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zachm89

What I've been up to with no SSS...

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So, most of you already know that I sold my SSS a while back. And, as you can imagine, I instantly regretted it. I even tried to contact the guy I sold it to to see if he would sell it back to me, to which his answer was absolutely not. I looked around for a while to find another one but couldn't quite find what I was looking for, so I turned my attention back to my 2001 Camaro SS.

 

I bought the car a little over a year ago with a cammed LQ9 already in the car to which I was told it was a somewhat recently rebuilt engine with all new bearings, etc etc. Well, I drove the car to work and back for a while (about 80-100 miles per day) and it was great. Then I started ordering parts for it. First was some suspension pieces from Founders Performance; panhard bar, lower control arms and LCA relocation brackets and a strut tower brace.

 

Then it was time to get rid of the hillbilly stance the car had so I called up Sam Strano and ordered some of his lowering springs along with some Koni STR.T shocks to make the car sit and ride where I wanted it to. Night and day difference in overall appearance of the car and the ride/handling. If anyone here has an f-body that they want to lower, don't go to anyone else but Sam, he's a top notch guy to do business with and his stuff works and works well!

 

Then came time to finally put the car through its paces at the drag strip. Not that I didn't already drive the car hard on a daily basis already, I just wanted to see if I could still half ass launch a 6 speed car on street tires at the track. Granted, this car had quite a bit more power out of the cammed 6.0 than my last f-body did with it's bone stock LS1 and almost 300k miles, but I figured I could manage. And this is where things went down hill, quickly! I drove the car down to College Station and hit up the local track on Friday night for a test & tune. Me in my catfish and two of my friends with their 5th gen camaros. We played a bit on the highway on the way to the track and I was walking both 5th gens pretty easily. One was a 2010 SS with LT's, full exhaust and a tune and the other was a 2012 SS 1LE with long tubes, stock 1LE exhaust, tune and intake. I was pretty happy with the catfish's performance stacked up to those two cars, haha. When we got to the track I made a couple of easy passes, launching the car just off idle to get the feel for it again and not destroy the little 10 bolt. On my third pass however I got a little more aggressive and launched the car at about 3k, spun a little bit but took off pretty good and had a decent run (they didn't have the traps turned on so there weren't any times but I felt it was a decent pass, for me anyway). But when I got back to the pit area I noticed a rotational clunking noise coming from somewhere in the rear end area that would speed up and slow down depending on how fast I was going. To me and the other guys it sounded like maybe a u-joint so I parked the car and planned to go get new u-joints the next morning, no big deal. Well, that wasn't the only problem...I also noticed that my low oil pressure light was on and my oil pressure gauge was showing 0psi at idle. I figured hell, it's gotta be the sending unit with how terrible they are on these cars and the fact that there wasn't any odd noises coming from under the hood. I did however decide to trailer it back to the house that night so we could inspect it further the next day while doing the u-joints. Replaced the u-joints, rotational clunking was still there and oil pressure had managed to get to about 15-20psi cold idle but when the car warmed up it was sitting on 0psi again. If the car was off idle and revved a little, the oil pressure would come back up to an acceptable amount but as soon as it returned to idle, 0psi.

 

At this point I was 2.5 hours from home with a clunking drivetrain and low to no oil pressure. I had to get home so I took the chance and drove the car back to DFW from College Station and somehow made it without breaking anything. Rear end clunked the whole way home and the oil pressure would stay at about 15-20psi as long as I was driving but at any stop it would sit on 0, so when I came to a stop I just kept my foot on the gas to keep the rpm's and psi up. The whole way home, not a single odd sound from the engine to indicate that anything was actually wrong like you'd expect from an oil pressure problem or bad bearing. When I got home, the car sat for a very long time because I was just discouraged to work on it. When I did finally get around to it, I figured out my oil pressure problem only after putting in a new sending unit and new oil pump. It ended up being a damn cam bearing, second to last in the back of the block. I wish I had a picture of this thing when I was finally able to fish it out but imagine a piece of tin foil in the shape of a cam bearing being mangled by a car crusher...it was bad. So bad that it took me over an hour just to get the cam out of the block! I have no idea how this bearing could be THAT FUBAR and not make a single noise as to indicate its condition.

