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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Our 2006 Solstice (Mina) is approaching her tenth birthday in April (I think that's 50 in human years - midlife crisis territory) and just crossed the 70K mile marker. We decided she had earned a fitness boost and a little nip/tuck here and there to make her feel "young" again. Just for fun and maybe to inspire another member to throw some mods the way of their 10 year old, I'm posting here what we did.

Work Summary:
  • New Wheels
  • Complete Exhaust Transplant
  • Multiple Chassis Improvements
  • ECM Tune
  • Brake System Upgrade
  • Cooling System Refresh
  • Interior Upgrades
  • GM Recall Service
  • General Repairs

Shout-outs Go To:
  • Touren Wheels
  • SOLO Performance
  • DDM Works
  • Pulstar
  • Midas of Lawrenceviile, GA
  • Colonial Buick/GMC of Loganville, GA

OK, here we go... :driving:
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
New Wheels...

First mod falls into the nip/tuck category - new wheels from Touren. We never really liked the "polished" stock wheels. I recall we really wanted the chrome wheels, but, way back in the bad 'ole days of 2006, selecting chrome wheels meant you car went on the dreaded "back-order" list potentially adding weeks/months to your wait time. We had to have our car NOW! So, we dropped back to the polished wheels which were not back-ordered. Crazy the things we did to get our hands on this little roadster. :willy:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Chassis and Exhaust...

Next, we placed a pretty good sized order with DDM Works for a wide array of upgrades both for performance, looks, and comfort. The DDM Works parts came in three shipments the first of which contained the bulk of the order including the chassis upgrades:

  • Z0K Sway Bars (Front / Rear)
  • Backbone Brace
  • Probeam Brace
  • Venom Brace

We also placed an order with SOLO Performance:

  • Shorty Header
  • Ultra High Flow Converter
  • Single CAT Back Exhaust Kit

Note, I went with the "QT Quiet" CAT Back Exhaust Kit. My reasoning is that this is a top-down roadster and I don't want to be screaming over the exhaust with the top down. Since these two orders arrived at about the same time, we hauled them over to our local Midas shop for installation. Midas did a great job on both the chassis and exhaust work and at a very reasonable cost. I tend to go to the dealership for work because I like the sense of comfort that GM trained mechanics are working on the car. However, Midas made me a believer that you can get good, quality work at really good prices from your local family-owned Midas shop. I'll post some video later of the exhaust note before and after.

WARNING: Before I had a chance to install the header heat shield, the headers literally vaporized the 10 year old plastic sheathing on several wires around the header. I wrapped the exposed wires in black tape, wrapped them again in metal heat tape, and placed new black plastic wire covers over all that. I then installed the header heat shield and engine cover. The heat was still enough to distort the black plastic wire covers. I am now running the car with no engine cover and what a world of difference. After a long run, I can touch the wire covers with my bare hand and it's just warm to the touch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
ECM Tune...

With the one major engine upgrade installed (the headers and exhaust) we made the drive over from Atlanta, GA to Greenville, SC to get an ECM tune done at DDM Works. As I posted earlier in another thread, we were VERY pleased with the results. The car is much more responsive. In fact, this past weekend, my wife and I were commenting that the car seems to have further improved with additional driving. We both noticed it independently. Not sure what to attribute that to (maybe we're both hallucinating or it's the really cold weather :lol:) but the car is at a new level of fun. You really can't post pictures of an ECM tune so here is one of my wife in the DDM Works waiting room while Dave was working on the car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Brakes, Recalls, and Repairs, Oh My...

The second shipment from DDM Works contained the stage one brake kit. Once that arrived, off we went for the last stop on Mina's tour: the dealership where we bought her all those years ago (seems like only yesterday... ;)). Of course they can't sell Pontiacs now so they are a Buick/GMC dealership. We had a lengthy list for them and Mina hung out there for a full week while we went to Gatlinburg, TN on vacation. Here's what they did:

  • Install Brake Rotors, Pads, Lines Upgrade
  • Replace ALL Hoses and Flush Cooling System
  • Repair Left Canvas Flap Cabling
  • Replace Both Key Fobs
  • Replace Daytime Running Lights (DRL) Sensor
  • Re-flash BCM Software (Optional TSB)
  • Perform GM Ignition Recalls 14113 and 14063

The dealership did a great job on all of this work and when we got Mina back she had all her little nit-picky issues resolved and was stopping much better!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Final Upgrades...

