Life is Great with a 6.0-liter V8
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  • Track Day Prep: New Brake Rotors

    Posted on February 25th, 2014 tcorzett No comments

    People always wonder why I have dirty wheels… Maybe it’s because the G8 is my daily driver and I don’t detail my car every time I park? Or maybe it’s because I’m running a track capable brake pad that is very aggressive for the street?

    Well, I’m leaning towards the latter, since I need to replace my front brake rotors… because they are no longer slotted. What? Yeah… I’ve removed enough material from the rotors that the slots are no longer there!

    I’ve also used-up a set of front brake pads in the last year, so they needed to be replaced as well… I guess track days take their toll on these sorts of components! So in preparation for the coming year, and hopefully a few track days, I brought the G8 into Synergy Motorsports to get things replaced and for general service.

    As always they took good care of the G8 and got me back on the road quickly. They were even able to service the transmission, which required converting to a Camaro filter/pan.

  • G8 at Sonoma Raceway!

    Posted on February 10th, 2013 tcorzett No comments

    Last April I had the chance to take the G8 out on-track at Laguna Seca Raceway. While it was lots of fun, the event ended early on a sour note when my engine started making disturbing noises. Shortly after the rebuild I headed-out on my 2012 GONE Road Trip, so have not had a chance to return to the race track in nearly a year!

    Determined to return to the track, I’ve spent the winter trying to organize a group of G8 and GTO owners who want to participate in track day events. My goal is to help facilitate the process for those who have never done it before, so have spent many hours checking calendars and putting together guides/checklists. After careful deliberation I decided that I would attend a two day track day event with the Northern California region of the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) at Sonoma Raceway (aka. Sears Point).

    In Northern California NASA is one of the largest groups of driving/racing enthusiasts and typically have a weekend event every month at the various tracks. Most event include both High Performance Driver Education (HPDE) events as well as full-out racers. The HPDE drivers are broken down into four groups based on experience:

    • HPDE-1: Novice – Instructor assigned, passing on main straights only
    • HPDE-2: Solo – Runs with HPDE-1, passing on main straights only
    • HPDE-3: Intermediate – Passing areas more liberal and increasing as day progresses
    • HPDE-4: Advanced – Open passing

    Sonoma Raceway (previously known as Infineon Raceway and Sears Point Raceway) is a tricky track. While there isn’t anything as extreme as “The Corkscrew”, the track is not a bunch of individual corners connected by straights… rather every corner flows into another. Making a mistake on the entry to one corner results in a cascade of problems through half the track. When you do things right you can really feel the rhythm of the track, and that’s extremely addicting!

    Having never driven with NASA, or at Sonoma Raceway, I decided to take things slow and run in HPDE-2. I’m sure I would qualify for HPDE-3, but didn’t want to overstep my abilities and make a bad first impression. It also gave me a chance to help the new HPDE-1 drivers who had never been to a track day event before.

    The week before the event I took the G8 into Synergy Motorsports for routine service (oil change, etc.) and a thorough once-over to make sure everything was ready for the track. After a year (and ~15k miles) I also had the brake fluid replaced (with more Castrol SRF)… the brake pads still had 50% of the material remaining. I also had replacement OEM front LCAs installed (I had reinstalled the original ones after reports of failures with the aftermarket ones).

    Given the event was both Saturday and Sunday, I decided to get a hotel close to the track so I could avoid the hour-long drive to/from the track each day… with the gates opening at 6am I figured the little extra sleep would be nice. It was also fun sleeping in a room with posters of Ferrari’s on the wall and a track map above the bed!

    I took Friday off so I could prepare for the weekend event. I took advantage of a gorgeous “winter” day in California to wash the G8 before heading-up to the hotel. Most of the day I had a nervous feeling in my stomach, but I knew it was just anticipation.

    Day #1
    Compared to my previous track day, NASA was definitely “strict” when it came to the rules. This isn’t a bad thing, especially since there were quite a few people who had never driven on-track before. After taking some time discuss basic information they went over flags then broke-down into the various HPDE groups for more in-depth discussions before getting out on-track.

