Ode To You Who Walks In The Dark

Farewell my friend
As you turn towards the night
Farewell my friend
As you leave the light of day

The freedom of choice
Man’s greatest gift since time of old
This freedom we zealously
Guard with all that is ours

The choice has been made
Your path you have chosen
On your way down that road
Spare me not the sight of you

Always I have said to you
Avoid the darkness of the night
And if you must tread that path
Fetch this lamp to light your way

But you heed not to my words
I who have seen the darkest of night
Who fell under the nightmare’s grip
Yet struggled free from it’s dangers

And you walk down your way
Without a word or nothing to say
I look to you and wonder if when
You will ever reckon that I stand here

I can only stand for so long a time
Stand beside what my heart holds true
And I tell you this when I turn my back
Forever a glimpse of me you sha’nt see

 

 

~

 


  • And here is the last of a three part prose-cum-rant I did back in college. Again dedicated to my then best friend, turned ex-best friend, turned friend again after many years and thousands of miles apart.
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Silent Prisoner

Running down an empty hall
White satin and flowing silk
Carried on by the subtle breeze
Lit by the moon and stars

What follows the elegant?
Shadows that chase it on
Growing claws by the moment
Gnawing teeth at it’s quarry

Breathing down the quarry
The darkness surrounds the light
And the void grows along the hall
The walls all but a silent witness

But the lights darts again
Towards the heavy doors
Specters of life they pass on
Carried back to the netherworld

But the light shan’t be covered
And it’s brilliance for the world
The darkness will soon recede
In vain they must wait for freedom

Shackled in the dungeon of old
Crackling of chains against the night
Amidst laughter and madness
Stand ground and live again

 

 

 

~

 


* Here’s yet another one of my dreadful rants veiled as prose. Of course, this was from a time that I was hurting back in college. See previous entry for a short explanation.

 

Dark Cloud

How can you do this?
Gypsy maiden why? I asked.
Secrets for so long kept,
Has been made known,
To you in complete trust.

Secrets and thoughts,
Only to you has light been shed.
Yet you spilled them all
Sand from a broken hourglass,
Flowed thoughtlessly out.

And to my fickle foe has,
You made them known.
No matter, not even love,
Should be invoked to spill,
This mind so dear to you.

In the distant past,
I uttered to the maiden,
My intentions to repel the,
The prince’s unrelenting attack,
His day was to come I say.

Time has passed since.
And advice from the seer,
That I have sought.
Dispel the hatred,
And that I have done.

But the maiden has,
Given away my intents.
Prince heard with all ears,
His forces gathered he had,
And cried out for blood.

Cruel maiden so pure,
Twisted emotions grabbed you,
Changed your heart,
Forbidden to glimpse reality,
A falsified fantasy you dwell.

In my eyes I see it so
Differently your heart must say.
I no longer possess knowledge,
Of your intentions twisted are they?,
Towards my hapless self.

Now chaos has begun,
And you leave my side.
He has waged war on me,
Yet I harbor no hostility,
Not now in this moment.

Erred I truly have,
And for that I seek pardon,
But you shove my words,
Into the nothingness beyond,
And repeat your hostile intent.

I foresee an imbalance,
My capacity to wage war,
Diminished by the passage,
Of the grains inside the glass.
Only a distant memory remains.

The prince possesses
Power much greater,
Than I currently muster.
Youth has he,
And time have I.

I see the clouds of war,
Swirling in the distance.
A battle might soon come,
Fighting I have no intention,
But it might then be inevitable.

Farewell I bid you,
Maiden so fond I have been.
The day must give in to night,
And bliss to sorrow,
The pleasure is mine to keep.

 

 

~


  • I think I remember writing this back in 2007 or something, in one of the little notebooks I carried around to write poetry with. I’d also uploaded it on an old blog of mine, Tall Tales By Asuka.
  • This was about the falling out between myself and my then college best friend (secret love). We never spoke again after one particular incident, and we only got around to patching up about four or five years afterwards. I like to think we have remained good friends since.
  • You’ll have to pardon the Yoda-esque style of gibberish.

Aska’s Air Intake Choices : Chrome Air Cleaners, Racing Horns and OMG Factory Stuff

Like many car guys, I indulge in squeezing the most that I can out of my beloved Lancer. Originally built as an economical sedan that found itself catapulted, and winning, in the world of rallying, the Lancer will always be synonymous with above average performance and reliability.

