project VF II


Project VF II  - The New Frontier.




Welcome Back Racefans!

After Project VF why Project VFII? Is it the desire to work for free or the need to spend money on cars to give the tech away? Well it sort of goes like this...

Reason we didn't go LS3 from day one is the market is a 6L based platform...but we love LS3s and when the engine came standard fitment in the VFII...well it was on like donkey kong. Why a ute this time? Australia's version of the sports car is why! With PVF we were never out to run the fastest times we could get from the upgrade path. We set out to demonstrate what each mod did as we went and let the improvements show through. It was to be repeatable by our customer base as we did it with one of the heaviest sedans around. With PVFII we are light weight. We aren't stripping weight or the likes but have chosen a platform that will deliver the best bang out of each step. We aren't going to mess around with the steps that deliver the nicest daily driver or place those kind of restraints on PVFII...we are interested in only one thing - GOING FAST! What we are setting out to do is once again demonstrate an upgrade path of popular selling packages from SQP but we will be going a few different ways about it this time. Hope you follow along and enjoy the journey...we will!


So PVFII is a Redline ute. We sourced it used from Melbourne with 8600km with one rod it. Auto it is again for repeatability. Track opened on the 6/9/2017 after the winter recess and we were there getting a baseline. How did it go standard with a half tank of BP Ultimate98? Bunch of laps under the pedal for a very best of 13.37@106mph. First lap on the track no ran This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. on the next followed by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 13.577@104.80mph. Those laps were all in quick succession so the heat sink from std air box and scabby old MAF really started to impact on performance. But as a dead standard off the line car...we reckoned that was stout. it has a LS3 though and we know how good they are...




OTR, SQP Custom Engine Calibration - with SQP Automatic Controller Calibration.









Big title for what is commonly known as a OTR with mafless tune hey?? But we thought the place to start on PVFII is as per PVF...the basics. So on the dyno it went. Power runs as per factory tune with OEM airbox and in went a SQP Mafless calibration and VCM OTR fitted. Standard exhaust and manifolds are retained. The gains are decent but the impressive thing is how it picked up all the way from 4000rpm through to new redline of 6750 rpms. 6750rpm? But we didn't rev PVF like that...reason? DOD lifter. Some lift the limiter and fill the pan with broken lifters but not SQP. PVFII has the lightweight LS3 valve train and upgrade spring from the we revved it up some!  With a broad gain of 20hp over that range, we were expecting a nice turn out once we returned to the track. We revised the automatic calibration strategy to take advantage of the extra power and rpms. This is a key piece to getting these cars running and running hard...PVF had 100s of passes on the factory trans with nothing more than high stall and calibration changes. PVFII will follow that same path. Finally the weather cleared and we hit it up. PVFII is T16 on the following time cards.



So straight up we had a nice improvement over standard but the wheel slip off the line was killing any hope of a decent run...change of tyre pressure and lets go.



Straight into the 12s! But the wheel spin! Great fun but slow. The mph is really showing a great gain and 114mph is smoking! But where is the et? Time for a burnout maybe...will some temp in the Bridgies bring them on?



Oh shit yeah! 12.41@113mph is hooking! Standard exhaust...just otr and SQP tune. That is a real bang for the buck right there. Still spinning the tyres on the shift and through second so if a small burnout helped...maybe a bigger one in the other lane.....



12.40@115.41mph! Sure looks like a 12.30 is on the cards if we could get rid of some slip....bigger burnout?



12.36@115.54mph!! Far out. A low 12 second pass out of a dead standard SSV Redline ute with only a OTR and ECU/TCM calibration! That is mad in anyones terms. We are berated daily with comparos between some Korean turbo "sportscar" and a standard you reckon with that imitation muscle would get near the atmo pushrod V8 with a mild mod?? Naah? Who cares anyhow...turbo rice. Stinger is what you get after too much rum! LOL! What a great car these things are and we stopped making drive off the return road in your streeter reading the time slip, put the helmet behind the seat and drive out the gate without even changing the shifter selection after running a low 12 second quarter is pretty cool...


So where to next?? Time to get a set of long tube headers on this thing with a free flowing exhaust. Following on from PVF, we have been approached by a national Brand to do some back to backs on their product using PVFII as the test mule. Make sure you have liked us on FB as we will post notifications of updates to PVFII there! See you soon...



Exhaust Testing - Let the Game Begin!!






