Friday, August 19, 2011

How to tell you're getting old..

I recently had the 'pleasure' (not really) to drive around a few times in a certain Scandinavian Sedan (not Volvo - I LOVE Volvo's!)  This particular car was a  2011 'Turbo' Version of a '95'  and I was told it had 'a lot of pull' etc. It obviously felt much better/zippier than say a Civic, but looking at the specs we're looking at 0-60 in 8.2 seconds, 220 Horsepower and all for a 'measely' $38k... are you kidding me?? Consider me severely disappointed!Flooring it - yeah it pulls a little, but boy not even a serious contender for the G8 and the G8 was even cheaper when new! It did however remind of a few things that have been on my mind about my G8 regarding how it drives & sounds..

It also made me realize I must be getting old!

Gripe #1) My car is too loud

The other Sedan was WHISPER quiet inside & out.. and I LIKED it...
Can you say Old fuddy-duddy? But it's true! Even with my stock Mufflers, and the extra 12468 Mid-Muffler, here I am complaining my car is too loud.. Not from the exhaust mind you - you can barely hear it's even running at idle from the rear - but from the front! While the engine sounds a LOT smoother since I had Ellis install the new trunions I still sometimes cringe at how it sounds on the outside especially at idle/startup. Driving it, really is not bad at all - obviously it's not as quiet as a run of the mill European or Asian Sedan, and it never will be with the stroker under the hood,  but sometimes you just want to have it quiet! I'm seriously tempted to see if someone still has their manifold cover and put one back on (I threw mine out a few years ago) to see if that quiets down the engine noise a little bit (the whole reason why GM supposedly installed that piece).  Another option I've even started to consider is to get a smaller cam with less lift etc to quiet down the engine noises.. but then giving up power... not a big fan of that.. Of course it's all relative since I'm pretty sure for having a modded car (with a STROKER even) etc mine is one of the quietest ones, so maybe I should just suck it up and turn up the Stereo, because how often are you outside of your car when it's running anyway? ;)

Gripe #2) My car rides too stiff
 Again the other Sedan felt like it was gliding on air over the road.. parts where normally I'd be driving carefully watching for potholes, & other uneven sections it just went over with barely even noticing they were there.. Man it's nice to not always have to examine the road with a magnifying glass as you're driving!

Getting back into my car I felt everything (where sometimes it feels like you've hit a brick wall with your car.. THAT type of bump) and I had started to feel driving was actually getting laborious since I had watch for anything & everywhere (ok big bump in left lane in 50 yards so get in right lane, stay more left by this sign, stay more right by this exit etc etc) and I suddenly had enough..

I talked to Crazy Paul to see if it would be viable to install the Magnetic Ride Control from Holden in our cars. That unfortunately wasn't an option..

Now if you recall I'm actually running Pedders XA Coil-Overs and of course one thing about them is you can set how stiff they are. When I first got them I was running high 20's (INSANE), then high teens, then something like 12.. and then I thought I had them put softer still.. Apparently I hadn't...

So what does this old geezer do? That's right.. Bump those suckers down to ... "ONE" - you read that right.. "1" , One, Uno, Eins.. Whatever you wanna call it.. and WOW.. whilst not as soft as previously mentioned Sedan it is SO... MUCH.... MORE.... COMFORTABLE... Yeah you're not going to corner as fast on the 'twisties' blablabla, but for my daily commute that's the way to go! My rear-suspension is still set to something like 10 because I haven't had time to crawl under the car yet, but I'm actually sort of liking this combination. It is actually nice & relaxing driving to & from work now!

I have been thinking though that It would be awesome to install something like Electronic Damping Control in the car so you can just change it as you're driving!

Gripe #3) I still Bottom Out in some places
Now usually these are really 'f-ed' up driveways that already to me look like they would be an issue for a civic or any 'low' car. and though I love the look of my 'lowered' car, I'm ALMOST tempted to perhaps add at least an Inch to the back to get it off the ground a little more. Of course if the engine were a little quieter I could take out the mid muffler which is the new 'rubbing point' and all would be well too..

