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  1. #331
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    My road trip has gotten as far as D.C., where I am tonight.

    I started the day down in Mechanicsville a suburb of Richmond VA.
    Zip Products is located there and whenever I'm in this part of the country I always stop to see Zip President, David Walker, and his chief techie, Vice President, Justin Abbott.

    David and I had a long and interesting discussion about his company's replacing the computer system which among other things controls inventory. During 2016 Zip put in a new data processing system which helps them better control inventory and better manage the shipping process. The result is better customer service as well is a shipping cost reduction to customers.

    Another issue we discussed was Zip's strategy in decisions it makes as to what it stocks and does not stock. Zip is one of the few Corvette parts sources which does not use an inventory strategy which has cost reduction (i.e: bean counting) as a prime consideration. Walker's main focus is on getting parts to his customers quickly. For example, Zip sells a popular sound system upgrade for C1 through early C3 which puts the latest technology (i.e: Sirius/XM, blue tooth, MP3 etc, modern stereo amplifiers, and etc) in stock appearing radios. So, say you have a 71 Big Block like mine, you can have a radio that looks completely stock but will play your Taylor Swift iTunes play list and pair with your iPhone or other bluetooth-enabled device.

    These stereos are available from several Corvette parts vendors, but virtually all of them have 4-6 week wait to get the item because all they do is order it from the maker who drop ships and the maker has a big back-log. Zip Products, keeps at least one of those part numbers in stock so they can ship the day it's ordered. They do that with a lot of their parts and that's one reason why, when I need the services of a Corvette parts vendor, I buy from Zip.

    The last time I posted about my road trip was earlier this week after Section Captain, Tony Megowan, and I drove though a hell of a storm in eastern Kansas. We stopped in Kansas City MO that night and the next morning, I left Tony Megowan to catch a jet home out of KC, and I drove on to Cape Girardeau MO. The run down there was the final part of the Southwest Caravan Section's PreRun2.

    "Cape G" is great little city on the Mississippi River. It's most recent claim to fame was as the location for a lot of the shooting of the movie "Gone Girl". It was, also, the site of a car show and dinner event we did during the 2014 Caravan. That event was so much fun and was so well-received by our Caravaners, Captain Megowan decided to stop in Cape G, again, in 2019. In fact Cape G overnight and the next day's route from there to Bowling Green will be the only parts of the Southwest Section's 2019 route which we are using, again. After a short visit to the Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitor's Bureau, PreRun2 was over and I continued my road trip, headed for an overnight at Elizabethtown, Kentucky. The next day it was on to Richmond VA where I overnighted prior to my Zip visit.

    I have to say that, of all the states I've driven in so far the best roads have been in Utah and Kentucky. Kansas was also pretty good. Of course, the worst is my Home State of California and in fact, according to an article in this month's Car and Driver, California, by far, as the worst roads in the country. Soon everyone in the State is going to have to drive 4WD SUVs with lots of suspension travel and really soft bushings because California roads are becoming large expanses of potholes linked by a few sections of pavement.

    Yep, Utah and Kentucky have great roads. Smooth, well maintained and in places quite scenic. There were many stretches which were so smooth and straight I often thought: "Man if there wasn't any traffic and no LEOs, I could cruise at 150 until I ran out of fuel.

    I ended the day visiting the "Clare Booth Luce Policy Institute" just west of DC. CBLPI is a 501(c)(3) foundation which exists to educate, mentor and empower college-age, conservative women. Some of the notable women who’ve either been though the CBLPI’s programs or who do their presentations are: Bay Buchanan, Kelly Anne Conway, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, Bridgitte Gabriel and Christina Hoff Summers. My late Mom, my Wife, Sandy, and I have been benefactors of this organization which helps conservative girls get though the liberal “hell" most colleges colleges have become.

    Tomorrow it's off to Doylestown north of Philly to visit friends. Saturday, I visit the USS New Jersey then pick up my Wife at the Philadelphia airport and head for Dover and the Cup race on Sunday. After that we're going to Charlotte for a week of NASCAR fun and that Cup race.

    I just found out that my Wife, the Fairest Sandra the Red, has tickets for the evening event a week from now that Hendrick Motorsports is putting on to debut the Camaro it will run in the Monster Cup Series in 2018. That should be a lot of fun.
    Last edited by Hib Halverson; 10-23-17 at 04:36 PM.

