Prawn and BigAls A3 Track Car


Badger 5 Edition
VCDS Map User
Oh man I missed out!! :(

Oh no, clutch change time you maniac driver :p


My other car is a MINI!!!!
Long time no post. Things have been stressful!

It's now 2 weeks until my wedding, to which I am driving the A3, and until last night, it was unable to move under it's own steam.

With the box out, it was pretty apparent that the plate was dead.

The first thing that struck me, was that the plate was a 228mm plate, instead of the 240 it should be on an 02M setup!

The pressure plate only had a 228mm friction surface also.

the flywheel LOOKED large enough to accept a 240mm clutch, but without a stock 02M pressure plate as a sample I didn't want to risk ordering an 02M clutch kit and hoping it'd work on this SMF.

At this point, @StaceyS3 stepped in to the rescue and offered to send me his old Southbend SMF and paddle clutch, in exchange for a future deal against my 17" Rotas when I move over to 18's later this year.

With a wedding coming up in 3 weeks (as it was at the time) money wasn't exactly plentiful, so this offer was a bit of a life saver!

It arrived promptly as promised:

I stripped it down and set about giving it a good clean up to check condition. Stacey had previously had issues with an organic drive plate and it had got hot in a few spots, but after a little work it came up looking pretty clean and all the surfaces are flat and smooth:

The pressure plate came up OK too. I could have got this gleaming, but for something that's going to be hidden away and dirty in a few miles there seemed little point!

The only down side, and absolutely not Staceys fault in any way at all, is that the edges of the Southbend 6 paddle drive plate were starting to break up, probably due to his 500bhp and 4wd. it served him well!

Whilst it would still work, and clearly did work when it came out of Staceys S3, I wasn't comfortable with the amount of missing material, and the chances of the issue progressing quickly once it's started. There was also a balance issue to consider if substantially large chunks were to come off individual paddles. After consulting a few people, I decided against fitting it.

This left me with a great SMF and pressure plate, but no drive plate. it was Thursday night, and i ONLY had Sunday to get it fitted. My time is so short at the moment, working every hour under the sun, finalising wedding arrangements, and actually trying to spend at least SOME time with my lovely wife to be. Delaying wasn't an option. The box WAS going in on Sunday.

I had a few frantic calls on Friday trying to source something, with no success. Bill was very helpful, he had solid plates, but nothing sprung on the shelf. I wasn't sure about an unsprung plate on an SMF, and didn't want to risk paying full price on something that may not work.
Alex at AKS had sprung plates but they were for a Helix system of his and too thick to work in my setup.
CG sadly didn't get back to me despite a few calls.

Getting desperate, I turned to facebook, and found that Imran (I'm sure he's on here - really nice hybrid LCR) in Sutton Colefield had a 4 paddle helix plate in stock thickness!

He had run it with a stock DMF and cover, and found it a little too grabby for daily use, so removed it without too much use. It had plenty of life left in it, and he was asking a very reasonable price for it, so with no other time spare, I jumped in the van at 6am on Sunday and set off on a 300 mile round trip to collect it!

Back home and straight to work!

Clutch plate in place:

Pressure plate on:

Going well so far.

I went to swap over the slave cylinder, as mine was feeling fairly tired, and the existing slave in my box WOULD NOT budge. Despite all the bolts being out, it was very happy where it was, and took almost an hour of butchering with hammers, screwdrivers, all sorts to get it off.

That was an annoying waste of an hour. No pics. I was angry.

Eventually, I got that done, and set up the chain hoist to lift the box into place:

After struggling for a LONG time lifting from a single point, I realised it was no use.

I consulted a few friends, who all confirmed it needed the 'diff up and in' method to get into place. I'd been trying this, but lifting from a single point it just wasn't possible.

I had a rethink, and decided to string a line front to rear on the box, then lift from that line.

This worked great, as I was able to rotate the box on the line whilst it was in the air, allowing me to raise the diff, lift it into place, and finally mate it back onto the engine!

No pics again, as I was losing the will to live by this point, but it was a pretty huge relief when it was finally back into place!


My other car is a MINI!!!!
Things havn't exactly been plain sailing from there either, despite how close I appeared to be!

I was too late back from work on monday to collect some new driveshaft bolts, and given the previous issues I've had I was absolutely NOT prepared to refit the old ones.

On Tuesday I found time to get down to ThunderBolts to collect these. 12.9 grade 50mm M10 cap heads with Nordlock washers to keep them tight:

Refit driveshafts - simple task ey?

To aid box removal, I'd undone the N/S ball joint to push the hub assembly away and thus the shaft also, making more room.

Somehow, when maneuvering the hub back into place on tuesday night, I managed to catch the inner CV on the subframe, and 1 of the 6 evil balls of hell made it's escape, ruining both my evening, and my T-shirt!

Now, I have history with CV joints as we know. I HATE them with a passion.

