December 29, 2010

Boxing Week Battle Scar

I didn't go out to brave the crowd for Boxing Day shopping. Partly because there wasn't any really good deals to be had, and also, I didn't really need anything at this point.

But then, I did eventually find a couple of items I wanted. Since the sales usually last the whole week now, I decided to head out and pick up a couple of items; a Blu-Ray, and a printer.

Maybe I shouldn't have. Because I came home with a new door ding, well, more like a gash on my front passenger side door. Very high up, so must be a van or SUV. But it's a nasty one. Looks like they hit my door, and didn't stop right away and kept pushing for another 3/4 of an inch. Nasty! Maybe it wasn't worth going out for the sales after all.

On the upside, I manage to sell my stock Dunlop 14" tires I mentioned in my previous post rather quickly. Of course, pricing them low helps.

December 17, 2010

Oil Change #13 (66997km) + Winter Tires Mounted

A Lot going on these days, and I was again a little late getting my oil and filter changed. But got it done today with the standard 5W20 and Honda oil filter.

The tires I ordered from JC Whitney I mentioned in my last post took a while, but they had finally arrived. I'm happy to say that it was as stated in their website; no additional taxes, duties, or brokerage fees were applied. I had them mounted on Tuesday when I had some free time, and will now list the stock Dunlop SP31 tires cheap as I will no longer need them with these dedicated snow tires on my 14" steelies.

November 17, 2010

New Real Snow Tires

If you've been following my blog, you'll know I've gotten by with all season tires for the past 4 years. (wow, I've had this little Fit for just over 4 years now!) The first two years were with the stock Dunlops 14" on factory steelies. Then 2 years ago I only had the worn Kumhos that came with my used EM1 rims. That was also the year wih the huge snow dump, so I the Fit was pretty much parked. Last year, I managed to find a set of stock 14" wheel/tire combo to replace the ones I traded, and at least I could drive in light snow.

However, with the light weight of the Honda Fit, it's really not a great winter car, and to really be useful in the white stuff, you want proper winter tires. I mentioned in a previous post that I bought a Toyota Sienna in anticipation of my growing family. Well, this also means I need to make my vehicles ready for winter since my wife is due in early January. Luckily, The Sienna came with a spare set of winter tires. But the Fit still needed help.

While looking around online, I found JC Whitney. I already knew of the company because I had lived in the States when I was younger, and would request some of their mail order catelogs even though I was still too young to own a vehicle. However, I never thought of purchasing from them here because normally shipping anything from the US to Canada, especially larger items, are prohibitively expensive. However, it would seem from their page here that they only add $11.99 to your order to ship to Canada. This, along with their regular shipping charge, supposedly covers for all taxes, duty, and brokerage fees. I was skeptical, but other canadians have ordered and said that it was legit. and as long as the tires are 16" and under, this works.

So I decided to place an order for a set of General Altimax Artic in the stock 175/65/14 size. And since I'm now getting dedicated winter tires, I decided to also order a new set of summer tires in the form of Yokohama S.Drive in 195/55/15 size to replace the factory Michelins I got last year for the EM1 rims. It would seem that the one tire that had some camber wear was because there was a nail in the tire, and the seller must have driven with it flat or low for a while. The last time my car was up on a hoist, I noticed that tire, which luckily I placed in the rear, is now starting to show a couple of bubbles on the inner side wall; a sign or sidewall failure. So that tire is no longer safe. The price for the two set of tires was much better than what I could have gotten locally. So I'm just waiting for these to come in so I can mount them on the Fit.

In the meantime, I went in today and put the winter tires that came with the Sienna on the van. I didn't pay much attention to them when I bought the car. but as it turns out, they are also General Altimax Artic tires. Same ones I had ordered for my Fit. A copy of the Gislaved Nordfrost 3 tires from Sweden, the General Altimax Artic (both under the Continental umbrella) had fantastic reviews and are a good value. I feel better that the van, and soon the Fit will have proper winter tires on this season. With pregnant wife now, and kid later. I think it's money worth spending.

