Slouching Onwards to Automotive… Somthing or other.

It’s been that kind of summer. Between finally getting to the track and some general meandering around the province, I’ve put about 9000km on the ‘coupe this summer. That’s actually a big deal for me, as I commute to work by bike, so during the week, it’s not unusual for me to not even start the car for four or five days. Basically, all that mileage is cottage runs, and cruises.

The track wasn’t high mileage (obviously) but 90 minutes at basically wide-open throttle (I kid you not, I could WATCH the gas gauge drop) is hard mileage. So, I’ve ended up with a few more oil changes than usual during the summer too.

There’s just time for two more, as well – Right now, I need an oil change and then I’ll need one again next month.

Next month, you say? That’s crazy talk, three months for oil changes is the norm.

Except.

September27th, I leave for Tail of the Dragon.

It is 1686km one way. Tail of the Dragon (Deal’s Gap) is in Tennessee. I’ve no idea how much mileage I’ll do there, but then it’s 1686km home, as well. I figure that the bare minimum I’ll do in those five or six days is 4000km.

Now, THAT’S a driving vacation.

And right now, a bunch of you are muttering to yourselves that I’m nuts. And I’m not sure you’re wrong. But, with the help of someone who’s done it before, I’ve got a route that, while slightly longer, runs through some very scenic country that isn’t downtown Detroit.

2016TailoftheDragon//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

That should be some pretty glorious driving, even if it is fifteen hours worth. Each way.

Before that, though, I’ve gotta I had to deal with the car. (Had to – Ummm, I was gonna post this Friday afternoon, and it’s now Monday morning. Whattayagonnado?)

Like I said, oil change. that’s actually scheduled for 2pm Friday – Finally, I’ve hit my last “included” oil-change (20 of them at time of purchase, 7.5 years ago). Once that’s done, it sounds like Friday tonight was going to be burgers’n’shakes (and it was), our weekly car crew get-together. Saturday morning, I was up at 7am, and in the garage.

What’s on the agenda?

First, brakes. You’ve all read by now the Post-trackday work I had with the brakes. And through the awesomeness of friends, that got me back to “driveable”. I want better than that for the Dragon, though. So, I ordered up some EBC YellowStuff pads:

2016-09-26_07-51-49//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

I’ve also got OEM rotors for the back brakes, that are fresh(er than my R1 Concepts ones), and that combination should be prettty good.

once that’s done, I definitely have to change the brake fluid. It would have been nice to do steel lines, but that’s going to be part of the winter upgrade – I don’t have the cash or time right now.

I hate bleeding brakes. Passionately. So, I’m kinda hoping I’ll have some help for it. We’ll see how that goes. I’m pretty sure I can manage, I won’t be trying to get bubbles out of the system, just trying to clear the old and refill with new, so I don’t REALLY anticipate any problems.

IMG_20160924_152215//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

It’s not rocket surgery, after all. Also, found a “one man bleeder kit” at Canadian Tire, and that was $8 well spent, as far as I’m concerned. No bubbles from what I could see, and all the fluid was coming out clear, and clean…. after a few good pumps. #notaeuphemism.

After that, the car is basically good to go. If I have time, I’ll probably pull the AEM DryFilter, and wash it, along with the hydroshield. I have to remove the front bumper for that. While the bumper’s off, I want to tighten up the lip as well – since I realigned it, it seems to move around some. I’m not really worried about it falling off, but I’d like it not to scratch what’s left of my paint. So, if I get time for that, that’s on the agenda too.

Tire pressures will be set. To factory. Because that’s what you do.

After all that, interior cleaning and set-up. I’m going to have a ton of electronics charging in the car – multiple (GPS, four… maybe? Five? go-pros, a pair of Uniden walkie-talkies, my phone, oh, and my regular-issue dashcam.

2016-09-26_07-49-13//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

How to run all that?

Mount a 12V splitter – I have a stack of 12v dual-2.1a-USB sockets, which are perfect for charging pretty much anything, I just need enough 12v sockets to plug everything in. the only trick will be “where to mount the splitter”. So, I guess THAT’S on the agenda, too.

Actually, ended up being fairly easy:

2016-09-26_07-55-49//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

At the same time, I ran my longest USB cable under the console, and out the back, into the back seat. I want to do a video of the entire drive down, then speed it up, and set it to music – 1700km in 6 minutes or so. We’ll see how that works out. But I’m mounting it way in the back, rather than just in the windshield, so that, hopefully, it’s a little more interesting and personal. I think Andyman is going to do an exterior camera for this, so it’ll be interesting to see the differences.

2016-09-26_07-56-02//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Roadtrips. They’re just the same and very different from what they used to be. All I used to take was a couple of big, spiral-ring map-books. And most people thought that was too much, too. Apparently, wifi/connectivity is hard to come by once we actually GET to TotD, but I’ll be posting as I go/when we stop. If you’ve any interest in the along-the-way antics and any updates I can do from Fontanta Village itself, feel free to follow me on @boozysmurf on Twitter, and/or @b00zysmurf on Instagram.

The Continuing Saga of a RaceTrack Wannabe

That’s right. I don’t post anything for months, and now you get a couple in a couple of days.

So, brakes.

I mentioned briefly in my thoughts from Novice Day that my brakes went away by the end of the day. Well, it was actually worse than that. I lost brakes entirely on my 3rd last lap, going into Turn 6 at 170km/h: Pedal went to the floor. I’d already lifted, so was bleeding speed anyway, pumped the pedal a couple of times and got some pressure into the system, downshifted to let the engine do some of the work, and cranked the wheel over to let the tires scrub some speed, and all was well: My instructor admonished me for diving too deep into the corner and running wide and off line, I told him that it was a brakes issue. I ran the next few laps slower, just working on my line and smoothness, and pointing people by as I needed to (including the 370z I’d eaten up about three laps earlier, dammit!).

