Rotational Banner

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Season 4 Premiere, Disabling the Soundaktor

It has been over a year since we've posted new videos. We at Machine Zealots are happy to say that we are back; with more episodes and more mods!

If you have been a long time follower of Machine Zealots, you would have possibly read, or heard, that we are making our show a bit differently now. Due to changes in our personal lives, we can no longer do what we used to do; that is: film an episode, edit, and then upload. What we have found most efficient is to plan out all the mods and episodes on our breaks. Then we film all the episodes in the summer, while it is warmer with tons of daylight, and upload those episodes in sequence during the winter times, which is also our hiatus; and the cycle continues that way.

We don't know how long this method will last, but it's much better than our previous methods for sure. The only down side is, you guys have to wait for larger chunks of time before any new content is posted online. With that said, we thank you for patiently waiting for us, and I hope the new season won't be a huge let down!

With that long introduction out of the way, let's talk about the episode.

This season will be slightly different from the past seasons. As you can see, the first episode we aired is focused on the 2012 Golf GTI. Ever since Season 1, we had wanted to integrate more of Puyang's car into the episodes. Largely due to budget concerns, he was unable to join. This season, as you will come to see, is very balanced in terms of the cars. You will see pretty much equal amount of screen time between the 2006 WRX STI, and the 2012 Golf GTI. You may also see some special guest cars here and there, but you'll have to stick around to find out.

This episode specifically covers one of the first things that the GTI owners modify. Removing the Soundaktor, if you listen to the description in the video, is a key part in enhancing the driving experience. If you didn't understand the description, it's totally fine. In short, the Soundaktor is an artificial noise maker, that syncs to your engine RPM. It ends up being a tacky way of making the car sound sportier. While new technology is often cool, Puyang was very irritated at the Soundaktor. Either way, it has been disabled, so the GTI sounds so much better.

It's good to be back. Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Impact of the year

It has been quite a while since I have made any post here on the blog. Of course, our YouTube channel has been even more inactive. There are already some episodes completed and ready for upload. As I have promised, I planned to have the episodes aired near the end of the year, so that episodes can run all the way to late spring and summer. That way we can concentrate on making content during the seasons of nice weather, and concentrate our efforts on editing and processing the episodes during the rainy autumn season.

I apologize for any of you guys waiting for our videos but have not heard from us. I will make a short vlog to explain what I have explained here as well. However, subscribers are still flowing in faster than people unsubscribing, so I thank those who have subscribed to us, and thank those who have remained patient. I know you guys will love the new season, it is our biggest season to date.

On a personal note, why we haven't been able to get out episodes sooner is because of changes in life: Settling down, buying a home, and focusing on work is no small matter. In fact, I am thankful that my future wife actually encourages us to keep Machine Zealots going. More on this later.

I had recently invested in an impact wrench, impact sockets, and some torque sticks. I was getting tired of changing my wheels by hand, and since these tools were on sale, I thought it would be wise to invest in them.

The impact wrench is a heavy duty cordless wrench running on 20V lithium ion batteries. Featuring a 1/2" square drive, with a friction ring system that securely hold sockets and adaptors in place. It packs up to 145 ft-lbs of beastly torque and has a maximum speed of 2700 RPM. It's equipped with a small LED work light for those late nights in the garage, or for darker working areas.

It definitely sped up my summer to winter wheel swap. I think I spent only five minutes per wheel; from lifting up the wheel, removing, cleaning any rust, installing the new wheel, tightening, then torquing down.

The torque sticks were probably the most expensive out of the three, relatively speaking. Though I was hesitating whether to buy them, I ended up getting them, and I didn't regret it. For the first wheel, I had to use my torque wrench to test the accuracy of these torque sticks. After getting used to the torque sticks, I realized that they do the job very well! Perfect job every time.

I'm very happy with this investment, and I know I will put them to good use on other things as well.

That's it for now! I will update you guys later.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Importfest 2014 Photos

On August 9th, Puyang and I were invited to Importfest 2014. We saw some of the same cars displayed at last year's Importfest (Episode 0310 on YouTube), but there were quite a lot of new ones too. In fact, I think Importfest 2014 was a better show compared. Puyang and I were also happier this year as we got a couple of free T-shirts, sunglasses, posters, and other small gifts.

The Episode for this car show will be edited and uploaded at a later date as well. For now, please enjoy some of the photos we took at the show. There were lots of cool looking Subarus, for you subie lovers out there. ;)

Hope you enjoyed the photos. We will continue to make updates on our Season progress. Stay tuned!

