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ITG CAI development session - Initial impressions

warren_S5 May 9, 2010

  1. warren_S5

    warren_S5 Moderator Moderator VCDS Map User

    Yesterday I spent the main part of the day with Andy Jackson at ITG, and this was predominantly based on the back of the thread I posted about the clamp tightness issues I'd been suffering (where the hose clamps were loosening over time after heating and cooling, particularly the one connected to the turbo unit).

    Aims from the day
    There were some overarching objectives for the day, and these were:
    • To investigate potential solutions for the hose clamp issue
    • To review my findings on the effects of removing the heat shield near the filter head
    • To discuss the 45 degree step down of the pipe work ahead of the MAF pipe
    • To investigate and install direct cold air pipework to feed the filter head
    • General 'wash up' conversation to review some of the feedback and findings that have come up from the original thread I wrote, and any feedback I've received from other forum members.

    A fairly comprehensive list, but Andy made it absolutely clear that whilst they are incredibly busy on other projects, he/ITG are an organisation that encourage customers to share constructive feedback. Likewise, if further ITG investigations find this feedback to show any merit, it could well be investigated for integration into future product development or revisions.

    SETTING THE SCENE - Please ensure you read this ahead of the findings to ensure no confusion
    I want to make some key points absolutely clear here, so I am going to highlight these points in the hope they are interpreted and understood with the right intent, and hopefully this will stop this thread turning into a contentious fracas.

    1. I have had some niggling issues with my car. As a result of this I have been paying independent parties to investigate these, and NOTHING on the car has been overlooked. In the original thread I started where I highlighted some findings on the ITG K04 system were meant to be EDUCATIONAL or enlightening, and an informative heads up for owners, and NOT to be interpreted as an attack or deformation on Andy / ITG / the product. I would be VERY disappointed if this thread degenerates into a mix of crossed words about ITG's proven product, OR provokes e-mails being fired towards ITG either criticizing the product, or highlighting to Andy that a thread is being written as a slander to his product. He knows about this, has been sent a link to this thread, and will undoubtedly be following it to conclusion as the ongoing testing continues.
    2. The ITG product is proven. Extensive tests have been undertaken to deliver a quality product which can deliver up to 40bhp performance improvement with the appropriate modifications on board. Any findings presented here are either personal (based on findings after a long European road trip in April), or in response to feedback I have received in PM's or postings from this or other VAG sites. It is imperative to remember cars ARE NOT BLUEPRINTED at factory. They will all have their own running characteristics based on how they have been serviced, treated, driven, modified, or how they have been built (in batches - maybe with parts supplied by varying supplies - eg. LUK/Sachs), so some of the findings here may OR MAY not reflect others S3 ownership experiences.
    3. Any changes that have been instigated from the development session and then outlined in this thread are purely part of developmental testing, and not necessarily a defined finalised solution - therefore they are not currently available as a package for immediate sale from ITG. It may be that none of the changes bare any fruit, so I would request that until we have conclusive evidence that these changes have delivered benefit there is no reason to be contacting Andy asking to supply packs. By all means register your interest based on what you read, but I strongly advise you give this thread time to develop.
    4. To reiterate, this has come about from a personal investigation, and I want to be CRYSTAL clear that whilst I want the car to operate within acceptable and safe operating parameters (for the ECU), my PRIMARY OBJECTIVE here is to make the car drive consistently in a linear fashion without flat spots, surging, whilst delivering great power. If I lose a few BHP/torques but improve the overall drivability of the car, I see that as an acceptable compromise. Therefore whilst I will be logging the cars performance, I will also be using personal judgment to assess how the car drives (numbers are good, but don't always reflect in a great sensation from behind the wheel as a daily driver). Be mindful that when reading these development findings, YOUR PERSONAL OBJECTIVES may be for outright power rather than smooth day to day running with an increase of power, so don't expect these changes to work universally. I will try to ensure all findings are backed up with facts, but there will be some personal interpretation here so it's not all going to be based around numbers.
    5. One of the reasons I kicked off investigations with an independent VAG specialist (rather than with ITG directly) is because I wanted to be absolutely sure that ahead of going back to them with any findings or recommendations, the appropriate research and testing had been conducted so I didn't waste their time. We live in fiercely challenging economic times, and I am aware this is not a huge volume seller for them to have the freedom to pour money into ongoing development. I have always been happy to 'fiddle' (and I choose that word advisedly) if I think I can improve something in response to any issues I may be facing (e.g. heat soak in pipework), but once I've paid my money for something I don't ever expect the manufacturer to have to get involved with my meddling. Yesterday Andy gave up a Saturday for me to get involved with my ramblings / findings (substitute as necessary post development testing!), and to me that spoke volumes about his personal commitment, ITG's standpoint with respect to their reputation in the industry, and the passion Andy has to perfect what he does. It's becoming rare that manufacturers offer this kind of external intervention and such an open ear, and I can't applaud this highly enough as customer feedback whilst in some cases is interesting can often be a valuable part of continuous improvement programmes if the company has the appetite and internal processes / bandwidth to absorb them. It meant a massive amount to me to be able to tap into Andy's enormous knowledge base, and to have access to someone who could break down some complex principles and regurgitate them into far more bite sized, manageable chunks. Beyond this, situations like this ignite my passion for buying British, and demonstrates how British industry is still alive, working well and delivering at the highest levels.