  2. #332
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    The Dover Cup race, a Battleship and a bunch of race shops.

    The "Blue Bullet 2017 Summer tour" has brought the Fairest Sandra the Red and I to Kannapolis, North Carolina just outside Charlotte. We've covered a lot of miles in the last few days.

    I picked Sandy up at the Philadelphia Airport last Saturday evening and we drove down into Delaware for the Dover NASCAR Monster Cup Race on Sunday. Neither of us had been to the "Monster Mile" but we both had always wanted to see a Cup Race at the sport's most famous one-mile track. Sadly, that race was not one of the better ones. There were few lead changes and not a lot of passing on the famed, high-banked, concrete "Monster" except towards the end.

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    About 10 laps from the finish, Chase Elliott, in the #24 NAPA Chevrolet, had dominated the last part of the race by leading 138-laps of the final stage and had a four-plus-second lead, but Kyle Busch, running second in the #18 M&Ms Toyota, wasn't having any of that. KB is one of the best drivers in the sport and Elliott's seemingly big lead was red meat for him. He began stalking Elliott, gaining a little on each lap and, in Turn Four on the next to last lap, Busch's driving talent and Elliott's troubled attempt to pass Jamie McMurray who resisted going a lap down, combined to give the 18 an opening. It was the M&Ms car for the win and Busch's second straight victory in NASCAR's Playoffs.

    From Dover, we drove south to Rehoboth Beach seaside town in south Delaware. We stayed in a great little motel called the
    Crosswinds and, right next door, was "Dogfish Head Brewing and Eats", a brewpub owned by the Dogfish Head Brewery in nearby Milton. Motel right next to a brewery? Could we ask for anything more? Dogfish head is well-known in the craft brewing business and the food was quite good.

    Next, it was farther south to the
    Wright Brothers Memorial in the Kill Devil Hills near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. On 17 DEC 1903, Orville Wright made the first flight of a heavier than air "flying machine". It lasted only 12 seconds and went 120-ft. The Wrights made four flights that day, alternating as pilots. The last was the longest, 853-ft. Orville was the pilot and he took-off and landed in a distance shorter than the flight deck of one of today's modern aircraft carriers. As I walked around the various points of interest in the Memorial and looked at all the reader boards, I was struck by the tremendous impact on the World that airplanes have made. It took my breath away just thinking about it.

    Our next stop was to overnight in Norfolk, Virginia where, the following morning, we visited the
    USS Wisconsin. Getting on the "Wisky" for a self-guided walking tour fulfilled a bucket-list goal of mine: visit all four of the Iowa-class Battleships. They are all museum ships owned by non-profits and the Wisconsin was the best of them. That ship is in the best shape and has the most areas accessible to the public on self-guided tours. We visited the USS Iowa in San Pedro CA with my club, Corvette Club Santa Barbara a couple of years ago. We did the Missouri (Pearl Harbor) early this year on a trip to HA. I was on the New Jersey in Camden earlier in this trip. Our visit to the Wisky made all four.

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    Tuesday afternoon, we headed for the Charlotte. We got into our hotel in Kannapolis and immediately located a brewpub–you guys should know by now The Fairest Sandra the Red and I like our craft beers! We had dinner and brew at the
    Carolina Ale House. I tried "Brown Sugar Brown Cow" which is characterized as a "Mocha Brown" ale by it's brewer, D9 Brewing Co. of Lake Norman NC. It was tasty! Gonna try and find a six-pack of the stuff before I leave the area.

    Yesterday we got going early and visited a bunch of NASCAR Cup race shops. We were at
    Stewart-Hass, Jr. Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Team Penske, Martin Truex Racing, Roush/Fenway Racing and, of course, Chip Ganassi Racing, home of Sandy's new favorite driver, Kyle Larson. Most of these places have big glass windows through which you can watch the crews work on the cars. The best one of the shops from that respect was Team Penske. It was the only one which had a second story "Fan Walk" which allowed guests to go upstairs and walk a 125-yard balcony overlooking the race shops of the 2 (Brad Keseloski), the 22 (Joey Logano) and the 21 (Ryan Blaney).

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    Keseloski was down in the shop floor, talking with his crew. He noticed us and few other fans there and met all us in the gift shop. He posed for pictures and signed autographs. Actually, he's a pretty cool guy...for a Ford driver.

