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!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Let's get metaphysical.

Twists and turns...

So this weekend I headed off to my chiropractor like I normally do every Saturday, but this time it was different. I have had alot on my mind and with my family back in Florida I needed a nice drive. I took my usual way and meandered north from Hackettstown on rt 517 and then some back road up to Newton and then some more little roads to put me north of Newton on rt 206. The drive is nothing spectacular, as a matter of fact I almost always get stuck behind some slow person or a caravan of motorcycles. Their loud open pipes and burbling v-twins annoy the crap out of me. I'm not sure why, but it really drives me bananas. I then turn off rt 206 and head toward the Dingmans Bridge, which by the way is the last remaining private bridge on the Delaware river, cross over its wooden planks and rusting metal pieces hoping it does not fall down with me on it. Once into Dingmans Ferry PA, the roads become slightly more interesting and there is almost nobody to tell you to slow down. While the official speed limit is 35mph, it is really more like 50mph to the people that live there. Climbing up rt 739 I'm reminded why I put money into suspension modifications in the first place.

A nice view from Millbrook Rd.

The they way home I took a different route. It still involved coming back across the Dingmans bridge back into NJ but then I headed south on Old Mine Rd. This particular road is said to be on of the longest continuously used roads in the USA. It stretches for some 104 miles from it's start in the Delaware Water Gap area and winds north to Kingston NY. The history of the road is quite interesting. It started with the Lenape indians and then the Dutch used it to transport metals. Its even been said that George Washington himself had travelled the road, but I digress. The road itself has been recently paved and has very little noticeable wear. The trees overhang the road and at times there is a river that curves around on the left. It has multiple elevation changes as one would expect from an NJ back road. Turns are plentiful and on this particular Saturday afternoon there was nobody in front of me. My fear of johnny law dipping into my wallet held my speeds at bay for the most part, but there were times when mechanical noises were orchestrated on the hillsides of NJ.  My evofusion cold air intake (CAI) and ARK exhaust had a nice hum about them and when opened up let me know I was moving through the RPM's quite nicely. With all of the suspension parts working in unison to maintain traction, left foot working the clutch pedal, and my right foot working both the brake and accelerator pedals, sometimes at the same time with some nice rev matching or heel toe action, it was a perfect day for a drive.

I began to think...

Not my picture...I was too busy dodging!
After some 15 or so miles of gorgeous back road scenery and excessive fuel usage, I had to slow down! The road had degraded to what could only be described as a military convoy road. It had massive pot holes and degraded shoulders. This was not fun! I dodged a lot of the potholes but every now and again I tested my Nitto's sidewall integrity but dumping it into a wheel swallowing hole. This went on for atleast a good mile if not more. I then saw a turn to the left with a sign that said "Newton". I took it. I needed to get off of that pot hole infested road. I'm not sure how long it goes on for, but I was not about to find out. This is when I started thinking. This road is a bit like life. I know the metaphor is played out, but it is played out for a reason. Its true! This road was a metaphor for my life thus far. In the beginning its smooth and new. Then you come to those metaphorical bridges and you just happen to take the right road (perhaps meet your spouse like I did) and its everything you had hoped it to be. Your working, going to school, and I could not have asked for a better partner. Road = = my wife and all other decisions leading up to this point...following? Ok good. Then comes this crap road and you have to dodge everything that is thrown at you in the hopes that you do not put a tire into a pot hole. This for me was my time in Florida. (Did I make the best of it? You bet and I would not have traded in that time for anything.  I spent a ton of time with my son playing at the park, going to the beach and spending time with extended family.) I went down for work (Hyundai technician) but then with the economy the way it was and with some rookie mistakes I had made, it just was not going to work out. I decided that it was time to move on. Three years of being employed on and off at three different dealerships had it's moments but it was not worth looking for a fourth one. Lucky for me I was able to find another career path that appears to fit my personality and abilities. So I have turned onto some smoother pavement, but do not worry it till has lots of twists and turns.

What about those people that never find smoother pavement? Do they continue down the pot hole infested road just trying to survive? What about the people that went straight and never turned down that particular road? Did they still end up where they wanted/needed to be? I'm not sure and I could probably sit here for the next couple of hours pondering about the universe and it's internal workings and why some are lucky and some are not. Perhaps we are all lucky in our own ways but need reminding of what they are every now and again. I can tell you that on this particular day with the sun shining and the warm breeze coming in through the windows there was not a better car (one that I know so incredibly well) or road I would have rather have been on. Such has been the case with my current life road...

