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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Merry Christmas Indeed

Almost 700 subscribers, and 100k video views!

I apologize in advance for the lack of news and updates this time in the season. The fact is, there are a lot of personal life changes happening right now. Without getting too much into it, I'd like to keep this post mainly on Machine Zealots' news.

The channel finally hit 100k combined video views, and both views and subscribers are still slowly increasing. Thank You for sticking around even though there hasn't been any new content for the past couple of months.

Well, the snow has finally hit us here locally, just in time for Christmas! Personally, I don't like snow, because it causes so many traffic problems, and salted roads are nasty too. However, sitting at the front door, looking out at the snow fall, it is quite beautiful.

And before you think I didn't take this opportunity to drive around in the STI, I did.

After driving around the in snow for about 40 minutes, I came to some new findings. Like everyone will tell you, AWD doesn't make you invincible. In fact, with the Dunlop winters tires coupled with the AWD system still made the car very tail happy. That's right! Tail happy! I was surprised as well. The DCCD was set to auto the entire time, but there was this one turn where my car almost spun out, I counter steered and corrected the car twice, left and right, then proceeded up the hill. It sort of surprised me, and thank God that I didn't just crash into someone or something. Maybe some video game simulation training and the autocross sessions during the summer also kicked in some reflexes, but it was still very risky. And yes, I drove slightly too fast for that turn.

If you want to play around in the snow, please be careful.

Puyang and I will be visiting Taiwan for two weeks from December 26th. When we come back, we'll get Machine Zealots up and running again. (After we recover from jet lag =P)

So eat, drink, party, love your family and friends. Be safe, and drive safe, I would like to hear from everyone after the holidays!

God Bless, and enjoy your holidays!

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Machine Zealots has reached 600 YouTube subscribers and growing. Just wanted to make a note of this for the blog timeline, and obviously thank you guys again.

It is Remembrance Day today, so hope you guys have a peaceful day.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The road ahead

It has been a while since we have uploaded any new content, but we are eager to bring another year of content when 2013 hits. We have done a little bit of production remodeling at this time, as well as come up with plans and episode ideas for the next season.

Although admittedly, the first couple of Season 3 episodes we are working on right now may not be as exciting as you might expect. However, we are still hoping you understand that bi-weekly videos with a limited budget can only be as entertaining as it can be. Nevertheless, we are always dedicated in making quality videos.

Hopefully, our budget limitations will find a way to not limit our creative capacities.

In other news, Puyang and I are going to go to Taiwan again this Christmas. Meeting up with some people, and hopefully some nice automotive content can be collected while we are there. (Fingers Crossed)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hold on to your hats

Sometimes it's hard to keep track of our lives, and our accomplishments. Photos, trophies, and other keepsakes seem to be one of the ways we can remember great stories and experiences we have had in the past. For Machine Zealots, hats seemed to be one of the ways that we kept track of some past accomplishments.

The top two hats were earned back when Machine Zealots was working on Project Spades V6.

The three bottom hats were earned since Project Impulse started.

Stillen sent me their hat and t-shirt back when I helped them promote their new 2010 Camaro V6 polyurethane splitter. Hurst Shifters sent me their hat and t-shirt back when I helped install and review their paddle shifter kit. Rally Armor sent me their hat and t-shirt when I installed and reviewed the Rally Armor mudflaps on the STI. Tireland's hat was one of the prizes for getting first place at the Corvette autocross event.

So what about the hat in the middle?

MZ Hat: Front View.

MZ Hat: Back View.

The Machine Zealots hat was actually made by a fan of the show! He made this hat, contacted me, and gave it to me. It was a very kind gesture, and I was very happy to accept this. I'll be sure to wear it on the show or even when I go to certain events. Thanks a lot Jason!

Only time will tell what the future will bring, but I am very excited for it!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Winter is coming

This year has been the most productive Machine Zealots' year yet. We've attended many auto shows, and for the first time, took the STI out to autocross. I've personally learned a lot about the car, mostly driving techniques, but there is still so much more to learn. However, now that summer has come to a close, it's time to learn about the car in another set of shoes. Before swapping to the winter wheels though, I took the time to thoroughly wash and clean them.