While the A17x platform Lancers released locally in the Philippines were all meant to be reliable and economical cars, they have long been touted as “fast” and “sporty” in comparison to its contemporaries. The 4G32 / 33 engines that powered these little cars have proven themselves to be fairly easy to tune, reliable and almost bulletproof, and they have a seemingly cult following among the elder generation.

All locally released Lancers (SL / GT / GSR) all had engines powered by carburetors, that magical box will almost no moving parts yet makes the joy of driving a Lancer possible. Almost everyone though will immediately suggest that the easiest “upgrade” you can do for an A17x Lancer would be to ditch the oem airbox and replace it with a more free flowing one. The logic is to allow more air in so the car can breathe easier, and produce more power in the process.

But is there really that much of a gain from simply replacing the air filter?

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Like almost everyone, I was told of this and have gone this route. I’ll discuss here the things that I’d found out along the way, and the various ways I’d looked into gaining (or probably losing) power by letting the engine “breathe” easier.

Below is how the 4G32/33’s engine bay looks like when stock.

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Jacked this image from a friend’s Car Domain page. That was from a time that his Lancer was fairly stock. Now all that had gone away and replaced with a 4G63 NA.

The black thing over the carburetor is the factory air filter box that contains the air cleaner element, and prevents dust from going into the carburetor, ensuring that only clean air goes into the engine.

A lot of people frown upon this set up because they say it’s restrictive, and the engine cannot make good power with this. There are quite a few options that people would normally throw down the table to “make the engine breathe” easier.

 

Some would tell you to outright ditch the air cleaner to make sure that the engine is fed with gobs and gobs of air. The idea is sound – an air filter will restrict air going into the engine. Removing it allows all the air in the entire planet to fill the engine with every intake stroke, and makes for faster drawing of the air into the carburetor…

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Got this off a certain Car Domain owner’s site.

…which is all cool if you don’t have to daily drive the vehicle, or if you are cool changing the oil and cleaning your carburetor more often. Oh yeah, in case you haven’t known yet, you know where the dirt particles go when they get sucked into the engine? It goes into the engine oil. Over time, all that dust will collect within the oil and make it into a sludge that has no cleaning nor lubricating purposes for the engine. See, the oil also helps cool down the hot interiors of the engine. If there’s a lot of dust particles within the oil, those will store the heat instead, making the oil hotter and unable to lose the engine’s heat at a faster rate.

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Aska’s engine with a dry type Simota brand air filter.

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Here’s an old photo of Aska at a carshow with her then newly installed Simota air cleaner. Check out how spic and span the engine bay was.

A more popular idea is to replace the air filter box with an open time air filter, like in the picture shown above. That chrome plated UFO thing is the air filter “box” which has the air filter (dry) exposed without all the metal casing around this. The idea is to again present all the air of planet Earth for your car to breathe in, but with a filter to make sure that only clean air passes through. This one is a good idea and a fairly cheap upgrade to make as well. This can pass for everyday driving, and has the added benefit of making you hear the engine’s induction noise eg. sucking the air in, and makes you feel that the engine had suddenly gained power by tenfold.

 

A less common idea would be to ditch the filter element and use something called a velocity stack, or air trumpet / horn for the less car finesse people. What it is it completely disregards the air filter element and whatever casing it’s in, and instead uses a funnel through which the air can be sucked in. The simple idea is that such an arrangement will allow smoother entry of air into the carburetor. The more complicated idea and one that is less understood by a great majority of people is that velocity stacks act like a resonating pipe that “tunes” the resonating frequencies of the pressure pulses within the engine and I have no idea what I just typed there. There’s a handy explanation here.

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My ghetto velocity stack fitted over my ghetto tuned Mikuni Solex carburetor from when I was still actively track day-ing with Aska.

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Here’s an old photo of the engine bay with the velocity stack on. See how bad ass it looks. And check out my then huge Accel 4001 ignition coil.

Ideally, the length of the stack is measured to correspond with the pulses within the engine, which ideally should be in tune with whatever the heck you’re trying to do so you can channel not just all the air in the planet, but the magic of the universe in order to grant hitherto unknown powers to your engine. Again, I have no idea what I just typed there, but if I can tell you anything cool, this will make your engine sound even better with all the glorious noises that the engine will make while sucking in all that air. It is especially enjoyable when you’re accelerating since you get to hear that “whoooooosh”, and you instantly feel you can slay even Bunta Fujiwara. Below are some other examples of velocity stack setups.