Decisions Decisions...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Trunions Upgrade Kit Installed

So I finally had some time on my hands to get my Trunion Upgrade Kit from Brian @ Reckart Performance Tuning installed. I decided to make the drive up to Ellis Groo over at Speed Secrets who had rebuilt my stroker since he had tuned it and it also needed a little tweak to the tune.

The trip going the 'long' way turned out to be about 70 miles. I had reset my trip meter when starting and I was pleasantly surprised to see that my total was 21.2 mpg including a bunch of stop & go traffic on the freeway! Not too shabby :)

403 Stroker getting 21.2 mpg? NICE!
I had never been to Ellis's Shop before but seeing how it's a bit of a drive I definitely got a renewed appreciation for him coming to pick up my car & delivering it back to me when he was doing my stroker rebuild! Not a drive I'd like to make frequently because the roads are horrible and let's be honest here.. Seattle Traffic SUCKS Big Time! Next time I think I'll try the east-side approach through Bellevue instead.

The shop had 6 bays and 1 lift, and every spot was full! Good to see business has been steady for Ellis - he definitely knows what he's doing and deserves the business.

The official "Speed Secrets" Shop
Ellis is a busy guy!

We decided to simply pull the nose of the car in enough to work out of the on & off drizzle that was happening at the time. Obviously the engine was hot from the drive so Ellis put a fan on the manifold for a bit to get things in the workable temperature region. Once the actual work began it was as Brian @ RPT had mentioned a fairly simple job (but one I'd still prefer the professionals to do for me ) and didn't take very long.

Coils & Valve Covers Removed

Stock Rockers Removed

New Stock Rockers w/ Trunion Upgrade Installed

After the install Ellis took it for a test drive to make sure everything was running as it should. Then it was on to the tune. Since Day 1 I had an issue where if you tipped in the throttle just a tiny bit, much as someone unfamiliar with the car would do, the RPMs would drop to around 700 or less and sometimes it would stall all together. This was painfully evident at my last oil-change where the tech could NOT get the car going because he kept stalling it and I had to drive it up the rack for him (& off too because he didn't wanna touch it anymore). I had learned to just wait for the car to start rolling before applying the throttle and then to push through that first 2-5% throttle travel so it was second nature for me.

However, I wanted it fixed. That way if I ever had to drop the car off at the dealership, or the wife needs to drive the car, there are no unfortunately accidents with the car stalling when it's supposed to get going. Ellis probably spent more time on the tune than the rocker install as we kept stopping & going through the area while he monitored data on his laptop. He did indeed find that for some reason the throttle was actually closing in that scenario causing the issues. After a few revisions & relearns the car seemed to respond MUCH better and I was totally happy with the tune.

After a quick oil-change (& switching to synthetic) I was ready to head back out by lunch time. The drive back was a total joy and the car practically felt like new again. The engine was DEFINITELY much quieter than before and especially when warmed up, which is what I was hoping for. No matter what speed the car just purred along so I am definitely VERY pleased with this upgrade and would highly recommend it to anyone!

Also if your LS based car needs ANY work and it is at all possible to drive to Snohomish, GO SEE ELLIS!

Speed Secrets (owned & operated by Ellis Groo)
Phone: (425) 922-8944
Address: 1422 Ridge Ave,
Snohomish, WA 98290

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Trunion Upgrade Kit

There have been some posts in the last months on the GRRRR8 Forum about upgrading Trunions in our engines since Comp-Cams released a trunion upgrade kit (part# 13702-KIT ) which replaces the standard needlebearings with some nice upgraded ones. Per Comp Cams's description:
"... rocker arm retro-fit trunion kit that replaces the cageless, loose OEM needle bearings and powdered metal trunion with a premium 8620 steel alloy trunion and caged roller bearings for added durability. The new design from COMP Cams® utilizes caged roller bearings that greatly reduce the possibility of the bearing failure experienced with stock LS1 needle bearings, which can send loose needles throughout the engine upon failure."

