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243 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thought I would post a recent build that started 2 years ago.
I had some build threads on & the, but figured my future plans also merge into the CTS-V community as well... You can probably imagine what is in store.

I found a clean, rust free, original paint S10 with a factory V6-5 speed for sale... a rare occurrence in PA.
I drove it for the summer in decent weather to see if I really liked it, with the intention of doing an LS swap over the winter.

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It handled decent & rode nice, but 190HP was not going to cut it so I started collecting parts.

First some background before I move into phase 2.

Brakes & suspension upgrades were planned so it did everything well instead of re-enacting any Mustang U-tube crowd surfing.

C6 Z06 Brakes
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Coil overs, drop spindles & UMI suspension
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I figured it needs to stop before it goes fast.

A slight difference.
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I'll post more as I get time.

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243 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I could not start bolting parts on a dirty frame.
This is where things got out of hand.

No rust anywhere, just a dirt encrusted greasy frame coating
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After some lacquer thinner & a lot of rags.
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Then paint.
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You also can't plan on any high RPM clutch dumps without a strong rear.
A Strange 60 with 4.10's & 35 spline axles.
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4,483 Posts
Wow, that's well beyond not half-assing it! You definitely have some skills.

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243 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The '91 will get an LS9/ZR1 engine as an upgrade.

The LS3 is a tight fit in place of the V6.
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Squeezing 1-7/8" headers in there was full a day job. The headers cleared when the trans touched the floor or if you lowered the trans, the headers & oil pan touched the frame. Lots of shimming of mounts & a little grinding on the oil pan to get 3/16" frame clearance.
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After all that work, the steering shaft then touched the headers, so I made 1/2" spacers to raise the body slightly off the frame & it all came together.
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Exhaust was an adventure. I bought a bunch of 304 Stainless & tried out my tig welding skills.
I was torn with the size as a 3" single is common but too restrictive & it is hard to find a reasonably quiet 4" muffler. I went with a 3" front pipes merged into a 3-1/2" single system. I avoided duals as the gas tank takes up the entire left side of the truck.
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243 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
As things started to fall into place, I had the opportunity to do some work at a friends body shop.
I decided to paint on the stripes on instead of the factory vinyl decals, as well as bury them in the clear so there is no edge.
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The back bumper had to go as well as the silver tonneau cover it came with.
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Here is what you get after a day of masking, 2 days painting, then sanding the clear by hand for about 4 hours & then buffing for another 4 hours.
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17,906 Posts
Nice work, man. Looks killer!

Sent from my SM-G991U1 using Tapatalk

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks, it was a long but fun project.

Couldn't resist color matching the calipers also.
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I was trying to fit some large tires under the truck for quite a while.
Finding a wheel that I like in addition to one that fits the brakes was a challenge....

I originally wanted an 18" wheel, but most larger sizes in the 305-315 range are typically road race tires or drag race compounds, not to mention, the prices start at approx $300 & up for a "0" tread wear tire. This was supposed to be a daily driver...

I started looking at 19's. which have a larger tire selection, for more reasonable prices.
Finding a wheel with a lip is hard to come by. The Billet Specialties "Hydro" caught my eye, but at over $4K a set, I got over it in a hurry.

The Xtreme flares lower the fender openings over 1" from the factory opening, eating up valuable space.
After looking at hundreds of wheels, most would not clear the brakes without a major spacer. The severe offset also eliminated any sort of wheel lip.

I found a 22mm offset with a nice lip that barely works.
I settled on a 305/30-19 front and a 305/35-19 rear on a 10.5" wheel. I did some mock-ups & they just barely clear.

I had to machine the spindles, spacers & hubs everywhere to get 1/8" extra clearance in numerous places.
I have .625" from the fender lip & .125" caliper to spoke clearance.

These are the 305-30's for the front.
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Rears are tight but not nearly as complicated to fit. I used NT05's here as I figured I would need the traction.
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Setting the bumpsteer was interesting since the tie-rod end is completely inside the wheel now.
I'm running 10deg caster so it required a very large spacer to put it into spec.
I built the spacers on a lathe after perfecting it with a bumpsteer gauge for a few hours.
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Here is with everything mostly in place.....
The engine was already proven in my Firebird & was capable of 11's in a similar weight vehicle.
I was anxious to see the difference with 4.10's vs the 3.54's in my Firebird.
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Finally it moved under its own power after a year.
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With all the parts back on the S10, I was curious to see the new vehicle weight.
I was hoping it did not go up too much.

My initial thoughts were:
1. Added tubular control arms & coil overs for weight reduction which was mostly offset by the bigger brakes.
2. Replaced an 8.5" rear with a Dana 60, so that was a definite increase.
3. Removed some undercoat etc.... maybe a few lb. loss
4. Replaced a 235 tire with a 305, so that should have added a few lbs.
5. Replaced a 5 speed with a T56 Magnum
6. Removed an iron 4.3 & replaced with an aluminum 6.2... I regret not weighing the engines while they were on the garage floor.
7. Removed rear bumper & installed a roll pan
8. I have the same fuel in the tank, full coolant, fluids etc.

