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AWSX1686
AWSX1686 Dork
3/26/18 12:23 p.m.

Hey all, as many of you know, I bought this car about 2 months before the challenge last year, brought it to the challenge, had issues, and finished 37th of 40. Since then I haven't had a ton of time to get working on it until now, so I figure I might as well start a thread so you all can keep up with my progress. Sometimes I have time to write detailed updates, sometimes I don't, but I try to take pictures pretty much whenever I work on it. So, no promises on how much of this thread will be written updates, but I'll supply plenty of pictures along the way!

 

A little background:

The car is a 1975 Triumph Spitfire with a 2.3t swap from a 87 Turbo Coupe, and independent rear suspension from an 88 RX7 Turbo ii. The original build was by dherr, who is now building a more street oriented Spitfire which is super cool so check that out too. 

 

Here's a picture of when I picked it up along with all the spares etc. Included. 

 

And a picture unloading it near my home. (Alley for my garage is way to small to attempt to bring the trailer in there....

AWSX1686
AWSX1686 Dork
3/26/18 12:28 p.m.

Literally 4 days before I left for the challenge was the first time I really got to drive it, at an autocross since it is not currently street legal. (I have plans to make it street legal, though it will likely be after the $2018 Challenge.)

 

A few pics from that PCA autocross. I enjoyed getting to meet Diego and his "S2002", another awesome Frankenstein beast.

 

 

It was at this event I figured out that the engine would not really rev as high as it should. It ran ok, but was not insane. Come to find out that the timing belt on the cam was off by two teeth! Fortunately a non-interference engine, so no damage. This was just the start of the engine issues....

 

AWSX1686
AWSX1686 Dork
3/26/18 12:42 p.m.

When I picked it up, it had a list of things that still needed sorted out, and I did not have enough time to really fix everything before the $2017 GRM Challenge. That said, my goal was only to complete the Challenge without DNFing, which I did. 2018 is where I turn up the heat....

 

Some pics from the $2017 GRM Challenge, it was a blast. I'm really glad I was able to participate, for me racing isn't all about competition, it's about having fun. I do like competition, but competition without fun, just sucks. But, the Challenge was fun, and I', looking forward to the $2018 Challenge!

 

Leaving at about 12AM Wednesday night (Thursday morning I guess technically):

 

Rest stop in South Carolina sometime early Thursday morning:

 

Thursday evening, ran into Blair and Dave (Team: Cowbell Customs) who stuck around the rest of the weekend and were a huge help attempting to get the engine to run properly in the last minutes. 

 

Quite a few test laps around the hotel trying to see if we fixed it. (We didn't)

 

Friday was more wrenching than racing, but like I said, it did complete the event. By the time we loaded it back on the trailer Saturday it was not very happy.... (Coolant leaking, apparently it needs a larger expansion tank.)

 

 

 

AWSX1686
AWSX1686 Dork
3/26/18 12:45 p.m.

At the $2017 GRM Challenge I was able to get it on some scales, courtesy of the GRM team. Thanks guys!!

Not really sure why I had gotten two different numbers, but it still give me a ballpark, and fine tuning can come later. 

 

 

AWSX1686
AWSX1686 Dork
3/26/18 12:52 p.m.

Like I mentioned in the very first post, I did not really get to touch it at all over the winter (other priorities :/ ) but that doesn't mean I wasn't thinking and plotting about it. 

 

While I didn't get to touch the SpitBird over the winter, I was able to pickup a parts car for dirt cheap, haul it home in the pouring rain, and eventually pull the engine. 

 

Bringing home the parts car:

 

Pulling the engine and electronics:

Thankful that I was able to use my buddies garage as the Thunderbird is a VERY long car and would have been quite the tight fit in my garage, not to mention the fact of a lift!

 

In the end, I got a spare motor, spare trans, PiMP standalone ECU, Wideband O2 sensor, bunch of other gauges and goodies, and sold the body for only a $100 budget hit!

 

AWSX1686
AWSX1686 Dork
3/26/18 12:56 p.m.

On March 7th, I touched the SpitBird for the first time since parking it after bringing it home from the $2017 GRM Challenge. I was cleaning up the garage and figured to get started I'd take the hood off to make it easier to work on it. A ton of progress, I know, but happy that it is progress. Especially since my goal is to have the standalone installed and have it running semi-reliably in time for the Carlisle Import and Performance nationals May 18-20. 

AWSX1686
AWSX1686 Dork
3/26/18 1:02 p.m.

Finally over the past weekend I was able to get some real work done on the car!

I started by tearing the dash out to start sorting through all the wiring and to prepare for the standalone ECU. No offense to Dave, but the wiring was a bit of a mess. 