Monday, May 7, 2012

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

Oh no you did not...

Do not worry I am not going into the old age question of which one is better. We already know that question and the car wins hands down. Its easier to maneuver, you can stop whenever you need to, and you can kick people out mid-trip if you need to. On a more serious note, I spent the day helping my wife pack up suitcases and preparing for her trip back to Florida. Family members offered to pay for plane tickets but she needed to be there for specific days. This meant finding a flight that was going to leave in the next day or so and would accommodate those pesky food allergies my 7 y/o has been living with. This meant that she would fly, once again, with Jet Blue. All flights out of Newark were taken so the nearest terminal was JFK in NYC. They have always been very willing and able to help when they can. They even are kind enough to ask fellow fliers not to bring peanut products on the plane and they will not serve peanuts on the plane. They even try to offer a buffer zone around them. They do not have to do this but some how we always find somebody within the organization that has a family member/ child that is going through the same thing and they go above and beyond to help. I applaud them. They make life easier for my son and most importantly his mother. 

It is not a "recent" picture but it is one of my favs.
Tangent, sorry. Being that my wife's car is currently waiting for a part from the dealership it is down and out for this run. This meant taking my 03 Elantra GT. I know what your thinking, "Whats the big deal?" Well the deal is that my car is about to break the quarter million mark in miles and is modified quite extensively. It is usually not a big deal. I have made the trip to Newark International a bunch of times without incident (and who could forget the trip from Florida to NJ just a couple of months ago), but this time I had to go across the river and then another river to JFK International. I started thinking of my poor Nitto Neo Gens 215/40 R17 tires and the somewhat stiff H&R springs and even stiffer KYB GR-2 Tiburon struts. How would it fair going into the pit of roads and across Manhattan? Then across 495E to the Van Wyke Expressway? The last time I was there I was escorting oversized loads in my 94 Hyundai Excel and the roads where terrible! I was hoping they were better than they were then. Though, that car too was modified with Intrax springs and Enkei 15" RPO's with 205/50 R15 tires. Damn I miss those rims.  I also have swapped out the normal four lug hubs for Tiburon 5 lug hubs. This also meant that I would need to swap out the rotors for five lug. That meant swapping out the normal Elantra brake calipers (fronts anyway) to Tiburon ones. My hunt for parts lead me to a fellow member that was selling  SE Tiburon calipers. These are larger and are made of aluminum. The weights are identical from the  much larger SE caliper to the cast iron Elantra caliper and will release heat much quicker then cast iron.  I had also thrown in Goodridge stainless steel brake lines some time prior to the five lug swap. Braking power is definitely increased and as far as I can tell the distance is also cut down thanks to the 12" drilled rotors as opposed to the 10" also warping Elantra rotors.  This would prove to be needed in the NYC traffic. Anybody who knows NYC knows that proper spacing between cars is almost impossible. So good brakes and quick reaction time is a must! 

My worries were justified as I had to watch out for some pot holes, but mostly storm drains and large metal plates they put over giant holes while working on them. All in all, as expected, I was fine and so is the car. The roads were actually not that bad at all and most of the trip was spent on brand new pavement.  The biggest issue was not even the other "horrible drivers". Which, by the way, I have found to be complete BS. People here are NOT horrible drivers if anything I found them to be predictable. You know when they are going to cut you off or try and pass you, so you just prepare. I find it much easier to navigate through  traffic here. You want crazy drivers, take a trip to from Jacksonville to Miami going south on 95. They are certifiable! No turn signals, old people mixed in with younger oblivious texter's, everybody is doing 80-90mph and let us not forget the left lane hoggers. Growing up in the area, I find it quite enjoyable and calming to drive through the city. I know I'm weird. It's all good. My wife, however, who grew up in the woods and drove on one lane roads while she was learning is NOT accustomed to driving in 4 lanes of traffic, never mind in the largest city on the east coast. She is constantly gasping, and grabbing the "Oh Shit handle". I think there might be a wear mark on the floor from her right foot hitting the imaginary brake pedal. My son just laughs and I must admit so do I sometimes.

I had some stop and go traffic which is to be expected. The Midtown tunnel and Lincoln tunnel entrances were about a 20 minute delay and there was debris on the Van Wyke that was causing people to slow down some. New Jersey traffic was the worst by far. I think it had to do with the slight drizzle and people on route 80 putting up guardrails. There was a special on the discovery channel one time that simulated what happens when one person brakes when there is no need. It creates this butterfly effect to the traffic miles behind them. One person brakes, then the person behind them and so on. So by the time you go back just 5 miles, traffic is at a standstill. Well I was caught up some 20 miles behind where they were installing new guardrails. To make a long story short, it took me over 2 hours to get back to the house when the trip going there was just under an hour and half. Hell the plane from JFK  to Orlando almost beat me! It only missed me by half an hour. Granted in racing terms that is an eternity, but in real life it is not a whole heck of a lot. 

