Thursday, December 9, 2010

Transmission Linkage

So ever since my snow adventure I had noticed an interesting issue with my shifter. Usually when parking I just slam it from "D" to "P", but when I did this a little slower I noticed that the actual 'shift points for Neutral and Reverse did not seem to line up anymore with the actual location on the shifter base. Neutral was practically in reverse, Reverse was halfway to Park and Park sometimes would not engage unless I tapped the shifter forward while it would technically already be in Park.

Quick search on the forum came up with the transmission linkage being the probable cause. So I went out and got some basic jackstands + jack, but then after that I got busy with life and simply didn't get around to doing anything about it.  Last Thursday night coming home from work I could tell it was acting up again and finally when I pull into the garage it simply would not go into Park.. I tried putting it back into Drive to try again when I hear a loud CLUNK under the car and now I can move the shifter to Park (but not out of it), yeah the Display still shows I'm in Drive.. OOPS..

Quick Call to the G8 Emergency 911 Tech Center (A.k.a. Charlie ;) ) I get some directions on where to look, and what to do. I jack up the car and I take a look and what do you know - there is the transmission linkage just laying on my exhaust..

Yeah.. that's not good..
Getting further under the car to get a good look you can clear see where the linkage must have been rubbing against the bottom of the car as it was on it's way out.

Surprisingly enough after inspecting the white plastic clip seemed to be fully intact! (Shocker after how many times that thing must've been taken apart since I've had the car).. So after moving pulling on it to put the actual transmission in Park as well and some careful finagling I managed to get it back into position.

I did my best to make sure the plastic tabs were all the way through the rubber grommet that's in there. Let's hope it doesn't come out again! Meanwhile I've purchased a 1/2" metal E-Clip which will supposedly fit so that I can put that on when I'm under there again. Sure would give more piece of mind than a 1 cent piece of plastic..

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Winter 'Fun'...

Well we had some 'interesting' weather here the last couple of days in WA State.. usually we have fairly mild winters, and once in a while there will be a nasty one.. like apparently this year. We already got a little preview of that this Monday. I think most people weren't prepared for it (including me).

Monday morning driving to work there was a little snowfall - which while early by at least 2 months - was nothing major so I figured no big deal. On the way I passed several spun out cars already and even a pickup truck that apparently had flipped over. So much for the 4x4... guess people forget that doesn't help much with stopping when there's ice on the road.
By around 10:30 I happen to glance out of the window at work and HOLY CRAP it's a freakin blizzard!

Quick checkup on the weather (which I rarely do, hence my surprise at the whiteout) and discussing with my coworkers and it seemed they were expecting this to keep up until at least 10pm or so, so I figured I'd try to make a run for it instead of sticking it out at the office and hoping it'd get better in the evening.

Now the 'fun' part is i'm running only All Seasons - Bridgestone Potenza RE960 AS's with 285's in the back.. not really what I'd call a 'Winter setup'. Last time I tried anything in the snow was with the Eagle RS-A's that came stock and that was a nightmare. Now I was running better tires but also a good amount more HP because of my stroker. First problem was getting out of the parking lot. Luckily I had the foresight to park close to the road so that ice-skating rink was actually not that much a problem (much to my relief).

Now the main road to the freeway was already crawling with traffic and as the cars kept driving over the snow they were compacting it into solid ice. SUVs and Pickups alike were spinning their tires on this stuff, yet like lemmings people kept driving over the icy tracks. I pulled into traffic and could instantly tell that was was going to be a butt clenching ride... I had to drive over fresh snow to have ANY traction but luckily because most people didn't do this there was plenty left for me. Still several times I end up sideways even going as slow as 5 mph because zero traction! I almost decided to pull over and wait it out, but I was stubborn.

Several accidents already along the way (rear-ended, slid into a pole etc) it took me over half an hour to get to the freeway moving inch by inch which normally takes just about 10. It felt like an hour though since my tune is still not 100% when getting on the throttle from a standstill (you need to give it a little extra otherwise it may die) which obviously is NOT something you can afford to do on a sheet of ice.. But with some fenagling of the shifter between M1,M2 and N I was able to manage and keeping plenty of distance since my ABS was going crazy...

Just when I thought I made it to the freeway I noticed a semi had scissored and was blocking the onramp. A whole bunch of people got stuck behind him and had nowhere to go. Luckily I noticed and was able to take a detour to get on the freeway at another location. Usually the freeways are pretty clear because of maintenance and the amount of traffic, but as luck would have it - barely any traffic and no sanding or anything yet, so they were just as bad as the other roads!

Finally though it was to feel like I was getting somewhere.. doing a whopping 10-20mph. As I cautiously made my way down the freeway I passed at least another 6 accident scenes with people having slid off the road, collisions, another rollover.. just overall nastyness...

