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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Change your own Oil

This morning, I got up at 7:00 AM, watched a bit of television and ate breakfast. I planned to do my oil change in the morning, when the temperature wasn't too hot. This is my second oil change on the V6 Camaro. The first oil change I did was a couple of months ago, it was so terribly done that I didn't even bother taking too many pictures. However, after that initial oil change, I was comfortable enough to give you all a step by step tutorial on how to do your own 2010 Camaro V6 oil change. This is a long tutorial, so go grab a drink, perhaps some snacks, and let's get started!
All the tools you will need for the oil change. Forgive me if I don't use the right terms or names. You'll need a 15mm socket, 24mm socket, a torque wrench with 10-20 ft-lbs minimum setting range, 6 quarts of oil (5.7 litres), an oil filter (refer to manual for part number), oil tub, some towels, funnels, gloves, and some newspaper.
Before you move the car onto your ramps, or jackstands, drive around for around ten minutes so the engine is warmed up. This will make the engine oil warm enough for it to drain out easier. Also, place some newspapers on the ground. If this is your first Camaro oil change, put more newspaper than I have in the picture. You'll thank me later. =p
If you are using ramps, I would advise you to ask a friend, family member, or neighbour to watch as you drive onto it. This is an insurance for you, incase you drive off the ramp... You don't want that.
Like my ramps? Home made with a couple scrap pieces of wood that I'd found laying around my garage. My ramps are nine inches off the ground, I wanted more clearance for me to get in and out from under the car. Park the car, and make sure to engage the Hand Brake. I REPEAT, HAND BRAKE, ON!
Get out of the car, and put some blocks behind the rear tires.
You will see the drain pan when you get under the car. See that bolt in the middle of the picture? That is our drain plug.
Place the Oil tub under the drain plug, on top of your newspapers.
Use the 15mm socket, unscrew the plug, and the oil will begin leaking. You can wear your gloves starting from here... the oil might be hot. Don't burn yourself.
When you remove the plug, oil will start spewing out! Make sure you have a hand free, ready to move the oil tub under the firing zone. Sorry about the picture, it is quite hard to remove the plug, move the oil tub, and take a picture at the same time. =p Important note: the oil can drain for HOURS! I am not kidding you. While the oil is draining, we'll make our way to the hood.
Locate the filter, which is on the left side of the engine.
Use the 24mm socket, and unscrew the filter cap. Pull it straight out and the filter will be connected to the cap.
Pull the filter off the cap, and lay it on some newspapers. Plenty of dirty oil will drain from that filter.
Since the filter is out, lets clean the drain plug. I bought a magnetic drain plug. To show how good it is, I will demonstrate with a before and after picture. So this is Before, look how black the tip is.
Look at how much gunk, I wiped off the plug. That gunk is made of oil and micro metal shavings. Now look at the plug, nice and shiney. The plug is only 10 dollars... well worth the money in my opinion.
Take the new filter, and oil up the rubber rings on the filter with some clean engine oil.
The filter snaps onto the cap. Make sure you feel a definite snap.
Place filter with cap back into the engine compartment.
Hand tighten the cap, and use a towel to wipe off any oil residue on the cap.
Set your torque wrench to 18.5 ft-lbs, and attach your 23mm socket.
Tighten the cap to 18.5 ft-lbs with the torque wrench. We are done with the filter!
Now before you add the new oil, be sure to remember to re-plug your drain plug. We take a look under the car, looks like the oil is just dripping now. Dripping means we are ready to seal it back up. Note: The oil can drain for hours and hours, so if you have the time, feel free to let it drip longer.
Hand tighten the drain plug back into the oil pan. There will be drips of oil when you tighten it, so grab your towel and wipe off anything left over.
Set your torque wrench to 18 ft-lbs. Just incase you get confused, the FILTER is 18.5 ft-lbs, and the drain plug is 18 ft-lbs. The 0.5 difference may not make any difference... but better safe than sorry.
Tighten the drain plug until torque wrench clicks. I recommend anyone who doesn't have a clicky torque wrench to purchase the one I introduced a couple posts ago. You can view the product here.
Hang in there! Only a couple of steps to completing your oil change! Unscrew the oil fill up cap.
Place your funnel in.
Pour your 6 Qts or 5.7L of oil in, slowly. Try not to drop any oil in your engine compartment.
If you bought multiple bottles of oil like me, 6 bottles of 1 Litre oils, then you can do what I do. Place an empty bottle on a funnel, and let the left over oils collect into one empty bottle. After you drain 6 bottles of left over oil, you'd be suprised how much oil you can collect. Pour the rest of that into your engine.
You have finished your first oil change! Now for the last couple of steps...
You can put your engine cover back on, or not... up to you. Actually, some people don't even bother taking off the engine cover to begin with. I just take it off, because I find the cover is in the way when I'm trying to stuff the funnel down the pipe. So this step is optional, and circumstantial.
You can start the car now, keep your car jacked, or on the ramps, check for any oil leaks and make sure the Check Engine Light doesn't come on. If nothing seems wrong, then go into your DIC and find the Oil Life display. Reset it.
Yes, I want to reset =D
Bingo! There you go!
Now you can safely back up the car off the ramps. But before you do, please remember to remove the rear wheel blocks you set in the beginning. Since we have been working at the head of the car, sometimes we may forget to remove it, and back up over the block. Ahem... that never happened to me.

