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Vorshlag Build Thread - 69 Camaro Pro Touring/Track Car

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  • #16
    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.


    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.


    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.

    Last edited by Fair!; 12-01-2016, 06:29 PM.
    Terry Fair -
    2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
    EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


    • #17
      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.


      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.


      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, 10:18 AM.
      Terry Fair -
      2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
      EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


      • #18
        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.


        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,
        Terry Fair -
        2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
        EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


        • #19
          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.


          • #20
            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.


            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.


            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.


            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.


            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
            Terry Fair -
            2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
            EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


            • #21
              Re: Vorshlag Build Thread - 69 Camaro Pro Touring/Track Car

              continued from above


              The triple reservoir Tilton unit shown below will contain fluid for both brake master cylinders (front and rear channels) as well as the clutch hydraulics. A custom aluminum bracket was fabricated and two threaded pylons were welded to the cage dash bar.

              These two pylons protrude through the dash panel, but after the two mounting bolts are removed the center dash panel can be unbolted and pulled out of the way for maintenance behind it.

              These remote reservoirs are popular in racing - you want to mount this just far enough away from the driver to not be a hazard, but close enough to be able to see fluid levels. Levels can drop from either pad wear (over a very long stint) or due to a leak in the hydraulic systems. Always good to have that visible while driving. We will plumb these to the floor mounted pedals/masters later in the build.


              Most of the aluminum interior panels were built over 4 different days. These are needed to separate the passenger compartment from the exhaust, driveshaft, heat and noise from the engine bay. This, along with the firewall panels, forms a barrier from hot fluids and fire ahead or underneath the driver, in case something goes awry. The tunnel sections near the driver will be double walled with insulated panels on the inside, to limit heat transfer to the cabin. We will show the inner panels at a later date.

              Previous sections in this series of posts showed some of the interior panels going together, and in reality there were several tasks happening at once - tubular structure, defroster, dash mounting, reservoir mounting, firewall and interior panels were concurrent tasks - but I am trying to show them separated here for clarity.

              Templates in cardboard were made for various panels. These templates were then transferred into 3003-H14, .063" thick aluminum sheet. These metal panels were marked, sheared, bent, trimmed, deburred, fitted, and then drilled for mounting holes. Depending on the location the panels will be either riveted or bolted in place.

              Step by step each template was turned into an aluminum panel. The picture above shows how some of these panels join to the composite dash. The passenger foot well area is also very different than the driver's side, to clear the massive dry sump oil settling tank, which has a complicated firewall structure around it. There is still tons of leg/foot room due to the front seat setback.

              This is a close-up of how the dash was trimmed to fit against the taller than stock transmission tunnel structure and paneling. It makes for a very nice fit, once complete.

              The complex shape around the exhaust header on the passenger side was taped together at first. These sections were then tack welded in the car, removed, and fully TIG welded on the bench to make a single panel. The shape of these panels will give the most interior room and allow for the unique, above floor exhaust routing.

              Additional interior panels behind the driver compartment are shown in a later section. Plus there was some bleed over of work from the firewall panel fabrication in the interior panel task, due to the complex nature of the dry sump enclosure, which I will show below.


              The firewall paneling took a chunk of time, but there was also a steel upper cowl structure being added, as well as the side sections that joined the firewall to original front unibody sections (under the A-pillars). Not to mention the complicated panels around the dry sump tank. I've broken up this task into sub-sections, which spanned over 5 different days of work.


              The first main firewall panel was the biggest and easiest to make. Big flat section that covers 80% of the firewall. That was made from the same .063" aluminum 3003 as the interior panels, which is appropriate for fire protection, strength, and weight.

              This was clamped to the square steel tubing added previously, which replaced the rusty OEM cowl section starting from about 4" below the base of the windshield.

              An outer section on the driver's side was bisected to go around two chassis/cage tubes ties into this main flat panel section, shown above. Moving the engine back significantly required these custom firewall panels, of course.


              Part of the new tubular cowl structure had been built when the car was still on the chassis table, shown below. But there were still large open gaps between this section and the forward portion of the unibody, as well as at the vertical edges. We needed some metal paneling here to keep air / fumes / fire / fluids from coming out of the front fender wells into the cabin.