 

But, the car then sat again for many months until now, where I'm finally back to wanting to work on it! In this time I picked up another 6.0L engine from a salvage yard and stripped it down to the bare block and off to the machine shop it went for some work. I had them clean it up and sonic check the block to see how far I could go with it. Everything looked good so I had them take it out to 4.065" and installed LS3 rods and pistons, the stock crank polished and king bearings throughout with the rings gapped for nitrous (dont remember what brand rings we used). So now with essentially an iron LS3 short block, I picked up a set of bone stock 243 heads for an absolute steal, granted I know that 243s aren't going to be absolutely ideal for a 4.065" short block but after talking it all over with Martin Smallwood and figuring out a good head/cam combo, I decided that the 243s will do just fine for now and not hurt power output much. So 243 heads it is with BTR .660" dual springs, no milling, no porting, no aftermarket valves...I'll do all that jazz later if and when I decide to go with aftermarket casting heads. And the cam Martin and I decided on is the Polluter V2 from Tick, specs are 239/244 | .635”/.610” | LSA112+3 (this is when he was still working for Tick, Im sure now he might have a different suggestion but Ive already got the cam so Im not changing now!). Going to stick with my LS6 intake and TB for now as well, until I can afford to pick up a FAST 102 or something, probably later on down the road when I go with different heads. Also going on with all of this will be a set of brand new Speed Engineering 1-7/8" long tubes with their ORY modified with a flowmaster dual 3 to single 4" merge and a Hawks Sinister 4" catback with a Borla XR-1 dumped at the rear bumper. I had a single 4" exhaust on the SSS with an XR-1 so to run a similar setup on this car was a no brainer, and I picked up the whole hawks kit brand new for $125, hard to pass on that deal. The motor should be somewhere around 11.5:1 compression with the LS3 flat tops, .051" head gaskets and 243 heads and Im thinking somewhere in the neighborhood of 450-500rwhp.

 

I'm going to be starting on getting the old motor out of the car this weekend so I can then turn around and slap the new motor together with parts robbed off of the old motor that I need, such as oil pan and covers so it will go into the car smoothly. Ill try to take pictures and update this thread for anyone who might be interested, but as of now I don;t have a ton of pictures to share with the class. Sorry for the lengthy post, I know most of you will skip through the majority of it and got straight for the pictures lol.

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The night I picked her up in Houston. Drove down after work and drove back the same night so I could make it to work the next morning. Worth it, but definitely a looooong night haha.

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Made it to her new home :)

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Little Idle video from before the oil pressure issues. Unknown cam specs, LQ9 with 317 heads, Long tubes and a Borla adjustable catback with no plate.

IMG_4659.mov

Edited by zachm89

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Out with the old and in with the new. I like ZR1 wheels, but I never really fell in love with them on this car. So one day when I was getting a leak fixed in one of the truck tires, I spotted a set of factory gm 10 spokes in the corner of the guys shop. Asked if they were for sale and I got the wheels, tires and lugs for $100 bucks....ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!? I was amazed to say the least, lol.

 

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My little man helping me swap tires around. He's pretty handy with the lug nuts and tire rolling!

 

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Anyone who says you have to get the nose of an F-body 10' off the ground to remove or install long tubes is an idiot. Not only did I have enough room to get the old headers out, I was also able to do it with some of the welded on extension pipes still attached because of where I could get the sawzall in the cut them. I had always heard that headers on an f-body were a nightmare, I didnt find that to be true at all lol. That being said, dont be a dummy and weld your ypipe or mid pipes directly to the headers....just dont.

 

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Little odds and ends here. The car needed some interior pieces when I bought it so I picked up a replacement console lid from a guy on LS1Tech which is 1000% better than the factory lids. I also replaced the factory hurst shifter with an MGW that I wouldnt trade for anything. Best shifter on the market hands down! Put a cheap radio in it just to have some kind of music, even though I then found out all but 2 of the speakers were either missing or blown lol.

 

 

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Finally it came down to the old motor, new motor and goodies for the cars new heart.

 

Had a bit of help from my girlfriend while tearing into the old motor to chase the oil pressure issue.

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Fresh from the machine shop iron LS3 shortblock

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Hawks Sinister kit and Borla XR-1

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Had to borrow a buddies trailer with a winch to get the car to the shop I'll be working on it at. Traded some home design for them in exchange to use their shop, lift and trailer.

 

Tow pig & Catfish

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And last for now but certainly not least, the truck that will never be forgotten but will always be missed!

 

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Now we know what you've been up to lately. :cool:

 

Sad you couldn't get your truck back but it looks like you been having plenty of wrenching fun with the car.

 

I'm in for updates. :thumbsup:

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I'm just glad to see you stuck around on here :)

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Great update! Sad the truck is gone. Feel same way about my 02 I had for 11 years and that was just a 2wd 4.8l. But on to other projects. Glad to see you posted this here. Will keep a eye out for updates. And man those wheels... talk about a deal!!!

