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 www.myspajourneys.com.  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 FOO...you'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.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Before I get to the nitty gritty stuff of this post, I thought I'd share my complete Mod list with everyone.

Tanabe GF210 Lowering Springs
Tokico D-Spec Struts

Stoptech 1 Piece Slotted Rotors
Posi Quiet Ceramic Brake Pads

Greddy T518Z (TD05 18G 8cm^2)
PDE Catless Downpipe
STI Catback Exhaust
SSAutochrome Top Mount Intercooler
DeastchWerkz 750cc Top Feed High Impedence Injectors
Walbro 342 255lph Fuel Pump

Now...the follow is a rant.
Whenever you do online transactions, it's never pretty.  I typically like doing local transactions, but even those could get messy.  Anyway, I found a great deal on an electonic boost control selonoid that I need.  The item is a ProDrive BCS with 3 ports for an interrupt style of controlling boost.  This particular item will help me hold higher boost for a longer period of time.  I paypalled the seller the requested amount and told him that I want the item shipped by Wednesday.  I've been sending him e-mails and PM's on NASIOC, but he only contacted me once to tell me he'll send me a tracking number ASAP.  I'm beginning to get impatient.  If I don't hear from him by Friday, I will be filing a dispute with Paypal so I can get my money back.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Tune Me UP!

WOW does it feel GREAT to be in boost. Since the install about two weeks ago, I've had to stay out of boost to keep my car from detonating. I've had to deal with check engine lights while driving, and watching my throttle so as to not over shoot the zero on my boost gauge, what a PITA!

HOWEVER, on September 1st, 2009...Shirley (my car's name), was tuned by Jon @ HB Speed in Fountain Valley, CA. I must say, he did a pretty darn good job with what I have on the car:

Power Mod List:
Engine - EJ255 (WRX 2.5L engine)
Downpipe - PDE Catless
Catback - STi
Fuel Injectors - DW 750cc
Fuel Pump - Walbro 342 255lph
Turbo - Greddy T518Z (TD05 18G w/ 8cm^2 hotside)
Intercooler - SSAutochrome Top Mount

Dyno Chart:

As you can see, I'm hitting a peak whp at 315/327 wtq. 200 RPMs later, it's at 300 whp until redline. I HAVE A 300 WHEEL TO HORSEPOWER CAR! The feeling on a straight away wide open throttle is just sheer power! I've posted this on NASIOC (can be seen here: http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1836622) in the Proven Power Bragging area, and people have some concerns on that little hump you see at 5,400 RPM, where my peak whp is.

The concerns themselves have also led me to question why isn't it staying at that level. I know that during the tune, Jon put a boost pill on the turbo so I can hold boost better. During the tune, he told me that I was actually spiking at 20 psi. So now, I'm in the quest for a better electronic boost control unit. With a better unit, I'm hoping to hold boost at 18 psi, or crank it up a notch to 19 or 20. And although Jon IS a very reputable tuner, I might be forced to go with an e-mail tune from Clark Turner (another reputable tuner based in Arizona) because of my finances.

With all that being said, I've come up with a new wishlist that I will be working on:

EBCS (most likely a Grainger unit, comparable to a Perrin name brand)
Turbo Timer (the one I bought for $20 bucks looks like crap, and I'm skeptical that it will work)
Tactrix Open Port 2.0 cable (I need this to data log the car for the e-mail tune, I might even learn how to tune myself)
E-Mail tune from Clark Turner or a more reputable internet tuner

A big thank you to Paul (a.k.a. paulsaidhi on NASIOC) for helping me with making sure everything was ready prior to the tune.

Oh yeah, and here are pictures of when I first got the car!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My Whip

Okay, I decided to start this blog up on a whim. Reason being, I have been obsessed with my ride ever since Dad bought it for me on December 1st 2006; as an early graduation present. The car is a 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX. So let's get the history down to present with what's going on with my ride:

Dec 1st 2006 - April 2009
I have just been using this car as a daily driver. I used it to go to school, work, and my internship at Paramount Pictures (terrible commute I might add). I've racked up so many miles in this short of time that my warranty ended at 65,000 miles (April 2009). Since this happened, my modding addiction began! I started with Centric Posi Quiet Ceramic brake pads and Centric Stoptech 1 piece slotted rotors. This mod was more of a requirement because my rotors and pads were running thin. I had my cousin Christian help me put those on.

May 2009
The first mod I put on my car were lowering springs (Tanabe GF210). The ride wasn't great because my struts couldn't handle the lower spring rates. It was too hard to give a proper review of these springs because I did not have the appropriate struts to match them, so I went into the market for struts.

June 2009
I decided to buy Tokico D-Spec struts. These struts were made for the bugeye generation (2002-2003 impreza's) and thus required me to get fitment washers and STI tophats. It took 4 hours with my friend Arco to install the springs and struts onto my car. The ride comfortability immediately changed. The ride in my car at city speeds were near OEM quality. I still need an alignment from a minor fix I had to do, but after tuning with 4.5 turns from full stiff in the front and 3.5 turns from full stiff in the rear, I found the stiffness combination that gave more oversteer to the car. More precise tuning still needs to take place though.

July 2009
During this month, I wanted to get a full turbo back done. My setup started with a PDE downpipe that i got for a trade + labor on my end, and ended with a Borla XR-1 catback exhaust system. I had fitment issues with this setup, basically because the Borla system tapered at the downpipe flange. Also this month, I started seeing many turbos on sale in the public forum I am a member of, and started questioning whether or not I can get more power. Arco, my friend that helped me with my struts/springs, influenced me to look into a cutout mod (essentially eliminating the catback portion of my car at the flip of a switch). Ultimately though, I decided to do a whole turbo upgrade. By the end of the month, I was able to sell my Borla system (great catback, I'll definitely get one in the future) in favor for a bigger turbo, the Greddy T518z (TD05-18g 8cm^2). I also was able to get an STI catback system which mated perfectly to the PDE downpipe and retained some of the boxer rumble at low RPMs.

August 1st - Present
I decided that I'd shoot for my goal of 350+ WHP/WTQ (wheel horse power/wheel torque) and felt that the 18g turbo I got would help me get there. After speaking with a tuning shop, they told me that an aftermarket top mount intercooler and larger injectors will help me get there. I immediately went into the market for 750cc injectors (recommended by my tuner). I found a deal from a vendor on the forum which included a Walbro 255lph (liters per hour) fuel pump and Deastchwerks 750cc Top Feed injectors. The only other thing I needed was the right top mount. At this time I was deciding on either a Cartech Topmount (designed for bugeyes) or an e-bay brand (SSAutochrome). The the Cartech design is definitely unique, I would have to do some custom fitment adjustments to it which I was not willing to do. In the end, I went with the SSAutochrome simply because of my budget. On Saturday, August 22nd, Arco, Jack, Paul and I installed everything on my car (turbo, injectors, and fuel pump), a BIG BIG BIG thank you to them for helping me out. When I installed the top mount however, the y-pipe I ordered from another e-bay source, didn't fit ride and caused som crimping on the elbow that connects to the turbo. I'll be fixing that before my tune.

So there you have it folks, the history with my car mods and what's going on with it! I'll definitely update with the results of my tune which will be on Tuesday, September 1st. Pictures to come as well!