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Installing and Color Matching a Podi Boost Gauge and Pod- Audi A4

This mod is brought to you by Podi.ca

Discuss this mod - Here

Prior Experience: None
Use promotional code A4MODS for free shipping in the US
Cost: approx $250
Time: 1 hour

On a turbo car, a boost gauge/gage is as important as a fuel gage. It common for a turbocharged car to spring a boost leak, etc. Your car could be greatly under performing, and you may not even know it if you don't have a good gauge installed..

A good, reliable gauge which integrates well with the audi interior was hard to come by until Podi.ca designed a gauge specifically for these vehicles. The quality and ease of integration cannot be beat. In this particular install, I will be installing the new Podi Electronic Stepper Motor gauge. This gauge gives the user a lot more configuration options than a standard analog gauge. It also is (as the name implies) motor driven - so there is no 'buzz' that you can get with a standard gauge.

If you have a standard analog gauge, I describe the baics of installing those here

The writeup will be presented in multiple parts. I will show how to tap a boost/vacuum line on the 1.8T motor as well as a 2.0T FSI motor. Then I will show how to wire up the Electronic Stepper Motor gauge, and then I will show you how to color match the Podi to the interior of your car. The painting step is not needed by most, so although I did it first, I will present it at the end.

SUPPLIES for Installing the Gauge- Pretty much all of the parts you need are included in the gauge package. I made use of some additional wiring to extend the Podi harnesses. You may not needed these on your install, but I used them on mine.

 
Audi A4 boost gage  
What $$
Podi Gauge and Pod Package 250.00

T8 Torx screw driver with long/thin neck

(This one from SEARS works)

$5
Various electrical connections, tape, etc 5.00
Metal Coat Hanger ?
 
The image above shows the parts of the Podi Gauge. Pictured left to right are the Infrared Remote, Stepper Motor Boost Gauge, the gauge harness, the electronic boost sensor/sender and some vacuum hose.

Part 1a: 1.8T Engine: Connecting the Boost/Vacuum Line

This small section describes where to connect your Boost/Vacuum Line on a 1.8T engine.

Installing the gauge is not very challenging. The first thing you need to do is find out where to tap to get a good boost reading. I used this line off of the intake manifold.

On my vehicle, this line runs under the intake manifold. You can tap it anywhere along the way, but I wanted the tapping point to be out of site. I drew in red the path the boost/vacuum line takes.

The T represents approximately where I T'd into the line.

  Audi A4 boost gage
 
Audi A4 boost gage  

I was working on my car doing a couple other things when I installed this gauge, so in this picture my intake manifold was removed. This give you a better idea of where this boosted line runs.

I cut the line approximately where the red line is drawn.

 

With the line split, you can install the supplied T fitting. I used a little bit of dish soap on the plastic part of the T fitting to get the hose to slip on easier.

 

Audi A4 boost gage

 

Part 1b: 2.0T FSI Engine: Connecting the Boost/Vacuum Line

If you have a 2.0T FSI engine, included with your gauge will be a custom silicone piece for connecting your boost/vacuum line.

Remove the engine cover and if you look along the right hand side of the intake manifold there will be a small black rubber cap held in place with a clamp. Cut the clamp, remove the small rubber cap and this will expose the bung that you will tap onto.

 


If you purchased the kit for a 2.0T FSI engine, then the kit will come with a custom silicon T-fitting for the install. The silicone fitting looks like this:

 

Audi A4 boost gage

 


Take the silicone t-fitting and insert one of the anti-buzz inline restrictors into the center part of the fitting.

 

Audi A4 boost gage

 
Audi A4 boost gage  


Connect the boost gauge line to the other side of the anti-buzz restrictor

 

Push the boost gauge line as far as you can to make sure the vacuum line seals over the restrictor

 

Audi A4 boost gage

 

Slip the open end of the silicone t-fitting onto the exposed bung on the intake manifold and push the fitting in as far as possible

 

Audi A4 boost gage

 

Part 2: Connecting the Boost Sender and Wiring the Gauge

Audi A4 boost gage
 

With the T installed, you can use the supplied vacuum hose to run the boosted line to wherever you want to install the sender. I decided to put the sender to the right of my coolant tank. This would give me easy access to run the electrical signals from the sender to the electronic gauge.

