Case Studies : Project SRT-4 gets a heart transplant!

When we last left our Project SRT-4, it had an unfortunate head gasket tear and consequently had overheated. While the stock turbo had done it’s part putting down 355 @ 25 psi, it was definitely not happy at that level of boost.

While tearing the head off for service, we’ve decided to upgrade the turbo and exhaust manifold at the same time.

Helloooooooo...... Nurse!

We are installing a DNP Performance Tubular Manifold with External wastegate option, a Pro Street Stage V turbo with a 62-1 wheel and .70 cold side, and stage V hotside with .84 A/R.

Controlling the level of boost is a 44 mm Tial wastegate, and a BLOX manual boost controller, and of course a piggybacked SAFC on top of the Toys Stage II ecu upgrade with timing controls.

The only problem now is of course, fabricating a downpipe and 02 housing for the turbo so that it mates up to the full 3 inch catback exhaust on our SRT-4.

Parts used in this install

While the motor was out of the car, we fabbed up a test 02 housing and downpipe for this vehicle due to the exhaust facing towards the rear. Unfortunately, this test downpipe was misaligned, and upon bolting it all up we found it was exiting right onto the steering rack. Bad jujus.


Because of the engine layout and the choice in manifolds, the space to make this 3 inch downpipe clear is quite the challenge.

A look at the hotside and manifold setup in relation to the firewall.

A look at the clearance ( what little we have ) between the steering rack and the subframe in relation to the turbo and manifold.

A shot of the front side of the downpipe, and how close it is to the steering rack and the lines going into it.

Taking the downpipe off, we elect to gap out the top turn to push the flex section and flange away from the rack and towards the passenger side fender well.

After an hour of welding and cutting, we have successfully relocated the downpipe outlet to a more desirable location.

Next up, finishing up the job and welding the external dumptube to a tried and true location.


San Jose Sharks Trade Rumors : Will the Sharks get Rick Nash?

The Sharks limp home after a disasterous nine game road swing, finishing just 2-6-1 and on the cusp of missing the playoffs for the first time in a decade.

Losing another late lead by allowing the Minnesota Wild to sneak by them 4-3 at the Xcel Energy Center, the Sharks now head home at the trade deadline with more questions than answers awaiting at home.

The time for excuses is over, the Sharks have no one to blame but themselves for this pathetic road showing. Starting the trip leading the Pacific Division by three points with four games in hand to now barely clinging to the seventh spot in the West.

Captain Joe Thornton called the team “fragile” after a 6-3 dismantling by the Columbus Blue Jackets, one of the NHL’s worst teams and it’s a brutally fair assessment of the team. Joe’s done his part in trying to rally the troops, but the rest of the team or more specifically the defense and goaltending is failing to live up to their end of the bargain.

It’s not that long ago when the Sharks faithful were waving goodbye to Nabokov and his remarkable decade long run of excellence in the regular season, and gearing up for a new era of Sharks goaltending. Bolster the defense, stay with the process, add more speed and grit was the recipe we were told.

With Niittymaki and Greiss in the fold, the Sharks were ready to enter the season strong in 2010 until Doug Wilson fell in love with a shiny bauble named Antti Niemi. The Sharks were coming off a very strong campaign having lost to the eventual champion Chicago Blackhawks, and had plently of flexibility to move or add pieces as they saw fit.

Instead, Doug Wilson forgot the “process” he so frequently speaks about, about “sticking to the plan” as he’s said so many times and like a child in a candy store simply had to have Niemi, damn the consequences.

Now, before anyone gets their hairs in a twist Niemi was an absolute stud last year, his run in the second half was one of the best in Sharks history. But he’s not the same guy as a year ago, and especially so during this road swing. The Sharks were close to the cap before, and Niemi’s then 2 million dollar contract didn’t completely upset the salary cap cart, but the big contract he signed before the playoffs sure didnt help.

