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2004-2007 Cadillac CTS-V Performance Mods Discussion, How to replace / upgrade your LS6 in only 369 days!!! in Cadillac CTS-V Series Forum - 2004 - 2007; October 10, 2011: Got the heads back from TEA today, along with head bolts and gaskets. Lift . . . ...
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    re: How to replace / upgrade your LS6 in only 369 days!!!

    October 10, 2011:

    Got the heads back from TEA today, along with head bolts and gaskets.

    Lift . . . . . . . Int CFM . . . . . Exh CFM
    0.100 . . . . . . 67.7 . . . . . . . 58.2
    0.200 . . . . . . 144.9 . . . . . . 119.4
    0.300 . . . . . . 213.6 . . . . . . 175.0
    0.400 . . . . . . 254.5 . . . . . . 218.1
    0.500 . . . . . . 292.3 . . . . . . 240.0
    0.550 . . . . . . 304.2 . . . . . . 247.7
    0.600 . . . . . . 314.2 . . . . . . 252.0

    Since I knew the heads were on the way, yesterday evening I got the new engine off the crate base it was shipped on and put in on the engine stand. The legs of the engine hoist were juuuust wide enough to get around that crate.

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    re: How to replace / upgrade your LS6 in only 369 days!!!

    November 6, 2011: (another month gone by with little to no progress)

    I've been making little to no progress, as I've been futzing with the one car that is actually drivable (the Subaru). My brother came over a few weeks ago and we got the hood off the car:



    Also got the engine on the engine stand (as mentioned above), which allowed me to bolt on the DS header and get a better look at options for routing oil cooler lines. I think with the Kooks headers, the TPIS take-off adapter is a no-go, there's just not enough room to play with.



    I still haven't figured out what I'm doing for a cam. And I still haven't done anything to get the old block unbolted from the tranny and out of the car.

    December 1, 2011: (and another month...)

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Olsen View Post
    I still haven't figured out what I'm doing for a cam. And I still haven't done anything to get the old block unbolted from the tranny and out of the car.
    Finally ordered the cam - went with the same 222/226, 115 LSA cam from EPS that Rich is using in his car. I talked with Geoff @ EPS about going a bit more aggressive, but I was afraid I would find the impacts on daily drive-ability annoying. Based on all the things I've talked about with Rich for these cars, it seems we're on the same wavelength, so I think I'll be perfectly happy with this option.

    Going back to the rod bolt discussion, what about these Katech ones? They specifically say no resizing is necessary, and Katech is certainly not a bunch of dummies when it comes to LS engines.

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    re: How to replace / upgrade your LS6 in only 369 days!!!

    January 22, 2012: (a month and a half down the tubes)

    At long last, the dead engine is out of the car. Hooray! Last weekend I decided to get off my ass and get the engine out the car. Unfortunately, I was stymied by the geometry of the engine bay. The FSM procedure for pulling the engine is to pull the exhaust, driveshaft, and transmission, then drop the engine out the bottom of the car still sitting on the front cradle. Without a lift, I wasn't real keen on trying that, but I also wasn't sure if there was something with the way the clutch and slave cylinder interacted that prevented one from just pulling the engine off the front of the bellhousing and out the top (like I'm used to seeing with other vehicles).

    Folks over on LS1tech kept saying you had to pull the exhaust, driveshaft and transmission in order to get the engine out, which just seemed like a lot of work that shouldn't be necessary. So, I elected to press ahead with trying to pull the engine without doing all that extra work. Early in the week I made some progress with trying to yank the engine, but in the end I found the answer to my "Why do all that extra work?" question - it's a matter of oil pan vs. cross-member space. With the help of a 3" wide flat scaper/chisel thingy, I was able to get a gap started on the driver side, and then pried a bit on each side and eventually got the bellhousing off the dowel pins. That gave me a 1.5" gap or thereabouts. However, I couldn't move the engine forward far enough to fully clear the transmission input shaft, because the sump of the oil pan was hitting the cross-member. I couldn't jack the engine up any farther because the bellhousing was hitting the top of the tranny tunnel at the firewall. The bellhousing isn't bolted to the engine anymore, but obviously everything needs to stay aligned until the input shaft is clear of the clutch.