Monday, August 25, 2014

GTI Autocross experience

On July 19th, Puyang took his GTI to his first autocross event. It was one of the best autocross weather conditions I have ever seen. In fact, most of the drivers that day said it was truly a miracle. Apparently, the land around us was pouring rain while we got dry tarmac, clouds, and a bit of sun. It was the perfect temperature as well, while it wasn't too hot for us, the tarmac absorbed enough heat for some really nice tire grip. We have to thank God for all of it!

Being a front wheel drive car, I was quite impressed with the handling of the GTI. There was definitely understeer and got a bit nose heavy, but it handled the corners quite well. We were also running on the stock all-season tires; a less sticky tire compound, and with soft side walls, so we were definitely at a disadvantage. For the first couple of runs, Puyang left the Traction and Stability control on. It was later that I told Puyang to turn them all off for a better sense of the car's handling. However, from factory there is a system in place for his GTI that helps with cornering. The system is called the XDS, and what it does is brakes the inside wheel on a hard turn so that the outside wheel can push the car back in the proper driving line, thus removing some of the understeer. Ideally, this is simulating what a limited slip differential would do, but for a fraction of the price. However, there would be faster brake wear present if one were to take hard corners all the time.

Overall, Puyang learned a lot about handling his car and driving techniques. He has now set a benchmark for the factory car, and his future modifications will now be compared to this benchmark test. If you want to see the entire photo album for this event, please visit our Facebook Page. If not, then enjoy some of our favorite photos from this event below.

We will have two episodes covering this event which will be aired at a later date. Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Summer wrap up

I can hardly believe that this year is already coming to an end! We have been extremely productive this summer on getting videos organized and filmed. If I remember correctly, we already have the entire eighteen episode season shot and ready for editing. However, I am not planning to release all eighteen episodes this season; I have explained in one of the previous posts this year that we are focusing on a lot of other things and don't have the time and budget to continue Machine Zealots to the same extent as Seasons 2 and 3. I am currently aiming for twelve episodes each season. After we get all the episodes edited, both Puyang and I will select which episodes to air for this season, and which episodes to air for Season 5.

Wow, if we make it to Season 5, so in other words the fifth year, that would be quite the stretch. After working on our cars this summer, both Puyang and I got the modding bug back again. We are addicted to modifying our toys!

Our garage condition for taking out the Downpipe for a bung relocation.

If you have been following us on Facebook, you would have seen that we had been uploading a lot of pictures of our modding days. I think there was about three weeks where I had some down time from work, and we spent pretty much everyday of it outside working on our cars. I really enjoyed it. Of course, making a video while modifying increased the time outside about three fold. However, it didn't really bother me, it was just more time spent outside. Soon after installing the Turbo Back Exhaust (TBE), I quickly realized that the extra O2 bung I had gotten welded last year was off angle, therefore I could not possibly install a wideband O2 sensor there.

I had to contact the shop that welded it and removed the downpipe, plus the heatwrap, for the shop to re-weld my bung. It was a pretty bad experience, but the removal and re-installation of the downpipe went much faster the second time.

Original position of the bung on the left side, the angle would cause the sensor to hit the firewall. The fixed bung angle on the right. Also tested to see if the angle of the bung cleared a standard O2 sensor. The sensor seen in the picture is my stock O2 sensor that later got placed back in the proper spot.

One of the most exciting things about this Season has been getting to Stage 2. Installing the Turbo Back Exhaust (TBE) has been one of the biggest installations on Machine Zealots to date. I know it's nothing compared to what some other people have done, but for us, it's a starting point. We are already looking ahead at the possibility to go bigger. Won't get into that now though. We've also got a lot of mini projects in mind, and have been buying little things here and there.

Bought a fog light switch from an 05 STI owner.

Nope, I'm not installing fog lights, instead this will work as a switch that controls something else I have in mind. This will give a cleaner OEM look. I also took out the light bulb so I can research what it takes to make these buttons illuminate red. If this is successful, then the Intercooler Spray button will also be modified. This is just an example at some of the "smaller" mods we've got planned.

Polyurethane lip for the 2012 Golf GTI. Aw Yeah!

If you are a GTI owner, or even any European car owner, you will know that your aftermarket parts are generally more expensive than American, or even Japanese cars. Well, the Golf GTI, as affordable as the car is, is also no exception to this rule. Puyang had been researching for a nice aggressive lip for a really long time, and to no avail; the pricing of any 2012 Golf GTI lip can easily add up to 400 dollars, on top of that you've got taxes and shipping costs too. They would most likely be made out of ABS plastic, and would be prone to cracking and breaking if not careful. Finally, after months of research and looking, Puyang came across a deal too good to be true. A high quality polyurethane lip that costed only $150 shipped to the door! We were skeptical of the quality, but for that price, he was willing to give it a shot. Turned out, it was one of the best looking and cheapest mods he has gotten so far. In the picture above, we've only mocked it on, and we have to say, it looks pretty good as it is. We will get it installed at a later date while we look for the hardware.

