Modification Modification
Car: Audi | A4 | B5 | Sport | Saloon
Engine: BAM | 1781 | Inline 4 | (225 VVT) | Turbocharged | Petrol

Turbo Sport Exterior modifications

The car in stock form

I've always had the opinion that the B5 was a nice looking car, but it's nothing that can't be improved upon. The car is quire reserved in stock form and I wanted it to be a little more purposeful and unique, but at the same time retain a clean look. I guess these are views typical of a person my age but I was determined not to end up witha car typical of most people my age.

With a few major modifications to the car I achieved my goal; A purposeful and unique looking car. I've listed the various changes I made together with an exposition of what was involved.

© Mark Stewart, Tuesday 15th July 2003

1999.5 Door mouldings and smoothed in S4 sides & wing emblem

Side modifications

I wasn't happy with the Audi badge on the front wing, this badge harked back to the days of the 80 and 100 and looked a little dated. Removal isn't easy as the badge is recessed into the wing.

Removal leaves 2 options; either fit a pair of 1998-1999.5 front wings or remove the recess. I chose to remove the recess as I was having the whole car resprayed. My friend welded an oval section of metal over the hole and spent a while finishing it ready for paint.

The next thing on the list was to remove the early style door mouldings. These were updated in 1999.5 by much wider and thinner mouldings that serve to give the car a much cleaner look. The old strips were removed and the surface prepared before the 99.5 mouldings were stuck on.

Finally I purchased a set of OEM S4 side skirts together with the comprehensive assortment of fittings required for fitment. I had the upper weather trim removed, which runs along the base of the doors. The mounting lugs are ground off and locating holes smoothed over. Finally the skirts were modified to be fitted independently of the now removed weather strip, and they were smoothed into the body for a clean look. Removal of the weather strip gives the skirts a more defined line, slightly less subtle than stock S4. 

© Mark Stewart, Tuesday 15th July 2003

1999.5 Rear lights

1999.5 Rear lights

There have been 3 types of rear lights fitted to the B5 A4;

1994-1996 (square tail light), 1996-1999 (Grey reversing light band) and finally:

1999.5 (Clear reversing light band). I chose the 1999.5 as the clear 'crystal' style band compliments the headlamps and looks more up-to-date.

Physically the units are a straight swap, but for correct operation the following wires must be changed:

O/S - Swap Blue/Red with Black/White

N/S - Swap Blue/Red with Black/Green

© Mark Stewart, Tuesday 15th July 2003

1999.5 Valeo 1 piece headlamps

This is one of the simplest, yet most dramatic modifications you can make to a pre 1999.5 A4. Although Audi has a policy of ongoing advancement, the whole range received significant changes in 1999.5 and one piece lamps formed part of those 'facelift' revisions.

I chose to buy the OEM Valeo units (Bosch manufacture a 2 piece projector version), although there are some cheap copies out there I very much doubt the projectors are up to OEM standards.

It's worth noting that there are 2 versions of the unit; HID and Halogen. The projectors are different for each application.

Fitting requires modification to the front wings, once the old units are removed the area in question will be evident. Grind back the recessed lip that the old units located on, I used a Dremmel for the job. Make good any exposed metal with paint or grease.

The wiring plug from a 99.5 needs soldering onto the car loom. Wire colours are identical which makes life easier.

© Mark Stewart, Tuesday 15th July 2003

4300K Xenon (HID) Conversion

HID Ballast

HID's are something I'd always wanted, for reasons both practical and not so practical.

Firstly I've got to admit I do think they look good, they are a finishing touch to a car. The important reason though for me was the performance compared to Halogen. I've always been disappointed by Halogen headlights and find myself having to use main beam for driving, having constantly to switch back to dip to avoid blinding other drivers.

Xenon's will offer you substantially more light up to the cut-off, and the spread is much wider. The situation still isn't ideal as a standard HID system provides no better range than Halogen,  a Bi-Xenon systems come into their own here.

On the B5 we are limited to a standard dip beam HID system for now (watch this space....). Fitting of the system is very straightforward. I chose to mount the ballasts in the OEM position on the base of the headlamps, this requires only a small hole to be cut on the base of the headlamp for the ignitor lead to pass. I used a strap screwed into the OEM mount holes to secure the ballast.

OEM Phillips 4300K D2S bulb

It is worth noting here that D2S bulbs will work in a Halogen projector, but will not give ideal results as the position of the bulb relative to the lens will be slightly incorrect, affecting the focus. However the system will still offer significant gains. Also, fitment of HID's must be accompanied by a self levelling system and high pressure headlamp washers. In my case the latter was satisfied by fitment of the RS4 front bumper.

Wiring for the units is very simple, cut off the Halogen H7 connector and solder the ballast plug in it's place, Brown to Brown and Yellow to Brown/Red. The conversion was defiantly a worthwhile modification.

© Mark Stewart

Clear side repeaters

Clear side repeaters

The clear repeaters were one of the first changes I made to the car, the units first appeared on the 1998-1999.5 S4 and were unique to this model. From around 2000 most Skoda models used these so availability is no problem.

The clear repeaters are a straight swap with the original orange units, but require an orange bulb.

© Mark Stewart, Tuesday 15th July 2003

E46 M3 Lip spoiler

E46 M3 Lip spoiler

There are some truly wrong spoilers out there for the B5, and the OEM one isn't up to much either. However the car needs something to add a little touch of individuality and definition.

