Camaro is Sold


The Camaro was easier to part with than my truck. Initially it was a blast, but over time I came to realize that it just didn’t have the handling or speed I wanted. Sure, I could have modified it, but I just didn’t want to go there. And no matter how many times I washed the car it was dirty within day or two (black cars!). Although I liked the stereo in the Camaro the iPod interface was temperamental. And I could never get over the lack of headroom, visibility issues or the way the steering wheel covered part of my gauge cluster. I think the Camaro is a great looking car, but ultimately it just didn’t work for me.

Carmageddon Blues

Well… I wish I had something good to report. Sadly, we haven’t made much headway as of yet.

I got my Corvette back from Premier a few days ago. While it was exciting to have it back I have to confess that I’m a little disappointed. As I have said before I like the guys at Premier, but even though they had the car for four months this time (over seven months total) I feel like the car just wasn’t ready.

To be fair they did an outstanding job adjusting my alignment. They noticed my steering linkage were loose and corrected that as well. The steering wheel is aligned now, no dead spots, the car drives straight and feels nice and tight. It’s a huge improvement and it’s a blast to drive.

I understand that I’ve essentially built a race car and some drivability elements have been compromised but some things could be better. After driving my Corvette for a few days I’ve identified several issues that I consider “in need of a second look.”  I feel like these things need to get fixed for me to really enjoy the car.

1. RPM surging & Stalling

Sometimes when the car if moving and I push in the clutch (e.g., to shift) the RMPs will swing between 500 and 1200 before stabilizing at around 800. Once in awhile when the clutch is pressed the RMPs drop to 0 and the car stalls:

I realize I’ve got the RMPs pretty low in this video. At first I was just coming off the freeway and let my RMPs get low before shifting and the car died. I tried to replicate it by keeping the RPM’s down (seemed like it sort of worked).

After talking with some people and giving this some thought I think I’m experiencing cam reversion. Since the car has a MAF tune some of the engine air is getting pushed back up (I have a pretty big cam) toward the sensor and this affecting the car’s ability to meter air correctly, especially as the car transitions into neutral / idle RPMs. Considering I have a MAF tune the car runs really well, but I think I may need to switch it to a speed density tune.

2. Dieseling

After breaking the car in I had new Injectors installed (ID 1000s) and that’s when I noticed the engine run on. Premier did swap out the injectors and try to address it in the tune but the problem persists.

Personally I think it might be related to an air leak, possibly the spark plugs, or maybe carbon build up on the internals (creating a hot spot). I will keep working on it. I guess it’s not really a big deal- if I clip the throttle up to 1500 rpms it shuts off just fine.

3. Long Term Fuel Trims (LTFT) are rising:

Probably out of paranoia I checked my LTFT and noticed they were at +18%. When I checked the LTFTs the next day they had risen to 24%. I suppose the only real downside to this is that the car is mighty smelly and mileage is wicked bad.

This could be related to an air leak. It seems like running that rich could certainly contribute to engine run on too. It might also be in the tuning- seems like that would be negligent tuning though.

4. Boost Controller

This is really the only thing I have to get fixed. I have an AMS-1000. Lung and Premier worked to set up the boost controller, but it’s having some issues. After doing a few runs with the boost controller I noticed there were several issues. With the unit “off” the car boosts to 6psi (wastegate spring is 6 pounds). On each subsequent WOT run the car looses boost (maybe a pound or so). That shouldn’t be happening. If “high boost” mode is activated (13psi) it seems to work okay. But then when the system is shut back off the car only boosts to around 2psi.

I looked over all the connections (that I could see) and I didn’t find any lose hoses. I think this issue could be related to an air leak or it’s either plumbed wrong or the decrease solenoid is having an issue (which seems unlikely, as it resets okay when the car is restarted). It’s annoying that it “worked” for Premier. They must not have done much testing…

I actually unhooked the AMS-1000 a few days ago since it was misbehaving. The car seems to work much better and boosts to at least 6 psi now on every pull. However for a brief period of time the car was boosting to 10psi… I don’t have any explanation for that at the moment.