    During the first 20 minute session of the day I started near the back of the HPDE-2 drivers, but in front of the HPDE-1 group. One of the nice parts of NASA events is that while HPDE-1 and 2 are limited to passing on the main straights, no point-bys are required. While this resulted in some sketchy passes by impatient drivers, I found it nice to feel like I wasn’t ever holding-up people.

    After letting one person by I had nearly the entire session to work on learning the driving line. I’d spent quite some time reading track guides and practicing in video games, but there is nothing that can replace the experience of driving around a corner. While I’m sure my line was far from ideal, I felt I was starting to develop a good sense for where I needed to be.

    Towards the end of the first session the flag stations started to display a black flag (“Black Flag All”) meaning we were to proceed (with caution) around the track and return to the pit lane. As I rounded Turn 7 I spotted a standing yellow flag and a white flag (slow moving vehicle on-track). As I entered Turn 8 I could see a vehicle sitting off-track at the apex of Turn 8a, but it appeared to have damage on the driver’s side door. I kept thinking to myself, “How did you do that there? There’s nothing to hit…”. Then I spotted a Porsche with front-end damage hiding behind a safety truck.

    After each HPDE session on-track NASA has a group “download” session where we discuss things. Needless to say there was quite a lot of discussion about the car-to-car incident (which is nearly unheard of). It was obvious to me that people were driving too fast/close for their ability, especially for the first session (of the first event of the year). It was a bit surprising to hear the instructors comments about who was “at fault” in the incident… and that as a driver you are responsible for being able to control/stop your car if/when the vehicle ahead of you has an issue (like a spin).

    There wasn’t much time after the debrief before we were back out on track for the second session of the day. I again tried to position myself towards the end of the HPDE-2 group, giving myself lots of room to work on learning the track.

    Like I did in the driving schools I decided to keep in 4th gear and just focus on the line. I found that I was picking-up things fairly quickly, but knew I wasn’t pushing too hard. While I started going WOT on the straights, I tried to be consistent with my braking/turning points. Just when I was getting in the groove the session came to an end.

    At lunch NASA runs a session called a “Hyperdrive”. This is designed to give people a taste of track driving without all the requirements of a full HPDE-1 run group. Many people would consider a 45 minute track session at a maximum speed of 35mph torture, but with no previous experience/instruction at Sonoma Raceway I took this as the perfect time to really learn the driving line with one-on-one instruction. Unfortunately the debrief from the second session ran long, so I missed half of the Hyperdrive, but I came away from it with a much better understanding of the track. I would highly recommend it for anyone really looking to learn to drive a new track.

    Before the third session I needed to fill-up my tank with fuel. With the G8 tuned to run on 91 octane pump gas there isn’t a need for race gas, but during long sessions engine/intake temperatures can get high. Running higher octane fuel is cheap insurance to protect against detonation (or the ECM pulling timing due to knock). After 12.424 gallons of 96 octane (at $7.999 per gallon) the final “blend” in the tank was 94.8 octane… perfect for an afternoon of track driving!

    In the third session I planned to apply what I’d learned during the Hyperdrive and really work on driving the proper line. I came up-to-speed more quickly and soon found myself starting to push things harder down the straights and through the corners.

    Just when I was starting to get a feel for the track I entered Turn 10 something went wrong…

    As I looked into my rear-view mirror to check on the car I was going to let pass me I noticed a bunch of smoke coming out the rear of my car. At first I thought I might have lost traction somehow, but I wasn’t on the gas. Fortunately the entrance to pit lane was just to the left, so I quickly exited the track.

    In the paddock I checked the G8’s vitals. Oil pressure and temperatures both looked good, oil level was good. Unlike last time I had issues on-track there were no strange noises. The engine seemed to be OK, but I wanted to find a cause for the smoke. I remembered that I hadn’t checked my catch can prior to the event… and sure enough there was quite a bit of oil in there. At that point I figured I’d found the problem (some oil had been picked-up from the catch can and been sent into the intake, resulting in smoke). In hindsight I really should have crawled under the rear of the G8, as I would have noticed that hadn’t been the case.