I got a look at the rotors after the session ended, and this is what I saw:

FLICKR – wheel – rotor

Not good. Tough to tell without closer inspection, but the pads were looking a little light, too.

Get on the road home, and I popped an (unrelated) engine code: P0133. Pretty sure that was just the engine reacting to the high flow catalytic converter and suddenly not running wide open, as I had been on the track for the best part of two hours. I cleared that, and no issues the rest of the way home (70km).

When I got into town, however, and off the highway, I ran into some issues.

At about Bank / Walkley, the car felt really sluggish. I had to give it more gas to make it go anywhere, and acceleration was seriously lackluster. If I took my foot off the gas, it came to a halt almost immediately.

Of course, this is when a good officer of the law arrived on my bumper, in traffic.

Because OF COURSE.

So, I’m gunning the hell out of the engine to make the car go anywhere (I’ve already got an idea where the issue is) and figure, well, I might as well set up my defense. Put my four-ways on, and hope for the best. I’m less than 2km from home at this point, so I’m going to try to limp it there, unless I’m told not to. Turn onto the primary run into my neighbourhood… and the officer follows me in. Again, I figure I might as well get ahead of the curve, and pull to the side of the road in front of the Dodge dealership. At which point, the cop pulls right past me!

Seriously?

I’m now not worried about getting a ticket, but mildly irritated that, despite my four ways, the cop didn’t stop to check on me. Sorry guys. Sometimes you just can’t win.

Nothing is visibly stuck, so after a few minutes, I get back on my way. Still really sluggish though. I get home, and the same thing: the car is stopping very quickly when it’s not under power, of its own accord. I back it into the garage, and leave it there for the night.

2016-08-08_12-27-20//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Sunday afternoon rolls around, and it’s time to check things out. The good news: all the bolts on the brakes came loose with some pressure: nothing seized.

The bad news. This list is longer.

First, the front rotors are, as I thought, screwed. With them off, they’re both splotchy/white, with some flaking of the edges that isn’t rust, and they’re so deeply grooved that you could climb them. Or at least play “Darkside of the Moon” if you’ve got a record player kicking around. They are ROUGH. See for yourself:

2016-08-08_11-58-20//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Second, the front pads. Also totally fucked. Outboard was down to a sliver of material left. The pad itself has been baked to the point at which it’s also flaking apart. The inboard pad isn’t as badly worn, but it’s really unevenly worn. Looks like it stuck in the bracket and stopped retracting/loosening off when I got off the brakes. Basically, about 1/4″ more wear on one end of the pad than the other.

2016-08-08_11-57-34//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Third, the front caliper sliders were completely stuck: all the lubricant had burnt off. That’s an easy fix, but contributed to the above issues, I’m sure. All the lubricant around the areas the pads touch the brackets? Yeah, that’s gone too. Again, easy fix, but the pads are dead.

Fourth, I don’t know if the front calipers are still ok. I’ve pushed the pistons back in, so they do move. Only way to find out will be to get fresh rotors and pads in there and see what happens.

So, what’s the plan from here?

Given how my brake knowledge has grown in the last 72 hours, there’s a couple of things. First, the rear brakes (same brand rotors – R1 Concepts, and same brand pads – Frixa) that I installed new on Friday night are FINE. No scoring, no over-wearing, no sticking. It might be worth disassembling them and re-lubicating to make sure everything is moving post-track-heat, but otherwise, they’re fine. What I hit the track with on the front of the car, though, had 60,000km over four years, on them, and two winters of driving in Ottawa’s snow and salt. There is (I’m told) a finite shelf-life for brakes, even if there’s material left: I didn’t know that. So, old, well-used components, stressed to the maximum on the track? It should surprise no one that they fought the good fight, and finally, lost. Everything I’ve read, and been told, says that no, the expectation is not that you will be going through a set of pads and rotors per track day. I hit a perfect storm of abuse and existing wear. On top of that, as I mentioned, I have the base OEM brake set up. It’s good, but it’s not, I don’t think, race track good. Especially not with 60,000km of wear already on the components. But, it’s taught me an awful lot about things to look for, and things to keep up with in terms of preventative maintenance. And I think, whatever brake set up I end up with in the future, I’ll make sure I’ve got spare pads and rotors on hand in case I do need them.

Well, I’m doing Tail of the Dragon with GenSport United in late September. So, I’ve gotta have decent brakes on for that. In the short term, i MIGHT have access to a set of OEM’s that someone isn’t using. If I get really lucky, they’ll get up here from Oshawa before Thursday, and I can drive the ‘coupe to the cottage this weekend. If not, then I’ll be ordering new, OEM-base replacemnts (probably EBC rotors and pads) to get me through the end of summer and fall.

After that, I’m seriously considering a BBK. It sounds like there may be a semi-local option for me. I may also have a line on an affordable OEM Brembo swap with Stoptech rotors and pads. Failing all that, the R1Concepts forged series BBK looks like it has potential as well.

As I said in the original post, I learned a lot this last weekend, not just about being on a track, but about myself, my car, and all the things that go into being SAFE on the road, and on the track.

Good times.

Track Day, Bro.

So, I’ve been quiet here. Ummmm. Sorry? All three of you?

Basically, shit’s been busy, and I keep starting writing things and then not finishing them. I’m hoping this will not be the case tonight.

So, I’ve talked about the car before. Today was a bit different.

