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Blue Bullet Blog-The C6 Ownership Experience

LLC5

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98 black 6spd convert.
That's way too much oil, just change the filter and your good to go. Normally cat's don't go bad from oil contamination, but in this case with that much oil I would be concerned.

I wonder if the ME C8 was designed to hold 2 golf bags? :)
 

Hib Halverson

Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
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71 04 12 19
Yesterday morning, Pilot transport picked-up the "Blue Bullet" and will take it to their yard in Brighton MI by way of Arizona and Indiana, two stops the driver must make to pick-up other vehicles.


Pilot Transport's, Ann Ruble, first put paper floor mats in the car then covered the seat with plastic.


Pilot Transport driver, Phil Ruble, loading the Blue Bullet for it's third trip to Katech.

I should add that, this is the second time I've worked with Pilot Transport.This time my driver was Phil Ruble who has his Wife, Ann, along with him to assist in loading cars and doing clerical work. Pilot Transport personnel have done an excellent job for me in getting this car back to Katech, twice, now. Pilot also has some of the best rates for closed trailer transportation of collector and special interest vehicles. Anyone needing to have a car shipped should consider Pilot Transport.

Phil Ruble told me the car will arrive at Pilot's yard in Brighton a week from today. Once it arrives, Katech's people will pick the car up and take it to their facility on Clinton Township.

Hopefully, after a few months and a third rebuild, my Street Attack LS7's days of oil ingestion will be over.

10NOV2019 Update

Well...it was more like about six months. According to Katech, the problem with my engine's oil control was caused by the failure of the piston and ring supplier, Mahle, to validate its top ring and bore finish combination for use with production LS7 bore liners.

The trouble stemmed from the 1-mm/1-mm/2-mm ring combination Mahle supplies with its LS7 forged pistons, which were used in the first and second rebuilds, and its bore finish recommendation for use with that ring set. The top ring is a made of SAE-9254 steel and its face is coated with Mahle's "HV385" using the High-Velocity Oxygen Fuel (HVOF) thermal spray coating process which deposits molten or semi-molten materials at high speed on substrates. Keep in mind that the LS7 production ring package was 1.2-mm/1.2-mm/2-mm with a moly-filled steel top ring and a ductile-iron Napier-faced second ring. When Mahle went to a 1-mm ring, making a moly-filled ring face on a ring that narrow was impossible, so it developed the HV385 coating.

After the second rebuild and just like with the first, the HV385 coating failed with microscopic particles of the coating mixing with engine oil to make a highly-abrasive abrasive slurry which wore the bore surface of the liners to a mirror finish. All this had a bad ending with oil consumption of about 250-miles-per-quart making my LS7 "almost-a-diesel" in the amount of oil it burned.

Katech bears some responsibility for this chain of events because when it switched to the Mahle piston and ring combination from what it originally developed for Street Attack LS7s, it did not test the combination in a street high-performance duty-cycle, but rather accepted Mahle's "promise" that the HV385 coated steel ring would work with the rather soft LS7 liners and Mahle's bore finish specification.

Katech stuck with the Mahle piston/ring package for a while, but the lengthy engine dyno testing program it undertook after two successive ring/bore failures in my engine revealed that the Mahle parts were not capable of producing acceptable oil consumption in a street high-performance LS7. I should add that Katech used up an LS7 block in this test program, so my engine is on its fourth LS7 cylinder case. In my discussion with Kevin Pranger, Katech's top "engine guy", he told me that Katech's testing proved that the rather soft material of the production LS7 bore liners used in Street Attack engines is not compatible with Mahle's HV385-coated top ring.

Katech's next step was to go back to Mahle with their findings. The relationship with Mahle in this situation became strained. Katech use of Mahle Pistons and Rings in its LS7 builds ended when Mahle admitted that it had never validated its forged pistons with the 1-mm HV385-coated steel top ring in an LS7 engine. When Katech inquired further, it learned that Mahle based its recommendation of the HV385-coated ring in LS7 bores on the fact that it had worked in 4.000 to 4.125-in bore applications from other manufacturers for which Mahle sells pistons and rings, but never actually tested the coated steel ring in any LS7.

It is unconscionable that Mahle would sell a piston and ring combination to LS7 customers which was never validated in that engine.

So...what solution did Katech develop for the oil control problem created by Mahle's poorly-developed products?

It's going back to a proven .043-in/1.5-mm/3-mm ring set-up which consists of a moly-filled, ductile iron top ring, a napier-faced iron second ring and a three-piece oil ring. The piston is a 4032 aluminum forging made by Diamond Racing, a long-time manufacturer of forged racing pistons.

With my engine back on Katech's engine dyno, several test sessions were conducted with good results. No symptoms of oil consumption, such as "wet" piston tops or abnormal blow-by numbers, were present.

