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We have been trying to make mine work for over a year and half. You better have a great mechanic, a very good tuner. And some spare cash, maybe a lot of spare cash.
 

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I may be interested. Can you pm me more details? Does it have the suggested box as part of the kit?
 

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I knew when we first installed this set up, there was a problem. Not with the equipment, but the custom tune provided by Trifecta. I heard a terrible noise on the first drive. No one could access the tune, including DDM. We tried for almost 2 years to get it to work. The other day we went back to stock and had a consistent misfire on cylinder two. Turns out the top of the piston is broken. A lot of very talented people worked on this, but did not see the misfire on a regular basis, and I think the notification was turned off in the tune. We put the ECM back to stock and it continously threw codes for misfire on 2. Car still ran but started missing terribly..

I ordered a new LNF/LDK engine, it is supposed to be here tomorrow. We will re install the Base Trifecta tune for the stock engine, and hopefully I will have my car back. Also ordered a new 3 row aluminum radiator. Will most likely do the new front bumper with the splitters from Europe.

Wishing you luck with the sale.
 

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I knew when we first installed this set up, there was a problem. Not with the equipment, but the custom tune provided by Trifecta. I heard a terrible noise on the first drive. No one could access the tune, including DDM. We tried for almost 2 years to get it to work. The other day we went back to stock and had a consistent misfire on cylinder two. Turns out the top of the piston is broken. A lot of very talented people worked on this, but did not see the misfire on a regular basis, and I think the notification was turned off in the tune. We put the ECM back to stock and it continously threw codes for misfire on 2. Car still ran but started missing terribly..

I ordered a new LNF/LDK engine, it is supposed to be here tomorrow. We will re install the Base Trifecta tune for the stock engine, and hopefully I will have my car back. Also ordered a new 3 row aluminum radiator. Will most likely do the new front bumper with the splitters from Europe.

Wishing you luck with the sale.
Skersfan, do you have a picture of that piston? I have a feeling you suffered from the dreaded "piston chip" caused by an overheated cylinder that causes the ring gap to close and the ring to hang in the stroke eventually "chipping" the top of the piston. This "hang" gets read as knock in the scans and is why I always am looking for 0 KR. Old habit from the 3800 days. (Pic of my damaged Grand Prix 3800 attached for reference.)
 

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No pictures, we did it with a scope. You told me that the tune was a time bomb, unfortunately I think it was too late when you looked at it. Hopefully have it in by next weekend.

I think that explains the occasional puff of smoke coming from the engine. It seemed I was the only one to see it until about week or two ago. Curt was behind me and saw it. I think the tunes covered it up. I have learned my lesson. Car is too fun to drive to have it set for two years, and dumping thousands of dollars into it to find out what I expected from the first day.

Must be tough little boogers to withstand what we did to it for the last two years. I lost 6K in storage site and insurance for that period, not even considering every thing that we did to it, dragging it to Colorado and on and on. My guess and most likely pretty close, 20K to blow an engine in the first two minutes of operation.
 

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Yea, the knock we were seeing was more than troubling. Would love to see what that piston looks like though. Would tell us a lot more.

With the Grand Prix's, a chipped piston was not the end of the world. Usually the chipped part would pass out the exhaust after bashing the spark plug and not cause any further issues. I had one pop on me and I pulled over, pulled the plug, straightened the grounding strap back out and eyeballed the gap, put it back in and drove for a few months like that. The iron block and heads probably had a lot to do with it being so forgiving of that. You just had to address your tune to fight that KR so it wouldn't happen again. When we rebuilt the engines we always would set the ring gap to the larger side of the OEM spec for this reason.

I just wonder if the Ecotecs with their aluminum blocks and heads are less tolerant of this kind of abuse. I have heard of this kind of failure with some of the LNFs but just not very often.
 

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I have heard that on some LNF engines the ring end gaps were at the low end of the acceptable range which could result in the problem stated. Doesn't seem to afflict many stock engines but when you add a on-stock turbo it can become an issue. Kind of like playing engine roulette when you bolt that turbo on.