All in all it was a nightmare driving scenario and not something I'd be looking forward to do again in the G8.. I think having a High HP Car is great in a warm State Like Nevada or California, Texas Etc.. but up here it's not that practical in the winter time.. Perhaps it's time for a dedicated winter driver, even if it's beat-up truck or something..Or maybe invest in some rims & winter tires instead of this 'all season' stuff.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Rebuild Stroker - 234/242 114LSA+2

OK so as you may have read previously on here my first adventure into cam/stroker land went horribly wrong and I had to get it rebuild.. Last Sunday Ellis from Speed Secrets was kind enough to personally come drop the car off. This was great as it was perfect final 'test drive' for him to drive it down and that way we could drive it together for a bit to go over everything.

The Cam-Shaft was a 'Patrick G' spec-ed
234/242 .602”/.605” 114LSA +2 advance 

Obviously quite a bit more agressive and more lift than my 228/228 115 LSA .

The only two things that still are 'amiss' are that:
a) The tune is a little touchy about applying throttle from a standstill - if you do it too slowly the RPMs seem to drop and I got it to die on me. But apply a heavier foot and you can work around this.

b) I have an obnoxious rattle going on that sounds horrible especially when cold. At first I thought it was the engine running rough, but luckily that turned out to be not the case.

I also was able to switch back to the stock GT Mufflers since the Stolen Fox's were just too loud on my old setup (and I didn't even want to think about what it would do with this cam!). The car sounds very nice warmed up and not too loud at all.. if anything I seem to have more noise coming from the front-end than the rear mufflers ;)

Other than that the build is pretty much the same as before with the same rotating assembly but slightly longer pushrods (7.425).

How does it drive though? Well let's just say I'm getting used to it again.. After having driven a practically silent 90hp gutless wonder for the last 6 months (Yes that's how long it's been) this thing rumbles & shakes like there's a wild animal under the hood waiting to get out... which if you step on the throttle takes off like crazy! I definitely feel its faster than my previous build when doing WOT runs (only did a couple so far) and Ellis commented on how much it pulls too.. 

So far I'm getting a whopping 11mpg lol.. guess I NEED to add a supercharger now to get some fuel economy back ;)

Ellis took pictures throughout the build and once I get those I'll post them up and once I clear out my video camera I'll try to shoot some video of it idling/reving etc

Thursday, November 4, 2010

First Signs of Life

Well, we have first Start-Up...

It's been over six months now since I first starting having this issue and at times it seemed there was no end in sight, but yesterday Ellis was nice enough to send me a quick cell-phone video of First Startup. Hard to tell how it sounds with the sound quality, but at least we have oil pressure above 0 ;)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

STILL waiting....

It is now END of September and you guessed it: I'm STILL waiting for my car to be done. Only last Monday was the block finally picked up from the Machine Shop (seems to be a recurring theme with Machine Shops that their work takes about 3 times longer than they say it will). Meanwhile parts had been trickling in with the last thing being the cam-shaft which got in a few weeks ago. At first there was hope all this would be done mid September, then that become End of September, which now has become mid October apparently at the earliest (Ellis @ Speed Secrets is a busy guy!)
He said he had some other urgent jobs to finish up first so who knows.. Wonder how they are more urgent than mine since in my frustrating experience I've only had the car 2 months out of what'll be 10 months so far , IF i'm "lucky".... Would think that fact alone would bump me up the priority list LOL!

Being without the car for so long definitely has taken the fun out of it and seriously makes me consider selling it since I am already used to not having it. So if you guys in the PNW are looking for a Nicely Modded (with brand new engine at this point) G8 GT hit me up !

Meanwhile here's some more pictures Ellis has sent my way:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Rebuilding from the pieces

Just a short update on the rebuild process. So far it seems we'll be needing:

  • New LS2 Block
  • New Cam
  • New Oil Pump
  • New Lifters
  • Cam Bearings
  • Main Bearings
  • Head Gaskets
  • Rear Main Seal
  • Front Main Seal
  • Piston Rings 

For a bit I was looking for an Iron Gen IV 6.0L Block but quickly gave up. The Gen III LQ9 block doesn't work because of the knock sensor location, and the block used in the LY6 engine, which seems to be only production Gen IV Iron block, is not available by itself unless you get lucky in a junkyard... The other option of course would be a juicy orange LSX Block, but that's just not going happen with it's 2K price tag..

Basically as far the inside of the engine the only thing re-used are the Heads, and the Rotating assembly (Piston,Rods & Crank) oh and push rods. Adding all this up gets pretty depressing, and so far neither Bud's Machine Shop, nor Norpac Street Performance has stepped up to do anything besides saying "oh that's terrible"...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Well my engine is F*cked

 Well it would seem I'm in need of new block. Consensus now seems to be that the wrong O-Ring was used on the pump/pickup assembly which allow air in from day one and eventually sucked in the O-Ring. That starved the cam bearings etc. Probably because I had a high pressure pump it lasted as long as it did. Here's what Ellis said:

"I do not have good news.  The cam looks like it has been starved for oil.  Upon further investigation we found at least one spun cam bearing maybe two.  I have included a few pictures of the damage we found on number four cam bearing which from what I can tell is the low oil problem.  The other bearings are hurt also.  It looks like number five may have spun also and that would ruin the block for sure.

