Another Goodbye…

These days there’s simply too much going on to devote time to cars. After thinking things over carefully I decided that it was time to let the 911 go.


After getting the car back from EVOMS earlier this year I had a blast driving it. Eventually the fuel trims spiked again though- that was frustrating since it was supposedly fixed (dealing with EVOMS… that’s a story). But, after resetting the car’s ECU, I had an almost issue free month. I wanted to go out on a high note so I put the car on eBay. It’s headed to a Reno dealer (with issues disclosed) where I hope it finds a wonderful home.

Looking back this was my favorite car. Nothing else compared to it in terms of drivability and handling. It was sexy, the speed was satisfying, the sunroof was fun on evening drives and the stereo became my favorite over time. Sadly, the experience will always remain somewhat bittersweet. Nevertheless, childhood dream fulfilled. Good bye 911!


I took the car to Ken Garff (for an inspection) and that’s where it was picked up by the buyer.

Porsche Perfection

In the end I just wasn’t able to let go of the 911-  it was just too enjoyable. Despite some fine work on our end one final problem persisted – the car continued to report that the air going into the engine exceeded the air being measured by the mass airflow sensors (long term fuel trims would rise along with a P1095 code, as reported by an OBDII scanner). It was only present periodically and didn’t cause any driveabillty issues but I’m a perfectionist. There was nothing more we could do on our end and so it was time to send the car back to Evolution Motorsports.


EVOMS found a couple of air leaks, but the car’s issue persisted. The current theory is that one (or more) of the injectors has an issue and the correct amount of fuel is not getting injected into the engine (which would produce a lean condition, as reported).

To make sure there was nothing else amiss EVOMS removed my engine for further inspection. More air leak testing, new plugs and new injectors (maybe I should have had them build the engine while it was out…). Nah, my only regret is my recent oil change 😉


I have hypothesized that the car’s DME (computer) might be faulty. Some of the things I’ve seen are hard to explain any other way. I’ll be curious to see how this turns out and what they find! The ground on my end is covered with snow at this point so at least there’s no driving downtime.

After I see where we’re at on the 911 and I have recovered a bit from the holidays I’d like to get my car ducks in a row. Maybe ship off the Vette to a high end performance shop and have them do a few more upgrades (I’m like an addict…).

Porsche Purge Preparation

Ah, the 911. We’ve had some good times and we’ve had some bad times. It’s kind of a love / hate relationship for me. In the end I think it’s time to move onto something else though, especially since the Vette is just about ready (post coming next week). In order to get the car ready to sell I’ve had to sort through quite a few issues but I think she’s ready to go.

The biggest issue, of course, I’ve already mentioned in a previous post. The tune was rewritten and solved pretty much every one of the aggravating issues I was grappling with (emissions, long term fuel trims, air leak codes, etc). And I think I’ve finally got almost all the other bugs worked out now too.


The TPMS system in this car periodically acted up informing me that I had a flat tire. Sometimes the warning went away, sometimes it persisted. Resetting the car’s TMPS system occasionally helped but just as often it didn’t. I had new sensors installed when the car was in Arizona so everything was troubleshot remotely.


At one point I had them mail me a new sensor and that’s when I discovered that I had aftermarket ITM sensors and not OEM. Nevertheless I installed the replacement sensor but the problems persisted. I was sent OEM sensors that turned out to the wrong ones (after they were installed). In the end I went to my local dealer (Ken Garff Porsche) and they were extremely helpful and got me the correct sensors (997 606 021 01). After having these installed all the issues have cleared up.


The Interstate battery in the car wasn’t holding a charge correctly (as indicated by my CTEK). I also noticed that the vent faced the strut brace and there was acid covering the battery pan (I don’t know if it was from this battery though). I neutralized the acid and carefully cleaned everything and then replaced the old battery with a Duralast Gold 94R-DL.  The 94R-DL has the correct oriented vent and more cold cranking amps (765 vs 700 – the more the better). I was hoping this would help overcome the crank sensor gaping issue and I think it actually has done a lot to improve it.


