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On the Intended Acceleration upgrade
Last week I had the control unit on my '88 5000CS turbo upgraded
(if that's the word) by Intended Acceleration. The ads in _european car_
promise an increase of up to 60 horsepower with the altered unit.
The man who developed the modifications and still does many of
them (one of his daughters does the rest, I understand), Ned Ritchie, was
actually here in Boulder a few weeks ago and could have worked on my car
while I waited, but I missed getting a message from him and had to remove
and send off the control unit myself. It's behind a panel to the right of
the front passenger seat's foot-well. There's a connector and a clamped
hose on top of the box which were reluctant to come off, but I took off
the screw that holds the box in place and that made things easier.
The box went off to Ritchie on Monday by air express (with a money
order for $795 -- ouch) and returned Wednesday, a business card taped to
it and a smell of acetone or the like lingering about it. An extra-long
wastegate spring came with it, which according to one article on the
modification (I. A. sends reprints) isn't necessary for cars like mine
with automatic transmission -- something to do with the presence of a
torque converter. I resolved to install it anyway.
I put back and reconnected the control unit. The car started
fine, and I pulled it out of the garage, parked, opened the hood, and
opened up the wastegate -- six nuts and washers to remove. Out with
the old spring, in with the new (perhaps half again as long); with
extreme difficulty I jammed the top back onto the wastegate and secured
it temporarily with a nut; no problems after that.
First impressions: maybe I shouldn't have had this done. The car,
or perhaps I, can't properly handle the increase in power -- one of the
reviews says that though it doesn't faze a Quattro, the increase might make
a FWD turbo "a handful." Yes, indeed. It takes no time at all to go from
40 to 80 mph -- 3 seconds is my guess, though I've not timed it -- and
the acceleration is, well, as if the car were a tennis ball receiving a
firm stroke from a racquet (admittedly, my experience of cars that can
accelerate worth a damn is limited). The engine note rises in pitch, gets
somewhat louder, and the car shoots forward. The boost on the toy
computer's display, normally 0.3 to 0.4 atm at idle (shouldn't it be 1.0?
or maybe about 0.8 at a mile above sea level?), used to go up to 1.3 maximum;
with the modification it quickly reaches 1.7 -- implying about 11 psi of
boost. I haven't tried any fuel under 91 octane, and I hope that driving
to lower or higher altitudes won't cause any problems.
I'm told that the Turbo models already have a better suspension, etc.
than standard Audis, but I'm tempted to upgrade my car's if it's practical
and if my bank account can stand the shocks (any suggestions on what to
alter and where to get the parts?). I'm getting used to the car's new
behavior, though, and perhaps that won't be necessary.