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Thinking about an LS3
This is a discussion on Thinking about an LS3 within the General Help forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; Do tell Naaman, what were the numbers??...
02-28-2015, 04:48 AM #141
Do tell Naaman, what were the numbers??
02-28-2015, 04:56 AM #142
The suspence....It's stock.
02-28-2015, 12:58 PM #143
- Join Date
- Apr 2011
- 1999 Trans-Am, 2012 Sonic
02-28-2015, 07:59 PM #144
Well, I can't post pics because I'm at work, so when I get them up, it will be anticlimactic.
In any case, there are some ups and downs with the story. So here goes.
After I agreed to the heads (stage-1 799s machined, 4-angle valve job, sodium filled... etc), I thought I had a good deal going. Turns out there was a lot more to it than what I understood. The heads were fully assembled, $1250, shipped. Sean pulled a cam out of a truck and matched it up with the heads for another $250. $385 R&R labor. Not bad. But when I got the bill, there were so many other "little" parts that were needed (chromoly pushrods, LS7 lifters, lifter tray, gaskets, the list goes on... and on...) that the bill wound up being WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY more than what I had planned for.
Wound up having to empty the bank account AND max out a credit card to pay for it all. It's not as bad as it seems though, because I had already earmarked the majority of incoming funds that simply hadn't arrived yet (plus, I made sure that all my bills were paid before going to pick up the car). Once the funds arrived, my credit card balance was paid off back to $0.
Anyway, when I arrived to pick up the car, Sean gave me a tour under the hood. It sure looks different (similar, but noticeable). EGR and AIR are gone, so it's cleaned up in there a bit. The idle sounds a bit more "airy" or whispy than it used to.
Getting in, I notice that the car "shakes" a little more. Most likely on account of the poly engine mounts. Sean told me to make sure I let the car warm up at least a minute after starting it up from now on (I do this anyway). He also said I could wind out the engine to 7,000 if I wanted (must be due to the springs).
While the engine was out, we went ahead with a new LS7 clutch kit, so the engagement is right off the floor. I almost had to learn how to drive all over again. But I didn't stall, even though I came close a few times.
I was nervous about exploring the new performance on the way home from the shop: The first time I slotted 3rd gear, it grinded going in. Same thing the second time. I figured that the trans had been sitting for a couple of months (Sean did a total of about 50 miles, plus whatever it did on the dyno... not much for that span of time) and maybe the "splash and spray" effect hadn't done all it needed to do at that point, the majority of the fluid having settled all the way to the bottom. So the third time, I was ginger with it going into third, and it slotted quietly. Got on the freeway, with my wife and kids in the SUV following (she had to drive me to the shop to pick up the car).
On the way home, some doofus up ahead kept slamming on the brakes, so I backed off (traffic was heavy, since it was late in the 5-o'clock hour, but flowing between 55-60 all the way). But, what happens when you open up the space in front of you? People feel the need to fill it. So, no matter how much I back off, someone just keeps jumping into the gap in order to move closer to pole position.
Anyway, eventually, the traffic in front slams on its brakes, I slam on mine, but can't change lanes (I tried), because there is no room on the right, and there is a fast moving car coming up on the left. So BAM! Right into the back of the car in front. My wife slammed on her brakes, and I watched her in my mirror, and right when she stopped, I heard another crunch, but didn't "feel" any impact. I figured "great... front and back smashed up." But the crunch turned out to be someone rear ending her car. So now both my cars are involved in an accident, with mine needing to be towed. Hers was still drivable... just the bumper and rear hatch had any damage.
Cops came. No tickets (but I would have loved to get the plate of whomever was slamming on breaks all that time). But insurance always assigns fault to the guy in the back. Such is life. So off to the body shop she goes.
And I was dreadfully worried that they would total my car... but eventually I just got over it and decided that whatever happens, happens. I brought the invoice to the insurance adjuster, and he added some percentage of it to the estimated value of the car, and it wound up not being totaled. So they fixed it.