 

Here's how the dash and gauge panel were when I started:

I believe only the tach, boost, and air/fuel were hooked up, but I got all AutoMeter gauges out of the parts car, so they are all getting replaced. 

 

Dash out, starting to sort out what wires are needed and what are leftover from the Spitfire wiring harness:

AWSX1686
AWSX1686 Dork
3/26/18 2:15 p.m.

And the end result of this weekend's wiring cleanup:

Just one wire left in the cab/dash area. The rest are either eliminated or in the engine bay for better routing. Still have about 10 wires to track down before I can start putting it back together. 

 

 

 

And yes, you'll notice a lot of my pictures are SnapChat saves.... If you want live Snap updates you can friend me on SnapChat, same username just let me know you're friending me. 

AWSX1686
AWSX1686 Dork
3/26/18 2:18 p.m.

Haven't fully decided how I want to put the dash back together, I have to list everything out and really plan it still, but I am thinking about putting 3-4 gauges here. I think they'll be easier to glance at than in the center console. Probably the most critical like Air/Fuel, Coolant Temp, Oil Pressure maybe. Boost is a bit less important to know in the moment I think, so it will probably end up back in the center area. 

 

AWSX1686
AWSX1686 Dork
3/28/18 8:15 a.m.

Picked up this fuel cell last night for $73. 5 gal, aluminum. No bladder, has one piece of foam in it. (Not sure how much good one piece is going to do.)

The current fuel cell/tank is plastic and is slightly questionable. If budget permits I hope to replace it with this.

dherr
dherr Reader
3/28/18 8:53 a.m.

Great to see the progress starting. Agreed that the wiring was definitely a mess and needed to be completely redone. This was originally the Triumph harness, merged into the T-Bird engine management, which was then cut when I pulled the body for the rear suspension work and then pieced back together. It really needed to be done over, so glad you are doing it right now. 

Looks like you scored on the parts car, that will take it up to the next level. The gauges were all "ebay" cheap due to the budget restrictions, so no offense taken if you have scored better with your parts car. The engine management system is super cool!

The engine issues are a bit of a mystery, Bryan had overheated the car at the end of  a drag run at the TRF Summer Party a while back and I replaced the head gasket and got it running again, but it was down on power but no overheating, so I figured it was just tuning. The cam being off two teeth was my work :-)  but not sure on the lack of full power. Sounds like you have that covered with your spare engine, turbo, etc....

With the potential for big power, you might want to take a look at the drive shaft. It was cut down from a FC drive shaft, welded to the T5 input , but not balanced (budget restrictions) and I would put in a hoop (should be one in your spare parts package) to be safe.

So it weighs 2,000 pounds or so, interesting as the 2.3 is pretty heavy, so guess that is where it gained the weight.  Car will still be stupid fast once you get it sorted.

Robbie
Robbie PowerDork
3/28/18 9:05 a.m.

Awesome deal on the parts car and fuel cell. Great to see this coming back!

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
3/28/18 9:44 a.m.

This was a super eye catching car at the Challenge. I'm glad I got to talk to you about it a bit. Crossing my fingers that it's as good at it looks for next year. 

AWSX1686
AWSX1686 Dork
3/28/18 9:47 a.m.

Thanks for the encouragement from all of you. 

 

Wiring is definitely the current task. 

My basic plan is to delete any unnecessary wiring, then make the necessary wiring nice. Basically anything Triumph is going. I have most of it out already, including things like the tail light harness. I figure for the challenge I just need something super basic, and when I make it street legal I'm going to use a different style connector for the bulbs anyway.  

Once wiring is good I will probably confirm that it works with the old ECU, as in make sure I didn't get rid of something I needed. Then put the Standalone ECU in and get it working. The PiMP ECU plugs directly into the stock ECU connector, so I'm hoping for the wiring to be fairly simple. 

After that, or somewhere in the mix, I have not fully decided if I just want to try putting my spare engine in. The only downside is, I haven't actually heard the spare engine run. I was told it did by the forum member I got it from, but then it wouldn't start whenever we were working out our deal, which gave me the further discount. I don't doubt his word that it ran, but it is still something I have to take into account. 

AWSX1686
AWSX1686 Dork
3/28/18 9:59 a.m.

The main goals for before the Challenge this year:

 

1. Wiring redone. 

2. Engine running properly and reliably.

3. Brakes improved.

Have some ideas and some parts that may help, just have to mess with it. Updates to come.

4. Paint change.

I like the white with blue, but it's been that color scheme for over a decade and for 3 challenge events now. I want to make it pop as new, more than oh, it's back, again. If I can get through this list and have it ready to go I think it will essentially be a new car, so I think this is fitting.

