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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I decided to start this thread in the hopes that someone else who knows very little about engines and mechanical undertakings might not be discouraged at the prospects of a major project. I will add links to useful information as I progress, and acknowledge the great Fanatics who helped me get through this.

I need to quit driving my SSR in September. Last year I damaged the supercharger, and had to ship it back to Magnuson for a rebuild. I'm not a mechanic, so I was quite pleased that I was able to get through the original install unscathed. I found the removal and reinstall much easier the second time around.

I had been having an ongoing issue with a sometimes mild, sometimes significant stumble around 5200 rpm. After sending Joe Delano multiple scans with no obvious solution for the stumble, he asked me to do another scan, starting at 3000 rpm in second gear, then holding the gas pedal to the floor till I was over 6000 rpm. I had never done that before, so I went from a holy $hit moment during the acceleration, to an OH Crap moment when the unfamiliar noises started.

I was going through a lot of thoughts in my head, including upper management being most unhappy with me, as I slowed down, looking for the nearest opportunity to get away from a highway with steep drop offs, and concrete barriers that kept me from pulling over.

When I reached a safe spot, I hit the space bar to stop the scan so I could save it. Apparently, when my head was spinning after the engine let go, I had already hit the space bar. When I hit it the second time, I lost all the information regarding the most significant car related event I've been through. I don't think I reached 6600 before shifting to 3rd, but I'll never know for sure what happened.

I limped the truck home, shut it down, walked away, and didn't look at it for a week.

I talked to Joe. First thing he wanted was photos of the plugs. That meant I had to start disassembling my baby. I was overwhelmed at the prospects of doing something I had never done before. I talked to Mike in AZ, and he convinced me I could do the job, and to treat it like eating an elephant - one bite at a time.

I borrowed the same engine hoist I had used to re and re the blower twice, and bought an engine leveller to hopefully make the removal a bit easier, and started taking components off.

Feeling a bit overwhelmed as I worked my way through the disassembly, I called Jerry in Las Vegas. Seeing as he had been pulling his engine every couple weeks, and would talk about going racing the next day as he started putting the damned thing back in, I figured it could be done. He gave me some pointers, and seeing as I wasn't real happy with using chains, he recommended the LS valley plate he used for his re and re.

Surprisingly, neither local GM dealer had one - they used chains. So, I decided it could be done with chains. Seeing as the engine needed to come out anyways, it seemed I should remove it with the transmission attached so I could deal with the additional project of installing the LS7 clutch on the ground rather than under the truck. I was bringing in a current Chevy mechanic to do that job. Ran into some concerns about the process of dropping the transmission, and of course, had already removed all the grounds and most of the wiring before I realized that I needed the top down if I was going to remove the console.

I plugged some components back in, and turned the key. Windows and locks worked, but when I tried the top button, the DIC told be I needed to slow down. Really? My truck is apart and on jackstands - how slow do I need to go???

Quick phone call to the Dicktator to check on the process to drop the top manually. He assured me all I needed to do was remove the upper part of the shifter, and drop the tranny straight down. I then talked to Lonny to find out more about the transmission removal process, and the steps needed to separate the clutch master cylinder from the transmission. It made sense once he described it.

I was also in contact with Ken (Topspin) to get more information about the LS9 clutch. Once he supplied me with the information, I did a comparison, and decided that as desirable as it was, the LS9 clutch was going to cost a bunch more than the LS7, primarily because I needed a custom built flywheel. The stock LS9 flywheel has 8 bolts, and I needed a 6 bolt design.

By now, I was well on the way with removing way more components than I wanted to, but the elephant was gradually getting eaten. I called one of the GM mechanics who has worked on my truck before, and he agreed to come over with his adult son, and help me get the motor and transmission out.

Overall, it went fairly well, but we had to take a break and remove the hood because the hoist was already touching the hood blanket. Unfortunately, I have a small crease in a hood blanket that can't be replaced, but no hood damage.

That's enough information for post 1. I'll add some photos of the flattened plugs, and damage to pistons 2 and 4 and corresponding head, and a shot of the removal process.

Sorry about the upside down photos. I went back to the originals, turned them upside down so they would show up correctly. but they're still upside down.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Delivered the motor to the most recommended builder in the area, and discussed what I wanted to achieve, assuming the cam, crank and block were OK.

After a week, got a call back that all three were serviceable, and that the block would be re-bored and honed using torque plates.

