Goodbye Old Friend…

In retrospect it seems silly of me to have ever owned more than one car. I’m not exactly sure what I was thinking (nor do I require a third party analysis). I suppose that as I’ve gotten older many of my priorities have drastically changed. I still love cars, but I think at this point I’m more enamored with the idea of cars than the actual cars. And these days I’m much more interested in comfort and reliability as opposed to speed. How the mighty have fallen…

And so…


I definitely feel some regret- I have so many good memories with this car. It was almost like a friend. I put a lot into this car – and I’m not just talking about money. I had always planned to keep it forever and if circumstances had been a bit different I think that I would have.

I had a blast building the Vette and achieving my horsepower goals. It would have been fun to to track it a bit- run a nine or ten second quarter – but I can walk away at this point feeling satisfied. Driving around a 1000 rwhp Vette is a feeling that’s hard to describe and it was cool to have the experience.


It’s kind of funny- the Vette’s is headed to Florida, which is where I originally bought the car from. I guess in a way the Vette is going home. Goodbye old friend. I wish you all the best!

It’s Official: 1000rwhp Corvette

It’s taken about 18 months, but we’ve finally arrived! I took my car up to Premier for a few small tweaks and one last dyno run:


The car put down 1024 rwhp (over 1200 crank) and 944 ft lbs torque on pump gas & methanol at 15 psi. There was nothing weird about this pull such as ice on the intercoolers, fuel filters pulled off or the car sitting for a few hours. There’s more power there but I’ll wait until next year (if ever) to coax it out. Overall, I’m very pleased with the final product. It took way longer than I anticipated but I think the results speak for themselves.

My advice to anyone who wants to do a similar build: Know what you’re getting into. Nothing is going to go as smoothly as you want and everything will take longer than you think. Expect compromise. As you build a high horsepower car you need to recognize that some driveability elements will be diminished and not everything is going to work like a stock car- but that’s okay. And ultimately you can’t do anything with a 1000 rwhp car except drag race and feel like a badass. That much power has no practical use on the street – it’s for the dyno.

I want to give a shout out to Vince (& the Lung crew), Heath (& Premier Performance) and Cole (& RaceCo) for their help with this project. There were a lot of other people who contributed their mental energy, time and encouragement and I’m grateful to them as well. It’s been fun! Where do I go from here? Hmm… that new Corvette might be calling my name.


Vette Regret? Nah.

Finally a Corvette update (I know, I know-  you’ve all been waiting for this…not)!

In another post I mentioned that I had gotten my car back from Premier, but there were still a few issues. Since I’d had a good experience with RaceCo (Porsche) I decided to let them take a crack at my Vette.

They pressure tested everything and discovered that the blow off valves were popping open around 12 PSI. I was disappointed that this issues hadn’t been identified before, but it was a good find. RaceCo rebuilt the BOVs so there wouldn’t be any more boost related issues. Vince and I had always thought the car should boost to more than 12-13 PSI so we were curious what this fix would yield.

After making sure every leak was plugged RaceCo told me the car seemed to run better- it started fine, the surging was reduced and they didn’t experience any stalls. They also replaced a melted 02 sensor and added more heat shielding.

Next was the boost controller. For whatever reason there were intermittent sensor errors and the boost pressures weren’t accurate.  RaceCo got in touch with the manufacturer and they helped them trouble shoot and sort through the issues (one wiring, and one plumbing).


With the boost controller working properly it was time to do some testing. On high boost the car made it to 16PSI without breaking a sweat (that’s where the boost controller is currently set- when things warm up again I’ll be curious to see how much higher it goes… I’ll probably have to upgrade the fuel system for that). With 940rwhp on tap at 13 PSI I’m positive I’ve broken the 1000rwhp goal at 16PSI. The car is nasty fast on high boost. It just pulls and pulls. It’s hard to describe…

The drivability of the car is finally to a point where I’m comfortable with it (although there are obviously traction issues on high boost). I’m still not sure if I’m a fan of the aluminum flywheel- my only gripe is that the car is tricky to get moving from a stop. I think I’d like to get the car converted over to a speed density tune, but for the now the MAF tune is working fairly well (and it has the advantage of being OBDII complaint). Yes, the project took way longer than I thought it would, but ultimately I’m pleased with the results. No regrets.

Now I’m in the process of taking care of a few other little things. For example, the car needs a massive cleaning inside and out. Polishing out the hard water deposits (rain then sun) will be a good winter project.

While I was in Provo the other day I drove through a construction zone. There was a massive bump in the road and I got one of my air hoses under the car ripped off again! I fabricated some shields for them this time. Hopefully they take the brunt of the next impact instead of my poor hoses.


One of my RCA cables has been giving me grief. The end developed an issue and ultimately I had my friend Jim put on a new jack. That temporarily solved the problem but in the end I got hungry for more.

Initially I bought new Monster Audio RCA cables. Then I also decided to upgrade the head unit with a Pioneer AVIC-Z150BH and add a back up camera. And I was getting pretty sick of my Beltronics radar detector suction cups giving out so I figured it was time for an integrated STIR-Plus system too.

This time around I didn’t feel like doing the install so I had Travis CSDAudio take care of it. He did a great job and I’d recommend him if you’re looking to have any car audio done. In the end I pulled out the center console to adjust some wires, but that was a piece of cake.


