Brian Ho (brianho) wrote,
Brian Ho
brianho

a-SALT-ed

Late entry, as per usual...

winter wheels
DAMN that's SEXY! Black steelies and road salt...aww yeeeaaaahhhh!!!111one!!1

The weekend before last was bookended by morning drives to work where I ended up behind a salt truck on US31. But not just any salt truck--a liquid salt truck. So rather than just dropping salt on the road, it was sparying a salt brine. I was driving along, minding my own business when suddenly there was a fine mist on my windshield. It didn't seem to be raining, so I wasn't sure what was going on. As I got further up the road I saw the truck and realized that I didn't just have a mist on my car, but a salty mist...lovely. That was Friday, and pretty much the same thing happened the next Monday.

In the interim, whoo...car maintenance! Saturday I had my winter wheels/tires put on. I was due for a tire rotation anyway, so I figured it was as good a time as any to go ahead and swap wheels for the winter. My OEM rims have summer tires on them, so I have a set of black steelies with all-season tires on them for the winter. Black steelies are ugly, but I call them my pothole protection. If I smash one, I'm out about $50...not a big deal. I haven't priced the OEM rims, but I'm guessing they're over $400 ea. Since we got our first real snow the following Wednesday, I'd say my timing worked out pretty well.

I actually have wheel covers for my steelies, but they're kinda ugly themselves. Over the past couple seasons I've threatened to go naked. I even did for one week last year. But on Monday I was in the McDonald's drive-thru getting my food from the attendant when he pointed across my car. There was a guy standing at my passenger window who held up one of my wheel covers that had apparently fallen off. I rolled down my window, thanked him, and retrieved it. But when I got to my office I just ripped all the rest of them off and tossed them in the trunk. I'm just gonna go without this year. With my chromed lug nuts I gots me a turbo charged cop car! :P

air box air box

yay airbox!
plug wires plug wires

easy plug access
old spark plugs old spark plugs

yucky old spark plugs

After I got home from having my wheels swapped I decided I'd change out my spark plugs and air filter. Air filter had been changed before, but the plugs were factory. 42k miles is more than I would normally want to put on a set of plugs, but I had managed to forget about it somehow. As it turned out, the plug gaps which should be .050" were .065-070" on the old ones, so they were definitely rather worn. Both plugs and air filter were cake on the SRT-4. They're right up top and easily accessible. The airbox even had captive screws so I wouldn't lose them. I gave drewsifer a call while I worked to catch up and keep me company.

The degredation in performance was so gradual that I hadn't really noticed. But now that I've driven around on the new plugs I realize that Emi's zippy, go-fast nature is back in full effect! Whee-freakin'-hooo! I've surprised myself a few times with unexpected acceleration power. I even caught my boost gauge at 15 psi...something I don't recall ever doing before. It's been fun, but I'm pretty much over it at this point and have resumed my typical, more conservative driving style.

Lissa arrived at home not long after I finished up, and I had gotten the same parts for her PT Cruiser. Her Cruiser GT actually shares its engine with the SRT-4, but the setup is a bit different. It took a different air filter, but her airbox was even easier. Just two clips and I was done. Unfortunately, the plugs were not as convenient. The air intake is routed up over the top of the engine, so it had to be disconnected and moved in order to get at the plugs. It wasn't really difficult, just time consuming.

Unfortunately, Lissa's plugs had been in even longer than mine... > 60k miles. As a result, the plug wires simply did not want to release from the plugs. It took excessive amounts of pulling and tugging just to get one off...and that ended up being the "easy" one. I destroyed the boots on the other ones--ripping one of them clean off. I was worried that I wasn't going to have anything to grab onto, but I was able to get a vise grip on what was left of it to get it out. At any rate, some busted knuckles and swearing ensued and I got finally got the job done. I replaced her plug wires, too, while I was at it. Her car is nice and zoomy again now, too.
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