Looking to build V8 Solstice, need advice - Pontiac Solstice Forum
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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-28-2016, 01:19 PM Thread Starter
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Looking to build V8 Solstice, need advice

I have a 12k budget and most people have said its not enough but am looking to install an LS swap into a Solstice and need some startup advice.

I am assuming pick up a 5 spd manual Solstice. They can be had here in Houston for as little as $2500.

I see their is a LS2 wiring kit ready to go from Performance Autowerks.
That comes with a radiator, mounts, complete harness and ECU, so looks like I would need only motor, right?

WERKS Kappa/LSx DIY Conversion Kit, Performance Autowerks

Other than changing motor mounts, are their other mounts I need, body mods? Rear end components.

I am assuming I need a different drive shaft.


Would I be better of buying a T56/LS2 combo or does factory transmission work and factory rear end?

Does anyone have a parts list already together for this?

Thanks,

Steve
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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-28-2016, 01:36 PM
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WAY under budgeted there - from what I've seen.

Do a search on the forum (and also kappaperformance.com) there are a number of V8 build threads, and the minimum cost I've seen is around $20K or more, on TOP of the car. Here's just some: https://www.google.com/search?num=50...=v8+build+site

There's a lot of "devil in the details".

Owner of "Campbelle", a Brazen 2008 GXP ... with mods piling up...
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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-28-2016, 02:11 PM
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Unless you are a fabricator, most of the parts you will need will need to be bought, and they aren't cheap. I agree with TS, the cheapest build I saw was around $22k IMSMC. Now you could probably rebuild the 2.4L and put a turbo on it and get it to about 400hp for that price.....just my $0.02 Remember, if you're buying a car for $2500, it's gonna probably need suspension work too in order to support the heavier engine.

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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-28-2016, 06:11 PM
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I believe they kit uses the factory 5 speed transmission so the drive train from the transmission back is reused

If you get a 360 hp ls2 you will be basically replicating the early Mallets

Call Werks and talk with Dave. They have done many conversions like the one you are describing and can give you good advice

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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-28-2016, 07:20 PM
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Worth mentioning is that when it comes time to sell a V8 Solstice or SKY, rarely does the original owner get what they have invested into the car. Generally, around two to three V8 Kappa's come up for sale during a year.

However, I would think you are saving at least 50% by doing the labor yourself. Document the parts and process and you could help to create a how to install a V8 in your Solstice book. Someday someone will do it!

Check this thread out.
2006 Mallett 400HP LS2 conversion for sale

LS3 coupe to be auctioned off, Mecum
https://www.hemmings.com/classifieds...e/1881278.html

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Mr & Mrs ChopTop's 09 Fastback & 06 Vert Mods thread:http://www.solsticeforum.com/forum/f...session-75468/ Original join date; Oct 2005 under LowLife handle.

Last edited by ChopTop; 11-29-2016 at 05:45 PM.
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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-28-2016, 08:44 PM
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I have an LS 3 parts list I can send you. Most of it is Werks. Mine uses a T56 manual trans , modified driveshaft and stock, but aftermarket Quaife diff.
You'll need s bigger Rad , brakes and shocks as well.
E-mail me at king-oka @ Shaw.ca and I will send you some details

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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-28-2016, 09:36 PM
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Again, depends on your use of the car. My car is in the range of 500 hp with stock brakes and upgraded pads. For my use of the car on the street they are more than adequate. Better feel and performance than stock with the upgraded pads

Last time I saw the numbers, the conversion adds about 150 pounds to the weight of the car which is not much in the scheme of things.

In my opinion, adding the ls2 to an otherwise stock car is a viable path for meeting cost constraints that will result in a for with about a hundred more HP and nice V8 sound

If you plan to flog the car on the track you can decide on further upgrades later.