    (If one were to do this the "normal" way, the bellhousing would be tight to the back of the engine, and since the bellhousing slopes down a bit, as it comes forward with the engine you can jack the engine higher to get the oil pan over the cross-member. Hopefully that makes sense.)

    So, I figured I would try dropping the front cross-member just a bit - maybe an inch or so - to accomplish the mission. I was afriad the cross-member bolts would be torqued to 8 million ft-lb by the factory, but it turned out they weren't too bad with a breaker bar. Since I hadn't planned to lower the cross-member, I had to rearrange my original jack stand and jack configuration, since the jack stands were under the cross-member.

    Tonight, while running back and forth between the garage and watching football , I went ahead with the plan I came up with earlier in the week. I loosened the 4 bolts that hold the front cross-member - as I said above, that was pretty easy with a jack handle / breaker bar. I unthreaded them to give about a 1" gap (cross-member was still on jack stands at that point). Then I removed the bolts that hold the steering shaft together (the cross-member doesn't need to be lowered enough that the shaft actually slides apart, just needed it loose so it could extend a bit). I popped the forward-most brake line clip out of the bottom of the passenger frame rail (since the ABS unit is mounted to the cross-member and the brake lines are all still connected I wanted to give the lines a bit more freedom to move). I then put two jack stands under the rocker sills (near the factory jack points), put a jack under the cross-member, jacked the front end up a little to move the jack stands out from under the cross-member, then lowered the jack under the cross-member. The car came to rest on the jack stands under the rocker sills, the cross-member dropped down, and the interference between the oil pan and cross-member was no more. Worked like a charm.







    Obviously some clean up to do before the new engine goes in!

    I've never done the method that others advocated, but I have to think dropping the cross-member like this is quicker / easier. The bolts for the cross-member are all easily accessible, as opposed to the tranny-to-bellhousing bolts, and there's no need to remove extraneous parts to access anything. Basically, it's just fewer things to mess with.

    Some more carnage pictures:

    Turns out that there's not only a bigass hole on the driver side, but the passenger side of the block was fractured, too:


    Oil pan removed, check out that windage tray!


    The oil pan itself:


    You can see one of the rod bolts through the hole in the block:


    I found the two pieces of the broken rod where the rod bolts thread in, with the pieces of the rod bolts still in the threads. The one bolt I've found (in the picture above) is pretty well pounded, so I can't tell what the mode of failure was.

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    re: How to replace / upgrade your LS6 in only 369 days!!!

    February 6, 2012:

    I've slowly but surely been making progress. One little stumbling block was that I realized I had mounted the new engine on the stand incorrectly, which prevented me from removing the oil pan. Duh.



    For those not familiar, the transmission bolts to the block and the oil pan. The bottom two bolts I'm using in the above picture are actually threaded into the oil pan. So, I had to rearrange the garage so I could get the engine back on the hoist and reposition the engine stand to use different bolt holes.

    I've removed the heads, cam, oil pump and timing chain from the new engine. The new cam from EPS is in, but I haven't degreed it yet nor installed the timing chain (which is being replaced by a C5R chain from Katech). The oil pump is being replaced with a massaged pump from Katech.

    I flipped the engine over and removed the oil pan so that I could install Katech rod bolts and then douse everything with GM's Engine Oil Supplement (as directed in the directions they provide). The rod bolts are installed, but I wanted to wait on the EOS until I'm ready to put the oil pan back on.

    One interesting note is that this crate engine has a timing chain damper - the black plastic piece behind the oil pump:


    Apparently some LS6s have those and some don't. I was expecting to see a tan plastic piece (which is supposedly what the LS1s and LS6s had), but both this new engine and my old engine have the black plastic piece (which is apparently the LS2 style). Not only is it a different color, but the bolt spacing is slightly different.

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    re: How to replace / upgrade your LS6 in only 369 days!!!

    May 8, 2012:

    Yup, 3 more months down the tubes. In February I started messing around with getting the new engine together. I had some momentum going, then got bogged down in determining pushrod length. Geoff @ EPS sent me 7.400", as he said that was typically what people needed. I made a solid lifter using one of the lifters from the dead engine and bought a Comp adjustable pushrod so I could do the "traditional" check for pushrod length, and I also did the method that is commonly advocated on LS1tech. Either way, it didn't seem like 7.400" was right. But I was still hemming and hawing about whether I could possibly be right - my tendency was to trust Geoff, since he's sold tons of cams and knows what works. But Geoff told me not to take his word for it, to see how the factory did it. So I pulled the EPS cam out, put the stock cam back in with stock pushrods and again used both techniques to see how the factory did it. After all that, I decided that 7.375" was what I needed, so Geoff sent me a set of those.

