2014 Projects Update

The FXT has gone back to stage 2 with a full Invidia 3″ turboback exhaust and Cobb AccessPort OTS stage 2 map.

The Civic SI is getting ready for an engine swap due to high miles on the stock engine and an oil leak that has started somewhere around the head.  While the final engine hasn’t been purchased, it will probably be a 1.6L VTEC.  This will probably be a 30hp jump without any other modifications. Once the swap is complete, we’ll get back to the rear disc brake conversion.  When the rear disc conversion gets done, we’ll also install new shocks and springs.  After that, we’ll look at wheels and tires and some cosmetic maintenance that needs to be done soon.

The WRX will soon be getting some custom fabricated adjustable rear lateral links.  Once those are installed, we’ll probably get some better tires as they are currently limiting the handling of the car.

Posted in Cars

2014 Dallas Auto Show

Went to the Dallas Auto Show today and poked around some interesting cars. Saw a few things of interest that I felt were worth mentioning.

1. Since there wasn’t a 2015 WRX there (just the STI that you couldn’t get near), I scoped the Forester XT engine which is pretty much what is going in the WRX. I need to find a way to get a better look at the new turbo location. Down low and in front is probably great for spool, but I’m curious about durability without a better inspection of the setup.
2. Nismo Juke – biggest surprise of the show for me.. reasonable priced, good mileage, REAL manual transmission. Apparently these three things are damn near impossible to find nowadays.
3. Fiesta ST – biggest let down of the show, not for anything that was Ford’s fault other than the $25K price tag, but I just don’t fit in it.
4. Focus ST – I fit much better in it that the Fiesta ST, but at $30K, it boot itself off my short list.
5. 2015 Mustang – Some love it, some don’t… I fall in the latter based on the rear end of the car alone. Second issue… if I pay for Brembo brakes, I want a full set, not just fronts. Hopefully that oversight was due to this being a prototype car.
6. Small, budget minded (under $20K new), fun hatchbacks with real manual transmissions… Chevy is the only one with a clue with the Spark / Sonic. Most others are too overburdened with 10 airbags, GPS, infotainment systems, leather, etc. (all adding unneeded weight), too expensive (start at $20k, $25K+ as shown), or you only offer a CVT.

Posted in Cars

Upcoming car projects

Things should get quite busy around here if my main job ever slows down.  My worker with the TSX decided to pull the entire system out and trade the car in for a 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart.  We’ll probably get the system installed over the next month or two if our schedules allow.  I’m also trying to get him to at least get a Cobb AccessPort for the car, but we’ll see how that goes.  As a second upcoming project, I picked up a 2003 Subaru WRX (yes, my 3rd bugeye and 6th Subaru).  The car already has a complete 2005 STI six speed transmission swap.  I need to address a few issues before I can get it inspected, but from the drive home, I can say the car pulls strong and is very quick.  A complete mods list will follow when I have time.

Posted in Cars

Product comparison test

Later today, I will be helping to conduct a comparison test between Hybrid Audio Imagine’s (~$250/set) and Hertz Hi Energy HSK 165 (~$450/set) component sets.  We are going to have three separate people listen to the car with the Hertz speakers currently in the car and tuned, then replace them with the Hybrid Audio’s and listen to the same music again.  This is a purely subjective test, but we’re all curious if the Hertz are worth the extra money.  The reference vehicle is a 2009 Acura TSX and the system consists of an Audison Bit-Ten, Alpine PDX-V9 five channel amp, and a JL Audio 8″ ported subwoofer.  Reference music will be determined before testing starts.

Update:  We made some adjustments to the amp gains and filter frequencies and the system really came to life, so we decided not to swap out the speakers.  We’re going to get the car back in the garage in a few weeks and really get into the Bit Ten software and fine tune the system across board using the owners music and some reference tracks that we have.

Posted in Cars

Overdue Update

Decided to post a much overdue update on what I’ve been up to lately.  Been working with a few other guys to get a weekly Subaru meet going in our area.  Hopefully we can get a few more people in the next few weeks.  I’ve also had a few car projects  that I’ve been working on lately.

Project FXT – Installed a new Invidia Q300 3″ catback exhaust and Kartboy extended exhaust hangers.  Had to get a CV repacked and the boot replaced because the exhaust was too close to the CV joint after the initial install.  The Kartboy hangers appear to have fixed this issue, but I’ll keep an eye on it.  Thanks to Tom at Kartboy for getting me the hangers quickly and Cobb Tuning Plano for getting the CV joint removed, repacked, and reinstalled in under 3 hours.

