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Default Re: Vorshlag Build Thread - 69 Camaro Pro Touring/Track Car

continued from above



This "grill block-off" plate was later modified to feed the air filter box. This was deemed necessary after the various heat exchangers were placed and duct work to the hood was laid out. Now a small portion of the original radiator airflow from the upper grill will force feed the engine for a small "ram air" effect. Those bits are shown below.

And yes, the raw aluminum grill plate will be painted or coated black later in the build, to help "hide" the bits behind the grill. This will give a more subtle and OEM look to the upper grill, at least.

RADIATOR DUCTING FAB (PHASE 1)

There was some initial work done in October to make the intricate lower grill opening duct work. These bits are in front of the radiator and create sealed pathways for airflow to move from the various splitter openings to the 3 heat exchangers and two brake ducts.



This lower radiator ducting fabrication was started in October but only just wrapped up in December. It took many hours. Other than this teaser shot above, I will save the rest of the pictures of this phase of fabrication for a later post.


AIR INTAKE BOX & INLET TUBE FAB

Like I said above, things underneath the hood started to get cramped once the hood ducting was being laid out. The initial hood ducting layout steps began in October, shown below with cardboard and aluminum sheet showing potential routing of exhaust heat. During this step we figured out a number of constraints, so Ryan went ahead and built the intake tube and airbox.



The solution was to bypass all of the possible routes for hood exhaust ducts and push the air filter box to the front in a nice, high pressure zone: the back of the blocked off upper grill. The massive engine setback of this LS3 plus the rolled radiator placement made for a really L-O-N-G intake tube, as you can see.



Brad and I snapped a few pictures of these components as they were being built. The airbox bolts to the grill plate (with weather stripping at the edges for an air tight seal) and the air tube bolts to the airbox, then has a hose coupling at the throttle body. The back plate unbolts from the rest of the air filter box structure, for access to the air filter inside.



That doesn't look like much but there was some thought that went into the air inlet tube and air filter box parts. At right above, the finished parts are sitting atop the mock-up flat steel hood we used for some duct layout work. The mocked up cardboard ducting is shown upside down in that image.... deep ducts.



On some other ducted hood setups we have built before (see above) the hood duct was pretty straight forward - a sealed duct box was built from the back of the radiator to the hood. In that type of layout you re-route the intake air tube laterally and around the hood duct. This setup puts the inlet air filter in an airbox mounted off to the side of the heat exchangers.



On the 69 Camaro we had less latitude on the placement of the hood exhaust ducts. We spent many hours (only a faction of the options are shown above) trying to find a way to duct the 3 heat exchangers and fit inside the confines of the OEM style, aluminum, 69 Camaro cowl hood. The raised cowl section just did not lend itself to placing the large hood ducts we needed in the proper places (ow pressure zones - which helps extract air).

Then we tried an flat 69 Camaro hood and had new styling constraints for the ducts. Even the front tires themselves limit where the ducts can be on the hood - stuff 315s under stock fender contours and they begin to intrude inboard, in a big way (shown above right at "full bump travel"). I will expand on this when we finally have the new hood installed (a composite hood is being built now) and the final hood ducting design is under construction. These ducts are gonna be BIG.



The "straight on" approach for the inlet tube we used on this 69 Camaro is the cleanest routing for the intake air and should work fine here. This produces the cleanest, straightest path for air to get to the engine (only one small bend in the inlet tube, behind the airbox).



A big K&N filter is stuffed inside the airbox and it draws air from two open grills in the upper grill section. The filter element is visible inside those grill openings in the grill block-off plate pictures in that section above. An LS3 style Mass Air Flow sensor "blade" will be added to the intake tube ahead of the throttle body later in the build.

FRONT BRAKE DUCT FABRICATION



The car came in here with 2-piece 14" Wilwood front rotors and some 6-piston calipers installed up front. Well as big as those are, for longevity on a road course this car still needs some forced cooling air thrown inside the at least the front rotors. Ryan fabbed up a pair of custom brake backing plates with 4" inlets to keep these cool.



Simple aluminum plate was laid out and cut to fit around the C6 Corvette front spindles / hubs and seal to the inside face of the 14" rotor. The 4" oval tubes were made on the tubing roller and welded to the backing plates, then fitted with 2-layer, high temp, 4" ID brake duct hose routed to inlet ducts in the splitter (which I will show later).



No rocket science here, just careful measuring, some experience, and good craftsmanship. The main thing to remember is you want to get as much of the duct aimed below the rotor face. Blowing air directly at the rotor face doesn't do much cooling - but ducting air inside the rotor hat cools the front wheel hub and allows the vented brake rotor to act as a centrifugal air pump, which pulls the air through the rotor from the inside out. Even without ducted air the rotor will do this on its own to a small extent, but high pressure air forced inside the rotor makes for a HUGE bump in brake cooling efficiency.



Along with the brake duct hose some November work is shown in the image above. I will talk about what's coming up in the final paragraph of this update.

SPLITTER MOUNT FABRICATION

All of the factory front structure is gone, from the radiator support to the inner fender unibody structure. There are critical items that need a solid piece to be hung from at the very front - like the splitter, which can put 200-300 pounds of aero load through the small struts that mount at the leading edge of the the lower splitter plane. There are also other pieces that need some mounting structure at the front of the engine bay, like the radiator, coolers, headlights, front bumper, and more.



The exterior "bumper" is an aluminum OEM reproduction unit, mostly added for styling (it covers several seams between OEM panels). Underneath this black aluminum bumper is the real structure added, by way of a 1.0" diameter DOM tube. This piece of tubing is bent to follow the contours of the OEM front bumper and then many things were tied onto this structure.



Reproduction OEM headlight buckets were mounted at the bottom using custom brackets welded to this 1" front structural tube. There are also splitter support rod mounts that attach to this front tube, with brackets hidden behind the exterior of the black aluminum bumper.



More things were then added to this bumper, like structure to mount the various heat exchangers, which we will talk about next time.

WHAT'S NEXT?

That's it for the October work, but there was a lot accomplished in November which I will show next time. This includes finishing the steering shaft, power steering and oil cooler mounting, front anti-roll bar "splined arm" and end link fabrication, fitting the front body panels better to finalize some mounts, a big discussion of hood and duct choices (including flat hood vs using the existing aluminum cowl hood), making a new front steering arm that bolts to the C6 spindles, then making new tie rods to finish the steering, planning out the wiper motors, making room for the driveshaft at the rear of the frame, as well as some exploratory work on hood hinges.



We will cover all that and more in my next update. Thanks for reading.

Cheers,

Last edited by Fair!; 01-02-2016 at 05:25 PM.
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Unread 04-19-2016, 04:45 PM
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Default Re: Vorshlag Build Thread - 69 Camaro Pro Touring/Track Car

Project Update April 19th, 2016: I've been pretty buried with other work but I'm finally doing some catch-up posts on various build threads and will try to cover the work we completed on the tube framed 69 Camaro track car for November through early December 2015 in today's update.



