V6Buicks
V6Buicks Reader
4/18/22 8:00 a.m.

A real update:

I went to the local driveshaft/machine shop.  I'll be remembering that place.  For $300 and only a three hour wait I got a custom drive shaft.  That's service!  In addition to the extra length, I opted for a 3" diameter and 1350 ears.  Now I just have a standard 1350 u-joint on the transmission side and a 3r adapter joint on the rear end side.

I also received this beauty on Friday.  Why bother with the new u-joints if I was just going to put them in a bind?

Before I installed these pretty parts I did a quick check on the tired ones.... I'm gonna ignore this.

https://youtube.com/shorts/NKquUAkQLTE?feature=share

It's almost starting to look cool when I get under the car and see all this neat adjustable/tubular stuff.

The torque arm is set to 0 degrees (level with the ground) from UMI and required a lot of change.  I don't have an angle finder, but I do have a couple apps on my phone.  The Tremec Tool Box is pretty cool, but I found the plain old bubble level app and UMI instruction sheet to be the most help.  I may want a better angle finder in the future though.  The phone apps did not exactly agree with each other and its kind of tough to hold a cell phone flat on its side anyway.  I pointed the pinion down just a hair over 2 degrees from my crank centerline according to my bubble level app.  The Tremec app says its less, but that app was also not as repeatable nor am I able to make sense of the results page.  My bubble level said my balancer wat pointed -3.6 degrees so I set my pinion to -1.5 degrees.  I don't understand the Tremec numbers, but it at least agrees that I'm good to go!

Oh my!  What an improvement!  These two parts made a huge difference in the car's mannerisms.  The driveshaft made the high speed vibration go away, and it seems to have improved shifting as well.  I guess that makes sense so there's no more slop or binding.  I had no idea how much the flimsy torque arm was holding me back either.  The car accelerates so much smoother and it grips much harder.  It almost makes the car FEEL slower because every WOT was so violent and unpredictable with the flimsy torque arm.  This is not a complaint though.  330hp should not feel like that.  I'd say that suspension is finally ready for for more power!  The rear-end disagrees, but I'll cross that bridge when it comes.  It's time to enjoy this thing.

V6Buicks
V6Buicks Reader
4/29/22 8:02 a.m.

I used to say that I wasn't going to spend a single penny on this rear end.  Any money spent on girdles, LSDs, or even fluid would be better used toward a 9".  These 7.6" 10-bolts are weak!

However, I bought a jug of 75W-90 for our Volvo 240 over a year ago.  That car sold, and I never did the fluid change so I'm left with a full jug.  Sure, why not?

No regrets.  This thing was practically empty, and what was left was incredibly thin!  The gears and magnet seemed to indicate good health though, so I'm hoping the fluid is taken as a small peace offering. lol

No stamped steel dif cover gets reinstalled without being cleaned up and repainted first.

Ahhh.  Much better.

Opti
Opti Dork
4/29/22 10:06 a.m.

I know you said you didnt want to spend any money on the 10 bolt, but many people have have pretty good success with a brace. I think the company was called ultimate ten bolt or something like that, last I looked summit made a cheaper version, and it essentially just a diff cover, held on with studs instead of bolts that has two ears that connect to braces that run to the middle of the axle tubes to stop axle tube flex, (which is what kills most of these)

Ive seen M6 cars with 4.10s and a radial survive for a long time with them.

V6Buicks
V6Buicks Reader
4/29/22 11:14 a.m.

In reply to Opti :

Yeah, I've seen that TA makes a nice girdle for a few different suppliers.  It certainly helps.  It also has adjustable bumpers that basically give the bearing caps a little extra push so that they don't deflect under heavy loads.  The problem is that it kinda snowballs like a T5 though.  I wouldn't do a girdle without at least getting an LSD.  A spool would be much cheaper, but I like to drive this car. lol  By the time I bought the girdle and LSD, I have a rear end that only holds the amount of power I already make, a not-so-great 3.23:1 ratio, and half the amount of money for a 9" gone from my bank account.

Would a girdled 10-bolt be plenty for a long time in my car?  Not sure.  I want to almost double the horsepower of this thing withing the next year, but we all know how plans go.  I have a couple F-body buddies with an S60 and 9".  They both beefed up their 10-bolts first and wish they saved their money.  I have a lot more important issues that I'm facing anyway.  I'll talk more about that later.

GCrites80s
GCrites80s Dork
4/29/22 1:05 p.m.