    Now we've got the small-print resolved, and hopefully everyone understands the sentiment behind the development I will begin with what we achieved yesterday.



    It's always been a key selling point (for me anyway) that the 66.5mm MAF pipe diameter on the ITG system replicates the one supplied in our OEM engine covers. I've always believed that this was a key factor in delivering consistent, measured performance, and side steps some of the issues I've read about on other aftermarket manufacturers systems where larger diameter pipes have been used.

    So whats the issue here? The fact is I didn't have one personally, but a slight intermittent flat spot I was getting at 5,100rpm raised suggestions from my independent VAG tuner that they were concerned by the 45 degree pipe diameter step down in front of the MAF sensor. Their concern was that the step down was causing a barrel wave of air over the MAF sensor at certain airflow conditions which meant that the airflow over the MAF sensor was disrupted enough to cause a variation in performance. Their suggestion was to look at fabricating a fixed diameter 67mm rear pipe to allow the air to settle way ahead of the MAF sensor.

    Andy showed me a range of air filter housings/MAF pipes for R8's, A3's, Jags and others, and there doesn't seem to be any consistent rules as to how the airflow is managed over the MAF sensor. In some cars there are step downs or lips quite close to the sensor so this would suggest that as long as there is a slight but defined gap (and not a very long one) ahead of the MAF for the airflow to settle this should not be causing any significant performance related issue. He will continue to investigate this in more detail, but I was satisfied after he showed me a range of prototype pipes that had been used in development of the K04 kit (and showed no real benefits in performance) that this is probably not the key issue.

    Andy / ITG have been making CAI systems for cars for a long time now, and as a result are one of the pioneers and key innovators in the field of induction technology. As a result many of their solutions are tried and tested. Whilst that is the case, the world of VAG is a newer area of their portfolio of offerings, and some of the kits they offer for us are in their first evolution of long term testing.

    The clips supplied in the K04 kits are the same as the clips supplied in all of their systems, and to date they have never suffered any issues with slackening or loosening as I have been suffering on my kit.

    Andy has been investigating cost effective alternative hose clip options that may work better for high boost / high temperature environments , and has sourced the following clips which are not only THICKER, but also have an internal spring clip tensioner which helps to maintain tension on the pipe during heat expansion.



    After sourcing some of my own intercooler hoses (which incidentally did not fit), which used a more robust clamping mechanism to compress the clip, there is always a risk by using these 'sledgehammer to crack a nut' solutions that you can cause other issues. The ITG system is a lightweight solution with aluminium piping, and there is a real issue around over-tightening heavy duty clips and damaging the piping from over compression.

    I will continue to monitor these new clamps over the next few weeks, and if they are successful alternatives they will be available to order through Andy as an upgrade. Again, I am not sure all owners are having issues, so check your clamps and if they appear to be tight and you are experiencing no unusual effects with your car, this upgrade is not a pre-requisite).
    I seem to have less 'turbo whoop' at low revs, and the system seems quieter. When I say turbo whoop, its a name I give to the sound which the turbo makes on spool up from stand-still which is prevalent and occasionally annoying when driving in stop start traffic, or around town. I will check the tension on the pipe later today and report back with periodic ongoing post updates as to how its holding up.

    S3 owners are more than aware that the engine bay is not generously subscribed with spare spaces for new tech. Some have had challenges mounting catch cans, and routing pipework for air intake systems etc... The A3/S3 has the least space of any of the cars on our platform, and therefore this has a knock on effect of disrupting or minimising the amount of cold clean flowing air around the engine bay cavity.

    Why is this? Particularly in the case of the S3 (with it's xenons), these headlights are deeper than halogen units, and add the adaptive option and they (apparently) take more space again. In combination the curvature of the bonnet/wings robs further space against the Golf/Leon/Octavia, hence why the battery relocation would have been the perfect option for a top grade solution if you are happy to spend £600-700 on a CAI solution (as one of our ASN forum members has just done).

    I'm not sure how long we are keeping this car, so I wanted to patch 'what is' rather than going for a more evasive option that may need to be regressed if any 5 cylinder A3 variants get announced shortly(!), or I feel a need to scratch an 8 cylinder itch.

