Alpine IMPRINT Sound Processing

I have always been a noob when it comes to audio systems, especially in car entertainment systems. There would be days where you would just want to drive slow and enjoy the scene with some nice music playing through your audio system.

And this is the time where I would start to get really upset because the stock sound system from Toyota just plainly couldn't cut it. Add on with the vibration and wind noise coming in from all over the areas of the car, it makes you feel like you just want to drive to the nearest petrol station and torch the mutha fucking car.

So I drove to my audio guy and I told him I want all the vibration and wind noise gone from the car. Then for the next couple of months I learned new terms like Dynamat, chassis foaming, heat insulation, under body spray etc.

Great! So now that the car has a lot less vibration and wind sound, I can now crank up the volume and listen to some music right?


Instead of the singer's voice all that I could hear was her trying very hard to murmur something as though someone has shoved the damn microphone down her throat. Well, I couldn't quite make it whether its a microphone or a banana but yeah so much for the factory sound system.

I am determined to remove that damn microphone (or banana) from the singer's throat so I turned to my audio guy again and he recommended me this - Alpine IMPRINT.

In a nutshell, this is a technology which requires a microphone to be placed in six different locations inside the car, hook up the sound processor to a computer, closed all the doors and let the system tune itself out.

Alpine Imprint Audio Processor

Placement of the microphone

Measuring in progress

Measurements of all 6 locations completed

Frequency & Time Response Graph
(Before & After)

Think of this as a standalone engine management unit for your audio sound system if you will. You are able to tune every single channel and frequency there is available.

There are inherent acoustical challenges in every car and they are all different. For example, your window will deflect the sound produced by your speakers. The car's cushion will absorb some of it, couple it up with wind noise, cabin size and location of the speakers, the sound produced will not be optimal.


Alpine's IMPRINT technology basically overcomes this by measuring the car cabin's acoustic response with a omni-directional microphone at 6 locations to provide time and frequency corrections. The end result is optimum sound quality regardless which location in the car you're sitting at.

I know there are still a lot of audio fanatics out there who still might not be able to accept this new way of tuning sound systems, however this technology has been around for some time and its not something new. Home theater audio systems has been using this technology for more than a decade, its only recently the technology has been made available to the automotive industry.

Alpine is not the only company that uses the MultEQ from sound technology giant Audyssesy in their Imprint architecture, Toshiba, IMAX, Onkyo, Denon, Integra, NAD, Marantz and Jaguar also uses their technology just to name a few.

I fired up a CD and I was in audio nirvana. It has a very nice wide sound stage and the clarity is amazing. I can now hear things I couldn't hear in my car before. With human effort it will take a lot more compared to the what the software can achieve in under 30 minutes, and the results won't probably come close.

Now I am a happy man because there isn't any banana or microphone stuck in anyone's throat anymore.

Chassis Foaming

One of the long due modifications that I've been wanting to do was chassis strengthening, and with the upcoming long holidays the timing was perfect for me to send in the car.

I left the car at the shop around 10.30 AM and collected it around 6 PM, this time I wasn't able to snap any pictures during the foaming process because I was away attending other matters. All that I was told is the A, B, C pillars and the entire undercarriage had work done to it and I was asked to give it a test run before settling my bill.

The car already had Dynamat insulation done to it previously, so I wasn't expecting any changes to the sound proofing but boy was I in for a surprise when I took the car out for a spin.

The cabin is a lot more quieter than before, and I was greeted with a soft "thud" instead of the usual loud "bang" when I went over road bumps. Somehow, the car actually felt softer. Also, body roll was reduced significantly.

Rather than writing a long grandmother story style review here this time, the advice I would give instead is to choose the shop that does the work for you carefully. Make sure you find someone who really knows the ins and outs of the whole thing including your car before committing.

Just trust me, it works.

I was told the foam will take a couple of days to fully harden and by that time I will be able to experience a lot more then what I'm going through now.

The foaming material that was used are imported directly from Germany, but unfortunately all that I could snap with my camera was this piece of foam that they kept on behalf of my request as I was curious to find out how it feels like and how it looks like.

Tough but yet light

With the chassis foaming now in place, what is left to be done will be the underbody spray on the fenders and some rubber strips to reduce the level of noise wind on the rear passenger doors and then we can pretty much be done with the sound proofing works.

At the same time if you're wondering whether I had my work done in a shop in KL with the word "Auto" and "Foam" associated with it, the answer is NO. Nothing personal against that shop, but I reserve my comments on the pricing and the material used.

