A little cryptic title for my long-overdue first post in 2013, but I’ll quickly explain. Having a wisdom tooth removed is not an experience I would wish on many people, yet is something I had to go through this past week. A couple of weeks ago I got a pain at the back of my [...]
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Just got one of these in the mail and there is a lot said about this brand of “Tial knock-off” wastegate, mostly by people who’ve never actually had one in their car. So I thought I’d throw up a few pictures and a few thoughts on it, good or bad.
First off, the box was much bigger than I was expecting due to a few extra bits that came with it, but more about that later. The wastegate itself is packaged very neatly in fitted polystyrene, along with bolts, 2 paper gaskets,2 banjo bolts, 2 flanges and the all-important fire ring. And they also send me a composite gasket too for the exhaust manifold to wastegate connection, although I would be reusing a stainless gasket I had.
Along with the wastegate itself came a rather nifty angled bit of piping for the dump pipe (completely useless for me, but a nice thought to include it). And also we have a wastegate dump pipe. The welding isn’t going to win any awards for its neatness, but it’s not easy for those 6-year old Chinese workers in a sweat shop to get their hands around the welders I expect. Saying that, the welds do look solid enough, and the dump pipe will be kept in my car incase I need to hit any of the gangs of kids on motorbikes at night (only partly joking).
The common first course of action with these wastegates is usually to disassemble them and check everything is ok inside them and screws are nice and tight. I also had to take mine apart to change the spring. On mine it took a bit of effort to loosen everything up which is reassuring. The cap popped off and the screws came out of the diaphragm, leaving everything apart and as you see it below. Some people at this point take the opportunity to fit genuine Tial diaphragms to the wastegates, although this XS Power one looked in much better condition than previous ones I’d seen.
Even though I had asked for the XS Power 1 bar spring, I know from my previous wastegates from them that they are only good to about 0.7bar. So with that in mind I also got myself a pair of genuine Tial 1bar springs for my 2 wastegates. Which gave me a great opportunity for a little comparison.
In the picture below from left to right you can see the normal XS Power spring (good to probably 0.4bar at a guess), the XS Power “1bar” spring, and the Tial 1bar spring. First thing to notice is the size; the Tial spring is much bigger than the XS Power one. But that could just mean the spring isn’t compressed as much and will push down easier. Nope. The Tial spring was tough to compress with my hands, and even tougher to install. I had to push down with all my weight on the spring with the wastegate cap when I was putting it all back together. Much more difficult than it had been with the XS Power spring.
Back together, the fire ring was dropped into place and it was all bolted up. Started the car and no wastegate rattle at idle (sign of a bad seal or a bad valve. Not tried it on boost yet due to another couple of issues, but that wil come very soon.
Will a genuine Tial wastegate be more reliable in general than this one? Yes. Are you more likely to have problems with this than a Tial? Yes. Could you buy one of these wastegates, have no problems with it at all and be perfectly satisfied with it? Definitely.
Anyway, that’s just a few of my thoughts and an insight into what you’ll get if you ordered one.
If you read the ramblings on here I post up from time to time you’ll know that I’m not the most forthcoming when it comes to dishing out praise and compliments. They do come sometimes, but they have to be earned., especially from businesses that I give my hard-earned and significant amounts of cash to.
The status quo over the past decade has been for customer service to be declining. Companies seem obsessed with the sale but then if something goes wrong you better have the patience of Job. After sales has truly become the forgotten art. Well, I strongly thought that until the start of this week.
At the end of 2011 I purchased a set of locking bonnet latches from Aerocatch. They had very good reviews from everyone who used them, both for their quality and their looks. They finally got fitted to my car back in March and looked and performed great, for a month. Then one night I went to lock the catch down and this happened:
The key wouldn’t go all the way into the lock. It was as if one of the tumblers inside the lock had just seized. I tried WD40, I tried picking the lock but nothing could get it to move, which left me with a non-locking locking catch. Pretty disappointing considering they aren’t the cheapest bonnet latches in the world and were supposed to be top drawer.