Although the water was freezing cold, I felt that it was worth the extra effort to clean these wheels while they were off. These tires are so soft compared to the Bridgestone Potenza RE070s, everything feels less responsive. However, these soft tires make it a much easier daily driver. To be honest, I actually miss these silver BBS wheels!

There was barely any snow last year, but I hope this winter will be filled with snow everywhere. I really want to drive the STI in fresh snow. I also really want to find some snow filled mountain roads to drive and practice on, like those insane snow touge events they hold in Japan!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

500 Subs, and a sneak peak of Season 3

Five hundred subscribers! We are very pleased to see that there is still a growing audience, and very thankful that most of you stayed. As I mention time and time again, I hope Machine Zealots can last for a significant amount of time, and hope you guys stay and enjoy the show.

As mentioned before, I am taking the liberty of upgrading our production value. This includes slicker graphics, nicer editing, and of course, better overall content. (Hopefully). I've also finished editing and polishing up the new intro sequence which will be used on the episodes starting from Season 3, January 2013.

I personally like the new intro a lot better than the current one. I don't want to spoil it by showing you guys the complete video yet though, but here's a screen shot of one of the frames:

Anyway, thanks again for the support! I'll be looking forward to the next hundred people who find Machine Zealots!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Brake fluid flush and bleed on the STI

This is the last video for the season. Bleeding and flushing your brake fluid is one of the most important aspects in car maintenance, especially if you frequently brake hard. Constant hard braking, like at the track or race days, causes the brake fluid to lose integrity and maybe even boil over. Overtime, brake fluid itself gets exposed to air and moisture, causing air bubbles and other contaminants to form in the brake fluid. All of this effects the hydraulic braking system itself, and will end up giving your car less braking efficiency.

I highly recommend getting a partner to help you out for this procedure. As explained in the video, if there is a partner that is coordinated with your actions, you can get the job done in an hour or less. If you do not have a partner to help you out, I would suggest that you invest in a vacuum pump/brake bleeder kit. They don't cost a fortune, around $50, and there are other uses for it too. If you are into maintaining your own car, then I would purchase one anyway.

In this video, I used Motul DOT 5.1 brake fluid for daily driving purposes. If I go to track days next year, I will be flushing the brake fluid with a better suited brake fluid.

I will update you guys when Season 3 will be back on the air. Cheers!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Inspiration Driven

This afternoon, I posted on the Machine Zealots' Facebook Page that I had driven by an Aspen White Hawkeye STI, and we exchanged waves out our windows. There was a sense of camaraderie, a brotherhood, and definitely an exclusive mutual feeling the STI owners share.

This reminded me of the Fraternity of STI, which started when the 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI was released. It was one of Subaru's marketing campaigns to make the STI owners feel like they were in, well, a fraternity. They sold t-shirts and stickers for this club, so this gave me the desire to create a t-shirt design of my own.

At the beginning I had wanted to display the slogan, "Join the Brotherhood". This was obviously played off of the Fraternity of STI theme. However, it soon came to my attention that it was too shallow, and maybe even childish. With the help of some of you guys, I think I finally decided on something that hit the mark.

To be honest, I even questioned myself if there was a need for a slogan. I turned off the text, and it just felt empty. The text should be small enough on the t-shirt, so it wouldn't be visually distracting, yet it still gives the right energy overall. The words, "Inspiration. Driven." are just two words that I think describe an STI. Though you may think there are a hundred other words that could describe the STI, I felt these two words also described the overall design. Or at least, that's how I felt when I was designing it.

I posted this image on some Subaru forums and the general feedback, other than the slogan, were that they liked the design, but didn't know what it was. Well the design concept was simple, I chose to focus on one of the characteristics of the STI, the kick you feel when on boost. I started off the design with an image of the STI's turbocharger. If you are looking at the image, you are actually staring at the turbocharger dead on. The turbo was then treated to look like it's pulling in air. Obviously, also treated with super high contrast, so you lose the image of the turbo completely. The rest is just an abstract representation of the forced induction process. I wanted to express grittiness, power, chaos, but also show form, elegance and beauty. This is just the essence of how an STI can be represented in my mind. In the end however, my goal was to create an image that could catch the attention of others. Hopefully, this does the trick for some people.

