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Audi A4 1.8T Front Mount Intercooler (FMIC) Installation

Prior Experience: Not very difficult, but time and patience are needed
Cost: $XXX for FMIC
Time: 4-6 hours

Discuss this mod - Here
NOTE: All pics are hyperlinked to higher resolution versions.
Audi A4 FMIC   Audi A4 FMIC
Before      After

A front mount intercooler (FMIC) is an essential part for any turbo car with plans of future power upgrades. The stock intercooler is a side mount intercooler and it has only been sized for the small K03 turbo. If you are looking to upgrade the turbo, you have to upgrade the intercooler. If you dont you will suffer from tremendous heat soak which equals power loss.

Not only is it an essential, fully functional part, it can also looks pretty badass as well

SUPPLIES -You will need basic tools including a FULL torx bit set. You will need several different sizes including a large Torx 45 (not usually in a standard set) I suggest you go to your local autozone and full set plus some extra large ones. If you buy individuals then you can return the unused one. Or you can justify the purchase by knowing your saving a ton by doing this install yourself.

Obviously everyone's install will be slightly different depending on what FMIC you have purchased for your car. This install is written for a RaceTec FMIC. Although the RaceTec comes with install instructions, I also found it useful to read Eurocode's install instructions. Both sets are hosted here:

Eurocode Install Instructions
Racetec Install Instructions

As with any large installation job, be sure to be very neat with all your nuts and bolts so that you know where they go when you reassemble everything

Before proceeding with the writeup I wanted to just give a BASIC overview of the parts you need to know of and their basic functionality. For the purposes of this install, you need to know that hot, compressed air leaves the turbo on the passenger side down the turbo outlet hose to some integrated duct work below your radiator. It travels across the front of your car through a 90 degree elbow up into the stock side mount intercooler. Here the intercooler cools it using ambient air. The cooler, compressed air is then dumped into your intake manifold for combustion. For you to install the new intercooler you will need to remove the turbo outlet pipe, the 90 degree elbow, the stock side mount intercooler and the throttle body hose.
Audi A4 FMIC

The entire installation can be done on a set of ramps. I used a 20 dollar set of Rhino ramps from my local Wal-Mart. After you get the car up on ramps you have to remove the front bumper. This has already been outlined in another writeup

Removing the Front and Rear Bumpers

  Audi A4 FMIC
With the bumper off you can get under the car and remove the plastic belly pan by unscrewing the 5 screws that hold it up.   Audi A4 FMIC
Audi A4 FMIC  

After the bumper and belly pan have been removed you can remove the ducting surrounding the sock side mount intercooler. There are only a couple screws holding it on - one of which is circled to the left. There is nothing tricky about removing it.

Audi A4 FMIC  

Laying under the car, you can start to disconnect the stock intercooler piping.

Starting on the passenger side, you can remove the turbo outlet hose. Since the Racetec FMIC has a hardpipe directly to the turbo, I completely removed this hose.

First disconnect the hose clamp connecting the turbo outlet hose to the intercooler ducting.


After the hose clamp is removed, pull the turbo outlet hose off the ducting and push it to the side

  Audi A4 FMIC

This turbo outlet hose also connects to the turbo and to your diverter valve (or blow off valve). Disconnect the two hose clamps circled to the right (sorry for the blurry pic)

  Audi A4 FMIC
Audi A4 FMIC  

With the turbo outlet hose removed it will look like this


Now you can move back to the driver's side

Audi A4 FMIC  

The first thing to do on the driver's side is to disconnect the headlight tray. This is held on by two screws so it is very easy to remove.



After the headlight tray is out, disconnect the throttle body hose from the intake manifold. It is just a single hose clamp

Audi A4 FMIC   Audi A4 FMIC

With the headlight tray out and the throttle body hose disconnected from the intake manifold, you can go ahead and remove the clamp holding the hose the the stock intercooler

  Audi A4 FMIC
Audi A4 FMIC  

Here is the same hose from above. When you disconnect this hose, also disconnect the wiring harness to the intercooler sensor.



With the one end of the stock intercooler disconnected, you can go ahead and disconnect the other end.

You will see a 90 degree elbow connecting the front of the intercooler to the same ducting that the turbo outlet hose was connected to on the passenger side.

  Audi A4 FMIC
Audi A4 FMIC  

It is not unusual to find some oil in the intercooler hoses. There is usually some amount of blow by which accumulates in the low portions of the intercooler hoses.

What you see here is a relatively normal amount (this is years of accumulation)



In order to pull the stock intercooler, you will need to pull the radiator support forward. To do this first remove the rubber weather stripping along the top. Please be somewhat careful as the metal under the stripping can be sharp so dont run your hand along it

  Audi A4 FMIC

You will then need to unscrew a couple torx bolts on the both the driver and passenger side - 3 on each side a circled below

Audi A4 FMIC   Audi A4 FMIC
Audi A4 FMIC  

The next step is to loosen the front bumper supports. To do this you have to remove the 3 Torx 45 screws. After you remove the first torx screw on each side, screw it into the service position. This will allows the screw to support the weight of the radiator support and make the re-install easier.

