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The Red Beast - 2002 Camaro "RS" V6 - Bright Rally Red

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  • #16
    Originally posted by phoenix_rising View Post
    Yeah I know how you feel there, but one thing I must say. Try finding a new car that would fill the void cheaper. Even with about $15,000 into my car that is still far cheaper than buying a new camaro or mustang. Plus your car looks so much better Imo. You need to get that hood installed and some 1.5" drop springs would be nice too.
    Oh yeah, you're right about the $$$. There's nothing brand new you can buy or lease for this kind of money that's as fun as an F-Body.

    That's right, you haven't seen CAM 4 in a while... and you must have missed some of my other posts! Stay tuned and keep reading, as I'll eventually get to the saga of the Hood from Hell!

    "PETA = People Eating Tasty Animals" -- 1977z28Will

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    • #17
      First Signs of Trouble in Paradise


      I soon put the brakes on my spending, as in the summer of 2009, the news constantly got darker and darker about GM. The layoffs were happening all around us, and we just never knew which of our colleagues would be missing next -- or if the next head in the guillotine block would be our own. It was time to start conserving cash in case the blade fell, and I needed to "get outta Dodge."

      By June, it was becoming evident that the car would sometimes experience lifter clatter. It was usually only when cold, and normally it would disappear in a handful of seconds. Because the car had 158,000 miles on it, we almost automatically assumed that the lifters were worn and draining down when it sat. Disturbingly, the lifter noise started to persist, and would take a long time to go away. Even though it was only one lifter that was complaining, I was starting to get concerned about driving the car. It was then that I decided to take the car over to someone who knew the 4th Gen F-Body and the 3800 powertrain inside and out -- I took it to Brian (bri2208) at MasterWorks in Madison Heights.

      Again, I ended up getting some deferred maintenance done to the car while it was in, including an injector & fuel system cleaning, and cleaning of the throttle plate. As for the lifters, it was decided to go the conservative route and see if there was dirt that was sticking in the orifices that was preventing the lifter(s) from pumping up upon start-up. They drained a quart of oil from the car, and put in a quart of Rislone.

      Ominously, they also had to top off the coolant... But we were still thinking good thoughts, and wanted to try the Rislone first before assuming the worst.

      The trick with the Camaro then came to be frequent oil changes. Between 1,000 mile oil changes and the use of Rislone, I cleaned a lot of gunk out of my oil system, and got the lifters to stop clattering. However, even Rislone would not guarantee their silence after 1,000 or so miles. And coolant was slowly but regularly disappearing... yet strangely, it did not seem to be appearing in the oil. There was no tell-tale brown milky foam or other residue whenever I changed the oil.

      My only other expenses for 2009 were the price of a 2002 Camaro sales catalog, and a stockpile of 5 more black plastic lug nut caps.

      My first driving season with The Red Beast was capped off by my first-ever event with MiFBody, the October 17 picnic in Elizabeth Park in Trenton. Here are some pics of CAM 4/The Red Beast with Darren's car, and a part of the group that ended up huddling around our impromptu campfire for warmth! Brian (of MasterWorks) and I were busy scrounging for wood to burn! I first met a lot of people that day who I still see out on Woodward. I still get a big smile when I think about that event! It was a great day!

      image_45591.jpg

      image_45592.jpg

      Expenses in this section:

      MasterWorks - Diagnose lifter noise, clean fuel system clean throttle plate ----- June 27, 2009 ----- $284.54
      eBay seller rpm118@cxxxxxt.net - 2002 Camaro brochure -------------------------- July 2, 2009 --------- $14.90
      Fresard - Lug caps ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ July 6, 2009 --------- $18.71
      Last edited by ktl711; September 22nd, 2017, 03:20 PM.

      "PETA = People Eating Tasty Animals" -- 1977z28Will

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      • #18
        The Red Beast Begins to Take Shape


        Even before the 2010 driving season began, I knew I wanted to upgrade The Red Beast at least cosmetically, if not performance-wise. To me, it looked too much like a “secretary’s car,” like a sports car for people who really aren’t into sports cars; they only want the looks and the image. Plus, the fact that I ended up with a V6 instead of a Z28 or SS meant that I would have to take a page from sales guru Elmer Wheeler’s book about selling the sizzle, not the steak. For the time being, in this post-GM bankruptcy world, I would have to be satisfied with whatever “sizzle” I could add, instead of enjoying an actual “steak.” And although the course towards making these upgrades was far from linear, the car definitely began a significant transformation towards its current state as what I refer to as an SS Tribute car.

