Sunday, January 10, 2010


Happy New Years Everybody!  Okay, since it's the new year, and I'm pretty late with this post.  I'll make it a New Years resolution to try and post something every week!  I'll also try to commit to something exciting to write about besides my build, even though my build is what this blog is about.  Anyway, here's an update of what's been going on with the car:

Throughout December, I acquired some things and made some plans for things that I want done to Shirley.

Item 1: Escort 8500 x50 Radar/Laser Detector
I bought this item for a couple of reasons.  One of those reasons is because I'm addicted to speed.  When you have a 300whp car, once you hit the throttle, you just want to go faster.  There are times where I even want to pick a couple races from other enthusiasts on the road!  Yeah, it's that bad.  So I got myself a radar detector so I know when I'm being watched.  I know it may not pick up every cop on the road, but some is better than none.  I've been saved a couple times already.

What I want to get to complete this radar detector is a rear view mirror mount and the hardwire kit.  I also want to send the radar detector in for an escort 9500 which has gps capabilities that alerts the driver when a speed meter or red light camera light is coming up.  But, getting a new radar detector might be out of reach, so I might do the next best thing, which is to send my current radar detector in for a "tune up".

Item 2:  Black Muteki Open Ended Lug Nuts
I needed these lug nuts for a while, ever since I got my wheels.  The reason being is because of the "acorn" fitment.  When I swapped out my stock lug nuts out with these, I immediately noticed how more fitted the Muteki nuts set into the stud.  I also ended up stripping the threads off of one of the new lug nuts because the threads on the studs were stripped REALLY bad.  I wish I had a picture to show everyone, but I was too caught up in the moment of getting the stud replaced.

Luckily, I got the stud replaced the same day by Paul at Subietech.  Mikey and Paul happily took me in even though they were doing a transmission swap at the time.  As for the nut that I messed up, I'm currently looking around for a tap/chase kit that has the right pitch so I can fix the nut.

Item 3: Exedy Stage 1 Racing Clutch
I've been in need of a new clutch for a good while now.  As stated before, my clutch is significantly stiffer, so I decided to get a new clutch.  I felt that the Exedy Stage 1 will fully suit the needs of how much torque my car is putting out.  Thanks to Alex from Akuma Motorsports for providing the clutch with fast and easy service!  I've already talked to Paul from Subietech and he said that I can get a flywheel to match the clutch for $189, which isn't too bad of a price.

 Item 4 & 5:  JDM Red Hazard Button and 2 Gauge Cluster Bezel
Since I plan on getting two more gauges, the gauge cluster bezel will suit me perfectly because 1, it's stealthier than a 3-gauge clock pod, and 2, I'm only going to be getting 2 more gauges. I only

Now, for the JDM Red Hazard Button.  I just think it gives a different feel inside the car.  Also, I admit I kind of had the JDM fondness when I saw it.

There's still quite a few items in my shopping list.  If everything goes as planned, I'm thinking my car might be done by the end of this year.  I'll just need to save for a rebuild or new engine afterward...haha!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lagging it...

It has yet been a while since I've followed up on this blog.  My car has been running smooth, looking great, and handling awesome.  However there are still quite a few things I want done but haven't had the time to save up for parts due to the holiday season.  Not to mention a speeding ticket that I recently got is going to hold me back a bit, but that's neither here nor there.

Engine Management
Here's the deal, I know for a FACT that my current tune isn't putting out my setup's potential, or close to it.  A couple reasons is this, my wastegate duty cycle is restricted to 68%.  For those of you who don't know what that is, all turbos have a wastegate to let off excess gasses that the turbo produces.  Whether it be an external wastegate or an internal one, most if not ALL automobile turbos have one.  How this is regulated is through a boost control.  For those interested, please click here for more information:

What Jon at HB Speed did was replace my restrictor pill to a larger diameter hole so I can hold more boost.  This allowed him to put 18lbs of boost through my turbo.  However, since my wastegate is only open 68% of the time when I'm in wide open throttle, there is a lot more potential for my current setup.  So a re-tune is definitely warranted, but not until I get the parts that I want so I can make the tune worth while.

Arco has repeatedly told me that my clutch has been stiffer.  I believed him, but I didn't think it was a big deal until two other friends confirmed that it is stiffer than normal.  This prompted me to search for an upgraded aftermarket clutch.  I originally wanted the ACT HDSS clutch, which is their performance street clutch that can hold up to 400lbs of crank torque.  But I'm opting for the Exedy Stage 1 to try and balance off cost and performance.  The clutch should hold me until I can afford a PPG gearset.

