Help the Newbie - 2006 CTS-V with a $2-5k Budget
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2004-2007 Cadillac CTS-V Performance Mods Discussion, Help the Newbie - 2006 CTS-V with a $2-5k Budget in Cadillac CTS-V Series Forum - 2004 - 2007; Hey all, Long-time forum lurker here. Hoping for some sound advice, given the ridiculous amount of experience that you guys ...
  1. #1
    FuzzyLogic is offline Banned
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    Lightbulb Help the Newbie - 2006 CTS-V with a $2-5k Budget

    Hey all,

    Long-time forum lurker here. Hoping for some sound advice, given the ridiculous amount of experience that you guys have collectively accrued.

    The situation: I have a 2006 CTS-V with 14,000 miles. It's my daily driver, and I'd like to make upgrading this thing my spring project. I have no experience modifying cars (I've rotated tires, installed an iPod kit, etc), but I'm an unusually intelligent electrical engineer with a knack for taking things apart and putting them back together. Point is, I've budgeted $2k to upgrade this car, with provisions to raise that to $5k if I see a point to doing so. I've done about 10 hours of research this past weekend, and would welcome your suggestions. Couple of things:
    1. Performance is key. I'm focused on the best price/performance (or price per unit driveability) upgrades. If the car looks or sounds better, bonus--but that's not what I'm here for.
    2. I'll buy whatever tools I need, and I'm patient. But I have to be able to complete each modification in a weekend (20-24 hours working time)--I rely on this car to get me to work on Monday morning.
    3. A completely legitimate answer to this post is, "don't waste your money." If I have to drop $5k+ in order to really see results, then I'll just put that money toward a 2012 CTS-V coupe.

    That said, here are the problems with the CTS-V that I've identified so far:
    1. The shifter / clutch / flywheel on this car are terrible. The clutchplate / flywheel are at least 20 pounds overweight.
    2. The intake / exhaust system is too restrictive. Sounds like you can get an additional 40 WHP between new CAI and headers alone.
    3. The car is too high off the ground, the wheels are small, and they used that unusual 6-bolt hub design.

    And some of my potential upgrades, in order of importance:
    1. Short-throw shifter--UUC or Katech. Roughly $300. No power gains, but big drivability bonus.
    2. K&N Cold Air Intake. Roughly $225. 17 WHP gain with an easy 90-minute installation.
    3. LS7 or aftermarket (Spec Level 4?) clutch / flywheel kit. Never played with a transmission before, so I don't know what exactly I'll need. Could use a lot of help here. Sounds like I could trim up to 28 pounds off the transmission's rotating mass. Inertia = 1/2 m r^2, so this should make the car feel quite a bit more responsive.
    4. Different springs to knock height down by about 1.2 inches. Not sure if I need to get new shocks too.
    5. Bigger / lighter wheels. I really like the Breyton GTS-R or GTSR-M ($420 each), which are incompatible with the CTS-V's stock hubs. Are there adapter plates and how much do they cost? Is the speedometer reprogrammable, or am I looking at maintaining outside wheel diameter by purchasing low-profile tires?

    Couple of final questions:
    1. Does anyone know the stock (unmodified) WHP output of a 2004-2007 CTS-V versus the output in various states of modification?
    2. How hard is it to replace a clutch / flywheel? What kind of tools am I looking at buying?
    3. Are new headers really that valuable? For $1000 (Kooks with X-Pipe), it sounds like you might get an extra 15 WHP. It really only seems useful if you supercharge the engine, because then your flow-rates are going to explode.
    4. If I buy new wheels, do I need to purchase additional pressure sensors?
    5. Assuming that I knocked an inch off the CTS-V's ride height, what's the largest diameter tires that you think I could fit without rubbing?