        Around January 21, 2010 I found a craigslist ad for a partout of a 1999 Camaro SS convertible. Calls and emails flew back and forth, and soon I was making plans to pick up almost $1,000 worth of parts, including the SS hood. I rented a van, gathered a buddy to make the trip with me to Indianapolis, and headed off to pick up my newfound treasures.

        To say that things did not going according to plan would be an understatement. It quickly became evident that our seller was – although a nice guy, was a constant f*ck-up and was a little fast ‘n loose with the truth. He had told me that the hood was untouched in the accident that ended the SS’s life, but when I saw it, it had been touched up at the front edge with some primer. Not knowing what I was looking at, I took the guy’s word (again, like a sucker) that he just did a minor surface repair, and it was nothing. I returned to Detroit and left the hood in storage until later in the summer.

        Oh, and I wrote down the SS’s VIN and ran it through our GM Warranty system – I found that the car had been delivered to the Indianapolis 500 for use in conjunction with the 1999 race. The car’s order was even clearly marked in the system as a “FESTIVAL CAR.” As if wiping out a Camaro SS vert wasn’t bad enough, they also destroyed a documented Indy 500 Festival Car! Argh!

        But the tragedy surrounding the Indy trip wouldn’t be over for a few more months…

        In the mean time, on March 2, I finally got rid of the unsafe Eagle GTs that were on the car when I bought it, and went all full-tilt boogie for some Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus tires from Costco. I’m not kidding when I say that the new tires were utterly transformational! And best of all – no more hydroplaning!

        Version 2 (2).jpg

        Around March 9 I started having problem with my lights, so I ended up having to buy a new headlamp switch and a fog lamp relay.

        Then on March 12, another lead from MiFBody clued me onto a used Camaro SS exhaust system on craigslist and located in Livonia. I got lucky in a couple different ways – first, it all miraculously fit into the Mafia-sized trunk of my 1999 Cadillac Deville Concours nicknamed “Don Corleone;” and second, I got it for $100. That turned out to be a real steal because instead of a standard aluminized steel catback system like I expected, it was a full-stainless SLP Dual/Dual!

        I must have needed a breather –- either that, or my checking account did – as I had no more big expenses until the end of June. Up to that point in time, I had been replacing the oil every 1,000 miles due to valve clatter, and using a quart of Rislone with each oil change. The thought was that the lifters were tired and were prone to leak-down, but soon it became evident that my car had the dreaded 3800 leaky intake manifold gaskets – not too surprising at 172,000 miles, although those gaskets should have been replaced at least once by then! Finally, on June 29, I faced reality and bit the bullet, and got a reputable local shop to replace the infamous intake manifold gaskets at a decent price.

        Since I must have concluded that I had not spent enough money yet, I decided the time was right to haul the Indy SS hood over to MasterWorks Automotive for a repair and paint quote. Only after the experts looked at it did I realize how deeply and fully hosed I was. The primer on the corner was not just a repair of a crack; the guy actually built up a replacement corner of nothing but unsupported, solid Bondo to replace a 2 ½” chunk of the inner & outer panels that was lost in the crash. And on the other side of the hood, the inner and outer panels had separated, and needed to be rebonded. The painful bottom line was that it would take a lot more money to restore that hood than it would cost to buy a different one.

        But Fate sometimes works in strange ways. No sooner had I left MasterWorks, sulking in gloom, when someone posted up on MiFBody about an SS hood for sale in St. Clair Shores for $500. Not only that, but it was the same red paint as my car! I barely had the junk hood offloaded at my house before I was turning around and heading to St. Clair Shores with cash in hand. I got it for $450 because the paint wasn’t as good as the guy had described, but the underside was perfect and the hood was structurally undamaged. After the purchase, I triumphantly drove it directly to MasterWorks for paint, and you can see the result below, taken just after the finished hood was installed on July 20.

        Version 2 (1).jpg

        The next big step in beefing up The Red Beast’'s image started on August 4. BigBen (thisisthewayilive) posted up his 17x9" chrome 10-spoke wheels, along with 275/40/17 BFGoodrich KD tires still mounted to two of the wheels. I know, I know, I had just spent big money on some awesome Michelins, but the want for these wheels was strong. And the Michelins found a good home –- they are now on Angie’s (FireBirdGirl02) car!