And skersfan - "No one could access the tune, including DDM" Of course they couldn't - that was a feature of the Trifecta tune, that it was not accessible to other tuners. Trifecta had tuned a lot of LNFs in Cobalts without problems and I was told that there was no issue applying that expertise when Vince tuned my Solstice (the first one they had tuned). And there wasn't, but then I was lucky in not having an engine with tight ring end gaps or I could have been in your spot. Like engine lottery! Sorry your roll came up snake eyes!

Robo, I think you are right that the sound from the chewed piston is diagnosed by the ECM as ping. The ring gap issue did come up even on some stock engines, but when you apply extra heat to dissipate with a larger turbo, the ones that were marginal in stock form became dodgy and probably had a higher proportion of issues as a result.

I always cross my fingers when I go to the US and have to run lower octane gas than my car was tuned for and I avoid full throttle runs as I don't want to push my luck. Pretty confident that the ECM will take care of actual ping by backing off the timing, but one never knows just what end gap you have unless you tear down the engine and replace the pistons (I seriously thought about a set of Wiseco pistons but was shooting for an optimal set up without going inside the engine).
 

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What kind of KR numbers were you seeing with the chewed piston?

Also where did the LDK bottom in come from and how much? Is there any difference between that and the LNF bottom end (basically asking if any changes need to be made to it to get it to bolt up).
 

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I have heard that on some LNF engines the ring end gaps were at the low end of the acceptable range which could result in the problem stated. Doesn't seem to afflict many stock engines but when you add a on-stock turbo it can become an issue. Kind of like playing engine roulette when you bolt that turbo on.

Robo, I think you are right that the sound from the chewed piston is diagnosed by the ECM as ping. The ring gap issue did come up even on some stock engines, but when you apply extra heat to dissipate with a larger turbo, the ones that were marginal in stock form became dodgy and probably had a higher proportion of issues as a result.

I always cross my fingers when I go to the US and have to run lower octane gas than my car was tuned for and I avoid full throttle runs as I don't want to push my luck. Pretty confident that the ECM will take care of actual ping by backing off the timing, but one never knows just what end gap you have unless you tear down the engine and replace the pistons (I seriously thought about a set of Wiseco pistons but was shooting for an optimal set up without going inside the engine).

It's a matter of controlling intake charge temperatures...those are the killers unless the KR numbers are really high. Any additional heat in the cylinder above OEM that sticks around can expand those rings more than normal. That's what causes that ring "hang" which is detected as KR. Retarding timing and cooling the intake charge can eliminate that but that's why some cars can make more power without KR than other cars. And you are correct in that the only way to know where your rings are set is to tear apart the engine. For most, this isn't worth the trouble. LOL

What kind of KR numbers were you seeing with the chewed piston?

Also where did the LDK bottom in come from and how much? Is there any difference between that and the LNF bottom end (basically asking if any changes need to be made to it to get it to bolt up).
LDK blocks are different from LNF blocks but are an improvement. They are stronger blocks. The block on my new LE5 is an LDK block. The LDK blocks are Gen III blocks. The LNFs and LE5s in our cars use weaker Gen II blocks that have bigger coolant passages from Gen I blocks and these passages can break under higher horsepower applications. I got my LDK block LE5 from Performance Auto Werks when they built my short block with forged internals. It wasn't cheap but it's perhaps the strongest Ecotec builds you can put in our cars (an LDK LNF would be stronger since you can't get an LE5 forged crank and the LNF has a forged crank stock).

We were seeing 6-8 degrees of KR (though I think KR is a percentage number, I learned it when it was degrees...or at least everyone referred to it in degrees...) and that is WAY too high. 0-1 is acceptable so long as it blips and quickly decays. 2-3 isn't bad but you want to track down what is causing it and get rid of it. 4+ and I worry so seeing 6-8 was really freaking me out.

