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Category / DIY

It used to be that washing and waxing the car are seperate activities that can take up to a couple hours time. However, currently there are many 2-in-1 wash and wax car shampoo products on the market that claims to save you much trouble by having the ability to not only wash, but leave a wax-like coating over the vehicle after you’re done with it. Popular brands such as Kit and turtlewax carries them, too.

Sounds nice, right? Though it won’t leave your car as shiny as a real wax job, it does pretty good. Afterall, it’s not even half the effort anyway. This is all nice and dandy until I found out the small problem associated with using these type of product.

You see, whenever we wash the car, we tend to also use the same car shampoo for washing the windshield, and here lies the trouble. The 2-in-1 shampoo will leave the same wax-like coating all over your windshield, and when the it is raining and cold, you get very screwed up visibility problem. The windshiled will fog up from the outside, and the coating will serve as a very good surface for the fog to cloak up your window to the road. This is particulary evident while driving in low speed, using the wipers didn’t help much.

So, if you use these 2-in-1 wash and wax products, make sure you do not wash your windshield with the same product. Check out the photos below.

wash and wax, windshield fogged
normal windshield visibility

wash and wax, windshield fogged
windshield fogged up after using 2-in-1 wash and wax product

Not too long ago my Toyota MR2 was having a weird problem. The car would be able to start, but after running for a while it would stall, and have very bad air fuel mixture, black smoke and all. After consulting with several owners, one suggested that I check for leaked capacitors on the ECU as that might be one of the causes.

Toyota MR2 ECU
ECU located at the rear boot

The ECU on second generation Toyota MR2, in this case a 1991 3S-GTE version, is located at the rear boot wall that is seperating the boot from the engine, just behind the carpet. You will need a Philip screw driver and if I remember correctly, a 9 or 10 mm wrench to undo the mounting.

Toyota MR2 ECU
look at the 3 connectors at the bottom of the ECU

There are 3 connecting sockets located at the bottom part of the ECU. You should be able to disconnect them without much effort. The 3 connectors are of different sizes, you can’t go wrong when putting the thing back together. Do note that you should always disconnect the car battery and properly ground yourself before diving into such endeavour.

Toyota MR2 ECU
the 3 connectors

The ECU consists of two PCB boards, take off the 2 screws connecting both and you will be able to expose the innerds. In my case, I did not find any leaking capacitors. The problem was later found out to be caused by a faulty airflow sensor.

Toyota MR2 ECU
the capacitors on the ECU

More technical info on MR2 can be found on this page, including the Engine error code and how to diagnose them.

fixing the noisy side mirror

A common problem that plagues the Toyota MR2 (SW20) is the leaky side mirror mounting that results in a lot of wind noise when cruising at high speed. This is rather annoying, especially when you try to have a decent conversation with your passenger, not to mention it dampens the sweet turbo spooling sound that we all love to hear.

The procedure described below is for Toyota MR2, but I assume the same should be able to applied to other make and models facing with the same problem.

To determine if the noise is from a leaky side window mounting, place your finger near the tweater when travelling over 80 km/h. If you can feel a tiny stream of air coming out of the tweater, you’ve got an air leak that needs fixing, unless you have a very loud stereo.

I first read about this procedure from the Japanese MR2 FAQ site, and decided to do it myself. This is what I did:

fixing the noisy side mirror

First, take off the tweater mounting by prying it off with a flat screw driver. It is mounted much like cell phone covers, should come off with relative ease. Proceed with unscrewing the 3 screws that are holding both the tweater and the side mirror together. If the screws are too tight, use a hair dryer to melt the thread locking glue that are covering the screws. I did not face with this problem.

fixing the noisy side mirror

After the screws are undone, the side mirror should be left dangling on the power cord that powers the motor for adjusting the mirror.

fixing the noisy side mirror

Other than screw drivers (both philip and flat), all you need is some thick double sided tapes, and a pair of scissors.

fixing the noisy side mirror

Apply generous layers of double sided tape around the mounting of the side mirror. Make sure you do not leave any holes for any chance of air seepage. I applied about 3 layers of double sided tape.

fixing the noisy side mirror

Put everything back together, the screws might be a little tougher to get in this time since the 3 layers of double sided tape are rather thick. Just push the mirror closer to the door and give it a good squeeze.

