Porsche 991 Turbo S – 6 Month Review

I’ve had the 911 for about six months now so I thought I’d do a quick ownership thus-far review. Right off the bat I can say that I’ve driven this car nearly 5000 miles those six months. Maybe that’s not a lot for some people but consider this: I drove my C7 Corvette about 2200 miles in the year I owned it.  Driving the 911 is a pleasure. I go out of my way to drive this car and look forward to it every time- not something I take for granted.



As I mentioned I’ve been nearly 5000 miles and never had any driveability issues. The car handles like exactly like it’s supposed to- perhaps better. I’ve got zero bad things to say about the engine, drivetrain, brakes and various suspension & stabilization-related equipment.

Unrelated to divability there are a few things small issues that have popped up. For example, I had to have the washer pump reservoir replaced (it was leaking- taken care of under warranty). I’ve got some rattles here and there that I have to periodically troubleshoot (i.e. the sunroof). Additionally I’ve had my door panels off a few times hunting down speaker buzz. There is also periodic mooing sound coming from somewhere behind the dash (maybe a failing pump- but it hasn’t failed yet). Given the mods I’ve done to the car I’m pretty impressed that I haven’t had anything remotely close to a “problem.”



Having six months of the Burmester under my belt has left me extremely satisfied with the stereo. It never quite makes you tingle (an attribute of higher end systems) but it’s extremely clear, the mids are rich and full and the bass does it’s job. All in all this is my favorite factory upgrade. My biggest stereo gripe (minus the door buzz) is strictly related to the interface: No volume indicator. I guess they just figure you can hear how loud it is… unless you can’t (like if there’s something wrong with your source). I’ve been burned by this little omission more times than I care to admit.

I still love the sunroof. It’s easily my second favorite factory option. I love being able to have additional cabin light, I relish the breeze / wind that comes in and I think the exterior is well served by the black contrast. Every time I get in I appreciate how much headroom there is despite the sunroof’s presence.

There are many other features that I continually enjoy too- the lightning design package (that ambient light is sweet), the entry and drive system, ventilated seats and the LCD screen in the gauge cluster. Admittedly many of the car’s features I don’t really use such as the back up camera, PDCC, navigation, the auto start/stop function and things like that. I don’t really miss the HUD from the Corvette either.


The 991 really is a comprehensive synthesis of “sport” and “luxury”. The 18 way adjustable seats have accommodated me perfectly on all 5000 miles. And another mention here of how spacious the interior of the vehicle is- I have never felt cramped inside the 991. Getting in and out can sometimes be a bit of a challenge for friends though (okay, and me too). The back seats aren’t comfy, but it’s a huge plus that they are present at all.

The suspension on this car can be a little jarring which I continue to notice from time to time. I do have the option to lower the tire pressure a bit for a more comfortable ride, but I can’t bring myself to do it. The interior noise (compounded by my aftermarket exhaust) is still an issue when I have guests, but when I’m driving alone I never give it a second thought.

I’m not sure where I put this so I’ll stick it here: Visibility in this car is top notch. I really feel like Porsche nailed that. No claustrophobia, but I also don’t feel like I’m in a fishbowl. On the freeway I rarely feel like I might hit the driver next to me while changing lanes (candidly the lane change assist option now on the 17’s would be cool).

Driving & Handling:

So good. So amazing. The car does whatever you ask and most of the time it seems just as excited as you are. It hugs the road with ferocity. It takes the sharpest turns without excuses. It’s fast and then it goes faster. As soon as you’re ready to brake you realize you’re already stopped. This car is just pure bliss to drive. The only thing that’s changes over six months is that I’ve gotten a bit better at driving it- but that only makes me realize how much untapped potential the car has left (I’m not a great drive, by the way).

The PDK transmission deserves it’s many accolades- it has you covered in every situation and it’s smoothness is unrivaled. I don’t think there’s a better transmission out there. I still haven’t given the “missing” manual gearbox a second thought.

The all wheel drive system in the 911 enhances every aspect of driving. For example, the launch control is out of this world. The steering, the grip and they way the car transfers torque / power where it’s needed is exceptional. I finally had a chance to make a run through the Alpine Loop. I couldn’t even make the tires chirp- unreal.



