Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tint Thursday!

Well today was the day that I got some tint installed. Deciding on a tint was a bit of a headache since the 35% legal limit was really light. Other choices would be 20%, 15% or 5% (Limo). Someone suggested that as long as you had 35% on the front side windows that then the rest could be whatever and that 'they' (police) didn't really care. While this may be the case I really can't stand the look of 2 different tints on a car. So it had be to 20, 15 or 5 all around.

5% while looking awesome to me is also an open invitation to any police in the immediate area that screams: Hey check me out! and I'm really not looking for any of that attention. Stealth is the word. So it was down to 20 & 15%. Did a lot or searching online to see samples and it was very hard to pick. In the end I settled on 20% with the main reason being that most people said the difference between 20 & 15% is minuscule yet it's still closer to 'legal' which could be helpful if it ever came to that. Also some people said backing up at night with a 15% or less gets pretty challenging.

Dropped off the car first thing in the morning and about 3 & half hours later I received the call that my car was done. I had my buddy Neil pick me up & drop me back off there since we were getting tinted back to back - read all about his experience here. Driving back we both noticed a HUGE difference already with how much cooler the car felt and how much more relaxing it felt inside the car with the tint with a lot less glare coming in. Looking at the car it definitely looks sharper and unless we imagined it , it definitely turned a lot more heads tinted. You can still see through the car from the oustside if the sun hits it right which is 'ok' but i'm now second guessing myself on the 20% and wondering if the 15% would've looked even better. Oh well... really the 20% looks amazing and i'm sure i'll get tons of enjoyment out of it.

Now i'm actually considering blacking the car out with tinted tail lights etc, but that's for another blog.



Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hood Vent Mod

When it comes to cars and performance every degree cooler your engine runs can be critical. Or at least carnuts obsess over it like it is ;) The Pontiac G8 has some hood-scoops that most people either love or hate ( I like 'm !). The only problem is - they're NOT really functional. Once taken apart you can see that they're actually first blocked off by a piece of plastic with 3 tiny holes in it, afterwhich there's a big rubber piece in the hood.

Now i'm sure 'some' air gets in/out (there's still some debate whether the vents are in a low-pressure zone and whether or not they let cold air in, or let hot air out but that's an side)
but it's just not very efficient as you can imagine. Some members over on g8board have come up with several modifications to help out with this problem and here's the most elegant one that I did myself (well ALMOST.. ) provided in detail to you by SRG963

With this mod, you should avoid parking uphill in the rain and don't follow closely in the rain. If you park on a flat surface or down hill and drive properly, you shouldn't have any problems.

1. Remove the rubber inserts from the inside of the hood. Note, the first picture is what the finished mod will look like. You can leave the rubber inserts out if you choose. Not using the rubber inserts will allow more hot air out.

2. Remove the hood vents, which lift out. Lift the outside edge (clip) and run you fingers along the inside of the hood vent to the other edge (clip) and lift. The back will lift up and then the front will slide out.

3. Remove black plastic backing from hood vents and leave off. There are small clips at each end. You will need to pull one side off first, the other will follow.
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4. Switch sides of rubber inserts (right side to left and left side to right) if you choose to reuse them.
5. Place rubber inserts into the top of the hood back in the same openings, just upside down. Place the long side of the rubber insert under the metal lip at the front of the hood vent opening. You will need to press them back into the opening, don't be scared. Just a little pressure and they pop back in perfectly.

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This image has been resized. Click this bar to view the full image. The original image is sized 1024x768.

Instead of tucking them in from the top I Chose to actually tuck them behind the hoodliner from the bottom. This so that if I ever get in a nasty rainstorm or go through a touchless carwash (yeah yeah I know.. should handwash it) I can simply pop the hood, swap the rubbers in 10 seconds so they're upside down and blocking the vents so no excessive water comes in.