So I sent an email to Aerocatch about the problem, asking if they’d had this problem before and if there was a solution. Within 4 hours we had exchanged some emails about the problem, and I’d sent them a video showing what was happening. Straight away they got in touch with their distributor in Japan and told them to send me a replacement kit out, and asked me to return the faulty unit when it came in so they can check it out. All in all this problem was reported on Monday at about 8pm, and my replacement kit was delivered from mainland Japan on Wednesday at around 3pm.
A sign of a good company is how well it takes care of its customers post-sale, and Aerocatch couldn’t have been better. Their response was swift, and effective. People don’t really mention bad customer service these days as unfortunately it’s often taken as a given, but I would strongly recommend Aerocatch to anyone looking for an aftermarket body catch. Not only are their catches very high quality (I strongly believe I just got one with a glitch) but their customer service is exactly what you want from a manufacturer. Check them out at www.aerocatch.com
Am currently at 33.000ft over Northern China, so what better time and place to write a much overdue entry for the site? As for why I am here, that will all be revealed in a post to shortly follow this one, but in a nutshell I have been back in good old Yorkshire, England for the past 10 days for a Christmas at home.
December also marked a very big occasion in my family’s household. In early December my father passed “three score and ten” and turned 70 years old. I’ve been extremely lucky to have the parents I do and they have always done a lot for me, never leaving me in need of things. So I felt that this time I had a chance to give something back in the present I gave. Straight away I realised that a physical present just wasn’t going to do it. It was going to have to be an event, or something I could organise for him that would stay in his memory for a long time to come. And it was going to be something we could do together, spending some quality father and son time.
And so the hunt started. I looked on some of those “experience” sites. But diving with great white sharks, hurtling down a mountain in a racing bobsled or skydiving from 10,000ft just didn’t seem completely appropriate for someone turning 70! I wanted an experience that he would savour; not one that would kill him! In the end, I opted for the rental of a special type of car; something he’d wouldn’t have driven before and probably wouldn’t get the chance to drive again.
It was easy to narrow it down to 2 types of car from this point: a classic, or a supercar. After discussions with a few people, I ended up opting for the former. It seemed a little more appropiate for his age, and the supercars of the world are not renowned for being the easiest cars to drive around town. Had to remember I was going back in the middle of December, and not the middle of June (when my choice may have been different).
I hunted around the internet and eventually came across Reflections Classic Car Hire in North Yorkshire. From the first reply I got back from them it was clear they were going to be a very easy company to work with. Their reply was swift and personal, which was in huge contrast to the previous company I had tried; a much larger organization who were not returning my calls or emails, despite be wanting to spend a not insignificant amount of money with them. Charles at Reflections however, gave clear and very practical advice, answering my questions and offering recommendations on the most appropriate car to rent.
In the end I opted for their oldest “classic”: a 1951 MG-TD in cream with red leather interior. There were another couple of cars that would have offered a more sporty ride, but this one would have been around when he was a child, and would be something completely different to anything he’d driven before. They also offered a Christmas deal whereby a message informing my father about the hire would be put into a Christmas cracker, and sent to him for my arrival back into the UK, so we could open it together.
Got to admit, I wasn’t expecting temperatures to be dropping to as low as -18C at night in England in the middle of December when I chose this car to rent, but that’s what I got on my return! Everything was handled very professionally by Reflections though, who kept the decision in my hands right until the day of the rental, in case the weather turned to where it would be unsafe and/or not enjoyable to rent the car. If it did then the rental I had organized could be transferred into a voucher that could be redeemed any time within the following 12 months; an excellent gesture and one of those little things that makes you appreciate the company more.
In my next article, I’ll report a little more on the car itself when we rented it, and some of the interesting things about driving a car almost 60 years old with a co-driver 70 years old! But I wanted this entry to be a bit of a background, along with a “big rap” as the Aussies call it (please let me know if that needs a w at the start of it) to Reflections for all their help and assistance in making the whole experience smooth and memorable for us.
