Two Utah students found all the tricky, hard-to-fix bugs in their car at the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills National Finals. But they forgot to simply re-clip an electrical cable to the car chassis, and that cost them a top 10 finish.

So Edward Pells and Travis Morishita, 18-year-olds who just graduated from Viewmont High School, finished in 17th place overall among 50 state champion teams competing Monday.It was the third straight year that Viewmont students won the Utah championship and represented Utah in the national finals. But this year, the school's auto instructor - McDonald Pells - had his son as one of the contestants.

"He's always loved to take things to pieces and see how they work," Pells said about his son. Likewise, Morishita's father, Bob, said his son "has been working on cars for years. I used to help him, but he's surpassed my skills."

Among the bugs they found were blown fuses, a blown horn relay, a bad vacuum regulator (and the first replacement part supplied was also bad), a bad ignition coil, a missing fan belt, a bad brake lamp harness and a tripped inertia switch.

The 50 teams are given up to 90 minutes to diagnose and fix such problems in identically bugged cars. The Utah team finished in just under 67 minutes - and its only demerit came for the very minor problem of not re-clipping the electrical cable.

After Pells and Morishita won the Utah championship, they were awarded an expenses-paid trip to Washington for the national finals, $3,000 scholarships each to Ford's Automotive Service Student Education, and a Ford training vehicle for their school.

Contest sponsors note that modern cars fixed by the students have more computer controls than the Apollo spacecraft that traveled to the moon or 1970s jet airplanes - and their training involves much more high-tech work than the mere mechanics of the past.