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Goodyear Fortera TripleTred — 255/55HR18

March 18, 2007 6 Comments
goodyear tripletred

Last post about car stuff, promise! I didn't know tires could make a difference. My OEM Goodyear Wrangler HP tires lasted 57,000, which is longer than what most people get from those tires (based on opinions). I was going to get the same tires when I found out about the Goodyear Fortera TripleTreds. At first, I didn't like the look of the tred, however, I still went ahead and bought them -- they have a 60,000 mile tread warranty plus a 30-day trial period. The 255/55HR18 TripleTred tire looks really nice and the tires perform exceptionally! A much smoother ride and the tire really grips the road. This is the highest rated tire at and it's all true.

DIY: Part II — Replacing Front Rotors and Brake Pads on a Land Rover Discovery II

Automobiles, DIY
March 18, 2007 7 Comments

In Part I, I changed the rear rotors and pads of my Land Rover Discovery II. Last weekend, I tackled Part II, changing the front set. The process isn’t much different than the back except that the caliper and pads are much bigger.


The only additional tools you will need from the rear change is a 19mm 12pt socket with a short extension. The caliper is bigger, so are the bolts holding it. Also, you will need to be a bit careful with the ABS sensor. There is a mounting that holds the sensor in place, you will need to gently remove the wire from the mounting plate so you can get your socket wrench to the bolt. Once you remove the caliper, compressing the piston (two of them) and brake pads is exactly the same as the rear.

Completed front rotor and brake pads
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DIY: Part I — Replacing Rear Rotors and Brake Pads on a Land Rover Discovery II

Automobiles, DIY
March 5, 2007 29 Comments

I used to take my truck into the dealer to get it serviced, which over charged me and coincidently would cause other things break. Now I try to do most work myself. The brake pads and rotors (front and back) on my 2001 Land Rover Discovery II needed replacement. I ordered genuine parts from the nice guys over at Rovers North for almost half of what the dealer wanted to charge me (just for parts!). You will need the following part numbers for the rear: SDB000470 (rotor, you will need two of these), SFP500130 (pair of pads). The pads come with replacement bolts, but remember to also order two replacement rotor placement screws since you will probably strip it when you remove the old one — like I did. In part 1, I will be showing how to replace the rear pads and rotors. Part 2, will be about the front, which should be very similar to the back. Let’s get started…

Getting Started
Changing brakes and rotors is a messy job. You will need the following tools:


Jack Stand (for safety), Pump Jack, Gloves, Hammer, Impact Driver with #4 bit, 12mm 6pt Socket, 12mm Wrench, 13mm 12pt Socket, 13mm Wrench, Tire Bolt Wrench, C-Clamp, Brake Cleaner and some WD40.

If you are just changing you brake pads, you will be done in about 15 mins. Just skip down to the “Brake Pad Replacement” section.

Rotor Replacement
The first thing I did was remove the rotor placement screw since that is where most of your time will be spent. This was the hardest part when replacing my Discovery brake disc (rotor). I used a Craftsman Impact Driver with a #4 bit and just pounded it until it loosened. The rear driver side screw completely stripped which made it even harder. I used an oversized slot bit (included with the Impact Driver) and pound on it until it released.

Using the Impact Driver To Remove Screw
What a stripped screw looks like.

Once you get the screw loose, remove the caliper mounting bolts. These are the 13mm 12pt bolts. Make sure you have a 13mm 12pt socket or a 13mm combo wrench since these bolts are also pretty hard to loosen. I used a little WD40 to help it a bit.


When you have the caliper removed, tie it up or place it on a 5 gal bucket. Then pull the rotor off. If it doesn’t come off easily, you will need to remove the mud guard which is held on by 3 small bolts. Then just tap it with a hammer to loosen. When you have removed the old rotor, clean the mount and install the new rotor and screw.


Reattach the caliper with the 13mm bolts and you have finished your rotor replacement!

