View Full Version : My RTTH 8 Story (reposted)

09-28-2012, 04:03 PM
So I guess I will start with a little background...2 years ago I went to the inaugural Pro-Touring event “Run to Music City”. I didn’t run I just watched. Now I had always been interested in autox and road racing, as I never really could fully get into drag racing, and cruise-in’s and car shows just sitting around looking at each other. Now while I really had/have no intentions of getting into racing as deep as some of you guys already are, I did/do plan to build my car to a reasonable level of performance and most importantly learn how to drive it. Now I know I have and will probably continue to be chastised for building my car to this level…most will say I should have just put a stock motor back into it, done “maybe” a brake upgrade, put some good tires on it and then gone out and run lap after lap. My car’s duties must meet some pretty specific criteria, and dumb or not, its my car and this is what I wanted my car to be capable of. I wanted a car that in a straight line could run with stock and lightly modified Z06’s, that could hold its own with say a stock C6 on a road course, that could be civil enough to take my wife out to eat in, and still get decent mpg when driven sensibly on the street. Maybe these are ridiculous goals? I think my car before, had I not blown the motor, with upgraded brakes, bigger wheels tires (car had 245’s front 275 rear) and a few suspension upgrades (all of which is now done) it would have likely met those goals. However, since I had to get a motor, in order to build a stable platform from which to attempt to achieve the afore mentioned goals, we did elect to build a 408 LS2 (LS2 block from my old TBSS). I had the block, so going this route was actually “reasonably” fiscally responsible. Is this too much power…probably for me yes, but I can control that with my right foot, and I have it for later on. I had to decide should I build a 500hp motor or for $1000 more build a 600hp motor. I went with the latter.
We went to attend “at day at the strip” in Lawrenceville, IL. After getting lost for an hour, we finally ran up on 3 other cars going to the event, so we followed them. Their was a long straight stretch (2 mi) followed by a 90 degree turn, followed by another 2 mi straight stretch. The three cars in front of me decided to roll out, so I followed and after the 90 degree turn, I decided to assert my authority (LOL) and passed them, and proceeded to blow my motor. We had a 2 hour drive, and had to nurse it home. It was a nerve racking experience, when we left my oil pressure was 50 at idle when we got home it was 17. But despite blowing a valve cover gasket when it died on my half the way home, we did make it home (car covered in oil). So knowing I needed a new motor and knowing I had a good LS2 block sitting in the garage at home, we proceeded to move forward in building the 408 ci LS2.
A few pics of the Event:



Notice the smoke coming out of the rear:

