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by: K-Man S

Description: I would first like to take a minute to thank Joel from HIP Design for sending their clear engine cover to me for testing and fitment. You can find HIP Design at: http://hip-designllc.com/The ProductThe HIP Design cover is probably the most "productized" of the 3 current clear engine covers available. By that I mean that the box showed up with the clear engine cover well packed and protected, the additional hardware also individually packaged, and a full set of instructions. I should note that since the product has a full set of instructions in the box and on the instructions are available on the HIP Design website, complete with photos, I'm not going to go into every minor detail of installing the product because it has already been covered elswhere.Here is a shot of the box opened and the contents removed to give you an idea of the top notch packaging:
I unwrapped the associated hardware and laid it out to take some photographs. Unique to the HIP Design cover are the two metal risers that screw into the existing engine cover holes and then have a pair of lock downs attached to the risers on the other side of the clear engine cover. Here is a close-up shot of these two risers and the lock down pieces that screw into them. Note that there is a small rubber piece affixed to the lock down screw to help protect the clear cover from scratches and provide a firm seal.
The InstallationAfter you have removed your existing engine cover the next step is to screw in the two metal risers. They go in the upper left and upper right existing engine cover screw holes. I simply threaded them in and tightened "gudentite" by hand. Here is a picture of the two risers installed:
The next step is to pick up the clear engine cover and lay it down into the engine compartment with the two tabs at the bottom fitting into the silver cross member piece between the strut towers. Honestly I could have done this by hand by simply holding the edges of the product (to prevent fingerprints) but HIP Design has thoughtfully included a pair of suction cups that can be used to lower the glass into place. Here is a picture of the two suction cups provided:
Attaching the suction cups was pretty easy, simply position and press down firmly to squeeze out the air. I was a little nervous picking up the piece by these two suction cups at first so I only picked it up a few inches and over the cardboard box with foam padding on it from shipping just in case. My fears were not warranted as the cups provided plenty of grip. Here is a picture of the cups attached:
I simply lowered it down, put the two tabs at the bottom of the cover into the slots in the silver plastic piece between the strut towers and lowered the piece down. I pressed down a bit on the two suction cups to get the piece to go down all the way to the risers and seal up well against the outer interior plastic pieces. Joel commented that you could put a little soapy water on the seal all the way around to help it install easier but I found in my instance it wasn't necessary. The seal was tight but not too tight. I then attached the hold down screws to the metal risers and stepped by to admire my handiwork. Here is a picture of the completed install:
TestingWhen this cover was first announced there were some concerns about the ability to seal off the engine, heat, noise, dirt, etc. so I decided to spend some time addressing each as best I could and I have also authored a clear engine comparison article where you can see how this cover stacks up against others. http://www.planet-9.com/reviews/showproduct.php?product=290The SealOne of the concerns prior to my testing was how well did this cover seal as compared to others? This cover used a unique seal all the way around against the interior plastic pieces instead of where the factory aluminum engine lid seals as other clear engine covers do. The seal around the HIP Design cover was very good, it fit snugly but not too tightly and I don't see that there should be any concern over a bunch of contaminents, etc. getting into the passenger compartment. To be fair, however, there are 6 locations around the plastic where pieces meet where the seal does not entirely seal off the engine compartment. I took the following two photos of two of those locations:
As you can see from the photos those areas are very very small. If owners are so inclined they could put a dab of some sealant there or perhaps cut 6 tiny rubber pieces and insert them into the gaps. I'm not that concerned so I'll probably leave it as is since I'm more inclined to take things in and out for different events, articles, etc. :)SoundIn my testing of various engine covers I found that all of them are within a few decibels of each other. To give you an example of a comparison I was testing one of the covers at idle and my wife asked me something and without thinking I replied and the decibel meter shot up 5 or 6 decibels from what I was recording for the idle sound, much more than the difference between any two covers.What is hard to describe are the differences in TONE between the different covers. It is almost a situation where you have to hear each cover to note the TONE differences. I found that the HIP Design cover was one of the covers that let more treble or higher pitched sounds into the cabin vs. say the stock cover that mutes these sounds only allowing the lower frequency sound waves to come through. Although I don't have access to such equipment I think it would be interesting to do a frequency analysis of each cover to see at what frequencies each cover was loudest/softest. Sheer sound volumes are not the complete story but simply the best I could do in my testing. Here are the numbers for the HIP Design cover:IDLE: 64-65 db2000: 67 db3000: 73 db4000: 75 db60mph in 5th gear: 79-82 dbThe stock aluminum and carpet cover:IDLE: 61-62 db2000: 65 db3000: 72 db4000: 73 db60mph in 5th gear: 77-79 dbWhile the sound levels are very similar, the tones are different. Like some of the other covers you will hear more of the mechanical sounds that the engine makes, sounds are not as muffled but are crisper, more distinct.In summation there were NO disconcerting or annoying sounds when driving with this cover on.HeatAlthough I did not check with a thermometer for reasons I have discussed in the forum, I did not note any unusual heat problems coming from the cover. In fact after driving around with it for awhile on an 82 degree day I was able to remove the cover by hand after lifting with the suction cups and the cover was not too hot to touch. The one item that was pretty hot, although not burning hot, was the metal riser. I unscrewed them by hand but they were pretty warm. If they were completely heat soaked you might need a rag to remove them or wear a glove, but I'm not sure they will ever get that hot. I did want to point this out as a note of caution.Like other clear engine covers I have tested, I found no heat issues with the HIP Design unit.WeightIf you had asked me before I checked the scales which weighed less the HIP cover or the stock cover I would have guessed the HIP cover, but I would have been wrong. :)Stock:Aluminum - 4.4 lbsFoam/Carpet - 10.6 lbsTotal: 15 lbsHIP DesignCover + Metal Risers - 16.8 lbsSo overall the HIP Design over is 1.8 lbs more than stock, not a drastic difference and who among us couldn't lose 1.8 lbs of ourselves? :)DirtIn the few days that I have tested the HIP Design cover I have not seen any unusual buildup of dirt or debris on the bottom of the cover, which has also been true of other covers I've tested. I should note that your driving style and whether your drive in the rain or dusty conditions will obviously change your outcome. My driving has been a mix of suburban roads and interstate highways in good weather conditions.There are a couple of possible advantages to the HIP Design cover in terms of keeping it clean. First, the cover sits up higher than other covers so it may naturally be a little less prone to getting dirt on it. Second, in the event it does get dirty you simply need to unscrew two lock down screws by hand and use your suction cups to pull the cover up and clean it as opposed to getting out a torx driver and removing 5 bolts as with the other covers. It may not be a big difference, but something to consider.Final CommentsI just wanted to offer up a few final comments that maybe don't fit into other categories. One of the attractive points to the HIP Design cover is that it shows off a good deal of the engine, more so than one of the other covers and about the same as another but in a different way. Yes you can still seem some of the Porsche unfinished plastic around the engine compartment, but not much and only at angles and for most who have black plastic it isn't an issue anyway, I just happen to have bright yellow. I've also been asked a lot to compare the various clear engine covers and that's why I did another article to cover differences between each which can be found at the link I posted previously. I don't think one cover is better than all the rest, in my opinion each cover attacks the problem differently and has its own plus and minuses. For those looking for a cover that is easy to install, provides a large viewing area, is on the lower end of the scale in terms of price and doesn't muffle all the engine tones, the HIP Design cover is an excellent solution!If I were to close this article with a pithy statement it might be something like...HIP HIP HOORAY! :)


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