In August of 1998 I went looking for a black SS Camaro but couldn't find one. I wasn't real crazy about the "fish-mouth" front of the new Camaro's but being a Chevy guy that's what I was going to get. I couldn't find one exactly like I wanted so I stopped in a local Pontiac dealer on the way home and looked at the WS6's (they had two) and fell in love. I brought my black, fully optioned, M6 Trans Am WS6 home that evening.
I started modding the car right away with things like K&N air filter, home ported MAF, Magnecore plug wires, and a Mecham cat-back exhaust. Then things got out oh hand. Here's a complete list of specifications, and past and present modifications, as well as some future plans.
March ?, 2003: I spun the number one rod bearing on the first pass of the night at Firebird Raceway in Phoenix. I had just run a new best and everything was fine. While driving around to the timeshack (I missed the first turnoff and went to the far one) I revved the motor a couple of times (nothing unusual there) and the only thing I can figure is that while coming around that big long sweeping curve the oil in the pan must have uncovered the oil pickup and it suffered a quick oil starvation - enough to spin a bearing. When I got to the timeshack the car just died. I finally got it restarted after awhile and I heard the tell-tell metal on metal scraping sound. I knew what it was right off. I shut the car off immediately and about five other guys tried to help me push it on the trailer but it was too heavy so I started it and quickly drove it up on the trailer. I got it home and found metal bits in the oil. I started tearing the motor down right away.
After I tore the motor down and found the spun number one bearing I contacted ARE to see if they were interested in working on it. It took about four weeks of phone tag and several emails to find that they'd be glad to work on it but the shipping to Ontario was going to be around $600. I called around town and found RPM Engine Development in Tempe and talked to Bob there. I also talked to a guy from High Power (behind AS&M) and he said they do very good work and are actually owned by the same guy as High Power (I think he said the same guy owns Pro Dyno also). RPM took a look at my short block and said I needed eight new pistons (bits of metal embedded in them and bad scuffing, the crank turned, one new connecting rod, and bearings and rings (he also told me that my crank was already a 10/20 crank). Bob gave me a quote of $2160 for these parts and assembling the short block. I spoke to the guy at High Power again after getting that quote and he said he wouldn't even offer to work on it unless he could get $2500 of machine work on the job. He said that was a great price and I think he had trouble believing that I got such a deal (I hope I didn't misunderstand anything Bob was telling me). I spoke to Bob again and he assured me that they would do a top-notch job on my motor and he sounded sincere. I'd like to develop a closer relationship and maybe even some type of sponsorship deal with them. It's been a few weeks and the short block should be done at any time.
I was also talking to the guy at High Power about what I could do to avoid this in the future. He suggested an Accusump which I'd never heard of at that time but I've since looked into. This is something I definitely want to do. It will pre-lube the motor before each start up but is also an extra oil reservoir and will inject oil in the motor if the pressure ever gets too low.
Aug 16, 2003: The short block is finally is back from RPM. The replaced the pistons, touched up the balance, did the normal block cleanup (torque plate cylinder hone, align hone, etc), repaired the crankshaft and one connecting rod and assembled the shortblock. I also took the oil pump, and cylinder heads in and let them go over these as well. They found that the valve job was off by 1 degree so they fixed that.
While the motor was being worked on I picked up a set of ARP head studs and an SFI approved TCI flexplate from Thunder Racing.
I got the short block home and put the rest of the long block together.
September 27, 2003:
The motor's ready to go into the car but every time I start working on the
car I keep doing new things. I removed the front bumper cover but decided not to
remove the bumper because I'd lose my fog lights. I removed the throttle control
module and put a non-TCS throttle cable in. I also pulled the dash and
removed the entire heater core, blower motor and associated ducting as well as
the passenger side air bag. I put everything back together and you can't tell
that the dash is now just an empty shell. I am a little concerned about my
windows fogging up now that I no longer have defoggers.
November 17, 2003: I finally got enough time away from work to get the motor in the car. It's just sitting in there but it's in there. Now, if I'd just get off my butt again and get it bolted to the tranny I could be running again in no time.
November 24, 2003: Yesterday I spent about eight hours working on the car. Bolted up the tranny, torque converter to flexplate, starter, headers,and various sensors. I've got a ton of pictures. Maybe I'll add some more at some point.