    By that time it was into March, though, and I had back-to-back track weekends coming up for my other two cars, so the V once again fell by the wayside as I focused attention on making sure they were ready for the track. And once those track weekends were out of the way, I started a very intensive school that had me at work from 0630 to about 1900 (on average). By the time I got home, had something to eat, caught up on emails, etc, it was just tough to get out to the garage to get any work done. April went by with pretty much nothing happening. May rolled around, and with the knowledge that I would be moving at the end of June, I started to get back to work.

    Back to May 8th...
    Sunday evening I went ahead and (mostly) installed the cylinder heads on the shortblock. I say "mostly" because I haven't done the final round of torque on the head bolts. For those not familiar, the LS motors (I assume they're all essentially the same) has you torque the 10 bolts in a pattern to 22ft-lb, then go through the pattern and tighten them an additional 90deg, then go through the pattern again and tighten them an additional 70deg. Well, just getting them to the 90deg point has them pretty tight, enough so that I have to stand awkwardly so I can hold/brace the engine stand with my feet to keep it from rotating as I'm torquing the bolts. I need to get another body over to the house so I can have some help holding the stand in place and getting the full 70deg on the final round, as I think that's going to be a real bitch.

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    re: How to replace / upgrade your LS6 in only 369 days!!!

    May 10, 2012:

    I had a fellow gearhead from work come over this evening and we got the heads torqued down and valvetrain installed. Progress!

    May 26, 2012:

    Progress is being made this weekend. Basically, because I'm a huge procrastinating moron, I'm getting down to crunch time. I'm moving in a month, and right now I'm attending an extremely intensive course of study in preparation for command, which keeps me at work 12-14hr per day during the week, plus time on the weekends. Not a whole lot of free time to play with.

    So, with that said, I really want to get the engine in the car this weekend. Other than one small hiccup - where the frack did I put all the flywheel bolts?!?! - I think I'm on track. As discussed before, the heads are on and torqued. A couple nights ago I installed the front cover loosely, awaiting install of the ATI damper. (The FSM has you use a special tool to ensure the front main seal in the front cover is properly centered on the crank snout. Without that tool, it appears the "normal" method on the internet is to install the front cover loosely, then install the crank damper, which helps to center the front cover, then tighten up the front cover bolts.) The motor mounts are installed on the engine.

    The big job today was fighting with the wiring harness that goes over and around the top of the engine. As I said much earlier in this thread, the FSM method is to drop the engine out the bottom of the car, so the wiring harness on top of the engine isn't a concern. However, if you're pulling the engine out the top, the harness is a big problem. Imagine a 3/4 - 1" thick bundle of wires in a rectangular loop sitting on top of the engine. At each front corner, thick bundles run down to the A/C, ABS, PS, fans, alternator, etc. And at the bottom of the radiator support, a thick bundle runs from one side to the other, making a continuous vertical loop of wiring at the front of the engine, which is connected to the continuous horizontal loop of wiring that sits on top of the engine. And then at the rear, there are two legs that go back along either side of the transmission, so there's no easy way to move the damn harness out of the way! This picture gives a pretty good idea of where the harness goes:


    When I pulled the dead engine, I had already removed the heads. With some stretching and cursing, I was juuuust able to pull the engine up through the horizontal loop of wiring. But with the new engine, I've already installed the heads (since I figured it would be easier with the engine out of the car), so that ain't gonna work - the engine is too wide fit down through that loop. Today I was under the car tracing the harnesses along either side of the tranny, disconnecting the various sensors and labeling everything, then pulling both harnesses into the engine bay. At that point I was able to flop the entire horizontal loop and the two rearward legs over the radiator, moving the harness out of the way of the soon-to-be-lowered-in engine. Hooray!



