Wednesday, September 19, 2012

1 year anniversary...

When I originally set out on this, it was supposed to be used to show the new cars coming out and voice my own opinion. Lately, I have found that I have just about zero time to keep up with everything that is going on in the Hyundai world. There has been ALOT going on, but between work and life, I can not keep up. I had high hopes for this and I figured that posting up in forums would have helped it along, but 13 followers? Really? O' well. So for now, I'll be concentrating on other things.

It has been fun and I might still post things here but it will not be nearly as active as it has been in the past.

See ya on the flip side! Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Know your Vendor: Mike @ Import Shark!

So I think this will be the start of a new series of blog entries- Know your Vendor. I will hopefully be able to visit some of the more up and coming companies in the Hyundai Aftermarket.

This time around I was in Ossining, NY at Dream Toyz Auto Customz. I had set up a meeting with Mike from Import Shark. Import Shark has been around for at least a decade. The original owner and current owner were members of the original Hyundai forum. This late 90's forum was based on the older RC Tiburon first introduce back in 1997.  Boy has Hyundai grown ALOT since then. Import Shark has been there the whole time! They have been supplying Korean based parts for just about every Hyundai we have had here in the North American market. They offer a full range of performance and styling parts. Exhausts and Turbo kits all the way to body kits and spoilers. If it is not on the website, I'm pretty sure that Mike can get it.

Mike's personal car is a fine example of what you car can look and perform like just by perusing through their catalog. He first started out with a 97' Tiburon and then onto a 00'. Mike took over Import Shark back in the late 90's. He has not looked back and has been one of many companies that have made a huge difference in the way we order and receive parts from Korea. Without guys like Mike we would have next to nothing. Unlike their neighbors to the east, the S. Koreans had no way of getting their products to the North American market. It was not until Mike and others setup shop and started funneling in parts that we were able to see what the KDM had in store for us. I know I and many others thank him for his hard work and dedication. I am pretty sure that it has not been an easy road to travel.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah Mikes first generation Genesis Coupe. While there were many different cars to look at while driving through northern NJ and southern Westchester county, nothing looked like that pearly white Genesis Coupe. The Aston Martin "stratus white" paint looked superb on this sunny day. I noticed it instantly on the corner. Mike gladly let me know that he painted the car himself.  I was drawn to the front of the car. The Hana front bumper, VIS Terminator CF hood, and color matched LED headlamps flowed very nicely with the lines of the body. I then checked out the rear of the car. The Vega rear bumper and blacked out Superlux LED tail lights looked really good in person. The VIS CF deck lid with matching Ixion CF lip spoiler was open to reveal a full custom trunk filled with JL goodies. Two 10" JL subs sat in a custom box with the three JL amps out in front. Real leather and suede covered the false floor and sub box. The guys at Dream Toyz did a fantastic job! He had the lambo doors opened wide, so naturally I peered in at the interior. It matched the trunk with Corbeau racing seats and racing harnesses, a custom backseat space with the Import Shark logo and storage pockets, where the back seats used to be, and a suede headliner. It was all very nicely orchestrated. It was then that Mike had mentioned that the doors will be getting some custom midbass enclosures and finished with more suede. Chris the shop owner had come out to introduce himself and show off some side mirrors he had been working on. These mirrors would actually house 170 degree camera's facing backwards and would project the image onto 4' screens that would be fiberglassed into the A-pillars. They are pretty sick and should make the exterior of the car look even smoother without the goofy mirrors poking out. The extra angle of the cameras will also ensure that there are no blind spots.

I then asked about the suspension setup and how he had managed to get it that low, but still manage to drive around town. Turns out that he has custom pneumatic front coilovers. Think Lamborghini. With the push of a button the front of the car was raised and lowered. The rear sits on a set of Neo tech coilovers. The Stern ST-1 wheels sitting on Falken 452 tires housed the custom painted Brembo brake kit. Eibach anti-sway bars and Luxon braces rounded out the suspension mods.

