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Big ticket mod order

This is a discussion on Big ticket mod order within the General Help forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; Alright guys basically I have a nice set of mods on my to-do list. But for the big ticket mods ...

  1. #1
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    Bright Red
    1999 Formula

    Big ticket mod order

    Alright guys basically I have a nice set of mods on my to-do list. But for the big ticket mods I'm not sure what order I should do them in or if I should pair some together to make sure the car sees little if any down time and is safe and all that.

    These mods include: Torque Converter (~3600 stall), Built 4L60E (Leaning towards Level 4 FLT), Cam (~228/228, .588/.588, 112LSA), and an S60 (probably 3.54 gears)

    Originally I found a converter package from Complete Street Performance in PA that included an FTI converter, install, and dyno/street tune for $1350 which is a great deal in my area but haven't heard anything from either company lately and I wanted to get the converter this Summer. If I did the converter first I'd then have to figure out the order for the rest of the mods, if I'd want a cam or built trans first.

    If CSP ends up not working out I'd probably go with Fran at Race Proven Motorsports. But if I did that I'd probably want to pair mods to make it seem like I was getting more out of the trip. So my options in that scenario would be 1. converter first, then a trans/cam later at the same time 2. cam and converter at the same time so it only needs tuned once (risk of breaking stock trans and downtime if I can't afford the FLT) or 3. Converter and trans at the same time and need a 2nd tune for the cam whenever that goes in. Obviously all of the above is assuming the stock 10 bolt, 2.73 rear will hold up for long time.

    We all know how luck comes into play with the 4L60E and 10-bolt so obviously one persons may hold a lot more than others. What are the experiences/opinions you guys have with these mods and order?

  2. #2
    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    Best scenario would be to do all at same time, however I know $$ is always an issue on a build.

    Based on what you listed, I would do this.


    Rear first, tranny second, engine last.


    Reason - if you do the reverse you'll be down more then you want. The #1 weak link in the drive train is the rear. Doing the power upgrades will increase the strain on the rest of the drive train. Even under stock power (mostly M6's) our cars can break the stock rear.


    Tranny - your plan of doing the converter and tranny at same time, wise. You have to drop both to work on either one so doing it together = smart.

    Engine - your plans for the motor does it included heads/intake? When doing a cam also plan on doing a LS2 timing chain and LS6 oil pump upgrades. This is the time to do this, oil pump for 98-99's are notorious for failure.

  3. #3
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    I was planning on doing a rear last or maybe if I do converter/trans first then doing the rear after that and cam last. I figure the A4 with 2.73's the 10-bolt could probably last a while. I only plan 1-3 trips to the track per year, it's mostly driven on the highway or at least >40mph on local roads, hardly any city driving, not my DD. But I do get annoyed when I don't have an option to drive it.

    Didn't realize I don't have mods in sig. Current mods: ARH 1-7/8" headers, ARH ORY, Borla exhaust, SLP lid, BMR LCAs, UMI PHB, Founders STB, MMs, EGR!, AIR!, not tuned. I don't plan on doing heads at all anymore. After those big ticket mods this thread is about I'll probably add a small nitrous shot, but that's once the car is built how I want it first. I didn't consider an intake manifold/tb as "big ticket" since its under $1000 but I do plan on doing that eventually. Probably a BBK set, I prefer new products over used and they look nice and have decent gains over the LS6.

    I should also mention that the car is on street tires. I'll probably get some street friendly DRs after the converter, 555Rs most likely.

    Oh and with the cam I would also want the upgraded chain and oil pump yes. Maybe a UDP with the alternator ODP too. Probably a flexplate with the converter too just in case, although that may not be necessary. Car has 26k miles on it.

  4. #4
    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    Leaving heads out of the build is leaving most of your HP gains stuck in the engine. Otherwise you won't be getting much out of the cam.

    I know heads aren't cheap, but you don't have to get a CNC P&P Lvl 2.5 or < set of heads for what you want. A set of stock 243 heads or even 5.3 heads would be better then the stock LS1 heads you currently have.


    Dr's - In your case I wouldn't waste the $$. You're not going to the track enough to warrant them IMHO. Running on DR's on the street is ok going back and forth to the track but running around all the time you are asking for a wreak. Yeah I know guys have used them all the time, but it only takes one time and a puddle to ruin your day. Get a good set of street tires like Nitto and you can still get some decent traction at the track with them.


    A4's do last a while longer when compared to M6's but I've send them go out too.


    Planning is a major key to your success. I'm currently in a 8.8 rear build myself. In addition I have a LQ4 short block and now LS2 pistons just waiting to get worked on after the rear is built.

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    Junior Member whitdog54's Avatar
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    555r is the best tire in the rain i ever owned. You can put street tire mileage on them too. Ur car must run hella rich with no tune

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    Quote Originally Posted by SMWS6TA View Post
    Leaving heads out of the build is leaving most of your HP gains stuck in the engine. Otherwise you won't be getting much out of the cam.
    I may consider heads in the future but they wouldn't be until the other mods already mentioned (minus the nitrous). I just don't think I'd need them. I figure 370rwhp cam only and then 485 with nitrous? That's all I'd need I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by whitdog54 View Post
    555r is the best tire in the rain i ever owned. You can put street tire mileage on them too. Ur car must run hella rich with no tune
    Yeah it runs rich lol. I can get 20-22mpg with my driving habits still but after a tune that should probably go back up to 24-26 if not possibly another 1 or 2.

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    Veteran 0rion's Avatar
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    also...depending on your order and time between you could possibly be looking at 3 tunes. Stall, rear gears, and cam will all require tuning so keep that in mind. The stall you can sometimes get away with no tuning right away but 99% of the time it's going to need tuned or you'll bang the rev limiter on the shifts among other little annoying things.

  8. #8
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    I'll get a tune for the stall and the cam. The gears I have a local guy that has HP Tuners, he said whenever I get the rear just give him $100 for the license and he will recal the speedo for me. Worst case I send the PCM to Frost and have him change it.

  9. #9
    Veteran 0rion's Avatar
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    as long as you're buying the license why not have him tune it? Is he experienced enough to tune it? You could also do it via email with frost since you'll have a cable with a license on it.

  10. #10
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    I don't think he has a dyno. But admittedly, I'm not real knowledgeable on how tuning works. Idk if HPTuners would give me the same level of tuning that a dyno would, like if thats the software the tuner uses with the dyno or what. He mostly just does small calibration changes I think.

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