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· I'm that V6 guy.
595 Posts
I'll go ahead and start making a nice long post on my project. This will cover the tear down, the parts pile, the build up and other challenges I faced along the way.

To start, for those who don't know me or know of my car, I'll give a quick rundown of it all and what/why I went through with this project when I "could have had a V8."

I've owned this car since December of 2002, and it was replacing the driving duties of my tired ol '83 BMW 533i which needed a full engine overhaul. I didn't want the car at first. It was an automatic and a V6, far from what I'd consider as manly at that point in time. I bought it used at 65,000 miles. Had to rebuild the transmission within the next 3,000 miles (not because of anything I did).

2000 Pontiac Firebird
Maple Red Metallic
3.42's and Posi

I found out about the V6 community as I wanted to find something to do with this car. In my search I found out about Project Virus and Project Pathogen. Pathogen being the car owned by one of the members on FullthrottleV6. That was my first inspiration to do something different, instead of go with the easy route.

So in 2006 I finally started doing little stuff here and there, first being a Whisper Lid from NotAV8, Matt from that board who was also a local member.

The proverbial Modding Cherry had been popped, and it sounded like Zeus gargling lightning bolts. I liked the new sound of the car.

I then bought a LS1 19mm rear swaybar from a local guy and then bought a BMR 32mm swaybar from FloydSummerOf68 (Shawn) on FullthrottleV6. This was by far the most enjoyable mod I did to the car at that point in time. It really changed the handling characteristics of the car, even if it had the worn decarbons.

This was it for quite some time as I had just gotten married and had a lot of work around the new house to do. Then an opportunity presented itself that I couldn't pass up. Follow up in the next post.

Longtube Headers & TSP Catback

After awhile Usd2Sing from the board decided to sell his Force Fed Fabs longtube headers. I decided to buy them as they were just what I was looking for to change things up on the car a little bit.

I was nervous and excited all at once as I hadn't turned a wrench mechanically on this car yet. So tired, and dirty after the install, everything worked. The reason why I was exceptionally dirty is the fact the car had an intake gasket leak since probably '04 and the slow weeping mixed with Texas dust had caked a mess in some areas of the engine.

Tubes delivered:

Comparison to stock tubular manifolds:


I also had a local exhaust shop install a TSP Rumbler catback as the local shops couldn't seem to do a true dual exhaust the way I wanted it routed.


7293.jpgView Video on FQuick

First start:
9205.jpgView Video on FQuick

After with caback installed:

Notice how the graph peters off towards the upper rpm range. This is important for later reference.

The Teardown.

I decided to pull the car out of service in June of 2009. That's when things got ugly in a hurry.

I pulled the valve covers on a 135,000 mile motor to find this:




This perfectly explained the lifter tick and all the other issues. I had changed the oil on a regular basis, used synthetic etc. etc. I think it comes down to high miles and the previous owner probably skimped on changes while it was in their hands. 65K miles in two years is a lot.


Nasty stuff in coolant line:


I found broken brackets and stuff galore on this engine. I never could track down why my AC made a rattling noise until half the bracket fell off while unbolting it. Broken clean in half, and the engine mount on that side had one broken bolt, one missing and the other was loose.

The influx of replacement and modding parts.

You know the quote "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts;" well that's essentially what I tried to get the best in many areas. I tried to get parts discount, slightly used or sometimes I'd have to pay the regular pricing especially on labor.

With the help from John at Scoggin Dickey Parts Center, I managed to get quite a few replacement parts, performance parts, guidance and even help on assembly of my engine later on.

First item was to replace the rockers that I just did not care to trust anymore. We thought of going with 1.7 roller rockers and Yella Terra had some available. So I bought them, not knowing I'd later need 1/2" taller valve covers...

With these rockers, the cam lift changes a little bit to 212º/216º .556"/.546" 113º LSA.

On almost a weekly basis I stopped by SDPC (Local to me since I live in Lubbock), and picked up a package of parts and little odds and ends that needed replacement.

Starts with just one box...

And ends with a pile of parts...

Up next, show and tell from the machine shop.