I talked to my Machinist and the oil pick-up problem is the most likely cause for this to happen.  I actually found a post on the web today that lead me to pull the cam first and check this.  Glad I did as we found what we were looking for."

In the first Picture you can see the cam bearing is spun up against the lifter and the lifter is chewing up the bearing

In the second you can see how the cam bearing has spun far enough back to uncover the main oil feed dumping all you oil pressure

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Well it's official.... It's a Mechanical issue

Ellis Groo @ Speed Secrets picked up my car last Friday (and used quite a nice trailer for it!) to start investigating my Engine Problems.

Obviously started at step one was to see what the different gauge readings are:

According to a scan tool, once warmed up we saw:
6 PSI @ Idle
35 PSI when revving (don' t know the exact RPM's but doesn't really matter)

Once he was able to get a mechanical gauge hooked-up we saw:
6-8 PSI @ Idle
40 PSI when revving

That means officially it's no longer just a glitchy wiring harness or something, but something is seriously wrong inside my engine. Ellis will be pulling the pan and front cover here soon (and cut open the oil filter, but I doubt anything is in there since the dealership changed that the first time it happened). I'm keeping my fingers crossed for something 'easy & stupid' like a stuck-open relief valve in the pan or so...

All in All pretty depressing news so far :(

Thursday, June 24, 2010

June Update - STILL the same issues

Well what can I say... Besides the fact that I have spent more time without my car this year than with it...

I went to pick up the car last weekend from Norpac - they were working on the Oil Pressure Issue, crank sensor codes, A/C Pulley fix and a leaking coilover. The Oil Pressure issue went away (by itself?) and the guys thought it was fixed. So I told them to try a dyno run... They figured they'd take it easy and not go over 4500 rpms, but during or right after the Check Engine Light came back on and when looking at the car Justin also noticed a leaking rear Pedders Coil-Over.

The funky results from a partial dyno-run

The CEL was not only the P0521 but also two crank sensor codes. They replaced the cranksensor since it was showing bogus readings even out of the car and that took care of the crank issues. Coil-Over was an straight up swap so no issues there. That leaves the P0521 / Oil Pressure issue...

Upon starting it definitely sounded rougher (valvetrain noise) in the engine bay than I remembered - then again, so did the exhaust! Holy crap ,My car is LOUD! Right then and there I made the decision I need to go back to the stock Axle-Backs for good! The Atari gauges showed 2 lines at idle - Low, but at least there was something showing up. Justin mentioned though that manually they measured 10-15 psi at idle.. ugh that's way too low... As I take off I noticed my A/C doesn't want to come on. Great, I think -  now what else is busted!? Luckily that only turned out to be my radio faceplate being loose and thus the buttons not registering (Broke the clips a long time ago and haven't replaced them all yet).

However, literally not even 2 miles in to the 70 mile drive home what do you know.. *DING* Check engine light comes back on and the oil pressure disappears again. I call the shop right back and talk to Justin - Basically we agree that now we'll really have to rip open the engine to see what's going on since they couldn't find anything electrically. With their busy schedule that would at least be another 3 weeks or so...

I had meanwhile heard good things about Ellis Groo @ Speed Secrets in Monroe, Washington. That's a decent drive away from me (similar to Norpac's but opposite direction), but Ellis had already told me that he could look at it if needed. Knowing he has quiet a bit of experience with LS-based engines I figured he'd be the guy for the job. Justin @ Norpac agreed that taking the car to him probably would be the best approach since he has more expertise and he could probably get to it sooner. We figured I should be 'ok' to drive home where Ellis could then come tow me. I just kept the RPMs up (2k+) so I would get a solid 4 lines on my atari gauges (so that's at least 30+ psi). Naturally, I'm sweating bullets the entire way home as I'm listening to every little sound my engine makes.

Once I got home I hooked up my Vector Cable and ran their scan tool to at least get the Error Codes out and this time they were:
  • P0521 = Engine oil pressure sensor/switch range/performance
  • P0522 = Engine oil pressure sensor/switch low
  • P0575 = cruise control input circuit.
Supposedly the Cruise Control uses the Accelerator Pedal Position (Sensor) which relies on the same Ref Voltage A and Ground as the Crank Sensor & Oil Pressure Sensors. So possibly I have a mechanical AND electrical issue going on..

Now it's just a waiting game until Ellis comes to tow my car and figures out what the heck is wrong with it....

Crazy Paul has been a HUGE help throughout this ordeal. He's been an invaluable source of information and knowledge. Sending Schematics, Trying to make sense of the symptoms we were seeing etc etc. He even sent over a fabricated 'T' piece that would fit in the Engine Oil Pressure (EOP) Location so that you could have the stock sensor in there, but have a tap for a manual gauge to help in testing.

Crazy Paul's EOP 'T'

For anyone looking to hook-up a manual gauge in combination with the stock sensor I highly recommend talking to Paul to get your hands on this high-quality piece!

