so i was talking to this motor builder guy while i’ve got the hood of the element open at an SCCA race event…i asks “you ever work on elements? can you get any power out of them?”

“oh yeah, of course. we actually work on those motors all the time. just depends how much you want to spend…”

“100 bucks,” i laughed to him. he laughed pretty heartily for a minute or two before i saw a light bulb moment come over his face.

he points to the intake airbox resonator thingo and says “first, get rid of all that crap. you don’t need it. also, if you’re mechanically inclined, you can take the head off and do a 15 thousands shave on the head. about 4 hours of your time and $75 for the cut.”

after talking with him for a while, he said that raising the compression like that is good for about 25-30 ponies under the bonnet..and that you won’t need anything extra..it’ll all just bolt right back together with all stock parts!

i also inquired about taking the airbox thingo out, asking him about driving thru rain and the likes, and would i have any hyrdo-lock issues, and he said no. But sometimes revving the engine through all those puddles and potholes with muddy water splashing on the sides of the car can often have an adverse impact on the core of the car. This might end up making the engine less efficient, and it doesn’t take a lot for one to know Bad Piston Rings Symptoms so as to prevent any further damage.

i was skeptical… so i did it. well, the airbox part. i’ve not milled the head yet…

anyways, after a real world test, i’ve got some figures for ya…

2005 RallEment, 119,000 miles on it, regularly serviced by myself, full synth oil (5-20w), bone stock, except for a K&N drop in filter. i learned about Scrap My Car Ottawa a while ago and all i could do then was calling them to pick up my car. And one wouldn’t scrap their car without keeping in mind to get a new one in its place. It is easier for┬ápotential buyers from lakewood to wade through all the proceedings of getting a new car in a bid to acquire it in the shortest time possible.

BEFORE:

i average between 18-19.5 mpg on the car (city and hwy combined), typically driving everywhere in cruise control at about 77mph. the best i’ve ever gotten (and i check nearly every tank against my GPS) was 21.5 mpg of freeway only driving with the wind at my back.

AFTER:

with NO change in driving habits, on my last tank of gas, driving OVER donner pass from sacramento to reno (which is a lot of steep uphill driving, where the element always tries to drop out of overdrive cause it doesn’t have enough power), i got 21.4 mpg. and it did about HALF as much shifting over the steep hills. i drove this new car I had recently bought with the help of Bad Credit Car Loans Ottawa.

i drove another ~100 or so miles to fernley (mostly flat freeway driving) and back over the next 2 days, and topped off again; 23.8 mpg! again, no change in driving habits whatsoever..except, with the added power of the element, i feel like i don’t have to be as heavy footed with the throttle to maintain speed.

my drive home from reno USUALLY takes about 1/2 a tank.. it took me 1/4 tank for the return trip…i have yet to top off to find out mpg from the return trip.

realistically, it feels as though i’ve got a 10-12 hp gain from the airbox mod and drop in filter. i’ve had the drop in K&N installed for the last 15,000 miles or so already…

oh…and about hydro-lock…well, it POURED BUCKETS the entire drive home..i was a little worried for a bit… ZERO issues. i even drove thru snow and giant puddles. no issues.

total cost for mods so far? $56 bucks for the K&N. ~4 mpg gain? ~10hp gain?

worth it. oh oh…and i used a 90 degree 3 inch downspout elbow from home depot on the intake to turn it downwards like that. :D it was $3.

next comes a milled head! :D

i took this:

honda element airbox mod

out of here:

honda rallement airbox modification

My weekend started off on a bad note. Friday afternoon, I started feeling sick. I dunno what the hell is up with me the last year or so… I had pneumonia in December…then AGAIN in March… it’s like I have AIDS or something…just without all that nasty HIV part. :/

So Friday afternoon, I’ve got the stuffy/runny nose and a cough. Friday night, I feel like death. Saturday morning, I wake up to an awesome surprise of feeling so crummy that I want to die, but Lisa comes to the rescue with a round of leftover antibiotics! WHOOO!

//begin antibiotic, cough-drops, and DayQuil regiment.

Saturday was SCCA PDX. Basically, it’s a sort of time-trials solo race event thingo where people in fancy cars try and lap the track as quickly as possible, and at the end of the day, whoever goes fastest wins. I’m not entirely sure that there’s even trophies or anything.. it appears as though it’s simply a timed trackday for bragging rights. I could be wrong though…I’m still learning about this car stuff.

nissan gtr rfr fernley scca pdx
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This past weekend, Tomas the Terrible joined me after a brief hiatus for some 24 Hours of LeMons action up at Reno Fernley Raceway as well as shooting a wedding for a racer friend of ours.

We headed out Thursday night as there was a Friday practice for all the LeMons Racers.