    Tomorrow morning, assuming I can find all of the damn flywheel bolts, I'll pull the engine off the stand and install the flywheel and clutch. I also want to make a heat shield for the starter with some sheet aluminum - the starters are somewhat notorious for having issues with melting the harness connector and/or terminal plug, and that issue gets even worse with headers. The starter wiring harness on the car now is relatively new, as the old one failed on me during an event at VIR, but even this "new" one has clearly seen some heat already, so I want to shield it.

    The next bit of fun will be repositioning the car. I live in a townhouse with a 2-car garage, but the garage is pretty shallow. With the V's rear bumper an inch or two from the garage door, I've probably got 2-1/2 feet or so at the front of the car - not enough room to maneuver the engine hoist. When I pulled the engine, I did it with the engine hoist on the side of the car, at a bit of an angle. That really made it a pain in the ass to control the fore-aft movement of the engine. To avoid that, I want to shift the car back a couple feet to give me more room to play in front of the car, so I can put the engine hoist in a more conventional position. That will require reinstalling the rear wheels, taking the rear off the jack stands, jacking up the front end to get if off the jack stands, rolling the car back, and putting the front back down on jack stands. I'll end up with the car hanging out the garage door, so hopefully I'm able to get the engine in without too much trouble, at which point I can get the engine hoist out of the way and move the car back forward. That also means that (obviously) the garage door has to stay open, which really sucks, since it's supposed to be in the 90s tomorrow. Normally the garage stays pretty cool due to the positioning of the house, but with the big double door open, methinks it'll be plenty warm in there.
    '05 Stealth Grey CTS-V, Hyper Silver Linea Corse Venetos w/Continental ExtremeContact DWs (summer), black Team Dynamics ProRace 1.2 wheels with 275/35-18 R-compounds (track), Hyperblack Rota Torques (winter), KW Variant3s, V2 front brakes, Hotchkis rear sway bar, EPS cam, TEA-ported 243 heads, FAST92 intake w/LS2 TB, JBA Camaro/G8 1-3/4" shorty headers w/JBA cat pipes, Corsa exhaust, UUC motor and tranny mounts, UUC shifter, MAPerformance trailing arms, Specter cradle bushings, etc...

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    re: How to replace / upgrade your LS6 in only 369 days!!!

    May 27, 2012:

    False alarm on the flywheel bolts - I was thinking there were supposed to be 8, and I was wondering what I had done with the other 2. Turns out there are only supposed to be 6.

    May 28, 2012:

    Lining things up. Hmmm, it's been so long since I pulled the old engine - was it transversely mounted?


    So close, and yet... so far. Flywheel and clutch installed, front damper installed. Successfully rolled the car back and worked the engine hoist around the garage to get it in front of the car and the engine is lowered into the engine bay.



    Unfortunately, I just can't quite get the engine to slide back onto the tranny. I know from fighting with engine swaps in the Subaru that sometimes that's the way it goes, but this seems more stubborn than anything I've fought with on the Subaru.

    Earlier this evening I'm pretty sure I had the splines on the clutch at least starting to engine the splines on the input shaft of the transmission - using a wrench on the crank pulley bolt, I couldn't rotate the crank anymore. At that point I was as close as I've gotten - about 1/2 - 3/4" gap between the tranny and engine. It just wouldn't go any closer. The gap was just big enough that I could only get a couple/few threads of engagement with a few of the bolts, not enough that I was willing to put any torque on them to try to pull the engine and tranny together. (In the back of my mind I always have the cautionary tale of a friend of mine, who mangled the splines on the input shaft of his Miata's tranny by pulling the engine and tranny together when things weren't quite aligned.)

    After shaking and pushing and rocking to try to get it to close the gap, I went ahead and pulled the engine back to try and "reset", and then couldn't get it to go back to where it was. Blast! I already pulled the engine back up once to eyeball the pilot bearing alignment with the splines of the clutch discs, looked fine, so I'm not sure what else to try.

    Here's how she sits for now (well, except it's darker since it's midnight):

    Have to leave the garage open overnight, which doesn't thrill me. And I'm not sure what else I can try tomorrow, so I may just have to lift the engine back out and set it aside so I can pull the car back in the garage.

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    re: How to replace / upgrade your LS6 in only 369 days!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by guy #7
    Once you get it close enough to get a few threads on all the bolts, depress the clutch pedal - if you can get the pressure plate to release it will let everything align, and you should be able to push it the rest of the way on. On the LT1 backward clutch, this would also pull the tranny home.
    Ahhh, thanks, I wouldn't have thought of that.