    Despite thinking I’d fixed the reason for the smoke, I didn’t want to push things and drive in the fourth session for the day. I took a trip out on the ring road to see if I could see any more smoke and to double-check that everything was behaving. I wasn’t experiencing any issues, so after watching the Group C race I headed back to the hotel for the night.

    Day #2
    Yesterday was an exciting day, but after the mechanical issues from Session 3 I was apprehensive about how the day would go. I’d driven to/from the hotel without issue, but I wanted to take things slow on-track so arranged to be one of the last cars out for the first session.

    I started out of the pits and everything seemed to be OK. I made my way around the track on the opening warm-up lap slowly increasing the speeds, but just as I started around Turn 10 I knew something in the drive-line was not right.

    As I tried to accelerate out of the corner I could hear the engine RPMs increasing, but there was zero power going to the rear wheels. I had another car on my bumper, so quickly dove into the pit lane while I tried to find a gear that would work. After trying a few different gears with no luck, I knew my weekend was over. I coasted into the paddock and quickly located an empty area to park. I pulled-off my helmet and crawled under the back of the G8 to figure out what had happened.

    At this point I could clearly see it was something major that caused the smoke yesterday, not just a little excess oil from the catch can. Fortunately one of the steps I’ve taken in preparation for track driving is upgrading to a Platinum AAA membership which includes up to 200 miles of towing per incident.

    It didn’t take long for the tow truck to arrive and get the G8 loaded-up. After swinging by my spot in the paddock to pick-up all my stuff (tools, bags, spare tire, etc.) we headed-off towards my mechanic’s shop.

    Getting the G8 up on a lift, it’s was obvious there is something wrong with the rear differential.

    The driver’s side axle had separated from the differential and that allowed fluid to drip onto the exhaust (causing the smoke observed on-track). Fortunately it appears there was no damage caused to the axles or the differential and after flushing the fluid everything went back together and seems to be driving fine.

    Overall it was a fun weekend. It was great to drive at Sonoma Raceway with NASA and I was glad I could help some friends get out on track for the first time. While I would love to get back out on-track soon, finishing on a tow truck wasn’t how I imagined it ending. I said after my previous track day, I really think I need to look into a dedicated track car!

  • More Tires

    Posted on October 30th, 2012 tcorzett No comments

    Thank goodness Discount Tire has a $100 rebate; I need new tires!

    While my car was in the shop getting the latest round of mods I noticed just how worn-out my rear tires were getting. Before leaving on my 2012 GONE Road Trip I replaced the rear Bridgestone RE-11’s with another set. I was able to get ~22k miles out of my factory “Summer Only” Bridgestone RE050A’s, so getting 14k miles (including a Laguna Seca track day) on the rear of a 444hp/460tq car wasn’t too bad.

    Despite all of twisty roads I drive, the front RE-11’s have been able to survive ~26k miles! I’m extremely impressed, and better yet… the outer edge of the tread has held-up nicely (unlike the RE050A’s). Since my rear tires still have some life until I hit the wear bars, I’m moving those to the front and installing a pair of the new tires on the rear. I’ll keep the other pair of tires handy for when I eat-up these!

  • The Six Million Dollar G8

    Posted on July 26th, 2012 tcorzett No comments

    Some have refereed to my car as “The Million Dollar G8”. I’ve never been a fan of that title, but I think I’m going to go along with it now…

    In April my engine got the flu and went in for service/repair. As the engine was being dismantled I kept thinking to myself: “Gentlemen, we can rebuild it. We have the technology. We can make it better than it was before… Stronger… FASTER!”

    After nearly 4 months, and just under six million dollars, my G8 returns to the road!

    Previously I added a TVS1900 supercharger, but didn’t open the engine to change any if the internals. Since the top half of the engine was now open to fix the broken part(s), I took advantage of it and replaced parts to make the engine better fit my performance goals.