    Thanks very much for your time. I'll be happy to post pictures / videos of my progress later this spring. I have a couple of other, interesting electrical modifications that I'll be making to this car with my own dedicated microcontroller that ties into several systems--but that'll come after the hard stuff is done. If you see it and like it, I may be willing to build additional copies at a small profit.
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  3. #2
    rand49er's Avatar
    rand49er is offline Cadillac Owners 10000+ Posts
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    Re: Help the Newbie - 2006 CTS-V with a $2-5k Budget

    Quote Originally Posted by FuzzyLogic View Post
    ...
    1. Performance is key. I'm focused on the best price/performance (or price per unit driveability) upgrades. If the car looks or sounds better, bonus--but that's not what I'm here for.
    2. I'll buy whatever tools I need, and I'm patient. But I have to be able to complete each modification in a weekend (20-24 hours working time)--I rely on this car to get me to work on Monday morning.
    3. A completely legitimate answer to this post is, "don't waste your money." If I have to drop $5k+ in order to really see results, then I'll just put that money toward a 2012 CTS-V coupe.

    That said, here are the problems with the CTS-V that I've identified so far:
    1. The shifter / clutch / flywheel on this car are terrible. The clutchplate / flywheel are at least 20 pounds overweight.
    2. The intake / exhaust system is too restrictive. Sounds like you can get an additional 40 WHP between new CAI and headers alone.
    3. The car is too high off the ground, the wheels are small, and they used that unusual 6-bolt hub design.

    And some of my potential upgrades, in order of importance:
    1. Short-throw shifter--UUC or Katech. Roughly $300. No power gains, but big drivability bonus.
    2. K&N Cold Air Intake. Roughly $225. 17 WHP gain with an easy 90-minute installation.
    3. LS7 or aftermarket (Spec Level 4?) clutch / flywheel kit. Never played with a transmission before, so I don't know what exactly I'll need. Could use a lot of help here. Sounds like I could trim up to 28 pounds off the transmission's rotating mass. Inertia = 1/2 m r^2, so this should make the car feel quite a bit more responsive.
    4. Different springs to knock height down by about 1.2 inches. Not sure if I need to get new shocks too.
    5. Bigger / lighter wheels. I really like the Breyton GTS-R or GTSR-M ($420 each), which are incompatible with the CTS-V's stock hubs. Are there adapter plates and how much do they cost? Is the speedometer reprogrammable, or am I looking at maintaining outside wheel diameter by purchasing low-profile tires?

    Couple of final questions:
    1. Does anyone know the stock (unmodified) WHP output of a 2004-2007 CTS-V versus the output in various states of modification?
    2. How hard is it to replace a clutch / flywheel? What kind of tools am I looking at buying?
    3. Are new headers really that valuable? For $1000 (Kooks with X-Pipe), it sounds like you might get an extra 15 WHP. It really only seems useful if you supercharge the engine, because then your flow-rates are going to explode.
    4. If I buy new wheels, do I need to purchase additional pressure sensors?
    5. Assuming that I knocked an inch off the CTS-V's ride height, what's the largest diameter tires that you think I could fit without rubbing?

    .
    I might not hit everything you listed, but a couple of things, if you don't mind. BTW, stock you're probably at about 330-335 rwhp with the LS2, LS6 guys are 320-325, both on DynoJets.

    1. First of all, you're budget is definitely limiting. Join the crowd.

    2. PISNUOFF (Brian) can do wonders to your stock shifter on the cheap.

    3. Don't waste your money on a CAI.

    4. The dual-mass flywheel could be remedied, but it'll eat into your budget to the tune of several hundred bucks. I have an 18-lb UUC FW and stock clutch, but that would be $500-600 with install.

    5. Consider one or two aftermarket axles to eliminate wheelhop and put less stress on the diff. Mine were $1.6k, but other guys here can help you save some money now that more is known about them.

    6. The Mighty Mouse solution to lowering your car would probably be the cheapest way to go. Again, let others counsel you there.

    7. Wheels can by expensive, and it's inconsistent with your stated goal of performance. I'd spend money elsewhere first.

    8. Headers will eat up a big chunk of your budget and get you about 25 rwhp after a tune.

    9. Finally, a cam could get you more performance, but it would seem like you're going to have to pick and choose on the various mods to stay within your budget.


    If it was me, I'd do:

    1. PISNUOFF's shifter.

    2. Mighty Mouse's lowering solution.

    3. One or two axles, preferably two.

    4. Headers and a tune.


    You'll be at just under $2.5k, if I've figured correctly. You could add a lightweight FW installed and be under $3k.