I decided on a small lip in the shape of an E46 M3 spoiler, it is the perfect size for the B5 boot lid and the only difference is in the curvature. This can be taken care of by careful fitment as the unit has a certain degree of flexibility.

The spoiler is held on by strong self adhesive tape, which is available separately from BMW if required.

© Mark Stewart, Tuesday 15th July 2003

1999.5 S4 rear bumper & exhaust trims

99.5 S4 Rear bumper and Exhaust

There was nothing I could think of doing to improve the stock rear bumper. Spraying the bottom section was not an option because this serves to further emphasize the lines of the bumper, which I really didn't like.

In the end I settled on a 1999.5 S4 rear bumper, this is slightly different at the rear to the early S4's and looks fantastic when on the car. A complete transformation.

© Mark Stewart, Tuesday 15th July 2003

OEM RS4 Front bumper

This is the most striking change I made to the car, an OEM RS4 front bumper. The obvious choice would have been the S4 bumper route, but I think this looks clumsy and dated next to the RS bumper, which as far as bumpers go is a work of art.

The RS4 has flared wheel arches so fitting is anything but straightforward, the bumper needs careful heating, cutting and reshaping to fit the standard A4 wings. Flaring the front wings out a touch can also aid in fitting, all in all it takes a lot of man hours in the body shop to get right.

© Mark Stewart, Tuesday 15th July 2003

RS4 Bonnet grille with S-Line badge

OEM RS4 Bonnet grille with S-Line badge

The S4 grille was replaced by this RS4 grille. The outer trim is a brushed aluminium effect and the centre is a honeycomb pattern to match the mesh in the front bumper. My car is just dark enough to give a contrast between it and the grille trim.

As with the S4 grille this pushes into place and is secured by barbed clips. I stuck the S-Line badge onto the grille in place of an RS4 badge.

© Mark Stewart, Tuesday 15th July 2003

S4 Bonnet grille with S-Line badge & 1999.5 look front bumper

S4 Grille with S-Line badge

This was a grille I fitted shortly after purchasing the car. The stock 1995-1999 grille is offensive quite frankly, so the S4 grille was the first port of call in improving the front end.

The grille comes with an S4 badge, which I wouldn't dream of leaving on for obvious reasons. In it's place I fixed a B6 S-Line grille badge, with the mount slightly modified to suit the S4 grille Fitting is easy, the unit just clips in. I was not entirely happy with how this looked on my car so I sold it on.

I also blacked out the lower bumper uprights to improve the look.

© Mark Stewart, Tuesday 15th July 2003

18" RS4 replica wheels

18 RS4 Replica wheels

These wheels first appeared on the RS4, and appeared a couple of years later on the TT and later again the S3. I liked them ever since seeing the RS4 at the British motor show (along with the rest of the RS4....). Stock RS4 wheels don't fit due to the large ET20 offset so my prayers were answered when copies with the correct offset started to appear.

I spent a while searching for the right wheel, some of the copies don't have a dished centre and this looses the effect of the wheel. The wheels I ended up with were ET30. Different wheel bolts are required and these were supplied as part of the wheel/tyre package.

© Mark Stewart, Tuesday 15th July 2003

Eibach Sportline lowering springs

Eibach Pro Kit springs

The stock springs on a sport are a little on the soft side for my tastes however the damping is adequate. Suspension choice comes down to what you want from the car, for me this was a plush ride but with a sporting character.

The A4 is never going to be a sports car, no matter what suspension is fitted as it's no lightweight. For me it is a car that can soak up the miles but still provide some driving entertainment when the mood suits, and unfortunately the stock suspension falls short of the performance mark.

I selected a set of brand new OEM sport dampers and Eibach Pro kit springs based on some online research. The Eibach springs are not cheap, in fact they are some of the more expensive springs available but quality is seldom cheap. Fitting was straightforward in my case, although I've heard stories of the upper pinch bolt being seized (left). Its' also worth noting that a very sturdy spring compressor is required.

Also at this time I took the opportunity to replace all of the front control arms and track rod ends with new OEM parts. The car was at 52k and I could find no evidence in the service book of these being done.

Spending the best part of a Saturday fitting the suspension only to find the car is the same ride height as stock is very disappointing, if anything it was a little lower at the rear. After doing some more reading I uncovered stories of people being unhappy with the Pro Kit and returning the springs for a SportKit, which happened to be a very worthy replacement for the OEM springs. That will teach me to go out and buy things in a hurry without doing the research first...

I actually managed to get the springs off without damaging them, as luckily I had PVC tape wrapped on the spring compressors to avoid scraping the springs (which can lead to corrosion).

I managed to get a refund and exchange for the Sportline kit. The new springs are red, immediately distinguishable from the black Pro Kit. The Sportline kit also included a set of new OEM bump stops, which suggests the kit is altogether more serious than the OEM like Pro Kit. Once fitted the springs gave exactly the look I was after, and the ride was exceptional. For around 1.5" lower the ride was certainly near stock levels of comfort, and the car looked 100 times better.

© Mark Stewart, Tuesday 15th July 2003
Back to: Top Search | bookmark this page |


If you found this information useful then please consider making a donation to help cover costs. Your support is always appreciated.

Visitor comments