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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am sure JimG will post something concerning this or write it in his novel or both and I am sure my write up will be much more concise and much LESS technical than his
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Today, I met JimG so I could drive his modified 2004 SSR (M'04) and he could drive my stock 2005 SSR (S'05) and we could compare any differences we experienced with the handling and performance (among other things) of the two vehicles.

Aside from the obvious differences between the two model years JimG has a modified rear differential and a modified dual exhaust. JimG's SSR was manufactured in 05/04 and mine 03/05 and obviously he has a few more miles on his compared to my 2200 miles.

First difference I noticed was how much easier his was to shift into gear from park.

His exhaust is much deeper and louder since it is a true dual exhaust and the mufflers are stainless steel packed.

I drove the M'04 at varying speeds from a stand still up to 100 mph (short distance) We went on straight aways and hilly switchbacks as well as normal rural highways.

The M'04 has a high pitched noise eminating from underneath that dissapears when coasting. I found out it is the rear end and Jim G can elaborate but it does dissapate as things warm up.

The handling was similar to the S'05 although I though there was a slightly firmer ride in the M'04 as I felt the road blemishes a bit more and things seem tighter in fast curves.

To me the accelaration seemed a bit slower from the lower speeds in the M'04 but that could be the horsepower difference.

RPM's were definetly higher in the M'04 at 65 mph and it took a little longer before the M'04 would shift into passing gear from the higher speeds. It also took a little longer downshifting at the lower speed range of 30mph-50mph which gave the illusion of being a bit underpowered.

I'll let JimG comment on his experience in the S'05 but he and I both agreed that we would like to drive a S'04 and compare it to his M'04 and my S'05. Then the 2006's will be out soon and we can start all over.

To be honest, it really is just an excuse to go drive each other's SSR's

Thanks again JimG for letting me contribute to your epic adventure in writing, I hope we accomplished something and if not, oh well, we got to drive our SSR's and had fun doing it. :thumbs
 

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Ampmop: Thanks for doing the lion's share of the writeup on this one. I am currently immersed in research on the book!

To clarify, ampmop's 05 is an automatic, like my 04, so has the same internal transmission ratios. His rear end is the stock 3.73 and mine is the non-stock 4.56.

Interestingly, we both agreed that the other guy's SSR was "firmer" in the corners, which tells me that:

1. The differences in handling firmness if any can't be huge, and

2. Seat of the pants impressions are no match for computerized measurement!

I felt the 05s shift lever was simply not correctly adjusted (others have mentioned this issue on some, not all, 05s. It had too much drag on it.

The 05 exhaust was quieter not only than my modified dual exhaust (duh!) but interestingly, was FAR quieter than the stock exhaust that came on mine. PART of that is the unnecessary "bellowing" on the stock 03 and 04 SSRs caused by the factory gearing, which is simply too tall for the 5.3 liter engine. The 05 does not have this problem, as it has far more low end torque by the feel of it. But, the exhaust itself sounds quieter to me as well even under other conditions. In addition, I detected no resonance at the 1500 rpm point as I used to with stock gearing on my 04.

I would have to say that for those considering getting an SSR or trading an 03/04 for an 05, who INTEND TO KEEP IT STOCK, the 05 is easily worth the extra cost, even though that extra cost is currently very high because of the market premium put on the 390 hp version of the engine. The extra power makes all the difference with the stock gearing, and is what Chevrolet should have done in the first place. The effect is to make the vehicle feel much lighter, an effect that I achieved via the 4.56 gearing with my less powerful engine.

For those with plans to modify at all significantly, I think you are better off starting with the less costly platform, for reasons I will detail fully in the book.

So, those of you out there looking, should really make that mods or no mods decision before buying. And, if considering the 04 versus 05 and intending to keep it sotck, be SURE to test drive BOTH. The difference in feel is bigger than you might expect.

The shifting in Owen's 05 is very different than in my 04. The 05 downshifts at the slightest provocation, whereas my 04 will stay in its current gear unless the throttle is opened a LOT AND very QUICKLY. This contributes to the feeling that the 05 is quicker, and the quieter exhaust encourages the driver to USE this downshift-at-the-slightest-provocation feature as it does not lead to an embarassingly loud, attention getting exhaust blast every time you do it. However, I was counting downshifts at one point on a windy road, and it got excessive, making me wonder how long the tranny would put up with that kind of duty cycle.

