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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Machine Zealots Promo Video

This is just a sneak peak at a video I've worked on over the weekend; we aren't starting the new season just yet. YouTube has really evolved their service over the years; the changes are especially oriented to benefit the video creators and content developers. One of their newest features for their YouTube partners is their Fan Finder program. You can create your own channel advertisement, and with their own relevant audience algorithm, attempt to find an audience that would be interested in subscribing to your channel.

It's a totally free service for YouTube partners, and I just thought it was very cool of them to do this.

Below is a storyboard of the final video. Hopefully, you guys will see this ad floating around somewhere ;)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

DEI Titanium Exhaust Wrap

This season finale episode is sponsored by our friends at Apex Performance; they have been extremely hard working on behalf of helping us out with aftermarket parts. We are very thankful of their sponsorship.

The DEI Titanium Exhaust Wrap is a must have if you are trying to keep heat where it's supposed to be. It is slightly more expensive than your typical fiberglass wraps, but well worth the price. You don't need to wet this wrap, nor prepare any silicone spray. When breaking in your wrap, DEI claims that smoke may come off the wrap; this is normal, so don't panic.

The installation was pretty easy for the most part. It would be great if you have a working table with some huge clamps, that way you can clamp the pipe down so it would ensure a much tighter wrap. Puyang was supporting the downpipe as I was wrapping, so it wasn't too bad. At the end, we got a nice clean looking wrap so this downpipe is now ready for installation. The full review of the DEI Titanium Exhaust Wrap will come after the downpipe has been installed.

I'm sure you guys are waiting for the big install.

As winter is drawing near, the weather is becoming freezing cold, so like the previous years we are taking our production break; which means no more episodes for 2013!

If all goes according to plan, we have Season 4 pretty much lined up. If you have been following us for a while, you will know what exactly we've got lined up. I will be writing about our upcoming plans later on.

Again, please check out Apex Performance for your modifying needs; they carry over 150 of the most popular aftermarket brands, and they will match, or beat the competition in price!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

STI Rear Differential Fluid Change

Changing your rear differential fluid is a very essential part of your car maintenance. Have a habit of changing your rear differential fluid every 30,000 miles; change it earlier if you track your car, or if you have a frequent habit of pushing your car harder during daily commutes. I highly recommend having some essential tools as shown in the video, especially the fluid pump. You don't need to buy this exact one, but having one will speed up the process; even with my simple to use fluid pump, the Wilmar W1139 Fluid Pump, it took me around ten full minutes to pump to the fluid limit; my arms were very sore by the end of it.

There are a couple of choices when it comes to choosing your rear differential fluid, but I've heard only good things on Motul gear oils, so I gave it a shot. I have been driving with the changed fluid and have had no problems at all; my rear differential seems to be liking this fluid.

A quick note: Depending on the year of your STI, you may not be able to use this gear oil, so please do your research before purchasing.

The whole process should really only take you an hour or two, including set up and clean up times. However, this isn't a competition, so take your time and be careful.

Friday, October 18, 2013

A wrap for the season?

As the weather is getting colder, we are very blessed to have a couple more days of sunshine. However, sunset is approaching sooner, so we are getting ready to wrap up Season 3 of Machine Zealots.

Puyang and I took advantage of our last days of sunshine to film an episode, wrapping the DEI Titanium Exhaust Wrap on our aftermarket downpipe. Of course, this lovely episode is sponsored by our friends at Apex Performance.

The wrapping and filming took around an hour and a half, then another half hour to clean up. It was a fast episode and a simple install. There are some tips and tricks on doing this, but we will reveal them when the episode airs.

Here are some preview close up pictures of the final results:

At this point, the downpipe is ready for the big upcoming Stage 2 install. We are planning out a more efficient method on filming the next couple of episodes, which will be aired in Season 4, so please be patient. Of course, we will continue to post updates on the blog, and the Facebook page, so please check us for updates.

