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Patientzero HalfDork
6/28/20 11:31 p.m.

I have a couple small updates and one significant one.

I ordered a Stroud 5# fire suppression system with 3 nozzles.  This uses Dupot FE-36 which is a "clean" agent.  It is also legal for SCCA Time Trials.


I mounted the bottle in the rear seat bottom area.


So far I have one nozzle right next to the driver.  It is a 360 degree nozzle that should cover the driver and passenger.  The 2nd nozzle is mounted pointed toward the battery and would also cover a fuel cell if I ever go that route.  The 3rd nozzle will be in the engine bay pointed at the top of the motor/fuel rail area.  The kit didn't come with enough tubing to run the last nozzle so I'm waiting for more tubing to come in so I can finish.


I also got my brake ducts put in.  I'm using Full Tilt Boogie spindle plates and 3" tubing from Summit.  I used a combination of 3" aluminum HVAC ductwork and a couple cut up funnels to attach to the bumper.


This weekend was the SCCA ProSolo and CAM Challenge at Heartland Motorsports Park.  We had 32 cars in CAM and I finished the first heat at #16.  I had optimism that I could pick up some more time but it started fading.  I put down a pretty good time on the left course but the right course was giving me tons of problems and would eventually be my downfall.  This was my first ProSolo and I've never been to a drag strip so I was pretty happy with my .550-.650 reation times (.500 is perfect) and 2.1-2.2 60 ft times.


My first run Sunday morning (on the right course, of course) my transmission decided it didn't need 3rd gear anymore so this is where my weekend ended.  I managed to pick up about 1/10th of a second but it just wasn't enough and I got pushed all the way back to 22nd, ouch.  I'm pretty certain my diff is in dire need of a rebuild and I absolutely have to get more rubber on the ground.  At this level of competition the 295's aren't getting it done when everyone else is on 315's or 335's.  I'm also a little undecided on what to do with the transmission issue.  This transmission was originally an option because it was dirt cheap and allegedly could handle the amount of power I'm making.  They have since TRIPLED in price and it obviously can't handle the power so I'm not sure what the next step is.  T56 is the easy answer if I had $3k to spend on one, maybe TKO?  T-10?  I don't know at this point what I'm going to do.  I'm nearly at the point if someone would pay me a fair price for the Mustang I'd be in a Corvette but I know the chances of that happening are basically zero.


Here is some (crappy) video of the last run.  I also had issues with my phone recording video so had to resort to the old GoPro 3.  Unfortunately no speed or track overlay.  I shifted to 3rd at the last gate before the finish line.  You can see the camera jump when it lets loose.


Patientzero HalfDork
6/29/20 12:00 p.m.

I'm picking up a transmission in the morning.  I'm going to finish out this season and then reaccess what needs to be done.  I'll probably replace the clutch packs in the rear end too.  People say you should rebuild it once a season and I've never done it in four years.  Likely the cause of my violent one wheel peel directly sideways, lol.

Error404 Reader
6/29/20 12:30 p.m.

I'm at work or I would answer for myself. What trans do you have? If it's a T5, they're really not built to handle high torque or fast shifts. I did some moderate research on replacements and the solution seems to be a higher budget and a TKO 500/600 but those are money. Your mileage my vary.

IIRC, 3rd is usually the first gear to go due to its positioning and the way the case flexes. Assuming, of course, you're running a T5. 

Patientzero HalfDork
6/29/20 12:38 p.m.

In reply to Error404 :

I'm using an Aisin AR5 from a Chevy Colorado with the FabBot Adapter.

Patientzero HalfDork
6/30/20 12:50 p.m.

I picked up another transmission this morning.  I doubt I'll get it put in this weekend with the holiday activities but possibly next week or weekend.


Instead of messing around with rebuilding the Trak-Loc I'm just going to do it right the first time.  I've read alot of good things about the Eaton Truetrac from road course and AutoX guys. It would also be the perfect time to step up to the 31 spline axles.


