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Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Holidays!

There are only 5 days till Christmas, and people everywhere are in chaos mode. I recently saw a spike in traffic everywhere I go, which also means more car accidents. If that wasn't enough, it is also super icey where I live, so yet again, another danger hazard. I just wanted to remind everyone that this is supposed to be the most 'wonderful time of the year', so instead of road rage, wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

I sincerely wanted to wish every single one of you a Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays! If you want to buy some goodies for your cars, take this opportunity to look at your favorite online vendors, or local shops. Most places are having year end clearance sales, and Holiday discounts. It's too bad I had to pay for my accident earlier this month, otherwise I would have splurged a bit over the Holidays =D

As of this year, there will be no more mods! However, 2011 is just around the corner, and I can't wait to see where that takes me. I also wanted to thank all the people at Carter GM for their hard work and discounts on my Camaro repairs.

That's it for now!
Best wishes,

Spades V6

Saturday, December 11, 2010

RevXtreme Oil Catch Can

Felt like forever, but I finally installed the RX Oil Catch Can today, and I have to say, it looks super sexy. As per usual, I always follow up my installations with a review and experience I had with the install, so let's get right to it.

My reviews, usually consist of three major factors: The product itself, the provided instructions, and the customer service. First off, the customer service was fantastic. Although the vendor forgot to give me some parts of my kit, he took the responsibility of shipping the rest of the parts from his own wallet. You might think, "Oh big deal, that's how you are supposed to run a business", but let me tell you, some vendors just take your money and leave; Injen is one of those companies, but that's another story.

The RX Oil Catch Can kit comes with the catch can itself, a couple feet of hosing, zipties, and brackets and bolts for you to hold the catch can in place. You can also order the catch can with the color of your choice. I chose victory red, because my engine cover has been painted that way. Visually, the catch can looks as good as it can get, and the paint job is top notch. As for how the product functions, I can not give a full review, because I have not driven the car enough to see how much oil it can actually catch. All I have to say right now is, the catch can has got some good word of mouth, so I'm pretty sure it will do its job. However, because I try to review as accurate as possible, I will save the function part for later on.

The instruction manual was okay. I think the manual could have used a bit more detail, and maybe a few more pictures. However, because the catch can isn't a very hard thing to install in the first place, I think I got by okay.

Well, let's get right into the install process. Before I begin however, I have to say, I am basing my install on the experience of V6 John or Scrming to most people. He had began the install by checking the intake manifold and throttle body for signs of oil. I did the same as well.
Throttle body off.
Proof of oil and carbon build up at the back of throttle body. Nasty!
As you can see there is oil, though pretty clean oil, in the intake manifold. This proves that the stock setup is ingesting oil into our engine. Not good!
Oils going into the engine this way causes engine damage over time, and possibly loss of power.
Now onto the catch can install. Secure the catch can in place with the supplied bracket.
Locate the PCV hose connecting from the crankcase to the intake manifold.
Cut original PCV hosing in order to re-route the new path into the catch can.
Take a minute to admire the catch can, while you drink a can of beer.
Make sure all of your brackets, hoses, zipties and everything else are securely fastened. You can now place your engine cover back on. Presto, you are done!

As you can see, there really isn't much to this install. It took me around 20 minutes to get the catch can itself fully installed. Took around 10 minutes to remove and clean the throttle body and intake manifold, and just around another 10 minutes for setup and clean up. Therefore, this project can be easily done within an hour. However, I will admit something, I cut myself during the install, lol. I'm typing this entry right now with a screwed up middle finger. How? I cut myself when I was trying to cut some of the hoses down to size. Yeah I know, stupid right? But what is a man without some cuts and bruises, hmm? ;)

Super special thanks to Tracy, the vendor of this fantastic product, who has also helped me out while my car was in the snow accident. You are a real trooper, I really appreciate it! Also, special treat for people thinking of buying this product, Tracy has been in the racing industry for years. So yes, I trust him with this product, and any other products he offers.
Here are some articles about him and his team:

Also, another special thanks to Scrming, for being the first to install and review the RX Oil Catch Can, made my job a whole lot easier.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Camaro is back

Felt like forever, but after a week, the Camaro is back. The full price for the repair was pretty brutal. I ended up paying $1900 for parts and labor. However, I got $300 off for the parts, because the parts guy gave me a slash on the prices, thanks Tom! The service consultant that worked on my car was very nice to me as well. I guess this is why you pay the big bucks at the dealers.

On the way to work, people were still turning heads at my car, nice to see that the Camaro hasn't lost its touch. However, I think it's also because I, and a rare few other people are the only ones who drive the Camaro for the full year.

Well, I have plans for this weekend to install the RX Oil Catch Can. FINALLY.

Monday, December 6, 2010

OnStar experience

During the months of owning the Camaro, I have taken full advantage of the free 1 year subscription with OnStar. Enough so that I could give a fair review on their services. Most of the people I know who has a GM car, never re-subscribed to OnStar after their free trial had expired, but I think we should look at the pros and cons before we decide anything.

