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Old 08-27-2012, 11:32 PM   #1
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Default track LSx crew: has anyone had one grenade

Today at my track day at Portland International Raceway a Z06 still under warranty completely grenaded at the start of the back straight (T9), next to where the inside wall starts. He was able to coast all the way to the track exit, into the pits, into his parking spot. I unfortunately do not have pictures of the carnage but he definitely had holes in the block. I could see shrapnel sitting on the frame rail.

The most unfortunate part of the whole scenario was the BMW behind him - he got to experience the James Bond oil slick in spectacular fashion, hitting the wall and sustaining left front damage and shattering that wheel. This was in the Advanced run group. I ran Intermediate today.

Causal event is unknown. He had engine codes indicating injector failure, leading to speculation of lean --> detonation --> boom. Other bystanders familiar with the driver commented quietly out of earshot that perhaps it was a missed shift.

Has any of our LSx crew experienced carnage? What have you done to promote on-track reliability? My understanding about reliably tracking an LSx engine is that a dry sump oil system is almost required. The LS7 in a recent Z06 comes with one from the factory, though, and he still sent a rod (or rods) through the block.
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:27 AM   #2
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Good questions.

To add to the lsx issues my friend is a service manager at a GM Dealership in Indianapolis, IN and they had a Zr1 come in about 6 months ago with a rod through the block. The guy did it road racing and GM covered it since that's what the car is built to do.
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Old 08-28-2012, 02:16 AM   #3
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Florida Corvette Racing Club buddy. Details:

Quote:

My engine blew [while only doing about 90 on the Sebring back straight, since I was headed to the pits], vapor line melted, fire in my face from the hood and 8ft flames from the back leaving a 20ft wall of flames behind the car. Heavy smoke from the hood, back and center console….. on fire 3.5 minutes. Engine gone, carbon fiber bottom parts of chassis bubbled from heat, rear body completely gone, suspension and brake parts melted in back. Totaled per ins. co. A hell of an experience, but I managed to actually remain completely calm and composed throughout, not my normal expected response…

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Note to TrackGuys.com about corner worker:
I've always had great things to tell everyone about your event and absolutely enjoy participating, but I need to share a large concern I now have. When I made it to the corner worker and got out of my burning car, I expected them [her] to at least be approaching my car with a fire extinguisher, but that was NOT the case. This worker, though I have nothing but respect for them all, was an elderly lady, over 60, and had no place being a corner worker. If I had not made it to her side of the barrier, there was NO WAY she could have ever jumped the barrier to bring the fire extinguisher. As it was, I was yelling at her as to why she wasn't coming over to my car with the extinguisher. She was completely unable to get the pin removed and was frozen in place trying to get it off. I had to GO TO HER station and first take off a WIRE TIE, in addition to a zip tie holding the pin, before I could take the pin out and fight the fire MYSELF. This cost about 30 seconds. It had taken me about 5 seconds to get out for the car because I'd forgotten that GM forces you to fist unlock the door before you can hit the exit button. Heaven forbid I was trapped in the car. I would have had absolutely no help from this elderly corner worker. It took another 30-60 seconds for the fire crew to show up and they did an admirable job, but that could have been a total of a minute and a half I may have been stuck in a burning car with no help. This could have been much more tragic. Thank the Lord everything turned out OK for me, but I URGE you to review the corner worker situation in case any other serious situation occurs. We need to have trust and faith in the corner workers, even though we hope to never need them. I do not have that trust in these corner workers at this point.
Rod through block apparently initiated the event.
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Old 08-28-2012, 10:22 AM   #4
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Stories like this makes me want to wear the safety gear in my track car rather than the usual shorts and short-sleeve.
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:09 PM   #5
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I've seen a vette let go at an autox. to be fair, he was one of those keep it in 1st gear guys...I've seen a s2000 go that way as well.
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hustler View Post
Stories like this makes me want to wear the safety gear in my track car rather than the usual shorts and short-sleeve.
My rule is: if you have the gear, wear it.
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Old 08-28-2012, 01:20 PM   #7
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So LSx blocks are known for having oil starvation issues during long, sustained g cornering. The problem gets worse with race tires, aerodynamic aids, and good driving since these increase lateral loading.