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This is a set of really expensive carbs that a friend of mine owns. He went hardcore, and milled his own set of velocity stacks. If one big ass stack sounds cool, it probably means four sounds even better.

Now velocity stacks are mostly seen on race only set-ups, but a few daring souls have gone and daily driven with it. I have as well, the only thing was since there is no air filter, the engine oil gets dirty really quick. But with my car producing that really nice sucking sound, who cares about changing oil right?

 

Now you’d seen some of the options you can do about the air intake thing, it’s time to do some thinking about things. Let’s go with a stock engine for the time being since that’s what I have, and its easier to start with the basics.

Your engine will suck in a specific amount of air per cylinder per cycle. Ideally, your carburetor should be able to flow in the require amount of air into the engine, normally rated in terms of cfm, which is cubic feet per minute. Unfortunately, this is where I’m going bro science because I don’t have the flow rates for the stock Aisan and Solex, although a very handy cfm calculator here can give us an idea.

The calculator asks for the displacement and maximum rpm of a given engine, and Saturn engines can go to 8,000 rpm as some of my friends have done with their heavily modified units. For a stock 4G33 (1400cc but actually 1395 but you get the picture) that should give us 167.25 cfm at 8,000 rpms. But my idea about this is that while maybe the stock 4G33 can get up to 8,000 rpm, it wouldn’t work out as well as we thing due to issues like valve float. I know my stock engine can get up to 6,000rpm before encountering that issue so let’s pretend that you’ll only hit that high up. That should give us 125.43 cfm, which can be cross checked using this other calculator. For the VE or volumetric efficiency, stock engines are anywhere between 70 to 85% efficient, so you can use those figures – I used 85% even though I have current blow-by issues. Unfortunately, I have no flow ratings for the popular Mikuni Solex 28-32 DIDTA carbs that some earlier Lancers came stock, nor the similarly sized but unappreciated Aisans that came one later ones.

However, the above figures are enough to kind of give you an idea of how to go about your air intake upgrade.

Here is my advice though – if you’re using a bone stock engine, you may as well leave the oem air cleaner box in place. For one, it makes the engine quiet since you won’t hear the engine making that sucking sound. Another is that if you’re not really gunning for high rpms, my bro science mind thinks that it can give adequate flow into the carburetor, especially if you’re running at highway speeds.

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The oem air cleaner assembly is back in place. But before I put it back in, I cleaned the air filter element (which really needs to be replaced) and the insides of the air intake tube and air box to make sure there’s no dirt inside. I still have to refinish the assembly as rust had begun to form on some of the metal parts.

These past few months, I’ve been rethinking my ideas about Aska because I’m enjoying a nice quiet ride nowadays, which was also the main reason I had my old glasspack removed, and the stock-ish chambered muffler re-installed.

How am I liking this now? I love the current set-up! Truth be told, I feel like the car has a little bit more power from the low end up, although as of late since the stock muffler had been back in place, it seems a little hard to push the engine to 6,000 rpms. Although the trade off is that the “sweet” spot of the engine went down and I get decent power for city driving, and some spirited cruising around. And actually, the car didn’t slow down as much as I’d thought it would.

One last thing I’ll probably do before I sit down on this for another long while is to get better headers made because the ones I have on now had been with the car since forever, are cheaply made and generally just pieces of crap.

 

If you want to just max out for the lolz of if, I would especially recommend a velocity stack although you may find it easier to have one made since it’s quite rare to find them for stock down draft carburetors. The one I own was a very lucky find, and was also custom made by the previous owner / seller.

If you want some of the lolz but you’re concerned about the health of your engine, and you’re not the kind to tear down the carb for cleaning every so often, go for the dry type air cleaners. Simota makes good ones for cheap and you can find them easily enough online – just make sure you check the opening on the bottom plate since it needs to match the throat diameter of your carburetor.

If you want just the lolz but have none of the two mentioned above, go ghetto and ditch everything. Just don’t expect your oil to last long, nor your engine bay to look nice and “powerful”.

