Category Archives: Gear Head

Relating to Cars, etc.

Productive Weekend

This weekend has been fairly “productive” – no matter what your definition of the word may consist of.

On Saturday I changed out all the brake pads on my car. This is the first time I’ve really had to do any real maintenance on my car. I’ve had it for almost 5 years now and its just about to tick 50k miles, so I figured it was time to do some work on it. That, and the giant red “Brake” indicator on my dashboard whenever I was speeding up/slowing down. The light was coming on because my brake fluid reservoir was right at the minimum level. Since I was pretty sure I didn’t have a leak of any kind, I figured this was because my brake pads were getting too slim and the pistons inside the calipers had to be compressed alot further than normal, hence using more of the brake fluid.

This was definitely correct, because with new brake pads my brake fluid level is perfectly even on the full line.

All in all, the job took me about 1.5 hours – and the sets of front and rear pads ran me 51 dollars TOTAL for all pads. I definitely didn’t mind saving some money doing the job myself considering the new Goodyear F1 tires I just bought.

Saturday night into Sunday was still productive… Just in a different way. Vanlandw and Vanbergs joined me for a fairly intense video gaming session which amounted to knockout matches, rush 2 crash fests, and running through the entirety of Super Mario 3 in a single sitting which took surprisingly long. I think we went to bed finally at about 5 am.

Capping off the weekend of general vanhood was a vantastic breakfast at the Fleetwood diner, napping during football, and actually not hating the opening episodes of 24 season 7… Overall, thumbs up all around.

Scion tC Shifting Mods…

As previously posted, i ordered a B&M short throw shifter, Brass Shifter Cable Bushings, and Redline MT-90 synthetic Gear Oil.

Well, today I installed those with the pleasant aid of Mickevyb and Enfuego Miguel.  None of these things were ‘super difficult’ to do, but it was good to have a couple helping hands in a few various situations.  Thanks to mickeyvb and enfuego again…

I wrote up a review for one of the msg boards that i frequent:
Links:  ReviewPics

And Here’s the description/review pasted for good measure:

– 1 – I installed the brass shifter cable bushings… I got my digi camera out to start getting pics for a ‘how to’ (i really was going to write one…) – but seriously, there is just no point to writing a DIY for these bushings. i was done before i even thought about taking pictures. A how to really would not be any more beneficial than the instructions sent with the bushings. “Remove codder pin, take out old bushing, put in new bushing, secure with e-clip, attach with codder pin” – Those are seriously the steps. I did have to use some WD-40 on one of the bushings because it was kind of corroded. Literally took me 15 mins.

(Test Drive) – With only the shifter cable bushings installed, the shifter feel changed pretty drastically. Not really with movement of the shifter, but getting it into gear. It goes into gear much tighter, and kind of ‘slams’ into gear. You don’t feel like you hit mush… you definitely KNOW your shifter went into gear. It felt alot more ‘nuts and bolts’ than I expected… Which at first i wasnt sure i liked. But after a few runs through the gears, i absolutely love it.

– 2 – B&M Short Shifter Install… Using the DIY on this site (for the TWM), i installed this shifter in about 1 hour. B&M Shipped with 4 replacement shifter base bushings, as well as a tube of lube… I used the bushings, so the B&M is pretty much stock height – and i applied the lube pretty liberally.

(Test Drive) – The combination of the shifter and the shifter cable bushings was a pretty drastic difference. The throws are nice and short, and combined with the brass bushings the shifter really slams into gear. Overall a pretty good feel.. Although not so much what i had expected (more on this later…)

– 3 – Redline MT 90 trans. oil change… Drained the gross old tranny fluid and put in some Redline MT90 synthetic (used the DIY on this site… very very helpful.) Overall was not too difficult, but i would recommend waiting for the car to ‘cool’ before draining the fluid. It was hot, gross, and smelled pretty bad. The new stuff was gold, looked like honey. I almost wanted to eat some of it. Our manual says “2.6 qts”so i pretty much eyeballed a little over 2 and a half… i figure it doesnt need to be EXACT… i might have 2.7 in there. Tightened everything down, lowered back down… and all set. (BTW, always use jack stands. I had my car up with a jack stand under both driver and passenger side. )

*Test Drive/Final Verdict* – This triple mod today drastically changed how my shifter feels and acts. Its much tighter, and much more connected with the transmission. It was a little different than i had expected, as i had expected tighter shifts and shorter throws… The “slam” into gear was a little surprising – it feels like your shifter hits harder. Its actually probably less comfortable, because you feel the impact of the transmission going into gear… I was kind of expecting more of a “luxury feel” (meaning tight, with a comfortable -yet-forceful entry into gear) – and I would call this a more ‘nuts and bolts’ or “race inspired” feel. (yes, i am aware our cars are not race cars.). Although this is not what i was expecting – i do absolutely love it. I wish i would have done these mods before any other, and am very very happy overall with the shifting response. It drastically increases the fun-to-drive factor of the tC, I found myself shifting even when it wasn’t really necessary…


So, recently i came onto 300 extra dollars.  Which; in some twisted terrible worldly paradox, SOMEHOW comes directly from vanbergs’ car burning up. Seriously.

So what to do with 300 dollars? 

  • Order Redline MT-90 Synthetic Transmission Oil
  • Order Brass Shifter Cable Bushings
  • Order B&M Short throw Shifter
  • Order K&N Filter Recharge Kit

Hopefully can install Next weekend at teh mickeyvb’s.  😛

Scion Tc Mods (Boring gear head post)

I’ve always loved my car…

I take very good care of it, and i like to tweak around with it. I wash it by hand, i dry it by hand, i wax it… I’m very anal about keeping it nice. Which has definitely paid off, since my car is almost two years old and it literally looks like near showroom quality still. There arent even hardly any swirlmarks.

