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Old 03-13-2011, 03:34 PM   #1
untangle
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S3 FMIC / AWE TOP - DIY tips & driving impressions

A non-VW tech & I installed the S3 FMIC and AWE TOP yesterday. With a lift and full power tools, it took about 4 hours.

I bought the S3 FMIC from Genuine for $300 delivered, and the AWE TOP from AWE for $200.

Here are some tips to make the install go faster:
  • Two people!
  • The bottom of the (gloss black) grill and the 'wings' of the bumper cover just pop out. They may seem stuck, but they pop.
  • The screws to mount the A/C condenser don't work with the S3 piece. I think these are M6x16.
  • I definitely recommend the MR2toVW procedure for re-using the stock hoses. Very nice. (His data is also very nice!)
  • Use plac's DIY, also nice

Initial driving impressions:
  • Whoa! Much stronger than I expected. Although untrue, it felt like another DP.
  • Greater urge everywhere
  • Much stronger pull through the gears
  • Quicker throttle response almost everywhere
  • The one flaw: When cold, if you get the car in one of those odd regimes where you are decel'ing and the turbo completely de-spools, the mods makes the pullout from this even more laggy. I could not repeat when warm.

If you are at Stage II, this mod will definitely improve the overall performance of your GTI. On my Revo-tuned car, the magnitude of the performance improvement was closer to that of the DP than the intake. I'm sure that the stock car and Stage I cars are also improved, but I have no direct experience.

Given that fuel economy will also invariably improve, I can recommend this mod without reservation.

OK, since I'm sure that I'll be asked, here's why I went S3 vice APR, Twincooler, etc.:
  • I do not plan to go K04 and I believe that this is right-sized for K03
  • I live in a temperate climate (although our racetracks get hot in the summer)
  • All things being equal, lower volume equals less lag
  • I am not precluded from *adding* the Twincooler. I personally think that 'S3+Twincooler' is the best way to deploy Twincooler (for flow reasons).
  • I got the FMIC *and* the TOP for $500 (and I wanted the TOP).

Incidentally, I have 5000 miles on the car and found very little oil in the IC/hoses. But I mix long and short trips and 'drive it like I own it' daily.

Some pix below.

Bob












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Old 03-13-2011, 03:44 PM   #2
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Another great post Bob!

Definitely will be my next major mod.
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Old 03-13-2011, 03:47 PM   #3
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Great review. I immediately noticed all the gains you discuss once mine was installed and only wish I had done it sooner!

Another tip I'd put out there for everyone is if you plan to use the AWE S3 hose kit, rather than the stock pipes, make sure the clamps attaching it to the intercooler are good and secure. My local shop, upon installing the S3, got a CEL and drop in power when bringing the car back to me that was found to be one of the hose kit clamps coming loose even though it was securely fastened on install. They re-secured the pipes with APR clamps they had lying around and it's worked perfectly. No idea if the clamp itself was bad or just shit luck on my part, but worth taking into consideration.
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Old 03-13-2011, 03:55 PM   #4
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Excellent review - those parts are back in stock at genuinevwparts? A few of the hoses weren't last time. Thanks!
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Old 03-13-2011, 03:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben@P2Spec View Post
Excellent review - those parts are back in stock at genuinevwparts? A few of the hoses weren't last time. Thanks!
FMIC's were. I dunno about the hoses as I used my stock ones.

Bob
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Old 03-13-2011, 04:44 PM   #6
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Nice review and congrats - would you recommend the turbo outlet pipe with stock intercooler?
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Old 03-13-2011, 05:24 PM   #7
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Nice review and congrats - so only when the oil temp is pre 190deg does some king of turbo lag occur? Maybe that's why OEM turbo outlet pipe design uses a flatter shape?
It could be, Ben.

But my impressions are based on just a little bit of driving.

I get the impression that VW carefully controls intake and exhaust flows in the stock cars, trading some volumetric flow to maintain laminar, high-velocity flow.

Among other things, this approach minimizes lag and keeps the throttle very punchy.

Bob
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Old 03-13-2011, 07:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happydude View Post
Great review. I immediately noticed all the gains you discuss once mine was installed and only wish I had done it sooner!

Another tip I'd put out there for everyone is if you plan to use the AWE S3 hose kit, rather than the stock pipes, make sure the clamps attaching it to the intercooler are good and secure. My local shop, upon installing the S3, got a CEL and drop in power when bringing the car back to me that was found to be one of the hose kit clamps coming loose even though it was securely fastened on install. They re-secured the pipes with APR clamps they had lying around and it's worked perfectly. No idea if the clamp itself was bad or just shit luck on my part, but worth taking into consideration.

In addition to this tip... If using the S3 intercooler with S3 hoses... With turbo outlet pipe... Be sure that you order the specific turbo outlet pipe for the S3 hoses... I was loosing boost because the connection between the S3 pipes and turbo outlet pipe was opening up under full throttle.
Quote:
Originally Posted by untangle View Post
It could be, Ben.

But my impressions are based on just a little bit of driving.

I get the impression that VW carefully controls intake and exhaust flows in the stock cars, trading some volumetric flow to maintain laminar, high-velocity flow.

Among other things, this approach minimizes lag and keeps the throttle very punchy.

Bob
VW uses the pancake pipe to make it easier to install the engine as one unit during assembly.
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Old 03-13-2011, 08:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PandaGTI View Post
In addition to this tip... If using the S3 intercooler with S3 hoses... With turbo outlet pipe... Be sure that you order the specific turbo outlet pipe for the S3 hoses... I was loosing boost because the connection between the S3 pipes and turbo outlet pipe was opening up under full throttle.


VW uses the pancake pipe to make it easier to install the engine as one unit during assembly.
o_O crap. im pretty sure im using normal S3 hoses with my AWE top. but im pretty positive i don't have a boost leak.
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Old 03-14-2011, 12:37 AM   #10
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Bob,

Since both your IC and TOP install and mine showed little oil in the pipes our thoughts on a catch can being unnecessary are holding up.

Thomas
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Old 03-14-2011, 12:43 AM   #11
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Sorry guys, not too sure what "awe top" your talking about..?
Awe turbo outlet pipe?
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Old 03-14-2011, 12:49 AM   #12
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Sorry guys, not too sure what "awe top" your talking about..?
Awe turbo outlet pipe?
Yes.
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Old 03-14-2011, 12:53 AM   #13
untangle
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Bob,

Since both your IC and TOP install and mine showed little oil in the pipes our thoughts on a catch can being unnecessary are holding up.

Thomas
So it would seem. Won't change much. B4 March is done, there'll be yet another bottle of brownish water on display on some forum.

The beat goes on...

Bob
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MODS: Revo Stage II, EVOMS Intake, 42DD DP, S3 IC, AWE TOP, STS Coils, Unibraces, OZ Legs 18", Conti DW

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Old 03-14-2011, 12:58 AM   #14
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Yes.
Thanks! Already got one, just waiting to buy the S3 ic and install it all together before it starts getting over 80 degrees.
So is it worth getting the AWE hoses or cutting the stock ones is fine?
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