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ssmike 03-03-2012 08:41 PM

Big Red's Journal [COTW 1/28/13]
5 Attachment(s)
Welcome to BIG RED'S journal! I finally decided to start a journal after 2 1/2 years of ownership enjoyment. I've done a lot of mods, some 2 or 3 times, before getting it right! :facepalm: It's been a real learning experience to say the least! I had a LOT of little, and some big, problems during the first year and 1/2 but got all the bugs pretty much ironed out! Guess it goes with any early production car so I was very patient as GM worked through some of the problems.

Big Red was born on 6/30/09 smack in the middle of GM's historic bankruptcy procedings. I ordered on 5/5/09 and figured I'd take a chance, after all, if GM goes out of business in July I'd have a real rarity. If not I'd have a sweet ride and no warranty worries! As it turned out all went well and I took delivery on a hot July 7th day! :happyanim:

Big Red, so named last year after I bought my wife a red Chevy Cruze which we named "Little Red", is an RJT 2SS/RS LS3 M6 with black rally stripes. As soon as I drove it off the dealer's lot I knew I would start modding it right away! :D First thing to go would be that ultra quiet exhaust! I'm a Harley guy so I like my exhaust note LOUD! How could GM produce such an awsome car and make it so quiet? Anyway, I'll get to the mods on my next post! Here's some early pics the first summer. Only mods at this point were vinyl gill inserts, I think SLP LM2's and Hurst short throw!

Edit: I added a more current pic at the bottom for comparison sake. It doesn't show the ZL1 side skirts and hash marks because I stored the car shortly after adding them a couple weeks ago and didn't have time for pics, and the weather was crappy!!

Added one more pic of a recent track day at Gingerman Raceway. This shows the side skirts as well as the Hex Vents! It's come a long way from it's humble beginnings! :headbang:

ssmike 03-03-2012 09:07 PM

Current Mod List
Here is a current list of mods as of 1/29/14

Performance Upgrades:
Dynatech long tube headers w/high flow cats
Solo Mach-X cat back with resonators and quad tips
Vararam tune version OTR intake
VMax CNC ported throttle body powdercoated RJT
Granatelli high temp wires
Seperate G8 clutch fluid reservoir
RDP custom dyno tuned 424 rwhp
GM 3.91 gears
DSS road course axle upgrade
Hurst Billet Plus2 short throw shifter with NH-SS bushing
RX catch can

Suspension & brakes:
Racing Brake stainless steel brake lines
RJT Powdercoated calipers
Motul 600 DOT 4 brake fluid
JDP Quantum brake cooling duct kit
Stock rotors
Stock pads for street
Hawk DTC-30/HP+ pads for track
BMR front adjustable sway bar
BMR front adjustable end links
BMR trailing arms
BMR Pro Poly differential bushings
BMR Delrin UCA bushings
Pfadt outer TA bushings
Pedders full Poly cradle bushings
Pedders XA coilovers lowered 1 1/4"
Pedders radius rod inserts
Pedders rear camber bolts
Pedders FE4 rear Z bar
Pedders rear drop links
GM ZL1 toe links

Exterior and Under Hood bling:
35% side window tint
20% rear window tint
Big Worm Graphics tailight and DRL Gunsmoke tint
Vinyl gill inserts
Tailight trim painted matte black
SLP 3 piece trunk lid blackout
Gary's Customs rear SS emblem (bowtie delete)
Custom modified rear diffuser for quad tips
ZL1 front grill
ZL1 side skirts
RPI ZL style front splitter
Gary's Customs matte black front bowtie
Gary's Customs front RJT SS emblem
Emblempros Black Onyx CAMARO fender emblems
Emblempros 6.2L hood emblems custom painted RJT
Custom rear trunk CAMARO emblem
Matte black vinyl hash marks
MPD1 spoiler with rally stripes
P13W led fogs
Ofer drl harness
Oracle ghosted LED sidemarkers
Showstoppers front rock guards
GM ZL1 rear rock guards
Hines Hex vents w/ RJT grills
Tow hook
Emblempros 2SS/RS hoodliner bowtie
Roto-Fab custom painted engine covers
Emblempros 6.2L emblem on Vararam
RJT painted dip stick handle
Painted battery terminal
RJT painted fuse cover
RJT painted connector cover