Lastly - I had someone look at merging a GTS and G8 Bumper together, but today I got word that no matter what they use for 'rod' material when trying to plastic weld - even if they use the actual bumper material - it just won't stick together for some reason. So as of this moment the plastic-welded hybrid bumper is basically DOA. Now I've gotta figure out what I am going to do with all the extra parts I had to finish the bumper... Talk about a waste of $$$...

This has NOT been a good year so far for G8 #470..

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

P0521 - the Nightmare continues

Here's a recap of what's going on with my car:

Got a Stroker Built using VMS Cam Kit, Livernois Stroker Kit, & Melling Oil Pump. Took a few tunes to get where i'm at now. Had regular non-synth 5W30 from day 1, then after about 500-700 miles changed to 10W40. Atari's sat at 3 little blips at idle and at 5 blips (under the number '3') when driving all this time. Voltage usually for me sat around 10-11.

After 2 months(!) of flawless behavior driving with the car running just perfectly (minus I noticed the A/C not cooling) one day the Check Engine light comes on and my Atari's start showing '0' blips at idle and up to 3 or 4 when revving - The computer gives a P0521. Sensor Range error. I also notice voltage on the Atari's is now around 14?!?

  • Dealership checked wiring harness at Oil pressure sensor location and found no problems
  • Dealership replaced sensor, still the same problem.
  • Dealership put manual gauge on sensor hole and reads 'in spec' oil pressure. (numbers unknown)
  • Engine sounded just like before, and they had no other ideas so they sent me on my way so I drove it home, with at one time hearing a weird squealing noise (like a belt slipping).

Speed shop came to tow it just in case. They start testing things. Found a pulley/tensioner issue with A/C (probably what that squeal was) & recharged system.

Wiring harness looks OK. They read 18-25 psi at idle and up to 50 PSI revving , and SOMEHOW the atari's show normal again. CEL Went away. "ok Weird, but if it works it works" right?

They proceed to dyno after a few days. CEL comes back, Atari's read low again, computer now says 8-9 psi at idle (think < 10 psi is trigger for CEL?). Also now they lose the RPM Signal in the log and get some kind of crank sensor code.(P0335 and P0336)

They go over wiring & grounding again and say everything look good & tightly connected, and no visible pinching/melting etc etc.

Based on schematic, the Crank Sensor & Oil pressure sensor share 5V & Ground from the same source (ECM I'm assuming) so to me that looks like a possible clue..

I talked to a few people and opinions vary widely:

Kirk @ VMS Says: Probably Oil pump O-Ring ; But wouldn't it have been 'constant' - either from day 1, the time of picking up the car, or when 'whatever' happened to the engine (something broke?). I'm puzzled by the 2 months of perfect behaviour, then the problem which goes away by itself only to come back later in combination with another issue on top of it...

Andy @ livernois was saying "the pump blew up" or pickup depth wrong, or machined too loose, but all those sound like so catastrophic you'd either hear something, wouldn't drive around normally for 2 months, and you would NOT be getting normal oil pressure on a manual gauge..

Other suggestions have been: Oil Pump or Oil Pan pressure relief valve stuck open, Wiring harness damaged, ECM toast, etc, etc. At this point STILL nobody knows..

I'm having them retest the oil pressures manual & per computer back to back, and go over the harness with a magnifying glass to see what the heck is going on.. Next step to try is I guess getting a new ECM, and possibly dropping the pan anyway just to see if there's anything going on internally...

Friday, April 23, 2010

P0521 - Oil Pressure Sensor CEL

So I'm heading into work this morning and I heard a *ding* sound and the check engine light comes on. I don't really notice anything wrong with the car right away, but pay close attention to any weird noises etc. Everything seemed OK until I noticed my oil pressure is way low - The below picture was taking while cruising 60mph.

When actually coming to a stop and sitting at lights the oil pressure would be showing absolutely 0. Scary since I didn't want to screw up my engine! I called Charlie, and he asked if the engine sounded like it wasn't getting enough oil etc and it all sounded like it was running just fine. So pulled into an O'Reilly's (previously Shucks) and use their scan tool to check what the problem is. I pull the codes and they turn out to be a :
According to the person behind the counter this was most likely indeed just the sensor/switch  (and more specifically the range that it's reading out since when applying throttle the pressure goes up to about the '3' mark)  and that while I should get it checked out ASAP, it seemed OK to drive to the dealer still etc since the engine did not seem to be showing any signs of actually having low oil pressure.
 I have to go in for an oil change anyway so I guess I'll be calling around to see who has a sensor in stock!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

April Update

Well the weather has been warming up a little bit here so I finally took the time to wash the car again (and naturally it promptly rained the next day leaving me with these little pollen spots all over the car). So much for keeping the car clean! 

