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Thread: Calling V8 swap owners. Was it worth it? Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
07-17-2019 03:31 PM
Was it worth it?

A great question!

My buddy and I acquired a super clean, 10,000 mile, 2007 (we were told by the owner that is was a 2008, but the VIN said otherwise) red GXP. Our plan was to use the car as an engine swap recipient for a retirement project. We wanted to stay away from bodywork; and do a purely mechanical transformation. We figured that since this swap had been done before by GM and a few others, that it would take us a year, given the availability of the motor/trans mounts and a few other tidbits. We bought a crate Ls7 and went at it. Given our lack of constant work, it has now been almost 3 years. The car runs and drives, but completing the wiring is till underway.

I have to say that it turned out much more difficult than expected. We have stayed well within out allocated budget.
12-07-2018 03:07 PM
rob the elder Never too late to pitch in.
12-07-2018 09:47 AM
TomatoSoup Err... Zombie Thread alert!
12-06-2018 06:36 PM
numbbers Being the original owner of a 2007 Mallett, I have a lot of experience with a V8 Solstice. I haven't had as many issues with the V8, as the Mallett conversion was well thought out. But, I too have put a lot of additional time and money in the car. I don't drive it much, as Rob say's, I worry about getting it damaged. It is primarily a show car, but could be used as a daily driver. But, of course, you can't haul stuff with a Solstice. It sounds great, burns a lot of rubber, and is scary fast, and the gas mileage is good. And it gets so much attention, that I get tired of explaining to people the history of the car. I have only put 20K on the car in 11 years. You may just want to by one that already has a V8, it would be a lot cheaper, and less stressful, than building one.
02-09-2017 06:59 PM
cooper1340s I think you are confusing positraction with traction control.
02-08-2017 06:30 PM
Originally Posted by cammerjeff View Post
modern Shelby Cobra, but with roll up windows (power), A/C, a sound system ect..... I think it attracts the same type of people
I've always thought the Sol had good bones for some Cobra flavor. The trick is too give it some Cobra attitude while at the same time keeping it purely Pontiac.

Norms widen fenders.
02-08-2017 05:07 PM
Mallet 011 I've got a Mallet Solstice , LS7, 515 RWHP.... since putting BC adjustable coil over shocks and 20" rubber it hooks up well, have a hard time parting with the car due to the power to weight ratio not much can at h it on the street. No traction control ....
02-08-2017 04:26 PM
Originally Posted by Bloodbath McGra View Post
I'm from NJ, and seriously debating getting an LS3 with a nice lumpy cam dropped into my Solstice. Question is, how does the car handle after having around 500 ponies under the hood? Does it break traction too easily and never hook up? Is the additional weight in the front make driving it a chore?

Also looking to see how much you guys spent on your swaps. I've seen shops online offer about $23,000 give or take a little for what I'm looking for. That seems a bit high, in my opinion, but I could be wrong.

Also, what did you do with your ecotech? Mine only has about 32,000 on it, but I don't think I'd get much if I tried to sell it nor would there be a huge market.
It's a personal decision with many considerations. If this v8 conversion will be a daily driver, many would rather go with something else, but it's an interesting option as a second or third car. Some owners love them, other's have had problems. How some potential issues may affect your enjoyment should be considered, and is often different from others. Some people love v8 conversion cars of all stripes, others decidedly not. A v8 conversion makes a fun weekend and show car. OTOH, a v8 conversion will need lots of extra $$ and parts if you want to make it abuse/track proof (think upgraded axles, different/replacement diffs, etc). Some people don't like tinkering, some people like to tinker, some people love tinkering. Some people gotta have a v8, or really want a v8, other's could care less what engine a car has as long as it performs, such 500+ whp and awesome handling. There are a lot of competing great car options out there with mild to wild builds for $30k to consider.

I'd say traction may be an issue, but there are ways ($$) to help alleviate that if it is very important. One could easily add $5k+ to get the best fixes.

GMTech built the gold standard kappa v8 by a fair margin. If I got someone to build it like that I'd be a lot more comfortable with the purchase.

No right or wrong choices here. The v8 kappa cars have plenty of owners and fans.
02-08-2017 03:40 PM
sbindley All good points. Having one fairly extreme version in my supercharged LS3 Coupe and the more simple LS2 vert, I have a new perspective. The LS2 charity car is really fun to drive, with more usable power and the auto tranny. Believe it or not, it is the latter that really makes the difference. The shifts are crisp and simply mashing the pedal is all that is needed to enjoy the fun. My Coupe is getting a brand new T6060, clutch, etc., which should shift much better than the used GTO tranny that went in, but the auto is super fun.

Rob is right on the journey -- the charity car, with only 10,000 miles on it, needed more than a dozen hours on the tune, new headers, cats and exhaust, plus a bunch of stuff that was never addressed initially -- new air intake, bigger wheels/tires, custom coilovers, front brakes, underbody bracing, stereo and A/V upgrades, new leather, new exterior wrap and a handful of smaller fixes. I have said many times, if one can find a good price on an existing conversion that is clean and has knowledgeable people who can work on it, they are fun little monsters.