Now has the defense done it’s part? of course not but Nemo simply isn’t making the saves he did a year ago. With the trade deadline looming, one can’t help but think the courting of Rick Nash could have been dealt with much easier without the late change of mind signing of Niemi two years ago.

What are the answers? Where is the fire and passion we saw a year ago when the Sharks stormed from 14th place to 2nd in the West? Where the team was playing defense and taking care of their own end? Where Niemi looked unsolvable on so many nights? Even the Sharks sound like they are in need of a shakeup.

“We don’t have any time to go back and think we’re going to get some good days of practice and stuff like that. It’s just not in the cards,” assistant coach Matt Shaw said. “It’s going to be a mental strength issue.”

With just 3 hours and change left to the deadline, we’ll all know shortly if there will be the big shakeup people are expecting.

Could Sharks fans see this soon?

Will it be Rick Nash however? I remain unconvinced that he is the be all end all to the Sharks struggles. But make no mistake, the young stud winger is on his way out of Columbus. His agent Joe Resnick said in an interview with NHL insider Bob McKenzie that they were “hopeful” a deal got done before the trade deadline, and that the list of “acceptable teams” wasn’t going to shrink no matter what.

Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson didn’t budge even after reading inbetween the lines, refusing to comment and maintaining his stance that the Blue Jackets must find the “right deal” to move Nash.

Sound more and more like Joe Pavelski to anyone??

Improve scoring? check. Improve Leadership? check. Improve defense? Eh.. not so much. While posting a 2.38 goals against in the first 52 games, the Sharks left the keys in the ignition as their opponents have run up a 3.89 goals against in the last nine games.

With just a few hours left to the trade deadline, I am hoping against hope that Doug Wilson doesn’t fall in love with another shiny bauble again.

Go Sharks.

Case Studies – Installing TEIN Stech Springs in a Evolution X

A good friend of mine recently picked up a slightly used Evolution X from a dealer, after trading in his S2000. He’s been around DSM’s for the better part of his professional career, having worked at Road Race Engineering and the now defunct BOZZ.

So to say the least, he knows his way around the 4G63, and while it’s not the same motor we’ve grown to work on, love and hate, it’s still a Mitsubishi.

He’s not completely sure what route he will take in this car, but he knows that the current
rock-climbing-Jeep stance is not what he wants to drive around in.

To remedy the solution, he picks up a set of TEIN Stech Springs for his Evolution X.

What you will need for this install :

  • TEIN part number SKE18-AUB00
  • 17mm socket and open end wrench
  • 14mm socket and open end wrench
  • 12mm socket
  • flat head screwdriver
  • needle nose pliers
  • Spring compressor ( optional )
  • * I am not liable for any damage, direct or indirect due to any modifications made on your car, related or unrelated to this writeup.
First, get the car into the air and secure the car safely using your jack stands. Next pop open your hood and locate the 3 14mm nuts that secure the shocks into your car.
Now crack those 14mm nuts loose, but do not remove them. Next take off your wheels and let’s get the shocks disconnected from your front spindles.
First undo the 12mm that holds your brake lines to the back of your shock assembly and pull away on the brake line.
Now undo the 2 main bolts holding your front shock assembly to the spindle and then use your needle nose to pull the bracket holding the brake lines to the mounting tab on the back of your shock.
After removing the nuts, use your jack to secure your spindle so that it wont fall.
Take care not to use the brake shield as a jack point, with the spindle and brakes secured, undo the nuts and pull the bolts out of your shock.
Now revisit the 14mm bolts in the engine bay and remove them, but make sure to hold your shock assembly so that it doesn’t fall.

Look ma! no shocks!

With the shock now removed, you must now mark the orientation of the top hat and mounting hardware. You will be best served to remember the layout of the top hat and the orientation of the shock itself. If you have a spring compressor, now is the time to tighten it down on the front spring coil as to prevent harm when it uncoils.

If you don’t own a spring compressor, u can place the bottom of the shock against your rim and tire and gun the top nut off. If you are not comfortable doing this and don’t own a spring compressor, maybe this job isn’t for you.