Brake Pad Replacement
Changing your brake pads is very easy… you just need the 12mm socket and 12mm wrench (depending on which one works better for you).


You will need to remove one of the 12mm caliper brake housing bolts, I do the lower rear first. The caliper will pop up (from the force of the brake pad spring). Pivot the caliper up. You will need to compress the piston. Using a C-Clamp, slowly and evenly compress the piston. You may need to remove some brake fluid from the reservoir to avoid overspill.


Once you have compressed the piston install the new brake pads and pivot down the caliper over the pads. You might need to compress the piston more if it doesn’t fit over the pads. Use the new bolts which came with the pads, replacing the other bolt as well.


That’s it! You have just completed your brake pad replacement. Now turn your engine on and pump your brakes a few times and take the truck out for a spin. You will smell burning of brand new rotors and pads, since it is burning the paint off the rotor.

Update: DIY front rotors and brakes is posted here.

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2007 VW Bus/Kombi — Whoa!?

November 16, 2006 31 Comments

Hey folks! I just back back from my honeymoon in Brazil and wanted to post a quick entry about what I saw. Technically, I'm still on my honeymoon and am not suppose to be blogging, however, I managed to get a 10 minute window before we walk down to Starbucks for a coffee.

When we first landed in Rio I saw a ton of VW busses and thought all of them were old. But, I quickly realized that these things had to still be in production in Brazil since I saw newer rust free busses moving about.


On our way to Paraty, I saw a VW dealer with a 2007 bus for sale, I later found out it's called a Kombi in Brazil. The biggest change I see from a 2006 (first picture) to 2007 is that on the 2007, the front now has a black grill, which I assume is an air intake or radiator to cool the engine.

I have five minutes to finish this post... if you have a moment, check out the VW Brazil website ( and check out the Kombi 360 interior and exterior shots. It's pretty weird to see a car that looks close to the original 1950 design in the year 2007. Ok, my time is up... don't want to get the wife upset... man that sounds weird! I will be back in full blogging mode when I officially return from honeymoon on Monday.

Road Studs That Can Monitor Your Speed, Issue A Ticket

January 2, 2006 4 Comments
Imaging being the guy that invented those little yellow or white road studs, you know, the ones that make that vibrating sound when you drive over when changing lanes. There must be about centillion of those things lining streets across the world. Does anyone know how many of those have been made or are on the roads across the world? I'd love to know! Anyways, that's not what this post is about, it's about how high-tech those studs are getting.

Astucia Traffic Management Systems, a UK based company, known for building some very impressive traffic management systems and controls, now have Intelligent Road Studs to add to their arsenal. The system is comprised of a camera stud, vehicle detection stud, and a lane management stud. This is where it gets pretty scary, and very cool, the camera stud uses a high-definition camera located within a heavy-duty road stud. It provides a central view of the road in all weather conditions and has high-definition still or moving images of oncoming or departing vehicles and automatic number plate recognition. Now, put that together with the detection stud, which provides highly accurate information including vehicle speed, vehicle length, and number of axles, and you'll never be able to get out of a speeding ticket -- ever!

A: Level Volga V12 Coupe — Back To The Future

October 26, 2005 6 Comments

UPDATE: More stunning photos available here.

When I first saw this automobile, I thought of my good friend Lodi! Yes, Mr. Steven Lodifink from Finkbuilt. If you have ever met him, you'd know what I'm talking about.

The Volga V12 Coupe is hand-built by a Moscow firm called A:Level. The body styling is straight from the '50s and finished in black. However, don't let the styling fool you... the underpinnings and interior are from a BMW 850, and the engine... that too is a BMW V12. CRAZY! The V12, paired with a six-speed manual gearbox, produces 380bhp and 406lb ft of torque, and accelerates this heavy mongrel from 0-60mph in 6.3 seconds... that's no 1950's mobile!

I don't have much more about A:Level or the Volga, but I bet it would make Mr. Lodifink a happy man. Cheers!