This Blue Monster LS2 car is fully sorted and needs nothing. It passed emissions easily and is ready to roll. But it took some time to get there.

Back on topic, if you can find a clean car to start with, new conversions are still a lot of dough. New LS3's are still 6-7K and used ones are still very pricey. You could shop the Low Priced Solstices thread here for a donor car, but those will likely need a lot of money spent elsewhere in addition to the swap. To agree with Rob, there is not really an easy or cheap way into one of these, unless you can find a Mallett out there in the mid-teens from an uninformed seller (unlikely). Even so, there is always more to do and more to spend.
02-08-2017 03:17 PM
cammerjeff Rob,

You make some good points, I will say that my V8 Solstice is fun, but it is not a "forgiving" car if driven hard without the proper attention being paid to it. I will say that it is easier to drive than my 1977 Pontiac Astre Formula, it has a modified aluminum Buick 3.5 Liter V8 that dyno'd at 318 HP at the crank. T-5 manual trans and a dana 44 axle with 4.11 gears and a locker. Even with its 1.9" longer wheelbase, its 3.8" narrower track, smaller and narrower tires, and 30 year older suspension tech make it much more challenging to drive, also the dana locker will some times ad a sense of adventure in tight turns as it locks and unlocks the rear axle, not nearly as smooth as the LSD in the Solstice.
02-08-2017 11:48 AM
rob the elder Some additional thoughts.

Some people have a totally different feeling about driving a Solstice as a V8 vrs a straight 4. It has to do with the totality of the experience. It has a different feel which initially is very different from the stock car that you loved before the conversion. The throttle response is totally different in my experience. If like my car the exhaust is designed to be loud, the sound and gut feeing of the car is totally different. It felt to me somewhat dangerous and less forgiving. It took me a long time to become comfortable with the feel and power of the car. Once I got used to it, driving a stock car now feels strange and is less enjoyable but it took a while to become readjusted.

In my case and I believe in at least a few others, the arrival home from the conversion process is the beginning of the rest of the modification process. I ended up modifying the cooling system, the tune, the tires, the brake pads and in the end pulled out the entire interior and laid down thermal / sound insulating blanket. All to make the car more user friendly and functional.

Once you have the car home you need to deal with the fact that you have a lot of money invested in what is basically a 7-8 year old used car. Every time I took my car out of the safe zone of the garage I had a sense of dread about what a dangerous world it is out there. Even if you don't get hit by some moron on the road, there are hail storms, parking lot dings, flying debris on the road etc. When you are in a $15000 car that has grown used gracefully its one thing. When you are in a $50000 car that has had a lot of love invested into it, its a totally different experience. I ended up shopping for agreed value insurance and currently carry replacement cost for the car but prior to that I was basically self insured.

In my case, the car must pass emission tests every two years. Initially that was a serious challenge. Once we got the tune sorted, it has been easy but its another concern.

Now that I am several years into living with the converted car, I am very happy with it and greatly enjoy driving it and showing it off at car shows and other events.

As long as you enter the process with a full understanding you can make good decisions.
02-08-2017 10:26 AM
cammerjeff HotScott, I agree with both points, I think the V8 sound is one of the main reasons I wanted one, to me it is the equivalent of a modern Shelby Cobra, but with roll up windows (power), A/C, a sound system ect..... I think it attracts the same type of people. I don't have any issue with Hopping up the stock 4 cylinders engines, but you could call me old school (or just old) I do like the sound and feel of a V-8 engine. Not to mention the low end torque!

I have owned some Turbo charged cars, a 86 Tbird and a 87 Grand national, I also own a 2012 F-150 with the 3.5 Ecoboost, all good cars but it is a different driving experience compared to a healthy V8 engine.
02-08-2017 08:21 AM
HotScott I say since this had turned into a Traction control discussion in stead of what the intended poster was wanting. That we can agree that we all have what we experience when using traction control. And I it is very interesting that there are different experiences. Which make for an interesting discussion. But getting back to is it worth it or not, I think you have heard from most of us V8 owners that it is all in what you want and like. Most say it is that V8 sound, which I have to cast my vote and say yes that does it for me too! And just the unique and wow factor when I go to car meets, lends to having fun discussions with others that ask questions. The number 1 question I get is, how did that engine fit in there, or I bet that was a bear to squeeze in, what did you have to change to make it fit. Most can't believe that I pretty much sets in with changes to the motor mounts and location. But I enjoy what PAW had created for me and it is definately fun to drive.
02-08-2017 05:53 AM
elff I'm not the only saying it. So it isn't just my car. My last post was to extend LVs and demonstrate where the TQ hits. The larger turbo kits hit in a similar area but with more power. I did not experience this while on the GMPP. That was controlled by the TC fine. Or when I had just the 2871. Adding E47 to the 2871 and now running an EFR on it has me in a power range in which I can spin 275s on the rears until it hits the redline.
I personally know of at least 4 other large turbos that can recreate this.
02-08-2017 05:38 AM
rob the elder Active Handling - stability control similar to our cars

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