The engine went back in the car near the end of last month. they had driven the car about 200 of the 2000 mile durability test to which it and I agreed. Unfortunately, with Winter setting in back in Michigan, it's going to take longer to accumulate those 2000 miles because, when I shipped the car to Katech last May, I left the Pilot Sport Cup 2s I normally run on that car and those tires are not good at all in cold weather and are downright treacherous in any snow or significant rain. My car has been at Katech for a number of months but, thankfully, that is not the "record". Katech had a customer who had them put a supercharged Dodge Viper V10 and an automatic trans in a Challenger. It was a project which took almost two years to complete.

I was in Detroit on a business trip unrelated to my engine in the first week of November and visited Katech. They told me they understood the problem with Mahle rings and had a solution, it is contacting past customers with Street Attack LS7s which were built with the same piston/ring package as my engine and will offer them a no charge repair. Katech told me they know of three builds and one customer who simply purchased pistons and rings to do his/her own engine. To date they've made contact with two of those folks.

Going forward, I will never consider a Mahle piston/ring combination for any engine I build myself or have built for me. In fact, I will never buy any Mahle aftermarket product ever again. I advise anyone doing an LS7 build with cylinder case having production liners to not consider Mahle forged pistons or Mahle piston rings.
 
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Pacha

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Messages
13
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ABQ
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2007 Ron Fellows Z06 #219
Hay Hib, It appears your thread on the other site has been locked, at least I can't get to it. What's the latest on the Katech build of your LS7?
 

Hib Halverson

Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
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13,453
Location
CenCoast CA
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71 04 12 19
Hay Hib, It appears your thread on the other site has been locked, at least I can't get to it. What's the latest on the Katech build of your LS7?

The Corvette Forum locked that long-standing thread about my Katech engine "adventure" then temporarily took it off-line. This was done to allow CF moderators time to review the 600+ posts for rules violations. I kinda had a hunch this was coming after I PM'ed with the moderator of the C6 ZR1/Z06 forum about two weeks ago. I PM'ed with him again and he said that Katech's status as a Corvette Forum "Premium Supporting Vendor" was not a factor in the CF's decision to review the thread but he did say, after the thread was closed Katech did request some action. The entire thread was reviewed and posts that violate CF rules were deleted. The thread will remain closed and has been moved to the "Transactions Dispute" forum on the CF.

Obviously, I'm disappointed that the CF took that action but will admit that the thread itself and some of the posts in it had reached a point where CF rules were being at least "bent" if not violated.

Fortunately, here on the CAC there are not quite as many rules :thumb covering discussions of disagreements such as that between Katech and myself.I'm working on a longer article which will bring the Blue Bullet Blog up to date on the Katech Street Attack LS7 oil consumption story but it will be a while before I post that.

For now, I want to cover how the engine in the Blue Bullet performs after spending 35,000 bucks and nearly two and a half years of my life trying to get Katech to produce a truly steerable "Street Attack LS7." First, let's look at some of Katech's engine dynamometer data. The SAE-corrected data for Rebuild1 and Rebuild2 are shown below.

767.65.jpg

As you can see, there was inconsistency between the two engines' performance above 5100-RPM. By 6600-RPM the variation was greater than 25-hp. The only significant difference between the two engines was that, during Rebuild1, Katech installed their "Red" oil pump which has a scavenge pump capable of 30% more oil flow and an oil feed pump capable of 20% higher pressure. I remember back in Winter 2017/2018 when I drove the car back to California wondering why I had 90-100-psi oil pressure. Katech's own product information states, "This pump is designed for engines with higher oil flow demands such as looser bearing clearances, aftermarket lifters, piston squirters or oil-fed turbos/superchargers. Otherwise, the blue pump is recommended." My engine had none of those requirements and I never specified an oil pump with higher. I've often wondered who decided my Street Attack LS7 needed that. For Rebuild2, I specified Katech's "Blue" pump which has more scavenge flow but doesn't generate higher pressure. Can I say conclusively that the Red pump took 25 more horsepower to drive? No, I can't, however, the difference in oil pumps was the only variation between the two engine builds and the higher an oil pump's pressure output, the more power it takes to drive the pump.

So where is the engine dyno data for the third rebuild? I asked Katech about that and was told it had run Rebuild3 on the engine dyno but the test data was suspect because, when the engine was being prepared for testing, the wrong dyno headers were installed and that detrimentally affected the power and torque output. By the time the mistake was discovered, the engine had been removed from the dyno cell. How in the heck does a company which charges 20,000 bucks for an engine rebuild stay in business making mistakes like that?

Surprisingly for a company in the business of building "tuner cars" costing five figures, Katech does not have a chassis dynamometer. It relies on outside vendors for its chassis dyno testing and, after every one of the three rebuilds, the car was run on a DynoJet. It is unknown if Katech used the same dyno shop each time. The results before and after Rebuild1 are shown below. The chassis dyno session on 20NOV2017, showed the car was pretty potent with 545–almost 546-hp at the tire at 6250-RPM, SAE-corrected.

767.66.jpg
Eleven months later, during chassis dyno testing after Rebuild2 on 26OCT2018, the Blue Bullet made 537.64 at the tire at 6750-RPM, SAE-corrected. That second rebuild was strange to me in that it produced the highest power and torque numbers on the engine dyno, but in the car, it produced the lowest power and torque at the rear wheels. Go figure.