The programming of the downshift feature is easily altered in EITHER the 03/04 or the 05 model, once the aftermarket starts shipping the reverse engineered tuning software for the CAN type PCM on the 05. The 04 can already be reprogrammed, but I prefer less downshifting, and with the tighter gearing and beefed midrange torque, I have the torque to support less downshifting.

Owen and I diagreed on the shift firmness, with me thinking his was much softer, and he saying the same about mine. But, I think he was misled by the difference in propensity to downshift as discussed above. I have spent a fair bit of time studying the shift duration and torque spikes during the shifts, and today confirmed what I suspected. The 05 downshifts more often, but does so rather gently, and when it UPshifts, it GREATLY reduces the momentary torque (torque management in the PCM programming).

I had the 05 flat out 3 times from a standing start, and each time the 1st to 2nd shifts were VERY gentle. Mine are currently only very moderately more decisive than what was stock in the 04, but even so are MUCH more dramatic than on Owen's 05. This is despite the fact that the 05 engine, before the PCM's torque management shenanigans, is very much stronger than my 04 at the shift rpm (my reset shift rpm is closer to his stock 05's shift rpm than a stock 04 would be. I suspect that with an 05 on which the torque management has been massaged by a skilled but CAREFUL tuner, it would feel much stronger yet than it does. You don't want to get carried away here; that automatic transmission is in over its head with this engine coupled to this vehicle weight, if you get careless with the torque management.

The back to back comparisons (we traded places twice) were particularly helpful in grasping the significance of the transmission programming. I cannot tell you guys how MUCH those differences in transmission shift behavior affect your perception of the vehicle. This brief outing has convinced me that some quality time spent fine tuning the transmission upshifts, downshifts, and torque management could make this vehicle change personalities quite a bit. But again, for those contemplating doing so, be sure to either get WELL educated beforehand, or get someone skilled to do it, as you can do serious harm with ill-advised adjustments. As I told Owen, it is remarkably easy to drive the torque spikes created by the torque converter during upshifts to 250% of their sotck amplitude, and you can imagine the effect on that transmission. The shift parameters are adjusted, in the better software packages, in 2-D and 3-D graphs and tables and are VERY fine in their adjustment capabilities. Don't expect warranty sympathy from your Chevy dealer if you act rashly!

Aside from the power and shifting differences described above, it was very hard to tell the 05 from the 04. Owen thinks his 05 is a bit quieter, but I think he is having trouble factoring out the louder exhaust and 22% higher engine rpm (4.56 gearing). Both vehicles sounded similar to me on non-driveline noise level.

Owen: Are you going to post about the mudflaps?

Jim G
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
told you so

See everyone, I told you he would be more detailed.

I added polished stainless steel mudflaps that a contributor previously posted on this forum, I can't recall his handle but will list later when I retrieve it.

I added these for functionality more than looks. I was afraid that the rear wheels would throw up a rock and damage either the taillights, fenders, or both.

The maker of these flaps (I'll list him later as well) from New York will make them to your specified length. The originals he made for his friend were 6.5 inches long measuring from the bottome of the rear fender to the level ground.

I opted for a 5 inch drop and still feel it is a bit long as I feel it takes away from the overall look of the rear fender. I am going to reorder with about a 4 inch drop after testing a cardboard cutout first to try and determine if the length-width ratio is proportional.

JimG will post pictures I am sure and I will as well later and with the test patterns.
 
G

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Jim G, if your coming to the SSr home coming I'll let you drive mine so you can see and feel the difference the tuning can make. I think you will be impressed. You have to get 4000 to 5000 mi on the automatics to get the breakin program to go away by it's self. then the tranny not quite as soft on the shifts. Mine happened around 4700 mi. You could feel it pulling back under full acceleration. If you seen the dyno run on mine the first time. Looked like wave after wave all across it. that was the program holding it back for the breakin period. :ssr :flag :seeya

Or be at decatur aug 6 or ok city bass pro aug 07
 
G

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Jim,

Too bad you guys didn't do any timed runs or anything. Made me want to go grab an 05 from the dealer up the street and get over to the 1/4 mile strip up the street from me and see which is faster, my modded 03 or a stock 05. Ambient temps are in the 100's now though...hoping for a break soon.