I signed up for 1morelap.com‘s novice day at Calabogie Motorsports Park. I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting into. So, about a month ago, I went to an HPDE day. Why? I wasn’t going to drive just yet. But they do a great thing there: once you’re signed off to drive solo, you can take passengers. Better, you’re kinda expected to take a passenger if they ask. It’s the “first taste is free” kinda deal. And that was the full track. I’ll get to more of that later. I’ll give you verbatim what I posted to facebook that night:

Huh. It was more than a couple weeks ago. June 11th, in fact!


So, yesterday, a few of us (finally) took Borge Gamble up on a run out to Calabogie Motorsports Park for a lapping event, with 1morelap.

I did not DRIVE.

I had two very, very different experiences as a passenger (and everyone was wickedly friendly). First, with Ken in an (if you can believe it) automatic Scion FRS. Second, with Norman, in a fourteen year old BMW M3. Ken is somewhat of a novice, Norman, been doing this a good while.

The FRS is amazing. I’ll be perfectly honest here. Anyone who says the base spec of 201hp/151lb.ft isn’t enough for a real car? Has never been in one driven hard, on a track. Hard on the brakes into Turn 5 was touching 155km/h. If anything, the paddle-shifted automatic made it faster. it was balanced, and basically only being passed by other cars on the straights: in the corners, with good tires, it is beyond capable.

The M3 though (E43, the last truly good one in my opinion) is pretty much everything the M-fanbois make it out to be. It has more than enough power, and stunning brakes. Better tires make the handling… knife edged. The same entry into turn 5 as the FRS was a terrifying 200-220km/h, dropping to 90ish through the corner itself. And I now know what the phrase “throwing the anchor out” REALLY means. 220kmh to 85km/h in (my guess) under 200ft. It is violent. It was passed by exactly two cars. One, a monstrous Corvette street car, and the other a dedicated CASCAR (I think) chassis.

I spent a lot of time watching entry speeds, exit speeds, and control: it’s not just about the experience (although the first three or four laps in the FRS were a bit of a blur, and my grin in the M3 was enough to split the helmet). I love racecraft, and you can learn a lot here. It’s a controlled environment, but it’s not THAT controlled. There’s excellent support from the support staff and marshals, and they WILL black flag (end your night) you if you’re being a dick and unsafe. I saw nothing but courtesy from other drivers: always pointing to pass (you do not pass unless the driver in front has told you explicitly to pass, and which side, with hand signals). Ken and Norman had dramatically different lines into several corners (most dramatically, Turn 8, 12, and 17).

I drove home with the cruise locked in at maybe 5km/h over. There just didn’t seem to be much point.

Sometime this summer, I’m gonna make it out there myself. Most likely August 6th / novice day, but possibly an evening or HPDE day, with an instructor: It costs a little more, but I think is going to be absolutely worth it.

I’m also going to head out there on a couple of the days and volunteer as a photographer: it apparently gets me some different access, and that will also be a ton of fun.

Excellent afternoon, doing the kind of thing I love. Good, good time. I can see the potential for addiction here, though.

So, fastfoward to yesterday. We got there early, about two hours early for our first session (10am) and lined up, parked, and went to get a handle on things.

IMG_20160806_082627-01//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

There were two events ongoing yesterday, so the track was “split”. Known coloquially as “east” and “west” tracks. The west track is where the novice day was held: it’s not as fast as the east side, but it’s got some extremely interesting and complex turns on it. Rewind a bit. A requirement of the Novice day is a half-hour in-class training. It’s very simple, basic stuff: this is a novice event after-all. Still, I learned some things: Seating position – I was very close to where I needed to be, but still needed some adjustment. Vision – again, I was close, but I needed to learn to look all the way round the corner, not just into it: I know the rule. You go where you look. Beyond that, it was basic material about focus, apexes, speed, braking and shifting points, and the racing line. All excellent information.

So, then, to the track.

Take a look back at the track. As I said, the track was split, and we were running corners 2 through 1. That sounds odd, I know, but, follow it round. We entered the track at Turn 2 / Jacques: following the blend line. Uphill wide onto the concrete curb on the outside, then cresting right before turn 3 / Gilles, which is effectively blind. When I did it right, I ran full-throttle in third gear through turn three. The short straight to turn 4 / Easy lets you settle the car: in my case, I found that I could run third up against the red line, but that was forcing me to back off, or grab fourth gear in the middle of easy, on the curb on the inside, at about 110km/h. So, what I learned to do was grab fourth gear on the transitional straight between 3 and 4, and run wide open: by the time I cleared 4, and wound out the steering onto the straight on the outside edge of the track, I was running about 130km/h. From there, a straight run down Rocky Road. Rocky Road ends up with a crest and kink into Sir John A and Mulligans (Turn 5). By the end of the first session, I was diving straight through, blind, into Mulligans, braking hard, stabilizing the car, downshifting to third gear, and preparing to turn. By the end of the second session, I was standing on the brakes at the top of fourth gear, just barely touching 170km/h and 6800rpm. By the time I come off the brakes, about 200ft later, I’m at 75km/h or so, turning in and touching the cement on the inside, then letting the car drift out to the cement on the outside, between 5 and 6 (Big Rock), shedding speed naturally, rather than under braking: begin the turn into turn 6. Turn 6 dips slightly, and the car settles down: as it does, roll onto the gas pedal. The car takes a set, and if I did it right, the traction control does not flutter. Exiting the turn, there’s a very short transisiton between 6 and 7 (Candy Mountain) and you’re now aiming at the tall, single tree beyond the track. Aiming here and letting the car drift to the center of the track as you unwind the steering sets you up for turn 7, running at the top of third gear. Straightening out after turn 7 is grabbing fourth gear and onto the short straight down to turn 8 (Temptation). Hard on the brakes at the end of the straight, but leave it in third and let it run out (no gas) bleeding speed, then a dab of brakes again, and turn hard across the inside, drifting out to the cones at turn 1, and onto the paddock straight. Run out third gear as tight to the wall as possible then brakes and hard across the concrete at turn 2 and do it all over again.