    The G8 came from the factory with Displacement on Demand (DOD) that deactivated four of the cylinders to save fuel. I never liked the way this made the car behave, so turned it off during the last round of mods. Since some suggest the DOD hardware is a weak-link with the L76 engine… and I’m not using it anyhow… I had it all removed.

    The G8 is primarily my daily driver, so I didn’t want to go crazy and install a “donkey dick” cam (yes, that is the industry term) that would kill the drivability of the car. I also didn’t want to be forced to change to a higher RPM stall converter, again affecting daily driving.

    Ultimately, I wanted a cam that would give me more power than the stock one… but more importantly, I wanted one that generates more torque at the higher RPMs. With the Magnacharger (roots-type blower) I’ve had more low-end torque than I can put to the ground, but the car tended to “fall on it’s face” over 3200rpms (where I was at peak torque). Shifting the power curve a little should have a dramatic effect on the overall performance of the G8.

    Lastly, I have always loved the “sleeper” nature of my car, so I didn’t want to install a cam that would be too obvious while at idle. Many people like the old-school muscle car sound of a really lopey cam, but I’d rather no one know anything is different (until I blow past them at WOT).

    With all of this in mind, the cam chosen was a 223/231 0.610/0.610 117LSA

    Since the heads needed to be removed to access the lifters (the suspected failed part), it made sense to send them out to West Coast Racing for some TLC.

    Fuel System:
    The G8 has a decent fuel system, and can pushed with a Boost-a-Pump, but with this round of mods I wanted to take care of the fuel once and for all.

    I gave Andy at Squash Performance (a fellow G8 owner) a call and purchased one of his in-tank dual-pump units. With dual 255LPH Walbro pumps this unit can provide more fuel than I could ever use (with this engine block).

    The pumps are connected to a Hobbs Switch, which uses the boost from the supercharger to turn-on the second fuel pump when extra fuel is needed. A new fuel pressure regulator and 80lbs injectors were also installed to make sure the engine has a consistent flow of fuel. Everything is installed neatly under the car with the rest of the not-so-stock parts.

    For the longest time I had the goal of keeping my car “CARB friendly”. I ran shorty headers with HF cats, but was really hampering my car’s performance (especially on the top-end). Due to some unfortunate circumstances with a friend’s G8, I obtained a set of Kooks 1-7/8″ Long Tube headers. I’ve held-off installing them for such a long time, but with all the internal engine mods now was the right time. A custom connection pipe (w/HF Cats) was made to bolt the LT’s to my Corsa exhaust.

    With the long tubes the G8 is definitely louder, but at normal amounts of throttle it’s not too bad. What I love is just how raw the car sounds when I jump on the throttle! The first time (windows down, radio off, next to sound walls) I even scared myself a little. It will be interesting to see if I keep under Laguna Seca’s 92dB sound limit…

    Supercharger Pulley:
    The stock pulley on the Magnacharger is 3.3″ and was producing ~6psi of boost with the shorty headers. With increased exhaust flow, in order to not loose boost with the LT’s, a 3.0″ pulley was installed… producing just under 9psi at WOT. In the future I could increase the boost (either with a 2.8″ pulley or a rear overdrive pulley), but that will likely require the addition of a water/methanol injection system.

    All of this is seems good on paper, but the proof is in the pudding!

    I’ve never been too concerned with the numbers, but I was pleasantly surprised when I heard my car is putting 537hp and 505tq to the rear wheels (an increase of 21%)!

    Drivability of the car is still very good. I’m having to get use to being in the G8 again (I’ve been in an SUV for the past 4 months), but nothing seems unpleasant. The idle is a bit rougher than before and there is more noise, but nothing crazy. Cruising on the freeway or being stuck in stop-and-go traffic is all handled smoothly. The added power is great, and the car feels much stronger at the top-end than before. I’ve only put 75 miles on the G8, but so far I’m very happy with all of the modifications.

    Like always, I really have to thank the guys at Synergy Motorsports for putting together such a perfect package.

    I still have a few more mods to install, but this is enough for now. I need to get some seat time in to shake-out everything before my annual pilgrimage to The National G8 Meet!