5. Custom Throttle Pedal.

The pedal box is quite tight for my large feet, which makes it a bit tricky to drive. Looking at it the other day, I am fairly confident I can re-design the throttle pedal and take better advantage of the available space. Some space may also be gained when I do a full cage and different door bars, but that's not going to fit in challenge budget. 

 

Future Goals:

1. Make it Street Legal

I have the title in my name in PA now, so I [pretty much just have to add the necessary lights, stock seatbelt, windshield wipers, speedometer, and fenders so it'll pass inspection. 

2. Full cage.

3. "Drift Brake"

Just for fun and maybe the occasional drift event. FC RX-7 Rear end means brackets are readily available. 

 

AWSX1686
AWSX1686 Dork
3/29/18 11:08 a.m.

Fuse box arrived yesterday!

12 fuse outputs with a common positive lug, and 12 Ground points with a common ground lug. Feels nice and solid, I think it will work very well for my purposes!

 

cmcgregor
cmcgregor Dork
3/29/18 12:25 p.m.

You're making good progress! I'm looking forward to seeing this thing dialed in.

Glad that the tbird parts car went to a good home. Dave is a good guy, and I'm sure he's happy that someone is doing something cool with it.

AWSX1686
AWSX1686 Dork
3/29/18 12:57 p.m.
cmcgregor said:

You're making good progress! I'm looking forward to seeing this thing dialed in.

Glad that the tbird parts car went to a good home. Dave is a good guy, and I'm sure he's happy that someone is doing something cool with it.

Yeah! Really glad I made the trip! It was a heck of a road trip. About 15 hours on the road, probably 10-12 of those hours in the pouring rain. Then loading it up took about an hour since it wouldn't start and all, and naturally that hour was when the rain was the worst, so we got completely drenched. I had to stop at the Walmart down the road to get some dry clothes. But he was super cool and even gave me a towel so I didn't soak my seat on the way to Walmart. Looking forward to putting the pieces to use!

 

As a side note, my buddy bought the tbird shell from me and is putting a 351 Windsor in it and turning it into a drag car. He's had a few projects that eventually get put aside for years, but hopefully he finishes this one soon. 

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
3/29/18 1:04 p.m.
AWSX1686 said:

Fuse box arrived yesterday!

12 fuse outputs with a common positive lug, and 12 Ground points with a common ground lug. Feels nice and solid, I think it will work very well for my purposes!

 

That's funny, I was just looked at that box for my 924 project.  I dislike the ceramic fuses with a passion, plus the location of the fuse block is a miserable, miserable location.

Hopefully it works well for you.  Great job on the project so far.

AWSX1686
AWSX1686 Dork
3/29/18 1:32 p.m.
Stefan said:
AWSX1686 said:

Fuse box arrived yesterday!

12 fuse outputs with a common positive lug, and 12 Ground points with a common ground lug. Feels nice and solid, I think it will work very well for my purposes!

That's funny, I was just looked at that box for my 924 project.  I dislike the ceramic fuses with a passion, plus the location of the fuse block is a miserable, miserable location.

Hopefully it works well for you.  Great job on the project so far.

This type? My e28 has them and I have to clean the corrosion off of them every so often or else issues start popping up. Fortunately the fusebox on that one is in a decent location. 

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
3/29/18 3:02 p.m.

In reply to AWSX1686 :

Vaseline or electrical connector grease will solve some of that after you’ve polished the contacts.

It makes working with them a PITA, but hopefully it means you have to work with them less often.

Something about the materials used in that timeframe that are just not able to deal with the outside world for more than a few years.

Indy-Barely Functional-Guy
Indy-Barely Functional-Guy SuperDork
3/29/18 7:47 p.m.

Andrew, good to see this project moving forward again. Thanks for the updates. I was wondering what happened at the challenge. Now I know. I'll be following along.

Stampie
Stampie UltraDork
3/29/18 9:06 p.m.

This was one of my favorites from last year. Wish I had more time to talk with you there. I'll try to make a point of doing so this year. 

AWSX1686
AWSX1686 Dork
3/30/18 8:27 a.m.
Stefan said:

In reply to AWSX1686 :

Vaseline or electrical connector grease will solve some of that after you’ve polished the contacts.

It makes working with them a PITA, but hopefully it means you have to work with them less often.

Something about the materials used in that timeframe that are just not able to deal with the outside world for more than a few years.

Ahh, that's a good idea! I guess dielectric grease would work, yeah?

AWSX1686
AWSX1686 Dork
3/30/18 8:28 a.m.
Stampie said:

This was one of my favorites from last year. Wish I had more time to talk with you there. I'll try to make a point of doing so this year. 

Looking forward to it! It was nice to meet you, even if I didn't realize who I was talking to at first! Hahaha

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