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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.