Summer is well and truly here in Okinawa, with the temperatures rising and the sun shining. Checked the weather report at 9am this morning and was told that it was 31°C but that it felt “like 36°C”. Thankfully the humidity was only 70% and a sea breeze coming through my apartment managed to keep me marginally cool. Was a great day to just relax and do nothing, and to be honest I didn’t really consider writing an update today. But then sometimes something happens in a day that motivates you to do something. It can be speaking to someone, hearing a song that moves you or watching something. For me it was the latter.
The something in question was a 2008 Luc Besson-written film called Taken. Have never heard of it until recently but a quiet afternoon made me finally sit down on the sofa and watch it. And man am I glad I did. Luc Besson makes some very good films: Leon, The Big Blue and Nikita are 3 films that immediately spring to mind. And the combination of Luc Besson writing and Liam Neeson in the lead role was bound to make for good viewing. The film also co-stars Famke Janssen and former Neighbours star, Holly Valance. I was sure I recognized the former, but haven’t seen her in a film since she was crushing men in her thighs as Xenia Onatopp in Goldeneye. Anyway, a great film this was and the 93 minutes flew by.
I quite like the spy films and books in general and a spy with a personal grudge is definitely worth seeing. The latest Bond movie, The Quantum of Solace, is another good example of this. I took a little time to warm to Neeson in the role, but as soon as the action started I was gripped. And it just didn’t stop. There is no time to take a breather and definitely no free seconds to go to the fridge for a drink. Phonecalls? Better put your voicemail on and a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door as you’re not going to want to leave this.
As the credits rolled I was just wanting more and just felt like I should do something. That sounds very grand and a little pretentious but it’s how I felt afterwards. Can’t go out and save the world myself but I thought I’d do my little bit and write up on here about something. Anyway, if you get the chance then please check this film out. It’s 93 minutes you won’t regret I guarantee.
Work and other things have me pretty worn out at the end of the day which is why I haven’t posted a huge amount in recent times. But when I get the motivation to batter away at the keyboard then I promise to you I will do so. And tonight was one of these occasions. I am sitting at the computer after spending 90 minutes watching the 2009 remake of The Final Destination (aka Final Destination 4). And I have to say that it i 90 minutes of my life that I will never, ever get back. Now the original (which I saw in 2003 in the Maldives after buying a slightly less-than-legitimate VCD copy on a weekend trip to the capital). Hardly an award-winning film, but it did have a slightly different twist on the average thriller, and had enough clever bits t keep you watching if you were bored. Although my opinion might be skewed slightly as the only other form of entertainment when I initially watched that movie was chasing rats and mice with makeshift weapons that had decided to enter my house each evening! This remake however makes it look like an Oscar winner in comparison.
I know the current trend is to remake any film that made decent money as Hollywood has seemingly run out of fresh ideas for films. But if they are remaking a film that was only released 6 years previously is a sign of the barrel being well and truly scraped. Or maybe raped is a better word. I believe this film is meant to be viewed in 3D which might make some of the god-awful computer effects look marginally better, but even a set of red and blue glasses aren’t going to save this film. Although given people’s general headache-inducing reaction after wearing these 3D-specs, maybe it will make the movie seem a little better. Have to say after about 10 minutes I was hooked as it was so bad. There was no thrill to it; it was just unintentional humour as it was so damn bad. The actors are a general bunch of no-names, and it kind of shows. I sincerely doubt any A, B or indeed Y-list actors would have been too enthusiastic after reading the script. This is, of course, assuming there was a script and the director wasn’t just winging it day-to-day. To be fair to the actors, they do they best but when the script is this bad, there’s just only so much you can do.