And as has been pointed out, plan on keeping the car a long time because like a boat or an airplane, you never get your cost back. If you are looking to get a return, build a new kitchen or bathroom

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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-28-2016, 10:44 PM
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I guess I am on the other side of the street on this. I have about 13K in my Mallett. Knowing what I know now, I would never do it again. I originally bought it to have fun with, tear around town, drag race it or take it to autocross. Planned to have nothing but fun with it. Now it sets 350 days a year in a garage, with AC and heat, covered under two car covers. Never drive it because it is too much for me, and worried about someone hitting it. I now have it insured for 80K claimed value, it recently appraised for 80K thru a classic car sales company. So if I were to sell it for 30K, what others are going for, I would make good money on it. This car retailed for near 66K plus a minimum of 10K in the engine in it now (my guess). I doubt I would even consider selling it for 40K. Being a classic car guy, I see the historical value of this particular car.

I have thought about building a V8 conversion to just beat the crap out of. And I think it can be done for the 12K number if you buy a descent base to start with. A 2500 car with 100K on it is not going to be the best idea. You need a solid foundation for 400-500 HP.

So what I would recommend, is find a real nice GXP and do a few things to it. Keep it close to stock and drive the heck out of it. You can buy a real nice Solstice GXP for the 1200k you are talking about. Far less headaches, insurance more reasonably priced, less smog problems and way better mileage.

If you are near SoCal, I would be happy to let you take a look at mine, to see the modifications made by Mallett to the frame and suspension, wheels/tires and brakes. Can put it up on the rack for you to look at to. Have a mechanic that says he can do it, but have not checked the price on that yet.

Damned flood coupe is still holding all my extra cash!!!
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-29-2016, 08:03 AM
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Nebraska Fan,
your car is not a normal (or even natural) Mallet. It has had Extensive engine work done that makes it a much more powerful car than the OP is describing.

The LS1 or Ls2 engine that has been used in Mallets in the past is less powerful than a fully built 2.0. The ones I have seen are in the 340 to 360 HP range and drive very well. They are pretty much nice sounding road cars with a bit more HP and torque.

The ones I have seen Dave do with his kit basically bolt a mildly tuned V8 in front of the stock transmission. It adds less weight than a car with a T56 conversion and the cars feel very much like a tuned GXP. Nothing like your beast. :-)

And again, while many of the converted cars have "big brakes" and suspension mods, those are not really necessary in my opinion for the kind of car that an LS1 or 2 conversion will be. The weight difference is slight. The power difference is one that can be easily accommodated with putting good tires on the car. Stopping can be readily improved for the price of new pads for the stock brakes.

From my reading of his objectives its not to build a race car, its to build a nice Solstice street car with a v8 in it at a price he can afford.

If he buys the Werks kit and finds a suitable motor then there is no reason he cant do it for about the price he mentions.

By using the stock drivetrain from the transmission back he saves having to do any mechanical mods there. The transmission and rear end are known to be good with up to 400 hp according to people I have read that I trust.

The clutch is not designed for basically doubling the HP from the stock 2.4 car, but if handled with reasonable care have demonstrated the ability to get along well enough with a low HP V8. And if the OP talks with Werks Dave he can find out what their experience has been with the clutch and make his own decision on staying with stock or going to a different clutch. When the clutch is not slipping during shifts, its not wearing and creating power transmission issues. Its up to the driver skill and the style of driving to make the clutch work or not. Again, if its a street car that the OP wants to drive in a sane manner on the street then the challenges are not the same as a track car.

Having lived with my 500HP conversion for several years now, and having the ability to compare it with a nearly stock 2.0 on a daily basis, the biggest difference is the ride differences brought on as a result of my car having BC coil overs and not the power. The second biggest difference is my car is FUNer and a kick to experience every time I turn the key. Don't get me wrong, I still like driving the Red Line Sky but it feels a lot more . .. toy like . . than my car which feels like a real performance car. They are basically the same car but everything in the V8 car is more . .. interesting :-)

Rob the Elder

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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-29-2016, 08:53 AM
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Great discussion. I now have two V8 Sols, the original supercharged charity car that I bought back, and the current LS2 with the 6-speed auto. I have been detailing the build on the LS2 and it has turned into a really fun and great driving car. But, it took some extensive time getting tuned properly and has had many thousands in upgrades donated (BC's, custom headers and full exhaust, brakes, stereo, interior and body/paint, wheels and tires, underbody bracing, etc.). I do think a budget build could be accomplished with the right car, the right mix of parts and a competent mechanic doing his own labor. Again, if you used the stock 5-speed and Werks kit and got some budget or used BC's and sticky tires, you could be in pretty good shape.