When this is done you can slide the whole support assemblt forward about 2 inches

Audi A4 FMIC  

Now that there is some clearance you should be able to pull the stock intercooler and get it free from the rubber bushing that is holding it in place

Audi A4 FMIC  

You should be able to slide the intercooler out. Make sure it is not still connected to anything. There may be some additional small items that I forgot to mention here.

Here is the stock intercooler

The next step is to move the power steering cooling line out of the way. There is a single screw holding int in place. After you remove it you want to swing it upwards.

Some people have to trim the plastic around the cooling line, but I didn't have to.

Audi A4 FMIC   Audi A4 FMIC
I simply secured the power steering line with a zip tie. In order to stop it from rattling, I cut a piece of sticky felt and placed it between the cooler line and the metal it was resting on.
Audi A4 FMIC   Audi A4 FMIC
Audi A4 FMIC  

In order to allow your new FMIC to lay in place, you need to remove the trim at the bottom of the radiator. There are a couple screws and clips holding it in place

Now its time to grab yourself another beer and take look at what you have done to your precious car.
Audi A4 FMIC   You can put that back together right?

A quick glance at the picture above will show a couple things. I forgot to mention to remove some general trim on either side of the radiator (you can see them siting on the ground right in front of the car). These pieces are very easy to remove so I'm sure you can just figure that out. Also, you will see I still have a one of the 3 torx screws of the passenger side bumper support in place. From what I recall this torx screw would not 'unscrew.' It came out about half way and then it just spun in place. I didnt spend too much time on it, but as you can see the intercooler is out even with that bolt in place. I guess I still had enough clearance to get it out.

Also you can tell that I took the picture before I moved the power steering line whereas you should already have yours moved.

Installing the FMIC

I am going to go through the installation relatively quickly as it is all prettymuch self explanatory. Each person will have to do the install differently depending on the FMIC they have chosen.

One tip that is good for everyone is to assemble everything and LEAVE IT LOOSE. Do not tighten everything down as you put pieces on. It will be very hard to get a good fit this way. You should put all the FMIC hoses on, hang the intercooler and then go around and gradually tighten it all down. I cannot stress this enough.


The first thing you should really do is removd the boost sensor from the stock intercooler and install it on the new piping. Each company will have their own spot for the sensor, but you have to deal with that on your own.

Be SURE to tighten the sensor in place very well. If you dont tighten it down well, you will end up with a boost leak and kill your performance. Trust me, I made this mistake.

  Audi A4 FMIC

After you install the sensor, you will want to hang the intercooler from whatever bracket you have been given. Since I have an aftermarket front bumper, and I wanted the intercooler to sit in the opening, I had to use a custom dropdown bracket. This allows me to flip the intercooler over to make it lower while remaining the same hose positions. The bracket was provided to me by Racetec for an additionaly $50.

Audi A4 FMIC  

The intercooler here is 'upside down' in order to accomodate the drop down bracket.


It may also be helpful to note that sometimes and intercooler will require you to bend your smog pump out of the way in order to get the pipes to fit. Most of the time they won't tell you this until you complain about fitment.

To get the pipes to fit, you may need to pull the smog pump in the direction shown here

  Audi A4 FMIC

I have had issues with the fitment of the passenger side pipe since day 1, so you will see the fitment at the turbo is not EXACT. I need to spend a little more time fine tuning the install in order to get it just right.

Word on the street is that this should fit perfectly.

Here you can see my passenger side piping reconnected to the turbo and the blow off valve. The black tubing that is going to the blow off is included in the kit.

  Audi A4 FMIC

The passenger side pipe fits just great. It connected to the throttle body hose just as the stock intercooler connected to it. I had no fitment issues there. Depending on the intercooler, you should be prepared to do some bumper trimming. In the case of the Racetec FMIC and the Rieger bumper, I had to do quite a bit of trimming. This was the longest and most tedious part of the whole job. However I was meticulous about it. I wanted to trim as little as possible off and get it to fit right - so it was a process of trim, test fit, trim, test fit....etc To get and idea of how much I trimmed, here are two quick pics

Note: I don't like the look of cutting half circles out of the bumper to get the pipes to fit, so I took entire square sections out. The look is much cleaner in my opinion, but you do more cutting to achieve it.

Audi A4 FMIC   Audi A4 FMIC
Driver's Side      Passenger's Side

After you get everything aligned, you should go ahead and tighten it all down. Be sure to get the hose clamps VERY tight - they have to be airtight if you want this to be effective. At every end of every hose there should be a hose clamp. I suggest that you Check For Boost Leaks when you are done to make sure that you have installed it properly. A boost leak is your worst enemy with this job.

You may also want to get some metal polish and polish the bumper. I suggest Adam's Polishes to get it nice and shiny for you.

If it is all done, then put that bumper on and call it a day. You just saved yourself atleast $300 bucks.

Here are the glory shots.

Audi A4 FMIC   Audi A4 FMIC
Audi A4 FMIC   Audi A4 FMIC

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