Thursday, December 15, 2011

One more video

Shows off my sweet new grille and Because Race Car sticker. I would embed the video instead of just posting a link, but Blogger sucks.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


That went MUCH better than I expected. Much, much, much better. Gained over 50 wheel horsepower at the same exact boost levels. I'm a pansy, so I didn't want to crank up the boost, but it spools up much quicker than it did before. So tired and delirious, but here's a video. Disregard our silliness at the beginning... :P

Not bad for being a mile above sea level!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

JDM tyte

I just bought my first cosmetic mod. JDM STi grille (not the fog light covers).

Now I just need LHD projectors like these (note, I have no idea whose car this is, but it's pretty):

Blue hoses: no me gusta

Here's how I decided to mount my boost controller. When I bought the car, there was a digital AFR gauge next to it, but that was eliminated with the AEM standalone, so I've been playing around with some ideas to fill the space. It's just a sheet of metal wrapped in CF patterned vinyl, but I think it looks pretty darn good. Don't mind the gap on the left, it wasn't totally finished when I took the picture.

The bane of my existence:

I pee coolant:

The current state of my car:

And tuning has been rescheduled for the 13th...hopefully for real this time.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Procrastinating is bad, mmkay?

Should have updated last night...but I didn't. Hah.

Injectors are in, but I procrastinated that "one last thing" that the car needed (coolant line from turbo) and discovered that I hadn't done the oil drain line either, and also discovered that I couldn't really do either one without pulling the turbo, so...I had to reschedule my tuning.

On the bright side, it's snowing like crazy today, so I probably would have had to reschedule it anyway. On the not so bright side, this is why you don't procrastinate, kids.

Going to do those two lines today, and finish mounting the boost controller. Hopefully tuning will happen within the next two weeks, but I work retail and this is our busy season, so I don't get a whole lot of time off.

I'll post pics of the boost controller bracket later. Maybe.

Friday, November 11, 2011

11/8/11 Injectors

Initially, I was going to go with ID2000s, but my friend highly recommended I buy a set of 2000cc injectors from a company called Spray It Racing that are much cheaper. My tuner swears by Injector Dynamics, and understandably so, because they make great injectors, but the ones I intend to get are just as well matched and are SIGNIFICANTLY less expensive. I'm willing to be a guinea pig in this instance because it's saving me several hundred dollars.

I have an appointment to get my car tuned on the 1st, so I'll post up my results and thoughts on these injectors once I've put them to the test.


Awful pic, but at least it's back together. If anyone is reading this, you're probably sick of crappy cell phone shots of my engine. It started today...finally! Runs like crap though. Pressure tested it again and managed to eliminate all of the vacuum leaks except the injector o-rings. My 30 cent o-rings are leaking...I guess I need $600 injectors. And idle valve gasket. And battery tie down. And radiator shroud (more of a want than a need). And a tune. Desperately needs a tune. Again.

Almost thereeeee...


There was no way to make it not look like spaghetti since the hoses all go different ways, but it's definitely cleaner than it was. The new bracket for the FPR is much better too, and it's much more visible now. The vacuum block is hooked up and the myriad of fittings and zip ties are officially eliminated. Now all I need is injectors and a tune and it'll be done! (for now)


AN fittings are hard, mmkay?
 There is officially no more frayed hose in my engine compartment. Unfortunately I was too tired to think to snap a pic of the finished product.

Here's the vacuum block mounted, but not yet hooked up:
 And here's the relocated fuel pressure regulator. This is a terrible picture, but when the charge pipe is in, you can see the gauge perfectly. I promise I will clean everything when I'm done. The car is so dusty from sitting.
Here's a much better picture of my new reservoir. My friend is now selling them if anyone is interested. Just send me a PM. 


New muffrah!

Haven't started it yet, but hoping it's quieter. Was going for a stock look, but that's kinda hard to do with 3.5" piping. Overall, though, definitely happy with the look. Just for perspective, here's the before:


Check out my new exhaust tip! I'm still waiting on a new Vibrant flat black oval muffler to come in next Monday, but it should be a bit quieter and slightly more subtle than the gigantic Magnaflow can that's currently on the car. I am excite!
Just need injectors, redo fuel lines, put my intake back on and hopefully it'll be ready for more tuning. Maybe more power? Hope so.