October 22, 2010

LED Gauge Lights for the Bike

My buddy decided to change his car dome lights to white LEDs. However, within the batch he ordered, there were some that were a bit too 'blue' for his liking. So I took his 'leftovers' and put them behind the gauges of my bike. So I guess this qualifies as the first mod for my bike.

These are nice T-10 wedge base bulbs with 4 SMDs on each bulb. Very wide angle and very bright. Yes these had a noticeable tinge of blue, but They're still mostly white. So the redline on the tach and temp gauge is not washed out by blue and is still clearly distinguishable. The before and after photos are taken with a point and shoot, but the ISO, exposure and shutter speed settings were set the same. You can tell by the matching ambient lighting in front of the bike as well as the glare off the warning lights in both photos. So the photos are an accurate representation of the LEDs brightness.

The results are great. Many cheaper LED bulbs are either too dim or the angle is too narrow. These SMDs doesn't have either of the problem. I followed the simple directions here for the install. And it took very little time. I don't ride at night too often, and the riding season is almost over for me. But I still enjoy the results.

August 21, 2010

Oil Change #12 (61651km) + Brake Job

A tad late on the oil change again. Plus with the moving and heavy use, the oil was a bit dirtier this time. Well, late for my standards, not the factory recommended, which is a lot later.

Standard affair again with the 5W20 oil and Honda oil filter. But I noticed a slow leak at the driver side front tire and found a nail in it a couple of days ago. So I just kept the nail in 'til today and plugged it while the car was up on the hoist.

I also asked my mechanic to check on the brakes since I can feel some grinding under heavy braking. Upon a quick visual inspection without removing the wheels, they looked ok. However, once the wheels were removed, he quickly realized that while the outside pads still had plenty of material, the inside pads were completely gone!! He said he's had another Fit that did the same, and also a Infiniti G35 coupe that also wore out the inside pads much faster than the outside. So keep an eye out on your inside pads.

Anyways, he put in new Nissin pads, the same stuff the factory uses. We noticed that the rotors were a bit grooved and also slightly wrapped, so he also machined the front rotors at the same time.

August 03, 2010

Jazz Packing

My friend posted this on my Facebook wall. It's apparently part of the new campaign for the Honda Jazz in Australia. I thought it was pretty funny.

And here's the other ads from the same campaign:

July 16, 2010

My Swagger Wagon

That's right! I bought a minivan!!!

We found out last month before we left for our trip that my wife is expecting. Since I was considering looking for a second car anyways, now the minivan became a consideration.

I know, I don't NEED a minivan for one kid. But the thing is, no matter how much stuff you can throw into the Fit, it is still is a sub-compact. With a child seat in the back, there's really only room for one more adult back there. Now say we want to take the kid out with the in-laws, with whom we are very close. With the Fit, we'd either have to pick only one in-law to take with us, or they'd have to drive a 2nd vehicle.

There are other advantages to a minivan, such as the ability for my wife to stop the car, hop to the rear 3rd row inside the tinted windows, and breastfeed the baby whenever it needs to be fed. Or having enough room inside to easily change a diaper.

So minivan it is. I don't see the point of an SUV (some do have 3rd row seating). And most Fit owners would agree that the ability for a vehicle to maximize usable space vs the space it occupies is very important. And in this respect, a minivan will ALWAYS have an SUV beat. Plus, one of my biggest loves for minivans: sliding rear doors!! Huge openings you can stand directly in front of no matter if there's another car parked next to you. I don't understand why more people can't see the usefulness of minivans and sliding doors. But I expect they'll come around again, just like the return of mini hatchbacks like the Fit.

Anyways, since I'm expecting to keep the minivan for a while, I was basically looking for a lower KM, late model Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna. I came across this 2005 Sienna LE and went to check it out. The van had light to heavy scratches on every panel, and the rear cargo area was well used. However, it was indeed low KMs (just over 50,000km), and well priced, and came with hitch, bike rack, and a set of spare winter tires. I was happy enough with the condition considering the price, so I picked it up.

