Hughes Family: July 3, 2013 – July 8, 2013

This is kind of a bonus installment. There’s a lot going on right now and I didn’t want to fall too far behind.


Summer. Lots of trips. Lots of food. Summer. When a young boy’s fancy turns to mud. Summer. Lazy walks along dusty roads and under leafy canopies.


Yet another trip for Fran and the kids. They found this spiffy creek and spent a good part of the day playing in it (as far as I know).


Fran took Gabe & Chloe on a walk through the gardens at Thanksgiving Point. I have to admit those are some pretty gardens!


The garden trip was actually a clever cover for Fran’s real mission – securing seats at the outdoor concert in the gardens. It was a semi-delightful evening as we listened to the orchestra, fed hungry children, restrained unruly ones and prevented massive emotional meltdowns. After the concert we were treated to a lovely display of aerial fireworks in the gardens.


And speaking of fireworks- this year I decided to go a little bigger. I got my own pile of aerial fireworks and the big Costco box. The kids were pretty excited. Chloe had no idea what she was in for…


We decided to hold the pyrotechnics in the front of the house this year. Don’t we look patriotic! I don’t think kids under 16 are supposed to light fireworks. But I also don’t believe that anyone in American (North or South) respects that rule.
The ground fireworks are fun enough, but after seeing a dozen of so sparkle showers it was time for something new. The aerials were a ton of fun – they are loud and visually stunning. You hardly even think about how you’re basically lightning money on fire. As we lit of our Chinese made fireworks to celebrate America’s independence we relished in the beautiful irony.


Our neighbors put on some amazing shows as well (a few even made our offering to the fire god seem paltry). Chloe didn’t seem as enamored with the fireworks at the others even looking afraid some of the time. I’m sure she’ll come around.
And then it was all over and our streets were littered with the remains of the day…


I took the boys to see Despicable Me 2. I think they will make good movie buddies in the near future.


Meanwhile Fran and Claire went to see the Sound of Music at the Scera theater. They said is was very good (except that they got rained on a bit).

Eh, but who am I kidding. Just by virtue of not being current I’m already “behind.” I’m like a blog caboose.

Hughes Family: June 17, 2013 – July 2, 2013

Some of these captions are going to be really short. I’m hoping I can get Fran to swing back through and fill them out a bit. It’s harder to write about events that I wasn’t present for. Also, it would be nice to have her share some feelings from things like her birthday. She’s pretty busy (mostly doing the stuff here on the blog) but I’ve got my fingers crossed.


Fran’s birthday started out with some Flowers. Later we took a trip to Rodizio Grill. I’m pretty sure I asked the kids about  a million times to clean the house for Mom’s birthday but they were much too busy being… well, kids. Claire did make some very sweet cards for her mom though.


For her birthday Fran wanted a fridge / freezer combo with no ice maker. That’s not an easy thing to find, but she pulled it off (she picks practical “house stuff” so later she can announce “it didn’t count” and get something else).  For the birthday finale we ate cheesecake and watched Oz: The Great and Powerful. She later locked herself in her room and wept for her lost youth.


A few days later it was Gabe’s birthday. He scored some sweet binoculars and a basketball hoop & ball. He was quite ecstatic to be six.


He had a wet & wild birthday party with some friends. Water fights ahoy! I spent most of the day putting together his basketball hoop (there was some swearing). At least Gabe spent some time shooting hoops- that made me feel like my day wasn’t totally wasted.


Here’s some evidence of my sensitive side. I did Chloe’s nails with a nice yellow top coat and then added some accents. She was quite interested while I did the first hand, but it degenerated into uncontrollable squirming after that. The results were quickly transferred to various pieces of furniture.
And here is my obligatory picture of the large moon. It really was quite stunning; it looked like a pearl resting on a black sea.


And then it was time for another birthday! This time around it was Rachel’s youth that was on the line. The Sabins treated their friends to wild rumpus at the Provo Beach Resort. We played on the ropes course, dodged lasers, danced badly and had a grand time.


Afterward Rachel and Jason took everyone to Malawi’s Pizza! Delicious. After dinner we went back to the Provo Beach Resort and played some croquet. There were some verbal skirmishes and trash talk but in the end it was Lee who walked away the victor. Look at those happy couples. What dark secrets do they hide… Thanks Sabins!