              We also needed to strengthen the original sheet metal that makes up the door hinge structure right behind this pair of panels. The side panels below were patterned, cut from 16 gauge steel sheet, then bent and added to tie this upper square tube firewall structure to the rest of the Unibody and hinge structure.

              These steel side panels work to join the custom aluminum firewall with the original structures, and strengthen the door hinge areas as well. These were later welded to the tubular structure and door hinge sections.


              The cowl section this car came with was a modified version of the OEM parts, but clearance for the set back engine was too tight. It was also hacked up, rusty, and needed complete replacement.

              The remaining OEM section of the cowl is there to give the windshield a place to seal, and it has been blasted, primed and painted.

              We needed to join this to the new, tubular firewall structure with a steel panel that has several compound curves and bends. Like the side panels above, it will be welded in and gives additional structure to the windshield base.

              Steel was the right material here, since it needed to be welded to the OEM windshield section at the rear and tubular structure forward. Each curved section was patterned in tape, pulled off in sheets, and transferred to steel. It was then cut and formed to fit.

              continued below
              Terry Fair -
              2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
              EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


              • #22
                Re: Vorshlag Build Thread - 69 Camaro Pro Touring/Track Car

                continued from above

                Pockets were also added for hood hinge clearance, which were initially taped together during fabrication. We had tried to use OEM style hood hinges previously but they are MASSIVE things that would have touched the 315mm front tires at full lock, so these pockets will allow for simple hinges that take up a lot less room.

                These steel panels were tack welded to the remaining factory cowl section, strengthening the base of the windshield area. Clearance around the two windshield wiper motor posts were also added, which is shown in more detail below. This cowl area will be final welded to the sheet and tube sections in this area for strength and fire proofing, but mostly hidden under an (aluminum) OEM cosmetic upper cowl panel.


                The dry sump tank area is fairly sizable and a mount was built for the dry sump tank earlier. Now it was time to make a metal firewall enclosure around this tank to seal it away from the passenger cabin. All of the remaining OEM steel unibody structure around the tank has been blasted, primed and painted, so ignore the rusty picture (below left) from earlier in the project.

                This dry sump enclosure had a complex shape that required more than a dozen individual panels to complete. The tank had to come out a few times to make room for patterns and panels to be built, step by step.

                Some of this enclosure was built into the interior panel section above as part of that task. Again, many of the tasks shown in this update were built concurrently - parts were fighting with each other for space.

                Several cage and chassis tubes pass through the top of this "box" around the dry sump tank, so those panels had to be bisected around each tube. The dry sump tank has a lower drain fitting, so a hole in the bottom panel was added to facilitate draining during oil changes.

                The end result looks great and works well, but most of this will be hidden under the composite dash or the cowl. It still needs to be there to seal the cabin from fire / fumes / fluids, of course.

                WIPER MOTOR MOUNTS

                Using the OEM wiper motor and heavy, complex steel drivetrain wouldn't have possible with the setback of this engine & firewall, the taller tunnel structure, and the aftermarket defroster box mounted like we have. We researched several aftermarket options and proposed the Bosch Motorsports wiper system. This uses "Wiper Direct Actuators" (motors) and an ECU that syncs multiple WDAs, sets the sweep angle of each, and drives the motors in forward and reverse instead of a continuous 360° rotation with linkages to reverse the wipers like OEM systems. These are used on prototypes and other racing cars with windshields.

                We offered up multiple options, and at nearly one third the cost the customer wanted to try a pair of Wexco wiper motors, which give us a compact and lighter system than the single factory motor and clunky drivetrain. They make waterproof, stand-alone adjustable sweep motors that can be mounted just about anywhere. Wexco is a Tier 1 supplier of wiper motors to marine, heavy trucks, school bus, RV, agricultural, construction vehicles and other heavy duty specialty vehicles. We understand the cost barrier to the Bosch system, so we gave it a go - and we will share the results after these are wired and operational.

                These Wexco motors were mounted during the cowl panel construction with fabricated brackets consisting of steel plate and hose clamps. It is pretty simple but that is how these motors are made to be mounted.

                Getting their location and alignment was anything but simple, of course. These have to line up with the wiper arms and windshield, so the adjustable hose clamps will allow for some angular adjustment once the windshield is in place.

                These compact motors fit under the OEM shaped cowl panel, shown above, and should look somewhat factory.

                The OEM style aluminum upper cowl panel finishes off this section nicely, once the car was reassembled after the completion of the various firewall and cowl panels.

