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Rick Chong's Upgraded armrest is in!  Reviewed

Rick Chong’s Upgraded armrest is in! Reviewed

Rick sent over the armrest pretty quick.  Shipping was pretty quick via EMS (5 days from Singapore).  Rick said he send over the step by step instructions for installing this wonderful mod. But because I felt like a kid on Xmas day I couldn’t wait and took matters into my hands.   Now keep in mind this install is the shortcut method and isnt recommended.  Rick will soon post official proper instructions in a week or so.

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So this is what I started with.  A cluttered center console area and an oem armrest that wasn’t really good for anything. To small to use as an arm rest and too limited in storage use.

Last weekend I took the time to install my armrest.  I looked for easy access points to remove the old one and here is what i found.

First i looked at the construction / integration of the armrest hinge and decided to attack this from the back.

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I then used a flat screw driver to access the hinge of the armest from the back side. As you can see from the picture above the back of my center console already looks like crap.  So further scratching was the last thing on my mind.  But with extra care you can access open the rear section pretty easy.  There are 3 large bump clips along the top and about 4 on each side of this panel.

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After popping the clips you will notice that the panel doesnt fully disconnect.  Near the bottom there are two screws that keep that panel captive.  :(

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I decided to break one of the clips held by the screw seen in the picture above. The logic was that those screws were not needed to hold the back panel in place.  There were a dozen clips on all 3 sides.

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After exposing the work area.  A philips screw driver will be your next best friend.  There are 5 screws that hold down your armrest hinge.

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Start with the pair smaller screws first and work your way to the group of 3 larger screws.

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Once you got the hinge off the arm rest comes right out.

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Right away you can see the size difference of the armrest.  Oem on the right and the newer deeper + longer armrest on the left.

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Once you fit the new armest on, reverse the steps with the screws and push the back plate back in to place.

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The only mistake I made at the end was using the screw driver to ease the plate back.  Dont.  Just use a fist and punch it into place.

And presto.  You are done!

The two major benefits once again.

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* Utility storage space is priceless for storing valuables or your wallet,  especially if you cup holders are already full.

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* armrest extension reach is perfect.  And wide enough for your passenger to utilize without making elbow contact.  Unless you have monster arms.  Either way it will make your lancer or Evo more comfortable to drive.

As a review here is how i score this type of mod.

UTILITY VALUE: 7/10
The utility value factor of this mod is high.  It adds needed storage space to the lancer/evo.  The factor space is decent but you tend to fill it with cellphones, keys, or other crap we drop in our cars.  Where there is room for improvement is expanded the utility compartment to fit large smart phone like the samsung note.

I have a Sony Xperia S and my phone fits perfectly.  It is of good average smart phone size.

COMFORT: 8/10
This armest is an upgrade over the oem style armrest.   It is made of a leatherette with stitching and has a decent feel to it.   It is padded well but could use more to make it perfect.  It is still comfortable enough to not bruise yoir elbow with extended use.  The reason why this gets an 8 of 10 is because the armrest extends out to better support your arm.

PRICE Vs. VALUE: 7/10
The price point is attractive at 250 shipped.  And here is my simple logic.  My Lancer and EvoX project cars are 4 years old and I do a hell of a lot of driving.  And anything that makes ot easier and more comfortable is very important to me.   It’s not for everyone.  Some wont care about comfort or storage but i know for a fact driving with this mod is addictive and I notice it not there when i switch vehicles.

Looking to order Rick’s arm rest upgrade.  Email him at RickChongUSA@gmail.com

Or visit his ebay store
Rickchong.com

HSD Coilover Bracket update: Lancer 08+

HSD Coilover Bracket update: Lancer 08+

(image shows new North American bracket next to installed JDM spec bracket that required grinding)

Ok, I have had my 10 question this month about HSD from guy in my local car club or online hitting my blog. So here is the one big update for everyone.  There is a large shipment of updated Lancer coilovers that are true North American spec kits.  I was fortunate enough to communicate with HSD and figure out when the updated bracket would hit.  I scored one early before anyone else to test it out.  Let me explain what the issue was.  There were two coilovers produced for our car way back in 2007, but a design spec difference cropped up that resulted in the HSD coilover having a lower rear bracket that was very close to the control arm.  This basically meant that you had to grind down your control arm just a few mm to give yourself comfortable clearance
HSD Lancer and EVO coilovers are of a INVERTED MONOTUBE design and are one of the highest quality and most durable coilover kits at this price point and with this level of adjustment.

 

More info later.