- psy
 

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BobA:

Your comemnts on the apaprent presence of "break-in programming" on the 05 PCM are very illuminating. The 03/04 also has some very strange controls that have NOT been exposed by the aftermarket tuning software. I will talk about that a lot in my book, as some of the G-Tech charts I have generated have very specific anomolies that make no sense unless you assume some torque management within the PCM that hs NOT been made accessible via the tuning software.

When is the Homecoming, and where?


Jim G
 

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My plans by that date could be affected by when I finally connect up with a new job assignment! It would be wonderful if I could make it there. I had not followed the earlier thread on it as the date had not yet been announced.

Jim G
 

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JimGnitecki said:
My plans by that date could be affected by when I finally connect up with a new job assignment! It would be wonderful if I could make it there. I had not followed the earlier thread on it as the date had not yet been announced.

Jim G

Jim,
You should sign up now (dead line July 29th!).
That way you can be there if conditions permit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
BobA said:
Jim G, if your coming to the SSr home coming I'll let you drive mine so you can see and feel the difference the tuning can make. I think you will be impressed. You have to get 4000 to 5000 mi on the automatics to get the breakin program to go away by it's self. then the tranny not quite as soft on the shifts. Mine happened around 4700 mi. You could feel it pulling back under full acceleration. If you seen the dyno run on mine the first time. Looked like wave after wave all across it. that was the program holding it back for the breakin period. :ssr :flag :seeya

Or be at decatur aug 6 or ok city bass pro aug 07
Hey Jim, based on the above, perhaps you should drive mine again once I get to around 5k miles. That is when I get it back from the dealer and if you aren't in DC.
 

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ampmop: I am seriosuly thinking we maybe should do a G-Tech instrumented accleration test now before you get more miles on, and then again at, say, 1000 mile intervals.

We don't need the really high speeds, unless you really WANT to go to a dragstrip.

Zero to 75 mph would provide good data, although higher speeds would be helpful of course. No abusive techniques are required either. The G-Tech data is fine enough in detailing that we can work with a relatively soft start (no converter preload!) and just hang on for the ride. Subequent dissecting of the tabular and graphical data the G-Tech generates will tell us what we need to know.

It would be interesting to see how the anticipated anomolies match or differ from those on my 04.

Jim G
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
okey dokey, just let me know when, what, where and I'll do what I can, when I can.
But first, I have to get it outta the shop!
 

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ampmop: Tell me honestly now. Did the proximity to my modified, loud, and high revving 04 scare your 05? :) :)

Is it getting remedial counseling now? :)

Jim G
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
cute

You are a funny guy. :boxing
No I had to take it back to get new headliner and get fixed things they messed up when I took it in last time.
See, my dealer believes that if they repair one thing, they damage two other so you can bring it back.
Quite a racket :leaving
 

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Stillusing the same dealer service folk?

AMPMOP... sorry to hear your beast is being serviced... you still using the same folks as before, or have you switched... I highly recommend Don Hewlett if you are not already using them... great service and they treat it with great care. Hope you get your ride back soon! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Daven said:
AMPMOP... sorry to hear your beast is being serviced... you still using the same folks as before, or have you switched... I highly recommend Don Hewlett if you are not already using them... great service and they treat it with great care. Hope you get your ride back soon! :)
That is FUNNY.
I am and always have been using Don Hewlett in Georgetown. I am glad you have had good luck with them.
 

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BobA::

Was perusing the flicks of your SSR and noticed that you have a Magnacharger installed. At least that is what it looks like. Are you satisfied with this product? Also, did your installition include a boost gauge and reprogramming? I am just a short way from having the Magna installed on my 04 but the guy installing almost insists that a boost gauge be installed. I have a Whipple on my Suburban with no boost gauge and have had no problems... Any thoughts.... Also, I may have missed it but what headers did you install and did you do a dual cat true dual exhaust?

Thanks,

Steve
 

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Rainwater: he has the Dynatech Supermaxx headers, and a catback exhaust (not dual) as I recall. The dual exhaust is MUCH more effective.

Be sue to get the version of the headers WITH the hi flow cats (2 versions exist: with and without the cats) as the cats are necessary for closed loop operation AND emsission testing, and the Dynatech hi flow ones ARE high flow.

I suspect your installer might be insisting on the boost guage as a safety precaution, so that you KNOW if an overpressure condition arises (failed blowoff) BEFORE the engine blows up.

It would also be a nice analytical tool, showing you the amount of boost at lower rpm for example.

Jim G
 
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