991 Hardwired Radar Detector

As has been mentioned on my blog, last year I bought an Escort Max 360 radar detector. I have enjoyed the unit quite a bit and have it an indispensable part of my driving repertoire. Due to power cord limitations I had the unit mounted fairly low on my windshield which caused the unit to be comfortably out of reach. With no easy way to hit the mute button I typically kept the volume lowered which meant that I sometimes missed warning. Most aggravating, however, was the cord constantly being in the way. Eventually I decided it was time to hardwire the Max 360.

Easy enough to fix! I purchased an Escort Directwire SmartCord and  had my local dealer wire it up (I’ve become more wary of messing with my car’s electrical systems). They actually created a new circuit for the detector, ran the wires behind the paneling and relocated the Max 360 underneath the rearview mirror. Having the mute button / indicator lights located to the left of the PCM has been very nice. And what do you know, it’s even wired up correctly (i.e. it doesn’t come on when I open my car door, only when  they key is turned to the accessory on position or the car is running).

Life with a cord was tough… the detector was over my clock, too far back to reach, power cable dangling out. Thank goodness for the Escort SmartCord! Detector repositioned and no cord, no problems!

In short, hardwiriing the detector is a functional and aesthetic upgrade that I would definitely recommend to anyone with a windshield mounted radar detector 😀

I did consider the Escort Max Ci system but felt like there were too many drawbacks. For example, the price seemed high and the technology was essentially the same as what I already included in the 360 (minus the laser shifters, which I don’t really think I need). I am always hesitant to be an early adopter of technology- I’d like to see the system vetted prior to a purchase like that. Additionally the Max Ci can’t move from car to car, I had a Beltronic STIR-Plus system installed on my ’07 Corvette and while it was cool to have everything integrated I actually preferred my STi Driver.

The video below shows the radar detector components, mounting location, installation information (as noted above I did not do the installation) and operation:

Goodbye Carmen!

I knew it was coming, but it was still hard to believe when it actually happened. Although it’s not mine, I have lots of good memories of this car. In fact I can still vividly remember the first time I saw it cruising down State Street in Orem. I had nearly bought a green Camaro a few years before. It was quite literally my dream car. But things change- Justin said it’s too hard to maintain, tune and drive. A new chapter is starting and Carmen isn’t in this one…

Goodbye Carmen! Safe Travels.

It’s not a great quality video, but this is Justin and Carmen running an 11 second quarter at Rocky Mountain Raceway back in 2011. That was a fun night; Jim and I both ran 12 second quarters in our Corvettes.

I remember selling my cars was often difficult. But I never regretted letting any of them go. I similarly hope that Justin has no regrets – merely happy memories of better days. She was the first, but she won’t be the last.

Porsche 991 Turbo S – 6 Month Review

I’ve had the 911 for about six months now so I thought I’d do a quick ownership thus-far review. Right off the bat I can say that I’ve driven this car nearly 5000 miles those six months. Maybe that’s not a lot for some people but consider this: I drove my C7 Corvette about 2200 miles in the year I owned it.  Driving the 911 is a pleasure. I go out of my way to drive this car and look forward to it every time- not something I take for granted.



As I mentioned I’ve been nearly 5000 miles and never had any driveability issues. The car handles like exactly like it’s supposed to- perhaps better. I’ve got zero bad things to say about the engine, drivetrain, brakes and various suspension & stabilization-related equipment.

Unrelated to divability there are a few things small issues that have popped up. For example, I had to have the washer pump reservoir replaced (it was leaking- taken care of under warranty). I’ve got some rattles here and there that I have to periodically troubleshoot (i.e. the sunroof). Additionally I’ve had my door panels off a few times hunting down speaker buzz. There is also periodic mooing sound coming from somewhere behind the dash (maybe a failing pump- but it hasn’t failed yet). Given the mods I’ve done to the car I’m pretty impressed that I haven’t had anything remotely close to a “problem.”