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    Last night, we had dinner with our good friends and Santa Barbara ex-pats, Paul and Barbara Mariano. Paul has been a Corvette owner forever. He owns a yellow C6 Z06. He's one of those guys who just has to have a bright yellow Corvette–even though Carlisle Blue Z06s are clearly faster cars. Paul's redeeming quality is that his wife, Barb, makes some of the best lasagna around. Paul goes slow in his Z06, but he eats very well. After dinner, we finished off a second bottle of wine while Paul told us about he and his Son restoring a '67 Big-Block Tri-Power and his work as a member of the National Corvette Museum Board of Directors. Mariano has done all kinds of things for our hobby. He helped found the club Sandy and I are in when he lived in Santa Barbara. He was a National Corvette Caravan Captain and later was the Chairman of the National Corvette Caravan. He's been on the NCM Board for a couple of years.

    This morning, we went to the Dale Earnardt Memorial Plaza here in Kannapolis. Whenever I visit the Charlotte area, I always stop there and spend a few minutes honoring the memory of one of the greatest drivers of NASCAR's modern ear and someone who was an inspiration to me.

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    Later today, we're going over to Lowes in Concord where Jimmie Johnson is doing a fan meet-and-greet. Tonight, Sandy and I are going into downtown Charlotte to the
    NASCAR Hall of Fame where Hendrick Motorsports is going to debut its 2018 Camaro Monster Cup Series racer All the GM Cup teams are switching to the Camaro as the Chevrolet SS goes out of production at the end of the '17 model year.

    Tomorrow noon, we're having lunch with Lake Speed Jr. who is the R&D Head for
    Driven Racing Oil. I've been working with Driven for the last several years testing their products in high-performance street duty cycles. As Lake lives in nearby Concord and we're in Goleta CA, I communicate with email and the phone but rarely see him for face-time. I'm looking forward to the visit.

    Of course, the main reason we are here is for the "second Charlotte", the fall Cup Race at Charlotte Motorspeedway, also known as: "The Bank of America 500". We have tickets for tomorrow's Bojangles "Pole Night. Our Sunday race tickets, also, get us into Saturday night's "JR Nation Appreciation Concert" featuring Brad Paisley. I got our Sunday tix for seats in the "New Veranda" area which is said to be really good viewing. Our pal, Paul Mariano, gave us "Club" stickers to put on our tickets so we can get into the famed Speedway Club. I've never been into one of the fancy clubs at a racetrack so I'm looking forward to the experience of rubbing elbows with NASCAR's elites. OMG–I have to wear a collared shirt on just to get in! That's a major wardrobe change for a t-shirt guy like me.

    Unfortunately, it looks like there is going to be a lot of rain on Sunday, so whether or not NASCAR can get the race in is questionable at this point with a near 100% chance of rain being forcasted for afternoon and evening. Even the "rain date" on Monday is in jeopardy with rain predicted then, as well. We're X-ing our fingers that the weather stays dry just long enough for the Cup guys to get the race in. I'll be pissed as hell if our trip to Charlotte ends with a total rain-out.

    Other than the generator problem I had two weeks ago in Henderson, the Ole Blue Bullet has run flawlessly. I think I've opened the hood one time to check the oil. Another item which has works very, very well for us so far is the new Garmin DriveSmart 61 hand-held GPS unit. A while back I wrote an evaluation of it for the CAC and I just wanted to amplify the good review I gave it. If you have a Corvette without a factory nav system, like the Blue Bullet which is a 1LZ car, you can't go wrong with the DriveSmart 61 and its big screen.
    Last edited by Hib Halverson; 10-23-17 at 10:56 PM.

