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 ;)