View from above with vents removed. You can see the top of the MAF sensor in the drivers side opening. After the mod, the driver's side vent is in front of the sensor drawing the hot air away from it.
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6. Place the hood vents back where they came from.
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When you put the hood vents back on, fit them in at the front before you push down to clip them in. This will avoid them sticking up.

7. Test new mod!

Where to Start

So a buddy of mine started his own STI Blog here:
I highly recommend checking it out.

He's got a great car he likes to mod and since I got a new Pontiac G8 GT a few months ago, it made me think that I should do the same. It's a great way to keep track of mods done to the car and share ideas with fellow car enthusiasts. Since it's now end of July i'll try to backdate a few posts as much as I can remember and share my experiences & mods etc.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Powerbond 25% Underdrive Pulley

Another mod that gains an easy 5-10hp is the ever popular underdrive pulley.
What it does is make some of your accessories run a bit slower and they are usually lighter than stock making it easier for the engine to run. I decided to order mine from New Era back in NY. It's the "Powerbond Harmonic Balancer 25% Underdrive crank pulley" They had'm in stock for a decent price and Mike is a great guy.

From their website:

" Looking for an easy way to add some horsepower to your G8's powerplant and at the same time get better fuel economy by reducing engine stress ?? This is the best way to pick up some hp for a great price in doing so !! Powerbond's new 25% underdrive balancer for LS1's incorporates a number of high-quality features you won’t find on any other aftermarket unit. Chief among them are a pair of extra-tall belt-retention walls that eliminate the belt-slippage issues endemic to other LS engine balancers . Other unique design strengths include 100% steel construction (other brands use steel and aluminum), integral timing marks, and built-in puller-mounting threads. NOTE: Requires 1 new belt (not included). FEATURES Extra-tall belt-retention "walls"—no more thrown belts! No aftermarket tensioner required 100% steel construction Lighter than the stock balancer Integral timing marks and puller-mounting threads Keyed for high-rpm or supercharged applications Does not cause false knock retard or erratic power-curve dips ."

Once I got the pulley (after about a week) BOY was that thing heavy! I couldn't even begin to imagine how heavy the stock one must be! Now it turned out that i'd still need a new balancer bolt and a new belt since the stock one would no longer fit. I went with the following:

Belt: Gates belt # K060747
Bolt: ARP 234-2503 (or GM bolt 12557840 would also work)

For the belt i went with a goodyear gatorback belt - nice quality - from a local auto parts store.
The ARP bolt is 25-50 bucks depending on where you get it! OUCH (stock GM is 5 bucks)
No local stores had the ARP Bolt (and would charge $50 for it) so I went to and ordered it from there. The rate I'm going i'll be a frequent shopper there soon enough anyway ;)

Now the hard part was finding a place to install it! None of the 'run of the mill' places could or wanted to do it (or sometimes don't even know what G8 is) so I ended up talking to my dealership about it. They agreed after the usual "voiding of warrenty" stories blabla. Great I thought. I made the appointment and did an oilchange (switched to full synthetic) & tire rotation as well first thing in the morning at 7:30 sharp.

After a few hours they're still putting away and i'm getting a little anxious. According to most people it should only take about an hour... Finally at about 11:00 they say they're just about done but now it has a 'rough idle'. I'm thinking "oh crap what did they ruin now...". They pull up the car, I start it up and if anything I think it runs BETTER than it did before - Perhaps my beefy rumble from the axle-backs has'm confused since I don't think anyone with a modded G8 has been to their service department yet. I do a quick visual take and it all looks alright so i'm off!

Driving on the freeway I definitely notice more of a high-end responsiveness that wasn't there before. Easy power pickup & acceleration across the full spectrum, even when already going *ahem* "above the speed limit".