Moving froward from basic mods like OTR and tune, the next step was to start putting some exhaust and headers at PVFII. Autopace Distributors are the company tasked by Pacemaker to wholesale the Pacemaker range of headers and exhaust in Western Australia. But their range doesn't stop want to make your own exhaust or headers? They carry an extensive collection of bends, flanges, vband etc. Plus retro conversion change over stuff to get a late model mill into many early model cars. They followed PVF closely and asked to be a part of the testing once we got PVFII up and going. We welcome them on board! So first station of call was to fit up the Autopace supplied 1 3/4" primary 4-1 headers with twin 3" cat back system to the ute. We are again starting with the "small" 1 3/4 primary to set the baseline. As per PVF with the 6L we have always found the response to be the best on the street using that size pipe. PVF showed the small pipe to be the quicker each time we did a back to back against 1 7/8" primaries...even with a 402 stroker running 10.80s! Many questioned those findings but offered no data to validate their derision...



1 3/4" header with "merge" 3" collector to high flow cats with twin 3" cat back.



Factory system as per VFII specs.



 On the floor as it isn't needed any more!!



Fit is nice and high- a real bonus for the ultra low guys!!



Pacemaker system and headers was time for the dyno...



A very nice increase for sure. The sound is great giving a real V8 burble without being rediculously loud. The numbers at 394 rwhp were the best we saw from the retune and header/exhaust change out. It was in the high 380s as an average. As to be expected, the increased breathing of the headers and exhaust allowed for a nice tuning window increase. The engine became a lot more flexable to timing where as with the factory manifolds and cats it was very narrow and would get into knock without much change in conditions. 


So with no delay he took PVF to the track...rain was around but we went for gold anyhow...couldn't wait. Couldn't sleep!! LOL!! Through scrutineering and straight on the track...we are T112 this time down.




Wheel spin through second gear was tragic...tramped and rattled the tyres something fierce but a PB none the less with a This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. !



Adjusted tyre pressures and back around...lttle quicker but the shift into seconds and third is losing so much time with slip...give it another shot on the streeter 20" tyres...



Went a new PB with 12.19 but losing so much time with wheel spin. 1.93 to the 60' isnt shabby on a standard Bridgy with standard diff ratio and converter. Damn quick lap concidering the mods and set up. But then the rain came nd I have spent enough years of my life waiting for tracks to dry so headed home to recoup and get some street drag radials organised...on the way out...thought it would be interesting to put PVF over the scales...



Photo above is with 1/4 tank of fuel, mats, laptop, water bottle etc but no driver. Holden specify the curb weight at 3805lb. Looks like we are on the mark weight wise. PVFII has full size spare also. So no light weight as hoped for!!



Then I stepped on the scales with it!! Might be time to get "The Jockey" Joyce back in!! LOL!! 



Hoosiers on- We're Back!!




With PVF we found going to a drag radial initially slowed the car...the  car needed a percentage of slip to stop it from bogging on the shift into second. Going to a drag radial on PVFII we hoped like crazy that pinning it to the track wouldn't lead to it costing us time. But with the level of slip we were seeing we had to do something as we were going no where in a hurry!


Tyres heated...lets see...we are T23 this time round.



Straight up we still had some spin...into the other lane and try again...



Identical but MPH was down... Adjust tyre pressures and hit a bigger burnout...



Hey a new PB! This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ! Cool stuff. Lets go again.



This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . There is definitely s discrepancy between the two lanes for the mph to be swinging around like it is...mph beams can be strange things! But ET PB none the less. Air is far from special but that is great for our testing going forward. Don't really need the ideal conditions...average is best!



Hey PVFII spits out a 12.0!! 12.09@117.4 in the right lane. Really wanted to see a 12.0 out of it so thiat is really satisfying! But is there more??



Spun the tyres...Grrrr!!!



12.10@117.7 mph. Huge speed but she is still struggling to get out of the hole as such. Check out the reaction times though guys...old bloke is getting dialed in!! Or is it luck?? 1.90 60' is stout for standard 3.27 rear and converter on 4140lb!! So it was clear that the small headers didn't hurt the lower end power of the engine and actually inproved it getting out of the hole. Again these late cars amaze me what we can achieve with just some basic bolt ons and good tuning. To run 12.0 with dead standard car OTR and exhaust is awesome! There is definitely a 11 second 1/4 in the LS3 powered car in the right conditions with the mods above. We have other fish to fry so will move on quickly from here. The Pacemaker product sounds great and gave us a nice increase of over .27 seconds and 2.2mph over the OEM parts. Anyone see where that Kia Stinger went?? LOL!! Back soon!!



