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hey all, many of us car nuts know that when a factory delivers us (the mass') a new car or any car for that matter, they more often then not leave a lot to be desired in the sake of keeping tree hugging hippies happy. what i mean by that is that rather then putting quality filters in the car they put very restrictive filters in its place to cut costs or sometimes to make the gas mileage better. one factor people have not taken into consideration is the spark plugs. most auto makers when they figure out the proper spark plug, gap the plug for a reasonable amount of power but also fuel economy. i have yet to try the solstice or the sky but my guess would be that like many other rides, if you put a better filter in teh car your performance will improve. also, if the gap of teh spark plug is changed (to a certain extent mind you) it may be possible to gain a few extra HP because the closer gap provides a hotter spark. im not saying its a guarentee, but rest assured when i get my sky, the first place im going is to the dyno with a filter, and then an extra set of spark plugs gapped lower to see the improvement or loss of power from the sparks. just thought id share a fairly cheap mod with you. we will ahve to wait and see if this works for the sky and the sol. (it worked on my VW so i dont see it not working anyway)
 

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I posted a pretty good list of easy mods for the kappa over on the Solstice forum. You can find it over there, or I'll repost it over here if anybody requests it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
no need to repost but if you can attach it to here that would be kool. the mod worked well on the dub and i dont see it really doing harm to try it on the sky.
 

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I'd liek to get that list
 

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Nice summary SkyCaptain! :cheers:

I am anxious to see just what some of these mods will mean to power since this version of the ecotec is already a HO version from the factory. We'll see just how HO it is, and how much more power can be extracted through many of these changes.
 

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Bringing Sky's text over to share here.

SkyCaptain said:
Well, to actually answer the topic, my thoughts on the most economical ways to mod your new solstice for increased performance:

1.) Intake. A nice new K&N drop in air filter will help your motor breathe better. Consider a cold air intake system, if one becomes available, or contact me or other knowledgeable members on how to make your own. BTW don't EVER fall for the ebay "chip" that wires up to your intake sensor.

2.) Exhaust. A high flow catalytic convertor and muffler will increase the exhaust efficiency. Also, make sure the exhaust system itself does not have any stupid bends in it. My GTP is infamous for the "u-bend" in the exhaust pipe, solely for the purpose of protecting the exhaust sensor. By replacing the u-bend with a straight pipe and mounting the sensor sideways, immediate increases up to 10 free hp have been dyno documented. I don't think the solstice/sky will have a problem like this, but check to be sure.

3.) Chip. Always remember, the computer is programmed to be nice to the lowest common denominator of engine and consumer. Tolerances of engine manufacturing can result in a wide range of capabilities for different instances of the same motor. The OEM chip/pcm is for grandma nelly on a less than perfect motor. Significant increases in power can usually be unlocked with an aftermarket solution, but should always be accompanied by a "scan and tune" to make sure your engine can handle it.

4.) Weight reduction. Take out the spare. Oh wait, that's for other cars. In the kappa you could take out the convertable top if you're 100% top down and have a garage. Get racing seats, or look into carbon fiber aftermarket parts. Take off the silly wings (applies to other cars more than the kappa), gut your interior, remove the trunk carpet, etc. How much and what exactly you do is all up to your own needs and desires...

5.) TIRES. Better Rubber is the #1 way to make your car handle better, bar none. Don't skimp. Get the best ones you can afford for your driving habits.

6.) WHEELS. That 18 inch wheel might look good, but it's slowing you down. Get the smallest wheel that will fit over your brakes, but make sure to get a lightweight wheel too. Chrome weighs more than paint weighs more than polished... 16" centerlines or motegis...

7.) SUSPENSION. Stiffer shocks/struts/springs will increase performance at the cost of ride comfort. 'nuff said.