While a lot of people would say this may not be a common failure (or at least not until you start getting into serious HP) a lot of people are doing the upgrade just for peace-of-mind. Also the people who have done the upgrade say it also quiets down the valve-train noise a decent amount. This instantly got me curious since I'd still like to quiet my engine down some more (exhaust is SUPER quiet ever since the mid-muffler install, now it's just the engine noises that are loud ).

I contacted Brian of Reckart Performance Tuning who seemed to be the go-to guy for this upgrade. What's really nice is that he doesn't just sell you the bare kit like most other vendors - he also offers to install the kit in either new or core-exchange rockers, so that you don't have to have any downtime (or you can even send your rockers in and he'll install the trunion upgrade for you and ship them back ASAP).

I recently received the rockers and I must say they look & feel super solid yet rotate very smoothly. I've heard people compare the stock rockers to feel/sounding like loose marbles in your hand when you shake them, but these things are solid!Now I just need to have them installed so I can give a full comparion to the 'before' vs 'after' sound.

So if you're interested in this upgrade, contact Brian over at Reckart Performance Tuning or find him on the GRRRR8 Forum as 'Brian@RPT'

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Fuel Mileage

It's been a bit of a boring few weeks - no new developments, no new mods - just commuting to work and that's it. A while ago I found myself getting gas at a different location (& different brand) than I normally do; I usually fill up with 76 Premium (which is only 92 Octane here + of course the lovely 10% ethanol...) at various gas stations, but instead I filled it up with Chevron 92 Premium. Driving around for a week or so on that gas I checked my avg fuel mileage and I'm seeing 13 mpg instead of my usual 11-12.. now that's not much to write home about, but I still found it interesting.

Then I've recently found there is 1 particular '76' location where with the gas from that station I swear my car runs/idles smoother and I saw even a 13.5 mpg average - I've repeated this experiment 3 times now and between the two different 76 stations I frequently visit, this one consistently gives me a smoother running engine (at least that's what It sounds like to me) & better mileage. Obviously this measuring is not a fully scientific method and there willl be tons of people saying : Premium 92 at one place is the same as Another or All brands are the same etc etc, but I tend to drive similar/the same enough on my commute and based on how I hear the engine run and the dash-display I have to believe there's something to this. So it looks like I've found a new place to get gas ;)

Also just for fun - one day I happened to get gas and did only in-town driving. Lots of errand-y stuff and it totaled out to be about 13 miles all together. The gas-mileage for that little jaunt was a whopping 5.3MPG!
No wonder that while I can hit 22-25mpg on the freeway, as soon as I get into town it just starts to plummet down towards the low teens!

So today's word of advice: If you're concerned about fuel-economy... don't build a stroker ;)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Transmission Linkage Redux

So Before Christmas last year (hey does that mean I've already had my car back for over 6 months since the rebuild?? woohoo!) I had the - from what I gather rather common - Transmission Linkage come out. I had manually pushed it back in, but didn't have any E-clips at the time so it was just a ticking timebomb for it to happen again. Meanwhile I had been driving very carefully, never even popped it in Sports/Manual mode! , since I wasn't too comfortable with how it was put back together by yours truly.

Few nights ago ( so after about 4 and a half months) I notice the 'looseness' again in the shifter where N doesn't really line up with the real neutral, R is past 'R' etc.. it just feels wobbly so I already know it's on it's way out.  Jack up the car and what do I see? ( well what does my cell phone see, because my jack only goes up so high and it's really hard to fit my 'rotund' torso under the car ;) )

Excuse the shaky camera work - hard to figure out what you're recording when you can't see the screen... But as you can clearly see the linkage was out yet again & barely hanging on..

Of course this time I was prepared with my 1/2" inch E-Clips. Was a PITA to get one on so I actually used a little squirt of wd40 to get it on there. I did have to cut the longer legs of the white plastic clip that was on there and I accidentally ended up snapping off one of them.. at this point I was getting aggravated and instead of trying to trim them to length with a knife under the car I just snapped all 4 of the longer legs off and called it a day - it slid right through the shifter hook-up and once the E-Clip snapped into place it seemed like a pretty solid fix. I probably should've tried to snap it on from the top or spun it around (anal - i know lol) but at this point I was tired and figured good enough for now ;)

Maybe I'll actually get to enjoy some sports-mode or manual shifting this weekend without fear of getting stranded! ;)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

3 Year Anniversary

Well it's hard to believe by today it's been 3 years exactly since I picked up my Pontiac G8 GT #470 out the First 888 series. Is it me, or as you get older do the years really fly by FAST? It's been quite the journey, especially the disastrous last year but I'm optimistic that's all behind me.