        But before the wheels could appear on my car, I would have to locate two more tires. Money was dwindling fast now, so I started to look for some used tires to at least let me get the car on the SS rims. Meanwhile, I took The Red Beast into what I thought was a reputable muffler shop, and got the SLP Dual-Duals installed on August 16.

        The cash drain slowed for about a month, but on September 16, I got a set of new rear speakers from Crutchfield, followed by an elusive Whisper Lid that I found on LS1Tech.com four days later. The Whisper Lid is like an SLP air lid except it’s for the V6 cars. The lid was an easy installation, along a “smooth bellows” that I picked up at Lowe’s, and a new inlet air temperature sensor. Soon thereafter, however, I started to get a Check Engine light, and it’s been showing up intermittently ever since. According to the code pulled by Auto Zone, nothing serious is wrong, but I’m not going to pay to have that code tuned out on this tired old V6 engine just to get the light to go out!

        Another month then passed before shipping out more of my money. On October 21, I found a satin black tail panel (I’d call it a “Berger Panel,” but I don’t want WMCC Doug to aim any lightning bolts down at me!) on LS1Tech.com, which I figured would make for an easy upgrade to the plain-looking rear end of my car. It had to be shipped from Wisconsin, which drove the price up to the point where I could have probably bought three panels locally and had one resprayed, but at the time I didn’t know any better.

        Also on October 21, I started ordering the first bunch of LED lamps to convert the exterior of the car from incandescent. These first LEDs would convert the side markers and the tail lamps. I would eventually find out that using LEDs for the tail lamp bulbs also required installation of a specific turn signal flasher and a pair of resistors, so that the cruise control will work properly, and the CHMSL won’t work in reverse (“on” all the time, until you brake, and then it goes “out!”)

        On October 30, thanks to the eagle eyes of Dave “Hutch” (1slo_camaro), I drove to Muskegon to pick up two used BFG tires that he’d located for me on the Westside craigslist. Here is a photo of The Red Beast from that trip, and below that is the photo of the Beast just after it got its SS 10-spokes mounted. The car is really starting to stand out now!

        IMG_0251.jpg

        Version 2.jpg

        Naturally, nothing could remain rosy for too long! I soon found that our fine Michigan roads would be especially cruel to my beloved 10-spokes, and I ended up with a slightly bent rim within two weeks of getting them on the car. Again, Fate intervened and a craigslist search on November 14 revealed a single chrome 10-spoke wheel for sale in Wentzville MO. And in a case of serendipity, Wentzville is the location of a GM plant, so I asked around the production control office at the plant to see if anyone could secure the deal for me and get it shipped. Again, luck was working my way, and I got a fellow Camaro enthusiast from the IT department to get the deal done! The price was reasonable, and I saved on shipping because I begged one of my friends with family in Kansas City MO to make a detour during the holidays and bring it back with him!

        But I wasn’t done spending for the year quite yet! On November 22, I noticed an ad that Jason Short, an LS1Tech.com admin from Rochester NY had posted up. He was selling an OEM SS spoiler for $250. I jumped and bought the spoiler right away, and then convinced my cousins in Rochester that they should pick it up and bring it to me when they came to Michigan for Christmas! More shipping charges and potential for damage averted! The spoiler would not get stripped, repainted, and installed until the following April 16.

        The Red Beast spent the winter in my driveway for the last time in 2010-2011, and I used the opportunity to create a Christmas card to send out to my list. The cover photo is shown below, and the inside of the card contained a haiku which read:

        Sleepy Camaro
        dreams of summer adventure
        and warm Woodward nights

        Sleepy Camaro.jpg

        And that finally put an end to a very expensive year! However, the major pieces were now in place for The Red Beast as we know it today.


