Welcome to the Corvette Forums at the Corvette Action Center!

Blue Bullet Blog-The C6 Ownership Experience

Paul T

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 1, 2003
Messages
160
Location
Charlotte
Corvette
1967(427/400),2011(Z06)
Careful going home in the cold. I will give you a call later on to discuss the Katech options available. I spent three years working across the street from the AF museum. It is a terrific display of aircraft. That engine looks killer in the photos.
 

LLC5

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 28, 2004
Messages
2,299
Location
Wa.
Corvette
98 black 6spd convert.
That engine looks killer.

Very nice.
 

Hib Halverson

Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
Joined
Jan 10, 2001
Messages
13,453
Location
CenCoast CA
Corvette
71 04 12 19
Careful going home in the cold. I will give you a call later on to discuss the Katech options available. I spent three years working across the street from the AF museum. It is a terrific display of aircraft. That engine looks killer in the photos.

Cold, indeed. I saw very little snow and only in Dayton, but just about everywhere I've been, it's been cold/windy in the evening and very cold at night. In fact, the first time I've seen above 50° since I left California more than a week ago, was today on my drive through Utah. It was 51° in a couple of places across Utah. I guess I shouldn't bitch-out the weather. Because there was no snow anywhere but Dayton OH, allowed me to shoot straight across I-70 and up/over the Rockies with never seeing any snow or ice on the roads.

I love driving Utah. Its highways are in excellent condition. Speed limit is 80 in many places. Bears were like wall-to-wall today on I-15 but they pay no attention if you're only going 90. I cruised at 90 just about the whole time from the CO/UT line, across I-70 and down I-15 to Cedar City where I'm overnighting.

Tomorrow, I'm up at 4 AM. Wheels up at 4:45. I will be in Goleta for an early dinner. I can hardly wait to smell the smoke and see all the ashes. (sigh)

The Fairest Sandra the Red says it's hot in Goleta so I'll be able to eat dinner in shorts and flip-flops.:thumb

It'll be good to sleep in my own bed.

Call me over the weekend.
 
Last edited:

Hib Halverson

Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
Joined
Jan 10, 2001
Messages
13,453
Location
CenCoast CA
Corvette
71 04 12 19
High-End Corvette Wheels

<style type="text/css">p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; text-align: justify; font: 13.0px Arial; color: #0433ff; -webkit-text-stroke: #0433ff}p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; text-align: justify; font: 13.0px Arial; color: #0433ff; -webkit-text-stroke: #0433ff; min-height: 15.0px}span.s1 {font-kerning: none}</style>One of the more interesting experiences I had on my trip back to California from Katech in Michigan was a stop at Forgeline Motorsports' factory in Dayton, Ohio. These days, that company is my favorite wheel maker. :thumb

One reason is: I think they have some of the coolest wheel designs on the market right now. Another reason? Almost all of each wheel is made-in-USA. The aluminum foundry work is done in Anaheim, CA. The fasteners are made in Santa Paula, California. The spun aluminum rims for three-piece wheels are made in Los Angeles. The manufacturing and assembly is done in Dayton. The only part that's not domestic is the valve stem and they're only used in wheels not fitted with tire pressure sensors (TPS). Many Foregline wheels used on road vehicles have a factory-supplied TPSes which combine a valve stem with a pressure sensor. Sources for those sensors depend on the car's manufacturer. Suffice to say: Foreglines are 99% made in America. A third reason why I like this company's wheels is: from an engineering perspective, there is no difference between its race wheels and its street wheels. Both are built, using the same materials, to the same specifications and safety standards.

767.36.jpg
Forgeline's latest offering, the just-released ZH1 one-piece wheel. Image: Forgeline Motorsports.

Forgeline Motorsports is the brainchild of twin brothers, Dave and Steve Schardt. Wheels are in their DNA as their Dad owns famed Dayton Wire Wheels, a company which was founded in 1916. Growing up, they worked for their Dad. "In 1970, Dad took over the plant after it went (bankrupt) and brought it back to a pretty sizable company," Steve Schardt recalls. "That's where we learned a lot of wheel stuff. We were lacing wheels when we were 13. Dad raced a Yenko Stinger (Chevrolet Corvair Corsa, modified by Yenko Chevrolet for SCCA road racing in the old D-Production class) but it had Minilites on it which Dad distributed back then."

767.40.jpg
The Schardt Bros, Steve (left) and Dave (right). Image: Author.