There you go folks, your first oil change. Feel like you can do just about anything now right? Yeah, I felt that way too. Just an afterthought, I should tell you that the first oil change might take you longer than the tutorial is implying. My first oil change took me around four hours, and another hour of clean up, because I spilt some oil. My second one, which is this particular one, only took me a good two hours. If you have any worries, just take your time. It's better to do it slowly and correctly, than rushing it and doing something wrong. As for the magnetic drain plug I had used earlier in this tutorial, you can buy them from here. The Camaro drain plug part number is AP-04. There are also other plugs for other cars, so if you own another car make and model, I highly recommend this product. In the end, you may ask "why not just take it to a dealer to get your oil changed?"
Well, I say, why waste the money you are paying for labor? I've asked around, people pay around $20-$70 in labor fees. Also, changing your own oil guarantees that no one is fooling around on your car. Working on your car will also make you closer with your car, and understand it a lot better.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Door Step Suprise

My Injen Cold Air Intake came in mail today! Rated with an additional increase of 16 horsepower and 16.5 ft-lbs of torque. After much research, I have came to the conclusion that the Injen CAI for the V6 2010 Camaro may be the best choice for performance. Here are the product pictures!
Since I am fairly busy today, I won't be able to talk much about the product itself. I bought the intake at Auto Anything. They have a promotion right now, if you buy any Injen intake, you get a free Hydroshield. The Hydroshield wraps around your filter so that fine dust and water particles don't get sucked into your engine. My brother also bought an Injen for his 1999 Honda Prelude, he also got a free Hydroshield from Auto Anything, which is why I came to the conclusion that all Injen intakes will come with a free Hydroshield. Take the opportunity to buy an Injen if you want one, I don't know how long the promotion will last.

I'll probably get to install the intake sometime next week. I plan to run a few more performance tests with my stock Camaro. However, after the installation, I will be sure to post plenty of pictures and videos! So stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Apparently, Black isn't quite dark enough

A week ago, I mentioned that I was very happy with this tail light blackout kit that I'd bought from The Camaro Decal Store. However, apparently I didn't think my car was dark enough lol. So this week, in the mail, I recieved a set of blackouts for my side markers on the car. For those of you who ask the question, "why even bother getting a blackout kit?"
I say, "why not?"
The fact of the matter is, the Camaro is a nice looking car, so why not make it nicer? If you have seen some of my previous pictures, you would, and SHOULD agree that Black and Chrome hints have a very nice visual contrast. In that sense, blacking out anything that isn't black or chrome should make perfect sense. I've asked people what they think of my blackouts. The guys think they look sleek, and cool, because lets face it, you can't go wrong with black. The girls like the blackouts too... but not for the same reason. They like the perforation on the blackouts, because it lets "shiney" reflections and light go through. Not quite the point of the blackouts, but I'll accept comments of any sort lol, Ladies ;). Here are some pictures of the new blackouts, funny thing is, I had to circle the areas of the blackouts for a clearer picture.
Yeah, you're probably bored of me talking about the same product over and over huh? Well, I won't ramble on much longer. However, I will say this, if you own a Camaro, I'd suggest you click the link to The Camaro Decal Store. Very good products for bargaining prices. Also, excellent customer service, if you have any questions about the products, speak directly to Reggie. I haven't dealt with such a good salesman in a long time.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Gone in Six Seconds

A couple posts ago, I'd reviewed a universal OBDII display monitor called the Dashhawk. I mentioned at the end of the post that I tried out one of the performance tests, the 0-60 test. At the time, I did terribly and got 0-60 in 6.66 seconds. This number was definately not good enough for me. The advertised 0-60 time for the V6 Camaro is 6.1 seconds. What was I supposed to do now? I did know for a fact that this car can run 0-60 faster than 6.1 seconds. There is a guy well known in the Camaro community for being a very experienced V6 owner. Online we call him Scrming or V6John. I'd advise any Camaro owner to check out his website. He thoroughly documents all of his mods, experiments, and findings on the site.

In one of John's posts, he shows that the car gets to 6 seconds on a warmer day. However, with a lower temperature, John was able to get 0-60 in 5.68 seconds. That is really good! John also says that, strangely, he's never seen a car react so differently with cold air before; which I too, have noticed. On a warmer day, the Camaro would feel a bit more sluggish. However, on a cool day... the car tears through the pavement with no regret. Keeping this cold air theory in mind, and with the help of John on launching techniques, I decided to give my 0-60 run another shot.

John told me that when he did his run, he left his Traction Control on, because he didn't want wheelspin at the start of the line. Which made sense to me, but I had to respectfully try it with the T/C off. However, even with T/C on, I still made an interesting run.
Yeah baby! That looks pretty darn fast to me... The monitor couldn't stop at 60 MPH because my car was going too fast for it to calculate each individual information sample. Remember, keep in mind this was with T/C ON! The problem with T/C is it slows down your wheels automatically if you get it fast enough to wheelspin. So in the end, it really depends how you launch. If launch too fast with T/C on or off, you are going to get a bit of a slow down. The tricky part is getting to know your car, and knowing how much your car can take before it spins out. With the Traction Control on, I was still very happy with the time. However, the night was still young, so I gave it another go.
It was 11:41 PM and 61 degrees out, a very cool night to really push the Camaro. I took the liberty of taking a picture as evidence of my time and temperature. So I park the car in place. A click click here, click click there, setting up all the parameters for me to start the 0-60 test. My brother was on the sidewalk, taking a video with his cellphone, patiently waiting for me to drive by. The night was quiet, I saw the straight arrow road in front of me, and I focused. Remembering what John had said, keeping my left foot on the brake, right foot rev'ing the engine. My T/C was off now, and I shifted into Sport mode. My Dashhawk tells me to start whenever I'm ready. I was determined to make this second run better than my first. Foot off the brake and off I go! Results? Very pleasing =)
Keep in mind my car is completely 100% stock! No springs, no intake, headers, or exhausts. I talked to John again, and in one of his messages, he tells me he's gotten 0-60 in 5.29 seconds. However, this was with all the mods he had done up to date. He has an Injen intake, which I'll be recieving soon, JBA headers, MRT V2 Axleback exhaust, H&R Sport lowering springs, and a Trifecta Tune for the V6. Needless to say, the extra speed the bolt-ons provided, was completely worth it in my opinion.

In conclusion, I have beaten the advertised 6.1 seconds, and I am satisfied. However, I think I was still too light on the pedal. I believe I can reach 5.3 seconds... Optimistic? maybe, but I am aiming to eventually beat the 0-60 time for the Camaro SS which is rated at 5.0 seconds. This is going to be one long and fun journey!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Just good marketing

I posted about sequential lights a couple of days ago. I've since then e-mailed the company that I was very happy with their product and that their product was featured on my blog. They then asked me to send them a picture of my car so they can feature it on their customer's cars page.
Needless to say, they really appreciate their customers, I believe they post ALL of their customer's cars. So if you want to check out their customer car gallery, be prepared to look at 1000+ magnificent cars. In addition, I appreciate Web Electric for adding a link to my blog on their website. Thanks L!
So if you are interested in learning more about Web Electric products, stop by and have a look around.
Their customer service is excellent, and I really love my sequentials. Way to go!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Enter the Dashhawk

During the months I have owned the Camaro, I started moving from obsessing over visuals, to obsessing over performance. Now to some people, performance is really all that matters when it comes to cars. You'll hear most people start off with the question, "How much horse power do you get on this car?". Then comes the two other most common questions, "How much torque does this car output?", "How's the gas mileage on the car?"

These questions I find to be the most basic, because they are the easiest numbers to remember and compare to your own car. Is that bad? Well, not exactly, but it really does show you how much they know about cars. Now, I'm not saying I'm an expert when it comes to cars, but there is a side of me that wants to really dive into the details and depth of cars. However, for the sake of staying on the subject, let us take a step back to the three most commonly asked questions. When it comes down to horse power, and torque, the root importance is NOT the numbers stated on paper. Instead, what is important is how fast you can get from point A to point B. The two most common speed tests are 0-60 tests and 1/4 mile tests. ENTER THE DASHHAWK!
Now when you calculate your speed from point A to B, it becomes somewhat more complicated than one might think. You have to take into account of all variables that may affect performance: elevation, humidity, ambient temperature, car weight, air flow, tires, and the list goes on. The Dashhawk really makes all of this super easy. This is a little device that you plug in to your car's OBD II port. Comes with a OBDII connector, a USB cable, and an installation CD for windows. The Dashhawk requires no batteries, which is both good and bad I suppose. No batteries also means no On/Off switch, which can be kind of annoying because you can't turn it off while it's plugged in the car. From what I have read on the internet, the Dashhawk can drain your car battery overnight if you leave it plugged in. That is kind of annoying, because that means you have you unplug the device everytime you leave the car. Which I should mention, the device stays on even if your key isn't in the ignition.
As you can see, the device is pretty small. So really, there are numerous places where you can place your Dashhawk. Some people mount it on to their center console, or hook it onto an air vent. I just decided to buy a GPS/Cell phone window mount from a local electronics store.

There are too many functions to show for the Dashhawk, so I won't go into full details. However, I will say this, the night I recieved the Dashhawk, I attempted a stock Camaro 0-60 run. Well the results are embarrasing... 0-60 MPH in 6.66 seconds. Why 666? Don't know, maybe the car is hinting at something? I admit 6.66 seconds is a very bad time for the V6 Camaro, the advertised time is 6.1 seconds. No excuses for me, the night was at a cool 65 degrees. A friend of mine told me that I need to work on my launching technique. Well, wish me luck! More on the Dashhawk later...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mustangs? Great! Camaros? even Better!

