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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2 Heroes to the Rescue

There has been an ongoing business conversation between GoPro and Machine Zealots for a couple of months now. At the end of 2011, just when the GoPro HD Hero 2 was being released, I got in contact with the person running the sponsorship programs for GoPro asking for a partnership/sponsorship.

Obviously, we've all come across people on Forums, and what not, who ask for Sponsorships with the sole intention of getting free stuff. It's really hard to pitch for a sponsorship these days because of that.

Our pitch to GoPro was a tough sell, but luckily some people are just willing to give you a chance to prove yourselves. We were given a list of objectives to complete, and we ended up completing it on our Taiwan Special episode.

Anyway, without further ado, I'd like to introduce you to Machine Zealots' new companions:

GoPro HD Hero 2 with some stickers.

A close up on the Camera.

Motorsports Edition.


More features!

The new GoPros are priced at $300 per camera, although very pricey, it is still a very good investment in my honest opinion. Apparently, it is two times better in every way, and even has better low light sensors, giving you the best quality in low light situations. There are so many new features on this new camera, I can't wait to try them out!

We are very excited to be able to shoot our new episodes with the GoPro HD Hero 2!

Thanks a lot GoPro!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

There's a storm coming

We are finally approaching the last few days of winter, and as always, this means we are all psyched to take our cars out for road trips, attend race tracks, and car meets! I'm just going to take this time to update you guys on current events, and a small forecast of what storm we, at Machine Zealots here, are brewing up.

First off, if you guys have seen the most recent episode, Subaru Engine Oil Change, you may have noticed about two minutes into the episode there seems to be something blurring the lower left hand corner of the lens. Now granted, no one has commented on it yet, but I'm sure most of you have seen it, lol. This was due to myself being clumsy and dropping the camera on the pavement, lens first. You can hardly see it on the outside, it's such a small scratch, but of course, GoPro's fantastic wide angle lens just amplifies the scratch making it into a huge blur. This episode was aired a week later than planned due to this issue, but as they say, "The show must go on."

I finished the episode, hoping that my editing skills could divert the attention away from that awful blur. If you guys had no idea of the blur, then I suppose I did a good job, but then again, I ended up telling you guys I made a mistake anyway. Oops.

Well, I admit to my fault because this has something to do with the upcoming weeks. I got a new set of lenses from GoPro for this camera, but then I got hooked on the GoPro HD Hero 2, so I'm now trying to get my hands on one, lol.

Lens replacement kit. Comes with 2 lenses, waterproof seals, screws, and a screwdriver.

Anyway, I thought to myself, while I'm waiting for the new GoPro Camera, I may as well shoot the new episodes with it. So what to do in this waiting period? Well, I remastered two episodes from my old Project Spades V6 days. I plan on airing them starting Friday, March 2nd, back to back weeks. In the show business, they would just play re-runs while they were catching up to airing schedule dates. Sadly, I can not do that for Youtube, since viewing videos online is not totally linearly based. Therefore, I am hoping these videos will keep most of you guys entertained for the next couple of weeks as I get my affairs in order.

Airing March 2nd - Caliper Painting with the G2 Caliper Paint Kit.

Airing March 9th - Camaro Engine Oil Change with Castrol Edge.

For those who have watched these episodes in the past, keep in mind that these are remastered, not just re-rendered. New background music, removed a lot of unnecessary stuff, and applied new filtering effects. For those of you who are just looking for videos on the STI, I'm afraid you will have to wait.

I've also made a new tab on the blog called "MZ Projects". Although it is under some construction, I plan to have this page feature all the cars Machine Zealots gets their hands on. You can also refer to it for upcoming modifications planned for each Project Car. I'll be expanding the page as time goes on, but as you can see, there are several things on the plate for the STI already. A couple of other people I've talked to recently want to help with the videos with their cars, but I'll tell you guys more about that when we get there. Some car club meets, and car shows are just over the horizon as well. Needless to say, this is looking to be one of our busiest years!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Rally Armor sends their love

Back in June of 2011, Machine Zealots had just moved on from Project Spades V6 to Project Impulse. Not long after, we were trying to establish our name in the market, again. It was tough shooting videos and gaining new audiences from scratch. You loyal readers and viewers, who accepted us after Project Spades V6 tanked, helped us get back on our feet.

One of the earlier videos at the time was the Rally Armor install. Upon doing this modification, I simultaneously e-mailed Rally Armor about us, what we do, and asked for a partnership. Well, after six months of no reply, they finally e-mailed us back apologizing for the delay. A week and a half later, their care package arrived for us: A t-shirt and a hat.

If you have been keeping track, this is the third set of clothing from an aftermarket company. The Camaro days brought me items from Hurst Shifters, and Stillen. The Subaru STI only has Rally Armor at the moment, but I'm trying to convince Cobb Tuning for a set too, lol. I'm not too worried though, opportunities are endless, there will be more to come. These clothing items come in handy for the show though, that's for sure!

Thank you Rally Armor!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sponsored items in the mail!

As you may recall, during the final months of 2011, I was proud to announce that Machine Zealots gained an important partner and sponsor, Apex Performance. Well, it's near spring time, and people are bringing out their cars, and preparing them for the sunny days. I just picked up Machine Zealots' first sponsored package, a set of brake pads and stainless steel brake lines. However, before I get into the actual parts, I would like to tell you guys a funny story while we were picking up these parts.

