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.
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.
View Video on FQuick
View Video on FQuick
After with caback installed:
Notice how the graph peters off towards the upper rpm range. This is important for later reference.
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.