I will make these shirts and hoodies available soon. I'm just deciding which color I want printed for myself. There will be three color variations (variations on the STI logo only): STI's Cherry Blossom Red, Monster Energy's Lime Green, and White for that extra stealthy look.

Thanks for all those who participated in helping us create the slogan!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Production history, and the future

We love doing what we do on Machine Zealots. Working on cars, attending car shows, and even just driving around. However, none of that is as important as documenting it on video and sharing it with the world. I started filming what we do from an iPhone 3GS, which doesn't even shoot HD video, then I went onto using strictly GoPro Cameras. Big thanks to GoPro for their help and support.

Shooting with GoPros.

Ever since the Machine Zealots' YouTube channel was born, I've already put in constant upgrades into our arsenal of production hardware. We started with a GoPro HD Hero and recorded both the audio and video on that one camera. However, the GoPro camera didn't have the sound quality I needed, so I ended up buying a Zoom H1 audio recorder. Later on, GoPro sponsored two of their newest cameras for Machine Zealots to use, the GoPro HD Hero 2.

Autocrossing with an arsenal of cameras.

While these cameras are both versatile and powerful, there are things they just can not do. That is why I have been asking around for camera advice, and doing tons of research. We plan on investing in a DSLR, which is a much more powerful camera, but also within our budget. Most importantly, this camera will have a lens, so there is much more to play with from here on out. I am very excited for the future, and I'll do an entire write up of our equipment and editing software for you guys some day. I've been asked many times what we use to make our videos, so I suppose I owe you guys a behind the scenes look at Machine Zealots.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

RevScene Summer 2012 Video

This is the video for the annual RevScene meet. The show was very well organized, and showcased some of the best cars owned by locals here. The Lexus LFA was a sight to behold, especially when I have never seen it outdoors in person.

Also got to meet a couple of Machine Zealots' viewers, who came up to us and introduced themselves. It was a pretty good experience overall.

Can't wait for next year's show!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Some Apparel for Season 3

Puyang and I received our new Machine Zealots' t-shirts today! The printing quality is even better than last year! We are both really happy with the finished products. You'll see us wearing these when we air Season 3 of Machine Zealots.

If you are interested in supporting us, or just like these t-shirt designs, please check out our Apparel shop for t-shirts and hoodies. You can also customize your own t-shirt or hoodie with our growing collection of graphics and artwork in our shop webpage!

With only two episodes left this season, we can't wait till 2013 where we'll be making more videos, and having tons of fun with our cars.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Goodridge Phantom Stainless Steel Brake Lines

Braking power has always been an important aspect to me from the beginning. If you have a fast car, you better hope your brakes can stop you even faster. Stainless steel brake lines are a no-brainer when it comes to upgrading your overall braking efficiency and performance.

This particular set is the Goodridge Phantom Stainless Steel brake line kit, they are higher quality, but as a result, slightly more expensive. However, this installation tutorial will work for other brands of brake lines, so feel free to look for other brands that may better suit your needs.

There are a couple of things worth mentioning when it comes to the install. As in all of these videos, I try to make the installations as professional as possible. What this means is, sometimes it's not as easy as it seems on film.

The number one concern I have for you guys when doing this yourself is the 10 mm nut that holds the hard line to the brake line: It is extremely hard to break loose. Some people have used alternate methods to break the nut loose. I've read that people have been using vice grips, and extreme heat. Basically, it's so hard to break loose that the 10 mm flare wrench actually strips the nut, making it completely impossible to remove.

The front brake lines were much easier to remove because you could push the hardline upwards to work a cresent wrench on the brake line. Because both arms are pushing and pulling against each other, this was enough force to break it loose. The rear was slightly trickier since the hardline could not be pushed up. This meant you could only use the flare wrench. The WD-40 does help a bit it seems, but not as much as you would imagine.