Even though I got the car back on Jan 28th from Sean... I got it back just today, Feb 28th from the body shop.
On the bright side, the front of the car looks like new (the body shop did a good job... though I haven't thoroughly inspected... it looks great on the outside).
The dyno shows 361 rwhp and 363 rwtq. It's all linear and flat with a fat torque curve. Obviously, the exhaust manifolds are creating a restriction... but after the latest ordeal, headers can wait for a while.
I have not done any snap throttle acceleration yet... I'm kinda scared to break something. But the car does seem to surge more even with just a tip-in on the throttle in 2nd gear. It still likes to "run" above 3000 rpm, so that much seems unchanged.
Pics to come someday...
Last edited by Naaman; 02-28-2015 at 11:40 PM.
03-01-2015, 06:53 AM #145
Sorry to hear about the wreck. Tailgating is a real problem in AZ, one of the biggest reasons I stay off the highways, especially the 101/202/60 during rush hour. I'm a back road kind of guy anymore. Better off on the highways slowing down below the pace and just let everyone pass. But it happens. At least it sounded minor, everyones okay, and all fixed back up.
Any idea on the cam specs Shawn went with? Numbers don't sound bad for what you have, I'm sure headers would be worth quite a bit on that combo now. I put down nearly exact numbers you did with an LS6 cam and intake, stock heads with pushrods and dual springs, but I installed headers and exhaust to go with it. It makes a nice flat torque curve as well.
Yeah those little things add up like gaskets, pushrods, fasteners, etc... It's just not very cheap to do anything on these LS engines.
If you're curious, those RWHP numbers in my wifes car, with a 6-speed on stock rubber and still running 3.42's along with a race weight of 3,820, was good for high 12's at 111+ mph in the AZ heat. Trap speed was decent, babied out of the hole. Makes for a fun car to drive, drives like stock, wife drives it daily.
Last edited by Firebirdjones; 03-01-2015 at 06:56 AM.
03-01-2015, 07:23 AM #146
- Join Date
- Apr 2011
- 1999 Trans-Am, 2012 Sonic
Sorry to hear of all the B.S. you have gone through. Unfortunately that is the reality of high performance builds you see that a new clutch is under $400 but the reality is $1,000 till it's all said and done.
I was wondering when you put in the new clutch did you use the stock master cylinder? Third gear was always a problem for me until I installed my Tick MC with my Ls7 clutch. Now it is none existent. You will not be able to go to a Tick MC now that the clutch is broke in on the Ls7 set up but you may be able to do the drill mod to help supply more fluid to the clutch helping that 3rd gear grind. FBJ could probably speak to this.99 Trans Am, SLP Lid, Blackwing filter, smooth bellow, Ported TB, LS6 intake, Ws6 lower ram air box, OBX LT's, Magna Flow cat back, LS7 clutch, Tick MC, Hurst Shifter, Frost Tune, UMI SFC,LAC, STB, PB, Torq Arm, Super Hawk hood, Torq Thrust II, Kee Audio.
Strange S60 4:10's, D&S Rotors, S/S Brake Lines.
Nitto NT05R Track Tire's, 12.7 @ 108 / 1.82 60'
Coil overs, Heads & Cam
03-01-2015, 09:15 PM #147
In some ways, I do feel like I thought I would: I have to re-learn how to drive the car. I used to enjoy punching the throttle a bit coming off of a red light/stop sign. But now, I get the sense that the car is too fast to do that (like it will get away from me since I'm unfamiliar). As I get more accustomed to the additional power, I think this will fade, though.
