Sunday, May 30, 2010

ADAC VW Polo Cup Duel

Have a look the the vid below, pretty exciting duel between Jimmy Johansson vs. Philipp Leisen in ADAC VW Polo Cup. Regardless of who came on top, doing wheel to wheel stuff and even watching it is really exhilarating to say the least. Oh yes, VW Polo Cup based on mildly tuned VW 2.0 litre NA mated with 6-speed box from Lupo GTI.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Ford Focus TDCi

Going into an era where fuel prices has catapult up way faster than many politicians can walk their talks has prompted us Malaysians to look for alternative fuel be it diesel or hybrid. Whatever the positive findings of hybrid technologies can be, they’re still in infancy stage which is why many car manufacturers still banking on new age turbodiesel.

Common praises including ‘zillionth’ percentage of better fuel economy, superior torque low down, and lower emission levels. All is a jolly good news for us motorists but is there any free lunch in this world for something that is too good to be true?

In here, Ford has already loosing its appeal to Malaysians since the Laser and Telstar days in the nineties. They managed to crawled back just a bit with the Ranger for short period until introduction of Mitsubishi Triton, Nissan Navara, Toyota Hilux and the likes rath back at them. In these trying times, and to get its anchor dealer Auto ConneXion to breathe for survival sake, they’ve brought in Focus 2.0 TDCi at affordable sums of RM125k OTR (excluding insurance) which is about the same price as Honda Civic 2.0, Toyota Corolla Altis, Nissan Sylpy and Mazda 3 2.0. And as we kept hearing fuel prices going to be revised again and again, I truly think it’s a smart, cunning and brave move!

And so today after going rounds and rounds of window shopping of which is the best place to go for custom FMIC installation with for the Pocong, I found myself cruising along Federal Highway en route home until I saw Ford dealership on the right side. What the heck, let’s waste my not so precious weekend time for window shopping that Focus.

The moment I stepped into the showroom, Mane who’s the SA on duty came to me and said “Afternoon Sir, let me guess you’re in for the Focus turbodiesel right? We don’t have on in the showroom but you can have a look at our test car at the front and maybe going for test drive?” Surely I can’t say no :)

Practical and great to drive, the Mk1 Focus is really hard to fault, only thing we can’t never be entirely happy with is its looks. That’s where Ford responded to that by giving the new Mk2 Focus pretty substantial makeover with headlamps which is very Mondeoish, grill and front end also being redesigned to take on latest Ford’s corporate look. And while it’ll take a very keen eye to notice changes on the profile and the rear end, the whole new outlook is very much muscular and modern than its dated predecessor.

Going inside, the dial pack is again Mondeo inspired; sharp red-and-white background instead of the boring old green and some silvery touches surrounds for the dials except on this TDCi, the redzone starts from 4.5k rpm while speedometer up to 240 km/h. Fit and finish remains well ok. However, the plush bits on top part of the dashboard contrast painfully with the hard, dull and well cheap stuff everywhere. By Ford’s standard in the past, this is by all means mediocre. Even the leather seats, as supportive and comfortable they may be, feels not really seem to be made of leather, quite frankly PU is more appropriate if I’m being honest.

Like most Fords, it’s quite reasonably well equipped. Apart from its 2.0 four pot that makes 134PS and 320nm out of diesel force fed and being delivered onto the tarmac by Ford’s very own double clutch’s Powershift 6 speeder, it comes with 16” alloy rims wrapped in 205/55/16 profile tyres, Dual Electronic Automatic Temperature Control (DEATC), rear air-cond vents, electronic adjustable front seats, tilt and telescopic adjustable steering and audio control mounted on steering column. Safety and security being kept in checked by ABS with EBD assist, ESP, dual airbags on the front and of course 5 star NCAP crash rating.

After getting myself strapped in the driver’s cockpit with driving position set just spot on, cranked the engine with ‘S’ button located at the gear console turned to ON. First impression I’ve got is, blimey, it’s seriously quiet in here hardly I hear diesel clatters, hell the Pocong’s idling is way more noisy.

As I drive it out of the gate with right foot firmly nailed to the floor, it made me realise that turbodiesel in car nut point of view memang indah kabar dari rupa. This is where diesel’s superior torque can’t in many ways to compensate lack of revs and horsepower. Full stop.

Plenty of faults I can pinpoint here, first of which is the lack of response on the delivery, the boost finally come on song after around 2.5k rpm, in the diesel world is pretty laggy where as mentioned earlier redzone is 4.5k rpm. 320nm claimed figures feels overrated really. And how ‘much’ it gives at that powerband comes in one lump sum but after 4k rpm, you need to change gear. That’s how much frustrating driving diesel fed cars. Mind you this is using 6 speed double clutch gearbox, if it’s 4 speed conventional Ford’s, it’ll be horrid.

While the designers have done much on the car, the engineers look like skipping office hours with lots of ELs and MCs. And that’s not a bad thing really because dynamically it’s already class leading. McPherson strut on the front while the space saving control blade on the rear carried over from Mk1 is already good enough in providing well balanced chassis and good compromise between good road holding and comfort.