OnStar provides many services, all to make the driver feel like they are taken care of, and in some respects, making the driver's life easier. OnStar's navigation advisor can be called at a touch of a button, and you can find the nearest restaurant, nearest gas station, or nearest restroom if you have to. When treading on unknown territory, it's always nice to know there is an eye in the sky watching where you are going. In simpler words, you'll never be lost with OnStar. I've used OnStar's navigation service more times than I can remember, but the thing is, once you know how to get to your destination, you'll hardly ever call OnStar again for that same destination. The question is, how many new and strange places would you visit per week? per month? per year? For most of us, we hardly look at a map, and the internet and cellphones are so accessible now that we can find everything for ourselves, and we wouldn't need OnStar for that. Heck, you can even buy a GPS from your local electronics store for just 100 dollars, and you don't even have to re-subscribe!

Now, my previous post was about my snow accident, and because my car was not drivable after the accident, I had to call OnStar roadside assistance. OnStar asked if I was okay, and asked if I was in a safe place. Once those details have been established, they proceeded in calling GM roadside assistance, which they then called a towing company to tow my car to the nearest GM dealer. This is also a nice one button call feature, but almost unnecessary. I was grateful to have this service however, it meant a free tow, but because there were so many companies involved, and interchanging phone calls, I ended up waiting up to two hours before the tow truck finally arrived. Again, both have pros and cons. I think I would have had to deal with another side of politics if I made the calls myself. In a way, it's nice to have everything done for you, but you can't trust anyone but yourself.

OnStar also has an emergency button, it's a nice little feature to call OnStar if you see any immediate danger, to you, or to others. Over the summer, on the way to a friends house, I drove past this terrible car accident. I mean the cars were totaled. If I recall correctly, it was a Toyota Camry, and a BMW 3-series. It was at an intersection, and I had to leave quite soon after the green light. However, I did spot a guy who was nose bleeding. Both parties were yelling at each other, and it felt like the accident had just happened. Although I was no witness to the accident, I decided to use this OnStar feature. They picked up and asked what was the emergency. I told them the makes and models of the car, where the accident happened, and to let the law enforcement know to send some help. OnStar called 911 right away after getting the information from me, and asked me if I wanted to stay on the line with 911. I told them that I had to get to work, so I couldn't stay on the line. OnStar proceeded in thanking me for being a good samaritan, and they dealt with the police from there. From what I saw, no one was badly hurt, which was great, because the cars were a another story. Eitherway, it's nice to have these one touch buttons, instead of having to "swipe to unlock" my iphone and actually having to dial 911.

OnStar also provides a month to month diagnostics report on various parts of your car sent via e-mail. They monitor stuff like: oil life, tire pressure, odometer reading, last servicing date, and all that fancy jazz. It's nice to have those all up to date, especially if you don't have the time to keep track of all of that.

Last but not least, OnStar's theft prevention and remote access. With just one phone call and your PIN, they can unlock your doors, start your engine, or shut off your engine. Shutting off your engine is just incase someone steals your car, and they can disable the car on the spot, and locate the car via satellite. Unlocking your doors is somewhat pointless to me though. I'm not sure how someone would lock their keys in the car in the first place. That always stumbles me. The Camaro does not have auto locking doors from what I understand. So the only way to lock your doors from the outside is if you have the keys on the outside. Personified question mark?

My verdict? There are two groups of people who will most likely continue to subscribe. People who want the luxury aspect of service, or if you are one of those people who is always in a rush to get to work in the morning and you have your coffee in one hand and a binder in the other, and your jacket is on halfway, you're talking on your bluetooth headset, and scrambling to get the car started. Eitherway, I think it's for the polar extremes of people who have no time on their hands, and people who have too much time on their hands. As for me? My subscription ends in a couple of months, April 6th to be exact, and I'm not so sure I would continue subscribing. There are cheaper solutions out there afterall, but who knows, maybe their customer service will win my heart in the end. We'll just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Don't blame the car, blame the driver

This is going to be a short post. Just posting about this makes me sad. You know how I wanted to review the car in the snow? Let's just say, it failed. I ended up crashing very hard into a curb, and it lead to a huge repair bill. I bent two control arms, two tie rods, a wheel, and there may be other damage as well. So far GM has quoted me two grand for parts and labor. Needless to say, I am very upset at myself, I was being a complete ass. But I guess, lesson learned? Here are some pictures post accident.

Hopefully I'll get my car back in a week or two. During that time, I am still waiting for some pieces of the oil catch can to arrive in the mail. When I get those, and my car back, I will install them. Man, what a set back for my mod plans for 2011.

Oh wait, I may as well tell you my experience on the snow. First and foremost, you must get the right tires. I was running my stock all seasons. (yeah I know, don't say it) I used to drive a FWD car, and that was a lot better than RWD. In the snow, you can see a 100% difference between the two. All I can say is, if you need to drive in the snow, don't.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Holy Sub-Zero Icicles Batman!

If you live in a warm winter climate, you have no idea how lucky you are right now. I am freezing here, and apparently so is my car.
Now incase you were wondering how on earth icicles formed on my car, I should tell you before hand that I was bored and stupid. It was just one of those days where you had nothing better to do than to make your car into a human... uh automotive, popsicle. My car was covered in a thin layer of snow from a few days ago. Since then, it hasn't snowed, but the temperatures were even colder. This made the snow that was contacting the car form into ice. Instead of scratching and peeling off the ice off the car, which may have caused damage obviously, I thought it would be a good idea to pour water over it to induce faster melting. UH OH LOL. Yeah, obviously I made my car into an ice cube. However, as dumb as my actions may be, this was actually a miraculous experiment. I have never seen water freeze before my eyes. Have you? I literally poured water over the car, and it froze while the water was trickling down. Here are more pictures so you can see what I mean.