When I write it down like that, it sounds like I know something, right?

Yeah, not so much.

I couldn’t have driven like I did without the instructors in my ear, in the passenger seat. Mike, John, Deiter: if you read this, holy shit guys, thank you. I learned so damn much yesterday. I put so damn much that I though I knew, into practice. I would not have had as much fun, learned as much, and had my frustration level lowered without those instructors.

Let me put it this way.

I cannot recommend the Novice Day enough. I just can’t. If you have any interest in cars, you need to do one of these. The instructors from 1MoreLap are absolutely fantastic, and patient, and knowledgeable, and patient, and encouraging, and did I mention patient?

I never timed a lap.

I didn’t count laps.

I know I did enough laps in 90 minutes to learn something.

I know I did enough laps in 90 minutes to destroy my brakes. Like. Completely.

Bad Brakes, Bad//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

*edit* *2016-08-08* Just to clarify. My brakes were OLD. Brakes (I discovered from someone more knowledgeable than me) have a shelf-life, as well. The car is 7.5 years old, I did the front brakes four years ago with reasonable quality Frixa pads and R1Concepts rotors. They had about 60,000km on them when I got to the track. You should NOT expect to have to replace your brakes every half hour! 🙂 It seems I may be implying that by omission. I’ve added a post about the brakes, too, because if you’re into racecraft, discussion of wear of hardware should interest you, and I’m talking about it from the perspective of a total noob. *end edit*

I know I did enough laps in 90 minutes to verify something I already knew, intellectually. I discovered that the drivermod is most important. I discovered my untuned, effectively stock(1) sub-200hp Genesis Coupe can stay with and go better than on-paper better cars, because of that DriverMod.

I know I did enough laps in 90 minutes to qualify my interest in watching racing, running sim-racers, and studying driving mechanics because I enjoy it, gives me a lot of knowledge the moment I sit down.

I know I did enough laps in 90 minutes to qualify that that last point means an awful lot less than I though it would: knowing a line intellectually is entirely different to actually driving it, at the limit of adhesion, as fast as you can, while listening to an instructor in your ear reminding you of the things you’re forgetting, or ignoring, because you’re only able to concentrate on a dozen things at once, not the two dozen you actually need to remember to be both fast and smooth.

I know I did enough laps to prove to myself that while smooth may be fast, sometimes you’ve got to slow down to get smooth again, and then rebuild your speed.

Most of all, I know I did enough laps to prove to myself that I know almost nothing, and that I want to go back and learn more.

I could say an awful lot more, but I don’t think anyone would read it. I know I’m gushing somewhat, but that’s a bucket list experience. And when I do get the brakes fixed up, I’m looking to do it again. And again. It won’t be every/every other weekend. But it’ll probably be a couple of times a summer. Because I want to get better, and better, and better.

(1) I have, at this time, wider, stickier than stock tires, lighter wheels, short shifter and bushings, intake, exhaust, high-flow catalytic converter, a stage 2 clutch, and lowering springs.

Car Stuff – Wherein My “Season” Ends Early

Last week was awesome. I finally got the car to the point where a] I could have the spacers on and b] only scrape the tires on the liners/tabs on the most major bumps. That’s actually a win. I think if I push the stiffness a little further, I can eliminate it altogether. The scraping, not the stiffness.

Which means my summer set-up is currently:

F: 19×8 +15mm 245/35R19
R: 19×9.5 +15mm 275/35R19

It’s very nice. Ride height finally, is probably in the range of two inches of drop (rather than the nearly 3.5″ I had to start with) and I’ve gotten the pre-load almost sorted out too (although a little more, especially in the front, probably has worth).

Last Sunday (the 16th of August) was Torque Modified in Bowmanville. At the same time, @thirtyyearhouse needed to be at her family’s cottage in Carnavon (where I was joining her after the show). So.

Friday – 160km roundtrip to drop the dog off at the dogsitter
Saturday – 360km to Carnavon from Ottawa, 160 to Bowmanville from Carnavon
Sunday – 7am out to Torque Modified, 10 hours in the parking lot, 160km to Carnavon
Monday – nothin’
Tuesady – 360km Carnavon to Ottawa, 160km roundtrip to pick up Dog
Wednesady, Thursday – Nothin’
Friday – 360km Ottawa to Picton
Saturday – 80km roundtrip to Sandbanks
Sunday – 360km Picton to Ottawa

Hunh. So, that’s actually over 2000km. With more accurate measures, probably exactly 2000ish. Yes. Exactly, ish.

The show was fantastic fun, I’ll admit. Not because I won (I was never gonna win anything, my car is NOT show level, by any means). But it was fun to hang with a ton of guys I talk to online regularly, and see rarely. The show itself was a fantastic mix of Hotrod, classic restoration, resto-rod, Modern Muscle, Tuner cars, and Import modified. No hate from anywhere and some truly amazing vehicles. But, it’s easier to show you, right?

020 - asses for miles//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

021 - MiniTruck 1988 Mazda//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

024 - Genesis Bagged//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

027 - The Beaumont//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

034 - Partial line-up//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The run back up to the cottage was amazing too, and so was the run home. I just love DRIVING the Genesis, still, after six and a half years.

So, what’s the issues?

Well, a portion of the lip is cracked now. I think I can fix that, but it’s going to take me some time, and I’m gonna have to pull the front end off to get at it. Not a big deal these days, but it’s still a bunch of work.