                WHAT'S NEXT?

                The above work tasks were completed over a few weeks, which wrapped up a lot of sheet metal and component mounting in the cabin and firewall areas.

                The dash was re-assembled over the recently added defroster, wipers, interior panels and firewall. The factory upper cowl vent panel was also installed. This was done so that the hood and windshield could be installed. The oil and power steering coolers were installed, getting ready for the next steps. The wheels and tires went on, a driver's seat was reinstalled, and the Camaro was set back on the ground at ride height.

                With all of these components installed we felt it was a good time to get a weight of the car, showing the progression of the build. This is with all of the drivetrain (motor/trans/Ford 9" axle), body panels, suspension, brakes, wheels/tires, seat, steering column, exhaust, and fuel cell.

                Without driver or fuel it was 2103 pounds, but still showing 53% on the front wheels. Even with this much rearward drivetrain and driver offset you can see how difficult it is to get weight on the rear axle. We're not done, of course, and have a number of systems that will be added out back to help balance the bias - and adding fuel and driver weight will help tremendously.

                There are still more aluminum panels necessary on the interior, as well as some "false floor" sections that will be added, but I will show that next time.

                Future updates will also show hood installation, hood vents and radiator/cooler ducting, and additional tubular front structure being added. The air intake tube, air box, radiator, and steering rack will be reinstalled before we trim, fit and install the VFN composite hood.

                Until next time,
                Terry Fair -
                2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                • #23
                  Re: Vorshlag Build Thread - 69 Camaro Pro Touring/Track Car

                  Project Update for October 20th, 2017: Yes, it has been several months since my last installment in this build thread, but Ryan in our shop has been cranking through the work on the 69 Camaro - when he wasn't buried on another project. Again, I have him tasked to about 1 week out of every 4 on this car, so its drawing out the timeline, but its what we agreed with the owner to do a while ago. The image below is a preview of another round of work beyond this update.

                  This time we are showing work on a number of systems: transmission tunnel, interior panels, the front upper tubing structure and fender mounts, engine bay cross brace, radiator hoses were built, hood modification/mounting/hinges, AeroCatch hood latches, upper and lower radiator duct boxes + hood opening, and twin oil cooler ducting was built. Whew! Lots of pictures and details shared along every stop of the way.

                  We did drop coverage of this build on another forum, which had withered and died a while ago - a real shame. We're not giving up on forums, however - and I want to take a minute to shout out to the readers on Lateral-G forums. This a large, active Pro Touring forum that is one of the last big, car forums out there. It has great traffic with some great builds shown within. We also get great feedback from the members there. Thanks!


                  Last time we showed most of the transmission tunnel structure built and most of the aluminum panels installed, but there were still some work to go (see below left).

                  The missing panel (which will cover the external linkages on the G-Force trans) was mocked-up in cardboard, transferred to aluminum, then taped together before welding. The funky shape of this vertical panel clears the exhaust and external shift linkages and levers while leaving as much room for the driver's legs as possible.

                  The upper panel of the tunnel was trimmed for the shifter opening and the driver's side panel was tack welded together. We will soon add a Joe's Racing Nomex shift boot and lower mounting frame to the tunnel, sealing the opening from the interior with a fire-proof, thermally insulated boot.

                  The interior was readied and the seat installed for a fitting with the customer when he came into town. The Racetech 4119 seat positioning was marked with respect to the steering column angle, steering wheel placement, shifter layout and pedal locations that fit the driver. As we have said before, the driver's seat is pushed back by over a foot, and the pedals, shifter, and steering column are all adjusted for this rear biased position.


                  Last time we showed the structure ahead of the firewall there were several "missing links". There were a number of tubes and struts needed to help mount the front sheet metal. These are smaller diameter, weaker structures made to "fail first" in a front impact. This is common on GT style tube framed cars - make these front structures smaller than the main cage, to allow for energy absorption and pre-determined failure points in a light front end hit - ahead of the larger, critical structures of the front frame area and cage. Something gets hit, these non-critical areas bend, and can be cut out and replaced without sacrificing the larger frame/cage sections.

                  Ryan started by adding these larger diameter tubing reinforcements cut on an angle at the ends of the "stronger" sections of the upper tubes. This now strengthens the engine cross brace mounting brackets, which were added earlier.