On the day of the pickup, Puyang and I got up quite early to beat the traffic to the border. It was a cold morning so, unplanned, him and I both wore our Machine Zealots hoodies and a pair of sweat pants. When we got to the border there was hardly a line up, so it was a quick and easy process. However, as I handed our passports to the border patrol officer, he said, "Wow, your car has two spoilers? Because one just wasn't enough right?"

I laughed nervously. Then he asked why we were dressed the same. I looked over to Puyang and realized, "Oh wow, we are dressed the same!"

I turned to the officer and said, "It's for our Youtube show."

At the time, I wasn't sure why I had said that, it was unnecessary information, but I suppose it was because I saw his side holster, packing a 9mm. I just blurted out the truth under the pressure. Much to my suprise, he leaned back against his booth, and began to casually ask about the show, "So you are just starting the show?", "What do you do in the show?"

I swore this went on for a full five minutes, then his curiosity was satisfied and let us through. We thanked the kind officer, and I began to laugh at the situation as I drove away.

Anyway, on to the packages!

Hawk HP Plus Brake Pads. Great for Autocrossing and Track Days.

Goodridge Phantom Stainless Steel Brakelines. Made for only a handful of high end cars.

In a few weeks time, you can expect to see these being installed onto the 2006 Subaru STI, our Project Impulse. In the meantime, definitely check out the list of parts Apex Performance carries, and see if they can help you with your modding needs today!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Subaru STI Engine Oil Change

If you are a veteran reader on this blog, you would have realized I've written about oil changes many times already. Although this is the first oil change for the STI, the basic concepts are still the same. With safe practice, drain out the oil, change the filter, and fill your car with new oil.

When I first started playing with cars, the oil change was the thing that got me confident enough to work on everything else. If you are a person willing to do stuff yourself, but just haven't gotten the time or courage to do so, please take my advice, follow my video, and try this out for yourself. This euphoria is developed with a combination of dirt on your hands, the smell of oil, and just hearing the clicks of your socket wrench.

As promised, I was going to review how the German Castrol Syntec differs from the oil that was in my car previously. On start up, the Castrol Syntec definitely makes the engine purr. It feels smooth, and quiet on the road, but when you put your foot down, it feels like the clean oil unlocked some of those missing horses. However, this is not conclusive, since I did not do any speed tests to compare, but my butt dyno was happy. You can argue that a clean filter with clean oil, regardless of brand, will always make the car feel faster. Yes, that is correct. However, hearing nothing but good things about German Castrol, I couldn't help but give it a try. It's relatively cheap in price, and it's available locally, so why not?

I will see how this oil performs over time, and I will write about it if anything comes up. For those of you looking for the part numbers used in this video, here they are:

Oil Filter 15208AA100
Drain Plug crush washer 11126AA000
Magnetic Oil drain plug 32103KA000

One last note about the oil change: If you don't feel like re-installing the skid plate, that is completely fine. Many Subaru drivers don't bother placing it back. I do it because it's quite rainy where I live, so I don't want my undercarriage getting all dirty and rusty for no good reason. It really only takes five minutes of your time to install and re-install.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Modifying for the Future

I hope most of you liked the Taiwan Special I posted last week. I am planning on getting more involved with the car scenes, both local and international. In the upcoming months, I plan to make at least two more car show and car meet episodes. I am also studying different approaches to editing them, so hopefully that will be a good experiment. I've also had the chance to talk to some of you individuals, you know who you are ;), and as I mentioned to them, when I hit their home town, I'll meet up with the local car scenes there.

On another note, I mentioned that there was a bit more to the Taiwan trip than just the Auto Show. I got a chance to meet a friend of mine, who used to live locally, but moved to Taiwan. He's always been into cars, driving them, racing them, and now modifying them. He has a lot of years of experience and knowledge, so I've actually taken him to be a mentor of sorts. He gives good advice, that's all I can say. The timing was perfect because when Puyang and I went back this time, he had just finished his new build. If memory serves me correctly, it's a discontinued kit car from the UK. He chose an engine of his own choice, and the transmission. The chassis is custom built carbon fiber, and the whole car weighs lighter than his Lotus Elise, around 1600 lbs!

Since he has experience on the track, he told me he is more concerned about weight to power, aerodynamics, and handling. To keep such a light vehicle grounded, aerodynamics play a really big part. Needless to say, I am very interested in the concept of not needing to make engines bigger, but the car lighter overall.

He told me this was his first ever car build. There are no guides, or instruction booklets to build a car with a personally selected engine, transmission, and the looms of wire needed to make everything run the way it should. His next big project is to actually design a car. From the look of the car, to the aerodynamics, to the chassis, to the suspension, to the wheels, everything will be designed to how he wants his car to drive. He's also thinking of possibly making the car public if it comes to that. He's already been working on it for a couple of months, and he says it will probably take him a year or two to complete the project. I honestly can't wait to see it. It's quite possible that Machine Zealots will get the exclusive chance to see the car, and even be apart of the marketing plan! Only time will tell, but I honestly can't wait.

On the Machine Zealots side, I am planning a couple bigger film projects. I won't reveal too much right now, but I am hoping it will be super cool for you guys to see. I'll post teasers when I get to that point. In the meantime, I am still going to continue delivering the bi-weekly episodes, so stay tuned!