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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

RevXtreme sponsors Machine Zealots' new Project

Although this is mostly a personal automotive blog, I can't help but wonder how big a part serendipity has played in my automotive journey. There was the whole deal with Hurst Shifters and B&M Racing, where our negotiations to beta test a product for the 2010 Camaro had spanned across seven months. Then there is RevXtreme, a company focused on building race cars. I got to install some RevXtreme products on my 2010 Camaro for the short time I had owned it. Even to this day I vouche for their products, simply because they work, quality built, and as always, the human aspect. I have said this time and time again, customer service is what makes customers loyal, and RevXtreme has excellent customer service.

The Jet Black painted RX Oil Catch Can looks incredibly handsome.

Well, serendipity has come into play again, RevXtreme has sponsored a beautifully made forced induction application oil catch can for my 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI. However, because RX is supplying this catch can remotely, there is a bracket we need to tweak to make it work for this car. I don't foresee this to be a huge problem though. I should be able to install this in a couple of weeks, and obviously shoot an awesome MZ style video! =D Thanks Tracy!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

First Subaru Mini Meet

Last night was a perfect night for a drive, so I decided to go to a local Subaru mini meet for the first time. Every Friday night local Subaru owners drop by Bryne Road to chat, and get to know each other.

I got to meet a couple good guys right away. They shared their knowledge on mods, shops, and other things about the cars. Since I have only owned the STI for a month, it was good to learn all of these things. I also got to listen to a couple exhaust systems up close and in person, which is a Godsend! I've always had a particular taste in exhaust. I don't just want loud, there is a certain type I like, and it's hard to describe until I hear it. Online videos don't do justice, because most of the exhausts I heard up close were pretty awesome. The sound that comes out of these boxer engines really is incredible.

I was told that this particular meet was pretty small in comparison to some of the others. I think I will go there more often when I have time. The lighting, as you can see, is very bright. The parking lot is huge, and is embellished with a sea of bricks, which in my opinion really makes the place look even nicer. Overall a good experience, hopefully much more to come!

Friday, July 22, 2011

MZ Promo Trailer

This is a promotional trailer that I made over the past couple of days. I've been trying to establish more viewers, creating better content and videos. It's been hard since I've changed over to the STI though. However, I've turned over a new leaf and I'm approaching Machine Zealots a bit differently than SpadesV6. I've been aggressively contacting companies for sponsorships, most of them are nice enough to actually reply my e-mails, lol. However, other than that, nothing substantial has taken place... yet. However, one company and I are in the works of bringing a brand new, never before released product into the Subaru community. If my old Camaro readers are reading this, you would know this company quite well, since I've praised their products. Hopefully the package will come in the mail in a week or two. More updates on this later.

As of now, I am in the works of editing more videos, and will be online in the weeks to follow.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Information Overdrive

It's been busy lately, and my packages purchased during the month have all arrived on the same day.

Seatbelt Pads from Hong Kong purchased on eBay.

Squash scented air freshner also from Hong Kong purchased on eBay. I needed this because of the odor the previous owner had left in the car.

A Zoom H1 portable microphone with an Audio-Technica Lavalier microphone. This is just a small investment for the show, so you guys won't have to listen to the GoPro's crappy mic quality.

Other than my packages arriving, two of my best friends decided to stop by to chat and hang out. I took this opportunity to take some videos, and pictures of all of our cars on my driveway.

2010 Subaru Impreza STI, 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart, 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI, and a 99 Honda Prelude. Pretty cool line up of cars, I just wished my driveway could fit more. lol.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Restoring Headlights

Adam's Polishes saves the day again! Of course there are tons of products out there that are just as competitive. However, I choose Adam's for the quality and customer service. That's right, when you order from Adam's you actually get to talk to people, friendly ones at that. I've gotten last minute personal deals from them, whether it was free shipping, or a discount on certain products; there is just that special touch that Adam's Polishes provides that other car care products don't.

Now let's get down to the nitty gritty. Cars that have been driving since the late 90's are suffering from a natural course of their life, headlight pitting. It takes a good eight to ten years for your car to suffer through this, but I see it on the road everyday. Basically particles, debris, weather, and washing causes the headlight plastic to fog up or cloud up over time. This is extremely ugly, and is also very dangerous. As the headlight becomes fogged up, light does not pass through the lens, but instead gets absorbed.

On the market today, there are headlight restoration kits available, they aren't expensive to buy, but it is pretty much a waste since you will never be able to use it all on one car. By the time your headlights need another restoration, your car is either too old for you to care, or you have sold it. We are talking about a car that is now around 20 years old.

However, if you are like me, and you detail your car on a periodic basis, you should have everything you need in your detailing kit to restore those headlights. As seen in the video, all we used is detail spray, clay bar, cutting compound (Adam's Swirl and Haze remover), and a orbital polisher with an orange cutting pad. These things should be in your detailing kit, and you should not have to run to your local Walmart to pick up anything extra.

Puyang's 99 Honda Prelude was bought as a used car. The headlights came home fogged and yellow, it was ugly. After literally ten minutes of work, we restored the Prelude's headlights to showroom quality.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

In Production

It's summer time, and the weather is awesome. Longer summer days means more daylight time to shoot videos. This is also the best time to just kick back, relax, hang out with friends, and drive.

