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WarShrike's Project Thread

35248 Views 192 Replies 40 Participants Last post by  WarShrike
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.
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Wish I had more time to work on mine! I don't think I've even gone near it for the past month and a half. I've been tinkering with my recent purchase, an Audi S4, twin turbo AWD 6 speed. In the meanwhile, your progress is a good motivational factor towards helping me pick up the tools and diagrams again.
Wish I had more time to work on mine! I don't think I've even gone near it for the past month and a half. I've been tinkering with my recent purchase, an Audi S4, twin turbo AWD 6 speed. In the meanwhile, your progress is a good motivational factor towards helping me pick up the tools and diagrams again.
I'm guessing it is a B5 S4 (99-02.5 model)? Those are the ones I've lusted over for years, the Avant especially.
Picked up my roller rockers that I won off pacefabricating's e-bay auction. They're purrdy.

While painting some wood stuff in the garage, I sticker-bombed my tool chest. I felt like I was in elementary school again.

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Got the BLS projectors finished after some fine tuning and me fixing one of my screwups. My camera doesn't know WTF to do in auto with the lights like this, and I didn't have time to fart around with the settings...

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While waiting on other things, I replaced a few items. Both the ICM and coils were looking worse for wear and the car had started to stumble a bit after idling in the heat. Figured with my next step in the build, I'd just eliminate that issue right now with new ignition equipment.

Installed a new ICM and GTP/SSEI coils. The SSEI coils are ACDELCO Part # D576.

Also replaced my aging O2 sensors with some Denso units as I started getting a code thrown for inefficiency issues. Come to find out, my band clamps had worked loose a little and was letting air into the stream. Will have to make a note to myself to tighten them during each oil change interval.

Took it for a drive, but couldn't get spirited as there were literally police everywhere I looked! I can sense a bit smoother increase in the revs, but we'll see when I take it for a drive tomorrow and will do some tuning/datalogging on top of that.

Umm. It's big?

120lb/hr injector

More stuff to follow in the next few weeks but then I will probably go radio silent when school starts.
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Where does an injector of that magnitude come into play on a 3.8l? Homemade W/MI?
It's going to be replacing my regular injectors and the 60lb/hr injectors after I turn up the boost and get more familiar with tuning a boosted app. Make sure I'm running safely at the higher power levels.
UMI Performance 3-point Subframe connectors are installed, still need to paint the weld points to protect them.

Here's a pic of the T-56 installed, you can see the adapter plate (barely) and the mods done to the cross member to accommodate said adapter plate.
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I'd say the subframe connectors did exactly what they needed to!

I had to do spark plugs today and spray paint the welds while I was under there. I don't feel safe trying to drive a manual trans car up on ramps and then put it on the stands so I just jack the car up on each side to get the front tire high enough to set it on the ramp.

I can now lift one entire side of the car and have both tires off the ground. The chassis could flex enough that the rear tire would still be on the ground at this height.
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I have to say, I am totally gobsmacked - I wish I had even a fraction of your knowledge to be able to try any of that.

The car is gorgeous, and you are doing an amazing job - I'm 50 shades of green with jealousy.
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Well, this came in. Got a few other things with it. Up next is the heads/cam/intake package from WOT-Tech, then a flywheel so I can send it to the shop and get the whole rotating assembly balanced to help make reliable/efficient power even up top.

I'm doing research on the next step after my top end package is done. Flywheel and Clutch to handle the power at max effort.

I'm staying away from Spec as much as possible from experiences I've seen in the bigger power stuff for the V6's in the past. Monster is the only company that seemed to be up to the challenge, but I'd have to send a flywheel to them first before they could give me the go ahead. Never got anything back from Centerforce and I believe McLeod said "NOPE."

In the mean time, I decided to look in Australia for V6 friendly apps for the T-5 equipped Holdens. I think I found a jackpot, but it's gonna be costly.

Gonna have to tag this NSFW now...

This was in an e-mail from NPC just now, they recommended the 10.5" dual plate kit. I asked for pricing and pics if possible.

Here's the Coyote V8 clutch/flywheel combo, the flywheel will be different but the clutch will be very similar. Good to 800rwhp and ~$1800USD + Freight from Australia. MF-ING Ouch. Power doesn't exactly come cheap, folks. Anyway, I figured I'd have to be staring down a clutch/flywheel combo that would come out as a sizeable chunk of cash.

Anyway, PR0N!

This was on their website, single plate, 6 button ceramic clutch kit:
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Your rite about that power doesn't come cheap.
At that price why not get a spare.
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All the coin you're putting out and you're still in school? Please tell me you have some serious sponsorship deals!
Jim, I've tapered off on the spending as of late. This clutch/flywheel is going to have to wait till probably this next year. I buy stuff in little bits here and there. Makes the pain a little more manageable instead of doing it all in one lump lol!

I'm just doing research now, budgeting it out and figuring out what I need to spend later on or keep my eye out for deals that can't be passed up (Like my longblock & turbo combination at 1/3 the price of what it would have cost originally).
Just a little chilly outside....

That does sound good Dane.

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Cleaned up the garage a little bit and got to inventory a few things that I'd purchased online a while back to see what I have and what I need, etc. etc.

Hello, old friend.

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