What's also sad is that looking back many familiar faces in the community who had been involved moving on to other vehicles etc. Luckily a lot of them, if they move to a Camaro or new Ford Mustang tend to stick around over on, but with others you just can't help but wonder where they disappeared to - for instance, where did the infamous 'Penguin' go? Also then there's the inevitable wrecks.. Dwindling numbers on a car that's no longer being made is pretty depressing - especially from a mod-market perspective.

Anyway - My , what i'll call 'lifter tick', issue seems to have corrected itself after Charlie suggested I'd at least get an oil change with some quality oil instead of whatever the muffler shop who installed my Magnaflow 12468 decided to throw in.I did and it's been a few weeks now and it sounds much better.

Here's some videos of a cold start :

And after a 30 minute drive:

 As you can tell the TAP TAP TAP TAP is gone and now it sounds much more like it should (best way to describe is it sounds like a 'Rolling R' sound).

As far as what this year will bring - not much I'm afraid - the mod money is basically dried up so I have to pace myself. I still have a wishlist of several things like getting a Bear Brake Kit and some kind of supercharger. I've been going back & forth between  Maggie or the EdelBrock E-Force/Harrop Stealth-Force for it's OEM Look. I sorta discounted the Pro-Charger setups because of the AirIntake location eventhough for my needs (daily commuter car) it's behavior actually would probably be a better fit. Then WreckWriter on GRRRR8 posted this little nugget and all of a sudden I'm back at square one, because IMHO this, with maybe the cog-drive upgrade, would look BADASS on a G8!

But I've got plenty of time to make up my mind at this pace ;)

Friday, March 11, 2011

30,000 miles

Well today I'll be hitting 30,000 Miles - of course this doesn't mean much since barely anything bar the block itself is stock (so I've probably only got around a 1000 miles on this current setup). I've had my car back now for about 4 months and I recently made it a little more quiet with the extra mid-muffler. I'm not sure if this is the cause for me paying more attention to the noises coming from the engine, but a LOT of people have been writing about bad lifters recently so any sound instantly becomes suspicious. I decided to record a few clips of my car on my phone (not the best quality) so you can hear how quiet it is in car, but how loud the engine is (then again it IS a 403 Stroker with a pretty chunky cam) and a noise which has been bothering me.

Here's a video of it when first started in the morning - there's is a distinct knocking/tapping sound (which I guesstimate to be 4 times a second )I am concerned about but it usually goes away (or at least seems to lessen) when warmed up.It also seems to be slightly louder on the drivers side. Perhaps (hopefully) it's just the valvetrain echoing in the headers.

Next up is one driving down the street after getting in - you can tell vaguely that same sound is present (hard to tell in the video) but overall you can tell how quiet it is inside the car. (yeah I know it's rotated 90 degrees - sorry about that ;) ) I accelerate slowly near the end (last 5-10 seconds) and you can hear the tapping turning into more of a gurgling noise. You can see also that my oil pressure is doing quite well at 4-5+ lines at practically idle

Lastly a video of what the car sounds like after a 20 minute drive - you can tell it has smoothed out a bit, but still sounds pretty 'unpolished'; again I know i'm running quite a setup here and I'm just paranoid about any noises.Oil pressure at idle sits at 4 lines on the display so that's nice & strong.

Anyway so far i'm still really happy with my car and just hope that these noises are 'normal' for my setup and that I don't have a case of lifter eating cam-shaft like others have had..