Back when I was still doing the SpadesV6 videos, I had mentioned that two new semi-permanent cast members will be joining the show: Puyang, my brother, and our anonymous driver, Spades. Well we have been working hard to make videos for you guys to watch. I have a huge line up of videos shot. I just have to go through them, edit them, and process them. Here are a couple of production stills for the lulz:

Jagan directing Puyang and Spades.

Spades is having fun. I think. I can't really tell.

That's a wrap for the shooting day!

This episode will be aired on a later date. No empty promises this time though, I have most of the footage shot, I just need a couple of more shooting days to complete this episode. In the meantime, there are a couple of other episodes being shot and edited. Estimated air time for the next epsiode will be next week or, the latest, the week after that. If you are a fan of my video shenanigans, please feel free to check the tab above named MZ/SV6 Episodes for the latest information on what's in production.You can also subscribe to the Machine Zealots Youtube channel for instant updates and support our work! =D

Friday, July 8, 2011

Getting to know my Subaru

It feels really good when you set a time to just sit down and work on your car, doesn't it? This is the first modification that required me to get to know my car. By that, I mean, unbolting, removing, and just really dismantling the car and putting it back together again. There will be more of this as time goes on of course, but as I have only owned this car for a month, it's definately a special bonding time for me.

First off, I would like to say, the Subaru community has made an awesome section for DIYs available online. Frankly I think there isn't any room for my work, but I'll make the best of it. This modification idea came from my friend who owns a 2010 Subaru Impreza STI. Since he has owned the car a lot longer than me, he had informed me that all of the STIs have a huge "milk jug" attached to the intake called the intake silencer. He told me that I should look it up online, and this immediately intrigued me.

On the same day, I went online and did a search. Much to my surprise, this was indeed infact true! People have been doing this to their cars to enhance the volume of the turbos. There is no logical way it would make your car lose power, nor gain any power, so it was purely for the sound. I decided to do this for the sound, but mainly, so I had an excuse to take apart the car.

Does this actually work? Yes, infact it does work. I, myself, my brother, and a few other passengers that have sat in this car before and after the silencer delete have stated that the Turbo sounds much louder. For the people who have done it and can't hear the difference, there is two possible reasons I can think of: You have an after market exhaust which drowns out the turbo spool, or your RPM isn't high enough when you are trying it. The sound is really apparent when your RPMs are around 4.5k to redline. I've tried with both windows down and up, so believe me, it works.

There are actually some product manufacturers who sell aftermarket intake elbows. Basically it's exactly what we were left with, just without the silencer. They sell these things for as high as $100! Seriously? No seriously, if you are looking into more sound on your stock car, do this mod. It's free! lol.

Also, the sound doesn't get annoying either. On daily driving commutes, it will not effect any sound. As long as your turbo is prevented from spooling really fast, you won't hear a difference. For some, that is a bonus. I mean, I'm all for loud cars, but sometimes it actually gets really tiring. I don't know what you guys think, but that's just my opinion.

That's it for this mod! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me in anyway you find necessary, and I will help you out. =) Please support Machine Zealots by Subscribing to the Youtube channel, and joining our Facebook page.

Until next time.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Debadging your car

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my process in detailing my car. At the same time, I decided that it was a perfect opportunity to debadge my rear badges.

The debadging process was actually harder than I had expected at first. However, after doing it once, I was able to debadge the second one a lot faster. For those of you who are interested in debadging, I'll just say, it's one of the "modifications" that can hardly go wrong. When I say hardly, I mean as small as 0.001%. Now, if you were to somehow screw it up, I would say you shouldn't ever mod your car, ever. If you follow these steps, remain smart about it, and take your time, I guarantee that you will get good results.

Now in the video, I said I used only house hold products. That is not 100% true, as I whipped out my orbital polisher to complete the job (Not everyone has one). If you guys don't know what it is, I would recommend anyone to invest in one. It is an essential piece of equipment if you care about your car as much as I do. I will have another episode up in a couple of weeks about using the polisher, but let's stay on topic.

I suggest you start off with a hair dryer instead of a heat gun. Heat guns tend to get too hot, and I have heard horror stories where the paint actually bubbles? It's not confirmed, but the hair dryer gets your surface hot enough to work. On the safe side, stay with the hair dryer. After the badge has been heated evenly for about a full minute or two, you can proceed by taking some regular dental floss, and wedging it in between the badge and the paint surface. Some people recommend using fishing line, sure of course you can, but I don't fish, I floss though. After sawing your dental floss through the whole badge, remember to reheat the badge when it gets hard to move, you can proceed in pulling it off. When the badge is off, you will be left with the other half of the adhesive. The glue should look gross on your surface, you will need to remove this. Now, this is where people start using products like Goo Gone, bug and tar remover, or other adhesive removers. I'm sure it makes your life a lot easier. However, I refused to purchase something worth $5-10 just for one project that I may never do again. You'd also have to drive to pick up a product like this, and for what? Saving yourself 10 minutes? No! This is what you do, heat up the glue again, and rub it off with your thumb. Now, it's easier said than done, as you will find out, because the glue is very stubborn. However, it is possible to remove most of it off with just your thumbs!