Having six months of the Burmester under my belt has left me extremely satisfied with the stereo. It never quite makes you tingle (an attribute of higher end systems) but it’s extremely clear, the mids are rich and full and the bass does it’s job. All in all this is my favorite factory upgrade. My biggest stereo gripe (minus the door buzz) is strictly related to the interface: No volume indicator. I guess they just figure you can hear how loud it is… unless you can’t (like if there’s something wrong with your source). I’ve been burned by this little omission more times than I care to admit.

I still love the sunroof. It’s easily my second favorite factory option. I love being able to have additional cabin light, I relish the breeze / wind that comes in and I think the exterior is well served by the black contrast. Every time I get in I appreciate how much headroom there is despite the sunroof’s presence.

There are many other features that I continually enjoy too- the lightning design package (that ambient light is sweet), the entry and drive system, ventilated seats and the LCD screen in the gauge cluster. Admittedly many of the car’s features I don’t really use such as the back up camera, PDCC, navigation, the auto start/stop function and things like that. I don’t really miss the HUD from the Corvette either.


The 991 really is a comprehensive synthesis of “sport” and “luxury”. The 18 way adjustable seats have accommodated me perfectly on all 5000 miles. And another mention here of how spacious the interior of the vehicle is- I have never felt cramped inside the 991. Getting in and out can sometimes be a bit of a challenge for friends though (okay, and me too). The back seats aren’t comfy, but it’s a huge plus that they are present at all.

The suspension on this car can be a little jarring which I continue to notice from time to time. I do have the option to lower the tire pressure a bit for a more comfortable ride, but I can’t bring myself to do it. The interior noise (compounded by my aftermarket exhaust) is still an issue when I have guests, but when I’m driving alone I never give it a second thought.

I’m not sure where I put this so I’ll stick it here: Visibility in this car is top notch. I really feel like Porsche nailed that. No claustrophobia, but I also don’t feel like I’m in a fishbowl. On the freeway I rarely feel like I might hit the driver next to me while changing lanes (candidly the lane change assist option now on the 17’s would be cool).

Driving & Handling:

So good. So amazing. The car does whatever you ask and most of the time it seems just as excited as you are. It hugs the road with ferocity. It takes the sharpest turns without excuses. It’s fast and then it goes faster. As soon as you’re ready to brake you realize you’re already stopped. This car is just pure bliss to drive. The only thing that’s changes over six months is that I’ve gotten a bit better at driving it- but that only makes me realize how much untapped potential the car has left (I’m not a great drive, by the way).

The PDK transmission deserves it’s many accolades- it has you covered in every situation and it’s smoothness is unrivaled. I don’t think there’s a better transmission out there. I still haven’t given the “missing” manual gearbox a second thought.

The all wheel drive system in the 911 enhances every aspect of driving. For example, the launch control is out of this world. The steering, the grip and they way the car transfers torque / power where it’s needed is exceptional. I finally had a chance to make a run through the Alpine Loop. I couldn’t even make the tires chirp- unreal.



I still love the car’s looks. After six months I can state with absolute certainty that this car rarely garners much attention (which is just fine with me). It’s not as visceral as some cars, but it’s still refined. I still love the color- metallic white was the right call, especially with the added carbon fiber accents. Interior color has been great. I’ve never gotten in the car and thought “This is boring” or “I’m sick of this color.” I really wish there was somewhere to put my phone- that’s annoying.


I second guess a lot of things and the mods I have are no different. I’ve been happy with everything but I always wonder if I’ve made the best choices. I guess that’s something I might not ever know. Given that my day at the track gave me a 10.8 @ 132 mph I definitely feel like the modifications work and the car is running very well. Most of the mods you don’t hear or see if they are doing their job well. The exhaust is probably the exception to this. I’m really happy with how the the Fabspeed looks- it’s worlds better than the stock offering. I like the sound quite a bit but it definitely has some droning / resonance at certain speeds. I’m not 100% sure if I’d do the Fabspeed exhaust again.


