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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Decided to open up this thread and add to it as I have some off time...

So you order a heads cam package, you get all of your parts, and you open up the hood to check out what's involved.
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Holy balls right? Obviously this is with all the plastics and such removed... Only thing to note on this step are the clips up front taken out with a screwdriver and a moulding popper.

Disconnect the battery in the trunk... I stuck a pair of gloves on top of the trunk striker so I didn't close it by accident, and rolled down the driver window.

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At this point it's best to remove the bumper... So put the car on the lift (or jack stands if you're a nut) and remove the skid plate. I didn't get any pics of this but It's pretty straight forward, bunch of clips and a couple bolts and it drops down. Then remove the 3 clips connecting the fender liner to the bumper on both sides and get the liner to pop below the fender. At that point you'll see the 2 10mm bolts that sandwich the bumper cover up to the fender. Remove those. Remove the 2 10mm bolts near the hood latch. Then you can gently pull the sides of the bumper away from the clips near the headlights. At this point it's a good idea to grab an extra hand to pull the bumper.. once the bumper is out far enough to reach the fog light bulbs you can either unplug them, or give them a quarter turn and remove. Then unhook the headlight washer hoses (push in on the white clips) and remove the hose from the metal clips holding them to the bottom of the bumper.

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After you remove the crash foam (3 clips set in a ways, need a skinny moulding popper.) You'll be left with this.

At this point it's a good idea to get a couple folding tables, or some sort of clean area to lay out all of your parts. I used two tables plus my 3x5 steel bench and I had a decent amount of space for everything.
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At this point I removed my vadder setup, along with my under hood tank.

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Now we need to drain the coolant... Unfortunately Cadillac didn't think it was necessary to give us a petcock for easy draining.

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Pretty much the only option is to set up your drain pan of choice, pop the lower hose and let her rip.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
After all the coolant is done dripping for a while, go back up top and remove the 2 17mm bolts and 2 17mm nuts and washers for the strut brace and start pulling the supercharger. I ended up taking out the fans and rad first and it was a pain to squeeze it past the throttle body. Remove the belt using a half inch ratchet on the tensioner. Remove the serpentine belt using a 15mm socket on the tensioner.

Remove your intake... unplug the maf and set aside. Unplug the two sensors on the lid and remove all the bolts to split it from the blower itself. Obviously my lines from my vadder and under hood tank are already removed, but if you have a stock setup still you'll need to drain your hx and remove the lines from the rear of the lid. At this point you'll be left with this.

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Now that you're to this point, unplug the two big rectangle plugs at both rear corners of the supercharger, along with the individual plugs on the coils being careful not to break off the retaining tabs.

Unhook and remove the clean side pcv hose on each of the valve covers, as well as the evap line from the purge solenoid and the other end connected to the metal vapor line on the pass side of the supercharger. I chose to remove them completely so there was less mess while I picked up the blower to remove. Also remove the vac line near the throttle body from the booster. If you have a catch can now is the time to remove the lines from it, if not remove the line from the valley cover.

Using your 3/8 fuel line disconnect tool of choice, place a rag under the line on the pass rear of the supercharger at the fuel rail and remove.

Follow the harness along the sides of the supercharger and remove any Xmas tree clips securing it so you don't get hung up when you remove it. Take out the 10 10mm bolts holding the blower to the heads, prepare a spot on your bench with some rags down, grab an extra set of hands and remove (it's pretty damn heavy).

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Now I'll back up to the radiator and fan removal since I think it would have been easier to remove after the blower is off.

Remove the 4 10mm bolts for the radiator hold down brackets up top. Remove the small coolant line from the top of the rad, this jumps to the steam vent quick connects, and back to the coolant reservoir. Remove the upper rad hose from the radiator.

Back up front there are 10? 10mm bolts holding the condenser to the radiator, 4 brackets hold the condenser on, and 4 10mm bolts holding the fan on the engine side of the radiator.

Unplug the 2 plugs on the fans one on driver side one on pass side. Now to deal with all the trans cooler lines.

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The radiator is out here but it makes it a little easier to see this mess. The trans lines are a little confusing but manageable, they use the same quick connect set up GM has been using for a couple decades now. They do make a tool to release the clips, but I always use a pick tool to remove the small metal clip and wiggle the line right out after you pull back the black plastic retainer.

