February, 2006

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Breakthrough

Sunday, February 19th, 2006

At my friend Bryan’s repeated insistence (nagging) I checked the base timing (alignment of the camshafts and crankshaft) in my Evo. Took me a couple tries to do it right, but lo and behold, it turns out that somehow, my timing belt had skipped a tooth. I don’t know when or how it happened but it’s clear the car has been this way for some time now, because once I corrected the problem, many of the little issues that had been plaguing it improved greatly or went away altogether. Moreover, the car is now making the power I would expect:

[dyno plot before and after timing fix]

Peak power has increased by almost 30 horses at the wheels (and much higher throughout), torque no longer falls like a rock towards redline—almost 40 lb-ft of torque more than before above 5500 RPM.

I’m pleased as punch. This has been the root of the mysterious problem that I’ve been chasing for several weeks now. With it solved, I should now be able to tune the car and shoot for the 300-horsepower mark.

Not-so-Smart

Thursday, February 16th, 2006

A search for “sbfshook” using AltaVista (remember them? I’m surprised they’re still around) turned up a page with a reference to the mysterious file. It turns out to be a driver installed as part of the “Smart Backup” program from Intervideo’s MediaOne suite.

sbfshook, what the heck are you?

Thursday, February 16th, 2006

Turns out my laptop crashing problem isn’t due to the virus scanner per se, but rather to some combination of the virus scanner and a driver in my system called sbfshook.sys. The most curious thing about “sbfshook” is that I can find absolutely no information about it. The file isn’t tagged with any author or version information, nor can I find a single reference to it on Google. Virus scanners don’t flag it as a virus either (anyway if it were a known virus then I figure there would be a reference to it somewhere on the Web). I don’t know where it came from, nor when it was installed. A total mystery.

Anyway, disabling the driver seems to have cured the crashing problem without any ill effect to the system… I hope.

Norton and McAfee can both go to hell

Thursday, February 16th, 2006

Tired of dealing with all the crap that the Symantec (Norton) Antivirus software installed on my Windows XP-based laptop, I recently replaced it with Network Associates’ McAfee VirusScan. After installing it, it seemed a much less pesky product overall and I was happy with that.

Recently however, my laptop started bluescreening on a frequent, then regular basis. I finally got around to diagnosing the problem. Turns out the filter driver (naiavf5x.sys) that’s part of VirusScan is crashing my system. Argh! There seems no way around the problem other than to disable the virus scanner, and so now I’m left searching for a new solution. What a waste of time and money!

Hot car, cold car

Sunday, February 5th, 2006

[photo of A/C components]

The Evo becomes more ill-mannered, impractical and uncomfortable a road-going car—and a better race car:

  • The new Cobra Imola racing seat I installed was a bit too high, and (according to the strict interpretation of SCCA rules) would have required a seat back brace, so I removed the adjustable seat rails and bolted down the seat straight to the bracket that’s bolted directly to the car. So unless you’re 5’7″, give or take an inch, you can’t drive my car.

  • At the same time as installing the seat, I removed the factory seat belts since they wouldn’t really work with the seat. Getting in and out of the car is something of a minor production that takes a few minutes to buckle and tighten all the belts on the six-point racing harnesses.

  • I replaced almost all the suspension bushings with stiffer polyurethane pieces; now the car has a harsher ride than ever before, and there’s an entirely new cacophony of noise from the suspension and drivetrain.

  • I inadvertently put a hole in my radiator a few weeks ago while working on the car. I had the radiator fixed, but a pinhole leak remained, and I decided that just to be safe, I’d best get a new radiator. I opted for a Koyo racing radiator which is larger and has better cooling capacity than the stock unit—and costs about half as much.

  • In order to make room for a larger Koyo radiator, I removed the air conditioning yesterday. I went through most of last summer without using A/C to prove that I could live without it. Of course that’s much easier now that I drive the Miata on a daily basis.

Next up: we spent a few hours trying to tune the Evo to make more power, but it had some strange problems with the turbo and/or engine not running quite right: inconsistent air/fuel ratios, irregular boost build-up, and a frequent tendency to misfire while accelerating at partial throttle. I’m slowly working through all the possibilities, and hopefully everything will be fixed soon enough. Or as I like to say, “I’ve got more time, money and determination than the car has problems.”

Here’s a new one

Thursday, February 2nd, 2006

From: yannio01@yahoo.com
Re: 1990 VW Corrado G5 car

Hello,
I am YAN NIO, I am located in china, so the shipping won't be any problem. However i did saw your advert and I am highly interested in purchasing it to a good home, I will like to know your asking price and the present condition and the pictures, I am a serious buyer. Email me at your earliest convenience
Thanks

Of course, they’re located in China, so shipping won’t be any problem. You really can’t make this stuff up; these scammers are that amazingly, hilariously stupid.