Looks cool right? It's like the Camaro is now an ice sculpture. I know some of you may be pissed off at me right now for "toying" with my car. Believe me, when spring comes, I'll give it another good detailing job. I do not believe that ice will hurt the finish of the car, as long as I don't go prying and breaking off pieces of ice. However, in the process of this experiment, I also realized how easy it was to make black ice. The water that did successfully make it down to the pavement, were also frozen solid. Making huge areas of black ice. This made me want to pour water all over the pavement, and make a fully iced pavement. This would be mostly for traction control testing, and how the Camaro handles on ice.

I will say this though, I hope the weather gets warm soon, otherwise defrosting this will be a PITA.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Snow, Ice, and a Mod

So it's the most wonderful time of the year... Not. Unfortunately, I absolutely hate snow. It's near winter now, and people all around are winter preping their cars. Whether it's snow tires, snow chains, snow shovels, or even a nice cup of instant hot chocolate, it seems like winter will be a piece of cake. Might not be for the Camaro though, we'll have to see. Afterall, this is my Camaro's first winter.
This does make me curious though, "How well does the Camaro drive in the snow?". More importantly, I want to know the difference in driving in severe conditions with Traction Control and Stability Control both on and off. I think this will make for a good test and review later down the line. I know some of you car owners never see snow, while others face snow for half a year. Eitherway, it will be interesting to see how this car does in the snow with stock all-season tires, and some good old fashion handling.

On another note, I know I said I wouldn't mod anymore until 2011. It's only November afterall, and I went to get another goodie for my car. It's too addicting. However, on the plus side, this mod is meant to help provide longevity to the car, and it wasn't all that expensive.
It's an oil catch can. For those of you who don't know what it is, I will do a more thorough review and explaination later on when I have this baby installed. Right now, I am waiting on a couple items missing from my package. Sadly, the person who sold this to me, Tracy, had recently gone through a great ordeal, and was just brought out of surgery not so long ago. He is very weak right now, but he says he is resting now, so I assume he is recovering. I hope you get well soon Tracy, and I will be awaiting for the rest of the items so I can get this installation on the way!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Post SEMA show

A couple of weeks ago, I have mentioned that I had a small small role in a product line that was showcased at the SEMA show. It was purely a prototype product at the time, because the company developing it, wasn't sure if it was going to get the customers interest. Well, I have asked permission to show the aforementioned product that I had contributed to, and here it is.
Say hello to a new line of paddle shifters from Hurst. Hurst has done pretty much the whole range of shifters. They have many different types for the manual tranmission, as well as a few for the automatic transmissions. However, never before has a company made tap shift paddles for the automatic Camaros. Keep in mind my contribution is very very small, but I will give you guys the full scoop.

When I first bought the Camaro, I loved it. I have an automatic V6, so it means it comes with a tap shift manual mode. Of course, this is no where near as good as a manual with a clutch. Though I loved this car, one of the design decisions GM made had upset me. The tap shift controllers were not paddles like you would see in any other steering wheel shifting car. They are buttons behind the steering wheel, and ugly ones at that.

So began my quest to solve this "problem". I had began posting on the Camaro5 Forums to see if any other automatic drivers dreaded the ugly buttons. Much to my suprise, most people hated the buttons, but no one seemed to complain about it, or at least no one did anything about it. Some of the people were quite helpful, linking me to designs of paddles on other cars that they liked, which was a fantastic start. This lead me down a road in contact with a company in Germany who made paddle shift covers for Audi, BMW, and VW. For a month or two, this company and I e-mailed each other back and forth pretty much everyday. They had agreed to make the paddle shifters for the Camaro. It seemed like a dream come true. However, in the end, they wanted 100 units ordered before they were going to put it into production. They were scared of investing into R&D and not making any money. Completely understandable. However, nobody wanted to pay for something they have not yet seen, which was also completely understandable. This lead to a stalemate, so I had to sadly contact the representative and told him that the deal was a no go. No hard feelings in the end, but we all felt sad for the time wasted.

If you are religious, "When God closes a door He opens a window". This was true to the letter for my situation. A day after the deal with Germany had finished, I was contacted by a very nice man called Kenji. He turned out to be the Vice President of Engineering & Quality Control for B&M Racing/Hurst Shifters.


He told me he had been reading on my full process for getting the paddle shifters, and he had wanted to let me in on a possible secret paddle shifter project. He asked me to be a part of the process. I SAID, "YES!" lol. This was back in July if I remember correctly.

We still keep in touch from time to time. He is busy making the prototype into a usable product. He also said that since SEMA, a lot of vendors can't seem wait to get this product into their stores. It still amazes me that this project is actually happening. Super Special Thanks to Kenji! LOL =D

Monday, November 8, 2010

52/48 weight distribution

I think it's actually important to point out that the V6 Camaro has an almost 50/50 front and rear weight distribution. It's easy to find any specifications for any car if you search online, and unless your engine is mid mount or rear mounted, it's nearly impossible to find a car that has a 50/50 weight distribution. Now the Camaro is not the best car in the world, there is no way I am blind enough to make that assumption. However, as I have said time and time again, you can see GM making smarter decisions. The V6 has a weight 52/48 weight distribution, which is astonishing for car nerds. The engine weight is usually what tips the scale between the front or the back being heavier. The V6 LLT engine is a good 200 lbs lighter than the V8 LS3 engine. Also the car battery is located in the rear, as opposed to the standard front mounted battery in your engine bay. The chassis and frame on the Camaro is also heavily focused in the rear. For styling and functional purposes, the rear end of the Camaro is much wider than the front, which means more surface area, and more material used, which equals more weight. This does offers more trunk space and more room in the back seats though.
Notice how the car is designed in the above image. The engine is aligned on top of the front wheels, trying to be as near to the center of gravity as possible. Nice! Last but not least, and most people forget this as a weight factor, rear wheel drive. This means there is a rear differential housing. That coupled with gears, axles, and all the other goodies that propel the car forwards: That definately should not be something to forget, and certainly plays a huge role in weight distribution.