  3. #333
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    Last Days of a Long Road Trip

    On Friday of our week in Charlotte, Sandy and I had lunch with Lake Speed Jr. son of the retired NASCAR driver Lake Speed and Director of R&D for Driven Racing Oil. For several years

    That night, we went to "Bojangles Pole Night" at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The evening's main event, sponsored by "Bojangles Chicken and Biscuits", a fast food chain popular in the southwest, was qualifying for Sunday's Bank of America 500 Monster Energy Cup race. When Cup qualifying was over, the front row was Denny Hamlin (11 FedEx Toyota) and Mat Kenseth (20 Tide Pods Toyota). Our favorites, the 42 (Kyle Larson), the 10 (Danica Patrick), the 88 (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) and the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) ended-up 10th, 12th, 23rd and 25th respectively on the grid. Pole Night ended with a NASCAR modified race run on Charlotte's 1/4-mile oval in the infield of the "big" mile-and-a-half track. Modifieds are 2610-lb open-wheel cars with a "kinda-sorta body" and powered by 650-hp V8s. Modifieds are a big deal in the Northeast and parts of the south. With 20 or so cars on a quarter-mile track, NASCAR modifieds make for take-no-prisoners racing.

    The next night, Charlotte Motor Speedway gave all Cup race ticket holders a great freebe: a country music concert which was presented by Wrangler Jeans and was part of the "JR Nation Apprecia88ion Tour", a year long celebration of Dale Earnhardt Jr.s last season as a NASCAR driver. CW recording artist, Tim Dugger, was the opening act. One of country music's biggest stars and a pal of Dale Jr's, Brad Paisley, was the headliner. In between the two acts, the crowd got a treat with Jr. participated in a special presentation of "NASCAR' "Trackside Live" at the end of which he brought Paisley on stage.

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    In reality Paisley is more of a crossover, with one foot in CW and the other in rock. He has a down-to-earth and sometimes comedic stage presence which appealed to the NASCAR crowd. Live gigs give Paisley a chance to show what an incredible rock guitarist he is and, at Charlotte that Saturday night, he did just that. He played a hell of a gig.

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    The high point of our Charlotte visit was the Bank of America 500 NASCAR Monster Cup race on Sunday 7OCT. The weather was forecast to be awful heavy rain with thunderstorms and possible tornadoes, but Mother Nature must be a Cup fan. The old girl held off with the deluge so NASCAR could get the race in.

    Sadly, there was a lot of empty seats at this race. Some of that can be blamed on the waining popularity of NASCAR but, there's no doubt in my mind that the weather guessers on TV and radio scared off thousands of potential spectators with their doom and gloom weather "forecast". In fact, it never rained a drop during the race but the stands are half empty. We had great seats in Charlotte's "New Veranda" reserve seating but other than Sandy and I sitting at one end and two people way at the other end, our whole row of really great seats was empty.

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    Kevin Harvick, in the #4 Jimmy Johns Ford, lead nearly half the 334 laps, but it was Marin Truex, who's dominated much of the last half of this season and had five wins going into the B of A 500, who lead 91 laps and pretty much owned the last part of the race. Then, there was Chase Elliott, son of NASCAR great, Bill Elliott, and who replaced now-retired Jeff Gordon in the #24 Hendrick Motorsports car. As the race end neared, Elliott had the 24 in third spot behind Harvick and Truex. It became a duel between those three. Two laps from the end Kurt Busch and Kyle Larson wrecked and the track went yellow. That set up an green-white-checker finish. At the restart, Truex stayed at the front but Elliott, got by Harvick and that's how the race ended. Truex notched is sixth win of the season, Elliott had his sixth runner-up finish and Harvick finished third.

    Not that I'm a big Kyle Busch fan, but I felt bad for the guy. Charlotte was the proverbial "bad race" for him. Early, on he crashed the #18 M&Ms Toyota and part of the damage the car sustained allowed exhaust gases to get in the cockpit. KB spent the rest of the event in an epic struggle to finish. The warm weather, high humidity and exhaust fumes combined to make Busch's race one he'd sure like to forget. At the end he got out of the car and lay on the ground trying to catch his breath. After a few minutes, showing obvious symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and dehydration, he agreed to be transported to the infield care center by ambulance for treatment. Say what you want about Kyle Busch, but know that he's one of the most hardcore drivers in the sport and never gives up.

    After spending Monday visiting our friends in Huntersville north of Charlotte, we headed north on Tuesday morning. We stopped to in Canton, Ohio for a work-related dinner then, on Wednesday morning, continued north to Cleveland for a visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Both the Fairest Sandra the Red and I like rock music. In fact, I almost chose a career in the rock press as a photographer. Back in the late-70s and early-80s, I shot a lot of rock and roll in small clubs around the greater L.A. area. Back then I had a huge collection of rock, pop and country-rock on vinyl, cassette and, later, CDs. Today I maintain a huge amount of music on my computers. What do I like? Well, suffice to say I like what the kids and grandkids of most people my age listen to. Rock, alternative, outlaw country and, of course, Taylor Swift, are some staples of my 14.25-Gb iTunes folder. Needless to say, the Cleveland Rock Hall of Fame was a great way for Sandy and I to spend a day together, but stay out of the gift shop! Sheesh, we dropped near two hundred bucks there.