Riddle me this... isn't a rear end going to hold up better behind a turbo V6 than a V8? And you can't brake torque the launch to leave the line with max traction like you can with an automatic. On the other hand shifting a manual is harder on the rear end than an auto.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
4/29/22 1:10 p.m.

In reply to GCrites80s :

If it has a manual trans, probably the only way to launch it is to be very abusive. 

V6Buicks
V6Buicks Reader
4/29/22 2:05 p.m.

In reply to GCrites80s :

As Pete said, I'm abusive.  I have to just give it RPM and dump the clutch.   You're right about brake boosting though.  I do not have a way to build boost from a stop.  However, I do have a WOT box waiting to be installed which will change that.  In the mean time, I love doing line lock burnouts. lol  I do think you're right about having a small advantage though.  My lack of launch abilities and instantaneous torque should help preserve my driveline.

Opti
Opti Dork
4/29/22 10:47 p.m.

In reply to V6Buicks :

It's not necessarily the girdle that really helps, it's the axle braces. When you hook and accelerate hard the axle tubes flex and actually accelerate faster than the car and E36 M3 breaks. Yes you can still break stuff but a turbo 6 is probably a lot easier on stuff than rowdy v8 setups.

I've seen a couple of these things go real fast behind nasty V8 setups leaving hard on a good tire, and 4.10s (which is weaker than a taller gear).

Is an s60/9"/12 bolt better? Absolutey. Could you buy a 10bolt diff cover and braces now, greatly strengthening what you have and sell and recoup most of your money when you upgrade later? Also yes.

 

Like this

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
4/30/22 12:12 a.m.

In reply to Opti :

It doesn't take much work to get a turbo six past the point where the F body rear gives up no matter how you brace it, though.

Or maybe I am jaded from all of the 500-800whp turbo Buicks that I've played with?  smiley  I had a customer's 4th gen Camaro explode a rearend at only 450whp on the dyno, not racing.  Supercharged LT1.  The 4L60 lasted longer than the rearend...

Opti
Opti Dork
4/30/22 6:28 a.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

I get it. I killed 3 over the 7 or 8 years I owned mine. Some people are making them work though.

Forgot to mention a good budget rear for these is the 8.8. There are a couple guys converting them. I think TNT fabrication was the main one last I looked.

autocomman
autocomman Reader
5/4/22 11:37 a.m.

Id 8.8 before a 9.  9 is fine don't get me wrong, but old.  8.8s are everywhere.  Eventually you'll explode a spider gear or the pinion lol 

GCrites80s
GCrites80s Dork
5/4/22 9:11 p.m.

8.8s are lighter as well. But as for cheap it's getting tougher since a lot of those Explorers are getting their rear ends yanked out and sent to builders before they even hit the yard.

V6Buicks
V6Buicks Reader
5/6/22 2:58 p.m.

I too would 8.8" swap mine if money and time were no object.  It's lighter and plenty strong.  However, there is nothing "old" about a 9" in my opinion other than the name and basic design elements.  Almost everything in a brand new aftermarket 9" has been updated or changed entirely in some way since the 8.8" was new.  If there was a place selling 8.8s ready to bolt in to my car for the same price as a 9, I'd be all over it.  I just haven't seen it yet, nor have I had any desire to build, narrow, and rebracket one myself.

So I just drove the car for the first time today in about a week.  Why?  I just couldn't live with a little intermittent issue I was having.  The car always ground reverse, and sometimes didn't want to go into 1st at all.  At the time, I had over a week before driving down to the Buick GS Nationals, so I decided to knock this out, and pray that I could fix it.

I had my machinist friend whip these up for me.

I don't have a lot of pictures of the process, but I made a few small changes along the way.  I was able to shave a couple things with a Dremel, and that was all I needed to install the trans onto the bell housing instead of trying to align both the trans and bell to the block dowels.  This will save a ton of time down the road since pulling the transmission seems to be a very frequent job for some reason. I also welded a plate to the floor to take up some of the space in the tunnel that the TKX doesn't fill.  I trimmed a little more of the tunnel out to ease my mind, but if my old floor boot wasn't already worthless, it certainly is now.  I needed to figure out a floor covering solution fast....

Hey now.  I bought my wife a nicer newer welcome mat BEFORE cutting this one up so it's perfectly fine! 

It's junky, but you'll never see it, and its really just to dampen sound and keep some fumes out.  It works flawlessly!  What also works flawlessly now is my transmission. I've been missing out on crisp shifts this whole time because I fixed more than I even expected.  The shifter is less notchy and easier to move, the pedal is softer, and there's no more grinding!  This big detour was well work the effort.