In the end, GM did a good job delivering good weight distribution, it would work wonders on the track. However, the Camaro needs to go on a diet, 3750 lbs is a very heavy car for a V6, and it is the biggest mistake GM could have made.

EDIT: The top mentioned discussion isn't as simple as I have explained it. Upon more research, I have realized there are much more things at play than originally described. I won't share what I have found, because you can easily find it online if you do a quick search.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Spades V6 Intro v1


Well, work has been slow, and I miss modding my car, so to keep myself being productive, I've decided to play around with planar tracking and other visual effects. As you can see with my other videos, I love taking the time to edit them, making them a bit nicer to watch.
This is just a concept intro scene for future videos. I'll most likely be working on making it better over time, so just call this concept version 1.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

SEMA Discounts

Ladies and Gents, this is just a friendly public service announcement: Throughout the SEMA show, many big auto parts sellers are giving out huge discounts. Please keep your eyes peeled. Autogeek is having a 20% off deal on anything over $95. While AutoAnything is having a 15% off deal if you call and order by telephone. Some restrictions apply, but if you are buying stuff for your loved ones, or just doing some early Christmas shopping, now is the time. Keep your eyes out for any deals at your favorite online vendors. 'Tis the season to be jolly, for us gear heads =D

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Stillen Advertisement

I mentioned before when Stillen sent me those goodies, the trade was for taking some pictures of their splitter so they could use for their advertisements. At the time, no one had bought the Stillen splitter for the V6, or at least you could not find pictures online. When I bought it and installed it, Stillen contacted me directly for the pictures.

The advertisement says, "OEM Fitment every time."

Uh, no. Maybe they do fit now, but the build was pure crap when mine came. I had to shave off parts of the splitter just to make things fit properly. Also, a friendly reminder, it's still mainly held with double-sided tape.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

SEMA 2010

I won't be attending SEMA this year, but I will be posting later about something that is currently "top-secret" that will be revealed at the SEMA show. Eitherway, for the people attending SEMA, hope you guys have a good time! Take lots and lots of pictures!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Music for the soul

I recently purchased a new album from the iTunes store, The Sea Brings Rivalry. It's a collection of some very nice electronic genre music, makes for very good driving music. Some of the singles are featured on the hit show Mighty Car Mods. For those who don't know about the show, it is really just a show for car lovers and modders, hosted by our two mad turbo-charged Australian friends Marty and Moog. Be sure to check out their show if you haven't already, lots of various things you'll learn from them.

The album is made by the above mentioned Moog. It's always nice to see people with many talents. As for the album itself, I can't really be one to judge whether it's good or bad, I'm not really an audiophile. However, I do know good music when I hear it. Like most albums, there are some really great tracks, and some that are just 'okay'. The meat of this album is really just a couple of songs. "Overdrive" and "Sew It Seams" are my two favorite tracks. I find myself enjoying this music mostly at night, driving in the city or on the highway with very free flow traffic. Overall, the album is nice on the ears, nice beats, good melodies, and excellent vocals. The only criticism I have for this album is that there are too many repeats and remixes of the same track. It felt like the artist was just trying to fill up the album.

I recommend you guys to purchase some of the songs, definately hear the previews if you are really strapped on cash. In the end though, the album is only $9.90 in total, $0.99 per track, great deal! I purchased the full album because I like the music, but mostly because I want to hear more original songs in the future.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Welcome ladies!

I had come to a conclusion lately, the Ford Mustang has held the crown for too long. So long infact that almost 40% of the Mustangs I have seen on the road are driven by women. Now please do not get me wrong, I do NOT think there is a problem with a woman driving a muscle car. I just find men in general picking up muscle cars before women do.

I don't think the Camaro has made quite a return like this since the Iroc-Z. You can actually see the 2010 Camaro line-up actually stirring up the competition. The 2010 Camaro was released with a V8 version that has a large LS3 engine putting out 426HP at the crank, and the slimmer lighter V6 version isn't too shabby either. When Dodge, Ford, and Chevrolet released the big three in 2009, it was clear that Chevy had done good.

Not to bash on any of the cars above. I've been in all three, so eventhough I bought the Camaro, don't think I am at all biased. Okay maybe a bit. The Challenger had the most masculine look out of the three. Classic enthusiasts would love to have the Challenger. Although the interior isn't impressive, it still retains most of its heritage. The power isn't too bad, but with its heavy weight, huge size, and non-aerodynamic lines, it really makes this car just a nice cruiser. The Mustang is the lightest of the three, and it also has the best interior design of the three in my honest opinion. But sadly, the 2010 Mustang line up was extremely poor. Their V8 version had just as much power as the 2010 V6 Camaro, and their V6 counterpart was only producing a shockingly low 210 HP. They released their 2011 cars with upgraded power as soon as they could. Technically, the 2011 Mustangs are competing with the 2010 competitors. Good job Ford (insert sarcastic slow clap here).