Later, Dave got into the custom wheel distribution and warehouse business with a company called "Wheel Source". In 1994, Steve founded Forgeline Motorsports making wheels for road racing cars. "Back in the '90s," Steve Schardt stated, "no one in the United States was doing custom-made racing wheels. By 'custom' I mean a wide choice of diameters and offsets with rims that clear brakes (on race cars). In '94, I decided to make a go of it. The business went very well, but I found out I'm a sales person not one who runs a business."

Once the business got going and was a hit amongst road racers, it became obvious that Dave's management acumen in the wheel business would be an advantage so he joined Steve at Forgeline. "That was about the time Dave took over operation of the business," Steve continued.

"I had a wheel distribution business at that point in time," Dave told me, "with three distribution warehouses, one here (Dayton) one in Chicago and one in Atlanta. We sold Momo, Speedline and other performance wheels. I saw the opportunity with Forgeline to do things with wheels that other companies would not or could not do. At first, I had the distribution business and was working at Forgeline at the same time but, eventually, I got rid of 'The Wheel Source'."

"The first racer to run our wheels was P.D. Cunningham who ran a Honda Prelude in World Challenge," Dave continued. "From there, we hit World Challenge pretty hard. We were on Kenny Brown's Mustangs, Lou Gilotti's Mustangs and Bobby Archer and the Vipers. Eventually, almost half the fields in World Challenge back then were using our wheels."

767.45.jpg
Lou Gilotti has raced Fords, Astons and Corvettes, all on Forgeline wheels. Image Forgeline Motorsports.

With racers loving Forgeline wheels, it wasn't long before the market wanted one-piece and three-piece wheels for road cars, but built with Forgeline's appealing designs, outstanding quality and race-winning reliability and durability. One would think that Foregeline's street wheel business would be huge compared with motorsports but that's not the case. Dave and Steve told us that, over the years, the two markets have kept about a 50/50 mix of race and street wheels.

In its 22 years, Forgeline has become one of the leading, high-end wheel makers in the World. One reason is their large portfolio of wheel designs. Forgeline wheels come in two flavors: single-piece or "monoblock" and three-piece. The single-piece wheels are typically the lightest and are machined from one big 110-pound forging. Forgeline three-piece wheels have spun aluminum rims and forged centers. Another reason for Foregline's success is the wide variety of centers, rims and offsets the company has available in its three-piece line.

Yet a third reason Forgeline's products have done well in the market is its wheels are engineered with OE-level reliability and durability. Forgelines undergo the same type of destructive testing to which factory wheels are subjected and because every Forgeline wheel is either a one-piece forging or is a three-piece wheel with a forged center, they can still be lighter than many factory wheels which are cast or press-cast. It doesn't matter if the Forgeline in question is a race wheel or a street wheel–they are all engineered to the same high standards and are manufactured with the same, stringent quality controls.

We asked the Brothers Schardt about their engineering and manufacturing processes. "At lot of other manufacturers make their race wheels thinner because there are no pot holes or other road hazards on a race track," Steve Schardt states. "Those manufacturers would market with a disclaimer: 'These wheels are for racing only.' We never chose to do that because we know someone is going to go off (track into the dirt and rocks) so our race wheels are as strong as our street wheels."

767.44.jpg
The racer who broke a wheel said, "Oh S**t! I shoulda used Forgelines." The two Stevenson Camaros behind him just kept going to the front because they run Forgelines. Image:Forgeline Motorsports.

"We do that for (racers) who do drive over 'gator strips', bounce off race track curbs or make contact with other cars," Dave agreed. "Over the years, our wheels have earned a reputation for as being light as well as tough. In fact, we're not always the lightest wheel and the reason for that is we made them tough and durable. They were able to finish races when other wheels might fail and, of course, to win a race, first, you have to finish."

Aluminum Precision Products (APP), a foundry in Anaheim California, supplies the raw forgings Forgeline Motorsports uses in its wheels. APP is an industry leader in precision forgings of aluminum and titanium. The company was founded over 50 years ago to supply the aerospace and defense industries. Today, it is the authority on forging practices able to solve the toughest aluminum forging challenges. Its products are found on every major commercial and most military aircraft. The company is respected by every major airframe OEM worldwide. When the Schardt brothers went looking for a foundry to provide their aluminum forgings, their choice was simple: Aluminum Precision Products.

"It's an aerospace company. It's one of those companies which does what they say they are going to do," Dave said about APP. "Every single piece we get from them is exactly what it's supposed to be. We get metal certifications from them on every shipment. They offer full traceability. In short, they do business the way we do business."

Aluminum Precision Products makes Forgeline parts from a proprietary version of 6061 aluminum heat treated to the T6 specification. "We call it '60xx' because they don't want to tell us what it is," Dave Schardt said. "They don't like using the term 'super alloy' but that's kind of what it is. It's about 20% stronger (than 6061)."