I did decide to give the Vette a little love. I replaced all the interior lights with LEDs (I like how LEDs look way more than incandescent lights). And even though it’s not perfect the car makes 1000+ hp now so I upgraded the car’s badge.


I took the Vette up to RaceCo today and swapped it for the Porsche (I don’t feel like Premier can do any more at this point). I’m hopeful that they will be able to identify any mechanical issues the car has (i.e. air leak) and we can go from there!

RaceCo said the Porsche was ready to rock and roll. The intercoolers were replaced, the long term fuel trims were holding steady and the car was running great. I picked it up earlier this afternoon (well, swapped it) and it was running great for about 25 miles or so.

I stopped and got gas and after a few minutes the CEL popped on. Doh! I thought about turning around, but hoped that maybe it was just a gas cap issue since the car seemed to be running fine. But after another ten miles or so it was clear it wasn’t the gas cap. The RMPs were going nuts when the car was in neutral. By the time I got it home the idle speed had jumped to nearly 1600 RMPs.
I pulled the codes from the car and it was like dejavoo!

P2279 (Intake Air System Leak), P0507 (Idle Control System RPM Above Expected), P2177 (System To Lean Off Idle Speed Bank 1) and P2179 (System To Lean Off Idle Speed Bank 2). I’m pretty sure the last three codes are caused by the first though. The long term fuel trims were both over +31%. Do I have a gift or what? Back it goes!


The only thing I can think that might have causes the issue was the the road leading to the gas station- it was extremely bumpy. I guess it’s possible something popped off. Going home I never had the car over 4000 RMPs (no crazy WOT pulls or anything). I hope it’s just something simple.Update (July 11, 2013): There’s no more leaks that they can find. RaceCo talk with EVOMS and they are hammering out a battle plan to find the problem. Fingers crossed.

At least I have the Camaro (old faithful, I call it). I was considering doing a street tune on it, but have since decided just to leave it totally stock (and these days I’m starting to feel glad I wasn’t able to buy the modified Camaro I had my eye on). I don’t see any reason to mess with something that’s working, especially given my propensity for car problems. I do want to get the damage to the front of the car repaired, so I’ll need to address that at some point. I may even try and pop the dent out myself, but that can wait for now.

Here’s hoping next week is better! And yes, for the curious, I have “real” problems too. Perspective, perspective.

I leave you with this video on my dancing tachometer:

Car Updates & Adventures

When I embarked on my Corvette adventure I really had no idea what I was getting into. I’ve touched on this before and even asked the question “Would I do it again?” The human capacity for hope is incredible. I keep waiting for a positive outcome and, despite numerous setbacks and disappointments, I still believe that success is just around the corner. I write this post mostly to put my thoughts in order. And, in general, I think I’d like to blog in a more balanced way- include both the wins and losses, so to speak. A blog filled with only the good is simply a fantasy and provides no real value to a reader (unless the reader is just the author).


The initial engine and drivetrain installation took much longer than I expected. I was okay with that, because there was periodic progress. The first round of tuning and tweaking also took longer that I wanted and I got the car back after three months in mostly drivable condition. But after the injector blew out things just haven’t been the same (there are blog posts on events up to this point if you happen to be interested) …

Premier has now had my car about four months and I just can’t figure out what the hold-up is. On the one hand, it’s not a big deal- I don’t really have a place to put the car right now. And I want the work done right, not quickly. On the other hand from a customer service point of view this is not the right way to handle a job. I have been assured over and over that it’s nearly done, it’s their top priority, etc. but they just don’t make any headway.

I know there are issues that have popped up, but the resolution speed is, to put it nicely, slow. When there was an issue with the methanol kit I felt like I literally had handle it myself and after weeks of “I’ll get to it” I dragged my own mechanic up to resolve the problems. I like the guys at Premier, I really do. But if they have so much business they need four months to work on a car then maybe they need to tweak their business model.