You may think I’m being harsh, but that’s probably because you haven’t sat down and watched this same movie. If you like really bad movies then you may love this one, as it’s so bad and cheesy you just have to keep watching. In that regard, it reminds me a little of Jason X. If you watched the original Final Destination and loved it then you might find this a slight distraction for an hour and a half. But if you actually value your life and the relatively short time you spend on the planet then I would strongly recommend you pass on this. Go outside, read a book, hell call me and I’ll read a book to you for 90 minutes. Trust me, it will be better than checking this film out.
You have been duly warned!
Always on the lookout for good bits of writing that I can put up on my own site if I think they might be helpful or interesting to someone, and have found one right here. The writer is a guy called Chris who’s a good friend and knowledgeable car guy who used to be here in Okinawa. He’s writing about an Okinawan company called S-Tec Motorsports which is a tuning shop/parts manufacturer here in Okinawa, and in particular the exhaust manifolds they do for the Nissan RB20, RB25 and RB26 engines. He’s done a great job with a clear unbiased review and anyone with an interest in one of these very competitively priced manifolds should have a read.
There seems to be a lot of questions and opinions about Stec manifolds rolling around out there lately. Some of the stuff said is opinion not really based in fact, and some of it is valid observations. I thought I would do a little write up since I’m constantly repeating the same points in different threads. I don’t want anybody to think I’m trying to sell these for him though. People have just bashed them at times, or expressed interest in them other times. I think it’s a pretty good option, but I’ll try and stick to the facts about them and not “sell” them.
A little background so nobody tries to say I’m being dishonest, S-tec (Scott) built my car and is a friend of mine. He’s an American dude living in Japan which is where his shop is. I used to hang out at the shop about every day, and have even helped stack these up and test fit them with him, so I’m pretty familiar with them and how he checks them. I’ve run both his side mount and top mount manifolds. I’ll try to cover all the good points as well as the stuff that could use some work.
These seem to be the ones people are interested in the most here on NICO. The top mounts are basically a knock off of the HKS/Greddy twin scroll (split pulse) design T4 flanged design. All the piping is made with 321 stainless, which is much better then the 304 stainless most of the Ebay crap out there uses, and it’s all 2.8mm thick. There are also small braces where the primaries meet the flange, not that it needs them. They will never crack. He’ll back that up. If they do, send it back to him and he’ll fix it for you, but he’s never once had that happen. I’ve had mine glowing bright orange (bright enough to read from at night time and light cigarettes of the exhaust housing) more times than I can count and never warped a flange or had it crack. The primaries are pretty will port matched to the head. Not perfect, but not half blocking the port like a lot of the Ebay crap. The can’t really be perfect because the 25 and 26 ports are a little different and it has to fit both.
Also, the primaries go all the way through the flange, so you can really grind the crap out of them and match them up perfect if you want. I did it to mine.
The flanges are 12mm thick laser cut plate stainless, not cast, and everything is welded in a jig, so it’ll be nice and flat which means no exhaust leaks. Scott checks each one with a straight edge and test fits every single manifold against a head before he sends it out. Also, they are flanged and drilled to fit both the 20/25 bolt pattern as well as the 26 bolt pattern, not that that matters to most people (it helps Scott keep the price down), but if you ever step up to a 26, you don’t need to buy a new manifold. It’ll slide right onto the head with out having to wallow out the holes like you have to on some mani’s. There’s one stud that would be a huge pain to get a nut on if it was stock, so you’ll get a shorter exhaust stud to replace it and make it a WHOLE lot easier to get it all bolted up.
The wastegate runners are twin 43mm primaries coming into a 52mm collector, which necks down to a 4 bolt HKS style 50mm flange. As far as clearance of the valve cover goes, I’ve seen TO4r’s, Holset H1E’s w/18cm housings, HX40′s with 16 and 19cm housings, Ebay “Super T70′s”, and even a T88 fit on the stock T4 flange and clear both RB20/25 valve covers as well as 26 valve covers.
