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Doing heads and cam...do I know what I'm doing?

This is a discussion on Doing heads and cam...do I know what I'm doing? within the Internal Engine forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; 97 trans am m6 ram air with 85k miles on it. So far I've got bolt ons (full exhaust, msd ...

  1. #1
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    Doing heads and cam...do I know what I'm doing?

    97 trans am m6 ram air with 85k miles on it.

    So far I've got bolt ons (full exhaust, msd opti/wires/coil, stage 2 clutch, and some small stuff), and a mail order tune.

    I've decided to get a little more serious with it and do heads and cam. After painstaking research I feel like I almost have a grip on the knowledge and procedure I need to do this. I'm kind of an amateur mechanic but I'd venture to say I'm learning pretty quickly. The point of this post is hopefully to get some feedback from those who REALLY know what they're talking about and make sure I'm not about to screw the pooch with the wrong parts or etc. The goal here is to make 400 or more rwhp and I plan on turning my motor at 6300 rpm and no higher on the stock bottom end.

    Parts I have chosen to upgrade with:

    lt1 le2 ported heads (come built with pac 145lb beehive springs and 2.0/1.6 manley valves and etc)
    Lloyd Elliott ported intake and TB holes opened to 58mm as well
    58mm Throttle Body--haven't chosen one yet
    226/230 .565/.565 111LS cam from lloyd elliott
    ls7 lifters
    comp cams pro magnum 3/8 stud 1.6 self aligning roller rockers
    ARP 3/8 rocker studs
    ARP 12 point head bolts
    ARP balancer bolt
    timing set--stock or is there better?
    pushrods -- I think trickflow but supposedly I need to measure with a tool first?
    gaskets--suggestions please?
    injectors/fuel pump--do I need these or will stock be sufficient?

    I'm positive I'm missing some stuff but I'm trying to stay on some sort of budget. Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by RollingD; 12-05-2009 at 05:23 PM. Reason: added timing set

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    Quote Originally Posted by RollingD View Post
    97 trans am m6 ram air with 85k miles on it.

    So far I've got bolt ons (full exhaust, msd opti/wires/coil, stage 2 clutch, and some small stuff), and a mail order tune.

    I've decided to get a little more serious with it and do heads and cam. After painstaking research I feel like I almost have a grip on the knowledge and procedure I need to do this. I'm kind of an amateur mechanic but I'd venture to say I'm learning pretty quickly. The point of this post is hopefully to get some feedback from those who REALLY know what they're talking about and make sure I'm not about to screw the pooch with the wrong parts or etc. The goal here is to make 400 or more rwhp and I plan on turning my motor at 6300 rpm and no higher on the stock bottom end.

    Parts I have chosen to upgrade with:

    lt1 le2 ported heads (come built with pac 145lb beehive springs and 2.0/1.6 manley valves and etc)
    Lloyd Elliott ported intake and TB holes opened to 58mm as well
    58mm Throttle Body--haven't chosen one yet
    226/230 .565/.565 111LS cam from lloyd elliott
    ls7 lifters
    comp cams pro magnum 3/8 stud 1.6 self aligning roller rockers
    ARP 3/8 rocker studs
    ARP 12 point head bolts
    ARP balancer bolt
    pushrods -- I think trickflow but supposedly I need to measure with a tool first?
    gaskets--suggestions please?
    injectors/fuel pump--do I need these or will stock be sufficient?

    I'm positive I'm missing some stuff but I'm trying to stay on some sort of budget. Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.
    Timing chain upgrade and better oil pump is always nice to have. 400whp with a lt1 and a cam that small is going to be hard IMO. But whp is just a number you should be shooting for 1/4mile time or trap speed.

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    woops forgot the timing set just put it on my list. As for the oil pump I don't think thats really necessary is it? The stock one should be good enough. And I'm not really a track guy but I know what you mean. Thats the reason I'm getting that small cam since I can only rev 6300, it should work out fine.

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    progress!

    Its been a loooong time coming, but I've finally begun my project. I figured out all the etc type parts I need and purchased them. There are a few odds and ends which are easily wrapped up and a few that aren't. The original plan was to pull the motor and give her a once over, but on an impatient whim I decided not to and I've started dismantling. At the moment I've got all the fluids drained, my intake, water pump, crank pulley, opti, and the driver side header off. When I got to the accessory bracket I kinda stared at it for a while stumped, but a little research tells me it doesn't need to come off to get the head out, I think...? So anyways if I get the time I'm gonna get the heads out this week, if not then this weekend for sure, and send them and the intake to Mr. Elliott for porting. While I wait I'm going to remove whatever else I need to and install what supporting mods I can until I get the real gofast parts back. As of now I can think of several stumbling blocks I'm going to run into: Degreeing the cam (necessary?), getting out the water pump drive gear/shaft (no frigging clue), plugging up the hole for said shaft (freeze plug?), valve lash (read all about it but just feel iffy with no experience), and just startup in general (making sure fluids are good while running the car for 20 minutes to breakin the cam etc etc I don't get how you do it all at once. I hear people do valve lash while its running, how the f**k do you do that if you've gotta hold revs up for the cam?). So thats the story, input appreciated.

    O_O confusion.

  5. #5
    cutting and welding mark21742's Avatar
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    if can swing it, id upgrade the rod bolts with ARP too

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    Can I even do that without pulling the block out though? Seems like it'd be pretty difficult to get a torque wrench up in there.

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    I would replace the stock oil pump with a new stock unit. You will need bigger injectors and a bigger fuel pump. I agree that you should change your rod bolts to ARP's but I don't think you will be able to do it with the motor in the car. Degreeing the cam is always a good idea. Setting the valve lash isn't that hard. It took me a couple of trys to get it right. You may want to go with the non self aligning rockers though, just get some guideplates and hardened pushrods. I have heard that the SA rockers can pop off at high lift. I don't know personally if that is true or not. My cam specs are 230/234 duration, .510/.520 lift with a 110 LS. I have the SA rockers and have never had a problem with them.

  8. #8
    cutting and welding mark21742's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RollingD View Post
    Can I even do that without pulling the block out though? Seems like it'd be pretty difficult to get a torque wrench up in there.
    Its a PITA, best way is hang the engine with a support bar across the strut towers and drop thr K member down enough to get the pan out.
    For the price and time IMO its worth the insurance

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    Ahhhh screw it. I'm doing it all ass backwards. We got one of the heads off yesterday and the header got all mangled. The wrap is all ripped up and covered in coolant. I'm guessing it's ok but it gave me a sad face . Anyway I redecided I wanna take the engine out but it's all crazy right now because I'm taking it apart first. But doing rod bolts is good insurance like everyone is saying. I'm dropping a lot of money already and I suppose it's not the time to get stingy. I'll hand the block over to a machine shop and let them check everyhting and maybe replace some bearings. I'd rather do everything myself but I'm already pretty far into the realm of WTF is going on. So anyways how do you think I should get the block out once I make it down to it?

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