Although the test route wasn’t exactly spritely by nature, the steering feels sharp, positive and above of all is natural. Better than many hot hatches around including Satria Neo CPS, Alfa MiTo, and regrettably Polo GTI. Still I stand corrected that R56 MCS may have an edge on this department compared to Focus but I can imagine if you’re driving this Focus on the twisties, you’ll definitely forgotten for a while that this is actually a proper four-door family hatch, with generous space inside which happens to has a very spot on dynamics all around. And let’s not forget, it’s never in anyway anytime uncomfortable, the setup on this thing is brilliant. You’ll go into a bump and it immediately settles down again, it’s really as I said earlier a class leading.

Should Proton needs a new yardstick in ride & handling, it has to be this Focus. This is because of all Proton’s I’ve driven and I’ve driven all of them, they have never been as this Focus’s competent.

That said, I truly feel, Focus TDCi is quite an astonishing family car in every way given its price tag and diesel fed benefits. Of course build quality is declining but you don’t pay for a VW. The 308 turbo and Civic definitely got their work cut out by some margin here except only left in mind is how affordable is the maintenance of the car. But hey, since Malaysians rarely keep their cars for many years, why bother much on this when it comes with 3 years warranty and free servicing.

PS: Should you buy one, please for the love of God uncheck the optional blue stripes. It’s very loud and rice!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Clunking sickness

The Pocong started to clunks on uneven surface or through speed bumps for almost a month. Not exactly loud but irritating to hear it every time going through my office parking ramps everyday.

Since then, I've been doing some googling works, looking at that symptoms, possible causes involves worn arb bushes, ball joints and bent tie rods.

Upon inspecting the suspension, all joins and links appears to be fine and strapped together, no hell bending whatsoever. I've even spray silicone grease for good measure. But you know what, it's not working!

Things spices up more after my recent sunday drive. I guess accidentally running over speed bump going down Genting really turned things for worst. Now it's really getting on my nerves!

Scrapped all my to-do-list for today (oh well yesterday), went off to AVS Auto early morning and bought a pair of tie rods and ball joints. RM600 for all that (OEM mind you) is well ... pricey!

Visited my mechanic shop near home, he did plenty of test drives and checks, he guarantees me that it's the Mondeo’s drop links that spoiled. Funny enough after fitting my old drop link on right hand side, it's still clunking…. even louder like trashed 10 year old car.

Couldn't tolerate this kind of aggregation anymore, I went to Kawa Koshi immediately. Peter unexpectedly agrees with my mechanic that it's the drop links, which have excessive freeplay at its joints. And the reason why I keep hearing clunks is because it wasn't tightened properly. So now it's quiet except there's still clunks on the left.

Drove off to AVS and returned the tie rods, ball joints and got myself an arb link for the other side and got it installed right away. Walla! All is well and at a cost cheaper than what I expected except I’ve taken EL for the day. Luckily my boss was over the sea otherwise she’ll be pissed again! hahaha

Expensive affair, thank God it wasn't either of you

Sunday, May 23, 2010

There's more to it than meets the eye

Just got back from my shiok sendiri sunday drive to Genting and Bukit Tinggi just like walking on memory lane on how I use to regularly do with the old GTi. It was cool and dandy on how Pocong behaves itself there and on the way back had fun toying with Gallardo and R56 MCS on Karak highway towards Gombak. Although there're plenty of performance machines which are more powerful and have better dynamics but there's more to 'it' than meets the eye when it comes to Picanto inspired looking Pocong!

Looks like RSR getting worn out alike Staedler Mars eraser being used excessively during PMR exams but these sure get the job done alright!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Quaife LSD

ECS has dropped in an interesting email to my inbox this week. As per other emails before, it’s just common product advertising campaign they’ve been doing for quite sometime but not enough to shaken me much until now.

Who would have though they’ve shredded down Quaife LSD for VW 02J gearbox by some margin! This will seriously help the Pocong on putting all the power down properly and of course getting better bite at corners. But, although it Pocong’s 02R box and Mk4’s 02J is almost identical and even sharing the same bellhousing but it would not guarantee this Quaife 114mm ring gear would slot nicely in it unless open it up. And finding the right shop to do this surgery is another matter altogether!

Oh well, this will still remains as my wishlist within 2-3 years down the road then.

Very tempting!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bangau's ranting on Satria Neo R3 Lotus

Here's copy of ranting by my old friend Bangau in regards to Satria Neo R3 Lotus Racing. Frankly speaking, he has a very good point there and the Proton's folks may find it a bitter pill to swallow but that's the reality mate!


Thanks to Proton Motorsports, I had the chance to sample the Satria Neo R3 Lotus Racing, the car that has the longest name in Proton's history.

Colleague Daniel Wong picked up the car from Proton, and I "curi" the car from him for a 3-hour drive around Bangsar, Cyberjaya and Putrajaya.