With the temperatures getting warmer it was time to have the A/C do a little more work and what do you know; It doesn't seem to cool. Either not nearly as much or not at all. I had the car baking in the sun (outside temp claimed to be 71) and no matter what setting I turned the A/C to all it was blowing back at me was the same warm moist air.. yuck! So it seems either one of the fittings of my A/C system isn't 100% clamped on, or since it was 'evacuated' at the time of my stroker install it may need a so called re-charge.  So now I'll have to either go back to Norpac or deal with a dealership (& accompanying lecture about aftermarket mods) to take a look at it. Guess it's never done!

As a Side Note; VegasNate, who is running a cammed + 2300 blown G8 GT, posted on the forum that his transmission "finally" kicked the bucket (and of course 'finally' is relative since it seems like he's barely had his car in the current configuration). It seems to show that around the 600hp mark you start asking for trouble with the transmission. It would seem if I want to keep this a daily driver and still put that Maggie on I may need to get mine rebuilt beforehand so I won't be grenading things. Supposed options are Fred Brown Transmissions ($3200), Rossler (~ $3k) and Circle-D has a rebuild option for $1350, but I'm not sure how much different this is from the other two.

Lastly - As posted before I've had the plan for a hybrid front bumper for... well basically as long as I've had the car (see old post here). As is common for me, I've been sitting on these bumper parts for over a year now before doing anything with them.  I had yet to find a place to do any plastic welding, and the one shop that seemed interested was over an hour away and naturally would want to see the parts in person first, which with my schedule was just a real pain in the neck to get there. I recently did another round of emails & phone calls to see if I could find any local places, and to my surprise I found one within a 5-mile radius that said they had some experience welding bumpers. I stopped by and dropped off both bumpers with some preliminary photo-shopped print outs. They're going to take their time (since I'm in no rush) to see what they can do. The 2 inch difference definitely makes it a little tricky to merge these two together so I hope they can figure something out!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy 2 year Anniversary to me!

Yes it's already been two years since I first picked up my G8. Sure doesn't feel like it has been that long, yet at this point this car is basically NOTHING like how it was in stock form.

Also it has taken this long for me to start seeing some more G8s on the road. Some of these people I know visit the forums etc, but I definitely spotted a Red, a Silver, a Stryker Blue, and a Panther Black in the last month that I could not place. Every time I see one I still think: "Damn that's a fine looking automobile!" only to realize I'm lucky enough to actually be driving one myself!

What's really amusing to me is that I remember when I first started this blog and I had my list of mods vs my 'mod wishlist'. The list of actual mods for the longest time was 0 and the wishlist was practically a laundry list of everything possible. Now looking at the right hand side of this blog it's the exact opposite. There's 3 items on my wishlist (Brakes,Bumper & Supercharger) while everything else is already on the car. That's not to say I may not one day put more or different parts on (compared to most people I'm fairly light on the suspension work like BMR or SPOHN parts), but do I see a need for it currently? Not really.... All in all I'm really content with my car at the moment and I can't wait to get those last big items on there - preferably before 2012 when the world ends and all that ;)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Raising the GTS

So it's been a couple of weeks since I got my car back with the 403ci stroker in it and it was getting to be time for an oil change. Also I still wanted to raise my car and do a dyno run to see what kind of power I'm making and check my A/F ratios etc because I suspect I'm running fairly rich.
So, off to Norpac it was.

Well hate to disappoint, but after how long everything took & my schedule we simply did not have any time to get it on the dyno. So yet again my HP/TQ numbers remain a mystery as do my A/F ratios.

Oil Change
Based on Kirk's ( @ VectorMotorsports) recommendation to help with break-in etc I decided to go with a 10w40 for this change. I had checked the oil coming out of it and it looked surprisingly clear & clean still, and the engine had barely eaten a drop of oil. The catch can was also emptied and there was maybe a couple of tablespoons of oil in there, if that. All in all it seems the engine is performing as expected and very well behaved!

Raising the Car

Yeah I said GTS in the subject of the blog since I'm rolling around with GTS Badges which now actually make sense. (GT Stroker ... see what I did there? ;) ) I know some people are probably wondering "why the **** would you raise your car back up?!?" (ok, maybe one of my 2 readers is haha). Don't get me wrong I LOVED the way my car sat lowered.. really looked amazing in my opinion.
Looking good!

However,  I had my XA Coilovers set pretty low, so much so that a lot of speedbumps/drives etc I was bottoming out and scraping the hell out of my cats. One even has a pretty nasty dent in it because of this!

That's NOT a pretty sight. It was just getting to be impractical to drive certain places with how low I had the car so that's why I decided to raise it again. We decided on anywhere from between a 1/2" to an inch would be needed. Just did the front first and then adjusted the rear. It turned out a little higher than expected in the back, but I was content with it and it gave the car a bit of a rake which I think looks pretty good on these cars. Also, now it was able to simply get on & off the alignment rack without the need for pieces of wood and other 'help' items which was nice for a change!