        Expenses in this section:

        Indianapolis craigslist –- 1999 Camaro SS parts ----- January 21, 2010 ------- $915.00
        Costco –- (4) Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus tires ------ March 2, 2010 ---------- $723.72
        Rock Auto -– Headlamp Switch & Lamp Relay ------- March 9, 2010 ------------ $58.24
        Livonia craigslist -– SLP Dual-Dual Catback ----------- March 12, 2010 -------- $100.00
        O’Brien’s Service –- Intake Gasket Replacement ----- June 29, 2010 ----------- $635.65
        St. Clair Shores craigslist -– SS Hood ------------------- July 6, 2010 ------------- $450.00
        MasterWorks –- Hood Repair & Refinish --------------- July 20, 2010 ------------ $404.50
        GM-Car-Parts.com -– Lug Nut Caps --------------------- July 28, 2010 ------------- $17.87
        BigBen –- Chrome 10-spoke SS wheels ---------------- August 4, 2010 --------- $350.00
        S&K Muffler -– Exhaust Installation ---------------------- August 16, 2010 -------- $100.00
        Trans Am Creations -– Radio Knob ---------------------- September 3, 2010 ------ $14.82
        Crutchfield –- Rear Speakers ------------------------------ September 16, 2010 ---- $87.74
        PACKERSz28Camaro(LS1Tech) -– Berger Panel ---- September 16, 2010 -- $105.00
        White01Formula(LS1Tech) –- Whisper Lid ------------- September 20, 2010 --- $120.00
        GM-Car-Parts.com –- Side Window Stabilizers ------- October 13, 2010 -------- $51.10
        SuperBrightLEDs.com –- (4) 74-xHP Lamps ---------- October 21, 2010 --------- $14.35
        Muskegon craigslist –- (2) Used Tires ------------------- October 30, 2010 --------- $40.00
        GM-Car-Parts.com –- DRL Skt & Fog Lamp Bulb ---- November 4, 2010 ------- $71.22
        Wentzville craigslist -– Chrome 10-Spoke Wheel ----- November 14, 2010 ---- $100.00
        Jason Short(LS1Tech) -– OEM SS Spoiler ------------- November 22, 2010 ---- $250.00
        Last edited by ktl711; September 23rd, 2017, 11:13 PM.

        "PETA = People Eating Tasty Animals" -- 1977z28Will

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        • #19
          Damn, I figured I would have been reading about the 5.7 install. We are all waiting for that.
          alone_and_insane likes this.
          When in doubt, Whip it out !

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          • #20
            Originally posted by farmington View Post
            Damn, I figured I would have been reading about the 5.7 install. We are all waiting for that.
            As am I! But I am eight years behind in my journaling here!

            "PETA = People Eating Tasty Animals" -- 1977z28Will

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            • #21
              So is this motor pulled out yet?
              sigpic
              1992 Chevy Camaro 25th Anniversary-SOLD
              1992 Chevy Camaro 25th Anniversary
              1997 Chevrolet Corvette

              The Original
              Originally posted by meissen
              I actually agree with Darren on everything he said...
              Originally posted by 81DaytonaPaceCar
              Yep, pretty much...not too often I agree 100% with Darren, but there it is...


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              • #22
                Originally posted by Darren View Post
                So is this motor pulled out yet?
                Look for the URL for my GoFundMe page here soon!

                Remember, you're not dealing with Brent here

                In fact, he and I were joking on FB that unlike his famous OVRBDGT personalized license plate, mine would be LO BDGT !
                Last edited by ktl711; October 18th, 2017, 10:11 AM.
                Atrus likes this.

                "PETA = People Eating Tasty Animals" -- 1977z28Will

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                • #23
                  Who can afford vanity plates?
                  DynoDave
                  POCI # 72200



                  1988 Pontiac Trans Am WS6

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                  • #24
                    Who has any vanity?
                    When in doubt, Whip it out !

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by DynoDave View Post
                      Who can afford vanity plates?
                      At the M&G this year, I don't think I've ever seen so many cars with vanity plates at a show in my life

                      1996 Camaro Z28 cam, heads, stall, and a few other goodies
                      Alumni Member, MSU Racing Club
                      THREE-PEAT MiFbody Meet & Greet "Longest Hauler Award" 2010, 2011, 2012
                      Originally posted by JasonH
                      It's amazing what you can get done when you throw copious amounts of money at something.

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                      • #26
                        Don't like vanity plates. Too easy for someone to remember your plate if you happen to do anything that might not be appreciated by john law.
                        When in doubt, Whip it out !

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Oh, I was just being a smartass. I have a vanity plate.
                          DynoDave
                          POCI # 72200



                          1988 Pontiac Trans Am WS6

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