If you are removing that nut the same way I am, just remember this: If you think you are using enough force, it's not enough. If you could find a flare wrench adaptor, and connect it to a breaker bar, you will break that nut loose in no time. Since Torque equals displacement multiplied by force, we can conclude that the longer your wrench, the easier it is to remove.

The only other thing I should mention is that the brake fluid leaks everywhere when you remove the lines. Take your time to do things right, but clean up the brake fluid as soon as you can. That stuff will eat through your paint, especially on your nice calipers.

After the installation, bleed your brakes (another episode), and check for any leaks. If everything looks good, take it out for a spin and feel how much more precise the braking becomes. I haven't had time to take it to the track or autocross yet, but even when the brake fluid isn't being worked out in racing mode, the braking feel is much improved.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

August 18th RevScene Meet Preview

On Saturday, August 18th, RevScene held their annual summer meet. Puyang drove us there, and we began to do our thing. The video will be officially aired in a couple of weeks. As for now, feel free to check out the full album on the Machine Zealots' Facebook page. That's it for now!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Summer coming to a close

Please check out our Project Cross page, this is a new thing the Machine Zealots' Team is trying to initialize and implement. It can only be done with the help and support of you guys.

Thank you!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Apex Performance Brand Updates

Just wanted to add this list of brand updates from our friendly sponsor Apex Performance. Check them out for your modification needs!

ACL | ACPT | ACT Advanced Clutch Technology | ADVAN Wheels | AEM Electronics | AEM Induction | Aerocatch | Aeromotive | aFe Power | Agency Power | AGP | Air Spencer | AMR Performance | A'PEXi | APR Performance | Aquamist | ARC Japan (Abbey Road Company) | ARP| ATE | ATi Autotech Interiors | ATP Turbo | Autometer | AutoPage Remate Starters | AVO Turboworld | Axxis | BC Racing | Beatrush | Black Lightning (mechanics gloves) | BlackTop Aero | Blitz | Blouch Turbo | BLOX | BorgWarner | Borla | Bosch | Brembo | Brian Crower | Bride | Buddy Club | Bully Dog | Carbign Craft | Carbing | Carbonetic | Carillo | ClutchMasters | COBB Tuning | Cometic Gasket | Competition Cams | Competition Clutch | Corbeau | Cosworth | CP Piston | Crawford Performance | Crower | Cry02 | Cusco | Davies Craig | DBA Disc Brakes Australia | DC Sports | DeatschWerks | Defi | DEI (heatwrap) | Denso | DiabloSport | Driveshaft Shop | Drop Engineering | Eagle | EBC Brakes | Edelbrock | Edge Racing | Eibach | Energy Suspension | Enkei Wheels | Epic Engineering | Exedy | Ferodo Brakes | Fidanza | FiveO Motorsports | Fluidampr | Forced Performance | Forge | Fujitsubo | Full Blown Motorsports | Garrett | Gates Racing | GoFastBits | Goodridge | Gorilla Automotive Products | GReddy | GrillCraft | GrimmSpeed | GSC Power Division | GTSpec | H&R Suspension | Hallman | Hans Device | Hawk Performance | Hella | HJC | HKS | H.O.A. Imports | Hotchkis | HyperTech | INGS+1 | Injen | Injector Dynamics | Innovate Motorsports | Invidia | JE Pistons | JIC Magic | K1 Technologies | K&N Engineering | Kaminari | Kartboy | Kelford Cams | KICS Project | Killer B Motorsport | KING Engine Bearings | Koyo | KSTECH | KYB | Magnaflow | Manley Performance | MB Gauge Pods | MBRP | Megan Racing | Mishimoto | Mitsubishi OEM | MODE Racing | Moroso | Motive Products | Motul | MSD Ingition | MSI Competition Components | Mugen | Muteki | NGK Spark Plugs | NISMO | NRG Innovations | ODYSSEY Batteries | Ohlins | Okada Projects | Omni-Power | Option Racing | Perrin Performance | PLX Devices | Power Enterprise | PowerSlot | Process West | Prodrive Wheels | Progress Suspension | Project Mu | Prova Japan | PST Driveshafts | Pyrotect Helmets | RallyArmor | Race Ramps |RC Engineering | Recaro | Redline Oil & Fluids | Samco | Seibon Carbon | Skunk2 Racing | SPAL Automotive | Sparco | Spearco Intercoolers | SPEC Clutch | SpeedBleeder | SSR Wheels | Stance USA | STi Subaru Tecnica International (JDM & Group N products) | StopTech | STRI Gauges | Subaru OEM | SuperChips | SuperPro Bushings | Swift Suspension | Synapse Engineering | Takata | Takeda Attack | Tanabe Racing Development | Techna-Fit | Tein Suspension | Thermo-Tec (heatwrap) | TiAL Sport | Tokico | Tomei | Turbonetics | TurboSmart | TurboXS | Turn-In Concepts | Varis | Venair | Vibrant | Volk Racing Wheels | Walbro | Weapon R | Whiteline Suspension | Wiseco | Work Wheels| Zeitronix | ZEX Nitrous Oxide Systems