    Just my $0.02.
    '05 CTS-V, Maggie, Kooks, Hotchkis, Ground Control, Corsa, B&M, DSS/Hendrix, Full 3M Clear Bra, Autovation, V Headrests, CTS Console, STS-V 55w Fogs, Black Vette FRCs, Specter Werkes, Katech LS9 Clutch, SS Brake Lines, Heavymetals U-Turn Fuel Line Eliminator, Momo Combat Evo Shift Knob, Wldwhl Clear Sidemarkers, Linea Corse LC855 Wheels or OEM wheels w/'06-'07 Center Caps, plus a couple more. 472 RWHP/411 RWTQ (Mustang Dyno).
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  4. #3
    garrettg is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Help the Newbie - 2006 CTS-V with a $2-5k Budget

    I have similar goals in mind since buying a 07 V last year. Here is what I have done so far, wouldn't change anything so far.
    cags delete
    kn drop in filter
    pisnuoff shift lever
    ss brake lines
    gforce1320 axles
    team dynamics 18x9 lightweight wheels - summer tires

    I haven't addressed the lowering issue yet still deciding between these 3 options:
    full kw3 kit
    hr springs/mm spacers or ground control both with FG2/QA1 shocks.

    headers(obx?) and a tune once my power train warranty is up

    Based on your requirements I wouldn't advise a cat back or CAI and if you budget was closer to 5k the maggie would be heavily advised here.
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  5. #4
    Dan_Gurney is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Help the Newbie - 2006 CTS-V with a $2-5k Budget

    FYI, the mightymouse solution is only a fix oncw you have other lowering springs, the back of our car has self leveling shocks, that will "level" the car to the original height when lowering.

    You do not need new shocks with new springs.

    If you want bang for you buck:

    PISNUOFF Shifter <$200? (this makes driving so much more fun, make sure to get teh shifter bushings in there then too)
    H&R Springs $350 (relatively cheap, and your car will look much better, and drive better)
    Cags delete (<$20 and removes the stupid skip shift... although if you are getting a tune, ignore this and haev the tunner remove it)
    Muffler delete ~$100(yes, go to your local exhaust shop, tell them to replace the mufflers with a straight section of pipe, will sound much better
    Geforce1320 axle ($350-$500)(if your not experiencing bad wheelhop now, just get one... or buy two and be safe

    This list alone will really change the car for you, it will look better, drive better, and sound much better...

    Stainless brake lines for $150 might not be bad, but i have yet to try them on my car, have read many good things though.

    As for actual power gains, you are down to bigger mods that give you 10-20hp... you have to remember GM already tuned this thing to 400hp... they would not have left 50 hp on the table for a little bit of work.

    Headers seem to give a good return on power (not just for supercharged cars) You might look into OBX Headers (find them on ebay, they are stainless/kooks knockoff) or a set of coated pacesetter headers to keep cost down.

    If you really want to get ambitious throw a cam on top of that with a tune, and you will have a lot more power. (much more then that it seems like you need to get into more big expensive parts, heads, intake manifold...

    I cannot personally attest to a clutch/flywheel, but it sounds like it makes a big difference in car feel... not sure i would jump into it with out doing much other car work before.

    In short, for $2000 you can make your car feel "new" again. All of the mods i listed at first made my car feel new and fresh again (maybe less so axles, but worth it for the peace of mind,a dn ability to do nice smooth burnouts)

    The real trick is keeping the car fresh, space your mods out, so that it is not just new all at once, then old down the road.

    I would figure out what your long term plans for the car are and spend money accordingly. Probably worth putting a little money into the car to keep it around and fun, but sounds like for the huge changes you want i would keep it subdued and save the money for a new v down the road (best of both worlds)



    Crap... forgot about motormounts/diff bushing... These would be good to get eventually to tighten up the car, but might not be a big rush with your low mileage, for the gains you want, i would save your money for now... (note i have not yet installed these on my car so i cannot attest to how much of a feel they give)
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  6. #5
    Baltimore07V is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Help the Newbie - 2006 CTS-V with a $2-5k Budget

    Here is what I have personally done with my V, its a 2007.