With the tires I have now (they're almost due for replacement), she can't hook up in 1st gear. I've tried a rolling "launch" and its actually slower than it was before. I can tell this is because the wheels are slipping. But, as we've covered earlier in the thread, I'm glad for the wheel spin since I'm still running the stock 7.65" out back. But there is definitely more pull up top. I don't "feel" it so much as see it on the speedo. The top of third gear comes much more quickly now, and there is a certain effortlessness when the tack climbs past 4000. But, in 3rd gear, the butt-dyno isn't all that impressed. Below 3rd gear, there are traction issues, so it's a matter of tires and a rear-end before I fully realize what the car can do.
I asked Sean about a Tick master cylinder. He said it wasn't necessary. Since getting the car back from the body shop, I've had 2nd gear grind once, and 3rd gear grind once or twice more, too.
There are probably 175 miles on the clutch now, and it feels quite normal already. I was told to give it 500 miles of break-in. But it seems to already be coming up off the floor already. I'll be driving more gently for the remainder of the first 500 miles... maybe the clutch being new is making the gear changes more difficult? Not sure.
One thing I'll say:
It's nice to be back in my own car: the suspension/chassis build is so much more communicative than my wife's car and the rental we've been driving.
Last edited by Naaman; 03-01-2015 at 10:15 PM.Lid, Throttle Body, LS6 Intake, Stage 1 Heads, Mild Cam, Magnaflow Cat-Back, LS7 Clutch, SFCs, STB, Panhard Bar, Strano Springs, Strano Sway Bars, LCAs, Konis (F), Bilstiens (R), MGW Shifter
03-01-2015, 10:33 PM #148
And if we're really concerned about whose car is faster, a rolling start really helps to reduce the impact of the driver variable, anyway. I suspect that a really skilled driver might be able to reach low 12s with my car, assuming the rear end held up. I heard of a stock C5 Z06 running 11.8 on slicks, which is why I think mine might get within a couple tenths of that number (with fresh street tires).
03-02-2015, 04:07 AM #149
I think with some sticky tires on there, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd gear pull will give you more G's in the pants. Your probably just spinning the tires now without even knowing it. A nice set of long tube headers and full exhaust will also open up a few more ponies. Although, if the volume of the exhaust is a little more then you bargained for now, you def dont want to add more decibels with full exhaust. LOL
03-02-2015, 04:25 AM #150
Grinding when going into any gear isn't normal, even after a new clutch installment. If it's grinding, either the synchro is not properly lining up to mesh the gears or the clutch is not fully disengaging/releasing.
03-02-2015, 05:38 AM #151
I'm thinking the synchro's are beginning to let go. When normal shifting, or shifting into gear slowly is fine, but when trying to "speed" shift the gears grind, that usually is a sign of the synchro's going bad. Not really a big deal. I don't think this is really a problem where the trans will fail altogether, you just cant zip through the gears like a race car.
03-02-2015, 06:30 AM #152
03-02-2015, 06:33 AM #153
03-02-2015, 07:04 AM #154
- Join Date
- Feb 2009
- Ugy Lower Corner of AL
Navy Blue Metallic
- 98 T/A w/a little mods...
If you do decide to get the Tick MC, best to do it now vs later. Tick MC's installed at same time as LS7 clutch work well, however.....if you install the Tick MC later on it will not get along with the worn LS7 clutch. Something having to do with how the LS7 clutch self adjusts.
Also their speed bleeder is a very nice addition.....
Last edited by SMWS6TA; 03-02-2015 at 07:07 AM.
03-02-2015, 04:51 PM #155
my lid an maf are just for looks now big tb 102 fast intake fac stuff wont hook up
03-03-2015, 05:57 AM #156
Namman, The adjustable master is subjective to personal opinions. Sean may not feel it's necessary because he likes the factory feel of these clutches.