For the final tune they are planning to have the car reflashed back to stock and start the tuning process over again (gotta start fresh!). But, I had thought this was the plan months ago. So to be at this point now is frustrating. And I hope that this strategy doesn’t result in another month of dealy. When I get my car back in great working order all will be well. But if they keep up this pace I might go mad before then…


I thought I would be embarking on a fun new adventure with this car. And I guess I am- just not quite the way I expected :).  After getting the car back from EVOMS there were still issues with the idle and the tachometer would hang when rolling in neutral. I should have paid more attention to those things from the get-go, but I was obsessed with another issue- emissions. Despite assurances that the car would be OBDII compliant the onboard emissions diagnostic tests wouldn’t initially run.

To their credit EVOMS did update my tune with missing OBDII components and was very responsive to my issues. However, the car was still unable to run it’s tests and when the engine light came on that’s when I really started realizing there was something else going on. It’s disappointing to get your car back “ready to go!” and have problems. I tried to troubleshoot some things on my own (even spending an entire day pulling out engine parts) but didn’t have any luck. I needed some expert help!

I took it to a company in Tooele called RaceCo. My initial impressions of them are excellent. Thus far they have found a hole in one of the intercoolers. It’s large enough that they can’t even do any other testing until it’s fixed. Unfortunately they are not able to weld it so it’s going to be new intercoolers for me.


And, after more research, I have determined that my Sport Button is not functioning correctly. That coupled with intercooler hole means that I may not have even been experiencing the car’s full potential. I wish EVOMS’s inspection had caught these issues and they could have been handled then and there. But at least I found a competent local shop and we’re getting to the bottom of it.

Update (July 12, 2013): Turns out the sport mode doesn’t work because of the aftermarket head unit (stereo). The car still makes full boost in normal mode so no complaints from me. Also, RaceCo was able to locate a couple more leaks – things that vent internally so I’ve got my fingers crossed. 


I had been planning to sell this car, but it’s become my daily driver now (you know, since my other cars are kaput). Unfortunately it’s also become the victim of my carelessness. I rammed the front side of the car into a shelf in my garage and it’s sustained a bit of body damage. Oops! I need to send to a body shop… I’ll bet I could just do it myself though.


Some General Thoughts…

I try to keep things in perspective. I’m sensitive to the fact that these “problems” are not life threatening and pale in comparison to to what many others face. But in the end, even though I’ve brought it upon myself, they do cause me some distress. I’m learning to work through the annoyed feeling feelings and I think I can still manage to enjoy my hobby even when nothing is working quite right.

One for the road: Ripped off part of the front spoiler why trying to load the car onto a trailer. Whoops!

One for the road: Pulled off part of the front spoiler why trying to load the car onto a trailer. Whoops! Easy fix, but the kicker was that we couldn’t ever get it on the trailer. I had to limp it down to RaceCo. This is the fun stuff I live for 🙂

Camaro Door Sore

I was at a business lunch the other day and we briefly talked about door dings. I felt lucky, since I couldn’t specifically remember ever getting one.

Fast forward a few days. I went up to SLC with Fran on a quick errand. As we were about to head home I noticed my Camaro door had a nasty mark on it. Looking closer a small dent was also visible and it became obvious the truck next to me had opened their door right into mine. What’s worse is that the dirt had been wiped away around the mark showing that the offender knew of his misdeed, had inspected the damage and then chosen to ignore it.


Here’s a video of the damage.

I’m not mad, so much as miffed that the driver of this blue Silverado decided that taking responsibility wasn’t necessary. Fran and I tried to find him, but no one stepped forward and we had a deadline which forced us to call off our manhunt.

What is proper etiquette for door dings (if it’s bad and you know it was you)? This seems like it’s more of a door smashing (the scrapes go up about four inches past the paint mark / dent). In any event, I will live and now I have empathy for door ding victims.

Jeff Gordon Camaro Test Drive – Pepsi

This is a great commercial and Jeff Gordon does a great job driving this Camaro (and it’s passenger) to the limit.