The rear tires are still scraping on the tabs inside the fenders where the bumper cover joins the body. Again, not often, and not badly, but it’s still there. I think just a little more adjustment (some more pre-load, a little more stiffness, and another turn of height) will do the job. It’s primarily happening when the car is loaded down, so the pre-load will definitely help. And doing all this will put me closer to next years goal of going to the track.

At the same time, I did the front brakes with some nice, but affordable, parts from R1 Concepts, a few years back. At the time, we looked at the rears, and there was no real point doing them: they were pristine. Now, after 6.5 years of spirited driving, they are less so. A little grindy when you get aggressive, and the rotors are visibly scored. I’ve had the parts sitting around for three years, so it’s a matter of doing them. But I don’t want to go far, until I do them, for safety’s sake. As I’ll have the wheels off to mess with the suspension, I might as well do ’em then.

On top of that, the clutch is finally getting really bad. I think.

But here’s the thing. At this point, it might be the clutch (and again, I have one waiting, a stage 2 Competition Clutch. I just need a good clutch line (might as well do it while I’ve got everything apart) and a throwout bearing (a definite must do while the clutch is out). But it also might be the exhaust. The car is six and a half years old, and the stock engine/tune runs rich, and, due to turbo, blows some oil. Nature of the beast, not worried about it. BUT. I have feeling the stock catalytic converter is almost done, and is causing issues of restriction: the hesitation I can feel when I got wide-open with the throttle could be the clutch, except I’m not seeing the revs jump and then fall, except at high-gear, high load. So I’m wondering if it’s the back pressure building up behind a jammed up catalytic converter, that’s just not flowing as well as it used to. At the same time, I KNOW I’ve got an exhaust leak at the gasket between the catalytic and downpipe, and I think that’s a combination of a downpipe flange that wasn’t as well manufactured as it could have been, and worn catalytic converter studs.

Which means it’s time for a new catalytic converter.

The options there are … very few, actually. I could go with a stock one: as I want to tune the car next year, finally, I’d need to have it modified with a wideband sensor bung. Smarter is aftermarket, high-flow: still emissions compliant (which was always my goal) but comes with the necessary sensor bungs (stock O2’s, Wideband), and flows more, faster. That means more power. I like more power. The options there are incredibly limited, because most people just ditch the catalytics completely, and run an open, catless O2 housing. I don’t wanna do that. Technically, CPE makes a high flow stock replacement, but the only place I can find it is Uniq performance. The other (cheaper) option is out of Toronto as well: Ultimate Racing makes a high-flow replacement for the stock cat on the 2.0T Genesis, and it’s affordable. Thing is, despite them being Canadian, I don’t know how affordable, because their pricing is in US Dollars. I understand why: most of their business will come out of the states, online. But it does mean I have to contact them directly to get a price on what I need. Still, looks to be about 2/3 to half the price of the CPE unit, which is dandy by me!

What this means, is, in the TL-DR version I currently have issues with:

-Brakes
-lip/body
-clutch
-suspension rubbing
-exhaust
-and nearly worn-out tires

Which means I’m done for the season. Which takes the

Wrenchin’ and Beerin’ and Lowerin’ Property Values.

This is a thing we do, you see.

more driveway action

We get together, we have a few beers, we turn the stereo up, and we work on the cars. Obviously, there’s a heavy slant towards the Genesis Coupe in the group: I own one, and that’s how I met most of these guys. But at the same time, we’ve gotten into the larger community. On top of that, some guys are selling their ‘coupes and moving on. So we’ve got, a Kia Forte Koup, a slammed Hyundai Elantra, an occasional Nissan 350z, a Dodge Dart (Don’t ask), and basically… anything within the group is cool by us. We are, at the end of the day, car folks. Which means it really goes further than just wrenching on our own cars: we do basic maintenance on our friends cars, often enough, too: brakes, suspension, exhaust, etc. We do expect two things:

1] Bring beer. It’s the universal form of payment.
2] Be willing to get dirty and learn something.

The second one, that’s actually the most important. We have had problems in the past with guys showing up and expecting us to do the work for them, to save them money. But weren’t willing to get in and turn a wrench themselves. That goes… badly. We’re not free labour: we’re a community. If you’re not willing to wrench on your own car, you’re not likely to help anyone out with theirs, either. Which means you’re not welcome, except in special circumstances.

But it’s that time of year again.

If I had a hammer

On the docket already is:

  • Summer Tire Day. We do this pretty traditionally: Get everyone we know to show up, get a few jacks, impact guns, and yes, beer, and get everyone’s winters swapped off for their summers. This one is fun, it’s a good start to the season, and it helps our friends out. We don’t actually expect beer for this one, but we’re not against it arriving.
  • CR’s exhaust – one of the new guys has bought an RS-D exhaust. That’s what I had on my car. Needless to say, we know how to install it. that’ll be fun, and more material for the DrunkenWrench.
  • Whatever that damn Dodge needs – T’s got a ton of parts to put on, so, that’ll happen.
  • Anto’s suspension – the lowest of the low elantra has been upgraded to a …. new elantra. Moar suspension work! Moar DrunkenWrench.
  • My car! While I got the HSD coilovers on last year, I still need to set-up the rear pre-load properly.
  • my car! I also need to install the tablet and all the associated stuff that goes with it. That’ll be my big interior project this summer
  • my car! I still also have a Stage 2 Comp Clutch to install, and an ATQ short shifter. Gotta get to those, and they’re definitely drunken wrench material (what isn’t though?)

    Untitled

    I think there’s more, too. The upside is, there’s a second location now, which means I don’t have to continuously bother @30yearhouse with crowds of loud car people (and my neighbours, with tuner cars parked up and down the street, I guess) every weekend: pwned88 and Greg have a huge garage and driveway, known henceforth as “WrenchHaus”. They’re a couple kilometers away, which makes it really easy to change locations as required, and convenient.