The work shown this time includes finishing the steering shaft in the engine bay to the Woodward rack, mounting power steering and oil coolers, completing the front anti-roll bar "splined arm" and end link fabrication, fitting the front body panels better to finalize body mounts, a lengthy discussion of hood and duct choices (including flat hood vs using the existing aluminum cowl hood), making a new front steering arm that bolts to the C6 spindles, then making new tie rods to finish the steering, planning out the wiper motors, making room for the driveshaft at the rear of the frame, as well as some exploratory work on hood hinges and some more front splitter and valance work.

STEERING SHAFT FABRICATION



The 2-piece steering shaft has been "mocked up" in the chassis for a while - necessary during the exhaust header fabrication. We had a temporary u-joint at the firewall (above) made for a 3/4" DD shaft, which came with a bunch of other parts when the Camaro made it to our shop last year.



We had been waiting on the splined lower steering U-joint, which finally arrived long after the headers were built.



We have been making multi-piece steering shafts for many years for the BMW crowd, for use in our LS1 swap kits as well as for racers looking to remove the slop in the factory "rag joint". The final "real" steering u-joints for the custom 2-piece collapsible shaft were ordered and the shaft was built. This unit uses both 1" DD (hollow) and 3/4" DD (solid) steel shaft material.



Not too glamorous but its in there and the steering rack was steerable in November. It was so buried by the motor and header that you can't really see it once installed.

POWER STEERING & OIL COOLER MOUNTING



To ensure the steering stays cool on track we have a power steering cooler spec'd, purchased, and mounted.



A properly sized Mocal heat exchanger was mounted into the Left Front corner of the lower grill with brackets fabricated from small gauge tubing. One more small tube (not shown yet) will connect this structure to the removable front tubular section.



These tubular structures later had sheet aluminum ducting attaching to the inlets. The coolers receive cooling air from above the splitter and the opening at the left side of the lower grill.



On the other side of the lower grill, another Mocal heat exchanger was sized and purchased for engine oil cooling.



This one is mounted in the Right Front corner of the car, also receiving cooling air from atop the splitter, with a similar custom bracket.



Both oil coolers + the radiator will exhaust out of the hood ducting, which I cover below.



HEADLIGHT MOUNT FABRICATION



I showed some of the detail work involved in mounting the headlight buckets in an earlier teaser post. Lots of little custom bits needed to make the buckets install with the tubular front end.



Ryan installed some temporary halogen bulbs in the Camaro while we awaited the LED headlight assemblies. We just wanted to see the front end together with lights to see if the aiming was in the right ballpark.



STEERING ARM REDESIGN

The old steering arms were made to bolt to a modified C5/C6 front upright (where you cut off the integral C6/C6 steering arm). The fabricated parts that came with the car were made for a different steering rack, a different ride height, different tie rods, and a different subframe. These old arms were made without any Akerman and the bumpsteer was pretty bad, plus the tie rods were connected in a single-sheer, bolt-thru mounting design.



To correct these suspension geometry issues, Ryan did the suspension software calculations as part of the entire front end redesign which required a new pair of steering arms with new lengths, angles, heights, and geometry to work with the C6 bits and new ride height.



He built the new pair of steering arms using box sections, reducing weight by nearly 12 pounds for the pair. The end was made to mount the tie rod end in a double sheer mount.



The new steering arms were installed and the bump steer and Ackerman numbers were verified.



The spherical-end tie rods were also custom built during this time, finally wrapping up the steering system components - the car can now steer.

continued below

Last edited by Fair!; 04-19-2016 at 06:27 PM.
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Default Re: Vorshlag Build Thread - 69 Camaro Pro Touring/Track Car

continued from above

FRONT ANTI ROLL BAR FABRICATION

I believe I showed the front swaybar being mounted in an earlier post. This is a straight, splined shaft with pillow ball mounts on the frame. Now was the time to make the splined arms and endlinks to complete this component.



Various aluminum swaybar "arms" are made for these straight splined swaybar shafts and they can be purchased in a number of lengths, thicknesses, and even some are pre-bent. We started with straight arms that were then bent to fit in the 20 ton hydraulic press.



In these pictures above and below you can see the completed swaybar assembly. The arms are bent - both for tire clearance (inboard) and to line up with the C6 Corvette control arm's endlink mounting hole. The arms were drilled for multiple adjustment holes as well. Some of the items shown are only tack welded at this point as some final checks still needed to be done once the car was off the frame table, sitting on the wheels and tires at ride height, and rolled onto a 4 wheel alignment rack.



Ryan built a pair of adjustable length swaybar end links out of threaded rod ends, threaded weld bungs, straight tubing and some misalignment spacers for the bolted ends.



The front tie rods that connect the Woodward steering rack to the steering arms that bolt to the C6 uprights are also visible here. Everything is fairly robustly made - it never hurts to over build things a bit when you aren't striving to save every ounce. This car is not built around any minimum weight or racing class, and the owner wanted a little extra reliability and durability.

BODY PANEL FITTING

The car owner had sourced some pretty slick aluminum bodywork for the forward section of this chassis. This Norwood kit was made by Auto Metal Direct for the 69 Camaro and included all aluminum sheetmetal forward of the doors and cowl. These pieces had been bolted in place (with several custom mounts) earlier but now it was time to fit the hood and try to get the panels to align better.



The only problem with these aluminum bits is they bend easily and it looked like a number of the parts were bent somewhere along the way, possibly in transit, especially the 2" raised cowl hood.



One corner of the hood was bent down and the culprit was a popped set of spot welds in the corner of some under structure. Easily bent back and fixed.



After fitting, massaging, and reinstalling the ADM panels they were looking much better and ready for the painter - who would get the panel gaps and fit-up perfected just prior to paint.



Maybe in retrospect an entire composite front end would have been a better choice. Heck, a fiberglass unibody might have been better. Hind sight is 20/20, and we suggested a new body at the very start. It wasn't until we put in the hours of tweaking and rust fixes that the car owner saw that, too.



INITIAL HOOD DUCTING TESTS

With the aluminum front bodywork panels fitting better it was time to choose the hood venting. The whole front end - splitter, various coolers, radiator angle - were all going to be built around a vented/ducted hood, from the very first conversations we had with the car owner. The actual design decision was a long process.



The car owner had noticed some of the other vented and ducted hoods we had built in the past and understood aero enough to know how advantageous this setup would be for making front downforce, proper cooling, and a better layout. He also sent us 20+ pictures of other modern race car hoods and splitters, for styling and functional examples.



We struggled to lay out some appropriately sized and placed hood ducts on the existing aluminum 2" raised cowl hood, but just could not make something that fit within the geometric confines of the raised cowl. As good as this hood looked on this chassis, it just wasn't conducive to proper placement of the rather large vent holes we felt were needed to exhaust the airflow from the radiator, oil cooler and power steering cooler.



The car owner was reluctant to lose this raised cowl hood, which was understandable, but we didn't want to start cutting on it without trying something else first. So we found a stock 69 Camaro flat steel hood and I piked it up for $150 locally. We fitted this hood to the car on our dime and then started mocking up hood duct vents to show the customer how they could look on flat hood.