Big Is Better?




Back when we were messing with Project VF with the 6litre engine, we did many back to backs on header sizes and what improvement they offered in performance. The one very hard thing to demonstrate is the difference how the car drives on the road as in it's responsiveness and lack of being in a "hole" that over headering a car can cause. We constantly see people claiming that "back pressure" is required and too big a exhaust will result in loss of torque...well mostly that is crap. The efficiency of the header is what dictates the torque range...not the size of the drain pipe off the header! As long as the system is unrestricted it really has little impact in what is happeneing as far as moving gas out of the cylinder. Now if the header is too small, we introduce pumping loss via the engine using power off itself to force the gasses out of the engine...there is no free ride except for when the valve first opens at the end of the power stroke. Taking advantage of this flow via pipe size and length is the key to a good header design.


With PVF we did out back to backs with DPE headers. This time around to start with we are doing a direct comparison between the two Pacemaker offerings. So here we go again with the old 1 3/4"-v-1 7/8" thing again...suckers for punishment aren't we...



The picture above shows the two sets of pipes from Pacemaker in direct comparison. Both sets are very similar in pipe path and length. The collector is same size and length also with the 1 3/4" pipes having a smaller step down in the collector. Only real difference is the diameter. Lets get them on and to the dyno...



On the dyno the bigger pipe shows us some extra beans up top as you would expect from a larger diameter pipe...if the smaller pipe was a restriction it would show there. Why? As the engine is turning harder, even though it is past peak torque and its point of max volume efficiency, it has less "time" to get rid of the spent charge from the cylinder. This is the same reason we extend camshaft duration for higher rpm protential...the engine is past its real points of efficiency and need "help" to get its job done. So we look like we have picked up a few hp up top. These runs on the dyno sheets are all back to back...there is no fan and cool off time at the track once you hit the burnout real world tests.


So Project VFII is driven to the track once again, wheels changed and onto the did we go? First run out it is all promising...air is worse than last time down but we are at the same mph as last time down with small pipes. ET is decent with a 12.11.




Quick check of data and into the burnout box again. 12.14@117.60mph A little slower than the prevoius run to the 60' ...around again. Try the other lane...




Well it picked up some of the 60' time but no quicker through the track that with the smaller pipes. Again the anomaly with the mph beams shows up in this lane again....back in the other lane.



12.10@118.22mph. Starting to see a gain in mph over the small pipes but ET is stagnent. Best we went with 1 3/4" Paceys was 12.09 and 117.79mph.




Well it is just not there with the bigger pipes. We are seeing no gain in ET on the quarter than with the 1 3/4" other than 1/2mph in the traps. It is consistently slower in the 60". Really the bottom line with the two Pacemaker offerings is there is no real loss with the bigger pipe on the standard 6.2L. It is interesting that the 6.2L is no where near as sensative so it would seem to the larger pipe and loss of midrange. Or is it that the smaller pipes aren't optimised for the situation and aren't showing how good they are in comparison? Again...the one thing we can't show with numbers is the response etc on the street..when you roll the throttle on from a low rpm with std converter or M6 car...the torque at this lower rpm is deminished with  the big pipes. All simulations and physics models confirm this. The seat of the pants accelerometer tells no lies! The air was better with the 1 3/4" pipes for sure and in the same air I would of expected the bigger pipe to come over the top of the small pipe but it isn't going to be by 10th of a second! Again we thank Gregg at Autopace and Pacemaker for supplying us the product to do these back to back tests with. It is great working with people that want to put their product up for the real world scrutiny that these sorts of back to back do.



  DPE Time




So after running through the results with the Pacemaker product and referencing that back to to what we saw with Project VF and the 6L engine...we thought it was time to fit up some DPE product and have another track attack. As touched on earlier with discussion on pipe shape and length, it was a great opportunity to do a straight comparison of the two different companies takes on header design. Basic observation show the DPE header to come off the port longer and straighter before turning...this is always shown on the flowbench to give better flow. As for pipe length  they are very similar once again reinforcing that header design is dictated by the platform it will be bolted into.None the less is it going to be an interesting set of test. Now we must say at this point...we have no axe to grind with any company on this one...different people and shops have different allegiances to different products and brands for different reason. We are here to do just some straight back to backs. Not to disparage anyone companies products. DPE product supplied by the WA distributor FTP.



Apart from the shape off the head, both sets of pipes are very similar even to the collector "pinch" area. The DPE header looks longer in the collector but this is really misleading as both attach to 3" exhaust so that length past the "small" area isn't relative once a system is bolted on.