    I think I need a banner this year, for the inside of the garage. Or two. I’ve run my life for the last fifteen years around the Bombshelter name, so, I think “Bombshelter Garage” is probably most appropriate.

    I think I need to clear out the empties, too.

    Early Spring

  • Car Guy Recap: 2010 Genesis Coupe

    So, I ordered my car on April 9th, 2009. After spending a lot of time going back to the dealership, and asking “where’s my car?” and recieving the response “No idea. It’s on a boat.” I took delivery of a 2010 2.0T 6MT Premium Genesis Coupe, on June 11th 2009. It was awesome.

    Which, obviously, is the reason for this post. My car turns five today (Yes, it’s Friday the 13th. I picked the car up on Friday the 11th), so… time for a look back.

    The second night I owned it, I did a cruise’n’shoot with @thirtyyearhouse. This would OBVIOUSLY set the tone for me owning the car.

    Genesis - front 15 16ths desat+blue

    2010 Genesis Coupe rear quarter

    I had a really big plan for the car. Some of it was accomplished, some of it is still pending. It’s funny how life is like that, eh?

    I drove the car basically stock for the first year. Tint got done (22%) via a group buy through Goldwing Automotive. Tint is required. Damn. Is it ever. I got a set of Pirelli SottoZero 240 winter tires in stock sizes (225/45R18, 245/45R18) from 1010tires.com and put ’em on the stock wheels.

    Genesis in the Snow

    Come the spring of 2010, then, I needed wheels and tires. It’s a pretty good plan, you know: get your winter tires on your stock wheels, then you HAVE to buy new ones for summer! CONVENIENT. I spent a lot of time researching. This is the first time I ever considered widening the wheels (I knew you could widen tires on cars, but I never considered widening the wheels in conjunction with that. Seems obvious, but there you are.

    What I settled on was Petrol Vengeance wheels, and Hankook Ventus V12 EVO tires. Specifically:

    19″ x 8″ wide wheels in the front with a +20mm offset, with 245/35R19 tire (stock is 18×7 +36mm, 225/45R18)
    19″ x 9.5″ wide wheels in the back, with 275/35R19 tire (stock is 18×7.5, +36mm, 245/45R18)

    So, a significant change in style, and size (and grip. The stock tires are all-season on the 18″ wheels, and while they’re adequate all-seasons, they’re not good by any means).

    There's no Gas Here.

    The wheels and tires are good. For me, the offset is perfect, pushed out to the fender, and pretty nearly the definition of flush (the word. As I would come to understand, “flush” can have very different connotations depending on which tuner lifestyle you prefer and subscribe to). Very good. BUT, they’ve accentuated the wheel gap. This, I would come to know, is known as “4×4 status”. Now, in all honesty, it’s not terrible. And a multitude would be thoroughly happy. But….

    (you see where this is going, right?)

    Yup. Lowering.

    Again, this was my first time venturing into the world of lowering. I’d thought about it before, with other cars, but I’d never actually done it. My weapon of choice was, in deference to affordability, springs, rather than coilovers. What I bought was Eibach’s ProKit, which would give me about 1.5″ of drop, just enough to close up those wheel gaps.

    And it did:

    GenCoupe Profile

    GenCoupe rear quarter

    That’s pretty much how my car stands to this day, too (although not for long): it looks a lot lower in the front, however, due to some cosmetic changes there. We’ll get to that.

    I wanted to do something under the hood, at this point. And, the most simple ones are, well, a cold-air intake, and blow-off valve. When I was done researching (it’s a thing I do, you may have noticed), I ended up with an HKS SSQV III and AEM CAI from G&M Performance. The BOV took some fiddling with, and I ended up running it off the stock solenoid, and letting the computer control it, rather than the preferred method of lining it into the vacuum line. On top of that, pulling the front off the car to do the intake (it means replacing the washer fluid bottle, AND the filter sits behind the bumper cover, rather than in the engine bay) was terrifying the first time. I was certain I was going to break it in half, because there comes a point where you just gotta pull on it REALLY HARD.

    Still, all went well.

    Sometime in the fall of 2010, I pulled into my parking spot forwards (which I never do) and scraped the hell out of the bumper cover. Some pissed off I was. I ran it like that through the winter, and come the Cambridge meet in the summer of 2011, I’d made arrangements with Uniq Performance to pick up a Prodigy poly urethene lip, pre-painted. that should cover the scrape nicely, and, I hoped, make the front look more aggressive, and interesting. About the same time, I was fighting with Korean Auto Imports (Aka KAI) about an IXION Grill (small digression here. IF you go to the link for the Ixion grill, click on the image of the blue car. That’s my car. I’ve never granted ImportShark permission to use that image, nor have I ever received a response as to why they’re using it without permission. So, I’d suggest not doing business with ’em. THey’re notoriously douchebaggy as vendors, and this is a good example). I’ll never do business with KAI again, after that fiasco. I did finally get the grill though, and I got it, and the lip, installed once I had a chance to borrow a driveway:

    Before

    During

    After-2

    04 - ixion grill

    I also got, courtesy of Aadam‘s experimentations a new shift knob.

    Totally awesome.

    16 - New Shift Knob

    More reading, and more basics. I started building myself a dual catch-can set-up. There’s a lot of reasons for this, and if you feel like it, you can read ’em here. What I ended up with was this:

    Again, much like the BOV, and CAI, nothing in terms of actual performance gains, but one more step towards increased reliability and efficiency. About the same time, I got a set of modified fog light bezels from one of the guys on the site. I still wasn’t sure that’s what I wanted the car to look like, but I was intrigued. Basically,t he standard plastic bezels, cut to allow airflow, and painted to match the car. I put some mesh behind the cuts, and voila, a functional pair of intakes, one of which fed cold, clean air directly to the CAI.

