Monday, September 06, 2010

Art of wallpaper removal

Rule #1: If you have to work hard to remove the paper, it has not soaked up enough water/remover mixture.

Supplies and Prep:

- WP Chomp Super Concentrate wallpaper removal solution. Buy one more bottle than you think you'll need; you'll need it!

- 3" flexible putty knife or a wallpaper scraper

- Wall paper perforation/piercing tool like the Zinsser® Paper Tiger Wallpaper Scoring Tool (2966)

- Trash container that is easy to move along with you as you remove the paper.

- Large sponge or an old hand towel

- Lots of water!

Rule #2:
It's really messy. Cover the baseboards and floor.

Step 1 Prepare the wallpaper.

If you are lucky and the wallpaper can be peeled off the wall, then do that. If it does not peel off, get ready for a fine upper body workout and get that Paper Tiger out and score the wallpaper.

Rule #3: You cannot put too many scoring holes in the wallpaper. These holes are your BEST FRIEND. If you think you've scored enough, score some more.

Step 2 Apply the paper removal solution on the paper or whatever remains of it if you were able to peel it off the wall. Work on 3' x 3' sections at a time. You can work on two sections at a time; soaking one while removing and cleaning the other.

Rule #4: Work top to bottom. The solution will run down the wall so the paper below will absorb the runs.

Keep applying the solution until it has fully saturated the paper; it takes a lot more solution than you think. If the paper can absorb more, give it more.

Rule #5: Be patient and let water do all the work for you; see Rule #1!

Step 3 Remove the wallpaper. In general, it should just slide off the wall in large chunks. If it does not, apply more solution and wait.

After the paper comes off, the wall will be covered in wet glue.

Step 4 While the glue is still wet, apply more solution and use the sponge or hand towel to wipe it off. These should be wet but wrung out. You'll need to rinse and wring the sponge/towel very often.

Step 5 If you are going to paint the walls, let them dry, paint them with a primer that is compatible with your paint.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Turbo is Back!

About a month ago we installed a 3.6L "built" motor in the Turbo and fired it up! Yeah! Finally!

This motor is actually a loaner from the engine builder because mine is not quite finished. This works for me, I'm just glad to be driving my favorite car again. We have my new turbos on the engine and a couple of different engine tuning programs; one makes around 550HP!

My dad and I made it to Thunderhill Raceway for some twin turbo fun! Here is the video:

And, a few photos:

Monday, January 12, 2009

Update: Shelby GT

I continue to be pleasantly surprised by Ford Mustangs; first, the 2003 Cobra and now the 2008 Shelby GT. The quality, all around, of the new Mustangs is a huge improvement over the pre-2005 Mustangs, and it looks like the upcoming 2010 models will improve the interiors even more. You really get a very nice performance coupe for the money!

Of course, when a car enters my garage, regardless of how good it is from the factory, it always "needs" some further "improvements" from me :) The Shelby GT is no different, in spite of my usual "attempt" to keep it stock...

After a few track days, the Shelby received front camber adjustment to -2.5 degrees to save the front tires! I also had several bushings replaced with polyurethane versions. Other suspension upgrades include lower control arm relocation, both front and rear (the car comes lowered from Shelby so I wanted to reduce the dive, squat and lean), and an adjustable panhard bar :)

The Shelby comes with a Ford Performance Parts sport suspension which works fine, but was a bit too harsh both on and off the track; it felt way overdamped. So, the dampers have been replaced with some adjustable KONI's; which have improved the street ride considerably and I expect to test their track performance this Saturday, the first track day of the season!

Here is a photo of the Shelby at the track:

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Addition to the Stable: 2008 Shelby GT

When I was detailing my former 2003 Ford SVT Mustang Cobra, just days before it left the stable, I had a bit of seller's remorse; I really liked that car a lot!

Well, it didn't take long, about six months, before my desire for a rumbly V8 muscle car started to get to me :) Actually, it started with a desire for a rumbly V-Twin Harley Davidson V-Rod, but family and reason talked me out of it. I've always loved those bikes; they look great and have a modern, Porsche-designed, V-Twin! Here is a photos:

A muscle car is basically a 4 wheeled cousin to a Harley, so it wasn't long before I started thinking about getting a new Mustang (the only other Muscle car that vaguely interests me is the new Camaro, but they won't be out for a while and I need a fix, NOW! :) And, I like Mustangs better :) ).