 The picture above shows how much longer the pipe stays straight before turning on the DPE pipes against the Pacemaker. Not a huge difference but will be interesting to see the outcome. DPE twin 3" system went on at the same time for ease of fitment with the headers.





With system and headers fitted was onto the dyno...



As seen above, the DPE headers and exhaust showed a few hp more than the Pacemaker set up it replaced...even with a smaller primary size. But such small changes are hard to believe on the dyno where temp corrections etc etc can lead to a few HP either way with no changes!! Heat the room up and more power comes...lucky we don't race dynos hey?! Will have to get this one to the track for a back to back.


Great thing was as Wednesday rolled around the weather was near identical to the outing a week before. Scrutineered, drag radials on ( these changing wheel thing is getting old already but it is the price of driving to and from the track with these test cars)...track attack time!



Pretty much identical numbers as the 1 7/8" headers straight off the bat in far worse air...around again.



Slower to the 60' with a little tyre slip but really nothing changed. Bigger burnout and try again!!



Hey a new PB!! 12.088@117.65mph! Little pipes boxing above their weight. Straight around for another attack...



Another PB! 12.048@116.94mph! That is so close to going a 11 with no other mods but OTR, tune and exhaust! 1.892 60' is cooking! Around again and lets see if we can get an 11 to pop up...



Naah...spun the wheels a little in the 60'...and slowed to a 12.08@117.91mph. Called it a night and put the street wheels back on.


The conclusion? Yet again...the small pipes produced the best result. Was it a big improvement? No. But they undeniably held their own and showed an improvement in weather conditions that were near on identical to the week previous. Was the DPE a stand out performer over the Pacemaker Product. No. It pipped the times of the PM small header but not by a lot. All the systems/headers could have a blanket chucked over them and what wriggled out thew other side is very comparable to each other. There was no stand out other than the small stuff was quickest...the big pipes slightly fastest going 118.22mph but slower in the 60' Best out of the 1 3/4" pipes was 117.91mph so there is not a lot in the top end with the bigger pipes!! Bottom line...selection of the system would come down to the sound you are after. And the seat of the pants dyno will give a thumbs up for the smaller pipe too...both things that aren't able to be shown in numbers on a screen...but enough on the exhaust stuff for now...time to get us a 11 second unopened record. Back soon!




 Gearing Up



So with Round One of the header/exhaust testing out of the was time to hit the Ute up with some rear gears. Quick call to Jeremy Mosley at Motospec saw a nice set of Motive gears on their way. Added to it with a good limo in the form of a Torque Locker and we were ready to lock and load. Two wheel burnouts from here on!




Gears fitted and lubed, trans controller recalibrated for ratio and it was time to hit the track. First run out straight into the 11s! Quicker in all the short numbers straight up. Adjust tyre pressures and around again we go.



Still in the 11s but no improvement. Not getting as much hook as we need to get a good result...




Getting a little better and still a good step up from the last PB of 12.04 before gears but struggling with wheel spin.





Slower in the 60' again but a new PB none the less. Check out the MPH! That is smoking for an unopened engine.




Well the rear gear ratio change gave us an honest 10th gain over the quarter from our previously best. But with the amount of wheel spin it was short of where we want to be. So...time for some more rubber!!


275 Radial Time...




With the current trend that you can't go fast without 275 radial and just having a set of 17x9.5" rims laying around left over from PVF...we got some nice fresh Hoosier 275 Drag Radials in and mounted them up. Quick bi word here. Randall and Dave at Jandakot TyrePower have been a longtime supporter of PVF and have provided tyre change outs and balances on our race rims for a number of years. Great guys who do a awesome job...need tyres...look them up!

So tyres on it was to the 'Plex! We are T17 this time down. First pass out...PB straight up. Just! Hey a PB is a PB ok??





Adjust tyre pressures, bigger burnout and hit the tree...another PB. Just! 11.94@117.79mph.





Line it up in the LH lane...that mph anomaly is still there! 11.93@114.82mph. New best...





No changes and back in the LH lane. Track is coming around now and so too is the air...will we see an 11.8?




So close! This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Can't go home without an 11.8....



And there it is! 11.89@115.60mph! That is flat out mad for a dead standard engine with nothing more than diff gears, OTR 1 3/4" headers with twin 3" exhaust. Some careful programming and that is all! Really impresses me the performance we can extract from modern muscle.


So where to next......


More Stall?