The first line comes from the trans and goes to the bottom of the radiator. Then it comes out of the top of the radiator back towards the bottom to the aux cooler in front of the radiator. Take note that this line is on the outside of the small ac line (towards the driver side) because if you put it on the other side the line won't clip into the holder on the fan shroud. The next line comes out of the aux cooler and back to the quick connect on the rubber line near the damper.

The last pic shows one side where the Xmas tree clips hold the rubber air deflectors to the sides of the radiator... These things are bastards. I ended up sticking my moulding tool in and using a pry bar to get enough movement because they're tight and pretty long.

Remove the 3 10mm bolts holding the lines to the fan shroud. Now you can wiggle the fans and rad out of there.

Remove the 6 bolts holding the water pump on, 4 bolts holding the blower idler bracket after removing both idlers, serp tensioner, and remove the heater core lines from the water pump. Remove the bolts holding the power steering pump and bracket to the head... I used a gear wrench so I didn't have to pull the pulley off the pump, zip tie around the end of one bolt so it can't fall out of the bracket. The pump rotates on the pressure line out of the way easily.

Remove the plug wires, and remove the rear coil on the pass side and the front coil on the driver side to give you access to the valve cover bolts. It's a good idea to use a shop vac to clean up the valley area well before you open up the motor. Remove the valve covers.

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This is starting to look like a regular cam swap!
 

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It was a good time, it was a bad time.

Had fun tackling this in the garage on some race ramps, but getting underneath to loosen the pan bolts was a little claustrophobic!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I give you props for doing this without a lift, having been spoiled with one for a long time now, I wouldn't jack a car up for anything.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
At this point it's time to pull off the rockers and stands, cordless ratchet makes quick work of it, if you're doing new pushrods and trunnion upgrade, don't worry about keeping them in order... I kept them in order out of habit but it's really not necessary. Do take note of the offset arms on the exhaust valves... Although to put them together wrong would be impossible.

Next unbolt your headers, or manifolds. I like to use a gear wrench for this.

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Discussion Starter #7
Now let's get that balancer off.

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I bought this puller specifically for this job, and it's worth every penny. I usually fight with a 2 or 3 jaw puller for a bit but this made it a breeze.

Blow the 24mm crank bolt out with your impact... If you don't have an impact, you'll either need a chain wrench on the damper, maybe a dead blow on a breaker bar, or a flywheel holding tool (more on that later).

Set up your puller.

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Hold the motor from turning with the open end and run the arbor in with the ratchet... The longest rod in this puller kit worked perfect, no need to push against the bolt or any nonsense. Once the balancer is out about the width of the a/c belt, stick a screw driver, handle of a ratchet, or whatever you have handy behind the balancer and pry towards the motor against the belt while you turn the motor over to walk the belt off the pulley. Once it's off finish pulling the balancer. Set the belt aside.

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This pic shows the stupid stud they use with 2 nuts on it to hold a/c lines and the alternator. Take the first but off to move the bracket holding the lines off of the stud... It's snug, I had to pry a little to get the bracket to clear the tip of the stud. Then loosen the next nut, and use a 5 or 7mm I forget, to take the stud out. Remove the other two bolts from the alternator and move it out of the way a bit.

Now back underneath the car.

Remove all the bolts from the oil pan and the bell housing bolts that go into the pan on the bottom. I used a 1/4 cordless ratchet with a long wobble extension, and for the last 2 bolts up front before the timing cover bolts I used a 1/4 swivel and it worked perfect.

One of the bolts that holds the oil cooler to the pan needs to be backed out a little so you can get a socket on the one pan bolt.

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While you're under here still, unhook your collectors so you have some wiggle room with the headers.

Back up top

Remove the 3 grounds off the back of the passenger head and the one on the back of the driver side head.

Unbolt and remove the dipstick, and unplug the coolant temp sensor on the driver side.

Remove all of the head bolts.

Set up a blanket or something somewhere to set the heads after you remove them. Get your buddy again and pop those suckers off.

Take your shop vac and suck out some of the coolant in the rear jackets so you're not fighting with it while you clean and the coolant you spilled in the bolt holes and cylinders.

Take out the lifter trays and lifters.

Unplug the cam sensor, remove the bolts from the timing cover, and pop that off.

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I used the plastic wedge to hold the pan down as far as it would go so I could get at the pickup tube bolt. Then I stuffed a rag in there in case the bolt dropped, and used a 10mm gear wrench to take that sucker out.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Put the crank bolt back in and line up your timing marks, crank at 12 o clock and cam at 6 o clock.

Use your impact to take the bolt out of the cam gear.