The car attracted enthusiasts while those who were not must be thinking it was just another modified Neo.

I have nothing to say about the appearance as looks is subjective. The Neo has always looked nice, and to me, it is Proton's best designed car.

I also believe the R3 team has done a splendid job, given the time and budget constraint.

And so my complaint goes to the management, the ones who decided that the project should be done.

Where sir, did you get the idea to sell a modified Neo for RM115,000?

I said modified because the car is using parts which are available in the market.

Yes, the FRP wings might be new but I heard it will be available soon in the market.

The Ohlins shocks are RM30,000, but that too can be ordered.

The bodykit is the same as the R3 Neo, the carbon fibre hood is easily available from many shops and the wheels are not specifically designed for the car.

The seats are stock, covered with Napa leather. The gear knob is R3's chrome unit (at least my Neo uses a Sparco one), the pedals are also R3 (and mine are Momo Corse, lagi best) and the mats are R3 (mine are from Momo, Italy).

The engine is a CPS, but has been done up by R3 but it is still the same n/a engine.

Why this half past six job? Why not give the team ample time to come out with something really spectacular?

The dashboard and interior can be covered with Alcantara. The two front seats should be Recaros, and the rear must also have matching patterns.

Get somebody to redo the instrument cluster. In the same time, get another audio system, with more speakers and a subwoofer.

Change the gearbox ratios, make it a close ratio box, then you can really harness the power.

Turbocharge the car, or supercharge it (its a limited edition unit, you don't need EU approvals). Give it more power.

And how about HID lights? A different designed bodykit is also a must, made from FRP.

Tell your suppliers that they are not to sell the design to anybody else, and sue companies who try to come out with imitation kits.

Only then you can start slapping RM100k plus price on the car. Don't get me wrong my dear friends at Proton. When everybody else is condemning you, the last thing you guys need is a project like this!

But it is not too late. Lotus had the Carlton before, so why not resurrect that trend and come out with a Lotus Neo?

Right now, I find it difficult to justify that green car, especially when I see a Swift Sport running around.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

For Sale: VW 9N3 Polo GTI Parts

Hi guys,

Following are the stuffs I put up for sale coming from my VW 9N3 Polo GTI 1.8T

VW Polo GTI Front Brakes
Description: Single pot 46mm calipers, caliper carriers, 5x100 pcd 288mm x 25mm vented rotors, stock Ferrodo pads with wear sensor
Mileage: 1/2 year, 20,000kms mileage
Condition: Good condition but rotors needed to be skimmed.
Plug & Play – 1) VW 9N2/9N3 Polo; 2) VW Mk4 Golf; 3) VW Mk4 Jetta; 4) Seat Ibiza 6L; 5) Skoda Fabia
Good upgrades – 1) VW Mk2 or Mk3 Golf provided using 5x100 pcd rims

Reason Selling: Upgraded
Price: RM1200

VW Polo GTI Rear Rotors
Description: 5x100 pcd 232mm x 9mm solid rotors
Mileage: Less than 2 years, 45,000kms mileage
Condition: Good condition, skimmed rotors but yet to be used
Plug & Play – 1) VW 9N2/9N3 Polo; 2) VW Mk4 Golf; 3) VW Mk4 Jetta; 4) Seat Ibiza 6L; 5) Skoda Fabia; 6) Audi Mk1 TT

Reason Selling: Upgraded
Price: RM200

VW Polo GTI Brake Lines
Description: Original brake lines made by PBR
Mileage: Less than 2 years, 45,000kms mileage
Condition: Good condition
Plug & Play – 1) VW 9N2/9N3 Polo; 2) VW Mk4 Golf; 3) VW Mk4 Jetta; 4) Seat Ibiza 6L; 5) Skoda Fabia; 6) Audi Mk1 TT

Reason Selling: Upgraded
Price: RM200

VW Polo GTI Clutch Disc & Pressure Plate
Description: Made from Luk for 225mm flywheel only
Mileage: Less than 2 years, 45,000kms mileage
Condition: Fair
For: 1) VW 9N2/9N3 Polo; 2) VW Mk4 Golf; 3) VW Mk4 Jetta; 4) VW Beetle 1.8T; 4) Audi Mk1 TT

Reason Selling: Upgraded
Price: RM200

VW Polo GTI Dual Mass Flywheel
Description: Made from Luk, 225mm flywheel
Mileage: Less than 2 years, 45,000kms mileage
Condition: Good
For: 1) VW 9N2/9N3 Polo; 2) VW Mk4 Golf; 3) VW Mk4 Jetta; 4) VW Beetle 1.8T; 4) Audi Mk1 TT

Reason Selling: Upgraded
Price: RM1200

VW Polo GTI Coil Spring
Description: Original GTI spring that lowers the car by 15mm than normal Polo height
Mileage: 1/2 year, 15,000kms mileage
Condition: Good
For: 1) VW 9N2/9N3 Polo; 2) VW Mk4 Golf

Reason Selling: Upgraded
Price: RM400

Interested? Contact me @ +60123827575 or