R0cket's Phantom Black S3 Restoration/Overhaul Thread


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Ok so a little background. I'd had my 2002 mk4 golf PD150 for 5 1/2 years and had been enjoying 185bhp/320 ft/lb for a few years, but wanted more. I also had a 2004 Honda CBR600RR for the sunny days. So I sold the both of them and bought my 2008 S3!

After learning as much as I could and looking around the internet for a few weeks I found one I liked the look of. I wanted one which was standard with lots of factory options and as long as it wasn't silver I didn't mind the colour, although the mrs was dead against white or orange. (secretly I wanted an orange one, but as we all know they aren't in abundance like black ones and are usually a few grand more for the same car). This one popped up on Ebay which seemed to tick all the boxes.

Options this one had were. Flat bottom MFSW, Nav/RNS-E, TPMS, auto lights, auto wipers, black headlining, coming home/leaving home lights, 2 tone leather, auto dimming rear view mirror with dimming side mirrors, privacy glass and power folding mirrors. On viewing found the power folding mirrors were a mistake in the listing, ah well. Missing cruise control, but I could retrofit that later as I have VCDS.

Purchased on 22nd of March 2018.


This was how she looked on Ebay.

Unknown to me, although it had factory privacy glass, someone had also fitted additional tints. I have no idea why as I was told the mrs couldn't even see me though the windows haha. The wind defectors also made a but of noise at speed so those were first to go. Look how dark they were!

IMG_0938 2.JPG

Funny thing was because of the factory glass it looked no different from the outside after I'd removed them.


So first things first. Replace the HPFP tappet. I didn't think it was all that worn, but I replaced it anyway along with an oil and filter swap for peace of mind.


When I had the chance to get it onto the lift I did a haldex oil and filter swap. Audi don't actually give a service interval on the haldex filter, but I wanted to replace it anyway as the car had just passed 100k so again, peace of mind knowing it was all spot on and up to date on it's servicing. I also did a brake fluid change as it was over 2 years since the last one. Very simple to do with the proper machine as you simply replace the reservoir lid with the machine lid which pressurises the brake lines with new fluid. Then just open the caliper bleed nipples and collect the old fluid until it's all been replaced with new stuff. Gone are the days of shouting "up... down... up... down...". It also had a small leak on the exhaust clamp so I addressed that too. At this point I was working as a mechanic for a premier independent VW/Audi dealer.

I also found one day my a/c wouldn't stay on. It'd turn the ECON light off, but then when you let go of the button it'd come back on. Also it would sometimes work and sometimes wouldn't. No fault codes, but was pointed in the direction of the G65 (I think that's right) sensor found on the left side of the condenser if you're looking under the bonnet. Easily swapped out and A/c restored.

The RHS rear caliper hose was also cable tied to the guide which was strange since to rectify I just split the line and reinstalled it into the guide with a new clip to hold it still.


Around October 2018 I bought a Ramair oversized intake. I also fitted the non smoker storage area below the HVAC controls (no photo sorry) which gives a lovely area to pop your phone into where it doesn't fly out during spirited driving.


Turned out the in-laws had a Vax wet vacuum so it was only right I gave the carpet the clean of it's life and the only proper way to do that was without the seats in the car. It was at this point it was confirmed it was previously a smokers car grrr. Found probably a whole rolly down the side of the seats.


While the seats were out they got some love too with a deep clean and condition of the leather with Autoglym products.


The S3 then flew through the MOT with no advisories and then we got to March 2019. At this point I'd changed jobs and gone back to Heavy Plant, this time mobile which meant I had a van. So in March both the S3 and my A4 (B8 3.0 TDI) needed taxing and insuring which was easily over a grand for the pair and being honest the S3 only really got driven on the weekend if we weren't going out as a family (2 kids) so I decided to take it off the road and SORN it.

Now the real transformation begins!
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June 2019.

With the S3 off the road I had all the time I needed to fix anything wrong. I had an oil leak somewhere. The gearbox was getting covered so it was time to look at that. With the intake removed as well as a few more pipes I was starting to get to the source of it.