Joe wanted the engine at 10.5:1 compression, and suggested the components to use. I talked to the builder about Joe's recommendations. We made some adjustments, and went with forged Wiseco pistons, forged K1 H-beam rods, better valves, trunions, hardened pushrods, Comp springs rated for .600 lift, same ones specified by Lingenfelter for their built up LS9. I also went with Joe's and the builder's recommendation to use studs instead of head bolts.

It's getting late..........................More tomorrow
 
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Flassh, very well stated ... sorry for all your troubles, especially right here at Christmas time. :frown2: :frown2: :frown2: tennesseecozy :ssr
 

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If you are going to put the supercharger back on won't the compression (10.5) be TOO much? I thought that superchargers wanted lower
compression; especially with a vehicle driven every day. Just a curious thought on my part. LAZY ONE
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I am curious as to what your engine builder thinks may have caused all that damage.
I send Joe photos of the damaged pistons and heads to get his input, but first some background.

I have had an issue with excessive oil consumption on this engine from when it was new. I documented oil usage during a couple of extended trips, dutifully stopping at GM dealers along the way so I could have a service manager sign off that he had seen the oil go in. Most were great, some asked me to make an appointment for the next day.:frown2: On those occasions, I completed the documentation, took a photo of the dealership, and added a note that the service manager wasn't cooperative.

When my local dealership provided the documentation to the regional service manager, GM's reply was that a litre of oil every 800 km (1 quart every 600 miles) was within acceptable tolerances. I continued to fight for a while, but eventually gave up. I was also hesitant to tear down my new truck. Compression at that time was in the 135 range, as checked by the dealership.

When I talked to Joe about adding a supercharger to a bad engine after it had been running for 9 years, he said to drive the crap out of it to see if we could get those rings to seat properly. It worked to some extent. Oil consumption was down noticeably, but still significant. When I broke the supercharger, it seemed logical to install another new set of plugs, so had the opportunity to do another compression check, using a NAPA quality tester, rather than the Snap On the dealership used. Compression was now between 175 and 180 across the board, although it is impossible to tell how much different the numbers would have been using the original tool. Either way, at least compression was consistent.

Joe's assessment of the damage: He thinks the rings had fused to the pistons due to the excessive oiling, and that they had no place to go when I heated up the engine during the hard acceleration. He thinks that caused the rings to lock to the walls, taking out part of the piston on a downstroke. There was no visible damage to the walls, but the broken pieces bounced around, causing some damage to the valves and head. We're replacing the valves with higher quality components, and the builder felt the heads could be cleaned up with no problem.

So, going with forged pistons, forged connecting rods, and everything except the block and crank being upgraded. This isn't a racing engine, as I'm never going to take it drag racing, so my concern was to have a reliable engine with marginally better performance.

I thought about better heads, but the price of doing that was just too high. According to Joe and others, intake flow isn't a huge concern with a supercharger forcing air in. I'm still researching how best to improve exhaust performance without installing headers.
 

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Yeah, compression for huffers on the street used to be 8:1, but the times they are a changin'.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Are you going to change the cam?
I wasn't going to initially, because the stock cam was still OK. I had discussed changing the cam with Joe Delano when we were doing the supercharger originally. His comment was that the supercharger was going to push air in just fine with the stock cam.

The more I read and followed threads discussing upgrades, the more intrigued I became with the idea. One thread was Art's (hdflstf) so I chased down a Lunati cam. I checked out several other brands, and after talking to Joe Delano, made a call to Leading Edge Performance in Las Vegas. They had a cam that worked great on the SSR and Trailblazer SS. When I talked to them, it seemed their focus was now on Camaros and Corvettes. The cam I was interested in wasn't on the shelf, and it would be a while before their cam grinder could build one.

Their recommendation was to check out the LS6 cam from GM. He said it would perform well in a boosted application, and was readily available. I did some more checking, including this article doing a multiple cam comparison on the same engine,

https://www.hotrod.com/articles/ls-cam-test-comparison/

It was pretty obvious from that article that the LS9 cam was a great performer.

I then checked out the article below. The one statement that stood out was that Lingenfelter was now using the LS9 cam on its supercharged builds because it proved to be superior to its own proprietary GT7 cam. Lingenfelter now offers the GT9 cam, with much more lift than the LS9.

https://www.chevyhardcore.com/news/quick-tech-hot-oem-cams-for-ls-performance-and-their-specs/

Link below is to a pdf of GM part number 12638427 on Lingenfelter's site.

https://www.lingenfelter.com/PDFdownloads/12638427.pdf

Next consideration was price. Most recommended cams were between $400 and $600 US. Landed cost with 35% exchange, freight and brokerage was in the $600 - $900 range in Canada.