After changing the battery I immediately got a P0154 code which indicated that an 02 sensor had failed. Quick info: the 997 has two 02 sensors on each bank, one before the catalytic converter (sensor 1) and one after (sensor 2). As you stand behind the car bank 1 is the driver side and bank 2 is the passenger side. Anyway, looking at real time data the 02 sensor seemed to be “stuck” (02 sensors should fluctuate as their reported voltage shows lean or rich conditions). When I unplugged the sensor and plugged it back in it seemed to work for a few minutes. I picked up a set of 02 sensors from Ken Garff and scheduled an install.


As a quick aside- if you don’t have a handheld scanner of some kind I’d recommend one. I recently picked up this excellent Actron CP9575 (you can get it for less than $100) to keep permanently in the 911 and it’s come in very handy. Keep in mind if you want access to real time data (i.e. 02 sensor voltages) that not all scanners have this feature.

Anyway! Down to RaceCo I went to have the 02 sensors swapped out. I always have a good time there- great guys. Unfortunately on my trip home it became apparent that the swap hadn’t solved the problem (and it’s not easy to get to those sensors!). To add injury to insult the long term fuel trims started to max out again. As I mentioned this issue cropped up right after putting in the new battery and I began to suspect that the real problem was electrical.

I checked continuity on the new sensor and it was fine. I worked my way through all the wiring back to the DME and decided that must the problem. I unplugged everything, let it sit for a couple of minutes and then plugged it back in. I fired up the car and noticed the 02 sensor in question was cycling a lot faster. I test drove the car and everything seemed to be working correctly. Even after about sixty miles the issue seems to be completely resolved – no codes, long term fuel trims are stable and there’s no hint of anything out of whack.

Here’s the current theory: The car has an aftermarket stereo and part of the system is a capacitor. Even with the battery totally disconnected the trunk light will stay on for a bit. It’s possible the DME is still getting power even w/ the battery out and as the voltage to the DME drops (as the capacitor discharges) is starts messing with the computer. Since the computer never fully loses power any problems the lower voltage causes are retained unless the computer is physically disconnected from it’s power source. I think it’s crazy that and electrical glitch can imitate a faulty 02 sensor, but there ya go!


And I replaced the floor mats in the car with new Lloyd’s mats. I’m not sure what was in there before (pic to the left) but it didn’t fit well. There are clips that are designed to hold the mat in place but the ones on the old mat were too big and the mat would slip under the accelerator pedal. New mats, right size clips, better fit and I like the Porsche logo running across them better.

The car and I went for a drive and I busted out “Must Have Been Love” by Roxette

It must have been love but it’s over now.
It must have been good but I lost it somehow.
It must have been love but it’s over now.
From the moment we touched, ’til the time had run out.

And some “Already Gone” by Kelly Clarkson.

I want you to know
That it doesn’t matter
Where we take this road
But someone’s gotta go
And I want you to know
You couldn’t have loved me better
But I want you to move on
So I’m already gone

Looking at you makes it harder
But I know that you’ll find another

I’m ready to let  it go (of course a part of me doesn’t want to). I think I might have a buyer for the car. I sure hope he appreciates all the hassle I went through to get it ready for him.

On the Right Track

Finally some good news! I was about ready to pass the Porsche torch but EVOMS and RaceCo encouraged me to push on. I relented and agreed to a few more rounds of troubleshooting. Once we reached the point where there were simply no more obvious mechanical issues I felt like we needed to explore the tune again. Ian at EVOMS seemed to agree:

My thought process behind this is that we may have made a mistake, or something may not be compatible along the way that is in your current file. This car was modified by us from day one for [the first owner], then modified a couple more times in his possession, then modified again for [the second owner], and finally again for you. We do our best to make everything 100%, but when the car has been touched so many times, something may have happened along the way. Imagine a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy… sometimes things end up blurry in the end. That is why I wanted Todd to start fresh.

Once the new tune was loaded and the ECU reinstalled I went up to RaceCo to do my usual breaking. They had driven it about 35 miles and said things looked pretty solid. I put on another 60 miles while running the car though driving patterns that usually caused the long term fuel trims (LTFT) to max out. The LTFT did rise a bit but they actually stabilized and I even saw them drop a little. The car ran flawlessly and there were no ominous foreshadowings present.