The rims used in Forgeline three-piece wheels are "spun aluminum" and are made using a cold-forming process. An aluminum disc is spun at high speed in a CNC forming machine. Rollers cold-form the aluminum into the wheel rim shape. Forgeline spun aluminum rims are made by Triangle Tool Company in California. To better understand this process look at this YouTube video.

767.42.jpg
One half of Foregline's machining operations. Image: Author.

All machining operations at Forgeline are done in the company's 11 Haas CNC lathes or CNC machining centers. Even the machines that make Forgeline wheels in the USA are made in America at Haas Automation's huge factory in Oxnard, California. The Haas equipment is divided amongst two sections, one making single-piece wheels and the other making three-piece wheels. The single-piece production process takes a 110-lb forging and removes 85-90-pounds of material, all of which is recycled.

832.25.jpg
Image: Author

To make a Forgeline single-piece wheel wheel, It takes an hour on the CNC lathe and between an hour and four hours in a CNC machining center depending on what wheel design is being manufactured.

767.43.jpg
A Forgeline single-piece wheel during milling in a Haas CNC. Image: Author.

Three-piece wheels take less time because the only major on-site machine work required is the center. The forged center and the spun rim are joined with fasteners made by Automotive Racing Products (ARP)

767.39.jpg
Dave Schardt and a Forgeline three-piece wheel center. Image: Author.

From the machining department, wheel parts go into the grinding-and-polishing section where all the burrs and machining marks are removed and the wheels which are not to be powder coated are polished. Wheels which get powder coated are moved to Forgeline's in-house coating facility. They bead blasted then are shot with whatever color the customer orders. Finally, they are baked for 20-minutes to cure the coating. Next comes wheel assembly and inspection. Last is packaging and shipping to the customer.

767.38.jpg
A really big Forgeline one-piece wheel getting prep'ed for packaging. Image: Author.

Only after a prototype Forgeline wheel undergoes extensive testing is a new wheel design released for production and sale. "There are several standards for wheels used around the world," Dave Schardt added, "but the one used in the U.S. is the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) Standard. Our wheels are built to the SAE Standard"

We do FEA (finite element analysis) on every single wheel we design," Dave continued. "In the case of any new design that's substantially different from another, we'll send (a sample) to a testing lab. They test in three ways. A tire with a load on it tries to spread the wheel (rims) apart, so, first, they mount a tire on the wheel, then run it on a roller for 1,000,000 cycles at three times the wheel's rated load. Then (assuming the wheel passes the load test, of course) they do an impact test which drops a 2120-lb weight on the wheel from 20-feet in the air," Schardt continued. "The toughest test of all is the 'rotary test'. The wheel is bolted on a hub. Then, the rim is heavily loaded with a force pushing the edge of the rim sideways. This test simulates the wheel on a car which is cornering with high lateral acceleration."

In a few limited cases, Forgeline "private label" wheels for well-known vendors such as Tesla chassis upgrade specialist, Unplugged Performance, Hennessy Performance, Dinan Corp. (BMWs, Mercedes, Mini) or Katech, Inc. "We do that with industry partners which make sense," Steve Schardt states. "For example: Katech is one of those firms which is very well-known, so the fact that they are using our wheel is a good thing for us. It's their design but we make it for them. It looks a little bit like our X1, but it was a design that Jason (Harding, Katech's Aftermarket Manager) picked out. If someone just comes off the street and says, 'I want you to make a wheel brand.' That's a lot more difficult. Then, we're just competing against them."

767.17small.jpg
Katech's Foregline-built KT1. Image: Katech, Inc.

Both Schardts are racers. Steve's interest has been performance and race driving instruction. Dave did some professional road racing in SCCA World Challenge during the late-'90s and early-'00s. "For a while, I ran a Toyota Supra Turbo with backing from Toyota," Dave told me. "We converted it (from twin) to a single turbo for racing. It got lots of attention. It was bright yellow. It had the exhaust coming out the side. It shot flames out the pipes and made cool turbo sounds. Then, when they stopped making that car (1998) we switched over to a Porsche Cup car. We sold the Toyota, for a significant amount of money, to buy the Porsche. Then two years ago, we saw it on eBay and bought it back. It had every single decal and sticker still on it. It was exactly the way it was when we sold it 20 years ago. We bought it back for a fraction of what we sold it for."