It was time to pop the hood.  Under which sat the very potent Theta II turbo. I instantly noticed the white cover and charge pipes. A Garrett GT2871s was Mike's turbo of choice. The expended exhaust gases were sent through ARK downpipe and test pipe. This all connected up to the Jun B.L. catback exhaust (korean only). The cold side was fed through those wicked white powder coated Injen charge pipes. This then fed into a CX racing intercooler and back to the throttle body. A Super Drift BOV released unused charge pressure. A Ralco 3 piece pulley set and a Jun B.L. catch can finished off the engine modifications. This is all controlled by a Korean tune. I then was like, What? Mike then proceeded to tell me that the Turbo and the ecu were sent to Korea. They were then installed onto a "like" coupe there and tuned. It was then uninstalled and put back onto his car. The car turned the rollers to a modest 305hp and 301 ft/lbs of torque. He decided to go with a conservative tune because of the automatic transmission. I can't say I blame him.

The car is awesome in person. If you ever get the chance to catch it at a show do so. Also get a hold of Mike. He is a cool down to earth guy who loves his Hyundai's as much as I do. It was nice to chat about the old forums and past forum members. Mike is a veteran just like myself. The new guys have some
 catching up to do! haha

Did I mention he also has a white Veloster turbo? Oh on the look out! There are some plans for it as well.

And of course, Mike if you ever need a hand with anything...I'll be more then willing to help out.

photos courtesy of my Pops (Bob Baker). Thanks for helping me out!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Challenge accepted!

Ok here is the deal...

First off, I know I have not written in awhile and for that I do apologize. Work has been kicking my arse, even though there has been a ton of things in the Hyundai world that have been happening in the last month. The release of four new cars (Azera, Veloster Turbo, Elantra Coupe, Elantra GT) and hopefully I will be able to test drive some of these in the near future. Chrysler is to use a Hyundai automatic transmission in the new Dart and the new Santa Fe is about to be released. I think that is just about everything that matters to me. Back to the challenge. 

The topic on hand at the moment is a 100m challenge. Yes that is right 100m, though you have to run it not drive it. The challenge was simply how fast could you run the 100m? The challenged was issued by none other then our founder and site admin SuperGLS over at Well, I instantly jumped at it and went for a ride. I found a football field that was marked out 100 yards. I know its not 100m so like somebody on ElantraXD pointed out, if you had one of the end zones it will be close enough...roughly 109 yards. So without further adieu I pulled out a stop watch and ran.  

I came to the end hit the button on the stop watch and somewhere between hitting the button and trying to stop...I tumbled down onto the field. I simply laughed at myself, looked around making sure nobody else was looking, and brushed myself off.  I walked back to the starting point and did it again. Success! I'm not sure how my time stacks up against others but I did it in 14.8 secs. I'm pretty sure that the foot long sub I had just an hour or so prior did not help and I am almost certain I pulled my tendon on the bottom of my foot. O'well, till next time! 

Things to come...

Ok, so I have a surprise for those of you that actually read this. I'm thinking of going in a new direction with this blog. I think I'm going to concentrate on the aftermarket for Hyundai and tomorrow I have an interview with somebody who knows a little about it...Stay tuned!! 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Just do it!

Go for a drive. I just did and it was wonderful. It started out as a trip around the block just to get out of the house and into the nice dusk air. I ended up about 10 miles away at an overlook on Rt 80. I watched the most gorgeous sunset and was then rewarded with an amazing maze of twisties to get back to Rt 80. Hahaha. When was the last time you went for a drive???

Speaking of drives...

June 18th marked the media release of the Veloster turbo, Elantra GT and the Elantra coupe. We should see  some real world numbers on all three of these cars in the up and coming weeks. It was be interesting to see how the North American cars fair with reviews from other countries. All of these cars have been on sale in Korea for the last couple of months and have already started a following. I know myself and many more have been following the Veloster turbo for quite some time. We are all stoked!! looks good on all of them.

A long drive that will not be made...

Is the one to go the Hyundai Pittsburgh meet. It is just not in the cards at the moment. I would have loved to come out and hang out with some of the forum members from multiple forums and have seen a ton of modded Hyundais. O well maybe next time. I do have you are all have fun and stay safe!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Wheel size...does it matter?

Lets discuss...