At least three solutions are known to work for oil starvation in a LSx. From least expensive to most expensive:
1. Run the oil level 1 quart over the full mark (what I started with).
2. Add an Accusump (what I am doing now).
3. Use a dry sump (what I will never do because it is too dam expensive and I do not need it anyway).

I have 2+ seasons of racing on this LS1 (in a Miata) on sticky race tires on tracks with long sustained sweepers pulling well over 1g. No issues at all. The accumulator is in the trunk, and I am using a Ligenfelter (sp) adapter plate coupled with an oil cooler. Regardless of what you do the oil cooler is also a well-known must for an LSx motor used on the track.

A buddy of mine has an aluminum L33 (5.3L) in his Miata, also with an Accusump, with an oil cooler, also used on the track with aero and sticky tires. No oil problems.
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Old 08-28-2012, 01:24 PM   #8
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I spun a bearing in my cammed ls1 a while back, but no one to blame that on except me. I redid some wiring and unplugged the ground on the accusump and forgot to plug it back in. Not sure how much oil was actually in the motor at the beginning of the event, but it was down 3 quarts after one session. Only damage was the crank and a few rod bearings. My POS rx7 oil cooler also wouldn't flow enough to break 30 psi of oil pressure after the thermostat opened up so who knows if that contributed to it as well.

I wouldn't track anything but a ls1 or ls6... maybe with a mild to medium cam and headers. I've seen the T1 guys beat the crap out of their near stock ls6s with no issues. And I've seen enough ls3s and ls7s with vent holes to make me cry at night. No gen4+ motors for me.

Last edited by orion4096; 08-28-2012 at 10:14 PM.
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Old 08-28-2012, 02:43 PM   #9
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LS3 oiling problems, dry sumps legal in SCCA - Corvette Forum

There are many posts like this on Corvette forums under Autocross and roadracing

The LS3 seems to blow the most often, but plenty of C6 Z06s have let go (even with the GM dry sump). This is why there is a drysump in the grand sport manual 6 speed that took the place of the Z-51 handling package. Knowing what I know now I wished I had picked up a 2002 to 2004 C5 Z06, they seem to be bullet proof. LS1s seem pretty reliable.
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Old 08-28-2012, 03:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomiboy View Post
LS3 oiling problems, dry sumps legal in SCCA - Corvette Forum

There are many posts like this on Corvette forums under Autocross and roadracing

The LS3 seems to blow the most often, but plenty of C6 Z06s have let go (even with the GM dry sump). This is why there is a drysump in the grand sport manual 6 speed that took the place of the Z-51 handling package. Knowing what I know now I wished I had picked up a 2002 to 2004 C5 Z06, they seem to be bullet proof. LS1s seem pretty reliable.
Can you put a C5 batwing pan in it?

The batwing pans are best.
Add an extra quart of oil.
Run an LS1 coolant crossover and mod the bottom of your intake to fit it.
Aftermarket fuel rails to help one of the two issues with Cylinder #7 (the other being all the remaining air in the manifold hitting that last port and making the cylinder even more lean.

Those are the cheaper things. After that its the accusump like mentioned before which I wish performance cars came with OEM.
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Old 08-28-2012, 03:27 PM   #11
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Oh, and when all else fails, a fire suppression system.
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Old 08-28-2012, 03:32 PM   #12
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Improved Racing makes and sells baffles and baffled oil pans for some of the LS# engines.
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Old 08-28-2012, 03:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmhaddad View Post
My rule is: if you have the gear, wear it.
Me too... even though you do get some weird looks from the noobs when you're wearing a suit, arm restraints, and HANS at a track day

"Some douchebag showed up in a riced out chick car wearing a gay NASCAR outfit and he lapped me all day long!"
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Old 08-28-2012, 03:45 PM   #14
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Vettes blowing up at California track days is a completely regular occurrence. They have absolutely terrible oiling systems, including the LS7's faux "dry" sump setup that is arguably worse than the standard wet sump setups. If you actually intend on pushing an LS-powered car hard, a real aftermarket dry sump system is pretty much a necessity.