I was also playing with the gear ratio calculator and I'm going to swap to 3.27 gears.  This will get me to 74mph in second gear shifting at 7000rpm and I could even bump the limiter to 7200rpm to get me to 76mph.  This will keep me from ever having to shift to 3rd during autocross and make this transmission live longer.  It will also help make 1st gear useable since it's so short. (3.75:1)

FatMongo Reader
6/30/20 1:05 p.m.

If you need a set of 3.27's let me know - I got an extra set - the oem gears that came in my car.

When selecting differentials, did you look at the Torsen? The trackpack Coyote cars come with the T4R diff and I went with a T4R in my car - and have no complaints (but my car has only ever been on the street) Just curious why you went with what you did?

Patientzero HalfDork
6/30/20 1:33 p.m.

In reply to FatMongo :

I would be very interested in your 3.27's.  Sam Strano recommends the TrueTrac over the torsion and it's cheaper.  He has enough national championships that I trust his opinion, lol.


FatMongo Reader
6/30/20 2:57 p.m.

Sorry, meant T2R - I keep getting transposing numbers - the T2R has 4:1 bias so I call it the T4R inadvertently. I heard no downsides to the T2R so I went with that, but Im sure the TrueTrac is just as good.

Anyway, you can have the 3.27s. Just get a hold of me offline and I can bring them in to work when you want them.

FatMongo Reader
6/30/20 3:12 p.m.

So one other question/comment: I get your rationale for going to lower gears - but arent you losing just a fraction of acceleration by stepping down to 3.27's? So while you get higher RPMs and higher MPHs, you take a bit longer to get there. I guess if it saves you a shift, it is still beneficial.

Patientzero HalfDork
6/30/20 3:37 p.m.

In reply to FatMongo :

I don't think so.  I can spin the tires at will so I think killing some of the torque multiplication might actually be beneficial and being able to actually use 1st gear would probably help too. 

Patientzero HalfDork
7/10/20 4:00 p.m.

So I think I've had a change of heart or maybe just had some sense knocked into me.  I started running autocross 13 years ago probably for the same reasons as most people; it's cheap, it's available, and you can pretty much run anything.  I'd much rather be doing track days, time trials, HPDE's, etc but the cost is just more than I can afford. Or is it?

I was hugely disappointed in how I finished at the Topeka ProSolo.  I didn't expect to go in and set the world on fire.  It was my first national event and there are some damn good drivers there.  However, I did expect to finish in the top half of the pack based on my performance in local events against many of the same drivers.  The current CAM-T national champion is in my local region and we are usually very close.  In my latest round of brainstorming about how to dump massive amounts of cash into the car just to pick up a few tenths I arrived at the conclusion that I need more tire.  For bigger tires I need bigger wheels, then I will need to flare the fenders, then I will need a coilover upgrade to something that can handle more spring rate.  It's an ice covered slope with a bucket of KY dumped down it and I'm riding on a $.99 plastic Walmart sled.

Then, driving home from work last night I had an epiphany.  I'm doing autocross because it's affordable but I'm going to dump another $8k into the car to be competitive at something I don't really want to do?  What sense does that make?  I can do alot of track days for $8k with the car pretty much as is.  I can run a cheaper tire on the same wheels I have.  No flares needed.  I got my SCCA Time Trials Novice license right before all this baloney kicked off a few months ago.  The fire suppression system is half installed.  I'm swapping the transmission this weekend and my new TrueTrac came in on Wednesday.

I was so consumed by my competitive nature that I stopped enjoying the car and driving.  I'm still going to do autocross but I want to focus on getting this thing to the track and getting some seat time.  My Yokohama's have enough life left that I should be able to get at least a trackday or two out of them.  Then I can switch to some Nitto NT-01's that are $100 cheaper EACH.  I have Heartland Motorsports Park, Hallet, and Raceway Park of the Midlands all within 3 1/2 hours from me.  I need to start using them.


trumant (Forum Supporter)
trumant (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand Reader
7/10/20 7:27 p.m.

Sounds like an excellent plan and potentially not just more economical but more fun if the track days take some of the competitive pressure out of the equation.

KentF (Forum Supporter)
KentF (Forum Supporter) Reader
7/11/20 7:12 a.m.

