Life is Great with a 6.0-liter V8
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  • Fire Extinguisher

    Posted on August 10th, 2014 tcorzett No comments

    For years I’ve had a fire extinguisher bouncing around in my trunk, but I was finally able to get it mounted securely in the cabin of the G8.

    A few weeks ago a G8 owner from Reno made the drive to the Bay Area for a G8 get-together and we got to talking about the Mojave Mile. For the longest time they’ve had a requirement that cars needed to have fire extinguishers mounted (with a metal mount) within reach of the driver. I’d never been able to find a good solution, but turns out he had… by producing a bracket CNC machined from 6061 T6 aluminum!

    I asked if he’d make me one and today we met-up and installed it… the quality of the bracket is impressive! Installation (or removal) is simple and only requires loosening two nuts (no modifications to the seat are required). Definitely a better solution than a few zip-ties, and much more accessible than having to run to the trunk.

    Update: The fire extinguisher mounts are now available on eBay!

  • 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.

  • New License Plate

    Posted on July 30th, 2013 tcorzett No comments

    It’s been a long four months, but I finally have my new license plate!

    I’ve been wanting to get a “vanity” plate for a while now, but just couldn’t think-up something that would properly represent my G8. I saw someone with one of the new California “Kid Plates” that uses symbols (heart, plus, star, or hand) and really liked the concept. I was thinking about something to highlight my performance modifications, like “6L+PSI” or “I<3BOOST", but didn't want to drawing too much extra attention. Once I decided what plate to get, I had to wait for the DMV... I submitted my order at the end of March, and after waiting 10-weeks, I received a notice from the DMV that my license plate had finally arrived! I tried to make an appointment to pick-up the plate, but the first available slot was two weeks away! Not going to wait that long, I braved the non-appointment line... and after nearly 4 hours of waiting, was called to the counter to get my license plate.

    Oh great… WTF DMV! To make matters even worse, the attended couldn’t even figure out how to remedy the situation. He tried to reorder the plate, but given it’s a special one (because of the “hand” symbol), there was no way for him to fill-out the forms in his desk. After speaking to the branch manager there was some progress, but there seemed to be an issue with the state system… saying that the plate had been printed as ordered (which it totally wasn’t). With nothing else I could do at that time I went home to wait some more.

    Fortunately the DMV got their act together and I received a phone call from the branch manager a few days later. They were able to get the plate remade and said it would even be mailed to my house (so I wouldn’t need to go into the DMV and wait in line again). Thankfully it didn’t take another 10-weeks for me to receive the corrected plate.

  • 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.

  • 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)!

  • 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.

  • Hoonage & New Tires

    Posted on July 11th, 2011 tcorzett No comments

    I’ve been driving my G8 for the past two years with the tires that came with the car. The Bridgestone RE050A “Summer Only” tires have served be well over the past 22k miles, but they were getting really “long in the tooth”. After all of the “spirited” driving that I’ve done, the shoulders of the tires are all getting really worn-out. I’m actually impressed that with a vehicle that has more than enough power to roast the tires, I have to replace the tires because of the too much cornering. Other than a few trips to the drag strip, I’ve never actually done a burn-out before!

    Since I needed some new tires anyhow, what better way to send-off the the old set than some good old fashion hoonage!

    As I’m sure you could tell from the video, turning the tires into smoke was fairly effortless. The torque from the Magnacharger paired with the 3.45 gears just makes traction impossible when trying to go wide open throttle (WOT) from a stop. Fortunately, since I like driving on twisty roads, I don’t worry too much about WOT from a stop (like drag racers).

    When searching for a replacement tire for the G8, I had many options to choose from. I wanted an “Extreme Summer Only” performance tire, but didn’t want to have to worry about driving in the rain (like those with drag radials might have to). I looked into several tires by Nitto (specifically the NT-05 and the Invo), but decided for my “everyday” tire I wanted the Bridgestone RE-11 in a 245/40-19.

    I have been hearing incredible things about the RE-11 from other car owners. Even the Pedders Camaro is running them (granted in a 305 on all four corners). The RE-11 has a very unique tread pattern that is designed for maximum performance in dry weather, but still has the ability to work in the wet. For a daily driver like mine, that is critical… I can’t be switching tires just because it is raining!

    The first thing I noticed about the RE-11’s after install is that the sidewall is much more square than the old R050A’s that were removed. Since this was the area that I was wearing-out the fastest, I’m hopeful that this different design will work better for my driving style. I’m not expecting to get 22k miles out of them, but I fell the potential performance benefit is a worthy trade-off.

    Time will tell how these tires workout for me… check-back time to time for updates on how these tires are performing.

  • 275/35-18 Hoosier Race Slicks!

    Posted on July 5th, 2011 tcorzett No comments

    I’ve been needing to nail-down my track tire situation for far too long. My goal was to fit the widest, stickiest, tire that I could on all four wheels of the car. After way too much research I was finally able to get a test wheel on the car!

    The tire is a 275/35-18 Hoosier race slick, mounted on a 18×9.5″ +45mm wheel. That is just about the widest, stickiest, thing available for all four wheels on the G8 (without some major modifications). This will allow me to keep the car balanced and still rotate tires front/rear (unlike a staggered setup).

    The main reason for going to 18″ 35 series tires (vs 19″ 40 series tires) is that there are far more tire compounds available (street, R-Comp, slick). The smaller wheels should reduce the unsprung weight by a few lbs over larger wheels (18″ is the smallest wheel that will clear the Baer Brakes). It will also lower the car another 1/2-inch when on track, without having to change the ride height on the coilovers (which would result in needing an alignment).

    I’ve had some concern about how well the 275 tire would work on the front with a 9.5″ wheel and a +45mm offset. Fortunately I can also use run a 5mm spacer in the front (effectively making the wheel a +40 offset), but it doesn’t even look like I need it to clear the Coilovers. The wheel also sits perfect on the front and rear… so much so that I might not even need to roll/cut the fenders!

    I don’t plan to run a race slick for quite some time, as I need to learn how to drive on a less forgiving tire first, but it’s good to know that this setup will work for all of my track tire needs!