Whether this is your first rodeo or you’ve tuned before, getting your car running its best and keeping up with the maintenance items below will ensure you get the most out of your tune. We pride ourselves on providing a reliable tune, but that reliability requires some attention to your car. It’s a team effort.
Issues that may not be noticeable at stock levels are often amplified after tuning; some of them will prevent you from hitting full boost and getting all the horsepowers. Sure, the oil may have been changed regularly and all the recommended services may have been performed, (they have, right)? but now that you’ve decided to jump into the world of modification, your car needs a little more attention.
Turbo & Vacuum Lines
Seriously, go over them. Little leaks can become major pains once a vehicle is tuned. If you’ve never replaced a line, there’s a good chance that there’s a leak somewhere. Ensure that all vacuum & boost lines are in good shape. A smoke, vacuum, or pressure test is ideal, however, you can check lines while the car idles by slowly spraying them with brake cleaner or even water. If the idle rpm changes, inspect the line closely and repair/replace. The rpm will rise with brake or carb cleaner and drop with water.
Now would be the perfect time to upgrade to silicone lines.
This is one pre-tuning hardware upgrade you need to think about. For 1.8Ts and 2.7Ts the Bosch 710N is an economical choice for Stage 1 and 1+. If you’re using a diaphragm type diverter valve, test to make sure it’s in good working order. If you’re tuning a 1.8T or 2.7T here’s a handy video that shows you how to test your DV: https://motozaperformance.com/testing-your-diverter-valve-1-8t-2-7t/
If you’re using a piston style diverter valve, install the heaviest spring. Most of the time this is the 25-30 lb spring. If your DV came with a 30+ lb spring that’s a tad much for lower stage cars. While we do not suggest splitter valves, if you are using one, cap off the BOV portion for tuning. Most piston style diverter valves allow the springs to be replaced rather than replacing the entire valve.
For those of you with 2.0Ts, check for tears if you’re running the diaphragm type diverter. If it’s torn and you plan to tune, we recommend upgrading to the revised OEM piston style or consider upgrading to an aftermarket DV such as the Go Fast Bits DV+. https://motozaperformance.com/product/go-fast-bits-dv/
For 1.8Ts and 2.7Ts we suggest NGK BKR7EIX or NGK BKR7E if you really want to go copper. We prefer the iridium plugs due to their longevity and ability to maintain a consistent gap at high temps. Gap should be set at .028 for most applications.
For 2.0Ts go one step colder and use the NGK BKR8EIX.
Copper plugs should be replaced every oil change. Iridium plugs will run for years and offer the best blend of performance and longevity. While platinum will last even longer than iridium, the compromise to performance at the boost and temperature levels of higher output tunes means that we kinda think they are a bad idea.
If you are experiencing an underboost or overboost condition, it is very likely to be exacerbated by tuning and should be resolved beforehand.
Inspect and test your N75 valve. Ensure plumbing is correct and the valve is in good working order. https://motozaperformance.com/testing-and-plumbing-your-n75-valve/
In general, the N75 is a great option for tuning, even on higher power builds as it allows for more fine boost control. You’re welcome to use a manual boost controller if you really want to, but we recommend keeping the N75 in most tuning situations.
Clean that puppy! Stock or upgraded, make sure you don’t have leaves or debris blocking your intercooler and wreaking havoc on your IAT’s. Make sure all the plumbing is in good shape and your hose clamps are tight while you’re in there.
Clean your MAF sensor, (a quick shot of MAF cleaner or electrical contact cleaner works wonders), and make sure it’s properly seated. Check the wiring for any signs of brittleness or breakage. Please also confirm your MAF housing size prior to tuning. If you’re a 2.7T owner, confirm Hitachi vs. Bosch.
If you run an oiled air filter, regular MAF cleaning is a must as they tend to get gunk on the sensor. Switching to a non-oiled filter is a good idea.
Coils & Misfires
Are your coils tired? Bench testing is the ideal way to check your coils and a good excuse to buy a multimeter if you don’t already have one. If you’re prepping your 1.8 and want to upgrade to 2.0T coils, go for it. We don’t have a strong preference, but let us know if you’ve converted when you complete your hardware sheet. While you’re there, check the coil wiring and harness. Look for any signs of corrosion or brittleness. (This checking wiring thing is going to be a trend).
If you’re seeing misfire codes, please check your coils and spark plugs. Vacuum leaks may also cause misfires in addition to robbing you of boost and messing with fueling! If you’ve checked everything and you still see enough misfires to throw codes, it may be time to enlist the help of your friendly, local Audi/VW mechanic.
CELs & Codes
Got a bunch of pesky lights on your dash? Read codes ahead of tuning and make the proper repairs. We cannot simply “code out” actual mechanical issues. Boost leaks are real. So are oil pressure codes. Feel free to let us know what codes you’re seeing and we can let you know if any will be tuning related.
Pro Tip: Even if you don’t have VCDS/VAG-Com, the Ross Tech wiki is a fantastic place to look up codes. Google is fine, but Ross Tech has solid, VAG specific code info.
We suggest you begin the remote tuning process with a healthy battery. A Battery Tender or trickle charger that puts out 1-3 amps is STRONGLY recommended during flashing. ECUs can crash if your battery voltage drops while flashing. In the unlikely event this happens, the ECU may need to be sent to us.
Some say it’s everything. Is your timing belt service up to date? No, really, this is big. If you’re 20,000 miles past the recommended timing belt replacement date, go deal with it. If you’re 5 miles overdue, go deal with it. Engine failure takes the fun out of everything.
Overall Vehicle Condition
We encourage you to check all of your vehicle’s systems prior to tuning. This includes but is not limited to compression, brakes, clutch/transmission, tires, alignment, and fluids. But of course you’re already on top of that.