December 9, 2008

Grounding The Car

Thread on RX8 club
Actual Product

Picked up some excellent grounding wires custom made from Flex Innovations. I had a grounding kit at the very bottom of the list as it really was not that important, but when I saw the special for such a low price, and that it was 8G wire just as good as an HKS or Apexi grounding kit, I really could not pass this up.

Install was very straight forward as it comes with very good instructions and took only 30 minutes with box end wrenches. I did not feel the need to really take any pictures at all as the pictures on RX8 club are great enough (the first link).

First thing I noticed was, my lights and gauges all came up much faster. Idle was much smoother, as in next to no vibrations and the needle was flat at all times, while warming up and running. It could just be me, but I think the speakers sounded clearer then before. It was nice, a fun little addition, and for the price, why not, right? Thanks Flex for the good stuff! I'm very much a name brand buyer, but this was a brand killer to me.

December 6, 2008

Good Christmas Gifts

Every year I usually order some Christmas gifts from Every year their selections get better and better, with great selections of DVDs and racing shirts at good prices. The shirts really do make great Christmas gifts as I've never had a complaint yet! Big thanks to them for getting me my order.

December 2, 2008

Exhaust Upgrade

I finally had given into desires and got my cat-back exhaust that I really wanted for my car. I had ordered the HKS Hi-Power Single Exhaust from the boys at Fluid Motorsports. Big thanks to them for taking care of my order with great customer service, so don't hesitate to give them a call with any questions.
I went with this exhaust for a few reasons-
1. The look of the single exhaust is something I prefer over dual (if you notice, 90% of actual track RX8 cars have single exhaust)
2. The sound clips I heard on Youtube sounded great!
3. The Ti-Burnt tip was very appealing
4. HKS makes great products
5. Good reviews I read about this exhaust
So I really couldn't say no when I heard the great price! I recieved the exhaust Friday and went to a NEPOC install meet to have help from my friends Josh, James, Jimmy, Thol, and Bruce. Big thanks to everyone, especially Josh who was under the car the whole time (My hand still hurts from being broken, so I was next to useless!).
From what I could tell, the install seemed relatively straight forward-
1. Jack the rear of the car up and onto stands
2. Remove the plastic exhaust shrouds on the rear bumper
3. Unbolt the exhaust from the catalytic converter
4. Pull the exhaust from the hangers
5. Slowly pull the exhaust away and swap in the new one!
For starters..The sound was excellent and the youtube videos do NOT give the exhaust justice. It's very deep, much like a Subaru STI's stock exhaust, only louder. In terms of difference, I can feel a bit more low-end pull, but nothing else that is really noticeable. It weighs about 15 pounds, and stock weighs 37, so some savings there as well.

At the moment unfortunately, at idle I can hear something rubbing against the car, and so I hear a high pitched squealing of metal being rubbed...I will update this blog with the fix to it once I take care of that. Stay tuned.

Thanks to Josh for uploading these great videos.
Video 1
Video 2

December 1, 2008

Best Motoring International - Drift Bible

Drift, Drift, Drift, and MORE Drift! If drifting is your thing, this movie is your bible (no pun intended). This is an oldie but one of my favorite videos I have. This video takes you into the art of drifting, not only what it is really about, but how you can use it in various ways, both on and off the track.

Keiichi Tsuchiya, the Drift King talks to you a little about his history in driving, and then goes straight into the basics. From there, he shows how weight balance is key. He also explains and displays various techniques you can try out, ranging from beginner to advanced. This is a very useful tool when deciding what kind of rear wheel drive car you want, and even offers advice on simple tuning you can do to your car to help you learn faster. Again, if you have any interest in drifting, then this is where to start.

November 22, 2008

Minor Body Work

After removing the rear aero flares that are apart of the appearance package that came from the factory, I noticed they left these nifty drill holes at the bottom of my rear bumper. I had gotten together with Marcux from RX8 club (Donnie) to patch this up.

Below is the steps I observed him perform on my bumper. I'll have him chime in if I missed something or spelt something wrong, as I'm not exactly very "body work" savvy.

1. Clean out the drill holes using a small sanding pen
2. Fill the holes with JB Weld - Let dry for 1 hour
3. Coat top layer of JB Weld with spot putty - Let dry for 30 minutes
4. Sand down flat with 2000 grit sand paper
5. Make sure it is smooth
6. Apply touch up paint over the spots - Let dry for 1 hour
7. Coat with clear coat brush - Let dry for 1 day
8. Wet sand with 2000 grit sand paper lightly
9. Rub in the rubbing compound to smooth out - Then buff out
10. Rub in polish compound - Then buff out
11. Apply wax
12. Buff out

Below are pictures in respective order-

November 20, 2008

A Greener Approach

Corksport really took care of me on this special little order here. It was back ordered from Green for about a month when I originally placed the order, but they stayed true to their expected delivery date to my doorstep. Their pricing was fair and they kept in close contact with me throughout the entire month, making sure I was well informed on when they would be getting it, and when it would be shipped and so forth. My friends have used Corksport many times, (buddies in NEPOC for their Proteges) but this was my first real time dealing with them (I ordered this along with my Knight Sport oil filters way back when) and I am just impressed with them. They certainly have a customer for life when I need parts they have.