Today, the Brothers Schardt have turned to autocrossing. As is the case with many road racers, this writer included, the transition to autocrossing is not an easy one. "Autocrossing is completely different," Steve admits, "We had to reprogram our brains.
"I'm struggling with autocrossing," Dave quipped.
"We have a C5 we started autocrossing." Steve added.
"We wanted to participate in motorsports," Dave stated, "so we bought a C5 Z06 because it seems like what everybody else is doing."
"It's a great car," Steve said.
"Oh my gosh," Dave beamed, "I had no idea how much I would going to like that car. It's so much fun."
Of course, the Schardts' C5 Z has a set of Forgelines on it.

767.37.jpg
Dave Schardt and the Forgeline ZO6. Image: Author.

Currently, the most high-profile use of Forgelines on Chevrolets in road racing are the Camaro GT4.Rs Pratt&Miller build for GT4 competitors.
About ten years ago Dave Schardt saw potential in the then-new "pro-touring" movement. Today, Forgeline wheels are almost a standard in that hobby. Some of the biggest names in pro-touring competition, such as perennial Corvette racer, Danny Popp, who drove a much-modified, C3 to three Good Guys Autocrosser of the Year titles, race on Forgelines. As for late model cars, the two biggest markets for Forgeline Wheels Porsche and Corvette, especially C6 and C7 Z06es.

Forgeline is one of a few of companies in the U.S. manufacturing wheels made out of carbon-fiber and aluminum. Forgeline's "Carbon+Forged Series" wheels have carbon fiber "barrels" (the rims) made by Emergent Carbon Wheels and forged aluminum centers manufactured by Forgeline. These parts are assembled in Forgeline's Dayton facility. The CF wheel debuted at the 2016 SEMA Show and its first application was a C6 ZR1. To date, because of the cost, sales of the Carbon+Forged wheels have grown slowly. Customers so far have put them on Corvette C6es and C7s, Porsche GT3s, Lamborghini Hura
cáns and, interestingly, Tesla Model Ses.

product_photo-xlarge_image-1316.jpg
The Forgeline CF205 Carbon+Forged wheel. This is the lightest wheel Forgeline makes.
It's about 42% lighter than the equivalent one-piece aluminum wheel.
That would take a big bite out of a car's unsprung weight. Image: Forgeline Motorsports.


At 15-16 large per set, Forgeline's CF wheels are a little out of reach for me to use on the Blue Bullet, but I have them on my "wish list"...which, also, includes: a pair of his-and-her C8 Vettes, front-row/50-yard line Superbowl tickets, a beachfront vacation/party house in Maui and a Boeing BBJ so I can fly there in style with 30 or so my BFFs.
 
Last edited:

Hib Halverson

Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
Joined
Jan 10, 2001
Messages
13,453
Location
CenCoast CA
Corvette
71 04 12 19
The BB has "issues"

The older I get, the faster time seems to pass. I just realized: the Blue Bullet is almost six years old and has about 44,000 miles on it. No wonder it's starting to have a few "maintenance issues". :ugh

About a year ago, I began to notice an occasional "rattle" coming from the back of the interior. I'd hear it once in a while and it wasn't very loud so I procrastinated. After a few months, I was hearing it more often and seemed to be coming from the right rear, so I got the back of the car up on jack stands, plugged in my shop light and carefully inspected the right rear suspension along with the underbody and looked in the battery compartment. During this half-hour visual inspection I saw nothing unusual.

Another six months went by and I was hearing this noise on a regular basis, especially at slow speed on rough roads. Once again, I decided to do a visual. This time I took the car over to a service shop owned by a pal of mine and talked him out of 20-minutes on one of his hoists because, sometimes, having the car up high in the air, you get a better view. I did a careful inspection using my new Gear Wrench LED Work Light. Once again, I saw nothing amiss.

767.46.jpg
Gear Wrenches new series of LED Work Lights
are perfect the the type of Corvette DIY work I do. Image: Gear Wernch

Then, at the end of September, I took the BB on the Caravan PreRun trip in and a couple months later, drove it from Detroit back home after Katech worked on the car's engine. That damn rattle was still there and drove me nuts. :mad Once I had the car back in my shop, I decided to check the modules which run my LED tail light conversion. When I installed the conversion a number of years ago, I stuck the four modules on the rear interior bulkhead using some adhesive. Figuring that if one of those came loose, it would rattle. I pulled each light assembly to find each module still in place.