K&N intake meets Rick Chong's improved intake duct scoop for the Lancer.

K&N intake meets Rick Chong’s improved intake duct scoop for the Lancer.

I have been putting the K&N intake I bought thru its paces and to be dead honest with you all.  I wasnt exactly eager to make the switch to the short ram intake.  The cold air intake has been a trusted friend of mine for 10 years 😉

But the more I drive the more I start to enjoy some of the benefits.  But I will cover that later in my formal review.  The one thing I wanted to mention right now was something I saw about 3 months ago on Rick Chongs website.

When I look at this air scoop, i knew that it would be perfect for the K&N short ram for the lancer.  The logic is,  a short ram has one major weakness.  Heat soak.  And this happens because a sealed engine bay keeps the heat from engine trapped under the hood. The K&N intake comes equipped with a heatshield and uses the OEM air scoop to keep the temps low.  The use of a bigger scoop will work to get more outside air directly to the short ram filter.  Below you can see what my current set looks like by this K&N photo.  I will be ordering rick’s scoop to finish my review benchmark test.

Rick’s website is www.rickchong.com .  He has a great list of mods he makes himself and manufacturing partners like Scorpion.

Two nose overlay options for your Lancer

Two nose overlay options for your Lancer

My buddy Rick Chong from Singapore sent over his new updated Ralliart nose section for me to checkout.  Now one of the joys of receiving a package from is to see how neatly the products are packaged and from time to time to see what newspaper it some of the contents are wrapped in.   To be honest its a little fun, cause the stuff they put in their newspapers in Singapore is a bit funny.  But I will get to that a little later.

Rick offers this EVO X style nose overlay for the 2008+ Lancer and it looks stunning.  I love Rick / Scorpions workmanship, because when the release something they dont stop there.  They listen to feedback and make it better.  Using better or lighter materials and packaging it the right way to ensure it arrives alive and in one piece.

Rick operates the global wing of Scorpion – Malaysia.   All Scorpion and Rick Chong items can be ordered from www.RickChong.com

Shaun

Greddy steps up again and releases the SP Exhaust.  Bringing Back A Classic!

Greddy steps up again and releases the SP Exhaust. Bringing Back A Classic!

Return of the GReddy SP Exhaust Line! Its something that people have been bumping Greddy to do for sometime. Now that
Greddy is releasing the RS line, they have followed up with the SP. Back in the day, the SP was a perfect balance between acoustic sound and damn good power. They got all that sorted out back in the mid 90’s before most of the other companies. At a time when other manufacturers were pumping out mostly exhaust that sound like dog crap. Greddy took pride in this specific release. The updated 2011 version is no different. And I am happy to say that they have the SP for both the Lancer and the EVO X with speculation that the Rallart isnt too far behind.  Customers who liked Greddy, were always stuck between all power, or all looks+sound. Now this SP exhaust address answers that problem, giving people a blend with very little compromise.

Rick Chong has told me that he will be selling this exhaust shortly in Singapore, USA and Canada by Mid Spring. Follow his website at www.rickchong.com

Mitsubishi Lancer GTS SE Exhaust GTS (JA3AU) 4B12, 60mm piping, compact oval SP muffler with 102mm resonated tip, rear section only, 1pc.

Mitsubishi Evolution SP Elite Exhaust (CZ4A) 4B11, 70mm dia piping, to single sideways, oval SP muffler to dual 115mm resonated tips (does not fit RallyArt)

Spark Plug Upgrade Overview

Spark Plug Upgrade Overview

Now if your like me, your into your 3 year of owning your Mitsubishi Vehicle.  Which means, as your car ages, the cost of up keep will start to go up.  Spark plug on a Mitubishi Lancer will have to be replace around the 100,000km / 60,000 mile point in order to maintain their peak levels of performance.  As they wear, they will start costing your more money in worse fuel economy.

So lets look at the features of your Mitsubishi Lancer OE spark plug.  Now while the book may say you have either an NGK plug or a Denso plug.   From my research it seems people in north america got the NGK plug.  This plug belongs to the OE class of Laser Iridium spark plugs.