8.) Brake pads. Someday there may be a brake upgrade for the car, but until then a performance brake pad will be your best bet. Then again, I don't even know about the availablity of pads for the kappa right now. Semi-metallics will work, but you gotta get the good stuff. If you can get splinters from touching the pad surface, then it's no good. A good semi-metallic will feel nice and smooth to the touch. Stay far away from the splintery crap from the autozonedout store...

9.) Pulleys, flywheel... Even more important than general weight reduction or unsprung weight reduction (wheels/tires/brakes) is weight reduction on moving engine parts - but it can get expensive and technical. Lightweight flywheels and aftermarket pulley sets can make the engine run MUCH easier, and you can even size the pulleys to reduce drag at the alternator, water pump, etc., but don't do that until you know all the ramifications from that approach...

10.) Aerodynamics. Ok, we don't all have a wind tunnel to tune our cars, but there are a few things anybody can do to any car to increase aerodynamic performance. Hood vents. Functional rear facing hood vents reduce pressure buildup behind the radiator, letting out hot air (increasing cooling efficiency) and reducing front end lift at higher speeds (aamof, fieros/firebirds will have their headlights pop up at higher speeds because of the amount of pressure up there). The firewall seal at the back of the hood can be removed on some cars to enhance or duplicate this effect, but be aware that the seal is there to keep engine air, which may be very hot and/or dirty from hitting the windshield or going into the cabin air intake (or into the passenger compartment over the windshield as may be the case with a convertable). Use that info as you see fit. A front spoiler/valance can increase stability at speed by directing air around the car instead of under. Lightweight panels (cf?) under the car can increase a cars aerodynamics by covering all the rough surfaces and mechanical components...



Well, that's what I can think of off the top of my head. I didn't get into forced induction or "juice" because they are topics all their own with much greater costs and/or risks than the standard things I listed. Same reason I didn't go into cams/rockers/pistons/etc.
 

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Another good post.
solsticeman said:
I'd also add with 6) to stay away from self-supporting runflats - they add significant weight (as much as 4 lbs or more PER TIRE) in the wrong spot. Also, use a lower sidewall height tire - lower inertia and generally better/stiffer performance and a slight weight advantage. Subject to your driving habits - but a sidewall height much lower than 98 mm should be done with the caveat of increased sidewall damage to your wheels - IF you live in an area that is pothole prone. Use the load index as a guide when choosing tires - stick to 88 or higher, but try to get lower than the current 96 load index.

A word of caution on wheels - use 16" IF they fit - but if you are thinking of upgrading rotor size, a 17" might be more in order. Also keep in mind the front wheels actually steer so just because a 16" fits on the hoist doesn't mean you won't be knocking off wheel weights on turns or tearing up your tie rod ends.
 

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Exhaust mods I've found to be practically useless and costly, now and in the future. They reduce fuel economy and kill low end torque and the improvements in quarter mile times have consistently been shown in Automag testings to be negligible, when testing is properly done. Same goes for
chip reprogrammings. I remember one magazine that spent almost a week
tuning and testing the chip mods and ended up shaving less than 2/10 secs
from the quarter mile ( < 1/10 sec on 0-60 runs). Save your money and a lot of headaches. Everytime I see these exhaust mod kits and "Super chips" I automatically think "Scam." Does anyone really believe that GM would forsake increasing the power of the Solstice by avoiding simple increases in the exhaust system and intake capacity? The costs to GM would be negligible - the cost of piping is practically zilch.
 

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Unfortunately I can't really agree with your comment about this. My ZX2 S/R was a normal ZX2 that came stock with a intake, cat-back exhaust, and chip upgrade over the normal ZX2 designed by Ford. It gave my car a 10% power gain (~13HP) over the base car. It also gave my car a 0.4s difference in 1/4 mile times. The car just feels far more lively and revs much better compared to a base car. Also, just because you don't get faster times doesn't mean your car isn't running better in some manor. I might not be able to get a faster 0-60 but with the S/R mods on my car the engine responds much faster then a base car making it far more responsive on an autocross style course.