    And they’ve definitely grown on me. I’m still not 100%, I might end up going for some black/carbon ones, eventually, but they’re definitely good for now, and a pretty good match for the lip.

    Breathing Deeply

    At the same time, I got a smokin’ deal from another of the guys’ locally: an ARK downpipe and testpipe to straighten out the kinked stock exhaust, and remove the secondary catalytic converter. This got done up at Jay’s cottage. It’s only a 2.5″ piece, but again, gave me a ton of confidence with regards to working on the exhaust, which I’d not done before.

    We got that dealt with in an afternoon, after running the car without any exhaust for kicks, briefly. No point with a picture here, nothing really to see, but here’s what the car sounds like sans-exhaust:

    So, that opened up that avenue for me. What I really wanted was a proper exhaust. I’ve had my eye on the exhaust that TurboXS makes for a while: I’d followed a guy with one of them on during a cruise, and it sounded spectacular. So, in the spring of 2013 (see, we’re getting there now) I ordered it. That was a fun afternoon’s work, for sure! And, I’ve already documented that installation, so go read it here, if you want. It’s a sexy exhaust.

    Which brings me to 2014!

    I was still not loving the way the ARK pipe and TurboXS cat-back mate together. So, sometime during 2013 (and I forget when) I picked up a used TurboXS RacePipe: basically, it’d bolt to the stock primary catalytic converter, and replace all the ARK 2.5″ with a single 3″ pipe, to the TurboXS cat-back. Perfect. Except… we tried to install it (again, at Jay’s cottage) and it wouldn’t go over the bolts on the catalytic. It was CLOSE. It’d go on, but it wouldn’t go on far enough to seal, even with the nice, thick, TurboXS gasket. We tried reaming out the bolt holes with a drill, and that was going nowhere fast. So, I put it aside for after selling the house, and buying the new one, under the anticipation I’d have a garage that I could work in, and if the car was on blocks for two days while I worked on widening and re-re-re-checking the fit, that’d be ok. And sure enough, it was. With a hardcore bore/ream bit specifically for that kind of work, I finally got it opened up enough this spring that I could install it. And I’m MUCH happier now. I still have a mild leak, and I think that’ll be easily taken care of with a new gasket between the racepipe and the catalytic. It’s not enough you get exhaust in the cabin, you can just hear it wheezing a little through the exhaust, behind the front wheels. Not too shabby.

    Where does it go from here, though?

    Where it went was, in May, the whole Rigid Collars and stripped chassis bolt fiasco, and ATQ shifter bushings. I’ve also ordered (and has arrived in the city) the ATQ short shifter. That’s going in in short order, because I can’t wait.

    Well, primary on my list is the suspension. The stock struts and shocks are nearly done. So, it’s time to do the right thing, and replace it all with a good set of coilovers. The real advantage here is that I’ve learned, thanks to the Quartermaster and his files what I really need.

    I’m not a “slam it to the ground” guy. I understand the benefits of lowering the centre of gravity for handling’s sake, but, I’m not planning on running 4+ degrees of negative camber: I’m not going to be stretching my tires, and poking my wheels. What I want is for the damn car to go round corners REALLY FAST, and be able to soak up any bumps without making @thirtyyearhouse grind her teeth. What I need, then, is a set of adjustable, FULLY ADJUSTABLE coilovers. Not just ones that lower the car, but that I can adjust the damping on. I also want them to do the job right, so I’m moving up-market a little bit, to the most affordable set of inverted monotube. I’ve still never been to a track, but I do want to go occasionally. And I’ll be able to afford to, once the car is paid off next spring. So, affordable as possible, inverted monotube, adjustable damping and camber. Well, that’s the Stance SS series of coilovers. I could go more expensive, but I don’t have the need to. I definitely don’t want to go cheaper, because the ride quality IS important to me. So, there you have it. Stance SS Coilovers.

    That was all my research. Which I promptly threw out the window the first weekend of June, and bought a set of HSD Coilovers (again from Uniq performance). Eveything I’ve read so far is that these are a] far beyond “adequate” and b] able to stand up to Canadian winters. Customer service with HSD has been spotty, but the product is known to be good. So, I got a decent price, and dove in.

    Once that’s done, and that last payment is made, it’s time to FINALLY look at the engine.

    Oh, wait. It’s not. The CLUTCH, the damnable clutch. at 60,000km (maybe 40,000miles) the clutch is definitely going. I know some guys have lasted as long as 100,000km, and some as few as 19,000km. And, honestly, I got a new one at 6000km, because of a bad throwout bearing that came from factory. So, new clutch. And not the stock replacement, either. Most likely, I’ll roll with a Competition Clutch stage 2, which comes with a matching, lightened, flywheel. That should be more than enough for what I want to see in terms of power and durability. And I got that at the same time as the coilovers (it was originally what I approached Uniq about, Rob just talked me into more stuff). The question now is whether or not I (with assistance) attempt to do the clutch in the driveway, or pay someone to do it for me. Likely, I’ll approach Extreme Autocare here in Ottawa and see what they’d charge me, and if it’s good enough then I’ll let them do it in a shop, rather than Colton and I lyin’ on our backs under the car, in the driveway. Makes sense? Makes sense.

    Beyond that, I want an intercooler and the associated piping. Again, I’ve had three or four of these on my list for two years now, and the longer I’ve waited, the more I’ve learned about what I actually need from an FMIC (Front Mount InterCooler). And it appears, what I want and need is a Treadstone TR8 kit. That will provide enough cold air to any of the other upgrades I might want to do in the future, with this car. I don’t have 500hp dreams. I have 300hp dreams. And, yeah, maybe 350lb.ft sub-dreams. The TR8 is more than capable of helping to get me there.