First off, there have been some discussions on the forums of late about aftermarket rims and what size is appropriate for a particular vehicle. In this case it has been for the XD/XD2 Elantra. The original equipment for the Elantra are 15 inch steel wheels or if you bought the GT like I did then you got a 15 inch alloy wheel. The question that ensues is that people want to switch their 15 inch rims to 17 inch rims and will it improve performance? I did this. Without even thinking about it I did it. There is much more going on then I had realized at the time. I just knew I wanted to upgrade. What actually happens when you upgrade? First we must get used to a couple of terms. (disclosure...I just want to be upfront with everybody who is going to read this. I do NOT claim to be an expert of any kind when it comes to the physics involved in this process. I do however completely understand the process and will attempt to bring that understanding to you in a simplified way.  I also had no way of testing any of the ideas  that I have, as I currently do not have any funding at all to buy a new set of rims/tires to install and test.)

Some terms that you will have to be familiar with are...

1. Moment of Inertia- Measure of an objects resistance to changes in its rotation. This is whether you are trying to speed it up or slow it down. This is also called Rotational Inertia.
2. Angular Velocity- The speed and direction of a mass about the radius of a given circle. Being that we want to keep the diameter of both the smaller wheel and larger wheel the same, including tire, this does not really apply to much and should be the same for both wheels because we are not changing the gearing or anything else that could affect the RPMs of the wheel at a given speed.
3. Angular Momentum- Total momentum of all particles in relation to the center of rotation. These is taking into account the weight of the rim and tire. Since we are moving the weight toward the outside of the wheel there is a slight increase in momentum, but I do not feel it is statistically relevant. If we were NOT keeping the diameter of the system the same, then yes it plays a bigger role. Just look at DONKS and their enormous rims. (more on this later though)
4. Torque- Tendency of a force to rotate an abject around a given axis. For us this means the amount of energy needed to move the wheel and all other rotating parts for that matter.
5. Unsprung Weight- Mass of suspension, wheel/tire combo, brakes and all other tidbits that are not supported by the springs of the vehicle.
6. Performance- I feel it necessary to give MY definition of performance. I feel that performance is the combination of acceleration, handling, and braking. My opinion is based on this definition and I feel that the total package is worth more than any single item. Please keep in mind that there are always trade offs.

Lets upgrade...

Ok so the OEM alloys for the GT weight in at 19lbs with my Kumho 195/60 r 15 tire weighing in at 19lbs (this is about halfway through its treadwear, so it is not going to weigh as much as it did when new). This gives us a total of 38lbs for the combo of rim and tire. This is our base line weight. If we upgrade we should aim to have the wheel/tire combo in weighing less than the baseline. A lighter setup will decrease our unsprung weight and the suspension components will not have to work so hard to keep the tire planted to the pavement. With less weight it also means less energy to move it (moment of inertia concept). Obviously when the wheel is firmly planted to the ground this will help with traction. Improvements will then be seen in braking, acceleration, and handling over rough surfaces. Now what happened when I first upgraded to 17 inch rims the entire package was about 3 lbs lighter then the OEM setup. I was using a set of Konig Holes 17" rims that weighed in at 17lbs and the 215/40 r 17 for a total weight of 35lbs. I feel that any weight saved is good. There are people out there that will say that you moved the weight further away from the center of the axis and you need more power to turn it. While this is true but the overall radius did not change.  Even with the slight displacement of mass from the rim being pushed out. I do not feel that it is statistically meaningful. So if you would like to nit pick. Go for it. Now if the rolling diameter is changed significantly then yes by all means I would say that it makes a huge difference. This would increase your rotational inertia and would take more torque to move the wheel both in acceleration and cause more stress on the braking system.  Lets take the dreaded DONK. They use excessively large wheels 24" and larger. These large wheels are usually chromed and ridiculously heavy. For this I would say that the nay say'ers would be correct. But for our application I feel that the trade off of a lighter larger wheel out weighs any lack of acceleration. Again this goes back to my personal definition of performance. Then once you have larger wheels the tire is usually of a higher speed rating and is normally wider. This increase in contact patch increases your braking potential and can improve your handling as well (decrease in unsprung weight).

Can we take this further?...

