I finally got a chance to mess with this a little bit... I am pretty sure that it is not either the air filter or the fuel filter - the k&n air filter looks very clean (no oil residue inside the intake tract), and the fuel filter was done only about 30k ago. so therefore i doubt if the maf has been contaminated in any way. originally thought it was running super rich because the insides of the tailpipes looked extra dark, but when i pulled the plugs they all looked great (no fouling) so i doubt that's the case. the car runs great and a normal startup idle when i start it up. it runs if i pull the maf harness and plug it back in (with a little hiccup in idle each time i do so). but it runs and settles into a nice idle. that is what is frustrating about this - it seems to be an intermittent problem. it runs good now in my driveway, but who knows if the same thing will happen out on the highway. (it will lol) one thing that i did notice however, when i pulled off the inlet tube, was a rather large amount of engine oil inside the throttle body. even dripping out of one side when i open it. sort of like the condition that people who use oil separators are trying to avoid. so there is a lot of oil residue, but i sort of expect that from a car with 126 hard miles. i predict that the heat exchanger underneath the eaton is extremely dirty. the top of this engine has never been opened. so i think my next steps i think will be to remove the throttle body and elbow from eaton, and remove all vacuum lines to make sure they are ok. sorry that i missed your original comment, and thank you very much for your feedback. it was dying even when i was trying to give it gas. i will check out the best way to check the fuel pressure drivers module. i do have a spare iac that i can put on there to check, but right now it seems running good at idle. turns out the handheld i have for this car is an old sct x2, so i won't have the capability to datalog that way.