    Along with that will be injectors. Probably 750cc, although I’ll have to look a little deeper and see if 550cc will do the job.

    So, that’s air, fuel, evacuation, and power transfer. And, honestly, once that’s tuned properly (likely with that BTRcc custom tune) there is every good chance that that will be enough for me. I can finish off the drivetrain (I still want a Limited Slip Differential in there, and maybe work on the paint. But I’m GUESSING, from what I’ve seen of other people, that all the stuff above, properly tuned, should be good for around 270hp to the wheels, and 300+lb.ft of torque. And that’s more than good. That’s enough to get into serious trouble. So, maybe, then, I save my pennies for tires, and track time.

    In the meantime, I’m gonna keep enjoying my now five year old car. Oh, I am tempted by the trade-in with the new engine (40% bump in power) and transmission (more smoother naow!) and the better put together interior. But, at the same time, I LIKE my car. It’s not at all perfect (as you saw from the fiasco with the chassis bolt): the sunroof and seat both squeak, and that’s never been adequately dealt with: the interior on the newer cars is markedly better, too. And, there’s already rumours of a major redesign of the ‘coupe in 2015/16 (rather than the refresh they just did), AND it looks like the 2.0T will be dropped. At the same time, it’s likely the 2015 Mustang will be available, with a 270-300hp turbo-4-cyclinder, and that the Subaru BRZ-STI will hopefully have hit, too. But at the same time, I’ve got blood, sweat, and history in this car. Yes, it was the cardinal sin: never buy a car in its first run-year. But things have been good. I’ve met a ton of great people I wouldn’t likely have done if I’d not bought it, or maybe even if I’d bought it later than I did. I still get looks, thumbs-up, questions, and necks-snappin’ when I drive it. It’s… me. It’s definitely me. So, I’ll keep making it me, and not fall to grass-is-greener syndrome.

    Once upon a time, I wrote about how damn spoiled we are that a multitude of sub-$30k platforms will run speeds that you couldn’t have had for less than the cost of a Corvette, fifteen years ago. I stand by that. I should maybe even repost it from the forum I wrote it for.

    What is awesome is that, in the next few weeks, the car will be paid off. It’s mine. That puts a bunch of money back in my pocket. Most of that is going towards the new house I mentioned somewhere up there, but some of it will always be earmarked for more upgrades. The FMIC, injectors, and tune are definitely a thing that’ll happen. I’m also considering new wheels: I like the ones I’ve got, but it’s been four years, and it’ll be five on ’em by the time I can even think of pulling the trigger. That’s a bunch of time. And my goals with the car have changed. I’d originally wanted to do shows and stuff, but, honestly, I’m never gonna win a trophy: I don’t have the time, or money, to build a show-winning car. More realistically, I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing, which is have the car for me. And what “for me” means is driving it. And that means, the track. Which means if I’m replacing the wheels, I may keep the width, but drop down to lighter weight 18″ wheels, something serious. Like I said, I’m not really about stance, but there’s still something about big fat wheels and tires, with bulging, obviously-functional sidewalls, that turns my crank. Maybe 18×9/18×10 GramLights, or Enkei, and shave some eight or nine pounds off per corner? If I get really into it, maybe it will be time for an internal rebuild, and a turbo upgrade. Maybe. No idea what the next five years are gonna bring for the beast. I complain about the seat-squeak, but a set of recaro’s would solve that problem right away.

    Finally, the greatest thing I’ve gotten out of the car, is a community. I’m part of the Durham Basterds, and Chapter 11:Section 62, I’ve become active in the more general KDM community (so, all Hyundai and Kia) as well as the Genesis Coupe specific ones. I’ve been making friends in the Scion FRS/Subaru BRZ communities, too. But the friends I’ve made through the Genesis specifically? They’re the same friends, all over again, that I made in high-school, and again in University. It’s startling, in fact.

    I’ve been to 150+ car meets pretty much every year. Do I get along with everyone? no, but the vast majority, totally. And the ottawa crew spends an awful lot of time in my driveway, now that I have one. My place has become a defacto headquarters for the Ottawa KDM community, and I’m ok with that. In fact, I want it to get bigger. So it looks like this more often:

    Untitled

    Ok, I’ve said entirely enough. That’s five years with the car, it’s not going anywhere. Why?

    Because it’s just this sexy.

    Sunset on the High Road III

    The Most Basic of Tools

    Fortunately, I DO have a hammer. in fact, I have several of them. I have a garden variety hammer, for the nails, and occasionally bending screws, and breaking through drywall. I have a marvelous rubber mallet, which works for delicate bashing (it happens) and banging the hell out of whatever prying device I happen to be using (a prybar and mallet is my favorite way to separate things that are fastened together: like floorboards). And then there’s the BFH. Yes, the Big. Fucking. Hammer. In this case, a 3lb thumper which is really best for making things submit to my will, in a way the other two never manage. I mean, it’s not a sledgehammer.

    But it is the one-handed equivalent.

    And, turns out, with a 2×4 held in place, after I’d removed the exhaust, it’s the best tool to flatten the body-lip on the car so it doesn’t bang on the exhaust anymore (or the exhaust doesn’t bang on it, which is the more accurate statement).

    Not bad. 10 minutes to put the car in the air, on jack stands, 10 minutes to pull the mufflers (which was as far as I needed to go back) and flatten the ridge on the body, and 10 minutes to put the cans back on, and button it all up, and drop the car down again.

    If I had a hammer

    DONE. Or, rather, at that point, not done.