Saturday, March 31, 2007

2006 STI - 17217 km: Cobb AP Stage 1

I picked up the Cobb AccessPORT ver.2 today from Jamie who was kind enough to bring it into town so I didn't to make the drive up to Rocket Rally....

Before I did the upgrade I wanted to make sure that I had a`fully-charged battery. I heard that the entire process of backing up and re-flashing could take as long as 20 minutes, and I didn't want to take any risks. So while I had the STI hooked-up to the battery charger, I brought my laptop into the garage to download the latest firmware updates for the AP.

First I needed to get the newest version of AP Manager. Once that was installed, I downloaded the new firmware. Updating the AP took about 20 min. By that time, the battery was charged and I proceeded with the reflash. Following the directions, I put the STI into test mode and was able to complete the entire process in about 15 minutes. That gave me a 25 hp increase in less than 30 minutes--not bad:0)

I haven't had a chance to do a full test drive yet so driving impressions will come later.

Friday, March 30, 2007

2006 Honda Odyssey: DST--Update 2

This is a follow up to two earlier posts I made here and here about adjusting for the new Daylight Saving Time on the Honda Odyssey.

According to Karl05 at Odyclub, Honda released a Daylight Saving Time fix with the latest DVD navigation software: Version 4.56A
Just got the latest DVD. Version 4.56A.

Popped it into the Navi DVD player and before I could hit "OK" at the disclaimer screen, the software started downloading.

I had my clock set to DST settings (so it was an hour off). So, it was saying 5:31.

Then a couple minutes (messages says NOT to turn off the engine). The Navi system rebooted and the clock went from 5:34 to 6:34.

In the setup screen under the settings for the clock, there's an DST option with an "EDIT" button. Pressing this gets you 2 buttons that say "Mar-Nov" "Apr-Oct".
Unfortunately, that means that the only update currently available is with the DVD navigation update that costs several hundred dollars. Hopefully, the Honda will give the dealers the ability to just patch the software without forcing customers to buy something they may not need.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Baby Aston: 1 week old





2006 Subaru STI: COBB AccessPORT v.2

After sitting on the fence for so long, I decided to take the plunge and ordered the COBB AccessPort version 2 from Rocket Rally today. Right now I'm only planning on going to Stage 1 which will give me a bit of a boost in power (an additional 25 HP and 40 lb-ft torque from a stock STI) as you can see in the dyno below....



In addition to giving me the extra power using an optimized base map, I can also use real-time maps "on-the-fly" and switch to specialized maps like Valet and Anti-theft mode. The AccessPORT can also monitor live data such as boost levels and other readings.

Because the RCE springs are back-ordered 9-10 days, I'll be able to play with the AP first:0)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Bleevin's 2006 Subaru STI on RCE springs

I was looking for pictures of 2006 STI's lowered on RCE springs and I came across Bleevin's before and after pics of his SGM (Steel Grey Metallic) STI.
Before: Stock Suspension


After: RCE Camber Plates + Ohlins Fixed + RCE Springs


He's got more upgrades than just the springs that I'm planning for right now, but I think his pictures are the best for showing the kind of drop you get with the RCE springs. I'm looking forward so much to loosing that front wheel gap.

2006 Subaru STI: Racecomp Engineering Super Sport Street/Track Springs

I placed an order for RCE springs today. These have been getting great reviews by many owners in the forums since being released a few months ago. They are designed specifically for the STI and should be a nice improvement over stock. The STI suspension was pretty good to begin with, but I was looking for a little more firmness along with a lower ride height....

I've been researching a lot of information about suspension the last couple of weeks and have decided that RCE springs (with some Ohlins fixed-perch struts in the future) would be ideal setup for me. Even though the final cost would be close to the price of coilovers, it's a better option for me because the car is not used on the track where the extra adjustments and maintenance of coilovers would be justified.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

2004 R32 videos

After watching the video in this post I had the uncontrollable urge to post a couple videos of my own....