Pulled off the intake today. It's REALLY warped. My friend is going to try to deck it for me, and I'm going to replace the gaskets and use some gasket sealer. Hopefully that'll be enough to get the job done, but the flanges are pretty thin, so we'll see.

While the intake is off, I'm going to relocate the fuel pressure regulator and make a cleaner looking bracket (or rather have my friend make the bracket - I don't make things) and install a Weldon fuel filter and some new fuel lines since some of the existing braided lines are frayed. Also going to order a vacuum manifold and organize the vacuum lines. Thinking I'm going to upgrade injectors before I retune it since it's something I want to do soon anyway and it makes more sense to do it that way. The car is probably going to be down all winter long though.

Hopefully I'll have some new pics late next week or early the following week.


Looks better, but still runs like crap. The AFRs are all over the place at idle. I have about 100 intake leaks, namely the intake manifold. It's leaking at every intake port, and it leaks REALLY badly at the throttle body. I have no idea what I'm going to do about it. Gotta pull the manifold off and see what the gasket situation is. Nobody reads this. I am talking to myself. Lalalala...


I'm tackling this stuff all out of order, but Harvey AKA The Boost Creep said he suspects my boost/rich problem was due to the cats that I had in the car, so I took it back to my friend (Andrew at AR Design) to put a 3.5" resonator in. Now I have a catted section and a section with a resonator so the car won't wake all my neighbors. Yay.

While they were at it, they also fabricated a custom coolant reservoir. If you don't remember what I had before, here's a pic:
And here's what they put together for me...

He's going to make up several of them, so if anyone is interested, lemme know.

Aaaaand while we were at it...

With the AEM, I was able to eliminate the MAF and put in an AEM air temp sensor. Made the charge pipe two pieces and I'm going to have it powdercoated wrinkle black. All of these pics are just mock-ups, nothing is really finished. I'll take better pictures when it's finished. First I need to replace more of the coolant, oil and fuel lines with braided hose and AN fittings.


I'm almost embarrassed to post about this. Almost. It's been a long week and it's only Wednesday...I think I need to stay away from cars for awhile.

Yesterday when I got to the smog station and turned off my car in the smog bay, it started smoking like crazy. I popped the hood and saw that the coolant line to the turbo was leaking. I pulled the car into the parking lot, let it cool off, then cut off the end of the hose and put it back on. The hose had BURNED to the nipple on the turbo. It isn't exactly rated for that sort of heat. Pulled the car back in, they started testing it, and it started spewing coolant again. I forgot to put the cap on the reservoir. Go me.

Then I took the car to the drag strip tonight with the cats still on it. On the way there, I noticed that it was running super rich...anywhere from 11:1 to 9.5:1. My first run, I knew something wasn't right. It wouldn't boost past 12-13 lbs. Hoping it's just a boost leak, but it was too dark to see much of anything. It was my first time ever drag racing, and my best 60' was 2.561. My best time (don't make fun of me) was a 14.624@106.85. Big, huge, gigantic fail.


I was concerned about the placement of the cats for emissions testing because the only place to put them was in the middle of the car and I worried that they wouldn't get hot enough. Ended up being a total non-issue though. Had some v-bands put in, made a catted section with two 3" cats, drove straight from the exhaust shop to the emissions station and passed with flying colors. I turned the boost all the way down, and the results were:

HC - 0.1545 GPM (limit 1.2 GPM)
CO - 2.5505 GPM (limit 15.0 GPM)
NOx - 0.2266 GPM (limit 1.5 GPM)


Still to do:

-Inspect the vehicle speed sensor and figure out why the speedo intermittently drops out.
-Remove the cluster and figure out why the trip reset button doesn't work.
-Remove the TXS knock light.

-Figure out a better way to mount my boost controller so there's no more gaping hole in my dash.
-Replace the scratched center vents and dash trim.
-Replace AC condenser.

And on and on and on...

The bolded ones are done.