Using a pair of channel locks, squeeze the left side of the timing chain against the guide and stick an Allen key in the hole to keep it relaxed.

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Unbolt the oil pump, pry down gently on the pick up tube as you rotate the pump a bit counter clockwise to get the pump out.

Remove the cam gear, tensioner set, and timing chain.

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Remove the torx bolts holding the cam retainer in. Notice the oil pump o ring on the pickup tube still.

Using the old bolt for leverage, gently work the cam out of the motor.. don't force it obviously. I found the condenser pushed as far down as possible was the best position to get the cam out.

Now for clean up.

Get some fresh razors, brake clean, carb cleaner, rags.

I like the scrape the deck with the razor standing straight up, seems quicker to me and less likely to cut into the aluminum.

Shove some rags in the lifter holes and go to town. I like to do one side at a time once, then take a break for a bit and do each side again, take one more break and go over them both a final time.

Soak the bolt holes with carb or brake clean and let the sit. Blow them out with compressed air.

At this point we need to chase all the bolt holes. After doing this with a cut old head bolt, and using head studs for the first time on this instead of the arp bolts... I would say the arp thread chaser is well worth the money. Obviously the TTY bolts are stretched after use, and I think that makes them a little more narrow.

Cut a slit in one of the old head bolts on two sides and run it in and out of each hole 10 or so times (I used the 1/4 cordless ratchet) fill each hole again with cleaner and blow them out with compressed air... Use a rag over the blow gun so it doesn't spray everywhere. Make sure the holes are completely dry to avoid trapping liquid and cracking the block.

Shop vac out the cylinders and nooks and crannies, good time to clean up the tops of the pistons now as well. Wipe the deck surface down with cleaner a few times and make sure it's super clean. Then admire your shiny motor.

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Now let's slide the new cam in... Coat the new cam in assembly lube, thread three water pump bolts in and ease it back into place. Lightly oil the cam retainer gasket, and using blue locktite on the torx bolts re attach the retainer (18 ft lbs). You want the dowel on the cam in the 3 o clock position at this point. Next get your new timing chain and 3 bolt timing gear ready, with the dot at 6 o clock. Drape the chain over the cam gear and put it under the crank gear while getting the cam gear ready to go back on. It might take a try or 2 to get the chain situated in such a way that the cam gear slides right into place with the marks lined up. Start one of the bolts into the cam. Apply blue locktite to the other 2 bolts and start them, finally remove the first bolt and apply locktite to it and reinstall.. torque to spec. (26 ft lbs).

Install the ls2 chain tensioner at this point using blue locktite on the 2 bolts and torque to spec (18ft lbs). A little slop is normal on one side of the chain.

Soak your new lifters in oil for a while, and install them into the lifter trays, slide the lifters and trays in, apply blue locktite to the hold down bolts and torque to spec (89 in lbs).

Wipe down the deck one more time.

Put the dowels into the deck and lay the new head gaskets down in the correct orientation.

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Swap the Allen head plug, coolant temp sensor, and bracket that holds the injector wiring harness on the driver side over to the new heads.

Get your buddy and set the new heads on the deck.

At this point, if you're using studs, start running them down into the block. Most of mine went in super easy, a few needed a 1/4 ratchet to run down but nothing crazy. Once you bottom out loosen each stud a quarter turn.

Make sure the raised marks on the washers are facing down towards the head, and that the head and washers are free from any oil. I used a pen magnet to drop all the washers on the the studs. Then lube the threads and bottoms of the nuts and start them on to the studs. I used a magnetic socket for this, and I'm not sure how else you would do it without swearing and spending way too long on it.

Follow arps 3 step torque procedure, finishing with the row of small nuts towards the valley cover.

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Now install the oil pump... I used a melling pump, with the spring that came installed in the pump. Make sure the o ring is on the pickup tube and lightly oiled. Pry down gently on the tube and rotate the pump on the crank so the tube goes into the pump. It should go in with no resistance. Put some blue locktite on the pickup tube bolt and carefully start it into the pump, snug it up good with a gear wrench since you won't be able to get a torque wrench on it.

Put some blue locktite on the 4 oil pump bolts and put them in finger tight. At this point you can rotate the crank at least 360 degrees and that should set the clearances in the pump. This is the first time I didn't take the cover off the pump and use feeler gauges to set it up so hopefully it works out lol. Now torque the oil pump bolts to spec (18 ft lbs).