    More on May 28, 2012:

    It's in! Hopefully I didn't frakk anything up, but I wouldn't be surprised if the pilot bearing is a bit worse for wear. I got it to the same point I was at last night - about 1/2 - 3/4" gap - then used a few longer bolts to hold things together. Depressed the clutch pedal and locked it into place against the front seat with a jack handle, then started tightening the bolts. After a little work (and I wasn't putting a ton of torque on the bolts - I was using a short Gearwrench ratching wrench and a little 1/4" drive ratchet specifically to keep myself from trying to gronk it on there) I heard a big pop (snout of input shaft bound up on the pilot bearing and then releasing?) and was able to tighten the bolts the rest of the way pretty easily.

    I guess I'll find out in the next couple weeks if I fooked something up.

    In my excitement, I went ahead and bolted the front cross-member into place. Then I remembered that I wanted to install the headers while the cross-member was still down (and the engine was still lifted up by the hoist) to give me more room to play with. Doh! So, I'll probably have to re-attack that tonight. For now, though, it's time to roll the car back into the garage, then get cleaned up and go study nuclear powah for a while.


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    re: How to replace / upgrade your LS6 in only 369 days!!!

    June 1, 2012:

    Makin' progress. Got the headers in with new gaskets. I had the headers installed a while back by Lindsay Cadillac, and I gave them ARP header studs to install. When I removed the headers last fall I discovered that those studs really make removing (and installing) the passenger side header a huge PITA. The engine sits noticeably closer to the passenger side strut tower, so the header won't even clear the studs unless you lift the engine a bit. On Monday I did that so I could hang the header on a stud just to get it into position, but tonight I had to fight with positioning the header and gasket and threading a bolt in with only two hands.

    I also finished up my starter heat shield and installed that. Not sure if it'll make any difference, but it makes me feel better.

    And I worked on re-installing the tranny wiring harness - got 1/2 of that done.

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    re: How to replace / upgrade your LS6 in only 369 days!!!

    June 2, 2012:

    More progress being made. Two sticking points thus far: (1) The frakking oil dipstick tube doesn't want to slide all the way in. I've read a number of times that the dipstick is a PITA to get seated, and now I'm experiencing that first-hand. It needs to go in about another inch to be able to line up with the bolt on the header that holds the tube in place. (2) I have a mystery connector on the passenger side above the starter. Not sure what they hell it could possibly go to. Anyway, still some work to do, but I think I can actually fire it up this weekend.

    Quote Originally Posted by guy #8
    Crank position sensor?

    Aha! Yup, that's the one. Now I just have to figure out how to get to it, as the starter and header are already installed, which is why I couldn't see it from above or below.

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    re: How to replace / upgrade your LS6 in only 369 days!!!

    Frakk me, that was a battle! Wrapped things up about 0130, with probably the last 90min or so dedicated to trying to get that damn crank position sensor hooked up. But, I got it!

    I was worried I was going to have to pull the starter to get to it, and the starter won't come out with the passenger side header installed, which won't come out unless I jack the engine up a bit. I had to unbolt the starter (partly to remove the heat shield I made so I would have more room to work with, and partly to allow me some wiggle room with the starter), and then I fought with it for probably 30min before I finally got my fingers in there (couple left fingers over the top of the starter, couple right fingers squeezed up between the starter and the block) and popped the connector into place. That was after 30min or more trying to reach in from above between the header tubes, feeling around with my fingers trying to find the sensor. The headers have Swain Tech White Lightning on them, which is like rough sandpaper, so my left hand and wrist got pretty abused squeezing down between the tubes.