767.67.jpg

Another 13 months went by and, on the DynoJet after Rebuild3 on 20NOV2019, the car made 540 at the rear wheels at 6750-RPM, SAE-corrected.

767.68.jpg

And then, a week ago, I ran the car on the Mustang chassis dyno at Full Throttle Kustomz in Fillmore CA. The car performed well with a best of 546.8-hp@6545-RPM and an average of 534.65-hp@6659-RPM at the rear wheels. Figuring about 10% for parasitic loss, that's a best of 608-hp at the flywheel and an average of 594-hp at the flywheel. All of FTK's chassis dyno numbers are SAE-corrected. Peak torque at the rear wheels bested at 510.5 lb/ft@5276-RPM and averaged 492-lb/ft@5264-RPM. The torque curve is above 400-lb/ft at the tire from 3700-RPM to 6800-RPM, which makes the car a ball to drive, that's for sure.

767.70.jpg

So...Katech's DynoJet and FTK's Mustang numbers were fairly close and, from that data it's obvious that Katech can build strong running LS7s. Six hundred horsepower is pretty impressive, especially with stock exhaust manifolds and cats. Sadly, it took Katech three rebuilds to produce one of its "Street Attack LS7s" that didn't burn oil voraciously.

There were two reasons for running the car on the Mustang dyno at FTK.
1) To verify Katech's chassis dyno data.
2) To get a baseline on FTK's Mustang dyno with which to compare with a future dyno session after two additional modifications I'm gong to do to the car.

767.71.jpg
FTK's Ray McLellan, accomplished car builder and tuner with the Blue Bullet on his Mustang chassis dyno.

The first of those modifications is a reinstallation of my Zip Products "Mamba" Air Intake System which should provide a modest decrease in intake restriction. The second change is a pair of modified C6 Z06 mufflers. At one time, there was a Corvette Forum DIYer who modified stock C6 mufflers. In short, he would cut open a Z06/ZR1 muffler, replace the factory 2.5" perforated snake bend with 3" piping, then weld the muffler closed. After that, he eliminated any restriction at the muffler inlet, replaced the stock 60-mm bypass valves with larger, 76-mm valves and installed four-inch outlets. What I like about these mufflers is they look stock and they retain the OE exhaust bypass system.

767.72.jpg
A stock C6 Z06 muffler undergoing modification.

767.73.jpg
Stock 60-mm by-pass valve vs. aftermarket 76-mm valve.

I have a set of these modified mufflers I bought on-line which I'm going to try. Rather than repainting them, I took them to Xtreme Performance Heat Coatings in Oxnard CA and had them coated with a thermal barrier. Once I get the mufflers installed, I'll go back to FTK and run on their dyno again, but it may be a while before that happens because I'll have to wait until California's COZID-19 "stay-at-home" order is lifted.
 
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Hib Halverson

Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
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71 04 12 19
The thread on the CF about my car has been put back on-line, however, it has been heavily revised. A lot of the posts by interested parties have been deleted.

I am working on a reply to
Katech's final comments at the end of that thread which were posted just before the thread was locked but before I had an opportunity to reply.
 

Dirty Howie

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Mine was one of the posts that was deleted.........America???

Anyways I just checked and the thread is still close as far as I can determine.

DH
 

Hib Halverson

Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
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Messages
13,453
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CenCoast CA
Corvette
71 04 12 19
Mine was one of the posts that was deleted.........America???

Anyways I just checked and the thread is still close as far as I can determine.

DH

My understanding is that thread on the CF is closed for good.
 

Pacha

Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2019
Messages
13
Location
ABQ
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2007 Ron Fellows Z06 #219
Hay Hib, Did CF give any reasons why the thread was closed after all the edits by them and the move to a different forum?
 

Dirty Howie

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Messages
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So Cal
My understanding is that thread on the CF is closed for good.

Katech had an opportunity to end that thread on a high note and reap untold praise and adulation from the Corvette community. Instead they attempted and failed miserably to blame Hib for their incompetence and cry about how much money they lost on the deal. I am still shocked by the poor business decisions made regarding public relations and reputation preservation that came out of the management of that company.

(Hope I don't get this thread closed too Hib!!)

DH
 

Hib Halverson

Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
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13,453
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CenCoast CA
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71 04 12 19
My adventure with the Katech "Street Attack LS7" in my Carlisle Blue 2012 Z06 began in late spring of 2017. The "Blue Bullet" had a little over 40,000 miles on it and I wanted a 600-hp engine. I had long been familiar with Katech though my work as an automotive writer covering Corvette and greatly respected the company as one of the top Chevrolet high-performance and racing engine development firms, so on 8AUG2017 I mailed Katech a $12,000 deposit on a complete car project which would include an engine rebuild ("Rebuild1") along with installation of a number of Katech carbon-fiber body modifications. This would eventually cost me $25,268.25.

