Colorado Expedition: Overnight in Texas

Day one was the longer drives getting to Colorado, about 10 hours on the road. Living in Texas, driving out of the State takes a day if you want to drive comfortably.

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You straight shot to Colorado but it would be 18hrs. My Land Cruiser MPG isn’t the best. The 18hr drive would turn into 20hrs with gas stops and restroom breaks. Not worth it. We decided to spend day 1 in Texas and camp near the New Mexico border.

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We were 5 rigs deep on this trip and felt like I was those Australians on YouTube with the overlanding channel. The homies from Austin met up with us in Fort Worth and had quick lunch at Chick Fil A. Forth Worth is north of Houston, but felt hotter, a lot hotter.

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After the lunch break it was time to continue north west to McDowell campground. That was about 4hr drive from Forth Worth. On google maps I saw some dispersed camping in the area and pin those locations.

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Then about 6 miles out before reaching the campsite, my friend Mike with GX, had mechanical issue. The car puffed black smoke from the exhaust, lost power, and died. Thankfully we are car guys. and with everybody bouncing ideas off one another, we found out the fuel pump was starting to go out.

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We reset the ECU and thankfully it started right up. By the time we got to the campsite, it was sunset. Setting up the Roofnest tent was a breeze, and took about 5 mins. Day 1 was my day to cook dinner. I had some homemade fajita marinate soaking in pork belly since we left Houston in the morning.

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I started up the grill on my Snowpeak, and my wife did the food prep. Everyone brought food and pretty sure we wont go starving for the trip.

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I was worried about the summer night heat, but since we are near the water, the heat wasn’t too bad. We didn’t have to deal with bugs because of the Thermacell. It created a nice barrier to the pest.

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Later at night, it did get very windy. I could hear the other tents flap around. Our Roofnest tent kept us safe. The tent felt stable, and didn’t feel like the it was going to collapse. 

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The next morning it was time head to Colorado. Stay tuned.

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Colorado Expedition

August was my birthday month and I wanted to celebrate it, but with COVID pandemic happening, I’m limited to what can do. House party was out of the question, bars are currently closed, and restaurants are limited capacity. Arcades might be too packed, and track days are expensive. Flying is cheap, currently, but Europe and Asia shut their borders to USA.

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Why not do a camping trip! Texas in the month of August is still too hot for Lambo to camp. Instead, lets head up into the mountains of Colorado where it’s cooler.

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I recently got my Roofnest tent. Past camping trips I used to camp inside the Land Cruiser. The set up wasn’t too bad but my wife and I wasn’t too comfortable, and packing everything in and out was a bit time consuming. We decided to upgrade our set up and glad we did. Colorado was the perfect test for it.

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The trip took 10 days total and we all camped at dispersed campsites. This means no amenities in the campsite. Just you, and what you brought. I like those sites because it’s free and the trails to get to get to them are generally more tougher to get to. Meaning, better chance of less people and more secluded views.

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Dispersed camping is only allowed in national forest or BLM (bureau of land management) areas. For trip I only paid for gas, and supply runs. I think the tent, with dispersed camping paid for itself.

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Ryan and I planned out the route and sites months ago. We used a combination of Gaia Maps and Google maps. I mainly use Google maps with satellite imaging to look for camp sites and get a general idea of the terrain.

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The planning we did was loosely planned, a rough draft, if you like to call it. We planned it that way, because anything can happen on the trails (which it did) and you want to take your time to enjoy the views. If you are on a tight schedule you can’t really enjoy your travels, because you will be rushing to get to the next destination or spot. That would feel like I’m back at work on a timed schedule.

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As long as you in the heading in the right direction, its all good. I wasn’t able to get all the places I wanted to go to, because of unforeseen things. But that’s just anther excuse to back.

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Stay tuned since this was a long and epic trip I’m going to post in parts. Thanks for reading!

Knuckle Up

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I fixed the TPS issue from COTA and was back it for some drifting with Knuckle Up. I was thinking of driving the 86 to the event since it was held locally in Houston. But the forcast of rain, made me think otherwise. My 86 has no AC or wipers, and not sure how waterproof my wiring job is. I didn’t want to take the risk and trailered the 86.

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The 86 did well drifting. The suspension settings was the same since COTA and the only difference I did was swap the rear tires to less grippy tires. I was able to get the car sideways playing with weight transfers.