Ace custom steering wheel
RJT painted steering wheel trim, console guage trim, and dash cluster trim
Lloyds SS floor matts
Camaro SS dash sticker
Visor airbag sticker blackout
Black anodized billet race pedals

Wheels & tires:
Forgestar F14 wheels, 20x9.5 front and 20x10.5 rear deep concave, matte black w/RJT pinstripe
Nitto Invo 275/40-20 front 315/35-20 rear tires
Chrome lug nuts

Custom grind cam

MIT'13 03-03-2012 09:42 PM

Nice! Can't wait to see more pics

Vette TPI 03-03-2012 11:05 PM

I hope you get some pics up of the mods soon :D But I won't bug you too hard. Favorite 5th gen color, but I might be slightly biased.

ssmike 03-04-2012 02:39 PM

5 Attachment(s)
I'll get to more pics soon! As I mentioned above, I had some PITA problems from the begining. I'll get the negative stuff out of the way and move on to the good stuff later!

My first summer with Big Red was good until I tried doing some mods, like SLP LM II's and OTR intake. I didn't like the sound of the LM II's, kinda sounded like a motor boat at idle. I also bought a New Era OTR intake but had drivability issues (herkey jerkies), so I ended up returning it after 2 months of trying everything to resolve the issue. :facepalm: It ended up being an issue with the maf placement that New Era fixed later that year. I replaced it with a Roto-Fab cai. I ended up removing and selling the LM II's and bought a Solo Mach-X catback which ended up being one of my favorite mods to this day! :happyanim:

All was good until that fall when I noticed an oil leak and I also had 3rd gear notchy issues. The oil leak was an oil cooler gasket and they couldn't find a problem with 3rd gear, go figure! Long story short, after a year and 1/2 and 3 tries the dealership refused to do anything about the tranny. Also, my oil leak came back, :mad0259: this time it was the pan gasket. On top of all that I was worried about the trans output shaft snapping because I had an earlier vin, below 25,000! Also, during the first year I had problems with passenger side window indexing which was finally fixed after 3 attempts by the dealer.

By the end of 2010 I was getting pissed about the transmission and my dealership not doing anything about it so I wrote an e-mail to Al Oppenheiser whome I met at the Summit Racing Camaro fall classic in 2009! A couple weeks later I got a call from Detroit powertrain division that they wanted to swap out my trans with a new one! :happyanim: I was elated because not only would this resolve the 3rd gear problem but I won't have to worry about the output shaft anymore! What a relief! The trans was replaced in March of 2011 and all is good!

One last negative to discuss before moving on. I had a JRE SCT tune done and noticed a higher than usual knock retard at certain rpms and shifts. After a month or 2 of datalogging and Ted's tweeking we decided that it may be due to false knock from something vibrating or rattling. I checked all the obvious places but all was tight and there was no audible rattle anywhere. Well, I was under the car doing an oil change and I grabbed the starter to move myself aound under the car and the damned thing moved! :facepalm: The starter was loose! Both bolts needed to be tightend, only thing I could figure is that the dealership never tightened it when they did the oil pan gasket or trans replacement! :mad0260: After I tightened it up my knock sensor problem went away!

So by now Big Red was finally coming together and I really started to enjoy the experience of driving! Here's a couple pics of what it looked like after a year and 1/2! At this point my mods were:
Stillen rotors
Roto-Fab cai
Doug thorley shorty headers
Big Worm Graphics lens tint
Hurst short throw with T-handle
SS mats
Junky Autozone pedals
Solo Mach-X catback
Roto-Fab engine covers

techinny 03-04-2012 04:22 PM

Good to see another club member willing to share!