NGK Laser Iridium Spark Plugs (Lancer 2002-2009 2.0L NA) Set of 4 FR6EI
NGK Laser Iridium Spark Plugs provide superior ignitability and long service life. Smallest tip diameter available Iridium / Platinum surfaces ensure slow wear rate providing stable idle, superior anti fouling, improved fuel efficiency and lower emissions

FEATURES

  • Laser welded Iridium center electrode tip
  • Platinum disc welded to backside of ground electrode provides
  • long service life
  • “Trivalent Metal Plating” provides superior anti-corrosion and anti-seizing properties
  • Faster starts and quicker acceleration
  • Better fuel economy and lower emissions
  • Best OEM Iridium spark plug available
  • Original Equipment Manufacturer approved design

Sound impressive?  It is!  Spark plug technology has come along way, and having an iridium long life plug in your car right from the start was unheard of 5 to 10 years ago.  Manufacturers finally realized that its one less headache to deal with if you just put in super reliable spark plugs.   And a spark plug that fires consistently for a long period of time, above the 30,000 mile point up to 60,000 means its better for the environment as well.

So why not buy the same spark plug again from the dealership at my next service appointment?

You could! But a review of your spark plug options could mean you can achieve even better performance for the same or less money (cost to you)

If you were following my previous blog www.evosoul.com (yes its still down… sigh…)  Then you would know that I was already beta testing some spark plugs from Denso.  The Platinum Twin Tip plug.  What drew me to this plug was the extensive research and white paper material that has gone into this new variant of spark plug technology.  In a nut shell, this spark plug utilizes two tips.  One on the ground(titanium) and the other for the centre electrode, (platinum ).  Now Denso isn’t the only one playing in this field.  NGK has a DFE Iridium aka (Double Fine Electrode) plug.  Their plug consists of two tips of iridium.  And the theory about platinum vs. iridium is generally iridium is better in almost every single way except 1.

COST.  Iridium is expensive.  Making these plugs 2 to 3 times more expensive than other metal alternatives.  So because of the value judgement, Platinum options stay on the table.  And I will explain why in a second.  First I want to get to the actual design part.  And why this twin tip concept is one step forward.

Both NGK and Denso have been working to improve the plug.  Lord knows they have years of experience and data.  So the fact that both of these companies have entered this space in a low key way tells me that they are getting their feet wet.  Later expect to see more hardcore versions to come.

The design basically helps promote better flame kernel propogation / expansion during the combustion process.  The spark fires and the fuel and air ignite and start to expand.  Now if the plug is of an older design.  chances are the ground arm that sticks out like a hook is fat and wide and will likely hinder this expansion.  Of course this isnt the only factor that determines how well a spark plug works in combustion, but for main point of design.  I want you guys to get the concepts down.   If you look at the following link .  I want you to see an example on the ngk website of 3 spark plugs.  Take a look closely at each example and see where design comes into play.

http://www.ngkntk.co.jp/english/product/sparkplugs/index.html

Now if the middle one caught your eye, thats because it utilizes the twin tip or as ngk calls it DFE.

So where am I go with all this.  Unfortunately, NGK has not released an DFE plug for our cars yet.  Denso has.  And since the platinum version is the next best thing at the moment.  The cost of plug is relatively inexpensive to most upgrade plugs by NGK or Denso.  And while it wont beat those ones.  It will still be slightly more effective then what your currently running with.  I have put the plug to the test and will release my findings shortly for what my fuel economy and power gains were.  In the mean time, think about what your options are.

OE Lancer suspension vs. HSD Coilovers (part 2)

OE Lancer suspension vs. HSD Coilovers (part 2)

I was recently responding to an on going thread on the forums and wanted to repost it up on here. You can follow the thread on evolutionm.net http://forums.evolutionm.net/lancer-tires-wheels-brakes-suspension-sponsored-tire-rack/556480-coilovers-lancers.html

Question Originally Posted by YeOldeLancer

Thanks for the pic and the awesome review! I’m on 9glancers as well and they talk about BC Racing coilovers and it sounds like they’re awesome for the money. I was planning to order a set before I ordered some new rims and tires. My main concern is the streetability of a coilover setup. I’m not planning on tracking the car or anything, I just want to be able to enjoy some spirited driving around town; to be able to shred some tight bends and curves.

It sounds like you’re really endorsing a good set of coilovers and that they reawaken the love of the lancer. That’s just what I needed! 