As time draws closer to the end, I'll tell you guys what we have in store; both for the end of Season 3, and the Season 4 breakdown. As for now, stay tuned!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Cobb Accessport V3

The Cobb Accessport is a great handheld tuning device. Cobb has done a great job making these devices for some of the most popular turbocharged cars to date, including: BMW, Ford, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, and of course, Subaru. When you buy an Accessport, Cobb will have already pre-installed some tunes that will make your car crank out more power; they have been thoroughly tested, so you don't need to worrying too much about your car breaking down. However, Cobb does have a disclaimer warning the user that they hold no responsibility in any damages, should you risk installing their tunes.

I have personally been using the Cobb Accessport ever since I bought the car, and it has been a great device. The Cobb Accessport even allows drivers to set things such as launch control, and flat foot shifting. I have been using the launch control feature a lot during autocross events because it gives me a consistent launch every time.

The Cobb Accessport v2 is a smaller device, but ultimately does the same things as the newer v3. The only difference is that the v3 has a larger full colored screen, so displaying real time data is much clearer and nicer to look at. There is also a nice new feature on the v3 that the v2 didn't have, an off button. That's right! I find this function very nice, especially if you plan on never removing the Cobb Accessport off its mount. In the previous version, you had to unplug the OBDII cable from the device every time you wanted to turn off the device. Even removing the key from the ignition will keep the device turned on. However, in this newer version, there is an off button on the top of the Cobb Accessport. It will prompt a message when you hit the button saying something like, "The device will turn off in 10 seconds. Hit any button to cancel."

If you leave it, it will shut down even with the cable plugged in. I found this feature as a major bonus on this new device. A small edition, but an important function in my honest opinion.

Pros and cons? Well, it is a much nicer device compared to the v2, but you'd be paying around $100 more for the v3 just for the bigger screen and the off button. The tunes are identical, so you will not be gaining more performance from this new device! If you are a person who just wants to load the Cobb tunes into your car and never plug your device in, I'd say stick with the v2. If you are someone who wants to have some nicer looking gauges, or if you just like having the latest new toy, then I'd say you'll love the Cobb Accessport v3.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Injen intake for the GTI

Puyang has owned his 2012 Golf GTI for a little over a year now, and we are really enjoying this car. The weather has gotten very cold recently, and we've been thankful for the heated seats that came with the car. The car is fun to drive, and it is very fuel efficient compared to the STI. What about modding fun? Well, we have that planned too!

We got the GTI an Injen intake, proudly sponsored by our friends at Apex Performance, hoping this intake will really awaken the beast within. Although there isn't much power to be gained from a straight bolt on, we are hoping for a sportier driving experience after the install. There are two options from Injen for this intake, bare metal chrome, or this black color. We chose the black color, because Puyang wanted a slightly stealthier looking engine bay. However, this intake is actually extremely well painted; they used black paint that has some glitter in it; sort of like the paint that comes on some cars.

Below are some pictures of this intake:

Puyang recently bought that Batman Domo plush, and he insisted on placing it in the photos for fun.

There is apparently something we have to customize for this intake so that the car will run properly. We will get into this install when we open up some time. Hope you guys stick around for more fun and news as we round up the final episodes of Machine Zealots Season 3.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Beatrush Forged Aluminum Pitch Stop Mount

This is the first installment of our "Next Stage" selection of modification installs. If you haven't seen the big reveal video, sponsored by Apex Performance, check out that video first to see what you can expect in future episodes!

This is the Beatrush Forged Aluminum Pitching Stopper Mount. Quite a mouthful; believe me, I've had my tongue tied more than once when I was recording the voice over for this episode. If you do your research online, this particular pitch stop mount is more expensive than any other pitch stop mount. Why the expensive price tag? Well, to be honest, they claim it's a much lighter product than its competitors, but we clearly debunked that in the video. To be honest, if you are looking at a pitch stop mount option, I would spend my money on a cheaper Kartboy one, or something similar. This Beatrush one is JDM, and is very nice looking; then again, this part is under your top mount intercooler, so aesthetics have no real play in this matter.

Any STI owner should buy a pitch stop mount as one of their first mods. It is extremely easy to install, and takes no more than a couple of minutes to install the actual mount. However, removing and installing the intercooler will leech the majority of your time for this install; we have a completely different episode for that process.

