Monday, March 23, 2015

Gorilla TMCAI - One Year Later

UntitledIMG_5746I love my 2000 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS Coupe.  It's fun to drive, it looks great (or at least it does NOW), and it's always a hit at local meets and events.  Not only that, but it's blast to drive at rallycross events which I have become increasingly fond of.  In the time that I've had it, there's always been one centerpiece under the hood that becomes sort of a topic every time it's open.  It's this Gorilla Top-Mount Cold Air Intake.  I've had it on the car for over a year so I figured it was time to revisit the review I wrote when I first installed it.

In case you haven't figured it out, this air intake makes use of the unused hood scoop on older Subaru Imprezas.  In Japan, this scoop was functional, providing airflow to the intercooler.  Since silly Americans weren't good enough for the WRX yet we were blessed with the 2.5 RS.  Thanks to this Top-Mounted Cold Air Intake, that hood scoop is USEFUL again!
The main thing I have come to appreciate about this Gorilla TMCAI intake is it's durability! The intake is built from 6061 aluminum and is finished with a heat insulating black powder coat application.  My intake has seen a few "oops" moments and, while it does have scars to show for it... still no problems.  I did need to file down some of the bolts on the underside of the hood to prevent them from digging into the box, but it wasn't a big deal.  As a result, some of that black powdercoat has been worn through in spots, but it's held up to the abuse I've put it (and the car) through.

357_0019Image 058This has certainly been an All-Weather car, as it is also currently being parked outdoors.  Nothing against my rally car, but my nice '12 Impreza and my wife's '04 Outback claim the garage spots unless I'm working on something.  I have taken care to cover the intake when it's parked during rain and snowstorms as I have noticed evidence of water getting through the intake.  There are two holes on the underside of the intake that let water through, but I didn't want to risk anything with the engine.  I suppose it's better to be cautionary than to drown a engine through the manifold.  Driving in adverse conditions, I haven't noticed any problems with the engine.  I can attest to this since this car has since had an engine swap in it since I started running this intake system.  Engine #1 had a burnt valve in cylinder #4 that caused it to misfire often.  Before we removed it, the Gorilla TMCAI was equipped for 9 months totaling just under 10,000 miles.  After we removed the engine and took of the heads, everything (except that burnt valve) appeared to be in great condition.  Engine #2 has not shown any issues either and it has been running strong!

I suppose my only complaint about having this system has been how hard it is to install an air filter with this system.  The Alligator Clips that hold the cover over the air filter are INCREDIBLY tight.  I suppose this is a testament to how solid the design is.  However, this means that I have to remove the entire Gorilla TMCAI every time I want to change or clean an air filter.  I literally have to kneel on the entire assembly to press the cover down far enough to get the Alligator Clips to connect.  If there were a way to secure the filter without having to remove everything, it would make it much more convenient to work on.  Especially considering that this rugged intake is intended for use Off-Road or at Rally events, making something easier to work on would be a positive change.  Still, it doesn't detract from the value I place on this intake.  I suppose I just have to stop being lazy and reluctant with cleaning the air filter.  It is honestly the only complaint I can think of.

IMG_5109 Whether you're idealistic and think that your hood scoop needs to be functional or you're looking for a direct source of cold air to boost your performance, this product will meet and exceed your needs.  It's rugged, sturdy, and you'll feel more confident with a solid setup like this.  I have been very happy with this product and would recommend it to serious owners looking to stay N/A with their Imprezas but want a little more punch.  The Gorilla Top Mount Cold Air Intake does not disappoint in quality, durability, and performance.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Good, the Bad, and the Dirty

IMG_5169Last weekend the NRSCCA Hosted their 2nd Rallycross event of the 2015 season at I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, NE.  25 drivers gave their all in this technically challenging course set up by Jon Simmons, my co-driver.  The mild weather was a welcome change from the Chili Bowl's frigid teens and the track was soft, making for a fun day kicking up dirt!  When the dust had settled and the times were posted, one thing was certain: Rally Tires were the king for these conditions!

IMG_5612The top spot for the day was claimed by Mark Hill in his Mitsubishi Evolution IX.  Besides being an incredibly talented driver, he was also running new rally tires on Braid rally wheels.  Those who caught a glimpse of the white blur that was his Evo witnessed just how easily he cut through the course.  His times were untouchable.  Not only did he claim the Top 3 lap times for the day, but his overall time was a whopping 16 seconds faster than the next fastest driver.  It was a real treat watching him devour the course!
I learned a lot with my RS, too.  Like I said, rally wheels were great for these conditions, so I really think the Speedlines with the Michelin Competition Tires were at home on this track.  I managed to nab 3rd in my class again with it thanks to some great feedback and coaching from Jon.  There was an added bonus that came in the form of a bit of an issue with a fellow Subaru owner.  His Turbo Legacy was having issues after it's first run so I let him drive my RS to complete his runs until he could get his running for the second half of the day.  At the end of the day, the RS had 3 drivers put it through a total of 19 runs... and not a single run more.

That's because, as I rolled off the finish from the final run for the day, I quickly learned that there was a problem with the transmission.  I wasn't able to get it out of gear at first... and then I couldn't get it into first.  Once I got it into first to limp to the pits, I couldn't get it into any other gear.  We parked it on the asphalt and put it up on jack stands to inspect and see if something was jammed in the shifter linkage.  Everything was clear, so we fiddled with it some more until we got it back into neutral.  Then we could only select 3rd, 4th, 5th, and reverse gear.  We pushed it until I could get it into 3rd enough and took some back roads home.  It used those gears flawlessly the rest of the trip, so it seems like there's something loose or broken that is swimming around in the transmission jamming things up.  There are already plans to diagnose the problem and make the necessary repairs this week, so I hope to have this great car up and running again very soon.

Still, getting 3rd in my class again along with a 6th place overall is a testament to how much fun I had.  The RS will ride again and it's so fun to be constantly improving as a driver... now that I know the car can handle it.