In reply to Patientzero :

Yup I think that is the right way to approach it. Road track and Autocross seem like you could use the same equipment (and you can) until you really start getting serious. You are already serious about road track and autocross is just fill in fun. As you move up in levels - brakes, tires, wheels, suspension tuning all become specialized and incompatible with the other sport. At some point you really need two cars or the ability to switch out all the running gear quickly for the weekend. Some people can do that. I encountered a few last summer at my first national event (CAM National in Peru). The thing is, these sme guys never stopped taking calls from the office/shop all weekend. That is how they can afford cars like that. They never stop working. I did not get a call from the office all weekend and I like my life that way. 
I went down the opposite road. Dedicated autocross car. Still a work in progress as you know. Still have to add that supercharger and still need more tire. But I am having fun and that is why we do this. And to win. Winning is good too...

Patientzero HalfDork
7/11/20 8:53 p.m.

My dad just had a new 32'x48' shop built out at his house which is less than 5 minutes away from my house.  Lucky for me he also had a lift put it.  My dad is by no means a car guy, he wanted the lift for his lawnmower and to do oil changes.  Either way I'm free to use the shop so I took my spare tool box over with a bunch of my old or extra tools.  I'd love to have my SnapOn box over there with ALL my tools but my dad has a problem with organization and leaving things unlocked so I'm not risking that.


The new 10,000lb lift from Champion.  The lift seems nice, the guys that installed it left something to be desired...


I took the car over this morning and finally got it off the trailer.  It's been sitting on the trailer since the ProSolo two weekends ago.  I got it up on the lift and plan to go back over bright and early in the morning to get the transmission swapped out.  A Track Night in America is coming up in a few weeks and I want to try to make that.  I still need to order my axles and bearing kit but hopefully I can get the new TrueTrac in before then also.

KentF (Forum Supporter)
KentF (Forum Supporter) Reader
7/12/20 7:38 a.m.



rustomatic New Reader
7/12/20 9:56 a.m.

I remember really annoying a serious guy at an autox a few years ago.  Generally, I didn't care which class I was running, but I'd decided on a CAM class for this day, and I wound up running close to a guy with a Mustang of about your vintage, maybe the next body style in line.  Between every run, he was crawling all over his car, doing the sprayer thing, checking pressures, sniffing around under the hood, and I was just standing there shooting the E36 M3 next to my 1963 Ford Falcon, which had steel wheels with 225/45/15 tires on it at the time.  He started sniffing all over my car, and I was like, dude, what is it that you are trying to win here?

I've had the same thing happen at a track day.  You will have days in which you lap people in cars with twice the power and eight times the dollar value, and it's fun, but the only thing that can really matter is enjoying rowing your own boat.  There's that and the fact that it's pretty cool to hang out in the pits at a track.  If someone's really fast and driving a seemingly pathetic Ford Focus (killing you in every turn), it's cool to ask why; it's also cool to just drool over other people's builds.

There's a lot of fun to be had in racing, but there's a lot to be ruined through a (sometimes unchecked) sense of competition.  Dig the Ford tough with Chevy stuff!

captainawesome HalfDork
7/13/20 9:24 a.m.

So you gonna be at Heartland this Friday? I'll be there with a couple buddies so I'll keep an eye out for you.

Patientzero HalfDork
7/13/20 1:13 p.m.

In reply to captainawesome :

Unfortunately no.  I'm having a hell of a time with this transmission.  I was shooting for the Aug 12 event but the way things are going 2020 might just be a total loss.  I need to figure out some permanent solutions with the transmission and come back in 2021.

Patientzero HalfDork
7/13/20 1:28 p.m.

So I spent all day yesterday fighting this car.  We pulled the exhaust, crossmember, etc and everything went pretty smooth until we tried to pull the transmission.  When I originally put this transmission in I did it on jackstands by myself in my driveway.  Went right in, easy.  Now, with the new k-member the motor sits higher in the car which leaves zero room around the bellhousing to pull the trans back far enough for the input shaft to clear the clutch.  To get it out we had to unbolt the clutch with the transmission still in place.


We "clearanced" the tunnel with a BFH but there is just not physically enough room.  This leaves a couple options. 

