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With the release of the new VE commodore we felt it was time to start another Project car , Project Monaro is still under  construction with a cage and new rear chassis which is in the final stages of construction  and update will be printed when complete.

The new VE opens up a whole new potential for the GENx series of engines , the 6.0L is a great starting base with its increased capacity and new redesigned high flow heads , the downside is the Commodore has been getting increasingly heavier with every model change .

The aim of Project VE is to follow the path most people that buy the car would ,the car has to be totally streetable , return good fuel economy and be street legal.

We will be doing a full series of upgrades from  bolt on upgrades to find out what works and what doesn't so the readers can make informed choices.

Also on the agenda is camshaft upgrades which should yield good results given the engine package and  we will be looking at looked at forced induction . We had intended to also look at a turbo setup but with the current legislation a turbo car over 4.0L cant be registered in WA legally and we have no intention of driving around a illegal car with all the problems of insurance and public liability.

On searching the yards looking for a suitable car to start modifying we decided to go with the harder option of a  SS-V auto due to this being a daily city driver and we chose the V option for the better leather seats, climate control and Stereo system which we believe we will be able to get around the can-bus integration at a later date to do a stereo install and DVD integration.

Initial test drives of the car to run the motor in left us pleasantly surprised with the drivability of the std 270kw package , the car launched out of the hole nicely even with its 2.92 diff ratio due to a lower 1st gear in the all new 6 speed gearbox , cornering is vastly improved on the older series of Commodore even with the added weight but we could feel there was room for suspension improvement , even if it was just to get the car down in the weeds rather than the factory 4wd look - next issue we will look at a suspension upgrade as well as some cosmetics.

Down at the dragstrip things were a different story with the car unable to crack a 13 sec time card , the best of the day on its first outing in totally stock form was 14.1@100mph  with the engine suffering badly from heat soak and every run getting slower than the previous. Back at the shop the car was strapped to the dyno for its baseline run , with the car just warmed up the first run was 207 rwkw ( which equates to approx 270 kw at the motor ) , but the most noticeable thing was every run lost approx 4 kw due to heat soak which is exactly what we experienced at the track.

We immediately decided some quality cold air was required so purchased a of the shelf cold air from a interstate company that was advertised to be the "THING" , bolting it on immediately helped raising power to 211kw but after 3 runs it kept separating its hoses due to its inflexible design and power dropped off as the  piping heated up. Back to the drawing board , we knew that the cold air was working but could see a few potential problems , in that a poor quality filter was supplied with the kit and being aluminum where it passed in front of the radiator it was absorbing too much heat. ( with any GENx motor induction heat is the biggest power killer , with earlier models we could eliminate the issue with a direct over the radiator intake but with the VE this is not a option )

It was decided to make our own induction kit that had the flexibility of silicon hose bends and used a full size K&N pod filter setup to maximize the potential of the motor, this would ensure we didn't get the heat soak into the intake and the pipe work wouldn't come loose as the engine moved in the engine bay

On the dyno the results showed immediately , power rose to a honest 220 rwkw and repeated dyno pulls showed it maintained consistent power. back at the track our results where backed up with a string of 13.78@102mph passes showing we had headed in the right direction. A added bonus was the new induction roar when giving it some stick.

After a promising result it was time to put the car back on the dyno and see what we could do with a PCM tune , knowing that we were going to be limited by the std exhaust but wanting to find the potential of the std package.

By carefully manipulating the tables in the PCM with EFILIVE to maximize the power delivery we found the new motor to be very spark sensitive especially with the exhaust being so restrictive , careful modifications were made to the torque management system as well as the fuel control to optimize the tune resulting in a healthy gain of power and torque throughout the entire rev range netting a healthy  231 rwkw from our std package ( or approx 310 kw at the engine )back at the track again we where pleasantly surprised to find the SSV consistently running 13.5@104mph not bad considering the little amount of effort involved to drop over 1/2 sec from its showroom spec time.

Next issue we will look at different exhaust designs to see what works best for these engines and get the car to the track to see if we can get that 12


News Flash , first pass at the track with new exhaust system and tune the car ran 12.93@107 mph , more details next issue of PSC and we will try some different launch techniques