Thursday, October 22, 2009

What the......?!?!

So it's been a while since I washed the G8... Between being busy busy busy and simple not caring I just never got around to it. Today it was suddenly really getting to me how filthy the car was so I decided on my lunch break to go to one of those DIY car washes. I typically don't like these types since there's usually barely any pressure, but drastic dirt called for drastic measures. I never use the brush that's there since I know some hill-billy just scrubbed the wheels of his 4x4 after what looks like it was a mud & gravel-diving excursion.. yuck!

So I start spraying the car down with the high pressure washer and I get to my rear wheels and what do I see? A HUGE chunk missing! WHAT THE #%*&!%?!?! It's in a place where it makes NO sense, close to the center of the wheel. It in a spot where you would not see it unless the wheel has that part facing down (or you're on the floor looking at the wheel). I KNOW I have never hit a curb in this car and no one else drives it which really makes me wonder what caused it and how long it's been there!

Wonder what else can go wrong for me with this car....

Friday, October 16, 2009

Update & More Suspension Issues

So it's been a while since I posted.... Besides 'stuff' going on & being busy with work and things in day-to-day life I've just been burned out on just about everything: Work, Hobbies (I have a few, and all of them bore me at the moment), and especially car stuff. I just lost all interest in modding this car for whatever reason. I'm just irritated by it and the entire (especially local) 'scene'.

Also it doesn't help to see your buddy blow his engine and needing a brand new one. It makes you reconsider the "do I really want to push this any further?" question, especially for a Daily Driver. I haven't even opened the car up in ages and usually cruise at 60-65 max. It really is a shame though since I have a full Cam-Package + Stroker kit sitting in my Garage and I have a Holden GTS Front bumper sitting around somewhere (Thanks for keeping an eye on that Tony). Haven't decided if I'm going through with it or if I'll just sell it all...

If anyone's interested in any of these (preferably local) let me know.

To top it off the suspension noise from before came back with a vengeance which totally pisses me off. It makes me wonder if I'm the latest victim of the at this point well known Ball-Joint issues. (and here)

So now I have to take this POS to the dealer again, which I'm sure they'll try to weasel their way out of warranty work since they already commented on my Pedders install last time. So it'll be "interesting" to see what they say now.

Anyway, for your viewing 'pleasure'.. some noise videos

Friday, August 28, 2009

Suspension Issue

Recently I noticed some Groaning coming from the front drivers side when I turned the steering wheel full left. Also there was was sounded like an annoying 'clunking' sound when driving over bumps. So I decided to take a look when I pulled into the garage last night and what do I find behind my front passenger side wheel?

The Link that connects to the sway bar & strut had come loose and was just flopping around!

So off to the dealer it was. Once it was on the lift it was clear to see that the link was just laying there and the nut had just fallen off. The dealer thought perhaps the previous shop never hooked it up right, but I think when I Went to T&T Tire Factory to raise my car that one time they just didn't tighten it right. (I know Norpac installed it perfectly!)

Not sure how visible it is, but at the drivers side the nut was about half-way off!

90 bucks later (took them forever to find the right nut) I was on my way again and the noises are gone. Guess that goes to show you that if you hear a noise that's not supposed to be there, something is wrong! lol ;)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

DM Performance LS Girdle

As posted previously I had ordered a Main-Cap Girdle to go with my stroker Build. It got delivered today so I figured I'd show what was included.

First the actual girdle:

This thing is HEAVY and rock solid - a very nice piece of fabrication!

Second was the Stud Kit

It came with 20 studs, 10 chrome nuts, 20 black nuts and a bag of washers (didn't bother counting them , probably 20 :) ) Not sure why I have more nuts than bolts, but so be it :) maybe they figured you'd want to mix it up a little and put the chrome ones on the inner or outer only. 2 of the bolts are shorter than the rest which was interesting.

The measurements for the bolts are:
18 x 5" bolts (with 1 side having a 1" coarse thread and a 1 5/8" fine thread on the other)
2 x 4 5/8" bolts with 1" coarse thread and a 1 1/4" fine thread

Instructions that came with the package says the two shorter ones should be placed in the outer front main cap holes (nearest the timing chain), but if you have a GTO oil pan they should go on the right side of the block on the outer number 2 and 3 to clear the oil tube running to the back of the pan. Not sure if that makes any sense to anyone who's ever had these engines apart..