Personally, I don't. I prefer our clutches to grab passed 1/2 way just a smidge. I like being able to shift without needing to depress the clutch completely to the floor, and it also makes speed shifting or power shifting much easier as I can yank the lever as I move the clutch pedal, (generally our hands are faster than our feet) If I had to wait until it was depressed completely it would really slow down the shifts, plus the disc not moving far off the face of the flywheel can sometimes cause sticky shifter feel, or in severe cases, grinding. Overall it's just much more comfortable to drive day in and day out with a pedal that grabs closer to the top rather than closer to the bottom. I believe we have gotten used to that from driving classic cars with mechanical linkage for so many years and having infinate adjustability on those.....so we just don't like the non adjustable hydraulic stuff on these cars nowadays.
It's all about feel and what's comfortable for you.
You'll get used to the power. These engines are sluggish down low in stock form and don't have a torque peak until 4,000 or just above. That's likely changed a bit with the cam and head swap shifting the power curve up higher now. That scenario is much more suited to having more rearend gear in the car. That will really wake it up.
03-04-2015, 10:43 AM #157
I tend to agree: I like when the clutch can be operated without going all the way to the floor. In fact, my car has always engaged about half way to the floor (at least, it seems that way). So far as I know, it's always been the original master cylinder.
I talked to Sean and he says to give it 500 miles to break in before worrying about it.
The clutch does feel really good, though. Some say that the LS7 is stiffer or has more pedal effort, but I don't feel any. It seems a lot better than my outgoing clutch.
I've been thinking about putting 3.73s in there when I eventually pick up a 12-bolt. But I like the 3.42 ratio just fine. Not that I've tried it yet, but if I can really wind it up to 7000 rpm safely, then the 3.42s might be plenty of gear, since the next gear will come in at a higher speed anyway. I'll have to look at the dyno again to see how far Nic pulled and where the power band falls off.
03-05-2015, 12:08 AM #158
Its harder to get a vert to run a good drag time
my lil g body will run 10's easy v6
Last edited by 99ss405; 03-05-2015 at 12:11 AM.
03-05-2015, 04:25 AM #159
Never had any trouble getting decent times out of my vert. I scaled both my wifes t-top SS and my SS vert and the vert came in only 60 lbs. heavier. They both ran nearly the same at the track. My biggest issue is the 13.50 roll bar cutoff for the verts.
3.42's worked okay in the 6 speed, when our's was stock. Ours has a very mild custom Crane cam that mimics LS6 specs with faster ramps and 112 lsa. So it has a very nice broad torque curve, but pulls to 6700. However like all these LS1 engines with their 200cc intake runners and 346 cubes, they are a bit soft down low with a torque peak that is slightly higher than what is considered normal. The auto's aren't bad with their 3.06 first gear if the car has 3.23 rear gears or better, they help get the rpm's up a little quicker (especially with a converter), but the 6 speeds 2.66 1st gear and 3.42's I felt was always a little doggy in first gear, put a cam in and in most cases that gets worse. Once rolling, like you said, they feel fine.
Just going to 3.73's in our 6 speed made a world of difference in the car. Much easier in traffic to let the clutch out and roll away from a stop, and much more responsive through the gears. Had 4.10's in it for a while, was fun, but ultimately the 200 mile round trip daily commute my wife was doing had me pulling those out. 3.73 was a happy medium and they have been there ever since.
Last time ran at the track I had the 3.42's in it. Didn't care much for it at the track. Soggy out of the hole, once rolling not bad, but it would cross the finish line in 3rd gear at 111+ mph just barely bumping the rev limiter. Just not the best setup for optimum 1/4 mile times. Better suited with 4.10's for that, but the 3.73's would work decent and I'd suspect a small improvement in 60 foot and overall ET (and the ability to actually use 4th gear for a short spirt). Just haven't had the desire to take it back.
03-05-2015, 05:46 AM #160
My thought process with your combo, if you're worried about traction, is that I don't see it being too big of an issue with yours. With 3.42's, and what seems to be a high strung power curve, it doesn't sound like it's going to be a big tire spinner unless it's provoked. I think it would drive around just fine with 3.42's on stock rubber without too much concern of overpowering the tires when just rolling into the throttle and driving sensibly. I little extra clutch action could change that though
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