I flew to Michigan in early December of '17, picked up the car and drove it back to California. Even before I made it home to Goleta CA, I was concerned about how much oil the engine was using but, at the time, decided the oil use being more than expected was a related to engine break-in. I was more concerned about the engine's poor idle quality and low-speed drivability. Initially, Katech was willing to help me with that problem by sending me revised calibrations to flash into the ECM but within a couple of weeks, Katech told me they would no longer help me with calibration issues. It was at that point, I started calibrating myself.

By mid January, five weeks later, it was obvious the engine had some kind of problem with oil consumption. Not only was the engine's oil use increasing but when I drove the engine hard is spewed oil smoke like crazy. On 14JAN I shot video of the problem. I don't own a Go Pro but I did have a big suction cup and a Nikon Coolpix which also could shoot video. I mounted it on the rear deck and recorded several acceleration runs in second and third gears. I sent Jason Harding, then Katech's Director of Aftermarket Operations the footage and, also, put it up on Youtube. If you want to view it, click here

Rebuild1 lasted about seven months. By late spring of 2018, the engine was consuming a voracious amount of engine oil. On 12MAY2018 shipped the car back to Katech for "Rebuild2" after it had been driven 4989 miles and used 13 quarts of oil. In that near-5000 mile run, oil consumption deteriorated from about 2000 miles per quart to between 100 and 200-mi/qt. The car has only been driven on the street and never been tracked.

Katech spent a couple months testing, disassembling and examining the engine. In early July they sent me a report the executive summary of which claimed that the engine's crazy appetite for oil was caused by a loss of oil control due to excessive wear of the piston rings and excessive wear–to a near mirror finish–of the cylinder bores. The report placed all the blame for the failure on me because of calibration changes I made–which voided Katech's warranty–and my choice of air filter elements used in the Zip Products "Mamba" air intake system which had been on the car at the time the engine was first rebuilt.

Based on my not having violated the warranty until after the engine's high oil consumption became obvious, I pleaded with Katech to split the cost of a second rebuild but they refused, so I wrote Katech another check, this time for $19,375.10 to rebuild the engine a second time.

On 30OCT2018, again, I flew to Michigan, picked up the car at Katech then drove it back to California only to have the same oil consumption problem, again and in almost the same way. Only this time, the engine didn't even last five months before its oil consumption became horrendous, dropping below 200 miles per quart. Well...this got Katech's attention. Once again, on 30APR2019 the car was shipped back to Clinton Township Michigan for another visit to Katech for "Rebuild3". This time Katech paid for the shipping to their shop as well as the cost of the rebuild.

For Rebuild3, the Blue Bullet was in Katech's "car shop" for an extended period...nine months. One reason for the extended stay was Katech embarked upon a comprehensive investigation into why the Street Attack LS7 in my car failed twice in almost the same manner. The outcome of that investigation is discussed in post #382 above. As Rebuild3 neared completion, Katech contacted me and asked if they could keep the car for another month or so which would allow them to drive it about 2000 street miles as a way to validate their solution to the oil use problem. I agreed.

After considering:
1) Two engine failures with the same characteristics.
2) After the first rebuild, the engine had an obvious oil use problem before I made calibration changes other than the cal files supplied by Katech.
3) what calibration changes I had made after the first rebuild were unlikely to have caused that failure
4) In its investigation after the second failure, Katech determined the loss of oil control due to top ring wear and bore wear caused by the Mahle HV385-coated rings.

I decided to put some gentle pressure on Katech to refund the money I paid for Rebuild2. I began by mailing Katech President, Steve Spurr, a letter on 3JAN2020 and following that with a second letter via email. If you want to read them, they're attached.

View attachment Katech010320.pdf

View attachment Katech011520.pdf

About the same time I, also, decided that, in lieu of Katech paying to ship the car back to California, I'd go to Michigan once more and drive the car back to California. With their 2000-mile test that would make for about 5000 miles of street high-performance driving typical of how a Corvetter would drive a street/track engine such as the Katech "Street Attack LS7". I asked that, Katech cover my expenses related to the trip back to CA and it agreed.

On 1 February, I caught a Southwest flight to Detroit Metro, spent a couple days doing some business for Corvette Magazine then picked up the car at Katech on the fourth. When I visited Katech, I also met with Katech President, Steve Spurr. We discussed where our relationship would go now that the oil use problem was solved. After that, Spurr revealed that he, Katech's owners and the company's legal counsel were considering suing Mahle. Finally, we discussed my refund request but Steve said, at that time, Katech's owners had not made a decision on that. Bright and early on 5FEB, I headed for Cincinnati where I'd do a shop tour of Weapon-X Motorsports following morning. After that, it was six-day trip back home.

After a 5100 mile road test, the good news was that with Diamond Racing pistons and Total Seal rings in the engine, oil consumption, about a quart of oil every 5000 miles, was
far better than that after the first two rebuilds which used the Mahle rings. The bad news? It was at this point when my relationship with Katech became a little more strained. I sent them this email on the 22nd of Feb.


Steve-

Leading up to our conference call next week and recalling our meeting at Katech back on the 4th....