The wiring in the dash wasn't so bad. It's more or less done. Keyless entry is working (swapped in the control unit from the parts car and now it works). Replaced the dented right front door outer handle. Replaced a bunch of clips and miscellaneous pieces that were broken. Still need to order a couple of things for it though - mainly the clips that hold the washer lines to the hood. And need to figure out why my rear washer nozzle doesn't work too.

I'd post pictures, but the pictures I took really don't show much. Unless you want to see my door handle. That sounds dirty. The car is getting closer and closer to being finished.


My evening:

Knock light is removed. I figured out that the little button thing that's soldered into the cluster circuit board has failed. Trying to figure out what my options are now, as I'm not sure I trust my soldering skills enough to try to replace it. Not to mention finding one...

Still no clue what's up with my keyless entry. There's a ton of crazy wiring under the dash and behind the stereo. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. Wiring diagrams are burning me out already. I've been on a roll for the last month, but I'm getting tiiiiired.

Oh, and I ordered two 3" catalytic converters yesterday. Fingers crossed that I pass emissions.


Crossed a few more things off my list this afternoon:

-Installed washer tank. Front washer nozzles are working now. The rears aren't. Going to have to look into that at a later date.
-Replaced the cracked roof spoiler with a good one.
-Removed the Utec map switch and installed a new blank button in its place.
-Replaced firewall trim strip that was torn and hanging loose.
-Cleaned up more wiring under the dash.
-Diagnosed my ABS light (missing fuse...yay for easy fixes).
-Started to look into my inop keyless entry issue.

Still to do:

-Inspect the vehicle speed sensor and figure out why the speedo intermittently drops out.
-Remove the cluster and figure out why the trip reset button doesn't work.
-Remove the TXS knock light.
-Figure out a better way to mount my boost controller so there's no more gaping hole in my dash.
-Replace the scratched center vents and dash trim.
-Replace AC condenser.

And on and on and on...


Picked up a friend for my car today. Spent the evening swapping over little parts that my car needed. Glovebox latch, dash trim, center console lid, etc. Tomorrow or Wednesday, I'll do the roof spoiler (mine is cracked), some trim pieces, try to make the washer tank fit, keyless entry control unit (it's not working for some reason), and whatever else I think of as I go along.

Also got the engine harness, so I think I'm going to make a new one for my car since mine is kinda hacked up. It's coming along!


Chunk of wiring harness from the first picture of the last post now looks like this. Only a few areas left to clean up. Should be done tomorrow. Yay.

 Any suggestions for making brackets that aren't ghettofabulous? I can wire, I can diagnose, I can fix things, but I can't fabricate to save my life.


Holy messy wiring, batman.

The following pictures are what I found when I went digging tonight. I ran out of zip ties and electrical tape, so I don't have any after pictures.

 And here's what it looked like when I called it quits tonight. Not perfect, but significantly better than before. I've definitely got my work cut out for me.


Spent yesterday evening washing it, cleaning the engine compartment, removing the ghetto grounding kit, installing fancy pants Bosch wipers, installing hood dampers, and replacing the catch can lines. The engine compartment looks 1000 times better without miles and miles of unnecessary hoses and wires...I need to take a pic.

I'm planning on painting the intercooler piping wrinkle black and getting rid of all the blue hoses.


Picked up my car tonight. It now has:

-AEM standalone
-AEM wideband and AFR gauge
-AEM MAP sensor
-Aeromotive 340 fuel pump

It made 508 WHP on 23 lbs. of boost on E85. I finally got to drive it, and it pulls HARD all the way to 7500 RPM. I am in love. 


Gettin' my E85 tune today, but I wont be there to get it on video 'cause I'm stuck at work. Bummer.

When I pick my car up tomorrow, it will have a new AEM wideband and AFR gauge, an AEM MAP sensor that will eliminate my "stock-MAP-sensor-installed-upside-down-collecting-oil" problem, I'll have a low boost pump gas map and an E85 high boost map. I can then eliminate a bunch of unnecessary sensors, wiring and clutter from the engine compartment and all will be right in the world.