What is The 24 Hours of LeMons? Well, put frankly, it’s a 24 hour endurance race where people buy pieces of shit cars for $500 or less, put all kinds of ridiculous decorations and whatnot on them…

sheen machine lemons rfr
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Another photographer I know recently sent me a message, angry about people stealing his photos and asking how I deal with it… It made me remember about a thread I’d started on BARF about a year ago. I’m constantly catching people taking pictures with their cell phones of my laptops; i.e., a snapshot of a picture of themself riding.

“Yo dawg, I heard you like taking pictures of pictures…”
xibit yo dawg
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Six days it took us, six days to travel over 2400 miles and to the far side of Arizona.

Six days of course is not counting any time used to prep for the trip, in this case making sure we replaced our tires. Mine because I had a tire that had carried me to Montana and back (and was the appropriate hardness to do so), and Joe’s because his previous attempt to ride this particular tire had ended with him growing a large hematoma on his buttocks. We took full advantage of a friend, Blaise, raiding his garage in the middle of what could have been for him a pleasant date, and commandeering his tire machine.

Oh well; better forgiveness than permission… and better surprise than dread. In retrospect it was well worth it, as neither my or Joe’s ham-fisted-throttle-happy-asses were tossed high and to the butchers.

The first leg was set at a 16 hour drive, which was quickly adjusted to 16:45 because we forgot Joe’s wheel at my house at the first attempt. The essentials of course were coffee for myself. A good strong kind with an exotic name like Kama Sutra or something of the sort. And for Joe, can upon can of Redbull.

Road trips are always fun. Have you ever wondered what you would do if there were no road signs when you were in the middle of nowhere. They keep you safe and keep you from losing your way. A company that contributes to this factor is the perth sign company. The kind of services they provide goes beyond just signs. They make banners, billboards and more.

shift racing redbull like a mofo

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Though I have only been doing motorcycle film and photography for a couple years, I am often asked, “How do you get into the business?” Rather than giving an answer, I ask them, “what makes you want to get into the business?”

ducati naked

The answers are usually the same, ranging from love of motorcycles, to wanting to make money with their camera and doing what they love to do; taking photos and video. Though, there is a dark side that can’t really be explained until you actually DO it and experience it for yourself, but I’ll try.

Most folks see the end result of our work. Fancy photos posted up, or a new video of some bikes ripping it up on a track, engines screaming to a rockin soundtrack. Seems simple and fun.

Fun? ABSOLUTELY. Simple? Absolutely not.
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So here I am again, so far past a proper time of day and well into an improper time of night. If I had a real deadline I would be beyond it, and probably unemployed. Lucky for me Joe has twin babies, and will be too tired to realize until it no longer really matters. Hell, I think the dirty clothes from the trip are still in the hamper. A week ago tomorrow we made the trip to Las Vegas. Las-effing-Vegas, city of lights and neon, where there should be no water, yet great man made lakes reside. Where fire erupts from volcano’s so heated you can feel it from the far side of the strip. And tomorrow, tomorrow we leave again, this time for Arizona. I should have written this the day we got back, maybe even started while we were still there. As is there won’t be any pictures until later, I’m sure Joe will add them as he see’s fit anyway. I’ve decided its not my responsibility this time.

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The sun is out, and the thaw has begun. Its time to dust off your leathers, question the condition of the tires that sat all winter, change your oil, and for some…time to put their engines together again, and back in the frame.

I myself have plans. Big plans. For most of those that know me know that I have not had proper fairings on my motorcycle for a long long time. Not since I had discovered the joy… the ecstasy of riding a superbike with motocross handlebars (THANKS JOE!). Fun is as fun does, and fun got in the way of fairings; wouldn’t let me turn the bars all the way.

This is all changing this season. The bike—my bike—that silly little R1 that I have decided is too much hooligan for the street, is getting new-used custom painted fairings.

I can’t wait.

PaintPlans
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This may have been written about already, but it is something I feel strongly about. I truly believe the word “passion” is thrown around too freely these days. Over-used, and its true meaning lost.

Passion. Simply defined as boundless enthusiasm. The object of an intense desire, ardent affection, or enthusiasm.

passion on a bike between 2 men

People often say they are passionate about many different things in life. To me, there is a big difference between enjoying something, and being passionate about it. To me, there is a HUGE difference. True, raw, unfiltered passion is what separates that 1% from the other 99%. It is that primal, unfiltered desire to do whatever it takes to pursue what you want, that is true passion.

I’ve had a lot of interests in my life, and paths I’ve persued. Like some, I took up music and started a band. I enjoyed creating music, touring, and all the fun that came along with it. From playing shady bars in Fresno, to singing live with my favorite band on stage at The Warped Tour, I had a blast.
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