Thursday, December 14, 2006

Baby Needs a New Pair of Shoes

I completed my second official "mod" to the wagon last week. I can now monitor the boost and vacuum in the manifold. I was limited on time the evening I put it in, so I'm afraid I don't have any "in progress" pictures. The boost gauge is from AWE and they did a great job getting it to look like the stock gauges. It was pretty simple to pop out one of the center vents and replace it with the new gauge. The most time consuming step was cutting a hole in the back of the vent for the electric wires and vacuum hose. The hose gets run up through the box that contains the car's computer, then through the firewall (gray hose in the picture). It's spliced into the fuel pressure regulator hose and you're done in the engine bay. Cutting the FPR hose was a tense moment as I tried to overcome the fear that I'd somehow identified the wrong hose and forced the muscles in my hand to squeeze on the cutters. Finally, attach the electric wires to a couple of screws near the fuse box, put everything back together, and that's it. I took the car out for a spin and was happy to see that everything looked fine. Vacuum at idle is 20 in/Hg and peak boost at wide-open throttle is 7-8 psi.

A couple nights ago, I discovered that the nice UPS man had rolled four new shoes for the baby up onto our porch. I'd been looking at the Bridgestone Potenza S-03 Pole Position tires on for some time now. The price was reasonable for the tire compared to others in its class, and the treadlife and wet traction ratings appealed to me. The tread pattern isn't as sexy as some other high performance summer tires, but that didn't matter too much. Suddenly the other day, I checked Tirerack and found that the tires were on closeout pricing, something like sixty bucks off the price of each tire. I pulled the trigger.

The catch here is that I ordered a plus-one size 225/40R18 and the stock rims are 17s. I want the 18s so that I can upgrade to a big brake kit later on sometime, but of course that means I am now on the hunt for new wheels. I don't plan on spending too much time on the track, so my short list of wheels is based mainly on appearance. I've scoured wheel manufacturer web sites and I find it odd that the only wheels that I've liked the looks of are replicas of Audi RS4 stock wheels. I'd like to have the set ready to go by springtime, so I have some time left to make that decision.