Enhance the off Road Performance of Your Subaru

Enhance the off Road Performance of Your Subaru

Every car owner, seasoned or a proper novice, is aware that car maintenance is a regular and daunting responsibility. Some of the tasks can be delegated to someone that knows exactly what they are doing, and this is certainly recommended for safety-critical systems in the vehicle. On the other far end of the spectrum, there are a lot of basic upgrades and easy maintenance tasks everyone can learn how to do on their own.

These new aftermarket parts and upgrades are often not essential for optimal performance of the vehicle. They are simply there to improve comfort and the overall driving experience. At the end of the day, it all comes to the type of driving you do on a day to day basis. If you are off-roading a lot, you can make great use of a variety of aftermarket parts that can improve the protection of the chassis and the vehicle’s recovery options.

Subaru Throttle Control

This is one of the upgrades you can certainly do on your own. Its possibly because the steps to install this acceleration booster are very easy. You need to find the factory plug of the accelerator, it should be close below the dashboard. You unclip this plug and then clip the Subaru throttle control to the throttle body.

throttle controller
source: unsplash.com

The original factory plug you unclipped previously goes on the far end of the throttle controller. The system is already set up, the last thing you want to do before testing it out, is to place the interface at the dashboard without creating a mess with the wires. One clean and elegant solution is to run the cable through the steering column (if that is possible for your model, the throttle controller supports Forester, Impreza, Legacy, Liberty, and other Subaru’s). Operating the interface is intuitive and easy to use.

The throttle controller is practically a fly by wire which provides a shortcut to your engine system. Vehicles coming fresh from the factory have built-in throttle lag. It manages the response your engine would give to your pedal work below the dash. Besides helping reduce gas emissions and complying with car manufacturing regulations, this throttle lag can also aid when having issues starting the car.

Adding a good Subaru electronic throttle control module will significantly boost acceleration. The change is instant, however, it does have a small disadvantage – you will reach peak response of the engine when you work the pedal to the middle. Anything past that won’t give you acceleration (not even flooring the pedal). Which is not as bad, since you’ll be cruising at acceleration rates you dreamed of as a child.

evc controller
source: windbooster.com

Since not all driving is acceleration-oriented, there are four separate modes on your Subaru electronic throttle control. The economy mode will assist your conservative driving (urban driving and traffic lights). The ultimate mode is suitable for off-road recovery. The automatic mode can be turned on according to your needs. The normal one is in case you want throttle lag to apply.

Cargo Management

Subaru models have good trunks, however, it’s not hard to create a supermassive black hole that seems to have swallowed every loose object from its immediate environment. Meaning: socks, kids toys, car toolbox, weekender bags, balls, hats, spare parts and a case of beer from the last BBQ party. Fortunately, the range of Subaru aftermarket accessories includes items like a cargo net, cargo organizer and cargo separator.

car organizer
source: pinterest.com.au

The cargo net can serve to compartmentalize your trunk junk. Sports equipment, for example, can be placed inside and it will remain inside regardless of your driving style. The separator is especially handy if you have numerous small items in the back – it will prevent them from coming across to the driving seats. While it’s not meant to be used for a pet, it can still serve to provide greater comfort for everyone involved in the trip. Cargo organizers for Subaru work as cargo compartments that will hold whatever you entrust them with. From groceries, fishing tackle and outdoor gear to your diving equipment.

Front Wheel Holder

Speaking of outdoor sports equipment – this is one of the aspects of having Subaru vehicle you will welcome as someone who loves installing add ons to their car set up. Roof racks are one example and there are many upgrades you can do over time. The most basic roof storage option is to add two roof racks. They can serve to hold some of your bulky equipment like surfboards, skis or kayaks.

car roof boxes
source: naturalselectionblog.com

If your favourite off-road adventure involves bikes, you’ll need to add a safety widget to ride with bicycles on your roof. That might be a small iteration, however, you can be far more elaborate in regards to roof top space. So, if a front wheel holder for Subaru doesn’t quite satisfy your needs, you can go for a roof basket or a proper cage. Off-roaders use them to load jerry cans, LPG canisters, vehicle recovery gear and every other thing that either doesn’t fit below, or you simply prefer to put it up there.

