Most auto enthusiasts have thought about building their own exhaust systems at some point. Maybe it’s to save money. Maybe it’s to test out fabricating skills. Maybe it’s because standard after-market systems don’t meet expectations.
Whatever the reason, if you’re thinking about building your own exhaust and you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering if it’s worth doing. The short answer? A home made exhaust can be a good idea if you do it right, but there’s a lot you could do wrong.
Continue reading “Building Your Own Catback Exhaust: Is It A Good Idea?”
When we last left our stalwart Wagon, its original transmission, which I’ve dubbed Alex, had just been swapped for a rebuilt unit, henceforth referred to as Derek. And Derek wasn’t happy. He howled and crunched all the way home that night, in his best impression of a straight-cut rally-spec dogbox, even though he was a synchromesh transmission. He wasn’t fooling anyone. On top of that, a broken wastegate bolt opened the door for a vacuum leak, and it sounded hilarious, as if Tex Avery had tuned my car. It really wasn’t too far off from one of those spinning party whistles that your mom threw away when you weren’t looking so she wouldn’t have to pay to see a shrink.
Something was wrong. Here’s what I did about it, and how I ended up in the hospital. Continue reading “The Transmission Job: Part II”
It was a commute like any other, winding to work in my 2002 Subaru WRX Wagon. I was nearing the office when I heard the crunch. Now, the transmission problems in the ‘02-’05 are pretty well known among Subaru owners. If I had known this, I might not have become one.
Nevertheless, second gear sounded like a WWI-era machine gun, and I wasn’t panicking. I wasn’t. Really. Primarily, because I’ve already had one of those “if I’d have known, I’d never have bought this” moments when a snap ring inside my center diff kamikazed itself and cost me $1,900, so the Subaru drivetrain didn’t leave much room to disappoint me further, even though my car hasn’t crested 160k. This was like becoming a parent, but for the second time. Still a big deal, but without so much shock. Secondarily, because I drive a manual transmission, and I can just skip broken gears if I want to.
Then I found an on-ramp and subconsciously shifted back into second, causing the rest of the gears to follow suit. I wasn’t going to get much more life out of this gearbox. It was time for a replacement. And since I’m poor and didn’t really care to pay anyone to drop the gears out of my car again, I decided it was time to learn the art of the transmission swap. Continue reading “Installing a Rebuilt Transmission when Everything Goes Wrong”
I hate alphanumeric car names. Cadillac is bad. Lexus is worse. Mercedes is abysmal. I can’t remember which random combination of letters and numbers matches up with which car. I don’t know what they stand for. I get the feeling that most of the time they don’t mean anything at all. But there is one car whose alphanumeric name is perfect: the Factory Five 818. It’s neither meaningless nor hard to remember because 818 is the car’s weight in kilograms. Yes, it tips at just 1,800 lbs.
The idea of the 818 is simple. It’s a small, mid-engine, 2-seat track toy you can build yourself for under 15 grand. Factory Five sends you a big box full of a box-tube frame and pre-colored composite body. You take apart a crashed Subaru WRX with its engine, transmission, front drivetrain, and suspension uninjured. Then you put the two together for a RWD beast that usually gets to 60 in under 4 seconds. Continue reading “Factory 5 818 Brings the Good Kind of Hurt”
This week on Ridiculously Easy Mods, we’ll be covering the final part of the initial trifecta, the first three essential power mods you should add to any car. We first ran through a quick tutorial on how to install a cold air intake. Then we talked about the power programmer, and how you could probably use one in the middle of a nap. Today we’ll talk about the performance exhaust, focusing on one of our favorite exhaust brands, Flowmaster. It’s the final corner of the performance foundation, and as with the others, installing yours will be painfully easy. Continue reading “How to Install a Flowmaster Exhaust in an Easy Afternoon”