Also i'm not quite sure how these compare to the normal ARP studs as far as length goes. I'm guessing these are little bit longer to account for the girdle taking up some space.

Now I guess the other thing I need is the 'side bolts' which normally are parts of the main stud package.. bet those will be hard to find separately! :(

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Win a V6 Roto-Fab Intake!

For you guys ( & gals) who have a V6 based G8, be sure to make a post here for your chance to win a Roto-Fab Cold Air Intake for your car!

Here's a copy of the post:

It's been a while since our last give-away but thanks to Roto-Fab here's our next one!

Feel there's no love for the V6 owners? Not here! This month's prize is
A Roto-Fab V6 CAI Kit!

You can read up on the intake on the Roto-Fab site here


  • ONLY People who own a V6 G8 can enter! Show a picture, signature , describe your car etc.
  • If you Have a GT or GXP you CAN NOT enter (unless you own a V6 as well )
  • Simply post a reply (only once please) to this thread for your chance to win.
  • DO NOT post in this thread unless you want a chance to win these
  • This thread will close end of day Friday August 14th 2009.
  • Saturday August 15th 2009 a random winner will be chosen from the people who entered and announced here.
  • Winner will obviously have to provide their mailing info.
  • If we get no response from the winner within 2 days a new winner will be chosen.
  • Moderators for ARE eligible to enter as well.
  • As always - previous winners ARE eligible as well!

To Enter follow this link and post a reply on the forum!

Friday, July 31, 2009

LSx Main Girdle

Ok so I got my stroker kit, now what? Well.. me having the 'but what can I do to make sure it doesn't break' OCD syndrome decided to look around and talk to some people about what preventative measures I could take to make sure this would all hold up long-term to the power levels I'm planning.

The L76/LS2 is an aluminum block which is obviously not as strong as an Iron Block. Of course the benefit is that it's a good deal (relatively , since it's still a back-breaker) lighter. However, Apparently under heavy load the main-caps tend to 'walk' a bit which is not a good thing.

So how do you keep them in place? Well you put them in a girdle. No, not that lacey thing your grandma has in the closet... one made out of metal!
I Found one made by DMPerformance.

From their site (which gets a little repetitive with every line starting with 'the lsx engine main girdle..' haha) :
"The LSX engine main girdle increases block rigidity and torsional stiffness, by boxing in all the main caps. The lsx main engine will not let your block twist under load and keep all the bores square. The LSX engine main girdle adds horse power, By decreasing friction in the piston area and also decreases windage significantly when used in conjunction with the factory windage tray .The LSX main girdle will increases your horsepower and torque. The lsx girdle does this by decreasing the bending moments and shear stresses experienced by a high performance engine. The LSX engine main girdle will stabilize the bottom end of the cylinder block by evenly distributing the load across the main caps. The lsx engine girdle will virtually eliminate main cap walk seen by all lsx's even at the 500 horsepower range, which wreaks havoc on your bearings. The lsx engine girdle achives this by locking in the main caps at the top, which will minamize the movement at the bottom of the cap .The lsx engine girdle will let you run upwards towards 1000 horsepower with out dropping a sleeve or breaking a main cap . The LSX engine main girdle has been up to 1500 HP + on Ronnie Dukes world record trans am."

I ordered mine Monday so hopefully it'll get here sometime next week. I also had Demetri@DM include the ARP Bolts that are needed (probably a little longer to account for the actual girdle). Once I get it all in I'll post up some more info/measurements & pics.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The 403 ci Stroker Kit has arrived

Last Tuesday I received my Stroker kit by UPS (and the UPS guy was NOT a happy camper lugging around 80 some pounds! :) ) It came in 3 boxes which contained the following:

Box 1: Pistons, Rings & Pins

Neatly organized inside - the pistons and a box for the rings & Pins

One of the Actual Pistons

The Rings

And finally the Wrist Pins

As you can see I did not unwrap everything right away since I still need to transport all of this to the shop I wanted to keep everything as neatly packed as possible (which unfortunately translate in to less fun for you, the viewer at home).

