Friday, December 28, 2012

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My Review of Roku 2 XS Streaming Player

Originally submitted at Roku
Adds an enhanced remote for playing games, plus extra connectivity options.

Awesome features for a small price!
By Toadster from Folsom, CA on 10/9/2012

5out of 5
Pros: Easy to use, Reliability, Great value, Compact, Built in Wi-Fi, High quality picture, Video selection, Easy to set up
Best Uses: Secondary TV
Describe Yourself: Casual User, Movie buff, Technophile, Home entertainment enthusiast, Power User

Check one out for yourself!  Roku2 XS with free HDMI cable!

This allowed us to bring our old 36" (480i) tube TV back to life. Its been sitting in the garage, still works great - but no receivers connect to the non-HDMI based TV. The Roku 2 XS give you HDMI AND Composite connectors - we use Plex to transcode HD videos to the 480i TV - and it looks fantastic!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Data logging - man, this is fun!

With all the fun mods, and my I/C pump failing last month - I figured it's a good time to start logging ECU/Sensor data on my car.  I've always wanted to check this stuff out - but just never had the motivation and/or patience to set it all up.  I found that it's really easy now...

First and foremost you need to get an OBD-II connection that will pull the data from your vehicle.  I did lots of research and wanted to find the best 'bang for the buck' setup.  There are fantastic options like the DashDaq but they cost $550 and I'd rather put that into other stuff - so I found the Kiwi WiFi adapter for $60 on Craligslist - pretty awesome considering they cost $149 new!

This is a really simple setup, you plug one end into the vehicle's OBD-II port and there's a 6' cable that you can mount anywhere in the vehicle.  There is a little on-off switch and the wireless component lights up when it's turned on.   Basically it sets up an Ad-Hoc Wireless connection to any device with Wireless access.  In this case I'm using my iPhone4.

Obviously - the iPhone needs an app to read the data - so I went with one that is actively monitored/developed called Dash Command for $49.99 on the app store.

It's a pretty cool application and monitors your car in real time!  Check out the screen shot below!

There are 5 different tabs (along the bottom) but this screen gives me a good look at timing and the intake temps!  This screen shot was taken on 105*F day outside, so my I/C pump is working hard to keep the intake temps to ~10-12*F within ambient temps!  Much better than last month when my IATs were in the 170-180*F range!  

Lots to learn from this setup as there is SO much data now, so I'll need some time to figure out all this info to make more sense of it all - but the instant data is excellent and I can't complain to have a setup for ~ $110 in comparison to the $550 models out there!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Dyno and a disappointment!

Well, a few weeks back we had a group Dyno day - never did that before, so I figured why not check it out!?  My brother and I drove a few hours to San Francisco and the guys at Dito's Motors were great!  Two days of dyno tuning for our group - probably 15 guys with their AMG power.

Jerry came in from Texas ( to do the dyno tuning - and MANY guys had a blast and some big power was put down.  It was a usual Bay Area day - about 58 degrees outside, of course my brother and I forgot that it was colder there so it was quite chilly in our shorts and T-shirts (LOL).

I had my first run around 11:15am - got on the dyno and did a baseline...  

A whole whopping 400HP at the wheels... which isn't all that bad, but in perspective to other cars but we knew something was up...  my secondary water pump was failing so it couldn't cool the intake charge, my IATs were 170-180F so the computer was dumping all the fuel possible into the cylinders which pretty much made my AFR's dive into the low 10's (most likely into the 9s and even 8s)...  so we had to pack up and get a new pump installed...  The guys were great at the shop, a few guys even offered to replace the pump that day and get things dialed back in- but I let it up to the warranty to fix things (hey, that's why you buy one!) :-)

Oh well, next time I run into a Dyno - things should be much better!  I got a new toy to start logging my ECU to make sure stuff like this doesn't happen in the future... next blog!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Got some new stuff installed!

