Saturday, June 30, 2007

2006 Honda Odyssey - 9229 km - V1 radar detector installed

I finished installing the Valentine1 radar detector into the van today. The hardest part was finding a spot to ground the negative wire in the cramped area under the dash. These are the steps I followed....

First, for power I like using a piggyback fuse connector like the one pictured below. It's made by the Littelfuse Company and it's called Add-a-Circuit. Because I simply took out the hard-wire kit that I was using in the Subaru, everything was all set to go.

This allows me to connect into power without having to splice into any wires. I like being able to remove it easily. The driver's side fuse panel is fairly compact and it was easy to fish the wire behind the panel so that it would look nice and clean:

DO NOT DO WHAT I DID IN THE PICTURE ABOVE and put the radar detector with the RADIO (#5), or the INTR LIGHT (#6), or the BACK UP (#7), or the DAY LIGHT (#3). I tried each one of those locations, looking for a spot that would give me switched power. Surprisingly, each one of those gave FULL POWER even with the key removed from the ignition. Here's the fuse box legend:

For some bizarre reason, I thought "ACC" (#32) was for "air conditioning control" :LOL: Obviously, that was the correct spot to use and THAT is the one I am using now. The V1 gets powered up when the key is in the ACCessory or ON position and turns off when the key is removed. In my journey of pulling fuses, I had to re-enter the anti-theft code for both the radio and the navigation system as well as re-doing the memory settings for the driver's seat. Save yourself trouble and make sure you use ACC (#32)!

The next hardest part was finding a spot to ground the negative wire. In all my other vehicles, I've been able to find a metal screw somewhere within reach under the dash that worked well, but in the Honda Odyssey, there is almost nothing to use at all. I found one hopeful screw in the back towards the firewall, but it didn't work. This is where I found a spot to use:

There is a metal bracket under the dash that works well as a ground. There's even a bolt on the side. However, space was too tight and the bolt was a little too wide that I was unable to tighten the spade connector from the negative wire to it. Luckily, there are two holes on that bracket perpendicular to that bolt that are much easier to access. I found an extra license plate bolt and nut in my garage and used one of those holes to attach the negative wire. It works great and doesn't interfere with anything.

Once I got that done, everything else was easy. I ran the wire to the V1 hidden display through the dash along the steering column to the fuse box. All the wires are then tucked in behind the panel behind the fuse box so that everything is hidden:

The wire for the main unit is tucked in between the dash panel along the fuse box, goes under the rubber seal up along the door, and then tucked in across the top of the A-pillar cover and along the headliner to the rear-view mirror:

I thought I was going to have to use some black tape to attach the wire to the mirror, but I remembered from installing the V1 in my Passat, that the plastic cover that hides the wires for the rear-view mirror is easily removed. You simply slide the top part of the cover down and it comes off. I then tucked the V1 wire with the other wires and replaced the cover. Neat and tidy--just the way I like it!

I placed the V1 in that position because it is the highest position possible without sticking it to the black dots at the top of the windshield. From the driver's seat, the main unit is hidden. Yes, a portion of the rear antenna is blocked by the rear view mirror, but detecting radar from far behind is not my biggest concern. In that position it's more subtle when viewed from behind:

I mounted the V1 hidden display on the dash in front of the guages. In this position, the wire is not very obtrusive and the only thing that is blocked the "Cold" end of the engine temp guage.

Friday, June 29, 2007

2006 Subaru STI - Trico Innovision Wiper Blades

I changed the wiper blades on my 2006 Subaru Impreza STI before I went on the cruise to Alki Beach 3 last weekend. I wanted to get Bosch Icons, but LORDCO didn't have the right size (22" and 17") so I got Trico Innovisions instead...

The Trico wiper blades are similar to the Bosch Icons in that they are frameless. My original STI blades were quite worn and streaking and should have been changed long ago. I also noticed that they lifted a bit at high speeds. Overall though, they lasted for 1.5 years and that's not bad.

The Trico Innovision worked reasonably well. It gave even pressure all along the wiper blade and there was only a little lifting of the bottom edge of the driver's side wiper at high speeds--nothing that affected my vision. The look takes a bit to get used to, though. I might try out the Bosch Icons next time around.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

COBB AccessPort - Launch Control maps released

From the COBB website:
Launch Control and Flat-Foot Shifting maps now available for new AccessPORT

We are proud to announce the availability of Launch Control and Flat-Foot Shifting maps for Subaru 2.5L Turbo models using the new AccessPORT.

These maps are made available to download from our website for FREE.

I'm going to find some time to upload the new map to the STI and set it up, but I don't know if I'll have the courage to actually launch it :0)

UPDATE: Reflash went smoothly at 18538 km.