I still love the car’s looks. After six months I can state with absolute certainty that this car rarely garners much attention (which is just fine with me). It’s not as visceral as some cars, but it’s still refined. I still love the color- metallic white was the right call, especially with the added carbon fiber accents. Interior color has been great. I’ve never gotten in the car and thought “This is boring” or “I’m sick of this color.” I really wish there was somewhere to put my phone- that’s annoying.


I second guess a lot of things and the mods I have are no different. I’ve been happy with everything but I always wonder if I’ve made the best choices. I guess that’s something I might not ever know. Given that my day at the track gave me a 10.8 @ 132 mph I definitely feel like the modifications work and the car is running very well. Most of the mods you don’t hear or see if they are doing their job well. The exhaust is probably the exception to this. I’m really happy with how the the Fabspeed looks- it’s worlds better than the stock offering. I like the sound quite a bit but it definitely has some droning / resonance at certain speeds. I’m not 100% sure if I’d do the Fabspeed exhaust again.


Having owned this car over six months all I can say it’s still blowing my expectations out of the water. It is refined, powerful and a true diver’s car in every sense. Hands down this is the best car I’ve ever owned.


White Turbo Upgrade?

I have been thinking about a change. I feel like if I went this direction a lot of people wouldn’t even notice I had a new car (it would still be a “white turbo”). Pros: None. Cons: All. But it’s fun to dream. white-turbo-s-mods

Rocky Mountain Raceway: The Revenge

The mods were installed, the race tune was dialed in and I had plenty of practice runs under my belt. It was time to go back to the Rocky Mountain Raceway for a “real” quarter mile run. It was time for revenge.

Anyone who knows my history can attest that my quarter mile goal has been to run in the 11’s since I saw the Fast and Furious (judge me if you must). I’ve had numerous cars theoretically capable of running in the 11’s but somehow things never panned out. My fastest official time was a 12.1 @ 131mph run. I was sure this time would be different…

I bought some Sunoco 260 GT Unleaded 104 octane racing gas (I picked this up from Keller Strauss in SLC). I knew I’d also need a helmet and I found this Snell 2005 compliant beauty for $30 on KSL. Go Speed Racer!


My Vbox said I was a shoo-in for a 10-something quarter mile but no one believed me (I bet a friend a steak dinner I could do 10.9 or less). I actually called Rocky Mountain before I went up to make sure there wasn’t going to be an issue if I ran in the 10’s. The track manager said he thought that would be unlikely but told me to “bring your car up and go for it.” Admittedly I started to have some doubts. My priority going in became to test the Vbox results against the actual track time.

Jim and I got to RMR around four in the afternoon and were some of the very first cars in line. That meant that we would run as soon as the races officially started- around six. My family was on their way up but wasn’t going to be there in time for my first run. Since it was warm out and the DA was around 6100 I figured it would be my slowest quarter of the day so it wouldn’t be a big deal. No tricks on my first run- street tires, same tire pressure I came up with, no ice on the intercoolers. I was focused on testing out my Vbox. My turn came up and I was off:

Below is my time slip (a close up and then the full slip). I ran the Vbox concurrently during my quarter mile run and the results were shockingly similar. More than a few people became Vbox believers that day. I was pretty happy I’d hit a sub eleven given the time of day, my mediocre 60′ time and the altitude handicap I was facing. It was a solid first run… sadly it was also my last quarter mile run of the night.


If you finished the video above then you heard the track staff telling me I’d be limited to 1/8 mile runs. That was very frustrating. RMR’s posted rules for midnight drags only state that the car has to be under 135 mph. As I mentioned I had called the track manager to make sure there were no surprises. He said “if” I ran a ten something under 135 mph they’d work with me. I was assured they wanted everyone to have funand show the audience a good time.


Apparently an elapsed time (ET) under 11 seconds requires additional safety measures (which another track employee said he wouldn’t ever do to a car like mine). I found the situation extra frustrating because the guy telling me I was too fast was the same guy I’d talked to when I called the track (I cut the video short because it turned into a bit of an argument). I could have easily dialed my car back and saved a faster run for later. That would have given my family a chance to see me race a quarter mile. But there was zero recourse- it was 1/8 mile or nothing. He wouldn’t even let me slow the car down and said if I did the quarter again I’d be banned. Ah well. I had my Vbox so I wasn’t too bummed.

