Hughes Family: October 1, 2013 – October 15, 2013

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Every morning Fran makes a veggie juice concoction and each morning I drink it. I think it actually might help! I just want to publicly thank her for taking good care of me. Biggest Looser is starting back up today and I’m pretty sure that will help jump start my health efforts.

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Chloe turned two this past week! We don’t have giant parties for the little ones (we wait until they ask), but she still got a cake and some fun presents. Below is a video of her blowing out her birthday candles. Do you think she knows what’s going on?

Mike is about done with football for the year. He’s spent most of his time as a lineman (usually offensive tackle). His coach says he’s come a long way and he’s doing a great job. Here’s a video from one of his last games (he’s number 50):

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For FHE we went and picked out some pumpkins (I think Macey’s is a good place to get them). This year they had some decorative pumpkins which piqued the interest of the kids. Part of me likes carving pumpkins (possibly next week) but another part of me wants to scream and throw them at people I hate.

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Last weekend we took a quick trip to Moab for some biking and sightseeing.  We started our trip by discovering we had the wrong size hitch for our bike trailer which put us an hour behind schedule (and the bad weather didn’t either).  This was our first trip in the Yukon and the kids were pretty much glued to the TVs. Fran navigated us up I-15 to extend the road trip since the ride was so wonderful (this is sarcasm).

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We opted not to rough it this time around and stayed at the Aarchway Inn. The room was spacious and well maintained (three queen beds!). The hotel property was also very nice and included a giant playground, a parkour course, picnic areas and lots of open space (some mud too… the kids loved it).

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Hotel highlights: Mercilessly raiding the vending machines, hotel breakfasts and a splendid dip the pool.

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Biking didn’t go quite as we’d hoped. Getting the bikes & helmets adjusted took more time than we expected. And then only about 1/4 mile into our trip disaster struck. We hit a cluster of thorns that ended up popping seven of our tires. We were able to temprarily fix most of the tires and managed to make it another few miles down the path (which was beautiful) but ultimatley we had to cut our biking excursion short. I guess we’ll have to go back to bike another time.

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On the way up to Moab I requested that we try to find good (tried and true) food to eat. Fran assured me that we would be relying on Trip Adviser and that I was in good hands. Our first day in Moab Fran said we were going to eat at the Mandarin Szechuan buffet. Once we had tried the food it was clear something was very wrong- it ranks among the worst buffets I have ever tried. Fran confessed that she hadn’t checked Trip Adviser. She had seen the Asian buffet, got excited and made an “emotional decision”.  It was bad food, but I have to say I think my wife is pretty cute!
Our next meal was at Zax (4/5 starts on Trip Adviser). It was better than Szechuan, but over all the mean was only so-so (really dry pizza). I guess you can’t necessarily trust reviews either. 
What say ye Moab travelers- where should be eat next time?

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On the way back from Moab we decided to trick the kids and made a detour to Dead Horse Point. Man, what a view! I found a good place to hang off a “cliff” for the obligatory “I’m about to die!” picture. If this had been real I’m pretty sure my kids would have stepped on my hands.

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A lovely family picture.

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And a lovey panoramic view from the edge of Dead Horse Point. If you haven’t been here before it’s worth the quick detour.

Arches opened back up while we were in Moab. It would have been fun to do take a quick drive though the park, but the kids weren’t up for it. All in all I think we came away with a lot of good memories of trip that didn’t go quite right. Next time will be better.

Hughes Family: August 2, 2013 – August 20, 2013

Oh man- these past few weeks have intense. Personally intense, that is to say. I’ve been handling a lot of stuff. I am tired…

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We started off the month by breaking our bed. I wish I could say that we were doing something exciting (yeah, you know what I mean) but the fact is it just collapsed when I hopped onto it. You can make fat jokes, but we’ve had this frame for a looooong time and it had developed some cracks where the wood joints are. Later that night Mike broke Claire’s bed while he was jumping on it. Two beds, one night. Long story short- most of us are sleeping with our beds on the floor for now. It’s actually kind of nice…

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I spent some time fixing the dent in my Camaro fender. This was my first foray into auto body work. I bought the replacement part, had them paint to match and spent an afternoon fitting it in. Even though there was a small scrape on the front fender I opted to just touch it up instead of replacing the entire bumper. My insurance deductible is $700 and this cost me less than half. Overall I have to say I think I did an excellent job!

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The kids enjoyed their last few days of summer by going to… somewhere with water. I’m not really sure where this is. Judging by the Astro Turf I’d say it was Seven Peaks. They appear to be trapped in some torso bubble with handles.
In honor of the summer’s end we built a massive fort in the living room. This required nearly all the couch cushions, pillows and blankets we could find. We used two fans for ventilation. The kids all slept inside the night we built it and it survived nearly three days!

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Each Sunday one of the kids “helps” Fran cook dinner. This is Mike making some Thai soup. Fran said he actually got into it and did a great job. I had some soup and I can vouch for it’s yuminess. I feel like this picture needs a caption: “You want me to help? Okay, but I’m putting in some booze.”
And this is the children floating around at Libery Land. Or Trafalga North… or whatever it’s called now. Tip: Little kids (i.e. Chloe) can’t do anything at the park. Live and learn.

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Mike had his first football game. He looks so tough (and cute) in this football uniform. He’s a little apathetic at times, but he’s a good blocker and made a great tackle during one of the plays.
School started (tee hee!) and our oldest three are now in school all day (bwah ha ha!). So far they all seem to be enjoying their new classes. It’s crazy how fast they all grow up.

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One of the things that’s kept me super busy is trying to sell my cars. Maintaining / fixing everything has been a huge source of stress for me so I decided it was time to purge. Right now I’m in limbo- I’m really sad to see these cars go, but I’m hoping when the dust settles I can regain some sense of control.
Ode to the truck: You never let me down. You were always there for me. We moved little things, we moved big things and every time you moved me. Thank you old friend. 
Ode to the Camaro: You looked great, you drove well. A little slow, a little hard to handle, but that’s just your nature. We had some good drives and you will be missed.

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This one pains me more than the others. This is, in my opinion, is the sexiest car I have ever seen, let alone owned. Each time someone shows interest I want to cancel the auction, tell them it’s not available, tell them to go away. But I know what I have to do…
And the Vette… Still at RaceCo. I need to get it running. It’s the one car I might keep. But even that’s in the air right now. In nothing there is freedom. Do I sound crazy? Maybe I am.

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I don’t see a good segue into the fact that Fran got a Yukon. The kids are old enough now that we thought maybe they could handle something a little nicer than our minivan (jury’s still out). We actually went up to Idaho to get this beauty (sorry we didn’t have time to vist Erin!). This is a pretty sweet ride. You ever had your butt cooled by your seat? No? Come on over.

I’ve spent a few evenings hanging out w/ the guys too – The Jorgensens are back in town for August so we have gotten together with Andrew a couple of times. Just like the good old days. Somehow we ended up watching Catwoman the other night. It hurt us all pretty badly, but the bond between survivors of events like these is strong.

 

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.

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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.

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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).

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

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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…

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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

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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.

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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…).

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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.

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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!

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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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.