Project Sleeper Status Makes its Return

Photography by: the author and Jerrid Wood

We bring our W-body Regal GS back from the grave with a built bottom-end from ZZ Performance

Welcome to Ground Zero V2.0 for Project Sleeper Status, our 2000 Buick Regal GS project that has been anything but easy. Astute readers will remember our goal from day-one was to build a sleeper W-body that could run in the 11s and effortlessly commute to work, all while flying under the radar.

While an 11.99 or faster in a gutted car would have been much easier, instead, as you might recall, we wanted to build a velvet hammer; a car that is civilized yet lethal…so unsuspecting Mustang owners can get their feelings hurt. To achieve this, we were prepared to walk a fine line between track results and daily civility, which meant some weight reduction was inevitable, but not so much as to take away from the street manners. In keeping with the realistic goals, we were also prepared to spend money wherever needed, but our budget was far from endless.

In the absence of a blank check, we had to carefully select our parts-list since pieces like a massive race cam and aftermarket aluminum heads might occupy our daydreams, in reality they were either too expensive or too track-focused for our goals. The further we dug into how best to achieve our goal, the harder we realized it might be…but never one to back down from a challenge, we pressed on.

How did we get here?

The project started out smoothly enough with traction-limited baseline times in the mid 14s on crappy 91-octane California fuel, before Mickey Thompson Drag Radials and basic ZZPerformance (ZZP) bolt-ons chopped our ET by over one-second and boosted our trap speed by 7.5 mph at Sacramento Raceway to a best of 13.67 at 100.04 mph on a 2.06 short-time. The simple yet effective ZZP combo consisted of CAI, long-tube headers and 3-inch downpipe with an equally sized cat-back, along with reflashed ECU, a 3.4-inch pulley and other small bits.

Next up we added a ZZP X-P Hot Cam Package to really bolster our L67 in the hopes of dropping into the bottom 12s before really throwing the book at it…until the book was thrown at us.

That’s right, on the maiden voyage after the new cam package install, what started as a faint whirling noise quickly led to an engine failure. After immediately turning the motor off and coasting back to the shop shortly after hearing the faint sound, we grabbed our stethoscopes and attempted to restart the motor.

Instead of falling into a lopey idle so we could ID the sound, the starter would no longer turn the motor over…only a massive breaker-bar and lots of effort. There weren’t any metal shavings in the oil and all of the valvetrain moved normally…disgusted with the setback, the car was parked for a few weeks, and then, life got in the way as the Regal withered away outside the shop for far too long.

Ground Zero 2.0

Down but not out, after staring at the Regal for far too long we put our heads together and decided we had no choice but to give it another go. Before pressing the launch button on the Project Sleeper Status once again, we reviewed our original parts list, and although we’re sticking to the same principals of an 11-second, daily-driven sleeper, we’ve decided to tweak a few things for even more power.

What is it that we’re adding? Well, we’d love to let the cat out of the bag, buuuuuut instead, you’re just going to have to stick with us as we slowly reveal the details over the coming months—welcome back to Project Sleeper Status: V2.0.

A Bulletproof Shortblock

As you already know, we’ve got big plans for our Regal GS, all of which require a solid foundation. That foundation starts with a hardy bottom-end that can take anything we expect to throw at it.

A call to the 3800 experts at ZZP helped us sort out the best method of achieving our goals without breaking the bank. We were prepared to spend money it’s needed, but if we could save some funds without hurting reliability or significantly hindering performance, we would.

With an eye for expediency, rather than tear down the old motor (in truth, we’re still irritated about the failure and maybe part of us still didn’t want to know what happened), we found a used motor on Craigslist for a couple-hundred bucks and promptly tore it down.

We then paid a visit to Rankin Performance Machine where John and Jack Rankin completely cleaned the block, honed it to perfection and added cam bearings from ZZP. They also made the proper oiling modifications for our balance-shaft delete and checked the stock crank before we took everything back to our shop for final assembly.

