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Sunday, June 30, 2013

A thousand times grateful

One thousand subscribers. Wow. I remember what it was like when we hit the first one hundred subscribers, and it already felt like an impossibility. Machine Zealots was actually our second attempt at something better; our first online automotive experience was with project Spades V6, some of you may have remembered this, and that channel has only around 60 subscribers. We ran that channel for a year, and it never got the traction that Machine Zealots has.

We are not boasting in our accomplishments; we could not have gotten where we are if it wasn't for your support, and the grace of God. Thank you, each and every one of you for sticking around and watching us grow. Two thousand subscribers feels like an impossibility, but we'll continue to bring you great content and hopefully two thousand will be around the corner.

In other news, Apex Performance has delivered many aftermarket parts for the STI which will be revealed to you guys in a video. Thank you Apex Performance for your support!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Importfest 2013

Importfest 2013 Vancouver was a pretty small venue, but it was packed with a lot of people. Some of the cars shown were some of the cleanest modified cars I have yet to see. The most amazing part of the show, to us personally, were the turbo-charged Scion FR-S's; those cars really made me want to own a Scion FR-S or a Subaru BRZ.

The import models were very beautiful and friendly. It is quite obvious that the import models stole the whole show. Guys would be crowded around them, taking photos and videos; lining up for a chance to get a picture taken with one of them gorgeous girls.

Puyang and I stayed for only an hour or two, but since we got the tickets for free it wasn't a big deal.
After editing the video, I showed the video to the import models, and they were very nice and shared the video on their Facebook and other fan pages. Here are some of the nice things they said:

They helped me advertise, so in return, I'll help them advertise. If you guys want to follow these import models, please find them on Facebook; they seem to be the most active there.

This video was shot, for the first time, exclusively on the Canon EOS 5D Mk. III. Every video before this one has been mainly shot with GoPro Cameras. Don't get me wrong, GoPro Cameras are great for what they are, but you can't beat a camera with a lens. Hope you guys enjoy the video, and hope you guys stick around for more Machine Zealots. ;)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Much needed Modifications

I have to say, the 2006 WRX STI is a very great car to boot. Having some experience taking this car to the autocross course really shows you the strengths and the weaknesses of the STI. The car comes with everything you need to go fast from factory: A set of super sticky summer tires, large Brembo brakes, 300 horsepower and 300 ft-lbs of torque, and a relatively light curb weight for an AWD car weighing at 3350 lbs. It's very fast, fun to drive, and it looks extremely handsome without having to look too flashy.

However, just like any car, it has its own fair share of downsides. One of the greatest weaknesses of this STI is that it is prone to understeering. However, once you are familiar with the car, and how to shift the weight of the car properly, understeer doesn't seem too big of a problem. Another weakness is that the peak boost takes slightly too long to reach (a.k.a. Turbo Lag). Again, all of these inherent car weaknesses can be overcome if the driver learns better car control.

The stock car has a lot of body roll, it was very apparent while I was driving, but since I was used to it, it didn't slow me down too much. However, many pictures that were taken of this STI reveals that it could use some suspension modifications. I suppose some sway bars, end links, and maybe a coilover setup wouldn't hurt huh? Don't worry, all these things will come in time.

As my aftermarket parts from Apex Performance are coming in the mail, I'm going to enjoy this car for what it is while I still have it. I love it!

Friday, June 21, 2013

The next big steps

If you follow Machine Zealots on Facebook, then you may have seen the news that the deal between Apex Performance has officially been closed for the season! That is exciting stuff! Both we, and Apex Performance, apologizes for the delay; both parties have been extremely busy.

We're expecting our car modding goodies to be in our P.O. Box in a week or two, and we'll reveal those goodies to you guys later. In the meantime, we have finished editing our autocross event episode! It will be the very last STI autocross at its current state. From here on out the STI will be, hopefully, a different beast altogether. The next autocross event of this year will be lead by Puyang and his 2012 VW Golf GTI; it will also be his first autocross. Puyang came along with me this time to feel what it's like for a car to go under extreme g-force. Hopefully this will give him an idea of what it will be like when he is driving.

Here are some image clips from the upcoming autocross episode:

Puyang sits in for the first couple of rounds.

Comparing sector times.

The Importfest episode will be coming next week; full of nice modified cars, import models, and fun! Stay tuned!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

June 15 AutoX

On Saturday June 15, Puyang and I went to the Corvette Club autocross event. I really love hanging out with that whole gang, they are fun and very friendly. We made a racing video, just like in Season 2, and that will be aired in a couple of weeks. Since we brought the DSLR with us, we decided to take some pictures for the Corvette Club, and for you guys, to see. I've got more news for you guys about autocross for Machine Zealots, but I'll talk about that later.

Check out all the cars and the full photo album on the Machine Zealots' Facebook Page. In any case, enjoy some of the photos here:

Thursday, June 13, 2013

GTI Engine Oil Change

Oil changes are essential to keeping your car in peak performance. It should at least be done once a year to ensure that your car gets the most power and fuel efficiency it can have. It has been a year since Puyang has bought his 2012 VW Golf GTI, as revealed near the end of Season 2, and it was finally time for Puyang to do his first oil change on this car.

