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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.