I've decided I'm no longer interested in one of the three options we discussed–full warranty on rebuild3 with a new, stock LS7 replacement if there is further trouble.

Here's my three-point proposal....

1) Katech can void the warranty on rebuild3.
2) I'd like a full refund on rebuild2, as discussed in my letter of 3JAN2020
3) I'm ready to take an active role in any lawsuit Katech decides to file against Mahle, however, I cannot take part in funding that litigation and, if Katech is successful in obtaining a civil judgement against Mahle, any expenses I incur in being part of litigation must be reimbursed.

My car is running great. Last week, I put PS Cup 2 tires back on it and, even with those sticky tires, it will easily spin the tires in first and second gears. Oil consumption is way better. A little cal work and I have the surging high idle problem solved.

I'm looking forward to our conference this coming Wednesday.

Regards,

Hib Halverson
General Manager
Shark Communications

Four days later, I had Katech's reply.

Hib,

Per our conversation we'd like to get some agreement on the points we spoke about:

1) Agree with you on the below point about voiding the warranty on Build 3.
2) We would like to offer you a $10,000 refund (approx. half of your requested amount).

  • In exchange for this we would like you to publish a supportive article of Katech (on the corvette forum) detailing how we went over and above to solve this problem, detailing the problem's root cause, not in the craftsmanship of Katech (not an admission of responsibility). You are 100% correct, that in the end your tuning had very little if anything to do with the ring failure. However it sent us down a path of problem solving unrelated to the true root cause; which costs time and money.
  • We would also like you to sign a non-disparagement agreement against Katech, it's owners & officers. You can absolutely review this and I can get some standard language over to you so you can review/approve.
3) We feel going after Mahle will be a fruitless effort. Your support would mean a great deal, so thank you for your support. In the end the only winners will be the lawyers.

If we agree on the above 3 points I can get a formal document over to you.

Looking forward to your consideration and response.

Thank you Hib,
Steven Spurr
Katech - President
Office (586) 791-4120 x203
Cell (734) 732-6613
24324 Sorrentino Court, Clinton Twp. MI 48035 USA

More to come...
 
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Hib Halverson

Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
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71 04 12 19
Picking up where post #390 left off...

Well...no way was I going to accept Katech's offer, shown at the end of the post above.

I was unwilling to create any content about Katech prior to and as a condition of a refund. Also, I was unwilling to sign an ND agreement. Finally, needless to say, the offer of ten grand didn't sit well with me as Rebuild2 cost me almost twice that.

I replied to Katech making those points.

I didn't hear anything for a while but then, on 11MAR I received a UPS Blue from Katech. In it was a cover letter and two checks, one for the my trip expenses and a second for $10000.00. Key points Katech made in the letter were:

1) A reminder that the warranty on Rebuild3 was voided.
(Remember: I was the one to put that idea forth in the first place.)
2) The $10,000.00 came with no conditions.
3) Katech's hope that the 10-grand would be a "...happy ending..." and "...closure to our saga."

The full letter is available to read by clicking below.

View attachment FromKatech031120.pdf

​I cashed the expense check and reimbursed my business for the money I spent on the trip. I did not cash the other check thinking that I could continue to negotiate with Katech in hopes of getting a full rather than a partial refund on Rebuild2.

Then, two days later, Katech posted to the then-still-open thread on the Corvette Forum. Click here to read it. I considered that for several days then decided further talks with Katech were a waste of time given the tone of Katech's post to the CF on 13MAR. I ended the letter by telling Katech...

Those incidents made it clear to me that further discussion of the refund would be a fool's errand. I shall deposit that $10,000.00 check later today.

I disagree that check is, as you said, "...another example of how we are going above and beyond to be more than reasonable." Katech and myself have vastly different definitions of "reasonable".

I would not characterize your effort as resulting in a, "...happy ending...". While, from my perspective, it's anything but that, I'll acknowledge that it does represent a closure which should please Katech's new owners along with their accountants and legal counsel.​

For the full text of my letter to Katech of 17MAR, click on the link below.

View attachment Katech031620.pdf

I also posted an answer to Katech's 13MAR Corvette Forum posting. Click here to read it. That prompted Katech to post to the CF thread again.

Ok. Now, we get to the really juicy stuff...



All,

We are getting hit pretty hard in this thread

Hib – You told me there was closure in this matter… and our differences were resolved in a note on March 17 as you were cashing our $10,000 check. Obviously, from your most recent post, that statement was a clear misrepresentation to induce us to paying you money that you were not entitled to.

Key FACTS are being left out.

One small item before we go any further:
<label style="box-sizing: border-box; display: inline-block; font-size: 0.875rem; line-height: 1.5; margin-bottom: 0.125rem;">
</label>Originally Posted by Hib Halverson
I changed no parts except the spark plugs and the engine oil filer. Saying that I was "...changing parts as he desired." is a distortion of fact and I have pictures to back up that statement

Hib claims that he changed no parts except spark plugs and the engine oil filter, this is not the case. The intake filter media is just one of the additional items that were changed and documented. Upon diagnosis, we found sand and other foreign debris were inside the intake manifold.