I jacked up the back of the car again and did yet a third visual inspection looking for anything which might be loose and a third time, I saw nothing. Even though there was nothing that looked loose or that it had been rattling, I decided to verify the tightness of every fastener I could access from under the car. This meant everything from the little screws holding some body parts together to the big nuts which hold the rear suspension cradle in place. The rear stabilizer bar links were some of the last nuts I checked and–well, well whadaya know–the nut holding the right side stab bar link to the bar was just slightly loose–not enough to see, but just enough to rattle. I looked up the tightening procedure in GMSi, the electronic version of the Corvette Factory Service Manual, then I took out my Gear Wrench, half-drive electonic torque wrench along with my torque-angle gauge and tightened all four of the rear stabilizer bar link nuts to 44-lt/lbs plus 30°. A short road test showed the rattle was gone. Problem solved and lesson learned: just because a fastener doesn't look loose doesn't mean it isn't loose. Guess I shoulda checked all the nuts and bolts a year ago.:thumb

Another problem that's developed over the last six months or so is the car's parking brake has trouble holding on my sloped driveway. I have to pull the handle just about to the top of its travel to get the P-brake to hold. The "pull-up-three-times" procedure which is supposed to automatically adjust the parking brake cables didn't have much effect. It was time to do what many Corvette DIY's either don't want to do or don't know how to do and that's adjust the parking brake clearance.

The prodedure requires disassembly of the rear brakes, so I removed three lug nuts on each side and installed a set of Reverse Logic 200-mm Lug Guides on the left rear. BB has carbon brakes and GMSi requires installation of the factory, sponge rubber rotor protectos before removing wheels. I think the Reverse Logic 200-mm Lug Guides are easier to install and use. I
took off the remaining two nuts then slid the wheel off the Guides. Once I got the left rear wheel off, I used the Guides to get the right rear off. Next, I unplugged the brake pad wear sensors, unbolted the rear brake calipers, left the brake hoses connected and rested each caliper on the top of its upper rear control arm. Finally, I removed both rear brake rotors. The parking brake shoe assembly exhibited some wear, but was still serviceable, so I used two other Grear Wrench tools, a "Drum to Brake Shoe Clearance Gauge" and a feeler gauge set to adjust the parking brake clearance to the required .015-inch. The specifics of this procedure can be found in GMSi.

767.47.jpg
Fifteen Thousandths of an inch is the P-Brake
Clearance specification. Image: Aughor.

After reassembling the rear brakes, using the Lug Guides to reinstall both rear wheels then torquing the lug nuts to 100-ft/lbs in a three-increment, star pattern, I set the back of the car back on the ground, rolled it outside onto the driveway and tested the P-brake. Viola! It held the car on the slope with the handle only going up about half its travel.

The next maintenance operation will have to wait until I have some more time. I need to change the power streering fluid, the transmission lubricant and the rear axle lubricant. In the power steering, I've been using a synthetic fluid marketed by Driven Racing Oil known as "PSF". In the Blue Bullet's TR 6060 six-speed manual transmission, I've been using Red Line Superlight Shockproof Gear Lubricant. In the car's rear drive axle, I've been using Red Line Heavy Shockproof gear lubricant. I'll be ordering a supply of those fluids and lubricants for a future fluid change session.



 
Last edited:

Toms007

Moderator
Joined
Sep 24, 2004
Messages
6,346
Location
Southwest Kansas
Corvette
2007 Atomic Orange Coupe
Hib, I have a rattle on my Cadillac CTS that has been driving me crazy too. And like yours, it appears to be coming from the right rear. Also, like you, I 'visually' checked everything, but haven't found anything either....guess I'll get it back up on the lift and check the sway bars.
 
Joined
Mar 27, 2003
Messages
3,649
Location
Mustang, OK
Corvette
'13 427 60th vert - CTS V Wagon(4-door Vette)
Rattles? I'm not hearing any in my 427 Vert and it's got 49,000 miles now. Then again, I don't always wear my hearing aids. ;)

I ought to drive out to California and have you check it out for me. :D

Has it warmed up enough to put that new Katech engine to limits yet?
 

Paul T

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 1, 2003
Messages
160
Location
Charlotte
Corvette
1967(427/400),2011(Z06)
Okay Hib, you have had the Katech engine for a few weeks now and it should be well broken in. Have you had an opportunity to make a fuel mileage run on the road, town, and combined? Not that anyone with that engine should care about fuel mileage. Also, how is the idle compared with the original cam now that it has a few miles? Thanks for the Katech catalog. It brought back memories of getting the Sears Christmas catalog when I was a kid. Same emotions, same wants, same dreams, different Santa Claus.
 

Hib Halverson

Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
Joined
Jan 10, 2001
Messages
13,453
Location
CenCoast CA
Corvette
71 04 12 19
Rattles? I'm not hearing any in my 427 Vert and it's got 49,000 miles now. Then again, I don't always wear my hearing aids.

I ought to drive out to California and have you check it out for me.

Has it warmed up enough to put that new Katech engine to limits yet?