I guess Ford had to up their game if they wanted to keep up. Nothing healthier than a little compitition eh?

Well, I guess I've diverged from my original point: Women used to go to Mustang if they wanted straight line power. Now? I see Camaros being driven by lots of women. Actually suprised me that it caught on so fast. But if there are any ladies reading this, GOOD CHOICE! The Camaro is a handsome car, delivers tons of power, cheap to buy, and it comes with a better warranty than Ford and Dodge!

In my honest opinion though, all three cars deserve a round of applause, and for the men and women who drive them, cheers!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Thinking of some changes next year

Well, it's been a while since I've last posted. It has been pretty busy for me, and I haven't really had any new stories with the Camaro, until last night.

I was driving out to the gym, and when I parked, I pulled up too close to the curb and bumped my front splitter. The splitter came off... again...

I know splitters detact to save your bumper... but at the same time, I want a splitter that stays on. The V6 Camaro is such a small market, there aren't too many manufacturers coming out with true racing splitters. All manufacturers make products for the V8 models. The situation now is, the V8 bumper is slightly different from the V6, and the V8 bumpers just have a lot more splitter options.

Right now, I am considering changing my bumper to the V8 bumper and just get a true functional splitter. We'll see though.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My thoughts on Rear Wheel Drive

For most everyday drivers, people tend to buy front wheel drive (FWD) or all wheel drive (AWD) cars. The FWD cars are usually more economical, and AWD cars are usually for off-roading and safety. The Camaro is none of those things, it is rear wheel drive (RWD). Yes, the V6 Camaro does a rated 29 miles to the gallon, but it is by far not the most fuel efficient. Is it as safe as an AWD car? The answer to that is "No" as well. Then why RWD?

In most sports cars, RWD is a must, and here's why: Imagine yourself at the grocery store, and you have taken a shopping cart for your shopping needs. You load the cart with lots of groceries. Now pull the cart, instead of pushing it. You will soon realize, pulling the cart causes undesirable effects, but I'll let you figure that one out yourself.

Okay scrap the whole grocery cart theory, that doesn't actually work on cars lol. Well to make things as simple as possible, FWD cars are cheap to manufacture because there is no need for a driveshaft, rear axle, and differential. Everything moving is in the front of the car, which also makes maintainence and repairs cheaper. Also, not having anything reaching to the rear wheels of the car means less parts, so the car weighs less and has more rear passenger space. Since all of the weight is in the front of the car, pushing down on the moving wheels, traction is a lot better than RWD. However, if you wanted to take your FWD car up to a performance level, the results may be catastrophic. Surely you are thinking, "Having everything in the front reduces overall weight, so my car should be faster." Well, FWD cars are just not meant for performance driving, the weight distribution will always be heavier in the front end of the car, making the back very light. This makes cornering much harder because the front wheels have to do the steering, accelerating, and braking the car. Therefore, FWD cars are much more prone to understeer.

AWD cars are the most expensive cars, which is pretty obvious, because essentially you have more moving parts. Weighs just as much, or sometimes more, than a RWD car, so gas mileage isn't a strong point either. Maintanence and repairs are also the most expensive out of the 3 types of cars. The benefit of paying for AWD is mostly safety, but also tons and tons of grip, if you are a track day fan. Also because all four wheels grip, speed and acceleration isn't a problem either. However, when it comes to hard cornering, AWD cars can be quite tricky. It really depends how much power goes to which wheel, but essentially AWD cars can get understeer or oversteer, and sometimes both in the same turn. I've realized, it's based on which car you buy, and how you set the differentials.

So by now, if you haven't already known the major differences, you should have a pretty good understanding of the different drivetrains. I didn't want to sound too boring there... but what I really wanted to talk about is the Camaro's RWD system. Theoretically, the Camaro should have pretty good handling capabilities. It has the chassis from the Pontiac GTO, or the Vauxhall Monaro if you are from the U.K. The V6 Camaro also has an almost 50/50 weight distribution, weighing 52/48. GM put the battery in the back of the car to even out the weight, giving the better weight distribution and freeing up lots of space in the engine compartment. Supercharger anyone? Just had to give GM a high five for being a smarty-pants there. All in all, if you want fun, you get RWD, because it can kill you.

This morning I was doing some light driving. It was pouring rain all early morning, but by the time I was heading home, the rain was just sprinkling. The roads were still fairly wet though. I drive up to a red light. About 200 yards after my red light, there is another intersection with a dedicated left turn light, which is where I wanted to go. My light was still red when the green left turn light ahead of me had gone off. About a full second had passed before my light turned green (believe me one second makes a huge difference when driving), I hit the gas and aimed for the left turn. Much to my suprise, I lost traction on the spot and wheel spinned. Tires were squealing and I could feel the back of my car trying to get grip, then BOOM nailed into my seat, I made it. Now I want to back up here... My traction control had not been turned off, if it had, I would have had a much longer delay in traction. I've always heard RWD cars are really bad in the rain, and I have to say, after today, I really know how much power is needed before I lose control: Not much power at all. SO MUCH FUN! Drive safe everyone.