    Next day, we headed northwest to Detroit and the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. The Ford is has an eclectic collection of Americana from giant locomotives to a collection of bottle caps. Called "One of the country's best museums..." by Conde Nast Traveler, the Ford is a national treasure filled with iconic artifacts and stories of America's breakthrough moments. If you're in Detroit and looking for an interesting, inspiring and exciting experience, go though the Henry Ford.

    Friday morning, I actually had to do some work. Corvette Magazine has me working on an article about how GM tests Corvette engines so the Communications Manager at GM Global Propulsion Systems, Tom Read, arranged a tour of GM's Pontiac Engineering Center. The first part of the morning had us getting a look at all the facilities GM uses to test not only Corvette engines but all IC and fuel cell engines along with all electric motors used in hybrid and electric vehicles. Senior Operations Manager, Dave Mooty was our guide. The last hour of our visit was spent at GM's Performance and Racing Center where Corvette Racing's engine program is located. The Center's Director, Dom Lester, was our guide. The highpoint of that tour was meeting one of the technicians who builds engines for Corvette Racing and getting a close look at one of the 5.5-liter, direct injection/port injection race motors.

    767-30-jpg

    A little after noon, we left GM's Pontiac Engineering Center headed for the final stop on our long road trip, Katech, Inc., famed for its Chevrolet racing engines. The Blue Bullet will stay at Katech for about 45 days while the Clinton Township company, which spent 12 years (1997-2009) as Corvette Racing's engine supplier, treats the BB's LS7 to its "Street Attack LS7" enhanced performance engine. Katech combines the best of the production LS7 with selected, race-proven modifications in an affordable package suitable for street high-performance and "trackday" motorsports events. Street Attack LS7s get the same meticulous engine assembly procedures developed by Katech in its more than 20 years of building World championship and LeMans winning Corvette race engines. A "bucket-list" goal of mine is to have a Corvette with a Katech motor in it so this fulfills that wish.

    Saturday morning, we caught a jet out of Detroit Metro and flew home to Goleta California. I had been on the road for 3 1/2 weeks and Sandy had been gone for two weeks. Saturday night it was great to be able to sleep in my own bed.
    Last edited by Hib Halverson; 10-29-17 at 10:38 AM.
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  4. #334
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    Jason Harding has been Katech's long-time Director of Aftermarket Operations. A couple of his guys, Chris and Dean, have pulled the motor out of the Blue Bullet and have it torn down. I was curious about the condition of the main bearings and the piston skirts so I asked Harding to send me some images.

    Here are the main bearings...

    767-31-jpg

    Here are the rod bearings...

    767-32-jpg

    The appearance of these bearings is after 40622 miles street miles which included, during the calibration work I've done to the engine, at least 50 uphill runs, 1500-rpm to the rev limiter in third gear, a couple dozen chassis dyno "pulls" from 1500 rpm to the rev limiter in fourth gear and lots of aggressive street driving.

    There are two reasons why these bearings look so good: 1) Other than the 1100 miles, in my LS7 I've always used a premium synthetic engine oil, initially Red Line 10W30 and, for the last couple of years, Driven Racing Oil "DT40" a
    5W40 mPAO-based full-synthetic oil and 2) I change the oil filter, an ACDelco UPF48R, at each 50% of oil life. For those unaware of my oil drain interval, it's 150% of oil life which means: I change the oil and filter. At 50%, I change the filter and reset the oil life monitor. At 50%, I change the filter, again, and, at 0%, I change the oil and filter. I've been doing that since the car was new.

    Here's what Dean, the Katech engine builder who inspected the bearings and piston skirts said...

    " The bearings looked better between the two – the coating on them is still present and shows slight signs of wear. There were no major scratches in any of the mains, which means the filtration system was doing its job fairly well."

    Note his comment on the "filtration system" which is defined as: the filter used and how often it's changed.

