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Unread 04-09-2015, 06:31 PM
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Default Re: Vorshlag Budget TT Build: Project DANGER ZONE

continued from above

The targa top was modified to fit around the cage. The metallic structure of the 22.6 pound assembly was removed, leaving just the outer skin. This wasn't ideal but necessary. The skinned plexiglass panel has the right curvature and was mocked up to make sure the windshield frame and B-pillar structure still fit.

The roof panel mounts shown above were fabricated (and logged under the cage work) and welded to the top of the factory windshield surround and the top of the B-pillar roof structure. On top of each is a poly bushing, machined to the correct angle, bonded to the steel mount, and with a thru-hole for the mounting bolts. Mounting the plexiglass to the cage at only one end could allow the flimsy plexiglass to buckle under load, so the "flexible" OEM roof structure that was left was used instead.

This plexiglass top mounts with flush mounted stainless bolts in 5 places and keeps the airflow going where it should, but that's about it. The top is still somewhat translucent, which isn't ideal, but it wasn't worth the time to fabricate this complex curved roof panel out of aluminum or even skinning the plexi in vinyl film. Yet.

While adding the cage, it made sense to add the nets and other safety gear required for wheel to wheel racing; this car could be run in PTC (W2W) as well as TTC (Time Trial). A Schroth center net was added first, and it passes through the dashboard surround that we added. As I showed in my first post, this car came to us with just the gauges attached to the fiberglass inner dash structure, but I wanted more of the original dash pad and gauge binnacle installed. It looks more complete and professional, plus provides better anti-glare protection. Ryan managed to save what he could from the old dash pad that came with the C4, clearanced that and the inner structure to clear the roll cage dash bar, and mounted the gauge cluster back in the original binnacle.

Left: Before, with no dash pad or gauge "binnacle". Right: OEM binnacle added as well as about half the dash pad

A metal panel was added for a section and a toggle switch for the OEM traction control defeat was added. This really needs a momentary on/off push button but this works for now (it simply grounds a circuit) to disable the ASR. The driver's door net was a bit more complicated, as they always are. Ryan made a lower frame that has a slide-thru mount that can slip down and out of the way when unlatched, but gets rigid when the net is latched in place. The upper frame pivots at the back on a spherical, to allow it to swing down and in/out a bit.

We added padding at the last minute, as the car was being loaded onto the open 2 car trailer - in the rain. I had hoped we would have time to paint the cage/interior at Heritage but we started about a week too late, as our shop schedule was just too overloaded. So we got to this point for safety...

Suspension Upgrade

After the cage work was completed by Ryan, Olof tackled the oil leaks next, starting about 3 days before the race weekend. In my last update I asked folks what they thought we should spend the remaining 3 points in TTC on: springs, shocks, exhaust, etc. We took this input and looked at the (somewhat limited number of) lap data from MSR-H and went ahead and decided: SPRING UPGRADE would be worth 2 of those 3 points.

This base trim model 1992 C4 has the original FE1/FX3 springs (417 #/in front, 227 #/in rear - with wheel rates that are lower than that) with longer lowering bolts out back. Matteucci had already added the aftermarket shims/tricks to lower the front. It still sits very high up front, too. I was hoping to stick with Hyperco C4 springs at both ends, since we are a dealer, but their mold to make the C4 front spring was damaged last year and it would cost $70K to replace it. So yea, Hyperco is out of the C4 front spring business. I next called Paul at Vansteel and had a good conversation with him. He had better Hyperco data on the C4 than Hyperco, and recommended the Vette Brakes Products (VBP) "Xtreme" front spring, shown below.

This VBP front spring is different from the OEM C4 style front springs, in that it is flat and has adjustable ends like a C5 front spring. He told me of a number of racers using this successfully and it was the one he used on most C4's like ours (track use). McCall also had good luck with this spring on his 1989 Corvette LT4 he runs in BSP class autocrossing. I've driven that car and it WORKS.

The C4 rear spring mounts with adjustable bolts at the ends, so you can alter ride height stock. Here are the OEM 1992 + 1984 rear springs

So then I called VBP and the guys there helped me narrow in on a spring rate for their front spring - which can be built from 1000-1250 pounds/inch. We decided on 1200 and they custom built a spring for us that measured out at 1170 pounds/in.

For the rear I had picked up a 1984 Z51 rear spring from Matteucci with the car purchase, and it turns out to be the stiffest OEM spring ever offered on the C4 at 500-510 #/in. That end is easily ride height adjustable with these lowering bolts, which come in various lengths for extreme lowering. We stuck with the ones that Matteucci had and got to the ride height shown below. This is about 3" lower than stock up front and 2.5" out back, which lowers the CG significantly but doesn't get the rear suspension into any funky geometry (going lower can).

In case you were looking at the math, we increased the front spring rate by 2.8 times (417 to 1170 #/in) and the rear by 2.25 times (227 to 510 #/in), which is fairly typical of where we start for most IRS cars. Sometimes we don't go quite as far in the rear as we did here, but our spring choices were limited and I really like a car that "rotates well". I was not disappointed with the handling on track, either.

Oil Leak Fixes!

So our debut with NASA @ MSR-H had very limited laps due to massive smoke from leaks at the Rear Main Seal (RMS) and oil pan gaskets. We were limited to 1-2 lap blasts before the smallish oil leaks started to get on the exhaust and caused smoke. The oil drops stayed off the track - until you stopped, then it would miss the exhaust and drip straight down.