These are both relatively old videos of the 2004 R32 but even now I still get a smile on my face and the desire to drive whenever I watch them. In both these videos you can hear the R's exhaust which, in my opinion, sounds incredibly awesome.

This first video (Quicktime, 5.69MB) appears to me to be an official VW promo featuring the European-spec 2004 R32.

This second video (wmv, 13.2MB) is from Germany, and appears to be a compilation from various sources.

Subaru Impreza WRX STI facelift promotional video

When the new Subaru front-end appeared on the B9 Tribeca, there was a lot of controversy over the way it looked. The face lift was supposed to imply Subaru's aircraft heritage, but most people didn't like it. On the 2006 Impreza, the "pig-nose" was toned down, but it still polarized the Subaru community....


I actually like the new look better. I had looked at the STI before, but when I went to an autoshow and took a close look at the oversized hood scoop I couldn't see myself driving it. When the new look offered a smaller hood scoop and HID headlamps, I was curious enough to take a second look. So while the face lift may have turned off old-time Subaru enthusiasts, I think it also attracted a whole new generation of Subaru fans like me.

There are rumors that there will be a new look in 2008 for the Impreza including a possible 2-door model and several artist renditions of possible candidates have been popping up here and there.

Friday, March 23, 2007

COBB AccessPORT v.2: Launch control

The Cobb AP 2.0 allows you to reprogram a vehicle's ECU to load custom tuning maps and maximize performance. It's one of the upgrades that I've been seriously considering for my 2006 Subaru Impreza STI.

One of the features they are working on adding to the AccessPort is "Launch Control"--something that first became available on Formula 1 cars....

Apparently, the launch control feature will be released fairly soon. Here's news from the beginning of March describing the latest firmware updates to be released.

Ferarri fuel for the road

I found this posted on NASIOC yesterday. It's a commercial called ‘Circuit’ for Shell that celebrates 60 years of collaboration between Shell and Ferrari. Open-wheel racing for the win!

Click below for more details....

This commercial was directed by Antoine Bardou Jacquet who also directed the famous Honda "Cog" commercial. The locales in the film include Rome, Monaco, Rio, Sydney, New York and Hong Kong. One of the best things about watching this clip is recognizing the circuits from playing GT4 on the PlayStation2 :0)


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

VW R32: 1095 days and counting....

It's three years to the day since I purchased my R32. It had been around ten years since I'd driven a manual, so on the 21st of March in the year 2004 I probably looked like an idiot as I drove off the lot. :o)

I didn't realize it at the time, but I'd finished all the performance mods I had planned exactly two years and one day later....

In order of installation:

1) EIP short shift and lower rear transmission mount (July 2004)
2) Flapper mod switch (2004)
3) EIP ECU upgrade (April 2005)
4) VW OEM HIDs (May 2005)
5) H&R 21mm RSB (May 2005)
6) EIP CCAI (May 2005)
7) HPA Motorsports SHS coilover suspension (March 2006)

Further details and pics of the above can be found in a previous post. All of the stuff I've done to the R, big and small, performance-related and not, can be found here.

Anywhoo, in celebration of my R's third birthday, I thought I'd post a brief photographic retrospective of my R32:

2004

2005

2006

2007

The past three years haven't been perfect, but after almost 31k miles, I'm looking forward to many, many, *many* more. :o)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Litchfield Imports Type-25

Tim from the Netherlands sent me this link to an episode of Fifth Gear featuring the Litchfield Imports Subaru Type-25 which is based upon the new Japanese A−Line STI. It has 415 bhp which is about the same as a Porsche 911 GT3 and goes 0-60 in 3.7 seconds which is about as fast as a Ferrari F430--but obviously at a much lower price....


