Jerggy13 (John Gibson)
Ride of the Month Submission 3000GT/Stealth International February 2010
- Full ’97 Body Conversion
- JDM GTO Badge
- JDM GTO Amber Taillights
Suspension and Wheels:
- Intrax Lowering Springs
- 3SXControl Arms
- 18x9 Moda R6 Rims Powdercoated Black Chrome
- 265/35/18 Sumitomo HTRZ II
- Cusco Rear Strut Tower Brace
- RVM Front Strut Tower Brace
- 3sx Stainless Steal Brake Lines
- Super Car Engineering Brake Caliper Stiffening Bolts
- Speed Bleeders
- ABS turned OFF
- 94 vr4 Front Brake Conversion
-using Slotted and Cross drilled rotors and Axxis ULTIMATE Pads
- 96 vr4 Rear Brake Conversion
-using Slotted and cross drilled rotors and Axxis Pads
- AEM Tru Boost Gauge
- Autometer Carbon Fiber A/F, Oil Pressure, Water Temp, & EGT
- Apexi SAFC
- Leather Shifter and E-brake Boot
- Window Tint 5% in rear
- OEM black floor mats
- Homelink from ’97 installed in Dome Light Location
- Cloth Seats From a First-Gen Base Stealth
- K&N Aircharger
- MSD 8.5mm Superconductor Wires
- NGK iridium plugs
- Brushed Spark Plug Cover
- Powdercoated Black Chrome Valve Cover
- Ralliart Billet Aluminum Oil Cap
- 3SX Custom Aluminum Crank Pulley
- eK2 Polyurethane Motor Mounts
- GTPRO Aluminum Turbo Intake pipes
- DNP Stainless Steal Y-Pipe
- HKS Super Sequential BOV
- AEM Tru Boost
- Major Vac Reduction
- Cruise Control Delete
- Forged Slick Coated Crankshaft
- Forged Steel Lightweight Flywheel
- Battery Relocated to Trunk
- South Bend Clutch stage 3 clutch
- Kenwood KDC-MP635 Headunit
- Kenwood HD Radio, Ipod, & Bluetooth
- Bravox Front components
- Infinity Perfect rear
- Bosten 10" sub woofer and over 1000 Watts Sony amplifiers
Flash back to March of 2001, my senior year of high school, I bought my 1997 3000GT SL with 38,000 miles on it. She did not stay stock for long and piece by piece she became the car I had always wanted. I first started by selling the stock chrome wheels so I could buy ground control lower springs. Picked up a cheap set of Stealth TT wheels to keep her rolling and rocked it that way for a while. For exhaust I tossed on a stock TT active exhaust wired in sport mode. Time passed and upgrades came and went. I built my own adjustable control arms for the rear suspension, and added a set of front and rear sway bars. More time passed and the exhaust started showing its age and the old DP and catback started rusting through. I then replaced them with a DNP - Cali Spec NA downpipe and ATR catback modified to fit the non turbo. Other than some other minor mods she remained this way for many years. She passed away in April 2007 with over 190,000 miles on her heart. She served me well and never will be forgotten.
After work on that dreaded afternoon of April I left work, with 190,000+ miles, slightly burning oil like normal, still battling a weird electrical issues and have a miss (was caused by bad MSD wires). I turned the corner out of work and my car rev'd up real quickly and slammed into gear so hard the wipers came on. My tranny was dead. I had no 2nd or 4th gear. I limped the car home in 3rd and parked it.
I was honestly depressed. I did not know what to do. The car I had from high school was DEAD! I thought about replacing the tranny, but with the other problems the car had and the mileage I decided it was not worth it. The depression continued….
I bought my 92vr-4 from Von Morgon that April. The car had a 3.5 liter that Von had been running for a few months but was running into issues with fuel management. The 3.5 came out and we began building a 3.0 for the car.
The block came from a 91 vr-4. The crank was a forged piece that was slick coated and was running in Von's red devil. The rods and pistons were slightly used pieces out of a less than 3000 mile 99 short block. The heads and turbos freshly rebuilt, and finished with a 6 puck clutch of a resurfaced stock flywheel.
While the machine work was being done, I swapped most of the interior pieces from the SL into the vr-4. Including the carpet, seats, door pads, and other misc parts. I wired up the stereo with Bravox components in the front and Infinity Perfect speakers in the rear. The Amps are two Sony units, a 640 watt 4 channel and 400 watt sub amp. To finish it off I installed a kenwood headunit with added on HD Radio, Bluetooth and Ipod dock.
I drove the car like this for over two years dealing with the “normal” VR-4 issues here in there. I had had to replace the TOB (tranny pull #1), clutch(tranny pull #2), driveshaft, replace the oil pump(leaky front main seal), replace both turbos(rear turbo died), and all other misc problems. Other than that she was GREAT until….
I was on my way home from a double shift at work and just spent the last 8 hours sitting through a NIMS ICS class. If you happen to work in law enforcement, EMS, fire department you might know what I am taking about. And it sucked. I was a block away from home when my car felt like it just shut off while I was cruising at about 20 mph. I coasted into a nearby parking lot and hoped out and looked under the hood thinking I might have popped a charge pipe off. Well all the piping looked fine so my next guess and worse fear was that I had just slipped the timing belt.
I did not have any tools in the car and my cell phone battery had died so I took a brief and worrisome walk home. I returned a short time later with tools and pulled the timing covers off. And then I saw it, my timing belt had broken cleanly and was half way shoved down in the lower timing cover.
What were my odds that nothing was damaged??? I really didn’t want to pull the heads for nothing. I am going to have to complete a 60k service on the car to get it back on the road but had serious concerns about the wellbeing of the valve train after a timing belt breaks.
I was really loosing interest in this car. I was seriously considering selling it! With all the damn work I have done on this thing it seems like no matter what I did always something broke.
THEN THE MISTAKES BEGAN!
I had a long talk with the wife on what to do with the car. At this point I was so pissed I was ready to sell the car outright and take a loss. First mistake, I decided to investigate and see how much damage was done. I pulled the upper intake and both valve covers to look for any evidence of bent valves. I did not see any. I figured what the hell. Let’s just toss a new belt on it and see if it will run. I bought a brand new belt and installed it. Well it ran but was missing on two cylinders. Knowing the car had bent valves only pushed me to want to sell the car. But I didn’t.
I pulled the heads…….
And I had the heads rebuilt…….
And I made the car run again…….
Second mistake….. I drove it again. And fell in love with it........again.
In reality I knew should sell the car. But I really really really don’t want to now. I have had a 3000GT since 2001 starting with my 97 SL back during my senior year of high school. That car drew me towards 3si and the St. Louis 3/S group. I gained so many fiends, planned a national gathering, met my wife because of the car (she had a 97 SL too.) I loved it.
When the timing belt broke, it was the last straw that broke the camels back. I was dead set on getting rid of it, but I convinced my wife that if I were to repair it I would get quite a bit more for the car than selling it not running.
In the end getting the car running again cost me just under a grand since I did all the work on my own. And she runs AWESOME! I pulled off our street onto the main road and the boost started building, the ass end squawked down and she pointed her nose in the air and said “Lets go Daddy, I ain’t letting go of you yet!”
After four months of driving a Honda CRV back and forth to work it felt like a race car.
Here is a lot more pics of before, during and after: