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Monday, August 30, 2010

Meet and Cruise, part 1

Well, the day had come and past. I have been waiting over a month for this day, and it was a great one. August 28th, 2010, I had attended my first Camaro meet and cruise. It was a great experience meeting new people with similar interests and such passion for their cars. The experience was no less than awesome. It's funny how something like our cars can bring together complete strangers, and yet still feel like you've known them for years and that you belong to a small and exclusive family. There were approximately 50 cars estimated to come and meet up, and even though there were only around 30 cars that appeared that day, it was still nothing less than amazing.

There were 3rd, 4th, and 5th generation Camaros and some Firebirds and Trans Ams. The variety of colors and modifications to the cars really made every car feel unique. Both men and women of all ages came to the meet. I will say this however, all of us had one thing in common, we were all young at heart. Every one of us loved our cars and wanted to show it off as if it was our first Christmas present.

The meet and cruise started around 11:00 AM and ended near 6:00 PM. Since I can't really cram in 7 hours of the event into the blog, I have taken some videos to make the experience easier to digest. The video above is just part one, the initial meeting. Part two will be more about the driving and cruise itself. I have hand selected some photos from the meet and greet. Part two will be coming soon, enjoy!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Splitter re-installed

Well, continuing the long journey with the Stillen Splitter, I had finally re-installed it a couple days ago. I didn't bother taking finished installed pictures today, after I had gave my car a nice wash.
As I have mentioned before, the splitter came with double sided tape... and I'm pretty sure it isn't even 3M automotive tape either, well you know, since it came off and everything. I took a good weekend to properly install the splitter again, this time reinforced with industrial grade silicone.
Bumper bolted back on with the new splitter installed. Got to get rid of the painters tape and clamps though, but they were very helpful with the install, especially when the silicone was curing. I gave it a full twelve hours to cure, but it was recommended on the packaging that the silicone needed twenty-four hours to cure completely. After the car wash, I felt pretty good about the look of the splitter, especially after I cleaned it and made it jet black. Below are some vanity pictures, looks just gorgeous in my opinion.

Monday, August 23, 2010

DIY - Remove your V6 Camaro Bumper

My previous post, I prematurely reviewed the Stillen splitter. The day after my review, the splitter came off! If I haven't mentioned it in the last post, the splitter came shipped with double sided tape. The instructions also say to use double sided tape and 4 self tapping screws, that wasn't good enough. Maybe it was my fault, maybe it isn't. All I know is, I'm still keeping my foot down on my previous critique, the instructions were NOT good enough. It did not even tell you where to mount the splitter. Well, much to my dissapointment, I had to re-install the splitter. Good news was, it was my second time doing the install, so I have a step by step tutorial on how to remove your bumper.
First things first, to take off your bumper you DON'T have to remove the wheels. However, if you want more access while removing bolts, then I would highly recommend you taking off your wheels. Takes 10 minutes, I promise.
There are six plastic rivets running along the top of the bumper. Remove them.
There are two 10mm bolts on the ends of the rivets, one on each side, remove these too.
There are also two 10mm bolts right under the bumper. I don't have a picture for these, but it's easy to find, they are the only bolts under the bumper.
Go to your wheel wells now, you will find 3 torx screws facing towards your bumper. Remove these three screws.
Look up in the wheel well, you will find another plastic rivet. However, the rivets in the wheel wells are slightly larger than the ones located on top of the bumper. Make sure you don't mix them up.
This one is optional... if you removed your wheels, look towards your springs and remove the rivet. If you didn't remove your wheels, forget it, you can't even remove it. Removing this rivet will make your wheel wells much looser; more clearance.
Peel back the wheel wells. Just a pre-caution, from here on out, the bumper removal is much trickier. However, if you get past this, you will find it a breeze the next time you remove the bumper. Every bolt from this point on will be located within the wheel wells. There are 5 bolts in total, holding the bumper to the fender. First one is located at the edge of the bumper, this is a 7mm bolt facing upwards. Remove it vertically, downwards.
Get some light deep into the bumper, look towards the front of the bumper. There are three 10mm bolts. One on top of the other. The one on the top, I have to admit, was the most frustrating... You'll see why. My advice, get a long extension for your 10mm socket wrench, or an electronic wrench. Basically you won't have much room to unscrew it.
The very last bolt is a 10mm bolt hidden backwards where you just removed the 7mm bolt. You won't be able to see it, even with your wheel removed. Just feel for a bolt hidden behind the one I have circled above. Use your 10mm socket and get that out.
Congratulations! You have just removed your bumper! Now you can install your splitter, change your grills, remove your headlights, or do what ever you have in mind!

Well, that is it for the bumper removal. I'll be posting some more vanity shots of my completed project after I wash my car sometime this week. That's it for now. Cheers!

Friday, August 20, 2010

No Pun, Just Fun!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I humbly present to you... the long awaited, Stillen V6 Splitter!
Well I have finally done it. I think it has been two weeks since the box has arrived at my front door. My first attempt was a complete failure. I had tried to install it on the day I installed my Injen CAI. I thought, "Hey, I may as well take off the bumper, install the splitter, and have more access space with the bumper removed to install the intake."

After an hour of attempting to remove the bumper, I gave up. I had realized two things: you either needed to have anorexic arms to reach deep into the wheel wells, or you needed to get jack stands and remove the front two tires. I had neither. A week goes by and I get a friend to help out, he just so happens to own a set of jack stands, lucky me.
Jacked up and ready to go.
You gain a lot more clearance without the tires. If you were to remove the bumper, I'd suggest you remove the tires.
lol... the Camaro without a bumper looks like an insect.
While removing the bumper there is one purple/black harness near the passenger side connecting to the bumper and the car. This harness, I gather, is the harness that controls your fog lights and side indicators.
Gently remove, and place the bumper on a mat or, in my case, pieces of cardboard.
With the bumper removed, place it upright like how I have it in the picture. This makes it a lot easier for you to tape and bolt on the splitter.