Later I decided to run in the 1/8th so my family could see me drive something:

Taking my foot off the accelerator after and eighth mile felt like castration (okay, I don’t really know- but it felt bad). On the upside the track had become very slick- I’ll explain why that’s a plus in a sec. Let’s get the facts out there: On the street my 60′ time is consistently around 1.6 seconds. Even though I was one of the first guys on the track at RMR my 60′ time was nearly 1.8. Track prep at RMR doesn’t seem to be much of a priority. By the time I ran my 1/8 mile (maybe an hour later) my 60′ dropped to over 1.9 seconds. Had waited to go “all out” until later in the night my time may have been worse than 10.84 due to the track degradation.
All things considered I had a lot fun. I got to hang out with Jim, meet some new (and very interesting) people and see a lot of sweet cars. I ran a quarter in the tens, made an awesome video and confirmed Vbox accuracy. My family got to watch me do an 1/8 mile run and I got to spend time with them and many other friends while we watched the drag race. Overall a great night.
I’m at a little bit of a loss now… Without access to the track I’m not sure how much faster I’ll make my Turbo S (side note: how the hell are these forum guys running 10’s and 9’s on their local tracks with no safety equipment – no NHRA certification or something?). I don’t see a point in making my car too much faster for the streets. Maybe it’s time to build a “real” racecar. Whoa- almost forgot. I tried that already. Hopefully I’ll think of something.

Octane Insights

I felt like one of the major obstacles on my quest for speed would be the low quality gas here in Utah. After substantial testing I can definitively say that it makes a huge (negative) difference. For the uninitiated here is a great article about octane: How Stuff Works.

While I’m pretty happy with my 91 octane tune I’ve been experimenting with some OTC octane boosters. You have to be careful with these products as the listed benefits are often misleading. Take for example this bottle from Lucas. It has a label that warns you not to be fooled by “misleading advertising”. However, the bottle itself claims “3X the Boost” but provides zero information about potential octane level increases one could expect.


That being said, the Lucas bottle does provide this useful tidbit: “It takes 10 octane points to equal 1 octane number.” Some boosters will boast that they raise your octane level by 7 octane points (or something like that). If you used 91 octane gas and put in that booster you would have 91.7 octane. Hardly an improvement. Buyer beware.

Personally I like the two octane boosters below. They both clearly explain how much your actual octane level will go up. The NOS booster claims up to 6 octane numbers while the Royal Purple provides a boost of 3 octane numbers. Actual octane increases would be difficult to pinpoint but I have used the NOS and Royal purple octane boosters, logged my car’s data and they both seem to provide a definite benefit. Looking at engine data there is virtually no knock when these products are used in conjunction with my 91 octane tune. In contrast, without the boosters small amounts of ignition timing retard are common. So, I’m a believer!


Note: If you log your car’s data and see any ignition timing being pulled it’s very possible an octane booster could help your car run more smoothly. However, without aftermarket tuning it’s unlikely the car will be any faster. To illustrate this point: While my car has certainly benefited from these products I haven’t necessarily really seen any speed gains. I would have to create a 94-ish octane tune to take advantage of the modified fuel.

After playing around with octane boosters it was time for the big leagues. It took awhile but I found a location in Provo (Christensen Oil) that sells 100 octane unleaded at the pump. It’s not cheap but I decided science demanded that I try it. I filled up my nearly empty car with the 100…


…and after putting on a new 100 octane tune I could tell right away there was some magic happening. The top end power really filled in and came alive. I was so excited that I decided to drive out to my private racetrack that night and do a couple of runs. I did some 3rd gear pulls for data analysis. They looked good so I decided to go for the whole quarter mile.

The launch was perfect- the wheels just hooked up and then the car exploded forward. The acceleration was finally intoxicating and the car just keep pulling.  I could tell I got to 130 pretty quickly and the results were as good as I could have hoped for:


That’s a huge amount of time shaved off with the race gas and tune. No tricks, no gimmicks, no games (i.e ice on the intercoolers, driving down a huge hill, etc). This run comes right on the heels of several 3rd gear pulls to 100 mph. I’ve even got catalytic converters on my car which makes the number even more impressive (I think I could shave off another 2/10ths with them off- more on that later). With this set up I feel like I’ve got a good shot at running my first “official” 10 second quarter when I hit RMR on the 9th. We’ll see.