FINALLY got the S/C pulley installed, and re-tuned from Eurocharged - wahoo!  Also, during the downtime had the plugs installed (NGK LFR7AIX) and the brake fluid flushed.


I'll have a dyno tune done later this month to see what power gains are to be had with this lightweight pulley but the torque curve is MUCH broader than before - almost feels like an even BIGGER V8 or maybe a V12 :-)

 Next on the list is a new Gates K080505HD V-Belt, this will help keep this pulley from slipping as the stock belt is a little long at 51", the new belt is 49.6" and should keep things snug and spinning!

So far so good, the new Heat Exchanger from Fabtech-Performance has kept the 100+ degree days at bay and kept the S/C from overheating.  Next is to start logging data, really curious what the IATs are now with the new pulley and blistering CA heat!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Finally got the new intercooler installed

It took a while, but I wanted to be sure to time this correctly - I had to have one of my headlights replaced under warranty so the front bumper needed to be pulled anyways - so I saved some labor costs :)  The guys at Von Housen were fantastic!

Unboxed the new heat exchanger - looks great!

and here it is installed... (subtle - yet effective!)

now it's time to add one of these guys...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

time for some new shoes... Hankook V12s

It's time for some new tires, and I've heard the HANKOOK VENTUS V12 EVO K110 are a great "bang for the buck" tire! 
Fronts @ 245/40-18 and Rears @ 275/35-18

Monday, May 7, 2012

To sticker, or not to sticker, that is the question...

OK - a little promo for the Eurocharged team  - Great company to work with so far, and very good stuff!  They sent these to me in the mail...  they're grey to somewhat match the silver.  I know, I know - if I got yellow or red stickers it would add 50HP- but I'm ok for now ;)

It will look a little like this... but my windows have a little tint so would darken the background
So what do you think?  Should I put them in the rear quarter windows ?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Colder Spark Plugs for the E55 - NGK LFR7AIX #2309

Looking to get some new plugs for the E55, many have said that a colder plug should be used to reduce EGTs (Exhaust Gas Temperatures) when adding more power - basically one step colder per every 75HP added. NGK LFR7AIX Iridium IX Spark Plugs have been recommended by many on the popular sites.  Granted, on the E55 - 16 plugs are needed - YIKES!

These are a great set of plugs! Really smooths out the idle and helps to keep exhaust temps under control!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

You gotta be pulley'in my leg!

OK - someone needs to stop with all the group buys - just too tempting!  Ended up getting a new developmental 84mm pulley that fits on the supercharger, instead of the usual crank pulley that spins everything faster/harder on the engine.  About 28.5% of the rotational weight has been taken off the pulley which means less wear & tear on the engine and components.

Here's the new (middle) vs old (right) design - note the thickness (weight) on the OEM design, the one of the left is an even SMALLER version - but I stuck with the 83/84mm :)

What's nice about this design is that it is less weight and offers faster spooling of the S/C instead of the stock pulley - it's been developed to meet OEM quality and has a slip-resistant coating on the ribs.  Here it is, fresh out of the UPS box.  Just waiting to add 1.5-2PSI of boost :)

It looks to be a stellar part and much cheaper than the crank pulleys which (IMHO) tend to be more trouble than what they're worth on a daily driver.  I hope to get this installed soon :-)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Cooling the charge!

Up next is a Fabtech-Performance Heat Exchanger/Intercooler - this is 2x the size of the stock unit and will help keep the Sacramento temps at bay and help speed recovery of the IAT (inlet air temp) back to cooler temps as cooler air is more dense, and more dense air means more power :)

Bar & Plate style for optimal s/c cooling and heat dissipation59 FLUID OUNCES, 1.74 LITER HEAT EXCHANGERAluminum mounting brackets for seamless factory placement install no drilling necessary2X MORE COOLING volume THAN STOCKDrain located at the bottom of the H/E for easy fluid change3/4 INCH BARB FITTINGS

Yes, another group buy (I helped with this one!)

and what it should look like installed

Should be here within a week - now just to find time to install :-)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Octane Booster

Every once in a while I'll throw an injector cleaner in the tank - those 'cleaning' additives to a whole tank of gas - hopefully it's doing something to keep things clean.  Recently was wondering about bumping the octane level since the S/C engine in the E55 could handle it and most of the store bought stuff will only boost your octane by .2-.6 points - so in lowly CA, I'd get a screaming 91.6 from the over-the-counter stuff.

