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CLH
CLH Reader
11/29/13 10:48 p.m.

OK, not exactly grassroots since I didn't luck out like some of you guys do and pick it up for a song. That said, I did get it for a good price and it's a solid car that's just in need of some attention and some go-fast parts to turn it into a weekend autocross and track weapon.

Purchased it locally at a dealer and brought it home a few weekends ago. Have just now been able to start tearing into it to see what I've done to myself.

Some of the knowns:

  • 41k miles

  • It's had a partial respray at some point; hood, front bumper, front wings, doors and rear wings. Rear deck lid and rear bumper are original paint.

  • A few bits and pieces of trim inside have been removed at least once and some have broken or missing clips here and there. Annoying, but not catastrophic.

  • The passenger side of the front bumper has some damage down low from an "incident"; the bumper cover is very slightly deformed and the lower trim piece behind it is also deformed a bit. (more about this damage later).

  • There are a few aftermarket brace pieces bolted on. Front crossbeam brace, driveshaft tunnel brace, and another brace in the rear (I think it's called a ReBar).

  • Shocks, swaybars, links, brakes all appear to be original to the car

  • The original owner was a real fussbudget. I had the local dealer that serviced the car print me the list of service visits and the list is full of "Customer Concern Not Duplicated" (CCND) incidents and things like the cupholder being replaced twice. Seems he had nothing better to do than to go have free donuts at the service department while they looked at the car. Maybe he was doing it for the free car washes.

I crawled around the car pretty good at the dealer before I bought it. I had them put it on a lift so that I could get a really good look underneath and check for anything obviously awry. The frame and underside are relatively clean, straight, and don't show any signs of repair or even scrapes or bumps. Since the car is intended to be a motorsports tool the partial respray didn't concern me much, and besides there is no indication that any of the body panels have been replaced so the cause of the respray is likely cosmetic reasons.

I'll be taking care of general maintenance first and getting it up to a known point. Fluids, plugs, cleaning, and overall checkup are first on the list. After that I'll be starting to build it up for competition in SCCA ASP, but that will be a somewhat slow journey as funds are available.

Enjoy the show!

Chris

CLH
CLH Reader
11/29/13 10:52 p.m.

The first picture of the car in its new home:

CLH
CLH Reader
11/29/13 11:02 p.m.

First things first...oil change. Bought a case of Mobil 1 and ordered up some filters from Amazon (love Prime). Decided to get one filter with the new plastic cap and gasket just because it was only about four dollars more:

Put the car on ramps and went to work:

Everything went smooth, but as I was about to put the new filter in I decided to sop up the leftover oil from the filter well. I did that and noticed that there appeared to be something in there...

Reached in to pluck it out and sure enough there was a hard object in there, sort of half-clamshell shaped. Glad I saw it and got it out. No idea what it was.

Filter well is now clean and free of debris.

Installed the filter, poured the oil, job done. On to the spark plugs.

Nashco
Nashco UberDork
11/30/13 1:16 a.m.

Note that GM made a part number change for plugs after 2007. After having a no-start condition on mine in a yard-jockey routine that was once common in my single lane driveway, I did some digging. Turns out there was a TSB recommending plugs one step hotter to alleviate plug fouling on 2007s, by 2008 they used different plugs from the factory.

My expectation was that the slightly hotter plugs might result in a tiny increase in pre-ignition (followed by knock retard) with lots of heat and boost, and I have the GMPP tune with more boosts, so I never did go to the hotter plugs. I'm not sure which plugs the part store would sell you by default, but I'm sure GM would sell you the (hotter) superseded part number.

All this to say if you do a lot of short running where the car doesn't warm up between key cycles, beware...I had the car foul the plugs more than once (only once resulting in a no-start, usually just ran rough for a few seconds). If you'd rather stick with the cold plugs as I did, make sure you let it warm up a bit before shutting down. All I can figure is that the direct injection dumps major fuel during warm up to light off the cat and if you don't get it hot it can prevent the fuel from evaporating. Do that a few key cycles and the plugs end up soggy,,,?

Sorry, I can't remember the exact part numbers, you'll have to google the TSB (likely documented best on the Solstice or Sky forums).

Bryce

CLH
CLH Reader
11/30/13 11:17 a.m.

