Hughes Family: January 14th, 2013 – January 25, 2012

I feel like a broken record, but where does the time go? As I have mentioned in similar posts it’s too cold to actually be doing anything. I’ll start out this post with proof:

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Last week our main water pipe froze. We had no water all of Saturday and part of Sunday. I’m not really sure why the pipe froze- it wasn’t as cold as it has been, and none of our neighbors were affected. Lehi City was nice enough to send someone out on Saturday to check the water meter (sometimes they freeze), but that wasn’t the problem. I ran a hair dryer on the water pipe going out of the house pretty much all day. We gathered snow and melted it for use in the toilets and drank bottled water. We are survivors.

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The kids and I spent an afternoon playing with paper. Don’t underestimate the amount of enjoyment that can be derived from plant fiber and scissors!

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Fran took the kids to the Aquarium (and in case you haven’t visited before, it’s very cool!). This is the first time that Chloe sort of knew what was going on- you can see that look of wonder etched onto her face here.

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Fran and Claire went to see a BYU production of The Phantom of the Opera (Mike wasn’t interested and kids under six weren’t allowed so I stayed home… but secretly felt the same way Mike did). The consensus between attendees was that it was good, but long and slow in some parts.
I went with some friends to see Arnold’s latest fiasco, Last Stand. It some ways it was classic Arnold- tons of action, over the top violence and a lot of fun. Still, Schwarzenegger is starting to show his age and his movie days may be over. I loved the ZR1 action and was happily surprised when the movie culminated in a Corvette vs. Camaro showdown in a cornfield (I missed that particular trailer).

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Claire is the sweetest kid. She makes adorable little cards and cute drawings for us all the time. This past week she made a shopping bag-shaped card holder and a giant pop-up card. Some of her sweetness has rubbed off on Gabe and he also gives us cards from time to time. There is nothing better than getting hand made gifts from your kids.

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I decided to try out the Nike Fuel Band. It certainly gets high marks for coolness and design, but I’m not quite sure it always knows what’s going on. Time will tell and at the very least the Fuel Band will be a fun way to keep track of my activity levels.

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.

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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 ūüėČ

Hughes Family: January 1st, 2013 – January 13th, 2013

The past couple of weeks have been pretty uneventful for us (which isn’t a bad thing). School started back up and the weather has been frigid so our activity opportunities have been limited. It’s almost relaxing (well, for me anyway).

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Nothing like a hike up the “Y” on the first day of the year! Especially in the snow. Not me though- I decided to sleep instead.

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Our kids are so cute. They spent almost all of Thursday afternoon/evening creating a museum. They started drawing money a few days ago and decided to put in on display. The had a “grand opening” at 7:00pm and Mike read a speech (written by Claire). Then they cut a piece of thread strung across the doorway and invited us in. The presented all the different kinds of money they had drawn (here’s an unencumbered view of the wall). While I don’t dig tape and thumbtacks on the wall I don’t think I would want to stifle this kind of creativity.

I finally got my car back! This whole project has taken much longer than I thought it would, and there’s still a lot of work to do. The weather has been so frigid that I got to drive the car home, take it for one quick spin and then had to park it in the garage. I’m really looking forward to spring.

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Speaking of weather… the iPhone hasn’t been doing much to help me this winter. It seems like forecasts frequently change (even hour to hour) and a lot of the time it’s just plain wrong. The other day I woke up and checked the weather. Partly sunny! But when I looked out the window what did I see? Snow. It was overcast and snowy. And the rest of the week was pretty much the same.
This is one of the coldest winters that I can remember. Our gutters keep freezing and then when it melts a bit they overflow onto our driveway where they freeze again. This giant ice patch (right pic) makes it really hard to get into our garage. And it doesn’t help that our driveway is perpetually covered with snow either. Too cold.

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We’re making progress on the office little by little. We ordered some wall art off Overstock. These particular pieces are actually pretty cool. It’s an image printed on sanded metal. The sanding causes different kind of reflections on the metallic surface.
Aesthetics aside, hanging this thing was a nightmare. It’s seven individual pieces. They each have two brackets welded on the back (first pic). They are not centered (left right, top or bottom), they are not accessible in any way from the front (for marking purposes) and it’s not possible to accurately measure where to make the holes in advance. Good luck! Hanging this took over an hour and my pieces didn’t end up spaced perfectly, but I’m pretending that’s part of the art.

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After a brief hiatus our tradition of eating out each weekend has resumed. Sometimes we skip our outings to reallocate money to cover something the kids have damaged. Most recently we skipped a few weeks to pay for a new mini van battery (the kids often leave the mini van lights on which drains the battery and, over time, ruins it). This past Saturday we went to dinner at Asian Buffet (remember, the shrimp?!).
I’m trying to do a bit of dieting, but the siren song of the shrimp was just too much. More on my progress (or lack thereof) later this year.