Of course we can take it further. Larger rim also means that you can upgrade your brakes to a larger size. Be careful though when you do this because going excessively large will impact unsprung weight because of the added weight of the caliper and rotor. There are plenty of kits out there that are lighter then the OEM setup, but then you have to worry about other things like will your master cylinder be able to push the correct amount of fluid to the larger caliper. Without the correct amount of fluid, you will not utilize the full potential of the larger brakes and if your not going to get 100% out of the mod why do it? Veloster people I'm looking at you and wanting to use the Brembo set up from the Gen coupe. Braking is traction limited.  This means that if you go too big but do not have the contact patch to take advantage, the mechanical force of the brakes will overcome the limited traction and modulation of the brake pedal will be nil. It will become an on/off switch. This is not good for many reasons.


Most people want to lower their cars. If your anything like me you will want to take advantage of the new found suspension and upgrading to a larger tire with a lower profile tire will help you. With the stiffer suspension you put more pressure on the tire and are asking it to do more. Lower profile tires will not flex like the larger sidewalled tires. The larger contact patch will help with lateral g's and cornering will be improved along with better feedback through the steering wheel.

My experience...

It started a quite a big ago when I first bought my first set of 17's (Konig Holes...I know not the greatest but they were lighter and looked good). I also had TEIN super street coilovers from the Tiburon and a Whiteline adjustable rear sway bar (18mm-22mm...I have always kept it on 22mm). It was not till I had to switch back to my OEM alloys that the difference was really felt. The larger sidewall was not very stable at all. With my setup, I could actually feel the tires moving underneath me instead of the suspension working as it should. This was very apparent at highway speeds and changing lanes quickly. It was almost down right dangerous. I could literally feel the car moving over the tread. It was a weird feeling and I did not like it at all. Larger wheels were in order. With the OEM suspension you could not feel it the same way because the suspension itself is super soft and the car would lean rather then then relying on the tires as the suspension. It felt like driving on Jello or constantly going over uneven pavement. So when I needed to replace my front bearings I thought  to myself why not upgrade? So that is what I did. I went with a five lug swap. This would give me better options for wheels and allow me to go to a larger brake setup (needed five lug rotors, why not swap out the calipers too?). I choose the SE calipers from an 05 Tiburon because of their aluminum construction (opposed to the cast iron Elantra calipers) the aluminum calipers were much larger and weighed exactly the same. The aluminum would also dissipate heat better than the cast iron. The rotor did add an extra 2 lbs of weight but I have a feeling that the majority of that weight is located in the hat, so it should not affect the rotational inertia that much, if at all. My unsprung weight changed a little but not too much.  While my stainless steel lines helped with pedal travel on the OEM setup, pedal travel did increase with the larger caliper. The only bad thing at the moment are the OEM Tiburon 17's. They are heavier then the 15's and are probably detrimental to the scheme of things. Lighter wheels are definitely needed and would help significantly.

So the long story short, is that larger lighter wheels are worth the milliseconds taken away in acceleration by giving you a larger contact patch, less unsprung weight, and better steering feel.

On the drag strip though it is a different story all together.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Say it aint so!...Hyundai kills the manual in the 2013 Sonata

But it is...All manual transmissions will be cut from the Sonata line up for 2013. I guess my pipe dreams of owning a Sonata Turbo with a 6spd are over. Damn, that would have been the ultimate family mover. Unfortunetly,  this is a normal occurrence among manufactures now supplying cars to the North American market. Honda, Nissan and a few others have all cut their manual transmissions from their line up. I suppose Hyundai is just following suit. I was told it is because of low numbers and not enough moved volume. Well of course your not going to sell base Sonata's with a manual tranny. Perhaps if Hyundai sold a 6spd manual throughout the line up the numbers would be slightly skewed the other way. Who comes out with a turbo version but then does NOT have a 6spd manual to go along with it? Buick (of all people) has a manual 6spd with their turbo midsized sedan. The last time Buick had a manual transmission, you could listen to Flock of seagulls on the radio.  It makes zero sense to me, but perhaps that is because I am coming at it from a driver's perspective and not a manufactures (number game) perspective. I can understand not having a manual in the Genesis sedan, Equus, and even the Azera. These are larger more luxury type cars. But the flagship family sedan? Even the Elantra is limited to when you can get the manual transmission. The only cars presently that you can buy a fully loaded car AND have a manual transmission are the Gen coupe, Accent (5 door) and the Veloster. Hyundai is leaving out the 30-40 somethings that want a family mover and is fun to drive. It is offered everywhere else in the world, just not here. An auto kills the fun factor...bad!