I have owned BC racing coilovers before in the past and for reasons that I dont want to go too deep into, I dont think I will be be buying another set again. Its more of a once bitten twice shy kinda thing.  Dont get me wrong. I think BC racing is a good company that turns out a fair amount of coilovers at a decent price. But their mid range and lower end coilovers in the past were ok. But the constant issue would be they would start to make excessive noise and you would have to rebuild them at the 1 to 1.5 year mark. Now I dont believe in trash talking a brand. There are very few brands I would say negative things about unless I have a damn good reason to. One of the very few would be Dunlop. Straight up, the OE tire we have on the lancer GTS “18 inch” is down right criminal. compound on top of that the nickel and dime behavior you get with customer service when you report issues with the tire. Makes me never, ever wish to buy a Dunlop Tire in my life. Think I am being too harsh …. look at what 300 reviews of this SP 5000M tire on tire rack says, and you will get what I mean. http://www.tirerack.com/survey/Surve…irePageLocQty=

Where am I going with this. BC racing is not in a negative catagory like Dunlop is. If you follow the history of BC racing and some of the megans that are made by the same factory in Taiwan. BC Racing has gotten exceptionally good at improving build quality from decent to “good” and mastering the logistical hurdles of warranty replacement and out of warranty rebuild. This would be BC Racings strong point. So I give them A for effort on these fronts. The reason why I gravitate to the HSD brand is because they build exceptionally durable kits. While many write off HSD coilovers as a kit they never heard of before or just another chinese made coilover. They couldnt be further from the truth.

HSD coilovers are and always have been made in Korea. And they have been turning out damn good coilovers and OE KDM market products for sometime. When I dug deeper into the history of the brand what other people think of it. It led me to customers in the UK and in Australia. I would say other than the USA west coast. the UK has some serious weight in the EVO community. But you never see these two communities interact. The Atlantic ocean is a good description about how wide apart these groups are when it comes to what brands they prefer and what isnt. Now for anyone who really does there home works. You will see that the coilover is respected and has proven itself time in and time out. Driftworks, the UK distributor for the brand when as far as even offering a 30 day money back policy. WTF??? when have you ever heard that?

In there own words from there website….

“We’re so confident you’ll be impressed with the quality and performance of our coilovers that we offer a 30 day, no-quibble money back guarantee. How many other companies would offer you that?”

When I made a friendly call over to them, I asked, how many kits have come back? The rep chuckled and said, they simple don’t. He even mentioned that in the early days, when they were selling out, they begged for a kit to come back so they could refurbish the kit if needed and fill that demand. When I heard that, I said to myself, this seems like the real deal. So I kept digging, saw so the feedback from the countless group buys on those UK forums. LancerRegister.com is a good example. When you see people compare the kits to others you can see that its constantly held up higher than the normal competitors in the pack.

Then about a year+ ago, a few personal friends got there hands on the kit. Again the same result, “pretty good” handled well on the track, held together during a rally, offered a super slammed look and was still drivable. on and on and on. And I have friends that in to just about everything, RWD drifters, Time attack, etc… etc… .

For me, that says something. I try to go around and find the stuff that is bullet proof. Cause thats the stuff I want on my car. Its also a learning experience. I have been wrong about stuff before once I learn what else is better out there. So my mind isnt closed or locked in to anything. I run a local car club here in Canada. And have tons of guys asking me. Hey , what do you think of this, or what do you think of that. And for me, I simply recommend the things I know work. Cause if there is one thing I have learned is. ” you can cut corners, and sometimes you will luck out, but there is always that one time that you will not, and it costs you time, money and your sanity trying to fix it.” It just has to work.

To answer your specific question. If your looking for daily driver comfort but want to lower your car + on a tight budget. I recommend Tein Basics. They get the job done, on a budget and are extremely simple to install and adjust. If you have never installed a coilover before, its important to find someone who has to assist you. There are somethings that are intuitive to experience car mechanics and hobby tuners. But if its your first time going beyond your normal level of experience. Get help. Suspension is something that can kill if you don’t do everything right. Tein basics utilize an older twin tube technology, but don’t let that fool you. Its reliable, yet inexpensive. The problem people complain about with this coilovers is that you couldnt do anything but use them as daily driver. Twin Tube coilovers are susceptible to failure if driven beyond its limits. (tracking, or driving on roads that you know arent good for your butt and your suspension)

If your not on a budget I would reach a little higher and pick up HSD’s, there are a lot of good brands out there. But not many brands have commited to make something for the Mitsubishi Lancer or even Ralliart Platform. When I ask these companies, they simple answer is. There is no money in it? There is not a market to fight over. So the fact that HSD made something, is great. I wish other brands would join the fight.

I have the kit on my car. I could have picked just about anything else under the sun. But I made my choice and spent my own hard earned money on it. Its like everything else on my car. It has to work. Stop Tech Rotors and Pads, Body Styling parts from Rick Chong, INJEN intake, etc… etc… it just has to work.