I narrowed it down to the vacuum pump on the end of the head. Cam driven and sealed with an O ring. I bought a new O ring from TPS, but still had a leak. Then I found it. It was coming from the pump itself!


I took the plunge and took the pump apart expecting it to fly apart in a haze of springs, etc. In reality it was very simple inside. I cleaned it all out and sealed it. I've yet to install it back on the engine yet as I then decided to remove the inlet manifold and have a look at the inlet valves...


As expected really. I decided to try and clean them myself... Brake cleaner didn't do much. Oven cleaner didn't do much. Bought EGR cleaner, but yet to try it. Gunk didn't do much. Couldn't justify investing in a walnut cleaner just for this one job and it seemed any garage that offered the service weren't interested in just doing the cleaning part if I trailered the car to them. I couldn't blame them really but ah well. Currently they still look like this as I've now decided to remove them from the head and do my own port and polish while replacing the valve stem seals. The car smoked a little I was told from a mate behind me so thought I might as well.

So issues:
inlet valves
A leaky cam cover which was covering my heat shield in oil.
Cambelt is due (5yrs)
Thermostat seems stuck open as it usually sits around 70
Oil pickup pipe most likely never been cleaned
Sump unlikely to be cleaned out.


It was then I decided to smarten up the engine and this started...


Nothing special or hard to do really. Degrease and clean up then a fresh lick of paint. I'd used nothing more than hammerite for my engine parts and never had an issue with it so that's what I used again to good effect.

I then picked up a small interior improvement.


Still looking for the front to match at this point.


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Looks like an interesting journey you are on at the moment. Good to be methodical with the project and it will be well worth doing the oil pick up and sump clean. You don't mention anything about the dipstick but at HWSG age and mileage the chances are the original orange plastic bits will be in the sump unless anyone changed it.
The cam follower was well worth doing. Once the black coating has gone, they wear quickly.
When does the remap happen?


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July 2019

The sump was removed, cleaned and painted. Now the oil pickup. I thought it was very clean filling me with confidence that previous owners had kept on top of regular oil changes, until I looked closer and found pieces of metal and plastic in there. Oh god I thought. After posting the findings on facebook and here we concluded they were manufacturing swarf and had probably been in there for the last 100,000 miles. The plastic pieces were from the dipstick, which will now be replaced by the newer yellow one when it all goes back together. You can just about see the bits in the gauze here.


The engine got stripped down to this far before I had to wait for the engine crane and then bad weather so it's pretty much been like it ever since. I pulled the injectors out and dropped them off at R-Tech for some love there. Turned out 2 of them were overfueling and all the plastic baskets had broken apart. After a clean and new baskets they balanced up so now those are ready to go back in.

Meanwhile the inlet manifold was finished and fitted with all new gaskets throughout. The fuel rail was polished up and fitted with the 136bar RS4 fuel pressure relief valve. Undecided if I'm to remove the runner flaps at this point. I'm likely to only goto stage 2+ so I painted up the motor for the flaps incase I keep them.


Finally found front light on ebay to match the already fitted rear. Only set me back £17, so result. Very subtle upgrade but I like it.


I made the decision to goto the rear of the car now and start there. I thought it looked quite tidy when I looked under it on a ramp, but it looks like a right nail from these photos haha.



The intake received the gold heat wrap which is a right swine to fit and look neat when you get to go around the corners. I cut it down the middle to try and get it neater, but never mind. Looks decent.


Haldex getting there.


First driveshaft refreshed


Time to remove more bits. Yuk.


A few more bits being ready to refit once everything else is done ready to go with it. I chose to do the callipers orange. I like it on the mclarens and red is far too common. Here's the carrier painted and ready to go. Unofficially it's called Lava orange and although not the easiest paint to brush on it does give a good finish once the coats are built up.



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Looks like an interesting journey you are on at the moment. Good to be methodical with the project and it will be well worth doing the oil pick up and sump clean. You don't mention anything about the dipstick but at HWSG age and mileage the chances are the original orange plastic bits will be in the sump unless anyone changed it.
The cam follower was well worth doing. Once the black coating has gone, they wear quickly.
When does the remap happen?