I'm pretty sure that's what the front looked like stock haha

Working on the rear

To be honest I was surprised to see any 'red' back there still  with how dirty my car gets (excuse the blur)

Back on the ground

It's quite a bit higher than before, but it looks good and at least I won't scrape anymore

The Front looking just about perfect

Looks like I got a bit of my 'rake' back now

Notice how my cats are sticking out - I still don't understand why this does not seem to be the case on other people's car with ARHs, but at least I have more clearance now.

For some reason my car is always filthy when I go to Norpac

Justin (from Norpac) after a hard days work



I'm still getting used to the 'new' look so we'll see if it sticks. It's at least comforting to know if I ever want to go lower again it's pretty simply to do so with the Pedders XAs!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Stroker Fuel Economy

Someone on the forum asked me recently about what kind of fuel economy I was getting after the stroker install. I hadn't paid much attention to it, but when I checked it turned out to be 14.4 mpg or there about. I normally on average was getting around 16-17 mpg so that looked pretty good to me. I had not yet however done the CASE(crank) relearn which some people claimed (online, so you know what that means haha) would actually help with the fuel economy. I reset my trip counters when I did the relearn and when I checked after a while I noticed it had actually dropped to 13.5 mpg! Now looking back this number did include a fair amount more of city driving vs more freeway with the higher number.

This morning I decided to reset the counters again and see what I was getting on just the freeway. I drove probably for about 15 minutes with speeds between 55 and 65, and no crazy business (WOT Throttle runs etc etc). Basically I was driving like I was a granny in a Honda or Toyota (minus the acceleration ;) ). Doing this my indicator read 22.6 MPG Average! That's not too shabby for a juicy 403/6.6L! Now came the interesting part - 6 minutes of stop & go with about 6 traffic lights (stopping at each one...) with a max speed of 35. The average now plummeted in this short amount of time from the 22.6 to a meager 18.6.

Conclusion: Highway driving this thing is a miser still, but putting around town in stop & go traffic can bring your average MPG down close to single digits REAL fast!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Blue & Black G8s

I hadn't had a chance yet to do a crank (CASE) relearn after all my work since the shop didn't have the right tool for it, and I did not have a Dashhawk. 'GrandMacPubah', one of the 'local' (over an hour away) forum members,  had one and was kind enough to drive all the way down to meet me and let me borrow his Dashhawk to complete this procedure. He has a Stryker Blue G8 GT which looks absolutely gorgeous! (See pictures below). We'll probably end up doing a muffler swap since he could use a little more sound ( I could barely even tell his car was running!) and I could use a little less!

It turns out the Crank Relearn is a fairly simple procedure taking only a few seconds that the device guides you through step by step - It was so simple in fact I felt the need to do it twice just in case I missed anything! - Basically you warm up the car with the engine running until the coolant gets to a certain temperature (158?), then parking brake on, foot on brake, rev the engine till somewhere in between 3k-5k rpms untill you hear it cut out and then you're done!

I can't say I have noticed much difference so far in doing that , MPG now says 15.something, but we'll see where it is a few weeks from now. Powerwise I don't notice any difference before and after either this crank relearn either. I still need to schedule some time to raise my car - Pubah's sits quite nicely! One thing I did notice that between mine and his, while we both got the ARH system - him in 1-3/4, me in 1-7/8 - my exhaust near the cats seems to stick out way more on the bottom of the car, which is where I'm always scraping. I wonder if the headers bent or so during shipping/install.

Also I need to get on the dyno sometime to see what kind of numbers we are making - pessimistingly i'm going to say i'll be lucky if I'm around 400... "Why?", you ask when people with CAI/Headers & Cam have hit the 450 mark?

Well... take the following into account - Optimistic people say I should be between 450-500 hp at the wheels. I'm however seeing the following 'issues' (and I'm just giving some random arbitrary percentages here that make sense to me with what I have seen):

  • -5% - Dished Pistons - lowered compression to 9.something : 1, so i'm doing the opposite of other people who are increasing their compression to get higher HP numbers
  • -5% - 'Mild' 228/228 Cam - I don't want lope and need daily drive-ability.
  • -5% - Crappy 92 octane gas with 10% ethanol - not much you can do about this stuff!
  • -5% - PNW Crap Factor! (In case you hadn't noticed - people with the same amount of mods make a good 5-10% less power in the Pacific Northwest Regions vs people elsewhere - Not sure if it's the crappy gas, the lack of available Shops & Tuners... who knows!).

So if I roughly take a -20% of 500 I end up with 400 hp at the wheels. If I get anything above that, it will be pleasant surprise!


Friday, March 5, 2010

Some Pictures & Short Video

With a little sunbreak yesterday I figured it was time to give my car a quick wash. I hadn't in months and instead of a nice deep dark black it had turned into a dirty, crusty, gray color. I went to one of those high-pressure DIY washing places since I'm paranoid about taking my car on any carwash that a) has brushes, or b) even if they are 'touchless' then the track would most likely damage my rims. There is one carwash I know of, where you drive yourself through (no tracks) but that wasn't a viable option since that was at least 30 minutes away. Luckily for me I had a sponge and some basic supplies in the trunk still so I was able to give it a good scrubbing - which it desperately needed! The dirt & grime was so caked on that just using the high-pressure wash did NOT get it off... that's pretty bad!

