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I Need Some Serious Advice...


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Hey guys,

I have two very important questions, if anyone knows the answers, please help:

1) I have a 91 LS 400 that did NOT come with the CD option for my radio. It just came with an AM/FM/Cassette deck. Would a 90-94 radio that has the "CD" button on it still work in my car even though it did not come with the cd option? Could I also possibly add a cd changer to my car by myself?

2) Is getting a sponsorship worth it? I'm a full-time student and work full-time. Even though I'm 22 years old, I still ask for my father's advice and he had told me that he knew of kids who were going to school and working and got a sponsorship for their cars and they were at the mercy of the sponsor because they were binded by contract and sometimes had to go to shows out-of-state or at a moment's notice and they couldn't do anything about it. The sponsor controlled them. To an extent, how true is this?

Thanks guys,

Brian Styles

1991 LS 400 - Pearl White

253,000 miles and still rydin'...

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only 90-92 radio with CD button will work. Otherwise, 90-94 non-cd capable radio will work. A member here "Pioneersuby" sells the entire conversion kit for $500, which isn't a bad deal. You get the ES300 CD changer, Pioneer radio, and the hard to find cable.

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If a sponsor gives you money to promote and or install their products, then it makes sense that they would demand your appearance at events where promotion can take place. They are not giving money/parts away for free, and therefore the contract is written stipulating all this.

If you need a sponsor to be able to afford the car, you can't afford the car. Real men are independent, and don't have sponsors. Real men don't eat quiche either.

Your father sounds like a smart guy. It would be perfectly OK to ask his advice for as long as he is around. I am not sure why there would be an age when you would stop seeking his advice.

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C'mon - real men? No offense, and I don't want to stoke any fires around here being a newbie and all, but "Real Men"?

My $0.02 re: sponsorship - it's a lifestyle thing. It's like a job that you have on the side, but it takes up a lot more time than that. I'm sure you can find sponsors that are flexible about appearances and travelling, but they're probably offering stuff you wouldn't want to put on your car even if it were free. Shows are an all-consuming thing for some people, and those are the folks that enjoy sponsorships.

Given that you're already committed to school -and- working, stick with it and forget the sponsorships. An edcuation is going to provide you the opportunity to afford this stuff on your own later on. You don't get to dabble as much as you would like in new products now, but you won't have to give up on anything later.

My advice is to tinker with what you have. Find ways to make it look better or run better without dishing out money or hunting for a sponsorship. The experience from working with "what you got" pays huge dividends when you're working with "what you want".

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What SRK and Econ are saying is maybe at this junction in your life making your car look and run better shouldn't be one of your top priorities. Look at it as a hobby, you have more important things to worry about.

Real men don't eat quiche either

Mmmm, quiiiiiiche.

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I had a gigantic reply written up (longer than this one, sadly) that no one would have read. Suffice to say that while SW03ES is basically right - that degree is your ticket in. Your car should be a distant third on your list of priorities. However, everyone has to have fun, so I'm including a list of things that have kept me busy for the past couple of years while I wait to really do something incredible:

1) Almost everything is doable for next to nothing. Ebay is your friend (AND your enemy) and communities like LOC are your best resource. Look around to see what kind of mods/improvements are free/low cost. They can be as cheap as changing tranny fluid or as complex as wiring in new interior lighting.

2) If it's not in perfect stock running condition, you're never going to be able to tell whether your change was good or bad. So start there. Find the plugs you like (and trust me, they're not double platinum +4s) and the oil you like. Learn about your options. Maintaining your car should be 50-60% of the work you do. Everyone is going to tell you that you're overdoing it. Screw it. Changing the oil every 2 months instead of 3 isn't hurting anyone else if you're doing the work.

3) In reference to #1 - start compiling a list of things you want to do. When you add a drift kit, are you going to need to stiffen the springs so you don't drag on the ground? Can you get in your driveway if you change the car like that? How much torque can the transmission take? Is that turbo setup going to overpower your traction and cause more problems than it solves? I take a hell of a lot of pride going to car meets and having the best running car there. Everyone else has their wings and their boost and their custom exhaust. They also have mysterious rattles, rough idles and oil consumption problems they can't diagnose (and therefore, don't care about).

4) Take this list of things you want to do and work on it a bit at a time. I'm a big believer in DIY work. Others may disagree, but if you have to take it to a shop every time you want to change something, you're screwed. It is amazing the amount of money you can save, and every bolt you turn is a bit of experience that helps you do things better and faster the next time. I spend about 1/2 as much time under the hood of my sport compact as I do driving it and I love every second (ok, that's an exaggeration, but you get the point).

Finally - I still ask my dad for advice all the time. Might be that you don't agree with the reasons your dad is giving you, but his experience is telling him that this probably isn't a great idea. It's the experience part that counts, not the reasons. If you trust him, then trust him. Modding is an addiction, I know, and once you see the potential, it's hard to let go. So just bide your time instead. In the end, you'll be more thoughtful about what you do end up doing, and your car will be the better for it.

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Unless you have lots of time and money (yes money), I would skip the sponsorship plan. If you think about it, why would a company give you something for free (or partially free as not everyone gets full sponsorship)? They expect something from you. You would have to be a marketing vehicle (in this case literally ;)) for them.

Your car would have to already be somewhat a showcase car which means you already would have to have spent a fair amount of money. You would have to already be competing in shows since this is where cars get noticed. Of course, in order to compete, your car was already in competition quality. If not, you'd have to convince them of plans (that won't take too long) to become show worthy.

As an example, let's say you get a sponsor for a kit you want. If you are very lucky, they will give you the kit for free. This is pretty rare and you'd have to prove to them that you are worthy of the investment (shows, magazine writeup possibility). Otherwise, you get the kit at cost or slightly less than cost. This could still be in the thousands. Of course, you'd have to paint the kit. This will again be in the thousands for a quality paint job. Well, in order to make the kit worthwhile for shows, you will have to touch up/repaint other parts of the car to match the newly painted kit. This is more money again.

I can keep going but you see my point. When you go to shows, you see a lot of cars that are sponsored but not everything on their car comes from sponsorship. These guys already spent a whole lot of $ to get their car to this point and are still spending more. The level of modding needed to get and maintain sponsorships is a continually perpetuating money sink hole.

Bottomline, there is no free lunch. There are always strings attached. Unless you are ready for this kind of commitment (time and money), I'd make this a hobby like the others have suggested. Do what you can within your means to give you enjoyment of your car. Focus on school so you can get that high paying job. Then you can go crazy with the modding if you think you are ready then. :)

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