    Here are four of the piston skirts...

    767-33-jpg

    767-34-jpg

    Here's what Dean said about the piston skirts:

    "The skirts have a bit more coating wear, but there wasn't any noticeable or severe wear into the aluminum. The coating did have some minor scratches here and there, but, again, nothing out of the ordinary for these engines."

    Again, it looks like 5W40 Driven Racing Oil did its job very well.

    I recommend Driven DT40, ACDelco UPF48R filters and filter changes every 50% of oil life.


    Last edited by Hib Halverson; 11-04-17 at 10:13 AM. Reason: added content
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  5. #335
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    Katech is about at the half-way point of turning the LS7 in the Blue Bullet into a "Street Attack LS7". We had a minor problem getting ahold of set of 2nd-design intake manifold gaskets and seals for my engine's MSD Atomic Air Force intake manifold. I installed a very early production version of that manifold on my engine a couple of years ago. MSD found out later that the material they had spec'ed for all the gaskets and seals–of which there are many because the manifold is a two-piece, bolt-together design–was not compatible with E10 gasoline. Once they found that out, MSD released gaskets and seals made of a different material. My manifold had the "bad" gaskets and seals so, while the engine was out, Katech needed to replace all the manifold sealing parts. It took us a while to get a set of the new ones from MSD, but we're all set at this point.

    I bought a second set of LS7 exhaust manifolds, gave them a little port matching then took them to
    Xtreme Performance Heat Coatings and had them coat the manifolds with a Thermal Barrier Coating (TBC) which is intended to reduce or control the movement of heat. With exhaust system parts, you want to keep the heat within the part so it goes out the exhaust not into the engine compartment. Xtreme's TBC is available in a few different colors and the one I chose is called "gray ice". Not only will the underhood run a little cooler, but the manifolds will look better.

    I shipped the manifolds along with a box of Denso IT22
    Iridium Power spark plugs to Katech last Monday. Not sure if they will use the spark plugs because engine builders sometimes can be particular about what spark plugs they put in an engine like a Street Attack. I've run the IT22 in my LS7 almost since the engine was new back in 2012 and I think they work very well. Katech feels the hotter IT20 is the best choice. I sent Jason Harding, Katech's Dir. of Aftermarket operations a email explaining my experience with the 22s and why I run them. He wrote back that Katech's "engineering" department will make the final spark plug call.

    Right now, the target date for my to pick-up the car at Katech is Friday 8DEC. If everything goes according to plans and the weather cooperates, I'll hit the road after lunch that Friday headed for Indianapolis and the
    PRI Show. Saturday is the final day for PRI. I've never been to that show but have always wanted to go because unlike SEMA which is widely focused on the entire performance aftermarket, PRI is a hard-core racing trade show.

    After PRI, I'll drive over to Dayton, Ohio lie low on Sunday. Monday morning, I'm going over to
    Forgeline Motorsports, my favorite maker of high-end racing and street wheels, to get a factory tour. That afternoon, depending on what the weather in the mountain west is doing, I'll either go west on I-70 headed for Denver and where I-70 ends at I-15 in Utah. With luck and no snow storms, I could sneak over the high parts of I-70 without much trouble. If the weather is snowy/icy along I-70, I'll head southwest to OKC and try I-40 across Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, but if the weather is bad there, too, I'll head south, then southwest until I hit I-10 and take it across southern New Mexico and Arizona.

    Got my fingers crossed that I can do the I-70 route because it's the quickest way back home. This won't be the first time I've rolled the dice and done a winter crossing of the Rockys on I-70. Years ago, right after I bought a 95 ZR-1 in Michigan, I headed straight west. I spent Thanksgiving with friends in Ft. Collins CO, then headed south towards Denver on I-25. The weather was forecast to be ok until late morning or so and then a major storm was going to hit.

    I caught I-70 west in Denver. After I went though the Eisenhower tunnel I began to see snow fall. It was in the mid-20s so the snow was sticking but the accumulation was minimal...just a dusting. Through Loveland and over Vail Pass it was snowing but, again, accumulation was minimal–snow on the road but less than an inch. As I got to lower elevations near Glenwood Springs and Rifle, the snow tapered off and was mixed with drizzle. By the time I got to Grand Junction, it was time for lunch. I got gas then stopped at Wendy's for a burger and fries. Wendy's had a TV on the wall and, as I sat there munching on my double burger, I saw a news report from one of the Denver TV stations. The headline across the top of the screen said I-70 closed at the Eisenhower Tunnel due to blizzard conditions.