So, in conclusion- octane boosters can be beneficial. Although to achieve next level performance it’s necessary to run much higher octane fuel and have a tune that can take advantage of it.

Escort Radar 360 Max – Mini Review

Right out of the box you can feel the build quality isn’t on par with some other radar detector offerings. I compared the 360 Max to my STI Driver and, admittedly, it made me a little sad. The Max is also on the large and heavy side. However the 360 purports to be one of the most comprehensive radar detectors on the market so maybe it takes a lot of room to fit all those features in there. With it’s LCD screen and indicator arrows it certainly looks like it’s built for business.

I immediately liked the included accessories. The power cord is a smart design; I can plug in the curled portion inside my glove box and then run the straight portion of the cable up to the windshield-mounted 360. The windshield mount is a sticky cup design (like my old mount which has been excellent). The new mount has a magnetic latch that makes the 360 super easy to mount and remove. At first it seemed like the detector wasn’t being held securely but pushing it back against the mount with a bit of force remedies the problem.


The Max has plenty of preference settings making customization easy (display colors, sound options, band lockouts, etc). The LCD screen shows quite a bit of information making it easy to know what’s going on.


My first time out The Max 360 blinked and hollered at everything. But turning off the X-band and a few more trips made a world of difference (after detecting fixed signals a few times the 360 will store “false” alerts and stop pestering you with them). Detection seems to be alright although there were a couple of instances where I saw a police car but the Max didn’t register any radar activity. In my experience with my STI Driver when there is a police car there is radar. I may need to do some side by side testing.

The directional indicator is a very nice feature but in my limited testing it seemed to have trouble figuring out where to point the arrow. I will reserve final judgement for a month or so and see how the Max 360 performs over time. Possible detecting glitches aside, the Max 360 seems to be a comprehensive standalone solution and it’s been enjoyable to use thus far.

Overall Rating:  7/10

If want more information on the Escort Max 360 I’d check Vortex Radar’s incredibly comprehensive Max 360 review.

$4 991 Steering Wheel Modification


I recently wrapped some white electrical tape around my car’s steering wheel. The 911s have an independent section of leather on their wheel and so the tape slips into the grooves and nearly looks like stock offering. Although I thought of this and tried it all on my own it appears from having later Googled the idea that others have attempted similar things.

Practically speaking, I think it’ s a great visual addition. The tape had held in place just fine. No stickiness or peeling issues. The electrical tape is vinyl and so it’s easy to clean. The best part was that it only set me back about $4. A highly recommended aesthetic modification.

RaceLogic VBOX Sport – Mini Review

The Racelogic VBOX Sport is a must have for any driving / racing enthusiast. If you’re like me you want to know your 0-60 and you need your quarter mile time and trap speed to compare with your friends (okay, not really). Sometimes it’s hard to get out to a track and the VBOX is the next best thing. Using GPS signals it logs your acceleration, braking and speed data for predefined and user designated parameters.

The construction quality is excellent and the unit feels solid and is well designed. The Sport is water resistant so it’s possible to take it on a boat or jetski and it would fare well off road (in a dusty environment). I purchased the optional suction cut windshield mount and it is similarly well constructed and has worked flawlessly. Although the VBOX sport doesn’t have an integrated screen it connects to an iPhone or iPod via Bluetooth where the information is displayed.


The unit’s operation is pretty straightforward: Once the Sport is turned on it acquires the necessary GPS signals. From there you simply pair it with your phone allowing you to start tests and review results. I’ve only had one pairing issue and it was easily resolved.

Accuracy should be quite good given the technology employed by the VBOX Sport. Users report that times and speed are fairly close to what is run on actual tracks (less than a 1% margin of error). I’ve posted the best results I’ve gotten in the Turbo S (so far) below:


10.88 at 126mph! I know the times shown by the VBOX are in the right ballpark since I have actually recorded a few of my quarter mile runs (prior to having the Sport) but I’d be really curious to see what the car would run at out local track. I have also tried the VBOX Sport out in my truck and the results seem spot on.

