Lemon Twist

I met Corey a few years ago at LS Fest or actually in the parking lot of our hotel.  When we pulled up with our yellow and white C1o I saw his truck out in the parking lot and was in love with it.  After we checked in I came back out to the parking lot and met him and his dad Chuck.  We stood around talking trucks for quite a while.  We ended up running in the same class at LS Fest so he introduced us to quite of a few of the other truck guys.  After year of racing together we have become good friends and have talked a lot about his truck Lemon Twist.  Corey and Chuck built the truck themselves and had been driving the truck and racing it for at least 5 years.  Last fall we talked about him bringing the truck to us so we could install a Vintage Air AC system that he had purchased but never got around to installing.  After a few more talks we decided that we would install the HVAC system, drop the Holley 302-2 oil pan and install some road race baffles, install a transmission fluid cooler, and possibly look into doing a set of cylinder heads.


Well as very project goes we got deep into some “might as well’s” as we like to call them.  These are all the things they just make sense to do while your in the process of doing the other thing.  When we got under the dash to look at installing the evaporator box we noticed that his GM Ecu was occupying that real-estate.  The wiring would really need to be cleaned up under the dash in order for us to move the ecu and he was still running the factory fuse box.  The fuse box did not have enough circuits so they had to add a second fuse block that was also in the space we needed to use.  Corey had already talked to me about some drive ability / wiring related issues that he was having.  Sooo… we might as well replace the factory fuse box with an updated unit from American Autowire aaand ditch the cutdown factory LS engine harness and GM ecu.  We right to work mounting the new fuse box and rewiring the entire truck.  We pulled everything out from under the dash and wired in modern connectors so that everything could be unplugged and removed if someone ever chose to do so.  We installed a new Holley Terminator X Max ECU and engine harness as well and mounted the ecu under the passenger seat.

When we installed the new ac compressor we installed it with as part of a kit from Kwik.  It came in contact with the upper radiator hose he was using and we had to route new heater hoses for the HVAC system.  The cooling system was drained to do these tasks and I had removed the intake manifold so that we could neatly route the new engine harness and attach it to the back of the cylinder heads.  Again, previously talking to Corey he had considered doing a set of ported cylinder heads to bump the power a bit.  It only had sense to do the heads since we had so many other things out of the way.  Texas Speed sent us a set of CNC ported LS9 heads that they milled to bump compression to 11:1.  We installed the heads along with new gaskets, custom length pushrods, and ARP bolts.

We installed a large transmission cooler from C&R with a couple SPAL fans mounted to it.  Let me step back a bit before we get into the rest of this paragraph…  Corey had been having issues with his built 4L70E over heating after he would have a hard session of autocross.  It would get hot enough to puke fluid out of the vent tube.  We had actually had the transmission rebuilt the previous winter and had over heating issues that season.  The cooler is a large unit and now that we were installing an AC condenser in front of the radiator we didn’t want to stack too many things out front of the radiator.  We decided to build a close out panel under the truck, in front of the engine.  A thermostat mounted in the cooler cycles the fans on when fluid temp reaches 185 º.

With the truck rewired, new CNC ported heads installed, Holley Terminator X Max EFI installed, a big transmission cooler on, and some new radiator hose, air intake, etc we took the truck to Carma Performance to have Erin spend a week tuning all of the drivability, start up, and full throttle tuning on the dyno.  He ended up installing a larger set of LS3 injectors and getting the truck dialed in!

As with everything project we insist on driving them about 400 miles to ensure that everything works out and we fix any issues that may arise.  We drive them just like the owner would.  We do interstate driving at 75mph, full throttle them from a stop light, drive them to dinner, etc.  After a week of driving and about 6 full throttle pulls the transmission failed!  During the tuning stages we had to really crank the line pressure to make it shift firm so we knew it was on borrowed time.  After talking to Corey and weighing every option it was time to pull the trigger on a Level 2 T56 Magnum from Bowler Performance built with the ZR1 2.29 close ratio gear set.  This meant that we had to go back and install a new crossmember, twin disc clutch, new driveshaft, rebuild the exhaust to fit the new transmission, modify the tunnel of the truck, etc, etc.  Remember the term “might as well”…  Well this is the definition of the term.  The whole project cost 4 times more than anyone planned but the truck is now a whole new vehicle built with all top shelf components.

Corey and Chuck are great friends and were a blast to work with.  Lemon twist is now ready for another 5 years of competing, date nights, cruises etc!  We cant wait to see how the truck stacks up to the competition in 2021.