Update 3/14: Here's another sample that shows the sound at cold start on the inside... sounds like a sewing machine/machine gun

Friday, February 18, 2011

Clearance Measurements

I was talking to a fellow member about the mid-muffler and the discussion ended up around how much the muffler actually 'sticks out' and how much clearance I have. It's been going on almost 2 weeks now since my mid-muffler install and keeping away from known trouble areas (e.g. part of my driveway with a tree root under it ) i haven't had any major scrapes (just one teensy tiny one). So it was time to crawl under the car and see exactly what's going.

At first I did the super-duper-scientific method: I stood a small piece of wood up under the car and marked the level of the lowest point on my cats (my previous lowest point). Then I moved the block to the mid muffler and did the same. Looking at the marks they were within basically a few millimeters of each other right around 3". So officially I have 3 inches of clearance. Of course that is with how much my car is lowered which is who knows exactly how much...  The discussion then circled back to 'but how much does the muffler stick out' etc because every one's car is different as far as how much it's lowered. And really stuff like "651 mm" as described by Pedders (measured to the bottom of the rim) never made any sense to me since i'm running 20's.I know there's probably an easy conversion i'm missing (add/minus 1 inch probably?) but I figured I'd measure on the body instead.

Some quick measurements came up with the following points
Front Driver Side wheel - Straight up through center from Ground to Fender : 27"
Rear Driver Side Wheel - Straight up through center from Ground to Fender : 27"
Front Door Line - Eyeballing while standing from the edge to the ground: 6"
Between Front/Rear Door Line - Again eyeballing while standing; 7.5"
In front of rear Wheel well - again eyeballing; 9"

Now the Line I was following was the 'upper' line (if you paid attention while washing your car you know it slants up while it curves under. I've made the following photoshop to make this a little clearer:

So that at least gives a baseline for how much my car is lowered etc. which if someone else were to measure their car would give a possible indicator how the muffler would sit. (e.g. say that mid part is 9" instead of 7.5 it'd be safe to assume they'd get at least 4.5" of clearance depending on fitment etc.)

For the final measurement I went back under the car and measured from where the cross-member used to sit to the ground. The actual Measuring Tape is about 2.5" tall when it sits up like in this image:

 So the total clearance from the ground to the crossmember is about 5" inches (the angle of the camera makes it look a little larger, but when measured from the side it was 5 inches).If we take that with the 3" of actual clearance that we found earlier it would mean that my muffler sticks out 2" past the body line where the cross-member used to sit. Seems a lot - but so far I am quite happy I installed this because the car sounds a LOT more refined and not having had any scraping issues really so far makes for 1 happy camper!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

GTS = GT Stealth?

In the past I've made the (cheezy) pun of my GTS Badges meaning "GT Stroker".. After my most recent mod I guess now I can call it "GT Stealth" or perhaps I should get some of the Holden 'SS' badges for a GT SS / 'Stealth Stroker'. What is it you ask? It's the - at this point - infamous Patrick G Drone Killer Mod, aka the Magnaflow 12468 Muffler in the tunnel brace as discussed over here on

Back in September Patrick G had posted that people with long tube headers could install a magnaflow 12468 right in the location where the tunnel brace is to really get rid of some of the drone some people had. With my stroker build I had already switched back to Stock mufflers since the sound was basically unbearable... I guess i'm starting to get a few gray hairs here and there because loud just doesn't do anything for me.. Smooth & Quiet is the way to go  ( & it keeps the family happy!). However , even with the stock mufflers I had a metallic sound I was never happy about, and a NASTY ass rattle.

The rattle was because my exhaust was laying on the tunnel brace. Several shops that looked at it in the past could NOT do anything about this which was a little frustrating. I still think my ARH must've gotten tweaked in shipment or something since I notice other peoples systems don't seem to sit as low as mine, hence my dented cats etc and why I keep raising my car to avoid scraping issues! Pretty frustrating and I guess point of continual pain....

I've had the muffler since December 2010 and one day last week after work I swung by the local Bucky's  - yeah I know right.. Not a super 'speed shop', but I know some of the guys there and they're always very nice! Thanks again Marvin & Randy! - and they were able to get me in after I showed them some of the pictures and how it would be an easy install. At first I was thinking to keep the original pipes so I could swap back to non-muffler, but with Dyno runs by Patrick G showing there's no loss except in the 'nasty sound' department I figured what the hell and just had them stick it in. Took them about an hour roughly so it was a fairly straight forward job!