Does anyone have anything to add? Hmm… maybe next time I’ll ask the kids if they want to write anything for the blog. That could be amusing.

The Horsepower: There and Back Again

The Quest for 1000rwhp continues. Each day brings our tireless hero one step closer to his goal…

I finally got my car back from Premier. Most of the issues have been resolved: Melting wires are repaired and relocated (with fire sleeves added), new knock sensors, new MSD spark plug wires and spark plugs. The turbo inlet hose issue was fixed. Premier also put in my new fuel injectors- Injector Dynamics ID1000s. But most importantly the dyno and street tuning is finally finished. Here’s where we’re at:

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Not too shabby. 696rwhp and 627 ft/lbs or torque is about what I expected. For the most part the dyno graph looks great and the A/F ratios are where I want them.

If you compare it to the original dyno I did at Premier (below, both runs overlayed) I lost some power on the low end. It could be the lower compression of the new engine (9.8:1 vs. 11:1 on the LS7). It might also be that the test was started later, A/F ratio differences (I don’t know what the A/F ratio was on the first run), or something else. I’m a little surprised to lose that much torque, but it’s not too big a deal. In fact, it may actually beneficial when facing traction issues.

The top end power with the new mods and tune is more substantial. I gained about 50 rwhp and 50 ft/lb torque. The last dyno was 8 pounds of boost (maybe) and this is just 6 pounds so overall I’m pleased with the results.

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I’ve only had the chance to drive the car twice, but both times it was awesome. It pulls hard and it’s super smooth (no surging or hiccups). I really like the idle too- not too rough and plenty loud. I wish I could do some more testing with the car, but I’ll have to wait for nicer weather. Initial impressions: Excellent.

Some people might say it’s taken eight months to get back where I started. What do I mean? Well, take a look at this graph from my old setup done at another shop:

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It appears that back then I had 693 rwhp and even more torque than I have now. The car ran well and it was a blast to drive. In essence, everything I have now I had then. So why did I do all this? Let me tell you.

1) I don’t trust this 693 rwhp dyno graph. Track times were way to slow for that kind of power and that same tune gave me 648 rwhp at Premier. I don’t think my car has ever really had as much power as it has now. 2) Before these new mods my car was a time bomb; You can’t run boost a stock LS7 forever. There was nowhere to go because everything on the car – engine, trans, clutch, diff, – was maxed out in terms of it’s ability to handle power. 3) The new setup makes more power on 6 pounds of boost than the old car made on 8 pounds. And now everything is now built to handle the power so there’s nowhere to go but up. 4) My end goal is to have a 1000rwhp car (I might settle for crank horsepower) and this is how I’m going to get there.

So that’s the progress for now. In a few months I’ll head back to Premier, we’ll crank up the boost and see what happens.

Last Stand Corvette ZR-1

“What kind of car is this?”
“A ZR1. Faster than any chopper.”

Once upon a time I had this idea I would spotlight Corvettes that pop up in movies and TV, but I didn’t have the time. However, you put Arnold Schwarzenegger and a Corvette in a movie together and that’s post worthy.

The trailers seem to put a lot of emphasis on the car- maybe to drum up interest for the upcoming release of the C7.¬†I guess if I was making a run for the border a ZR1 wouldn’t be a bad choice.

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I don’t think this one’s going to win any Oscars, but I bet it will be fun to watch. Here’s the movie trailer:

Fun Technology, a Couple Projects and Some Cool Junk

There’s been a lot of little projects to do lately and it’s hard to keep up (this doesn’t even include anything my wife wants me to do). So naturally I figured the best thing to do would be take pictures of the stuff I’m doing and then pop it on a blog. Then it’s like I did it twice. I can’t figure out how this can possibly help me, but maybe it can help you.

One of the projects was remounting my TV in the office (still working on that office makeover!) and hooking up a Bluray player. The catch was I didn’t want any visible cords (power, HDMI, etc).

Mounting the TV is was straightforward.¬†If you’re got a medium sized TV then I suggest a low profile mount like the one I got.¬†¬†It will keep the TV close to your wall and you can slide the TV left or right if the centering of your mount has to be off.

We had an electrician come and install a plug behind the TV (I cleverly cut the plug off in the picture below, but you can see a tiny corner to the left of the TV mount). I drilled a hole in the bookcase (I recommend a hole saw¬†and a correspondingly sized furniture hole cover¬†to make it look nice) and then another in the wall by the TV mount. Make sure your hole is clear of any mounting parts! It’s pretty easy to push cables through the walls (even with insulation) but you can run a guide wire (something like a hanger works) and then attach your cables to that and pull them through if you prefer.

