K04 - All you need to know
Questions about Turbo kits keep coming, and since I have couple of years of experience with this unit I thought it would be a good idea to create a little write up (as I haven't done one in years).
NOTE: Keep in mind that this thread is related to B5s only. We still really haven't gotten to the bottom of the whole K03 Sport thing with B5.5, even though people have put out little more power with them then K04......but they were also heavily modded and there is no direct Dyno #s without the heavy mods (that I know off anyways). So B5.5 guys "take it how you want it"
If you have any suggestions or find any mistakes in my write up please PM me and let me know, TIA.
There is many factors and things to consider when purchasing K04 turbo and IMO it's a great idea to know as much as possible before buying it (goes for anything). Hopefully this will make your decision easier.
K04-015 Turbocharger is a direct swap. Exhaust Manifold/connections/brackets/Cat bolts are all similar and fit exactly like the K03 unit. The difference is mostly in the wheel. Also from the info I gathered housing is a little bigger, although it is not noticeable by eye unless you wip out some calipers. Bottom line K04 flows more air then K03 and you can gain about 30-40hp over chipped K03.
Here are some pictures of the K03 and K04 side by side:
When purchasing these units make sure you have a blue tag on it and it says k04-015. When I first received my turbo it didn't have this tag.....it was red, and after a week of research I found out that it wasn't a REAL K04 but a Eurospec model, of course I returned it right away. HermanH and some vortex members have mixed reviews of the Eurospec turbo's, something to keep in mind and to look out for. Keep in mind that problems these folks have might not be related to the turbo itself. Basically I don't like to be the guinea pig so a real K04 was a must.
You can expect about 230hp and 260ft lbs of torque out of K04 set up. It all depends on # of modifications you do. Some end up with more power, some with less. Expect your Passat to be a solid low 15/mid 14s car (on a good day, and with a good driver) in a 1/4 mile. Most people that achieved low 14s are mostly A4 owners, as AWD does wonders to 60 foot times. From a roll you will get a performance of your average low 14s car (S2000, WRX, Mustang GT, 350Z etc <<<all stock of course). You read some of my "K04 stories" and as anything keep in mind that there is just SO many circumstances (driver, conditions, your and other car's conditions, tires.....I can go on and on). Also I'm only talking straight line acceleration performance.
Torque steer is none existent thanks to equal length half shafts, but putting even 230hp to the ground can be a challenge. Good set of tires only solves part of that problem. Other then that we all know the limits of FWD. Personally I wouldn't want ANYTHING over 230-250hp on ANY FWD car.IMO just doesn't make sense, especially if you consider the money you are spending.
So, if you are looking for serious performance K04 is NOT the way to go. It is simply a cheap upgrade to give your car that extra power over the chip or "chipping your car all over again" as some say and I agree. Most noticeable difference is in the upper RPM range, where K03 runs out of breath is where K04 shines.
IMO to take this car and make it a true monster would cost arm and a leg.....and it would still not be on par with most RWD or AWD sport cars/sedans
Personally I think K04 is a perfect upgrade for Passat. It makes it into a car I wanted when I first bought it....that VW didn't offer me. It really completes the car IMO. Overall K04 was a perfect choice, and if I could go back I wouldn't do it any other way.
When the K04 was first released there have been some issues, it seems like those issues have been solved long ago as last time I heard about K04 failing was 1999. These units run as reliably as stock K03. I had my K04 for 50k miles on my old totaled Passat and I transferred it to new (used) one I bought about a year ago. So far I put another 15k miles on it(65k miles in total) and there is no signs of letting up. Engine and turbo is something that you probably don't have to worry about with these cars, however things around those 2 is a different story.
At 92k miles (my old Passat) my axles gave up. Thank god VW took care of it under warranty . I was lucky enough not to have 1 control arm go bad....for 130k miles which is great, but many are not as lucky even with stock set ups. When everything is fine, suspension is simply superb.....when it doesn't it can be expensive to fix. Personally I have no clue how my control arms survived 6 years, my driving and horrible Northeast roads....blows my mind.
Another failure which is very common on our cars are tie rods......on both Passats I had to replace them at about 85k mile mark. This time around I went with heavy duty ones.