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Season wrap preview

We are coming close to this year's Season Finale. As some of you may know, we are taking a short intermission to complete the final three episodes for this season. The first of the last three episodes will be aired on the week of August 24th.

Here is just a sneak peak of two out of the three episodes coming to you guys later:

Airing on August 24th, another Apex Performance sponsored episode: Installing the Goodridge Phantom Stainless Steel Brake Lines on the STI.

An episode on flushing and bleeding your brake system. Will be useful for general maintenance, or racing events.

We also have some new episode ideas and concepts ready for the brand new season. We plan on finishing up three episodes at least when we start airing Season 3 in 2013. We also have big plans to "upgrade" the show. As of right now, I won't reveal too much, but we are very excited and we hope you will be too!

More updates later.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

400 Subscribers

Last night, at 11:52 PM, the Machine Zealots YouTube channel reached 400 subscribers. As usual, a couple of subscribers decided to drop out over the months, but the loyal viewers seem to keep growing. Each week I thank a couple of you subscribers, and it seems that the Machine Zealots videos are reaching an international audience. I've seen people from all across the world subscribe to the channel, and I want to say thank you guys so much. I wish I could thank each of you individually in your native language as well.

I've gotten to talk to some of you guys via YouTube and Facebook, and I have to say, it's been an honor talking and getting to know you guys. Some of you have even posted images of your completed projects and thanking us for our tutorial videos. Very cool!

Thanks Blair and Edson for sharing your projects with the rest of us! Your cars look fantastic!

On a production note, Puyang and I have been discussing how to keep this show going. Most importantly, how we should pace out the show so the episodes feel balanced, and air on time for you guys. We've come to a conclusion that each season will be comprised of 18 YouTube episodes. 

Usually we air episodes every two weeks. Unless of emergencies or technical difficulties, this pattern won't change. However, because Machine Zealots is after all a production budgeted from our own pockets, there are limitations of how much we can do per season. Therefore, an episode every two weeks would only take up 36 weeks in a year. The other 16 weeks will be off time that Puyang and I get to rest, make money, and bank footage for episodes.

There are 15 episodes currently released this season, so you can expect three more episodes this year. We'll reveal what we have planned for 2013 later on.

Thanks again for all the support, without you guys, we wouldn't be doing this.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Second AutoX, Scion FR-S enters the race

This is another Corvette Club autocross which took place on July 14th. This was my first sunny autocross, and now that I have driven in both the pouring rain and dry tarmac, I have a much better feeling for the STI.

I will admit I was driving pretty aggressively through the corners. If you compare my racing footage to Ben's Scion FR-S (Start video from 11:50), you will notice my tires scream a lot more. I pushed the car pretty hard, resulting in so many cones hit throughout the day. However, if it wasn't for this constant pushing, I don't think I would have taken first place for the stock class.

I learned even more about the STI this time around, mainly how much torture the Bridgestone Potenza RE070s could take. I would like to see how the STI does with at least 245 tires on all fours, because the 225 Potenzas are actually letting my car go sooner than I think it should. By run 5, I've lowered the amount of air pressure in my front tires, and I began to launch at 5500 RPM which resulted in much better run times. I started off the day with 5200 RPM, but because the weather got too hot, the tires hooked up too well, so it bogged down my car a little bit.