There was an immediate difference when I drove the car with the new pitch stop mount installed. The in cabin noise was slightly louder, but not to an annoying extreme. Most people will probably not even notice the increase in cabin noise depending on their current car modifications. There is slightly more vibration in the car, and in the gas pedal itself, but this was a good thing to me. Feedback! I love driver feedback. The pedal and throttle response seemed to have improved ever so slightly. There is noticeably less pitching when on and off the throttle as well. All in all, it made the driving experience much less 'sluggish'.

I'm sure some new engine mounts, transmission mounts, shifter bushings, and steering rack bushings will really change the feedback of the car. I'm really looking forward to the further changes on the car in the near future!

As always, we thank Apex Performance for their partnership on our show. They are real gentlemen, so please check them out for your modifying needs! They carry over 150 of the most popular aftermarket brands, and will match or beat the competition in price! Please check out their Facebook Page, or e-mail them.

Stay tuned to Machine Zealots for more information, updates, videos, and fun ;) See you guys next time!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Custom O2 Bung

In our most recent package of STI mods, we received the Nvidia V2 bell mouth catless downpipe. Although they sell it with a two bung version, I had bought the version with just one. However, the more I looked into upgrades, the more I realized that I wanted some new gauges; including a good old AFR gauge which needed another bung on the downpipe for the wideband sensor. I had a local shop weld on another bung, but unlike the two bung Nvidia downpipe, I chose to get my bung welded in a similar position to Cobb's two bung downpipe.

I also got a nice bung plug off eBay and installed it onto the downpipe, temporarily. I'll need to find the time to wrap up this downpipe with the DEI Titanium Heatwrap, which will be another episode, and then this downpipe will be ready for the big install! ;)

That's it for now! Be sure to stay tuned for more updates and news!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Top Mount Intercooler Removal

Most of Machine Zealots Season 3 has been a whole lot of videos that had nothing to do with our Project Impulse, the 2006 Subaru WRX STI. I know what you must have been thinking, "Hey! Where are the STI how-to videos?"

Well, I'm pleased to tell you guys that the rest of Season 3 will consist of more STI episodes! If you have seen our "Next Stage" video, sponsored by Apex Performance, you will know that the STI will have many more episodes to come. To start off this mini series, we remove the top mount intercooler. (TMIC)


Simple. Many of the modifications to come require the removal of the TMIC. In fact, we'll be doing our best to gear up for Season 4 from this point on. Some of the episodes you will see in Season 4 may consist of many things that require the removal of the TMIC: Clutch fluid change, transmission fluid change, wrapping the TMIC with Reflect-A-Gold tape, downpipe install, turbo blanket wrapping, turbo heat shield install, and installing the Crawford AOS. If all goes according to plan, Season 4 will be based heavily on modification.

Okay, let's get into the removal of the TMIC. It's pretty straight forward. The only pain is getting the intercooler back onto the car. I highly recommend removing the black support bracket for more clearance; an extra helping hand wouldn't hurt either to be honest.

Puyang is gearing up in his modding game as well. We are currently waiting for a particular upgrade in the mail, proudly sponsored by Apex Performance of course. We'll have more information on that later.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

AWD drifting, a work of art

We are thinking of a new line of t-shirt designs; hoping you guys will like our designs, and wear them. Of course, part of the proceeds come to us when you purchase any t-shirt or hoodie in our store with our designs. This helps support us as Machine Zealots is paid for from our own pockets, so anything helps! These designs will not be implemented just yet, they are merely a work in progress.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

RevScene Summer Meet 2013

On August 24, Puyang and I took a day off to attend this annual RevScene Summer Meet; this meet consists of local automotive enthusiasts and their very own project cars. I am always astounded when I see the amount of work that is poured out on some of these cars. My STI is definitely unworthy of being showcased at these shows. However, there is really no competition, because if you truly love cars, you'd love every car just the way it is.

