Archive for October, 2009

Steve, I think we broke it

October 28, 2009 1 comment

A few weeks ago, Steve and I took on the task of replacing my 3000GT’s spark plugs, spark plug wires, and having the fuel injectors professionally cleaned and resealed. While we were at it, I also replaced the stock air box with an open-element K&N air filter, and replaced the stock bypass valve with an HKS SSQV blow-off valve that I’m recirculating back into the intake.


(HKS SSQ BOV…so many abbreviations such a small device!)

Everything went really well until I put the car back together after getting the injectors back. This video isn’t the first startup after reassembly, but it definitely showcases the heart breaking sound my engine now makes when running.

After deciding the sound was definitely coming from the front bank of cylinders, we removed the valve cover to get a better grasp on what was going on. We watched the camshafts while one person turned the crank shaft using the access panel behind the front wheel. We quickly learned that we couldn’t get a full revolution of the crank shaft in either direction before it required too much torque for us to turn. So we went fishing again into cylinder #1 with a magnet while moving the piston up and down. Bingo:

(Half of the washer that was mercilessly mauled by the engine…still looking for the other half)

This is only about half of a washer. We believe the other half is smashed into the inside wall of the head and is tapping the cylinder with each stroke. It couldn’t have made it past the exhaust valves because the turbo likely would be really unhappy about it, and that doesn’t seem to be the case. We can’t assess all of the damage to the head, piston, and cylinder until we get that head off, which is clearly the next step. But first I’m going to read up on the procedure – I hear it’s a pain in the ass on these cars – and gather up the required parts and tools. While I have the head off, I’ll also be performing the 120,000 mile service since I’m getting close to that mark anyway. I’m thinking I’ll also have the head fully serviced by a machine shop, which will include a hot tank bath, an inspection of all valve guides and seals, a resurface of the bottom of the head, a regrind and pressure test of the valves, and any TLC necessary for the cams and journals. All said-and-done this will easily be $500 or more, plus a few solid days of work. I’ll post updates as the project progresses.

So what’s the moral of the story? First, always check the intake manifold for any foreign objects before replacing the upper plenum. But second? Tie magnets to Steve’s hands to ensure he doesn’t drop a $0.20 part into the intake, causing hundreds of dollars in repairs and untold headache to the car’s owner. (Just kidding, Steve, I still love you. Mostly.)

–          Alex “Butterfingers” Gregorio

Categories: Uncategorized

Get well soon, Lori!

October 26, 2009 1 comment

Just wanted to take a second to wish well to our most consistent reader; Pnemonia is the pits and I’d wish it on nobody. Get well soon, Ms. Sgro!! Your Mediocre boys are rootin’ for you!

(In lieu of the real thing.)

– Steve hopes his favorite reader gets better

Categories: Random, Steve

The birth of a Toyota supercar

October 22, 2009 2 comments

If you pay any attention to the automotive world beyond the new variations of the same old boring cars you might’ve been hearing about a couple new and exciting things coming out of the Toyota camp recently. Most of the big buzz has been around the new joint venture between Toyota and Subaru (Toyota owns a % of Subaru’s parent company) that is being spoken about as the spiritual successor to the much loved and oft storied AE86 Corolla.


(The return of the little Tofu Delivery car that always could!)

The REAL news however is the launch of a Toyota bred supercar; the Lexus LFA. This car has been floating around in rumors, theory, and spy shots while sneak photos and video clips of it have teased us for months. Lexus went right for the gusto and launched the LFA straight into racing at the 24-hour Nurburgring endurance race with a pair of prepped LFAs.


(Seriously…who doesn’t love a set of hot twins?)

Just a few scant hours ago though, Lexus officially birthed the car to a whopping $400,000 price tag. Within the range of 99.9% of most people, hell no. They’re only making 500 units for sale anyway, so even if you DID have the 400k floating around, you’re going to have to fight for the right to own one. Still not convinced? Let me paste in some of the stats that I shamelessly stole from Jalopnik’s coverage of this.

– Top speed: 201.94 MPH
– 0-62 MPH: 3.7 seconds
– Redline at 9,000 RPM
– 4.8-liter 72-degree V10
– 553 hp @ 8,700 RPM
– 354 lb-ft of torque at 6,800 RPM
– Titanium valves, connecting rods, exhaust manifold, forged aluminum pistons,
– dry sump oil system
– Six-speed sequential gearbox
– Torsen limited slip differential
– 65% of the body is carbon fiber
– 3,263 pounds with a 48/52 weight distribution
– 15.4″ front carbon ceramic rotors with six-piston monoblock calipers up front , 14.2″ rear
– Production limited to 500 units


(I keep having trouble writing captions for this car because I find myself staring lovingly at it for long periods of time instead of writing)

Still not convinced? Let me share with you a little video that Lexus released (and I found on Jalopnik again, but was presented by

