Archive for September, 2010

Working under pressure

September 29, 2010 3 comments

I had quite the scare today. On my way onto the highway to head down to Olympia, I noticed my oil pressure gauge was reading zero. I don’t have to say how bad no oil flow is for an engine, especially a turbocharged one that has turbos lubricated by motor oil. So you can imagine my surprise when I noticed the gauge.

(I imagine I looked something like this after noticing my oil pressure gauge reading zero)

I pulled off the next exit and into a gas station. Oil level was good. No leaks. I could even see oil being splashed around on the camshafts when looking in through the oil filler. After a call to Mediocre Motoring friend, Jeff, I was 75% sure it was just a gauge problem. But that’s 25% less sure than I need to be comfortable enough to drive 150 miles in one day. So I short shifted my way home in silence to keep an ear out for any abnormal sounds. Nope, everything seemed fine.

So I call the guy whom I was heading down to Olympia to see – who also happens to be an expert on the 3000GT/Stealth platform – and he told me that the wire connected to the oil gauge sender tends to fall off. I lifted the car and looked in the area… sure enough, it had come unplugged. I cleaned the grime off the plug (just a simple spade connector) and put it back on. Viola! Oil pressure on the gauge.

You could say that I feel like I dodged a bullet.


(Yea, I went there)

-Alex “topical humor” Gregorio

Categories: Alex, Cars

Power increases and calculations

September 21, 2010 5 comments

I know it’s been a great, long while since I’ve posted and it would probably be cool of me to post a novelette to get everyone caught up on where I’m at with the 3000GT. Well, I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’ll summarize the last six months into one, succinct sentence: the rebuild took six months and sucked, especially chasing down that cam seal oil leak, but she runs like a champ now!

(I searched “champ” and this came up…seemed relevant)

That being said, the boys and I got together last weekend and installed a ball-and-spring type manual boost controller. After some research, I found that the stock fuel and oil delivery systems, cooling, and drivetrain can safely handle up to 14psi of boost. Note that the stock behavior of my turbos do peak to 14psi in 4th gear before settling down to about 9psi. I believe this is the ECU manipulating the boost solenoid to provide quicker spool-up times, but all that peak nonsense is gone now. With the MBC installed, the boost solenoid is eliminated from the picture. Now the car boosts right up to 14psi in 3rd and 4th gear and sustains it until the turbos become inefficient (around 6000rpm or so).

(inefficient in action)

With this increased boost – a 5psi or 21% increase – I’ve obviously added a significant amount of power, but figuring out exactly how much has been a challenge. Of course, a normal person would just take the car to a dyno to get a real world power calculation. We here at Mediocre Motoring, though, like to make things much more difficult than they need to be. No, instead, Jeff and I have been emailing back and forth about how this power increase is calculated. I’ll spare you the details, but Jeff thinks I’m around 300awhp and I think I’m closer to 285awhp. You decide: the stock motor with my basic intake and exhaust upgrades is probably putting out around 310hp at the crank. With a 25% drivetrain loss due to the AWD system, that puts it at about 233awhp. As I mentioned before, I’ve increased the boost from about 9psi to about 14psi.

(You thought I was kidding when I said we had been calculating…)

I’m about to drop some money onto a 15lb battery and a TEC front strut brace, so a real dyno test will need to wait. In the meantime, leave your prediction in the comments.

– Alex “Yes, I used golf tees to plug disabled vacuum lines” Gregorio

Categories: Alex, Cars

Biodiesel and the asshats who use it

September 13, 2010 2 comments

Let me open this post with a simple statement: I love diesel. I also happen to love the idea of biodiesel and appreciate all that goes into it, what comes out of it, and the growing niche that it has formed. What I don’t like are the asshats and holier-than-thous that use biodiesel and rub it in the faces of those people who do not. I suppose this post could be spread out to cover all people who use stickers and badges on their cars to show off whatever it is that they think other people care about, but I’ll try to keep this limited to biodiesel dickheads.