And before someone says "Knock won't kill an engine" this may be true but as was mentioned, this "ring hang" issue is registered as knock and it WILL kill an engine. I learned with the 3800 platform that all knock was bad because real knock in the 3800 wasn't knock, but this "ring hang" and thus was something you needed to address before you chipped a piston. I think almost every modified 3800 chipped a piston sometime during it's life. Our cars seem to not be so bad but maybe it's because we don't have as many people modifying them without doing full engine swaps.
 

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JohnWR, The tune was purchased thru DDM. It was a custom tune for the kit I bought. I was told to bring the car 1200 miles to Colorado so he could fix it. I was told he could not access his own tune. Told to buy a new ECM, which was not available for ten days. No one could access it. I paid for a different tune at the National. Not Trifecta, we got it to run, but never correctly.

The LNF/LDK engine has arrived, still in the crate. I doubt that I am even going to tear the old engine down. I just want to be over this. It was referred by Hoosier GXP who has purchased several of them and installed in his restoration cars. Supposed to have a stronger bottom end. Not going to find out, as I am not taking it apart to see. I am over the modified crap. Want a dependable car to drive on weekends and cruises.

Curt may decide to tear it apart and see what happened. Really don't care, water under the bridge. Two very miserable years of my life and a lot of money wasted. Lesson learned.
 

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The LNF/LDK engine has arrived, still in the crate. I doubt that I am even going to tear the old engine down. I just want to be over this. It was referred by Hoosier GXP who has purchased several of them and installed in his restoration cars. Supposed to have a stronger bottom end. Not going to find out, as I am not taking it apart to see. I am over the modified crap. Want a dependable car to drive on weekends and cruises.
The top end will be no different from the LNF. The difference is in the design of the block itself. The material between the water passageways and cylinder walls is thicker while other weak points have been beefed up as well so most of the improvements you can't really see.

I am fairly certain that the LNF from Sky_Pilot's Redline that I got for my turbo build suffered from a failure of the water jacket area of the LNF block which allowed water to get into the oil of the engine. The LDK addresses these weaknesses. So even just stock with a tune, the LNK block is beneficial.
 

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Seriously contemplating going completely stock. Charge tubes, intake and leaving the stock tune in it. Do away with the GMPP CAI system to.

This endeavor was way more expensive than putting an LS in the car. Still haven't told the wife about it. She has been on me about doing it in the first place. This would make life hell if she found out.

According to Hoosier the bottom end is stronger, what exactly that means I have no idea. Mine did some weird stuff as far as temperatures. But never ran hot. No water in the oil at this point.

Hope to get it done by next weekend, depends on the radiator arriving in time.
 

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Seriously contemplating going completely stock. Charge tubes, intake and leaving the stock tune in it. Do away with the GMPP CAI system to.

This endeavor was way more expensive than putting an LS in the car. Still haven't told the wife about it. She has been on me about doing it in the first place. This would make life hell if she found out.

According to Hoosier the bottom end is stronger, what exactly that means I have no idea. Mine did some weird stuff as far as temperatures. But never ran hot. No water in the oil at this point.

Hope to get it done by next weekend, depends on the radiator arriving in time.
Well I'm sure not telling her. LOL

I will be out there tomorrow to try and get mine done. Need to fix that coolant temp wiring, adjust the clutch, load the new tune, and install the new MAP sensor harness adaptor. Just worry on loading the tune because I had to install HPT on a new laptop and can't find our registration info.
 

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Seriously contemplating going completely stock. Charge tubes, intake and leaving the stock tune in it. Do away with the GMPP CAI system to.

This endeavor was way more expensive than putting an LS in the car. Still haven't told the wife about it. She has been on me about doing it in the first place. This would make life hell if she found out.

According to Hoosier the bottom end is stronger, what exactly that means I have no idea. Mine did some weird stuff as far as temperatures. But never ran hot. No water in the oil at this point.

Hope to get it done by next weekend, depends on the radiator arriving in time.
Skiers, Do you think if you had chosen HPTuner with the turbo upgrade that it would have been a successful upgrade?
 
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