Having owned this car over six months all I can say it’s still blowing my expectations out of the water. It is refined, powerful and a true diver’s car in every sense. Hands down this is the best car I’ve ever owned.


My Old Corvette Getting Some Love!

The kid (Justin) who bought my car a couple of years ago finally sold it to a man (Adam). The new owner contacted me and he’s on the ball. I was thrilled to see the car getting the love it deserves! I gather that Justin didn’t do much to take care of the car but looks like that’s not going to be an issue for Adam. #happy


Ready for detailing at Mobile Empire Detailing!


Looking beautiful again! Probably even better than when she was in Utah.

A sweet video of some before, during & after:

Tech Art Carbon Fiber

Well gee golly, Cam… sure are blogging a lot about your car these days, aren’t you? Yes. I am. But great news: I have a whole post about why I blog about my car. Have a look- it’s insightful. Moving even. And if you’ve taken then time to read that post then when I say “there’s a lot going on right now” everything will make sense.

I decided to add a couple of carbon fiber TechArt parts to my car: a rear window spoiler and side air intakes. Just cosmetic modifications- nothing that will void the warranty just yet. I loved all the carbon fiber pieces on the Z07 and I plan to add quite a few more to the 991.


My last 911 (997) had a similar Techart window spoiler and I always thought it looked great. It’s a quick easy way to add some CF bling to a 991.

Installation of the spoiler is pretty straight forward. Clean & degrease the back of the spoiler & window area where the spoiler will go. Per the instructions apply the adhesive(s) and position the spoiler (two people here makes it much easier). You can move the spoiler around even after it’s been placed so no need to worry if it’s not perfect yet. Once you’ve got everything aligned, clean off any extra adhesive, use some painter’s tape to secure everything and let it dry for 24 hours. Remove the tape and Presto!


My old 911 also had carbon fiber air intakes (made by ROTtec) which I enjoyed.  Since TechArt offered a set I decide to try them out. The Techart intakes are more aggressively styled than the OEM part and similar parts by other competitors. The design is larger and the shape has been slightly altered. Having had the pieces installed for a few days now it’s clear Techart knows how to make quality and complimentary products.

Installing the inlet ducts is more of a challenge. First you have to remove the originals. Good luck. I couldn’t find a helpful online tutorial anywhere. In the end I used my trim tools and poked, prodded and pulled until I got the stupid things out (having to do it twice is the worst part). Honestly, I feel lucky I didn’t break any of the clips. I wish I had something really useful to pass on (maybe “don’t pull the ducts toward you- that’s not how the clips unhook”). At least you can see where the clips are all located on the pieces below. The Techart intakes don’t come with an option for a core swap so this makes them a more expensive relative to other lines and leave little recourse if you’e not truly committed. But I say “Go for it!”


Once the OEM ducts are out you need to prep the parts with the Betaclean wipes. Then apply the Betaprime primer everywhere the parts will have contact. Then apply the adhesive over the primer. Place the carbon fiber inlet trim over the original part. Lining them up properly is very important- you need to make sure the bottom edges are the ones that align (there will actually be a gap at the top- see pic, below, far left). Clean any adhesive off the visible carbon fiber. Tape everything together and let the parts dry for 24 hours. Remove the tape and reinsert the inlet ducts back info the car (this can be tricky- push hard).


I bought these two parts from World Motrosports. They said the items were in stock but when there was no shipping notification after a few days I contacted them and it turned out there was an stock issue on Techart’s end. To their credit they were eventually able to have the items overnighted (for free) from the manufacturer. The turbo inlets didn’t have instructions and although World Motorsports repeatedly promised they would get me the info they forgot. My contact there, Craig, is a super nice guy, but maybe he’s just got too much going on. Despite the issues I’d probably order from them again. There are a couple more carbon fiber parts I’d like to get my hands on…

Skip the Skip Shift

The last few Corvette generations contain the very annoying “ship shift” technology (CAGS- Computer Aided Gear Selection). Under certain -usually relaxed- conditions the driver is compelled to shift from 1st gear to 4th gear. In addition to irritating the driver this action allegedly increases fuel economy. Love for the earth aside, this is just not how civilized people shift.