 

Back when I had either of these things on the car, it was easier to push the engine to higher rpms. But then since I am running a stock engine with a stock carburetor and cam, there’s really no point in pushing the engine that far up the rpm range. I used to only do it for lols, but honestly, the stock engine cannot seem to make power beyond 5,000 rpms, which is really as much range as one would ever need on the road sans track day activities. So I’m keeping the oem airbox for now, and revel in the fact that when someone asks to pop my hood open, they’ll see a factory stock engine with the correct stuff on the engine, which is quite a rarity nowadays. I’ll test it out on the highways once the holidays are here because it’s been like seven years since I last drove full time with the oem airbox installed.

 

 

 

Ah, c’est la vie.

 

 

 

 

 

~

Keeping Cool : Evercool 3 Row Radiator Upgrade

About a few months ago, my oem radiator on Aska finally gave out. After about 30 years of service, it had developed too many prick holes on the tanks that it was becoming somehow a pain to keep it in service. I was losing water at a fairly alarming rate, and for a while I was considering of keeping it and just have it serviced again.

Ever since I had gotten the car, I’d been bringing the radiator to a radiator shop in the south that was introduced to me by one of my good car friends. They do a very a good job of tearing down and rebuilding the radiator.

See the good thing about the radiators from Aska’s time was that they were all made of brass and copper, which made them almost bulletproof and fairly easy to tear down for a clean up along with ease in rebuilding it back up. I’d been doing that for the past seven or so years that I’ve owned Aska. But then again, all those years of hard service can and will take its too. The tank material can develop cracks or prick holes due to the continuous buildup of heat and subsequent cooling.

Nothing can last forever I suppose, but for something that like my radiator and went through about thirty years of service, I simply couldn’t ask for more out of it. Keep in mind that I daily drive the car, along with my usual spirited drives and motorsporting adventures.

When it developed prick holes, I decided that I’d retire the thing and replace it with a brand new unit. And while I was going to replace it, I thought that I may as well go for an upgrade, and thus decided to up things by stepping up from a 2 row to a 3 row radiator.

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This was how bad my problem was. Since I couldn’t really let all that water loose, I tried ghetto repairing it by bombing it full of soldering lead – which didn’t quite work out as I hoped.

First off, let me explain what the radiator does. Chances are, your car would have it since water cooled vehicles are the great majority these days. What your radiator does is to store hot water from the engine, cool it down and then the water pump will suck the water back into the engine block. This is a pretty endless cycle as long as your engine is running. Preferably, your engine should be using a thermostat because if there is none, there will be no time left for the water to stay in the radiator to get cooled down. My friend Phil does a great job of explaining why we all need a thermostat in this fairly old blog post.

Now in the old days, even until now I suppose, people didn’t quite believe in the thermostat and why cars here in the good old Philippine Islands need it. If cars would overheat, the common mechanic’s answer would be to get rid of the thermostat and get a bigger radiator. See, a bigger radiator will store more water in it for cooling. But without a thermostat to govern the cycle over when the water from the radiator gets cycled back into the engine, a bigger radiator is just a half assed solution to an overheating engine. Since the water flow is continuous, the water in the radiator cannot stay long enough to lose its heat. Overtime, the engine will still make the water accumulate enough heat, and your engine will still overheat if you drive it long or hard enough. With a thermostat in place, the water stored in the engine and radiator gets halved, so half stays long enough in the radiator to get cooled down before it is cycled back into the engine block.

All Mitsubishi A17x Lancers (at least the ones released here locally with the Saturn engines), and even the older A70 platforms, all came with a two row radiator as oem. This is good for daily driving and most sorts of driving your old school car will ever do. But if you want to be able to drive it for long and keep the engine’s performance, upgrading to a three row radiator is a good idea. Cooler oil temperature is another thing do deal with, which is where an oil cooler would be a nice add-on, but I’ll tackle that bit when I get one.

Finally, I mustered the time to go and find myself a three row radiator. For your old school Japanese car needs, I would suggest trying to find radiators made by Evercool. It’s made locally here in the Philippines, and they offer all sorts of radiators for all sorts of applications. Since this is a fairly common upgrade, and many of my friends had done it, all I had to do was to find a place selling it. My usual places in Pasay didn’t have one, so I went to Levin Auto Supply in Banawe for one. I got my three row unit for Php 5,500 (about USD $100) which I’d say is a little expensive, but hey it’s brand new, and as they say, you get what you pay for. A lot of folks would’ve simply told me to just get a surplus unit, but for very important parts for my old school car, I’d never consider it. It’s always best to get brand new to ensure that I won’t run into trouble.