Preventive Car Maintenance: Three Parts That Affect Performance

Preventive Car Maintenance: Three Parts That Affect Performance

We all want to make our cars perform better, faster, tougher. That’s why some of us are obsessed with buying car accessories to make our vehicles better. There is nothing wrong with this approach, as long as you keep your priorities straight: first, take care of vital and safety systems, and then you can go for upgrades to improve looks and comfort. 
Cars have many moving parts and they simply require regular maintenance to function properly. Some of the issues are straightforward and there are even some auto parts that you can upgrade yourself, while others require elaborate diagnostics to determine the source of the issue. However, when it comes to performance there are three vital parts that every mechanic recommends to keep in-check. 

Car Gaskets

Mechanic take off old car gasket
Source: cashcarsbuyer.com

Gaskets are one of those car parts beginners don’t think about until something goes wrong. So, if you are one of those novices scratching their head regarding the function of the car gasket, the following information can be a real eye-opener. Gaskets are the seals which provide a barrier needed for certain components of the engine. 
Usually, when someone talks about automotive gaskets, they talk about the ones placed between the cylinder heat and the intake manifold. These parts are responsible for delivering air and fuel to the cylinders, so gasket issues significantly affect car performance. Since plastic is generally cheaper, it’s widely used in manufacturing. But if you are getting an aftermarket car gasket, it’s best to focus your search on those that are made from stainless steel and can offer durability. 
There are several symptoms which point to the need for gaskets replacement. Be mindful that the gaskets are only some of the possible reasons you are experiencing these issues, and other components might be responsible too. The most obvious symptom is coolant leak. It’s hard to miss this with all the resultant steam or the dripping coolant liquid under the hood. Coolant leak happens when the seal fails to fulfill its purpose properly. The coolant enters the engine bay or the combustion chamber. Both scenarios are bad and should be addressed immediately. Failing to do so will lead to overheating of the engine. If the leaks were hard to notice (which can happen), then the bad intake can lead to serious engine damage.
Other, less urgent, but still serious gasket issues can be noted by changes in performance. The symptoms are loss of acceleration, poor power, bad fuel economy and stalling. These types of issues arise when the intake manifold car gaskets wear out. The engine vacuum and pressure is disrupted (primarily the air-fuel ratio) and this creates significant hindrance to optimal engine performance. Staying vigilant and observing symptoms of diagnostic importance is your best defense. As soon as you notice something is off balance, head straight to your mechanic.

Crankshaft

removing  crankshaft
Source: diainsurance.co.uk

This is yet another part that is vital to the optimal functioning of the internal combustion engine. While fairly complex, when stripped to its fundamental role – the crankshaft serves to turn the energy coming from the pistons into rotational energy for the wheels. The pistons in a typical four cylinder combustion engine move vertically. Your crankshaft turns this movement into horizontal rotation. To do so, they are connected with the clutch, gearbox, and driveshafts in an efficient transfer of power. Day to day exposure to this power increases the risks associated with crankshaft maintenance.
One crankshaft issue is vibration in the engine. It results from misfiring cylinders because the position of pistons in the crankshaft is misaligned. Probably the sensor is to blame, though other issues (like faulty spark plug timing) can be also in play. Same goes for intermittent starting issues. Sometimes the car starts, sometimes it doesn’t. This also can be caused by problem with the crankshaft position sensor.
Inconsistent engine performance is also indication you might need to head to the mechanic soon. If your vehicle stalls or the acceleration is uneven and unreliable, then your crankshaft is the issue. Poor fuel efficiency can also be attributed to similar causes, however, as you may well know, a number of other problems may be responsible for it, so first identify the source and then address the issue.

Exhaust

close up picture of car exhaust system
Source: carfromjapan.com

Your typical car owner will not be bothered to double-check the exhaust set up on their vehicle. If you happen to be one of them, beware. Stock parts are made using the crush tube bending process and while it does serve to cut on costs, it also affects performance. It has to do with the constriction of the flow within the tubes and pipes and contributes to inefficiency. The alternative to these stock parts are the aftermarket exhaust systems. A good chunk of them are made using the mandrel bent which eliminates the hindrances in the tubes.
This is true in general terms. The exact benefits you will reap from replacing your factory exhaust with aftermarket system depend on the type of setup you already have. Aftermarket exhaust parts are usually customised and they can have different components suitable for gas (petrol, gasoline) or diesel engines

Three Autoparts You Can Upgrade by Yourself

Three Autoparts You Can Upgrade by Yourself

Those that happen to own a car for some time know that having a car is another name for subscribing to a list of chores. But even if your car is new, it still brings some responsibilities. There is always something that needs regular maintenance to make sure it operates right.

