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.