Remove the top hat and set to the side, you should now be able to remove the rest of the bushings and mounts to get to your stock springs.

Now, with the top strut mount removed, locate your bump stop as it will require modification.

Using a marker, mark where you wish to remove the excess material in your bumpstop so that the Evo’s new stance will not create any problems.

Now reassemble your front shocks with your TEIN Stech lowering springs, make sure that you are aligning the marks on your top mount, and make sure the spring is seated flush against the shock body as shown here.

With the front shocks buttoned back up, you can now reinstall the entire assembly into the car. If you are working on a lift, you can now move on to the rears. Open your trunk and locate the push pins that hold the rear panel in place in the trunk.

Carefully push in the pin and pull out the tabs to allow you to remove the back panel.

You may elect to remove the factory trays that cover the spare tire and wheelwells. We elected to do this step, as the car was still pretty new and we didn’t want to damage anything. To remove these panels, simply push in the tabs as you did with the rear trunk panel.

Now, remove the long bolt that secures your rear shocks to the lower control arm and spindle.

Push the rear shock in and away from the lower assembly, and then go back up top and remove the 2 14mm nuts holding the shock in place. As you did with the front shocks, make sure you have secured the shock to prevent it from falling.

You’re almost there! Now undo the top bolt to the rear shocks, for those who skipped ahead or with some sort of attention disorder, use a spring compressor if you are not comfortable unloading the tension in the coil.

Seat the spring into the rear shock housing, making sure to line up the spring as your oe coil sat.

Don’t forget to modify the bumpstop!

Now tighten up the rear shock assembly and re-install into the back of your Evolution.

Now you are ready to rock and roll! Happy boosting!

NHL Trade Rumors – San Jose Sharks interested in Rick Nash.. Could it happen???

TSN’s hockey insider Darren Dreger reported this morning that the San Jose Sharks have emerged as the front runners to possibly land Rick Nash. Nash is easily the most attractive skater available, and is relatively young, has skills galore and is a proven winner.

So why am I not on board with this move? He’s a stud, he’s a leader, and Nash is good friends with Jumbo, and they’ve excelled for Team Canada when they’ve played together, so what’s the problem?

Overpay.. that’s what the problem is. Columbus’ demands for Nash are incredibly high, especially considering they turned down Toronto in their multi-player deal which included Kadri and Brayden Schenn.

Did I mention that Dean Lombardi is under incredible pressure to bring in Nash and that his job may be on the line? With the Kings needing scoring, and with Bernier or Jack Johnson as bargaining chips, it stands to reason that LA has more to offer than San Jose does.

Nash is still plenty awesome however, did I mention he scored a goal during last night’s 6-3 drubbing of the Sharks? San Jose is limping through a brutal road swing, and is 3-7 in it’s last 10 games. With 33 goals scored and 41 goals surrendered during that period, Nash could certainly be counted on to help the power play.

Darren Dreger says while San Jose turned down Columbus’ initiave asking price of Logan Couture, which is a steep price to pay indeed.

San Jose is on the short list of five teams he would waive his no-trade clause for, but what will we need to give up to land Nash? With the Havlat experiment on hold due to injury, Doug Wilson can’t count on Havlat to return and make a huge impact. So it’s clear the Sharks need some scoring in the top six skaters, but again at what cost?

I’m all for Nash coming to San Jose, so long as we don’t create another need by fulfilling this one.

Columbus just sent Vermette packing to Phoenix, and they figure to be busy at the deadline by dangling such names as RJ Umberger and Jeff Carter. But Rick Nash is in demand, with his name being linked to the Rangers, Flyers, Blackhawks and much more.

We’ve seen this script before haven’t we???

What seems to be a lifetime ago, another 27 year old stud came to Silicon Valley in a trade with the Boston Bruins. Thornton was acquired for the young Brad Stuart, Marco Sturm, and Wayne Primeau, quite a ransom.

There’s no reason to think that if Nash were to be traded to San Jose, you would be saying goodbye to core player or two. Nash, like Thornton was back then 27 years old, with a big frame, and is an elite power forward.

