked specifically with this module was loaded and voila.

    You can see more details here on the D4 product page:

    Controller Package | A8, S8 Air Suspension

    The controller allows you to offset each suspension setting and save that as a profile. What that means is every time you select Dynamic through the MMI if you have saved a -15mm profile the car will always be 15mm lower on dynamic. Each factory MMI setting can have a profile that is lower or higher and you use the app to set this. You can also change on the fly with the app, but most people set their desired offset and use the factory MMI to change the settings.

    I can do a video to show how the system works and I gotta say it works a charm.

    There is also show mode which you can set all the way down to -55mm and obviously it will produce the super low heights you see in photos above.

    If there are any A8/S8 D3 owners interested I can work with CETE to do a flying lead harness and provide guidance on the installation. Note that it requires cutting and tapping into factory wiring and it's essential to cut and tap into the proper wiring. With that said for anyone skilled in automotive wiring it's not terrible.

    Cheers,

  4. #4
    Active Member One Ring AustinEngy's Avatar
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    Jul 28 2017
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    My Garage
    Beater D2 S8
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    Minneapolis

    I was just joking with my friends about taking my D2 to go watch the Ojibwe Forest Rally but looks like you've already gone and build a sweet offroad D chassis! I'm into offroad Subarus so seeing this kind of build is pretty frickin' sweet. Really dig the custom air suspension controller and the Hellas!
    Longtime yearner for 5 pot glory

  5. #5
    Stage 2 Banner Advertiser Four Rings
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    Quote Originally Posted by AustinEngy View Post
    I was just joking with my friends about taking my D2 to go watch the Ojibwe Forest Rally but looks like you've already gone and build a sweet offroad D chassis! I'm into offroad Subarus so seeing this kind of build is pretty frickin' sweet. Really dig the custom air suspension controller and the Hellas!
    Thank you!

    The air suspension makes the car extremely versatile. Throwing the car on lift and heading down dirt/rock BLM roads in Nevada at 50-60mph passing trucks like they were standing still really solidified that the D3 chassis could make for a useful and fun offroad capable car.

    After the race support is over the car will be used for ski/boarding/adventure/road-tripping. I've always wanted to have an old 4000 or 90 lifted up with more power and ready to offroad, just so happens we had an A8 moving into the backup car position so couldn't help myself

    Cheers,

  6. #6
    Stage 2 Banner Advertiser Four Rings
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    Quote Originally Posted by dnovak33510 View Post
    Please tell us more about this "custom installed CETE air suspension controller" that still allows control through the factory MMI
    Here is a video showing how the CETE module links via Bluetooth their app. Profiles are saved for each factory suspension setting and can be renamed so they match the factory names.



    As you can see the app switches profiles and you can see the change to the height in the lift mode which reads 30mm, this makes the car 30mm every time the lift mode is activated via the factory MMI settings. The height can can be changed quickly front and rear independently for each factory suspension mode with the the roll of your finger.

    Cheers,

  7. #7
    Senior Member Two Rings dnovak33510's Avatar
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    That's awesome Alex. Being a D3 owner it's difficult to find something other than the H&R module that allows adjustment. I've seen their stuff for the newer models and it makes sense why they haven't came out with something.

  8. #8
    Stage 2 Banner Advertiser Four Rings
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    Quote Originally Posted by dnovak33510 View Post
    That's awesome Alex. Being a D3 owner it's difficult to find something other than the H&R module that allows adjustment. I've seen their stuff for the newer models and it makes sense why they haven't came out with something.
    The biggest issue is the size and style of plugs on the D3 air suspension module. If you looking at the H&R harness adapter it's huge and has loads of wiring, mostly all pass thru, just to work with maybe 10-11 wires total out of the full system.

    CETE think that building a plug in harness is cost prohibitive, hence why other offerings are rather expensive for the D3. If you are comfortable with wiring work, disassembling automotive plugs to check pin numbers, etc. it's not all the most terrible of an installation. I do have a mapped out set of wire colors and locations on the two plugs so it would be possible to recreate, again though only for customers who are comfortable with this type of wiring work or that have shops skilled in custom electronic work.

    CETE is stating customer pricing would be the same, but I could discount for the A8/S8 D3 customers a bit. If you or anyone else is seriously interested in doing a custom installation like I have done you can PM or email for pricing: contact@europrice.us

    Cheers,

  9. #9
    Senior Member Three Rings
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    You can go bigger on tires. I was running suv tires on my d2 a8. I have a thread on it somewhere about my gutted a8. The a8 is the most understated race car audi makes. They do great in performance situations. It is a fantastic chassis

  10. #10
    Stage 2 Banner Advertiser Four Rings
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    Quote Originally Posted by somedude View Post
    You can go bigger on tires. I was running suv tires on my d2 a8. I have a thread on it somewhere about my gutted a8. The a8 is the most understated race car audi makes. They do great in performance situations. It is a fantastic chassis
    I'm not certain if this is just a D3 L chassis trait or not, but the rear wheelwell is intruded into at the front by what appears to be the interior compartment. At specific heights the BFG KO2 that are on the car are within a few millimeters of the wheelwell liner which is right on top of the intrusion into the wheelwell. These tires really were the tallest that could get in there, you might see in some profile shots how close the tire is to the front part of the quarterpanel in the rear and the intrusion is even closer to the rear tire when you shine a light into the wheelwell.