  • Engine Service

    Posted on May 15th, 2012 tcorzett No comments

    In April I was at Laguna Seca Raceway and my engine started making a “ticking” noise. I pulled into the pits and ended my track day early. That night I was able to make it home, and a few days later took the car into the shop to get looked at.

    On the G8 Forums I’d previously read about “lifter tick” and based on the symptoms I was really suspecting a damaged lifter. The “ticking” noise is obvious at all times, but is especially loud when the car is cold. My mechanic agreed with the diagnosis, and after a few more tests decided that the engine would need to come apart for repairs.

    When I did my initial engine modifications (supercharger, etc.) I feel I didnt’ need to open the engine to reach my desired power levels (and I was right). At this point, with the engine apart, it doesn’t make any sense not to… If have pull-out parts to check for damage, I might as well replace it with something fine-tuned to my goals.

    I have a good handle on the work that will be performed (heads, cam, DOD delete, fuel system, etc.), now I just need to be patient and wait for everything to get put back together again.

  • G8 at Laguna Seca Raceway!

    Posted on April 9th, 2012 tcorzett No comments

    Today was the first time I’ve taken taken G8 out on-track, and I couldn’t think of a better place in the world to do it on than the iconic Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterrey, California.

    I had originally planned on attending my first track day at Thunderhill Raceway, due to the lower risk of damage due to off-track excursions (aka. the walls are farther from the racing surface). When I heard that the Checkered Flag Racing Association (CFRA) was inviting guests to a Laguna Seca track day (and for only $99 after 50%-off) I just couldn’t resist!

    I have a very long-standing relationship with Laguna Seca Raceway; attending races there since before I was born! I’ve been told the story of how my Father helped my Mother (7 months pregnant) up the hill to The Corkscrew. When I was a child I was running around the paddock checking-out all the historic race cars… including a memorable experience with Sir Jackie Stewart. I attended my first professional race at Laguna Seca in 1993 where I saw Paul Tracy win the race and Nigel Mansell win the CART Championship. Laguna Seca Raceway was also a track I photographed on a regular basis (23 different events between 2003-2008).

    CFRA is a “members only” group who got together to organize and attend, not-for-profit, track day events. One of the primary goals of the group is to maintain a safe and courteous environment for driving/racing on-track. They have three run groups (resulting in 2.5hrs of track time each event) at various levels of competitive ability/desire.

    For this event CFRA was not taking any drivers who had not previously been on-track before. Group B (point-by passing) was for drivers with fewer than 10 days experience and Group A (open passing) was for those with more than 10 days experience. There was also a Group R for those with lots of experience and who wanted to do wheel-to-wheel racing (aka. not me).

    While I’ve never done a track day, each of my driving schools counted for several days of experience, and I was invited to join Group A for this event. While I’m sure I would have done a good job in Group A, I decided that I wanted to take things a little slower… especially for the first time out in the G8. As a result I didn’t get the 50% discount (all the discount spots for Group B were already filled), but I felt being in the right group was worth a couple extra bucks. In the end I made the right decision, as I took things slow and probably would have been getting in the way of the faster drivers of Group A.

    Another really exciting thing about this event was that Dito Milian of was photographing the event. Dito and I have shot quite a few events together, so I knew I was going to get some really great photos!

    CFRA events are not really focused on teaching someone how to drive on a track (there are other groups/schools for that), but they do offer “mentors” to ride-along with other drivers. During my first session I requested a mentor, as I wanted to make sure I could quickly get up to speed.

    The first couple laps on-track I took things really slow, really focusing on trying to drive the proper line around the track.

    Most of the corners at Laguna Seca are late apex, so really make you be patient on turn-in. Fortunately most of the corners are also banked, letting you carry a bunch of speed through them. Building on what I learned at Miller Motorsports Park, I made sure to get my braking done early… so I could get the car turned-in… and back on-power as quickly as possible. There were only a few times that I found myself carrying too much speed into the corner without the ability to get the car turned.