All in all, it was an easy trip to and fro. The airport was very easy to navigate despite being named one of the worst airports in the country. I did not have an issue with it. I did take some pics along the way back, just for kicks.  I happened to catch the new shuttle that will be displayed at the air and space museum. It was still attached to the airplane that brought it in just a week or so ago. The cities skyline is always breathe taking, even with the twin towers not being there. The erection of the new "Freedom Tower" has been under way for sometime and is taking shape nicely. I was unsure of the use of the space and of the design of the building, but after seeing the final sketches and seeing it go up. I think it was the right thing to do and the current design is sharp looking. It is really bright and when the sun hits it, it shines with such gusto! A part of me still thinks that we should have built two towers  bigger and better but I guess that is the American coming out in me. It does happen sometimes. Other famous things along the way was the Empire state building and of course many bridges. The one closest to the Midtown tunnel is the 59th street bridge. Of course all of this was done while listening to my favorite NYC radio station...HOT 97. I must admit I thought I was down south again. It was nothing but crunk and dirty anthems. What is up with that? Maybe it was the DJ, but really how can you compare Lil weezy with some of the best of all time? I did switch over to some of my own CD's. Since the death of Guru from Gangstar and MCA from the Beasty Boy's is still fresh in the minds of fans like myself they had to be played. Rightfully so, as I got thumbs up from random people on the street for playing "Whatcha Want" and Gangstar's "Full clip" If  you dont know, now you know...

Sorry but there were no trains to speak of...unless you consider the monorail at the airport a train. LOL 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Good Showing...

One of the greats!...

NYC is one of the greatest cities on the map. I'm not sure many people could argue that point. NYC is known for its culture, music, and arts. The NYC auto show is also well known for being one of the largest shows on the tour. It too has its own "artwork and culture." Almost every manufacture is there showing off some of the latest features. Some even have prototypes and up and coming vehicles. Though Hyundai did not have any concept vehicles there, they did complete their mission of 7 cars in 24 months with the debut of  the new 2013 Santa Fe. More on that later though.

Alternatives to the new norm...

The last two years have been very exciting for those of us that are Hyundai fans. Hell, just cars in general. But there is a shift that is happening and  it was represented at the show. For better or worse, hybrids and their technology are here to stay. Several makers had alternative vehicles. Fisker had some EV's that had solar paneled roofs. Honda had their "Clarity," a fuel cell vehicle only being leased in California (at the moment). Most others had their hybrids that incorporate both fuel and electricity. Hyundai obviously had their Sonata hybrid (which I love!). One hybrid did catch my eye, the new Ford Fusion. I did not realized that they could make such a gorgeous car!  Though the car was locked, the interior looked as fine as the exterior. Nissan had their Leaf and Chevy represented with the Volt. The Volt and Leaf, while I understand why they are here and that it represents the progress in technology, I do believe they are quite a waste of money. Even with government rebates as high has 7500 bucks on them, I do not see where it pays to own one. With MSRP's as high as almost 50k, where is the savings? Hyundai, I believe, has the right approach. They have their hybrid but they also offer three other cars that are getting 40mpg. They also have bought up gas stations in S. Korea so  they could start offering hydrogen. Yes, Hyundai has had their own fuel cell cars for quite sometime. One of them, a new Tuscon, recently just went cross country. I do feel that fuel cells are the future, not EV's and definitely not propane. I guess we will have to see where the money comes from and who will be supplying the R and D. President Obama has signed legislature to give more money to battery improvements and to help companies build better EV's but then reduced the funding to fuel cell technology. What gives? Hydrogen would appear to be far superior to that of straight battery powered cars, in my opinion that is...

If only...

I had the money to buy whatever I wanted and I did not have to worry about the repairs or fuel. Two cars really looked good! I have always been a fan of the M3. This year they had their new M3 and with a limited production color, flat blue (not sure of the real is your friend). It looked fantastic in person. Audi R8 drop top was also showing off its flat paint job. Again, if only I had an unlimited budget, that R8 would be in my driveway. And who could forget Lotus! They were there showing off the new Evora and its racing brother in the traditional British racing green.