As for the filter, a great review was provided by RX Reviews a long while ago that I stumbled upon. Reading it, it seems that the Green filter is a much better product all around then the K&N filter. It may essentially "filter less" but that simply means you just need to use the recharge kit at something like 15,000 miles as opposed to 30,000. I had swapped this in and immediately noticed the difference in the tone of the intake, both at idle and acceleration. At idle, you can hear more of the vacuum like noise coming from my Racing Beat air duct, while when accelerating, it's a deep strong sound. The gains are not too much. Some claim 2HP over K&N, but then again, my K&N filter was real dirty, so I would not be surprised if I managed to even get 5HP gain or something. Either way, feels good, sounds great, and for the same price as a K&N filter, I would go with this. Besides, I think everyone I know has K&N, why not be different?

November 16, 2008

LED Upgrade

Wasn't liking the look to my parking lights anymore. I had purchased from the single LED for the parking lights above. They were great at first, decently bright and white matching the HID headlights to a point. But then, I had heard from Altspace about the parking LEDs from that are cheaper, better, and 4 LEDs for just a single parking light. The results are seen below, and boy what a difference! Now whenever I am behind someone, I won't think my parking lights died on me!

November 11, 2008

More Interior Decorating

Decided to finish what we had started at Josh's not that long ago and really paint the center console trim. If you remember from my old post, we had simply sprayed piano black colored paint and were done with it. Came out nice, but still had some nicks and bubbles. Today, we sanded it down to make it extra smooth and get rid of the nicks, then decided to paint it flat black to try and match the interior. The results were nothing less then amazing. It looked stock and looked great as you can see from the pictures.

Since we had the center console off, I needed to adjust my side brake as well, so that as I pull it up, I'm not pulling to a 90 degree angle. Also patched up two small rust spots where the doors meet at the bottom sill, I guess that is common with 04.

Lastly, we took off my rear appearance package. Was not really feeling the look, it's a different approach, plus I noticed a lot of Japanese tuners leave the rear alone and just use side skirts and a front bumper or something. In my opinion, it looks GREAT. It really helps accent my wider tires and my camber in the rear, while showing off more of the appearence package on the side and front, as taking it off gives the car more shape. No pictures of that now, but check back soon for pictures of it on other posts!

November 9, 2008

Quick Detail

Had a small get together at Bob's house to educate him on proper detailing, while also washing ours cars. Really small, just me, Oleg and James to help out. Bob had gotten the full treatment first, starting with a wash. We then lightly dried the car to get it ready for the clay bar.
For those who are unfamiliar with "claying your car", it is a process in which it removes built up surface dirt that normal washing of the car cannot remove. Sometimes you may need to clay off cone rash or tarmac, but after claying, you will need to reapply wax, as it also removes that.

After claying his car, we had then applied 3 coats of this special wax that Oleg has, that you actually need to mix before using. After waxing and buffing on and off 3 times, we pulled Bob's car out for the final touch, some wheel wax. All in all, the end result was great and his paint (White pearl) really shimmered. Products used were:
Poorboy's World Super Slick & Suds Concentrated Car Wash
Zaino Z-18 Claybar with diluted Zaino Z-7 car wash
Jeff's Werkstatt Prime Strong
Zaino Z-5 Pro Wax (Synthetic Sealant)
Zaino Z-8 Grand Finale Sealant

Pictures, including pictures of Oleg's new 2006 Mazda Miata are all here!

November 1, 2008

Best Motoring International - Japan VS USA Drift Off

This month's Best Motoring was packed with a humorous drift battle, a great demonstration of the new M5's abilities, a bit on the Solstice, finishing off with some coverage of Orido's and Taniguchi's racing career. The DVD was not that bad at all, but did not have that eye catching media to it like the Civic Type R episode. It was a nice coverage of the M5, and the drift battle was very enjoyable (especially for NC Miata drivers), but again, not everything it could have been. This is more of a straight to the point video - Drift Battle - Circuit Race - Solstice in Action - then some commentary on the others.

If I were to have this on my list to get, I would only be getting it for the drift battle, seeing Ken Gushi and Rhys Millen, otherwise I wasn't really into this episode as I am most of the others.

October 30, 2008


Tonight was a nice get together with Josh, James, and Oleg, along with some new faces (Scott and his brother Tony). I had decided to swap out the black and tan leather for either all black leather or the dark gray and black cloth. I really preferred getting cloth because the racing seats I'll be getting at some point are cloth, and the interior not only feels more comfertable then leather, it all also has a nice color to it I think. Got someone who was interested in trading black leather, but when I got a message from someone I met at a car meet not long ago, ready to do cloth ASAP, I was on the scene.
Got to Scott's brother's house a little after six where Scott's car was ripped apart in the garage already with Josh there. They started working at it at around five apparently, but were stuck at the steering wheel, in which we needed a steering wheel claw tool (the RX8club DIY said we didn't need it originally). I'm going to list the steps of everything we went through so incase someone runs into this you can follow the steps. The only things I can't provide is socket sizes but I'm sure you can figure that out.. It can't be that hard.