So what could Doug move for Nash? Douglas Murray, Torrey Mitchell and perhaps a first round draft pick would be a great move for San Jose, unfortunately the Blue Jackets would be more inclined to ask for more… much more…

Like Joe Pavelski….

Jumbo played coy with reporters when they asked him about Nash’s availability, simply smiling when asked if he had spoken to Nash.

When pressed for an answer, Jumbo simply smiled again and said “You’re just so focused on what you’re doing day to day,” Thornton said. “I really don’t pay attention to what’s going on with other teams.”

I, like Joe must be salivating at the prospect of Nash lining up on the top line next to Thornton. They were both pivotal in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver for Team Canada, and Nash would instantly become a icon for fans.

Problem is… at what cost???

Why I hate my Acadia Part II….

Well it’s yet another chapter in “Why I Hate My Acadia” and this car is becoming more and more of a problem than a solution. To be honest when crap goes wrong with this car, I’ve stopped being shocked or angry.

The latest thing to go wrong with this car? The headlight went out.

No, not the headlight we changed a month ago, this is now the OTHER side of the car. Great fun right?

Armed with the knowledge of how difficult this job is, I steel myself for another round of cursing and frustration. This time I cut to the chase and simply put the car on a lift to access the wheel well and bottom splashguard bolts and screws.

First remove the tire and rim from the driver side and remove the screws holding the wheel well panel in place.

Take care when removing the push pins holding the wheel well panel in, and the entire panel should dislodge and push to the side.

Thankfully, GMC did not completely eat up all the space available on the driver side as they did to the passenger side.

It seems as though the windshield reservoir being mounted on the driver side of the vehicle has given us enough room to get my hand up to the back of the headlight housing.

With the wheel well panel removed and pushed to the side, you should be able to access the back of the driver side headlight assembly.

The assembly cover comes off with twist of your hand, exposing the H11 bulb inside.

Upon removing my blown H11 bulb, I find an unpleasant surprise.

The H11 harness that holds the 2 pins in place simply disintegrates at my touch, which does wonders for my blood pressure. Further inspection reveals that something was definitely up with the headlights as shown on the bulb that I just removed from the drivers side.

FML.. Seriously

To make matters worse, the Acadia’s high beam is secured to the low beam wiring meaning I cannot retrieve the low beam wires out to extend them.

What else could go wrong you ask??

Hold on……… let me finish.

It also appears that whatever was causing this burn-out also wiped out the pins for the H11 bulb as they no longer clip and / or hold onto anything, let alone a bulb.

Since I cannot reuse the old connector because it broke into a million pieces, and cannot reuse the single pins found in the old connector, I decide to repin the wires and use something that will hold onto the H11 bulb tight.

To repair this issue, I re-use the OBDI body harness we used to re-pin our 1992 Acura Integra Shock Engine harness.

After removing a test pin, I find that the OBDI pins fit onto the bulb quite nicely and snugly. I promptly remove 2 pins and wire them inline to the headlight harness after clipping and removing the old pieces of junk.

I install the 2 new pins by cutting away the older pieces and stripping down the wires, after soldering the new pins in place I use a strip of electrical tape to make sure they will not move or touch each other and put the driver side headlight bulb back into it’s place.

I still hate this car with a passion, but now you have 2 methods in which to service your Acadia’s headlights. Best of luck!

Lizzy the Lizards says..... GM SUCKS

Case Studies – How to Repair a OBDI Engine Harness

We are taking the time to repair a engine harness on a 1992 Acura Integra GS, as the previous owner completely hacked up the connectors and did not leave sufficient wire to solder them together.

What better time than to re-pin the engine harness? Let’s begin.

First isolate the plug in question and undo from the mounting clips, make sure to take a look at the connectors and write down the sequence and color of the wires in question.

For those swapping a B18C1 into their EG or EK and are using body subharnesses will find this work very familiar, the same principles apply when you are adding VTEC to a vehicle that did not come with VTEC.

