[s-cars] Portland, OR Minhea tuning session (long)

lebakken1 at netzero.com lebakken1 at netzero.com
Sat Jul 10 14:06:53 EDT 2004


My ne'er to be modified 94 S4 now sports an RS2 Turbo/manifold/37# injectors, and custom ECU software, courtesy of Mihnea Cotet, S-car wizard, and the folks at Matrix Engineering who supplied the four wheel drive dyno.

Note here: My exhaust is stock - as are all of the intake hoses...

This session was yesterday, 7/9, and was quite an experience for me. I was the first car up, which made me a bit nervous, since I had wrenched everything onto my car, including the full 60K service a month prior. In addition, my first test of the RS2 stuff was done only several hours before with one ten mile local drive, and then the 200 mi drive to Portland. At 1:00 am the night before (yup, THAT MORNING), I throw a bunch of tools into a cardboard box as an easy way to clean up the garage. I put them in the trunk. One thing I thought about, but did not get, is disclosed further along in this story.

After about 15 full pull cycles, which probably put more stress on my car that it has seen in all of it's 68K miles, Mihnea felt he had it as dialed as it was going to get.

Note here: After about five pulls, Minhea is confused with the numbers showing on his emulator and we conduct an intake pressure test. The BPV is shot, and we replace it. Still, something is up, so we pressurize the system....AIR is blowing out somewhere!!! A look under the turbo shows the cold side is NOT hooked up, AND the nipple from my old turbo was NOT moved over. Oh well....if that is ALL I forgot, I still feel pretty good. Matrix has a K24 we borrow the nipple from, it gets connected, and we continue...

These pulls were typically 100-110 mph in third gear. Four fans were on the car and motor to help deal with the heat. Along with the yard maintenance mister blowing water, it sufficed - barely.

A butt dyno test on the lanes of I-5 in Portland gave few opportunities to open it up because of traffic. But the car is very noticibly stronger, and most importantly very linear and smooth. My numbers ended at about 255 hp at the wheels, 285 ft-lbs torque. Minhea was concerned with this as they were not as high as he expected to see. It was then disclosed at Matrix that factory S4tt's indicated 45% less than factory specs when tested....so the dyno seems to read low. If there is ever a session in the Seattle area, I will test and compare.

Back to Matrix to see session organizer Matt Litterall's car, a 93 S4. This is a car I did not really need to see, since Matt obviously carves the slippery slope like an accomplished extreme skier. Matt's car is beautiful - both technically AND aesthetically. The mondo FMIC kept his intake temps 1/2 of mine. The Euro S6+ rear end is flat out sexy. So there is the back to front. Everything in between is just as well done. VERY nice car Matt.

I had to leave before he was done on the dyno, and headed out for Seattle into the Portland traffic. I am driving easy, since, with all these new mods, I am not going to put them to the test......then I stoppped for gas in Kelso, WA. Getting back onto I5N here is a straight, slight uphill 1/4 mile onramp. It was all mine. In second gear, my foot inexplicably goes to the floor. My back starts to weigh more than my seat .....nice.... then BOOM. No power. Coasting/limping to the top of the hill, I stop, restart, revs, no idle, restart, revs, no idle. Huh. Pop the hood. Nothing I can see after five minutes of looking/feeling. Huh. Call back to the shop, Matt tells me I _had_ to have blown a hose. Well, the only hose I had not inspected was the one under the pan. Start the car, rev, dump clutch, rev, dump clutch, rev, dump clutch gets me over the hill (I was almost there anyway), to the next offramp, and off of I5.

Two minutes later, the pan is off, and I call Matt to inform that my Michelin Man has suffered a fatal injury; what 50 cal. internal target practice must look like. Big 'ol ass hole. He graciously offers to put his car back together, and drive a spare Samco 40 minutes north for me. "Let me think about this..." I said.

Just then, a retired couple pulls up in a top down Cadillac Allante. He asks if I need help. I ask him if he has any duct tape (THE missing tool). His movie star looking wife laughs, to which I reply - with a smile - "I am not kidding". He says he will check at home as he only lives a few blocks away.

Five minutes later, he shows up with tape, but NOT duct tape. "This is the tape we used to use back at the paper mill - we liked it. Its got Teflon". I look at it suspiciously, whilst also thinking CRAP. I peel away a couple of inches and try to tear it off. NOT. It is like thick Saran Wrap. Stretches/conforms but NO break. Stickier than duct tape to boot. To top this off, the inner liner says NITTO - Japan. Obviously not your average tape. BIG SMILE from this boy!

He cannot believe my car is ten years old; he tells me a bit about his Allante; and then he has to go. Whoever you were: My sincerest Thank You! And you are a lucky man to have such a gorgeous wife.

I pull the hose, mummify it, and now it looks like a Samco.

Thirty minutes total stop and I am back in the race.

Perhaps there will be more reports once the Samco GP I am waiting on comes in. Before I install those though, I will try to destroy my mummyjob on the Michelin Man. I want some of this tape. Just to have. 

Great stuff.

Thanks to:

Matt Litterall, Portland Mihnea/Dyno organiser
Minhea Cotea, master of the emulator numbers and Michelan Man Murderer
Robert Myers, who sent me conservative chips that got me to Portland just fine.
Tim, @ TJM Motorsports for the my bitch goddess's RS2 lingerie..
Peter @TMTEK for the 4.0 bar VMAP

And, ESPECIALLY, to all those S-car fanatics before me, who have so graciously supplied their experience, which not only made this project infinitely easier, but also a seamless, well engineered modification that I will enjoy for some time. You know who you are.


Craig Lebakken
94 S4 

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