Most of you already now, but the stock GM block and crank are beyond hardy, easily handling far more power than we intend on making. In fact, ZZP has been 9s at nearly 160 mph on both, and people have made north of 700 whp without issue.

With the motor back in our grubby little hands, we again turned to ZZP for recommendations.

“Our 4340 H-beam rods are 1.5-pounds lighter than stock (the whole set) while being considerably stronger as well—they’re also sold in balanced sets to ensure a precision build,” Steve Hickman, ZZPerformance

This is one of the areas we were willing to spring for the best; the ZZP H-beams that can support over 1000hp, are considerably lighter than the stock stuff, and are well matched to the equally awesome pistons we ordered (more on that in a second). ZZP claims these 4340 rods are the lightest 3800 rods on the market, and also come with ARP 2000 rods.

We also followed ZZP’s lead and ordered a set of their Clevite 77 bearings. The bearings feature a copper-lead alloy layer on a steel backing that’s overlaid with a precision electro-plated white metal babbit material. According to ZZP, the steel backing provides durability and strength, while the white metal Babbitt overlay provides the critical surface characteristics of embeddability, slipperiness and conformability. In other words, they work!

“Our JE pistons are ceramic coated, which helps prevent detonation. Also, being forged, instead of cast, they are going to hold up to a lot more abuse in the unfortunate event that ‘something’ goes wrong, and you find yourself with a bunch of detonation,” Steve Hickman, ZZPerformance

When it came to the slugs for our 3800, again we bought the best knowing what’s in store.

We turned to the GM 3800 gurus at ZZ Performance (ZZP) for help with our stout bottom-end components that can take the abuse without fear of broken components.

The JE Pistons’ 3800 slugs are made from 2618 alloy with 52 series pins, and according to ZZP, that makes them superior to a competitor’s 4032 alloy pistons commonly used in the 3800 scene. The ceramic coating is also said to be better for heat rejection, and the slugs include wrist pins and rings, and work in all Series 2 & 3 engines using L67 or L32 rods.

While ZZP offers the pistons in the stock 8.5:1 and a higher 9.9:1 compression ratio, we decided to stick with the stock compression since it’s tried and true.

So What’s Next?

Now that the big portions of the bottom-end are covered, we’ll continue on with the rest of the oiling and timing components along with the cam, heads and valvetrain. After that, we’ll be ready for some big boost and solid ETs…and no, we’re still not going to tell you what exactly we’re doing, so hang tight, it’s about to go down!

We stuck with the stock 8.5:1 compression for our ZZP ceramic-coated JE pistons that are hardy enough to survive the abuse we intend to throw at them.

 

According to ZZP, the ceramic coating on their pistons helps combat detonation and their 2618 aluminum construction and 52 series pins make them superior to other alternatives on the market.

 

The ZZP 4340 H-beam rods are said to be the lightest 3800 rods on the market, measuring a feathery 1.5-pounds lighter than stock (as a set) while also being able to handled 1000hp—how’s that for light and strong?

 

The ZZP JE pistons come with wrist pins and the associated components. Be sure to take your time when mating the wrist pins to the pistons and the rods.

 

It’s so pretty you almost don’t want to install it in the block, but our smirks will become smiles the first time we hit WOT. Some might say that’s, priceless.

 

With all six of the pistons and rods mated together, next up was the rings.

 

ZZP even includes all the applicable rings for the pistons—before getting started, take inventory to make sure you have everything needed to throw the slugs in the block.

 

Next, a ring compressor joins the party to compress the rings around the piston you can gently tape the piston and rod down into the cylinder bore of the block.

 

Next, a ring compressor joins the party to compress the rings around the piston you can gently tape the piston and rod down into the cylinder bore of the block.

 

The ZZP Clevite main bearings feature a copper-lead alloy layer on a steel backing that’s overlaid with a precision electro-plated white metal babbit material. According to ZZP, the steel backing provides durability and strength, while the white metal Babbitt overlay provides the critical surface characteristics of embeddability, slipperiness and conformability.

 

Don’t forget to put the rod bearings in before installing the rod and piston into the block.