It was a straightforward process and we didn't run into any complications. We took this time to change the stock drain plug for a magnetic drain plug. If you have been a long follower of Machine Zealots, you would have noticed that we are very fond of magnetic drain plugs. It catches metal shavings, and every time you do your oil change, you can be sure you'll have lots of shavings to wipe off. I think all cars should come with a magnetic drain plug for your engine from the factory. If you don't yet have one for your car, make sure you get one.

Remember to lift the car up properly, and place axle stands in safe areas. Take the time to do things safely and properly. Hope this tutorial helps some of you, have fun!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Importfest 2013 was quite fun

Machine Zealots went to Importfest 2013 in Vancouver on Saturday, June 8th, and it was quite a show. It turned out to be a pretty small venue, but it was loaded with beautifully modified cars, beautiful import models, loud music, and tons of fun. Puyang was mostly in charge of picking up some free souvenirs, and I was busy taking photos and videos for you guys to see and watch.

The highlights of the show were the modified Scion FR-S, and the Subaru BRZ. Many Revscene members also contributed to the car show. If you guys are not familiar with Revscene, we have done many videos on the annual Revscene meets, so be sure to check them out.

I am currently working on editing the video, but here are some of the photos that I took at the show. Hope you guys enjoy! I'll post the video when I have finished it, stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Crayons and Filters

Summer has officially arrived! The sun is shining, the weather is perfect, and the people are walking around in t-shirts and shorts! Granted, this depends on where you live around the world. If I'm correct, my friends in countries like Australia are now experiencing winter, and of course my friends who live around the equator have summer all year long!

Well, summer always gets me motivated to do things. As I am still currently communicating with Apex Performance, I had some time to get some things in order. I played with Photoshop and I painted the letters on my Bridgestone Potenzas. Honestly, I sort of like the look of them. Puyang said it might look beast if the STI was lowered, and a lot more modded. What do you think? I did some research on this, and tire paint pens go for $10 on eBay.

I love the idea of a cheap mod, but I suppose this can all wait until the STI is a lot closer to a show car. (If I can even get there.)

In other news, my circular polarizer lens filter just came in the mail. It's a great little addition to any camera lens setup. Not only does it make your pictures look richer, it also doubles as a lens protector!

This lens filter is made in China, but most of these sorts of things are from China anyway. This is a screw on filter made for a 77 mm lens. Guess how much it costed me? Most likely you won't believe me even if I told you, but it only costed me $8. That's right, EIGHT DOLLARS! I bought it on eBay. If you buy anything like this at a camera store, it goes from $20-50. Yes, I looked. This particular lens filter came from Hong Kong, so it took around two weeks to arrive, but it was worth it. Free shipping too.

Can't wait to shoot more photos and videos with this news lens filter! Take a look at some pictures I took as a test on the effectiveness of this lens filter.

The top photo is without the Circular Polarizer Lens filter. Look at the depth of the blue sky with the CPL. The colors on the leaves are also a lot more vibrant and rich. Also notice the reflection on the STI windshield.

(Excuse the blurriness of this photo. The focus was on the windshield reflection.) Top is without the CPL and bottom is shot with the CPL. Lens settings are the same in both photos. Completely removes unneeded reflections that may obscure your subject.

Needless to say, I love this lens filter. If you don't already have one, make sure you hunt on eBay for a CPL. It's worth the investment. We'll be attending an import car show this weekend, so I'll be using this lens filter at that event!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Oil Changes all around

Last weekend, Puyang and I finished shooting a brand new episode where we'll be changing the engine oil and filter on the 2012 Volkswagen Golf GTI. Puyang's GTI has already been broken in, and he'll be showcasing his stock GTI on the autocross course by the end of this year. Hopefully.

Screen shot from the GTI Engine Oil Change episode!

In any case, I had to get my oil changed as well if I wanted the car to be in tip top shape for carving the pavement at the upcoming autocross events. Since the last oil change, I had installed a brand new magnetic drain bolt on my Subaru. I took the time to take some pictures of this drain bolt for you guys to see. I think it's worth investing in!

Look at all those metal shavings caught on the magnet!

This drain bolt had gotten a tiny bit rusty. Mod time.

Painted the drain bolt with an old touch-up brush from the 2010 Camaro. It has a nice lacquer finish.

If you don't already have a magnetic drain bolt, I would highly suggest buying one for whichever car you drive. Puyang also installed a magnetic drain bolt on his GTI, but you'll get to see that in the full episode.

In the next two weeks, we'll be extremely busy. The first weekend will be spent at an import car show, and the following weekend will be our first autocross event of the season. In preparations for the upcoming car show, I have been trying to sharpen my knowledge on using the Canon EOS 5D Mk. III.

I am also expecting a 77 mm circular polarizer lens filter in the mail. Hopefully it will get here in time for the car show!

In the meantime, hope you enjoy some of the test photos I took with the DSLR.