    Unlike the tracks I’ve previously driven on, Laguna Seca has huge elevation changes and many blind corners… making navigating the course quite difficult. Every driving school I’ve been to has really focused on vision and keeping your eyes scanning where you want to drive. At Laguna Seca I found that 7 of the 11 corners had some sort of “blind” element…

    The ultimate example of this is “The Corkscrew” (Turns 8 and 8a), which is a left/right turn combination that drops 59 feet in elevation (the equivalent of a five-and-a-half story drop) over only 450 feet of track. As you drive up the hill towards Turn 7 all you can see is sky until you crest the hill. To the left at Turn 8 there is a wall/fence and corner worker station that makes seeing the rest of The Corkscrew impossible. After slowing the car down (in my case to ~30mph) you turn into the apex of Turn 8… with absolutely no view of the right hander (Turn 8a) to come. It is not until you have already committed to a line, and dropped into The Corkscrew, that you have any idea if you’re on the proper course.

    While I’ve driven Laguna Seca many times in video games, watched lots of in-car videos, even walked-up/down the track… there is absolutely nothing like doing it from behind the wheel of a car. The first time I entered The Corkscrew I made sure to slow way down, and even turned-in more than I thought I would need to… only to find my two right wheels on the rumble strips through Turn 8a. While it was an awesome line, it sure was a surprise… especially when I thought I was being conservative!

    As the session progressed the speeds increased and my lap times decreased. Unlike the driving school, this time I had my Race-Technologies DL1 running… and gathered some really great data (click images to see them full-size).

    Lat. Acceleration (Left/Right)

    Lon. Acceleration (Front/Back)

    Looking at the data I’ve been very impressed with how the G8 performed. Lat. acceleration was more than I was expecting (especially for a street tire) with several sustained periods each lap over 0.75 G’s with peaks as high as 1.25 G’s. While the Lon. acceleration wasn’t as extreme, under braking I was experiencing 0.4-0.6 G’s and ~0.25 G’s while accelerating. I can only imagine how this numbers will compare when I get more experience (and a 275/35-18 Hoosier slick)!

    For the second session I was on-track without a mentor… without anyone to guide me around the track… on my own!

    Driving solo was actually kinda relaxing… I didn’t have the pressure of needed to “show-off” or drive “perfect”. I felt like I kept things slower, again to perfect the driving line, but the the data actually showed I was within 1 second of my fastest first session lap after only two laps!

    Between session… after I had double-checked the tire pressures, oil levels, etc… I decided to put a camera on the front of the car to record some video. Here is a video of a typical lap around Laguna Seca.

    As the second session progressed I felt I was really getting a hang for the driving line, as well as feeling-out how the G8 handles on-track. I found myself being able to put together several laps without having any major “oops” moments. My lap times were in the ~2:00 range, which wasn’t great, but for only my second session at Laguna Seca wasn’t too bad. I also knew that while I gained a feel for the G8/track I wasn’t pushing 100% down the straights and was taking it easy in the braking zones.

    Unfortunately, late in the second session, as I crested the hill on the front straight I heard my engine start making a strange “ticking” noise. As I exited Turn 2 I heard the car beep, indicating a check engine DTC. On my run up the back straight I again heard the noises, so I backed-off and made my way into the pits. Here are clips from the front mounted video camera, where you can clearly hear the “ticking” noise.

    Once I made it to the pits I checked/cleared the DTC (P0300 “Random Misfire Detected”) and tried to replicate the sounds/DTC. I was unable to, as there is a 4,000 rpm limiter in park, but when got the engine over ~4,500 rpms in 1st and 2nd gears I was able to replicate the noises and the DTC. Rather than risking further damage to my engine, I made the decision to park the car for the remainder of the day.

    Despite only having two sessions on-track, I drove ~50 miles and used half a tank of fuel… yup, I was getting ~6.25 miles per gallon!

    While I didn’t get a chance to spend the afternoon out on-track, I took advantage of the rest of the day to talk with the other drivers about all sorts of things. The main topic of conversation was typically tire selection, as I know I’m going to need some different tires if I’m going to be spending more time on-track (so I don’t eat-up the tires I need to drive to drive around town).