1. Burn this berkeleying car to the ground and start over. (this is the least fiscally responsible option.) 

2. Drop the k-member, bolt up the trans, and reinstall.  All the fluids would need to drained, all the wiring disconnected, and I would have to re-square the k-member and redo the alignment.  Time consuming and frustrating but doable.

3. To avoid have to do option 2 again in the future when I inevitably break another transmission(I'm on #4 in 3 years).  I'm going to pull the motor mounts and modify them so the engine sits back down where it did with the old k-member.  This is going to cause issues with the headers so I'm going to swap to the set of shortys that I have and modify the front of the exhaust to bolt up.

I'm seriously considering biting the bullet on a T56 or TKO to stop fighting these stupid problems so I can actually drive and enjoy the car.  I want to focus on being a better driver, not worry about something breaking on the car everytime I drive it.


In related news, we pulled the old transmission apart to see what broke.  These gears seem to be missing a few teeth.


docwyte UberDork
7/13/20 1:40 p.m.

Buy once, cry once.  I'd totally drop the hammer on a TKO or T56...

Go_Gators GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
7/13/20 2:45 p.m.

what a pain. 

Tend to agree. T56 and be done. 

I am with in in the autocross verse HPDE/TT/Trackday dilemma. I am in that spot too, having autocrossed for 10 years, enjoy it, but want more time in the seat. I have never even done a track day and am only guessing at the running cost deltas. 

Either way, get the thing back together so you can enjoy your hard work!


Patientzero HalfDork
7/13/20 3:26 p.m.

In reply to Go_Gators :

I think the cost tends to depend on the car.  There are some cars that are just dirt cheap for consumables.  I don't think this one will be that bad.  I can run a cheaper tire and brake pads aren't that expensive.  I have access to a tire machine so that is a good cost savings too.  This car is 95% where it needs to be but that last 5% is proving to be a bitch.

Patientzero HalfDork
7/16/20 1:59 p.m.

So, yesterday I pulled the headers, motor mounts, and adapter plates.  Took the motor mounts back to my house to modify them and use the 5.3 block I have as a jig.  I then learned something new about the LS.  Not all blocks have the same motor mount provisions.

I cut the rear bolt hole off the mounts and extended it to match up to the bolt hole on the LS3 block.  The 5.3 block doesn't have this bolt hole.

5.3 for reference.


I had to bolt them to the LS3 and tack them in place then finished them with a couple pass on the TIG.  Not my prettiest work.


With the modified motor mounts and getting rid of the adapter plates the engine was able to drop about an inch.


Transmission slid right into place.  No drama.


With the motor lowered back down the long tube don't clear the k-member, they didn't have much if any room in the first place.  I still have a set of shortys that I bought during the first header saga.  I threw them on but they fit much worse than I remembered.  They hit the floor on both sides, interfere with my power terminal, and don't clear the steering shaft.  I could make them work but it's just another bandaid.  Modifiying my long tubes is another option but they are already a hack job that I want to replace.  No sense in putting more time into them either.  I think I'm just going to pull the trigger on the Hooker Blackheart headers.  They are designed to fit my k-member, and all Tremec transmissions if I go that route in the future.  AND, they don't require dropping the k-member to install.  They are a big chunk of change but I think in the long run it will be worth it.


I guess I'm just waiting on new headers now.  I should have just bought them 3 months ago, oh well.




Patientzero HalfDork
7/25/20 1:47 a.m.

The Hooker headers came in.  They fit exactly how a set of $1100 headers should fit.  Really impressed by that.  The only real issues are that the stock LS3 dipstick doesn't fit and my plug wires were against the primaries.  Both have been ordered.


I did cut on them already though.


I had to weld on the vbands.


TIG welding on fresh stainless is so satisfying.


The headers are installed.  Nearly everything is back together.  I need to bleed the clutch and modify the exhaust to match up to the headers.  I also used a ton of head shielding on all my battery cables close to the headers.

KentF (Forum Supporter)
KentF (Forum Supporter) Reader
7/25/20 7:39 a.m.

Very nice welding.  How will you heat shield the cables?


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