We recently had the pleasure of collaborating with Fourtitude on their Audi A3 2.0T project. Below is a write up directly from their site and all opinions and content are in their own words – Original Article Found Here
Words: Brian McCauley
Black Forest Industries (BFI), located in Raleigh, NC has been in business since 2001 and is a one-stop shop for both locals and to customers around the country. From installs to basic service OEM replacement, performance or cosmetic parts, we have you covered, is their motto. BFI is also known for making their own parts for older models, but has recently jumped into the arena of the latest MQB chassis cars like the Audi A3 sedan. It was hard to miss the firm’s own handsome Shiraz Red A3 demonstrator on the show circuit last summer, and what they’ve learned with that car will pay dividends Project A3 Sedan and other A3 owners around the world.
Via the Fourtitude A3 8V forum, I contacted Joe who is their product development guru. I’d seen him posting some teaser pictures of their upcoming Torque Arm insert mount. Joe informed me that this product would be available soon but also mentioned they had some other products coming for the A3 as well. A few more weeks had passed and BFI kept updating the forums on what they were working on, and the tension grew. Having their own in-house A3 development car, they had full time access to Audi’s new offering and were able to develop products quickly, while all done in-house.
Joe was kind enough to keep those of us on the forum in the loop and let us know when these other products would be available. Once the parts were able to be ordered I immediately gave Joe a call.
What showed up in a large box the next week was a mix of really impressive hardware. Their Torque Arm insert was joined by their new BFI Clean Catch crankcase oil separator a.k.a “catch can”, their Stage 1 replacement engine mount, and their Stage 1 pre-assembled transmission mount (6-speed & DSG). The job of the mounts and insert are to reduce unwanted engine and transmission movement, smoothing out shifts and giving the car a better overall feel under hard acceleration, braking and cornering.
Install duty was once again assigned to Parts Score. This was the shop’s first experience with BFI’s product for the A3 and other MQB cars, and Jason from Parts Score was impressed, everything fitting “100%, with no mods or tweaking necessary.” The install on all the parts only took about 2-3 hours, with a lot of picture taking during the process. BFI highly recommends that a lift be used to install the motor and transmission mounts. It would be difficult and unsafe to do via jackstands or ramps.
One big concern when replacing mounts with aftermarket pieces is dealing with increased vibrations felt in the car due to the stiffer polyurethane used. The OEM mounts are designed to limit engine movement are intentionally very comfortable for passengers, but aftermarket units generally place priority on performance over comfort. Interestingly, the only real noticeable increase in vibration is just off of idle in 1st and reverse gears. BFI engineered these Stage 1 mounts to be refined on a daily basis, but give an added performance edge. For the enthusiast that wants a more hard-core track oriented feel, you can opt for the Stage 2 mounts that use a more rigid polyurethane that also brings in more vibration in exchange for even more heightened performance and additional reduction in engine/transmission movement. From our experience so far, the mounts offer a noticeable improvement without compromising daily use for increased performance.
The catch can system is another piece of equipment designed in-house by BFI. Catch cans have been around for a while and their purpose is to separate crank case vapors from being brought back into the engine. According to oilcatchcan.com “The PCV (Positive Crankcase Ventilation) system is designed to regulate and remove fumes from the engine crankcase, and to alleviate crankcase pressure which could cause oil leaks or seal damage. It’s a way for gases to escape in a controlled manner from the crankcase of an internal combustion engine. The purpose of a proper oil separating catch can is to route these gasses through a baffle system that provides the most contact possible with the outer surface resulting in the oil being trapped and removed from the other gasses that do continue on through the intake and are burnt and consumed.”
This BFI catch can mounted without a hitch and features a dip stick not seen in many other cans. The design makes it extremely easy to check the level of fluids in the can without having to guess or drain it not knowing how much is inside. It is recommend to have the can emptied during each oil change and in climates with more humidity (not Arizona) it should be checked more frequently just to be safe.
All in all, these Black Forest Industries products are exceptionally well-made, fit exceptionally well as they should, and perform beautifully under all driving conditions. During my daily commute, the mounts are almost invisible to me, but during the times of hard acceleration, cornering, or shifting they are appreciably noticeable where they’ve improved the sense of control and connection with the car. For more information, check out BlackForestIndustries.com.