After putting everyting together, give it a test run. The wind noise should be gone, you’ll be able to enjoy the turbo spooling sound even at relative high speed now.

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Cleaning Open Pod Air Filter

This step by step illustrated air filter cleaning instructions is for open pod air filters that are of oiled cotton fabric type. Brands offering such after market air filter includes K&N, Apexi, and HKS Powerflo (the one I use). Comparing to the stock air intake and filter that rather restrictive, these open pod air filter system provides easier breathing for your engine, thus increasing amount of fuel that it can burn, which translate to slightly higher horsepower and potential for modding. Another benefit you get is that the filter element is reusability, you don’t have to buy new ones whenever it gets dirty, you simply clean it.

The stuff you need:

  • Screw driver
  • Air filter cleaning agent

I had chosen the KW Filter Care Service Kit that I bought for less than RM 20. It came with a spray bottle of cleaning agent, and a bottle of air filter oil. There are several other brands of cleaning kit available on the market, they should do the job equally well.

Cleaning Open Pod Air Filter

The Steps:

  • Remove the air filter from the car
  • Brush off any dirts you can
  • Spray the air filter cleaner generously on all the filter element surface, let it soak for 10-15 minutes
  • Rinse with low pressure water from reverse direction of air flow till clean
  • Let dry, this might take an hour or so depending on the weather
  • Oil the filter with the provided air filter oil. Just one pass over the area, spaced by a centimeter or so
  • Let oil wick into the cotton fabric, add a drop or two to the area you missed, do not over oil
  • Reinstall, then start your engine for a few minutes before driving as you let the ECU get used to the air flow

Cleaning Open Pod Air Filter

My filter was over oiled priviously, as evident from the picture. This resulted in unstable timing after driving the car hard. The problem should go away after this cleaning and reoiling process.

Cleaning Open Pod Air Filter
Spraying air filter cleaner on the filter element

Cleaning Open Pod Air Filter
Rinse from reverse air flow direction to avoid driving dirt into the filter element

Cleaning Open Pod Air Filter
Let dry

Cleaning Open Pod Air Filter
Re-oil the air filter

Cleaning Open Pod Air Filter
A closer look, letting the oil wick into the fabric

Cleaning Open Pod Air Filter
Reinstalling the open pod air filter

Cleaning Open Pod Air Filter
Finished!

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DIY Spray Paint Sports Rims

These photos are sent by a fellow forum reader Joe on his DIY spray paint job for sports rims in white color. It was done over a weekend with the cost of around RM 20.

The items needed for this project:

  • Old newspaper
  • Two cans of white paint (Ace white glossy finish)
  • One can of clear paint (for glossy finish)
  • Sand paper
  • Masking Tape

You also need the tools for removing your wheels, which includes a jack and the wrench that came in your car. Use a few red bricks to support your car at the jacking points while the wheels are removed.

DIY Spray Paint Sports Rims
The material

DIY Spray Paint Sports Rims

First, wash the wheels thoroughly and sand it to remove any greese and dirt. Rinse and let dry to provide a fresh surface for the paint to stick on.

DIY Spray Paint Sports Rims

Next, mask all the area you do not wish to paint with the tape and newspaper.

DIY Spray Paint Sports Rims

The wheels are ready to be painted. Spray thin and even layer on the surface of the wheel, let dry. Repeat at least 3 times. It is always better to put on more layers instead of spraying one thick layer, this will prevent the paint to be uneven or develop “tear drops” due to gravitational pull. Once done with the white paint, spray a thin layer of clear coat for the glossy finish.

DIY Spray Paint Sports Rims

That’s it, wheels are ready to roll! Avoid spraying the lug nuts as the paints can go off easily when force is applied during refitting the wheels. However, you can consider some “designer” new lug nuts easily found at accessory stores.

DIY Spray Paint Sports Rims

Finished product fitted on a Satria, now looks a little sexier. Thanks Joe for the photos.