The splitter comes pre-taped with double sided tape. The kit also comes with 3 self tapping screws, and a set of instructions. The Splitter is made out of very tough polyurethane, and it comes default in matte black. Some of you have asked if you can paint it... sure, you can paint anything, but would you really want to? Just more money to get it painted and another thing to cry about when it chips. However, if I had to give any criticism to towards this kit, it would be that the instructions were almost completely useless. Some of the steps were way to vague, and others were just too common sense. For example, one of the steps was "Clean surface before taping". Really? No, I'm going to leave all the dirt, and bug guts all over my bumper while I'm taping. Now, when I mean vague, one of the steps told you to remove the 3 torx screws on the wheel well, then proceeds to say you have to remove a couple of bolts inside the wheel wells that connect the fender to the bumper. The picture they provided was a dark image of a man peeling back the wheel well... WITHOUT the tire removed, you can't see anything. I ended up not even looking at the instructions because they were killing my brain cells. If anyone ever installs this themselves, please feel free to ask me how to do it, I will offer you better instructions.

Otherwise, this was a very fun install, glad my friend can help. (thanks Lok!) The splitter is solid on the bumper now, I tried kicking it, and bruised my ankle, lol. The install took me and my friend about 3 hours... thats including removing the wheels to get more clearance in the wheel wells to remove the bumper. I would highly recommend 2 or more people working on this project, but only one is really required. Two people would come in handy when mounting the splitter onto the bumper, less of a chance for off measurements.

Well, I'll post the rest of the images with the splitter below. Just notice how much more aggressive this splitter makes the V6. I just need to lower it now ;)
Final note: the pictures do not do justice. You'd have to see the car in person to realize how much better it looks. If a picture can say a thousand words, then seeing this in real life, would make you speechless.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Injen 0-60 Run

Since the Injen CAI install, I've been feeling like I've been losing power compared to the stock airbox. However, many people that I've talked to told me that the "feel" of the car isn't an accurate indication of how fast I'm really going. People told me the only way to see how much improvement your car has gained is by going to the dyno. I suppose that's one way to do it, but since I don't feel like paying for a dyno, I did the next best thing: I gave my car another test run.
I only did a total number of two runs last night, this was the first try, 0-60 MPH in 5.42 seconds. The second was a complete failure attempt. As you can recall, the fastest I got on my full stock Camaro was 0-60 in 5.44 seconds. Therefore, the night felt like a failure. However, I will say this, I believe my launching technique wasn't sharp enough for this particular run. I felt almost hesitant to really floor my pedal. Well, 5.42 seconds is only 0.03 seconds away from hitting 5.3, and if I can get 5.3 the Injen would be suprisingly good. Also, if you really think about it, adding a bolt-on with an additional 10 HP and 10 lbs-ft shouldn't really be super obvious in such a short range test. It would probably be more evident on a 1/4 mile run.

Obviously I have been seeming kind of negative about the Injen, other than its sound. Well as I have said earlier, the power isn't that evident. However, I almost feel like the sound of the new intake makes you feel like you have more power. Forget the dynos and the speed tests, driving really is about how you feel in the car while driving. If the dyno says you've gained 10 additional horses, then by all means, "yay?". What if you FEEL slower though? What if you feel like your car is more sluggish? That takes the fun out of your driving, and it makes you worried something is wrong all the time, no? That was how I felt when I first installed it, but not so much anymore. You see, the whole time I was worried about the Injen because I was expecting too much from it. I was pushing the Injen in ways that I had not with my stock car. Therefore I came to the conclusion that it had to be broken. I'm convinced I'm wrong now though. Perhaps the ECU needed a couple days of driving to get used to the new intake. Eitherway the new intake sounds like a whole new level of beast.

I will shoot a video from inside the cabin soon, windows up and windows down, for you to hear the new sound of the intake. I can not even begin to describe to you how good it sounds.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A splitting introduction

Well if you are a Camaro owner, especially a V6 owner, you'd know the V8 versions look a bit more aggressive. That's not to say the V6 looks bad in anyway, but theres just a bit more edge to the V8s. The reason behind this is because the V8's front fascia has a mail slot, and it's just bulkier on the bottom.

I have to be honest, the reason I thought of the splitter was because of my friend, who recently got a splitter for his Subaru WRX STI. Right away, I noticed the difference, the car looked more aggressive. Then I decided I wanted a splitter for my V6. I'm not much of a side skirts, chin spoiler, and body kits kind of guy. I think the splitter's look would enhance the V6's aggressiveness and create actual down force for performance. Since I haven't installed the splitter just yet, I can't really show you how it looks. However, I can show you how it will look, kind of.

Please, ignore the painters tape lol. I was just putting in place to get a sense of the whole thing. I think it looks rather promising. However, since I haven't installed the splitter yet, I can't really tell you how good the build quality was. Based on this initial placement, I found out that fitting it 100% correctly on the bumper might take more work than I'd thought. Depending on how picky you are, you might even think the splitter was poorly shaped. Well, if you look at the whole car with the splitter, you can see what I mean by more aggressive right? The front fascia is bulkier now, with the splitter adding an inch less clearance between your car and the ground. Can you imagine this car being lowered? Wow... that would look super aggressive. Which is exactly what I am going to do. =)

I will write up the installation process and review of the product when I get it done, so stay tuned!