                  With these reinforced tube sections cut, shaped, and TIG welded into the front cage structure, the cross brace was then bolted in place atop the engine. Then the fender mounting struts were built...

                  These two-armed structures are built from aluminum tubing with small threaded rod ends to link up the upper front cage structure and the aluminum XXX branded front aluminum fenders. These give the front fenders enough stability in the middle of their span, and the adjustable ends of these small tubes allow the front sheet metal to be aligned better.

                  With the engine cross brace area beefed up and the fenders tied into the mid engine bay upper structure it was time to tie into the front nose, to support the upper front panel, and give the hood a place to land some hood pins onto. The front end aluminum sheet metal needs some support, so we will add that next.

                  Above left you can see Ryan using a digital angle finder to show how much of a bend is needed on the front downbar layout. Above right you can see the rod end and bracket he built for this downbar will tie into.

                  The above two pictures show these small diameter downbars bent, welded to the rod ends, and bolted ion place. There's still one section of tubing needed.

                  Here you can see the final "front hoop" added in this smaller diameter tubing, which nests under the front horizontal panel that is in front of the hood. This panel is also aluminum and needed some support in case somebody leaned on this panel. But I wouldn't go putting too much force there. Its all "just strong enough" to support these panels during road racing and high speed runs. Below you will see where the hood pins mount into this section for the AeroCatch hood latches.

                  RADIATOR HOSES BUILT

                  Much of the tubing above was designed in such a way as to not block airflow to the air cleaner and ducted hood box for the rolled C&R aluminum radiator. We ordered this radiator from their catalog, which had a core the right size for the space we needed and the inlet/outlet mostly where we wanted. It was time to modify the radiator and bit and make the main hoses to transport water to this core and back into the engine.

                  First the neck of the radiator and lower outlet were modified. The lower radiator hose has to route around the radiator duct box so Ryan TIG welded some mandrel bent aluminum tubing to the end to point it in the right direction. Then the radiator neck was cut off and welded closed - we will have a remote coolant reservoir mounted higher in the engine bay and plumbed in-line with the heater hoses. This is how all modern cooling systems are built, and with the radiator mounted so low on this car it would never hold water with the cap off in the original position - because the engine would be higher than the top of the radiator fill. The remote reservoir fixes all of that.

                  Using HPS branded silicone hose bends, some aluminum mandrel bent tubing, and good planning the lower radiator hose was built and plumbed to the water pump. It snakes around the duct box in this area. The upper radiator hose assembly was made with some long runs of tubing and more HPS bends.

                  Jumping ahead a bit in these last two pictures but you can see above how the upper radiator hose routes back and behind the duct box to meet up with the water pump. This C&R core is a twin pass design so both the inlet and outlet are on the same side. A single pass radiator would put the inlet/outlet on opposite sides of the core - which would would have been marginally easier to plumb, but not as efficient as the twin pass core.

                  With the main radiator hoses built and installed (these will be clamped and secured later in the build) it was finally time for the massive hood ducting structures at the front of this car. So much planning went into this next step... the whole front of the car was designed around this feature.


                  While the Camaro's owner was at the shop for the seat fitting we took the time to talk about hood ducting shapes. This is a very visually and functionally important part of this build. I grabbed some blue tape and made a few lines that were pre-set limits for the hood opening, confined by placement of engine, radiator and some other aspects. Then Stewart had some freedom to mark the final shapes for the hood opening he wanted within that confined box. This takes some extra effort, giving our customers the freedom to express how they want something to look all the while keeping it within sound engineering practices and the fabrication limits.

                  After a few tweaks and some changes made during this customer design meeting, the final shape of the opening was mostly set out and cardboard mock-ups began later that same day.

                  With the cold air inlet tube and air filter box in place the final "definitions" of where the duct box could fit were set.

                  By the next morning the mockup of the lower duct box was completed, along with the mating flanges for the upper duct box - that would be attached to the hood and seal with the hood down.

                  continued below
                  Terry Fair -
                  2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                  EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                  • #24
                    Re: Vorshlag Build Thread - 69 Camaro Pro Touring/Track Car

                    continued from above

                    With the lower duct box mocked up in cardboard its time to move to aluminum. We started with a full sheet of .080" thick 3003 aluminum, which is a common alloy for these formed sheet panels. 3000 series is RADICALLY easier to bend & form than 6000 series tempered aluminum!