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I bought that same blazing green puller, and then found out the Innovators setup uses a regualr old style puller. 😁

Great write up.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks, yeah I had to pull this innovators pulley off too but I'll get to that lol, just an old fashioned duck foot puller for them. I'm gonna try and finish this up tomorrow as I have time, insert the torque specs, and see what I'm missing since this is all from memory looking through the pics... I know I missed the strut bar removal lol. It was really hard to remember to take pics along the way once you get in the zone. Idk how random does it!
 

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Great write up so far! Time for some cold beers 🍻
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Drape a rag over the crank snout/oil pump, and start cleaning the timing cover and water pump surfaces... Same razor blade technique used here, but down on the oil pan gasket there is some grey rtv you need to contend with at the corners of the block. Don't go to crazy here because you don't want to mess up the pan gasket, and you're going to be using rtv here again anyways. Wipe everything down good with brake clean.

For these timing cover installs I always use the alignment tool I got from sac city corvettes... I hate trying to install the damper and deal with all that while the rtv is on there and all that.

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This tool works without the seal installed to align the cover perfectly every time.

Add your ultra grey rtv in the corners, put to bolts with blue locktite on the top of the cover so you can hang the new gasket off of them, and start them. You may have to twist the alignment tool to get it to line up with the key on the crank. Blue locktite up the rest of the bolts and start them. Torque to spec (18 ft lbs) . Plug in the cam sensor.

Back under the car... Start all the oil pan bolts back in then torque to spec (18 ft lbs, 106 in lbs for the two skinny long ones in the back). Do the bell housing bolts last. Don't forget to tighten that bolt we backed out on the oil cooler.

Pull the alignment tool out, flip it around, and use it to install the crank seal (dry).

Install the damper, I have a tool that's basically just a threaded rod with a bolt head on the end, two washers, and a nut. Make sure you grease up the washers when you use tools like this. Use the provided grease on the crank and pulley hub. Start the damper onto the crank.
In this next pic you can see how my installer works on the wrong damper lol... Being new to the LSA I didn't think twice about the looks of this damper and lost probably an hour fucking around. Anyways, hold the threaded rod still and turn the nut to drive the damper on.

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Once you get a good ways on, start the a/c belt onto the damper.

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It takes a good amount of force, push the belt towards the damper and turn the motor over to bicycle chain the prick on. Finish pressing the damper on until it stops.

At this point, if you haven't already, unbolt the starter and move it out of the way.

This is the first auto LS car I've owned so I had to invest in a flywheel holder for this project.

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This thing fit perfect and comes with bolts that go into the starter bolt holes.

For innovators damper and bolt, they say to use a decent amount of RED locktite, grease on the bolt head and washer, and torque to 130 ft lbs.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
At this point I switched gears a little and moved on to my trunnion upgrade... Mostly because I got dicked around on the whole damper situation. Unfortunately I didn't get any pics of this because it took most of my attention to do it efficiently. There are plenty of vids on this... But I used a small bench vice and 2 sockets for the whole project. An arbor press would have been ideal, a real press would be overkill and in my opinion would take away from being able to feel how much force you're putting on the things.

Dab a drop of assembly lube on both ends of the pushrods (you checked the measurement right?) And slip them in making sure they're sitting correctly on the lifters. Clean up and set in the rocker stands. I used permatex thread sealer on the rocker bolts since the holes are open in the runners and I didn't want to be ingesting oil. I ran them all in with the 1/4 cordless ratchet, excluding the ones that were up on the cam. Set your torque wrench for 22 ft lbs and torque all the rockers that aren't up on the cam, turn the motor over, and do the rest of the rockers. Turn the motor over a couple times making sure nothing is contacting the pistons or anything and it's turning over freely. Next we need to lube up the rockers.

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I used this little bottle to oil everything up.

Now, on the driver side of the motor, right near the alternator there's an Allen head plug. Remove it.. we need to prime the oil pump. I used a piece of 5/16 hose to slide in there and fed it with the little squeeze bottle. I filled the bottle 3 times, it takes forever to get that oil in there. Pull the hose out, re Teflon tape the plug, and put it back in.

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And with a little camera magic (and a duck foot puller) the right balancer is on! Reinstall the water pump and torque to spec (11 ft lbs first pass, 22ft lbs second pass), along with the serp tensioner, idler, alternator, and power steering pump. The serp idler on the right is on a bracket that sandwiches between the block and the alternator with that bastard stud. Here you can also see the DMS idler relocation bracket installed and the supercharger belt tensioner.

