Shark Stage 3 Review (S3)
I have had the Shark stage 3 on now for a few weeks so have had chance to test it properly so I thought I'd stick my thoughts up on here.
When I bought the car, the previous owner had been running REVO stage 2 on it and had put all the standard parts back on the car. As soon as I got the car I got an ITG Maxogen, Milltek non resonated turbo back system with de cat, Forge DV and the REVO SPS switch to turn the map back on.
Now I'm not going to sit here and tell you the REVO map was crap and you should all rush to get the Shark map as that is not my style. The car pulled well to begin with and I was happy with the map. However before long the car started to splutter and misfire quite badly. A new set of plugs sorted this out for a short while but the car never seemed happy. I had a feeling the clutch was struggling. I don't think any of this was down to the REVO map but I was not happy with the car as it was rarely useful for anything other than a short trip to the shops. Any time I went for a spirited drive in it it seemed a new problem appeared.
A few weeks went by and I was due to go down to Shark to sort out us becoming a dealer and to do my training with the guys down there. Ben promised me they would remove the REVO and show me what they could do with the car while I was down there. I decided that some of the problems I was experiencing could be down to fuel cut so I bought the Autotech internals and fitted them the night before going down to Shark.
Now a logical person would have thought going a stage up when the clutch was already struggling wasn't the best idea but not me! Mikko loaded up the stage 3 map and ran it on the rollers, clutch slip! It still made almost 330bhp before the power tailed of around 5krpm. Mikko adjusted the map 5 or 6 times to try and get it to run decent power with the clutch the way it was. We got to a point were we were happy with the map and I set off home. The car was fantastic! It pulled smoother and stronger and the power seemed to be never ending. That night though I went out to show my long suffering better half my new toy and the clutch started to slip again.
It was time for a new clutch setup. I looked at the dual mass setup but quickly realised I could get a single mass LOBA Motorsport flywheel and Sachs 550nm clutch kit for less than the dual mass and sachs setup. I decided to risk the fact that single mass flywheels could be harsh for road use and went for it. I bought a new release bearing and Joe, who will be our technician when we move to a new unit later this year set about fitting the clutch and flywheel. I got the car back 3 weeks ago and loaded the full stage 3 map Mikko had kindly sent through to me.
The car is now unbelievably quick! So much power was being frittered away by the chocolate clutch and heavy dual mass flywheel. Along with all the power mods, H&R springs and Forge 11mm spacers I feel I have a great setup for road use. If I tracked the car often then I'd go down the coilovers route but I will be lucky to find time to go on 1 track day a year so I will leave it as it is I think.
Having gone through all this I have a bit of advice for any S3 owners looking to tune their cars. Firstly, do it. The standard car has so much potential that needs to be tapped into. The second bit of advice is don't bother with stage 2. My reasons for this are simple really. At stage 2 the clutch struggles and so does the fuel pump, I'd either go the whole hog and get stage 3 with the fuel pump and uprated clutch or simply stay at stage 1 and give the standard clutch and fuel pump a chance to keep up with what is required. I guess if you have DSG though that is a different matter.
Apologies for the essay! Pics of the car to follow at the weekend after I have given it a proper detail!
Unfortunately, the car will be for sale in a few months :( As I said earlier I am expanding the business substantially later this year and will be moving it to a new unit with showroom and a workshop for servicing/fitting. This all costs a lot of money and it seems daft to have a £14/15k car sat outside that only does 5k miles a year when that money could be used to invest in making sure GNJ Motorsport is a long term success. I'll be back in a powerful Audi in a few years :)