OE Lancer suspension vs. HSD Coilovers (part 1)

OE Lancer suspension vs. HSD Coilovers (part 1)

HSD coilovers :) hands down are an excellent option.  The one thing I never liked about the OE suspension was that it didnt inspire confidence going into hard corning.  There were things I would do in my old Mazda but couldnt do on my brand new Lancer.  The feel was spongy, the car felt like it was tipping left to right.  When you get out and look at the car and how much height there is its easy to see the intention of KYB and Mitsubishi was more daily driving vs. any seriously driving capability.  The fact that these struts fail when lowed more frequently than one would expect doesnt help.
The car itself is crying out for proper suspension.  While not all coilovers are equal, i am will to lower the bar to even some lesser brands vs. sticking with an OE setup.  Coilovers on a Lancer is awesome, because the car responds how it should.  Feels planted!!  But putting it on a Ralliart unleashes so much more potential.
Getting back to my own personal Lancer.  My 2008 Lancer GTS was always the source of a slight bit of bitterness.  I spent $30,000 dollars on a nice car.  Then in 2009 Mitsubishi made a better car, in 2010 Mitsubishi made further refinements and the ralliart was in full effect.  Which made me wish I waited one or two more years.
Now….. with this one single upgrade, I feel like I am surpassing being on par with those other cars.   Thoughts of trading my car in for a Ralliart diminished just a little bit.  It became a bit more fun.  Much more inviting, when I had to choose between one of the 3 cars parked out our house for a local drive.  I find myself getting back into the Lancer again.  :)
On the road, the car feels firm.  The monotube coilover feels firm but by no means back breaking.  My Mechanic “Pips” set me up with a decent setup.  I didnt go nuts with the dampening force adjustment.  keeping even keel and setting it right in the middle.  From there Pips says I will be able to figure out if this is too firm or just right.  Tweaking over time will help me learn the capabilities of the car.
Either way, I am happy as well.  There are other coilovers at there. A dime a dozen some will say.  But I back this brand because the reputation is there for reliability and and enduring level of performance.  The damn thing just doesnt die.  And thats what I look for in just about everything I buy.
EVOSOUL,
125,000km Lancer GTS 2008,  Reborn  1 week ago :)
HSD COILOVERS FULLY INSTALLED

HSD COILOVERS FULLY INSTALLED

Just putting the final touches with the hsd coilovers on the lancer. So far so good.   It started out with installing just the rear coilovers.  Mother nature just wasn’t playing ball with me and just didnt have enough time to do the fronts.   This past weekend I had time to cruise over to Sinister EVO X’s house, aka Pips, and get my front coilovers on in the garage.

Sailun Z4+AS Tire Feedback

Sailun Z4+AS Tire Feedback

It was about 3 months ago when I sat down with Sailun to see what they are all about.  Whats the substance behind their product and what their corporate goals are.  I quickly got the message that they mean business.  They have taken aim at their industry peers and have the mission to bring forward a quality product for affordable prices.  Sure, Sounds funny, something that you would expect to hear from any tire company under the sun.  But I have been fortunate enough to see how driven Sailun is, looking behind closed doors to see what they are willing to do to improve their product.  Even as we speak Sailun isnt standing still.  They have great ambitions and are making efforts to R&D even better compounds and tread design and refinement.  Time will tell how this venture will go for them.
What I can report on today is the fact that todays Z4+AS tire from Sailun is very much so Mitsubishi Lancer, Ralliart, and EVO X worthy.  I have spent a fair bit of time testing this tire myself and I have honestly had my expectations exceeded two times over.   The tire seems to provide a comfortable ride and meaningful performance when you start to throw it around with aggressive street driving.
To drive this point home,  Sailun invited me to test their tires in a heads up test again some pretty serious tire brands.  Now you would think they would pick some mid range or weak tires from those brands to go up against.  But your dead wrong, Sailun wanted to beat its chest and have at it vs. some of the best competing tires.
Now me being there would be great, but I decided to step back and have two of my most critical EVO X friends visit the testing rounds to test these tires.  While I expected the tires to do well on the track, I was unprepared to hear what tires the Sailun’s went up against, and then the fact that they beat and held their own vs. the competing tires.
Now one of these friends, Widow, shows no mercy to what ever car he drives.  If he had a whip he would roll down the window and give the rear end of the car a lash or two.  His overkill driving method even caused a group passenger throw up.  Crester snapped a shot of brakes and tires literally smoking when the keys were turned off.  “I think we should give this car a rest before we give it another go”.
I don’t put words in their mouths, but the fact that you can get two nods of respect for Sailun.  I think it’s safe to say they have earned the right to play in this market space. I will comment further on this after we get some pictures and comments posted.