Now I’ll talk about some of the issues people have brought up about these. One thing mentioned is the collector looks a little rough on the inside. It is. These are, in fact, made in china in a factory, all be it with much better materials than normal and with much better QC. Scott has actually flown to China and spoken with the dudes at the factory, showed them how he wants things, and paid extra for some of his specifications. He’s also refused to pay them when they screwed up a batch and he basically had a pile of expensive scrap metal which he wouldn’t ship out. These aren’t “one off each time you order it” manifolds like 6boost or full race. Those are $1000-$2000 manifolds and they look like it. The collector on the Stec mani could use some work with a die grinder to smooth it out a bit and remove some excess material.
Another thing about them is the fact that these probably will have clearance issues with left hand drive vehicles–specifically the wastegate flange will likely hit the steering column depending on the mounts you use. These manifolds are designed for a right hand drive skyline. I’ve seen them in a bunch of RB’d Sylvia’s over in Japan, but again, they are RHD. You’ll almost certainly need to have the wastegate runners chopped and re-welded to clear everything. That segway’s me into another thing…..
The mani is a dual scroll (split pulse) design, but down at the end of the wastegate runners, the two halves of the engine pulses can come together and muddle a bit. How much this hurts is a subject for debate, but when I went to two completely separate wastegate runners and wastegates, it helped my spool times drop by around 200-400rpm in 4th gear. That’s significant. If you are going to chop and re-weld the wastegate runners anyways for fitment, you might want to consider setting it up like this.
One last thing I’ll mention is a problem that I have had, but I’m the only one anybody has heard of this happening to so far. I experienced boost creep on my RB25 with cams and a Holset HX40 with a 19cm housing and a single 50mm wastegate (one of S-tec’s HKS knock-offs). Scott said he thinks it’s because the HX40 with the 19cm housing was just the right balance of flowing enough to make a crap ton of power (and exhaust gas), but not enough to let out all of the exhaust gases, so the boost just kept climbing. Again, nobody else has had this problem. I took the mani off and noticed inside the collector, where the wastegate runners joined the party, it looked like the hole wasn’t as big as the wastegate runner pipe (43mm).
I took the die grinder to the ports and opened them all the way up (as best as I can tell with my precision fingerometer). After we reinstalled it, the creep issue was better, but the boost was still zipping up to 1.5 bar which is the size of the spring I had in there, staying put until around 7k rpm, then creeping up to about 1.8-1.9 bar by 7800rpm. To be clear, if you want to grind on them, you will need something like a die grinder and a stone. A Dremel isn’t going to even make dent in these things. The final solution was to take the mani off again, and re-design the wastegate runners into two completely separated runners with twin 50mm gates. As you might guess, I no longer have boost creep issues LOL. An added benefit was the better spool times.
In conclusion, the Stec manifolds are solid, quality manifolds at a damn good price. They aren’t perfect, and do not have the same level of attention to detail during manufacture as some of the high end $1000+ manifolds but they aren’t meant to compete with them. These are basically the best “budget priced” manifolds you can buy. I always say they are 95% of the high end mani’s for 20% of the price. They fit and they won’t crack, and I’ll stake my “internet cred” (for what that’s worth) on Scott standing behind what he sells 100%.
They are made of the same 321 stainless that the top mount is made out of, but the primaries are a little thicker coming in at 3.0mm thick. Flanges are made to the same standards as the above top mount and also welded in a jig. These put the placement of the turbo in the exact same place as stock. If you can bolt whatever turbo you want up to a stock manifold, it’ll fit on this one too. That means it’s safe for LHD cars right out of the box, unlike the top mount. I ran one of these with my stock turbo and it bolted right up. Again, S-tec test fits each one up to a head and checks the flanges with a straight edge before it goes out. One thing I wish these were is split pulse (dual scroll) manifolds, but most of the smaller framed T3 turbo’s you’d bolt on in the stock position are single scroll anyways (including the stock turbo) so it wouldn’t help there anyways. Also they are already significantly improving how quickly a stock turbo spools, which is already pretty quick, so I don’t think it’s that much of an issue. The primaries aren’t huge, so while it’ll outflow a stock manifold significantly, if you are chasing big HP numbers (like 500hp+) you might want to look at something else.