As I said, this is a great unit. It’s not cheap but I think it’s absolutely worth the price and is a valuable tool that any modder, tuner or racer will appreciate (check it out at Racelogic’s website). If anyone in Utah wants to use my VBOX please – especially if you’re planning to go to the track- please hit me up!

Overall Rating: 9/10

Car Adventures July – Tuning

Adventures in Tuning: 

Following the aftermarket part installation it was clear the car was going to need some tuning. This time around I decided to use Cobb and their Access Port. Back when I had my 997 I had to take out the ECU and send it in to EVOMS (shudder- such bad memories of those guys) to get a new map flashed onto the car. This made it nearly impossible to make small adjustments. However, the Access Port (AP) allows you to flash the a tune onto the car’s computer though the OBDII port! You can load on a new tune in just a few minutes. Additionally the AP logs data which you can send to a Cobb tuner and they can make adjustments as needed for you. This is a game changer.


COBB Access Port Tuning Module- this is where the magic starts & how we make the magic faster.

Right out of the box the AP comes standard with a slew of off the shelf (OTS) tunes. Before putting my new parts onto the car I installed the OTS stage 1 tune. The low end seemed more powerful but I didn’t notice much of a difference up top. After the parts were installed I uploaded a stage 3 OTS tune. Again, more bottom end power but very little difference up top. It’s tricky to get a good tune in Utah. I’m fighting high altitudes, catalytic converters (restrictive) and low octane (91 standard here). This is one reason that it’s so important to be able to log data and make tune modifications.


The Cobb Accessport is a very cool piece of hardware. It allows you to tune the car from the OBDII port! After installing the Access Port software onto your car you can upload new tunes. The tunes can be tweaked by logging data (via the AP) and then sending it to a qualified tuner.

I’ve been working with Sam (at By Design) and Mitch (at Cobb) to try and dial in the tune. While there’s a lot of stuff I understand, there’s plenty that doesn’t make a ton of sense to me. When I look at all the data from a logged file some columns leave me scratching my head and I’m forced to put quite a bit of faith in the tuners. Below is a 0-140mph run of my third tune version.

The corresponding times for this run were pulled off of the Cobb Access Port.
0-60 in 3.013
60-130 in 9.693
0-130 in 12.706
At this point I didn’t have a good way to measure a quarter mile run. As I look back in time there are quite a few things I wish I had done differently- gather timing hardware beforehand, test and measure the car in stock form and measure results of each tune iteration. Hindsight…

I’m up to version 4 of my custom tune at this point and the car seem to be running well and I can finally feel a bit of the torque in the upper end. Probably one last tune will eek out all there is with the current set up. Realistically that won’t be much more than I’ve already got- there’s just too much working against us here.

After loading in version 4 of my tune I did an experiment and put some octane booster into my fuel (real octane booster). The data logs looked so clean it was unbelievable (almost no preignition / knock) and the car gained nearly a second in the 0-130 range. With tune version 4 and 93-ish octane here’s what I ended up with (these were measured with a VBOX and a mini review will be posted shortly):

Quarter Mile: 10.92 @ 125
Half Mile: 17.39 @ 151.8
0-60: 2.96
60-130: 9.24
0-150: 17.08

That’s not too bad! I finally have a 10 second Utah car. Apparently if you live in Utah, spend a butt load of money and put in premium gas that we don’t even have here you too can run stock times! Yes, sadly these are pretty much the same times one might run if they lived in California at sea level and had just driven the car off a dealer lot.

Admittedly that leaves me perplexed- it’s hard to understand why a forced induction car would run so much slower in Utah given that the car should be putting roughly the same amount of air into the engine (turbos compensate fairly well for altitude). My goal is to find a stock Turbo S that I can measure at some point to see what a baseline speed might have been. I’m probably being way to scientifically anal about things but I want answers!

If my research pans out I think I’ll look into a methanol kit. A methanol system would give me the equivalent off 115 octane. Given the positive effects of octane I’ve seen I imagine that this would add a significant amount of power and top end speed. I am clearly not very good at being content.

Update: Somehow I managed a new best time of 10.88 in the quarter mile… with plain old 91 octane in my tank. I wish I had logged that run (I have 3rd gear pulls from the same round I can look at though). The worst part was that I had my GoPro setup but forgot my memory card (ahhh!). Maybe octane wasn’t the magic ingredient- I will have to explore this a bit more.