I purposely filmed cars that I have never covered in the past; that just tells you how many cars come to these meets. This is the fourth installment of the RevScene meets, so if you haven't watched the past three RevScene episodes, please take a look at our episodes list and enjoy some of the awesome cars in the past!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Final sprint of Season 3

We are back! We'll be airing the newly filmed 2013 RevScene Summer Meet this week. It's sort of ironic, but we'll be ending the summer episodes with this episode. There are only a couple of episodes left for Machine Zealots Season 3, I still can't believe it!

Here are a couple of screen shots of the upcoming episode.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

RevScene Summer 2013 Photos

The RevScene Summer 2013 episode will be aired soon, so stay tuned my friends!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Summer break is almost over

We have been taking a summer break, catching up on a couple of episodes and getting our life in order. We are diving into some of the most exciting stuff we have ever done on Machine Zealots. Here are a couple of screenshots for some of the upcoming episodes!

Removal and installation of the Top Mount Intercooler.

Installing the Beatrush Pitching Stopper Mount.

Changing the rear differential fluid.

These episodes are completely finished, and each episode are about five minutes long, which means fifteen minutes of content coming! After these technical episodes, we have another three episodes to end the season, totalling eighteen episodes. That's right! I can't believe another year has gone by! Thank you so much for sticking around with us for so long. We'll be back on the air in the first week of September. We'll be finishing off the last three episodes in the weeks to come, and it will make time for some Season 4 episodes. If you haven't watched our drifting test video, one of the possible episodes, please watch it on our Facebook page.

We'll be attending the 2013 RevScene Summer Meet this coming weekend, so you'll be joining us when you watch that episode. I've also sent my downpipe to a welding shop for a second O2 bung; I'm planning on installing some gauges when Stage 2 is in effect.

Stay tuned guys, lots of exciting stuff coming your way!

Monday, August 5, 2013

One fully packed day

Puyang and I had the day off today, and we felt that it was a great day to clean and work on our cars. What seemed to be an excellent day ahead quickly made a turn in the opposite direction, I'll list them as I write.

We began with a very nice car wash and interior vacuuming. I took some extra time to clean off the gold BBS wheels from all the brake dust generated by the Hawk HP Plus racing brake pads. During the wash, I had my hood opened, and for some reason I placed my sunglasses near the hinge of the hood. Later when I closed the hood I crushed my sunglasses. Don't worry, the car was not hurt in the slightest, but my sunglasses on the other hand... (Disaster #1)

Puyang vacuuming the interior of his 2012 VW Golf GTI.

If you don't already follow us on Facebook, please do, we post mini updates on our weekly shenanigans and crazy banter. If you indeed follow our feeds, we found this very nice unpaved parking lot this weekend. It is laid with dirt, gravel, and rocks. The shape of the parking lot was very odd as well, and by odd I mean awesome, it looks like some of the twisty areas in rally courses seen in Croatia. Long story short, I took it for a spin and practiced some dirt drifting. It was so fun! It was so addicting that I wanted to do it again, so I've asked if you guys were interested in seeing a video of it. Most of you guys said yes, so we'll be making a video on the STI going sideways!

Some dirt that clung onto the wheels from the drifting.

After we've washed our cars, we took our cars out for a nice photo shoot to really capitalize on our hard work. You know, I was so addicted with the drifting, I attempted some tarmac drifting after the photo shoot too! However, the weather was so hot, the very sticky Bridgestone Potenzas clung to the ground like glue; I couldn't really get the tail out, just lots of understeer, sadly.

I really wanted to take advantage of this fantastic weather that the Lord has given us, so I wanted to do some modding and filming. The autumns and winters here are very wet; I mean rain nearly every day. The hood liner gets wet from time to time, and mold begun to develop. Today was the day I decided to just remove the entire thing.

Hood liner is super moldy!

Hood liner removed!

The hood liner is designed to keep engine noise to a minimum. You can do this research online, but removing the liner will not add any negative effects to the car. Check out the built rally cars and other race cars, they won't be sporting a hood liner. The hottest part of the car will most likely be the turbo charger not the front of the engine itself. (Observe the hood liner location.)