The current replacement for my 2003 Cobra is the Shelby GT500 Mustang, which is actually the car I wanted when I bought the Cobra. At the time, the markup on the GT500 was well over $10,000 and the local dealers wanted $25,000 over MSRP! Rediculously crazy! I bought the Cobra for $28,000; a tick over the dealer markup for a GT500. Now, things have settled down and I was able to find two dealers that would take $1000 below MSRP; what a difference two years makes!

The other Mustang that interested me is the Shelby GT. Confused? Let me enlighten you, dear reader :)

The GT500 is essentially a modern version of the 2003/2004 SVT Cobra Mustang; the top of the line performance Mustang. It is supercharged to 500HP (the Cobra was 390HP), has a 6 speed transmission and several other performance upgrades compared to a standard Mustang. Ford made a marketing deal with Carroll Shelby to use his name on the car so instead of being called an SVT Cobra, it is called a Shelby GT500.

Shelby is famous for creating Shelby modified and branded cars like the Cobra, GT350 and GT500; all from the 1960's. When the latest generation of Mustangs arrived on the market in 2005, Shelby started to make Shelby Mustangs again. Such Mustangs are sent to Shelby Automobiles in Las Vegas, NV, to be modified and converted to Shelby Mustangs and then sold through Ford dealerships.

The first of these Shelby Mustangs was the Shelby GT-H, which was only available for rent at Hertz rental stores at major airports. Shelby and Hertz did a similar thing in the 1960s. The Shelby GT-H cars are now out of the rental service and Hertz is auctioning them off so they are now available for purchase.

Before the GT-H's were auctioned off, there was no way to buy a Shelby Mustang, except for the GT500, which many argue is purely a marketing deal and not a real Shelby. As you can imagine, this is a hot debate among Shelby fans... I tend to agree.

Eventually, in 2007, the Shelby GT was introduced; it is basically the same as the GT-H, but could be purchased at a Ford dealer. The main differences are that the GT-H was available only with an automatic transmission, in black with gold strips and a different hood while the GT was available in white or black with silver stripes and a five speed manual transmission.

In 2008 the color was changed to blue with silver stripes and a convertible version was introduced. And that is the end of the Shelby GT production.

I bought this 2008 Shelby GT 5 speed coupe for the stable.

First track day is the 16th :)

Monday, September 01, 2008

Turbo Engine Update 2

Kevin, the engine builder, from Ultimate Motorwerks stopped by the house last week to show me some of the new engine's parts so I can photograph them before he puts the engine back together. Rather than repeating the photos and their descriptions, here is a link to a forum thread with the details.

If all goes well, the engine should be finished in a few weeks and hopefully back in the car by the end of September!! It's been a long 9 months without my favorite car...

Porsche Turbo (993) at Pacific Raceways

Friday, May 09, 2008

Turbo Motor Update

At last, the major machining has been completed toward rebuilding the blown motor in Nirwana! Yeah!!

As always, when something breaks it is a great opportunity to upgrade :) In the case of Nirwana's motor, it is getting some fancy heads which are strengthened, ported, polished and with bigger valves, more agressive cams, and solid lifters (rather than stock hydraulic lifters).

The big upgrade is conversion from 3.6L to a Porsche Motorsports 3.8L capacity with all the Motorsports upgrades for better lubrication and strength.

On top of that, the turbos are upgraded with the latest Porsche GT2 compressor wheels!

I have no clue how much power this will make and what the drivability will be like, but is sure sounds promising.

The downside, other than cost, is that it won't be finished until August/September. This means the Boxster will have to handle track duties until than; the plan was originally to do track duty only thru June. More on that in another post.