The Magnaflow 12468 Fits snuggly in the tunnel.

Bolting things up
 The drive home - wow, what a difference.. my car I swear sounded almost stock on the inside - no drone, no rattling, just humming along! From the outside it still rumbles but very refinedly so. I figured i'd give it a quick wash since I hadn't in ages. As I start hosing it down the guy over at the vacuums comes over and says "Hey is that a G8?" and starts a conversation about it. Doesn't happen often (read: at all) to me so I was pleasantly surprised!
After a quick wash - my car was FILTHY!

In the end I am REALLY happy with how it sounds right now. It still has a rumble etc, but the raspyness is gone and it seems to have a little more bass to it - in one word (ok two...) "Classy Muscle"... My only concern right now is STILL the clearance on the bottom.. I put a block under the car and put marks on it to measure how far my cats and this new muffler now sit from the ground. As you can tell from the picture it sticks out quite a bit and it turns out from either the cats or muffler I basically only have 3 measly inches for clearance...

Yeah that sticks out by quite a bit.. 1" i'd guess?
I don't know about you guys, but I'm already hearing the scraping sounds in my head unless I raise it a whole inch or so.. (which would put me back at what... stock height???... Oh well.. guess I'm getting too old for some of this stuff and when picking between lowered or stealth sound I'm going to have to give the win to stealth sound. (i've had my car practically slammed when I first got my Pedders... while it looks AWESOME , driveability & road conditions around where I live & work just make it impossible..).

In review here's a quick history of my exhaust:

Stock = Is this thing even on??
Stock + H-Pipe = Hey if I stick my head in my muffler I hear a nice rumble
Stock + H-Pipe + Axle-Backs = Nice rumble
ARH + Axle-Backs = even more rumbly (but always a little metallic)
ARH + Axle-Backs + Stroker Setup 1 = Holy crap - LOUD!
ARH + Axle-Backs + Stroker Setup 2 = Animals fleeing, Small Children crying
ARH + Stock Mufflers + Stroker Setup 2 = NOT Bad,  LOUD on startup, but very passable when warmed up - though a bit metallic still
ARH + Stock Mufflers + Stroker Setup 2 + 12468 Muffler = VERY Clean  & Deep - just about perfect!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Year Reflections

Happy New Year Everyone!

2010 was not a very pleasant year on the car front since I spent more time without my car than with.
But I've had it back now for over going on 2 months, it's been great to have it back so here's to 2011 being a much better year!

To kick off with a little rant of sorts: Someone pointed me towards a thread on 'that other site' from a few months ago where people were actually commenting on my build - wow I guess some people actually do read my blog ;-) While for the most part i've received supportive statements from people in regards to what happened, some of the comments ( well one in particular) I took issue with.

To summarize my build; I never felt comfortable putting blowers/cams etc in the engine without beefing up the internals. If I ever was going to make serious HP I'd make sure that everything in the engine was upgraded & top notch first. That way I could easily do things in stages. Get the engine bullet-proof first built by professionals who know what they're doing, then probably upgrade the transmission/rear diff/axles etc before finally slapping on a blower.  My whole approach - which IS backwards from most people - was: Build it right and Build it only once. Most people just go for the high-hp mods like slapping on maggies or 200 shots on stock internals and then just fix things like transmissions etc as they would break along the way. To me they were just asking for trouble. I wanted to get all the 'supporting' mods to hold any extra power in place first before adding the actual power.

Fast-Forward to the Moment of Irony: Many of those cars are still totally fine (just check out VegasNates!), while my 'never break' build died within 2 months basically because of some idiot at the machine shop installing a wrong size 10 cent piece of rubber... (Oil pump comes with 2 O-Rings and you need to pick one or the other depending on your particular application. Machine shop picked wrong..BOOM...)