1. Roll up one of the cars to the garage and disconnect the negative on the battery. Let it stand for 30 min (At least that's what we did) so that when you're playing with the front seats and steering wheel, the airbag won't blow up in your face.

2. Meanwhile, waiting for the front seats and all, you can start with the rear seats. Pull up at the bottom cushion and literally pull out towards you. Then unbolt the two bolts holding down the backrest cushion at the bottom. After doing so, lift up on the cushion and push upward to "unhook" then pull away.

3. The front seats are held in by four bolts on the ground that are covered by plastic coverings. Just pull away the coverings to get to the bolts. First though, you want to disconnect the connectors under the seats to make sure the Airbag's are unplugged and heated seats (If you have leather). Then unbolt the seats one by one and lift out.

4. The steering wheel is relatively easy, just be careful. There are screws under the steering wheel that hold the horn/airbag into place. Unscrew those, then carefully pull out the horn assembly. You will then need to unclip the orange and yellow clip that power off the airbag. Once that is done, you can use the steering wheel claw tool to pull out the steering wheel. James knew how to do it, and even watching him I was still a bit confused, but I'm sure if you have time and play with it, you can figure it out!

5. The body panels themselves are held on very easily. The back one you just pry off, just be sure to lift the scuff guard at the bottom up enough and the rubber seal about the door. The rear door is held on by 3 screws. one is behind the door opener handle (lift the small circular guard) and the other behind the grasping handle, just need to take the top off of the handle. After that, lift and pull hard because of the body clips. Lastly, the front, you need to unscrew the door opener handle, then pull back on the panel. Be careful, you have a lot of connectors behind it for the windows, the door lights and all. So do this with your partner and unhook everything before lifting up on the panel and removing it the rest of the way.

6. Lastly, if you are swapping for heated leather seats (Like Scott did), you will need to remove the small center console where the shift boot and heater buttons lie. Simply turn the shift knob until it comes it, then grasp the shift boot and pull up hard. This will remove that panel and reveal the two small black and white connectors for the heated seat buttons.

There you have it! Now just go backwards and swap everything out. The whole process took us a little over 5 hours...including pizza, good laughs, and cold weather. Well worth it in the end! All pics are taken from Josh and posted at Mazda's 247, right here.

October 25, 2008

Detail Bonanza

The annual NEPOC "Fall Clean Meet" was held today over at Mark's house in West Bridgewater! Not only do These meets seem to get bigger and bigger, but the fun just never ends. Mark (as usual) was working on his car instead of cleaning it, installing a transmission cooler that he has had lying around for awhile now. James was trying to install his new REALLY stiff Progress Tech sway bars (same sway bars used by the SpeedSource RX-8 in the Rolex GT series) but had no luck as he unfortunately snapped the bolt off in his rear somewhere. Poor guy had to drive home with a sway bar half on at the end of the meet!
Josh did some talking with Poorboy's World and they sent us a ton of great detailing supplies for the meet! Things ranging from wax, to detail and polish. Unfortunately I did not get to use the "Black Hole" product but from what I saw, it was an impressive product.

With the good times, seeing new faces and hanging out with the usual buddies, it was a hell of a meet. Pictures taken by Josh can be viewed here few while pictures from Chris can be viewed here! Thanks a ton guys!

October 14, 2008

Oil Change And Maintenance

Got my excellent oil filter and oil the other day. The Knight Sports Oil Filter I purchased over from Corksport (they have all of Knight Sports catalog, just not posted on the internet) which is apparently a high quality racing oil filter that is strictly for rotary engines. If you look in the picture below, the size compared to OEM is a huge difference.The oil filter is specially designed to work with premixture oils and synthetic oils, as opposed to the old 5 w20 that Mazda recommends. The oil is a 10 w40 Synthetic oil by RedLine and is some of the highest quality stuff you will find on the market right now. I was very hesitant to even go synthetic at first, but after reading various reviews on the boards, I had heard numerous good things, especially with a higher number like 10w 40.

My understanding is that the way RedLine oil is made, it has certain properties about it that make it so the apex seals wear and tear much less then normal. And since the viscosity is higher in the oil , as the oil heats up and thins out, it won't be thin to the point that seals could start rubbing against the housing, making this oil one of the best choices. Granted, most tuning companies in Japan are running their own premixture oils of 10w 50, but this will do for now.

I just want to add that after changing my oil and oil filter to this, my engine feels a lot happier and more at home when revving. Before it felt great, peppy and lively, but a slight bit "upset" with small rumbling. Now, when revving the engine, it feels smooth as butter, and I already noticed a slight increase of MPG. Idling is still similar to before as I have done the airbox modification, but it was still noticibly better, by both me and the mechanic. I highly recommend this oil and oil filter to anyone who is serious about maintaning their RX8 to it's fullest, as this really was worth the extra money. I don't know about you readers, but I disagree with using a OEM filter that is used on all of Mazda's cars, as opposed to a special oil filter for a special engine.