                    We might have been able to use the next sheet thickness size down (.063" thick), but the .080" sheet is stronger and the final weights for these duct boxes don't add up much (12.2 lbs for all 3 lower duct box pieces).

                    I skipped ahead a few steps to show these weights... back to the initial construction of the main lower duct box structure.

                    The initial lower box sections were made in aluminum and as you can see above they slip over the swaybar, and mount near the back face of the radiator core. There is also a cut-out for the lower radiator hose. This means the duct box is not 100% sealed to the core, but it is better than most and still very effective at increasing airflow thru the core and exhausting out of the hood.

                    At this point the basic outer structure was in place but the "V" cut for the air tube would need more structure, and of course the upper mounting flanges are not present. But now it was time to move ahead to modifying and mounting the hood, which is where the "upper" duct boxes mount to. These will mount to the bottom of the hood then mate to a sealing surface on the top of the lower box.


                    The hood we ordered from VFN is fiberglass, which was chosen because it was one of the only composite hoods we could get that was completely flat. Everything else had a raised cowl, scoop, etc. On this 69 Camaro hood design, VFN incorporates the rear cowl panel (normally a separate panel bolted to the base of the windshield) into the main hood design. This is how most drag racers use this hood - as a 1-piece, pin-on design. Well we wanted to keep the wipers and a hinged open hood, and since the wiper arms mount under this cowl panel, it had to be cut off.

                    We knew about this issue long before the hood was ordered and worked with VFN (with drawings and measurements) to incorporate the hinges and OEM rear inner structures in the "stock location". Their mold for the underside was modular and they could accommodate this, but the upper mold is only able to make the "elongated" hood. So with the old OEM flat hood still here from our earlier mock-up phase the "cowl cut" measurement was accurately transferred to the fiberglass hood and cut.

                    As you can see above, the VFN "long" 69 Camaro hood was now cut down to the "stock size". The underside looks very similar to the the OEM inner structure - because they moved it forward for us when they built it to order. Now this stock sized, lightweight, flat hood could be fitted to the car with the AMD stock replacement aluminum cowl panel in place.

                    The AMD aluminum front sheet metal (that is all made to the OEM sizes, just stamped in aluminum) was squared up together with the hood. This took a few hours to get everything lined up and it all fits pretty well, but we'll have the body shop set the final gaps.

                    The air inlet tube was installed and the hood clearanced at the OEM front latch location - which was not a concern as we wouldn't be latching there. The fiberglass was ground back, little by little, to make this area clear the tube.

                    Making hood latches from scratch is tricky, but our crew has been planning this for a good while - remember the billet hinges we tried early on? Those OEM sized hinges were so big they hit the 315mm front tires! These are much lower profile, single pivot, non-assist hinges being built from thin aluminum plate. First the area of the hood area where the hinges could sit was laid out with tape. Then a then slot was cut into the edge of the cowl panel, where the hinge could fit into and sit flush with the top of the hood.

                    Next a pair of slim, single pivot hinges were built with a lateral offset forward of the cowl panel. This is how race car hoods are often hinged when the OEM hinges are gigantic, like the 1st gen F-body hinges are. The slim slit in the cowl that the hinge arm passes through will be hard to notice once all of this is painted.

                    Cold riveted threaded inserts were added to the recessed pockets that were designed into the fabricated steel firewall structure. This is where the back of the new hinges will bolt down.

                    The above left image shows the vertical part of the hinge that will be flush with the hood surface with the hood down. Most of these hinge structures will be completely hidden inside when the hood is closed. The above right image shows the lateral offset of the hinge parts where they line up with the under hood structure.

                    AEROCATCH HOOD PINS

                    With the hood trimmed, mounted, and hinged at the rear it was time to latch the front. We have been a fan of the British built AeroCatch hood latch for some time and have used these to secure hoods and trunks on a number of cars. Watch this video to learn how these latches work and you will see why these are THE preferred motorsport hood latch worldwide.

                    Ryan started the layout of the latches by locating where the pins would mount onto the thin tubular "front down bars", shown several steps above. He then lined up the underside part of the Aerocatch assembly with the hood and marked that.

                    The Aerocatch kit comes with a cut-out template (part of the packaging) you use to mark the oval shaped hole for the cut-out needed in the hood. These were carefully measured and marked to line up with pins added to small brackets welded to the "front down tubes" under the nose. These pins are threaded and can be raised or lowered to align with the latching mechanism within the upper latch.