I just used some 3M double sided tape to stick the sender to the car.

 

Audi A4 boost gage

 
I decided to run the signal wire into the cabin by going through the ECU box. This gives a very easy, straight shot to the cabin. In order to do this, you need to remove the cover to the ECU box. There are only 5 Torx bolts holding in in place. I show how to remove the cover in the ECU Removal Writeup
 

The picture to the right has the ECU cover removed

The path to the cabin is shown in the picture to the right by the white vinyl hose which I used for my old boost gauge. In order to get into the ECU box you need to poke through the rubber grommet/hose which has the electrical connections for the ECU, and then run the wires through it. There are a couple rubber nipples on the grommet which you can try to use, or you can just poke a new hole.

This is where your coat hanger comes in handy.

 

Audi A4 boost gage

 
Audi A4 boost gage   Unbend the coat hanger and poke it through to the ECU box a shown to the left
 
After the hanger is through, you can tape the sender harness to the hanger, and pull it though into the ECU box as shown below.
Audi A4 boost gage   Audi A4 boost gage
 

This is the point at which I decided to extend the sender harness. There are only three wires, so it is not a big deal to just make a little harness to extend them. You can do this however you want (probably in a more permanent manner than I did), but you get the idea.

I taped up the connections with electrical tape and proceeded from this point with my new harness.

 

Audi A4 boost gage

 
In order to get the sender harness into the cabin, you need to remove the lower kick panel on the driver's side. This is very easy, and I have this shown in the first few steps of the Turbo Timer Install
 

After the kick panel is removed, you can look up from the floor on the drivers side and see up and out of the ECU box. Here you can see plenty of daylight coming through.

Just slide your harness down through this hole so you can access it from under the steering wheel.

 

Audi A4 boost gage

 
When you get to this point, you will have to start wiring in the gauge. A photo of the diagram which was included with the gauge is shown below.
Audi A4 boost gage
 
You can see the three wires we ran from the sender are: 1) A signal wire which goes to the gauge, 2) A wire which needs to be connected to ground, and 3) A wire which needs to be connected to the ignition.
Audi A4 boost gage  

For the ignition wire, I used the same connection that I used on the Turbo Timer Install

As guided by the wiring diagram, I connected both the Red wire from the gauge, and the Red wire from the sender to this line.

The connection is located in the harness coming down from the steering column. It is circled in the picture to the left

 

For a ground, I decided to use the same ground I have been using for all of my accessory installs. I just used a bolt next to the fuse panel. I sanded off the paint to it has a good chassis connection.

The black wire from the gauge, and the sender were grounded here.

 

Audi A4 boost gage

 
The signal wire (white) from the sender was then connected to the Orange wire on the gauge harness
Powering the Gauge: Outside of the ignition, ground and signal wire on the gauge, you have to connect it to a constant power source.

There are multiple ways to connect to a power source - so this is by no means the only/best way. Some people decide to jump fuses in the fuse box, etc. I decided to connect straight to a power block under the kick panel. I used this connection for my turbo timer, and it works just fine.

If you look around under the kick panel, you will see a bunch of thick red wires going to this point. I wired the Yellow wire from the gauge harness to this.

  Audi A4 boost gage

With all that wiring done, you can button it all up and zip tie things in place. It is time to install the pod for the gauge.

In order to install the new pod, you have to first remove the existing upper steering column cover.

In order to remove the upper column cover, you need to first telescope the steering wheel all the way out towards the driver, and push it as far down as it goes.

Then use your T8 Torx driver to unscrew the two small torx screws which are holding the upper and lower column covers together.

 

Audi A4 boost gage

 

When the two torx bolts are removed, the upper cover will just pop right off of the lower cover.