@Nashco - what came out of the car were ACDelco 41-108s. Those are what I put back in as well for now. The ones that came out didn't look too bad and the electrodes were in good shape, but for $26 minus an $8 rebate it seemed prudent to put in new.

I've gapped the new plugs to .032 per what seems to be the conventional wisdom of the Kappa boards. That's where the ones I took out were as well.

CLH
CLH Reader
11/30/13 11:30 a.m.

OK, now the real fun begins. As I mentioned previously the car had clearly bumped something on the passenger front. The bumper cover showed signs of it, and as I looked closer it appeared that there might be some effect to the intercooler as well. To find out what was going on in full detail, off came the front...

It doesn't look too bad in that shot, but here's the kicker:

Starting to see the problem...and there it is...

The support bracket for the lower valance has been pushed into the IC core and bent it pretty good. In addition there is deformation to the lower corner of the IC:

That u-bend pipe section is supposed to be directly under the bottom of the IC. It's been pushed back quite a bit, and the whole IC is tweaked a little as can be seen in this picture (this is looking at the IC from the top):

Another view showing the tweak and the pushed-back piping:

On the bright side the inside of the IC is squeaky-clean. Not even a hint of oil residue. I guess the discussions about the LNF Kappas not needing a catch-can are pretty correct.

Now I just need to figure out whether I want to put it back as-is for now, drop the coin to go aftermarket (which I would do eventually anyway), or try to find a used stock replacement. I don't see any cracks or signs of leaks, and the car is not throwing codes as I assume it would if there were leaks, but it makes me nervous to think about starting an autocross season in the spring with a suspect IC. One of the charge pipes has a cracked bracket too, but I can find someone local to tack-weld that back on.

Decisions...

CLH
CLH Reader
12/1/13 2:04 p.m.

Well, I bit the bullet and ordered a new IC. Thank you to Performance Autowerks and their Black Friday sale for a very good price that made the decision relatively easy(-er). One of these is soon to be en route, minus the "WERKS" lettering:

Spoolpigeon
Spoolpigeon SuperDork
12/1/13 9:46 p.m.

I looked for one of these before I bought my S, but a 6speed turbo seemed impossible to find at that time.

Keep up the good work!

Nashco
Nashco UberDork
12/2/13 2:24 a.m.
Spoolpigeon wrote: I looked for one of these before I bought my S, but a 6speed turbo seemed impossible to find at that time. Keep up the good work!

Must have had a hard time in your search because they were all 5 speeds, huh?

Bryce

Spoolpigeon
Spoolpigeon SuperDork
12/2/13 7:46 a.m.

That could have been the problem

Seriously though, I thought they had a 6speed option?

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
12/2/13 8:31 a.m.

Clamshell hoods are righteous!

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker MegaDork
12/2/13 8:34 a.m.
CLH wrote: Glad I saw it and got it out. No idea what it was.

Holy E36 M3! I recognize that. It's the ignition key to a Subaru!

Nashco
Nashco UberDork
12/2/13 2:52 p.m.
Spoolpigeon wrote: That could have been the problem Seriously though, I thought they had a 6speed option?

Seriously...we all wish. Unfortunately it came with a 5 speed auto or a 5 speed manual. They were both parts-bin transmissions, no budget for anything better at the pricepoint and development time they used for the cars. The only one you would have ever seen with a 6 speed are the LSx swaps.

Bryce

Harvey
Harvey Reader
12/2/13 3:27 p.m.

Cool stuff. What does an ASP Solstice GXP look like overall in terms of modifications?

CLH
CLH Reader
12/14/13 2:32 p.m.
Harvey wrote: Cool stuff. What does an ASP Solstice GXP look like overall in terms of modifications?

Mostly suspension and wide wheels/tires. Think 18x11 with 305/35-18 or 315/35-18. Various power-adders, but somewhat limited. Higher-efficiency intercooler, ECU tune, 3" light exhaust with hi-flow cat, perhaps A/C removal. There are some lightening modes to be done as well, but those are limited too.

Visually it might look something like this, except yellow (with respectful attribution to "DrJones" from the Solstice Forum):

CLH
CLH Reader
12/16/13 10:44 p.m.