Proton Exora Turbo - The Real Making

Universiti Putra Malaysia and Proton Holdings Berhad might have made some headlines by revealing the Proton Exora Turbo prototype couples months back earlier, well someone has just beaten them in producing an actual daily driven street car.

Here is a real making of a Proton Exora turbo inside the garage of GT Auto. The reason why this post is here is because this car will be running on the AEM Fuel/Ignition Controller (F/IC).

This unit is a very good alternative to the HKS F-Con iS, and if you are driving an OBD2 vehicle you will want to take a closer look at it as the unit is also capable of O2 remapping as well.

Besides the AEM F/IC and the HKS F-Con iS, another alternative way to tune OBD2 vehicles would be this or you can just go with a standalone engine management and lose your OBD2 compliance altogether.

That is all I can reveal here about this car and if you're curious to find out more about this Exora Turbo, talk to my friend Xenon or just point your browser to his site at for more information.

Some of you might already know him as he drives a Proton Gen2 turbo himself. You have more reasons to talk to him especially if your car has a Campro engine and you have the intentions to fit in a turbo kit.

Stealth hidden intercooler

Close up shot of the intercooler

Engine bay

NCP42 Turbo Teaser Pictures

One of the things that I like about my hobby is not only that you'll make a lot of friends along the way, you get to inspire others to follow suite as well.

Here are some teaser pictures of a NCP42 Toyota Vios belonging to a close friend of mine, and is currently undergoing a turbo kit installation in GT Auto.

His setup is very similar to my current stage 1 turbo kit with some variances, and the car also has a AEM water/methanol injection kit fitted as well.

I don't want to sound like a broken record, but I just can't stop stressing how good it will be for the car if you can just fit a water/methanol injection kit to your ride, especially if its turbocharged.

In a couple of days this car will be rolling out from GT Auto's dyno machine, and we'll be seeing it huffing and puffing on the streets very soon.


Aluminium piping

Titanium muffler


At last, Toby has time to do my forged internals.

I can't wait, stage 2 turbo here I come!

Traction Issues

It has been raining almost everyday here in Kuala Lumpur, and with all the ongoing roadworks around the city centre its certainly isn't very pleasant to drive around with all the stop and go, bumper to bumper traffic.

Some of you already might have know that the current NCP93 Toyota Vios is equipped with an electronic throttle or better known as the drive by wire system (or fly by wire), which I agree it is actually a very good design for fuel efficiency and other neat stuffs like anti-lag and traction control.

Most will probably agree with me that the drive by wire system in our car is certainly not the smartest, and the comments I often hear are "dumb", "laggy" and "slow" etc.

And hence there are after market electronic throttle tuning products like BRM21 HAC and Pivot 3 Drive Throttle Controller.

Because the opening of the throttle plate doesn't correspond directly with your pedal position, with all the rain going on I'm actually getting wheel spins from time to time during traffic light take offs and its getting really annoying.

Couple of times the car next to me actually thought that I was trying provoke him in to a traffic light challenge and he starts spinning his wheels as well. This is the time where some sort of traction control will be really appreciated.

The sad part is that the JDM Toyota Vios doesn't come equipped with traction control unlike the USDM or European Yaris whereby traction control and vehicle stability control is offered be it standard or optional.

Also if you were to plug in an OBD2 scanner and you'll discover that our cars are actually equipped with speed sensors on all 4 wheels, and from there you will be able to monitor all the individual wheel speed.

Yes, no doubt I love the kind of torque the car is producing now but power is really nothing if you can't transfer them properly to the wheels and control it.

So I'm pondering now perhaps its time to ditch the car and get myself a proper sports car with a full time 4 wheel drive system like the Evo or Subie?

Yes most probably, but before doing so I will still continue to complete all the current pending mods that are lined up on hand.

Sigh, don't think the current 205/45 profile tires has sufficient grip

Innovate Motorsports Wideband Controller

For any natural aspiration to turbo conversion project, a wideband controller is almost a must have item for the absolute serious tuners and enthusiasts.

Most natural aspirated cars comes factory fitted with a narrow band sensor where it could only read air fuel ratios between 14.5 and 15.1, which is pretty much useless for turbo cars whereby the air fuel ratio ranges are much more wider.

Toyota Vios turbo has been using the LC-1 wideband controller from Innovate Motorsports since the very first day it left GT Auto's garage, and the reason why we chose Innovate over other brands like AEM, DynoJet and Zeitronix is pretty much self explanatory here.

The test conducted by Ford Muscle clearly shows that the Innovate LC-1 wins hands down in terms of accuracy and response time over others, put aside the other features such as the logging capabilities of the software.