Box 2
Next up we had a box that had the Connecting Rods and bearings in it.

Cam Bearings

Main Bearings

Connecting Rods

Box 3
Finally the biggest & heaviest box of them all (weighing in at over 50 pounds) is the box for the crankshaft. That sucker is HEAVY! I took a peak at it by moving some of the wrapping inside the box and it looks very nicely crafted! Just didn't feel like taking it out with how heavy it was so all you get to see is a picture of the box!

Update: Ok I gave in ;) here is the crank!

Friday, July 24, 2009

HSV Fog/Driving Lights for Hybrid HSV/G8 Bumper

I received a package today from Crazy Paul for one of my upcoming projects. This one actually has been in the works since last year but it all came together finally and the rest of the parts are finally on the boat.

A lot of people over the last year expressed interest in a 'hybrid' bumper much like this photoshopped image:

As you can see the top half has the typical Pontiac look but the bottom is the HSV look. Some people opted for a total HSV conversion that involves also changing out the hood which I actually LIKE with the scoops etc. The HSV hood is just too bland and boring, and I also didn't like the upper half of the front bumper as much.

So I decided way back when that instead of hoping someone would make it (late 2008 noone stepped forward to make one) that I'd purchase a HSV bumper and a new G8 bumper and try to merge them using plastic welding.

I had Crazy Paul help me find a bumper on the cheap (, used, damaged - but since I was going to cut it up anyway it didn't matter). Once it was acquired a few other people came up with the same idea and contacted CP as well. So it was decided to hold off on shipping until every got all their stuff together and CP would organize a shipment by boat.

Meanwhile a G8 owner by the handle KLRG8 who runs EvolutionAutoDesigns was working on a custom fiberglass hood and bumper and got interest going into a HSV/G8 Clone. After a few false starts that project finally took off recently for which I applaud him. Target price if I remember was going to be around $600.

KLRG8's photoshop of prototype

Of course for me , being already in the hole for all the original parts (which are way more than that!), it's 'too late' , but it's not all bad. I do prefer having a real plastic bumper anyway. Also since his design is basically from scratch it'll be slightly different than how I envisioned mine. For instance - his design will feature only foglights (from the G8) instead of FogLights & Driving Lights, which came in todays shipment:

A Cool thing I noticed is that foglights actually have the HSV logo engraved in the front! I tried to take a closeup picture of it with my cellphone but it didn't turn out too great;

Now it's just a matter of waiting on the actual bumper & other misc. parts (not expected by boat until at least end of August), taking it to a bodyshop to have it cut-up & plastic-welded , and then painted & installed. Who knows when the heck I'll be able to finish this project, but hey at least the lights are here ;)

Friday, July 17, 2009

403 ci/6.6L Forged Stroker

If you have been reading my blog for a while (and I don't imagine a lot of people do, but let's pretend) you know that I've been wanting to do the cam-shaft upgrade for a WHILE now (since 2008) and that I had finally gotten all my Cam-Kit (took a few additions before I was totally happy with everything) in May (and more parts in June). Yet here it is, still sitting here in the box, while countless others are driving around in their cammed G8's. So.. why the hold up?

Well besides the previously mentioned issues of finding a shop to do the work (but I did: Go Norpac!) and making sure that everything that 'should' be replaced was going to be replaced and/or upgraded I had an ulterior motive. The thought that kept nagging in my head was that if I was going to have my engine basically open to the core I should upgrade as much as I can (even if that means I have to wait a bit). That, plus the fact that I really want to run a supercharger eventually (even my cam is 'supercharger friendly') but wanted to make sure beforehand the engine would hold up to all the extra power. So the option I decided on was to go forged.

There were three ways to go;
  1. Do I buy a new block already built, and drop that in and then try to sell my old block (Lots of $$ upfront, but low down-time and possible recoup some money later on)
  2. Do I buy the bare block & rotating assembly and transfer components (Medium $$ upfront, Medium downtime)
  3. Do I work within the existing block (Least $ upfront, but more downtime).
Since I'm not the richest man (and opposite to what some believe, I DO NOT get free parts (except once :) ) or tons of money for running I decided that re-using as much as I could would be the way to go (but someday that juicy LSX Block will be mine ;) ).