Remap is a long way off right now. I'm going to do with a Wagner intercooler, autotech HPFP internals, GFB DV, RS4 PRV, port and polished head with a Miltek race cat turbo back exhaust. Might include a balance shaft delete too


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August 2019

No need for a photo, but about now it fell off the axle stands... It had still got it's RHS rear wheel fitted so had been sat on an axle stand on the left on the subframe. As I was now removing the subframe I needed to move the support point which was easily done. Then as I started to lift the right side with a bottle jack so it was going straight up rather than a trolley jack which arc's as it lifts. I have a gravel drive so the jack can't easily roll as it lifts. So over it went. First time I've ever had a car fall and it all happened in slow motion. I wasn't under the car thankfully. It just kind of laid down on the existing axle stand with no damage at all! The right rear wheel was still fitted so it landed on that. I repositioned and lifted again successfully.

RHS was stripped off and finally the rear subframe. The subframe was looking very mucky so needed quite a lot of prep to get it ready for paint. The haldex can, and was removed with the subframe still fitted to the car, but it's very annoying to do as Audi decided to bolt it downward on the rear mounts so you can't get a ratchet in to undo the bolts and you don't have enough room to lift the bolts up enough to remove. I ended up letting it drop down on the bolts with the rear bolts removed and them lifted it off. Otherwise the haldex would be removed attached to the subframe.


Moments later ;)


So with the rear end pretty much stripped completely I got a good look around. Some small patches of surface rust had developed which I suppose were to be expected. Don't panic about the missing fuel tank strap. I took it off and it's been painted already for refitting.


In the words of any car TV show. "I reached out to" a local VW specialist and asked if they'd do me a deal on my bushes and sure enough they did saving me a nice chuck of cash. Thank you C&W Enterprises in Nottingham!

I began to strip out all the bushes I was replacing.

Strangely it's not letting me upload anymore photos...
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Remap is a long way off right now. I'm going to do with a Wagner intercooler, autotech HPFP internals, GFB DV, RS4 PRV, port and polished head with a Miltek race cat turbo back exhaust. Might include a balance shaft delete too

Sorry, predictive text. Should have been “this”


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Ah it's letting me upload photos again. So continuing...


And rebushing begins.


I also started to give the underside a fresh coat of Waxoyl which I'm told will halt any existing rust which I wire wheel'd off with the drill and give extra protection to the rest of the car. The first day I started to apply it it was one of those 30 degree days which made the Waxoyl like water! More of it was running down the paint brush all over my hands. Not good. Plus it doesn't come off very well either. So the 2nd day it was cooler and brushed on lovely. So the whole rear end and both inner arches have a lovely fresh coat of protection.

So that rounds off August.


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September 2019

I started off the month finishing up the Waxoyl which had become the priority as the haldex and subframe were ready to refit and I had to get that underseal done before I could refit it all. The solid brake line was in good condition so was cleaned up and refitted nicely.


Subframe ready now.


As my driveway is gravel I had to improvise when it came to refitting it all. Remembered I had the remains of an old wardrobe in the loft so made a makeshift surface for the jack to roll smoothly on. Torqued down the haldex to the subframe and it was ready to go!


At this point I forgot to refit the breather pipes that go from the haldex to the subframe. This made it a little more tricky once it was back bolted on, but got it done. There they are on the floor haha.


Hooray! Finally it's back on on the 7th. So pleased to be over the halfway point with the rear end and with the subframe back on I can start to bolt all the arms back on.



Fuel tank strap has been re-fitted and that half the tank cleaned up to make it pretty.

And the very next day I cracked on getting the LHS bolted back on! Still waiting on a handful of bits to call it complete, but couldn't help myself popping the disc and calliper on for a quick photo opportunity. HEL braided brake lines were fitted at this point too. Afterwards I realised I didn't fit the brake splash guard, but never mind since it all came back off again shortly after anyway.