Other then that I had another 2 common issues after putting K04 on the car which might not be related to the turbo swap at all (not sure). Cat Converter flange broke at about 90k (again common on our cars) and the infamous ICM......ok fine throw in a wheel bearing in there too )again can't blame that on the turbo. Other then that it has been excellent and well beyond what I expected as far as reliability.
Clutch is another area of concern, especially at high mileage. My clutch was only slipping on very hot days (90-100 degrees) and only when I drove it really hard, about 5-10 after couple of WOT runs it would slip. Keep in mind we are talking stock clutch at 130k miles, so in reality not bad at all. My currant Passat has 85k (bought it at 70k) and clutch is fine. It's all about how you treat the car.
I have no turbo timer and past 3 years and 45k miles on K04 I only cooled it off on really hot days.....to be honest I don't remember last time I cooled it off. But basically I take it easy on it for a good mile before I park it at home. When I drive hard and have to go home I simply pop the hood and see if the turbo is glowing, if it is then I let it run for a min or 2. Again I haven't done it much....its fine.
If you plan on doing burn outs.....peel outs.......and abuse this car, Passat is NOT for you and you will probably post every week about control arm failures, engine mounts gone bad....wheel bearings amongst other things. The chances are that Passat will treat you good, as long as you treat it good....and of course in some none of that matters.
Again I had 2 Passats with 200k miles on them in total and Passat is a reliable car overall.
Overall I can't say my MPG went up or went down. It all depends on how heavy my foot is. If I drive like a grandma and take it out of gear on hills etc, sure I can do 35-40mpg. Just knowing that you have that option is great.
HOWEVER when I drive hard well you waste as much gas as your average low 14s car...if not worst.
But in general I really haven't notice any MPG changes since the upgrade, on average I get 24-26mpg the way I drive. My car gets floored at least once every time I drive, but I can't say I drive it like that much. I do not drive it hard for extensive amount of time so your mileage at the race track will probably more like 13-18mpg.
There is 2 ways of purchasing, as a kit or separate. It really doesn't make a difference but you can save some money if you get it separately.
TURBO - when I was shopping around for K04 no one had it. It took about 2-3 months to finally get it and I had to pay top dollar ($1700 as a kit) Price range from $800-1300 depending on where you purchase. I have seen lot of companies selling it and seems like K04 is common this day and age and you should be able to find it for around $800.
SOFTWARE - there is # of companies that make K04 Chip for B5s cars.
GIAC, WETT, Upsolute are amongst the few. If you buy the kit separately I suggest to research software first! The cost of the chip is anywhere from $400-600. I have GIAC and it costs $600.
FPR - around $50-60 bucks
Diverter Valve - adding an upgraded DV is a good idea too, stock DVs are prone to fail. TT DV might do the trick, I went the safe route and just got the Bailey DV. Pick and choose I would highly recommend.
HARDWARE - make sure you have all new bolts/gaskets/washers etc. This will cost you good $20-40 but its an absolute must. I would also recommend going to VW parts dept and getting one extra hex bracket bolt, they don't come in a kit and they are VERY easy to strip.
Here are some part #s
K04 Turbo Upgrade, (AWE) = incl. in AWE Tuning Kit
SEALING WASHER N 013 814 9 turbo<->coolant supply(AWE) 2
SEALING WASHER N 013 814 9 turbo<->coolant return(AWE) 1
SEALING WASHER N 013 812 8 turbo<->oil supply(AWE) 1
GASKET 06A 253 039 E turbo<->exhaust manifold(AWE) 1
GASKET 058 145 757 B turbo<->oil return line(AWE) 1
GASKET 058 145 757 A oil return line<->pan(AWE) 1
STUD N 044 520 3 turbo<->cat(AWE) 3
GASKET 8D0 253 115 turbo<->cat(AWE) 1
NUT N 903 690 01 turbo<->cat 3
SCREW N 014 702 10 turbo<->oil return line 2
SCREW N 010 217 10 oil return line<->pan 2
SCREW 058 145 540 turbo<->exhaust manifold 3
WASHER 058 145 791 turbo<->exhaust manifold 3
BOLT N 103 036 01 turbo<->support bracket 1
OIL - always ALWAYS use synthetic!!! Regardless if you buy a K04 or not, it's a must for 1.8T.
COOLANT - you will need some pink stuff, make sure you have it before installation etc.