                    Since we had selected to use the AeroCatch units early on, we asked the customer if he wanted flush (under) mount or top-mount upper latches. The top mount style leaves a flange above the hood surface which better spreads the load onto a composite hood - this is what we recommended, and what he chose. For show cars or hyper critical aero applications the flush mount is often used (the red hood on my Mustang, shown at the top of this section, has that style). Then the two hole sizes in the oval were marked and cut using a vacuum to remove composite dust - otherwise you get fiberglass dust everywhere.

                    With the holes cut the air saw was used (again with a vacuum) to connect them and make the teardrop shaped hole that matches the template for the AeroCatch assembly to drop though.

                    Since this was well marked and carefully cut the latch dropped smoothly into the oddly shaped hole. Then the mounting holes for the flange were drilled, which bolt into another load spreading flange underneath. It all lined up perfectly with the pin underneath. Its really not that simple, so the first time you do this plan on spending the better part of a whole day installing two of these. The pin can be used vertically like this for a hood or horizontally for panels that slide off in a different direction. Again - installing these takes careful measurement and planning, but a good fabricator can put in a pair in a few hours. Don't rush this job or it won't line up and/or will look like crap!

                    GIANT HOOD HOLE CUT

                    Now that the hood is trimmed, aligned, hinged and latched it was time to cut a BIG ASS HOLE in that thing, to work toward our goal of a ducted hood.

                    This was part of the plan from the first day, but getting here - picking the shape of this very visible hole - took many months. We had the customer come in and finalize mockups of the 3D shape of the hole, which was then transferred from the initial mock-ups to the hood. There was only one final detail left to pick: the radius of the leading edge of the openings. We laid out an "A or B" choice, and the customer chose B.

                    With the hood in place and the final shape chosen the upper details of the "lower duct box" could be completed, and the box itself tack welded together. There was a shaped mounting flange built that would hold a sealing gasket, shown above. It was completed and now it was time to cut the hood...

                    There's no going back now! With the final shape approved and a pilot hole cut for the jig saw, Ryan (helped by Ryan3 on vacuum) began to cut out the shape of the hood opening. This could make or break the look of this build...

                    The hole is shown above and the tacked together lower duct box was completed, with the sealing gasket flange. Now it was time to make the upper duct box...

                    continued below
                    Terry Fair -
                    2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                    EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                    • #25
                      Re: Vorshlag Build Thread - 69 Camaro Pro Touring/Track Car

                      continued from above

                      UPPER DUCT BOX + MERGE TO HOOD OPENING

                      As soon as the hood was installed and the opening revealed, the first thing I said was "Bigger!" Ryan mocked up a few more rear cut lines, which the curved rear edge of the upper duct box would blend into the hood. I asked him to cut it back to the farthest line - for the largest opening.

                      Now some cardboard was added, to show how the aluminum panels that would make the upper duct box "flow" into the hood opening. The point here is to get the air exiting the radiator to gently merge into the horizontal plane of the hood, to prevent too much airflow separation or turbulence. More laminar flow means better cooling and more front downforce. There is also a blue tape line down the middle that will make sense in a minute...

                      After making several "walls" in tape these were transferred to cardboard for more accurate mock-ups. The reason we opened up the back of the hood hole more was to get the curved upper duct box sections to merge more smoothly and just... "look right". Notice the spine down the middle? This is where the two openings in the lower duct box (that go around the bottom of the air intake tube) merge back together to hide the intake tube from above. This "spine" drops at the front of the hood opening, which was a design element the customer liked from a modern Ferrari race car. Somehow this look on a boxy Camaro still really works.

                      The cardboard shapes were reworked until everyone was happy with the form and function. With the fabricator's, engineer's and customer's sign-off it was time to move to metal. Remember - we are not a composites shop, so we would be making the upper box sections in the same 3003 aluminum. Once bodyworked and painted these parts should look fairly seamless and integral to the hood.

                      The cardboard was transferred to aluminum sheet and these were Cleco'd in place. The spine was mocked up using a piece of aluminum TIG welding rod to show curved vs straight, to visualize options for the spine. Straight looked better than curved.