    So Andy had sourced some fantastic flexible hosing which is treated with a rubberised seal at the end to stop fraying, increase durability etc.. It's not cheap, and is sourced from Germany (like the hose clips above), but then ITG's ethos is to choose components that last, and can deliver for people who need a product which can deliver significantly beyond the specified operating parameters.

    From the perspective of providing context, this solution was developed on our MY2007 8P2 manual gearbox platform. The 8P3 and DSG platforms may have significantly different ducting and apertures for air feed piping, so this solution needs to be tested on these vehicles IF there are realistic benefits realised as a result of their installation (any takers can make themselves know to Andy in due course).

    So installation of the first pipe was to take air from the front nearside fog light aperture and put the ducting hose from here up towards an aperture which resides inside the engine bay behind/under the nearside headlight (pics below):



    Andy peeled off the nearside front wheel, the inner arch liner, and took out the front mesh in front of the nearside fog light. His attention to detail is so high he noted the wheel bolts were under-tightened, and an ambient air temp sensor was hanging loose in the front bumper, all of which were resolved as apart of this process!

    He assessed the maximum diameter of flexi-hose that could be used (80 something millimetres I think) measured the required length of ducting hose, he then created a natural bend in the hose using a spun wire 'crimp' which created a very natural curve in the pipework. Whilst you can source this pipe and do something similar yourself, having seen the quality of this piping and the way Andy can put the bend into it, I would recommend if you like a hassle free life sourcing directly from ITG.

    He fitted the pipe, and it was so snug fitting that there was no need to lash or tie it to the front grille:




    Once fitted the car was reconstructed, and looking directly from the front it looks like this:


    Andy then refitted the filter head, and for now has left off the heat shield as I am awaiting a new filter head to replace the development filter head I currently have which is larger than the finalised kit (the one pictured fits perfectly in the Leon/Golf without touching the headlight).

    I will do some extended running / logs on this and feedback in due course, but initial impressions (from driving) are as follows (based on one journey).

    On the note of water ingress, Andy recommended in heavy rain you do not sit up the **** of other vehicles to minimise the chance of any water ingress that may travel up the pipe from the lower grille. Exercising common sense in these situations will keep you safe. Whilst I appreciate the temptation is great to jump of the bandwagon to scaremonger about this, the water has to travel someway up the pipe to reach the filter, so only if you were driving into deep standing water are you likely to suffer adversely.

    At higher revs (5,000rpm+) I used to find the car labours a bit, and on occasions you would get a sense that the turbo had sucked up all available air in the bay, then was having to suck even harder to pull in extra air which seemed to make the car 'chatter' under hard acceleration (particularly when hot). Removing the heat shield seemed to make the flow of available air to the filter head more plentiful, but it wasn't cold directional air being fed directly from the car, just ambient engine air. Adding this pipework has added to the urgency of acceleration, and seems to deliver more linearity to the acceleration characteristics in all gears.

    I am so impressed with the improvement I am about to modify the prototype heatshield I have (all foam), and put a duct feed from the front grille (where the OEM intake connects, and ducting it through a hole in the heatshield (I will make this and photograph it later). I have left my OEM intake duct with Andy to enable him to fabricate something similar should this prove to be successful.

    I've always thought the heat shield concept was a sound idea, but due to the exhaustive testing conducted trying different temperature spark plugs, air intakes, intake configurations and Revo boost / timing settings, it just seemed that the car ran smoother without it.

    I do understand the logic behind the need to compartmentalise the filter head in a cold air space, but as long as that is not at the expense of a decent directive cold air feed. As my car was used as part of the development programme for the ITG CAI unit, it has a slightly larger filter head which can after extended running end up butted up against the headlight unit (reducing surface area for intake air flow). As I have said, I have ordered a slightly smaller filter head, so this will help matters, but I will be reinstalling a heat shield when I get the secondary air feed into the car. The Leon/Golf don't suffer so badly here as they have far more space and free air, so readers who have these car may see this as less of an issue. More to follow on this shortly.

    Initial very basic signs are good, but like anything I want the time to test the changes in isolation and across a range of driving conditions, and when fully adaptations have happened. This in conjunction with the heat insulated piping modification I performed back in March have certainly made my car feel significantly more urgent, so don't forget to lag your hoses too if you go this route.

    None of us will be surprised if these mods don't make things worse, but the key test here is whether they actually make things better (and not 'placebo effect' better).

    Again, massive thanks go out to Andy for approaching this in a progressive, proactive and open minded way, and it's a testament to ITG's ethos that they want to be involved in this kind of approach to development.

    There is still one further mod I am waiting to fit which need to be considered as part of this investigative exercise. The RS4 fuel pressure regulator. It is highly probably that whilst the changes that have been made to the ITG system will not fix my intermittent issue. However, I can be satisfied that all that can be done has been done.