The LS6 cam was a much better deal, at about $480 Canadian.

The price of the LS9 cam was a shocker. My local Chevy dealership could put it in my hands for $200 Canadian. I checked it on GMpartsdirect to confirm that was correct - $111.00 US plus shipping.

It was a no brainer to go that route, so the cam is in the hands of the builder. We were already upgrading the lifters, but kicked it up another notch when we decided on the cam upgrade. We should be good to go for a much nicer engine.

I don't know how many LS9 cams GM has available, but that's a great price for the same cam as used on a 2012 superharged ZR1. It has the same 3 bolt cam gear mount as the LS2 version used on the SSR. Many other versions of the LS2/LS3 use a single bolt cam gear, and are not compatible. Got lucky on that one.

With the 6 speed, I wanted something streetable, and the only specification I can't come up with on the LS9 cam to confirm that is the workable rpm range. Most of the performance cams have a stated rpm range, and with some of them rated at 2000 - 7000 rpm, that seemed like a poor way to go.

I'm assuming that since the ZR1 can idle, that the LS9 cam should be docile enough for 6 speed use in my SSR.
 
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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
If you are going to put the supercharger back on won't the compression (10.5) be TOO much? I thought that superchargers wanted lower
compression; especially with a vehicle driven every day. Just a curious thought on my part. LAZY ONE
Yeah, compression for huffers on the street used to be 8:1, but the times they are a changin'.
That's an interesting dilemna, and due to my total lack of knowledge on the subject, not one I can comment on with any authority. I have to defer to the pros.

The Lingenfelter ZR1 engine spec is 9.1:1 compression.

https://www.lingenfelter.com/product/LPE19201990.html

Turn Key engines has a 6.0 and 6.2 built for boosted applications, also at 9:1

LS2 6.0L 680 HP Long Block Assembly for Blower/Turbos - Turn Key Engine Supply

Turn Key Engine 886204LB LS3 6.2L 710 HP Turn Key Long Block Assembly for Blower/Turbos - Turn Key Engine Supply

I also checked with Texas Speed and Performance, but found their engine offerings more difficult to navigate. Specs were very similar for boosted engines.

https://www.texas-speed.com/c-3188-assembled-engines.aspx

The local builder also suggested going with 9:1 compression, but when I checked with Joe Delano to confirm that information, Joe said that if the builder was recommending a 9:1 engine to walk away, because he didn't understand LS engines.

I'm at about 6 lbs of boost, and Joe said there would be no issue running 10 lbs of boost on a 10.5:1 engine. Seeing as Joe is doing the tuning, and has built some impressive engines, I went with his recommendation. Below is a link to a video of one of Joe's builds, dynoed at 1015 hp.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lYcQWrEUvA

The stock LS2 runs at 10.9:1, and ran fine with the TVS2300 at 6 lbs for 3 years. Keep in mind that was a borderline engine to start with, so I hope a properly built engine will withstand moderately enthusiastic usage. One thing I found interesting when checking out information about recommendations for boosted applications was going to an increased ring gap. I have to wonder if the stock ring gap led to the damage because the rings had no place to expand when I heated up the engine when I mashed the throttle.
 
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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Clutch upgrade

Special thanks to two great Fanatics for their willingness to keep us informed about their experiments with improved clutches.

These are two of the most valuable threads on our forum for anyone wanting to know more about upgrading their clutches.

This is a link to Lonnie's (Mr Sinister) LS7 clutch thread. I have re-read it multiple times.

https://www.ssrfanatic.com/forum/f5/ls7-clutch-upgrade-florida-44232/

This link is to Ken's (Topspin) thread about his LS9 clutch upgrade. It seems like a great clutch, with superior clamping force, but the LS9 engine uses a 8 bolt crank. Unfortunately, that meant getting a custom built flywheel. Katech no longer had one available, and the Lingenfelter part was very expensive. GM's LS9 clutch components were also significantly more expensive than the LS7 components.

https://www.ssrfanatic.com/forum/f35/clutch-decision-50898/

I decided I wanted to add a remote bleeder, but was concerned because Lonnie had mentioned having problems with leaks from some of the Tick bleeders. I found this one from Hinson for a C6 Corvette, that looked a lot like the discontinued bleeder that Ken used on his actuator.

https://www.summitracing.com/int/parts/hmi-tpsblc6

It took a bit of grinding to fit the remote bleeder and allow some movement for the connection to the clutch master cylinder, but I think I'm ready to go for reassembly.

