IMG_3498

FOR SALE: LTCC LT1 Opti Spark Coil Pack Conversion Kit

OptiSpark1 My old 1995 Camaro came with the LT1 V8 engine.  This was quite the powerful engine at the time and among its many features was the unique distributor named OptiSpark.  This device is supposed to last 100,000 and since my old Camaro was quickly approaching that milestone, it was certainly something I was due to replace.  However, as good as the OptiSpark is, it has drawbacks.  For one, it uses only one coil and at high RPM’s the coil saturates and can’t keep up.  Another drawback is these things are very expensive.  Finally, they are prone to fail.  Some last (as the one I had in my Camaro) but I have also seen them fail after only a few thousand miles.

So I conducted some research and found a device called the LTCC LT1 Coil Per Cylinder Converter.  The idea with the LTCC is based on using the OptiSpark but only as a crank position sensor and the rest is replaced with coil packs from an LSx engine.  The kit comes with a controller, a wiring harness and instructions.

I ordered this kit and bought a recommended spark plug wiring set including the special ends used to connect to the OptiSpark.  Here are some pictures of the whole kit and wires:

Since I don’t have the Camaro anymore, I am offering the kit for sale.  The controller alone was $399.00.  It has never been installed and it comes with all the wires, plugs, controller and instructions.  The plug wires and ends came from one of the online speed shops and they are worth another $70.00.  I’ll let the entire kit go for $350.00 plus shipping.  This is an excellent opportunity for an LT1 owner to upgrade to a coil pack ignition system.

If you are interested, CLICK HERE to jump to the original website from the manufacturer of the LTCC kit.

UPDATE:  I have a listing on eBay at the moment for this.  CLICK HERE for the auction.

IMG_3316

Camaro Strut Tower Brace

IMG_3316For RedRock‘s first modification, I ordered a OEM Camaro strut tower brace.  The strut tower brace comes standard on the 1LE and Z28 versions of the Camaro, installed at the factory.  Since this is an easy non intrusive bolt on, I thought why not.

The brace is all aluminum.  The two ends are rough cast and the brace is hallow aluminum stock bent in a curvature clearing the engine cover.  The kit comes with all necessary mounting hardware.  A quick trial fit revealed everything lined up perfectly.

IMG_3312aAs nice as the strut tower brace looks though, it needed some extra work.  The cast aluminum mount pads needed attention.  Each pad has three bolt holes (see picture on the left) and each bolt hole is machined on the back side so the pad fits flat against the strut tower on the body.

Around each bolt hole though, were many burrs and sharp shavings left from the machining process.  This would cut into the paint on the strut tower and lead to corrosion.  Easy fix:  I grabbed my Dremel tool and used one of the metal brush wheels to remove the burrs.  Problem solved.

Next, the curved brace showed some scratching from shipping and machining as well as light staining.  I’ve learned from my cousin Jim that ScotchBrite can be used to give aluminum a nice finish.  The trick is to slide the ScotchBrite pad in the same direction so the pad polishes the surface.  The result is a laid down “matte” finish that complements the silver finish on the engine cover.

After polishing, I masked a few inches on either side with tape.  Then cleaned the cast mounting pads free of any oils and used some semi-gloss black paint from a rattle can of High Temp Engine Enamel.  Quite a number of coats later, the cast surface looked much nicer.  In the meantime while paint dried, I punched some spacers out of a sheet of flat rubber I obtained from my cousin Jim’s machine shop.  I decided to do this to prevent damaging the paint on the strut towers on the car.

IMG_3314I used the tool on the right to punch the discs out of a sheet of rubber.  They are about 1/8 inch thick.  The punch to the left was used to take out the center hole.  The result is a rubber washer made to fit the spot on the mounts where they contact the struts on the car.

I realize the benefits of the strut tower brace might be questionable.  However, I like the way it looks and given it is OEM, why not?  When the weather turns a bit warmer, I’m thinking about getting a custom rattle can of paint in Red Rock Metallic and paint the black ends so they match body color.  But, for the time being this looks nice enough for me.  The mounted strut tower brace turned out very nice!  :mrgreen:

IMG_3356

First Road Trip in RedRock

IMG_3357Yesterday (Christmas day) was my first real road trip in RedRock.  I left early in the morning for a 2.5 hour drive to my mom’s house in Aiken SC.  We had a great deal to be thankful for this year:  my nephew Chris graduated last week, from Louisiana State University with a degree in Industrial Engineering.  Uncle Joe (that would be me) is extremely proud of him:  he has accepted a fantastic job offer with NISSAN at their Canton, Mississippi plant.  I could not be more proud.  I suppose my eldest nephew will be a gearhead, just like me…  😉

So back to RedRock:  As you can see in today’s pictures, RedRock achieved 22.5 miles per gallon on this first road trip.  This was done by sticking to Interstate travel instead of the usual secondary roads and setting the cruise control to 75 mph.  I would have tried a little more, but I just did not have the stones to tempt fate and get a freakin’ ticket.  The SCHP was thick as flies over fresh roadkill yesterday.