Now we locate a donor plug and harness, a trip to Dorris wrecking yard yields this nice piece we purchased for 3 dollars.

Next take your damaged OBDI plug and using the pick, press the small lower pin downwards.

Now using a needle nose, grab the wire from the back of the plug while pressing down on this locking pin found on the female side of the plug.

You must press down and pull away at the same time to extract the pin in question.

Here is a shot with one of the female pins undone and free from the matching housing.

Next locate your donor plug and pull out the safety tab located in the middle of the body plug.

With the safety removed, now duplicate the procedure to remove whichever female or male pins you must remove.

Make sure to leave enough slack on the wires when you make your initial cuts so that you leave enough wire to solder your new pins into place.


A look at the donor plug, missing a few teeth as you can see.

While this job was fairly easy and straightforward, the use for repinning OBDI connectors is very useful considering the year ranges in question.

Good luck!

Case Studies – Installing an HKS catback on a S13

Today we are installing an old-school HKS Hi-Power onto a 1992 Nissan 240SX SE.This is an older HKS unit with the old school dual exhaust tips, meant for NA applications.

Tools you will need for this install :

First raise the car up and locate your cat, depending on your vehicle and how old it is / exposure to rain / elements it may be rusted. If so use a can of Blast Away or similar product to get the nuts lubed up.

Next undo the 14mm nuts holding the cat to the exhaust midsection.

Now locate your exhaust hangers forward of the gas tank and to the left of the tank, held on by 2 14mm bolts.

Now you can drop your entire exhaust as one piece, make sure to take care when removing the catalytic converter bolts, as they tend to rust and may strip if not removed carefully.

Here is a comparison shot between the stock unit and the upgraded HKS catback.

Another shot of the midpipe and the comparison between both units

Now hang the rear muffler section onto the back of the S13, re-using the factory rubber hangers.

Next bolt up the midpipe to the cat, securing it by reusing the 14mm nuts you removed. Now line up the midpipe with the rear section, making sure to make a positive seal with the supplied HKS exhaust gasket.

Now tighten her up and you are done!

Enjoy and good luck!

Good Bye Buster – Owen Nolan Retires

It seems like another lifetime ago when my beloved Sharks were still in the early stages of infancy as a NHL franchise, and struggling to gain any measure of respect from anyone.

Throughout the early years and growing pains as a franchise, there emerged an unrivaled leader and captain in Teal, and his name was Owen Nolan.

Today Owen Nolan hung it up, calling it a career after a remarkable run in the NHL. He is and always will be my favorite Shark player of all time.

Ranking second with 206 goals, 76 power-play goals and 451 points, Owen as a player was more than the sum of his stats.

Plain and simple, he was a man’s man on the ice and there’s no better leader I would want out there for my team. In today’s stripped down NHL, with the multitude of ridiculous and vague rules to protect it’s cash cows ( Sidney Crysby anyone?), there just aren’t too many power forwards like Nolan in the league anymore.

My favorite Owen moment? scoring the hat trick in the 1997 All-Star Game hosted in San Jose. After being denied time and time again by Hasek in search for his third goal on his home ice, Owen picked up the puck in the neutral zone and “called his shot” as it were.

I’m standing just left to Hasek in the vomitory in this video, and it’s my favorite Owen Nolan moment of all time.

Who can forget the 1999-2000 season where Owen potted 44 goals and 84 points en route to the infamous red line goal against the Blues in the playoffs. Epic stuff.

Mark Messier may be “The Captain” but Owen Nolan will always be “My Captain”

Best of luck Owen, thanks for the memories.

Case Studies – 2006 Infiniti G35 Stereo Removal

This G35 has the 6 disc changer option from the factory, and it refuses to spit out discs or play discs anymore. Instead of operating, now the unit simply makes an odd buzzing sound and turns off when you attempt to access the CDs.

So removing the G35 stereo is our next step, tools you will need for this install.