After I watched the video and had finally stopped panting breathlessly enough to regain the control of my motor functions, I was instantly thinking back to the time I spent at the Montreal F1 a few years back. It was a life changing experience and after having been a fan of F1 for years it was a completely different experience to physically FEEL the violence and beauty of the sport. There are very few things that make me have uncontrollable goosebumps and tingles all over my body (I’m not making this up or using hyperbole here) and the first time I heard an F1 engine in real life, I got that feeling. I still get it when I hear F1 cars on TV now…watching this video of the LFA, I had the same uncontrolled physical reaction

Seriously, I don’t know how to explain the true volume of the noise of an F1 motor at full throttle other than this: The air around me (even 100ft away from the car) sounded and felt like it was being ripped and shredded and pulled from existence. The sound of the motors was as beautiful as it was ear destroying though, and the cars sang a 10,000 RPM (at that time) Opera as they screamed past us exceeding 150mph. I’ve never in my entire life heard any motor sound so close to that experience (especially the operatic tones) as I have in hearing this video of the LFA.


(Pure magic, contained in a Lexus wrapped shell)

I’ll likely never have the chance to ever even SEE an LFA in person, and will have an even cosmically smaller chance at driving one, but today I’m easily one of the most excited little boys on the planet. Toyota built a super car…and it is pure magic what they’ve accomplished.

-Steve is gonna go watch the video again

Categories: Uncategorized

Why your MM editors are awesome

October 20, 2009 Leave a comment

I can only imagine you come to this site for some random semi-car related fun from a semi-amusing staff of writers. While you typically only get to see what we provide for you in cleaned up and shiny “official post” form…I figured it might be worthwhile to see what goes on behind the scenes.

In the spirit of this idea, I’ve copy/pasted an IM conversation between Alex and myself to show what you’re getting yourself into by hanging out with us. This is a complete conversation…and yes…someone does pay us to work for them.


1:11PMStephen Molloy 
So, funny story. I’ve been seeing all these little spider web trails for a while now on my windshield and I just assumed they were from this little spider that Pic and I had seen running around on it earlier last week. I was backing into a spot just now and I turned all the way around saw this FUCKING HUGE spider web with a pretty large spider just chillin’ out in the middle of it all the way back in my hatch.
1:24 PMAlex Gregorio 
so he’s actually inside the car?
1:24 PMStephen Molloy 
Oh yea
He lives there now
1:24 PMAlex Gregorio 
haha, that’s a great place to live
1:24 PMStephen Molloy 
I don’t know how I didn’t notice it before. I’ts a pretty big web/spider
yea, nice and open, dry..might smell a little funny sometimes, but otherwise it’s a great place
I wonder if he was there for the race day
1:32 PMAlex Gregorio 
he certainly has the grip to hold on
1:32 PMStephen Molloy 
I want to be a spider
I bet it’d be pretty cool
1:32 PMAlex Gregorio 
he best not stay long, though… I don’t imagine there’s much food in your car
hah, how about a spider MAN
1:32 PMStephen Molloy 
yea, I wonder if he’s hungry
maybe I’ll catch some bugs and throw them back there for him
1:32 PMAlex Gregorio 
you should throw a helpless moth on that shit
haha yea ;P
1:32 PMStephen Molloy 
moths aren’t helpless…they’re just retarded
1:32 PMAlex Gregorio 
1:33 PMStephen Molloy 
The only reason why people don’t like moths, but DO like butterflies is that butterflies are pretty
1:33 PMAlex Gregorio 
nah dude, they’re pretty helpless – no defense except maybe some basic camoflauge
1:33 PMStephen Molloy 
same with ugly people/hot people
I should go grab some butterflies and throw them in there
fuck them
It’s the same with dolphins and tuna
everyone always complains about dolphins in tuna nets….
1:33 PMAlex Gregorio 
so dude, I forgot to show you my Forza-branded 2GB USB thumb drive
1:34 PMStephen Molloy 
Oh…what’s it look like?
1:35 PMAlex Gregorio 
like awesomeness
1:36 PMAlex Gregorio 
1:37 PMAlex Gregorio 
I wish the USB drive looked like that
1:37 PMStephen Molloy
yea, it looks cool, but the keychain is tight
1:38 PMAlex Gregorio 
at least it glows: _
1:38 PMStephen Molloy 
I don’t even know what to say to that
1:38 PMAlex Gregorio 
say that glowy is awesome
1:38 PMStephen Molloy 
I refuse
I had glowing LEDs on the front of this computer case I bought (hated the LEDs but the case was good) and I hated every single minute they were on until I kicked it hard enough to loosen the connectors up and the LEDs went dark
1:39 PMAlex Gregorio 
so much jealousy
1:40 PMStephen Molloy 
Maybe, but does YOUR car have a giant spider living in it? Yea, didn’t think so
1:41 PMAlex Gregorio 
if I leave it in Craig’s barn for 5 months, I’m sure I’ll have more than spiders living in it
wait… I’m not sure that’s a good thing
1:42 PMStephen Molloy 
Pffft, I think it is
I’ve got a rockin’ spider web
Bugs shall not dare enter my car
if they do, they shall feel the wrath of TEH SCION SPIDAR
1:42 PMAlex Gregorio 
1:42 PMStephen Molloy 
(spelling it wrong implies that you’re too busy slaying bugs to bother yourself with correct spelling)
1:43 PMAlex Gregorio 
he should have a patch over one of his 8 eyes
and peg legs for three of his legs
1:43 PMStephen Molloy 
Haha, that’d be so awesome
and a mini-parrot
1:43 PMAlex Gregorio 
that’d be one tiny parrot
1:43 PMStephen Molloy 
with a patch on its eye too
Yea, but it’d be a SWEET tiny parrot
1:43 PMAlex Gregorio 
holy shit we’re nerds
1:44 PMStephen Molloy 
Yea, I think so
1:44 PMAlex Gregorio 
my hand still smells
1:44 PMStephen Molloy 
There is something wrong with you

