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! 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Car shows/events for September 2013

It's now September!?!  Where did the summer go?  It seems like the fun in the sun days went by in a flash.  With fall coming up in just a couple weeks, there are a few shows here in Southern California that car enthusiasts can check out.

Monday, July 22, 2013

2013 ToyotaFest car show: A definite must attend for Toyota, Lexus and Scion fans Part 3

A very nice MKIV Supra on HRE wheels.
We head into part 3 of our coverage of the 2013 ToyotaFest, where we waded past row after row of Supras and MR2s.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

2013 ToyotaFest car show: A definite must attend for Toyota, Lexus and Scion fans Part 2

ITBs and a Levin front end conversion.  Very nice!
In part 2 of our coverage of the 2013 ToyotaFest, we move away from the Lexus vehicles and onto the Scions and Toyotas. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

DIY Fix: How to Remove and Replace Lower Ball Joints and Outer Tie Rods (Lexus GS 300/Toyota Aristo JZS161)

Ball joints and tie rods are critical for maintaining steering control and safety.  A broken ball joint or tie rod can result in a catastrophic accident.
In recent weeks, we've received quite a few questions from people asking if we can help them identify odd noises coming from their vehicles.  While we cannot guarantee we can help them pinpoint the exact cause of the noise, we generally ask them a few questions or ask them to send us a video to help us get an idea of the general location of the noise. 

The most common one thus far has been odd noises coming from the front end of a person's car, and aside from shocks or wheel bearings, we noticed that ball joints and tie rods are the usual culprits.  Follow along as we explain how to check for bad ball joints and tie rod ends, and show a general how to on our very own project car.

Monday, July 8, 2013

2013 ToyotaFest car show: A definite must attend for Toyota, Lexus and Scion fans Part 1

Each year in the spring, the Toyota Owner's and Restorer's Club (TORC) hold an event for all fans of Toyota, Lexus and Scion cars to attend.  This year's event held at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA continued the tradition of a family friendly event filled with cars that any gear head can appreciate.  There were project cars in various stages of their build, fully restored classics, heavily modified cars, and factory stock cars in mint condition.  Toyota also set up shop with games, allowing attendees the chance to win prizes such as cell phone holders, MKIII Toyota Supra shaped air fresheners, and portable chairs.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

2013 Z Car West Coast National Car Show - Motorsport Auto

Every year since 1996, Motorsport Auto holds a Datsun/Nissan car show in Orange, CA.  Z car owners of any generation Z are welcome to enter their vehicle in the show, and attendance is free to everyone.   This year, the show was held in front of Motorsport Auto's facility.  An entire block of West Collins Avenue was closed for the event. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

DIY Fix: How to Replace Your License Plate Bulb / Light (Car: Lexus GS 300)

Spring is in full effect, and since the days are getting longer little by little, some of us may not have to use our lights as often while driving.  One thing to check after a winter driving season are your vehicle's exterior lights.  Many times, this is a really quick inspection that people forget to do.  The ones that we do check often are the brake lights and headlights, but there are a pair of lights which do get ignored: the license plate lights.  These tiny bulbs can sometimes be the reason for being pulled over.  Follow along as we show you how a mini DIY tutorial on how to replace the license plate bulbs on a Lexus GS300, aka Toyota Aristo for those of our readers in Japan.  Remember, that this tutorial is just a reference and we are in no way responsible for any damage you do to your vehicle.  If in doubt, consult a professional for assistance.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

DIY Fix: How to Remove and Replace Glass Headlight on Your Car

Did road debris or a rock damage your headlight?  We show you how to replace the glass lens!

While spring is on its way here, the hours of daylight are still less than the hours of darkness and many drivers spend part of their commute using their headlights.  Many new cars have headlight housings made of plastic, but a lot of older cars have headlight housings made of glass which are prone to cracking to if they are struck by debris.

A small chip can quickly spread into a large crack and make night time driving hazardous for both the driver and other commuters.  The crack affects the beam pattern, increasing glare for oncoming drivers.  For the driver, moisture can enter the housing and short out the headlight, or the glass housing can shatter.

Our daily driver vehicle is equipped with glass headlight housings, and we recently had an errant rock create a chip on our housing which had spread to a massive crack in a few miles.  By the time we got  home from our work commute, the housing was threatening to completely break.  Rather than pay a lot of money to have the dealership/mechanic's shop fix the headlight lens, we decided to save some money and do it ourselves. 

Follow along as we show you a step-by-step tutorial on how to replace the glass lens housing of the headlight.