You will see that there is some leather material attached to the upper cover. On my vehicle, there were 4 retainer clips on the underside of the cover which needed to be removed. Just work a small flathead driver in there and they will pop right off.

 

Audi A4 boost gage

 
Once the stock cover is off, you can run the gauge harness up to where the Podi pod will go. The new Podi will directly replace the stock column cover. No real direction is needed here, as it is a direct swap.
 

One thing to note is that the material which you removed from the stock part may not fit exactly on the Podi. Apparently on 2002 vehicles, the material was located underneath the stock part, and after 2002 the material connected on top of the stock part. Since I have a 2002, there was no good way to attached the material back on. I used some hot melt glue to get the job done.

The fact of the matter is that when the wheel is back in place (i.e. not telescoped out), you can't even see this.

 

Audi A4 boost gage

 

After the pod is all installed, you can plug in the gauge and just pop it into the Podi. It will look a little something like this:

I am very happy with the fit an styling of this package.

 

Audi A4 boost gage

Part 3: Configuring the Gauge

This stepper motor gauge had a couple options which I would like to cover. Below you will find a small table that describes what you need to do in order to handle the basic functions. These functions/options are all accessible using the IR remote which is pictured below.
Audi A4 boost gage
The functions are listed below. Pretty much every sequence starts with the "Turbo" Button (above the VAC button), and ends with the "SET" Button
Function Description Button Sequence
Adjust Brightness Makes display more/less bright Turbo, RGB, Up/Down Arrow (can hold or press), SET to save
Change display colors Alternates between back light and needle color combinations Turbo, RGB (repeat to alternate), SET to save

Set Overboost Alarm

Boost pressure at which the gauge will beep and change background color to red Turbo, FP, Up/Down Arrow (1/4 psi increments), SET to save
Retrieve Peak Boost Shows the maximum boost in history Turbo, Up Arrow
Clear Peak Boost Resets boost history Turbo, Down Arrow
 

Part 4: Painting the Podi - Platinum Interior

Audi A4 boost gage
 
Out of the box, the Podi is made for a black interior. My interior is Platinum Gray, so I needed to paint it to get it to match. I have used this technique on my own custom gauge pod, but I figured I would show it again here.

SUPPLIES - What you need for this is some interior house paint from home depot, a Preval Sprayer (available at Sherwin-Williams Stores) and some sand paper.

Audi A4 boost gage  
What $$
Custom Mixed Paint 10

Preval Sprayer

$5
 
Audi A4 boost gage   In order to get the right paint match, you should take in your stock column cover for a color match. Lowes and Home Depot should both do this. They mixed me up a batch of Behr interior paint. The paint "formula" that I used is pictured to the left.
 

You should bring a Q-Tip or something with you to the store so you can apply a light coat of the paint on a spot on the inside of the stock piece. This will let you see the color match before you commit to buying the paint and painting the Podi

The circled section of the picture shows where the paint was applied and dried.

You can see another spot where the paint was applied thickly with my finger, and it didn't dry as well

 

Audi A4 boost gage

 
Audi A4 boost gage   In order to use this paint in the sprayer, you need to thin it out quite a bit. I just used water. The trick is to keep it as thick as possible to avoid runs, but as thin as possible so that it dries correctly. I took some trial and error runs until I found the correct thickness
 

 

Just so you can see what it looks like if it is not thinned enough, here is a close up.

 

Audi A4 boost gage

 

Painting the pod is an iterative process. You will probably have to spray it, then sand a bit, then spray it again. If you are careful enough, you will probably get a nice, even coat on your second try.

I sprayed it on a little on the thick side for my first coat, because I knew I was going to have to sand it a bit.

I used 400 grit paper to lightly sand it down.

 

Audi A4 boost gage

 
After you are happy with the finish, you can go ahead and install it. Here are two shots from either side so you can see the color match. The bottom portion of the column was not painted. The color match is not 100%, but it is very very close.
Audi A4 boost gage   Audi A4 boost gage
 
That's all there is too it. Good Luck!


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