A couple of years ago when the Arron's VFII Calais V with SQP package consisting of DPE exhaust, OTR, gear and SQP calibrations took him inot the 11s unopened...there were accusations that it had a converter and cam in it. Not least a converter. Well the car had never had a bolt out of it except for the exhaust change out. But to see where a converter would of got it out of interest...we had the 3800 lockup converter hanging around with cooler from PVF and thought..."lets chuck it in and have a look where it takes us." Speaking of which...there were the merge collector headers hanging around also so they got fitted while the converter was out.

Just to recap on those...1 3/4" primary into a merge collector going down to 2.5" before stepping out to 3". Here is a pic.



Privately we were hoping ot see it go into the 11.60s. How did it go?? We are T117 this time.


Straight up a great improvement. Massive gains in the 60'. .25 of a second. New PB of 11.74@116 mph. Adjust tyres and around again.



Ahh slower. Quick look through the log and some changes made to the trans cal. Another change in tyre pressures...



WooHOO!! 11.68@116.89mph! That is smoking!! Some more cal changes in the trans...



Amother PB!! This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Air is coming in...tracking is hooking up...lets go again.




11.63@117.68mph! That is hooking...getting late! Time to squeeze one more in...



11.61@117.77mph! 1.57 to the 60' is blasting out of a unopened LS3. Damn how close is that to a 11.50?? Never enough with drag racers hey? Came here looking for a 11.6...near get 11.5s and go home pondering...




Well You Know Where Thinking gets You...




Image from High Octane Photos.


Most readers of PVF will have noticed that our Jetpilot mega driver Shane Joyce has been missing from PVFII. Not through choice but time hasn't permitted Shane to be able to get in the ute for us. But seeing as the converter got it so redulously close to 11.50s and he being 45kg lighter than me...we managed to get the planets to align and get him down for a run. As can be seen by the bags being boiled off the ute in the pic above...he doesn't pay for the tyres!! LOL.


So after looking through the logs from last time we were down there. I identified some areas where I thought we could make PVF quicker via TCM and ECU calibration. A tune is never finished and is always a work in progress... At this point, cal was left alone to pick up on where it was last show. Joycey in. Lets GO!! We are T106.



Hey that isn't what we were after!! But all being fair...track was green.




Now we are cooking! Straight into the 11.5s- 11.55@117.76mph. Best 60' to date of 1.55. Cal changes flashed in...this is getting to be exciting.



Another PB. Slower in the 60' just but picked it up through the track. Some more cal changes based on the log and feedback from Shane...




What can I say? 11.48@118.26mph. Dead standard show room stock LS3 with the plugs it left the line with. That is out of control. Can it step up again?



Yeah it did! 11.47@118.50mph. We left it at that as Shane had to get away early needing his beauty sleep for an early start the next day. But summarising...


We set out ot do a little exhaust testing and so on with PVFII. We have never had a spanner on it but for fitting headers and the other mods outlined in this narrative. The front cover has never been off...there is no sneaky cam. There is no convenient positioned nitrous purge. The only gas in it is in the AC which I must say is icey cold!! It is as Mr GM put this LS3 together in Mexico before shipping it to Holden. Unmolested. Each time we have made a change it was the first time that part had been changed since it left Elizabeth. It even still has the original spark plugs!!

What has always kept us interested in drag racing is the thirst to improve and expand out knowledge base and tuning. using it as a sure fire way to improve our products and back up data seen in the shop and on the dyno. Starting in the late 80s at Ravo with hotty street cars and working through classes culminating in racing Top Doorslammer and being involved in the last Australian Championship NOT won by John Zappia it has been through hard work of looking through logs and collating data that SQP has forged its reputation. It is earned. Constantly innovating, we always strive to find the next level of performance. Dragracing is a game of parts of a second. Getting all those parts to cut off seconds is the gig! Optimising PVFII to make the best out of the standard engine has been a great challenge and really showed us a thing or two we will take forward on the next step of the its development.


Is Project VFII the quickest and fastest bolt on unopened n/a VF in Australia? Don't know for sure but 11.40s out of a stocker would sure take some beating hey?? Never set out to do that but reckon that is a serious line in the sand that will take some getting over.


So where to now? See you in the new year for the next chapter. We won't be working on it for a month so if anyone wants to come and see if the covers have been off...they are welcome! Love being accused of cheating...means we are doing stuff others can't or haven't been able to do.


Here is another look at it in the burnout pit....what a sexy beast!! LOL!!






 Project VF II Part II - Giving The LS3 Some Stick >>