October 4, 2008

Last Event Of The Season! 1'35 CLEAN!

Today was the last day of Autocross for the Renegade Miata Club. It had ended with a full loop around the Airbase, with a lot of high speed sectors that ended with quick pinches. I have to admit, this course really taught me a lot, but also taught me how to start looking ahead more. Starting next season, I'll have videos of my runs as I've already decided to buy a camcorder and all.

For the day, I co-drove with Mike (has been doing autocross for 9 years, drives a nicely prepped Miata). He is REALLY good and gets excellent times whenever he runs. He had mentioned he wasn't feeling so good with his back so he did not want to carry the tires up the stairs and all that, so was asking around if he could co-drive with someone. He gave me really interesting feedback, explaining that he did not understand why when he turned the car, everything was right, especially the turn in, except the whole car slid from under him. We played with different tire pressures, and luckily, by the end of the day, he figured out the right pressures (sadly, this was after my last offical run). Apparently I was running much too low, and we put the pressures to 37 in the front and 39 in the rear. How odd is that? He ran a 1 32 clean for the day, and I ran a 1 38 clean for the day.

Fun runs came, and I had the legendary John Mac take my car out with the new pressures and all for a spin to see if I could learn something. Other then wanting to scream and literally holding on for dear life, I learned I can go a lot faster and push my car harder then I have been... So I did. John had run a 1 30 clean on his run, so I went and did my fun runs (after taking a quick run in my buddy's little Civic...that was a blast) and suddenly ran a 1 35 28 +1 cone and a 1 35 04 clean. I can't even began to explain the joy and feeling that was running through me as I ran such low times. Sadly, they don't count, but thats okay because next season I'll be ready to kick some tail.

Thanks for the good times everyone, thanks a million Mike and John MacDonald for teaching me so much, can't wait for the next season.

October 1, 2008

Best Motoring International - Civic Type R Returns

Took me a bit to get to reviewing this, sorry about that everyone! Getting down to this video, this video is loaded with a boat load of information regarding Japan's new Honda Civic Type R that we will, unfortunately, never see in America. Granted, the closest we have is the four door Civic Si, but it's not just the same. They go into extensive explanation on the car as a whole, ranging from Chassis, to suspension work, custom tires and more. If you really wanted to, you could possibly convert a American Civic 4 door into a JDM one, and this video would certainly help you achieve that, but I'm not familiar with how far you could go. I really don't have a lot more to say, other then if you are a Honda guy, I recommend picking this video up just to see the great comparisons and new equipment on the Civic.

Thanks to Brendan for getting me this for my Birthday not long ago.

September 20, 2008

3rd Autocross - 1 More To Go!

Finally, my next Autocross! Waiting for this day was almost too much suffering for me. Today we had another full loop course around Fort Devens, which I prefer over the cross overs. I learned how to attack a clam shell properly, as before I was literally driving straight at it, and then had to slow down, turn out, then in, as opposed to driving to the outside of it then slowing down briefly to literally sweep in.

My times increased, going from a stable 1 41 for awhile until I finally landed a 1 39 on my last run. I still need more work on my slalom and throttle control, so hopefully I can get that down for the next autocross. I'm aiming for something lower then 1 39 next event. Other then that, the event was great. I'm really learning how to read the course easier and faster then before, and now I just need to focus on controlling my car properly.

I met with the owner of Big Brake , a company that sponsors Renegade Miata. Real cool guys that actually live only 10 minutes away from me and Oleg, so looks like we'll be hanging out with them hopefully soon. Check out their site, and anything they don't have the site, you can ask them if they can order it for you. So far, I'm pleased with their prices, and they're all knowledgable when it comes to cars in general, not just brakes.

Sadly, no pictures of the event this time as I had little time this event. As always, check out Renegade Miata for their list of events and come along! They always welcome any newbies and oldies!

September 18, 2008

Bleeding The Clutch

After taking a quick drive in James' RX8 and comparing the clutch pedal feel between mine and his, we both decided it had to be a air in the master cylinder or clutch line. Mine was still better then before, but at the same time it felt like putting your foot in stiff spaghetti.

The process sounds a lot easier then it really is. Honest. And sadly, we needed three people to do this job. NOTE: Make sure your car is COOLED DOWN or you WILL burn hair off your arm (I learned the hard way). You start by jacking up the front of the car ( a good amount, one of you 3 is going under there) and setting it on jack stands.

Take off the cover of the brake fluid reservoir. You're going to need a light under the car, as well as above from the hood so everyone can see where the bleeder is. In the picture above, look between the oil filter and the clutch line... That is the bleeder with the rubber cap on. It's really frustrating to reach from both directions, but we managed. Remove the rubber cap, then slip a 8mm wrench up carefully and placed the closed end on the bleeder. This will be a pain, but patience and help from the other person in the hood, you'll be okay. Make sure it's on the bolt tight, then fit on the hose.

When the hose is on perfect, put the other end into a disposable cup or bottle, but clear enough you can see what is going on. Now, someone will have to go into the car and get ready to pump the clutch, while the person under the car will open the bleeder valve, while the third person will be watching the cup for air.