  • a plastic panel popper
  • phillips screwdriver

First, locate the shifter ( if auto ) and push down on the chrome clip to access the retaining circlip inside the shifter.

Next carefully remove the golden circlip, and pull up on the shifter knob to remove. Next, use your panel popper ( or spatula ) and carefully unclip the accent bezel located above the 2nd glovebox.

Now carefully run the panel popper ( or spatula ) across the length of the trim piece, take caution as to not break or lose any clips or plastic pieces.

Now with that trim removed, go back to your shifter base and using your panel popper carefully pull up on the lower right panel to pry up the entire base.

Pull up on the entire assembly to gain access to the center console area.

Next, carefully unplug the hazard switch and clips from underneath the shifter base area.

Now undo the 4 screws located around the trim of the lower center console, make sure not to lose the 2 screws that are located towards the front of the car.

Phew! You are halfway there! Now turn your attention to the clock and the top trim above it, using your hands press inwards to release the clips while at the same time pulling upwards. Here is a pic of how you depress the dash and release the clips.

With both clips pushed away, you can now carefully pull away on the top panel.

Now using your panel popper, undo the lower bezel from the clock, pulling away from the face of the clock and towards the back of the car. After getting the bezel loose, simply pull up and away.

Now using your Phillips screwdriver, remove the one screw holding the top radio bracket in. This is located directly under your clock, sorry for the blurry picture.

Move back to the back half of your center console and slide the entire assembly forward, now unclip the side panels and push inward.

Now turn your attention back to the lower center console, and carefully pry upwards and away on the side panels of your center console.

Pull up……

Now repeat the process for the left hand side to gain clear side access to your radio. There are 2 screws holding the bracket in place, that are located under the silver bezel we removed earlier, the 2 other screws are located directly under your radio unit.

The entire assembly should now be able to be lifted up and out of the dash, take care not to scratch the dash when removing your stereo as the clock bracket is rather long and can cause damage if you are not careful.

Now with your stereo removed, you can now service / replace / or throw away as desired!

Best of luck!

Case Studies – Project Supra hits the Dyno!

When we last left our 1997 Anniversary Edition Supra, it was just getting used to calling to it’s new owner and had been modded for the first time in its life.

Because the car is so new, my friend is adamant about going slow and keeping it BPU for a while. He even goes so far as to utter the sentence I have heard about a zillion times from customers over the years.

“No, I’m more than happy with this power level, I don’t need to mod the car any further”

When people usually say this to me, I snort in derision and just sit back as the mod bug proceeds to take a huge bite of their wallet.

My friend has been a employee of Apexi for over 7 years, and even he cannot deny the temptress that is the 2JZ.

Within a few days of installing the old school Super AFC, he went out and purchased an upgraded turbo, manifold, Greddy 4 row intercooler, a full set of Greddy gauges, and 660cc RC injectors.

The turbo installed is a T4 62-1 with a 4 inch inlet .70 a/r compressor, with a stage V 1.01 A/R exhaust side.

For a rough idea of how much of an upgrade this small turbo is, take a look at this side by side comparison of a T4 62-1 and a CT26.

He’s elected to go with a SSAutochrome style Ebay log style manifold coupled with a 44mm Tial wastegate dumping back into a 3inch downpipe and full exhaust with a high flow cat.

With just a few mods and a turbo / manifold swap, we head down to our friends at DSR, check them out here :

Using the DatScan datalogger, we tap into the Supra’s ECM to get a firm readout on the engine’s vitals. More importantly we determine the tip-in point for boost as we dial in the fuel trims accordingly.

We are aiming for a 12.5 AFR at the transition and a rock solid 11:1 at WOT until redline. The Supra is running 22 psi of boost through a full catback and 3inch Vibrant High Flow Catalytic Converter.

After just an hour, the car put down a SAE corrected power level of 521 with 433 ft lbs of torque.

The Supra put down a very healthy number with an excellent fuel curve, all for just a handful of mods. Next up for the car is a bigger turbo, more boost and Crower cams!

Congratulations Eric!