    So, between the little bit of work Friday and the lotta work Saturday, I...
    - Went to the Caddy dealer Friday PM for a couple jugs of GM coolant. Thought hard for a minute to make sure there wasn't anything else I still needed. Apparently, didn't think hard enough (more on that in a moment).
    - Finished re-routing all of the harness stuff that I had moved out of the way to install the engine. To route the harness back along the passenger side of the tranny I actually had to loosen all the bolts on the front crossmember and drop the engine/tranny/crossmember about an inch to make enough room, as it runs on top of the transmission and I just couldn't feed it through the limited space.
    - Got the water pump installed.
    - Went back to the Caddy dealer Saturday AM for a new thermostat gasket after installing the water pump and realizing I had gotten new water pump gaskets months ago but not a thermostat gasket.
    - Pre-lubed the engine with oil.
    - Went to Advance Auto to get some more blue shop towels and oil dry after pre-lubing the garage floor while pre-lubing the engine. Also picked up a PS pulley installer/remover rent-a-tool kit.
    - Got the alternator installed.
    - Got the PS pump installed, along with a new pressure line (the old one had been seeping for a while so I finally elected to replace it while everything was apart). Unfortunately, it seems to me the new line isn't bent properly, as it doesn't line up quite right. It'll work for now, but I'm not thrilled by the fitment.
    - Pressed the PS pump pulley on with the installer/remover kit.
    - Cut off an 18mm wrench so that I had something short enough to remove (and then reinstall) the fitting on the PS line where it goes into the rack. (It was much easier installing that fitting a month or two ago when there wasn't an engine in the way!)
    - Removed the PS pump pulley with the installer/remover kit. Removed the alternator and PS pump to check to make sure I had the new pressure line routed properly. Tried a different configuration (it crosses over itself, so I tried it with A on top of B and with B on top of A) with no better luck.
    - Pressed the PS pump pulley on with the installer/remover kit.
    - Got the PS cooler re-mounted to its bracket and reinstalled. (I was going to upgrade that, but the plan never came together, hence I put the OEM cooler back together and I'll worry about an upgrade later.)
    - Did an initial fill on the PS system. I'm sure it'll need more fluid once the engine is running. I suppose I could put a drill on the snout of the pump - I've done that to bleed pumps in the past.
    - Installed new intake port gaskets in the FAST 92mm intake manifold.
    - Decided I wasn't going to need to lift the engine again and bolted the engine mounts in place.
    - Fought with the crank position sensor wiring harness and finally got it hooked up.
    I think that's about it.

    My task list is out in the garage, but off the top of my head I still need to:
    - Install the intake manifold and throttle body.
    - Replace the injector o-rings and install the injectors and fuel rails.
    - Install the radiator (a nice new aluminum one) and fans, fill the cooling system.
    - Install the air intake / filter box.
    - Put the rear end up on jacks and install the exhaust. (I think I'll leave it on the jacks for the first startup so I don't put the car through the back wall of the garage if I frakked up something with the clutch / tranny during the install. )
    - Top off the engine with oil.

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    re: How to replace / upgrade your LS6 in only 369 days!!!

    June 3, 2012 (morning):

    Quote Originally Posted by guy #9
    Man I'm glad I'm not the only one that has to redo and/or mop up my installation mistakes. Not that I wish on anyone else or on your project Patrick but I feel a little less foolish knowing it happens to most everyone.
    Yeah, I definitely have my fair share of mishaps. What I've always thought is strange is that I'm not an incompetent mechanic - at least, I don't think I am. But I seem to have a knack for making the one small mistake that can't be fixed in 5min, and instead requires me to spend 2hr disassembling and reassembling things in order to get to that socket that I dropped into just the wrong spot or whatever.

    Quote Originally Posted by guy #9
    That is a heck of a lot of work in a short period of time. Congrats. Sounds like I might see you running the V again in time for the sweltering VIR July heat wave.
    It honestly felt like I didn't get that much accomplished, but when I wrote it all out like that I felt better. Obviously I burned some time running errands that should've been unnecessary or should've been combined, but such is life.

    As for VIR, if I get to any more events this season it won't be until the fall, as the Navy will have me jumping locales from the end of June through September.

    June 3, 2012 (evening):

    Today the Gods of Wrenching decided to punish me for saying that I'm not an incompetent mechanic by making me do things that would make me question that statement. I got the intake manifold installed, then the fuel rails, then removed the fuel rails and flipped them 180deg so that they were actually properly installed. I did a couple touch up things, like getting the 2 grounds on the back of each head installed - quite a PITA, as there's little room to play with and you can't see. (I can only imagine how impossible that task must be on the Vettes and F-bodies, with the back of the engine tucked under the cowl!)