    Let's hope I'm just as lucky in this early winter crossing of the Rockys on I-70.

    Last edited by Hib Halverson; 11-20-17 at 11:00 AM.

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    Katech has finished my motor then ran it on the engine dyno last Thursday.

    767-35-jpg

    Pretty impressive...625-hp@6500-6800-rpm and, that's with 1) 2/10ths less CR than Katech usually builds Street Attack LS7s with and 2) the milder camshaft with 116° lobe sep (normally they use a cam with 110 lobe sep). Even more impressive is the Katech Street Attack's flat torque curve–above 500-lbs/ft from 3700-rpm to 6550-rpm.

    Wow. Is that motor going to be fun to drive, or what?!
    Last edited by Hib Halverson; 11-20-17 at 10:45 AM.

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    Okay, now I am jealous. This is the engine that should be in the C7 Grand Sport. I would be driving one now if that was the case. Of course, it would be yellow.
    NCM Life Member #300
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  8. #338
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    That should be fun to drive!
    2007 Atomic Orange Coupe Cashmere/black interior

    2005 CruiseFest Attendee (Bowling Green, KY) 2007 CruiseFest Attendee (Colorado Springs, CO)
    2008 CruiseFest Attendee (Cleveland, OH)
    2010 Cruisefest Attendee(Effingham, IL)
    2011 CruiseFest Attendee(Effingham
    , IL)

    Formerly owned Corvettes: 1964 coupe, 1994 coupe, 2001 coupe



  9. #339
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    Okay, now I am jealous. This is the engine that should be in the C7 Grand Sport. I would be driving one now if that was the case. Of course, it would be yellow.
    Katech has a more powerful version of the Street Attack package, 650-hp, which uses a more aggressive cam. That's the package they sell to owners of yellow C6 Z06es to enable them to keep up with the Blue ones.

    With respect to you wanting a yellow C7 GS...the solution is to order one, send it to Katech and have them do their 700-hp, 427 LT1 package. It makes.

    If you did that, well...I'd have to concede (sigh) that a yellow Corvette is faster than my blue one.
    Last edited by Hib Halverson; 11-20-17 at 11:08 AM.

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    Blue Bullet Road Trip S’more

    Spent all day, Wednesday 6DEC, at GM Global Propulsion Systems HQ in Pontiac MI. In the first part of the morning, I had an interview session with the four guys who build the 5.5L V8s for Corvette Racing. This is for a future article Corvette Magazine is going to publish next Spring. Then, in the late morning, I did a photo session in the Corvette engine build shop at GM’s Performance and Racing Center. My visit was capped off with a demonstration of how GM Racing dyno tests the 5.5L GDI/PFI race engines. The engine dynamometer is computer controlled and can simulate laps at various race tracks such as LeMans, Road Atlanta, Circuit of the Americas and etc. It was a thrill to sit and watch/listen to the sim as it ran the engine through a full lap at Road America.

    In the afternoon, for a different Corvette Magazine article on the new, LT5 engine in the 2019 ZR1, I did an interview with Small Block V8 Chief Engineer, Jordan Lee, LT5 Chief, John Rydsewski and Scott Halsall who is GM GPS’ supercharger expert.

    Next morning, I headed for Katech, Inc. to pick up the Blue Bullet after its engine upgrade to Katech “Street Attack LS7” specifications. First job was to interview with Katech’s video production crew. They wanted to do a 15-min. sit-down with me to use for Katech’s various social media promo work. They wanted me to tell why I bought a Katech motor so I gushed about it with them for a while. Not sure what will happen to the footage, but i’m guessing it will be on Katech’s various video sources and on its FB page.

    dsc_6753-jpg

    Brad Greer, who works in Katech’s sales department, greeted me and brought me into the “car shop” (in a different building from offices and the engine shops) to see the car. First thing I did was pop the hood an take a look. Wow. Katech’s visuals are awesome, right down to the neat-looking Katech branded hi-temp spark plug boots. Fired the motor and it settled to a kinda-sorta idle. Oil pressure was very good. The idle smoothed out somewhat and the engine warmed.