Digress, since my very brotherly hermano vanbergs recently found himself looking down the business end of a brand new Chevy Cobalt – I found myself inspired to start doing a couple random “Mods” to my car again. So, I ran around this entire morning doing things to my car.

First on the list was a new radio antenna. Yes mine was working fine.
I went to a honda dealership and purchased a radio antenna for a Honda S2000. Now, you may think to yourself…”Vanberge, dont you have a scion tC?? Clearly a scion tc is not a Honda S2000″ Yes, yes, both are accurate… However, the honda antenna is short, sporty, and fits perfectly on my car. It goes very well with the angles of my car – it really looks like it was made for it. So i spent 20 bucks and my car has a ‘cool’ antenna – which surprisingly seems to add alot to the look of the car.

Ive also been toying with the idea of upgrading my headlights. I pulled out one of the stock bulbs today; “Sylvania” – which is actually a pretty good brand. So I almost didnt bother upgrading them.

BUT, today I found some “Blue” tinted high quality headlights (Made by Philips) at Autozone… They were 37 dollars, which was alot more than i was thinking, but I decided to splurge for a bit of a “cool blue” headlight look. Basically just so everyone passing by me at night can be annoyed by my headlights. The actual bulb has a light blue tint to the glass – it looked very cool. I installed and tested those this morning. The new headlights work (as in, turn on), but its hard to see how “blue” they are when it is 10.30 a.m. and extremly ‘not overcast’ at all.

Then to cap the day off i went to sears auto center and got an oil change/tire rotation. I always use mobile 1 full synthetic (5w-30) engine oil – so my oil changes costs about 45 dollars instead of 20. Its so worth it. You can feel smoother accelleration with that synthetic oil vs regular conventional oil. Synthetic oil is proven to lubricate better and provide better engine protection. Mobil1 is actually the stock oil on the chevy corvette and dodge viper – so really it has to be good… The dudes at Sears threw in the tire rotation for free, and since i had already bought a case of Mobil 1 oil, my sears bill was only 18 bucks. Not bad.

That was enough (or maybe even too much) car stuff for the day, but theres still a few things that i have very close on my radar, and will be doing/purchasing in the very near future.

Current installed Mods to my car (bulleted mickeyvb/rusty style):

Mods that WILL BE DONE before this summer is over:

  • Redine MT-90 synthetic transaxle oil (Gear lube)
  • Brass Shifter Cable Bushings (replace rubber bushings, provide tighter ‘more sporty’ shifting)
  • B&M Short Throw Shifter

Its amazing how little changes can make a huge difference… Obviously a new intake and new exhaust are big things, which add big changes in sound and in horsepower. Bit little things like brass shifter cable bushings, synthetic gear oil… those two things combined are 50 dollars. Little, simple things like that can drastically change the feel of your car when driving. Its just a matter of reading into it and researching how your car works and what aftermarket parts exist for it. has been an awesome reference of information.

sheer fury.

I picked my car up from the body shop on Tuesday. It looked great. Like new. They replaced a window, and re-tinted it. It didnt match exactly… that was the only problem. overall, i was very happy.

Wednesday, i was driving to meet a vendor for work… heading on 131 north. I was following a semi: he in the middle lane, and myself in the far right lane. Apparently, this semi truck ran over a piece of plywood that was lying in the road. This piece of wood, caught in the brisk wind, fluttered and hovered up to 20-25 feet in the air. Then, just as i’m thinking ‘its going to fly over my car’ – this wood dive bombs right into the side of my car. It ripped off my side view mirror. It scratched the front quarter panel. It scratched the door. It scratched the rear quarter panel. Un. Be. Lievable. This happens on the DAY AFTER I PICK MY CAR UP FROM THE BODY SHOP.

Long story short. My car is going back into the body shop to get fixed again.

I have never been been so irate in my entire life. I genuinely had to stop myself from punching through my car window. My face was white hot. I was screaming at the top of my lungs. Sheer, unaldulterated anger.

Also. If anybody wants to go to disturbed on november 29th, i will sell you my ticked for exactly what i paid for it. I’m not going to be able to go. I cannot get out of going to Chicago for ‘training’ for work. email me:

Driving part 2

Continuing with my car theme… I have taken the plunge and started to “mod” my car. This last weekend I got my windows tinted at extreme car audio. They look pretty nice. I tried to go with ‘classy’ as opposed to ‘ghetto’. I went with a 32% for the front, and 22% on the back three, both in the color of charcoal, and I think that was the correct choice. Pictures before and after are posted in my gallery if anybody is interested.

In addition to that, I purchased a K&N cold air intake for my car. This will allow my car to breathe the cooler air outside the engine compartment. Since cooler air is more dense, the combustion is stronger. Stronger combustion = about 10 more horse power and 10 more torque. I’ve read alot about these things on line, and for filters and intakes I guess you really cannot beat K&N. As of now though, it is not street legal. It has been ‘submitted’ for approval, but not yet been approved. I’ll take my chances. Anyway, that beauty arrived at my parents house today, so that will be installed by myself and mickeyvb this coming weekend. I will probably take pics and videos of it.

No other major updates in my life… except for gas prices going up like my cholesterol. Good thing i drive 2.5 miles to work.