Some argue that care maintenance is something that anyone can do regardless of technical knowledge or experience. However, not every project is easy. There are some upgrades though that don’t take a lot of time or expertise to accomplish, like the following ones.

Replacing the Steering Wheel

Is it safe to do this on your own? As long as you consult the owners manual and the Australian regulations regarding steering wheels, you are good to go. You also need to have a clear understanding of how the steering system works. It is crucial to make a distinction between changing the steering wheel and tampering with the steering system. While the former can be done by anyone, the latter can disrupt the control you have over the vehicle. So, please just stick to changing the console in front of your driver seat.

replacing steering wheel

It is easy to find a good deal on quality steering wheel. Before reaching for the wallet, though, make sure the steering wheel is compatible with the model you are driving. People usually go for sporty-looking steering wheels that have a smaller diameter. The reason for this is that they increase the ease of handling the car at high speed. And then, there are the ones that just want to add a vintage touch in the hands of the driver and opt for a more traditional design.

Keep in mind that changing your steering wheel might affect the control over the electronic systems in the car. And while this doesn’t apply the vital systems, you might lose the function of altering the audio settings inside the cabin. Some aftermarket steering wheels may lack an airbag, so you should be mindful of that as well.

Replace Your Battery and Alternator

So, your car doesn’t start one day. Before you jump to get a replacement battery or alternator, you need to perform some troubleshooting of the components in the system. To begin with, you can pull out a multimeter to measure if either the battery or the alternator is dead. Sometimes you will be able to jump-start the car and get to the closest mechanic or to your home.

replace battery and alternator

If the alternator needs to be replaced, you should always remove it with the engine off. Just disconnect the power and ground wires. To make the task easier when you install the new alternator in place please note the way your wiring harness connector is set up. You dismantle it (drive belt, ratchet, bolts, spacers and all) and then you repeat the exact steps in reverse order.

You can prolong the life of the battery with some simple maintenance steps. You can clean the battery with baking soda, water and grease. Doing this once a year can save you from headaches down the line. If you have to replace it, then just unplug the clamps and wires. In essence, it’s very similar to what you did with the alternator.

Change the Air Filter of the Engine

Change the Air Filter of the Engine

To function properly, the engine requires good circulation of air. The air filter helps keep all that debris (coming from the circulation) at bay. Having a dirty air filter adversely affects engine performance in terms of power. Your fuel economy might be affected too. It is recommended to change the air filter every year and if you cover a lot of mileage even earlier than that.

This is the type of easy maintenance chore you don’t have an excuse to avoid. It includes just a couple of screws, clamps or similar, depending on the exact model you have. You should be able to notice a difference in the way your engine works almost immediately.

Getting a new air filter and replacing it by yourself will save you some money, too. A mechanic will charge you, not because the task is complex, but because instead of serving other customers he will spend time working on your air filter. It’s recommended to learn to do this on your own, not only because you’ll save money, but also because the filter gets dirty easily and needs to be replaced often.

Bolt-on Barwork: Toyota HiLux Aftermarket Parts and Accessories

Bolt-on Barwork: Toyota HiLux Aftermarket Parts and Accessories

The Toyota HiLux is one of Australia’s most popular vehicle segments. But despite being quite an investment, buyers aren’t putting their wallets straight away after driving off the showroom floor. This 4×4 ute is a huge favourite for aftermarket modification, and for a wide range of reasons. Many are looking to take its off-road capability’s to the next level, while others are tricking it up to spend time on the road weeks at a time. Of course, there are also those who just want to look tough around town.