When I got the readings I was surprised to see the truck got 63lb lighter.

After being in denial, I thought things over & realized I no longer had the spare tire in the truck.
I put it back in for comparison (38lb.) & now I'm down to a 25lb loss. I will get an aluminum wheel (that actually fits the brakes) for a spare eventually.

It was now 3436lb including the heavy tonneau cover on it.
It is a fully optioned vehicle with air, power windows, locks, mirrors etc.

After taking it for its first ride, I quickly realized the factory 100mph speedometer & 6000rpm tach was worthless.
6500rpm in 3rd is 100mph.
I the had a custom face made & changed some electronics to make it work properly.
Speedometer Trip computer Odometer Gauge Tachometer

The drivability is excellent.
The 219-232 .600" lift cam sounds good and really woke the engine up over factory, but still allows me to drive anywhere in 6th gear above 35mph.
I shift at 6500 & set the limiter at 6700.

After driving it for the summer, with a few tweaks, I'm rather happy with it.
I added larger front & rear sway bars & upped the front springs from 650's to 850's. to improve the handling a bit.

It is still pretty quiet & gets decent mileage if I drive it nice... but rarely do, so I average 15-16mpg.

Now I'm interested in upping the power a bit more this winter....

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Actually the engine was cammed with the intention of adding a Procharger when it was originally swapped into my Firebird, but the small size of the S10 engine compartment prevents fitment without eliminating the AC or cutting the frame. Neither is an option for me.

So, now it is time for phase 2.

I picked up this instead.... & the reason I started this thread.
2013, 37K miles, clean, smooth turning, no offensive rotor coating marks, just needs an isolator.
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First, I know I do not need the nitrous, but the price was attractive & justifiable compared to the overinflated factory ZL1 lid prices...

Here are my questions....

1. What is the recommended replacement isolator to use?
They range from $15 on Ebay to about $65 for Lingenfelter.

LS3 Compression with pump fuel is rather high (10.7:1) for a ton of boost & the factory bottom end is only so strong.
I do not want to pull it apart, otherwise it would get ported heads, cam & forged internals.
I'll do this in another year or 2 when I get bored with it again.

2. How much boost can I get by on this combination without hurting anything?
I've heard 11+lb. but that sounds a bit much to me. Any suggestions?

I may consider an Alky Injection kit...

Thinking of an Interchiller of some brand...
I hate to ask, due to the resulting shitstorm seen in the past over the best one.
No real room for a water to air heat exchanger as the AC condenser is relocated against the grille & radiator is moved forward against it.

I currently have a new Powerbond 10% OD lower dampener, if I can use it... I bought one a few years ago, when dirt cheap, in case I ever needed one.
Going to use an LSX Concepts drive as it is compatible with my Corvette Accessories.
3. Any idea how much boost this will produce with a stock upper & my present cam?

@Rubber Duck
Maybe you can shed some light on this.....
What are your thoughts on a 219/[email protected] +2 adv .600" lift with stock LS3 heads & the LSA charger?
I know it is not ideal, but I love the drivability (will idle through town at 900rpm in 6th) & know the bottom end reliability will likely be the limiting factor for max power, instead of the charger size.
I have a FAST 92 cable throttle body already.
1-7/8" long tubes
Presently 4" inlet

I'll run speed density with the factory 411 ECM (currently in use) as it is compatible with the existing vehicle.
Unfortunately it will not support flex fuel with a 2 bar or greater MAP sensor.

Everyone, let me know your thoughts.

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Awesome work!

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Heck of a nice build! My car has a L99 w/LSA on it, I usually see 13lbs but on colder nights it makes 14-15.

Stock Heads and Bottom end
BTR PDS Stg3 Torque Cam
Alky Control (100% Meth)
8.6/2.5 Pulley Combo

Figuring off my weight and E.T. makes 740ish.

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Thanks for the feedback.
I'm sure the Meth helps with your timing tolerance.

How long / how many miles have you been running it at this boost level?
Probably around 5k or so, its not a daily driver for me its more of a weekend car or haul it to the strip. I've probably got around 20 passes on it. I run about 20 degrees of timing and that's with 25GPH of methanol. 15gph in the Intake tube, 10gph in the lid.

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243 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Actually I didn't use any factory wiring or the ECM from the Firebird.

I used the original S10 V6 wiring harness & pulled the Injector & coil wires from an aftermarket harness I had & re-pinned them into the S10 ECM. I then segment swapped in an 02 Z28 engine tune as a baseline.

Here is the stock harness un-taped & stripped of the extra wires.
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Adding in the new wires.
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It wasn't a fun day dealing with all the wires.. especially since I rerouted them back to the firewall instead of straight across the engine as the factory did..

The worst part was probably switching to the electric fans & the AC high side pressure control method instead of the high/low limit switches previously used with the mechanical fan. This was done to allow the dual electric fans to coincide with engine temps as well as the AC pressure.
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