On to the tune:
The 1st Engine that Hib tuned excessively and without regard melted the catalyst and damaged the engine. The engine returned to Katech making 152whp less than what it left with (390whp). After Katech flashed the same calibration that it left with, it was within 54whp (490whp). The car had initially left with 544whp. The report below shows calibration and dyno summaries.

We also didn’t charge Hib anywhere near full rate on the rebuild. We also donated many parts to the cause. All details that have been left out up until now.

The 2nd engine that Hib refrained from tuning high load areas had no damage to the engine or the cats. Despite having the same level of oil consumption as engine 1, it made the same power when it left as when it returned. This engine was fully warrantied and Katech covered all costs related to fixing the oil consumption.

We were never able to diagnose ring / bore wall material incompatibility due to the calibration and part components changed. We never had a chance to properly root cause the high oil consumption condition; due to Hib’s admitted failure to follow our warranty policy.

One of our engineers said it best, “Ring / bore wall interaction may have caused the engine oil consumption but not 1 engine on the planet would have lived through Hib’s tune.”

Dyno Comparison:
The calibration that Hib left on the car came back with less power than a stock LS7.
  • Green Line: 1st Engine as it left Katech
  • Blue Line: 1st Engine as it returned to Katech with Hib's Calibration
  • Red Line: 1st Engine as it returned to Katech with reflashed Katech Calibration from Green Line.
https://i.ibb.co/G7QZ7JF/dynograph.png

MAF Sensor Calibration Curve Differences:
The graph with the hole in the MAF curve is after Hib was done with his tuning. The graph that has no hole present is our calibration. Hib admitted that this is sloppy cal work.
<label style="box-sizing: border-box; display: inline-block; font-size: 0.875rem; line-height: 1.5; margin-bottom: 0.125rem;">
</label>Originally Posted by Hib Halverson
Ok, I admit, that's sloppy cal work but, at that point, it was a "work-in-progress".


https://i.ibb.co/D11kGsq/Calibration-Concern1.png

https://i.ibb.co/dgqHNh4/fixedmaf.png

High Octane Spark Difference.

Here is a comparison of the Katech Calibration to the Hib calibration. Hib pulled as high as 12deg of timing at high loads. This has SEVERE risks of high EGT’s and damaged components. The significant changes were above 3600 RPM, not at idle as he claims. Idle changes did not show any inherent reason to cause engine damage. We can all agree on that.

https://i.ibb.co/Yt72DbH/highoctanetables.png

Low Octane Spark Difference:
Here is a comparison of the Katech Calibration to the Hib calibration. He pulled timing out above 3600rpm at low loads. Again, this has SEVERE risks to damaging engine components. Idle changes did not show any inherent reason to cause engine damage.

https://i.ibb.co/BqDTFK3/lowoctanesparktables.png

Calibration Changes:
Ghuggins of HPTuners forum claims Hib is not logging anywhere near enough pids to make the changes he is making. NTIMID8 of HPTuners forum responded that the ECU was responding exactly as he was commanding it to do and that the car was running lean rather than rich, which lines up with our conclusion from our engine diagnosis. Hib was “pretty sure it’s not lean”.

https://i.ibb.co/z8JhQTq/Hib-Tuning3.png
https://i.ibb.co/HgvTNpy/Hib-Tuning5.png


Hib also admitted on the HP Tuner’s message board, “But then, dumb-assed mistakes are how I learn, sometimes.”

For those of you would like to review the tune or Hib's comment above see the HP Tuners thread from 2/24/18:
https://forum.hptuners.com/showthrea...sesed&p=516190.

Our Warranty is not a test bed for folks to try their tuning skills.

There was a lot of wasted time that we paid dearly for, between four and eight times what it costed Hib. Now he’s not stopping, voided our warranty, took our money, and runs our reputation through the mud.

Fast forward to today. He now has an engine that Katech put 2000 miles on it. We were satisfied and handed him the keys. He put another 3000+ miles on it himself and was excited about the torque, power, and lack of oil consumption. So, what does he do?

Goes and tunes it…

How did we find out? The Corvette Forum.

He takes our generosity and slams us for it. He changes things without our prior knowledge and expects us to figure out what he did, what kind of impact it had, and how we should fix it all on our dime.

We’ve got other things to do and good honest customers to serve.

To anyone that is concerned about our quality and question our ability to honor our warranty: Our quality is better than ever and we continue to stand by our work. Your warranty will remain intact, it will be honored, as long as you do not void it.

Steve Spurr – Katech President.
Last edited by Katech_Zach; 03-20-2020 at 04:44 PM.


I'll let those following this Blog read and digest the above. If you want to read it as it was posted on the Corvette Forum,
click here.

That was the final post to the CF. After it was made, the moderator of the C5 ZR1/Z06 forum closed the thread and took it off-line for several days so he would review all 600+ posts, delete those he felt were
irrelevant. It was reposted in the Corvette Forum's "Transaction Dispute" forum.