Okay Hib, you have had the Katech engine for a few weeks now and it should be well broken in. Have you had an opportunity to make a fuel mileage run on the road, town, and combined? Not that anyone with that engine should care about fuel mileage. Also, how is the idle compared with the original cam now that it has a few miles? Thanks for the Katech catalog. It brought back memories of getting the Sears Christmas catalog when I was a kid. Same emotions, same wants, same dreams, different Santa Claus.

Sorry to take so long to reply. I know 3 ½ months without posting to this Blog has raised some questions.

So far, the "Street Attack LS7" I had Katech put into the Blue Bullet has not met my expectations. :(

If you saw the video footage Katech taped with me just before I left their shop, know that, at the time, I was all jacked-up on the idea that I now had a Katech engine in my Corvette. Perhaps my enthusiasm was a bit premature because, to date, the costly Street Attack LS7 and its installation has not brought the additional enjoyment to driving the Blue Bullet I hoped it would.

Why?

1) The air conditioning compressor belt kept jumping grooves any time I ran the motor over about 6000-rpm. Each time, I had to jack up the car, retract the tensioner back and reposition the belt. If I didn't, after a few runs over 6000, the A/C drive system would chew up the belt.

2) The engine controls calibration was way off. The engine idle was: too fast, unstable and under certain conditions, prone to stalling. Low speed/light load drivability was marginal at best. The wide-open throttle air:fuel ratio was way rich, like...we're talking black smoke, here. The engine is in detonation at mid-to-high rpm and, as a result, the engine controls were dialing in a lot of "knock retard.

3) The engine has a voracious appetite for oil. It started out using about a quart every 2000 miles but has deteriorated to a quart about every 100-200 miles. In 4873 miles the engine has used 13-quarts of oil.

Eventually, I fixed #1 and made a lot of progress on #2, but the oil use persists. At this point, after discussion with Katech's President, Steve Spur and hearing his interest in standing behind his company's product, :thumb I'm going to ship the car back to Michigan so Katech can diagnose the problem and, if necessary, pull the engine for repairs.
 

LLC5

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 28, 2004
Messages
2,299
Location
Wa.
Corvette
98 black 6spd convert.
Sorry to take so long to reply. I know 3 ½ months without posting to this Blog has raised some questions.

So far, the "Street Attack LS7" I had Katech put into the Blue Bullet has not met my expectations. :(

If you saw the video footage Katech taped with me just before I left their shop, know that, at the time, I was all jacked-up on the idea that I now had a Katech engine in my Corvette. Perhaps my enthusiasm was a bit premature because, to date, the costly Street Attack LS7 and its installation has not brought the additional enjoyment to driving the Blue Bullet I hoped it would.

Why?

1) The air conditioning compressor belt kept jumping grooves any time I ran the motor over about 6000-rpm. Each time, I had to jack up the car, retract the tensioner back and reposition the belt. If I didn't, after a few runs over 6000, the A/C drive system would chew up the belt.

2) The engine controls calibration was way off. The engine idle was: too fast, unstable and under certain conditions, prone to stalling. Low speed/light load drivability was marginal at best. The wide-open throttle air:fuel ratio was way rich, like...we're talking black smoke, here. The engine is in detonation at mid-to-high rpm and, as a result, the engine controls were dialing in a lot of "knock retard.

3) The engine has a voracious appetite for oil. It started out using about a quart every 2000 miles but has deteriorated to a quart about every 100-200 miles. In 4873 miles the engine has used 13-quarts of oil.

Eventually, I fixed #1 and made a lot of progress on #2, but the oil use persists. At this point, after discussion with Katech's President, Steve Spur and hearing his interest in standing behind his company's product, :thumb I'm going to ship the car back to Michigan so Katech can diagnose the problem and, if necessary, pull the engine for repairs.



Ouch! Sorry to hear that.

Katech does not allow only changing the oil filter and not the oil do they?

I'm not even trying to infer that this is your problem with so few miles on the engine, I was just wondering what their oil change mileage and procedures are.
 
Joined
Mar 27, 2003
Messages
3,649
Location
Mustang, OK
Corvette
'13 427 60th vert - CTS V Wagon(4-door Vette)
Well, that sucks.
Like you, I would have thought Katech had this upgrade down. Guess not.
At least they want to make it right.
 

Hib Halverson

Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
Joined
Jan 10, 2001
Messages
13,453
Location
CenCoast CA
Corvette
71 04 12 19
Ouch! Sorry to hear that.

Yeah...I'm bummed. I stopped driving the car because it's using so much oil, but then...that gives me a chance to give our 2004 Z06 some TLC and put some miles on it.

Katech does not allow only changing the oil filter and not the oil do they?