    I then installed the throttle body, which is an OEM 90mm job that came with the conversion harness to run an LS2/3 TB on an LS1/6. Made note for the first time (despite having had these parts for months) that the LS6 TB has a nipple on it upstream of the throttle plate, and has coolant running through it, while the "new" TB has neither. Hmmmm... Did some searching and found this pretty comprehensive install thread that addresses both issues. Went to Advance Auto to buy the PCV grommet bits he used to tap into the intake pipe upstream of the TB.

    At some point after that I discovered that there's a vacuum nipple on the rear passenger corner of the FAST intake manifold. My car doesn't use that nipple, so I need to cap it, but of course the only vacuum caps in my little arsenal of spare parts are either tiny or too big. Having already been to Advance Auto twice during the day (once to return the PS pump pulley installer kit, once to get the PCV stuff), I elected to just write that down and get the cap tomorrow.

    Then I went to install my spiffy new aluminum radiator. Slid it into place and couldn't get the condenser to bolt up. (The condenser bolts directly to the radiator, 2 bolts on the upper tank, 2 on the lower.) Tried various iterations of getting one bolt in place, then tugging and shifting and forcing to get the other holes to line up. No go. Took the radiator out and made a couple measurements. Hmmmm, that looks fine, let me try again. Surprisingly enough, still no go. Fortunately, I still have my stock radiator - just never got around to tossing it - so I pulled that out of the corner. I took some rough measurements but I couldn't figure out why the damn condenser didn't want to bolt up to the aftermarket radiator. I didn't want to fiddle with it anymore, as I just don't have the time to spare, so I went ahead and installed the stock radiator (condenser bolted up with no muss, no fuss). Then I was reminded that, despite what the FSM says, it is physically impossible to install the fans with the radiator already in the car - you have to put the fans on the radiator, then install everything together. After making that re-discovery, I recalled fighting to get everything out last summer, and kicked myself for not remembering.

    Pulled the radiator, installed the fans, slid the whole assembly back in, bolted everything up. Then came the biggest bonehead move of the day. I chopped an old radiator hose to give me a 90deg piece, put that on the upper hose connection on the block, and started to fill the block with coolant. I put 1 - 1.5 gal in and then started to hear fluid splashing on the garage floor. WTF?! Coolant was coming down from somewhere at the back of the engine on the passenger side. I threw down some more blue shop towels and some more oil dry stuff, all the while wondering what the hell could be leaking. Of course, it had to be at the rear passenger side, which is the worst for visibility. After crawling under the car a couple times fruitlessly searching for a source, it hit me - the heads aren't side-specific, which means they both have a port for the coolant temperature sensor. The sensor mounts in the front of the driver side head, which means the back of the passenger side head has a 1/2" hole in it unless you plug it! Fooooooccckk!! So stupid of me! I went and dug through the bits that TEA sent me when they sent the heads back, found the plug, installed that, poured in a bit more coolant and then decided to call it a night.

    I started the day thinking I might actually try starting the car, and finished almost wanting to blow it up.

  13. #28
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    re: How to replace / upgrade your LS6 in only 369 days!!!

    June 5, 2012:

    A few pictures of progress.



    The pre-lube process. It turns out the FSM tells you to use this port on the driver side of the block. I had bought a 16mm-to-6AN adapter to use in the oil pressure sending unit port on the top of the block, but this plug ended up being the same thread. I found the oil pressure sending unit a bit of a PITA to remove / install, as it's a big hex head, so using this port allowed me to install the sending unit on the top of the block before installing the engine.





    Garden sprayer + a couple adapter fittings/hose nipples to convert the sprayer's hose to 3/8" hose, then a 3/8" nipple-to-6AN hose end. The shutoff valve was probably unnecessary, but helps minimize mess.

    Here's the nice fat radiator:


    I really wish I knew why the fracking condenser didn't want to bolt up to it, but now that I've filled the stock radiator I'm not going to go back and try again. I'll save that task for a later date after the car is on the road.

    Last night I got the exhaust into position. A bit unwieldy by myself, as it's all one piece from the cats back to the mufflers. (Technically, it's a few pieces, but Magnaflow's somewhat cheap stainless is pretty well corroded together. Plus I didn't want to remove the cats from the X-pipe, as that all has to be aligned just right to fit together.) Header flanges are loosely bolted in place, mufflers are on jacks waiting for me to hook up the hangers tonight.

    I have some starter heat shield pics, but they all suck, so I'll try to snap better ones tonight.