I was not offered an opportunity to comment on Katech's final post some of which reads as if it was an attempt to discredit me.

In the next day or so I'll post my reaction, right here on the Blue Bullet Blog
 
Last edited:

stroker87

New member
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Messages
2
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chicago area
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2003 ZO6
Hiib, hi

i been following this on CF, i think for those of us on the end user side of things feel that if anyone was discredited it was Katech. i feel they used you changing an air filter and spark plugs as and out, as for the tuning "if" the car was running right there would be no reason to re-tune it now would there? it was made clear Mahle product was the main issue, im self employed and over the years some of the supply houses i use have have pointed me in the wrong direction just like Mahle did to Katech it cost me money to make it right with my clients

let talk air filters if your air filter let dirt and debris into the engine it for sure would have scared some or even every cylinder 100% but would not have polished them to a mirror finish any one who been inside an engine would know that, now the plugs if you would of burned a piston id say Hib you F'up but you changed plugs to try and get the car to run right if it was running right you dont swap plugs that fast on a new engine all your efforts with tuning and plugs was to get that crappy engine they charged you for to run right

the first two engines left there shop with an oil addiction that was not your fault, not running correct thats why they sent you some tunes then gave up on doing that left you swinging in the wind so when you tried locally to get the tune right they used that on you

IMO them mentioning the air filter was the cause or even part of it was even after knowing it was the rings for me it just put more water in there sinking boat!
 

Huskerman

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 8, 2012
Messages
916
Location
Heartlands of Nebraska
Corvette
2010 Grand Sport Coupe Z16 Blade Silver
this whole episode has been a circus from the beginning...... I'm just glad you got a car that is finally doing what it is supposed to. Katech screwed the pooch on this deal. That 10K they held back is going to cost them a whole lot of money down the line...... enjoy the car Hib....
 

Hib Halverson

Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
Joined
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Messages
13,453
Location
CenCoast CA
Corvette
71 04 12 19
Time to drill down into Katech's most recent statements regarding the "Street Attack LS7" in my '12 Z06.

Hib – You told me there was closure in this matter… and our differences were resolved in a note on March 17 as you were cashing our $10,000 check. Obviously, from your most recent post, that statement was a clear misrepresentation to induce us to paying you money that you were not entitled to.
It is surprising that the President of a multi-million-dollar corporation that depends, in part, on the Corvette community for its business decided to troll one of their customers on the Corvette Forum. One can speculate that Steve Spurr did not understand my letter to him of 17March. To review, the last few paragraphs of that letter stated:

I shall deposit that $10,000.00 check later today.
I disagree that check is, as you said, "...another example of how we are going above and beyond to be more than reasonable." Katech and myself have vastly different definitions of "reasonable".
I would not characterize your effort as resulting in a, "...happy ending...". While, from my perspective, it's anything but that, I'll acknowledge that it does represent a closure which should please Katech's new owners along with their accountants and legal counsel.

It should have been clear to Steve Spurr that I felt Katech's position was unreasonable. A conclusion that, from my perspective there was no closure and any differences were not resolved, should have been easy for him to reach. One can only wonder why, if Katech felt I "induced" it into paying me money to which I was not entitled, the company didn't stop payment on the check.

Moving right along...

One small item before we go any further:
Originally Posted by Hib Halverson
I changed no parts except the spark plugs and the engine oil filer. Saying that I was "...changing parts as he desired." is a distortion of fact and I have pictures to back up that statement
Hib claims that he changed no parts except spark plugs and the engine oil filter, this is not the case. The intake filter media is just one of the additional items that were changed and documented. Upon diagnosis, we found sand and other foreign debris were inside the intake manifold.

767.74.jpg 767.75.jpg
These are images I shot of the engine in my car as it was on 7DEC2017 the day the car left Katech after the first rebuild.

As you can see, installed on the car is a Zip Products "Mamba" air intake system. Inside that "Mamba" is an oiled cotton air filter element–the same type of filter Katech sells on-line. That filter element was in the Mamba when it left Katech. It was never changed in the five months the engine lasted. No other parts were changed, other than a set of spark plugs and an oil filter and I defy Katech to prove otherwise.

767.76.png

This is an image of the engine Katech shot after the car was arrived there on or about 20MAY2018 for Rebuild2. This image clearly show the Mamba was still in place neither it, nor its filter were changed.

While we are discussing the filter inside the Mamba, it is true that Katech documented sand inside the intake manifold, however, it must not have been there long or in any great quantity because, there is no evidence of any of the cylinder bores having the deep scratches which would have been present if a lot of sand had been ingested by the engine.

767.80.png
This is an image Katech produced of one of the bores in the cylinder case taken after the first rebuild failed. It's important to note the lack of any deep scratches typical of damages caused for foreign object ingestion. It's also important to note that all those "very shallow striations" are obvious evidence of a fine abrasive–Mahle's failed ring coating–having scored the bores with small, shallow striations.