Afterwards I could definitely tell I was getting more looks and when I went to get some gas, a gentleman even approached because he wanted to check out the G8! Guess that means my car looks pretty good when it's clean! I snapped some pictures just for the heck of it, and tried to capture some video on my cellphone of how it sounds right now.


What engine modifications do you speak of Mr. Dealership? ;)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

403 Stroker with 228/228 115 LSA Cam

Since I've made several posts about the cam/stroker kit etc over time (over a year!) I figured i'd be handy to summarize things a little to give a clear picture of what I had done and by whom - At 26,232 Miles on the stock block I ended up with:

End Result
  • 403 Cubic Inch (that's around 6.6 Liter) Stroker (4.005" Bore x 4.00" Stroke) with -18 cc Dished Pistons
  • 228/228 115 LSA CamShaft
  • CNC Ported Heads with Valvejob
  • Ported Throttle Body & Intake Manifold
  • Sounds like a much louder version of stock - no real lope to speak of 
  • Power: Unknown at this point but seat of pants and losing traction in 4th gear @ 60mph says 'faster' ;)

  • Norpac Street Performance - Pulling engine, stripping down, shipping parts out, re-assembly
  • Vector Motorsports - Tune & DOD-Delete Cam package
  • Livernois Motorsports - CNC Valve Jobs & Porting of Heads, Stroker Kit
  • Bud's Machine Shop - Machine work, installing crank/rods/pistons - building small block
  • Fasterproms  - Ported Intake Manifold & Throttle Body

Vector Motorsports DOD-Delete Cam Package Containing:
  • 1x 12599296 - GM Valley Cover
  • 4x 12595365 - GM Lifter Tray
  • 1x 12557840 - GM Pulley Bolt
  • 1x 12586481 - GM Camshaft Sprocket 
  • 3x 12556127 - GM Camshaft Bolts
  • 1x 12626407 - GM Timing Chain Tensioner (NOT USED)
  • 16x PSI-LS 1511ML - PSI Valve Springs
  • 16x 17122490 - AC Delco Lifters - Part# HL124
  • 1x 134-3610 - ARP Bolt Head Kit
  • 16x 7795-16 - CompCams Pushrods
  • 1x CompCams CamShaft - 228/228 115 LSA
  • 2x GM Head Gaskets

With additions:
  • 1x 12579145 - LS2 PCV Outlet Plug
  • 1x 12588670 - LS2 Timing Chain Dampener (used instead of 12626407)
  • 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
  • 1x 12594779 - PCV Hose - (NOT USED - Installed Catch-Can Instead)

Further more I added:
  • 1x HME-G68V-2 - Timing Chain (C5-R) 
  • 1x MEL10295 - Oil Pump

The Actual Livernois Stroker Kit contained:
  • 8x -18cc Coated Diamond Pistons w/ rings & pins
  • 8x Callies Compstar Connecting Rods with ARP Bolts
  • 1x Callies Compstar 4.00" Stroke Crank
  • 8x (16 halves) Rod Bearings (I mistakenly thought these were Cam-Bearings at the time!)
  • 1x Main Bearings Kit

I also added
  • 1x DM Performance - LSX Girdle, which caused some issues
  • 10x 12556127 - Main cap side Bolts (Same as Cam Bolts)
In the end I was still missing:
  • Cam Bearings, Front & Rear Crank seals

Install Timeline:
  • Day 1 - Nothing happening here
  • Day 6 - Engine out and goes to Machine shop
  • Day 13 - Have baseline Tune, Machineshop has block totally bare
  • Day 22 - Little Parts confusion + Porting of Heads & TB/Manifold
  • Day 26- Few parts I forgot to get: Cam Bearings, Front & Rear Crank seals
  • Day 34 - Issue with the Girdle not fitting due to unique L76 oil pan
  • Day 37 - Machineshop is done - small writeup on them
  • Day 45 - Picking up the car! Definitely needs some fine-tuning still
  • Days after pickup - Tune issues and power-steering leak
  • Today - Seems to run great and no more leak!

No more leak & Good Tune!

Power Steering Leak
After I discovered my power-steering leak the other day I contacted several people about the possible problem and solutions. Crazy Paul was the one who came up with detailed schematics of the problem area and even pictures of what it would look taken apart etc and several things that could be the issue. I swear this guy is a wiz when it comes to technical data!

He mentioned the copper 'gaskets' they use with the banjo bolt could be the problem and that even worse it could be the rubber o-rings inside the pump if the banjo bolt had been tightented too tight. I talked to Justin @ Norpac and he told me they only took out the Banjo Bolt and not the Part underneath (The High Pressure outlet). With his information I decided to take the plunge and take out the bolt, and clean up the copper and put it back in. Paul mentioned that if I was lucky this 'could' possibly fix it.

