Archive for the Other Vehicles Category

Just keep saying it’s another step closer…

Posted in LT-1, Other Vehicles on 3 December 11 by Mark

Well, the Carb Conn appointment went pretty well.  The guy there, Alex, was great.  Met me after his morning workout, showed me around the shop (they’ve got some amazing rides there).  Then he pulled his laptop and his communication gear over to the truck, but wasn’t able to hook up to the PCM with either EFILive or his HPTuners equipment.  SONOFA….

We talked about possibilities, and he said I should go ahead and give the DMV a shot at emissions testing.  He had a tester and shoved it up the tailpipe, and it it passed with flying colors!  Unfortunately, I could hear an exhaust leak starting up pretty bad.  I took it into the state emissions inspection shop, and they passed me!  I went straight to the DMV (DoL in this state), and got fresh tabs for the license plate.  So that made me legal, at least.

I drove it to work for a couple days, and it ran great, but that exhaust leak got immensely worse quickly.  T came back over and helped me get it back into running shape–retightened the exhaust headers after the couple hundred mile break in, change the oil for the first time (more dino oil going in), and fixed the exhaust leak.  Turns out, BOTH COLLECTORS had come completely off.  I guess the nuts backed off or something.  That exhaust is the only thing I didn’t do myself on this build, and I paid REAL good money (i.e., he robbed me blind), and all six collector bolts backed off. 

Anyway, got those bolted back up, and it’s suddenly tolerable to drive again.  Alex at Carb Conn told me to try Vince at Trifecta, a mail order tune & logging place, but he apparently has sold all his LT1 equipment, even though that’s what he drives.  HE told me to try Blood Enterprises down in Auburn, and they DO tune LT1s!  So I drove it down there on Thursday.

While it was there, they gave it a once over before they put it up on the dyno.  They found a few problems that keep them from doing the dyno tune:  a couple plug wires had burned on the exhaust headers (these things are beginning to be a pain), the clutch hydraulic line had apparently fallen and was resting on the driver’s side catalytic converter, and finally the main wiring harness loom was too close for comfort to the header.  They’re going to take a swag at fixing those three things, then they’ll put it up on the dyno early next week.  Again, i’ll post a dyno chart as soon as I can.

They were able to communicate with the PCM, but unfortunately, the ABS codes that I’ve got are in the V6 computer, which ISN’T on the OBD port, so they can’t pull them.  I’ll call CPW next week, I guess.

In the meantime, I’ve got the amp to install to power the 4 component speakers that have been powered off the head unit all this time, the auxiliary input for the stereo, new carpet, a new shift boot & hold-down ring, and an LED dimmer ready to install.  I’ve also been planning out the center console, and I think I have an idea of how to incorporate a couple cup holders, the exhaust cutout switch, the center console tray, a cubby for your wallet & cell phone, and maybe room for some gauges in the future.

I’ve also got a new sub & amp for the car, and I’ve installed the aux in for that as well.  That’ll keep me busy until the truck comes back from the shop!


More baby steps

Posted in LT-1, Other Vehicles on 25 October 11 by Mark

Well, it’s been about two weeks since my last post.  I’ve been battling the power steering issue, which led me last night to realize that I’ve got a loop of the reservoir->pump hose that goes above the level of the reservoir, which probably means that I’m creating an air bubble there.  I disconnected and rethreaded it through the mess of wires and hoses there on the passenger side front.  It’s now lower, and not kinked, so that should solve that problem.

MIL light:  I took the cluster out and I think I had a Gross Conceptual Error when I installed the LED lights.  I believe that I was holding the ground side of the source on one large “ground plain” and moving the 12V source around the cluster to confirm I knew which side was the positive side.  One problem with that:  it’s usually the GROUND SIDE that it switched by the PCM, which means I had all the idiot lights backwards.  I pulled the cluster out and started testing it.  This time, I didn’t have the battery charger handy, but I DID have the battery.  Oops–there’s no current limiter on the battery, and it certainly has neough power to burn the little copper traces on the cluster.  Which it did.  So I went to the junk yard last Sunday and grabbed a couple clusters out of other trucks.  I also ordered a new white gauge face, and I’ll transfer the needles over.  Speaking of needles, I think that’s why my oil pressure was pegged high–it was trying to indicate 0 psi at about 1/4 scale, so the HIGH oil pressure (cold idle) was off the scale.  That’s also why when the oil warmed up and got more viscous, pressure came down to high in band.  So I’ve adjusted all the needles, and they all seem to indicate better (temp, fuel, etc).  Of course, I now have to pull them all off and transfer them to the new cluster, so that will have to be done again.

The two codes are indeed Maintenance Indicator Lamp fault (discussed above, see “DOH!”) and fan circuit B failure.  I’ll get that one turned off at the tuning shop.

I’ve also bled both the power steering and the clutch hydraulics, which BOTH has significant air in the system.  I don’t think the bleeding of the clutch has solved my reverse problem, which I may just have to live with until I’m ready to pull the transmission again.  The power steering, as I said, was related to the air bubble, so that should be taken care of.

I also got a new coil for the LT1, just to see if that will change the upper-rev-band behavior of the engine.  I need to check the tach and make sure it’s working correctly (i.e., set for V8, not V6), since the truck seemed to redline at about 5500, and it should be set to above 6300.

Still looking for a tuning shop.  One that I spoke with only does LSx motors, no LTx anymore.  Blah.  LAME.