· I'm that V6 guy.
595 Posts
Parts from the Machine Shop.
So I decided to have the whole block cleaned and re-honed, along with have the rotating assembly cleaned. I took this to a local shop (Total Engine Service) and had them hone and clean the block, make sure everything was nice and straight and install freeze plugs.

Then I learned after taking the engine home that if you use ARP Main Studs, due to the higher clamping force, you need to have the block align honed or else you run the risk of spinning a crank bearing.

TES didn't have an align hone machine, but they would outsource it to another shop that I had no idea who it was. I took it to Teiner Machine instead and had them align hone and do the oiling mods to the block, pump housing and filter adaptor to the spec by FlyinGTP.

So I lost some money there, lesson learned.

Parts back from machinists:

In this same timeframe, I started talking with John at 60°Inclusive. He had started branching out from the 60°V6 platform and offered to do the porting on my heads and intake and do some machining work on the heads to accept the 1.7 Yella Terras, and mill the valve guides for the extra lift they were going to see. Since I didn't want anything too serious or go with large aftermarket valves etc. etc. he did a base hand port all for a very reasonable price.

Because of his shop expansion causing the heads work to run long, he gave me a few kickbacks which I wear usually once a week and sport on my car 24/7. He also flowbenched my heads compared to stock, which even surprised him at the results.

Parts back from John at 60°Inc:
Intake delivered:

Click this bar to view the full image.

Click this bar to view the full image.

John sent me a teaser of what was about to be shipped to me:

Click this bar to view the full image.

Heads delivered:

Up next, block assembly!​

Engine Assembly
So In anticipation of the heads (not delivered yet), I started assembling the block and getting everything installed. I took my time and gauged everything out. I also took my time and rotated the assembly at least once a day while waiting on more parts so nothing sat in one spot too long.

I spray painted the block in a silver enamel from the parts store, just to make it a little easier to identify stuff while working in/under the car later on. The regular block is almost an oxide black coating, and after getting hot tanked most of that came off. I didn't want a big rusty hunk of iron in my engine bay.

Slugs installed:

Upskirt! Giggity!

Using ARP Head Studs:

Top end assembly:

I found something else rather neat, the oil pickup tube from Melling is a little bit bigger in diameter and has a larger pickup head as seen in these two pics:

Up next, Engine Assembly Part II.​

Engine Assembly II
So I initially had a set of valve covers milled down to try and use the flanges as a spacer to clear the Yella Terra rockers.

They didn't clear:

The biggest reason why is the adjuster nut. This adds a lot more across the top arc of motion that the valve covers have to clear. You need a bit more room to go 1/2" at least. For F-bodies, this will prevent you from using your stock coil bracket, and you will need to position it on your firewall.

No matter how beautiful they are, somebody, somewhere is tired of dealing with their crap:

So I embarked on a quest to find somebody to fab taller covers for me, but a guy on CV6 was parting out a build. They had taller covers, and so I bought them. I still had to use the spacers because of my gargantuan elephantiasis diseased rockers.

Now you see me...

Now you don't!

Up next, Suspension updates!​

Suspension updates.
I purchased a PARacing Tubular K-member with road racing reinforcements (1/2 price) used from a local who was going to a boosted V8 swap instead.

Comparison of stock stamped steel k-member to PARacing setup:
Something in the vicinity of 30lbs difference...

I put in poly motor mount bushings, which require you to drill out the rivets and pry on the old bushing like your life depended on it...

I also installed UMI tubular lower control arms and adjustable pan hard bar:

Sir not appearing in this thread is my set of QA1's, which were installed under the cover of darkness lol!

Bought some slotted rotors, which my old rotors had a lip on the outside edge...

Up next, mating!​

· F.B.N. Audio Bling Team
5,326 Posts
Very nice sir +1. I remember when the LT headers were being prototyped. Looks like there is more readily available now for the V6 performance crowd. The build is looking good so far.

Seeing all those names from FTV6 brought it back lol Im about to log on to my account and lurk a little.