Joey’s 2008 WRX – I met Joey a few weeks ago and as a few of us have gone over his car, we’ve found a few issues that needed to be fixed after he purchased it from a local shop.  As you read the list below, think about the fact that this car passed inspection 3000 miles ago supposedly.  He also had to replace all four tires as soon as he bought the car as he felt it was unsafe to drive with the tires that were on it.  In the last three weeks, we’ve replaced the following:

  • Craptastic 1-3/4″ crush bent piping with no muffler from the catalytic back with a borrowed OEM exhaust, and then a week later with an Invidia N1 street exhaust that Joey picked up used on the cheap.
  • Plugged the horn in after we realized it wasn’t unplugged for some reason… assumption is aftermarket horns were pulled and somebody didn’t think to plug in the stock one.
  • Rear brake pads and rotors were replaced.  The rear pads were down to the back plates on the insides and less than a 1/4″ on the outside pads.  The rotors were grooved beyond being fixable.

Posted in Cars, Life

Vacation Time!!!

So I’m off for a week… what to do.  I travel so much for work that I didn’t feel like flying anywhere or driving more than an hour.  So staycation it is this year.  At least there has been some productivity around the house.   Lots of little projects finally got accomplished, but today is about goofing off and having fun.  Time to charge the batteries and take the RC truck to the track for some serious play time. About time I finally test out the new sway bars and tires on a real track.

Posted in RC

RC Cars – Part IV

A few quick updates in my RC world.  I’ve added a Team Associated SC10 4×4 to the collection.  It came with a brushless motor and speed control and is just a tad slower than the Torment in a straight line.  However, being all wheel drive gives it a massive advantage off the line and cornering.  Soon I will be testing a set of AKA Racing Handlebar tires on it since the track I run on is hard packed clay and the stock tires have almost no grip.

As for the Torment, I’ve been really impressed with it after going brushless and putting better shocks on it.  A friend of mine ran it on our local track and it hand the same lack of grip as the SC10, so I ordered a set of JConcepts Double Dee’s and will be testing them as well in the next few weeks.

After letting a friend drive my Torment, he and his son purchased matching trucks as well and have been using them to spend time doing something active together.  It’s really cool to see a hobby bring people together better.  Both of them are already trying to determine the next set of mods to become faster than the other.  Hopefully we’ll have videos posted soon of us bashing all four trucks around.

Posted in RC

RC Cars – Part III

After running a few battery packs through the ECX Torment after installing the Viper Copperhead VX4.39 brushless system, I thought I would give a quick update.  The truck is now ridiculously fast.  If there’s enough traction, it will pull the front tires off the ground and hold them there.  I was doing 20 foot wheelies across my yard if I could keep the rear tires from spinning.  When I could get it to hook up in the street, it would lift the fronts far enough up to make the rear of the body hit the ground.  Even doing speed runs in the street and racing through the yard, I was still able to get roughly 20 minute run times using a 5000mAh 2S Lipo battery.  RC cars have advance so much since I last got into them and the fun factor actually justifies the additional costs.  The three main improvements have been, in order of importance to me:

  1. 2.4GHz radios – More racers without interference issues
  2. LiPo batteries – More power and better run times, how can this be a bad thing
  3. Brushless motor systems – Nitro power with less maintenance and can be raced indoors.  Even 1/8th scale buggies are becoming brushless because of the power they make.

Posted in RC

RC Cars – Part II

The ECX Torment is hopefully going brushless next weekend.  Thanks to A Main Hobbies (www.amainhobbies.com) having a great sale, I picked up a Viper RC Copperhead ESC and 3900kv brushless motor.  Once I get it installed and tested, I’ll post up my review.  Until then, check out this review of the same setup in the same truck over on Big Squid RC’s website.


Posted in RC

RC Cars – Part I

For about the 4th or 5th time in my life, I’m getting back into RC cars.  Around Christmas, I picked up a 1/24 scale Losi Micro SCT stadium truck.  I wanted the rally car, but they were out of stock at my local shop.  I ran it for a few weeks and then bought the parts to convert it to the rally car.  It’s really fun to drive, especially in the house because of it’s size.

After a month or so, I decided I wanted to get back into 1/10 scale and wanted something for off-road use.  I searched around and read lots of reviews, and decided on the ECX Torment short course truck.  I had three main factors that led me to this choice.  I wanted to keep the initial cost low in case I got bored of RC quickly.  I wanted durability so it didn’t break any time I tried to drive it.  And lastly, I wanted readily available parts at my local hobby shop.  The ECX met all three conditions and I’ve been very happy with it.

I recently upgraded the transmission gears to all metal gears (~$25) and installed threaded aluminum shocks (~$40) in preparation for putting a brushless system in it.  To better tune the suspension, I’ve also installed adjustable turnbuckles for the front and rear camber links as well as the steering rods ($21).  This will make it better for track use as well as help the durability while bashing around outdoors.  I’ll post pictures soon and give more details about the modifications I’ve done to it.

Posted in RC