Plans for Summer
For my build this summer, my goals are as follows:

TGV deletes
Better Intercooler (Still debating on TMIC/FMIC)
Swaybars + Endlinks
Short Shifter
Fender Cowls
Anti-Lift Kit

I'm also toying with the idea of a catback, but who knows.

Once those are done, then I'll concentrate on the reliability stuff like forged internals and stronger gearsets.  Anywho, more to come.  Be prepared for some canyon/autoX/track day adventures!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

So FRESH and so CLEAN!

Time for an update!  I finally washed my car after two weeks yesterday.  I know that doesn't seem like a lot, but I hate i when I don't wash it once a week.  To top i off, I also got myself a set of wheels.  The wheels I got are Rota Torque 17x9 with a +48 offset.  The wheels are wider and sit more flush with the car.

Here are some pictures of the car just washed and with the wheels:

 I actually painted the wheels myself.  The paint I used was Duplicolor Black Wheels paint and Duplicolor Wheel Clear Coat.  The task was surprisingly tedious and annoying.  Prepping the wheels to be painted was the long and tedious part.  Painting was actually fun and a little painful.  I had my sister and law's boyfriend Kyle help me out.

To prep the wheels, I used 100 grit sand paper to rough them up really good and 400 grit to smooth everything out a little.  The actual spray cans said to use 320 grit, but I didn't read that until AFTER I started sanding down the wheels.  Never the less, the wheels turned out pretty good.

The painting process was actually pretty long.  I started at like 2 or 3pm and ended at around 10pm (of course taking breaks and eating dinner).  The first wheel was kind of experimental and it took 5 coats of paint to get everything nice with the right shade of black, the rest followed with only 4 coats and turning out better than the next except for the last wheel which ended up with bubbles and some running paint.  Everything turned out fine though.

I then added some Rota center caps I bought for $20 from another NASIOC member, but I'm thinking that I'll take them off.  We'll see though.  More to come!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Car update

For the past few weeks, Shirley and I have been getting a bit closer.  I finally did my transmission gear oil change about two or three weeks ago.  And I finally got around to doing my spark plugs.  The car definitely runs smoother and shifts easier.  But now, it's about time to do my oil change again and rotate my tires.

For the oil, I will not be using Rotella-T Synthetic 5w40 this time.  Although I said I would give another review based on an early oil change to clean out sludge, but there was a sale at Pep Boys that I refused to pass up.  This time, I'll be using the usual Castrol Syntec Full Synthetic 5w30.  This oil by far has been most deserving of my confidence.  My engine has never felt as loose with this as it did with Mobile 1 or as thick with Rotella-T.  The sale also included a PureOne Purelator oil filter, all for $30 bucks!  I'm thinking about getting another set for another oil change right before the sale ends.  I guess you could say that I wasn't too impressed with Rotella-T, but I wasn't disappointed either.  I guess I'll try it again later, but as long as this sale is around, Castrol Syntec it is.

As for the tires.  My front tires are almost done.  Firestone confirmed this when they refused to rotate my tires for liability purposes.  In any case, I think this will be my last rotation before I get new tires.  Not only that, but the tires will be put on the Rota Torques I just bought from Arco.  These wheels are 17x9 with a +48mm offset.  So, I'll be more flush with better performance.  The wheels will be coming with continental tires, which are perfectly fine for daily driving.  I'm thinking I will change that out for some Falken Azeni's or Dunlop's as soon as the continentals ends it's life.

More to come!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pushing Limits

So last night, James and I hit up Turnbull again.  That was pretty fun.

9:45PM - I leave the house to meet up with James at his spa.

10:00PM - I arrive at the spa and immediately take a numero dos in the mens bathroom.

*aside - If anyone reading this is into having a nice spa experience without the hiked up prices, check out MSJ and  Their bathroom alone sold me, and I take my wife there whenever I can to help her relax a bit sometimes.

10:15PM - We leave the spa, and I make a left turn at the "Right Turn Only" plaza exit.  I was thinking James would do the same thing, but he didn't, he decided to follow the rules.  Then he calls me up:

James - Ay foo, you know that was a right turn only right?
Me - Yeah
James - Damn you're crazy man
Me - Yeah I know, how come you didn't make a left?
James - 'Cause man, I don't wanna risk it

Me - Yeah, but it was clear
James - I know, but you're still crazy foo
Me - pussy
James - what?
Me - nothing...