Flashback, here is a quick rundown of the parts on the car from the original round of mods: UMI RR K member, UMI tubular upper and lower A Arms with rotojoint, UMI 3 way SFC, UMI tubular LCA’s with rotojoint, UMI dual adjustable Pan hard, pillar pod with oil pressure, coolant temp and XD-16 wideband gauges, mini-shift light in driver side vent, UMI short stick, EWP, ATI superdamper, FAST 102 intake and TB, SLP 85mm TB.
Flash forward to now: Below you will see pics of the different parts that were selected with help of my engine builder Brent Lykins of B2 Motorsports (Simpsonville, KY). We had also had input and assistance from Phil @ Advanced Induction (cylinder head development), and Phillip Smith & Bill J @ Bluecat Tuning (for tuning and installation expertise). The motor is a LS2 based 408, utilizing a Callies Dragonslayer 4” crank, Scat I beam rods, and Scat Ultralite Pistons. We are running Comp limited travel link bar lifters. Obviously ARP fasteners were used throughout. The cylinder heads are something I’m really excited about. Advanced Induction is not a terribly widely known name, at least not like All Pro, TFS, AFR, PRC, or even TEA. However, amongst head porters, I feel like I have always gotten a very solid bang for the buck with AI. I have used AI on my TBSS with their CNC’d 243 heads, and on my LS1 Camaro with their CNC’d 5.3L head. The 5.3L truck head actually made more power than any other stock SB LS1 on my tuners dyno, eclipsing dyno’s with AFR/fast combo’s as well as TFS/fast combo’s, running larger cams. For those building motors whether top shelf or on a budget, I would suggest you at least have a conversation with Advanced Induction. Additionally per Brent’s encouragement I am running a Yella Terra Shaft mount rocker (vs the comp upgraded trunion stock rocker) in hind sight the valvetrain was pretty stable up to 6k, but due to the heavier rockers valve float ensued around 6500. The motor is around 11.1:1 compression. The cam is an LSL lobed 239/243 on a 112 LSA +3 with 0.624/0.624 lift. I have an adjustable timing set so we may advance or retard the cam timing as the dyno dictates. I topped it off with my FAST 102 intake/TB port matched to the heads.
Here was another adventure we had along the way: I bought a set of Yella Terra shaftmount rockers (YT6640) from an Online retailer..advertised as new in box. When my engine shop started final assembly, he found we were short 1 rocker bolt (7/16") and 2-pedistals. In 3 days the shop had not responded to my emails (later they did offer to refund my money). Whether he does or doesn't at this point doesn't really matter because they have to have the parts tomorrow (Wednesday at the absolute latest). I have called YT and am trying to get them to overnight me the missing parts, the main tech guy is doing a seminar at a trade show and IDK how quick he will do what he needs to do. Anyone have thoughts. I haven't really seen any shop have them in stock per se for me to just be able to order them and have them shipped next day. Nor is anyone willing to break a set to give me parts i don't imagine. I am open to going with a totally different rocker arm, but it has to be a 7/16" stud, as these heads have now been drilled for 7/16".
Then this was how Yella Terra handled it:
Yella Terra came through for me. I spoke with Kathy there at YT in Miss, and she got the help approved by their tech guy Doug. She is overnighting me a bolt and 2 pedistals, along with a set of valve cover spacers...and they did this on their own coin. I was VERY impressed with how they handled my problem. They make nice product (these are the shaftmount 6640), and I will work with them again!
Can't say enough for this type of service, Awesome folks!
All this work we underwent on the car was focused on making the “Run Through The Hills 8 (RTTH 8)” pro-touring event in Pigeon Forge, TN on September 14th-16th. Aside from the motor, there was a ton of other parts we were installing to help make the car more competitive. Here is a list: Wilwood SL-6 calipers with upgraded Thermlock pistons and 14” Wilwood slotted rotors, BP-20 pads, stainless braided lines front and rear, Powerslot rotors rear, Carbotech AX6 pads rear, Turn 1 power steering pump with billet pulley upgrade, Forgestar CF5 wheels 18x10f – 18x11r, Nitto NT05 295/35R18 all-around, Trickflow rearend cover and stud girdle, Koni SA all-around with Strano Springs, Strano front and rear adjustable sway bars, Innovate dual function gauges (oil temp/oil pressure & coolant/voltage) with warning function, Corbeau TRS seats (black suede), Corbeau 3” camlock 5pt harnesses, Sparco suede 13” steering wheel, Blainfab quick release steering wheel adapter, Improved Racing Oil Pan Baffle, Blackbird lighting solutions Bi-Xenon full kit, Griffin 800hp aluminum radiator, Custom 4 pt cage (not yet installed). This was the parts list for this second round of mods.

09-28-2012, 04:04 PM
So here we are its September 10th (Monday) the car has the new shocks, springs and Wilwoods on there, the LS1 is out and the wheels/tires are installed. So everything else, including the motor has to be installed, car on the trailer and headed for Pigeon Forge, no later than Friday the 14th. For reference the shop doing the work (Bluecat Tuning/Bill J installer) is 5.5 hrs from my home, which is then 5.5 hours from Pigeon Forge, TN. Phil (aka Bluecat) working with Bill J busted their butts on Tuesday and Wednesday to get the new motor in the car. Due to the rocker arm issue, they had to wait until Tuesday once the shipment of parts got there before they could finish up the top end. The proper length pushrods were overnighted there Monday. So the motor was finished up and in the car on Wednesday. I got off work Wednesday evening and drove 4 hours to our garage (with apartment) to spend the night. Thursday got up around 7am and drove an hour to Bluecats shop to help. Phil bled the cooling system and started working on fuel lines, Bill got the new seats in there. I helped Bill get the interior back in, then Phil and I began bleeding the brakes. Its now 7pm on the 13th. I need to leave by 7am to get the alignment done, oil changed and get car on trailer to make cruise at 2pm in Pigeon Forge. So Phil and I worked on the brakes, finishing those up. He Then installed the rear rotors while I worked on converting over some hardware for the front and rear sways. Then we got the sways installed and adjusted. Around 2am we finished the motor up, fuel lines ready, and ready to do the first start. Below is a video of the first untuned start. Phil had done a base tune based on previous similar motors he had tuned. The first start was around 3am.