I drove back home to work on the car, which is really a fairly simple job because the bigger radiator bolts on directly to the header panel. The only things you’ll need to consider, and one that no one ever told me about, is that the lower part of the header panel has a small lip on the inside that can come into contact with the lower radiator tank. My advice is before you bolt down the radiator, mock it up first to see if the radiator’s brackets will lie flat against the header panel. To check, run your fingers underneath the radiator tank with the thing in place – if you feel no metal contacting the tank, and the brackets are flat with the header panel, you can tighten it down. In my case, I had to be a little persuasive with a hammer and flattened the intruding metal portion. After that was dealt with, the radiator laid flat and I was able to tighten everything down.

Check the clearance between the clutch fan and the shroud because this was where I ran into problems. With the bigger and thicker radiator, the shroud will be pushed inward and may cause contact with the fan. Before you install the shroud, spin the fan and be on the look out for any contact between the blade and the shroud. If there is, mark the shroud and then hammer away to more that part back.

Some people do away with the shroud to avoid this problem, but I’d suggest you keep it since it will help protect the engine bay should your fan explode (fairly unlikely to happen, but it can) and also helps direct airflow into the radiator core.

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Here’s a comparison of the new and old radiator. The left one with the cap is the new one, and the one beside is my oem. See how much wider the tank and core is. We’re looking at about half an inch different on each side.

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This is the big ass radiator that will put my Aska back on the road. All the bolt holes and inlet / outlet locations match exactly to the oem radiator. 

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Finished! I also cleaned up the filthy radiator fan. See how all the oem boltholes lined up and fit perfectly!

If you’re having trouble finding this radiator, you can tell the shop that you’re looking for the radiator for an L300. But this is a pretty common radiator, and as soon as the shop hearts the words “Lancer Boxtype” and “three rows”, they’d know exactly what it is.\

So far, the car runs great with it!

I’d never really had overheating problems, but the extra water in the radiator helps keep the car cooler, especially during long periods of driving and even more so in our terribly hot climate right now.

Next up would be to replace the mechanical clutch fan with an electric unit. I’d already had JC’S Auto Electrical to rig the electrical lines, relays and all in the engine bay. All I’m waiting on is the actual fan and thermoswitch.

 

 

Ah c’est la vie!

 

 

 

 

 

~

 

Zambales : The First Family Road Trip

I always seem to write about stuff long after they had happened, and this is just one of the countless instances of such.

 

A few weeks months back, our son celebrated his first birthday. Before any birthday celebration of course, we had to send out invites to people whom we wanted there. However, due to the restrictions on our work schedules, we were only able to hand out a few of the invites in person. Social media and various messaging apps took care of the rest.

We did make a very notable exception though – I wanted to hand out the invites in person to my in-laws who live out in the province. I thought it was an awesome idea for the three of us – my wife, son and I to take road trip together, and deliver the invites by ourselves.

The last time I went out there was when my wife and I had to pay a visit to do an errand related to our wedding back in March 2016. I’m glad to report that this time around, I didn’t have to fiddle with Aska so much to make sure she was going to make the trip in one piece. Actually, Aska isn’t the broken down car a lot of people might make her out to be. The reason I seem to have sudden bursts of car repair activity is more to give myself some peace of mind while driving. We’re talking about long stretches of open tollways with no way to actually get help once we’re on our way.

I did fix up a lot of things with Aska since the last time we went there – I replaced all the suspension bushings in the back so the car no longer dances around, I refilled the front oil shocks (because you know, poverty) so the whole car sits really well on the road now. I had the timing belt replaced along with the water pump because the old one looks just about ready to give anytime – of course, new hoses were also in order, along with replacing the little water bypass hose that was swollen badly. Aesthetically, she was the same car except I added on a pair of 7in round fog lights – because rally car.

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All I did was muster up the balls to drill through the fascia and bumper, and bolth them down. The electricals were installed by JC’s Auto Electrical when the car was rewired about a year and a half ago.