Trying to assemble one when it's covered in freshly packed grease is NOT the most enjoyable of tasks, made even worse by the pressure I'm under to get it sorted, and the tiredness from all the issues I seem to be finding along the way.

2 hours of my Tuesday evening were spent with this:

I eventually got it back together and on the car by around 8pm, but I came pretty close to giving up and throwing a hissy fit if I'm honest. I don't need this **** right now!

All that was left to do was top up the gearbox oil, torque up all the shaft bolts and paint mark them, spanner check everything else on the box, and refit the intake pipework and check that it runs and has a working clutch.

Even this faught me, as I found the sump drain isn't the usually 17mm hex, but instead it's an M16 security spline:


Andy had lent me a set of tripple square splines, but they were solid centred. I tried drilling a hole, but being hardened steel it wasn't about to happen:

And that brings us up to date. I fired it up last night and it runs fine (as you'd expect). The clutch pedal feels good and appears to bite exactly half way. I've not been able to drive it anywhere yet, just forward and back in the garage, but it doesn't seem as grabby as I'd expected either, which is a bonus.

It's lunch time now, so I'm off to GSF to collect one of these:

Hopefully this evening I can fill the box with fluid, tighten all the hose clamps, refit the splitter, and take it for a drive to call an end to this episode.

Providing it works, it'll get a decent long run this evening, then I'm leaving it well alone until it's used to drive me to my wedding in 2 weeks time!

I'll need a good 2 weeks just to get my hands clean!

Tired Prawn - over and out.


Top effort mate! It's bad enough working against time to get a car ready for a trackday or whatever, but a wedding... nah F that! Fair play!

Hope it all goes well and you enjoy a smokey burnout up the aisle!


Registered User
Looking good mate, sounds like you had a run around getting the friction plate! Sorry that was a bit mullered..... Launching the S3 obviously took its toll :D


Registered User
Hiya Prawn,

My first time in about a year that I've not been mental busy that I've had a chance to catchup with some ASN threads. I always love catching up on this one. Good luck with the wedding matey, try not to let it stress you out, it's not as scary as us men make it out to be. Enjoy it :)


My other car is a MINI!!!!
@Westy !!! :hearteyes:

I thought I'd died and come back in 2009! Great to see you about dude :) Hope life is treating you well :racer:

Thanks for the words of advice mate, we've had a highly successful 10 year trial run so I'm confident I'm ready for it :laugh:

I managed to get home at a reasonable hour yesterday, and I'm pleased to report that after a quick spanner check, I turned the key and all fired into life as expected with no nasty noises:

Big relief!

I ran it up to temp to check there were no fluid leaks from below, and once satisfied, I put the splitter back on:

And off we went on a test drive!

I'm pleased to report it feels great. The clutch isn't grabby at all in operation, and feels pretty much OE to be honest. It bites nicely exactly mid way on the pedal, and the pedal feel is a nice balance of reassuringly firm to know there's a strong pressure plate, but not so firm that it'll get annoying.

It's holding 24 psi in 6th gear pretty happily up hill too, so I'm calling that a result!


Registered User
Hiya Prawn,

My first time in about a year that I've not been mental busy that I've had a chance to catchup with some ASN threads. I always love catching up on this one. Good luck with the wedding matey, try not to let it stress you out, it's not as scary as us men make it out to be. Enjoy it :)

the wedding bit is easy
it's the rest of his life he should be worrying about!!!!
I've always given my mates the same bit of good and honest advice.
if you love her!!!
don't marry her!!!!


My other car is a MINI!!!!
I wonder what it would take to convince the boss to sponsor me to go racing :racer:

Kershaw Racing has a nice ring to it :laugh:


Looking for Boost!
Staff member
I wonder what it would take to convince the boss to sponsor me to go racing :racer:

Kershaw Racing has a nice ring to it :laugh:
Ker-Ching Racing more like! :laugh:

Jay A3

#because Racecar
Good luck with the wedding prawn, just got married myself a few weeks ago and understand where your coming from. Drumming loads of time & money getting everything ready for it, limiting your time to work on the car never mind buying anything for it. Glad its all sorted again mate. Still can't get over the size of the big green filter!


My other car is a MINI!!!!
Went for a drive this morning. Final sunday morning breakfast blast before I'm married :racer:

Car is very fast. Prawn is very happy.

Jardo is coming round the day before the wedding to clean it, because he's great like that.

Happy days :)
Went for a drive this morning. Final sunday morning breakfast blast before I'm married :racer:

Car is very fast. Prawn is very happy.

Jardo is coming round the day before the wedding to clean it, because he's great like that.

Happy days :)

Dude, please tell me your car is the wedding car :)


Well-Known Member
Regional Rep
Is your big day this weekend? if so then good luck and hope it all goes smoothly!