Start off by holding the clutch pedal to the floor, open the bleeder valve, then close. Pick up the pedal from the floor (It'll stay stuck to the floor) and begin to pump it a good amount until you really can't anymore...and then hold to the floor. The person under the car will then open the valve and release more air or fluid. After you've done enough and gotten rid of all the air bubbles and have nothing but fluid constantly coming out, replace the fluid you've gotten rid of and cap everything back together.

Give the pedal a few pumps before driving to make sure it feels good, then after, you should notice a serious improvement. I've read somewhere that you may want to bleed the master cylinder before AND after bleeding the clutch line, but we only bled it after the clutch line. Huge difference to my pedal after doing this.

September 17, 2008

Parting Out With Oleg - Day 3

Today's item on the list is the iPod adapter from Audio Link. This is one hot little item that everyone has approved of so far. The install is fairly straight forward, but best to do with two people to make sure you don't accidentally drop the head unit.

Long story short, you're going to pull out the head unit. click here to see the pictures of what that involves, but when removing the head unit, on the driver side in the back, there is a 10mm bolt. Be SURE to remove that, otherwise your day will be ruined. There is a circuit board there and tugging out the head unit without removing the bolt, you'll destroy that board... Which is the board to your climate controls, radio, almost anything electrical in the car. When you get the head unit out, you'll see the connector in the rear at the upper right (If looking at it by holding it with rear in front of you). Plug it in and you're good to go, just place the head unit back in.We velcro taped the actual adapter under the ashtray as there was plenty of room to spare. We tugged and lopped the wire a bit for the plug, then wire tied it to some of the holes the clips for the center console go in. From there, we threaded the wire into the arm rest cup holder compartment and made sure there was a decent amount of wire, not so much that it was like spaghetti dinner in your armrest. After that, place the rest back together and you're golden. Depending on if you run in to difficulties disconnecting the connectors, this could take from 1 hr to 2 hr. Sadly, took us almost 3. The climate connectors did NOT want to come out.

After the labor from hell, I went through how to use and learn the beast. For starters, this really is the best way to go in terms of listening to music in the car. Turn it on by pressing CD on the radio twice. You will then see EX on the display. All the controls on your steering wheel work with the iPod, allowing you to not have to pick up the iPod and fiddle around while driving. There are two modes for the adapter. EX 1 is a type of dummy mode. It will say track 66 at time 0 and start counting up. That allows you to play whatever you want from the iPod, controlling it from the iPod or cycling through all the tracks by pressing next track. It basically acts as a dock for the iPod. EX 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 are play list mode. The adapter supports up to 5 play lists. You switch each play list or back to mode 1 by using the Disc up or Disc down button. Playlist 1 would be of course EX 2, and so on. In Playlist mode though, you DO NOT have control of your iPod. I personally prefer playlist mode because I preset everything on my iTunes before listening to my iPod. Makes it easier to go to a playlist and play the genre of music you want, as opposed to cycling through tracks randomly.

September 11, 2008

Parting Out With Oleg - Day 2

After work, I had gone back to Oleg's for some more parting out action of his car. This time, we had the help of Josh and James. We took care of my sways first real quick, having concluded that the fix to the problem may be that the rear is set too stiff.

The Whiteline sway bars have a front stiffness of either 54% or 64% while the rears have a stiffness of either 79% or 91%. The thread about them is here. After setting the rear softer so that the sways were at a setting that was closer to a full balance, the car felt amazing. This time, I could actually feel my car while doing a sweeping turn! The body roll was greatly reduced to almost nothing, while the stiffness has greatly increased. I'm surprised that such a small change made that kind of a difference. I'm really curious why the car behaved like it did just because I made the rear more stiff. Maybe someone can enlighten me on that.

After doing this and taking a few more test runs, we got rid of Oleg's clear corners, his Racing Beat Air Duct, and his Racing Beat dual canister exhaust. Not much to really say except the fact that it took a long while. James ended up getting the Racing Beat dual canister exhaust while Josh got Oleg's air duct. It was really just a long night of installing and going through things. I'm just glad that I'm learning more about tools so I can actually help out. As Josh would say, "Tool Man Marc".

Pictures can be see here.

UPDATE 09/14/08 - The reason why the floaty feeling happens when taking a sweeping turn and hitting a bump is due to the strain on the stock shocks. Looks like I need to get some coilovers.

Parting Out With Oleg - Day 1

Sad news to hear, that Oleg will be selling his RX-8 soon, and is now parting it out. Luckily, I got to get my hands on his Whiteline sway bars that he had been using for awhile to use for my car. Now, we started late (stupidly) and ended up working till about 3am this morning.

Installation? Forever. A pain in the rear. Do it with MORE then one or two people if possible. What did it entail really? We jacked up the front of both cars first. Then we took of the wheels and set them aside. After that, we unbolted the end link from the control arm, and the bushing that holds the sway bar on. From there, it took us an hour to snake out both of our sway bars from the front. Now be VERY careful when doing this, because the radiator hose is in the way and you really don't want to slice that open (At least we believe it's the radiator hose. Could be the AC hose. Either way it's big and black and you see it on the passenger side). After we took the sway bars out, we had to grease up the urethane bushings on the Whiteline sway bar and let it settle for a bit before putting it into my car.