13th, I made a start on making the stock dampers look a little prettier. After some time stood at the bench grinder fitted with a wire wheel fitted. Ultimately I would love to throw a set of Bilstein B14's on it, but funds can't stretch to it and in all fairness I think it handles well in stock springs and dampers. It'll be interesting to feel how all these powerflex bushes have effected that. I painted the dampers with rattle cans rather than a brush. I also treated them to some new bump stops as the original ones were looking a little tatty and would let the side down if I had left them. It was only £14 so not too bad.


The last few bits of the caliper were installed. Those little bent brake lines were seized on both sides so new ones were installed. Also 4 new brake nipples with the rubber caps were only £4.99.


And with the damper complete with it's new bumper stop installed the felt? arch liner was fitted. I also fitted the first rear driveshaft which strangely makes the haldex look loads better haha. Now I'm a spring away from saying this corner is finished. On the note of springs my original ones had snapped 1/2 inch off the end, and I cheekily chopped the end off neat to sneak through the MOT last time around. I'd bought another set of used original rears for £20, but they'd seen better days and I didn't want to fit them and let down the whole fresh look so I've ordered a full set of H&R which should be here in the next few days now.


So this is as far as I've got as far as bits bolted back onto the car. I have now painted the other damper and any other bit needed. The calliper and carrier are almost painted as good as as this side so a few more coats needed. All the bushes are fitted to all the other arms. If it would just stop raining on the weekends now!

And then a set of face-lift rear lights and white clocks for a decent price this week too.



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Loving the thorough job you're doing here. When you're done I'm sure it'll drive and look like new!


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H&R springs turned up today so hopefully a dry weekend so I can get them fitted.


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This thread made my day its awesome - one day I hope restore the rusty crusty underside of my S3 the proper way like this. As for jacking up - do you think the rear subframe could serve as a central rear jacking point? (so I could jack up the rear end from the back vs on each side at the normal jacking points)


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I can't see why not. Before mine was on the points it's on now the axle stands were on the rear subframe without issue. It's bolted to a pretty strong area of the chassis so should be ok.


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5th October 2019

With the weather forecast not being very favourable this weekend I was inspired to get up and crack on. I'd been told we were off out into town at 9.30 so only had a little over an hour to get something done. Now that all the parts are painted (apart from the caliper) and new bushes fitted everywhere this side flew together. Having the opposite side as a reference saved loads of time!



Oh yes we have spring now! These H&R springs almost seem too nice to put under a car haha. They really are a thing of beauty.


Shock refurbished and fitted with new bump stop.


Arch liner reinstalled now. Short of the calliper and carrier having the final coats of paint I'm pretty much there now!


Cleaned up the heat shield and got it bolted back under the car. Exhaust brackets reinstalled too. Fitted the wheel to make tightening up the driveshaft bolts easier. Hold the wheel etc.


Really liking the orange calliper on the black car now! I need to get some ramps so it can sit higher on its wheels. The middle needs to have it's heat shields removed for waxoyl'ing anyway and it'll lift the car ready to drop the engine out now I'm moving onto the front end.



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15th December 2019

So a combination of late nights and then night shifts has put the stops on doing a lot to the S3 throughout November and now we're halfway through December!

I managed to get the rear transferred onto ramps and then the front lifted up onto axle stands. This allowed me to crack on with taking it all apart. I stripped off the disc setup and hub a few weeks ago and have started to clean it all up a bit ready for paint. Thought we really needed some before photos just to see how mucky it all looked before I overhauled it all.




In terms of refurbishment I have the 1 calliper I've removed split in half and got a couple of coats of orange paint on it. I'll get another photo of it when I go out shortly to get another coat on. The shed was getting a little damp in there which was reflected in rust spots appearing on quite a few bits grrr. I put a small fan heater in there on a thermostat and left it off. The next day came in to a sauna haha. Time to knock it down a notch!

We also decided the S3 would only be used in the warmer months so bought a car cover to it. It did say it was for an A3, but in fairness it should be a little bit bigger in my opinion. It's going to fit even less once the front bumper is back on!