What happened?

Memorial day has just passed and I must say that it has made me a little reminiscent of our countries past. We are one of the first countries to have intercontinental superhighways, big v8 motors, and NASCAR. Not that I even like NASCAR, it is just what it stands for that gets me invigorated. Taking our alcohol running  cars and racing them! Where has our passion gone? Manual sales in this country used to be much higher. I'm not sure if it is because the automatics have reached the same fuel efficiency as the manual or if people are just becoming lazy. I think that maybe it is a combination of the two. Like everything else in our world, we want technology to do it for us. Just look at some of the features some of the newer cars are coming out with, blind spot detection, active cruise control, back up cameras and cars that parallel park themselves. I do not see these things as improving driving. I see these types of things taking away from driving experience. Maybe that is what people want, the car to do it for them. Why should they have to pay attention to the road when their phone is dinging with text messages and Facebook status's need to be checked? Have you ever tried to text, drive AND shift!  Technology is not helping, it is making people lazy. The insurance companies will tell you that it saves lives. Which I am sure it might, but if we educated drivers on how to drive a car and not on how much a ticket costs then maybe we would ALL be safer. The European union has people pay quite a bit for the privilege to drive. This also includes days on tracks and learning car control. The most I ever learned in school about car control was reading it out of a book. It was not till I was in my 90 excel and hydroplaning down the center grassy median of rt 22 near the Phillipsburg mall in NJ or the time I took a corner way too fast and slid off the road into a pile of mud (inches away from a  telephone poll...I was lucky on that one!)  I then began to understand the physical mechanics of things. These are all things I should have learned in drive's ed class. Perhaps out on skid pad somewhere. I think perhaps I went on a tangent. What I meant to say was less driver "helpers" and more driver awareness and accountability. Accountability in society along would be helpful, but I do not think I could cover that in a couple of paragraphs. That is its own separate book.

People do not know what they are missing, and it is a shame. The feeling you get when you just heel toed into one of your favorite corners press down on the accelerator as you hit the apex and grab the next gear as you move along to the next corner. is what we are lacking. By removing the manuals from the line up your killing it little by little. Luckily, the new Elantra GT will have a manual offering in all trims and same goes for the new Elantra Coupe. Maybe I will have my midlife crisis sooner than later and get myself a rwd sports car...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012



So there is something to be said about going out and working on your own vehicle. Whether it is simply changing the wiper blades to washing the car or even doing a brake job. There is some satisfaction in knowing that you did the work yourself. This is doubly true for me. I know most of you are going to be like "yeah but you were a tech...of course your going to do it". Well I was working on cars well before I was ever a tech. Granted going professional definitely helped my tool collection and my confidence, but the same satisfaction is had every time  I do something to mine/wife's car. It is even enjoyable when I am doing side jobs. Most of the people that have come to me are people from the forums. These are usually people that I have never met in real life, but sometimes they drive incredible distances just so I can work on their car. For example, When I was living in Florida, I would have people come up from Miami, some 200 miles away, and yet others would come down from Georgia. One Tiburon guy actually came down from North Carolina, so I could do his suspension. Why? Because it was cheaper and they got to hang out with me! All joking aside, I would show them how I was doing it so the next time they were able to do it themselves.  For some it was just cheaper to come to my house and have me do it. I am incredibly cheap, especially when I was able to get OEM parts for dirt cheap. I think I strayed slightly from my original topic. What I am trying to express about working on forum member's cars is that even though it was not "my car" it is still therapeutic to do the manual labor and to know that I am saving them a bit of cash. Getting to know people in person is always better than the "over the internet" thing anyway.

It is a dirty job...