                      After finalizing the spine panels in cardboard they were transferred, cut, curved, formed, shrunk and stretched into shape. Once those were shaped well and mocked up, everyone was happy with the look - it was time to weld.

                      There was a good bit of welding time here, and we'll need to allocate more time into "filling" and finish work in metal, but I'm happy with how the upper duct box came out.

                      You can see how far down the upper duct box extends under the surface of the hood in the shots above. Again, we're trying to direct the airflow from the radiator "exhaust" to smoothly merge with the hood, to keep flow as high as possible.

                      The lower duct box was now fully welded, which took some time. Then it was ready to go back into the car. But there were more heat exchangers that needed to be exhausted into the lower duct box - more ducting!

                      OIL COOLER DUCTING

                      So remember earlier in the build where we had mounted two oil coolers to the side of the radiator? These were there to cool the power steering (smaller core, left side) and engine oil (larger core, right side). The image below left shows one of these mounted, from earlier.

                      These coolers are fed by air from the front of the car. The inlets come from two dedicated openings (see above right) that feed each cooler - the outer/upper holes in the dual plane splitter. There is aluminum ducting from the inlets to each cooler, but they need ducting for proper exhausting as well.

                      These funky looking pieces of aluminum are the exhaust ducts, which bolt to the back of the cooler mounts and then feed into the main "lower duct box" behind the radiator.

                      These "square-ish" ducts curve and snake from the back of these outer cooler locations and land with a quadrilateral (almost triangular) shaped outlet that mounts and feeds into the sides of the lower duct box. You can see the 3D shapes progress from cardboard to sheet aluminum to square ducting.

                      These are somewhat mirror imaged, but the coolers are different sizes so each side is a little unique at the cooler interface.

                      This shot above shows the two massive, rectangular lower duct box openings from the radiator and the two curved ducts from the oil coolers that feed into that. The massive engine setback on this chassis is apparent when you see the amount of space used by the radiator and ducting underhood.

                      Once these final ducting pieces were designed, tacked, fully welded and installed Ryan could move back to final welding, filling and smoothing on the upper duct box fabrication. He used the TIG to fill and smooth out the transition from the center spine to the flowing, curved sections below. Welding, grinding, sanding, smoothing - rinse and repeat. All of the visible inside corners on the upper duct box will need a bit more smoothing as well - it will look great once finished.

                      WHAT'S NEXT?

                      Well I better stop here - already getting too long. We already will have plenty more completed fab work to show for next time. The rear tubs to clear the giant 345mm Hoosiers under the stock rear fenders were all formed from aluminum and installed. Lots of interior panels were built as well - this time behind the front seats. More exhaust work was plumbed out back, too.

                      The flat bottom panels were completed and a rear diffuser was also built. The exhaust is routed into the diffuser box for a "blown diffuser", which we will show.

                      We will also show the swan neck AJ Hartman carbon fiber wing (with a giant 14" chord!) being mounted to the back of this beast.

                      Thanks for reading!
                      Last edited by Fair!; 10-20-2017, 03:44 PM.
                      Terry Fair -
                      2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                      EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                      • #26
                        Re: Vorshlag Build Thread - 69 Camaro Pro Touring/Track Car

                        Project Update for March 4th, 2019: Wow, what happened to 2018? It has been over a year since the last update to this project build thread, as well as many others. For me 2018 was pretty jammed up, with much of my time spent dealing with real estate issues (extending our lease, fighting a builder behind schedule on our new building construction, our shop move, our continued construction once moved in) and some staffing changes. Now that we are moved in and caught up on more important business paperwork, I have been making time on the weekends getting into the fun build coverage on some projects, like the big steps shown this time on the 1969 Camaro.

                        In this round we show some 2018 work completed like the rear diffuser, flat bottom undertray panels, rear wing installation, some final welding and assembly, and more. Let's get started!

                        UNDERTRAY WRAPPED UP

                        The undertray is made up of a lot of pieces that are either bonded and riveted in place or bolted in place, depending on their location and the need to access things above them. I'll zip through a few steps here quickly.

                        Obviously you will want to be able to access the dry sump oil pan quickly (above), so that undertray panel is removable. But these two main floor panels (below) don't have anything hidden above them that needs to be accessed quickly - just the seat and interior, which are accessible from above.