The other option is to hope to get lucky and find some Mallett out there that is under-priced in the teens.

BTW, the V8 car just went in for some body touchups and hoping to get a wrap donated (blue) and some interior upgrades.

Keep us informed.
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post #11 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-29-2016, 09:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rob the elder View Post
If you get a 360 hp ls2 you will be basically replicating the early Mallets
Or you could just do a turbo swap on a GXP and have 400 bhp, a way lower parts bill and much better mileage......the difference could go into a nice V8 sound effects CD.

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post #12 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-29-2016, 10:02 AM
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Bill, I came so close to the CD comment. lol

I think the V8 Kappa is a thing you either love, or not so much.

Most likely if I did not have the one I have, I would enjoy it a lot more.

I just think that if you bought a nice GXP/Redline and put a little cash into it, you end up with a pretty quick car and far less problems in every aspect.

Most of these seem to be hardly driven, I know someone out there uses one as a daily driver, but never really read about any, other than maybe King's somewhat.

It is your money, and you need to do what makes you happy. I will help you anyway I can, but I stick by my advice. I have a V8 Kappa, and 2 Redlines, a stick and an auto. If I was to build a V8 Kappa it would be an automatic without question, and it would have a traction control system. I am a geezer, and have lost some of my reflexes. 20 years ago, I might have thought the Mallett was the greatest thing on earth. My wife says I have finally grown up.

Have fun with what ever you decide.
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post #13 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-29-2016, 10:20 AM
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My coupe with swapped out turbo is a daily driver, and modestly tuned exceeds a stock LS1 and just falls short of an LS2. A lot of things to be said for that approach, but of course the guys that have to have a V8 no matter what won't care about that sort of argument.

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post #14 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-29-2016, 10:28 AM
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My 2 cents : A few years ago I was seriously in the market for a V8 Kappa to the point that I had one lined up and was ready to pull the trigger but that's another story .I did a great amount of research at all my options having one built by myself or a vendor or buying a completed car . My friend who is a mechanic had a hand in one of these conversions and there are a lot of issues that come into play when doing one cost ,components , fabrication skills , wiring ,donor car, proper tune etc. The car that he worked on was a 5000 mile GXP and a low mileage totaled Camaro for the necessary components with the owner doing almost all of the fabrication he still was in the 20 grand neighborhood not counting the cost of the Solstice and it was almost a 2 year build working on it in his spare time before he got it to the point where it was done . A $2500.00 base car is $2500 .00 worth of potential headaches I just don't think you can skimp when it comes to a build .As others have said if you really want one buy a car already built the reality with these cars is there is a very limited market for them and the going price (I follow these ) is around the low 20's especially a Mallet . As a reference a Mallet built Sky was auctioned off a few months ago with a ton of upgrades my guess close to 70 grand maybe more it went for 30 grand and the owner had the car for sale for over a year . Good luck with your quest they are a fun car but for a lot less you can upgrade a factory car and have the same performance .
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post #15 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-29-2016, 01:22 PM
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I watched Werks do a similar swap at the Nationals in Austin. Drove the car in as a stock car and it left with an LS motor.

Many of the mechanical issues that conversions have experienced, like my own, were a result of also swapping out the transmission and drive shaft. This necessitated mechanical changes to the mounts and the clutch pedal mechanicals.

The beauty of the Werks kit is it has been done several times, involves a set of known parts that should bolt up and does not require changes behind the transmission input shaft.

When my car was converted in 2010 there was basically only one tune and it was not well understood. Both DDM and Werks have tunes that are proven and work well.

I had a "built" 2.0 that was over 300 WHP and while it was fun, it was not what I wanted.

Now you can buy off the shelf parts and do much or most of the work yourself is you are handy and get what you want. Whether its a built screamer or a V8.

Clearly having a V8 is not for everyone, but at the same time its no longer the science project it once was. And I have seen 2.0 builds go wrong as well. :-)

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Carol's husband for 48 years

Secretary Rocky Mountain Solstice and Sky Club
Punisher's story
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