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Here's the 9.1 lower to compliment my 2.5 upper. Blue locktite on these and torque to 30 ft lbs. I used a pry bar to bend the a/c line bracket for a little more clearance there.

Next install the headers with new gaskets, install the spark plugs, install the valve covers with thread sealer on the bolts, and reinstall the 2 coils we removed in the begining.

On to the steam Vents. I ordered 2 sets of the earls steam vent adapters, install the o rings and start the bolts through the retainers with the double outlets on the driver side front and rear. I used 4 45 degree -4 push lock fittings and a straight one on the rear passenger side.

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Then I used a -4 T fitting to connect the front and rear and T off to the 3/8 rad line going to the reservoir.


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I took the original steam vent hose and cut the Ts out of it, I used a straight 3/8 barb to Barb fitting near the hood latch and a 3/8 x 1/4 T Barb fitting towards the reservoir with one time use clamps for a clean worry free connection... These are good for 300psi and are DOT approved for air brake line.

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Reinstall the radiator and fans, make sure to reinstall the bolts that hold the trans cooler lines to the fans, and use a zip tie to hold any lines that come close to the balancer. Put the clips back in the trans quick connect fittings and make sure all the lines are fully seated and be sure to put the black locking collars back over the clips. Plug the fans back in. Reinstall the grounds on the back of the heads.

Here's something that took me by surprise, when I went to sit the blower back on the new heads it wouldn't sit down flat, so I pulled the blower back off and saw that it had an alignment dowel on the pass side. I panicked for a minute, thought the heads were side specific. Don't freak out, they're not. No matter how they were installed they would have no provision for this dowel. It's not a normal dowel, so when I tried to remove it it wouldn't come out like the spring steel ones, this is a very hard, very brittle metal. Long story short a gave it a couple taps with a chisel and took that fucker out of there. Make sure the gaskets are clean and set it back on.

Torque the blower down to spec using the correct sequence (44 in lbs first pass, 89 in lbs second pass). Plug the harness back in. Set the lid on, torque to spec, hook up all the hx lines. Triple check all your work.

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Install the lid (44 in lbs first pass, 89 in lbs second pass).

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Hook the exhaust back up to the headers, hose everything down with brake clean and clean and dry well so that leaks are obvious when you fire this thing up. Make sure all of the harnesses are in there clips and away from your headers or anything hot. Hook your catch can back up, clean pcv line, evap line, fuel line, vac lines.

Triple check everything again. Fill with coolant. I like to let it sit overnight to the coolant settles past the thermostat, fill with oil. Fill your hx setup. Reinstall the strut brace.

Hook up the battery... Holy shit this is getting real!

Hop in the car, cycle the key a few times to fill the fuel rail. Set your DIC to oil pressure. Fire it up.

If you don't have oil pressure, shut it down, and I feel terrible for you.

With this setup and pump I saw about 62psi cold... Phew I did something right.

Let it idle and check for leaks, weird sounds, anything out of the ordinary. Get it up to temp and top off your coolant.

Pat yourself on the back and take a sweet cam vid to show your buds.

All in with the setbacks I had I'd say I'm in between 15 and 16 hours. It's not hard, just an amazing amount of shit you need to remove to get down to the basic LS cam swap. Of course this is with a lift with pretty much every tool you could need.

Big shout out to LT1Z for hooking me up with an awesome kit and helping me out with some questions along the way. He was a pleasure to do business with.

Stay tuned for dyno results and hopefully some pulls. And next season for gains for ported blower/snout.

Hopefully I didn't leave too much out, I'll be proofing this again tomorrow so don't be too critical yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
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Here's a finished pic with all the plastics back on. Next project is to fab up a cover like the airaid to use with this rpm 5", that way it'll look a little cleaner.

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This gives a decent idea of the fit up for the exhaust... Had a rattle when I first buttoned it up and had to tweak some of the pipes for maximum clearance.
 

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I remember torqueing the crank bolt to something like 240lb/ft plus 135* or thereabouts.

Instead of the metal blades to clean the deck, someone on here recommended Foshio plastic blades. They worked quite well.
Screenshot_20190514-225100_Chrome.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I've used the plastic blades, I don't really care for them. Ive cleaned aluminum with steel razors forever and I've never had an issue.

The innovators balancer is a different torque spec than oem, and uses it's own special size bolt.
 

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@aluminum360

I missed it...What GP Tuning cam and whose heads did you do?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
GP tuning stage 2.5 with brodix heads ported by LME. For future reference, here is the part number for the plugs used with these heads.

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