I was really happy to get rid of the dual mass flywheel. That is one heavy, clunky component. I know the CTS-V guys use the same flywheel, and are quite happy when they make the change to LS7 components.

I borrowed Lonnie's photos of the components and height comparison. Photos of the actuator and exterior of the transmission are from mine after I did the required grinding.
 

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Well Ray, looks like you got deep into it! The pistons shown are classic examples of what detonation can do in an engine with fuel, timing, or heat issues. I've replaced dozens like that when I was rebuilding nitrous oxide boosted engines, back in the 80s and 90s. One customer in particular, I would order 24 pistons at a time for and that would last a couple months in his sand drag machine! Many street guys with blowers/turbos use a methanol injection system to help control detonation - might be something to consider.

Hopefully, your machinist did a thorough magnafluxing of your crank, as it saw some abuse. Also, the valve guides should be closely inspected on the bad holes. The guides are powdered metal and can crack, with the side loading that the valve stems exerted, when they contacted the piston fragments. Of course, complete balancing of the rotating assembly is required, with the new pistons and rods.

Good Luck, with the build!
 
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Topspin that is funny because when I looked at the pictures it reminded me of a nitrous engine eating pistons. The only thing missing was melted plugs rather then bent plugs to me. I have replaced more than my share of pistons from a lean nitrous run. Best one was a stock lower end we put a plate on for fun and pulled the piston apart basically. The piston top was pushed up against the cylinder head and the rod was bent and wrist pen busted through the side of the block. The lower part of the piston broke up into small pieces.
 

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Topspin that is funny because when I looked at the pictures it reminded me of a nitrous engine eating pistons. The only thing missing was melted plugs rather then bent plugs to me. I have replaced more than my share of pistons from a lean nitrous run. Best one was a stock lower end we put a plate on for fun and pulled the piston apart basically. The piston top was pushed up against the cylinder head and the rod was bent and wrist pen busted through the side of the block. The lower part of the piston broke up into small pieces.
Nitrous systems have certainly become more reliable over the years, but there's still danger in them for someone that's not careful! I'm kind of amazed at the current "killer" Pro Modified nitrous setup - 959 cu. in. with 5, yes 5, stages of juice!!
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Well Ray, looks like you got deep into it! The pistons shown are classic examples of what detonation can do in an engine with fuel, timing, or heat issues. I've replaced dozens like that when I was rebuilding nitrous oxide boosted engines, back in the 80s and 90s. One customer in particular, I would order 24 pistons at a time for and that would last a couple months in his sand drag machine! Many street guys with blowers/turbos use a methanol injection system to help control detonation - might be something to consider.

Hopefully, your machinist did a thorough magnafluxing of your crank, as it saw some abuse. Also, the valve guides should be closely inspected on the bad holes. The guides are powdered metal and can crack, with the side loading that the valve stems exerted, when they contacted the piston fragments. Of course, complete balancing of the rotating assembly is required, with the new pistons and rods.

Good Luck, with the build!
Thanks for the advice, Ken. We were replacing valve seals, but I don't remember discussing guides with the builder. I'll do that tomorrow.

I will also check with him regarding the crankshaft. He did say it was fine, but I have no idea if it was magnafluxed.

He was definitely planning on balancing once the new pistons and rods arrive and get weighed. He asked me to bring in the new flywheel and clutch assembly so he could check them for balance. Not sure what process he has in mind for that.

I'm pretty sure he had specified Comp Cams 26918 beehive springs. That's the same spring Lingenfelter recommends for the LS9 camshaft, and the same spring they use on their $30000 upgraded LS9 engine. I'll confirm that tomorrow.

One important bit of information I neglected to mention. I'm going with ARP studs for the heads, in spite of the insane price.
 
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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Exhaust upgrade

I've looked at several brands of headers over the years, but always had concerns about the complexity of the install, and the $1000 plus price tag.

I have Mike in AZ's GHL Old School true dual exhaust system which mates perfectly to the stock manifolds, and hated to spend a bunch more money cutting it up to work with headers.

Kooks no longer has the 1 3/4 system available, and according to Mike, the 1 7/8 system is a bear to install.

I also have the C6 oil pan, which apparently has fitment issues with the Kooks headers. Not sure about other header designs because I haven't read anything regarding any fit issues with the C6 pan.

