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What torque converter for 99 TA with STS turbo?

This is a discussion on What torque converter for 99 TA with STS turbo? within the Forced Induction forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; Well... I figured if I was going to pay a tuner to tune... I might as well have everything done ...

  1. #61
    Junior Member rick67's Avatar
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    Well... I figured if I was going to pay a tuner to tune... I might as well have everything done that I plan to do so I only have to do this once...
    Last night I ordered the Meth kit, a dual stage boost controller, and a DynoJet Wideband Commander.
    I plan to use the programmable output from the wideband, and the safety output from the meth kit, in series with my high-boost switch to drop to low boost if anything funny happens. I'll keep low boost around 4-5 PSI and have high boost set at 8-9 PSI.
    I'll get all that installed in the next week or so and head down to IPS for a tune.
    Can't wait!
    1999 T/A LS1
    STS rear mount turbo - 5 psi
    48# Injectors, 3600 Yank converter
    Other that that, all stock.
    Best ET so far, 11.91 @ 114.47 w/1.60 60'

  2. #62
    Junior Member rick67's Avatar
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    Red
    1999 Firebird TA

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    Well.... you know what they say about the best laid plans....
    I got everything installed over the last couple weeks and drove down to IPS for my scheduled tune this morning.
    The previous tuner locked my computer! IPS wasn't able to do anything.
    I dug through the stuff that came with the car when I got home and I see it was tuned in Texas. I'm in Ohio. Not sure what I'm going to do now.

    I have one last race this year next weekend at Dragway 42 and then I'll be done until next summer. I'll have all winter to figure out what I'm going to do and get it done before summer.
    IPS gave me some things to think about today....
    Random points: (sorry... I'm using this thread as a notepad!) haha
    -They felt I was probably pretty close to maxing out my MAF and recommended I switch to MAP for better tuneability.
    -Recommended switching to LS6 intake while I have the intake off to install MAP sensor.
    -If I do switch to MAP, I won't be able to use my Diablo.
    -I already can't use my Diablo until someone can get into my computer anyways.
    -I assume/hope I can send my Diablo back to Summit since I never even plugged it in??
    -They don't think I should keep the Diablo anyways. If it's tuned right, I shouldn't need to mess with it.
    -If I'm set on being able to make adjustments myself, they suggest a single liscence of HP Tuners for my laptop. Supposedly not really that much more $$ than the Diablo was?
    -They think I would be better off getting rid of the meth and getting an intercooler instead.
    -They recommend a Walbro fuel pump, possibly a dual depending on how far I plan to push my car in the coming years.

    So back to my original problem.... my locked computer. I will be contacting the original speed shop in Texas to see if they will send me or IPS the password. I assume they won't, so my only other option will be to trailer my car to a dealership for a flash back to stock, and then trailer it to IPS for a fresh tune from scratch. This sucks because I REALLY wanted IPS to do a baseline dyno pull so I know where we started so I can see how much they've improved it at the end of the day.

    So for my race next weekend..... Dragway 42 has a Holloween event every year that lasts all weekend. We have a huge group that goes every year for some hardcore racing all day and even harder core partying all night. I never miss it.
    I'm very strongly considering cranking up the boost controller a couple PSI and seeing what happens. I did test the boost controller and meth kit last night and both are working fine. My car has always ran 5PSI. Last night I ran a blast at 5.5 PSI and the AFR buried itself at 10 with the meth on. I would think I should be somewhat safe by upping the boost about .5 psi at a time and watching my AFR very closely??? Maybe get it up to 7 PSI or so over the course of a few passes???
    Penny for your thoughts??

    PS.... last weekend I raced the T/A at an SCCA event that came to my hometown mall parking lot. Holy shit what a total BLAST!!! Wow, I love drag racing and have been doing it for 20 years, but those SCCA guys know how to have fun. It was my first time racing in one, (or even seeing one!) and I did terrible, but I can't remember EVER having that much fun with my clothes on. Wrecked twice, one of them was sliding through the finish line at about 60MPH completely sideways stopping facing the wrong direction about 30' off the course!!
    I know it was hard on my car, but TOTALLY worth it. I'll be doing it again someday for sure. My car got alot of attention too. Partially because it was obvious it needed a driver mod, and partially because it was obviously a drag car on a road course, and partially because of all the crazy sounds the STS makes. People especially got a kick out of my drag radials inflated to 24 lbs.... I guess they don't see them used at SCCA events too often... or ever. haha

  3. #63
    Member c5z28's Avatar
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    auto-x isn't as hard as those launches off the line at the track I'm going autox tomorrow it is alot of fun.

  4. #64
    TunedbyFrost.com Tuner Frost's Avatar
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    So you went all the way to a tuner, found it was locked, and they didn't have a spare laying around for EXACTLY THIS SCENARIO? I keep multiple for this, and your PCM is the most popular. Whatever shady person locked your PCM, you can bet that they won't unlock it without you sending them $$$ With replacement PCMs selling for less than $100 though, I wouldn't give him a dime. I WOULD however post his name around so that other people can avoid them. It's one thing if you knew before he did and agreed, it's another thing to find out after the fact that it was done.