For full specs and pricing on the Litchfield Type 25 checkout: http://type-25.com/

UPDATE (20 March 2007 - 20:27) - Tim just sent me this:
"Oh, btw, the full episode of the Type 25 clip is Episode 7, Season 10, as you can see here: http://www.episodeworld.com/episode/198607. Makes searching for it a bit easier.... "

If you've got a high-speed Internet connection, check out FinalGear.com where you'll be able to get full episodes of my two favorite TV shows: Fifth Gear and Top Gear.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Baby Aston


Arrived early this morning and pictured at the age of 7.5 hours: 7 lb. 13 oz.

Mother and baby girl are doing well.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Anticipation: The Sequel

My wife is now officially 10 days overdue with our 4th child. On the 10th day, some magical milestone is passed and the doctors induce the baby. We're just waiting for the phone call from the hospital to tell us when to come in....


Our first child was also induced. In fact, they had to double-dose my wife because things just weren't happening. Of course after that, things happened very fast!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI - 17074 km - Valvoline SynPower Complete Fuel System Cleaner

Valvoline SynPower Complete Fuel System Treament applied. I first used Valvoline's product on the Passat and I thought it made a noticeable improvement in the throttle response. On subsequent uses, I didn't notice any difference. I think it was because the fuel system had been cleaned and was not as dirty any more....

For some reason Canadian Tire stopped carrying Valvoline SynPower and I couldn't find anywhere else that sold it. I had to buy this bottle in Bellingham, WA at Schucks the last time I was down there in the summer.

I after I poured it into the tank, I made a quick run to the airport and back. I couldn't notice any immediate differences, but the STI is only a year old and I've been using Chevron premium 93 octane almost exclusively, so the fuel system couldn't have been that dirty. I can comment on how much fun I had, though.... 1/4 tank of fuel used up in just under 100 km--that's how much fun!!! :evilgrin:

Also had a chance to practice a launch in the STI. I was terrible at it when I was out at Mission last summer. This time I was relaxed and I let the clutch slip a lot more. I must have hit the sweet spot because as soon as I let off the clutch my head snapped back into the seat!!! :eek: I've never felt that kind of rocket-like acceleration before....

VW R32: Bootliner

My brother was surprised when I told him I didn't have any type of cargo liner for my R32. Well, now I do. :o)


When the 2004 Golf R32 was first released Volkswagen worldwide didn't offer a protective cargo mat for the hatch. Because of the Haldex the hatch is raised slightly compared to the Golf/GTI; any liners or mats designed for the Golf/GTI don't fit the R32.

In winter 2006 VW finally came out with a bootliner designed to fit the 2004 R32. Unfortunately, I read that it was just a piece of flimsy foam so I promptly forgot all about its existence until last week when I asked a local VW parts department about cargo liners. Anywhoo, I decided to order a bootliner—since it has to better than nothing—and this morning I picked it up. My verdict: this bootliner is an expensive piece of flimsy foam… but it has to be better than nothing.

Stock, part no. 1J6 863 463 P

Bootliner, part no. 1J0 061 161

To my surprise there was some assembly required. If you want access to two latches--which I do--you need to cut out a couple pieces of foam (locations indicated by red circles in the below photo). It was easy enough to do with a box cutter, but it certainly didn't make me feel any better about buying an expensive piece of flimsy foam.



Friday, March 16, 2007

2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI - 17065 km - Summer tire swap


Despite the snow flurries we got earlier this week, I decided to swap out the winter tires yesterday....

I forgot how meaty the stock Bridgestone RE070 high-performance tires are. They fit very wide on the WedsSports and look like racing slicks compared to the Hankook Ice Bears that were on there.

In addition to washing the BBS wheels and replacing them with the WedsSports and then washing the WedsSports and then washing the car, I also gave the STI a quick coat of Eagle One's Wax-As-You-Dry and a coat of Eagle One Nanowax. It felt good because it has been awhile since I was able to give the car a good cleaning. When the weather gets warmer, I'll try using a clay bar and putting some more durable wax on it.

It feels so good to put the WedsSports and RE070's back on. Here's what it looks like now:

2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI

Cars, Cars, Cars...