Now when you're replacing the internals of an engine with stronger parts, why not push them a little and increase the displacement? This is basically what I opted for by slightly 'overboring' to a standard size and increasing the 'stroke' of the crankshaft ( hence the name 'stroker kit'). So I started my search for stroker options and found a LOT of conflicting & confusing information. To start at the beginning let's look at the engine in the G8 GT, the L76.

Overboring the L76
According to the stats the L76 6.0L is an aluminum block that has a bore of 3.988" (101.3mm) and a 3.622" (92mm) stroke. Now according to 90% of information out there you can only safely bore any LS based block (especially aluminum) by a maximum of 0.010" overbore because of the thin cylinder sleeves. In our case we'd end up with 3.998" - a very odd (and 'useless') size indeed that would require custom pistons.

Now here is where some confusion starts coming in.
First - some people claim they, or 'someone they know' overbored a LS2 engine 0.020", 0.030" or more and it was 'just fine'. Of course this really is nothing more than 'hear-say' and I had a hard time just believing these statements just because they were on the Internet.

Secondly - As you may know the L76 runs the L92 heads which have received rave reviews. One interesting tid-bit is that GM says you need a minimum bore size of: 4.000" (or 101.6mm) Now really 0.3mm is a really tiny difference when you look at it on a ruler, but in an engine it could make a lot of difference! So are they saying the L76 is 4.000" or is it 'close enough' to work with the L92's?

The Third interesting thing is the block-casting number (12568952). This is the exact same number as the 4.000" bore LS2 engine. So did GM inform us wrong that the L76 has a 101.3mm bore and does it actually have a 101.6mm bore? I started getting hopeful! I talked to Livernois
who actually measured one and quickly my hopes & dreams were shattered because they confirmed the L76 actually has the 101.3mm bore.

Now what? I took some time off mentally from the subject for a couple of days and then decided to read up (yet again) on the LSX Block(thinking maybe I should just go that route) when I noticed they ship it with a 3.XXX bore so the machine shop can bore it to your spec. Talk about a light-bulb moment!! The LS2/L76 are the same Block, different bore, but the LS2's 4.000" bore can be overbored just fine to 4.010" or 4.005". I realized that they probably simply UNDERBORED the L76 vs the LS2 instead of using different sleeves. I couldn't find anyone to confirm this, but when I talked to Texas-Speed they actually said they've overbored past 4.000" a lot on L76's without issue and that it was the same block.

The Stroker Kit
So after talking to them and Livernois again about my goals and plans it both suggested I'd go with the 4.005" bore and a 4.000" Stroke giving me a total of a 402, or 403 ci (depending on calculations) Forged Stroker. Basically it comes down to a nice even 6.6L (Watch out GXPs!) Also because of the intent to go with a supercharger we went with some deep dish pizza ehmm I mean Pistons to get the compression down to a more friendly sub-ten level for supercharging. Just like my camshaft by itself, this means that in a N/A setup it would not be making the same power as someone running normal pistons etc, but when I do put the supercharger on I'll be able to crank the boost up much more and safely so.

When it came time to actually make the purchase I was stuck between Livernois and Texas-Speed. Both have excellent reputations and both put together a quality kit. They both were excellent in their customer service and communication with me. In the end it just came down to which brand-names I liked better in the kit and didn't mind paying a little more for those; The vendor of choice became Livernois (Also Livernois was already an established vendor on the so I knew what to expect from them and I like to support our vendors!) with their Callies Crank and Diamond Pistons (vs Eagle/Wiseco - eventhough texas-speed does offer these as well). It could have gone either way and I highly recommend either company! A 3rd option would've actually been my local machine shop with Eagle/JE Pistons, but I preferred the Callies.

Some people push it even further with 4.010" bore or larger stroke, but then I really started getting worried about rod-angularity (google it) which already could be an issue with this setup. If I ever want to go bigger I probably would save up for the LSX based block and take it from there, but I doubt that'll ever happen because by that point I doubt I'd even still have my G8 :) (though right now there really isn't any other car I want)

Now the adventure begins of actually pulling the entire engine out and gutting it! Already have a quote from the machine-shop which isn't 'too bad' but it will probably be another month (maybe even two depending on what other 'upgrades' I may want to add) before this install will happen but at least I feel confident in knowing that nothing's going to break!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

And the Next Upgrade is...