I pop the hood to take a look at it again at the end of the day and I notice a wobble. Oh no......AAAAAAAAAAAARGH !! they DID screw up my install! I'm freaking out big time thinking about how now they'll blame the pulley if anything is wrong with the engine while it could've been their butchered installation. So i manage to take some video of it and post it on the boards and most people said: oh it's no big deal, and doing some research i found a lot of corvette owners having the same issue both stock & aftermarket.. something about belt tension and such.. Oh well.. i'll just keep my fingers crossed and hope it's good, otherwise i'll have some other shop look at it to fix it.. if I can find one!

Update: Had a corvette specialist place look at it and they said it was A-OK, so i'm happy! :D
I'll be taking my car there from now on to do any mods.

Overall I Highly recommend this mod to anyone!

Visit New Era Performance Parts Here:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

StolenFox AxleBacks

Through a stroke of luck I found someone all the way back east wanting to sell his Stolen Fox Axle-Backs (which are based on MagnaFlows). Didn't have the dual tips like stock which I preferred, but the oval isn't bad and has grown on me already. We agreed on a price and the long wait started for them to get here (took about a week). From what I heard the install was simply 2 bolts per each side so that's something anyone can do in like 10 minutes. Why Axle-Backs and not a Cat-Back? Well really i'm planning on full long-tube headers down the line that go all the way to the rear axle so that'd be a waste imo.

I was at work and had received the Axle-Backs when I decided : what the hell, let's slap'm on right now!. I didn't have a jack (no spare tire with the G8 GT!) or any ramps, but there was a concrete ramp to the backdoor of the office.. so what's one to do but to simply back one side of the car on there and voila! instant workspace ;) Of course as i'm laying under the car I see a pair of familiar shoes all of a sudden show up.. the boss.. OOPS.. oh well after some sarcastic comments he was on his way, and I kept on working. I DO have a break ya know...

pic1. New AxleBacks; pic2. New ones up front, Stock ones in the back. QUITE a difference.

It really was as simple as people had mentioned, within minutes the original axle-backs came off, and the new ones were in place.Hard part was getting them in & out of the rubber hangers and trying to align them so they'd look alright, but luckily my buddy Neil was there to help. As soon as I started up the car we both were grinning ear to ear. NOW we're talking about muscle-car rumble!!! It really brought out the H-Pipe install from earlier with that sweet V8 sound.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Debadging the rear end

The G8 has 'pontiac G8' on the right side and 'GT' on the left of the trunk. A lot of people have been debadging their cars to get a cleaner look. The most common thing to do seems to be to take of the 'Pontiac' lettering to give it a more 'balanced' look. I didn't used to like doing that but i finally gave in. I did it at the end of the day when the weather had already heated up the car quite nicely (otherwise I would've had to bust out the blowdryer to heat things up). Most of the letters came off with a few twists & turns which was quite surprising.

There was quite a bit of 'goop' left on the car and some careful application of goo-off took care off that. I noticed some light 'scratching' where i had been going at the goop..AAAAAAAAAAAAARGH. Ok calm down and whip out some 'scratch-X'. Looking better... did it twice, then waxed it twice and it looks as good as new! :)

Next to go will be those weird little 'GM' Squares on the sides behind the front wheels.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

StolenFox H-Pipe Installed

So I managed to get my hands on one of the very last "StolenFox" H-Pipes.
"StolenFox" aka Ryan has been making aftermarket H-Pipe & AxleBacks for the G8 and I believe also for GTO's. He unfortunately stopped making them because of all the free-time it took up so when he said he just a handful left I jumped on it.

From what he told me X-pipes build more high rpm horsepower while H-pipes build more low end torque. Both are far superior to a true dual exhaust with no crossover. Unless its a racecar, this is a mod for sound quality. H-pipes produce a deep rumble while X-pipes make a slightly higher pitched scream.

I took it to Walt's of all places to install. It took them about an hour or so to cut out the mid-car muffler and weld the h-pipe in it's place.

As far as the sound goes it has just a HINT more of rumble. These stock mufflers are WAY restrictive so next i'm going to try to get some Axle-Backs from StolenFox if I can find anyone who's willing to sell theirs.