I'm not even trying to infer that this is your problem with so few miles on the engine, I was just wondering what their oil change mileage and procedures are.[/QUOTE]

Katech did not specify and special oil change interval but they did tell me to switch from a 5W40 to a 5W30 oil because of their high-volume pump. My oil change interval with a premium synthetic such as Driven Racing oil or Red Line is 150% of oil life with a filter change every 50%. I changed the oil once time about 2500 miles after I had them do the motor. That was to switch from 5W40 to 5W30. Since then I've only driven a couple thousand miles.

Katech and I are in discussions now about the logistics of getting the car back to their facility in Clinton Township Mi.
 
Last edited:

LLC5

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 28, 2004
Messages
2,299
Location
Wa.
Corvette
98 black 6spd convert.
Interesting, I thought they might have a vigorous LOF timetable.

Good luck with it, hope it all turns out well.
 

Hib Halverson

Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
Joined
Jan 10, 2001
Messages
13,453
Location
CenCoast CA
Corvette
71 04 12 19
The Blue Bullet is back at Katech. I shipped the car there using Pilot Transport about which I cannot say enough good things. I dealt with Angie Makin in Pilot's main office in Brighton Michigan along with Joe Sanchez, the truck driver. Back on Saturday the 12th a Pilot tractor pulling a 53-footer rolled up outside.

I pulled the BB out of the shop, while Joe unloaded a C7 he was going to drop later in the day over in Los Angeles, then he drove my car onto the top level and all the way to the front. Then he stuck the C7 back in behind my car.

He was on his way about 45-minutes later. Pilot Transport knows their stuff as far as moving collector and special interest cars around. Their price beat the other two I had quotes from, Reliable Carriers and Passport.
:thumb

If you need to have a car transported, give Angie Makin a call at 248-486-3701 or email her at amakin@unitedroad.com. Thanks to Pilot driver Joe Sanchez for getting my car to Michigan safely.

The car arrived in Pilot's yard in Brighton on Friday the 18th and Katech picked it up there on the following Monday.

767.48.jpg

Katech emailed me yesterday to say that they will be starting work on the car late next week.

Obviously, I'll be very interested in what they find.

Once Katech fixes the engine, my plan is to, once again, fly to Detroit, pick-up the car and drive it back to California and, in the process, do some prerun work for the 2019 Corvette Caravan. Only this time, I'm going to drive as far as St. Louis then do an oil check. If the engine has used too much oil, I'll turn around and go right back to Katech.

 
Last edited:

Hib Halverson

Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
Joined
Jan 10, 2001
Messages
13,453
Location
CenCoast CA
Corvette
71 04 12 19
Katech had the car a month then contacted me saying, based on a borescope session and an exhaust backpressure test, they think the bores are worn mirror smooth and the cats are plugged. On Tuesday 26JUL they told me it would be another two weeks before they have the engine out, disassembled, inspected and measured. Then they will email me a full report.

I'm disappointed that this process is taking longer than I thought,:mad but, it is what it is.;shrug
 
Last edited:

Hib Halverson

Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
Joined
Jan 10, 2001
Messages
13,453
Location
CenCoast CA
Corvette
71 04 12 19
Driveline Lube Changes
Before I shipped the Blue Bullet to Katech, I did a change of rear axle and transmission lubricants. The car had been driven 38358 miles in five years since the last fluid change, so it was definitely time to change those fluids.

For over two decades, I've used Red Line Heavy Shockproof Gear Oil in Corvette drive axles and SuperLight Shockproof in '89-up Corvette six-speed manual transmissions. My reasons for this are improved durability, lower lubricant temperature and, with the transmission, improved shift feel.

Red Line's Shockproof Gear Lubricants are unique because they have a combination PAO and ester base stock in a very soft gel form. The word "gel" might have some people thinking "Jello" and, indeed, Jello is one kind of gel. Other kinds of gels are bearing and chassis grease, RTV silicon sealers and calks, some toothpastes and hair care products as well as “thick” liquids like dishwashing soap and liquid glues.

The gel-base technology Red Line uses makes for some desirable characteristics in a transmission lube. It offers high viscosity at high temperatures allowing it to cling to rapidly rotating gears which greatly reduces metal-to-metal contact between gear teeth. Shockproof has lower viscosity when cold for acceptable shift feel. It has lower fluid friction for less power loss, lower oil temperature and slightly better fuel economy.