While I was removing the hood liner, I got clumsy and dropped one of the retention clips into the engine bay. Not like that little plastic clip could mess up my car, but I just didn't like the idea that I lost something in there. I looked around, and after fifteen minutes or so I found it. It was caught between the subframe and an axle. I got it out after a couple of minutes, poking at it when a stick. (Disaster #2)

There was still a couple of hours in the day, so I decided to get to my rear differential fluid change. As always, we were filming an episode as I was working on the car. I cut myself during this, stupid on my part yet again, and bandaged myself up; you'll see the bandaged hand in the video. (Disaster #3)

I bought a $10 pump to get the fluid into the differential, and that thing broke on the second pump! LOL.(Disaster #4)

If you have read everything up to this point, I applaud you, because as I'm writing this, I'm laughing on the inside. It's just too ridiculous. The story isn't over yet though. I finally get the fluid in there, everything seemed to be coming to a close. I got the fill bolt plugged up, and I set the torque wrench to the service manual's specifications: Tighten, tighten, bam. The bolt shears off. (Disaster #5)


At this very moment, the car is sitting in the garage waiting to be fixed. I have to give Subaru a call tomorrow to order the part. It will be around $100. What? For a fill bolt? Well, I didn't tell you the entire story. When you replace your differential fluid, you can either use a 30 mm wrench to remove the fill bolt, or a 19 mm wrench to remove a rear differential temperature sensor which is embedded into the 30 mm fill bolt. I didn't have a 30 mm wrench handy, so I went with the sensor route.

Oops. My mistake just costed me $100. Ouch right? Expensive mistake. :(

At the end of the day, did it suck? Yeah, pretty much. But I thank God that this day didn't get any worse than it was. I'm talking about losing a limb or something. lol...

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Getting started

We have started planning the episodes sponsored by Apex Performance. As you have seen from our new line of mods video montage, we have quite the variety of installations to do in the time to come. Some installations are simple one off installs, while others require much more planning. These plans all revolve around how much time we can dish out every week. Due to work, and other personal life situations, it's sometimes hard to get an exact schedule for modifying and video making.

Hopefully you guys will really enjoy the next stage our the STI's transformation chronicle. I personally love seeing the process of a project car slowly come into fruition.

Anyway, with all the explanations out of the way, take a look at some photos we took while working on the next install.

Puyang assists in removing the top mount intercooler.

The forged pitch stop mount is installed!

Yes, that's right, we installed the Beatrushed Forged Aluminum pitch stop mount. It looks like a beauty, and so far it makes the car a lot better. I'll get into the details on the product when the installation video is released.

I have to plan the rest of the installs for a later time, but man, I really love working on this STI.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

New mods revealed

I have been so excited to show you guys what our sponsor Apex Performance has sent us that I have made an entire video on just that! To be honest, I was surprised that I could even keep the excitement to myself. I was itching to reveal this video much sooner, because I wanted to share my joy. However, for the sake of the show, and a slight virtue of patience, I decided to wait.

Hopefully you guys enjoyed the video as much as I'd enjoyed making it. The entire video from shooting to editing took over 40 hours to complete. Filming took around two and a half hours to complete. Puyang was helping out with moving certain aftermarket parts to locations I had envisioned. This project took a lot of premeditated planning and vision. After shooting the footage, the editing process was broken down into several processes as well. The video itself is broken up into three major themes: What the car possessed from factory, the modifications done to it so far, and the parts that will be the next stage of the STI. Each clip had to be re-timed to give that slow motion to quick pan feel. Then each clip was camera tracked in 3-D space so that the lines and points could be set in 3-D space as well. The text that labels and describes each part was also set in 3-D space via camera tracking data. I felt that this gave the entire video much more entertainment value than without. Could you imagine the film being just me shooting car parts? Boring.

As I have always thought, "If the content itself isn't interesting, make the video interesting."

That was the entire push behind this video. After all of the technical stuff had been done, I proceeded in adding the tint of the film, including the lens leaks and certain lens flares. Marry all of that with some nice music, and you got yourself a film that stands firmly on its own, even without seeing cars going sideways.