That Said, Let's look at some of the comments I read that require some clarification:

"Well at least others can learn from his mistakes. ALWAYS change the O rings! lol"
As you can read above they WERE changed, by the machine shop who one would think knows what they are doing, to the WRONG kind. If I had personally installed the wrong thing , then yeah shame on me. "My Mistake" was thinking a machineshop that's been in business for decades knows what end is up.

"When I read "I'm not the richest man...", I knew he was ****ed. If money is in any way an issue, these types of things should not be attempted. Only go big if you can afford for everything to go up in a ball of fire."
Yeah You know I sorta agree with this guy - hence why I took me so long to finally do this build because I wanted to make sure everything was just right, I wouldn't have any issues etc. had some reserves in case it did etc. With any build there's always a chance of 'failure' but with all my meticulus prepwork & research I thought I had all bases covered. Though I don't feel I 'went Big' since my failure was not because of LOTS of HP/TQ etc (if anything i'm probably BELOW a lot of folks who go cam-only since I LOWERED my compression quite a bit), but simply an installer failure for what I considered a common stroker build. Again the one factor out of my control - the skill level of an individual at a shop - proved to be the down fall here.

Now the icing was this post:

"I REALLY hopes he likes that car when it comes back (hopefully done correctly) because he is gonna take a bath on that thing if he tries to just unload it.

This is a perfect case of a good car subjected to a not-so-informed & overzealous owner.
I see it all the time with guys that have Mustangs.

Sucks for him, but he brought it on himself."

Ok this guy .. what can I say.... Really??? WOW...
But Yes, I Like my car ('that thing') a lot better than I even did before after the first build, and it's done MUCH better by Ellis from Speed Secrets! I highly recommend him for anyone in the greater Seattle area for any work on your car. Thank you for asking :)

Now 2nd part "Not-so-informed & overzealous owner who brought it on himself".. Say what now? Seriously? Not-so-informed on what? overzealous how?

I spent months ( over a year literally ) researching, getting the right quality parts together, picking the brains of anyone who knew anything, talking to & screening vendors & shops, talking to their customers to see how satisfied they were with the job performed etc making sure that this build would be bulletproof. Machineshop selecting the wrong O-ring out of the oil pump box does not equate me being 'not-so-informed'.
To me, Not-so-informed would for example be trying to overbore the stock block to a 4.125"+ bore. Had they selected the right O-Ring my engine would still be running 100% strong.

Overzealous? a 300 Shot or running 25 PSI on a blower to me is overzealous..Someone trying a cam install by themselves while they dont even know what a torque wrench is , is 'asking for it'. But having a forged stroker built by (supposedly) reputable shops with quality parts with the entire premise being reliability so that you have room to grow over the years - that's somehow overzealous and 'bringing it on myself'? Not in a million years buddy!

In Closing - I think what perhaps some of these people were 'trying' to say may be the classic line: "You have to pay to play". Modify your engine and it dies, then you (or responsible parties should) get stuck with the bill. Some people would perhaps try to go to the dealership and try to pretend it was all stock etc if something like this happens, but since I agree with the 'Pay to Play' credo - and I knew it was because of this build, why should GM have to pay for my modifications? So it was on me - or actually it should be on the machineshop since their mistake was the root cause of the engine failure.

Unfortunately, they for along time denied any wrong doing. I tried to be very reasonable and work out an arrangement with them that most people would consider more than fair ( less than 1/4 of the value of new parts/labor required to get it back up & running etc) but they claimed they did not give warranty on performance engines. After more back & forth which ended up with them finally saying they'd 'look at the engine' after I had already lost confidence & had Ellis @ Speed secrets start working on it, it simply wasn't worth the stress & aggravation of trying to work something out (or going to court) and I ended up eating it all.

Lesson Learned is that when messing with the engine past the point of intakes & exhaust there is ALWAYS a chance of failure (then again, sometimes even with only intakes you can screw your engine as some people with hydrolocked engines can tell you - I'm sure they 'didn't bring it upon themselves' by simply installing a certain model CAI), and it's best to either EXPECT it to happen and/or at least be prepared for it so that in the unfortunate event it happens - and I hope none of you ever has to go through this - you can get it taken care of ASAP by a shop that knows what they're doing!