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iPod Planz

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The house is coming along well (in that we haven’t had to do anything in a while, have all major appliances and nothing has blown up… yet… knock on wood). SBC even turned on my DSL on the day they promised (nevermind that my connection speed sucks (360kbps down versus 1.25mbps down at my old house), at least it works).
I traded in the WRX last weekend and got a “Commuter Car” (an ’04 Toyota Corolla S). Nice car, quiet, goes 80mph no problem and I got 35mpg on my first tank of gas (versus 25 max from the WRX). Some things will need to change tho:

  • Needs some suspension tweaking. Granted, I’m a bit spoiled coming from the WRX which has an extremely well sorted suspension, but the Corolla has the typical “econobox” problem with tracking/stability at high speeds (e.g. 80). Not dangerous or anything, just a tendency to feel like it’s wandering in the lane, and following rain grooves like they’re railroad tracks. I’m planning to start with a TRD strut tower brace and see what that solves. It’s possible that the solution is going to be a combination of things including tires (probably the biggest factor in directional stability as far as I can tell), “stiffening accessories” such as the strut tower brace and possibly sway bars and (if it comes to it) TRD lowering springs. It would be great if the strut tower braces solve all my woes by tying the front-end together more completely, but I doubt that will solve the whole issue.
  • No cassette deck. This means that the iPod has had to play thru an FM transmitter while I get something else figured out. Thankfully I think salvation arrived this morning in the form of a Logjam Auxiliary Input Converter which (hopefully) plugs into the CD Changer control in the back of the head unit and supports two RCA plug connections. Assuming it works (and I have every reason to suspect it will, I’ll have a better iPod solution than I’ve had to date. I’m considering putting up a DIY section on my “home page” where I detail how to install this, as I think people may actually find it useful (image that, something useful on this site!).
  • The brakes are vague. Not weak necessarily, just soft feeling. I think I’ll start with a two phase fix. Part 1 – New brake pads. Part 2 – Stainless brake lines. Should solve the problem of brake feel. Given the car’s “performance envelope” (such as it is) I doubt I’ll need more than that.
  • I also started learning to Machine (as is metal-working) with Scott on Wed. So far, so good. I can still count to 10 without taking off my socks and we haven’t broken anything yet. Our first “real” project is to mill ourselves some shift knobs. I’ll post pics when I’m done… should be good for a laugh.

    Written by jthurber

    September 5th, 2003 at 8:28 am

    Posted in pointless