The modifications shown in the video are as follows (In order of appearance):
Crawford Air Oil Separator
DEI Titanium Exhaust Wrap
Kartboy Exhaust Hangers
Kartboy Short Throw Shifter
Kartboy Front & Rear Shifter Bushings
DEI Reflect-a-Gold
PTP Turbo Blanket
Beatrush Forged Pitch Stop Mount
GrimmSpeed Turbo Heat Shield
Invidia V2 Bellmouth Catless Downpipe
Invidia G200 Cat Back Exhaust

We would like to thank our sponsor again for putting their faith in us. If you didn't trust us with our work when we first started off, we wouldn't have gotten to the quality we are at today. Thank you guys who watch our videos as well. Your feedback and support is always warmly welcome here. We will continue doing our best, Lord willing, and bring you guys better content as time goes on.

Please check out Apex Performance, and contact them for your modifying needs. They carry over 150 of the most popular aftermarket brands, and will match or beat the competition in price. They will take good care of you.

Hope you guys stay tuned to Machine Zealots!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The STI Chronicle continues

We received a large shipment of upcoming modifications for Machine Zealots' 2006 Subaru STI a couple of weeks ago. Of course, this lovely shipment was proudly sponsored by Apex Performance; we've been partnered for two years now.

We have revealed that we received the Invidia V2 Downpipe and the Invidia G200 Exhaust System. However, there are many other items that we are extremely excited about.

That being said, we made a new video montage of what's to come, and we wanted to take this time to thank our sponsor as well.

I've been personally playing a lot with the new DSLR camera, always pushing the quality of our videos. When I showed this video to Puyang for his input, he said that this video deserved a 10/10. He isn't usually this generous either. I personally give this video 8.5/10, but it did take a lot out of me. I spent over 30 hours on this video, and spread out the work through an entire week.

I'll get more into the video making later, but I am very excited to show you guys the finished video. I can't wait. Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Final AutoX. Or is it?

The STI has truly been a great car to drive. I was glad I didn't begin autocrossing this car when it was fully built; I love to see and feel improvements over time. I attended the local Corvette autocross this time around, and the STI really held its own. It was pitted against a fierce competition, but it came out as a pretty fast car. Sadly to say, as mentioned in the video, this will be the very last autocross session for the STI at this current stage.

If you have been following our videos, or even the blog, you would know that this STI is pretty much stock with only an off-the-shelf tune to Stage 1 from the Cobb Accessport, upgraded brake pads, and stainless steel brake lines. With minimal modifications, I saw some major improvements; I can't wait to see what this car can do with a few thousand dollars worth of upgrades. Right?

Puyang accompanied me this time around, as seen in the first three runs. He has never been in a car running in an autocross session. He wanted to get a feel of the g-force generated from the acceleration, braking, and turns. He also learned about some driving techniques such as best lines and brake timing.

Puyang will be attending his first autocross session in September, at least that's the plan, where he will be pushing his 2012 VW Golf GTI to the limit. We'll see what the car can do.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Silence of the Silencer

If you have been following what we've been up to for the past couple of days, you would have learned that we received a huge shipment from our sponsor, Apex Performance. Two of the items have been revealed to you guys so far: The Invidia catless bellmouth downpipe, and the Invidia G200 catback exhaust.

When I opened the contents of the G200 exhaust, I quickly noticed that the exhaust had a silencer installed. This silencer was crammed in the titanium tip, and was extremely stubborn to budge. I quickly went onto the NASIOC forums and asked the local guys for some advice, as well as some of you guys on the Machine Zealots' Facebook page. You guys gave great advice, so thank you very much for all of your input!

I ended up listening to this one guy who told me to use a metal bar placed within the silencer and torque it out. Immediately, I thought that this was the most logical way to do it. I wrapped up the removable metal handle bar from a hydraulic jack with a wet towel, and knocked out the silencer within five minutes.

No damage was done to either the silencer or the exhaust itself. Ah physics, I love you. If you guys ever run into an issue like this make sure you try this method; it works like a charm!

With the silencer removed, I think everything is in order to start some videos. Yeah? Hope you guys stay tuned to Machine Zealots!