The Pioneer AVIC-Z150BH seems to be an excellent receiver. It’s a little glitchy since it doesn’t really support iOS7 at the moment but I think that will get resolved. The audio it pumps out seems like a huge improvement from my AVICZ1 which kind of surprised me. Travis assisted me with some tweeter tweaking to eliminate the sibilance as well. Overall I’m very happy with this stereo upgrade- I would rank my system among the best I’ve heard. And no ground loop!

The Beltronic STIR-Plus system also seems to be excellent. I’ve got the display screen and a warning light mounted on top of my steering column (I may need to black out the backside of the LED bulb as it reflects of my gauge cluster) and operation is simple and discreet. The sensitivity seems to be as good as, if not better than, my old unit.


Finally I had our graphic artist here at work make me a customized sticker for the car since I’m trying to stick with the red and black theme (our blue and white logo just wasn’t working). This is the first prototype; It was a monster to get on but I think it turned out pretty good.

What do you know? Sometimes cars are fun!

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 🙂

Oh nO-ring! A Corvette Adventure.

Since I had upgraded my amps I was cruising around adjusting the stereo. In the course of my drive I hit WOT a couple of time (i.e. freeway onramp- nothing crazy). Something seemed off, but I wasn’t sure what. I popped the hood for a quick look, but didn’t notice anything amiss. Later I took the car for a quick spin to see if it was feeling any better. It had a rough time starting- died three times, then idled like crap and drove about the same as the night before. As I was driving a hint of gas fumes was present but I chalked it up to an old car next to me. Still, when the fumes persisted I turned on my heater and was blasted with gas fumes. I took the car home, left the engine running and had a look:

Probably not something I should be driving around with! I pulled out the leaky injector and discovered there was a pretty big hunk of o-ring missing. I bought some OEM rings and made the repair. No leaks, so that was a good start. But the car was still having some issues.


I felt like the issues must be related to the injector, but they seemed like symptoms of a boost/vacuum leak. The car wasn’t boosting past five pounds (it’s supposed to top out at six), it wasn’t starting well, it was idling rough and air/fuel ratio was much too lean when the car was fist starting. Here’s some video documentation:

Thinking maybe the o-rings that were used could be the issue (you can have an air leak through your injectors) I replaced them with OEM ring on the other seven injectors. Sadly, when I started the car there was little to no change. I inspected all the turbo piping, but wasn’t able to locate a leak. There’s not much more I can think of to do so I took the car back up to Premier to have them trouble shoot it.


They didn’t find anything mechanically wrong with the car, which was surprising. All signs seemed to point to some type of air leak. And all the problems manifested at the same time which made me think the problem would be mechanical.

The current plan is to reflash the computer to its factory state and start the tune from scratch. It’s been a couple of weeks, but hopefully they will make some progress soon. With nicer weather on the horizon it would be nice to get my car up and running again. I guess this is the price we may for progress. More updates to come.

JL Audio HD Amplifier Installation

This winter has been so cold. There are lot of projects I want to do but the appeal and my drive is vastly diminished by the weather. However, there was a “warm spell” a couple of weeks ago – got almost to forty degrees – and I managed to sneak something in.

Back in December I purchased two JL Audio amplifiers (an HD750/1 and HD600/4). Since they are larger than the Kenwood amps that were in the car it was necessary to fabricate a new amp rack. I called up J-Wise and he worked up a beautiful new design and had it put together in just a few days. I painted and carpeted it myself.


Installation was pretty straight forward but took the better part of a Saturday. I replaced my battery and ran new power and ground wires. I haven’t had time to get good pictures of the setup, but it looks outstanding. I also took the opportunity to replace the connector on the sub-box with something a little beefier (the old connector wasn’t holding the wires tightly and had a small leak).


The sound? Fantastic. I don’t know if it’s in my head, but everything sounds super crisp and clean (which is what I like). The bass seems vastly improved as I can listen through songs that before were simply too hard on the ears. I can’t A/B test the setups, but I’m really happy with this switch and that’s good enough for me.

There are a couple of issues left to deal with though. If life teaches me one lesson over and over and over it’s that nothing can be perfect. I have a shorted RCA cable that I need to replace. It’s fine for now (a little ugly though), but it’s exacerbating the ground loop. One day I am planning to line the car with some kind of sound deadening material and I will pull everything apart, check connections, run new RCAs and reground things. In the meantime I will just enjoy!

Corvette C7 Stingray Unveiled January 13, 2013

Yesterday Chevrolet revealed the all new 2014 C7 Corvette Stingray. I think the car looks better than the leaked drawings, but there’s still something I don’t like about the back. The front and profile look really good to me and the interior seems like an upgrade too. My son said it looked like a Ferrari California mixed with a Camaro, but he liked it. My wife said she thought it looked beautiful but she missed the circular tail lights (I agree). Perhaps the design will grow on me a bit more with time. I’m the first to admit I’m not big on change (in general) and I see this redesign as a move away from American Muscle more toward Italian Style. I will be curious to see the car in person and read/watch performance reviews. And, for the record, I’m going to miss the LS series engines.





It’s interesting to me – from looking over various forums and video comments – how polarizing this design seems to be. Many people seem to like it and others seem to hate it (I lean more toward liking it, if I have to pick a side). I can’t personally recall the reactions when the C6 was unveiled, but people have indicated it was much the same. In a way I understand what GM is doing- they want to cater to the groups that love Ferraris, Lamborghinis and reel in a younger generation of car buyer. It’s probably time to shake the “old man” image. And no, I am not an old man 😉