July 22, 2008

Polish Power

(Thanks a million to Oleg for the compounds and goods, and thanks a ton to Josh for the time, effort, garage, and food. Oh and the cruise in Cape Cod after with two good looking cars.)

2 guys + 1 power sander + 3 pads + 3 different compounds + 1 wax = 7 hours of work. This was a task and a half. Me and my girlfriend went up to the Cape to Altspace's (Josh's) house early in the morning to complete a full polish on the car. He told me all about the pains and long hours we would go through, but because of my inexperience I assumed it would be cake walk. Just for a few hours. Boy, was I wrong.

We started off with a quick car wash, making sure we got to every detail: the wheels, the plastic parts, everything. After drying the car, Josh used a vacuum that could be used as a blower to go along the lines of the car and blow out any remaining water. This ensured that the car was as dry as possible. Then, we rolled it into the garage and got ready for the polish.

We started off with a heavy compound to take care of all the small surface area blemishes, going along from top to bottom. As Josh went along with the machine, I followed behind him with the buffing towel to use some serious elbow grease and rub the polish out.

After, we used a heavier compound to go deeper into the clear coat and really work out any smudging. We could already start to see an impressive difference as the smudging was almost gone, and the car had become more like some sort of mirror.

As our fifth hour approached, we finally finished applying the last and heaviest compound to really get deep down and smooth out as much etching as possible from the car. It worked well, and the car literally became a mirror. But, sadly not all the etching that the previous owner left for me had dissipated from the clear coat. I haven't really decided what to do about that, but for now it looks good enough for anyone else who sees my "brilliant black" coat... or the black mirror, whatever works for you.

After we were done, we applied some PoorBoy's wax and wheel wax and headed out to catch some dinner. We cruised around the windy back roads of the Cape, as well as along Main Street.

For more pictures, take a peek here.

July 2, 2008

Alignment To Match Suspension

Almost a month after installing the Tein S-Techs, I got a bit of an aggressive alignment to match up well with the new suspension setting. Granted, I had to wait about a month to let the suspension settle in before getting this done, but the wait was worth it. Thanks to Astral for setting this up for me -

Front camber - 1.7 degrees (max I got)
Front total toe-in - 0.09 degrees in
Front caster - .09

Rear camber - 2.0 degrees
Rear total toe-in - 0.19 degrees in

The alignment was done at the dealership I always get work done at, Liberty Mazda, and the results were better then expected (what else is new?). The match up with this alignment, the tires, and the springs really were a dramatic change in how the car felt overall, and others agreed. The turn in feeling was more natural, and felt more solid. The grip from the tires really sticks through the tire and nothing feels unpredictable at all.

As I mentioned before, the Toyo Proxies I had on before, if I pushed the car a bit or took a good turn, the car felt like it was at the limit already, making me nervous when driving just in general. But these tires gave me much more confidence when tackling any corner, especially with the new alignment. It felt like I was handed an extra bit of grip on my wheels.

To any that are wondering, this is about the maximum you can go in terms of alignment before you go into the "uneven tire wear" range. Again, thanks to the professor, he knows his stuff.

July 1, 2008

Best Motoring International - New STI - Fast On 4

A Best Motoring focused on the new body Subaru STI, displaying it's amazing new chassis as well as performance in various conditions. Subaru admits that the STI is actually the rival of the BMW M3 and not necessarily the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. In the various tests, I was actually pretty impressed with the changes. Sometimes you always hear about a newer version of a car, but it being heavier with more safety equipment, and sometimes even less sporty, but not the case here.

After the segment featuring the STI, they had a great Miata segment, displaying various tests on Tsukuba Circuit. Wasn't that bad, I'm just amazed in the differences between the top of the line package Miata in Japan as opposed to the top of the line package in America (IE: America comes with Billistein shocks, better tires, etc. Japan, from what I've heard, those are optional).

All in all, not that bad of a movie, especially if you're considering purchasing a new NC Miata or a new STI.