Thursday, November 20, 2014

DIY Fix: Increasing trunk tension on a Lexus GS300 or Toyota Aristo (preventing decapitation!)

The Lexus GS300 (Toyota Aristo for our overseas readers) is a great luxury sport sedan, and it has been our ongoing project car for the past 18 months.  There are a lot of things we love about the car, and a few things we don't like.  One annoyance is the fact that the trunk closes way too easy, and it comes down with enough force to leave a bruise on your back or head, such as when were installing the rear strut tower bar on the car. 

On a recent trip to get groceries, a small incline was enough to keep our trunk from staying open.  Juggling groceries, packing a stroller, getting rained on, and caring for a toddler don't make for a great mix.  We decided enough was enough, and took a look to see if we could do something to keep the trunk from being so easy to close.  Thankfully, there is a remedy to increase the tension on the trunk, and it literally took a few minutes to do.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

AMS Alpha Omega GT-R: King of the Streets, and King of the 1/4 Mile

If you're like us, you love horsepower and speed.  While we normally focus more of our attention on cars that turn quick lap times around a road course, we do like to see the extreme speeds a car is capable of in a straight line.  One such car is the 2000 horsepower Nissan GT-R built by AMS Performance.  The team hails from Chicago, Illinois, and they are also known for their incredibly fast Mitsubishi Evolution X.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Coronado SpeedFestival 2014 : Part 2

In case you missed the first part of our coverage of the 2014 Coronado SpeedFestival, you can view it here: Coronado SpeedFestival 2014 Part 1

Now onto part 2 of our coverage of the event.

A classic GT40 done in the Gulf Oil racing colors.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Coronado SpeedFestival 2014: Celebrating 50 years of Mustangs; Vintage Car Racing; Car Show Part 1

It's been over 50 years since the original Ford Mustang was debuted in New York.  The iconic muscle car ushered in a war of horsepower as other car manufacturers created their own interpretation of Ford's creation.  The Mustang may have been outgunned in horsepower as the 60s came to a close where the Hemi and other big block motors reigned supreme, and the 70s brought about the oil crisis which ended the muscle car period, but in the end it was the pony car which had the last laugh.  The 2+2 sports car is the only one which has stood the test of time, with it's arch rival the Camaro taking a brief hiatus after 2003. 
The Coronado SpeedFestival is open to everyone. 

This year, the Coronado SpeedFestival paid tribute to the Mustang and its various iterations, and there was a parade lap with nothing but Mustangs during the afternoon lunch break. Aside from the focus on the Ford Mustang, the main stars were the race cars dating from the early 1900s all the way up to late model ex-NASCAR race cars.

Friday, July 18, 2014

DIY Fix: Remove and Replace Cabin Air Filter Lexus GS300 (Toyota Aristo JZS161)

What is a cabin air filter?  We all know that an air filter keeps dirt and grit from entering the engine, but what about the for air entering the inside of the car when you use your fan or a/c?  The cabin air filter is similar to an engine's air filter in that by design it is to keep pollutants and pollen from entering the cabin while driving.  Follow along as we show you how to replace the cabin air filter on our project GS300. 

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

First car show of the year: San Diego Auto Show January 1-5, 2014

2013 is about to come to an end, and what a great year it has been.  We welcome 2014 with the first car show of the year:  The San Diego Auto Show.  It will be held from January 1st to the 5th at the downtown convention center.  We will be there to take some photos and provide you with some information of the new car models. 

Tickets for the event can be found here:  San Diego Auto Show

Discount tickets are available for military personnel, and some 7-11 stores also have discount tickets available.  Sunday, the 5th is a family day, and children 12 and under can attend for free, otherwise only children 6 and under are free on the other days of the show.

We wish you all a happy new year!  

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

DIY Fix: How to Remove and Replace Steering Rack Bushings (Lexus GS300 / Toyota Aristo)

This the is the bag that contained our urethane steering rack bushings.  We got them from Sewell Lexus.
The 1998-2005 Lexus GS (Toyota Aristo in Japan) is a great luxury car that is quite affordable now on the used market for many car shoppers.  The car was billed as a sports/luxury sedan, and if it was optioned as a GS400, it was one of the quickest mid-sized sedans at the time in 1998 with a 1/4 mile time in the low 14 second range.  Straight line prowess aside, the car was also quite capable of tackling winding back roads too.  The Lexus did have to make compromises though, especially in the area of steering feedback.

To keep drivers who prefer luxury comfort happy, Lexus chose to use rubber bushings in the steering rack.  These rubber bushings do a commendable job at keeping vibration and harshness to a minimum.  However, they also dampen out most of the information the front tires give to the driver during cornering.  To make things worse, as the bushings age, they allow quite a bit of flex and movement of the steering rack.  This flexing of the rack gives the steering wheel a "dead zone," an area where even if you turn the steering wheel, nothing happens.  The dead zone lasts for a split second or so until the car will actually begin to turn, but it's enough to reduce driver confidence.  In worse case scenarios, the bushings can degrade to the point where the steering wheel will have side-to-side free play even while driving straight!  Not safe if you needed to do an emergency maneuver.

Our project Lexus GS did have some noticeable steering rack flex during cornering, but the dead zone wasn't as bad as on other GS300s we have driven.  Follow along as we show you a basic guide on how to replace the steering rack bushings for a GS300 to restore driver confidence.  As always, we do not have any responsibility for the work you do to your car.  If in doubt, have a professional do the job!