Yes, yes- it’s a little too good to be true (but still a lot of fun to watch). The biggest problem with the commercial is that there is no such thing as a 2009 Camaro. Once Jeff and the salesman are seated in the Camaro it’s clear from the steering wheel it’s a 2012 model. And what’s with the cup holder by the vents? Word on the street is that Jeff didn’t even do his own driving. Fake reality TV is all too common these days, but it’s still well engineered to entertain.

Double Take Vehicles. January 2013 Edition.

Since I don’t have my car around to keep me busy, I have been scouring the web for other cars (we/ve covered this- it’s something that I do).

The most interesting thing I’ve come across in the last few months has been these “leaked” drawing of the Corvette C7. There’s a lot of speculation regarding how the C7 is actually going to look and these – which seem legitimate – provide a pretty good glimpse into many aspects of the car’s appearance.

Initially the rear end doesn’t do it for me. I miss the iconic circular tail lights and I don’t really care for the smaller rear windshield and addition of smaller side windows. I’ll try reserve final judgement on the back until I see some better pictures of the car (or better yet, see the car in person). The engine bay looks good.


The overall profile of the car seems fairly similar, if not a little more aggressive than the C6. I like the dash and control layouts, although I’m not a huge fan of the Camaro-esque AC controls. Just another week or so and we’ll get some official pictures.


And I thought about it again. Last time it was a 1978 Corvette on eBay and this time it was a gorgeous 1979. I actually placed a bid this time, but the car went for more than I was willing to spend.

Here is a summary of the listing info: This monster Corvette features a 400 small block Clay Smith blue printed racing motor that is bored .20 over with estimated 500+ HP. Aluminum heads, Competition Cams camshaft, 4 speed Muncie manual transmission, 200 HP Nitrous Kit with bottle, side pipe exhaust, fully adjustable road course racing suspension and lots of chrome especially in the engine bay,custom steering wheel, rearview mirror, DVD/CD player, mirrored T-tops, digital dash and old style Cragar rims. Color is black that makes it shine and stand out, freshly painted.  Power windows have brand new motors, digital speedometer & tachometer. Fully rebuilt & tricked out

And another beauty from eBay. At nearly $200,000 this one had no chance of getting a bid from me, but it got plenty of my admiration.

Here are some of the car’s highlights: Original 1969 Corvette Donor. C5 Corvette front suspension, independent rear suspension, fully adjustable coil over shock and tube chassis. Seats are premium black leather with suede inserts and have 5-point harness seat belts. Custom 4′ side exhaust, fabricated ceramic headers, paddle shifters, carbon fiber dash & center console, full custom ‘Bomber’ gauge package, aircraft-style toggle & momentary switches, push button electric start.  In car entertainment includes AM/FM/CD/DVD head unit, navigation w/ In-dash monitor, high-quality sound speakers. Street/track brake system w/ red powder coated calipers and custom wheels (18×9 front/ 18×12 rear). Engine is 1200HP+!!! Runs on pump gas. Custom built 565cid twin turbo dart motor, custom fabricated intake manifold, fuel injected, high-capacity aluminum radiator.

And then something totally off the wall. This is the 813 Customs built King ZL1. This is not my cup of tea, but you have to give the people who did this props for their commitment.


I’m not sure if the car was painted or if this is a gold vinyl wrap, but it would be hard to miss either way. You can see a Whipple supercharger (this custom was actually built out of an SS), 30-inch Forgiato Maschili and more speaker and monitors than I have in my entire hours and vehicles combined. Definitely one of a kind!

Camaro Trunk Pass-through

I know, I know- I said I wasn’t going to post here for awhile. But the other night I had to go pick up some area rugs. They are five feet long when rolled and there were quite a few of them. This is where the subwoofer design I picked really paid off.

I brought the rugs to the car, flipped the back seat down and popped all the rugs into the trunk utilizing the pass-through. I really don’t understand why the OEM subwoofer would remove this critical functionality. Anyway- glad I still have it (the functionality). I bought the Camaro thinking it would be a more practical car and it really is!

Posted by Cam, June 30, 2012