Besides that, the thing we like about the LC-1 is that it has 2 programmable analog outputs, a feature very useful for tuners to tune OBD-II compliant cars where the ECU relies on 2 narrowband sensors to adjust the air fuel ratio during closed loop operation.

OBD-II car owners should take notice what I am about to post next.

With the analog output feature, we're able to fool the stock ECU to keep the fuel trims in check by wiring an analog output to simulate narrow band reading to the ECU so that it does not correct any adjustments made by the E-Manage piggyback unit during closed loop.

Think of it as an O2 remapping device if you will, and the only other devices that we have seen in the market which has similar capabilities is the AEM F/IC piggyback, HKS F-Con iS and the F-Manage from Trust Japan, whereby even the mighty R35 GTR's ecu was also defeated by it.

As far we know, Innovate is the only producer of digital wideband controller in the market which is capable of auto self calibration, whereby the rest are all analog based and had to rely on the factory sensor calibration. This is a major factor to consider when deciding on your purchase of a wideband controller because when the sensor ages, so will the accuracy of the reading.

So if you were somehow unlucky and purchased a unit which is not capable of calibration, you wouldn't have any idea when the sensor is going bad. There won't be any compensations for changes in temperature, altitude and sensor condition.

In simple terms, your engine is basically blinded but with its eyes wide open. In this case, you might as well just throw it away and run your car fully map based, lose your fuel economy rather than risking an engine blow.

LC-1/XD-16 kit package

XD-16 gauge showing stoich during idling

Motul 300V

Motul 300V is Motul's premium top of the line fully synthetic engine oil with Double Ester Technology, and the entire range of oils were co-developed with the engineers of NISMO, Motul and Honda Mugen Japan GT Teams as well as the Subaru World Rally Team.

This is the oil not only I will swear by, so will GT Auto and their record setting Evolution III drag car, holding the fastest 0-400m drag time in Malaysia.

So, who else uses Motul 300V oil exclusively as their engine lubricant you ask? Just to name a few:
  • PRODrive
  • Formula Renault
  • Subaru World Rally Team
  • Japan GT Nismo
  • Honda Mugen Team
  • Ferarri 550 Maranello
  • Le Mans 24H
  • Formula 3000
  • FIA GT
  • French GT
  • Porsche GT
I could keep adding on to the list, but you get the jizz.

Toyota Vios turbo has been using it since day #1 and until anything better comes along, Motul 300V will be the only oil that will be going in and out of my engine.

Pricey maybe some will say? Yes, but you get what you paid for.

Motul 300V 5W40

Revised Suspension Settings

Couple of days back, I had my HotBits DT1 shockers sent back to Speedworks for a full service and I took the opportunity to have the suspension setup revised.

After 6 months of driving and testing with numerous setups, I discovered that the best setting to my likings for the spring force would 60-kg/cm for the front and 40-kg/cm for the rear.

So I had Speedworks revised my shockers together with the new spring setup and now its working flawlessly. The damping and rebound on the road is just nice and exactly to what I wanted.

As usual, not a single cent was paid for all the work done as the shockers are still under warranty, and on top of that I was given another 3 months warranty extension starting from the serviced date.

40-kg/cm force springs

Stage 2 Turbo Project - Garrett GT2554R

Update (01/08): Item sold.

This turbo is now up for sale at RM 4,200, please get in touch with me if you're interested. Only 2 left in the entire Malaysia.

The stage 2 turbo kit is finally coming in to picture with the arrival of the most important component which is the turbo itself.

This little baby here is rated to produce up to 270 HP and is suitable for engines with the displacement from 1.4 liters and above. With a dual ball bearing design, we would expect minimal lag from this turbo even on the small 1NZ-FE engine.

It is quite common for ball bearing turbos to spool up at least 15%-20% faster than similar sized journal bearing turbos while giving better damping and control over shaft motion, providing enhanced reliability for everyday driving.

This GT2554R turbo uses a dual stainless steel ball bearing cartridge and is the smallest ball bearing turbo available from Garrett. With the ball bearing design, we won't need to supply as much oil as needed compared to journal bearing for lubrication of the turbo.

It also shares the same oil and water cooling housing design as my current GT2056 turbo, however the major differences between the both of them would be the bearing design and the power output.

We'll see how well this turbo performs when it goes in.

Stay tuned fellas.

Medklinn Mobile

What I am about to introduce here has nothing to do with the performance of your car, however this product worked so well I wanted to share it with everyone.

Meet Medklinn Mobile, a car air sterilizer/ionizer that plugs right in to your ciggarette lighter socket.