After a few tape mock-ups Ryan started cutting the expendable steel hood so he could show real, 3D duct layouts. The locations of the coolers, the placement of the engine, and the low pressure zones on this hood (in our imaginary wind tunnel) dictated where the vent holes and duct routing should end up. Our engineer Jason wanted these large vent sizes and Ryan made this first cut and then the cardboard ducting mockup, above. I then photoshopped this mirror image to show what the final hood would look like with these vents. Not quite what the customer wanted, but we were getting closer.

The gap in the middle of the hood between the two vents was there to clear the engine's intake tube, of course. The angles of the ducting underneath were constrained by several things - the placement of the coolers, the upper chassis braces (including two forward pieces not installed yet), the best low pressure location on the hood, and the tires themselves.



There were also some placement constraints from some styling lines in even the flat hood. The ducts really needed to be outside of the lines (see above) that the flat hood had, so we went on a search for a truly flat 69 Camaro hood.




We took a lot of pictures trying to show the owner the constraints that dictated the placement of the vents. This is just a sample of the mockup designs we did. The 315mm tires at full bump travel were a constraint. So were the frame rails and upper tubing placement. And the location of the radiators. Plus we had to make it look "right".



Not only are the vent placements critical for function but these will be the single most critical cosmetic item on the car. The hood vents and ducting could make or break the look of this car, and getting rid of some useless styling lines in the stock flat hood opens up even more possibilities for the vent hole shapes and placements (see below).



Long story short: so we ordered a custom composite flat hood without the two styling lines normally found on an OEM 69 Camaro flat hood. We will address this design feature further in a future post, after this hood arrives...

HOOD HINGES AND WIPER MOTORS

Another constraint on the hood design was the customer's wish to keep functional windshield wiper arms as well as a traditional hinged hood (not just a pin-on). It does rain in Texas, so the wipers make sense. Pin-on hoods are a pain to extract quickly, especially with one person. You also have to worry about a hood that is removed getting stepped on, driven over, or flying away in the paddock. All sensible requests. We began our research by shooting images of the cowl section of the car with both hoods, then hitting the interwebs looking for options.



Our first question we had was do we use an aftermarket strut-equipped hood hinge kit or just refinish the factory spring-style hinges (shown above). Turns out: neither.

There are many aftermarket options for these cars with varying degrees of detail, finishes and price. After some research and from recommendations from our friends at Dusold Designs, there were only two billet hood hinge kits we felt appropriate for this 69 Camaro build: The Ring Brothers billet hinge kit or the Billet Specialties version. Both are well-respected companies and have various finishes and CNC work to choose from as well as varying weights of gas-struts to accommodate an aluminum or composite hood.



I was hoping we could use a single pivot, simpler hood hinge for the Camaro. As you can see, with the cowl hood design (still in play at this point) the hinge needed to be a multi-pivot design - to come up and tilt back at the same time, or the rear section of the raised cowl hood will crash into the fixed portion of the cowl panel, ahead of the windshield. The wiper arms are mounted under this cowl panel, so that panel needed to stay in place. Some of the composite hoods we found incorporated this cowl panel section into the hood itself, which don't work with wiper arms.



After the Billet Specialties hood hinges came in we realized they are MASSIVE. This video shows the action of these things - very smooth. We mocked them up on the car and they were going to run into the front tires at full bump. That 315mm tire stuffed under stock outer fender contours takes up a LOT of room under the hood, unfortunately. At this point we had figured out that the flat hood was the way to go for venting, so we could go with a simpler, lighter, and easier to mount single-pivot hood hinge... so the Billet Specialties hinges went back. Oh well, they sure were slick to see in person.



Our second question here related to the windshield wiper system. Because the factory firewall has been moved significantly, it would be an extreme amount of work to use any of the OEM wiper system components. After researching various options, we felt that a synchronized, direct mount wiper motor system is the best option. This eliminates any linkages that would need to be designed, and instead mounts the wiper arm directly onto a degreed sweep style wiper motor. The industries these style of motors are used in are either motorsports or marine applications. We contacted Bosch to receive more information on their programmable Motorsport WDA and found there are currently only 3 available in the U.S. with an asking price of $890 each, and the car would need two.



The second option we found was a very reasonable wiper motor sold by Marinco. These models have sweeps ranging from 45 to 110 and come in a very compact size. Our plan was to use a three-position switch, giving the driver control of "park", low, and high wiper speed options. With an average price per unit of $150, we could get two of these for less than a third of the price of a single Bosch WDA. Mounting would be straightforward with only one bracket being fabricated for each motor and no linkages needed. Will show more of this after we get a chance to install these parts - we need a windshield and a cowl panel back in the car to design around.

continued below

Last edited by Fair!; 04-19-2016 at 05:39 PM.
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Default Re: Vorshlag Build Thread - 69 Camaro Pro Touring/Track Car

continued from above

COILOVER SHOCK DISCUSSIONS

After doing some research into the coilover shocks that had previously been purchased we determined that they wouldn't work for a variety of reasons. The springs were sized with giant coilover springs that wouldn't clear the front control arms, the shock brand and model were not something ever seen on road race cars, and the hose lengths for the remote reservoirs were too short. Now that the steering system components were fabricated and the geometry was checked and rechecked, and we would be taking the Camaro off the fab table in the coming weeks, it was time to look at dampers that would be more appropriate for this build.



During this coilover discussion Ryan sorted out the eye-to-eye style shock mounts at both ends.



Ryan fabricated double-sheer mounts for both the front and rear shocks (the final shock brand was yet to be determined). The solid "mock-up shocks" were then able to support the suspension at both ends and the car. We were all eager to set this Camaro back on its wheels for the first time in 10 months.

There were some lengthy discussions about shock brands, number of adjustments, remote reservoirs, dyno plots, spring sizes and the like. We are known to be shock snobs here at Vorshlag but we have gotten that way after working with 1000+ shock sales and installs over the past dozen years. I will discuss more about the final shocks when they are installed.

REAR SEAT AREA CROSSMEMBER WORK

The original rectangular rear crossmember behind the driver needed clearance for the driveshaft and exhaust. Now that the driveshaft had arrived it was time to make the U-shaped clearance section and add some tubing to the top to tie into the 3rd link mount cross bar.



Ryan laid out the shape he wanted, marked center points for some holes, then hole-sawed two massive holes shown above for the corner radii...



He then cut out the parts in between....



Used some flat stock to make the curved section...



Ground everything smooth and flat....



Then clamped his pre-bent curved section in place and spot welded it along the edges.



Then the custom aluminum driveshaft was installed. After that the curved tubes closed the box around the U-shaped section and tied into the rear upper 3rd link mount cross bar. Then the 3-rd link mount on the chassis end was modified.



The upper bracketry was changed to add multiple pick-up points for the upper control arm, just like you can see on the lower arms at the chassis side, for additional rear suspension geometry adjustability. The 3 rear control arms are all adjustable for length as well.

ADDITIONAL SPLITTER & SUPPORT WORK



This is a big section of this build that started back in September, went through November, and was mostly wrapped up in December. Another major visual and functional piece that will be a signature part of this build.



There were several aspects of the splitter, lower valance and front wheel flare sections that were finalized, modified, smoothed and welded in November.