This thing just absolutely dwarfs the Fit. So far I really like it. It cruises at a much lower rpm on the highway than the Fit, is very comfortable inside (I still have a few small issues with the Fit's driving position), and the 3.3L V6 and 5-speed auto is nice.

Of course I can't leave any vehicle alone. I've already added a GROM USB interface that allows MP3 playback from a USB flashdrive via the stock radio's CD changer interface. I'm also debating parking sensors or rear view camera. and maybe another set of wheels for the van as well. It will probably be something similar to the Fit, with an OEM+ style upgrade (i.e. wheels from another Toyota/Lexus vehicle). We'll see.

June 13, 2010

Popular Mechanics Compares Fit to Ducati

I've had this article bookmarked for a while. It's obviously a tongue-in-cheek type of comparison since these two vehicles can never substitute for one another, and therefore not in competition what so ever. But the basic premise of this article is to see which vehicle is better suited for the current down economy with rising fuel prices, yet still provides the enthusiast owner with the most fun ownership experience, for under $20,000. Being both a rider and a Fit owner, I thought it was pretty funny.

Here's the article: Two Wheels or Four? Ducati Bike vs. Honda Fit

May 11, 2010

JDM Honda Window Visors Installed

One of first parts I got for my car, that I didn't install, was a JDM replica Window Visor. However, I wasn't pleased with the way the replicas looked, especially since I know what the genuine ones looked like. So I ended up re-selling them rather quickly.

I noticed right away with this car that the low angle of the windshield allowed water to wrap around the a-pillar significantly, and wanted to get the visors to remedy the situation. 3 years go by, and with the minimal numbers of car washes my car gets, my a-pillar often look like it has dirt/watermark tentacles wrapped around it.

I had recently helped a good friend install a I.C.E. system complete with GPS navigation, DVD player, USB and iPod integration, and reverse camera. We then also retrofitted turn signal mirrors on his car, which turned out to be a much bigger job than anticipated.

Being the great guy he is, instead of thanking me with a case of beer, he purchased the genuine JDM HondaAccess Slimline window visors for me, and even installed them for me on my car to show his gratitude.

I absolutely love these visors. Very discreet, they are so sleek looking and barely stick out at all. The tint on them also helps with the afternoon sun on my drive home in the afternoon. They're very well made with clips and double-side tape to secure them to the car, and also visually lower the roof line of the car making it seem less tall and bubbly.

Installation is very easy. And with the clips, you don't have to worry too much about lining them up right before pulling the backing of the tape.

1. Install the clips onto the visors. Roll down the windows and remove the upper portion of the window seals from its channel.

2. Prep the adhesive surface with rubbing alcohol.

3. Clip in the visors, and replace the window seals (start with the corners first, it will be a lot easier than doing them last).

4. Roll windows back up to hold the visors more securely in place. Remove the backing from the double-side tape, press down to stick to door.

That's it, you're done.

April 24, 2010

Just Throw It In The Fit

My sister-in-law and her boyfriend are slowly moving over to a new place. And on this day, we decided to move their double wide Ikea Pax wardrobe with 4 wooden drawers, and their Ikea Expedit bookshelf... All with my Fit. And for good measure, we also threw in a couple of boxes. =P

I love this car!

April 17, 2010

Oil Change #11 (56500km)

Time for another oil change again. A bit earlier on the interval this time since I was late last time. I'll slowly move my interval back to a nice round number. Easier for me to remember that way.

Standard affair, new oil, new oil filter. But this time I also put the SiR wheels back on with the new (to me) tires I mounted just before I put them away and put on the 14" steelies for the winter. I also replaced all 3 wiper inserts for the car since the two fronts were streaking and skipping, and the rear one was splitting.