 

We used AC Delco engine assembly lube throughout the process of assembling the shortblock.

 

Now with everything ready, we can gently tap the rods and pistons into the block.

 

Don’t forget your end caps, which you just oiled; next the rod bolts bolts must be installed and then torqued.

 

Take a gander at the H-beam rods and the ARP2000 rod bolts hiding in the stout factory block—ah, we can just see that 11-second slip now!

 

According to ZZP, the 3/8-inch ARP2000 rod bolts need to be torqued to 55 ft-lbs and the included ARP lube should also be used.

 

Behold, the killer bottom-end that will serve us well as we slay Mustangs, run 11s, and cruise under the radar to work. Next up, a killer top-end.

Share this post

208 comments

Add yours
    • Rick Seitz 19 November, 2020 at 07:00 Reply

      You’re telling us! This project has seen more twists and turns, and ups and downs behind the camera than you’ll ever know! Thanks to COVID and certain lockdown measures in California, the car has been collecting dust in a repair shop but will see the light of day again, very soon!

  1. asmr https://0mniartist.tumblr.com 10 April, 2021 at 09:13 Reply

    Hi would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re using?
    I’m going to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a tough time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
    The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique.
    P.S Apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!
    asmr 0mniartist

  2. 0mniartist 11 April, 2021 at 20:20 Reply

    This is the right site for everyone who would like to understand this topic.
    You understand so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually would want to…HaHa).
    You definitely put a brand new spin on a subject that’s
    been discussed for many years. Great stuff, just wonderful!
    asmr 0mniartist

  3. 0mniartist 12 April, 2021 at 12:40 Reply

    constantly i used to read smaller articles which also clear their motive, and that is also happening with
    this post which I am reading at this place. asmr 0mniartist

  4. an gamefly 27 April, 2021 at 19:22 Reply

    I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your sites really nice, keep
    it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back later.

    Many thanks

  5. asmr when 28 April, 2021 at 22:07 Reply

    My spouse and I stumbled over here coming from a different web page and thought I may as well check things out.

    I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to
    looking at your web page yet again.

  6. in asmr 29 April, 2021 at 09:05 Reply

    Hello there, I found your blog via Google whilst searching for a comparable subject,
    your web site got here up, it looks good.
    I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

    Hello there, just became aware of your blog through Google,
    and found that it is really informative. I am gonna watch out for brussels.
    I’ll appreciate should you continue this in future.
    Numerous folks shall be benefited from your writing.
    Cheers!

  7. our gamefly 3 May, 2021 at 16:42 Reply

    Its such as you learn my mind! You appear to
    grasp a lot approximately this, such as you wrote the e book in it or something.

    I believe that you just could do with some p.c. to power the message
    house a bit, but instead of that, that is excellent blog.
    A fantastic read. I’ll certainly be back.

  8. a asmr 4 May, 2021 at 06:57 Reply

    Hey there would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re working with?

    I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m having a tough time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
    The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs
    and I’m looking for something completely unique.
    P.S Apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

  9. http://bit.ly/3f3ITK2 7 May, 2021 at 07:42 Reply

    This is very fascinating, You’re an excessively skilled blogger.
    I have joined your feed and sit up for in quest of extra of your
    magnificent post. Also, I’ve shared your web site in my social networks

  10. or asmr 8 May, 2021 at 04:53 Reply

    Please let me know if you’re looking for
    a article writer for your blog. You have some really great articles and I believe I would be a good asset.
    If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d love
    to write some articles for your blog in exchange for a link
    back to mine. Please blast me an email if interested.
    Kudos!

  11. asmr for 8 May, 2021 at 22:23 Reply

    I’ll right away grasp your rss feed as I can’t to find your email subscription hyperlink
    or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly let me understand in order that I
    may subscribe. Thanks.