Above you can see the lower section of the valance/splitter structure, which we're calling the "air dam" here. It was more upright on the first go around (see images above), but the customer wanted something sleeker. Here is version 2.0, where so Ryan re-made this lower section and parts of the splitter stricture to have a more flowing, receding line that matches the factory lower valance shape. Making this somewhat simple change involved considerable rework of existing structures and panels, but it does look better this way.



The wheel spats or forward flare sections were also finalized in this round of work and they are looking pretty nice at this point.



As the final shape was taking form Ryan could go ahead and make the splitter strut mounts, most of which will be hidden behind the aluminum front OEM style bumper.



Once the look was pleasing to the customer and still had the airflow shapes and openings we needed to cool and duct airflow, Ryan started finalizing some ducting. Here are the 4" front brake duct inlets, which fit inside the dual plane splitter structure.



Lots of trimming, shaping, TIG welding, sanding, and blending went into the final splitter design late in November.



Some of this is creeping into December work so I will stop there...



WHAT'S NEXT?

I will show the final stages of the dual plane splitter in the December work update, including the canards and the modified lower valance work. The custom ordered ATL fuel cell finally arrived in January and I will show that work as well.



As I'm writing this on April 19th, 2016, the Camaro chassis just arrived here after our painter sprayed the upper portion of the cage and the lower frame rails - which are about to be hidden under parts of the body - which arrived last week after the inside of the unibody was painted. I'll get to the "chassis comes off the frame table" steps and more caught up with real time on this forum build thread soon.

Until next time, thanks for reading.

Last edited by Fair!; 04-19-2016 at 05:39 PM.
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Default Re: Vorshlag Build Thread - 69 Camaro Pro Touring/Track Car

Project Update December 1st, 2016: We've been plugging away on the 69 Camaro track car - a project that still doesn't have a name yet - throughout 2016, at a pace dictated by the owner. My last post was in April that caught us up to December 2015 work, but I've been scrambling to keep up with forum project threads, as we have about a dozen threads for cars we're tracking, updating, and working on. We also just wrapped up our best month of November ever, inside of our best year (to date) in 12 years of business, so its been bonkers around here



The picture above shows the Camaro a bit beyond where this build thread update ended, but only by a few weeks - pic was shot in May 2016. This 2-part forum update covers work completed from January through April 2016. I'm writing these updates pretty fast and furious, but still trying to avoid mistakes like I had made time (see my 'mea culpa', below). There is lot to cover, so let's get started where we left off last time - the front end.

MORE FRONT SPLITTER & VALENCE WORK

This front/splitter section is the "business end" of this Camaro, and a place where a considerable number of hours have been spent getting both the aero and aesthetics "right". Last time I showed some of the fabrication work on the dual plane aluminum front splitter and valance.



The lower valance panel (above) was based on an OEM piece but stamped in aluminum. It had to be heavily modified to incorporate the lower grill openings and cooler inlets for both the oil and p/s coolers as well as brake cooler inlet ducting. This modified panel and the custom parts below were both tack welded and now needed lots of final welding, sanding, and finish work.



The front splitter assembly was built in stages and the lower valance and cooler inlets are joined together above and below the upper splitter plane. Almost everything here is made in aluminum and bolts together with discretely placed hardware, including the canard sections shown below.



These canards will help direct air spilling off the upper plane where we want, and complete the "lines" of the splitter. Admittedly these parts are part downforce, part styling, but without dozens of hours in a wind tunnel I cannot tell you if these are perfected or not - but this ain't an F1 car. We will do some aero tests in our initial track testing with the customer, of course.



Ryan spent hours and hours final welding the initially tacked aluminum structures of the lower valance and grill openings.



Then he spent hours and hours grinding, sanding, welding, and sanding some more. These components are 100% metal worked, no bondo or putty tricks.



Yes, if there is a major crash it will take work to repair. But so would any custom metal creation built by any other shop. Does it make sense to pull molds off of these finished parts to make "easier to replace" composites? Mold making and composite work is not our specialty, but I have asked others who specialty this is - and they say "expensive". Such is the way of custom car building.

FUEL CELL + MOUNTING

After discussions with the customer about safety, we decided to move from an aftermarket fuel tank to a proper fuel cell. This had a lot to do with the projected track speed and capabilities this car will have, and the customer wanted a SAFE car in the end. A fuel cell also just fits a build of this scale and magnitude.



Ryan mapped out the space allocated for the cell and we ordered this custom aluminum ATL cell can and bladder. This was spec'd with the internal surge tank and pumps for ease of plumbing. The surge tank is crucial to keep the fuel pump inlet submerged at all times, even at low fuel levels and 1.5 g or higher loads.



After waiting a number of weeks, the fuel cell was built and shipped to us at "Vorshilang", then we began discussing rear diffuser shapes and placement of the cell with the owner.



Ryan then laid out this fuel cell "cage" that he built out of square tubing. This will act as both a stable mount and a protective structure for the fuel cell. He even custom machined threaded bungs that are welded into the upper perimeter of the "fuel cell cage" which the upper lid of the fuel cell bolts into.



The fuel cell "cage" and the cell were both then installed into the trunk area between the frame rails. The lower valance panel even ties into this structure, replacing the structure normally in the spare tire well and factory trunk floor.



Gratuitous underskirt shot... 345mm Hoosiers are BIG.

BODY REMOVED & CHASSIS WELDED

After the fuel cell was added the body was removed from the chassis, which was still tack welded to the welding table.



Removing the body was fairly easy, and involved cutting a few tack welds, then 4 people to spread and lift the flimsy shell off of the chassis and around the cage.



The scooped out section of unibody above is all that was left of the original 1969 Camaro, and of that the rear fenders & taillight panel had already been replaced with new steel. The roof was looking pretty sketchy but we left it to our paint & body experts to tell us what else needed to be replaced.



After some minor work on the nearly-finished chassis while it was on the table, it was time to break it all down. The wheels, brakes and suspension came off. Then the drivetrain was removed and the the Ford 9" dropped out of the back. Last the seat, steering column, and coolers came out.



With all of the geometry of the frame components checked and rechecked, and now everything out of the way, many hours were spent final welding the main chassis and cage. First Ryan started welding with the chassis still on the table (above).



Then the chassis came off the table and he spent more hours welding, grinding, and finishing the bare chassis. It was both light and rigid enough to move around on its side to get to all of the hard-to-reach places, to finish weld every joint without having to do overhead welding on your back (which is hard).



The main chassis was then weighed. I mean come on, its Vorshlag - you would expect this. We will show the merged body-chassis weight in the next forum update. Speaking of weights, I need to right a wrong...

FACT CHECKING MY POSTS - MEA CULPA!

I've been doing forum write-ups like this for 16+ years, and have been fanatic about keeping my posts as factual and honest as humanly possible. I have also been a freak about weighing automotive components for over 20 years, and had an extensive "weights page" on my first automotive website starting in 1996. This was full of weight data, pictures of parts on digital scales, etc. So much "bad tech" about weights gets thrown around on the interwebs that it makes me a little nuts about "fixing the internet" wrongs sometimes.