Sawyer 03-04-2012 05:13 PM

Nice build, subscribed. :thumbsup:

ssmike 03-04-2012 07:02 PM

Thanks! Stay tuned, more to come!

aquablueL99 03-04-2012 08:00 PM

Real nice!! I like RJT. Good stories as well....Got to like the 2nd Gen in your first photo...that is sweet.....:chevy:

ssmike 03-05-2012 07:16 PM

Yea, that blue Z-28 was sweet! Too bad it wasn't mine! :( I was driving through the park on a gorgeous fall day when I saw the car parked and decided to pull in and make some new friends! The guy did a great job restoring and modding the car, it was very cool! Took the opportunity to snap a good pic with my 5th gen together with a gen2!

ssmike 03-06-2012 08:39 PM

10 Attachment(s)
OK, so, where was I? Oh yea, I was really pondering selling the car and maybe get a '12 vert or wait it out for the ZL1 but both would have been out of the question financially. So, I decided to keep BIG RED and do some really good mods! Now that the transmission was replaced I felt more comfortable that it wasn't gonna blow up on me so let's have some fun!

Last winter after the trans was fixed I ordered up the JRE 415 package which consisted of a CAI cai, Dynatech headers with high flows, and tune! I was against tuning for the first year because of warranty but now I thought most of the bugs have been taken care of so what the hell, let's go for it! :happyanim: I also got rid of the crappy pedals and installed a set of black anadized billet pedals! I hated the feel of the steering wheel so off it went! In it's place went an Ace steering wheel which I love!

I ended up replacing the Hurst T-handle in favor of the standard white cue ball. The T-handle got very HOT in the summer and very COLD in the colder weather. Oh, I also painted the instrument guage bezel, steering wheel bezel and console guage trim to match RJT!

Let's see what else, oh yea, BMR sways, trailing arms, and subframe inserts! I had BMR end links but that didn't work out to well and we won't get into that! :mad0260: I have the stockers on now.

Last but not least I had the windows tinted 35/20% and installed Big Worm Graphics Gunsmoke lens tints.

Here's some pics as it was last summer!

ssmike 03-06-2012 08:51 PM

6 Attachment(s)
Ted Jannetty's 415 tune package was great! I had a riot doing burnouts at will, and really for the first time, enjoying the car to the max! :headbang: I got involved in a thread here about the latest Vararam rev and my good friend IndeedSS1 offered to loan me an extra one he had . So, as curious as I am, I accepted. I installed it using the tune that Ted gave me but was for the CAI. I absolutly fell in love with the throttle response of the VR over the CAI so I kept it installed and had Ted re-tune for the VR. So as you can see, this is now my 4th intake in 2 years! :facepalm: I think I'll stick with this one now for a while, who knows though?

I also had quad exhaust tips welded on and modified the diffuser to fit. I also changed out the plug wires for Granatelli high temps!

Needless to say this past summer was fantastic with my newfound power and suspension mods. Our UpstateC5 club had some great outings to Watkins Glen, Mid Ohio and local shows so I was a happy camper!

For some reason I can't seem to upload pics right now so more to follow!

Edit: here we go, more pics!

ssmike 03-07-2012 08:38 PM

Last post edited with more pics!

ssmike 03-10-2012 03:14 PM

7 Attachment(s)
So, with all that fun stuff, it brings us to this winter. I decided to take Big Red off the raod and store it in the garage to save a few bucks on insurance. Last year it snowed so much that I wished I canceled the insurance and stored it. This year however has been warm and relatively dry with little snow. My timing just sucks! :facepalm:

Anyway, I decided that as long as it is stored and off the road it would give me a chance to do some serious invasive surgery! I put the car up on jackstandes and ordered up some goodies! ;) First on the list was a set of Pedders xa coilovers to lower 1 1/4". Next was to remove the calipers and send to Mike the Powdercoater for some RJT bling! As long as the calipers were off I ordered a set of Racing Brake stainless brake lines from Apex!

Next were the wheels. I've been wanting a new set of wheels and rubber but they're so damn expensive. I ended up ordering a set of Forgestar F14's from Nine Ball and Nitto Invo 275/315 tires from Discount Tires Direct. I got the tires but I'm still waiting on the wheels which hopefully will be here by end of March. I'm going to have an RJT pinstripe applied after the tires are installed and balanced. Then off to the alignment shop!

Last but not least will be an RPI front ZL style splitter which just arrived and needs to be installed!

Here's some current pics and I'll post up pics once all the work is done in a couple weeks! :headbang:

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