Project S4: Service time

It’s that time of the year again – Project S4’s “BIG service,” just in time for the glorious Summer track day season and the S4’s planned jaunts to Spa-Francorchamps and the Nordschleife, to name but a few circuits on the to do list. And, this year, with the cambelt being too many years old (despite not doing that many miles), it’s time for a cambelt change, as well as the usual servicing suspects.

My spanner man of choice, for almost a decade now on all my motors, is Dave Green of Ex-racer Dave’s been offering first rate servicing, MOT repairs, engine builds, track day set-up and sports and performance car tuning, on all makes of vehicle, for decades now. Key to any successful mechanic-punter relationship: I trust him implicitly. His vast mechanical/engineering knowledge and skill set are phenomenal. He can literally do any job and is master of them all. And his business in Beccles, Suffolk – Henstead Motorsport/Motors – is well-equipped, well supplied and also excellent value. Dave also happens to be a really top bloke to boot. Perfect. I am a lucky man to have found such a great spanner man. Cheers to you Dave!

Project S4 has been sitting about for the past month or more, while I’ve been testing a raft of press cars for the magazine. And it shows! Miraculously (a testament to what a fabulous car the S4 is), it did start first time, albeit with a little waft of oil from the Milltek exhaust! But the standard Audi S4 brakes, which were already on their last legs, have suffered from standing so long – all rusty, spongy and ineffective. They are due a full upgrade soon, but, unfortunately, I couldn’t get the kit from Black Diamond in time… so that’s a job for a forthcoming story.

What is on the “big service” list is:

  • Audi cambelt kit, with auxillary belt and tensioners, which involves taking the front bumper off the S4, removing the air con and much more: Bit of a mission, but an essential one, for piece of mind for the track day abuse to come, preserving that 2.7-litre bi-turbo V6 for years to follow.
  • Replacement of the standard paper air filter with a K&N panel filter (see separate article).
  • Millers Oil and Audi oil filter change (see separate article).
  • Replacement of Audi spark plugs x 6.
  • Fitting Bilstein PSS9 coilover kit, and setting-up: -30mm ride height and dampers to 65%.
  • Run diagnostics and clear ECU codes.
  • Fuel filter replacements.
  • Balance one of the wheels, which recently had a Dunlop tyre change and was faulty balanced at TreadFirst tyres, twice!
  • Check over bushes, bulbs and bits’n bobs throughout.

Dave had the car over the weekend, and in typical Henstead Motors fashion, not only was Dave quick, great value and communicative to get work done by, but he did a storming job… Project S4 is fit and healthy again – with a new cambelt holding the V6 in tight, fresh spark plugs, Millers Oil and new K&N air filter perking the engine up dramatically, all minor faults eliminated and checked… and, best of all, AMAZING ride and handling from the new Bilsteins (see separate feature for more on this fabulous kit). Money well spent. Hooray!

Just the brakes to fix now, and we’ll be ready for some UK track action (favourites Oulton and Cadwell on the list here) and trips to European giants, Spa-Francorchamps and the Nurburgring Nordschleife. Bring it on!