 And here's what's being fixed:


I spoke with Harvey this morning, and he said he finished a conservative pump gas tune for me. On 91 octane at 16 lbs. of boost, a mile above sea level, the car made 368 to the wheels. He said he wanted to play it safe since we don't know this engine and I was really nervous about it. I'm happy with that for now though. In the next month or two, we're going to make a high-boost E85 map.

I also received the dyno graph from TurboXS, but I'm hesitant to post it because it seems really high. I just want it to be known that I am not in any way claiming to be making 600+ WHP. I'll be happy to make close to 500 on E85.


Not such a sleeper when it's so loud that your neighbors come out of their house to see what all the noise is. I can't wait to change out the exhaust.

The car is currently sitting at The Boost Creep/Harvey's shop waiting for its new standalone and MAP sensor. For whatever reason, it had two MAP sensors, both hooked up. One aftermarket, and one OEM (installed upside down). The wire for one of them was shorting to the wire for the throttle position sensor and causing some funky readings, so rather than spending the day tuning, like we had originally planned, we spent the day cleaning up the rat's nest of wiring around the ECU to prevent further problems.

My friend loaned me his camera to take pictures, but he didn't loan me the card reader, so those will have come next week, along with the dyno graphs. I'm also waiting on the guys at TXS to send me the dyno graphs from April when they tuned it. Lotta waiting ITT.

Introducing Mertle

I bought my 2002 WRX in July of this year and have been chronicling the upgrades and repairs I've been doing to it as I go on The site doesn't get a ton of traffic though, and my friends rarely check it since most of the members are from the Bay Area. Over the next few days, I plan to copy/paste my posts from my I-Club thread into my blog, and I will continue to update it as I change things and progress with my car. Everything below this point is from my I-Club post on 7/12/11.

I've been a GD owner since December of 2001, but this is my newest and most involved project, by far. I've been wrenching professionally since 2002, both building Subaru motors and working as a dealer tech for BMW, but I have never owned a highly modified car. I'm used to diagnosing and fixing stock cars, and I didn't build this car, so I'm learning as I go.

The car is a 2002 WRB WRX wagon with 34,000 miles as of today. Mod list is copy/pasted from the for-sale ad, and it's only what is installed to my knowledge. I find more and more every day.

-STi shortblock
-Element rods
-Wiseco pistons
-Nitride coated crankshaft assembly
-ACL bearing kit
-EJ20 heads ported and polished
-Jun 272 cams
-Cosworth oil pump
-Ferrea valves, springs, and retainers
-GT Spec headers (unequal length & ported to match exhaust ports)
-TurboXS intake manifold
-TurboXS 3” inlet front mount intercooler
-TurboXS 3.5” v-band exhaust
-TurboXS 4” v-band down pipe
-TurboXS rotated v-band 35R kit (.82)

-Dual Walbro pumps
-TurboXS fuel rails
-1000cc injectors
-Aero fuel regulator
Transmission:-5 speed PPG straight cut dogbox
-PPG output shaft
-ACT 6 puck clutch
-PPG output shaft assembly
-Kartboy short shifter

-Cusco coilovers
-Stoptech BBK in front
-Volk CE28 17x7.5
-Defi boost, EGT and oil pressure gauges
-Blitz boost controller

Looks like the majority of the work was done by Andrewtech in Maryland (nice guys, by the way), and they work closely with TurboXS, hence all of the TurboXS parts. It came to me with a TurboXS wideband and Utec, but today Harvey (TheBoostCreep) and I spent the day sorting out the wiring and installing an AEM standalone. I consider this car a good starting point, or as my friend called it, a "pile of parts", but there are a lot of little details that I would like to sort out before I'll consider it "done" (hah, as if a car is ever done). The list grows every day, but I'm excited to chronicle it.

My priority right now is getting the car safely tuned for the altitude here in Denver. My initial tune will be for pump gas, but in the long run, I'll probably switch to E85. It also desperately needs a quieter exhaust. Once I establish that the car isn't going to blow up, I'll work on that. That's enough for are some pics from the seller's PhotoBucket...hopefully he doesn't take them down. Dyno sheets to come early next week.