2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI
Originally uploaded by istargazer.
This picture that I took the other day was recently blogged over at Cars, Cars, Cars...


When I took this picture, I was thinking of swapping off the BBS winter rims and putting the summer tires back on. It was quite warm. Of course, the next morning we had a freak blip in the weather that gave us cold temperatures and snow!?! Thank goodness it didn't last long.

Monday, March 12, 2007

2006 Honda Odyssey: DST update


To follow-up on the post I made yesterday about Daylight Saving Time, it looks like Honda is working on a fix:

http://techinfo.honda.com/rjanisis/pubs/SN/A07030A.PDF

Update (15 Mar 2007): The full text of the PDF file is in the screen shot that I took above. Click the image for a clearer view.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

2006 Honda Odyssey: Daylight Saving Time adjustment

Well, today was the brand new official start to Daylight Saving Time (DST)--3 weeks earlier than what was used in the past. I'm still miffed by the fact that we here in Canada have to change our clocks simply because of something the US Congress decided to do.

Because the Odyssey has a GPS navigation unit, it sets the clock in the van by synchronizing with the GPS satellites. There's an option for automatically adjusting the time by using the GPS to calculate your Time Zone and for automatically adjusting for Daylight Savings.

Back in the fall, the clock adjusted with no problems because we were still on the old system. This morning it did not.

At first I thought it was maybe because the van was parked in the garage overnight and it had lost contact with the GPS satellites. But after driving around and running errands for about an hour, the clock still failed to change.

And until Honda/Alpine provides software updates, it will not change automatically. *sigh* I guess I'll have to resort to getting accurate time the old fashioned way: manually.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Anticipation


Is tonight the night?

Sony PSP homebrew - Update: Version 3.10 OE

Custom PSP Firmware Installation Version 3.10 OE

There's a new custom PSP firmware version available. It offers a few more features, and I upgraded a few weeks ago, but I don't think it's as stable as the earlier version that I had....

I haven't decided if I'm going to uninstall it, but some of the problems I've noticed is that it seems to freeze sometimes when I want to watch a video podcast that I have saved on the memory card. I then have to hold the power button to shut the PSP off and then reboot it. It never happened before the update.

The other problem I've noticed is that the timer for saving RSS feeds automatically doesn't seem to work consistently anymore. I'm not exactly sure what the problem is since I always have the WiFi turned on and the PSP in standby. Before I knew that it worked because the screen would automatically turn on at the set time and start downloading. But now, it doesn't always do that and when I check the PSP none of the RSS feeds have been updated.

One of the benefits of this update is that it allows you set the screen at a brighter "4th" level while on battery power. This level of brightness was previously available only if the PSP was plugged into AC power. This makes it easier to view the screen in a bright room--however it does reduce battery power significantly.

Friday, March 09, 2007

VW R32: Let there be light

When Volkswagen shipped the 2004 Golf R32 to the United States they left out something that came stock on the European-spec. R32s--HID headlamps. My understanding is that the rationale for this decision was to keep the R32 MSRP close to $30k. Apparently the cost associated with making the European-spec HIDs comply with American regulations would have been counter-productive. Personally, I would have been willing to pay a little more to get HIDs stock.

After the occasional drive at night, I really wanted to improve the lighting situation. I'm not sure about now, but at the time I was looking to buy OEM HIDs they had to be shipped from Europe, were fairly expensive, and non-blem, brand new HIDs even more so.

Anywhoo, I managed to find someone selling new OEM HIDs (manufactured by Bosch) and once they were installed I needed to aim them properly. I followed some easy-to-follow instructions on visually aiming headlamps from Daniel Stern Lighting.

Here's a quote from the instructions that I find funny in a bang-my-head-against-the-wall kind of way:
US DOT VOL and VOR headlamps cannot be visually aimed horizontally, and in many cases, cannot be aimed horizontally by any means at all, because no provision for horizontal aim adjustment is provided. [This is because US regulators believe there is no way to define a visual cue, such as a kink in the cutoff, that would allow accurate left-to-right placement of a headlamp beam and that cars will not get in fender-benders that will knock the headlamps out of horizontal alignment. For what it's worth, the Europeans have been successfully aiming their headlamps vertically AND horizontally since 1955. -ed.]