Here is a picture of on of the six cylinder heads:


Saturday, April 26, 2008

About Convertibles

As BillW pointed out in a comment regarding my purchase of a Boxster S, I have not been into convertibles in the past. Given that I take most of my cars to the race track, convertibles are not a good choice for various reasons:

  • Safety - The general consensus is that open cars are less safe than enclosed cars in the event of a rollover. There are clubs that won't allow convertibles on the track at all.

  • Chassis Rigidity - When you remove the top of a car you weaken the chassis which means it flexes more in corners and over bumps. This affects the car's handling on the race track because the suspension can never be precisely tuned; it needs a rigid chassis to function optimally. Most modern and high end convertibles are actually very stiff so this is not a huge issue. But still, a coupe will always be stiffer and thus handle a bit better at the limits than a convertible.

So, given the choice, for a track car, I'll take a coupe over a convertible.

On the street, my main issue with convertibles is the interior noise, mainly in heavy commuter traffic. This is with the top up; top down can be deafening.

Now that my "commute" is either a slow suburban drive to Cantrell Motorsports or a nice country drive to Pacific Raceways to do a photo shoot as Red Mist Photo, a convertible seemed like fun!

So, I've been shopping convertibles since last summer. Having owned several convertibles in the past (1969 Austin Healey Sprite in High School and College, 2000 Toyota MR2 Spyder, 2000 Boxster S, 2003 Mercedes Benz SL500) I had lots of past experience to fall back on. Given that I didn't plan to track the car and that I wanted it to be quiet with the top up, I considered two cars initially: BMW 335i and Mazda MX-5. The advantage of the Bimmer is that I could haul the family in it. But, I also know from my M3 experience, that I seriously disliked not having rear doors for the kids. They both look a bit goofy with their tops up so I remained uncertain.

During the winter my right shoulder started to give a lot of pain, to the point that shifting gears hurt. It seemed time to get an automatic so the BMW was starting to look like a winner, but in the end, I just could not go for a two door family car. So, I traded my 330i 6 speed sedan on a 335i automatic sedan (fantastic car BTW!). The convertible was put on the backburner while I healed the shoulder.

The shoulder is now much, much better, the sun is starting to show its face more, and I'm shooting photos at the track more often. It's convertible time!

In order to get a new car, I'd have to sell something. Well, the only other running car that I had was the Cobra. But, it is my only track car right now! Well, I could take the 335i to the track, but really, what would be the point?!

So, now the convertible needed to be a decent track car until the Turbo or Lotus return, which is a few months away... What to do???

For me, the options were:

  • Mazda Miata

  • Honda S2000

  • BMW Z4

  • Porsche Boxster

Yet again, the poor Miata was ruled out fairly quickly, simply due to its lack of power. The Bimmer is fast and cool, but a bit goofy looking and a bit overpriced in my opinion.

I found a really nice 2007 S2000 at Honda of Bellevue so I went to look at it. When I arrived, it had a "SOLD" sign on it. I thought to myself "this is a sign that I should get a Boxster", so off to the Porsche dealer I went. As I pulled in there was a really nice looking red (I love red!) Boxster S parked out front. I walked over to it and it was a pre-owned 2006 and was for sale... a couple of hours later, it was mine! It had only 1800 miles on it because the lady that bought it became pregnant with quadruplets soon after buying it. She now drives and Escalade, I hear. I found a new baby bottle under the passenger seat, which confirms the story :)

I took the Boxster to Portland International Raceway on Monday and we had a great time (despite spinning on the first corner... rather embarassing since it happened right in front of several of my track junkie buddies).

Here are some photos of our fun:




And, here is a little trip down memory lane; me and my 2000 Boxster S at Laguna Seca in late 2003:

2000 Porsche Boxster S

2000 Porsche Boxster S at Laguna Seca Corkscrew

The shot to the right is taken in the famous Cork Screw at Laguna.

Given the safety and rigidity issues, on that Boxster, I removed the convertible top and installed a custom rollbar and left the hardtop on permanently; I think I drove the car with the top off, about 6 times in the time I owned it. I really wanted a mid-engined coupe, but all reasonably priced mid-engined cars were either convertibles (MR2 and Boxster) or Targas (Acura NSX). Since then, Porsche came out with the Cayman, which is a coupe version of the Boxster.