And in case you need wiper inserts for your GD fit, the part numbers are:

76632-S2K-004 (rear)

Also, just realized I forgot to reset the oil change reminder in the dash. Hope I remember when I get back in the car next time. Although It really doesn't matter since I go my mileage anyways.

March 01, 2010

Another Hit and Run

Well, my car got damaged while parked again over the weekend. This time it was a lot less severe than last time. However, it still left enough of a mark to really annoy me. It looks like a parking incident where the car behind me just didn't know how long their car is and hit my rear driver side corner while trying to get out.

Originally I thought maybe I can get away with buffing it out and using some touch-up paint for the damage. Upon closer inspection, the clearcoat is actually cracked. That means the bumper must be repainted.

I made a claim with my insurance company right away, but will see if it is possible to get it painted below the cost of my deductible. See if the shop will cut me a deal if I can remove and reinstall the bumper myself (easy on the Fit, see my Taillight install post on how).

February 08, 2010

2010 Superbowl Car Related Ads

Here's a collection of all of the car related Superbowl ads of 2010. You can see the rest of the ads here. Enjoy:

Hyundai - 2010 Sonata

Bridgestone - Killer Whale - Perfect Car, Perfect Price

Hyundai - Brett Favre Retires?

Dodge - Promise to My Wife

Honda - Everyone Knows Somebody Who Owns a Honda

Mercedes Benz - Shattered Glass

CarMax - Dramatic Squirrel

Volkswagen - Tracy Morgan and Stevie Wonder

Bridgestone - Wife or Life?

Kia - Puppet Day Dream

Lexus - Natural Cars

Honda - Squirrels Love It

Audi - Green Police

Hyundai - Factory Crowd Surf

And a couple of Danica Patrick commercials. They're sort of car related I suppose... - Danica Patrick at Spa - News

January 26, 2010

H4 Bi-Xenon HID Kit Installed

It is always during the winter rain season that I find myself wishing for HIDs. While the stock DOT spec headlights on the Honda Fit is actually pretty good, in fact, better than most car's I've owned. I still wished for more light, especially when it's raining and it becomes hard to see the lines in the road.

Well, this past Saturday, while I was at the Winter BBQ Meet, I picked up a 4300k H4 Bi-Xenon HID kit from Aaron (aka. Guinness). Now, I've been into cars for a long time, and is known as somewhat of a lighting guy amongst my friends. So I know all about the pros (not many) and cons (many) of an HID kit. Especially one that's going to be retrofitted to a halogen reflector housing, a dual-beam reflector housing at that! I'm not going to get into that debate here. Just know not to expect your HID kit to put down usable light like a properly designed factory HID system.

The kit from Aaron is very good. Probably as good as a standard HID can get. Bi-xenon bulbs with lower shields to reduce glare and movable bulbs for high/low beam switching. It also comes with a full plug-and-play harness for the H4 bulb system. If the GD chassis Honda Fit wasn't so cramp under the hood, the install would have taken under 10 minutes. If you have a GE Fit, you might not need to remove the front bumper and headlights to do the install. From what I saw at the BBQ meet, the GE has more room behind the headlights to work with.

Tools required:
- Flat head Screwdriver
- Phillips Screwdriver
- 10mm Socket/Wrench
- Cutter (for zip tie)

1. Remove the Front Bumper

Open the hood, and you'll see 4 black clips attaching the top of the bumper to the rad support beam. To remove them, stick a flat head screwdriver in from the side and pry the middle part up. Once it's up, the clips can be pulled off. Now, move to the bottom of the bumper. I don't have photos for these since it was hard to take a photo of the bottom. But basically, you've got two more of those black pop-up clips, and two phillips head screws nearby. Just take a look. you'll see which ones are actually holding the bottom of the bumper. Now for the sides. There's a phillips head screw just at the top corner of the front bumper on each side attaching the bumper to the front fender, and another black pop-up clip at the bottom corner attaching the bumper to the wheel well liner. Remove these on each side.