    dsc_6760-jpg

    The video guys wanted some footage of me driving away from Katech, so I backed the car out of their shop for a few back and forth runs up and down Sorrentino Court out in front of the shop. Then, it was back into the shop–where it was thankfully warm rather than the 18° it was outside–to start loading up the car for the long trip back to California via Indianapolis and Dayton. I, also, went through all the take-off parts to separate the stuff Katech was going to scrap from the stuff they were going to ship back to California for me. I carried some of it–the old exhaust manifolds, the camshaft and a box of small parts. The rest of it, including the heads and take off carbon fiber parts, will go by FedEx Ground. I bid goodbye to the folks at Katech and headed for Indianapolis and the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) trade show.

    PRI is about a third the size of the SEMA Show but, unlike SEMA, it’s virtually all hard-core racing stuff. Maybe 20% of SEMA is real racing stuff and the rest is performance aftermarket along with restyling, wheels-and-tires and other non-racing products. PRI takes up all of the Convention Center at Indianapolis. I was like a kid in a candy store confronted with all the racing products and processes on display. What was most interesting? Well, for a long time, I’ve been wanting to do an article on “affordable” bore scopes for advanced DIYs. I’ve never been able to get the project going because the bore scopes on the market were either way too expensive or were such cheap pieces of junk they didn’t work well. After two days at PRI, I think I have found a couple of manufacturers which have tools about which I could write a credible article. My requirements are a price of 500-600 bucks, the ability to show and output an image of 600x400px and the tool must have an articulating tip small enough to go in a spark plug hole. There was tons of other stuff to see at PRI. I could do a long description of that but I don’t have enough time today to get into more specifics.

    About 3:00 on Saturday afternoon, the last day of PRI, I headed out of Indy going to Dayton Ohio, about two hours east. On Monday, I have a tour of Forgeline Motorsports scheduled along with an interview with the company president and a short photo session. I think Forgeline makes really good wheels, both engineering-wise and design-wise. As Dayton is close to Indy and this is my chance to see how high-end racing and street wheels are made.

    So…everyone wants to know: how does the new Katech Street Attack LS7 in the BB run? Well…I can’t tell you, at least so far. Everywhere I’ve been so far since I left Detroit it’s been wicked cold, like between 15° and, say, 30° degrees. The full-tread, summer tires I have on the car, Michelin Pilot Super Sports, don’t work as well in cold weather. The only time I’ve really put some throttle to the engine, was getting on I-75 South after a gas stop. Even at half throttle, the car was into wheelspin, so, getting a good idea the the engines newfound performance will have to wait until I get into weather that’s above 60°.

    Saturday afternoon and evening were the only times so far that I’ve seen significant snow. As I rolled into Dayton, the snowfall was moderate and starting to accumulate on the ground. The hotel I’m at sits off to the side of the highway and there’s a long private road leading to the hotel and it had about half and inch of snow and some ice.
    dsc_6823-jpg

    Today, Sunday, I got to do some laundry. Oh for joy. I picked this hotel because it’s just outside Wright-Patterson Air Force Base which, among other things, is the home of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. If you like airplanes, especially military airplanes, it’s the top museum in the country to see. It’s collection dates to the early parts of last century. This afternoon, I plan to spend 4 or 5 hours there.

    dsc_6831-jpg
    At the Nat'l Museum of the USAF. This B-29 is "Bock's Car", the airplane which dropped the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan on 9AUG1945. The big yellow "egg", is a replica of the bomb

    dsc_6834-jpg
    Where else are you going to find a German Focke-Wulf FW190. Oh, btw, behind it is a C46 Comando.

    dsc_6837-jpg
    My favorite plane in the WW2 collection, a B24 with great nose art.

    Tomorrow, it’s off to Forgeline and then to St. Louis for my next overnight.
    Last edited by Hib Halverson; 12-11-17 at 07:00 AM. Reason: added content
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    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.
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    That engine looks killer.

    Very nice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    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.

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

    Call me over the weekend.
    Last edited by Hib Halverson; 12-26-17 at 04:00 PM.

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    Default High-End Corvette Wheels

    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.

    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 by Hib Halverson; 02-06-18 at 03:18 PM.
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    Default 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".

    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. 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.

    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 by Hib Halverson; 01-28-18 at 08:30 PM.

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