In my previous update to this thread I mentioned something that was "non-factual" about the replacement tubular steering arms. Ryan built these to replace the solid steel units that came on the car (which were heavier, had some sketchy welds, and incorrect bump steer geometry for the steering rack we chose). I felt them both in my hands, spit-balled a number, and actually wrote "these new steering arms save 12 pounds." Oh boy, I'm now well on my way to becoming a politician.



Of course several of you sharp eyed readers called my bluff, and I had to go weigh these parts. Then eat some crow when proven wrong. I "eyeballed" the weights and threw out a number that was nonsense. I thought I remembered weighing these arms, but I "mis-remembered" that fact. These tubular steering arms saved all of 1.8 pounds for the pair, not 12 pounds. So this is me admitting my mistake, showing the proof, and promising to try to never making that kind of error again. I'm sorry folks! #NotFakeNews

UNIBODY THEN CHASSIS BLASTED, REPAIRED, PRIMED AND PARTIALLY PAINTED

Our crew reassembled the naked Camaro chassis with the drivetrain, wheels, and suspension for the next phase of work. It would also look more presentable for our 2016 Open House we had on Feb 27th. Lots of people came to this event to see the shop, eat the food, get their free SCCA annual tech.... but many said they came just to see the Camaro. It was "naked and afraid" but didn't disappoint.



Meanwhile I had delivered the unibody to our paint and body experts at Heritage in Sherman, Texas. I am usually delivering or picking up cars there a couple of times a month.



With the unibody sculpted down to the bare minimum needed there were now exposed areas that were pretty rusty. Some of these are normally not painted when the car was built, so that's to be expected. The underside of the roof was pretty nasty, with headliner residue and some light rust. Other sections were clearly rusted and needed replacement. Of course it was raining when we loaded the semi-bare metal tub into our trailer...



Sadly we never weighed the stripped unibody, but two people could move it easily. I took the pictures below at Heritage after the body had been bead blasted on all of the sections I asked them to (everything but the rear fenders), but before any primer or paint went back on. This car will be painted in 2 stages - some sections that the cage/frame cover up on the unibody needed final paint now.

continued below

Last edited by Fair!; 12-03-2016 at 03:43 PM.
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Default Re: Vorshlag Build Thread - 69 Camaro Pro Touring/Track Car

continued from above



They left the E-coat on the new rear fenders and tail panel, but everything else that was original steel was mostly in raw steel form, from work done by a previous shop who blasted some sections. Heritage concentrated heavier blasting around some areas on the tub that had a bit of "tin worm" or which had visible body filler - like on the front and rear window frames and A-pillars.



After blasting it was worse than we had feared, and both the front and rear window header sections (the structure in the roof under the outer roof skin, which helps hold the shape of the opening) were rotten. They had been slathered in big globs of body filler, which was all that was holding them together. Blasting exposed this cheap trick done by a previous shop. Heritage said the roof was toast - but they they would find a new roof panel and replace it before the next time we stopped by with the chassis.



Having the rolling chassis together was handy in that it allowed us to transport it to a nearby shop who has a 4 wheel laser alignment rack - which we borrow/rent often. Alignment racks are expensive and are a "net money loser" unless you can keep it loaded up with dozens of "regular alignments" every week. We just don't have the space, manpower, or customers for that. With the rolling chassis on the rack, Ryan and Brad were able to check the gross camber & caster up front, and axle squareness out back before everything on the front suspension was burned in.



The rolling chassis came right back to Vorshlag. With the laser alignment numbers matching our digitally measured settings and calculations, Ryan then got to work and final welded the front suspension mount sections.



In case the caster or camber settings were way off, we could have more easily moved the front-to-back placements of the control arm mounts. Now that the numbers were proven to be where we planned, the double-shear mounting plates were added to the Lower Control Arms and final welded in place. A bolt-in rear crossmember brace will be added at a later date, to bridge the opening at the rear - making that brace removable allows for easy oil pan access with the engine still in the car.



Heritage had a new OEM roof panel sourced, added tubing to the unibody to keep it square, cut out the rotten roof, and welded the new structure in place. To keep the blasted raw metal of much of the unibody from flash rusting, Heritage sprayed the entire unibody with a white sealer/primer, inside and out. The underside of the roof was sanded and smoothed, primed, blocked, then painted with the glossy base & clear finish coats in GM Arctic White - which is a pure white with no pigment.



We had Heritage bodywork our 1992 Corvette race car (which is for sale!) and paint it with this same GM Arctic White base/clear over the summer. Like we plan to do on the 1969 Camaro, they shot our C4 inside and out with this paint, and it looks great. Its brighter than any other hue - its brighter than the sun! - well, almost.



The partially painted unibody waited back at the shop while Heritage sprayed some sections of the chassis. At this point the chassis was final welded and 95% of the cage was in place, including all sections near the roof, A-pillar, or C-pillars. Basically everything except the door bars and harness bar. The harness bar will be added to the cage once the final seating position is in place and we measure the owner's shoulder heights in those seats (more on that below). The door bars in place make it tough to get into and out of the cabin, so even though those have been built they will be final welded in towards the end of the build - to make the next phases of construction easier.



Ryan marked the chassis with tape and arrows showing which areas of the cage were close to the body and that we wanted finish sanded, painted and clear coated. The top of the cage and anything that comes close to the unibody skin.



They did exactly as we asked and painted just the sections of the cage and chassis that we marked. As you can see the lower, outer frame sections were also primed and painted. These will be hidden inside of the outer skin of the rockers on the unibody. The lower rockers were "pocketed" to fit around the frame rails earlier, and those pockets on the unibody were finish painted as well. Nobody will ever see those areas, but they won't be bare metal dripping rust later, either.



At this point I had picked up the semi-painted rolling chassis and it and the unibody were ready to go back together for the last time. Once these were joined they wouldn't be coming apart again. I will wait and show that chassis-to-body merge next time.

NEW SEAT ORDERED

Choosing an appropriate, safe, and good fitting racing seat is one of the most critical choices in a race car build. This is where 90% of your tactile feedback with the car comes from - when you are strapped into a form fitting, fixed back racing seat. A good seat reduces driver fatigue greatly - after doing a hard track session in any car with OEM seats and 3-point belts I'm always tired just from holding on. You have to use your arms, legs, back, and shoulders to support your body in a flat seat with no harnesses. Even the best sports cars with OEM seats are a poor substitute for proper racing seats. Fixed back race seats even MAKE YOU FASTER on track. Allow me to explain.



On a track test day in September I drove 3 separate cars over 3 twenty minute sessions. One was the 5th Gen Camaro above, which had Cobra Suzuka racing seats and Scroth harnesses. They held me in easily and it made driving this 3800 pound Pony Car around track a breeze. I got out after that session with a blisteringly fast lap time, which shocked all of us. The car was quick but more importantly, the seats and harnesses let me push the car more easily, so I could wring out more potential from the car. I had more fast laps within a tighter range of time, and exited the car with little wear and tear on my body. Granted this Camaro is not stock, but it is still much heavier and on narrower (305mm Hankook RS3) tires than the two "super cars" below.