My oil pan has been leaking for probably a good 20k now, but it has been way to cold to work on it. I must also admit that my lack of motivation has not helped the situation. Today was a gorgeous day. So I skipped over to the Hyundai dealership in my pop's 2012 Accent ("Cheap seats"...if you have not read it yet) to pick up some RTV or gasket maker as most know it as. I also stopped by my local Wal-Mart (I hate going there but they sell my oil for cheap) to pick up my Mobil 1 10w/30 and some brake clean. I was ready to go. I opened up my mp3 player on my phone and started playing some of Mistress Trance's mixes (if you do not know who that is...go to youtube and look her up!) They are mixes about an hour or so long. This way I do not have to touch my phone while my hands are greasy. I jack the car up using the pinch welds just aft the wheel well. Please, always use these points for jack stands or lifting the car. I also use the front sub-frame as a jacking point. On the XD/XD2 Elantra it has a box sub-frame so it is ok to use it to lift the vehicle. After jacking the car up and putting the jack stands in place, I removed the exhaust system. This also entails removing the exhaust manifold. There is a bracket that attaches to the front of the block and the two 14mm bolts are inaccessible from underneath. So taking off the manifold is a must. I then drained the oil (I purposely waited to do my oil change because I knew I was going to be taking the pan down). I removed all of the 10mm bolts and the three 14mm bolts that go to the transmission. Then using a rubber mallet and a pry bar, I was able to pry it off. Afterwards, of course, I found a spot that you can actually put a bolt in and pry it from the block. That probably would have been easier, but hitting things is much more therapeutic. Once removed you have to clean, clean and clean more. I personally use a razor and scrap off the old RTV and use brake clean to clean out the pan. You then have to clean the RTV off of the bottom of the block. I then spray some brake clean on some paper towels and wipe the block portion clean. Your hands, obviously, are going to get filthy. I really should wear gloves to keep my hands from interacting with the harsh chemicals, but I do not. I need to feel the bolts and make sure they are going the right way. With gloves on you do not have the same "feeling" with your fingertips. Apply the RTV to the cleaned oil pan and mate it up to the block. The cool thing about the OEM RTV is that it gives you this metal piece that slides onto the end of the tube and when you twist it the RTV comes out in a nice even bead. It works really well!

OEM only please...

Bottom end is looking pretty good for 225k!
Once you mate the pan to the block. Start putting in the 10mm bolts. You will want to try and line up the bolt holes as your putting the pan on, this way the RTV stays in place. Start in the middle and criss cross the bolts. Only make them hand tight as you will have to go around and tighten them with a 10mm ratchet later, in the same order. Side note, the oil pan bolts near the transmission are longer and need to go back into their specific holes. The others are all the same size. Once all the bolts are in and hand tight, go around with the 10mm ratchet and snug them up. The torque to tighten the bolts is very little. I gripped my hand at the head of the ratchet and twisted till I felt it was snug. tells me that they should be about 7-9 ft/lbs. For me that means snug them up and be done. I  then put everything back together. While I had everything out, I rotated the tires and did a quick brake inspection. I also put in a new fog lamp. I used Silverstar H3's about two months ago and one of them blew out. If it blows out again early, they are gone and I will be purchasing my PIAA bulbs again. I'm kinda partial to the PIAA bulbs because they were yellow and much brighter, but this time around I did not get a chance to order them. I needed them quick for my inspection.

Three and half hours later...

I was done. The RTV needs time cure, but by the time you put everything back together it is fine to refill with oil. I  think the total cure time is something crazy like 24 hours, but that is nonsensical. Twenty to thirty minutes and call it a day. Drive the car around for a little bit and make sure you have no leaks. If no leaks are present, you are good to go. Please remember to bring the oil to a place that will recycle it. I normally go to Advanced Auto or the like. They take it for free and you do not have to worry about it sitting around or spilling. Please do not dump it in any random locations either.

Feels good when I'm productive. Especially on such a gorgeous day. I think the back of my neck is starting to pay the price though, it is feeling a little warm to the touch. Not to mention the road rash on my back because I had to do the whole thing in the parking lot instead of a nice cozy garage with a cement floor. The towel on the pavement is just not the same as having smooth cement. My next project is going to be tearing down my transmission and replacing the second gear syncros, but I am not doing that till I have a garage or perhaps another car to drive. It will have to wait. Till next time.
Almost looks like I have a fresh paint job! Damn Florida bugs.

More articles...

There has been some debate on a couple of the forums that I think I am going to address in the very near future. I am definitely no expert on the subject matter, but I have dealt with it in the past and I will be happy to voice my opinion. So be on the lookout!