    1.) LS7 clutch kit. Love it, get it, enjoy driving your car again.
    2.) Steel Braided Brake lines
    3.) UUC Mounts and Bushings. I did mine prior to Max from Creative Steel hitting the market in force. Go with Max's, they are a better product. But the mounts/bushings are non-negotiable almost.
    4.) UUC Short Throw shifter. Get Brian's instead. His is better, and cheaper. The UUC I got is great, but some of the more recent purchaser's seem to be a bit unhappy with UUC's newer stuff.

    Next up on my list is Hotkisis sways.

    For power on an LS engine, you can cheaply get it by a cam/intake/tune. While it can get expensive quickly, its nothing compared to FI. But you could probably gain quite a bit there, and some high flow cats. From all the research I've done, our current exhaust headers are not bad at all, and the high flo cats will get you a nice gain. Once you go to LT Headers you will get a gain of power, but you'll hear the valvetrain more, as well as you should relocate the alternator cable on the right side of the car.

    Also CAI's have come out as not being worth the money. On the V's the stock intake is good up to around 700-800hp. Same as our MAF. Atleast thats the research I've done.

    Hope that helps.
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  7. #6
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    rand49er is offline Cadillac Owners 10000+ Posts
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    Re: Help the Newbie - 2006 CTS-V with a $2-5k Budget

    Bottle.

    Totally forgot about the bottle.

    Undoubtedly the cheapest way to significant power in terms of dollars spent per rwhp gained ($/hp). While some bolt-ons are $40-50 or more per hp gained, juice is like $20-ish.
    '05 CTS-V, Maggie, Kooks, Hotchkis, Ground Control, Corsa, B&M, DSS/Hendrix, Full 3M Clear Bra, Autovation, V Headrests, CTS Console, STS-V 55w Fogs, Black Vette FRCs, Specter Werkes, Katech LS9 Clutch, SS Brake Lines, Heavymetals U-Turn Fuel Line Eliminator, Momo Combat Evo Shift Knob, Wldwhl Clear Sidemarkers, Linea Corse LC855 Wheels or OEM wheels w/'06-'07 Center Caps, plus a couple more. 472 RWHP/411 RWTQ (Mustang Dyno).
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  8. #7
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    Re: Help the Newbie - 2006 CTS-V with a $2-5k Budget

    LS7 clutch kit ~$700 from Lindsay's (parts only)
    Pisnuoff shifter ~$200? (parts only)
    Muffler Delete ~$150 (parts and labor)
    Gforce axle ~$400? (parts only)
    Amsoil fluid (trans/diff) ~$100

    $450 leaves you good wiggle room for various shipping charges/tools/beer expenses. Do this to your 14K mile car and you should be golden until the motor mounts go.
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    Re: Help the Newbie - 2006 CTS-V with a $2-5k Budget

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan_Gurney View Post
    FYI, the mightymouse solution is only a fix oncw you have other lowering springs, the back of our car has self leveling shocks, that will "level" the car to the original height when lowering.
    I have never done this, so perhaps I misunderstood. But I thought the MM solution was a relocated top mount for the rear shock. You move the rear shock mount up more, and the rear of the car drops. The shock still "levels" to its preset overall length, but since the shock is moved up relative to the car, the car sits lower.
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  10. #9
    Dan_Gurney is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Help the Newbie - 2006 CTS-V with a $2-5k Budget

    Quote Originally Posted by Aurora40 View Post
    I have never done this, so perhaps I misunderstood. But I thought the MM solution was a relocated top mount for the rear shock. You move the rear shock mount up more, and the rear of the car drops. The shock still "levels" to its preset overall length, but since the shock is moved up relative to the car, the car sits lower.
    You have the concept of what the MM solution does correct, but not how it works, you have to have lowering springs to make the back of the car lower. they just keep the shocks from lifting the car too high over the springs.

    If there was any lowering with stock springs, i would be afraid that it would be putting too much load on the shock trying to use the shock to compress the spring at normal ride height.

    Springs are cheap though, (cutting is too, but will hurt ride quality...)
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