Well, As you may have noticed I've been sitting on this cam-shaft package for an awfully long time. This because for months I felt I should do some 'other things' at the same time if the engine was being worked on. So the last couple of days things have been falling into place and after saving for a long time I've finally decided on my next project (besides the obvious , by now dusty, cam hahaha). So What is it? Well, More details after I actually order it :D

p.s. Others have been discussing this mod 'recently' but I've been agonizing/researching it for months (detailed in the upcoming post) so I take dibs on being first ;)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Sweet Sound of American Racing Headers with Stolen Fox Axle Backs

So I've had my 1-7/8" American Racing Headers on for quite some time (Over six months already!) but I had never gotten around to actually record some good footage of them on the car. I recorded some video when I first picked up the car, but since it basically was running on 6 or 7 cylinders it was not really how it sounds.

Last week someone asked about them and how they sounded since they were going to get a set themselves and I figured it was about time to whip out the trusty old camcorder and record some footage. The only problem with these little hand-held cams is that they really don't capture the full sound of the exhaust system. You usually miss a lot of the bass and the relative volume is hard to determine. (e.g. Is it loud? or is the camera just too close to the exhaust for the mic to record it properly? )

0-20mph (windows closed) 0-30mph (window open) in city traffic

Cruising at 55mph and WOT to 80mph

Remote Start Idle

This next video to me sounds more realistic than the previous one
'Normal' Start Idle

Start, Idle and a few Revs :D

While I was shooting the last 2 videos with my buddy Neil we both noticed the following: When I first picked up my car after the headers were just installed I thought it was SO loud, now I start up the car and don't even notice it's running anymore - has the volume changed? No, but my hearing must have ! ;) Just a week or two ago I heard 'ChristianCoach's Magnaflow Cat-Back system (He did a great SS-V front Conversion!) and was surprised how quiet it was. It makes me think back about how quiet the stock system really is. I doubt most people would even hear it idling!

I guess it goes to show you just get used to these changes much like the power of your car. And that, is just nature's way of letting you know you need to start saving for your next mod! ;)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Cam Shaft Upgrade - Part III ; Timing Chain & Oil Pump

So I think I FINALLY got all the parts I want/need for this cam-swap. I know that a lot (read: Most/99.99%) of people don't swap all of these out, but like I mentioned before in previous posts - I'd rather do it right the first time and not have anything break on me.

New Timing Chain
C5 R Heavy Duty Timing Chain by IWIS GM LS1,LS2,LS3, LS6, LS7
Basically there were two options available that I was interested in, both made by a German company called 'IWIS'. First is a chain with part number: SD3SR602 which runs about $50. The Second is the so called C5-R Chain with part number: HME-G68V-2 which runs about $130 - $160. After doing some research it basically came out that the $50 chain is better than stock (and more than enough for most people) and that the $130 chain is better than the $50 chain. Of course with my obsessive "can't have it break EVER" attitude I chose the $130 chain. Apparently in the past some companies have tried selling the $50 chain AS the $130 chain so to avoid any confusion i ordered HME-G68V-2 direct from KaTech Engines.

Next up the oil-pump - I NEVER even saw any mention of upgrading this on any cam-swap project untill I stumbled across it on an Australian Forum. Apparently the 'DOD' oilpumps have a much higher flow rate which if you take out the DOD can lead to trouble such as pumping all oil out of the pan. Now I don't know all the details and I doubt this would happen with the 9 quarts of Oil the G8 takes (I think some people swapped out the oilpan for a stock LS2 pan which made the problem worse) but after talking to several people in the know the concensus was that if you get rid of DOD you really should swap out the oil-pump for a 'normal' one instead of high-flow. I ended up ordering this one from Lingenfelter:

Melling LS1, LS2, LS3, LS6 Standard-volume High pressure Oil Pump
Melling LS1, LS2, LS3, LS6 Standard-volume High pressure Oil Pump
Part: MEL10295
Price: $108.95
Shipping Weight: 5.00 pounds