Matteucci warned me before I bought the car that he thought both the RMS and oil pan gaskets needed to be fixed. He did the clutch job and Moroso oil pan install on jack stands, and it is nearly impossible to do those two things correctly on a C4 without a lift. The big Moroso oil pan has kick-outs for extra oil capacity and trap doors for better oil control while cornering - strongly recommended for LT1 motors on a road course.

To get to the RMS the transmission has to come out, and that's no small task. Olof spent about 2 days doing this repair + the spring swap above, and it was finished at the last minute - we didn't load up and leave for MSR-C until 5:30 pm Friday (had planned on leaving by 12 noon to get a good spot).

The C-channel/torque beam, driveshaft, shifter then trans were removed. Next the complicated QuarterMaster triple disc 7.25" diameter clutch pack and flywheel was removed, then the 3 pound starter flex plate. The weights are shown below.

This is how you remove over 50 pounds from your flywheel/clutch mass. And this is what makes the motor rev!

We replaced the locking nuts on the clutch pack but put the sintered bronze plates back in, as the wear looked great. We had thought about swapping to their twin disc Kevlar "rally clutch" set-up, which uses the same cage and flywheel. This set-up is supposed to be more forgiving on slow speed driving (paddock, between rally stages) but I have gotten used to the triple disc and we decided to stick it back in since it looked good.

The oil pan had some NASTY funk in it, which made us all VERY concerned. We found a hole in the intake boot that might have let some dirt past the air filter, but more than likely this is just normal wear. The grit was very fine, grey in color, and magnetic/ferrous, so probably indicative of worn piston rings. Well it made great power a month ago on the dyno, how bad could it be? We didn't have time to do a compression or leak down test, so I had Olof clean out the pan and slip in a fresh FelPro gasket and get it buttoned up. With the car on the lift and two removable subframe members removed it was easier to install it straight and true.

We used the $300 LT1-specific RMS installation tool and got the new $10 seal installed square to the crank as well. Both the RMS and oil pan gasket had small rips in them, allowing the oil leak to happen. The exhaust went back on, fresh 15W50 Mobil1 oil and filter went in, and it fired right up. Runs much better with the hole in the intake boot and TPS sensor fixed, it seems.

Yep, the Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) and intake boot were both replaced. The TPS repair removed the dead spot I noticed at about 2200 rpm/light throttle, so that was money well spent. The factory intake boot is unique to the 1992 model year, and is no longer made. The closest thing we could find was the $50 silicone boot from Mid-America Corvettes, which isn't exactly like the (now out of production) stock piece, so we have to (temporarily) take a 1 point hit for Cold Air Modifications. We may or may not revisit that point later.

I updated the classing sheets for both the Corvette and the Mustang while the guys weighed the C4. We picked up about 45 pounds in the front cage structure (1.75" x .095" wall DOM) so they pulled one 45 pound plate out of the ballast box and away we went. We kept the same brakes, tires and other bits on the car from the previous race in January. No time to swap the rear hatch to plexiglass or anything else - go go go!

Time & Parts Budget To Date

I've been promising to show the hours and parts costs from the beginning but I write these posts when I have time and I have been very busy lately, trying to run the business and make CNC machined parts (feed the machines!). I finally stopped long enough to add up some costs. Let's look at hours first...

Hours Spent To Date = 104.94 hours, logged per MyShopAssist

I was guessing close to 100 hours and that was pretty dang close. We log all jobs, both customer work and our internal test mules and race cars. The only work not counted was my hours for installing the front brakes and cleaning the front suspension (about 4) and Jon's hours cutting and installing the decals (about 3). Here's the breakdown:

Round 1 - work before MSR-H
  • Mounting and balancing the R7 tires on the Enkei wheels = 1.02 hours
  • Install OEM replacement Bilstein shocks = 1.35 hours
  • First Oil + Filter Change (8 qts Mobile1 15W50) = .45 hours
  • Caliper + bracket + pin replacement for correct unit = .68 hours
  • 4-point Roll bar fab + cover plates + fire bottle install + floor pan repair + hatch removal/install = 51.23 hours
  • Sub-total before first race = 54.73 hours

Round 2 - work before MSR-C
  • Roll cage completion (front half + roof structure removal/install) = 29.23 hours
  • Ballast mount fabrication + machining = 5.32 hours
  • Oil pan gasket + RMS repair (+ driveshaft, torque arm, trans and clutch R&R and 2nd oil + filter change) = 11.19 hours
  • Front and rear spring installation (including fixing the VBP spring mounts) = 3.97 hours
  • Sub-total before first race = 49.71 hours

As for costs, its still around $5000 total, all-in. I will do a better budgetary break down next time, when I have more time to make the "report" in our accounting software. We lost our Operations Manager and it took me 3 weeks to look for and hire a replacement, who starts on Monday. It has been crazy busy around here and we've been down a man for 2 weeks, ugh.

This Week At Vorshlag - March 12, 2015

The video below shows a good bit of the work Olof tackled with the clutch, springs, and gasket/seal repairs. Its 7 minutes long and also touches on some other fabrication work + some of the CNC work Jason and I have been buried with for weeks.

YouTube video:
SmugMug video: LINK

I've finally set-up our new Vorshlag YouTube channel and will start to post various videos there, as they seem to work better than our SmugMug video hosting (which seems to wreck the videos on mobile devices).

That's all I have for this time.

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