Brand new!!!...

Lets start with the new 2013 Santa Fe. While the first gen Santa Fe was not exactly easy on the eyes, it was quite reliable, especially when equipped with the 2.7 Delta V6. The Mitsubishi motors were less than desirable and working on them was a PITA!  For those that do not know, the Sigma 3.5 and the Sirius 2.4 are both Mitsubishi. The 2nd generation showcased new motors and sealed transmissions. The 3.3 Lambda V6 is a very stout motor and the interior was a huge upgrade from the 1st gen. The 3rd generation Santa Fe however, is insanely good looking inside and out. The interior feels incredibly comfortable and all interior materials are nice on the eyes and to the touch.  It comes in two versions. A short wheel and long wheel base. With the ax given to the Veracruz, Hyundai needed to fill that spot. The long wheel base adds a third row and will hold 7 passengers. The longer wheel base receives the new 3.3 GDI motor while the shorter wheel base has two 4 cylinder choices. A 2.4 GDI motor seen in the Sonata or the 2.0 Turbo motor also seen in the Sonata. All motors are strapped to 6 speed auto transmissions and your choice of 2wd or 4wd (AWD including a new trick electronic center differential). My pick would be a 2.0t short wheel base.

Next is the Veloster Turbo. What else could I say about this car? (We have talked about this before and I  really do not think we need to re-hash how cool this car is.) Except that it looks fantastic in person. The matt grey is a nice touch. I was hoping they had another color there as well. Though it is not confirmed when we will see the car in showrooms, we do know that the media release is June 18th. Though I am sadly not invited this time around. Boo!

The June 18th media release also has two other cars, the Elantra coupe and the Elantra GT. Though in the past the GT was an upgrade to the standard Elantra, they decided to call the 5 door a GT. This time around the GT has a different interior and separates itself completely from the sedan brethren. Although the motors and suspensions are the same (1.8 Nu with a McPherson front and torsion rear), the exterior is different in almost every way. The Elantra coupe holds to the sedan lines, but chops off two doors. The interior is also slightly different. I also like the nice blacked out front grill, as opposed to the colored grill on the normal Elantra. The big question here is will they come out with R-Spec versions of the E coupe and Veloster turbo?

I saw a showcase with some OEM goodies and instantly though of H.A.R.D. For those of you that don't know there is an article I wrote sometime ago that explains it. The case included springs/struts, exhaust, and intakes. There was even a custom cushion. I wonder if I will be able to get a red interior in my Turbo? The blue interior, while looking good in pictures, was definitely looking rough on the show car. It might have just been the extra traffic, but it did not look like it was holding up very well. Also, why is there not a bright blue that matches that interior??? I WANT IT! /rant.

The Azera is also all new. I can not even to let you guys/gals know how excited I was to see this car. The old  Azera was so absolutely boring. This new one though, WOW. It commands that its presence be known. The exterior is best described as a mature Sonata. The interior is a far cry form the old outdated version. From its new seats, dash, and new 293hp 3.3 GDI motor, it should do very well in its segment. I would love to get behind the wheel of this car. Perhaps in the near future.

Not much to say about the Gen coupe. The new motors are impressive and the car itself looks 10x better in person, but the fake hood scoops absolutely kill this car. The new tail lights, upgraded interior, and motor selections are the best parts of the face lift by far. I will definitely have to put this car through its paces.  Especially since I have some real roads to drive on. Perhaps my love affair will be sparked once more... we will have to see.

Peace out NYC...

Overall, I had a good time and met some really cool people who also had the same passion for cars that I do. Perhaps not about Hyundai. It's ok, more for me. Next time, please have more knowledgable people working the floor. I know that there was a LOT of information to know and while the flip card book was a good idea, it does take away from the experience. Perhaps next time around, I could work the floor. It would be a pleasure to talk shop all day.

I do have to give a shout out to Baby Cakes on the lower east side. They are a small bakery that caters to gluten free, food allergic, and vegan customers. My son has severe allergies and because of this bakery, he can walk in and order just about anything he sees in the case. If your ever in the area and are looking for delicious treats, please hop on the subway and run down there like we did after the show. The address is

248 Broome St  New York, NY 10002....their website is

Thanks for reading! I know its been slow as of late, but I promise there is more to come...

Have questions??? Need/want me to write about a particular subject matter??? let me know down below or post in the threads where this is posted. Thanks

More pics...just because! 

Yes please! 

300k? really? 

Not sure what the hype is all about? 

By far the coolest concept there!! I hope this is what the production model looks like!