Work recently got another warehouse (for storage and a new manufacturing division of our company). I have commandeered a section of this warehouse in honor of the fallen “Cam’s Corner” of yesteryear. I put in a couch to show people I was serious. Then I parked Fran’s trailer in there to show people I was really serious. No need for a storage unit now.


Shortly thereafter Fran and the kids went camping at Cherry Hill with the Wilsons.


They spent a day at Lagoon too. I got a text letting me know it was hot. This was helpful because I had stayed home and was was nice and cool at work.


We decided to try out the Lehi Rodeo. I’m sure it takes a lot of skill to rope a calf, ride a bucking horse and be a perverted clown, but ultimately we decided we’re probably not rodeo people. Still, it was fun to try something new (I think I wrote that last sentence because I waned to believe it…).


The kids picked cherries from our tree. I think these are tart cherries, so they’ll end up in a pie. Kids picking fruit is cute to me.
And I leave you with this wonderful picture of the hardware that came with Gabe’s basketball hoop. It says “Hardware is actual size.” I was really happy about that.

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:

Camaro Dent Repair – Body Work

I drove my Camaro into a shelf. That’s totally on me. I tried to smash the dent out a bit with a hammer but it became clear pretty quickly that I’d need a new body panel.

I smashed the front of my Camaro. I’m going to fix it myself. Ordered the damageed part pre-painted.

I decided to undertake the project myself.  Front comes off.


Had to take a lot of stuff apart… panel removed.


New piece is on!

Back together- all better. Even got the lettering mostly right 😀


Hughes Family: June 4, 2013 – June 16, 2013


I’m sure every parent thinks their kids are the cutest / best / smartest / hyperbole-whatever . But I just want to say for the record that I love my kids and I think they are awesome. Chole is adorable and always wants to be dressed up in her sister’s clothes. Gabe is a little socialite – fearless and always out and about. I think it’s cool that Gabe and Mike are finally old enough to play video games (this is Turtles on the SNES, but we’ve been Rockband-ing quite a bit). Sometimes Mike is a big help. He loved playing with the blower while we worked in the yard. And Claire is an incredible reader and a great big sister. I’m just amazed every day that we made these beautiful little people. I’m so proud to be their Dad!


Fran is a great mom and she makes sure the kid’s brains don’t stagnate over the summer. All our kids like the library, even Chloe.


Fran and I went and checkout out the Outlets in Lehi a couple of weeks ago. She went back a few days ago with the kids to do some eating (Johhny Rocket’s – good burgers & fries) and shopping (The Leather store hooked her up with a sweet new purse). If you haven’t been to the Outlets yet go check themt out.


Fran got her trailer de-winterized and went on the first trip of the “camping season” with the Browns and Bensons. The hiked, played, ate and commiserated (I would assume).


Everyone said they had a good time, and from the pictures is appears this may have been the case (I was tired and skipped this one… and I confess… I plan to skip more too). In case one of the other attending families reads this and thinks “Hey, they don’t have pictures of us!” – that’s right. That’s what your [out of date] blogs are for. But I do want to thank Tyson for helping Fran with her trailer and Tom for helping the kids fish. You guys rock.


And then it was Father’s Day. It’s like Mother’s Day but much less important. Still, my family decided to celebrate it. I had a manly plate of eggs, steak and broccoli. Then my family showered me with gifts (a new leather jacket, a pair of sweet Maui Jim sunglasses and a new key fob for the Tacoma). Love you guys!

Golden Oldies

Not a fan of the color gold so…


I replaced my hood crest with a silver plated version. Install was pretty straight forward. I don’t understand the wax speednut technology but it certainly seems to work. Ah, that’s better.


I picked up new wheels caps and painted them to match the hood crest. For the life of me I could not get them to fit correctly and one of them fell off within 10 minutes or so. “A” for effort. “F” for implementation.


4/30/2017 – This post is part of a large release of “DRAFT” entries. Many of these these entries were never finished (and may still not be) or were composed but never published for one reason or another. If you run across one of of these in a strange spot or out of chronological order that may be one reason.

May 2, 2017 – Not sure whey I never posted this. Maybe because it’s not interesting? No… most of what I post isn’t interesting so that’s not good logic. I’m at a loss. Behold, I give you rotors! And it looks like it’s Corvette rotors and Porsche rotors. You lucky lucky people. 




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:


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.


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:


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.