The one I had was heat wrapped for about 2 years and never cracked. I was running it in combination with one of S-tec’s “turbo elbow’s” and put a bunch of other things on my car at the same time, so I can’t really say how much just the manifold added. I have spoken with a lot of friends who added the manifold last on an already completely opened up exhaust from the turbo back, and they said the difference was noticeable.
One quick story I thought was pretty cool and showed how resilient these things are. S-tec had some Japanese drop his R32 GTSt off at the shop and say he was leaking tranny fluid all over the road every time he got up to speed and couldn’t figure out why. Scott put it up on the lift and started looking for a leak and couldn’t find one, although the entire underside of the car was covered in tranny fluid. I suggested looking at the fluid level, and when he did, the problem was obvious. Old dude had fill his tranny to the top of the shifter hole with tranny fluid LOL. Scott drained it, put the proper amount in, and put it up in the air on the lift with a poll on the gas in 5th gear and let it run for 5 minutes to make sure it didn’t leak any more. After that was done and he was lowering the car, we saw this……….
Stock tune = to little timing and really high exhaust temps. Keep in mind that picture was taking during the day in a well lit shop. I’ve had mine glowing like that before too after a couple of back to back sets on a twisty road we call Takoyama. Anyways, that manifold is still on the same car to this day with no cracks or leaks or anything like that. They just won’t crack. It’s scary to think of what mine looked like under all that heat wrap when I had my sidemount on there and was beating on it. Must have damn near been white hot!
As I stated previously, I received a review copy of How to Build Max-Performance Mitsubishi 4G63T Engines just 4 days after I had destroyed piston 3 in my engine. So I really could have picked a better time to pick up this book, take a read and give you all my opinions on it.
The main target audience of this book is people who own an early Evo or a DSM and are looking to up the power a little (or a lot). As the book itself states, “this is not a manual for rebuilding your stock engine” and states that this should be used as a guide in conjunction with a factory workshop manual or other guides to the cars. Saying that though, the book does go into a fair bit of detail on its topics. Having written a beginners’ guide to reading compressor maps myself, I was pleased to read Robert’s write-up on it – the latter being aimed at a slightly more advanced level than my own coverage.
The book starts with an introduction to the 4G63 engine in its various guises, and while it gives a nice little history of the engine, there are some inaccuracies when it comes to the early Evos ad the differences between them. I understand this is a book written in the US where there are very few early Evos around, but in the days of the internet it seems to be a little lazy. One thing I didn’t like (and again because this is catered for the US market) is that later on in the books the cars are described either as DSMs (1G or 2G) or Evos, the latter referring only to the Evo VIII and IX. This is because the Evo VIII was the first to be introduced to the US market and I can understand the terminology. But it should have been stated initially that “DSM” refers to the 1G, 2G and early Evos.
The book covers all aspects of upgrading your 4G63T engine, in a pretty logical manner. I think the turbo section could have come after the fuelling and possibly tuning section, but I think that is due to the DSM community’s first thoughts when they pick up one of their cars to upgrade the tiny turbos they are equipped with. We start with basic bolt-on modifications, running through fuelling & supporting modifications all the way through to choosing forged engine internals if you’re going for a powerful rebuild. Each section also makes suggestions on parts you might want to install, but they are merely suggestions and you never get the feeling that the book is trying to sell you a specific part. This can be a hard medium to achieve and I am pleased to say this book has managed it.