    The primary purpose of this project was for offroad racing support and we got to give this a shot, albeit a short one sadly, though the car performed it's job well. A lot of BITD officials and racers wanted to see the A8L on course instead of in the pits. A humbling experience and really challenging compared to road racing. Due to wheel stud failures within the first 20 miles or so the RZR rolled on it's side at 60mph or so on course. After hours of the drivers trying to steal studs from other hubs and limping in they broke more leaving them wheel-less with 1 mile left to the pits. We sadly timed out and were not allowed to continue since the pits closed on us. A great adventure and learning experience for all of us that participated, but onto the photos...

















    Being in the desert in these remote areas was like being on Mars. We stayed with the RZR until it was staged and the Pro-UTV class departed, every 30 seconds. The primary chase vehicle, Dodge Ram 2500, and A8L departed right before our guys headed out. We used the primary chase vehicle to stay on the road and avoid the mess of the pits. As crew chief I headed up with the A8 and waited for communication which was surprisingly good with an 8w handheld with an antenna, ~5 miles of coverage. Sadly we waited and waited and waited as our guys tried in vain to repair and limp the RZR back in.

    Our day ended with us hauling the RZR back to Reno on a trailer while other competitors took upwards of 20 hours to complete the full 540 miles of the race. Our next day proved however to be just as exciting and somewhat damaging to our vehicles. With terrible traffic between Reno and Lake Tahoe we decided to bypass this and take Henness Pass Rd which was a proper mountain offroad driving experience (video to follow). Unfortunately it was so rough the coolant reservoir cracked or another cooling system part has formed a crack/leak that only pukes out coolant when the A8 is properly hot. Luckily when moving with the heat on the car did not leak any more coolant so we were able to keep moving after an hour or so of cool down time on top of the pass.











    A nice little break in Lake Tahoe to get some rest since we had all been working on 4-5 hours of a sleep a night for around a week. The next afternoon we waited for traffic to clear as much as possible and slowly and methodically drove down the A8 down to Audi Rocklin to pickup the next chapter...



    Stay tuned for another project thread soon

  11. #11
    Veteran Member Four Rings JetBlue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex@Europrice View Post
    I'm not certain if this is just a D3 L chassis trait or not, but the rear wheelwell is intruded into at the front by what appears to be the interior compartment. At specific heights the BFG KO2 that are on the car are within a few millimeters of the wheelwell liner which is right on top of the intrusion into the wheelwell. These tires really were the tallest that could get in there, you might see in some profile shots how close the tire is to the front part of the quarterpanel in the rear and the intrusion is even closer to the rear tire when you shine a light into the wheelwell.

    The primary purpose of this project was for offroad racing support and we got to give this a shot, albeit a short one sadly, though the car performed it's job well. A lot of BITD officials and racers wanted to see the A8L on course instead of in the pits. A humbling experience and really challenging compared to road racing. Due to wheel stud failures within the first 20 miles or so the RZR rolled on it's side at 60mph or so on course. After hours of the drivers trying to steal studs from other hubs and limping in they broke more leaving them wheel-less with 1 mile left to the pits. We sadly timed out and were not allowed to continue since the pits closed on us. A great adventure and learning experience for all of us that participated, but onto the photos...

















    Being in the desert in these remote areas was like being on Mars. We stayed with the RZR until it was staged and the Pro-UTV class departed, every 30 seconds. The primary chase vehicle, Dodge Ram 2500, and A8L departed right before our guys headed out. We used the primary chase vehicle to stay on the road and avoid the mess of the pits. As crew chief I headed up with the A8 and waited for communication which was surprisingly good with an 8w handheld with an antenna, ~5 miles of coverage. Sadly we waited and waited and waited as our guys tried in vain to repair and limp the RZR back in.

    Our day ended with us hauling the RZR back to Reno on a trailer while other competitors took upwards of 20 hours to complete the full 540 miles of the race. Our next day proved however to be just as exciting and somewhat damaging to our vehicles. With terrible traffic between Reno and Lake Tahoe we decided to bypass this and take Henness Pass Rd which was a proper mountain offroad driving experience (video to follow). Unfortunately it was so rough the coolant reservoir cracked or another cooling system part has formed a crack/leak that only pukes out coolant when the A8 is properly hot. Luckily when moving with the heat on the car did not leak any more coolant so we were able to keep moving after an hour or so of cool down time on top of the pass.











    A nice little break in Lake Tahoe to get some rest since we had all been working on 4-5 hours of a sleep a night for around a week. The next afternoon we waited for traffic to clear as much as possible and slowly and methodically drove down the A8 down to Audi Rocklin to pickup the next chapter...



    Stay tuned for another project thread soon
    Random, but I was talking to Dan about the Razor project about 8 weeks ago. He is a customer of mine and he was really pumped about the engineering challenges that the new form of racing presented. All of this is seriously cool.
    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." Alexis de Tocqueville

  12. #12
    Stage 2 Banner Advertiser Four Rings
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    Quote Originally Posted by JetBlue View Post
    Random, but I was talking to Dan about the Razor project about 8 weeks ago. He is a customer of mine and he was really pumped about the engineering challenges that the new form of racing presented. All of this is seriously cool.
    Ah cool! Are you in the automotive world, Apple/tech or something else? Always interesting when worlds randomly collide.

    We learned a lot about those challenges with this new form of racing, quickly.

    Cheers,

  13. #13
    Veteran Member Four Rings JetBlue's Avatar
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    I'm in the tech industry

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." Alexis de Tocqueville

  14. #14
    Stage 2 Banner Advertiser Four Rings
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  15. #15
    Veteran Member Four Rings DownhillA4's Avatar
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    Very Cool!
    IG: @I_like_your_box
    @downhill_a4

    "If you are a true automotive enthusiast whom loves their car,
    you learn to catch rides to parties and leave your car at home."- dougyfresh



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