Having had my S3 for nearly a year now, I have read with interest the build treads that Tuffty, Prawn, Westy, Welly and so many others have been posting. I only began posting a few weeks ago (I have been a fervent lurker for quite a while, learning soooo much from the helpful info and tips that you guys post) and as I have got so much help from this forum recently I felt I should start posting myself so that others can maybe benefit. After all, we've all got to start somewhere...... This was the car the day I bought it. The drive from Gloucestershire back to Cardiff was unbelievable. After driving a 105bhp VW Touran for 2 years, It felt like the fastest car on the M4 that day! It had 125,00 miles on the clock and a massive folder of service history, receipts, etc. Although she has had quite a lot of owners in her 15 years, I think most of them looked after her quite well IMO. The interior and paintwork were very good nick, asides from the “normal” rusting along the roof rails. There was a receipt from a main dealer for repairs carried out to the roof under warranty but I guess the quality of workmanship wasn't all that. She was completely standard apart from H&R springs, a stage 1 remap (I think it's a generic map, judging by the receipts), DV, 18” replica alloys and R8 style aftermarket headlights (which, for the record I hate with a passion). I was working in Birmingham for a couple of months so I used the car to travel there. It never missed a beat but I just couldn't hack the really harsh ride that the 19” wheels gave me on the M50 so I started looking for some AVUS' on fleabay. The inside edges of my rear tyres were very worn due to the H&R lowering springs that are fitted so I needed to find a set ASAP to stay legal. A set of AVUS' turned up just down the road from me, complete with brand new tyres but in the wrong width and profile (The previous owner had them fitted to a Skoda Fabia – 205/40 ZR17). I bought them for a good price even though they looked lost in the wheel arches. Although the wheel/tyre combo was a lot better than the 18's, the car was now much too low. It would grind out getting on or off the drive and on the countless speed bumps around Cardiff. A few friends were running Federal RS595s on their track day cars and I managed to get a set of 4 for a decent price online. I had the wheels acid dipped and repainted in white by a local wheel refinishers. I'm very pleased with the result, even though the colour has taken a while to get used to. I took the car off the road to fit a Badger5 80mm TIP and try and sort out the reason for one of the most oily looking engine bays I have ever seen. I had a week in my diary with no work commitments and figured that a few days would get everything sorted.......Wrong! As most of you will know, hoses on a 14 year old car will be rotten. How this car was running was nothing short of a miracle – every hose was totally perished and must have been leaking like a sieve. As soon as you started to move anything it would just crumble and fall apart in your hand. After reading the stickies (Yes, I have read them Tuffty!) I decided to do a 249 Bypass, SAI and PCV delete. Fleabay became my favourite website for a couple of weeks, buying copious amounts of silicon hose and connectors in a variety of sizes. I bought a catch can then decided to vent it to atmosphere, so bought a mini filter and a plug for the TIP. Oh, I bought a cone filter and heatshield too. And handfuls of JCS pipe clips..... Through Fleabay, I managed to pick up a set of brand new 2.0FSI coil packs from Germany. I ended up getting them for a tenner each.I ordered the OEM adaptors from the main dealer as per Tuffty's thread. Nice mod for less that a tenner! Trying to work on a car on your drive in the winter is not fun, but I eventually got everything replaced. I cleaned a lot of the oil from under the inlet manifold and around block, and after an oil and filter change and a new dayglo orange dipstick holder she was up and running again with no leaks. In true Ghetto style, I drove her around the surrounding streets without the front bumper fitted, checking all the hoses were okay. AOK and the extra noise coming from the TIP and the filter was unreal! At his point I had an MOT test done. Quite surprisingly, she passed with no advisories. I think the guys in the garage were quite impressed by the car, judging by their comments! Even though they were hardcore Jap car drifters, they were very interested in what I wanted to achieve over the next year, mod wise. All was good for a week or so. I took every opportunity to drive the car, taking it on a shopping trip to Sainsburys on Christmas Eve. I wanted to make sure she was running okay before starting on the next install – Never change too many things at once! I had bought a FMIC some time ago and I was itching to get it on the car. I had bought the biggest sized 63mm inlet/outlet intercooler I could find on fleabay but I didn't quite realise how big it would look on the car. The plan was to use 63mm solid pipework from the charge pipe, all the way to the inlet manifold, using the absolute minimum of silicone. Fabricating a top bracket out of aluminium angle in what seems to be the time-honoured ASN fashion, along with 2 lower mounts that I fashioned out of some roof truss brackets that I had laying around, I bolted it on the front of the car. To make fitting the hard intercooler pipework easier, I relocated the battery to the boot. I bought a battery cradle from a motorsports supplier on Fleabay, along with superflex 50mm2 welding cable, a killswitch and an assortment of connectors and crimps. Tuffy's detailed write-up on this is excellent, and much better that I can muster. I have shamelessly copied what he had done previously. In December, someone on the VAG Facebook forum posted that they were breaking an 8L that had had a lot of engine work done to it. I was in the right place at the right time and jumped on a BBT Hybrid K04 and a Relentless V4 manifold. They have been sitting on my desk as expensive paperweights ever since. Just after Christmas, the intercooler pipework was fitted. The inlet and outlet sides were custom fitted to the car, replacing the map sensor tube in its original position behind the headlight. The input side of the intercooler (from the charge pipe) is made in one sold piece and the output side is made in 2 pieces with a small sliver of silicone connector. I might look at getting rid of the joint at some stage as I think I may be able to make it 1 large pipe but still be able to get in on and off if needed. It seemed too much hassle to do it at the time, but perhaps I'll revisit it. Disaster struck one morning a couple of weeks ago. A machine-gun type misfire followed by what sounded like a bag of spanners under the valve cover. Not good. Thinking it was maybe a coilpack, I went home and picked up the original set I had removed when I swapped over to the FSI packs. I swapped them out on the side of the road but the noise/misfire was still there. Really not good at all. A mate of mine towed me back to the house and I set about trying to diagnose the problem. I had bought a copy of VCDS and a dongle a few days before (funny coincidence, that!) so my forst port of call was to break out the laptop. No fault code to be seen. Eh? Under the bonnet. Spark plugs out. No1 cylinder comes out and it looks like this The ceramic was totally missing, obviously smashed up with whatever was now ratting around in the cylinder bores. I think this is most defintely causing the misfire the problem..... Cylinder No 2 spark plug - Oily but okay. Cylinder No 3 plug – Ceramic missing also. Cylinder No 4 plug – Okay. So, the next stage is to take the head off and see what has caused the damage. Now - I live in Wales. It rains a lot in Wales and in early January it is cold. Very cold. I started stripping the head in between the heavy rain and hail showers, battling the 60MPH wind that was whistling down the side of my house. Have I mentioned that I don't have a garage big enough to get the car in so I'll be building this project on the drive? This was not the greatest moment of my life. Cold, wet, dirty and not feeling in the best of moods, this is what I found.... The head hadn't fared much better. A bit of valve damage means a rebuild at the very least. Now, seeing that I was going to max out my rods when I fitted the hybrid, I had 2 options. Spend a lot of money rebuilding my exisiting engine or buy one that was already that spec from someone here on ASN (Hello, Gops!). A deal was done so that I get a forged engine and replacement head when Gops has his new motor installed by Bill next month. Result!