The 10295 provides users of stock crankshaft short blocks a quality replacement for the original stock LS1 oil pump. The inlet and outlet passages have been optimized to improve oil flow entering and exiting the pump which improves overall pump performance. The design of the pressure relief has been updated to improve low RPM performance. The pressure by-pass setting has been increased 10 psi, with the installed spring. An additional pressure relief spring is supplied which will reduce the by-pass back to the stock setting. The pump cover is CNC machined from cast iron and coated to improve performance and durability. The oil pump housing is CNC machined from cast aluminum and hard-coat anodized to increase hardness and improve durability.

So now I SHOULD have everything needed for my cam-swap and have it be rock-solid. The only thing holding me back now is the possibility of doing forged internals at the same time....

OH also - I guess the 1.8 rockers are out of the question since there will NOT be enough piston to valve clearance - so if you're doing a cam stick with the normal 1.7s!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Cam Shaft Upgrade - Part II ; More Parts

Somehow UPS, whom I normally prefer over anything else, managed to screw up on 2 packages for me! My head gaskets that Kirk@Vector sent out ASAP have been stuck in their terminal back east somewhere now for over 20 days, and some of the other parts I mentioned in my previous post were shipped without a full address... Just fantastic! But I managed at least to get that last box thanks to Greg@PacePerformance.. now if only those gaskets would show up!

On the plus side it really doesn't matter since I'm not ready financially nor time wise to install any of this stuff anyway but it sure is frustrating when you see other people leap ahead with mods you've been planning for months while you're sitting with (some of ) the parts right next to you. However, It actually fits how I approach every project on my car: do the research, make sure you fully understand all the options, then get the best one available for my particular needs , and then finally do it. While I'd love to slap on a supercharger I'm not doing that until I'm forged so that I'll hopefully never be in the situation where my engine throws a rod because it was just too much stress on the engine etc. Slow but Steady (& reliably!) is the way for me :)

The dangerous thing about NOT jumping in right away though is that it gives your mind the opportunity to keep thinking things over and I tend to do that a LOT. Especially about parts that would make sense to replace/upgrade at the same time since you'll have the engine open anyway. So after some thought & research I decided to add on one more thing to this Cam-Swap, and that is a set of the Yella-Terra Roller Rockers which I got from Mike @ New Era Performance. I figured since I was going to have the heads off and basically most of the internals replaced anyway I might as well upgrade these as well. While some people say the stockers are just fine - and I really don't doubt that - I just liked the look of these and they seemed to be a good match to go with everything else.

Yella-Terra Rockers

The Stock rockers are using a 1.7 Ratio which in combination with my new cam-shaft gave a .588 lift on the intake and a .571 for the exhaust ; With the new 1.8 rockers I will now have (not rounding up) a .622 lift on the intake and a .604 for the exhaust; They also make a 1.85 rocker but that would result in a .639 intake lift and since my new PSI springs (PSI LS1511LM) are only rated for a maximum lift of .625 that was out of the question (without having to get yet another batch of spring upgrades which I didn't feel like spending the money on). Also on the Australian forums people expressed concern about the PTV Clearance - basically Piston to Valve clearance so I didn't want to push it too much to the extremes and possibly damage anything. Though supposedly these 1.8 could still be too much! So I may end up not even using these if it turns out there's an issue.

(p.s. Looking at pictures the Yella-Terra's look suspiciously similar to the SLP rockers and I would almost venture to say they are the same thing, except not as expensive :) )

The other part I will now have to add is a better Timing-Chain. This was not included in the original cam-package (nobody does) but since Charlie saw a stock one break and cause major damage it just seems good sense to not risk that and replace/upgrade the stock timing chain (which at this point already has 20k miles on it).