Header/exhaust upgrades also help get larger % gains from other future mods, especially some sort of forced induction. A normal system on a NA car might only net a few extra HP, but usually once a FI system is introduced you help aleviate even more restrictions that are now being created by the new even more poweful system.

Also the reason big car makers don't do the types of things the aftermarket does is because their cars have to be 50 state legal, and have a much stricter set of limitations they have to adhere too. If you make a product 49 state (screw CA) legal then theres an extremely large list of things you can increase and alter on an engine thats limited to meet CA requirments.
 

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Don't forget the most important mod ever, the "driver mod." Nothing like time spent on a track in high performance driver's ed will help you get more out of your car. It's money seriously well spent. It's not that expensive either. I live in Topeka, KS where Heartland Park Track is home of the SCCA. On Second Wed night of every month the track is open, for $35 you get to drive it with an instructor if you're a rookie or solo if not. I get about 20 or so laps in on average (w/ instructor.) Many tracks have similar programs, on average you pay around 2-250 for a weekend's worth of track time.
Also, look into SCCA and attend local autocross events. The worse that can happen is that you mow down some cones, no better way to learn car control.
 

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Exactly what Babak said.

If you can't learn to drive good in a base Kappa, the only thing adding more power is going to do is partially hide your inability to drive the car well.
 

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Per skycaptain's list

  1. I usually use K&N, factory cold air intake already part numbered for Sol, should be avail on SKy as well
  2. freeflow cat-back exhaust already a factory parts option dealer installed
  3. remember most chips remove rev limiter so be careful near the redline
  4. cross-drill frame but stay away from rough roads
  5. oem tires are always a compromise but some better than others, remember that slicks gove the most traction except in teh rain and snow
  6. wheel/tire size combo from '03 GP GTP is same diameter as kappa's whee/tire but yes watch inside diameter and offset
  7. suspension bushing set and lowering blocks already parts in the system
  8. aftermarket pads may not be available until one year out as is common practice
  9. caution with aluminum replacement pulleys is experience with brand new installed pulley self destructing within only a few miles
  10. full body pan can help
On the sparkplugs, modern high energy ignitions require the larger gap for proper flame width, .060-.080 instead of .030-.035 You might actually burn out electrodes faster with too narrow a gap. Better would be upgrade to twin or quad electrode plugs if they become available
 

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brentil said:
If you can't learn to drive good in a base Kappa, the only thing adding more power is going to do is partially hide your inability to drive the car well.
Exactly. Mods are great. Let's face it, we're americans, this is what we do. I can't begin to express how tickled I am that we're getting this car as an american car. It's about damn time. But my biggest hope is that the enthusiasts take it out and really "drive" it a bit, either on the track or in autocross. That's where a rear wheel drive roadster shines. It may need more power, it may need this or that. But take your time, learn what it has, learn what you can do and more importantly, learn how to recover from under/oversteer in a rear wheel drive car. Then use that knowledge and go mod it for 'you'.
Be safe and shiney side up.
 

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Let me put it this way, why would Pontiac "detune" the Solstice ecotec,when they are trying to make every HP they possibly can to compete with Miata and others, at a cost of increasing exhaust system pipes (zero cost) or of different chip programming (also zero cost)? That simply makes no sense whatsoever. So now you'll going to do what GM , for some inconceivable reason, to their detriment, refused to do. I'll bet anyone that if you put a high capacity exhaust and new reprogrammed chip (actually not reprogrammed, soimply one with different parameters) you will succeed only in reducing your bank account and making a lot of noise. You will also lose low end torque. Remember, simply changing the temperature by 40 degrees
gains or loses you around 10-15% power. So 1/4 mile times of .4 seconds
difference don't necessairily prove anything. "Cold air" induction has been used several times by Pontiac in the past, and has had minimal impact on HP.
Try finding some "cold air" to feed you engine when it's 100 degrees outside and the asphalt makes it seem like 120.
 