On the day we were about to leave though, I had to pass by JC’s Auto Electrical to check something out because I mysteriously lost all the lights save for the headlights. It turned out to be a quick fix because some of the terminals had some white corrosion on them. I also got them to make sure that the new fog lights worked because the switch didn’t seem to be working well.

 

Some things I didn’t quite have the time to fix though – my clutch is old, and the pressure plate is making it heavy to push down. You have to remember, this car is so old that it uses a clutch cable instead of a more modern clutch master cylinder. Funny thing was I had a new clutch kit ready to be put in, but I didn’t want to go out and get it replaced on such short notice – besides, slip wasn’t such an issue yet and I’ll be on the highway mostly anyways. Because the decision to do the trip was made on a whim, I didn’t get to replace the mechanical clutch fan – I was supposed to drop in a huge electric fan in its place. No overheat problems whatsoever since my thermostat is still good, and I installed a big 3 row radiator months before. Still have some oil leaking through the filter, which I suspect is happening due to the engine being in dire need of an overhaul. My old man re-clamped my muffler because the old supports tore off – surprisingly, it held out the whole way and were fixed in place by off the shelf stainless ring clamps.

As a whole though, our old girl was ready to take on the journey, which she did well, considering of course that she’s a daily driven 30 year old car. Most of the time was spent cruising at a steady 3000-4000 rpms on 4th gear, which meant I was going around 80-100 km/h at any given time, jumping up to 120 km/h or so if and when I wanted to pass vehicles. Now these speeds are just approximations, I may actually be going a wee bit less since I use R15/50/195 wheels instead of the stock R13/80/155.

 

The entire trip there took about six hours, which is pretty slow considering my wife and I once made the trip in about three hours. The reason for this was because I did not want to leave with the car looking really dirty, so I insisted we drop by Sushi Machine for a quick Aska bath before heading out. Traffic along EDSA going to Balintawak was terrible, we spent about two hours just crawling to the tollway. From Balintawak to our first stop at Petron Lakeshore took only about 45 minutes. We stopped for snacks because our kid needed to eat by then, and we needed to rest and stretch our legs for a bit.

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We left after about an hour, but upon entering SCTEX, it started to rain like mad – which was where my foggies came first got their test of fire. Previously, the square driving lights I used lit up the road ahead in a wide arc. These ones first a circular beam (well of course they do) on to the road, and then lighting up some of the surrounding areas as well. It was perfect! The asphalt roads became pitch black, but the yellow light helped show the way ahead.

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It took another 45 minutes from Lakeshore to SBMA, where we had to abide by their speed limit, and I took on some gas as well. From SBMA, it took about an hour and a half to San Antonio, which slowed down the pace as there was a lot of road work going on.

As soon as I came into the house, I wanted drop and sleep but the kid wanted to play with the grandparents, so we actually went to bed a little past midnight already.

 

The next couple of days was spent lounging in their house, me attempting to call the wrath of the rain gods by washing Aska (which was effective), attending the family church, having dinner with the in-laws (oh yeah, Coco Lime is lit) and making a last minute trip to a nearby beach because my supposed trip to Cabangan did not pull through.

 

The trip back was fairly the same as the one getting to their home, and we got stuck for close to an hour from the end of SCTEX going into NLEX. The traffic was bad, and I have no idea what was going on really.

 

This time around, I felt much more at ease with the place. It’s not that I had bad experiences previously, but our last trip was made in a hurry and the one before that was a back-n-forth deal. This time around, we stayed long enough for me to know some of the neighbors, and I was able to make acquaintances in their place and church. It was a fairly simple, uneventful but definitely awesome first family road trip and will definitely be followed by another one soon.

 

So up next on my to-do list with Aska would be to hopefully get new headers because, really, mine suck so bad. This time maybe I’ll settle for a re-installation of the stock muffler I have at home because my fart can is so loud inside that I cannot have the pleasure of talking with my wife*. I want to get the electric fans installed along with the thermoswitch. The a/c condenser really needs to go, and if all goes well, get some new tires so I can use the EX rims that a friend loaned to me. I’m also considering getting shorter shocks so I can lower the car a little more (to the annoyance of my wife) and maybe ghetto fab some roll center adjusters.

 

 

 

 

~

 


 

  • – since it took so long for me to publish this, I already went ahead and put back Aska’s stock-ish chambered muffler back in. Now it is possible to have conversations in the car.