One part I had to disagree with was the section on blow-off valves. The book states that a blow-off valve and a bypass valve are 2 completely different things, but doesn’t note that almost everyone will refer to them as blow-off valves or “dump valves”. What the book should be focusing on is the difference between blow-off valves recirculating air back into the intake vs venting the air to the atmosphere. Seeing a picture of my blow-off valve next to an illustration which states “A BOV on a stock car is a recipe for poor running, and it’s not needed” is very misleading
The sections I really took a lot from were the Turbo & Intercooler section, and the two sections on the engine internals. The book takes pains to explain things like volumetric efficiency and its consequences, the importance of a good torquing sequence for tightening headstuds and the value of port flow and a good polishing job on your cylinder head. It’s all stuff that you could probably find out online, but this book brings everything together nicely.
Despite a couple of inaccuracies and the very odd spelling error (“loose” vs “lose”), this is a very good book. I would have no hesitation in recommending How to Build Max-Performance Mitsubishi 4G63T Engines to both beginners and experienced tuners who have or work with the early Evo or a 1G/2G DSM. Check it out if you get the chance.
Thacko Photography is the next site that I will cast my critical eye over. First of all, as an English teacher by trade, one of the things I notice first when I read an article are spelling and grammar mistakes. And this site is unfortunately full of them. By no means am I being critical about people who might have trouble with spelling, but all common internet browsers these days have either spell checkers built in or available as add-ons. Please leave a comment if you don’t have one of these and I will give you direct links to download one. It makes the site look a lot more professional, as writing “u” instead of “you” just looks lazy.
Right – enough about spelling and grammar and onto the site itself. This site is kind of a photoblog meets personal online journal and does a reasonable job of both. Articles, minus the spelling and grammar mistakes, are clean and concise, giving full descriptions of work that has been done on the car. One thing which could be a great help for people in the future might be to illustrate the work that is done on the cars. This means that not only will people be able to read about what you have done, but also that readers will be able to see exactly what you have done which might help them with the same modifications.
Quite a few things are mentioned that have happened on other sites or previously on this site, but there are no links to find those related posts. This is a good opportunity to keep users on your site looking at different articles, so they don’t just view the front page and move on.
The photos are very good but the site itself just needs a few finishing touches to it. Get a WordPress theme made for 1024×768 screens, get a spell checker for when writing posts and keep on snapping away with the camera!
Have a look at Thacko Photography here: http://www.thackophotography.com/
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Chris Davis, or Corporal Chris Davis of the US Marines I should probably say, asked me to check out his site, The Davis, as part of the “You Leave a Comment, I Review Your Site” offer I made a couple of weeks ago. I am trying to like his small site but there are a couple of things that irk me a little about it.
As you land on the site, the first thing you’re greeted with at the top of the page is his Flickr link, followed by his own logo and site title below that. The top of the page is where the eye is instantly drawn if there is something there, and it’s a good chance to show what the site is all about. While a Flickr link might generate some clicks to the Flickr page, a lot of people will be sceptical about clicking the link before they have read more. Should really be below the main heading somewhere.
The site’s key is form over function, and so a simple page and small file size pictures makes for a quick loading time. The site was also made with himself in mind, and while there’s nothing at all wrong with that it’s worth keeping in mind. I do like the Flash game links he provides in the menus, although both the game and video section would be a lot nicer with a page, maybe giving a brief description and a screenshot of the game/video in question. Even just a line or 2 would save people from making blind clicks, which many don’t like. The resume link is a nice touch, although in this day and age of online identity theft it might be worth not including the mailing address.
I was interested by the CompTIA A+ Certified IT Technician qualification he possesses (mainly as I am thinking of doing the exam for it here in Okinawa), and I think if he is going to show the logo then it should be a little more prominent than in the footer of the page. Possibly have it one side of the main The Davis logo (maybe with his Marine insignia on the opposite side?).
Again, this is a site with potential and if Chris has the time to work on the presentation and add a little content it could be somewhere worth coming back to.
Check out The Davis at: http://www.thechrisdavis.com
If you want your site reviewing here with no catches whatsoever, then leave a comment below or check out this post for full information