So, I didn't want to feel like I didn't do ANY of the work on Mina and so I did these mods myself:

  • Center Console Upgrade
  • Spark Plug Replacement
  • Short-throw Shifter Upgrade

Like many, we hate the stock cup holders! I think we've replaced the passenger foot-well cup holder at least twice in ten years and the one by the "waterfall" cubby is worthless - everything falls out of it it seems... So, I installed the DDM Works center console that includes two cup holders. It is a really high quality item and installed in under 30 minutes. I also went with the short-throw shifter to row the gears more efficiently!

Which brings us to the somewhat "controversial" upgrade. I sprung for the Pulstar Plasma Core spark plugs. Their website makes an honest effort to be objective. They show dyno results with positive improvements and some with no HP gains at all. I decided to given them a try. I just dropped them in this morning and fired up the car to make sure nothing blew up :lol:. With them being plasma and all, I thought something might melt ;). See that little rubber "boot" in the picture of my old factory plugs? That was on one of the four spark plugs. Very odd as these are the original factory plugs. The jury is still out as I haven't been able to drive the car much with them installed yet. I'll report back once I have some miles with them. I also plan to go to a dyno now that all this is done to see what kind of HP and Torque numbers I am getting at the wheels. I'll post those results as well. The only remaining item on our list is some hood and bumper touch-up. We think we're going with a clear film paint protector as well after the paint shop finishes up.

So, that's it. We wanted to do as much as we could to wring some more performance out of Mina while staying naturally aspirated (NA) and I think we've pretty much done that. We also wanted to fix the very few things that had broken over the years and add a little bling here and there. We just love this car and plan to keep hitting the north Georgia mountains every summer for some great top-down driving excitement!

P.S. The last photo is just to prove that I do own some tools and can find the engine... :lol:
 

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Great post. Enjoyed reading it. Enjoy your 10 years young baby.:thumbs:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks all for the replies! So far, all the mods are working together great! :cool:

Great set of posts. Thanks! How and when (what kind of driving) does one notice the difference after installing the Z0K Sway Bars ?
So the Z0K sway bars are heavier duty than the stock units and should further reduce body roll during high speed cornering. Two things keep me from really commenting on their effectiveness over the stock sway bars. First, I probably won't get into some serious twisty road driving until the Spring when we take our first day-trip to the mountains. Second, I also added three additional chassis stiffening upgrades and so I won't be able to really say what the impact of the Z0K sway bars are individually. I went with them simply because I was going to already have the car at the shop for a bunch of other work and they are mentioned as a good upgrade in the "
" book. Sorry I can't give you a better answer at present.
 

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(I only ask because I know my wife has started a "glass slipper" fund and I think she's eyeballing a few mods behind my back!)
 

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>> See that little rubber "boot" in the picture of my old factory plugs? That was on one of the four spark plugs. Very odd as these are the original factory plugs.

I believe that may be the insert from your sparkplug socket.
That gave me a giggle, right there. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
(I only ask because I know my wife has started a "glass slipper" fund and I think she's eyeballing a few mods behind my back!)
Everything (Parts + Shipping + Labor) came to ~$6K. That includes the maintenance and repairs the dealership did that were of course no longer under warranty. The recalls were free :lol:

I believe that may be the insert from your sparkplug socket.
You're probably right! :banghead: Although I just checked and the tool still has the round gasket inside it that is supposed to grip the the plug. Maybe that tool also has the rubber cap to grip the tip of the plug? Strange because none of the other spark plug sockets I have have a rubber boot like that. They all just have the round rubber gasket to grip the plug. Well, mystery solved! :thumbs:
 
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