    This whole experience emphasizes the reason why people have dedicated track cars… it’s hard to get to work the next day if you damage your daily driver on-track. Hopefully the noise I’m hearing from the engine isn’t anything major, and the G8 will be back in action soon!

  • Track Day Preparation

    Posted on April 5th, 2012 tcorzett No comments

    Today I picked-up the G8 from Synergy Motorsports after a couple days of being in the shop. On Monday I will be heading to Laguna Seca Raceway for a track day, so I wanted to make sure the G8 was in tip-top shape… I also wanted to get some track-specific upgrades done.

    The main reason for getting the car worked-on was just to make sure every nut and bolt are torqued appropriately. The last thing I want to have happen is to get out on-track and have something fall apart. It’s been ~12k miles since I last had the G8 looked at, other than oil changes, so I figure now is as good a time as any.

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    UPDATE: The Spohn Performance front Lower Control Arms have been removed from the G8 due to reports of catastrophic failures.
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    Lately I’ve noticed a “clunk” sound coming from the front end suspension when turning sharply… especially under heavy loads (like braking). My prime suspect is a bad front control arm, as the G8 is notorious for going through them. Spohn Performance has developed a set of forged aluminum (rather than cast steel) arms. Not only do these arms have re-buildable ball ends, they are 12 pounds lighter… and that’s un-sprung weight!

    The Spohn arms have been on the market for a while now, and a few of the G8 owners have found that the poly bushings were deforming. I was able to get replacement delrin bushings (free of charge) from Spohn before getting them installed, so hopefully I will not have any issues.

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    Before heading to a track day it’s always a good idea to have your brake system inspected. I’ve been running a nice DOT4 fluid (Motul 600), which is has a 593°F dry and 420°F wet boiling points. Normally I would have just replaced the fluid with new, but a friend of mine gave me a couple bottles of Castrol React SRF fluid to tryout.

    Castrol SRF is some absolutely crazy brake fluid, despite costing ~$75 per liter! Most brake fluid absorbs water from the air… decreasing the boiling point of the fluid (aka. wet boiling point). The formulation of SRF is less hygroscopic than most, absorbing less water, resulting in a much higher wet point point of 518°F. As a result you don’t need to replace the SRF as often because the performance “drop-off” isn’t as significant as with other fluids as it ages and absorbs water.

    While I was having the brake system worked-on, I also wanted to change out the brake pads for some that are more suited for track use.

    After talking with someone running the same brakes as me, I decided to use Hawk HP+ pads up front and Hawk HPS pads in the rear. While these pads will be a bit noisy on the street, they will hold-up the the heavy use on a race track… especially with the weight of the G8 and the higher speeds that result from a supercharged engine.

    Driving home from the shop it was apparent just how much initial bite these new pads have. It took far less pressure on the brake peddle to get the car to stop. When applying more than 3/4 brakes the front ABS even started to activate. It took a little getting use to, but I think I’m really going to like these pads on-track.

    Now that the G8 has received it’s check-up and is ready for the track, I can focus my attention to the logistics of driving my own car on-track (rather than a school car)!

  • All G8’s Recalled Over Airbag Issue

    Posted on November 5th, 2011 tcorzett No comments

    GM is recalling all 38,400 Pontiac G8’s for an airbag issue…

    A 5th percentile female anthropomorphic test device (ATD) in a 30 mph frontal barrier test exceeded the Head Injury Criteria (HIC) requirements of the Standard. With the front passenger seat positioned full forward, the seat position sensor will cause a 30 milliseconds deployment delay between the first and second stages of the dual-stage frontal passenger airbag. In the event of a crash severe enough to command deployment of the front passenger airbag, this delay may result in increased head injury to certain (5th percentile) front seat occupants.

    So, in English, really small women sitting in the passenger’s seat with it in the farthest forward position could be at greater risk for a head injury in the case of a crash.