The Scion FR-S, and the Subaru BRZ have been all the hype these past couple of months. I was very excited to be able to sit in one, especially when it is being pushed under extreme conditions. The car is light and nimble, and the power to weight ratio isn't bad either. The car does feel like it has a harder time picking up speed due to the lack of torque. Even the 2012 Golf GTI feels faster, just because it hits peak torque at lower RPMs. However, acceleration aside, the Scion FR-S comes with very good suspension from stock. It felt extremely planted for a RWD car, and with the addition of it being lightweight, it dived into the corners without any drama. I would say, the Scion FR-S is probably faster at entering corners than my STI. Though the Scion FR-S had a slightly slower time overall, it had probably been faster than the STI on specific sectors. Perhaps I should start playing with side by side racing footage just to see how the cars compared.

I've got to say, I am beginning to appreciate this STI inside and out. Being able to work on it, race it, then pamper it, is nothing but incredible. I am considering to buy and install some stiffer steering rack bushings. I've heard they really give the driver a much more accurate feel of what the front wheels are doing. I've had to correct my steering many times during this autocross session, and though it felt pretty natural, I am curious if this feedback could be improved.

Machine Zealots will be taking a short intermission starting this week. We have four episodes already lined up for you guys when we come back. We will be taking this time off to install, film, and edit the episodes. If you viewers are interested in our work, and want mini updates, please follow us on Facebook, and join our little community!

We've also opened up a clothing shop, that sells t-shirts and hoodies with the our Machine Zealots designs. The cost may be a bit high but, if you don't mind supporting our brand, for every purchase $2 dollars goes to Machine Zealots. If you don't want to purchase anything, don't worry, just continue sharing and enjoying our work!

Monday, July 16, 2012

My first win

On July 14th, the local Corvette Club held another amazing autocross event. Last time, it had poured rain throughout the entire event, and since I have never autocrossed the STI before that, I never got an opportunity to autocross the STI on dry pavement.

And yes, it makes a huge difference.

The day before the races, I posted photos and updates on Facebook and Instagram as they happened. There were a lot of preparations that needed attention, so that took around 40 minutes to sort out.

Had to make sure the intercooler water spray tank had enough fresh water.

Checked all fluid levels and conditions. Though the brake fluid could have used a change, it was fine for Autocross this time.

Re-torqued all lug nuts, and checked all cold tire pressures.

Prepared some light supplies: Extra engine oil, torque wrench, breaker bar, scissor jack, extra lug nuts and their locks and keys, foldable chair, plastic tarp, and a spare tire.

And last but not least, racing gear: Helmet and Shoes.

Registration for that day was at 8:00 AM, so I arrived bright and early and started to settle down. As the time for registration drew near, more and more cars started to pull in. There were a couple of cars that were known to take on corners, and this made me nervous, but also very excited.

As the day progressed, it had gotten really hot, and the STI's Bridgestone Potenza RE070s were hooking up really well. So well in fact, that I had to raise the launch control RPM from 5200 to 5500! I was quite nervous launching so many times at such high RPMs in the blazing heat, but as it turned out the STI handled it like a pro.

In the morning, the temperature was at a perfect 75 degrees, but by the end of the day, the ambient temperature had risen to 87 degrees! It was so hot in fact that two cars were put out of commission due to leaking radiator hoses, and radiator caps blowing off. Seeing two cars overheat made everyone very nervous. Everyone did all they could to cool down their cars as much as possible between the runs.

At the end of the event, everyone parked their cars, and gathered together as the organizers gave out prizes to the top four drivers. Since it was a Corvette Club organized autocross, they had one prize for the fastest Corvette on street tires, and one on racing tires. Then they categorized any other make of cars under the "Sports car" section, and also gave out prizes for the fastest street tires, and fastest racing tires.

I had earned my very first win, for being the fastest stock car with street tires that day with a run of 68.557 seconds. I had won a hat, and a small set of tools: Flashlight, tire pressure gauge, and a pen. The prize was light hearted and fun, so I smiled as I received it.