10:20PM - We're in the middle of the freeway on the phone with our headsets (honestly, do you really think we're THAT retarded to drive while on the phone without a headset?), I entered the freeway before him...WAY before him:

James - Damn foo, where you at?
Me - I'm just about to pass the 91 and I'm traveling 65mph in the slow lane, hurry up
James - Alright, I'll catch up

This dialogue repeats with some changes in location marks, but eventually he catches up to me.  He catches up to me at around the Telegraph Rd. exit, but when he does, he also passes me:

James - So where you at now?
Me - I'm in the middle lane traveling 65mph and about to pass Telegraph
James - Oh ****!  I'm gonna race this Prelude right here...
Me - Right where?!
James - I see you, he's coming up on your right side and I'm on your left
Me - Oh okay...

2 seconds pass

Me - Oh hey, I see you!  And I see the Prelude
James - Yeah, don't move, and shut up for a second
Me - Oh...there goes the Prelude, and there goes James, and here I go following...

So James ends up racing the Prelude and beats him.  I layed off a bit because I started getting scared for cops.  Afterall, we were well over 100mph by the time the race ended.  I even thought a cop was trying to catch up to us because I saw headlights that I thought resembled a police cruiser (it ended up being a Scion XB).

10:30PM - We reach the base of the canyon and don't waste any time lolly gagging before the run.  James leads both up and downhill for the first session.  The hill climb was fun and exhilerating, but on the downhill, I took a turn faster than I should've and ended up understeering more than I wanted.

10:45PM - I lead the up and downhill this time.  This run, I decide to push my limits.  There were a couple of oncoming traffic instances, so I had to slow down dramatically like twice, but I can say that I pushed my limits on the up hill pretty good.  I didn't push my limits all the way through, but for the majority of the hill climb, I did.  The downhill was a completely different story.   I pushed as hard as I can and sort of left James pretty far back.  My tires were screeching all over the place.  Every turn I heard my tires scream.  That was probably my favorite session at Turnbull.  Needless to say that I really want stickier tires now.

10:55PM - This ends up being our last run.  The hill climb, James pushes it pretty hard, despite that he can't see.  I of course follow suit, but I lay off so as to not pressure him.  The downhill is different though.  I decide to take it easy, REAL easy.  I follow his lights for a good distance, but he basically leaves me and I'm kind of by myself at the middle of the mountain.  I begin to push the car a little hard, so I'm not too far, and I end up catching him at the base.

11:15PM - We're already headed home and we're on the phone again:

Me - Ay, that was fun, yeah?
James - Yeah, that WAS fun
Me - Hey!  Lets "go" off of third again!
James - Alright, lets do it
Me - Can you do the 3 horn thing?
James - yeyeyeh, we'll do it right here, ready?
Me - what?
James - 1...
Me - oh...Oh ****
James - 2....3...

I hit third, he hits third, I walk him...then I shift to fourth and I'm gone...

James - DAAMMNN're fast!  
Me - Haha..I guess...
James - *something something* on third (I couldn't understand him, he talks so fast he mumbles sometimes)
Me - Yeah, huh, what?

After this, he takes another call (probably April), and an RSX pulls up fast.  I already know what's going in Jame's head, so I pull up behind James after he levels with the RSX.  The RSX is ends up being a "no go", so I pull up beside James again.  He initiates the 3 horn start, and I blast off again, but this time, I decided to hit redline before I shift.  When I did, it felt so fast, that 2 seconds after I hit 4th gear, I let of the gas a little and shift to 5th.  James calls again and says "You're ****'s fast man".

11:25PM - I get home.  It was a good night indeed.

As for today, while writing this post.  I've come to realize that I will not be getting another tune any time soon.  I'm rather VERY comfortable with my car and how it's currently performing on the streets and in the canyons.  I'm not used to the power that I'm wielding, so there's no need for me to get my tune now, let alone an e-tune.  I've decided that I'll just gather parts and hold off on installing them until I feel I'm ready for more power.

Friday, October 9, 2009


I brought my car to Turnbull today.  I forgot how fun canyon running could actually be (aside from how dangerous it actually is).

View Larger Map

6:30PM - I meet up with James at his house to start our cruise down to Turnbull.  Right when we get onto the freeway, an RSX passes both our cars and catches our eye.  It was blue with a carbon fiber hood, and it had an integra badge with an HKS angled exhaust.  I wanted to race it but the traffic was pretty heavy at the junction that I couldn't really set up to instigate a race, so I let him go catch up to James and his Honda Fit.  James tries to instigate a race, but the RSX slows down, ultimately refusing to race, which is fine.