So the guys on Planet Supercar and MBWorld are talking about Torco - this is the real additive that can boost your octane and is one of the blends used to boost commercial gasoline to it's higher levels.  So, while I can't get 93 (or higher) in CA, maybe this stuff could help raise to 95 or 98 octane?

Amazing that you can order this from Amazon!  LOL

Thanks to my buddy Tom, he found a graph that shows the E55

Sunday, April 8, 2012

OBDII - oh what fun comes next!

 A nice new OBDII to USB cable arrived today...
Gotta find some good apps to use with this on my laptop!

maybe others?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Scoopin it up!

Well, in my last update - I was hoping to save up a few $$ to get the TTM scoops - and, well - there was this group buy going on - so I jumped in - they look great and from some testing they increase airflow by ~5% and also create more pressure (from somewhat a ram-air effect) - reducing the pressure needed by .55%

They came via USPS packaged very nicely, two scoops the mounting bolts and some heater hose to keep things from rubbing.

Here they are installed on the car, two simple holes, and a simple lock nut on each side

and here's a look with the hood closed...  

...all ready for some forced-air fun!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Exhausting mods...

Last weekend I did a simple modification to the exhaust by removing the resonator in my exhaust system -

Here's the before shot - notice the dual exhaust comes into the shared resonator
then back out to the two outlets

here's the guys cutting out the resonator, took about 5 minutes
note the AMG factory heatsink for the rear differential - pretty cool (literally!)

and the final result, two 3" stainless tubes were placed where there was one resonator

The nice part is that the car isn't really any louder and while it doesn't really increase power it changes the tone a bit - makes the shared middle portion into two separate exhaust tubes and gives the car a little 'burble' on the gas, and more pronounced on the manual downshifts :-)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Add a little more air - for free!

Small changes to allow more air into the engine and out the exhaust are pretty common modifications that people make to their cars.  I went a more subtle route - by removing restrictions.  May as well optimize the stuff that's already present...

In my previous post - I put in the K&N filters - and this week I removed the rubber/plastic snorkels that come through the front of the engine bay - they're restrictive to a point - reducing noise mostly as this is an "executive" car - but they also reduce the airflow...

Previous photo of the while I was installing my new LED city lights... 
also note the 5K LED on the left, and the standard 4.3K bulb on the right...

and now with the front end 'de-snorkeled'
 now there's less "stuff" in the way of the air to get to the engine, so it was a 'free' power modification!

hopefully I can save up a few more bucks and get these nice looking TTM scoops to channel more air to the intake, they don't really provide ram air to a s/c engine, but gives more direct airflow when moving...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

E55 AMG Mods & Upgrades

First and foremost, I'm not one to sit by and drive a plain old car that's not discernible from the rest - pretty much every car I've owned has been unique in it's own way...

So here's the list of modifications done - nothing too crazy - just tried and true mods.

Get some more air into the engine - for < $40/ea (and you need two) - I love these
K&N 33-2181 High Performance Replacement Air Filters

TTM Performance Air Scoops
While they don't add much in the sense of 'power' - they look AWESOME!  Many heads turn when you pop the hood, even the Mercedes dealer techs love these.
Check out Tuning Technology Motorsports (TTM) in New York.


AMG Aluminum Pedals from JBSpeed

Painted E63 Lip Spoiler from JBSpeed

LED 5K City Lights from AZNOptics

Eurocharged 82mm S/C Pulley:

Eurocharged ECU & TCU Tune:

This blog is (and will be) under construction for a while...


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