I installed the amplifier in my Stratus, so I now have a radio in it for the first time in about 3 years.  I don’t think I mentioned it, but it was stolen outside from outside my house in Ravenna (19th & 68th).  They got my 400W 12″ kicker sub, both my audiobahn amps (one for the sub, one for the speakers).  About 8 months later, they got the 10″ form fitted box & sub from my S-10.  That was BEFORE they stole my roommate’s Nissan Maxima.  And before they broke into my house and stole my GPS, my 1911 Colt, and my (then) fiance’s wedding band, not to mention a bunch of family jewelry and laptop from my roommate.  I hate thieves.  I wish they’d have tried to take my 12 gauge from my hands while I was THERE, bastards.  ANYWAY, I’ve installed a new Alpine amp for the components in the Stratus; 75W/channel.  Sounds pretty good.  I need to tune it, and I need to get another sub & amp for the Stratus.  I got that amp off craigslist, and it seems to be great; I got another 4 channel amp for the S-10 (which I never had before) that I’m going to use to power the door & dash speakers.  Right now they’re running off the JVC head unit, and they’re pretty tinny.  I don’t know if the amp will help all that much based on the capability of the speakers, but I can give it a shot.  It will also give me room for expansion.  The sub was really key in the truck for good sound, since the 3x5s or whatever they were had exactly ZERO base.  That’s down the road–I can actually LISTEN TO MUSIC again in the Stratus, after years of nothingness.  THAT is awesome.


Exhaust (mostly) done

Posted in LT-1, Other Vehicles on 3 October 11 by Mark

Yeah yeah, it’s been MONTHS.  I know.  BELIEVE me, I know.  Everyone always asks, “What happened to your truck?”  “How’s the truck?”  “Did you finish the truck?”


NO, it’s not done yet.  But I’m making progress again, finally.

The exhaust shop really charged me more than it was worth, but they did a good job.  It’s really a work of art, even though it took too long and was grossly overpriced.  I didn’t get it back from the shop until pretty much AUGUST.  See here:


You can really see how tight the packaging is.  That Magnaflow can is pretty small, but it sound pretty good at idle.  I’ve heard it spin up unloaded, and it’s not too bad then either.  With the valves open, however…  well, let’s just say it’s a little loud, okay?


I figured out why the gauges and turnsignals weren’t working (fuse blew), and I’ve contacted CPW to get some troubleshooting advice from them on fixing the fans, the gauge temp, the fuel gauge, and possibly the reverse lockout solenoid (that may or may not have been fixed with the gauge cluster–I didn’t really investigate it).


I DID get a parking ticket while parked on my street.  Legally parked, but my tabs have expired, and I guess it’s illegal in the city of Seattle to park with expired tabs.  Harumph.  So I need to get these fans working reliably (and the temp gauge, please?), and then check the emissions status, get it emissions passed, and then get the truck re registered.


Of course, I won’t be test driving it before then.  Nope, not at all.


In the meantime, I’ve also replaced the exhaust crossover pipe (thanks for the help, J!) on the turbo diesel suburban, and added a 3pack of gauges (boost, EGT, trans temp).  Who knew that a giant hole in your crossover pipe (before the turbo) would cause the turbo to be useless?  Funny, that.  It’s a whole new truck now–torque off the line, turbo spool under full load, even some actual acceleration!


Electrical troubleshooting, carpet, center console, stereo.  I even went out and bought a used component speaker amp for the car, and another for the truck, to replace the ones that were stolen from Ravenna YEARS ago!  Maybe I’ll have to upgrade the head unit in the truck so I can have a single Sirius receiver for all the vehicles…that’d be cool.  First, subwoofers in both vehicles though!

It’s a dream

Posted in LT-1, Other Vehicles on 5 January 11 by Mark

It’ll probably NEVER be Road Atlanta, but Pacific Raceway is possible…


Viper outruns GTR

Posted in Musings and Meanderings, Other Vehicles on 1 December 10 by Mark

Viper ACR outruns a race-prepped Nissan GTR, piloted by a TRUE master of the craft:
Thank you, Car & Driver.  AWESOME article, despite the tragic end.

Happy Birthday to ME!

Posted in Musings and Meanderings, Other Vehicles on 17 October 10 by Mark

Happy birthday to me!  I have drill.  Blargh.  Suck.  Working the weekend, had a physical and dental check up, got a flu shot, and had a guy stick me three times trying to draw the annual HIV test.  All on Saturday.  TODAY, I have to run my physical fitness test.  On my damn birthday.  BLARGH!!!

Got one wheel back on the stratus, so it’s on all fours again.  Unfortunately, I have been unable to find the wheel lock key, so I had to destroy a socket to get that one wheel off.  Gotta get the other three off now, and get some new lug nuts for it.  Then an oil change, and back to the intake.  Also unfortunately, this week will be a bit busy:  bowling Monday night, drinks with friends on Wednesday night, dinner with another friend on Thursday, and helping a DIFFERENT friend bring his boat down from Anacortes to Seattle this weekend.  Lady Antebellum on Monday.  And the fiance will be gone starting Saturday to  HAWAII to drink her maitais.

I’ll get some work done, I SWEAR.  On the upside, Current Performance called asking about PCM programming requirements…head desgin, cam, emissions, etc.  So that’s moving along!  No word on how long it’ll take to finish the wiring harness, though.

Back from RIO!

Posted in Admin garbage, LT-1, Other Vehicles on 14 October 10 by Mark

Just got back from Rio!  Man, what a great country–beautiful weather, beautiful women, wonderful food….what a great trip.

First:  new tires on the stratus; after that, back to work on the intake manifold.  Pictures soon, including those apparently lost transmission bits pics.