This past weekend was fairly productive for the short amount of time I was able to spend in the garage...diff oil changed to Red Line 75W-90 and transmission oil changed to Red Line MT-90. The diff seemed a bit short on fluid but I neglected to measure what came out to confirm. The drain plug was pretty well covered with sludgy goop

It's a clutch-type LSD, so I assume that's pretty normal? I've never had a clutch LSD so I'm hoping it's typical.

It was rather chilly in the garage so I had to warm up the gear oil a bit in hot water before pumping it into the diff and trans :)

CLH
CLH Reader
12/16/13 10:47 p.m.

A big box showed up in the garage today. The UPS tracker listed delivery location as "Met Customer Woman".

Digging through all of the paper and packing revealed this...

Looking forward to bolting it on!

CLH
CLH Reader
12/22/13 10:11 a.m.

The new intercooler is on...need to do one more nut/bolt check of everything before firing it up, but I think I got everything back together as it needs to be.

carbon
carbon Reader
12/22/13 8:22 p.m.

cool!

ScreaminE
ScreaminE New Reader
12/22/13 8:31 p.m.

Nice project! Good to see one of these getting some proper maintenance and upgrades after hearing so much negativity about them.

So as far as track time goes, what will you do for a roll bar? Do these have a stock roll hoop system that will suffice?

Cody_D
Cody_D New Reader
12/23/13 11:03 p.m.

That is a cool project car, what kind of power levels are guys safely running with this engine?

CLH
CLH Reader
12/23/13 11:35 p.m.

@ScreaminE - no stock roll hoop, and no easy way to do a roll bar without gutting the interior. I'm going to need to limit my track time to clubs that will allow me to run low-key lapping days until such time that I wear down SWMBO and go full cage. I give it a couple of years

@Cody_D - with one of several readily available aftermarket tunes you can pretty safely get 22-23psi on the stock turbo, IC and exhaust. That kind of boost will get you a reasonably safe ~300hp/~350tq (crank). The GMPP tune that you can have your local Chevy dealer flash into the stock ECU advertises 290hp/340tq (crank). The GMPP tune was even warranty compatible! If you're able to get E85 you can bump those numbers considerably.

Nashco
Nashco UberDork
1/3/14 4:08 p.m.
CLH wrote: @Nashco - what came out of the car were ACDelco 41-108s. Those are what I put back in as well for now. ... I've gapped the new plugs to .032 per what seems to be the conventional wisdom of the Kappa boards. That's where the ones I took out were as well.

Curiosity was killing me, so I looked it up. Here's clarification for anybody stumbling on this in the future:

2007 original spark plug: 12590701 (GM) or 41-102 (AC Delco) 2008+/TSB spark plug: 12617309 (GM) or 41-108 (AC Delco)

Supporting info:
http://www.skyroadster.com/forums/f5/spark-plug-upgrade-vin-number-break-point-18309/
http://www.saturn.com/content/dam/saturn/northamerica/usa/nscwebsite/en/Home/Owners/Owner_Resources/Manuals/en/us/2007/sky/2007-saturn-sky-owners-manual.pdf

Also, for reference, always be careful adjusting the gap on iridium plugs, the center electrode is extremely brittle and easy to damage.

Bryce

CLH
CLH Reader
2/16/14 4:09 p.m.

Lots of behind-the-scenes work going on trying to get everything pulled together for the suspension. I have almost everything I need, just waiting on some back-ordered sleeves/perches and some 4" tender springs. In short, I'm using a custom setup with Koni threaded sleeves with lower perches, Hyperco 4" tender springs, Amazon-sourced Koyo torrington bearings, tender spring spacers from Vorshlag, QA1 7"x2.5" coil springs, Techno Toy Tuning top hats with McMaster-Carr flange bearings (for centering the shock shafts in the 22mm top hats), Koni 55mm bump stops (may get trimmed down) and the stock upper mounts drilled out to fit the 12mm Koni shock shafts. I can't wait to get the last few bits and get them on!

The bits:

Test assembled minus the tender springs:

Spoolpigeon
Spoolpigeon SuperDork
2/16/14 7:58 p.m.

I like that setup! And I may have to copy it if I ever make the switch from stock springs so I can keep my Konis.

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