Saturday, May 30, 2009

Peugeot 308 Turbo

Window shopping on interesting cars are starting to my in-thing hobby these days. Among the agenda is to know why there’s so much hype about the Peugeot 308. Sales on 308 Turbo/VTi have been very good ever since the launch. And today was the day.

After seeing friend’s souped up Satria GTI getting some fuel spitting upgrade in Sunway, off I went to Peugeot’s Blue Cube in Glenmarie. Walking in the showroom and went straight to Peugeot 308 GT. Right away, there was a Sales Advisor came and doing his usual touch in giving brief info on the car. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no moment of lansiness or snobbishness but I couldn’t feel any kind of personal touch service like the one given by Goh Brothers or Auto Bavaria. It was all 1 question ask and 1 answer given kind of thing. Get my drift?

Back to the car, I can see build quality for all 308 models have been pretty much premium (better than Pocong and Bravo GT) and well specs-ed, well designed seats as any French cars. Think 308 as step brother to Citroen C4 only better looking. It was so roomy that if I were to buy the car, it needs some furniture to furnish the space!
Was quite keen to have a go at the GT, but was not available but the 308 Turbo is. Despite seeing err not so positive “Yes” from the SA, I did ‘McDonald’ face and proceed with test drive. The test route basically going through Jalan Pelukis U1/46 (doing U-wey on the industrial area) and back to the showroom.

After getting seat and mirrors adjusted to my liking, off I went. First impression, you’ve got to have sensitive foot on the throttle, very snappy. Delivery as expected is torquey but the power runs out of puff before 4k rpm while after that hp slowly takes over till 5.5k. Not powerful but just nice to get the big body move fast and delivery is linear. I have a hunch this suit the auto more than 6-speed manual in the GT.

Steering is very much well weighted for a family hatch and suspension is very much pliant, never jarring going through bumps. Going through a wide left hander at 120-130 is surprisingly good. While the brakes are sure-footed, it’s almost like on-off switch. Quite hard for you to find the right balance on how much pedal travel needed. At one time I’m aiming to get the car slow down before going to through mini ‘sleeping policeman’, a slight tap on it just stops the car almost immediately, way before it should have stopped.

Obviously, verdict on 308 GT have to wait but I can give my take on the 308 Turbo. I wouldn’t say it powerful nor hot hatch. No offense, my Pocong will sayur 308 Turbo and even 308 GT on straightaway and corners. It’s more like sensible choice for a family of 4, appreciating space, and wouldn’t get disappointed on sunday drives with very accessible power to push and handling to grinned over. And to further add, RM111k is very much a bargain for what you'll be getting :)

Pictures courtesy of Peugeot

Thursday, May 28, 2009

VAG's home recipe BBK

Brake upgrade has been a long overdue project after getting the ecu reflashed. I’ve scorched the rotors pretty bad after last February 1st track day and numerous Sunday drives. Thought of getting it skimmed or replaced is most cost effective way but inner heart says what if top up a little bit more for something ‘better’. That rules the head at the end of the day.

Common upgrade path for VW Polo 9N3, VW Golf Mk4 GTI, Seat Ibiza, is to for for 312mm rotors, caliper carriers, oversize pads from Audi TT Mk1. However, for the Polo GTI, you need to find Audi TT/VW Golf VR6/ VW Mk4 Golf GTI calipers as standard one won’t fit. Stock is single piston calipers (46mm) while Audi TT’s single piston ATE calipers (56mm).

Getting all of these brand new would plonk big big hole in my pocket. E.g. caliper carriers would set me back RM1.3k (brand new), calipers USD410. No way I’m going that route man.

Through forums again, I met Mike (you’ve got to have a look at his VW Corrado VR6, condition of the lady is very immaculate) whose self professed VW junkie. Managed to get him to source the parts. It took him 1 ½ months to complete the puzzle. Parts involved:-

- VW Mk4 Golf VR6’s 54mm single piston calipers
- VW caliper carriers (almost new)
- Audi TT’s original rotors (brand new)
- Audi TT’s original brake pads (brand new) (Textar)

Installation took place last week at Mike’s trusted place. Both of us are worried setback occur although from everywhere in the net, this is just plug and play. To be safe, he brought along spare used brake hose just in case stock can’t fit. And I brought along unused two bottles of Bendix Dot5.1 fluid for complete bleeding. Checked the pcd, offset and wheel clearance and it was all good :)

The mechanic was seriously good. He even took the liberty to clean back and spray the calipers and carriers red in colour (although not high temperature paint). And best part is installation cost RM100! Honestly I wouldn't mind spending more for this kinda work.

It took 200kms to feel the bite and people who chosen this route told me to run-in somemore as it will be even better. Certainly, I need to bleed the brakes again to get rid of slight sponginess.

At this moment, I’d say it’s 10-15% better braking performance than stock, consistent performer and it looks good aesthetically. Worth my RM2k investment :)

Err, I need to find 256mm rotors, calipers, caliper carriers for the rear, the stock on looks tiny. Arrgghh!