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kingarthur said:
Let me put it this way, why would Pontiac "detune" the Solstice ecotec,when they are trying to make every HP they possibly can to compete with Miata and others, at a cost of increasing exhaust system pipes (zero cost) or of different chip programming (also zero cost)? That simply makes no sense whatsoever.
It makes perfect sense when you consider that fresh tooling, experienced assemblers, day of the week, etc. produce DOCUMENTED differences in stock engines. That's why you can take 2 identical cars at the same dyno and get different numbers. Some engines just come off the assembly line better than the others. Because of this, OEM pcms are programmed to provide advertised horsepower and gas mileage on the lowest common denominator of engines coming off a particular assembly line. Because of that, you get very good motors that are using programs to compensate for the lesser quality engines.

You've posted this opinion in a half dozen different threads. You are wrong. There are literally hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts, vendors, racing groups, etc. that have proven this time and time again. You are what we call a "bench racer", armed with nothing but ill informed opinions.

So now you'll going to do what GM , for some inconceivable reason, to their detriment, refused to do. I'll bet anyone that if you put a high capacity exhaust and new reprogrammed chip (actually not reprogrammed, soimply one with different parameters) you will succeed only in reducing your bank account and making a lot of noise. You will also lose low end torque.
I will bet you any amount. Name it.
Btw, the loss of low end torque is a myth once you examine the whole curve. Increased exhast flow shifts torque higher in the power band. Area under the curve is always increased. That's why many people who race their cars remove their exhaust at the track, and invariably run better times.


Remember, simply changing the temperature by 40 degrees
gains or loses you around 10-15% power. So 1/4 mile times of .4 seconds
difference don't necessairily prove anything.
Actually, when vendors, enthusiasts, race teams, etc. document the temperature during dyno runs, as they have done countless times, it proves everything.

"Cold air" induction has been used several times by Pontiac in the past, and has had minimal impact on HP.
Try finding some "cold air" to feed you engine when it's 100 degrees outside and the asphalt makes it seem like 120.
Cold air intakes are a proven method of increasing horsepower. I believe what you are referring to is the "ram air" effect that pontiac has hyped, not a cold air intake. When my car was stock, on a 100 degree day intake temperatures would measure over 130 degrees. With my cold air intake, on a 100 degree day my intake air measures 102 degrees. I have recorded this on many occasions. That's a 28 degree difference on a 100 degree day. Even YOU state that the effect of temperature difference: "changing the temperature by 40 degrees gains or loses you around 10-15% power". But then you try to disprove the effects of a cold air intake. :rolleyes:

It is obvious that you have no clue what you are talking about.

Take a seat, sit back, stay tuned, and learn a little something from those who actually know.
 

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achieftain said:
  1. I usually use K&N, factory cold air intake already part numbered for Sol, should be avail on SKy as well


  1. Be careful with K&N FIPK kits. Some are great and others blow chunks. The Grand Prix kit, for example, sucks donkey balls and is really a hot air intake with all the huge gaps they left around the housing.

    [*]remember most chips remove rev limiter so be careful near the redline
    I've never had a chip that removed the rev limiter. I've had the rev limiter increased but never removed. Speed limiter, on the hand... Let's just say that C5 corvettes don't expect a GTP to be running next to them at 145mph...
 

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maybe im not understanding what your trying to say or disprove, but i have a ford lightning ,which is a supercharged f150, and by adding a chip and a lower pulley i added over 85rwhp which is mostly from the "chip" because i have a hand held tuner in which i use to change the parameters of the motor i want to change and buy pulling or adding timing changing fuel curves and other things i can drop and add30-40hp in minutes. so please dont give ill informed info to people looking to improve their car.
Josh
 

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Was that in response to me? Because I'm saying cold air intakes and aftermarket chips DO work.

Now, the market for both is rife with crappy products and all out scams, but real products do exist that really work.
 

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1st thing I would buy aftermarket is HUD. This car is way to sexy to not have it.
 
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