On that same day I also drove these two Corvettes above, both on similar compound but wider tires (285F/335R MPSS) than the Camaro. All three cars made 1.2 to 1.25 g lateral and 1.0 to 1.1 g under braking. The C6 Z06 was a nightmare to drive compared to the Camaro, and I was flailing around in the cockpit like a rag doll. It has one of the worst stock seats I can remember, and my lap times suffered (even 600 pounds lighter and with an LS7 under hood, my Z06 lap times were almost a second slower than the Camaro) with inconsistency. The C7 Grand Sport had optional factory seats that were "better" than the C6 bits, and even has proper shoulder harness holes, but still a 3-point belt. I once again was flopping around and left a lot on the table (according to predictive lap timer), and only had a few laps quicker than the Camaro.

Why? I think it was all in the seats. Good racing seats and harnesses make driving more consistent and easier. I was exhausted after both Corvette stints, and pretty sore the next day. Try putting in "time trial" laps in cars that pull 1.25 g with crap seats and belts, and you'll know what I'm talking about.

Seat mounting to the chassis is also critical to safety. The positioning of the seat determines your sight lines, comfort, and safety. We can handle all of that, but what about the seat itself?


If you have the grip levels of massive Hoosiers (left), you better have appropriate seats to deal with that (right)

I wouldn't think about running a car with big Hoosiers (1.3 to 1.5 g) on a stock seat. We needed to pick a better seat for this Camaro, as the capabilities and grip levels would likely be higher than any modern super car and even most race cars. 345mm Hoosiers make a boat load of grip, and I know from running these in the past, you better be strapped into a GOOD seat if you want to be in complete control. High leg bolsters, shoulder support, and a halo around your helmet.



This LaJoie seat was one of 3 seats provided by the customer when he brought the car to us. It is an aluminum, 2-piece seat marketed largely to the circle track crowd. We all felt that while the better versions of these look beautiful, works of art, they fell short. As an aside, it just didn't fit the theme the customer requested, a serious track car using modern sports racing components, drivetrain, tires and aero. There's very little circle track influence here. Also, this car had to have a second seat in it that was somewhat similar to the driver's seat - and buying another LaJoie was not in the cards.



The build also came with a pair of brand new Sparco EVO II and EVO III seats. The EVO III is huge, and was too big for the owner. The EVO II fit him well, and we sell and install a lot of these (and just put one in my NASA TTD prepped BMW E46), but this project needed something more serious. The lack of lateral shoulder and head support was a deal breaker on this level of build.

Yes, we sell all manner of racing seats, and I keep about a dozen in my showroom for "test sitting". Nothing beats sitting in a seat to see how you fit. One of the most respected names in racing seats is Racetech, but we had never bought a seat from them before. They do some of the best tests and their "crash test" share videos like this side impact test rig video. That seat back movement in a side impact made us look at their 119 series of seats.



I'm trying not to be sales-y here, and if you look on our website you won't even see Racetech listed, but the features are hard to ignore. They make an unprecedented FOUR sizes of the 119 seat - combining normal and tall heights, plus normal and wider widths.



For the owner of this car we had him test sit in some seats, send in several body measurements as dictated by Racetech, and then looked at the sizing chart and determined he needed the normal width in the tall height - the 4119THR.



These 119 series seats are a bit pricey, and the carbon fiber versions (9119) are extremely expensive, so we went with the 4119 composite seat range for the driver's side seat. The passenger will get one of the Sparco EVO seats, but there won't likely be too many laps with a right seat filled at 10/10ths pace.

WHAT'S NEXT?

This 2-part write-up took us from January through April. A lot of time was spent with the chassis or body at the painters, and any of you that have built a project like this would understand how long paint work takes - even partial paint or priming work.



Next time I will show the body going back into the frame, then the aluminum flat bottom undertray panels and floors being built, the exhaust routing through the tunnel, the dash and cowl work, then firewall and sheet metal fab up front. Lots to cover, hopefully I'll have time this weekend to write another segment to catch us up closer to real time.

Cheers,

Last edited by Fair!; 12-01-2016 at 06:29 PM.
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Default Re: Vorshlag Build Thread - 69 Camaro Pro Touring/Track Car

Project Update February 6th, 2017: I have been pretty busy with running Vorshlag, adding content to the new website, starting a second business, and remodeling my house that is about to go on the market. So the spare time I used to use to write these build thread updates has been in short supply. Work on the 69 Camaro has been moving along at a steady pace (dictated by the owner) and I needed to catch up, a lot. While my wife was watching Superbowl 51 last night I broke out my laptop and put this together.



Lots of good work to show on the Camaro - the body went back on the chassis and it was off the fab table for good! This time we show the body going back into the frame, the dual 3" exhaust routing through the tunnel and to mufflers out back, and finally aluminum flat bottom undertray panels being built.

BODY ONTO CHASSIS, DRIVETRAIN INSTALLED

This was exciting - reunification of body and chassis! At this point the unibody was so trimmed away and light that it was really easy for 2 people to lift it. Using 4 people it could be spread apart and fit around the roll cage structure and frame rails in half a minute. Once this was tack welded to the frame rails it wasn't ever coming off the frame again - this isn't that kind of body. A composite body is usually made to be removable, but this steel unibody will need to be welded to the frame - hence the reason for painting the areas we did.



Now it was time to put the engine and transmission together for the last time before it is fired up. Now we didn't spec or supply any of the drivetrain bits outside of the innards of the ford 9", so Ryan went over every detail to double-check what was brought to us.



There are normally two dowels in the back of the block on an LS3 crate engine like this. But these had been man handled in a previous life and were mangled beyond repair, so they were removed and replaced. You don't want to forget to fix something like this after the drivetrain is assembled and back in the car.



I didn't get any close-up pictures of the clutch, but its a 5.5" triple disc setup that uses a hydraulic throw out bearing/slave cylinder and a unique bell housing for the g-force transmission. A very small diameter clutch with limited engagement range and a transmission without synchros means this is a setup best suited for track use - and little else. But those things also mean it will be light and strong.



Just a shot of the engine bay with mounts in place but the motor out (above left) then with the LS3 engine back back in there. Up to this point in the build the fabricated transmission crossmember was only tack welded together and held in with some clamps. The reason for the unusual shape of the transmission crossmember will be apparent below, when we go over exhaust routing.



Now it was time to final weld that crossmember and add the threaded bungs for it's mounting bolts to the chassis. These bungs were created from some steel round bar in the lathe - machined with a face to butt up to the tubing, threaded through a hole. Then a hole was drilled in the tubular chassis member and these were welded in place, on both sides of the tube. Now the bolts for the crossmember had somewhere to thread into. A bolt and nut would simply crush the square tubing, and welding in an anti-crush sleeve was not a whole lot less work than making these threaded bungs. These bolted connections can now be done into a blind area where accessing the nut would be difficult.



the custom ordered 3.5" diameter aluminum driveshaft arrived while the body was at paint and could now be installed. Up until now we had only seen a PVC pipe mocked up in place.