Another learning experience on my way home; I was in an empty culdesac, and I decided to see how much speed it would take for me to lose traction if I went around in a circle. Around I went, and just when I hit 25-30 MPH my car started to lose traction. Much to my suprise, I lost traction in the front wheels. ALL UNDERSTEER. Understeer is no fun at all, oversteer is where the fun is at. Oversteer looks "cooler" and is also easier to control. Understeer usually steers you into a tree, whereas oversteer can be handled with good steering control and proper acceleration.

Eitherway, to be brutally honest, and I know Camaro owners may hate me for this, the Camaro is very soft in the corners (A.K.A. Can't corner). Hey! an American car that can't corner! Suprised? No. But seriously, GM did a very good job delivering us a very comfortable ride. However, I bought this car to be more about fun and games you know? SPEED, EXCITEMENT, ADRENALINE! If I wanted comfort, I would have bought a sofa, would have saved me a lot of money too.

Before you think I'm hating the car, you're wrong, why do you think I bought it? I've said this before in one of my first or second posts, GM did a very good job on the little details. Quick example, the battery thing I talked about, I haven't seen many cars who do that. I bought the V6 version, and 312 HP is far from shabby either. If you own a V8 Camaro SS, you are pretty much in Super car category! Best of all, they are affordable! All I'm saying is, all cars have faults. My V6, I'll admit, didn't have the sound I thought a pony car should have, so I bought a new intake and exhaust system. Suspension, super soft? suspension upgrades! The way I see it, GM built a handsome looking base car for me to start making my own. At such a cheap price, it makes for an awesome project car.

I took my grandfather, which is 82 years old by the way, for a drive in my Camaro one day. He looked like he enjoyed it, it was comfortable for him, other than the super low passenger seat. With the large spongey tires, soft springs, and branch-like sway bars, the car was riding like a pillow with lots of body roll. Cheers to an awesome base car then. Wheels, coilovers, and sway bars, HERE I COME!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Adam's, absolutely astonishing

This is going to be a fairly long post, mostly because it took me quite a long time to finish what I am about to talk about: taking proper care of your car. When it comes to maintaining your car, proper cleaning is a big part of it. When I first got my car, I wanted to make sure it was kept as perfect as possible, so I bought a proper detailing kit. Obviously, over the months, I've gotten rock chips in the paint, and other damages, so it was far from perfect. This made me a bit less motivated to keep it nice. However, since winter is coming, and my car is mostly parked outside, I wanted to make sure it was properly protected, so I spent the weekend detailing my Camaro.
Soon after I bought my Camaro, I joined a Camaro forum, and many of the members swear by the Adam's Polishes line of car care products. So I thought, "Hey, why not give them a shot?"

Conclusion? I love it.

The full detailing process took me about 20 hours, spread over three days. I took some pictures of my process, hope this may be helpful for some people:
Friday - I gave my car a proper wash. Hosed down the whole car with water, knocking off all the loose debris. Secondly, I used my foam gun and soaked the whole car in soap. I let all the soap soak and drip off the car. This lubricates the whole car and as the suds slides down the car, it brings more dirt off with it. Rinse all the soap off with water. Then foam gun the car again, and wash the whole car with the two bucket car wash technique with Grit Guards (You can search this online). Make sure you use two seperate wash mitts: one for the top half of the car, and the other for the dirtier bottom half. Rinse again with water, and dry.
Saturday - I spent half the day using the claybar on the whole car. Look at the above picture: Clean claybar on the left, and the dirty claybar on the right. That crap is what came off the car AFTER my long car wash! If your car doesn't feel as smooth as glass after you are finished claybarring, then you didn't do it properly. After the claybar process, my car felt so clean. You don't know clean until you have claybarred. Also, do not forget to claybar your windows, it makes all the difference. You'd be suprised at the amount of crap that stays on your windows after your wash.
Sunday - This was my longest and most tiring day. I spent the day cutting, polishing and waxing my finish. I won't really get into the details of this, but let me tell you, this is the first time I've done this, and there is nothing to worry about. If you do this properly, you won't screw up your surface. Heck, I own a black car, so if I'm not scared, you shouldn't be scared either.
Look at this picture, no trick photography here. This photo was taken with my iPhone 3GS, it doesn't even have a good camera, and it can pick up the scratches in the 'Before' picture. After cutting and polishing the finish, it looked flawless. Wow, thumbs up for Adam's products!
After the polishing, I went into the final step: waxing the car. With Adam's Machine Super Wax, it was a breeze. I waxed the whole car in 30 minutes.

Results? 110% satisfied.

I'm not getting paid for praising Adam's Polishes, it's purely beneficial for you readers. If they had sold me some bad products, believe me, I would be on their tails, especially if it had ruined my car. The honest truth though? Adam's Polishes has MY trust, and MY loyalty from this day forward. Great products, great customer service. Like I have said before, I am 110% satisfied, and the only way I feel I can pay them back is by spreading word of mouth. Also, if you need any more convincing, just remember that this is my first detailing attempt, and I did it on a black car.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A summary of 2010

Most of the time, I'm sure that I'm just writing into the void, since this blog only started out as a way for me to keep track of what I do to my car. Since the beginning of the blog, I have gotten more views, both on my youtube account and my blog. This lead me to believe, "Hey! People actually read my stuff."