NOTE: Some tuners will tell you that you will absolutely need an exhaust, its not true. Exhaust/DP would be good to have but its not a must but it is a good idea to do so, personally I went with Techtonics Downpipe and Stainless steal exhaust....and like it very much. Also adding an upgraded DV is a good idea too, stock DVs are prone to fail. TT DV might do the trick, I went the safe route and just got the Bailey DV. Pick and choose.
This was a pretty big deal to me, if I wasn't able to install the kit myself, I couldn't afford to buy it in the first place. So basically I had to do it.
I gathered up as much info as possible, picked a nice Sat to work on it and got my father to help me (you do need a 2nd person here and there).
So far I did the installation twice and 1st was actually much smoother then second (broke exhaust mani bolt and stripped Allen Bracket bolt<<<<<drilled it out). But overall installing a turbo is not very hard, you just need time, right tools, patience and have all the info you need to install it.
Keep in mind that before I bought my Passat I didn't even know how to change oil, since (thanks to Passat community) I've done anything from brakes to changing a turbo and saved over 7-8k on labor. I'm not expert or master mechanic I simply learned as I go.
Thanks to HermanH you also have a great write up to work with.
Here are some of the things you definitely want to look out for:
-always use jack stands!!!
-when loosening bolts, give it one fast/hard pull. Don't try to pull on the wrench and keep pulling on it....that's how you break the bolts. One good/hard twist will work best (something that most mechanics go by)
-Make sure you use a torque wrench. First time around I didn't and I over tightened the washers. Ended up with a little coolant leak. Amazingly enough the leak sealed itself overtime and I didn't have to take off the turbo to fix it. You don't want to deal with any of that and it's a great piece of mind.
-watch out for that allen hex bracket bolt. Make sure you are using correct size before you give it a good pull. As per Herman's write up a pipe will help you as it is usually very tight. But again be careful, apply the pressure in the right direction, extension pipe can cause stripping the bolt also. If you strip it, you will have to wip out a drill, get under the car and drill the bolt out. PS it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.
-double-check everything, rather then go back and take everything apart for the 2nd time, make sure everything is back the way it should be the 1st time. Very important.
- As per Hermans write up, make sure the hose clamp that goes on the Turbo outlet (towards the intercooler) has its head on the bottom and the head is facing Air box side. If you put the clamp head on top or side of the hose for easy access it will NOT stay on and eventually will slip off. Basically the turbo housing is much bigger up top as the snail gets bigger and it doesn't allow the clamp to go as far in as it would if you put the clam head on the bottom and access it with the screwdriver from the bottom/side. I tried to clamp it "easy way, from the top" 3 times and it would not stay on.....always slipped off and ended up taking things apart few times.
-Again as per Hermans write up, put some oil in the turbo before you hook up the last oil line. You don't want to start it without oil....even though it probably doesn't make a difference, again its something that could potencially cause trouble and most people that did the install recommend. I did it.....again piece of mind.
-and last if shit goes downhill, don't ever give up. You have to keep your head up and have the confidence. I've worked on cars a LOT over last 5 years and ran into some crazy shit......yet everytime I kept a good attitude and always ended up finishing the job. Of course there were times when I had to get my anger out....and needed help from friends.....but again in the end it all works out just fine.
you can take it to your mechanic and have them install it. I'm not exactly sure about the cost but I'm guessing it will be around 500-700 bucks. Just keep in mind unless your mechanic works for VW or on audi/vw all day he probably never changed the turbo on our cars, the chances of him doing the research and finding out what to look out for etc is very slim as most just simply get to work. Pick and choose wisely, my personal experiance with mechanics in my area hasn't been good, but I do know few very good mechanics.
Once everything is complete simply turn the key to ON position and let it sit and let the ECU remap itself. Start it after about 1-2 min and let it run for a bit. Let all the oil/coolant burn off......you will notice some smoke. While at it, get all the air out of the coolant system and top it off. Also a good idea to have a boost gauge at this point!!!
People say to take it easy for the first 500miles....I gave it about.....hmm......10-15 min of driving before I simply had to floor it, when I did it was all smiled from there.
Love it! love it! love it! It is the only way to describe it. It made my car complete and it is by far the best performance mod I have ever done. Again if I could go back I wouldn't do it any other way. Not too much....not too little while still maintaining factory reliability and mileage.
Good luck and thanks for reading.
Best Car Insurance | Auto Protection Today | FREE Trade-In Quote