To me, the most important part of this was that it was a great learning experience, and it really showed me, and the others, what the Subaru Impreza WRX STI can really do.

The episode will be airing later. I will talk more about the driving aspect when the episode is released. Cheers!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

S204 Style Polyurethane Lip

I am personally a big fan of all the JDM STIs, and believe me, if you aren't familiar with the WRX STI, there are many MANY versions. One of the most iconic STIs is the S204. It has a different rear wing, and features a very clean and simple looking front lip, also known as the V-limited lip.

The V-limited lip is an OEM part, which you can imagine is much more expensive. How much more? Well, it is easily upwards from $400. Unless there are special offers or discounts, you won't be able to find a brand new V-limited any cheaper. Because this lip is an STI part, it is obviously branded as such, so on each V-limited lip, you will find a small "STI" branded plaque on the center of the lip. The V-limited lip is made of high quality grade ABS plastic, the same material used in the front bumper, so you would imagine it's well worth the price right? Well, let me continue.

The 2006-2007 "Hawkeye" STIs generates a pretty good amount of downforce on its own when you hit 80+ MPH. The V-limited lip was designed, not just for looks but, to improve the front end downforce. You will not get much difference with this installed polyurethane replica. After installing this lip, I had an opportunity to test this car at higher speeds. There was so much down force generated from this lip that the lower part of my bumper is trying to separate itself from the rest of the car. What I mean is, my bumper is cracking, severely. (There will be more updates on this cracking bumper later.)

Lesson One: ABS Plastic is highly prone to cracking. This is the number one reason people usually purchase the polyurethane replica. For a long time, I thought I would be buying the OEM V-limited lip, but it never justified the cost. The polyurethane lip can be purchased for around $100, and I will tell you I am 100% satisfied with it.

Lesson Two: This lesson came from one of Machine Zealots' very own subscribers. He told me that his V-Limited lip had been stolen. The thief really knew what he was doing, he had just got himself a $400 car part, without actually having to break into the car. I won't mention any names here, but you know who you are, and thanks for sharing that story.

Both lessons, and many convincing words made me jump onto this polyurethane replica instead. I don't see any shame in it personally. In the end, it's how you use your car, that really shows the car's value.

There isn't much to be said about the install itself, it was pretty straight forward. However, as mentioned in the video, the polyurethane lip CAN be painted. If it was, it would probably look a lot better than it already is. However, because this lip automatically makes the front end of the car an inch lower, I will leave it unpainted in case of "accidents".

Another thing you can do is to drill more holes, and reinforce the lip with bigger mounting hardware: Nuts, bolts, and washers. I'm personally going to leave mine as it is, and upgrade when I need to.

As for the cracking bumper, I am already preparing to fix that. A member on the STI forums has a very helpful write up, which I plan on using to fix this issue. I will most likely make a full episode on this as well, so stay tuned.

Monday, July 9, 2012

A much needed car wash

Since June 16th, the day of my first Autocross, I haven't had a chance to wash my car. As you may have noticed, it was raining non-stop. On the days that were good weather, the forecast for the following day was rainy again.

Finally, we get a full week's forecast of clear skies, so Puyang and I spent some time giving our cars a well deserved car wash. The STI definitely needed the car wash, especially from the brake dust that the Hawk HP+ had produced.

Before: Brake dust caked onto the wheel. Giving the Gold BBS wheels a nice "bronze" finish.

After: Oh hello Mr. Gold, I had almost forgotten what you looked like.

You can see that shine!

Puyang's GTI had been through a lot too. Due to his dedication of breaking in the engine, he had been driving the car a lot in rain and shine. White cars seems like such an easy color to wash, compared to black.

Puyang inspecting the paint.

After our hard work, we thought it would be a good idea to take some pictures of these clean cars, while we had the chance. So it was time to cruise around, and shoot some photos.

Puyang taking some pics of his car.

GoPro for the win!

Food for our cars.

All in all, it was a pretty productive weekend. Most importantly, we got to take in some sunlight, and take these beauties out onto the open road.