Anywhoo, since the HIDs were European-spec I was able to aim them both vertically and horizontally. I did this soon after I first purchased and installed them, and again just tonight (Ah HAH! The genesis of this post is revealed).

HID beam pattern

Some final notes: to protect my investment I also purchased Lexan headlamp covers; I disabled the daytime driving lights (DRLs) prior to installing the HIDs; I installed a rheostat (not required) to control the leveling motors found on the HIDs.

Update 11MAR2007: Hmmm... in case I wasn't clear, fyi I installed the HIDs almost two years ago and decided to do the write up now, since I didn't have a blog back then--I just had an old fashioned website.

The 7-52 Daily Photo: TGIF


The 7-52 Daily Photo


I started a new feature today on my photoblog that I call "TGIF" where I'll be showcasing pictures from other car enthusiasts. I'm hoping to show all makes and models from around the world, so if you love your car, I'd gladly to post it on my site. Today I've started with 3 cars: a Volkswagen and a couple of Subarus....


I'm not looking for professional pictures--just pictures you or a friend have taken of your car or motorcycle or truck or ? I'm not picky about quality either so camera phone shots are fine too, if the width is at least 500 pixels.

Please check it out and let me know what you think.

The 7-52 Daily Photo

Thursday, March 08, 2007

2006 Honda Odyssey - 5600 km: Annoying ticking

I noticed a strange ticking sound in Odyssey the other day. It's coming from the stereo system. When the stereo is turned off, the ticking stops. It happens when the radio is tuned to AM or FM. It wasn't there before, but now it's there all the time.

It's quiet but very noticeable when the radio is tuned to normal listening volumes. Actually, you can turn the volume completely down and the ticking sound keeps at a constant level. Obviously, when the volume is turned up, you can't hear the ticking as much. I'll have to check to see if it occurs when I play other sources.

I'm wondering if it has to do with the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) system but I don't know. I put the radio into diagnostic mode to try to turn the ANC off and on, but I didn't notice a difference.

To put the Odyssey OEM radio into diagnostic mode:

Press and hold the "1" and "6" buttons at the same time and then press the "Power" knob.

I'm 30% to an oil change so this will have to be checked out by the dealership.

Friday, March 02, 2007

VW R32: From Sweden with Love

Nope, this post isn't about some 007 ripoff; it's about something I'd been waiting to arrive since before Christmas, then gave up on as I learned that they'd run out of the item, then started hoping when I heard another batch had started being delivered....

Hmmm... kind of convoluted for an introduction I guess, when I could simply say that Haldex was offering free "Haldex Performance" badges for anyone who simply gave them mailing directions on their website. This news was posted on VWvortex and the resulting flood of R32 and non-R32 owners requesting a badge overwhelmed supply. Generously, Haldex didn't revert to the "until supplies last" reply, but started shipping out badges once they had more.

I just checked the Haldex website, and they're still offering free badges. Nice!

Anywhoo, the reason I was all eager-like for the Haldex badge is because the 2004 R32 is equipped with a Haldex AWD system. To my delight, with the badge Haldex included three "Haldex Performance" stickers--one each in black, grey, and white.



So having been eagerly anticipating the opportunity to put the Haldex badge on the R's hatch, I decided not to. I'm not comfortable putting something semi-permanent on the paint--even a badge. Plus, I was wondering if it would make the rear look too busy.

Tonight I was going to put one of the Haldex stickers on my rear right window, but that will have to wait until tomorrow when the light is better. I'll post pics when I update this post.

Update 03MAR2007


Zoom in...

...and zoom out.


Maybe I should have placed it a little lower. Oh well, I can live with it. For now, at least. ;o)

Archives / Past Journeys

Labels