After that little ordeal, James said he wanted to see how far I can pull on him from 65mph.  We set up side by side and he initiates the 3 horn signal to start the race.  On 3rd gear, I walk on him on light throttle and shift to 4th at about 5,500 rpm and 6,000rpm.  On 4th, he tells me that I pulled hard and far from him.  James's car by the way has a greddy turbo on an SOHC motor.  On a dynapack, he hit 160whp/180wtq? I believe, which is not bad at all considering how small and light his car is.

Oh yeah, and a mustang in the carpool lane watched the whole thing.  I tried to catch him to race also, but he was too far, so me and James ended up cruising the whole way to the base of the canyon.

7:00PM - James and I arrive at the base of the mountain, and we decide to let our cars rest a little before we start our warm up cruise.  We decide that I'll lead the first round.

The cruise overall was refreshing.  Just something about cruising the "twisties" is relaxing.  I drove to the top and drove back down hardly pushing the car or my limits.  It's notably dark now and I had to toggle my high beams on and off when we went down because cars were still going up the mountain.

7:15PM - James leads and I follow.  From the first turn, he begins to push harder and I immediately follow suit.  Of course we slowed dramatically as soon as we noticed on coming traffic.

The adrenaline begins to boil but doesn't hit home.  I know that I'm pushing my car harder than I ever had, but it was fun.  I figure that I can push harder if I wanted, but I did NOT want to risk a mishap and crash the car.  I also did not want to pressure James since he has no high-beams and he said he didn't want to be pressured.  We went up and down the same face of the mountain and amped speed which gave both of us a really good rush.

7:30PM - I've had my fun and thus, am ready to go home, but not James.  James still wants to hit it again, so I hop in the passenger seat.  We make the first turn and he blasts off in his little Honda.  He tells me that his tune isn't allowing his engine to recoupe fast enough so he hits low speeds once he shifts to certain gears at certain rpm's.  I don't exactly know the problem, however, watching his driving from my car, there's still plenty of potential in that little machine of his.

7:45PM - We head home.  Both of us take a small cruise on Beverly reminiscing how fun it was to drive.  Then all of a sudden, a V6 Accord couple zooms past us.  When we catch up to him at a light, I pull up right behind him, and sure enough, as soon as the light turned green he blasts off, chirping and all.  So I follow and blast off as well.  As soon as his left clears, I change lanes and pull hard.  Again, I never hit redline, but I toy with the fool a little as we're both hitting really high speeds.  A minivan appears ahead of us in his lane, but he doesn't want to give up and attempts to push more, but I knew the race was over.  There was no way in hell I'd be willing to cause and accident.  He knows I've won and I know I won.  The Accord acknowledges this by giving me a nod when he pulls up to me at the next light while he makes a right.  What's funny about this was that James said he couldn't even see us because we went so fast and so far.

To top it off for the night, on the onramp to the freeway, I take it really fast, so fast in fact that if I hit the brakes, I would actually go out of control, so right before I hit the freeway, I shift up and blast past the car that was exiting.  Now, THAT got my heart pumping and my body shaking.

Those two hours were probably the funnest I've had in a very long time.  Not that I don't have fun staying at home with the wife and the baby.  But it's moments like those that remind me how much I use to be able to risk so much with little to lose.  Tonight, my actions were idiotic and wreckless, but very, VERY refreshing.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Rotella T

I finally changed my oil.  The change was done at approximately 77,000 miles with Shell Rotella-T Synthetic 5w40 and Purolator Pureone.

The process itself was very simple.  However, I managed to get myself into trouble by putting more oil than what my engine can handle.  Thankfully, Arco helped me fix my issues by draining the extra oil from the oil filter.

While changing the oil, I noticed that the used oil was black and thick (a very good indication of probable oil starvation).  Arco pointed out that the oil that left the oil pan was not the amount that went in.  So, in theory, my engine could have been starving for oil because I haven't changed it in around 12,000 miles.  We also noticed that when we drained some of the new oil, it was still pretty dirty.  The oil that leaked from the oil filter wasn't as thick as the used oil, but it was almost as black.  To remedy this effect, I'm going to change my oil again in 3,000 miles.

Overall, my impressions were satisfactory, but not impressive.  The car is definitely smoother, however I feel like I had better results with Castrol Syntec.  I'm not sure if it's because I haven't changed the transmission gear oil yet, or if it's because my car still has some of the old, burnt oil lingering in the engine.  I'll definitely do another review of Shell Rotella T on my next oil change, and when I do my Gear Oil.