We then around 4am, installed the new BLS headlights (awesome BTW!). So around 4:30 we decided to sit it down off the stands and start tuning.
After he did a few tweeks based on what his wideband was showing of the initial start, we started out down the driveway, but a horrible grinding sound was happening. We brought it back and put it back on stands and started looking for problem area’s. The rear brakes/wheels/tires weren’t making contact, the driveshaft was free, then Phil looked up front and realized the larger front rotors were making contact with the Lower A arms (crap!). We tried to clearance the arms without taking the rotors off, but we couldn’t get it finished. We then had to pull the front Wilwoods back off to finish clearancing the arms.


Its now 5AM. Phil has to take his daughter to feed their baby calf at 5:30 (Yeah, we still farm here in KY). Between there and 7am we finished clearing the A arms, and got everything buttoned back up. SO finally at around 7:45 AM we started tuning. The car finally got on the dyno around 8AM. We didn’t think it was making power like it should, so we pulled spark plugs and coils on the pass side bank, but everything looked good. So we thought maybe the exhaust is hurting us (at that point it was ARH 1 7/8” headers, ORY, 4” cutout which was closed, dumping into 3” magnaflow cat back). So since the cutout was broken, we just pushed it open to dyno. It was picking up better power but the engine sucked the cutout shut around 5k. So we just removed the cutout (by this time Bill J had gotten there for work so he was able to jump in and start helping). Removing the cutout was worth 20rwhp. In the future we will try to dyno without Y pipe totally to see if going to dual cutouts might be beneficial. So we made a few more pulls, adding some timing (25.5 total timing) below you will see the dyno sheet how the motor left there. We pulled the car off the dyno at 10:45 Am, and I hammered down to the alignment shop.


Got to the alignment shop around 11:50. Went home took a shower, changed clothes, picked up trailer and headed back to the shop. Alignment done, oil being changed. Finally got the car on the trailer at 2pm. We left for RTTH 8 at 3pm. We missed the cruise and dinner, but the car was finished and ready for the event. After eating I took the car to the car wash and got her detailed up for the event. Got in bed around mid-night (up for around 40 hrs). Got up 6:30 am, got breakfast, got dressed and in the car headed to the event.

09-28-2012, 04:11 PM
Below are pictures and video from the event.













Had a blast at the event. And while we missed the cruise and dinner, and couldnít stay for Sundays racing (gotta work on Monday and have a 9 hr drive back home), still had a great time and learned a lot.

Upon the drive home I am getting a little rubbing in the rear (which I think I can adjust out via the dual adj panhard), and my alignment seems to be a little off, so I need to have that checked out to make sure something isnít loose or have changed since the original alignment. I have 1 radiator hose that isnít sealing perfectly and leaking a little fluid, but other than that, I was super pleased with how the car performed. I just wish the driver (me) would have done a better job.

Huge thanks to Phillip Smith (aka Bluecat tuning) for working all night to help me get it tuned, installs finished up, and back on the road in time to make the event. Big thanks to Bill J for his help getting the car ready. Thanks to BLS for the killer headlights. Thanks to B2 Motorsports for the motor (great job Brent), Advanced Induction for a killer set of heads (thanks Phil!), SDPC for gaskets, Tick Performance for a few parts, Dexter Racing for the Wilwoods, wheels/tires, seats, harnesses, pads, Turn 1 pump and a host of other parts at affordable prices, and the guys at FFRAX for their knowledge and encouragement.

This was truly a learning experience and hopefully next year I will run at more events, and run faster

09-28-2012, 08:05 PM
I like the stalled El Camino in the Group 1 Parade Lap!!! :) Just bad timing!!

09-28-2012, 08:50 PM
Great looking car. You earned a good time, glad your thrash paid off.

09-30-2012, 11:51 AM
Thanks Stephen!

Bill Howell
09-30-2012, 12:24 PM
Great read! This is what it is all about. Few of us will ever be a Finch or a Tucker, but we all can have fun and improve our own skills. Glad you had a great time, glad you are now officially hooked and I know you will bring more into the sport.. :)