I do hope the title of this post doesn't offend anyone =p. Don't get me wrong at all, I love mustangs; infact I love all cars! As some of you know, some people purchase sequential light kits for their Mustangs. I also believe the 2010 Mustang GTs have stock sequential lights from Ford. However, don't quote me on the stock sequentials, I'm not sure.
Eitherway, we should ask ourselves, "Why should the mustangs be the only ones to have sequentials? Why not the Camaros?" If you haven't yet realized, it seems that the new Camaros and Mustangs are one of the only cars on the road who don't have yellow indicator lights. Take a closer look at other cars on the roads, their hazard lights, and signal lights are yellow! We don't have such colors on our tail lights. The Mustangs tail lights are pretty much asking for sequentials, since they are split into three red lights. Perfect. But what about Camaros? Well, we have two lights. If you have any knowledge on basic principles of animation, it is that an animation can take place with a minimum of two frames or two images. Thus, making the two light tail light on the Camaro a worthy car to add sequentials to. Below is a video I filmed yesterday evening, showing you what your Camaro would look like if you added some sequentials.

So now, you may be asking, "Cool, where do I get these sequential lights? How much do they cost?"

Well, maybe you aren't exactly asking that, but I did when I first saw it lol. Now, it's time for a product introduction and REVIEW! I asked my friend where I could get these sequentials. He was kind enough to send me the link. I am very glad he shared this information with me, so I proudly share this with the Camaro community!

Upon clicking you'll see that Web Electric has sequential programming for not just the Camaros, but for Mustangs, Challengers, and other cars. My product review will just be for the Camaro though, since I have only installed the Camaro sequentials first hand. The sequentials for the Camaro only costs $89.99 USD. It is cheap for additional personalization on your Camaro. Some people may spit on the fact that it's 90 bucks, but to me, it's my Camaro, it's worth it. I personally would vouch for this product, simply because $90 to me is a small price to pay to add some icing to the already sweet sweet cake. The install is super easy. if I can do it, you can do it. Web Electric also did a good job on making the install dummy proof. However, I am a bigger dummy than the regular Joe, so the instructions included with the product wasn't enough for me.

Incase you need clarification on the install, or rather, want proof on how EASY the install is, I have taken the liberty of making a step by step tutorial with pictures. (Thanks Wes for taking the pictures)

Package arrives! Two plug and play harnesses! Hooray for no wire splicing!
Open up the trunk, and look above the tail light housing. There are 3 rivets holdling the plate in place.
 Use a trim removal tool, and remove the top... uh... seal thingy. In this case, I didn't have a trim removal tool, so I used a letter opener and a knife. Just make sure you pry up the rivets evenly, so it doesn't break.
Once the top seal is removed, you can remove the bottom. Also start off with a trim removal tool. (or knife and letter opener) Pop that baby off. Do this for all three rivets.
When all three are removed, the plate should come off no problem!
Remove the plate, set it aside. I just put all my stuff in the trunk, easier access.
We are looking at the Left tail light, so stick your head in, and look far left. You will see a harness, the one I circled, and twist the whole harness counter-clock-wise and gently remove the harness, the light bulb is connected to it.
So pull the whole harness out so you have more room to work. The wires are limited in length, so don't yank it out, you don't want to loosen anything. As you can see the light bulb is attached.
Remove the light bulb! Just pull straight right out of the socket. Do not twist it. Also when handling ANY light bulbs, please wear rubber or vinyl gloves. Oils, grease, and dirt can reduce the life of a light bulb.
Pick up a sequential adapter, and connect the chip in the red housing, to the light bulb harness.
Make sure the Arrow on the red housing is on the same side as the BLACK wire on the harness. This will match the ground wires on both the stock harness, and the sequential harness. Also, once you get the chip in the harness, make sure the red rubber housing fully wraps around the harness. This will prevent water from getting in.
I missed one picture. But basically, pop the light bulb into the gray harness on the sequentials. Now, insert the light bulb with the new gray harness back into the light socket. Turning it clock-wise, making sure it's locked. Tuck the red covered stock harness under. Start the car, and test to see if the harness works by turning on your left turn signal. Once you've confirmed that it works, put the plate back on, and insert the three rivets back in. Now start on the other light. Voila! You have sequentials!