After that long and annoying process, we settled the bars in and bolted everything back up. Just so you know, you may have to use a hex or some tool to prevent the endlink from rotating when putting the bolt back on, so you know it is properly in place. Put on the wheels, torqued them, then down with the front and up with the rear. We could even keep the wheels on for the rear as the rear sway is easy compaired to the front. The front, you need to snake it through the steering rack area, where as the rear you simply unbolt the bushings and endlinks, then pull down. After greasing up the bushings for the rear bar as well, we put them all together and away for our first test drive we went.

Stiff, and great was all I could think...Until I took my first real turn. Granted, the turn in felt excellent at first, but then suddenly the whole car felt as though it was floating in the air. It felt as though I just drifted the whole turn with no grip or anything. No response from the car, no feeling, nothing. I thought it was just me, so I ignored it, but as I drove into work this morning on various side windy roads... I couldn't just be me. It was after I let my good friend Sergey drive the car (M3 track driver) that I decided something needs to be done about the setting, and quick. He even said he was scared as he couldn't feel the road, feel the car, anything. That's all I can really give for a review at the moment until I try out the new settings. Stay tuned for the next post of day two.

All the pictures can be seen here.

September 6, 2008

NEPOC Audio Install Meet

NEPOC held an awesome meet at Mark's (Bazooka Joe) place today. It was labeled as an "Audio Install Meet", but the only person installing any audio components was Mark (go figure). Some helped out, while others took it easy and just hung out. Josh decided to help me clean out my engine bay a bit since it had sand pretty much everywhere. We dusted it out with a brush and green spray. To top it off, we polished the plastic covers for the engine bay.

I asked Mark for some advice regarding how to cover the space where my back seats used to be. Low and behold, he had a huge roll of black carpet sitting in his basement! Josh made the measurements and cuts, after which we teamed up and put it together (the picture below is the end result). It's not the greatest thing in the world, but it's decent enough and makes the rear presentable. For the rest of the pictures from the meet, click here.

September 2, 2008

BHR Clutch Pedal And No Seat Belts!

Man, what a night! I finally received my anticipated "Black Halo Racing Reinforced Clutch Pedal Bracket" (mouthful?) from the LEGENDARY Charles Ray Hill! My clutch pedal became quite scary the past couple of weeks. I was driving along the highway, heading home from a friends house, when in the middle of a shift I suddenly heard a really loud " CLICK" while engaging the clutch. Ever since I bought the car, the clutch pedal felt mushy (like mud mushy), but after the click, it felt even more like garbage.

After a day or two, it felt like it was getting worse and worse, so I put the car in my garage for a week and ordered the new pedal! When I got it, I went with my buddy James (not Greenblurr) to Oleg's for a big install. I had plans to finish the removal of my rear seat components as well, in this case, the seat belts. Again, I know I'm not saving that much weight by taking out the seat belts in the rear and the rear seats, and I know, it looks epic (because of those sweet bracer bars) but unpractical. But, I don't care; I hate back seats, always have, and I hate people inviting others into my car because it has (had in this case) four seats. It's just not for me folks.

The install went really well once we figured out what we were doing. We had no instructions, so we just disconnected everything we saw and went on from there. The dead pedal (where your left foot rests) might get in the way, so it's best to take that out too. If you take a look at this picture, look over to the clutch pedal on the left. The top part is bent and very flimsy. When we took it off, James thought he would snap it just by tugging it. In contrast, the BHR pedal is the definition of firm. In no way could we even slightly bend it. On top of that, the welds looked cool.

After we finished taking out the seat belts and putting the pedal back in, Oleg gave it the ole' adjustment (recommended by Ray) and I went off to test it. At first I was a bit nervous, as the catching point was much different then my previous pedal. However, I'm sure I'll get used to it. My first thought was that this thing is a beast. It literally adds a sort of "race feel" to the clutch pedal. I'm not sure if it's the spring back of the pedal or the firmness, but it feels great. I have 36,000 miles on my OEM clutch, and this clutch pedal feels as though I have an aftermarket clutch pressure plate like Oleg's. To the readers... Buy this. Even if your clutch pedal bracket is fine, I still say to buy this. This is solid and safe. It is amazing. And, it adds that race feel when engaging a gear. $175 is a steal for something with such high quality and reliability.

As I was driving around town, it felt nice and firm. But, as I drove it more and took the car out on the highway, it seemed to get stiffer. I wonder whether that is from my clutch itself, or the clutch pedal, though it could just be me. However, it seems a bit too obvious to be just my imagination. I'm not sure what it is, but it isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's just an observation. Thanks to Ray for the awesome product, and I look forward to reviewing the Ignition Solution from BHR once I get my hands on it! (If he ever releases it!)

All the pictures taken by Oleg can be seen here!