You will get small trace amounts of glue that almost feels impossible to remove with your thumb. That's fine! This is where the 100% cotton cloth comes in. In the video, I actually used a 100% cotton t-shirt that I no longer wear. Eitherway, 100% cotton cloth will not harm the surface of your paint. Heat up the residual glue, and start rubbing the dry cloth on it. You should begin to see the glue clinging onto the cloth. When I did this, it looked like magic to me! Remember, don't be afraid to put some pressure on there.

After removing all the glue, you will most likely be left with some badge ghosting. As you can see in my awesome digital simulation, you just need to clay bar the surface, and lightly polish the surface around there. =D

That is it! No money spent at all. Not even a dime. Just make sure to take your time, and you will get good results.

Also, this video and all future Machine Zealots videos will be uploaded to my new youtube channel. If you would like to see more videos, please support my work by subscribing to my channel, Like and Favorite any videos that tickle your fancy. =D

Monday, July 4, 2011

What goes around comes around

Finally, as promised, my parting gift to one of my loyal readers got shipped today. For those who have not been in the loop, here is a bit of background info. During my year of owning the Camaro, I have worked with awesome guys, awesome companies, and I've gotten to install and review many products. The Hurst Paddle shifters were sent to me from Hurst to review and install for the Camaro community. Since it was a prototype, and since I had not paid for it, it was not in my nature to sell this set of paddle shifters. Therefore, I asked people for their support by joining the Machine Zealots Facebook page and simply had to tell me that they would like to join in the free draw. The winner of the draw would recieve this product, free of charge! =D

As of a couple weeks ago, I announced the winner via a random name generator that I had scripted. The winner was Alex R. =D Everyone was awesome, and very supportive of his win and congratulated him. That's what I miss most about the Camaro, the people I got to meet and talk to. You guys are awesome!

Anyway, if you are reading this Alex, congratulations again, and hope you receive the package soon!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Drove a Kia yesterday

I've never in my life thought of driving a Korean car, nor have I ever thought I would have the opportunity. I've gone to both Kia and Hyundai dealerships, but it was really just to scout out my first car back in the old days, and I never test drove them. At the time, I was looking for something low priced, and well built. I went to Toyota, Honda, Ford, Nissan, Chrysler, Chevrolet, Kia and Hyundai. I really did not know anything about cars, though some would argue that I still don't lol, and I certainly did not know what to look for. The only thing I was looking for was price, and the size of the car. Horsepower, handling, looks, and convenience were never in my list of stuff to look out for. The car I ended up getting was the Nissan Versa hatchback, as most of you know.

Anyway, one of my good friends recently got into a car accident. Thankfully it was nothing serious, and she didn't get hurt. It was a simple fender bender, and her car had to be taken into the shop to get repaired. The shop she went to rented her a Kia Soul, and she has been driving that around for a week. I was actually suprised to hear that they would rent a Kia for a courtesy car. I remember the good old days, courtesy cars were primarily made of Toyota Corollas, and Honda Civics. I guess times have changed, and who can blame the Koreans? Hyundai and Kia seem to be very aggressive at expanding their market.

There are many Kia Souls on the road around here. Frankly, I have never taken a closer look at them. I think my brain just blends them into the sea of other cars. However, after driving one yesterday, I might not be so critical about Korean cars after all.

First thing I'd noticed when I saw the car up close, "Wow, this car is REALLY BIG."

My friend had parked the car in a small enclosed parking lot, and beside the Soul were your everyday sedans. The Soul stood out like a sore thumb. At first, I was hesitant to drive the Soul, since it was not my courtesy car, and I didn't want anything stupid happening to the car while I was driving. However, she insisted that I try it, since she knew I love cars lol. Obviously, I gladly took the keys, and pushed any uncertainty aside.

When I got in, it was like I was in a completely different car, because the interior space felt so much smaller than the exterior had let on. I looked behind at the back seats, and nope... there was not much room back there either. However, because of my small stature, I could fit in the driver's seat just fine. I took a look at the interior design immediate to me as a driver: The gauges, the steering wheel, the shifter, and the center console. Everything felt pretty good, and suprisingly looked pretty good as well, albeit still made out of cheaper materials. However, it wasn't as cheap as you'd might think: The interior illuminated with white and red, very modern, and very classy. The steering wheel was very light, and the shifter was easy to slide. The throttle and braking were very sensitive though, even more so than the Camaro or the STI. A little gas and the car would lounge forward, a little application on the brake and your face would lounge forward. I'm not quite sure why Kia had designed it that way, but obviously the owner of the vehicle would adapt to the sensitivity quite quickly.

When I was driving it, I found myself smiling a lot. I'm not quite sure if it was because the car was exciting to drive, or just the fact that it was ridiculous to ever think I would drive one, probably a mix of both. Eitherway, I really was smiling, and I did enjoy the ride.

I will say this though, if I get another chance to drive a Korean car, I wouldn't deny that opportunity. =)