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questions. I like to visit forums first to see what the issues are with cars before buying. I usually like to do a few performance upgrades but have found the aftermarket products for this car extremely expensive so far. I went to Renntech as suggested in an earlier post and found that the ecu upgrade costs $1595 and only gets 10 hp and 12 torq. That's a terrible hp/$ ratio. My Audi A4 only cost $400 for the ecu upgrade and gets 47 hp and about 100 tq (yes, I know that the a4 1.8t is extremely tunable and that's why I bought it). Now the larger crankshaft pulley kit gets you 20 hp and 20 tq for $1694 which is a little better but still ridiculous. Why should pulleys cost that much? The whole package with the 2 items previously mentioned and a sport exhaust is $3250. Yikes! This is all stuff for the 2002 model year which I imagine will be about the same for 2003 once they have the pulley kit available. Is there a lack of competition in Mercedes aftermarket products? Or do they just charge an arm and a leg because you're a Mercedes owner and must have money to just throw around?
 

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There is one chip maker which charges $575, and you will get a whopping 3 hp. That is not what they advertise, but it is what a couple of customers show on their before and after dynos.

I doubt there will for pulley for the 1.8 for two reasons. First, it is a single plane pulley, so a kit would require underdrive pulleys for the power steering pump, air conditioning compressor, water pump and alternator. Second, the rootes type superchager used on the 1.8 is at the upper limits of its efficiency. Attempt to raise the boost it produces will drastically increase parasitic hp consumption and will greatly increase the temperature of the intake air.

Welcome to the world of rediculously overpriced aftermarket parts. There are those who will say that you get what you pay for in increased quality. No one has yet explained to me what Brabus does to stainless steel tubing and a Remus muffler to create and exhaust which costs almost $2000, other than have Remus put the Brabus logo on the exhaust tips. Nor have they explained why a Renntech modified factory pulley costs $1700 and an ASP Racing modified factory pulley, which produces more hp and torque, costs $650.
 

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The Audi is much cheaper to make more power (new chip) because from the factory it runs very low boost levels, and the chip simply increases the boost - thus making more power. Making more power on normally mundane turbo car is easy.

Making more power on a car without a turbo is not so easy (thus not so cheap).

Turbochargers make their boost driven by the outflow of exhaust gasses. Raising the level of the boost, raises the amount of exhuast flow, increasing the amount of available maximum boost (up to a point). Making more power is simply a matter of raising the level at which the wastegate opens (electronic on the Audi), and pouring more fuel in.

Superchargers make their boost driven by a belt from the crankshaft. In order to make more boost with a supercharger, you need to spin it faster - thus you need a new pulley to 'overdrive' the supercharger.

The 2003 C230K engine (1.8T) is already making 189hp (105 hp/liter). The stock Audi makes 170hp (94 hp/liter). The 230K is already at a level similar to the "chipped" Audi (about 10% higher).

You will find a similar dilemma if you try to increase the power on a BMW/Audi 3.0V6 (no turbo to 'chip') - power gains are minimal for very high $$$.

There is no lack of competition for Mercedes parts, with tuners like Brabus, Renntech, Kleeman, AMG, Lorinzer, etc. providing engine, suspension, and body kits.

MB owners do buy a car of high quality, and they expect the modifications that they install to be of equal or higher quality - thus another reason for the $$$. All of the above parts are high quality & are engineered not to significantly reduce the life of the car. You can get cheaper parts (search this and other forums for 'ASP Pulley') - but they aren't always the best solution (read the results of the search).

If you're looking for power/$, the Audi 1.8 is easily the cheapest & easiest to mod. But, do keep in mind that an Audi with the chip is only as powerful as a stock C320 - and the stock C320 has NO boost lag!

If power is really your deal, then maybe the first mod you should make is to jump from the C230KCoupe to the C320Coupe. This is about the cheapest HP available in the MB market.
 
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