Therefore, I thank those of you who actually read my blog posts from time to time. I'd like to think my DIYs or product reviews actually help you guys.

Okay, well, onto the purpose of this post. For those who know me in person, or who have been reading the blog from the start, I brought my Camaro home on April 6th, 2010. This is a significant day for me, not only was it the day I brought back this beautiful car, it was also the day I started to care and learn about cars. I don't know what to say, without this Camaro, I may have never learned how to change my own oil, remove a car bumper, install an intake system, paint my own engine cover, or create my first circuit.

The number of mods I have gotten done, the amount of time and money I have spent, and the blood and sweat that I literally went through to get my car to where it is today, is just mind blowing to me. If you asked me about cars a year ago, I wouldn't even be able to tell you how much torque my engine puts out at the fly wheel. But now I'm servicing my own car? Haha, crazy eh?

Well, if you wondered how much I have done/spent since April 6th, 2010, here is your answer:

4 Gauge Auxiliary Pack - $370 (Thanks Gene @ GM Parts House USA)
Floor Mats - $110
Splash Guards - $145
Car Cover - $255
Racing Pedals - $80
Billet Door Plates - $80
Door Sills - $190
Tail Light Blackouts - $30 (Thanks Reggie @ The Camaro Decal Store)
Sequential Tail Lights - $100 (Thanks Web Electric)
HOD Headlights/LED fog lights/Red Footwell Lights/Interior Conversion kit - $215 (Thanks Darren @ Whiplash Auto)
Stillen Front Splitter - $150 (Thanks Josh @ Stillen)
Engine Cover/Fuse Box paint - $50

Injen Cold Air Intake - $320
Corsa Catback Exhaust - $1150 (Thanks Ivan @ Southwest Speed)

To the people I thanked above, you guys know who you are, you've done a great deal for helping me in my project. The guys I have mentioned are awesome guys, either they gave me huge discounts, or gave me free gifts as a token of their appreciation. All have provided excellent customer service, no bias, just facts.

That was basically 2010 in a nutshell. I know the year is not quite over yet, I will continue to post from time to time, but it won't really be about mods. Some financial lifestyle changes are taking place in my life right now, so I don't really have the budget to continue modding this year. However, the modifications will carry on in 2011 for sure. If you're as curious as I am about what I'll be doing next, then be sure to stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

BMW is the $hit

Saw this picture featured on an older episode of Top Gear. This image really made me laugh, because these snarky ads are always entertaining to look at. Obviously, they don't mean any harm, when your company is high up on the corporate ladder, you'll eventually be bashed by one organization or another. Too good for your own good, you see. =)

However, a small discussion can be brought up from this spoof campaign. I was in a very asian dominant part of town a couple of weeks ago, and my brother and I were standing in a parking lot, and we were counting the number of Hondas, and BMWs parked there. We'd realized, there were mainly four makes of cars people in this part of town actually buy. On the lower end of the price range, we saw 90% were dominated by Hondas and Toyotas. While on the higher end of the price range, mostly BMWs and Mercedes. The funny thing is, BMWs seem to be like the 'go-to' car for people who are more financially stable. I think at a point in time, BMWs were the special cars that only special people could buy (rich people). When you say, "I drive a BMW!" people used to reply, "WOW, you're rich!".

However, nowadays when you say, "I drive a BMW", people will reply "So? My dad has one", "My mom has one", "My friend has one". Everyone has one. Reminds me of Apple products actually, you used to be the only 'cool' kid with a touch screen Apple product, and now everyone has one.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Can't trust anyone but yourself

Last week, I took my car to Mopac Performance and auto supplies to get my Corsa exhaust installed. Well, they installed my exhausts in an hour, but I wasn't able to watch the mechanic work on my car. The only thing I saw him doing before I left was him taking a saw to my car! After a week of driving, I started to hear slight rattling. The only thing that has changed since last week was the exhaust install, so I assumed it was because of a bad install.

I went out to my car this morning, and I went under the car to make sure everything was installed properly. Turned out, the mechanic didn't tighten all the nuts and bolts to the specified torque settings! Bastards! This is why I don't trust other people working on my car. I can't really hold him accountable, because he might possibly make some excuse. Regardless of how pissed off I was, I decided to fix things myself, AGAIN. I spent an hour under the car, tightening all clamps to 45 ft-lbs of torque.

The only reason why I even took my car to the shop, wass because I didn't have a lift, and I wasn't too positive on installing exhausts on jack stands. Man, if I had a lift or a shop to work at, I'd do this myself lol.

My personal advice to all you car lovers, if you love your car, you will work on the car yourself. Maybe I'm just unlucky, but I've had my car at the shop a couple of times, and everytime I get the car back, something else is wrong. The thing is, if you work on the car yourself, you only have yourself to blame, and lets face it, it's easier to forgive yourself. When you have someone else screwing up your car, you'll spend so much time hating them and hating yourself for trusting them. In my opinion, not worth the stress... I want to live long and happy lol. Just remember, these "professionals" are just humans too, and nothing makes them any more qualified than you. I went to another shop called Drive Hard a couple weeks back. I went with my brother to get his intake installed on his 99 Honda Prelude. One look at the mechanics, and I realized, "What the F-bomb? They are just teenagers". They had to look at the instruction booklet just like you and I, and their install left the Prelude with a mis-attached bumper. I spotted the mistake right away, and I told them to fix it. They replied, "Huh? that's weird..."