Armed with a torque wrench and a 19mm socket (seems an odd size, but it fit) I took it out and gave it a bit of a cleaning and then put it back in. I then torqued it to the spec he gave me of 43 ft/lbs.. A quick left/right test showed no signs of leakage! After this mornings drive into work when I popped the hood I didn't see any leaking either - so i'm hoping it's fixed! Thanks to everyone who has helped me with this and gave any info they had! (CP, Justin@Norpac, Greg@Pace, Charlie & 'Wickedmom')

As I mentioned before - Kirk had sent me a new tune to battle the hot-start and dying when slowing down issues. I hadn't really had the chance to drive around yet so this morning was the big test for this as well. The engine started right up with any issues, and ran fairly smooth ( As smooth as to be expected from a 403 ci stroker!) As I took off I kept a close eye on my rpms etc and from what I could tell it all was good! No weird low rpm dips as I had gotten previously so I was happy!

After getting to work I turned off the ignition and decided to start it up again to see how it would like that. It fired right up without any hesitation so that was good too! Meanwhile on the drive I had decided to open it up a little bit.. I was in 4th gear and just had taken an long offramp so I gunned it to about 5.5K rpm from a roll at 60mph. Within what seemed like a blink of an eye something attraced my attention to the dash which was showing weird lights... No, not a check engine light, but the 'overspeed' (which I have set at 80mph) had come on in combination with the ESC Traction Control... Traction problems in 4th going over 60mph..... now that's the good stuff! :D

If there was ANY doubt regarding Kirk @ Vector Motorsports being able to remotely tune your car , this has proven to me that he can totally deal with these types of scenarios since this project was way more involved than just a CAI and some headers. It also shows the value of having the cables/software to log your car as it's running since this way he can see what's going on, almost as if he was in the car with you. Yes I don't have any dyno numbers yet, and i'm sure 'in person' a good tuner could get some more HP/TQ out of it, but for doing this remotely Kirk has managed to get my car driving just great, and if you can't find a good tuner in your neighborhood (then you must live near me! ;) ) then talk to Kirk!

So now what? Well since I'm getting more and more into 'stealth' and really don't want a loud rumbling car (as cool as it is), it seems like I will be switching back to the stock mufflers - 'GrandMacPubah' on the forum is kind enough to come down with his dashhawk to do a crank relearn (still haven't done that!) and since he wouldn't mind upgrading to something a little louder we will probably do a swap!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Stroker - small issues

Two nights ago the car died on me twice (so no power steering/brakes etc! scary!) while slowing down in traffic and I still had the check engine light. Charlie figured the first was due to the tune needing more adjustment and the check engine light  must've been a loose connector of the rear driver-side O2 sensor or maybe the wires were touching the exhaust. I emailed Kirk @ Vector about this, and yesterday morning I woke up with a new tune in my email. I loaded it up and drove to work.

Car sounded a lot better, less shaking, overall much smoother power delivery etc. The Check engine light was now off too! So that's great. However, second red light the car died on me again... I drove to work without further incidents (including several lights), so it seems the car runs better when it's warmed up. I decided i'd do some idle logging and emailed Kirk the results. The log looked pretty good he said , but he made some small changes to help with it dying on me and he emailed me a new tune within an hour.

I sent him another log file after loading that tune just in case but was hoping this would be the final tune... but what do you know: This morning the car died in basically the exact same spot while driving to work! Also when the car is warmed up it actually takes a bit of throttle to get it started up, otherwise it sounds like a chain-smoker hacking up a lung!  Also there's some kind of pulsating buffering / surging going on under 5mph when coming to a stop.. Hopefully Kirk can fix these issues soon (I'm sure he's tired of me pestering him!) and he just sent me another tune after I emailed him a little earlier today. Kudos to him for the quick turn-around!

Today at lunchtime I noticed a red puddle of fluid under where I parked.. GREAT i think.. after talking to Charlie it was clear it was either transmission or power steering fluid. F-in Great...Just my luck - what else can go wrong?!?

I was hoping it wasn't the transmission, and an initial check did show my power steering on the low side, but without being able to do anything about I parked in a 'clean' spot to see where the leak was.

I then went back out a few hours later to see if it was dripping again and here's what I found -a nice puddle right behind the front drivers side wheel, which upon closer inspection actually had definite signs of 'splashing' on it.

I then decided to take a better look under the hood and notice there's quite a bit of spray going on in the engine compartment. You can see it on the header, and the black subframe.

Upon closer investigation I follow the lines from the reservoir, which seem ok, to the actual pump where i find a decent amount of fluid collected on top right where there seems to be a bolt with a high-pressure line. Perhaps this is not as tight as it should be and i'll try to tighten this one ASAP!

Also noticed the red fluid in the crimp connector where the rubber hose goes into the metal line which could be another problem area, or it could simply be funneling the fluid there, who knows at this point..

As soon as I get home i'll see if I can clean it up a bit and tighten that bolt and hope that fixes it. Otherwise i'm sure some shop locally will charge an arm and a leg for something that'll turn out to be really simple!