September 1, 2008

More Interior Decorating

Was really tired after a long day at Tokyo Game Action, playing some Initial D 4 and Wangan Midnight, but I still had some energy left when I got home to do another small fix to my car's interior. The center console has a sliding door for a cupholder compartment. The button to open this compartment is sticking out and slanted, so it looks really out of place. If you look here is a complete DIY to fix the button.

Just about every RX8 I've been in has had this problem. Surprisingly, the fix was quick and easy, and the results were great. It's alot smoother now (smooth = luxury) and doesn't randomly slide open just because I touched it with my forearm while shifting. I think my worse problem was when I thought I would close it, but it wasn't locked and would just slide open again. Small fixes, one at a time.

Hot Version - Rocket Rotary

This movie was hands down, one of the greatest videos done by the BMI/Hot Version crew. An owner of an RX-8 or not, this movie was great for showing the different views of the Japanese tuning firms. The segment regarding the RX-8 really showed the difference between a street tuned NA version and a street tuned turbo version, both getting great reviews. Again as I've said about most of the Touge Showdown episodes, this is a great way to get various ideas on different approaches on street tuning an RX-8.

I was really impressed by the Fujita Engineering exhaust note and tune overall, which sort of birthed my urge to tune my car and keep it NA. The product list of Fujita Engineering, as well as Knight Sports really appeal to me as opposed to the frequent frequent turbo tuning of the car. Sort of the "underdog" approach of things. Nevertheless, the movie was impressive and the battle afterwards to compare the tuned cars versing a lightly tuned RX-8 really gave me a good perspective on my goal with my car.

The last feature about Touge Showdown Max Final was great, showing off the impressive RE-Amemiya RX-7. Granted, good as always, but the whole section about the various tuned RX-8s took the cake for me.

August 21, 2008

Interior Decorating

I met up with Altspace after work to make a small, but certainly well needed touch up on my interior. He purchased 50 Yards of black vinyl, costing a mere $15, so that we could place a strip of it along the silver lining on my center console. Upon arriving, we decided to just paint it instead. It was just as easy, if not easier than cutting and applying the vinyl. On top of this, it looked great! The silver really had to go; it was out of place and did not contrast well with the rest of the interior. Now, the center console blends in perfectly and your eyes are not immediately drawn to that tacky strip of silver.

For those wondering how to dissemble the center console, it's only held on by a few screws. There are screws under the ashtray, under the cup holders in the rear, under the armrest storage, and pull off the plastic trunk access door. From there, pull up on the entire console and voila.

There are multiple DIYs on the RX8 Club on how to remove the center console, just use the search.

August 16, 2008

Autocross Bonanza

Today was a real blast. Drove up with Oleg and arrived at Fort Devens around 8am. From there, we got all prepped up, had snacks, etc. I got to walk the course with someone named Sal (Miata driver - really good). He has this special way of teaching newbies how to read and walk the course. By the second time around, I was like a master at reading it. I could read the whole course just by stepping back and looking at it (it was scarey too). Last time we went up one way, cross overed and came back down, then back up the other air strip, cross over, then come back down. This time was much easier as it was a full loop around the air field.
Made some new friends and met a lot of new people. It really was a blast just hanging out, doing my runs, and learning more and more. At the end, we finished at about 3:30pm and had tons of times for fun runs. Granted, these runs don't count, but I really need the practice and experience. I went out with Sal in his car to learn what he does, then I did it and dropped my time by 4 seconds in the end. It's funny, because I'm not competetive in the sense of beating other people. I'm competing against myself, to better my skills and become more capable with my car. The times are just to show me where I compare to other good drivers.

Buttload of more pictures this time, and as usual, they can be found on Oleg's web photo gallery, here.
After everything, I took a ride up to Tokyo Game Action to get more action and play some racing games.

Best time was 1' 19. Average was about 1 ' 25 - 1'27. My best was 1'42 recorded, and fun run was 1'39.

August 10, 2008

Initial D Arcade Stage 4

After a poor mood during the morning, I decided to pack up, and head on over to Tokyo Game Action to play some Wangan Midnight. Upon arriving, oddly enough... I decided to try Initial D 4. Let me tell you a little bit about this little gem that very few arcades have in America, and my feelings towards it.

For starters, you get a plastic card that is just like a credit card, that holds all the information of your character and cars. On the top, it shows the touge passes you have beaten, and shows your characters face. The card also holds up to 3 cars at once...Not bad if you get bored of one car.

Once you make a card, choose your car and start racing, you have to play either story mode, time attack, or in-store battle. Time attack is self explanatory, in-store battle is to battle someone next to you, and story mode is where you go through the touge courses 1 by 1, following a similar story to Initial D's main character, Takumi; except you are yourself. When you beat a racer, you earn battle points that you can use to purchase parts for your car.

It can be really fun at times, especially the dynamic tuning of the cars, ranging from tons of name brand body kits and wheels, to various levels of tuning of the engine, suspension, etc. What is NOT cool, is to get to tune your car, you have to quit after each turn. Every 3rd quit, you can visit the customize shop to edit settings on your vehicle. Every 5th quit, you can get a random dress up item for your driver. Just gets annoying, quitting after each race, pulling out your card, then putting in money, and doing it again.