I got it for my car for the following reasons:
  1. Despite my best effort there are still tons of dust particles inside the car and I can't take it anymore
  2. Durians, if I ever brought any in to the car it'll take forever for the smell to go away
In order to deodorize and detoxify the air inside the car, this device works by flooding the entire car's interior with massive amounts of negative ions to remove offensive odours and pollutants such as pollens, dust particles and exhaust fumes.

To be really exact, it actually emissions up to at least 2 million negative ions per second in order to achieve that effectively.

So do not confuse this with some voltage stabilizer products that also doubles as an air ionizer.

This is not a voltage stabilizer, this is the real deal.

The Star Online actually did a cover on this device 2 years back then and the article claims that the average number of germs on your steering wheel is actually more than double the numbers of germs residing in your toilet.

So did it work for me? Hell yeah. Not only I noticed that my dashboard and audio head unit now has a lot more less dusts, I actually brought different types of food in to the car cabin to see how well this device works, including durian.

And indeed, it worked well.

If it can actually neutralize durian smell, it certainly would have no problems with any others.

So I wind down my window and threw the Ambi Pur out from the car as I no longer need it to cover any smell in the car since I can actually remove it now.

This device requires no maintenance, costs RM 300 and is backed with a year of warranty from Medklinn.

The content of the package

Close up shot

Emits a cool looking blue neon light during operation

Stage 2 Turbo Project - Toga Bearings & AJUSA Head Bolts

The bearings and head bolts arrived yesterday, collected the package and had them sent over to GT Auto this morning.

When I showed it to Toby and Thomas they looked at them and gave me a weird and puzzled look.

Toby : Oi, what is this? Juan show him the ACL bearings!
Thomas : Eh? The bolts not ARP wan ah?

HELLO UNCLES! If ACL had produced bearings for the 1NZ-FE don't you think I would have bought it? And that goes for the ARP bolts as well DUH!

Then they proceed to show me a set of ACL bearings and ARP head bolts and boy I was so disgusted! :P

Anyways we opened up the package to examine the bearings and they seem to look fine. The Toga bearings are tri-metal cast copper lead with electroplatting babbitted overlay and they come with a 3 year/60,000 KM warranty.

AJUSA claims the head bolts to be higher grade than stock bolts, but they definitely don't measure up to ARP. However, they are indeeed heavier than the stock bolts.

Well we won't know how true those claims above are until it all goes in to the engine.

AJUSA head bolts & Toga bearings

The bearings are individually stamped

AJUSA head bolts

Open Challenge To Garage R

So AsiaOne published an article about Garage R and their recent 8.8 seconds quarter-mile achievement.

While many quickly jumped and applauded them for their achievement, I sincerely believe that before Garage R starts making claims in the public media to be the fastest Evo in Southeast Asia they should probably first make a trip down to Malaysia Sepang International Circuit and refresh their 9.4 seconds that they've clocked here previously. (although the article actually claimed a 9.1 seconds which I don't know where they got it from)

Taking into consideration that the venue used in Carrerista Jamboree for the drag event when the record was made is not even a proper built circuit, then throw in an uneven and bumpy road surface I have reasonable doubts that the timing could be anywhere near accurate.

I know some of my Singaporean friends or readers might start flaming me for this post, comments are welcomed but I just want to clarify that I am not dissing anyone here but to cast a shadow of doubt on the claims made by Garage R, thats all.

I mean yeah Singapore Motor Sports Association can sanction all they want but the fact is that the road was uneven and bumpy and the record wasn't made on a proper drag strip.

So, Garage R. Why not you make a trip down to Malaysia and do your 8.8 seconds here? Don't you want to refresh your old 9.4 seconds record that you set here last time?

You have fans here as well, I am sure your fans will be more than happy to see you participate in the upcoming Sepang Drag Battle.

If you can't make it in October, there is another round in November.

Cheap Horsepower

One advantage of turbocharged cars is that they can generally be modified to produce substantially more horsepower by just increasing the boost.

On any given turbo, generating additional boost is simply matter of having the turbo to spin faster which is primarily controlled via the waste gate.

When the Vios turbo first came out from the tuner back in April, it was only boosting 0.4 bar as we needed to observe the engine operations and it was only putting down 130+ to the wheels.

We then raised the boost to 0.6 bar and we gained an instant 10 horse making it 140+ at the wheels.

In June, we upgraded the stock coils to Okada Projects coils and we gained another instant 10 wheels pushing the final output to 150+ wheels with no change in the boost.

This also tells us that upgrading the ignition system is also beneficial as well, as we can see there are lots of products in the market such as the HKS Twin Power, MSD coils, Okada Projects etc but personaly I think CDI is the only way to go if you're planning to make some serious power.