2006 Subaru STI - Octane Booster used

I always thought that using octane booster in your fuel was like using snake oil--big claims with little results. But I read an article in European Car magazine where they tested some and it showed that there were real gains. They tested NOS brand octane booster, but I bought some concentrated Pennzoil (comes with 4 little bottles) from Canadian Tire because they didn't carry NOS. Afterwards, when I was at Lordco I saw that they did carry NOS-brand so I bought it for later use.

Since 94 octane is very hard to find in Washington State, I was worried about using lesser fuel in the STI during the trip down to Alki Beach, Seattle. Instead of carrying a gas can in the trunk (like some of the other guys), I bought a few bottles of octane booster to try out. I know with the Cobb Accessport, I could have simply flashed the ECU with a real-time map optimized for 91 octane, but I wanted to see how smoothly the engine would run with the additive....

I'm glad to say, that it worked well and the engine ran as smoothly as ever. I have to confess though, that I did make conditions as favorable as possible: The tank was 1/2 tank full of 94 octane and I filled up with 92 octane when I added the octane booster. My main goal was to make sure the engine did not suffer and I used the Accessport to monitor the Dynamic Advance numbers.

Definition of Dynamic Advance (from Parker, Cobb Forums):
"Dynamic Advance: This is the amount of timing the ECU either adds or subtracts from the map based on how the car is running. The higher the number, the more timing the car is adding. If the car sees detonation or pinging it will pull timing out until it goes away. Positive numbers mean the ECU is getting "comfortable" with it's timing and is adding some. Usually adding timing makes more power."

So I was getting positive numbers before and after the octane booster--I'm happy :0). Now I won't have to worry so much when I travel in the US!

Alki Beach 2007 (NASIOC) - Meet photos, Part 2

This is Part 2 of the pictures I took at the Alki Beach 2007 meet in Seattle, WA last weekend. Alki Beach Photos, Part 1 is here.

Click below for more pictures.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

2006 Honda Odyssey - 9194 km - Brake repair under warranty

I went in to the Honda dealership to get the brakes checked on our 2006 Honda Odyssey today.

I found a service bulletin about the brakes on and even though my VIN number didn't fit within the range of the ones given in the service bulletin, my symptoms were very similar. If any repairs needed to be made under warranty, I wanted to make sure that it got checked out before we left. Also, I just didn't feel confident going on a long road trip with the brakes making noises like that....

What the dealership ended up doing was turn and machine both the front and rear rotors under warranty. The service adviser said the cause was "excessive braking" and told me not to ride the brakes when going down a hill. I didn't say anything right then, but thinking back, I should have. I should have told him that I never ride my brakes and since we live on top of a mountain I always shift into "2" when I'm going down so that I don't have to use the brakes too much. They did not replace the pads as specified in the service bulletin, and now I'm worried that if it's the pads that caused the problem, and the pads were not changed, then the problem will re-occur :o(

April 15, 2008 UPDATE: The grinding brakes on my 2006 Honda Odyssey have reoccurred.

Formula One Pinnacle Series ceramic window tint

Current temp: Jun 27, 2007 - 11:15 amOne of my concerns for our summer road trip is the extreme temperatures we'll encounter across the continent especially when I look at the side bar and see the current weather conditions in Washington, D.C.--Eek! Right now it's 34°C!

When I was researching window tint for the Subaru, I found that ceramic tint has excellent heat rejection properties and does not affect electronics and reception like metallic-based tints can. In fact, the 2006 Honda Odyssey Owner's Manual states specifically that tint placed on the front windows can affect the GPS antenna.

That was the reason I chose Huper Optik window film for the STI. Unfortunately, I also lost my AM reception because of it. I didn't want to risk any problems with the Odyssey....

I went back to the shop where I had the Huper Optik was installed and found out that they no longer do automotive tinting so I was back at square one. Luckily enough, I found a local shop that uses Formula One Pinnacle Series window tint which is also ceramic-based and made specifically for vehicles to be non-conductive. (I think that was what the problem was with Huper Optik--it was conductive.) I'm taking the van to get tinted next week, and I'm thinking about having the Huper Optik removed and replaced with Pinnacle.

2006 Honda Odyssey - 9144 km - Grinding brakes

The Honda Odyssey is at the dealership today getting its brakes checked. I've noticed several times now that when the brakes are hot and I make a hard stop, they start to grind. It's not a confidence-inspiring sound/feel and when it happened again last week I thought it would be best to check them out before the road trip.

I'll post up with the results tonight.

Alki Beach 2007 (NASIOC) - Meet photos, Part 1

These are some of the pictures I took at the Alki Beach 2007 meet in Seattle, WA last weekend. The VIC pre-meet photos are here.

Click below for more pictures.

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