· I'm that V6 guy.
595 Posts
Mating...hard, hot and heavy!
9:30 AM
Started clearing a path to the car, half the bay is filled with the old OEM parts.

10:00 AM

10:15 AM

10:45 AM

11:00 AM Fighting a heavy engine and trans with a jack up front that keeps slipping down the smooth tubular K-member proves to be very challenging to line up.

2:00 PM Time to shower up and head to work.

Fine adjustments, remembering where thingie A goes into slot B...
Pushed the car into the garage, neighbors probably though it had been towed finally after sitting in my drive way from June 2009 to January 2010.

In the Duke's Pit of Despair!

Looking like a car again!

Coil bracket mounted to firewall, had to move it an inch over towards the intake as the prong on the coil pack was on the brake booster.

Still working...

First Start
First started the car with the new build on January 26 2010 at 9:00 am. My neighbors had contractors doing work in their garage, and they came out looking down the street wondering where the speedboat noise was coming from...

And so the long road to recovery begins. After over six months of a slumber, it is time to do some physical therapy on the car. Little bits here and there needed tweaking, adjustment, and even replacement due to failure and lack of experience by the builder.​

· Registered
745 Posts
what an awesome thread.....step by step coolness +1

this is the way a build thread should by play with pics & vids

the bird is looking great - keep up the good work!

· I'm that V6 guy.
595 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the post, now I can add more pictures

Teething problems and terrible twos...
First issue:

Shortly after starting up the car and driving it only a short amount of time, the Cometic MLS head gaskets I had installed had begun to leak. I pulled the valve covers and retorqued the heads, but to no avail.

I ordered a new set of gaskets, and used the steps of MLS head gasket preparation outlined by FlinGTP (link). I forgot to do this the first time around. These things are very dirty, I was amazed at how many paper towels I had to go through while prepping them for copper gasket spray:

I used the metal Fel-pro problem solver intake gaskets the second time around (Part # MS 98014 T). These can be seen here:

Second Issue:

The transmission finally gave up the ghost, after being rebuild shortly after buying the car in '02. I am led to believe it started going out while it was on the dyno last time before tearing the car down. It finally crapped out when I put it on a dyno again, it only made 106hp and 134ft/lbs as the trans couldn't put the power down.

I trailered it to Amarillo to Precision Transmissions and had the knowing hands of Richard build the trans. This guy has built many amazing 4L60's for F-body customers. This setup should be good for around 600hp
and at $1300, that's one heck of a deal.

Third Issue:

I figured out that the valve springs were not going to cut it. With discussion between members here, John at 60°Inclusive and John at SDPC, I went with bigger springs. I went from COMP 105# springs to PAC 130# springs.

PACS on left, Comps on right:

Up next, lessons learned.​

· I'm that V6 guy.
595 Posts
Lessons learned
I'm down to only tuning the car, getting the WOT tune lined up, hit the local track to see my times and run it on the dyno again to get some numbers.

After over a year since the project started, I've learned a lot of things and looking back on it, I would have done a few things differently.

1. Buy another engine and build it so I'm not without a daily driver. I rode my bicycle almost full time, racking up over 1000 miles from teardown. This would have allowed me to do the whole build without being without my car and also could have done a fully focused build without trying to get the car done asap.

2. I would not have bought the Yella Terra rockers (YT6333). If I could have found a set of roller rockers that worked under the stock valve covers, I would have used them instead, even if they were $100-$200 more than the YT's as the taller valve covers alone were around $300.

3. I would have had the rotating assembly fully balanced. Had I known how long it would take me to get the build completed, I would have had it taken care of by the local machine shop for that added insurance and just a little more efficient operation.

But I am enjoying the car entirely right now. I have to have fun with it, or else it isn't worth it.

Also had a new plate done to clarify things for those who don't know


· Registered
618 Posts
Love the thread. Thanks for sharing your story...

I never willl get used to lifting a car onto an engine. It just seems wrong.

· I'm that V6 guy.
595 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Installed LS6 injectors to deal with the current stockers just getting too close to maximum duty.

Getting started!