Luckily the skip shift is easily defeated-  you simply need a “skip shift eliminator.” These can readily be purchased online for between $15 – $20. You can do the installation yourself- all you need is a safe way to get under your car, minimal skill and an impassioned hatred for the “system.”


The first pic shows what a skip shift eliminator looks like including both plug ends. Following are the install instructions on a 2015 Z06.

1A – Cut off the zip tie.
1B – Push the cover off of the skip shift plug on the transmission.
2A – The skip shift harness exposed. Make sure you find the right one!
3A – Unplug the harness. There is a tab you need to lift up and the the harness unplugs.
4A – Plug the skip shift eliminator into both ends of the old plugs.
5A – Use a new zip tie to secure the wires back to the car’s frame.
5B – Fold the new harness together and then you can slip the cover back into place.

Take your modified car for a spin (hint: if you can’t shift into reverse you tapped into the wrong plug). No matter the driving conditions you should now be able to shift from 1st gear to 2nd gear with no impedance. Happy driving!

2015 C7 Z06 / Z07: First Impressions


After inadvertently locating my “dream car” a couple of months ago I decided to take the plunge. In a very real sense this represents my last effort to enjoy owning something like this. It’s powerful, unmodified, unasbused and fully warrantied. If this car causes me excessive emotional trauma then I know there’s no real hope. Right now I’m in the break-in period. That means I keep it under 4K RMPs and I don’t really get to experience a lot of what the car offers. Nevertheless, here are my initial impressions of the car, having had it for a couple of weeks (I’ve put on a whopping 160 miles).

With no love from my local dealers I ended up getting my car through Castle Chevrolet in Illinois. Zach was my sales person and he was fantastic. He kept me updated at every step, answered all my questions and has been responsive following the sale as well. I used Don with Specialty Mobile Transport to bring the car to Utah. He picked it up on a Thursday and had it to me Friday- Overnight car delivery. Unreal. Buying out of state can be a bit stressful but everything went smoothly and was nearly stress free.


Visually I think the car is breathtaking. When the C7 first emerged I had some reservations about how the car looked (especially from the back). The Z06’s wider stance alleviated some of my concerns but it wasn’t until I was standing in front of (and behind) the actual car that I knew I’d been unfair. It’s aggressive, sleek yet refined and it seems to turn heads everywhere it goes. There’s just nothing legitimate to dislike. I’m really happy with the Arctic White and I feel like the black accents and wheels go perfectly with it.

And finally some carbon fiber! For some reason I held out and never put any CF on the outside or inside of my C6. But I was thrilled that Chevy offered it on the C7 and the visible carbon fiber package does not disappoint.


The interior is a huge step up from the C6. The dash has a carbon fiber surround, leather trim and door inserts, microfiber roof lining and a refreshed feel. The red and black interior mix on my car is just right (for me) and the red is gorgeous. I appreciate the little touches like LED map lighting, the multi-colored HUD and the secret compartment behind the stereo screen. People overused the word “driver-centric” when talking about the C7 but I don’t know how else to describe it. Nearly all of the interior focuses on the driver’s interaction and experience with the car. The seats and interior are comfortable but it does feel like headroom and legroom are diminished. I’m most surprised about the headroom- I don’t recall an issue on the C6. And the 911 has a ton of headroom with a sunroof.


The technology in this car is amazing. Most of the “help you drive better” features I can’t really get a feel for yet but the ride control selections are great. The digital dash is a nice addition (if not a little over the top). Want to change the way your display looks? No problem. You can tap into a ton of the car’s systems and display real time data. You’ve even got an option to change the way your car’s exhaust sounds right from the headunit. You also get a PDR (performance data recorder) that allows you to record video while you drive. No more need for a dash cam! The system can time your 0-60, quarter miles and even track events. Valet mode records events and locks your car down when someone else is at the wheel. There’s just a ton of stuff here and I’m stoked to play with it.