767.81.png
This is an image Katech produced of the skirt of one of the pistons removed after Rebuild1 failed. Katech characterized the level of skirt wear as "normal". Had the engine ingested a lot of sand, the pistons skirts would have exhibited a lot of deep scratches.

767.82.png
This is an image Katech produced of one of the piston crowns from the failed Rebuild1. Katech noted "polishing/possible wear" which was likely caused by the fine abrasive which was Mahle's failed ring coating.

We were never able to diagnose ring / bore wall material incompatibility due to the calibration and part components changed. We never had a chance to properly root cause the high oil consumption condition; due to Hib’s admitted failure to follow our warranty policy.

Katech never attempted to diagnose a ring problem even though there was plenty of evidence it existed. Katech was focused solely placing blame on the customer and claiming my calibration caused the engine to fail. All you have to do is watch this video footage which was shot on 14JAN2018, five weeks after the engine was rebuilt at Katech and before I made any cal changes to WOT fuel and spark. Prior to that footage being shot on the only calibration changes made were the three calibrations Katech emailed to me.

YouTube

Katech had a copy of that video a day after it was shot but choose to ignore the glaring evidence that the engine was sucking oil big-time way before any fuel and spark changes were made.

One of our engineers said it best, “Ring / bore wall interaction may have caused the engine oil consumption but not 1 engine on the planet would have lived through Hib’s tune.”

Facts prove otherwise. I admit that my calibration was not optimal but it had little affect on the engine's ability to "live though Hib's tune." Imagery Katech recorded of various engine parts after the engine was disassembled prior after Rebuild1 failed don't support that's engineer's opinion.

767.77.png
This is an image of the piston tops. They show no evidence of excessive combustion temperature which Katech claims damaged the engine and caused high oil consumption.

767.78.png
Here's a combustion chamber–more evidence that combustion temperature high enough to damage the engine never existed.

767.83.png
Here's an image of one set of valves which came out of the failed Rebuild1, both of which were characterized by Katech as "Ok used condition." The exhaust valve (left) shows no evidence of high combustion temperature. The intake valve (right) shows obvious evidence of high oil consumption.

That's enough deep drilling for now. I'll address the rest of Katech's final post to the now-closed Corvette Forum thread in my next Blog post.

Let me know what you think.
 
Last edited:

Huskerman

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Joined
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Messages
916
Location
Heartlands of Nebraska
Corvette
2010 Grand Sport Coupe Z16 Blade Silver
At this point I think Katech has signed off on it as being a done deal for them. The closing of the thread on CF was for the good of them as they hope folks will move on. As I have said before all we can do is vote with our feet and not darken their door for our speed needs...... put the hammer down boys....:beer
 

catbert

Moderator
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Messages
3,487
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Do you suppose there was an issue, other than costs, that led GM to bring Corvette Racing’s engine building in-house? Just curious.
 

Hib Halverson

Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
Joined
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Messages
13,453
Location
CenCoast CA
Corvette
71 04 12 19
Catbert!

Long time since we've exchanged greetings!


Do you suppose there was an issue, other than costs, that led GM to bring Corvette Racing’s engine building in-house? Just curious.

Great question, but no, I don't, for several reasons...

1) The current management at Katech was not in place when GM took the Corvette Racing Engine program in-house.
2) Katech had different owners when it was the engine supplier and when GM took the engine program in-house.
3) GM Racing made that decision because it felt bringing the Corvette Racing engine program in-house would a) allow it to exercise more control, b) it would allow GM to challenge it's own engineers with a racing engine program and c) it would enhance the transfer of racing technology to production and production technology to racing.
4) I have never heard any of my sources at GM say that the Katech which ran the engine program for Corvette Racing before it went in-house did not perform to GM's expectations.

All of my difficulties with Katech stem from almost entirely from new products offered, policies put in place or decisions made
after Katech's original owners, Fritz Kayl and Warren Frieze sold the company.

I should add that not only did GM Racing bring the Corvette Racing engine program in-house but it brought several other major engine programs in-house as well as bringing a good portion of the NASCAR engine program in-house. All of this takes place at two locations, GM's Performance and Racing Center in Pontiac MI and GM Racing's new facility in Charlotte NC.
 
Last edited:

catbert

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Tobacco Road, NC
Thanks Hib. Hope you are doing well. Enjoy your new “Big Z” too.
 

Dirty Howie

New member
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Mar 29, 2020
Messages
3
Location
So Cal
Shame on you Hib for taking advantage of Katech. I don't know how you can sleep at night. I'm sure they miss driving your car for thousands of miles while it depreciates. Now that they have some spare time on their hands they should be looking at consulting with a public relations expert ........ THEY NEED ONE. ;LOL

DH
 

Hib Halverson

Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
Joined
Jan 10, 2001
Messages
13,453
Location
CenCoast CA
Corvette
71 04 12 19
It's fully you say that, "Dirty Howie", because, at one time, Katech had an outside PR firm working for them. The firm is owned by a business friend of mine. A few years ago, Katech decided to take marketing/PR in-house. I think they should have kept the outside help.
 

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