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Well....I realize after today why the wheels were such a steal. We got the car up on the lift to pull the motor and trans out and realized that all 4 wheels are bent. They balanced out okay when I put them on the car, but sad to say they're FUBAR unfortunately. But, on the plus side, we were able to get the driveshaft, torque arm, trans, clutch and engine out of the car in about 2 hours start to finish. Now it's time to get the new motor slapped together and ready to install in the next few weeks. I've also got to get the rear end rebuilt or replaced because it is done for as well.

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That sucks to hear about the wheels. Out in Ohio we have guys with big box vans that travel around to dealerships and can fix them on site. Alloy wheel repair stuff. Maybe someone like that could get them to a usable state for you? If u got them close just balancing them it wouldt hurt to ask someone like that. But it's coming along real well for you. Gonna be a fun car when u get it done!!

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That sucks to hear about the wheels. Out in Ohio we have guys with big box vans that travel around to dealerships and can fix them on site. Alloy wheel repair stuff. Maybe someone like that could get them to a usable state for you? If u got them close just balancing them it wouldt hurt to ask someone like that. But it's coming along real well for you. Gonna be a fun car when u get it done!!

Yeah, I would definitely like to have the wheels repaired or find another set of them in good condition. The 10 spokes are my favorite factory wheel for these cars and I can't afford to go aftermarket so getting mine repaired seems like the most economical solution.

 

On another note, I started getting the motor a little farther along in it's assembly process. Got the Tick Polluter V2 cam installed, new cam plate and gear on, LS2 HD timing chain but had issues with the Trick Flow timing chain dampner adapter bracket. For those of you who don't know, some LS blocks are pre-drilled to run the timing chain dampner (guide). For those of us with older blocks, the holes for the dampner are not pre-drilled and instead of trying to drill and tap the holes, I opted to run the Trick Flow adapter bracket seen here ----> https://www.summitracing.com/parts/tfs-30675600?seid=srese1&cm_mmc=pla-google-_-shopping-_-srese1-_-trick-flow-specialties&gclid=CLjVjvnPytQCFQgLaQodG6INlw

 

Unfortunately, I was unable to successfully install the bracket due to stripping out all but one of the allen head bolts that come with it. The bracket goes on the outside of the cam retainer plate, and utilizes the two side and one bottom bolt holes in the plate to hold the bracket and retainer plate to the block. Since the plate adds a certain amount of thickness to the outside of the cam plate, by using the factory or ARP cam retainer bolts, the back of the cam gear was hitting the bolt heads. So you are forced to either source lower profile bolts, or use the ones with the Trick Flow kit. All of which stripped out before even getting them to their required torque spec. Luckily I was able to get the bracket back off by hammering a larger allen head socket into each of the stripped bolt heads and removed it. I felt like the new timing gear and chain were damn good enough without the dampner so I decided to just move forward without it. Still a good product from Trick Flow Im sure, as it did test fit nicely and I would have used it had the bolts not been such a nightmare and another trip to the hardware store to find suitable bolts just wasn't going to happen.

 

Moving on, I held off on installing the oil pump for now because I havent cleaned out the oil pan and pick up tube yet so Ill do that later on. I did however also get the new Morel 5315 lifters and new trays installed, heads on with ARP bolts (probably overkill for this build but I got a good deal on a used set so why the hell not) and measured for PR length since I know the typical "oh just buy 7.4" pushrods, itll be close enough" wouldn't be quite accurate for this motor with so many things changing. Going to still measure again just to double and triple check myself on PR length before ordering but right now Im leaning towards using a set of Manton 11/32" pushrods instead of the typical 5/16" for a bit of added valvetrain stability. Id really like to use a set of Trend 3/8" double tappers but those are a biiiit out of budget for this build. More pictures to come hopefully. I just always get in a hurry and dont stop to take pictures.

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Stripped bolts sound like a nightmare. Looking forward to more pics. There haven't been many build pictures posted round here in a while.

It wasn't much fun, and I was pretty pissed off. At first I didn't even think I'd be getting them back out with how chewed up the bolt heads got when trying to torque them. And at only 18 ft/lbs....piss poor quality bolts but their idea is good and a great option for those who have blocks not pre-drilled for the timing chain dampner. If I ever have to open the motor back up down the line I'll get some new bolts and throw it in there but for now I'm just going to run without it.

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Who says it's more difficult to pull the engine out of an f-body from the top rather than dropping the k-member...guess it helps to have the heads off and all the accessories removed but who cares lol.

 

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The clutch disk itself didn't look completely terrible, but then again I have no idea what kind of clutch this is so it got tossed in the trash anyway.

 

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The flywheel on the other hand....yikes. Looks like the previous owner threw a new clutch disk in the car when the 6.0L was put in but neglected to replace or even resurface the flywheel.

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