The interface is well laid out (for both the dash and stereo) but the system has a few glitches (I put up a post on www.corvetteforum.com – so far it appears no one else is having my issues). The biggest “problem” I have is that voice recognition doesn’t seem to work on my phone anymore (it was working). Frustrating but not the end of the world.


The Bose stereo is one of the better stock systems I’ve heard. That’s not to say it’s great but it’s on the verge of being good enough not to mess with. Plenty of volume. The base, although a little boomy, is more substantial than you’d usually find. The highs lack some detail, but the system seems well balanced and nothing is piercing or painful when listening. I wish there were more EQ options but overall it’s enjoyable.

Thus far I am very impressed with how the Z06 drives (again keeping in mind that I’m putting around like an old man). Steering and handling is tight and responsive. The car feels well planted to the road where my old C6 felt a little sloppy (and I’ll be very curious to see how the car compares to my old 911). Braking with the Z07 carbon ceramics seems exceptional too. The transmission seems good- shifting is nice and crisp and and the clutch pressure is okay (it could be a little tighter). I’m not sold on seven gears yet either. I don’t know if I’ll end up tracking my car at all but I’ll bet it would be a blast.

It’s not a perfect car, of course. The aforementioned stereo and lack of cabin space is worth noting. Turning at low speeds produces a lot of wheel chatter (the car comes with a tag explaining it’s normal but it seems excessive to me). The Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup tires are super sticky and pick up every little piece of road gravel (these are not the tires I would have picked for daily driving). I realize this isn’t a luxury car and while tolerable cabin noise seems excessive as well. Minor gripes so far.


I have noticed the C7 Z06 seems like it’s taking a bit of a beating in recent reviews and comparison tests (i.e. versus the Viper, Hellcat, GT-R, Porsche, etc). Anyone who knows me can attest that my relationship with cars has been tumultuous and so seeing the bad press causes me a little worry. Many people point to a potential “heat soak” issue or overly conservative tuning as part of the problem. I will base my opinions of the car on my experiences but I’ll be curious to see if the situation ends up affecting me. What I’d like the car to be is a comfortable cruiser, potential daily driver and a weekend track warrior.


Negative press aside I think the C7 Z06 actually represents a great value. When you compare it to the Porsche 911, the GT-R Nismo or even a Viper it’s downright inexpensive, And the amount of available features surpass even some of the most expensive model variations other manufacturers offer. So far so good. Just a few hundred miles to go and I’ll see what she can really do.

I’m obviously not a videographer but I’ll call it a day with a quick walk-around of my car:

Corvette C7 Z06 Splash Guards

Based on my experience Utah roads are not kind to cars. And this time of year dirt, rocks and salt abound. In an effort to prevent inevitable paint damage I installed the available GM splash guards onto my car. The GM part numbers are 22935635 (front) and 22935639 (rear). I’m not sure why parts like these aren’t standard- they look great (to me, anyway) and I’m certain they will help prevent rock chips. My local dealer happened to have these in stock but they can be ordered from any store that sells GM parts.

Installation is super easy as these guards replace the ones already on the car. You need a socket wrench with a 7mm bit, 15 minutes and a flashlight is helpful. The installation process is the roughly same for the front and back. Remove the 7mm bolt that holds the original guard into place. There are five tension clips that secure it to the car. Gently pull the old part out starting the top.


On the rear guard transfer the clip nut to your new guard (the orientation of the clip doesn’t really matter as long as it’s centered- this is how mine looked when I removed the original part). When installing the new part note that there is a small tab that needs to go into the wheel well liner. Then simply align the push clips with the body and press them into place. Finish by screwing in the 7mm bolt.


At the widest point the splash guards add about an additional inch of protection. A must for people who live in a place like Utah!