Side Note

Mileage 23400kms
VW Mk4 Golf VR6’s 54mm single piston calipers RM450
VW caliper carriers (almost new) RM350
Audi TT’s original rotors (brand new) RM900
Audi TT’s original brake pads (brand new) (Textar) RM250
Dot 5.1 fluid [Own]
Labour RM100
Total RM2050

Used VW Gold VR6 calipers with new Audi TT rotors

Almost new caliper carriers

New original Audi TT Pads with sensor

Fitting in and checking clearance

Difference between 288mm with 312mm rotors

Notice ~10mm clearance between wheel and caliper :)

close-up view

Mondeo's Drop Links

Was given a heads up by fellow Polo GTI owners-Droll and Penyu that stress on existing drop links increases after getting the Pocong lowered. It seems Ford Modeo’s stock drop links which is slightly shorter is direct fit!

I’ve made an order through ebay and cost incurred including shipping is about RM100. Bang for buck!

Installation is very much no brainer, and effects on steering is more direct just a little bit:)

Side Note
Mileage 19500kms
Cost RM100

H&R Sport Spring

Having extra power in hand gives me plenty of ding-dong to do a bit on the suspension. I’m not too keen on coilovers as the car meant for daily driven. Well a cheap excuse for not forking out more dough for KW V1 or H&R coilovers :)

Was given contact by fellow Aussie forummer on value for money H&R sport spring for Euro110 excluding shipping. And I took liberty of getting K&N drop-in filter too for Euro50. Shipping another Euro48. Oh yes, these are all coming from 1 week, the shipment arrives and I’ve been slapped RM454 sales & excise tax (30%+10% based on CIF). Blimey, oh well, I’ll be ‘smarter’ next time around.

Installation was long and tedious because I suspect Auto Reign don’t have the tool to open just dampers & spring, they’ve to take longer route of taking out the entire knuckle. 3 hours job.

After getting it done, the car is lowered and the best part is the is firm and comfortable. H&R trademark eh? :P

Side Note:-

H&R Sport Spring RM529.68
K&N Drop-In RM240.76
Shipping cost RM231.13
Excise, Sales Tax RM454.00
Total RM1,455.57

Courtesy of Azdilizan

Courtesy of Azdilizan

Brief Moment with drift prepped A31 Cefiro

Just when I thought whatever I have on my Pocong is enough was soon brought down to reality after brief moment driving drift-prepped A31 Cefiro.

The car looks fierce with S13 front, wider arches, 16” RPF1 rims (if not mistaken), stripped down with rollcage. Under the hood is RB25dett from ER33 Skyline and was told relatively mild tuned for response assisted with full lock LSD.

Driving experience was DA BOMB! Unlike 4G93T or 4G63T, turbo lag was masked nicely by the torquey 2.5 ltr block and it pulls smoothly until 6k rpm (It’s possible to hit 8k rpm but too chicken out to try). Oh did I forget to tell you that the wastegate whistle soo beautifully? It was just driving nirvana.

Didn’t dare to test the dynamics as I’m not FR staunch by any means but I can tell you, the rear doesn’t throw out when I was hammering the throttle, it was just progressive even on 16” 205/5516. Later after that, given proper hands it does donuts and “8” as if the car don’t have much to work on. To compete with Hachirokus and S13s/S14s though need a little bit of adjustment and upgrades. Good luck to the owner :)

Unitronic Reflash Stg 1+

Having bought the Pocong, I do not intend to get it souped up like previous ride after going through countless of patiencey (is there such a word? haha) and misery. But the urged to have a taste of extra juice is just too great to resist. I really hope I don’t fall to the Lord Sidious …

Plenty of brands that can reflash VAG ECU:-

ABT - Provided by VW Cartrade. Warranty won’t be voided. Projected increase 193bhp/270nm. RM5K

APR - Has documented future upgrade path. Projected increase 209bhp/328nm. RM3.8K

GIAC - Flash loader comes as additional accessory. So you can adjust the mapping and boost on the fly. Projected increase depends on program you choose from the loader. RM3.8K (excluding flash loader)

Unitronic - Provide the most linear power delivery among them all, sacrificing peak torque. Projected increase 211bhp/300nm. RM3K

Having done some research on it, it's hard to detect whether a car has been chipped unless drive it hard, check ecu reflash log. Digging somemore found out that, most reflash brands do wipe out log reading as if ECU hasn't been tampered. Unlike those days where you need to physically install new chip in the ECU.

I almost went for APR because of the defined upgrade path but was told by Auto Reign owner’s Clement, he can provide me Unitronic Stg1+ for bang for buck RM2.5K. In the spirit of “slow, cheap and special” tagline, I went for Unitronic!

Reflash involves uploading new A/F and boost mapping to the ECU via the same ‘USB’ port used by VAGCOM. It all takes mere 30 minutes to download from Unitronic website in Canada and flash it into the ECU.

Brief test drive with Clement and fellow Polo GTI owner-KS, shows the amount spend really worth the investment. It pulls harder but somehow tame, very very smooth. On NPE, to reach 200 is much much easier. If you nailed the throttle on 1st and 2nd, tyres will screech even with ESP on.