ShockProof lubricants' greater viscosity offers as much as 250% higher load-carrying capacity. Its up to 40% less internal fluid friction means parasitic torque loss is reduced along with further temperature decreases. Heavy Shockproof viscosity is about that of a 75W250 gear oil, but has the lower fluid friction of a 75W90. Heavy Shockproof also works well in Corvette drive axles having clutch-type limited slip differentials. In most cases, no friction modifier additive is necessarily. LightWeight Shockproof is about a 75W140 gear oil, but has the lower internal friction of an SAE30 engine oil. LWSP is good for older Corvette manual transmissions such as Muncie M20/M21/M22 and Warner T10 and Super T10 four-speeds and the gearbox section of the Nash 4+3 in '84-'88 C4s. SuperLight Shockproof is about a 70W90, but has the lower fluid friction of an automatic transmission fluid, which, coincidentally, is the recommended lubricant for the Tremec T-56 and TR-6060 used in a C5s and C6es along with other GM high-performance manual trans applications and that's why I use it in those transmissions.
0000241_heavy-shockproof_415.jpeg0000281_lightweight-shockproof_415.jpeg0000269_superlight-shockproof_464.jpeg
Another unique feature of Shockproof gear oils is they use a "Complex Calcium Technology" (CCT) extreme pressure (EP) additive rather than the sulfur-based EP additives in conventional gear oils. The CCT extreme pressure additive provides superior protection from metal-to-metal contact during shock loading and is one reason most Top Fuel dragsters and Nitro Funny Cars have Red Line Heavy Shockproof in their rear axles. Another racing application for which the Shockproof gear lubricants provide a significant durability margin is off-road racing where violent changes in loading when the racers get airborne cause extreme driveline shocks. Not only is Shockproof’s CCT a better EP additive under shock loads, but it, also, makes gear systems operate more quietly and has excellent detergent and anti-corrosive properties.

Improved reliability and durability in high-performance use is the primary benefit of the ShockProof family of gear lubricants. Given proper clutch operation, Shockproof gear lubricants, also, can improve shift at both operating temperature and cold, "start-up" temperature. Due to less internal friction, When using Shockproof, peak oil temperature reductions between 25°F and 75°F are common in severe duty applications.

I drained the lube out of the rear end and trans, saving samples of each to send out to Blackstone Laboratory for analysis then replaced their drain plugs. I filled the drive axle with Heavy Shockproof and the transmission with SuperLight Shockproof.

 

LLC5

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 28, 2004
Messages
2,299
Location
Wa.
Corvette
98 black 6spd convert.
Katech had the car a month then contacted me saying, based on a borescope session and an exhaust backpressure test, they think the bores are worn mirror smooth and the cats are plugged. On Tuesday 26JUL they told me it would be another two weeks before they have the engine out, disassembled, inspected and measured. Then they will email me a full report.

I'm disappointed that this process is taking longer than I thought,:mad but, it is what it is.;shrug


If those cats are plugged, I would want a fairly detailed explanation as to why.
 

Hib Halverson

Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
Joined
Jan 10, 2001
Messages
13,453
Location
CenCoast CA
Corvette
71 04 12 19
If those cats are plugged, I would want a fairly detailed explanation as to why.

In my last email to them I asked then to cut the front off one of the cats with a chop saw then send me the pics. I think it should be pretty simple to decide of the restricted cats are due to a melted substrate or burnt oil residue.
 

LLC5

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 28, 2004
Messages
2,299
Location
Wa.
Corvette
98 black 6spd convert.
In my last email to them I asked then to cut the front off one of the cats with a chop saw then send me the pics. I think it should be pretty simple to decide of the restricted cats are due to a melted substrate or burnt oil residue.


Yeah, it should be fairly obvious with no cylinder cross hatch. Melted substrate would be a tuning issue, and oil residue would be a mechanical issue.

What is Katech's reasoning for no cross hatch in the cylinder bores? Seriously odd.......

I have pulled apart many 200K plus mileage engines with fair to good cross hatch still visible. Hopefully they will give you an honest answer.
 

Hib Halverson

Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
Joined
Jan 10, 2001
Messages
13,453
Location
CenCoast CA
Corvette
71 04 12 19
They have not offered a reason why the bores are toast. To date all they've said is what might have caused it: excessively lean or excessively rich air:fuel ratios.

It's going to be another week before they've got the engine disassembled and the problem fully diagnosed.
 
Last edited:

Corvette Forums

Not a member of the Corvette Action Center?  Join now!  It's free!

Help support the Corvette Action Center!

Win Both Corvettes!

Win Both Corvettes and Get Extra Bonus Tickets Now!

Supporting Vendors

Dealers:

MacMulkin Chevrolet - The Second Largest Corvette Dealer in the Country!

Parts/Accessories:

Dead Center Foundation

Vetteskins

Advertise with the Corvette Action Center!

Partners

Top Bottom