Registered User
All the best Prawn, sounds like you have the hard bit out of the way and everything will be plain sailing from here. If she's put up with you for 10 years I can't see why another ten, 20, 30 should be a problem, spoken by someone who's been married 25 years and can't imagine life any other way now and that's enough hints at my age so I am out!
Ah nearly forgot, used to be Vorsprungdork, changed for a decent username an about time.
Cheers and all the best :)
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Registered User
Best of luck Matey! I've had hints for the last 8 years but this helps me go for ten before I have to do the deed

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My other car is a MINI!!!!
So, it's been an eventful few weeks at Castle Prawn!

A few friends sent me pictures of this:

It appears a few pictures of the car made it into audi-tuner as part of a Spring action day write up, including Sam and Simon refuelling it centre page.

Also, a long lost friend has found it's way back to the area also.

Whilst enjoying a few beers on my stag do, Andy came across the famous red barron for sale again on ebay!

Those of you who've been following this thread for 3 years + will know this car all too well as a fantastic former match to mine back in the day. Andy and I did loads of trackdays, always very evenly matched back in the mid 200bhp days, and we always pushed each other to drive faster and develop the cars further.

Hopefully it won't be too long before it's back on track, and hopefully with a larger turbo to level up the playing field again in power terms :)

Jardo popped round one Friday night to show me his SuperPoo:

Whilst he was there he also gave the A3 a good clean and polish all over in readiness for a special occasion.

Speaking of which, I'd been banned from my spare room for 3 weeks!

Saturday morning came, and Dad and I loaded into the A3:

After a brisk 30 minute trip along some fantastic roads, where we arrived in Stockbridge, where the A3 was allowed to take pride of place:

Many people were gathering, lots looking rather dressed up:

So I figured I'd join them!

An hour or so later, and I no longer had a girlfriend!

I had a wife!

Shortly followed by a beer, and lots of photographs!

In all seriousness though, we had an absolutely AWESOME day.
It could not have gone better. The weather, the people, the venue, the wife! All quite simply perfect.

Even little Peter, Bobs son was in a suit and enjoying a beer with the lads!

Monday morning saw us fly off from Southampton for a short mini-moon type break:

A brilliant time was had, with my wife, in a fantastic city I've never been to before, but sadly these things can't last for ever, and we had to return to reality by the weekend.

So, to cheer myself up, I went for a blast on a gorgeous summers evening!

And now I'm back at work!


Badger 5 Edition
VCDS Map User
Congrats dude! Looked like you had a great day! dissapointed with jardo! Should of bought an M135i ;)


Registered User
Congrats dude! Looked like you had a great day! dissapointed with jardo! Should of bought an M135i ;)

Hey! Or a 535d ;)

Congrats Nick looks like you had a great day. Now begins the countdown to baby Prawns. Are they classed as shrimp?


My other car is a MINI!!!!
Hey! Or a 535d ;)

Are they classed as shrimp?

Now you're talking! An E61 535D M-sport touring would be my ultimate choice for a daily drive. They're just holding their money so well at the moment for a decent one!

I believe Mini Prawns would indeed be classed as Shrimps :laugh:

Who knows what the future holds! For the time being, more cars i think :racer:


My other car is a MINI!!!!
In other news, I think we all agree that the car is starting to look slightly tatty.

I’d really like to get some 18 x 9’s on in the future, to open up some larger tyre and brake options later on, and that’s going to require wider bodywork.

Thanks to the disappointing misfortune of Daz last year, he ended up breaking his S3. I was lucky enough to capitalise on this, and am now the happy owner of a pair of S3 bumpers, and a pair of S3 front wings too. Thanks Daz!

I was hoping to get to him in time to cut the rear arches off the shell also, but it was scrapped before I was able to get there.

The plan will be to fit the bumpers and remake the air dam at the front and re-do the ducting and inlets to various things.

At the back, long term, the plan is to use the grey centre piece of the bumper as the cut out location to house a diffuser, whilst retaining a lower profile around the sides with the deeper bumper.

The wings are going to go under the knife, and form the upper half of a wider wing setup I’m planning that will include wheel arch ventilation.

This is of course all probably a long way in the future, as I’ve been talking about a diffuser for about 3 years now, and it keeps getting bumped down the list :laugh:

I’m also on the look out for another pair of S3 front wings for an idea I've had :whistle2:

If anyone happens to be breaking one, all options considered!


Registered User
You think YOUR A3 looks bad!? in other news, i'd happily give all of the above a new home :)

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Registered User
Sweet! I have front and rear s3 bumpers ready, just need another wing and I'm ready to copy you and follow your steps :)
Does the back bumper just fit without any weirdness? I.e. gaps etc.

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Badger 5 Edition
VCDS Map User
I'd love one too!
Now, if you could just tell us what it is you do for a living now, I'll jump on the ban wagon, and hopefully have my own M135i shortly :lol:

Quaility Group Leader for JLR. :)

They're pulling out a M140i now!! Nick when we see each other again you can drive it about.. I've mapped it now!