Later went to GT Auto for dyno. It registers 178.57hp/253.67nm on wheel or 210hp/298nm on engine. Peak figure doesn’t amaze me as much as the curve, example, I can have 253.67nm torque as early as 3k rpm until 5k rpm - FLAT!

I only have some reservation on the boost i.e. 1.42 at 3k rpm. Was told by Clement and guys from Unitronic themselves, not too worry because 1.8T block and K03S turbo are strong enough to work at that level. Just need to save some money for Forge Dump Valve and Forge Turbo Inlet Pipe to get the delivery stronger.

Side Note:
Mileage 9250kms
Cost RM2490

Learning, learning and learning

To be ‘one’ with the car, I’ve spent many months to acclimatize with its power delivery, characteristic and shortfalls. By far the most powerful beast, it’ll still kill you if you do anything stupid. It climbs up speed pretty fast thanks to lightweight body i.e. 1200kg. Soo unassuming on the road and gave plenty of so called beast a run for their money :)

Driving it up and down Ulu Yam-Batang Kali-Genting gave me the impression that VW build this as a ‘pocket rocket’ shopping trolley. First time out, flat out, shows how mad the car can be. On the trunk and windy roads, it rolls too much and steering is a little too light for my liking. Still, you can still whack but got to be bloody brave and mad enough but on the highway it’s another story, very much sure-footed around high spend bends. Chassis seems to be very rigid compared to my old Hocus Pocus.

That few months taught me how pathetic the after-sales service of VW in here. Had numerous problems with squeaking, rattling etc. At one time, I sent the car for the whole day at VW Cars PJ and came out without a single thing being done. How marvelous their service are eh? I, for one wouldn’t mind squeaking, rattling on 60k car but for triple the price, anyone with sensible mind would have jump the gun. In some ways, Proton service centres are way better.

Parts availability is tough, real tough. Been to almost every spare parts shops around in Klang Valley, can’t find one selling original oil filter. Luckily, by browsing and hanging around in and, I’ve learnt where to go, where to source parts and who to trust! And and for some poisons… hehehe

Just after clocking 1k mileage on the odometer, went to GT Auto for baseline dyno. How about 140.52hp/212.62nm sounds? That means, over 165hp/265nm on engine. VAG as always under-declare the true figures on their engines :)

New Journey begins with the POCONG!

After coming back from short stint in Indonesia, I haven’t thought about changing car, the Hocus Pocus a.k.a Proton Satria GTi has been a satisfying one to own on one side of my book (the other side of my book, the car has stalled by roadside few times and money sucker!). It has been mildly tuned for street used, enough for me to play on Ulu Yam and K. Kelawang roads. And for a fact, the looks and the Mat Rock styling from Julian Thompson hasn’t died on me.

Things started to go wrong when timing belt snaps again for the 2nd time and after that, engine rebuilt wasn’t strong enough to tame mad 17.5-18 psi reading on compression test, if it does I can confidently say it’ll register 140-145hp without the use of high cams, 81mm piston and stock internal.

Things started to go really bad when I checked engine oil has been dried out after driving to wifey’s hometown in Butterworth. To teach the Hocus Pocus a lesson, we went to Juru Auto City for some window shopping.

Walked in Goh Brothers Juru, dressed up very plainly with tees, short and sleepar jepun. To my bloody surprised, I’ve gotten very warm reception from them. My intention back then was to test drive the Golf GTI (manual) but VW Group Malaysia only brings DSG variant. Resen (sales advisor) told me VW Polo GTI (they have on display) only comes in manual!

Initial impression, it looks like ordinary hatch just happen to have 4-door, 16” Denver wheels and GTI badge on front grill and rear tailgate. It reminded me a lot of late Mk1 Golf we had when I was a young boy, just slightly bigger. Nothing special inside it either. Compared to Golf, it feels raw and crude although gaps are pretty much consistent. That bugger even racun me for test drives and happily I obliged. Curiosity, I was looking where they put the test car outside their office compound. To my surprise, they bring down the car on display for a test drive! Talk about customer service, I was mightily impressed!

We went to E1 highway to see if the ancient 1.8T can give me something to smile about. And you know what, not only I smiled and grinned, I was completely mesmerized by this little car. Peak figure doesn’t tell the whole story but the delivery is. Virtually, no lag. I topped 220 easily but noticed lane change is quite hairy compared to Hocus Pocus and beat up Waja and steering felt a bit too light. I was ½ convinced back then.

Went back to KL, and scouted around for some good conditioned DC5 Integra Type-Rs. The K20A is a piece of art when it comes to NA but pricing puts me off (~170k for facelifted 2005 model, is a rip off). Few days later, got a called from Resen telling me they’re willing to take in my Hocus Pocus at a price I just couldn’t resist and low interest rate plus some other goodies. At that point, I was sold for that shopping trolley in Flash Red.

Paid up deposit, and everything was taken care of by them. About 2 weeks, everything was done deal only I couldn’t find the time to take it home. The week after, drove up there with my Hocus Pocus for the last time, and took delivery of Pocong (Polo GTI) on June 16th 2008. Since then, journey with Pocong continues ….