I also had some doubts due to the excessive underhood heat possibly affecting the clutch line, or as has happened to others, damaging the power steering lines.

When I removed the stock exhaust system, I was surprised at the relatively smooth flowing design - not at all what I expected.

I did some research, and found the following thread, in which Art (hdflstf) and Jim Gnitecki discussed cams, heads, headers and stock exhaust systems.

https://www.ssrfanatic.com/forum/f5/ssr-ls2-head-cam-swap-28593/

I was encouraged by the information, and with some further searching, found an interesting video on how to improve the flow of the stock manifolds. The information there was very similar to what Art said. A photo of what Art had done to his manifolds is below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuJWDB0piQA

I then phoned Mike in AZ, and left a message asking for his opinion on whether it was worth it to ceramic coat my stock manifolds inside and out. Would ceramic coating decrease underhood temperature and possibly improve flow?

Mike called me back a half hour later, and emailed some photos of a ceramic coated set of exhaust manifolds done in his favorite titanium color, and chrome colored ceramic shields. He made me a deal I couldn't refuse, and the manifolds were on their way. I now have them in my garage, ready to install when the engine gets back. Even if they don't provide any improvement in underhood temperature, they are drop dead gorgeous.

Once the engine is back, I'll see if it's worth it to grind a bit of the roof of each exhaust port to better match the top of each head port. The old gaskets are perfect for a pattern.

After reading some info regarding broken manifold bolts, I decided to upgrade to ARP bolts.

One thing that was important to me because of my limited abilities was to carefully document of all the nuts, bolts and other fasteners so I wouldn't lose track of where they all went. I'm glad I did, because one comment Art made in his head and cam thread was concerning the problem he had trying to rotate the engine with the new cam installed. One bolt the wrong length got in the way.

Someone I know who just went through getting an engine re and re at at local shop found that the mechanic there had all the nuts and bolts in a bucket, and some of them ended up in the wrong place during reassembly.

First photo is of Art's manifold after he did some grinding to smooth out the roof of each port.

Second photo is of the ceramic coated stock manifolds Mike in AZ shipped me.

Third photo is of the nuts and bolts drawer.

Fourth photo is the backside of the two manifolds.
 

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Flash your getting sleepy close your eyes go to sleep . Do tell us more on next step
 

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There's a reason good shops get big bucks to do this kind of stuff. There's soooo much more to it than just twistin' wrenches. Just sayin'....
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Motor mounts

Both motor mounts showed signs of separation. The compression side wasn't bad, but the side dealing with engine torque showed significant cracking. Replaced them both.

I looked at the possibility of aftermarket mounts, but the two suppliers on the TBSS forum were not real forthcoming with information on availability. I checked with Joe, and his recommendation was to stay with the factory mounts. He felt that with the 6 speed, there could be some vibration and harmonics issues with the stiffer aftermarket mounts.

Photo below.

I have spent significant time reading and re-reading Jerry's thread about his twin turbo build. The fact he has removed and installed various motors with some frequency gave me some encouragement that I could tackle this project once.

I called him a couple times for some specific information, and he was more than willing to share his knowledge. After removing the engine and transmission with chains and a leveler, I decided his system worked better, and invested in a valley plate to give me more flexibility for the install. Jerry said he has never tried to lift an engine without all 10 bolts attached, so decided not to risk lifting the engine and transmission on 4 valley bolts attached to the chains.

Jerry's twin turbo thread has provided a wealth of knowledge, and I appreciate his efforts in documenting the build, and sharing the problems so others could avoid them.

https://www.ssrfanatic.com/forum/f35/ssr-twin-turbo-build-141433/

Last week, I saw on one video a garage crew installing an LS engine using only two of the valley bolts. Those are 8 mm bolts, and I couldn't believe they were willing to risk damaging the threads on those two holes.

Photo of valley plate is below.

Another valuable source of information is Frank's (Dinerman) Ultimate Drive. I referred to the 05-06 service manual constantly during the teardown, and copied many of the significant sections to help me while doing the work. That info will be even more valuable during re-assembly, because torque specs for every fastener involved are there.

I don't know how many thousands of pages the paper copy would be, but a guess at 5000 pages would not be out of line. When they were available, those manuals were in the $400 range, and you can own both the 03-04 and 05-06 manuals, all of Dicktator's how to library, and lots more for $20. That's an unbelievable bargain, and another example of a Fanatic going beyond expectations to help the rest of us.

https://www.ssrfanatic.com/forum/f22/ultimate-drive-149170/
 

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