December 7, 2003: I've been busting my butt on the car and got it all back together. Turned the key and it fired right up - withing a half-second. I let it run for about thirty seconds. It sounded baaadd! Same lopey idle as before. Oil pressure came right up. A beautiful thing :)
December 8, 2003: Tonight I replaced the front bumper cover, air up and installed all four tires and lowered the car off of the jackstands for the first time in around 8 months. It's very dusty and needs a bath.
December 9, 2003: I went home at lunch today and started the car, pulled it out on the street and pulled back in the garage. I seem to have a tranny leak in the dipstick and tranny cooler lines area but since I was just home for lunch I didn't feel like climbing under there and seeing exactly what it is. I hope it's just the dipstick but while I was working on the car over the weekend I did see some ATF around the cooler lines. I've been trying to work towards taking the car to the track on Saturday but this may stop that if I can't get the leak stopped.
December 13, 2003: Took the car to the track today but $%#@ Speedworld had problems with their computer (this isn't the first time!) so no Christmas tree and no time slips. They were doing flag starts :rolleyes: They offered to give everyone rainchecks but since I'd gotten up at 6am and driven ~65 miles to race I decided to make a pass and see if there were any major issues, and everything was working. It felt great and I think even pulled the front wheels on the launch.
December 10, 2004: Went to Firebird last night and finally got some timeslips. The car was running great and got a new best ET and MPH. Best was a 11.316 @ 122.53 with a 1.732 sixt foot. That's a new best by nearly two tenths! I still can't 60 worth a darn which I think is due to too much weght and wrong rear gears. The scales were open last night but I forgot to stop by so I still don't know my raceweight.
Sept 19, 2005: No update for a long time. I've only taken the car to the track once since the last update and failed tech for front studs being too short so no runs. I picked up some longer ARP studs but haven't installed them yet. I haven't done anything to the car since the last update.
May 10, 2006: Still haven't raced the car for a long time. While my two younger sons Tyler and Wylie were out for Spring Break last month Tyler made this video of me doing a burn out. Nice job Tyler!!! I finally got that video I've been wanting :)
Sept 18, 2006: I'm getting the itch to get back to racing in a big way. Looking at what it would take to do kick-butt direct port nitrous system. First things first. Will get the car to the track and try running the existing NX wet kit with 100 shot then try 150 shot. Should put me easily into the low 10s at 130-ish. Will try to get Kristie to come to the track with me and video the runs (she's not too excited about that).
Nov 5, 2011: Have been working to get the car back to the track. I see that there is a new group of racers, Arizona's Fastest Street Cars, which I think that I would fit nicely into their 10.00 True Street class (with some nitrous). Added a couple of pictures.
Jan 11, 2014: Heard this week that Firebird (now Wildhorse Pass Raceway) is opening back up for Friday night drags. They will be open Jan 24. Not sure I can be ready since that is the Friday after next and I will be out of town from Thurs to Sun this week. Started the car tonight for the first time in a long time. She started as soon as I turned the key...like in a half second. Sounded scary awesome. I had forgotten how bad it is. She is such a beast.
To be legal to race I need new harnesses and a new helmet. I need to find out where I can get some race gas. I'd need to air up the tires, check the trans fluid, change the oil, drive it around the block. I would also have some work to be done to get the trailer ready to roll. It has x (probably 4) flat tires and is parked behind the Suburban which won't start. Not sure which Yukon I'd use to pull it. Kristie's would probably do better but I'd have to drive it to work like I used to do back in the day.
Nitrous electrical connections with nitrous progressive controller:
Relocated coil packs:
T o do list (sort of in order):
Install front wheel studs - DONE
Get NX wet kit reinstalled and working
Fix shift light mount
Verify shift light works
Install rear wheel studs
Remove rear bumper support
Grind front calipers to remove spacers
Fix tranny leak
Full tube frame, four-link, funny car cage, lexan windows, etc - j/k (actually only half kidding :) )
Wish list (in order of importance):
ECU edit softwware
Standalone engine computer system with wideband O2 (Accel DFI Gen 7, Wideband Monitor)
1-7/8" to 1-3/4" Stepped headers
Better intake and throttle body
New fuel system from cell to rails
Motor and mid plates
Direct port nitrous setup
Last updated Jan 11, 2014