I took the car home and over the last few days I’ve put another 100 miles on it with no problems. LTFT are still stable! I think – knock on wood – the last issue is finally resolved. I wish the tune had been considered sooner, but I take comfort in the fact that RaceCo fixed a lot of little things (i.e. repaired leaks, new check valves, rebuilt blow of valves, etc) and I know the 911 is in superb mechanical shape. All things considered I feel like EVOMS had my back and really made good faith efforts to help me trouble shoot my issues.

But I do feel like the car should have been delivered to me in the condition it’s in now. If I sold it tomorrow the new owner would get a car in perfect working order and would experience nothing but pleasure. Unfortunately my experience has been tainted by all the stress and extra effort of getting the car to this point. I have a lot of other projects I want to work on and even with the Porsche back in commission I don’t think I’ll drive it much. The future is unclear right now; I don’t know if I’ll keep the car or sell it.


In any event, I was in a much more optimistic mood today so I did a bit of work on the 911. First I replaced the chrono gauge pod. The old one had some fairly extensive sun damage. Then I put on new carbon fiber side mirrors. You can see from the picture how yellow the previous set had become compared to the new housings. Both parts are from ROTtech and the fit and finish are excellent.

It feels sort of surreal to have the problems finally resolved. I don’t feel like we’ve crossed the finish line quite yet, but it’s nice to finally be on the right track.

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 (update: I did do it myself).


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 🙂

911 Stereo – Tuning It Up

One of the reasons the 911 I bought appealed to me was the upgraded audio system (I knew I would be unhappy with the stock Bose system). A critically important element of a car – for me – is the way the stereo sounds. I took a bit of a calculated risk since I didn’t know exactly what I was getting, but I’m pleased to report it paid off.

The only thing actually advertised was the upgraded head unit. There was also a picture of two JL amps (but no mention of them in the sale text). The stock Bose system is fiber optic and I surmised that if someone went to the trouble of replacing the head unit they probably replaced the speakers as well.

When I first turned the car on the sound was pretty muddy and there was a distinct lack of clarity and detail. The sub was much too loud in relation to the mids and it was suffering from some pretty bad distortion. The staging was all wrong too. The worst part though was a ground loop buzz in both rear speakers. Not too impressed. The first step was to figure out what I was working with.

The head unit was a Kenwood DNX8120. Back in the day (say 2008) this was top of the line stereo. Lots of features (DVD, Navigation, Bluetooth, etc) and plenty of audio adjustments. I did think about replacing the head unit, but decided this one would be fine for the time being.

The amplifiers were, as I suspected from the picture, a JL Audio HD 600/4 and an HD 750/1 (both top of the JL Audio products and the same amps that I just put into my Corvette).

Poking around further (actually pulling a few things apart) I was able to determine that Focal 165 VR3 3-Way Component Speakers had been installed into the front of the car. The back speakers were also Focals,  but I wasn’t able to determine exactly what kind. The sub seemed to be stock.

The install and wiring seemed to be excellent. It was clear that someone had dropped a good chunk of change this setup.There was lots of potential- I just had to coax it out.


I played with the adjustments on the head unit first. Aside from knocking down the volume of the sub, nothing I did seemed to make much difference. I removed the amps and had a look at their settings. That was the problem. The gain on the sub was way too high and much too low on the mids. And the filters were set backwards (cutting off highs from the mids and tweeters). I changed the settings on the amps (and the crossovers too) and it was like night and day.


I turned the gain down on the rear channel to eliminate the ground loop noise (I’m not sure if it’s ground loop issue, but the rear channel picks up noise from something). Then  I boosted the decibel level of the rear speakers on the Kenwood head unit to compensate for the lost volume. Problem solved!  With the amps adjusted the audio effectively responded to changes and I tweaked staging and EQ levels with some help from Jim, my audiophile pal.

Sometimes the vocals can be a little ear piercing (it’s not sibilance), but overall I’m extremely impressed by the stereo. The sound is now clear and full; I really like the 3 way component set in the front. The “stock sub” (powered by the overqualified HD 750/1) sounds good to me, but is definitely the setup’s weak link (I may replace it at some point in the future). Overall  the whole system seems to blend really well. I’d venture to say the stereo is nearly on par with the Camaro and Vette now. Driving around in the 911 just got way more fun!