So yea, it has nothing to do with cars…except maybe with the Forza reference…but it should give you a good look at who we are when we’re not all fancy for the posts we put up.

– Spider-Steve

Categories: Alex, Random, Steve

8 hours at the race track hurts the back

October 17, 2009 6 comments

I skipped work and went racing yesterday. I’ve been super stressed out with trying to buy a house and dealing with a pretty heavy load at work recently so I felt like I deserved a day for myself and was lucky enough to have enough scratch in the bank to hit the track.

I went out to Pacific Raceways for their last day of the season to do a full open lapping day on the track and to hopefully get certified for a sport driving license. The sport driving license basically certifies you to run solo (without an instructor) on the track for any of the open lapping events. 


(Damn you turn 3b, you eat my right front tire and you’re difficult to master!)


 The lapping day was 8 full hours of lapping bliss. There was a small number of cars (fewer than I’ve ever seen before at PR) and there were two groups for ~10 each until the afternoon session. This means that at any one time there were usually only about 7 cars out at any one time (as people went on/off for fixes, mechanical failures, or black flag penalties) so the the track was blissfully empty to try some new lines and try to find time in those pesky problem corners of mine. 2 groups alternating 30 minute stints with a break for lunch and two different corner studies (super helpful) during the day, lead to a LOT of seat time in the tC.



(158.4 miles worth of track time translates to a 4,000% sore back)


One problem with seat time in the tC is that I haven’t yet been able to put in my new Charge Speed! Racing seats so I’m still riding in the stock seats. That’s no big deal for driving on the streets, but the stock tC seats are about as supportive as a tube top on a buxom cheerleader during a cinderala comeback in the last game of the season.

(I felt this picture was more exciting than showing you a photo of the OEM Scion driver seat)

One thing I learned is that my car (and its very Mediocre driver) is totally not ready to be force fed. The tC runs about 160HPat the flywheel so probably around 140-ish HP at the wheels is a healthy estimate of real world power. Trust me when I say this, you can go goddamn fast even in a 140hp car that weighs around 3,000lbs. Sure you’ll get passed pretty often if you’re running with some of the bigger HP cars or lower weight equal power cars, but don’t worry about them…worry about yourself and the speeds you can smoosh yourself into a wall. I’m still planning for boost later on in the build of Lil’ Dirty and aiming for an eventual 300HP, but for now I’m gonna keep working on tightening up that loose nut behind the wheel.


(Ask me if I got my sport driving license)

– Steve wears boxer briefs to prevent the loose nut

Categories: Cars, Steve

Do I talk too much?

October 9, 2009 4 comments

Ok Mediocre fans, it’s time for me to ask a pretty serious question of you. When showing this site to a friend of mine he gave me some rather candid feedback- in jest- that posts over two screen lengths long are boring. While I know he was kidding every good joke has a basis in reality so I took it to heart and looked over my old work.

So you tell me… do I talk too much? Should I cut back a little on the text in each post and shorten up my snarky comments and sometimes long-winded ideas?

Let me know because I certainly don’t want to bore you to tears or make it seem like work every time you come to MM just to read a post. Give us a comment and see

– Steve will shut up now

Categories: Random, Steve

Ok, honestly…

Ok, I have to stop reading through the search logs for this website. Today’s new favorite:

“how to take a picture of your penis”

That’s the last time I talk about turbocharging your wang on this website ever again. Nah, just kidding it’ll probably come up a few more times. Seriously though…do you really need to look up on the internet “how to take a picture of your penis“? Can’t you just sorta take your camera and aim straight down like the rest of us?

– Steve is pondering taking some glamour shots of his own wang now

Categories: Random, Steve