Then hook it all up! Voila! Everything works and there are no visible wires. I guarantee it will make you feel fancy.

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One of the things I was hooking up was a new Bluray player: The Sony BDP-S390. So far almost everything about this player has been excellent. Picture quality is superb, responsiveness is excellent and the video streaming capabilities all seem to work flawlessly (I use Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video and Netflix).¬†¬†The player feels a little cheap, but aesthetically it’s compact and pleasant to look at. My only gripe is that the S390 seems to have a hard time with wireless signals. One bar from a router that’s about twenty feet away (in general I have been disappointed with wireless features on Sony products). In any event, I feel mighty cool streaming Pandora through my Bluray player to my TV. And also slightly silly.

I have needed a new router for a long time and seeing as how I was having connectivity issues with some devices (not just the new Bluray) I decided to take action and buy a new router: The NetGear R6300-100NAS. I selected this based on my desire for a higher end router and customer reviews. Setup was quick and simple with only a few hiccups (i.e. the router had trouble downloading it’s firmware update). Fran and I instantly noticed that while browsing our pages loaded much faster than before. The router has only been in place for a couple weeks, but so far so good (our old router needed to be reset about once a week so we’re already doing better than before). And the Sony Bluray now has two bars of connectivity (for anyone curious this equates to about 5 mbps while streaming video). I have also enjoyed NetGear’s Genie router program (fake parental controls- yeah!).

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For my next trick I replaced the screen on Mike’s iPhone 4. A friend suggested I grab a new screen off eBay and give it a shot. So that’s what I did. The screen was $30 shipped (I can recommend zydisto). To see what the replacement entailed I watched a YouTube tutorial. All told it took a couple of hours, but was pretty straightforward. I turned it on and everything worked, no problem (good screen quality too). I felt like a total stud. It seriously lasted days.

The video I linked to is good, but it’s not perfect. A couple of tips if you’re doing this yourself: 1) Use a magnetized screwdriver (my repair kit included one- priceless). 2) After your remove the iPhone screws lay them out in some way that will help you recall where they go. 3) You can pull the camera out¬†with¬†the CPU. 4)¬†Transfer the mesh from the old iPhone ear speaker to the new one. 5) Make sure you have good lighting while you work. 6) Don’t panic.

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And here’s something totally different: For Christmas my wife got us a Vivint security system (we previously used Stone Security but by the end we were underwhelmed with their service). Vivient has some really cool features such as this handy iPhone app (powered by Alarm.com). With the app you can arm and disarm your system, you can see a realtime history (i.e. “Garage door opened/closed ¬†3:30pm”) and – if you’ve shelled out the money – you can see real time video, lock and unlock doors remotely and even control your thermostat. Our kids set off the alarm the other morning and I’m pleased to report their response time and communication also seems to be excellent.¬†¬†Vivint looks like the real deal!

For Christmas I gave myself some new JL Audio amps for my car (“They’re just what I wanted! How did I know?”). I like my Kenwood Excelons okay, but I don’t feel like they are driving my speakers hard enough and the sounds seem colored. There’s no guarantee that these will work better, but they look mighty cool. Later this month I’ll modify my amp rack and try these out (I’m sure there will be a post on that).

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I guess that’s about it for this post. The other other project I wanted to mention involves the entire run of 24 (thank you again, Mom & Dad!). Great show. And I’m going to watch it all while I’m on a treadmill. Six thousand five hundred minutes of pulse pounding adrenaline inducing Jack Bauer style action. That’s going to be brutal and awesome at the same time. Just how I like it.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Singing a New Tune

I miss my car. I won’t pretend that I don’t. When I started the 1000rwhp project seven months ago I had no idea that it was going to take this long to get things done. Here we are in 2013 and I have no car. Yes, I had the car for a few weeks while I put on the break-in miles, but the driving experience was sub-par because of the very rough tune. And now the car is gone again.

It’s been up at Premier Performance for nearly a month for¬†a “real” tune.¬†With any luck I will get it back this coming week (Hmmm, shouldn’t have said that- not a lot of luck going around at the moment). But this is only a six pound tune; the higher psi tune will have to wait until spring when the weather gets nicer.

So what’s taking so long at Premier? From what I can tell they take on a lot of projects and bump the harder stuff to the back of the line.The tuning turned out to be more difficult than they thought. And when the tuning was finally done they found a turbo inlet hose with a hole (it was installed crooked and was rubbing against the undercarriage) which is what they are¬†working on now.

Would I do it again? Oh yeah. But I’d really like to experience some some ROI at this point. Up to now I am nowhere close to achieving the kind of pleasure the car used to bring me (you know, when I could drive it). Still, there are a lot of bright rays on this journey. But I will save those for the next post. Which I hope will be this week… when I get the car back.