HEADER FINAL WELDING, TRANS TUNNEL, EXHAUST

The headers needed a little final welding so the ends were capped, the interior was flooded with an insert gas (Argon) and Ryan TIG welded all the remaining joints. The headers were then installed onto the engine



Another batch of parts the customer supplied included the Aviad external, belt driven oil pump, which came with some bracket parts and pulleys to fit an LS3. With the now narrower frame encroaching on that space it needed to be re-mounted so the adjustable bracket turn buckle was machined and built to tuck the pump in between the frame rail and block.



With the transmission and driveshaft in place, now it was time to start building the inner transmission tunnel. Due to the very low ride height and flat bottom undertray design planned, we routed the exhaust up inside the transmission tunnel next to the driveshaft.



This seems like a controversial part of this build, but we have a plan, and we do this all the time on cars like BMWs. The E36 M3 above has dual 3" exhaust into a 4" oval exhaust, up in the tunnel, and the E46 M3 on the right has dual 2.5" into a 3.5", also above the bottom of the floor. This is one of the reasons we elected not to use a carbon fiber driveshaft on the 69 Camaro. The yokes are always bonded to the CF tube and exhaust heat could be an issue there.



The partial tunnel structure shown is made from tubular steel and will later be skinned in aluminum. It will be a bit taller than stock but no taller than some more modern chassis we work with. This tunnel structure gives room to stuff the twin 3" exhaust pipes above the bottom of the floor. And before the arm chair quarterbacks chime in - the tunnel will have ample insulation to the driver/passenger, to keep exhaust heat at bay. All of this is being done to make the bottom of this car truly flat. The payoff will be worth the effort.



Magnaflow stepped up with a sponsorship for this build, without much prompting, and supplied the various tubing, bends and mufflers.



The Long shifter assembly was modified and installed, then the shift handle and shifter assembly were mocked up on top of the tunnel structure. Ryan then quickly built the driver's side collector extension around the shift rods and added a 3" V-band connector. Then he built the passenger side collector extension and V-band, with some bends and turns to get that side of the exhaust to "crossover" to the driver's side of the tunnel - which has more room.



Back to the driver's side now, where the exhaust is routed under the arch on the transmission tunnel, then turns up. At right you can see Ryan welding up a lot of bends...

continued below

Last edited by Fair!; 02-07-2017 at 10:18 AM.
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Default Re: Vorshlag Build Thread - 69 Camaro Pro Touring/Track Car

continued from above

This is one of my favorite pictures on this entire build...



This shows the complex routing going on within a handful of inches. First, a crossover to get both 3" exhaust tubes on the same side. This is turned into an X-merge of both pipes, but not the traditional type. Admittedly space constraints made this all look pretty compact but it will be worth it when the flat bottom panels are built.



The shot from underneath shows how critical each of these bends had to be calculated, measured, marked, cut and tack welded.



Here you can see the clearance to to the shift rods as well as to the driveshaft yoke. What may not be evident is that the drivetrain is shifted off center in this chassis, away from the driver. This designed in drivetrain offset is normally done to give additional clearance from the steering shaft to the exhaust and to counter the driver's weight. In this case it made additional room to route the exhaust on the driver's side, buried up in the transmission tunnel.



These two round Magnaflow mufflers were mounted in the back seat area, above the axle housing. These will eventually be hidden under panels but are still visible during construction. Ryan built the stainless steel double saddle mounts for both the front and rear of each mufflers. These will be secured to the saddle mounts with a spring on the top side.



The shot above shows the routing for the exhaust from the headers, collectors, to the crossover and X-merge.



Now it was time to connect the X-merge section of the exhaust to the mufflers. A pair of V-band clamps were added, to allow the center section of the exhaust to be disconnected from the muffler end.



Some of the last steps of the exhaust were done after the flat bottom panels were added (see below), but the picture above shows the extent of the exhaust fabrication at this stage. The exit of the two mufflers was later routed into the rear diffuser, which I will show in a future post.

FLAT BOTTOM PANELS

A flat bottom undertray is a modern aerodynamic device that is used to lower drag under the car as well as feed air to a rear mounted diffuser, which we are adding (I tease that at the very end of this post). Below is the complete set of flat undertray panels built for this 69 Camaro, which are unique to this custom tube framed chassis. The chassis structure was built with flat panels in mind, so there weren't any weird mounts that had to be made - the flat panels fit right to the underside of the square structural tubing of the floor and frame rails.



Unlike some home built undertray panels which use flimsy materials like Alumalite or plastic, we are using 1/8" thick 6061-T6 aluminum sheet. This is slightly heavier but is MUCH stronger than materials you can buy at a sign shop. These will also make the chassis stiffer. After seeing Alumalite panels rip off at speed, we went with stronger material that can withstand the aero forces we expect to see.



Ryan started the first 4x8' sheet by cutting it longways, to make the two main panels that travel fore aft under the cabin. Our sheer isn't long enough to make an 8' cut, nor is the throat on our bandsaw big enough, so he made that cut with a jig saw and a steady hand. Then he laid out the shapes needed from templates made using craft board.



The panels were then cut, clamped to the chassis, and mounting holes drilled through the panel and into the tubing. Many of these will have blind rivets, and the main outer panels shown will also be bonded to the (painted) chassis before they are riveted in place. Some panels will be removable for service and have threaded fasteners with flush heads on the bottom. During fabrication the panels are all held in place by removable Cleco clamps - which you can see hanging under the car, and look like bullet casings.



Once the two main fore-aft outer panels were added the center panel was added at the back between them. Then a removable panel needed to be built for the transmission area. To mount this a set of "doubler plates" was added to the outer panels. These then house threaded mounts for the transmission panel to bolt onto, and the whole seam remains flush.



This transmission is another piece that had been bought for the car long before we were enlisted. This transmission was ordered in the "straight up" configuration which causes the bottom of the housing to hand down much lower than the dry sump pan or bellhousing. Most racing transmissions like this can be ordered in a "sideways" configuration that allows the "bottom" (or side, depending on how you look at it) of the trans to align with the bottom of a short dry sump oil pan. Yes, in this configuration it is the lowest part of the car. We will make a partial skid plate at the front of the trans at a later date, but Ryan kept pushing forward with the flat panels for now and let the casing poke through as shown.



You can see from the image above how much higher the bottom of the dry sump oil pan sits than the bottom of the G-Force transmission. Sometimes you have to work with what you have, and this is still a great transmission. A little skid plate at the front won't totally disrupt the airflow, and exposing part of the trans to the under car air stream will help with cooling the fluid inside.



Between the transmission panel and the lower panel of the front splitter was a gap that needed one more panel, a removable piece under the engine oil pan. There are some areas shown that allow for suspension travel and tire turning, which we cannot cover up, but otherwise the assembly of undertray panels make for a seamless flat surface from the tip of the splitter to the rear axle area.



Again, most of the panels can be unbolted for service - which is visible above with the trans and oil pan panels removed.