My main dislike about this game is the physics. At first, they felt decent, the car felt grippy, extra fast but grippy. But then there are these turns that if you go in too fast, or at an awkward angle... Your rear literally kicks out completely, and you slide into the wall, then ALONG the wall..and you can't get out. Once your car slides off the wall, you are in second gear going about 30MPH. If you brake hard, you make up for it, but still, it gets really aggervating when you're doing good, and suddenly you go sideways and your car becomes a magnet to the wall.

All in all, it's a fun-terrible game. Fun because of the up to date selection of cars, the in depth tuning - especially the name brands from Japan, and the touge courses. Bad, because the terrible physics, computer cars pushing you aside and/or driving through you if you're in the way, and again, the ice skating physics. Apparently they are beta testing Stage 5 in japan now, and from what I hear, it gets rid of that lame slide and fixes a lot of things. We can only hope for a better game!

August 4, 2008

Gaining Power With A Renesis

A lot of people are displeased with the "lack of power" that the RX-8 provides, especially because of the fact that it is not twin turbo charged like its predecessor. Essentially, there are three ways that one can go about getting the most power out of the engine, and they are the Super Charge, the Turbo Charge, and the Exhaust Modification.

Now, I truly believe that the RX-8 is a balanced car, straight off the line. It handles well, has decent horsepower, brakes well, and has sporty looks complimented by a handsome interior. I believe it should be left for the owner to decide where to go with the car, thus why I like the fact that it's not turbo charged. Granted, turbos make the car faster, but I'm an "au natural" kind of guy. In addition, a lot of people lean towards the TRUST turbo kit or non Japanese brands for their parts, and I stray from that crowd. I've seen a few super charge owners, but not as many as those with a turbo. I'd prefer to see what the Japanese tuners have running under their hoods.

One of my favorite companies is Knight Sports due to their amazing, sleek looks, in addition to the great performance of their RX-8s. RE Amemiya has always been a favorite, but mostly for RX-7's, as well as Fujita Engineering. Knight Sports (correct me if I'm wrong) won in a RX-8 battle that was held not too long ago in Japan. Knight Sports is running a 13B from an RX-7, peripheral ported. Their lineup of parts for the stock Renesis engine in my car includes headers, a sports cat, and some really good exhausts. They claim that there is a 30HP gain with the whole system in use. Now, if you top that off with a Cobb AccessPort to change the mappings, along with some pulleys, you come close to 15HP gain. For just under $4000, you get a mean sounding RX-8 with a great power increase, bringing you close to 300HP (at the crank, not wheels). That's less than what a turbo kit costs, with added exhaust essentials and more. I have yet to see anyone go this route, so it's something I'd really like to try out. There's no worrying about possibly breaking the turbo, turbo lag (if that even still exists), or the entire setup. It is raw NA engine power.

RX Reviews gives great advice as he has tested a lot of the JDM exhaust parts. I'm just not sure why anyone would want to turbo this car when Mazda did not bother to do it themselves. I think they kept it NA for a reason; we just have to do the rest and make the exhaust system monstrous.

August 2, 2008

First Autocross

Man what a day! Today was my first ever Autocross event. Hell its my first ever motorsport event ever! Before I go explaining how the day went, I'm going to explain briefly what Autocross is.

Autocross (or sometimes AutoX) is a motorsport in which you race against the clock. You have a defined course that is laid in place by using the orange cones. Your clear the course as fast as you can, one car at a time. This is the safest motorsport out there, as you don't even reach speeds above 60MPH. In my car I can't even top out 2nd Gear! It's mostly focused on car balance, control, and understanding how to take turns nimbly while keeping a constant pace. It's really great, especially for those wanting to do track because this will teach you the basics of the out-in-out turning and how to smooth out your car.

There isn't too much to say about this autocross unfortunately. It was done with the awesome Renegade Miata Club and was only $30 for the day (Pre-register). $25 for a year membership. The club has instructors who will ride with you and help you understand how to read the course, where to go faster and slower, etc. Heck, they even have loaner helmits for those who can't afford them right now!

For a first motorsport experience, it was phenominal to say the least. It had everything I wanted and more. The sounds, the cars, the atmosphere, everything. Unfortunately, we got rained in on the second heat (with a lot of serious lightning) so I only got 3 runs for the day... Not great practice. But it was worth it, and I can't wait for the 16th! Not many photos were taken (none of me!) as well as some movies (I'm in one...going slow!). All that can be seen here.

Best time was 1' 19 or 1'18, don't remember. Average was about 1 ' 25 - 1'27. My best was 1'59.

August 1, 2008

Hot Version - Tuner Battle Royale

BIG BATTLE~! Is what comes to mind every time I think of this great video. Not much to really say other then it was all great battles. Apparently every year they have a large event in Japan in which there is a battle between NA cars and turbo cars. Touge Showdown was excellent, with a RX-8 from Fujita Engineering that battled the Amuse S2000 for the Touge Monster title. Top it off, bonus battle between Orido's Supra, a RX-7 and a Evolution from BOSS.

All in all, not bad, good movie to add to the collection, and good if you just want see the various races.