Blue: 0.4 bar, Red: 0.6 bar
Green: 0.6 bar with Okada Projects coils

Currently, we're suspecting there is a leakage somewhere as we can hear noises from the cabin when the car is in boost.

We will find out soon enough when the car goes in for a full engine rebuild.

(Update 21/08): Turns out the exhaust gasket was cracked due to excessive installations and removals. Got it fixed and we're good to go again.

FWD Parking

I came across this video and I can't help but wanting to post it up.

Rear wheel drive car drivers please do not attempt this at home.

Stage 2 Turbo Project - 1NZ-FE Forged Pistons & Billet Conrods

(Update 23/02): We ordered a replacement set as we found out they were actually high compression pistons.

I recently ordered a set of racing pistons and conrods for my car, and the Malaysia Customs had a problem with that.

And since I am a law obeying citizen I am more than willing to pay for taxes of any goods that I import, but hell I am not going to pay for something that is not reasonable.

I mean, they even wanted to charge me taxes for the shipping fees as well.

Without sharing all the glory details, I've managed to obtain my goods without paying a single cent at all and there is nothing they can do about it.

All I can say is that Malaysia Customs are not only stupid, they're fucked up as well. And I will say this once again.

Malaysia Customs are not only STUPID, they're FUCKED UP as well.

So to those who asked what killed motorsports in Malaysia, now you have the answer to it.

OK rants aside, lets get back to business.

It will take at least a couple of months for the forged internals to go in as they are oversized pistons so we need to bore & hone the engine block, not to mention converting the fuel system to a return setup, wiring for the standalone engine management etc.

On top of that, my tuner is so tied up with all the upcoming race events until end of the year I doubt they will ever have time to start work at least until early next year. *sobs*

I am also currently deciding whether should I ditch the automatic transmission gearbox and chuck in a manual gearbox with LSD.

CP packaging

CP pistons box

9.0:1 compression pistons NOT!

Teflon skirt coated

Crower packaging

Crower billet rods

Garrett GT2056

Lots of people have been asking me how does the GT20 turbo that I am currently using looks like so I decided to snap a few pictures and post it up here.

This GT20 turbo that I am using now is considered a rare turbo as it was a custom made model by Garrett Thailand as it has additional water lines feeding to the housing.

It was hand carried back by GT Auto's Toby all the way from Thailand.

There are only 2 units available, one went to my car and the other one went to GT Auto's staff car.

This is not my car here, it belongs to one of the staffs working in GT Auto.

The car was involved in a minor accident the other day and the hood and bumper was removed for repair works so I managed to snap some pictures of it.

Now do not let the size of the turbine fool you. This little fella here is rated to produce up to 260 PS.

Garrett GT2056

Water & oil feed

Sepang Drag Battle 2009 - Round 3

Yesterday while waiting for my car to be washed at Sunway I walked over to GT Auto's garage to grab lunch with both the master tuners Thomas and Toby.

The crew hasn't been sleeping for more that 48 hours as they were busy preparing the race cars and not mention the countless hours on the dyno machine tuning the cars.

So the following conversation happened while we were having fried kuey teow at the Sunway foodcourt.

Me : Eh bugger, you don't need to sleep ah? Wanna become god issit?
Toby : I still got 2 more cars waiting lah, how to sleep?
Thomas : You don't know meh, he drinks race fuel wan. No need to sleep keh.
Me : Like that when only you got time to do my internals and standalone?
Toby : If you can wait, year 2010 lor.
Me : Mahai, want so long meh?
Toby : Your pistons and con rods arrive liao meh?
Me : Yah, but currently stucked at the customs. Monday need to go settle.
Thomas : So tonight you going Sepang to see the drag battle ah?
Me : Wanna go but no kaki leh.
Toby : Tiu we both here not considered kaki ah?
Me : You didn't say you guys planning to go also?
Thomas : Ok lah, tonight you follow us to the pit lah let you experience a bit.
Me : Can can, I call David also.

We were then handed a pair of official GT Auto crew t-shirt and off we went to Sepang. I was pretty excited as how often do you get to be at the pit as a guest crew for the tuner of the fastest drag car in Malaysia?

We were stationed at pit 17, and we have our 10 second street legal Mitsubishi EVO 9 that won the previous round in the drag battle competing in class A and a new Honda CRX in Class C.

Unfortunately, both cars wasn't able to get any standings as our EVO9 was spitting out transmission oil and the CRX was having problems with the toe & caster setting resulting our driver wasn't able to full throttle due to unstable launching.