LS6 connector from Casper's Electronics:

Spliced into the harness:

Injector Spacers:


· I'm that V6 guy.
595 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
As promised! Need to get some lugnuts, center caps and valve stems. Probably going to run spacers to get them more flush with the body lines of the car (have ARP studs available, not looking forward to pulling rear axles)...Oh yeah and tires too!

Going to put the speedline spoke logo back on but in black this time. I need to find some speedline center caps that fit, but these are going to require a 70mm back center cap. I can drop a 20oz can through the hub opening and not touch.



· I'm that V6 guy.
595 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
As it stands right now.

Factory Options:
GU6 & G80, AKA 3.42's and a posi. Something not commonly found in V6's outside the W68/Y87 packaged cars.

Exterior Modifications:
8000K HID low beams.
8000K HID fog lights.
60LED Switchback DRL/Turn Signals.
Debadged, trim delete and rear filler panel is now devoid of the firebird name and logo.

Interior Modifications:
PLX Wideband gauge in central AC vent.
Weight Reduction

Whisper Lid
Intense S1X NA Cam
Yella Terra 1.7 Platinum series roller rockers
PAC 130# springs
60°Inclusive ported heads and intake
LS6 Fuel Injectors w/ FAST spacers
Manton Pushrods
LS7 lifters
Fabricated Valve Covers
Force Fed Fabs Longtube Headers
3" Spun Metallic Cat
TSP Rumbler
SLP Dual Dual slash cut tips

BMR 32mm Solid swaybar + Poly endlinks/bushings
PARacing Tubular K-member RR
HAL QA1 12-way coilovers
LS1 19mm swaybar + Poly endlinks/bushings
UMI Performance LCA's
UMI Performance Adjustable Torque Arm
HAL QA1 12-way shocks w/ WS6 rear springs

Aluminum Driveshaft
Yank Torque Arm Relocation Cross member
TCI Super Street Fighter 3800 stall w/ 2.1 str
4L60E built by Richard at Precision Transmissions in Amarillo, TX
Hayden 1405 trans cooler

PLX Wideband

To-Do List:
Finish restoration of speedlines.

Install ram air hood, build air box.

Get some dyno time, Break into 13's NA.

Collect parts pile for T-56 build.

· Put the EVIDENCE in the Car!
5,025 Posts
Very cool thread, Dane. Interesting, informative and complete. And a whole lot of fun to read through. After listening to the vids, I may have to shift my paradign regarding V6's. Thanks for that! Looking forward to the dyno numbers and strip slips.

· Premium Member
1,727 Posts
Very nice build! I liked hearing the step by step process of the changes made. This is inspiring that you truly never did just drop in a v8 crate and kept it how it was born. That's one mean v6!


· I'm that V6 guy.
595 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Guess I've been huffing paint quite a bit lately.

Spent my off day on Saturday cleaning the hubs up. I'm waiting on my speedline logos to get in so I can put them on the car. In the meantime, I put one on just to see how it looked. There's a lot of brake clearance on this thing now lol!

Also installed NOS!!!

Meet my friend Rusty:

After brake cleen, wire wheel and sanding disc:

Used silver caliper paint, two coats. Really surprised at how well it covered it:

Needs a center cap, gotta get some measurements for our favorite machinist/60° guru:

No poser dollar bills on the dish of this wheel:

Also refinished a set manual trans pedal assembly as they were a bit rusty, so I bead blasted them at my dad's shop and repainted them in satin black. Will reassemble with a bit of assembly lube to make sure I have quiet pedal operation. Still need to find some pedal covers, but will probably just deal with the unfinished metal for starters.




· Registered
437 Posts

· I'm that V6 guy.
595 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Parts just slowly trickling in now. Waiting on the exhaust stuff, doing a dynotune next week at Texas Speed & Performance.

Wrapped my knock sensors w/ dynamat to cut down on false KR as the stainless headers are pretty close to the engine. Seems to have worked.

Got this in today, my MGW shifter and decided to test fit the shift knob I'd bought awhile back from a fellow V6 guy that got out of the game. It's from MBA Products, not made anymore I believe.

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