Introducing the Spider Pod.

The Spider Pod turned out to be one of the most useful tools I've put together. It took five minutes to make out of K'nex, and in the spirit of saving money, it turned out very well. Its purpose was to serve as a P.O.V. camera when I work under the car. The high powered LED strapped to the pod serves really well as a lighting source for those hard to see areas. The legs detach in a matter of seconds for flexible height adjustments. Pretty cool huh?

We also went to an Autocross event on July 19th, where Puyang raced his GTI for the first time. We've got photos on the Facebook page right now, but I will update the blog specifically on that event at a later date. We also went to Importfest 2014 on August 9th. Photos and videos will be posted at a later time as well.

Hope you guys had a really productive summer as well! Till next time, stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


We have been extremely busy with Machine Zealots during this summer, and it looks like we'll be quite productive in the next month or so as well. How about I just show you some of the highlights?

A large installation episode, fully removing the factory TBE, and installing an aftermarket TBE.

Tuning and data logging the OTS Stage 2 map with the Cobb AP.

Installation of the Grimmspeed Turbo Heat Shield.

Installation of the PTP Turbo Blanket.

A detailed episode on installing the Kartboy Short Shifter.

The upcoming episodes for this season are some of the most technical episodes we have done to date. They are super exciting for us to shoot, and we are confident that some of these installation videos have never been posted on the web before. (I could be wrong, but I did a lot of searching.)

As the car has officially entered Stage 2, I am still getting a grip on several things: Tuning, supporting mods, data logging, but mostly research, research, and more research.

I will make a more updated post on the tuning and data logging process a bit later; I am transitioning from the Cobb Accessport to Open Source tuning.

We are now collecting all the shots for each episode, and will aim to edit them when the autumn season approaches. Stay tuned!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Working on it

This is just a short update on what's been going on behind the scenes at Machine Zealots. We recently got a power supply for our electronics projects. We purchased it online for around $60 shipped, which is actually a really good price if you do some research. It has all the features that we would pretty much ever use; able to simulate a car battery so that many of our future electronics mods can be thoroughly tested before installing. I don't think everyone needs a power supply, but you definitely get more overall control with one. I am really enjoying the power supply so far, and it is seemingly a worthy investment for our applications.

Our brand new power supply, power testing the BlackVue dash camera.

With the power supply, I can put many of my ideas to the test. Whether I'm wiring switches, or other devices, it helps me visualize my wiring diagram without actually having to draw one out. Perhaps in the future I'll go through more of the specific features of this particular power supply.

As mentioned in the previous post, we have a lot of footage, and a lot of episodes to hammer out. While I was getting into the groove, I decided it was time for a new intro. With the new DSLR ending the previous season, I thought it would be nice to add nicer DSLR footage to a brand new intro sequence. Below is just a sneak peek at a work in progress.

A new intro sequence for the new season.

To be honest, I wish I had started Season 4 a couple of months earlier. I forgot how much fun it was to work on the cars and make these videos. We'll try not to delay as much when it comes to Season 5.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Ironmen Show & Shine, and some other stuff

It's been a couple of hectic weeks, but I finally have some time to update you guys again. Puyang and I went to a Show & Shine car show on June 7, 2014. It was held at our local Church, and it was a fantastic day of cars, food, and fun. I took this opportunity to volunteer as a photographer and shot an episode while I was at it, which I will be editing soon. Before I show you guys the photos, I'll just briefly update you guys on some Machine Zealot's news.

If you guys follow us on Facebook, I've mentioned that we have four episodes currently in the making. Puyang is a good help when I need an extra hand around the car, or shooting some videos, but I am usually the only person editing the episodes; this is why I can not finish all four videos at the same time. We have all the necessary shots to complete an entire episode, but I still need to trim, colorize, and treat the footage, as well as sync all necessary sounds and background music. It takes roughly thirty to forty hours to finish one episode in the editing phase, so it's a lot of work. Even though I work a full time job, and have other pursuits, I still want to make these videos. To be honest, I have a lot of fun working on cars and making videos, I just wish I had more time!

Here are some pictures from one shot of each upcoming episode:

I'm not going to reveal exactly what each episode will be about, but I think some of the pictures explain themselves very well. Either way, I seem to have some free time in the upcoming week, so I will be getting straight to the episodes. I already have another two episodes lined up for filming. Both Puyang and I are determined to use as many sunny days as possible for shooting during this season. That way, we can have content to work on during the rainy days, or even the fast approaching autumn season.

Well, that's pretty much it for updates. Below are some of our favorite cars from the Ironmen Show & Shine.