So basically, you'll have removed 12 screws/clips from the front bumper.

After that, start pulling the bumper away from the car from one corner to release the clips, then move to the other side and do the same. Then move to the middle and pull the bumper away from the car.

2. Remove the Headlights

Use the 10mm socket/wrench, and remove the 4 bolts attaching the headlight to the car. There are two on top, one in the front, and one on the side. On the driver side, you will need to remove a black plastic cover piece first. It's essentially the same idea as the black clips at the top of the bumper. But you don't need to remove the clips completely. Just pop them up (three in total), then pull the piece off. Keep in mind when you're putting the headlights back, that while the two bolts from the front and the side look similar, the side bolt has a longer spacer section behind the bolt head. Twist out the parking light and turn signal, and unplug the H4 plug at the headlight.

3. Find a Place to Mount the Ballasts

After removing the headlights, I found that the ballast fits well in the channel just behind the re-bar attachment points. There are also two holes on the wall there, and I used the top hole and zip-tied the ballast bracket to the car.

4. Run the Wiring Harness

Since the battery is on the driver side, I left most things there and ran the wires going to the passenger side ballast over just above the radiator and under the rad support. After plugging the harness into the ballasts. I grounded each side to the bolt near each top corner of the radiator, also a 10mm bolt. The only other wire you need to attach is the one with the fuse to the positive side of the battery. There's an attachment post next to the main positive post which is also held down by a 10mm nut. Attach the power wire there. Then, just plug the H4 plug from the harness into the car's stock H4 harness on the driver side.

5. Replace the Bulbs

Remove the rubber dust shield behind the H4 headlight bulb. Then unclip the retaining clip behind the bulb, and remove the stock H4 bulb from the headlight. Then replace with the new Bi-Xenon bulb and clip back in. You can try to replace the dust shield, which may or may not require you to cut out the middle of the shield slightly, or just leave the dust shield off as I did. Didn't seem very dirty considering I haven't cleaned the engine bay in the three years I've owned the car.

6. Test the Lights

Now, plug the new bulbs in. There should be three wires per side. Two for the + and -, and one to trigger the high beam switch. It only goes in one way, so should be easy to figure out. Then. Check to make sure everything is plugged in and attached properly. Slide the headlights back into position on the car, and attach just one of the top bolts so that they don't fall off. Now you can turn on your car's headlights and make sure everything works. Check the high-beam function as well.

7. Put the Car Back Together

If everything works, then you can put the car back together. Make sure to replace the turn signal and parking bulbs into the headlight housing, put the headlights back and replace all 4 bolts in its proper place. Line up the bumper from the center first, then tap from just under the inside of the headlight, and work your way to the corner of the bumper to clip it back in place. Then replace all the attachment clips and screws for the bumper and you're done.


This kit is not bad for what it is. The glare above the original cut-off line is fairly minimal as compared to some other HID kits I've seen. Probably due in part to the shield on the lower part of the HID bulbs in this kit. I don't find that you actually get MORE light coverage on the ground, but I do notice that the light I have on the ground is a bit brighter than a normal halogen bulb headlight. This is especially easy to see when you're one of the first cars at the intersection, and the car next to you has halogen headlights. But once a true OEM HID car pulls up along the other side, you'll quickly notice why HID kits are never going to be equal to a properly designed OEM HID headlight.

Also, while this Bi-xenon Kit offers a high-beam via a movable bulb, The actual high beam function is actually quite useless except as a flash warning for other motorists. When you switch to high beam, the light output moves up a bit, but at that point, as you can see in the photo, you get basically ZERO light going to the ground. Everything goes straight ahead. I was on a different road with minimal street lamps and no parked cars to reflect light off of. When I switch to high beam there, it was essentially like turning off the headlights.

January 23, 2010

FitFreak Winter BBQ Meet

Well, After I got my oil changed Saturday, I convinced my friend to swing by the Winter BBQ Meet hosted by Ground Zero Auto Solutions, where quite a number of local members showed up on this somewhat warm and dry Vancouver winter afternoon.