    Even the dealer can't get into the PCM if it's locked; it's a brick.

  5. #65
    Junior Member rick67's Avatar
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    Red
    1999 Firebird TA

    Smile

    Well, after doing a little more research, the previous tuner is an LS1.com sponser. After visiting their website, it's right there in black and white that they WILL lock your PCM if they do a tune for you.
    And for the record, I didn't have them tune it. The cars previous owner did. So they didn't do anything "behind MY back".
    They do offer free updates for as long as you own the car, but that doesn't help me since I'm not the person who had it tuned, AND I want my car tuned in person, not via mail. (because of the turbo)
    I am now a very concerned that he had the car tuned via mail though. He didn't even have a AFR gauge in it. He added injectors and the STS kit. Wouldn't it really need to be tuned on a dyno, or at least in person???
    He was in MI and the tune was done in TX. I have the receipt showing the price and the 2nd day air UPS charge for shipping the PCM back and forth.

    I'm concerned by your last statement though Frost....
    Even the dealer can't get into the PCM if it's locked; it's a brick.
    IPS told me a dealership could reset it to factory tune?
    Are there different levels of "locked"? I was under the impression all we needed was a password or something.

    PS... c5z28... yeah a drag strip launch is harder on the drivetrain for a few seconds, but I can't imagine going from WOT to slamming on the brakes 10 times in 45 seconds can be good on anything! Much less sliding around in circles at 50+ MPH on bone-dry pavement! haha My drivers door squeeks a little now when I open it. I hope I didn't tweak something.

  6. #66
    TunedbyFrost.com Tuner Frost's Avatar
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    If they were up front about it, it is what it is. When I call PCM locking shady, I am specifically talking about those that lock them without ever letting the customer know. Most of the locked PCMs I get, the customers never have any idea about them being locked.

    Regardless, a mail order tune for a forced induction car is just to get them up and driveable and in front of a tuner with a wideband. It can be done on the street or dyno, but must be done with a wideband.

    If it's locked, you may as well start shopping for a replacement. Without the key, you (or the dealer) won't be able to get back into it. They are cheap on eBay.

  7. #67
    LSX whore allbaugh_04's Avatar
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    Just buy another PCM, isn't it that simple?

  8. #68
    Junior Member rick67's Avatar
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    Yeah Frost, that's why I made sure to mention that I didn't have it tuned originally. I'm not accusing the original tuner of any wrong doing at all. It just sucks for me. haha

    I've sent an email to the original owner, as well as the original tuner shop. Hopefully we can figure something out. If I had to guess though... I would guess that it was mail-order tuned in TX after the STS installation and never wideband tuned. Scary stuff! But it must have been okay because that was in 2006 and the car is still running fine.

    As Allbaugh_04 says... I can always simply buy another PCM. They're $90 on ebay. It just seems like a waste. There's nothing wrong with mine.
    We'll see I guess.

  9. #69
    Junior Member rick67's Avatar
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    1999 Firebird TA

    Well.... I heard back from the original owner of the car.
    It's confirmed.... the only tune this car has ever had was the mail-order tune during the STS installation. He says that is what STS recommended.
    Seems scary to me!

    I've sent an email to the tuner to see what they can/will do.
    Fingers crossed....

  10. #70
    Junior Member rick67's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Well the original tuner got back to me and offered to send me a free PCM as long as I return mine after I get the new one installed.... or they would unlock mine and set it back to stock andf mail it back. I just pay shipping both ways.
    While I wish they would give me the password (or whatever), I can appreciate that they are willing to work with me. At least I won't have to buy a PCM.


    Meanwhile.... I ran at Dragway 42 this weekend.
    Ran a best of 11.91 @ 114 at 5PSI. (1.637 60')
    Best 60' was a 1.604!! That was an 11.92 @ 111 pass.
    So that 3600Yank alone was worth 1.2 off the ET and .6 off the 60'!! Amazing.

    I tried several times to crank up the boost and fire the meth kit, and every time I blew a hose somewhere. I couldn't get over 5PSI.
    And for what it's worth..... running ZERO psi with the meth kit on, it ran a 14.17 haha (I blew a hose in the waterbox that pass)

    Looks like it's time to research some better charge pipe fittings and clamps.

    I think my goals for winter will be:
    Charge pipe fittings / clamps
    Beefier rear end (she's whining pretty bad now)
    Sub-frame connectors and strut tower brace. (drivers door squeeks real bad now when opening)

    But for now, I'm very happy with it. I wanted 11's, and I got them without even cranking up the boost. I drove almost 2 hours there and back AND raced all weekend on less than 3/4 tank of gas too.

    PS... I also HAVE to get something done with the tune. I'm hitting the rev limiter every shift.
    I either need to raise the rev limiter or lower the shift points.
    Last edited by rick67; 10-12-2009 at 10:03 AM.

  11. #71
    TunedbyFrost.com Tuner Frost's Avatar
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    Yeah that stall is a huge help.

    You are looking for T-bolt clamps for your charge pipes. Your clamps and couplers are on my STS grievance list.

    That's more than decent of them to send you a stock PCM in trade too!