After seeing the exhaust boxed in above the undertray panels, even more will ask: will the exhaust heat trapped inside all of these panels make the cabin hotter?? We have planned (see above right) for ways to get some of that heat out of this tunnel as well as shielding between exhaust and the driver. Normally on a tube framed flat bottom car (think: GT1, Trans Am, etc) the exhaust takes up the passenger side door area and exits out the side, but on this car - made for 2 occupants, a blown diffuser, and no "wide body" - that's a little tougher. We are planning a track test before final paint that will allow us to test and monitor temps in several areas.

WHAT'S NEXT?

Next time I will show the dozens of panels designed and built for the interior - to cover the transmission tunnel, to build a firewall, to enclose the dry sump tank, and more.



We will also show the mounting of the defroster, wiper motors, dash, and some much needed "false floor" panels to rest your feet on - and stand on as you enter/exit the cage. The undertray panels are NOT the floor you will see from the inside, that's another set of panels. So we spent the next few weeks in "panel making hell", which isn't exactly the sexiest fab work. It is all very necessary to keep fire, heat, and fluids away from the passenger cabin - and I'll show that next time.



Here's a tease of the rear diffuser, which was recently completed. The flat bottom floor feeds smooth air to the diffuser, which should make some downforce.

Until next time,
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Default Re: Vorshlag Build Thread - 69 Camaro Pro Touring/Track Car

On a rear Diffuser does it make a difference if it's flat with and upward angle or curved? When ever I have researched it the pictures and diagrams always show a curved surface.
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Default Re: Vorshlag Build Thread - 69 Camaro Pro Touring/Track Car

Project Update May 13th, 2017: Lots of little details to show in this 3-part update (well, on most forums). We will show transmission tunnel structure fabrication, aluminum interior and firewall panels construction, sheet steel cowl structure, custom wiper motor mounting, body panel assembly, Tilton fluid reservoir mounting, defroster box installation, composite dash panel installation, shifter/linkage installation, and more.

TRANSMISSION TUNNEL & SHIFT LINKAGE

The design of the transmission tunnel structure is important on this car because of several reasons: it has to house the driveshaft (which due to the live axle will move vertically), it has to house the X-merge and both main pipes of the dual 3" exhaust, the tunnel has to leave interior room for both the driver and passenger, it has to incorporate a flat floor design (so it is taller than normal), and it will have removable panels - for easier access during maintenance and repairs. The tubular structure and panels should also provide additional structure to the center of the chassis.



Ryan had the shifter mount structure above already built, which was based on some earlier exhaust mock-ups and from the customer's driving position, when he did a "test sit" in several seats. He then created tubular structure to tie this into the rear bulkhead/crossbar structure, which put the shifter on more solid footing. The shifter will also have a Nomex shifter booth covering the opening in the tunnel.



This tubular structure will be used to mount the aluminum sheet panels and tie into the firewall forward, shown in another section below.



The remote shifter was mounted to this structure, then the rod ends and shift linkages were built (2 of the 3). This was done before construction of the exhaust system to help route the 3" exhaust tubes away from the rods. All of this fits inside the tunnel, which can be accessed from below or removed from above.

FRONT END ASSEMBLY

Ryan (our CNC operator) helped (fabricator) Ryan reassemble the front sheet metal and splitter to the chassis. This was the first time all of the front body panels and sanded/blended front splitter have been on the car together.



This was needed to align the height of the floor panels with the main plane of the splitter.



We also needed to see where the body panels would need to meet up with the soon to be built firewall.



The front flares and canards were also reattached to the front sheet metal.

COMPOSITE DASH INSTALLATION

Using a metal dash in a car built like this doesn't make a lot of sense, so we ordered a VFN fiberglass 69 Camaro dash with the customer's blessing. Installing this inside of the elaborate roll cage structure would prove to be a challenge. Nothing is ever easy on a race car



First, the bottom section of the OEM shaped dash had to be clearanced to clear the cage mounted steering column brackets that were used. These billet brackets hang down from the "dash bar" of the cage, shown below.



After the bottom section was clearanced it cleared the column, but there was no way to get it in between the A-pillar down bars and FIA compliance vertical bars in the roll cage structure.



The dash had already been clearanced on the outer edges for the A-pillar bars but to fit into this tight space it would need to be put into 3 sections. The best cut locations were chosen and marked, then Ryan carefully cut the dash panel with a body saw, down along the complex shape of the dash.



To re-join these 3 sections inside the car, the outer two "ends" of the fiberglass dash had "doubler plates" added, which were hand made from aluminum sheet. These were Cleco'd to the panels and tested/fitted, before being epoxy bonded and riveted to the main composite panel. The center section of the dash will unbolt from threaded rivnuts added to the doubler plates.



Here the 3-piece dash was fitted and assembled between the jungle gym of cage tubes, joined along the two joints / doubler plates with Clecos. Once this was fitted and mocked up in the car, the outer dash sections' mounting brackets could be built to attach to the cage.



Above left you can see one of the steel mounting brackets being fitted. This was then TIG welded to the roll cage bar and Clecos joined it to the dash panel (which will be replaced by bolts and nuts at final assembly). Above right is the other bracket, welded to the cage and Cleco'd to the left end of the dash. The 3-piece dash is now re-assembled and mounted into the car. The seams where the dash join together are tight, and once bolted together with more than a few Clecos, it will have an even cleaner finished look.



The dash was mostly mounted at this point, with a bit of a bow in the fiberglass on the unsupported bottom edge. We added additional mounts to the dash when the forward transmission tunnel was completed (shown out of order above). A bit more trimming was necessary at the bottom of the dash, due to the extreme driver setback and long steering column length. The dash panel is there for cosmetic reasons, as there will be a digital dash mounted to the column closer to the driver.

DEFROSTER MOUNTING

At the beginning of this project we discussed with the customer about moving to an aftermarket heater box, which can provide "defrosting". We have done the same compact heater box on many of our race car builds. The brand new, lightweight, and compact heater core + blower motor box will be mounted (and completely hidden) underneath the VFN dash panel then ducted to the front defroster vent sections at the base of the windshield. You can see the weight below (7.48 pounds), as well as a modern S197 Mustang factory heater/evap core blower box, which is huge (and 20.7 pounds).



On colder/wetter track days this will be invaluable. We started on the defroster mounting along with the central dash mount and trans tunnel tubing structure at the same time. The heater box is one of the last things that needs to be mounted before we can start plumbing various systems.



This is the same heater box unit mounted into an S197 Mustang race car we built a few years ago. Plumbed into a custom plenum that pumps heat through the defrost vents at the base of the windshield, this unit has performed flawlessly for over 4 years.



The fiberglass dash will also be trimmed around the original cowl holes for at least two defroster vents, as shown above at left. The unit will be mounted behind the faux dash panel and on top of a plate mounted to the transmission tunnel.



To mount the defroster / heater core / blower motor enclosure required a section of the tunnel covers be built, then a lower "box" frame - both from aluminum. The lower box section was cut and bent to shape, then it was bolted to the tunnel section shown below.



This all made for somewhat tight confines under the dash, with the various components hidden under there - wiper motors, defroster, dry sump oil tank, etc. I will show the wiper motor mounting in a section below. But here the defroster box is mounted and ready for heater hose plumbing and some air 3" hose to the windshield base vents, to be shown in a future update.

continued below
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