As you can tell if you've been following my blog, I haven't attended a local Fit meet up since March 2008. Sure enough, almost everyone I saw there was a new face to me. I had just come from lunch, so I wasn't really hungry. I ended up chatting with a few members and asking some questions about some of their cars. Then I found Aaron and wanted to talk to him about the HID kit I had PM him about a couple of days earlier. Turns out he had a few sets with him that day, so I picked up a H4 Bi-xenon kit and had to leave. There were definitely more people I wanted to chat with, but I had promised my friend I'd go help him paint at his place, which is a good 50kms away, and it was already around 3 in the afternoon.

photo by Aaron (aka. Guinness)

Looks like everyone had fun at the meet, and apparently way too much food was prepared. Next time, I'll come hungry.

More photos can be found on the Fitfreak thread here.

Oil Change #10 (52025km)

Oops. Went over my own oil change interval a bit. I was preoccupied with the Holidays that I totally missed the fact that my 50,000km oil change was due. It was only because my friend told me he was bringing his car in for an oil change that I remembered. So I weaseled my way into his time slot and got my oil change done today right after his car was finished. He owes me that much. I was heading over to his new place to help him fix some touch-up painting that he somehow messed up (don't ask).

Other than going over a bit on the oil change (car's indicator still says 40% oil life remaining), everything is still very good with the car. Car is averaging around 500km per tank with the 175 tires, a bit more if I drive more highways. I'm sure my wife could get better mileage out of the Fit since she's got a much lighter foot than I do. But I'm happy with my fuel consumption. Especially since the car only needs regular grade fuel.

Oh yeah, noticed that the Stock Dunlop SP31's are S-rated for speed. Good for up to 180km/h (112mph). Most tires I've seen are rated at least T, but I guess for a stock Fit, this speed rating is good enough. (Again, don't ask. =P)

January 22, 2010

2010 Vancouver Motorcycle Show

This is the fourth year I've been to this show now. The first year was before I even got my license. I had just got my Christmas gift that my family and friends were helping me go to riding school. I knew nothing about motorcycles, and really didn't know what I was looking at that year.

The 2008 show comes along, and by now I'm a fully licensed rider. But that really means nothing since I've only been on the school bikes. I now know the basics, ad maybe a bit more. But without owning a motorcycle of my own, I still considered myself and "outsider" at the show.

When I went to the 2009 show, I had finally purchased my own bike. I have a proper answer now when people at the show ask what I ride. In reality however, I purchased the bike at the end of the 2008 riding season, and promptly put it into storage insurance. So I really haven't ridden since I graduated from riding school in August 2007. But I now know exactly what I'm looking at, what's new, and whatever info I can gather from reading up on line or in the magazines.

Finally this year, in 2010, I felt like I belonged at the show. I've had a full season of riding under my belt. Had ridden during the day, night, 2up, commuted on the bike. Now I'm a rider!! My wife and the same friend who came with me last year also came along this year. He looks ready to ride. I wouldn't be surprised if he enrolls at a school very soon.

I noticed I'm throwing my leg over bigger bikes this year than previous years; both in displacement, and height. I find that I like many different types of motorcycles, and find myself wanting a varied collection of bikes; I want the Triumph Bonneville T100 on days I want to cruise around town and feel "cool". I want Kawasaki's new Z1000 for those "fun" rides. Add a Yamaha WR250X to the stable for quick jaunts and in-town commuting, and maybe the Honda CBF1000A for those longer tours. How's that for variety. And you'll notice, no cruisers on that list. Trust me, I tried a few cruisers. I don't look like I belong on any of them. My friend on the other hand, perfect on a cruiser!

I also got to meet Jason Britton from Team No Limit, Host of SuperBikes on Speed. He is a very friendly guy, and took the time to talk with people about their own riding, his riding, or anything you wanted to chat about.

I can't wait 'til the riding season starts again.