(Yea, this guy looks about right for what I’m talking about here)

What is biodiesel? It’s effectively just a substitute for true petroleum-based diesel that is made up of organic materials instead. Typically what do-it-yourselfers have been doing is raiding fast food joints and emptying the grease traps of the fry-o-lators to go home process it before putting it in their diesel engined car’s gas tank. It only requires a few slight modifications to get a regular diesel engine to accept biodiesel so it’s not too hard. Considering most fast food places need to pay to properly dispose of the fry grease they’re typically ok with giving away the stuff for free.

(Biodiesel-ers turn the grease that cooks these things into fuel for their hippie cars)

You’re using biodiesel to fuel your car and you’re helping “save the environment” and being “sustainable” so you’re obviously pretty proud of yourself. You’re SO proud that you want other people to look at your car and realize just how good you are and what they should all aspire to do to their cars as well. There is of course nothing greater than showing people that you’re doing something and then having them praise you for doing it. Heaven forbid that you do something just for the sake of doing it and then not looking for praise on it. Smug self-aggrandizing asshats.

(Nobody fucking cares what fuel you use)

To reiterate…I love diesel and I fully appreciate how cool biodiesel is and can be. What I do not appreciate are the people who convert to biodiesel and then try to rub it in your face that they’re using it. You’re being tacky and smug by putting that stupid badge on your car and it makes me want to burn more fuel to make up for the fuel you’re no longer using just to counteract any of the potential environmental benefits you’re making.

– Steve hates smug, especially hippy-smug 

Categories: Cars, Steve

Burned out

September 8, 2010 4 comments

The human body and mind can only take so much abuse and punishment before they have to sit down to take a break and recuperate their strength for the next challenge. Burning; the midnight oil, the candle from both ends, and bridges behind you all equate to a level of exhaustion that starts to take its toll on everything you do. Your writing gets crappy, you start neglecting even simple car repairs, and you become slightly more cranky than usual…or at least that’s what I’ve noticed has been happening to me recently.

(Steve’s average crankiness levels compared to average people’s  average crankiness levels)

As I’m sure you’ve noticed if you’ve been checking the site, I’ve been slacking a little on getting fresh new posts up to Mediocre recently. Now I know I’ve taken a vacation and given you guys pre-heads up and warnings that some of the weeks will be a little light on posts, but I feel like I needed to let you all know why everything is slow right now.

(This is what happens when you try to punt a parking barrier with your splitter. Haven’t fixed it yet)

Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m not quitting Mediocre or anything. I just wanted to let you know that the posts are going to likely be once per week only and as we get further and further into the winter months (yes, it’s winter in Seattle already) the car related posts will slow down and the “Beer” and “Random” posts will start to pick back up.

(mmmmm…seasonal beers)

What will I be doing with all my “free” time now? Well, my girlfriend and I just got a brand new 7 week old Boston Terrier puppy (named Mila) that we are loving to death and spending a lot of time with right now. In addition to that I’m trying to get the car prepped for a track day sometime in mid-September before the rain and gloom gets too oppressive to race.

(Just look at how cute she is!! Screw Seattle’s winter, this little puppers is all I need)

What’s the moral of this post? Well I suppose it’s a two fold ending for you guys.

Number 1: Everyone gets burned out. Every single person can burn out when they work too hard and don’t stop to take care of themselves. This is true for cars, for drivers, for wrenchers, for puppies, for clowns, even for hookers (even though they don’t technically count as people). Take some time and get yourself straight before you start resenting doing the things you love, when you’re ready to come back it’ll all feel brand new again.

Number 2: Mediocre ain’t dead…just slower than usual. I’ve got a few posts that are half-written and picture searched so I’ve got some fodder for future posts. Stick around and see what’s next!

-Steve is suffering cute overload from his new puppy, also sleep deprivation…

Categories: Random, Steve