Got 10 second of fame from the homie Danh. Later that day it started to rain and I called it day.

Check out Danh website blog: http://dtphan.com

AE86 the Ultimate Test

After getting the AE86 running in January, the 86 has seen 4 track events. After each event, issues have popped up. Thankfully nothing catastrophic.

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As I got more comfortable with the car, and latest oil lab report showing healthy motor. The next step was to take the AE86 to Circuit of the Americas. This was going to ultimate test if the car can hold up to the track abuse.

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First session started at 3pm, during the peak Texas summer heat. My tire psi cold was 28psi, and kinda low but I didn’t add air because I know the hot asphalt will heat up the tires quickly.

The car did great on the first session, took it easy just making sure it all stays together. The cooling stayed 83 degrees celecius, with the Texas heat, and oil pressures stayed at 70-80 psi. The first session a success, it was now time to have some fun!

The 2nd session was the fastest with 3:02 time. Slow times, people run a 2:40, but they are fast drivers with higher horsepower cars.

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My car in the long straights didnt have the power to pull but I was decent enough to hang in the corners.

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The 3rd session, the track was starting to get cooler and sun starting to set. I was kinda tired already but I didnt want to waste time or money. I went out there and tried to improve my times.

I noticed on my AiM dash that the throttle position sensor was reading 97% even though I was was 100% on the gas. It didnt really bother me, as the motor felt fine. But on the 4th session that when an issue happened.

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On the 4 session, the track looked perfect, the sun just setting in the horizon. Perfect for the dawn shots.

Then disaster stuck and happen after the video ended, since the go pro battery died. The car started to sputter and loose power. Then the throttle cable got stuck wide open.

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This happened at turn 10, just over the crest. Luckly this area has pretty of runoff and I was able to park the 86 in a safe area. I waited for a tow. I was thinking what caused this issue, since my overheating and low psi warning light didnt go off.

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Once is was towed into the pits, I found the issue. My throttle was stuck from a loose wire, and my TPS bolts backed out and came loose. Hence why my TPS was reading 0% when I pressed on the gas.

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More on that next blog…..

Hill Country Heat

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Wanting to go exploring with some friends, I went to Hidden Falls in the Texas hill country. My friends camped overnight but I couldn’t do it since I work the day left. I was able to meet up for day 2.

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I grew up in Austin, Texas and I couldn’t remember if it was this hot before in June. At 9am I was already sweating from airing down my tires. Its dry heat that felt like I was in a oven.

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The trails we hit were fairly easy for high clearance 4x4s. Tom told me they went to some level 4 and 5 trails yesterday and wanted to relax today. I couldn’t blame him, no one wants trail damage or white knuckle driving haha.

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The Texas heat was pretty bad, by the afternoon my Land Cruiser AC condenser got heat soak and AC was blew luke warm air. I think I’ll need a pusher fan for the summer. The AC cools once we start moving but idling, AC is non existent.

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We hit some trails where we did some trail maintenance. More fun with you have a group of people with you.

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Sal took some pretty dope pictures. Most of the trails was dry, but we manage to find some mud.

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Testing out the new roof rack. I can tell the body doesnt creak when flexing, and Im sure the roof rack stiffen the body. Feels solid.

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Tom take a pic for the gram.

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Had a great time with the homies and the views of the hill country never disappoint. The Land Cruiser is such a capable rig off road and looking forward to more adventures.

 

Project AE86: MRP goodness

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My eBay baffle pan was leaking and unfortunately JB weld didn’t help fix the leak, it was time to buy the legit one. Lesson learned is always stick to quality parts because in the long run you’ll end up paying more to fix the shoddy quality.

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I also bought a belt tensioner for my future 4age high reving build too. Might as well save on the shipping.

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MRP came with nice instructions on how to install the pan. I took mine to Backyard Auto because Im not skilled enough to remove my pan from the car. Since this part is important to avoid leaks, I figured to take it to the pros.

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Fernando did his magic and I got the car back in two days. The intial drive showed no leaks!!! Such a nice quality product and kinda said how it mostly hidden.

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Sure looks good though! I haven’t done a track day with the my new oil pan but I will do one once this COVID stuff subsides. Planning on a drifting the 86 in June! Stay tuned for that!

I also did small video of the MRP oil pan. Figured people would rather watch something then read about a product. More off visual learners.