    Some of you will probably be asking what if these changes turn out to be successful / deliver benefit. I'd ask you to consider this. Long term customer running has raised some questions. ITG have invested man hours and development expenditure looking into this. As a result we may or may not come up with some alternative parts which become available for our ITG kits. That does not mean that all K03/4 owners are entitled to free upgrades, but you can choose to either:

    a) source the parts directly yourself from independent suppliers and mirror the changes specified here (probably the low cost option)
    b) source the parts through ITG which meet the standards of Andy's research and will come prepped and ready to install as a ready made bolt in kit
    c) leave as is if you are experiencing no issues of performance lags that you are aware of

    Any manufacturer evolves products over time. It's part of evolution. Look at flat screen TV's. I bought an HD ready TV 5 years ago and they release 1080P TV's. Last year I buy a 1080P TV, and this year they release 3D!! I can't claim a refund or any benefit back for what I bought, so in the same way any upgrades to this product will be purchasable, but not an entitlement to existing owners. They could be adopted in future kits (if deemed successful), but they are not a retrospective entitlement.

    I will be as candid and honest I can be as to the worth of all of it. This isn't about me blowing my own trumpet as to be honest the only quality I bring to the table is the ability to sense and feel what feels good from the drivers seat, nothing else. I couldn't endorse or try to direction the spend of your money if it ultimately ends up with me looking like a fraud, so that is not an objective here.

    Likewise ITG has margins to meet, and they will provide the best prices they can for any upgrade kits. These won't be bargain basement as they will not knowingly use cheap solutions - it's counterproductive in the longer time. But they cannot subsidise them for existing users, as in these first evolution products the R&D costs are high, volumes are not large, and this seriously hits the ability to generate profit.

    I think all the relevant issues have been discussed, and highlighted in a balanced way. Apologies it's war and peace, but it's incredibly important in threads like these that people don't misinterpret the intent of the objectives, and understand ALL aspects of each parties external influences and considerations.

    As a side note, and because it is a question that some have asked (but not related directly to this post), these filter systems should ALWAYS be used when the filter head is lightly oiled, NEVER DRY.

    More to follow, but hope its been interesting reading for owners, and any questions please fire away!

    Thanks for reading!
    Last edited: May 10, 2010
  2. Fast,not furious

    Fast,not furious Dealing with an OCD

    Interesting reading,i'll be keeping an eye on this one
  3. voorhees

    voorhees Moderator Staff Member Moderator Team V8 Audi S5 s tronic

    ITG are a good bunch,good write up wazza
  4. Lambchop

    Lambchop New Member

    Nice write up Warren
    I just hope these new clamps do the trick
  5. warren_S5

    warren_S5 Moderator Moderator VCDS Map User

    Thanks all,

    Hopefully get some more development sorted on the front upper air intake duct after work then take it out and log the air flow.

  6. KRL

    KRL Member

    It really is impressive how much time and effort ITG/Andy are willing to put into this, it is a credit to them. Oh and great write up :thumbsup: Warren
  7. mattandrew

    mattandrew Member

    excellent write up warren, keep us updated with the progress
  8. warren_S5

    warren_S5 Moderator Moderator VCDS Map User


    I've reverted to the OEM supplied spring clip which connects to the turbo housing today (that awful thing that connects the OEM TIP to turbo housing). Not a pleasant job either as I don't have the special tool to compress, so all my fingers feel like there is no skin left on the end from tryng to compress the tabs!!!).

    I noticed the jubilee clip had slackened off slightly from heating and cooling, and I was able to easily put a whole turn on the jubilee clip without any effort.

    On the next drive the car was right out of sorts, so I reviewed the change and it appears if you overtighten the clip to any level and the clip is not right at the base of the hose, it lips out (almost like its being pinched).

    Just to throw a complete curveball at this I assume VW group use these awful to use spring tensioner clips for good reason (to allow a natural expansion and contraction as required on parts subjected to high temperature variations). It may prove fruitless, but once I have further information I will post back. Good news is I've pulled firmly at the pipe :laugh: and it seems tightly located, so unlikely to pop off (let the mirth begin!!)
    Last edited: May 16, 2010
  9. Lambchop

    Lambchop New Member

    Thanks for the update Warren

    Im beginning to think the Silicone fittings are causing the issues
  10. JamesS4cab

    JamesS4cab Well-Known Member

    Warren - just wondering if you have any updates on this post as I have just fitted my ITG and having some trouble getting my head round where the cold air gets to the cone filter if its wedged behind the heat shield with no additional ducting.

    Also, when you fitted the ducting, do you have to remove anything other than the grill to fit this? When i look through the grill, it looks like there is a black plastic panel which angles the air off through quite a narrow gap. How do I remove this and do I need to??

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