Monday, January 30, 2012

January Tuning Trip - Part 2

Buschur Racing - Yep; Buschur was the final destination. We arrived there about 5:30pm local. I'd never been to the shop; only met Dave last year at a NASA event and we've been in touch every since while working out a plan. I've got high hopes for their work and his tuning so wish me luck!
Fortunately their lot had been plowed so it was mostly clear to unload. I started the car (3rd time since Oct) and backed it off the trailer (first time since Oct). It was still wearing Hoosier A6's so I took the time to swap my street tires back on. Parked the trailer in the back; locked the Evo - repacked all my tools and such I never leave without - and we were off on the ~500 mile return trip.

Sat 6:30pm - Now the debate; drive straight through or not. We decided to head back the same way as the roads were good. I originally was going to head back via Cincy - Indy just for new scenery but that's where all the ice had fell the night before. Eta would be about 2am if we made the full trip; all in the dark. We instead decided to hotel it; picking the same hotel I had booked Fri night and never made It was about 3hrs away near South Bend. We got there with a fuel & food stop around 10pm.

Sun 6am - Back up and on our way... No change in the weather; just cold. We busted through Chicago taking I-55 home and the only drama was having to fight a strong cross-wind the last 3 hours.

Sun 11:30am - Made it home safely. Unpacked a little; then a shower and a beer! Later a big meal; more beer and lots of football!   The total trip counter (right) showed just under 17hrs driving and 1000 miles.  Whew.  And just think; I've gotta go get the Evo shortly!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

January Tuning Trip - Part 1

So I've been trying to figure out a good time to get the Evo to my tuner.  It's a long trip and being January the weather has definitely played a part in adjusting the time table.  It needed to get there as soon as I realistically could make it to keep my plans in March and April on track (more to come).  Details:

January 13th - Cancelled trip due to snow and 30mph gusts causing drifts.

January 20th - Trip; version #2.
Friday 6:30pm - Plan was to trek ~280 miles (5 hrs) and stop for the night. Then complete trip and return home Saturday evening. We (me, the wife and out puppy) were fully expecting to run into bad weather. We only made about 30miles before the sleet & freezing rain started and soon it was bad enough where the wipers & washer fluid couldn't clear it and defroster/defogger couldn't keep it clean. Pulled over after 57 miles and took a look at all the radars & road conditions and evenbdecided to head back! 
January 21st - Trip; version #3.
Sat 6am - After a night of watching radar and the IDOT website, things were no longer 'red/impassible' across the state; just portions but a lot of yellow (patchy ice/snow). After much debate we took off about 7:30am with a possible turn-around trip planned depending on the conditions and how we felt. The interstate was nearly all clear, with the on-ramps and off-roads spotty and dangerous.

Sat 10:30am - planned stop for fuel including 100oct for the Evo which was nearly empty. This was a MUST for the upcoming tune. Only the station I'd bought it at several times before now didn't carry it anymore, just 110. Apparently the Gas City was now a Speedway; apparently all Gas City's were bought out last year... Great. Used GPS to route to the next Gas City... which we found was a 7-11 now and no luck.

Sat 1pm - The next potential Gas City was in the ChicagoLand area off I-80. After this one I wasn't sure what the plan was, my wife was patrolling the internet for options this entire time. We got there and it was also a Speedway - but did have 100 oct! Only my credit card was declined! So I used my ATM card; all good. About an hour later I get a fraud call from my credit card company and find out it's some new policy that I have to let them know when I leave the state (I was a few miles into Indiana). I was pissed; completely BS after having this card for probably 8-10 years I'll be dropping them. I had to have them OK to use it in IN and Ohio as well for the next 2 days. Felt like I was 12 asking for permission. Anyways; roads continued to be clear and the IN then OH turnpikes were all that was left. 

Stay tuned for Part 2!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Trusted Evo Tuners?

I bought my first Evo in April, 2003.  It was the 2003 model and I didn't know squat about aftermarket parts, tuning, upgrading or anything besides window tint, stereo's and rims.  It's amazing what a really fun car, some internet forums and a quest for speed & knowledge can do!

I had that 2003 Evo flashed, hell we actually flew a guy in from California with a laptop and had about 20 Evo's from 5 different states all organized together in November, 2003.  While I got some more power, that was also the first step down a dead-end upgrade process for me and that car.  There were a lot of people that tried to tune cars back then, and a lot of them gave the Evo a bad name especially in the used car arena with unsafe tunes, 'bathtub' shaped dyno charts, $1000 tunes that yielded 15whp, etc.

Fast-forward to 2006 when I got my current Evo.  A lot of those crappy tuners had dissapeared, and there were a few shops still leading the way with lots of happy customers.  My decision process included only a few of the more well known shops and with one of them being very close it was an easy choice.  Within a few weeks I was at the first AMS Performance tuning day in April where they tuned a few 2006 models; the first with Mivec.  Since that day, I've only trusted AMS to tune the car and I've been happily rewarded with power and reliability.  A couple years later in 2008, I was back for a racegas tune and the familiar stickers found their way onto the car.  Another update for 2011 seen an even better smoother tune that helped lead the way to dual NASA Regional Championships and a podium at NASA Nationals.

Well, for those that follow on twitter, I posted a pic a few months back with some external updates of the car.  I'll share that pic here now; from around Thanksgiving time. 

What's next in store for the car?  We've got a pretty aggressive plan for 2012, so stay tuned as the next few months will bring some really big changes both internally and externally...

Friday, January 13, 2012

Prepping for the COLD winter!

Having a bigger garage really helps out with winter prep.  I'm actually able to leave the Evo on the trailer and fit both into my garage at home.  With some careful parking, I can still fit both my Truck and the wife's car in there as well.  It's tight, but it works.

So with that said, I try to leave the Evo on the trailer for as long as possible.  That means I can do some work to it, but nothing that requires jacking it up of course.  Because when it gets dumped off the trailer, the Truck (my daily driver) gets relegated to the driveway which is a nasty place to be in the morning when it ices and snows!

Onto winter prep...  With the Evo being indoors a lot of that is reduced.  I'll disconnect the battery which is nothing new, keep air in the tires, etc.  The biggie is flushing out the radiator and putting a 50/50 antifreeze mix in so nothing freezes!  While this is a difficult job w/o jacking it up, it is possible while on the trailer...

Draining -->

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2011 Year Ending Hoosier Stockpile!

December brought the annual deadline to claim any leftover contingencies from Hoosier.  The Hoosier/NASA contingency started in 2009 and has been insanely popular in the non-spec classes including TT where the #929 Evo participates.  And luckily another successful year left us with some tires to claim last month!

Now the downside of claiming tires in December is the fact that the 2012 rules were not out yet.  And as rules can change, you never know if you'll be able to run the same setup or be forced to change something because of a rules up.  Or one could choose to change tire setups altogether!  Along with that, one of the downsides to an AWD car is that all 4 tires need to be the same size and on the same rim - meaning you can't mix-n-match!  So the moral here is order carefully and thoughtfully.

Well, without giving away any 2012 plans, here's a pic of the basement stockpile.  Including corded, used, unused testfit samples and last months final contingency claims, I am now in possession of 25 Hoosiers!  There's also a stock of corded tires in the garage and some good/bad ones still mounted on the Evo.