One of the more spectacular ones I've seen was an LS7 throwing a rod entering T8 at WSIR - he left a stripe of coolant and oil that was 15ft wide and over 1000ft long. Took the track 40 minutes to clean it up.
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Old 08-28-2012, 04:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmhaddad View Post
My rule is: if you have the gear, wear it.
Agreed. The last thing I want to do is die a fire while thinking "Man, I wish I'd bothered to put on my Nomex!"

--Ian
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Old 08-28-2012, 04:26 PM   #16
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I believe there are some discussions on LSx batwing oil pans in the Engine Conversions forum at miata.net. IIRC it can be done, but the problem is the wings are somewhat protruding into the (small) region that is needed for the exhaust pipes.

Anyway, Accusump and an oil cooler, done. Get a dry sump system if you are looking for something to spend a lot of money on Andrew, not being argumentative here, just want to know. Have you seen anyone blow up an Accusump equipped LSx due to oil starvation?

I have also read/heard the GM (factory) dry sump system is not that great.
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Old 08-28-2012, 05:39 PM   #17
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The GM factory dry sump is pretty much useless. Someone on the Corvette boards logged his C6Zs oil pressure around various road courses and found that the factory unit would see starvation when at 1G for 4 seconds.

Oil Starvation on Track - Hard Data! - Corvette Forum

I know Lingenfelter makes a band-aid solution by supplying a modified dry sump oil tank which holds an extra 3 quarts of oil.
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Old 08-28-2012, 07:23 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZX-Tex View Post
Andrew, not being argumentative here, just want to know. Have you seen anyone blow up an Accusump equipped LSx due to oil starvation?
Before Nick was a Miata guy, his track toy was an '02 C5Z with a 416ci LS3 stroker. He had a 3-quart accusump and would still see the "Low Oil Pressure" indicator come on around long, sweeping corners.

If you expect long-term reliability, a dry sump is not an option. His new LS1-powered build has one.
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Old 08-28-2012, 08:29 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mobius View Post
Today at my track day at Portland International Raceway a Z06 still under warranty completely grenaded at the start of the back straight (T9), next to where the inside wall starts. He was able to coast all the way to the track exit, into the pits, into his parking spot. I unfortunately do not have pictures of the carnage but he definitely had holes in the block. I could see shrapnel sitting on the frame rail.

The most unfortunate part of the whole scenario was the BMW behind him - he got to experience the James Bond oil slick in spectacular fashion, hitting the wall and sustaining left front damage and shattering that wheel. This was in the Advanced run group. I ran Intermediate today.
Jesus, really? This was Saturday? I watched a guy blow up a new Corvette at Thunder Hill this Friday at an NCRC event in I believe the "open" group. It popped as he came out of 13 and left oil and coolant all the way to the bridge before 14. The BMW behind him did amost exactly the same thing, but ended up 200 feet up the hill on the left side of the track, nearly flipping in the process. That white grease sweep powder/rice hull crap was all over that section of the track for the rest of the day, and it came up in giant blinding clouds for the first couple of sessions every time someone drove by it. What a damn mess.
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Old 08-28-2012, 10:44 PM   #20
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Yesterday, Monday 8/27. Not Saturday.

Lordy how I love the sound of V8 engines ... but my BP is relatively bulletproof. Perhaps when the kids are out of college I'll go LS. Between times my next step will probably be to put one of Savington's bottom ends (haha) under my head after Keegan Engineering works it like Jkav's.

Or, maybe by then the Gen5 or Gen6 engines will have resolved these problems.
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