(more…)

Cordless Jigsaws: What Beginners Need to Know

Cordless Jigsaws: What Beginners Need to Know

The jigsaw as we know it today (or at least the idea of it) was first introduced back in 1946 by Albert Kaufmann. The Swiss company which he worked fir at the time (Scintilla) started mass producing Albert’s invention a year later. They named it the “Lesto” jigsaw – this was the first electric handheld jigsaw ever made. In the 1950s the jigsaw was the most popular power tool and became a common workshop tool. As technological advances were made the jigsaw saw some upgrades too such as LED lights, dust extraction, a more ergonomic grip and finer blades too. Today all these features have led to cordless jigsaws being the go to option as a reliable wood cutting tool. But why is that the case?

cordless jigsaw in usage

Advantages of Cordless Jigsaws

Power jigsaws are generally a better option than regular jigsaws but the cordless option is your best bet as it is even better than a corded jigsaw. A cordless jigsaw tool is more flexible than a corded jigsaw since it has no cable, meaning you can use it wherever you want. The reason why a good number of people use a cordless power jigsaw is the portability factor. A cordless jigsaw can be carried anywhere without the need for a power outlet, you just need your spare batteries in case it runs out of juice.

How to Use Jigsaw Power Tool?

Preparation & Safety

To get started working with a cordless jigsaw tool you need to have a proper workspace for it. As long as you have a room or open space available with no one in the way you’re good. Get yourself two sawhorses, put a piece of plywood on them and make sure the structure is steady. Make sure you have clamps too as whatever you’re going to be cutting needs to be properly secured.

Now remember you always need to wear safety goggles and ear foam to protect your hearing from getting damaged. Wear a mask too as the dust from the jigsaw can enter your airways. Before you start using a jigsaw remember to never place your fingers close to the blade and to always have tool’s base flat against your workspace. Make sure to wear closed-toed shoes and to remove the battery before making adjustments to the tool. When working with the tool stay focused, do not attempt to do other things like taking a call or a picture as it can be extremely dangerous.

Cutting

1. The first thing to do when you need to use a power jigsaw is to clamp your workspace. Next, you need to adjust the orbital action accordingly and then insert the blade. After you’ve done all this you’ll insert the battery and you’re ready to go.

2. Place the edge of the base of the tool on the workspace but without the blade touching the material you’ll be working on. Then, pull the trigger and ensure that you have the blade running at full speed. You can use an edge guide to ensure that when cutting you are doing so in a straight line.

3. When you do start cutting ensure that once you’re done let the blade stop fully before you lift the tool from the workbench. Lastly, remove the battery if you are going to be moving away from the tool.

best-cordless-jigsaw

Important Cordless Jigsaw Features

Battery Pack

Since this is the most notable feature on a portable jigsaw it should be at the top of your list. There are usually three types of batteries you’ll find in a portable jigsaw, NiMH, Ni-Cad and Li-Ion. Li-Ion batteries are the best solution since they offer fast charging and are considered a good all round battery for power tools.

Orbital Action

Power jigsaws with orbital action cut faster than a regular jigsaw because the orbital action embedded into the tool provides thrust to the blade. These tools also come with an orbital setting which can be adjusted so that they providee more or less thrust to the blade.

Speed & Bevel Adjustment

What can also dictate the speed of a power jigsaw is its speed dial. This dial provides different speed settings that fit certain materials. For example, if you are cutting plastic you just set the dial to plastic and it will slow down the speed and minimise the risk of melting the work piece. The faster the blade moves the hotter it gets.

Lock-on Switch & Trigger

The trigger let’s you start and stop the jigsaw and every single one has it but what is important with this component is the lock-on switch that works with it. You should look for a lock-on switch on your jigsaw since it helps you work more easily when it comes to a long cut. When cutting a long work piece activate the lock-on switch whilst holding the trigger and you’ll be able to make the cut without holding the trigger the whole time.

Your Simple Guide to LED Strip Lights

Your Simple Guide to LED Strip Lights

Lighting plays an important role in your home’s decor. If you’re looking for a lighting solution that is flexible and versatile maybe you should consider LED strip lights. From creating a subtle and modern ambience in your bathroom or kitchen to adding a vibrant dash of multicolour to your bedroom and wardrobe, LED strips are limitless. However, before buying, it’s important to become more familiar with their features, power supply, installation, colour scheme and length options, so that you make an informed decision.

(more…)