  12. #72
    Member c5z28's Avatar
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    Congrats you have come a long way, it been great to read all the updates.

  13. #73
    Junior Member rick67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frost View Post
    Yeah that stall is a huge help.
    You are looking for T-bolt clamps for your charge pipes. Your clamps and couplers are on my STS grievance list.
    That's more than decent of them to send you a stock PCM in trade too!
    I did a quick look on ebay. Yep "t-bolt clamps" look like the ticket.
    Is a t-bolt clamp a t-bolt clamp, or are the cheap ones just as bad as regular hose clamps?

    And yes, the tuner has been a help. I'm still not sure what I'm going to do, but they've been helpful and got right back with me with their answers.
    I'm thinking about seeing if they will simply lower my shift points for me and make my Diablo work so I can make a few tweaks myself. I'll have to see what it'll cost though. If I'm paying for a full tune, I might as well get it done locally so it can be adjusted at any time. But if it's cheap, I may continue to work with them since they know the car already.



    Quote Originally Posted by c5z28
    Congrats you have come a long way, it been great to read all the updates.
    Thanks! It's been alot of fun and this site has helped alot. It's official... I'm now a turbo f-body junkie!!. I've had ALOT of old muscle, and I miss alot of them, but I think I can honestly say that none of them have been as fun as this car!

  14. #74
    TunedbyFrost.com Tuner Frost's Avatar
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    The cheap T-bolt clamps have weaker hardware or spot welds where the band is doubled up. Some of them you may be able to use, but it's hard to say without having them in front of you.

  15. #75
    Senior Member qwkgto's Avatar
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    I have used the ebay turbo t bolt clamps they work great alway a better deal when you can get 10 of them for $20 plus shipping they cost $6 each else wheres.
    mods: custom built twins, built 408 w/l92 stock GM heads,GM matching intake,drag bags,frame ties,aluminum drive shaft, performabuilt 4l80e,Yank converter,ohios fastest and quickest 04-06 GTO 9.52 at 144mph. 1.50 60ft on stock rear end and shafts/suspension,on drag radials.

  16. #76
    TunedbyFrost.com Tuner Frost's Avatar
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    when I "price shopped" eBay for T-bolts, I got a pack of 10 for about 30 bucks shipped myself, but they were crappy. The bolts would break in the normal tightening process. Not all of them, but I broke 2 on initial install. Later, another one broke on a re-install.

    I have also bought T-bolts from other sellers on eBay that cost slightly more but worked and held up very well... The problem for me was trying to tell which was which before purchasing.

  17. #77
    ;) Packy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rick67 View Post
    Well the original tuner got back to me and offered to send me a free PCM as long as I return mine after I get the new one installed.... or they would unlock mine and set it back to stock andf mail it back. I just pay shipping both ways.
    While I wish they would give me the password (or whatever), I can appreciate that they are willing to work with me. At least I won't have to buy a PCM.


    Meanwhile.... I ran at Dragway 42 this weekend.
    Ran a best of 11.91 @ 114 at 5PSI. (1.637 60')
    Best 60' was a 1.604!! That was an 11.92 @ 111 pass.
    So that 3600Yank alone was worth 1.2 off the ET and .6 off the 60'!! Amazing.

    I tried several times to crank up the boost and fire the meth kit, and every time I blew a hose somewhere. I couldn't get over 5PSI.
    And for what it's worth..... running ZERO psi with the meth kit on, it ran a 14.17 haha (I blew a hose in the waterbox that pass)

    Looks like it's time to research some better charge pipe fittings and clamps.

    I think my goals for winter will be:
    Charge pipe fittings / clamps
    Beefier rear end (she's whining pretty bad now)
    Sub-frame connectors and strut tower brace. (drivers door squeeks real bad now when opening)

    But for now, I'm very happy with it. I wanted 11's, and I got them without even cranking up the boost. I drove almost 2 hours there and back AND raced all weekend on less than 3/4 tank of gas too.

    PS... I also HAVE to get something done with the tune. I'm hitting the rev limiter every shift.
    I either need to raise the rev limiter or lower the shift points.
    Damn that is not too shabby! Go for more supporting mods, up the boost and start chasing the 10's down...
    1999 Trans Am WS6 Black - Forged 346, P1SC (8psi), TH-400, and 12 bolt(3.73's)
    10.29@129 w/1.60 sixty foot

    2004 Screaming Yellow Mustang Cobra - Whipple 2.3, Exhaust, & CCW's...My DD

  18. #78
    Junior Member rick67's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info on the t-bolt clamps guys. I have a friend that works at a Mack repair center.... he told me not to buy t-bolt clamps anywhere as he can get them for me on the cheap!

    Thanks Packy. It's been fun and a great learning experience this summer!

  19. #79
    ;) Packy's Avatar
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    Cool man, keep it up and keep us updated dude!

  20. #80
    Car RamRod 98Camarod's Avatar
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    So I'm guessing after the converter install you didn't get a tune and it seemed to work out pretty well, no?

    Congrats on your et. I have a good place to get some tbolt clamps if you want that are $2.60 each and I haven't broke a single one. They also have a bunch of silicone couplers if anyone needs those

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