I also removed that snorkel that I had on there for more of a Grand National appearance.  Functionally it was a horrible intake restriction, and I was missing out on boost response.  The induction noises and compressor surge are a lot louder too. heart  I don't like the filter hanging out right behind the radiator, but I'll get over it.  This is great progress!  I can't wait for C&C tomorrow and my big trip on Tuesday.

autocomman
autocomman Reader
5/6/22 4:21 p.m.

Wait, so was the trans out of alignment?  I missed when you swapped the T5 for. TKX

V6Buicks
V6Buicks Reader
5/6/22 5:51 p.m.

In reply to autocomman :

It was out of alignment and still is.   I just realized that I never explained any of that in my last post. lol  I took measurments when I first put the transmission in, and was unable to correct it for reasons that I'm not going to get into right now.  When I went back in with new custom pins last week, my new measurments didn't match the old ones.  I think there's just too much slop in these old stock cast aluminum bells.  In the end, I think my symptoms ended up being from a poorly bled clutch.  It shifts great now.

GCrites80s
GCrites80s Dork
5/6/22 10:20 p.m.

Now don't hold me to this, but I do know the 8.8s do not get narrowed when put in a 3rd Gen. If, and maybe only if, you run 3rd Gen offset wheels on the 4th Gen you might be able to run the 8.8 without narrowing. It is a bit too wide and looks goofy on the 4th Gen if I remember right without the 3rd Gen wheels.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
5/7/22 8:52 a.m.

In reply to GCrites80s :

Which 8.8? They came in all sorts of different widths and pinion offsets.

 

The 8.8 is fairly light and takes less power to turn.  If you know what gear ratio you want and what diff you want, it makes a ton of sense, even if you plan on cutting the ends off and using 9" ends with one-off axles. (Which for a GM you can buy fairly cheap cut-to-length 31 spline axles with 9" bearings and GM bolt pattern/brake depth)

If you plan on swapping gears a lot until you find the sweet spot, or playing with diffs, the 9" makes a lot more sense because you can get basically any gear ratio under the sun from 2.21 to 7.11 and if there is a diff made, they make it for the 9".  A $450 aluminum case brings the weight down under an 8.8 but you still have the power loss issue.

autocomman
autocomman Reader
5/9/22 10:34 p.m.

Shouldn't be too much gear swapping...probably somewhere between a 3.31 and a 3.73 is the sweet spot for go faster and still keeping normal cruising rpms IMO.  The V6 likes to cruise at lower rpms

Sgt_Sizzle
Sgt_Sizzle New Reader
5/12/22 10:09 a.m.

My girlfriends ex had an 8.8'' but shes much happier with my 9'' cheeky. I'm sorry, with all this rear end talk and I couldnt help myself. I've been following this build from the beginning, love the progress and willingness to go rounds with the transmission. Carry on

Opti
Opti Dork
5/13/22 10:16 a.m.

In reply to V6Buicks :

Hawks third gen sells ready to drop in 8.8s. Depending on options they range from low to high 2000s. Which is about what all the other rear end options (9", S60, and 12 bolt) cost last I looked.

V6Buicks
V6Buicks Reader
5/20/22 9:18 a.m.

In reply to Opti :

I actually just looked into that a couple days ago!  With all the options I'd want like powder coating and a locker, it would be closer to $3k.  However, it sounds like the smaller footprint and lower drag would be worthwhile.  I'm leaning toward the 8.8 now!

The car made it's first road trip with the TKX last week, and I'm still coming down with that high.  It was a great time!  For those who missed it, I was at the Buick GS Nationals in Bowling Green, KY.  Here's part of my inspiration for taking the E85 Buick powered Camaro instead of the 93/Meth GN.  Oof.

It was a hot one, so I made a couple stops.  One was to stop at the bathroom and stretch a bit because I had been stuck in stop/crawl traffic for 8 miles and it was hell on my clutch leg.  The second stop was just to cool off and get some food because no breeze through the car could change the humidity.

Needless to say, I took my time.  I made it though!

And the car made the whole trip in 3/4 of a tank.  I'll take it.

The guy I was sharing the motel room with was still pretty far behind me, so I found a shady spot to chill and drink a cold beer.  Some Buick folks were already socializing in the parking lot when I got there, and I think they were confused to see a guy in a Buick hat park his Camaro next to them.  However, I had a slight change jingle sound coming from under the car I wanted to look at, so I pulled out the jack and jack stands and popped the hood.  That was when a few people saw what I had under the hood.  People started flocking over to take a look, and the car ended up getting a lot more love than I anticipated!