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    re: How to replace / upgrade your LS6 in only 369 days!!!

    June 6, 2012:

    OK, some pics of the starter heat shield. No idea if it will actually help, but it's in there.

    Looking in from the passenger side, you can see the shield in the gaps between the header tubes:


    Looking up from below, you can see how it's attached using the starter bolts, and you can just see the edge of it as it runs alongside the starter:


    This picture is sideways (up is on the left), forgot to rotate it. This is looking forward from above the header collector.

    The cable right next to the header primary wrapped in Thermo-Tec sheathing is the positive cable to the starter, and it's the closest thing to the header. It's not quite as bad as it looks in the picture, but it is closer than I'd like - probably ~3/4" or less. There's really nothing to use to pull the cable closer to the block / starter, though, so there's not much I can do about it. The heat shield is intended to protect the end of that cable where it attaches to the starter, which is not wrapped in any sort of heat protection. I actually cut the heat shield back a bit to clear the wrapped portion of the cable, otherwise (due to the angles of the various bits) the heat shield would be touching the header and the cable, which I figured would kind of defeat the purpose.

    Last night I finished installing the exhaust - all the hangers are hung, and the flanges at the header collectors are bolted up. Before I pulled all this stuff apart months ago I had used a green paint marker to mark the header collector and cat pipes and was happy to see my marks all lined right back up.

    I also fought with the damn dipstick tube, still can't get the thing to slide all the way in. This morning I sent an email to the tech at the dealership who always works on the car to ask him for some tricks. When I get home tonight I'll see if he has any advice for me. That's basically the only thing preventing me from finishing off the oil fill (I pumped a couple quarts in during the pre-lube, as that's what the FSM said to do) - I don't want to just blindly pour oil in without having an accurate dipstick to check the level.

    One other thing I was playing with over the weekend was the install of the FAST intake manifold. The factory manifold has a little ground bracket between one of the fuel rail mounting bolts and one of the intake manifold mounting bolts. The FSM seems to think that little bracket is important, but the FAST instructions don't address it at all. It won't fit on the FAST manifold without some modification, so I did some trimming with my tin snips to make it work:


    The fuel supply line routes over the top of the manifold on the CTS-V; my impression is the Vettes and F-bodies aren't routed here. As you can see, the silver supply line don't fit - the two "legs" that are supposed to bolt to studs where the fuel rails mount don't reach.


    So, I cut those off:




    I'm pretty much down to installing the coil brackets and plug wires (waiting on getting the oil dipstick in place - I suppose I could install the driver side now), topping off the oil, topping off the coolant, installing the battery and firing it up. Getting close!

    Oh, and Monday was 1 year. It would have been nice if I could've gotten it started on the weekend, just to beat the 1 year, but alas...

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    re: How to replace / upgrade your LS6 in only 369 days!!!

    More on June 6, 2012:

    Quote Originally Posted by guy #10
    The trick I use for dipsticks is to use a crows foot wrench on the end of a long extension. Slide it over the tube and set it down on the ridge that seats the dipstick then tap the extension and it drives the dipstick right in.
    The other alternative is just to figure out that you're trying to align the dipstick tube holder bracket with the wrong hole on the head!!! This whole time I was thinking that the dipstick bolted to one of the header bolts. After futzing with it a little bit more this evening, and getting ready to install coil packs and plug wires, I was thinking to myself, "I don't know how the damn spark plug wire boot is going to have any room when I get this dipstick tube into position. Am I lining it up on the correct bolt?" I looked at the FSM to make sure I was lining it up right and at that point I noticed that the FSM showed it lining up with a bolt hole just above the header flange. Well, whaddya know! So, that's fixed.

    Also got the coil packs and plug wires installed (that's more of a PITA than I remembered) and hooked up the battery. Added some more coolant (although I'm sure I'll have to "burp" the system once I get it running) and filled it with oil. By the time I was done with that it was about 11:15pm, so I elected not to start it (again, townhouse neighborhood, no point pissing everyone off!). I did turn the key to power everything up and got a couple of warnings - "Service Theft System" (maybe since it's been without power for a year and lost whatever memory it had?) and "Engine Power Reduced" (I think because of the new throttle body). I just shot another email to the dealer tech to ask about those; hopefully he'll shoot me a response tomorrow and I can try starting it when I get home from work!

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