As for the parts that did arrive - here they are:

1x 12579145 - LS2 PCV Outlet Plug

1x 12588670 - LS2 Timing Chain Dampener

2x 12617944 - Exhaust Manifold Gaskets

1x 12612350 - Oil Pan Gasket

1x 12574294 - Engine Front Cover Gasket

2x 12610311 - Coolant Pump Gasket

8x 12569427 - LS3 Hollow Stem Valves

As an aside - Anyone else ever notice they get 'used' to their cars power? I'm bored with it again so I can't wait to get this cam-shaft in. I've been driving like a grandma over the last couple of days hoping that if I stand on the Gas pedal it'll maybe make me appreciate the car again but so far it's not happening. Right now i'm just not feeling it, because I could floor it and find myself just yawning thinking "yeah.. not fast enough..." Maybe this Cam will be just what the doctor ordered to snap me out of this rut!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Cam Shaft Upgrade - Part I

For a while now I have been wanting a cam-shaft upgrade. Several other people who have gone this route have managed to get low to mid 400 HP/TQ numbers and that is just VERY appealing! The big factor was though: Do I keep DOD (Displacement on Demand - where the engine can run in 4 cylinder mode to save fuel) or do I get rid of it? The consensus seems to be that DOD is possibly more hassle than it's worth, and having noticed that it barely came on for me anyway (must be the way I drive ;) ) I decided to go with a Non-DOD cam upgrade.

As far as which vendor to go with it there were several big-name choices:

  • New-Era is the King when it comes to DOD Cams and they have a Non-DOD cam package as well. I had seen videos of ManOfSteel69's car with their Non-DOD cam and while it was 'cool' it just wasn't for me for some reason; it's NOT that one is better than the other or anything like that, but it's like car colors - sometimes you click and sometimes you don't.
  • Livernois seems to be a very popular choice for people. They upgrade the valve-springs to some type of dual-spring with new retainers etc. They also offer Valve-Jobs etc.
  • Vector Motorsports is another popular choice offering an optional Hollow-Stem LS3 Valve upgrade and they do valve-jobs too. Big Difference is also they use a beehive type valve spring vs the double type. Since they already did my tune and I have my powerflash coming from them I decided to just go through them for this upgrade.
As far as the parts go this is what I received:

  • 1x 12599296 - GM Valley Cover

  • 4x 12595365 - GM Lifter Tray

  • 1x 12557840 - GM Pulley Bolt (I have an ARP Bolt already though I can re-use)

  • 1x 12586481 - GM Camshaft Sprocket (+ 3x bolts 12556127)

  • 1x 12626407 - GM Timing Chain Tensioner

  • 16 PSI Valve Springs - Part# PSI-LS 1511ML

  • 16x AC Delco Lifters - Part# HL124/GM# 17122490

  • 1x ARP Bolt Head Kit - Part # 134-3610

  • 16x CompCams Pushrods - Part# 7795-16

  • 1x CompCams CamShaft - 228/228 115 LSA

  • Missing were a pair of Head Gaskets but Kirk@Vector got right on that.

If you have looked at other cams you'll notice that the 228/228 is lower than most other people's numbers. This is because I asked Kirk to give me a 'Supercharger Friendly' cam instead of a 'all-round' cam. This will mean that I'll probably end up with lower HP/TQ numbers than other people, but when I do get around to slapping on that supercharger things will work together better.

Since the stock timing-chain tensioner seems prone to breaking Charlie recommended I not use part 12626407 and instead get the LS2 Type Chain Dampener and a few other items which were:

1x 12579145 - LS2 PCV Outlet Plug
1x 12588670 - LS2 Timing Chain Dampener
2x 12617944 - Exhaust Manifold Gaskets
1x 12612350 - Oil Pan Gasket
1x 12574294 - Engine Front Cover Gasket
2x 12610311 - Coolant Pump Gasket
8x 12569427 - LS3 Hollow Stem Valves

Now some kits come with part 12594779 - which is a little bit of PCV Hose that runs from the LS2 valley cover to the side of the intake manifold. However since I'll be installing a catch-can at the same time that will sit right in the path of that hose I didn't order that part. You can see picture of the hose and how the catch-can takes it's place over at the Norris Motorsports catch can page.

Overall based on Crazy Paul's post on the forum it seems like I should have everything I need to get underway with the cam-Install except for a place to install it!

I've Contacted Norpac who did my Pedders install about doing this so hopefully they can; otherwise I may have to follow in the footsteps of BobTheMonkee and have a go at this myself in the garage!