By the way, the noise ended up being my Summit heat wrap disintegrating off the crossover pipe.  This left loose metal ties behind to jingle.  I just took the remaining wrap off and snipped the ties.  I'll have to replace it with DEI wrap and some hose clamps later.  On with the show!

All real Xs

Ope.  Is that Lame V6 in the tech line?

Yep, for some reason I decided to make my first quarter mile passes 3 1/2 hours from home.  No regrets!  The car didn't break, I finally got to take a car down the track at the Nationals (bucket list), and I'm super happy with the MPH.  I just need to figure out how I'm going to get my 60' down. The car is essentially a stock V6 Camaro off the line because I don't have boost until about 3500 in 1st!  I need to fix that.  2 step?  Regardless, that was a blast.  I can't wait to go to some test and tunes this summer because rowing through the gears at WOT was so liberating!  With a little refinement I should have a solid 12 second car.

This beauty ended up scoring a perfect 100 out of 100 in the Concours show class.  Incredible!

I never thought I'd get to see one of these!

Also rare!  1 of 215 IIRC

All real Appolo White GSXs.  Only ~130 or so of these made.

Another 3800 buddy came up from Nashville to hang out on Friday.  His G-body GP has a turbo  L67 on E85 and water meth with a T56.  I think he liked the event enough to come back with some more 3800 people.  yes  I hope that's the case because the high participation rate we had this year made the event so much more fun.

Even gas prices like that can't keep the Buick people from thrashing on big blocks. haha

This twin turbo V6 Riviera was the quickest car all week with an ET of 7.99.  This was the first event for the car with it's new owner, so we know that there's a lot more left in it too!

All good things must come to an end though.  Until next year!

I'd call that a successful mission!  I had no idea how much anxiety I had about this trip unlit I got home.  It felt absolutely amazing to have finally road tripped this car to the Nationals, beat the snot out of it, and drove it home in one piece.  It honestly felt like all the work I had done since buying the car had led to this moment.  There are no feelings except pride toward the car despite its shortcomings.

...which only pushes me to work even harder!  Now that I have some actual times and data, I can work smarter too.  The first order of business was addressing a couple comfort issues.  That drive to and from KY was fun, but it could be better.  I ordered a new console lid before the trip but it didn't get to my house in time.  It's hard and sort of the wrong color, but it has an aluminum base and latch as opposed to plastic, so it will never break!  It's the perfect upgrade for my car.

That puts my right arm in a better position, but the back of my right foot also hurts.  After driving for a couple hours without cruise control, I feel like I need to take my shoe off before the back starts rubber through my skin!  Or I can just add cruise control.

I went to my manual and was greeted with this nice surprise.  As long is it doesn't need any programming, everything for the cruise control except for the stalk should already exist!

Sure enough, there's C215 just waiting for a mate!

Old stalk pulls straight out, and C215 is exposed by just pulling off the little cover on the back of the column.

No drama.

And what do you know?  That's all it needed!  This thing cruises like a dream now!

I'm not sure what's next, but I'm thinking about selling my WOT box.  I'd like to see if I can wire in a true 2 step instead.  I could set the WOT box up just for launching, but it would be nice to have a launch setting AND no lift shifting.  We'll see.  I have some research to do.  I might not even be able to get a 2 step to work with my ignition system like I can with the WOT box.

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
5/20/22 11:47 a.m.

AWESOME!  Glad to see this one on the road and being driven hard!  Congrats!

Somebeach (Forum Supporter)
Somebeach (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
6/6/22 12:29 p.m.

In reply to V6Buicks :

Do you have any guess on the mpg that you will get with this? 
 

I saw where you did the road trip on 3/4 of a tank. Just wondering what that meant for mpg's? 

autocomman
autocomman Reader
6/6/22 8:57 p.m.

Id say mid 13s is respectable.  And you drive it 3 hours, beat on it and drove it home.  Thats how you do it, very cool!  And now that you spent some time in it, you know what you wanna do to it instead of further bench racing

kevinatfms
kevinatfms HalfDork
6/8/22 10:41 a.m.

13's might not seem fast but its a respectable time for a true street car with road trip manners. Id say that is a total win/win scenario.

Id bet its an easy 12 second car if the 60' gets under 2.0. 

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