    Since I’ve never had someone of this description (~5ft 108lbs) in my car, let alone with the front seat in the farthest forward position… I’m not really concerned with this, but none-the-less, I’ll head to the dealer to get the airbag reprogrammed.

  • P2135 and “Limp Mode”

    Posted on October 13th, 2011 tcorzett No comments

    During my Cross Country Drive I was having a reoccurring P2135 Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) accompanied by the car going into “Limp Mode”. When I returned from my trip, I dropped the G8 off at Synergy Motorsports to get things looked at.

    It was determined that the “drive by wire” system used on the throttle of the G8 is “very sensitive”. As I understand it… there are two sensors (A and B) that measure the voltage going from the peddle to the throttle body, and then back. If the voltages going to/from are not the same the car throws the P2135 (TPS/pedal position sensor/switch a/b voltage correlation). Basically, the car goes into “Limp Mode” so there isn’t a chance of a run-away throttle condition (eg. Toyota).

    With the installation of the TVS1900 Magnacharger, there were a few modifications made to the wiring harness under the hood. Some of these changes are done with connectors… and the theory is that one of these connections might be loose, resulting in the DTC. To remove the chance of a loose connection, we removed the connectors and directly wired everything.

    I’ve only driven the G8 a couple hundred miles since the re-wiring, but so I’ve not yet received a DTC. Time will tell if this is the fix, but I’m fairly confident we are on the right path.

  • Post-GONE: Day 10

    Posted on September 21st, 2011 tcorzett No comments

    For the first time, in a long time, I took a day-off to relax and recover. The rain that was foretasted showed-up, so I didn’t miss much by sleeping in. Around 10:00 am my package arrived at the hotel, so I got myself out of bed and by butt into gear.

    Before I left for my road trip I had my mechanic order me a copy of HP Tuners. This is the same software that he used to build the tune for my car, and gives me complete access to retune my car. Add-in a connection to the Internet and I have access to my tuner wherever I am… like in the middle of Tennessee! With the HP Tuners hardware and software in hand, I have the chance to try and deal with this pesky P2135 DTCs that have been plaguing me lately.

    My mechanic sent me a few different files for my car… and I loaded the first onto the car.

    This “new” tune is actually the old one I was using before I left for my Cross Country trip. Before leaving there were a few little tweaks made to my tune to help with a long distance drive. While I’m unsure exactly what is causing the P2135 DTCs at this point (hardware, electrical, tune, long-term trim tables, etc.), it was never something I had seen with the old tune… so by reloading the old tune, we’re isolating at least one of the variables.

    After loading the “new” tune I fired-up the G8 and everything sounded great. I gave it a little gas… and it sounded even better! After a short drive around the parking lot I found a nice dead end road to play in. I only did a little “testing”, but the car seems a bit more “peppy”.

    The bulk of the rest of the day was spent doing laundry and catching-up on being a couch potato. After my laundry was done, I felt like getting back behind the wheel to “test” the car a bit more.

    View Larger Map

    The drive was short and sweet, but it was just what I needed to get back into the mood for my roadtrip. The curves were gentile, but that was also a good thing since the road was wet. In a few places, the sun found it’s way through the clouds and steam was rising from the roads… which never gets old. While I didn’t receive any DTCs, the drive was too short for a definitive “it’s fixed” answer.

    Today I saw my first bicyclist! I’ve been really shocked that in the previous 5354 miles of my roadtrip I’ve not seen a single bicyclist on the twisty roads. This has been quite a (positive) surprise for me… if this was California, most of these roads would be crawling with spandex clad riders. While I still keep an eye-out for cyclists, not having to deal with them has allowed me to have a more enjoyable experience.

    When I started back towards my hotel the skies opened up and the rain started to fall. It wasn’t anything too crazy, but it definitely made me want to get off the road. Fortunately my hotel was close, and the rain even decided to stop when I arrived (so I didn’t get wet walking in).

    Recently I contemplated jumping ahead to drive a few select portions of road… then returning home early. I still need to double-check the maps, but I think my roadtrip will continue on as planned tomorrow.