  12. stackblitz.com 15 May, 2021 at 05:38 Reply

    scoliosis
    Hey! Quick question that’s entirely off topic. Do you know how to
    make your site mobile friendly? My web site looks weird
    when viewing from my iphone. I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to fix this issue.
    If you have any suggestions, please share. Many thanks!
    scoliosis

  13. http://j.mp/2SUVisA 16 May, 2021 at 23:15 Reply

    scoliosis
    Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m inspired!
    Very useful information particularly the remaining phase
    🙂 I care for such info much. I used to be seeking
    this particular information for a long time. Thank you and good luck.
    scoliosis

  14. asmr on 21 May, 2021 at 06:22 Reply

    Hi to every one, the contents present at this web site are truly
    remarkable for people knowledge, well, keep up
    the nice work fellows.

  15. where free dating sites 26 May, 2021 at 03:44 Reply

    Can I simply say what a relief to uncover an individual who
    genuinely knows what they are discussing on the
    internet. You certainly realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important.
    More people really need to read this and understand this side of the
    story. I was surprised that you are not more popular given that you surely possess the gift.

  16. mike 26 May, 2021 at 15:01 Reply

    I’m considering a ZZP L36 Supercharge kit for my 2002 Bonneville L36 so I’m very anxious for the next phase of this build. Thanks for all the info you’ve posted thus far.

  17. and scoliosis surgery 30 May, 2021 at 12:54 Reply

    I’ve been exploring for a bit for any high-quality articles or blog posts in this
    kind of space . Exploring in Yahoo I eventually stumbled upon this
    web site. Studying this info So i’m glad to show that I have
    an incredibly just right uncanny feeling I found out exactly what I needed.

    I most no doubt will make sure to do not omit this site and give it a glance on a relentless basis.

  18. free dating sites why 1 June, 2021 at 02:11 Reply

    Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the pictures on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  19. tinyurl.com 2 June, 2021 at 00:27 Reply

    I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post
    was great. I don’t know who you are but definitely you are going to a famous blogger if you are not already ;
    ) Cheers!

  20. junimeridio 12 July, 2021 at 13:42 Reply

    pool hydroxychloroquine in lupus segment [url=https://hydroxychloroquined.online/ ]hydroxychloroquine mechanism of action[/url] atherothrombotic stroke hydroxychloroquine o sulfate

  21. Learn More 19 July, 2021 at 17:22 Reply

    you are actually a good webmaster. The website loading velocity is amazing. It seems that you are doing any distinctive trick. In addition, The contents are masterpiece. you’ve done a excellent process on this subject!

  22. tinyurl.com 10 August, 2021 at 01:40 Reply

    Hey there outstanding website! Does running a blog such as this take
    a lot of work? I’ve absolutely no expertise in computer programming but I was hoping to start my own blog in the near future.
    Anyways, if you have any suggestions or tips for
    new blog owners please share. I know this is off subject but I
    just wanted to ask. Thank you!

  23. that ps4 games 22 August, 2021 at 21:41 Reply

    Fascinating blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
    A design like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog shine.
    Please let me know where you got your theme. Thanks

  24. ps4 games what 23 August, 2021 at 07:50 Reply

    My brother recommended I might like this web site.
    He was totally right. This post truly made my day.

    You can not imagine simply how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  25. ps4 games the 23 August, 2021 at 21:19 Reply

    I will immediately grab your rss as I can’t find your
    email subscription link or newsletter service. Do you’ve any?
    Kindly allow me know in order that I may subscribe.
    Thanks.

  26. http://t.co/BnmehOIl8g 30 August, 2021 at 05:42 Reply

    Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this,
    like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with a few pics to drive
    the message home a bit, but other than that, this
    is fantastic blog. An excellent read. I will certainly be back.

  27. http://t.co/Y8yDaYcK75 31 August, 2021 at 06:05 Reply

    You really make it seem really easy together
    with your presentation however I find this topic to be really something that I think I would never understand.
    It kind of feels too complex and very huge for me. I’m taking a look ahead
    to your subsequent submit, I’ll try to get the grasp of
    it!

  28. Click Here 2 September, 2021 at 12:38 Reply

    I’m so happy to read this. This is the kind of manual that needs to be given and not the accidental misinformation that is at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this greatest doc.

Post a new comment