Project VF Part I - The Baseline 


Time for a Baseline.



With the rain finally stopped and we were able to take the VF SSV to the strip and get a baseline pass down the black top dyno. Our in house test pilot, Shane Joyce (from here known as "The Stig Joyce") was briefed and handed the key to the 250km old car. "Fill it with Ultimate 98, select D for Drag and get us some data" were the only instructions...followed closely by "don't crash it!" 

Results were a very respectable 13.65@104mph. To buy a factory car that achieves the fuel economy and sophisticated drive of the VF and lays down a mid 13 second 1/4 mile pass is nothing short of awesome. This old hotrodder can remember running his first 13 second passes in a "hotted up" LX Torana with Ford 9" diff, vertical gate toploader and worked over 308 Holden at Ravenswood some 28 years ago and it was no car that you wanted to use as a daily driver when you earnt $220 a week clear...sure the LX went on to run 12.5@108mph but it was one hell of a hotty in those days where as Holden's standard production car near on kicks it's arse! The Torana didn't even have a wireless never mind My Link! How times have changed...




Dyno Time!






With a heavy work load retarding progress of Project VF we made some time to get the red rocket onto the dyno. Baseline best of three pulls in ShootOut 8 showed in dead standard form from air box to tail pipe and 400km on the odometer the L77 put 317rwhp to the rear wheels. Keeping in mind that a VZ HSV LS2 manual made similar power rear wheel, the L77 isn't a bad thing for a DOD, multifuel low comp ECO banger.

But hey, this is a speed shop and standard is boring so the spanners came out along with the EFILive tune tool and it was time to beat on this thing some. Here at SQP we offer a OTR and mafless tune upgrade on these cars for the guy who wants to unleash the beast without having the hassle that aftermarket exhaust can be prone to attract from the anti fun brigade in blue. We started with a VCM OTR and a baseline calibration drawn from our VE experience (you can call it a tune if you like but that is what you do to AM radios). Over 8 dyno pulls with careful logging we were able to extract 341rwhp at a modest 5300rpm. Gains can be seen from 3500rpm on so it is not like it only picked up in the high end. Interestingly GM love their knock sensors and as timing was pulled from the peak that their calibration engineers had decided it needed, resulting with it sitting on the knock sensor the whole time even with 98 octane fuel in the tank, power increased. Rev limitter was left at the factory setting of 6100rpm being that this is a DOD motor and power peaked at 5500rpm why rev it more? A change to our new carbon fibre over the radiator intake yielded another 2 rwph so not only does it look sharp it performs as well. Remember the testing at this point is with a factory standard exhaust system.



 Back to the track with it tonight. We predict performance gains based from 10 years of using the same chassis dyno and calibration backed up on the black top dyno of 3 tenths and 3 mph from the power increase shown but wouldn't be surprise to see a 4 tenths/4mph gain over the 1/4 mile in total with the taming down of GMs torque management. Why produce an engine that makes stout torque and power and then put Nanna in the ECU to pull it down? Remember, the drag stip is about average power over time not peak power on a dyno print out... No changes have been made to the auto calibration at this point other than to remove torque reduction on the shifts. We know there is more in shift times etcetera but want to leave it "as is" at this point to demonstrate what a careful recalibration of the ECU, chucking Nanna out of the back seat (torque management) and free flowing air intake will do. 



So How Did It Go?




Results are in. The Stig Joyce did a total of 4 passes last night. Even with the weather conditions unfavourable for making good power and considerably worse than when the baseline passes were run, Project VF smashed out a 13.26@107.39mph. In running order it went 13.27@106.5 mph, 13.27@107.39mph, 13.33@110.97mph and 13.26@107.39mph. The consistency is awesome and shows the validity of the ECU calibration having all "take the fun out of it" parameters under control. The stand out pass showing 110.97 mph is a bit of an anomaly that drag racers are prone to seeing. The car spun the wheels quite severely through the top of first and into second gear. This killed the 60' time giving the car more time to make speed over the track distance of 1320'. Hence the ET is slower yet the mph is higher. We will throw that one out of our test data as it wasn't backed up by any other run. Quite clearly the black top dyno backed up what we saw on the chassis dyno. At SQP we don't market our products and services by quoting peak power output from a chassis dyno as this can vary from machine to machine...we prefer to offer what GAIN will be achieved by the quoted modifications. Before and after is the only thing that can be truly quantified given the random nature of chassis dyno peak numbers that can be skewed by strapping, tyre type and ramp rates.




 Next? We will upgrade the exhaust. Stay tuned!


Change Of Plan



After reviewing the logs from last time we had project VF to the track, it was decided to recalibrate the automatic tranmission controller (TCM) to see what gains we could achieve. Some careful logging on the road and attention to shift pressures and shift times was loaded and to the track it went. First pass it dropped .1 seconds with a big slip of the tyres into second.



Second pass it backed up the first.



It was decided to let it sit until the air came around some...



So there you have it...a genuine flat 13 second car with no mods other than a cold air intake and ECU/TCM controller recalibration. A 12 is right there with a better rear tyre to combat the slip into second gear but we will leave it at that for now as it is totally repeatable to our customers. Next we will do some exhaust testing with different brand header and cat converter configurations.





Found some time to get an exhaust onto the VF. We are starting out with our tried and true DiFilippo exhaust package consisting of 1 3/4" long tube 4 into 1 headers with 3" collectors. Into DF twin 3" high flow cats and twin 3" cat back. This system on the market that is truly stainless steel from exhaust port to tip. Many systems we see here use mild steel headers even though the client is told he has full stainless...this package we have done countless times on VE Commodores and follows on from what we developed on VT/VX right back in 2002.

All bolted up onto the dyno it went and tuning began. As can be seen from the dyno report below, we achieved good gains from the beginning of the dyno run to a peak of 25rwhp over the standard system. I have included the original factory floor runs to show the increases so far. It was pleasing that the engine was less prone to knock now that the exhaust was freed up. In summary, we are 50rwhp above where the car left the show room.



Straight off the dyno and to the track Project VF went. A humid evening at the 'Plex was experienced after a hot day. Even though Project VF picked up just on 2.5 tenths over its previous average and 2 tenths on it's PB with a 12.86@110.02mph as a first lap. That is an increase of near 3mph from it's previous best showing once again that our Dyno Dynamic machine give repeatable and predictable results everytime. From the base passes, for every 10hp we have shown as an increase on the dyno, has been backed by 1mph on the black top...right on Moroso speed calculator numbers. We last found this in 2002 when we were messing around with the VU ute that set all the benchmarks in the day. Same dyno now and the same increases backed by the same track. 



                                                                  Second pass backs up the first...but slightly quicker 12.85@110.02mph.



 The above documented performance gains are what are offered at SQP as our entry level Stage1 exhaust/OTR and tune upgrade. We have now validated it on the VF. In the new year we will continue on with headers and cat configurations ready for the first of our planned cam upgrades. No smoke and no mirrors. Just genuine Track Backed dyno results. Check in after Christmas for the next instalments of Project VF. Keep safe and happy hotrodding!




   Cyclone Season? No. Time for a Hurricane.



Well as promised, we decided to test another set of headers on the VF. We were left short by other manufacturers who promised us product for the last 6 month but never supplied...too scared to face the truth? So we sat on the custom Hurricane 1 3/4" 4-1 pipes with 3" collectors and made some custom 100 cell cats to couple it to the DF cat back.




Onto the dyno we went where the results were interesting. After a retune for the different flow characteristics of the headers power out put was 3rwhp down! Dyno anomoly or real result? Or is it the same? Too close for the numbers to tell.




Too close to call we took it to the track.  Results require some analysis. Once again they show the dyno tells no lies when used in the manner as what it is designed for...before and after testing. Not absolute power readings where peak power numbers are used as a penis stretch. Best of the early runs was 12.83@108.56mph. The weather was similar to the previous runs with DF headers so it is safe to say power was the same.






After Shane blasted his way into the Top 10 reaction time shoot out, the only car amoungst 9 bikes, with a stellar .006 shot at the tree Project VF rolled off it's best ET to date with a 12.77@108.95mph pass.




Change in headers? Track conditions? Air on the night? I reckon it is pretty safe to conclude that both header and cat combo's performed equally as well as each other. The numbers are too close to tip the scales in one way or the other. We will come back to the header shoot out later though when we start stepping up the power of the 6L motor. I feel that the engine has no restriction with either sets of pipes so both being the same size primary and similar configuration perform equally as well at this point. We will leave the jury out and see where the journey takes us.

At this point we are concluding Part One of Project VF. I know we have more ET in the tank with better conditions later in the year with the experience we have on VE being heavier cars but running in the mid to low 12s in Stage One trim but want to move onto validating our Stage One cam package. Not waiting for the best conditions gives you, the consumer, a true real world shot at repeating what you read here. We have removed no weight from the VF and still have spare wheeel, jack etc in the car. Other than varying fuel tank volumes we are keeping it as constant as possible. We even have the same air in the tyres as delivered!


See you in Part Two as we run through some cam packages.



Project VF Part II - Let the CAMs Begin >>