At any rate, I think this result is remarkable…  A 400hp 6.2L V8 3500lb muscle car producing this kind of efficiency is amazing.  My old Z28 would be lucky to break the high teens, then again… It was 21 years old.  Don’t take me wrong, the last thing I worry about is fuel – after all, this is why one owns a muscle car, right?

I hope Santa has been good to you and your family.  Peace!  😀

And… One last picture.  Here is my sister and her two boys, Chris and Andy.  Andy is currently in his second year at Colorado State University in Ft Collins CO.

It is a hard rule of this blog to keep things car related, but rules are meant to be broken.  Today, the rule is broken:  I am VERY PROUD of Sis and her two boys.

IMG_5862

GO TIGERS!!!!

IMG_3329

RedRock at 5,000 Miles

RedRock hit a milestone yesterday at 5,000 miles on the odometer.  Only happens once…

IMG_3327

Barely broken in…

The event happened on the way to a local Chevrolet dealer, where they were kind enough to download and re-flash the firmware on the MyLink entertainment center.  Nothing wrong mind you, I just wanted to make sure we had the latest and greatest.  All is good…

While at the dealership, I saw this:

IMG_3330

2016 C6 Camaro SS

This is the first C6 2016 Camaro I have had a chance to check out up close and personal.  Compared to mine, it is a bit smaller, lighter and more “refined’ if you will.  It is going to take some time to get used to it.

The magazines say this is an evolution of the concept and not a full re-write.  The body is certainly different, take a look at the following photo gallery:

Some thoughts about the new Camaro:

  • Sticker on this SS (it was an automatic) was $45,780.
  • The interior is very nice indeed. The door cards have a different lighting affair and so do the thresholds. It feels “smaller” inside. Instrumentation and AC vents are completely different. The center console is weird! The lid is narrow and long.
  • Front looks nice – I prefer my 2014 better.
  • The rear quarter panel looks out of proportion. Probably the least favorite part.
  • The lower rear bumper is not as big as the C5 – again I prefer my 2014.
  • Finally, the rear fender bulges are different. The C6’s are more “rounded”; I prefer the looks of my 2014.
IMG_3276

Dealer Sticker

IMG_3278The first thing I did after getting RedRock home was a to remove the dealer sticker.  Dealers have this bad habit of taking the liberty of plastering their dealer stickers on the back of cars without even asking customers for their blessing first.

This is my car, and I do not endorse dealer stickers.

Some dealers use a vinyl material for their dealer stickers and they are fairly straight forward to remove.  Others – as in the my case here – use this horrible plastic badge, backed with double-sided sticky-tape!  This is not cool!

IMG_3279So I headed to the local pharmacy on the way home, and bought a roll of the cheapest dental floss available.  This particular container was all of a buck-fifty and minty to boot.  The trick is to try to soften the badge’s sticky tape with a hot air gun.  But just a little; don’t want to damage anything.  Then, while wearing some mechanics gloves, get a long strip of dental floss and slowly work the floss to slice the sticky tape.  This takes patience and a fair bit of dental floss; it frays as you go, so one must keep an eye on things.

Eventually, the tag comes off and leaves this nasty mess:

IMG_3282Fortunately, this particular cheap ass tag must have come from China because it had some really crappy backing tape.  Had they used the good stuff (it is expensive) the process would have taken longer.  So, how does this crappy residue come off?  First you very carefully peel this stuff off with your fingers.  And I mean, very carefully.

Then grab plenty of paper towels and use something like this:

IMG_3284This is pre-paint prep solvent.  This is NOT thinner and it is designed specifically to remove this kind of mess.  No, it won’t work immediately.  Best results are obtained by dabbing a paper towel with this solvent, then applying to the rubbery residue and repeat.

IMG_3285Eventually the stuff works into the rubbery residue left by the sticker and it starts to peel up in little turds.  Takes time, but it works.  With a little more elbow grease, the result looks like this:

IMG_3291Word of caution:  this solvent does remove any and all wax.  It goes without saying, I ended up applying a fresh coat of wax to the rear trunk deck.

Add insult to injury, the next sticker to be removed was this:

IMG_3294Epic fail on the part of the “tech” doing the oil change.  On a car with a windshield this raked, placement of the Oil Change sticker just makes no sense.  In addition, this is totally redundant because the Driver Information Center clearly shows remaining oil life.  So this sticker was also quickly removed.