Seriously? What are we paying you for?

Let me give you all the verdict on Mopac, or any other shops for that matter: Don't go, unless you absolutely need to. I'm sure you all have friends around you that know how to work on cars, gather them together, you guys would be just as qualified.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Care package!

A couple of weeks ago, I was taking some photos for Stillen. They had wanted some photos of their V6 Camaro Splitter products on actual cars, so Josh from Stillen asked me to snap a few quick pics for them to use. He told me he would give me a $25 gift card in return for my troubles. Frankly I don't work on my car, write on my blog, or make youtube videos for profit. I do it because I love to do it. Therefore, I told Josh that I'd take the pictures for free. However, he insisted on giving me something in return, so I asked for a Stillen t-shirt instead of a gift card.
Well, as promised Josh sent me some goodies in the mail! I like the t-shirt! Too bad it wasn't a Camaro printed on the back of the shirt lol, but hey, it's a gift, and I love it. It took about a week for the package to get here, and frankly I wasn't even sure it was coming, so I was very excited when the package arrived in the mail. Everytime I get a package at the door, it feels like Christmas morning. Anyway, as I have said, Josh sent goodies!
Why didn't I think of a hat? Well, thanks for the hat too Josh! The cap is a bit bigger than my head size, but it is still wearable. I went to the bank today, and the teller asked me if I was a big racing fan. I was kind of shocked and confused at why he had asked, and before I could answer he pointed to my hat. We talked for a bit, and he told me he used to drive a Mustang GT, and I told him that I drive the Camaro. It's funny how conversations can be started just by the clothing apparel you wear.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Corsa, blows me away!

It's a long debate on any car, "What is the best exhaust for my car?". Everyone has different tastes, and wants different things out of their products. In the area of exhausts, you can never really get a straight answer of which brand produces the best exhaust. There are a couple of things people consider when purchasing exhausts, or any modification, and they usually narrow down to three things: Price, sensory satisfaction (looks/sound), and power gains (if applicable).

Obviously I am not an oil tycoon, so I am only able to buy one exhaust system. Therefore, before I review any further on my selected exhaust, I can honestly say I will be biased on most parts. However, I will be as fair as I possibly can, and let you, the viewers, decide.

In an older post, I was complaining about the costs of mods, and that I had my eye set on an exhaust system that costed more than I had anticipated. Well, I went with that same exhaust I had complained about, the Corsa Performance Exhaust system.
Now, if I am to be fair in this review, I will do it here. The Corsa is by far the most expensive full catback exhaust system for the V6 currently available. Heck, I have even seen V8 systems that don't cost as much. Smart car modders may stay away from this system, mostly because they know the price isn't worth the gains. Corsa claims to free up airflow compared to the stock exhaust system, which also frees up to 6 ponies and 7 ft-lbs of torque. Realistically, modders know that the stated power gains won't really translate to much on the dyno. Then, why would anyone pay $1200 for this exhaust system? Two of the three categories I have mentioned earlier are already unsatisfactory, price and power gains. Would you really be willing to pay $1200 for just sound and looks then? Here's the funny thing, 'there's more to the Corsa than meets the eye'. (LOL I'm so lame)

Here is where I can be a bit more biased; I absolutely love the sound of this system. It has a deep enough tone, it's not deafening, it's rich enough, it doesn't sound too muffled nor hollow. Like I have said in the beginning, everyone has different tastes, and I respect that. Corsa has really put a lot of thought into their system, here is the link to their product description and features. One of the most annoying things after installing an AEM exhaust system is the droning that occurs when you are driving. With Corsa's Patented RSC™ Technology, that annoying drone has gone bye-bye. The full system is made from 304 stainless steel, which means when your car is a rust bucket, the exhausts won't be. The Corsa system also comes with a lifetime warranty, which helps me justify the cost of the system.
Stock exhaust tips are 3" in diameter.
Stock exhaust tips are short and skinny
Corsa delivers polished 4" tips!
Nice and Shiny!

A couple of more good things about AEM exhaust systems, they weigh much less than stock exhausts. The whole Corsa system weighs around 70 lbs, while the stock system weighs around 90 lbs, 20 lbs lighter! You really can't go wrong with an AEM exhaust, sounds great, more airflow, weight reducing; your car should be a lot quicker at the drag strip.

Look at those huge mufflers that come with the stock system. I have heard each muffler weights 24 lbs each! Also, the mufflers are so big that if you bend down a little bit, you can see them under the car. A lot of people even go through the trouble of spray painting the mufflers black.

No, that black stuff under the muffler isn't my attempt to paint them. Apparently there are 2 holes under the mufflers to drain any water that may get into the exhaust tips. The black is from the soot leaking out with the water!

The last thing I will say about the Corsa is that it seems like a very smart exhaust system. It is very quiet when you want it to be, and very loud when you push the car a bit harder. On the day after the install, I took the highway back home. I had to merge into the highway, but the car directly infront of me was going too slow to merge in time, so I hit the gas, and passed him. I felt like a ninja, because when I accelerated, my car became a beast on wheels, and heads were turning to see what was causing the roaring! Sneaky! I didn't even mean to be that loud, I just wanted to over take a guy. Needless to say, I was shocked at how loud the exhausts became. Also because of Corsa's dual insulated mufflers, it actually has a break-in period, so when the mufflers breaks in, it will be even LOUDER! Hoorah!