                        The plan was to bond then rivet these in place, so these need a LOT of hours of measuring, marking, center punching, drilling, and riveting. Since counter-sunk rivet heads would be used, to allow for a flush bottom face, every one of these rivet holes had to be countser-sunk as well.

                        Once all of the hundreds of tiny holes were drilled through the panels and into the chassis, the square tubing that these floors mount to was then prepped. These portions would not be visible again once the panels were bonded in place, so they needed to be protected from corrosion. A bit of work with some Scotch-Brite pads, some wax-and-grease remover clean-up, a bit of masking with paper and tape, then these tubes were painted with self-etching primer.

                        Now the aluminum panels themselves needed some prep work. Ryan taped off some areas then scuffed up the top surfaces of the sections to be bonded to the square tubing. This is to give those surfaces some "bite" for the epoxy to bond to. Some 2-part structural metal epoxy was applied with a mixing nozzle and the panels were ready to put in place. Ryan used an epoxy that he had used building Prototypes, which also use a bonded floor. The cross hatch pattern was one that he learned from building those cars as well.

                        There were some extra hands needed to get each panel in place while the epoxy was wet, and a few Clecos to hold it in place, then Ryan spent some time with the air riveter. The "spent" mandrels from hundreds of blind rivets littered the shop floor.

                        This picture above shows up close what the bonded and riveted center panels look like when completed. You can see the "doubler" panels that are attached to the floor panels, which secure the removable center panel underneath the driveshaft and exhaust.

                        REAR SECTION OF EXHAUST FINISHED

                        In a previous update I showed the progress on the exhaust, from the headers, through the center tunnel, the crossover and X-merge, then two MagnaFlow mufflers mounted behind the driver, just in front of the rear axle. Everything was tacked welded together, and that's where where we were before this round of work.

                        At the time we didn't have the rear diffuser section planned to know where the rearmost section needed to terminate. We were nearing time for the rear diffuser so the rest of the dual 3" exhaust had to be built.

                        I wanted additional 3" V-bands behind the mufflers, to make final adjustment easier and disassembly less of a chore. There are a lot of bends and turns tucked inside this tunnel. We all met and decided that a twin outlet in the front of the diffuser would be best, with one going to each side. Ryan built the final sections to aim at those spots.

                        These were left long, as the next step was the rear diffuser construction. Then, the two exhaust ends could be terminated at the plane of the diffuser.

                        REAR DIFFUSER CONSTRUCTION

                        The rear diffuser work needed to happen with the car loaded onto the 4-post lift, which was a little tricky since the under-panels were still held on temporarily with dozens of Cleco fasteners.

                        With the car on the lift the diffuser plane was laid out with string.

                        Jason gave Ryan the angle of the plane he wanted to see and that was laid out to fit the constraints of the chassis, solid axle, and rear fuel cell. A "test piece" was secured in place to check for length and vertical strake placement was planned.

                        Due to space constraints of the fuel cell mounting, and styling concerns from the owner, we didn't do a ridiculous rear diffuser box like we have done on other cars. What we had planned was subtle, appropriate for the rest of the aero on the car, and still effective. Ryan built these sheet steel angled mounts onto the bottom of the fuel cell mounting cage (above right).

                        Ryan built this in a relatively short amount of time, using some flat plate and bent aluminum sheet. It rivets and bolts together, which makes repairs easier if anything ever gets damaged.

                        This is by far the most subtle rear diffuser we have ever built. But it merges with the flat bottom under-panels and leaves very little opening under the car (just for the tires). The full flat bottom undertray forward will make this diffuser much more effective than just sticking a diffuser under a car with a "wide open" underside.

                        The final portion of the exhaust system was modified after the diffuser was in place, to better locate the exit for the volume of exhaust flow from the engine. The "tips" were flush cut at an angle that matched the diffuser plane - all we have left now is to mark that on the diffuser plane and cut the holes.

                        CUSTOM TRUNK HINGES

                        With most of the unibody "skeletonized and skinned", there wasn't any of the original mounting structure left in the rear to mount stock trunk hinges. It was time to come up with a lighter, more elegant solution.

                        Ryan built these flanges that mount to a piece of formed aluminum sheet, which will attach to the outer sheet metal skin inside the hidden flanges. The hardware that will attach these hinge assemblies to the outer steel skin will be hidden under the trunk lid and rear window Lexan.

                        With the flanges and mount built, a piece of aluminum bar was machined to fit between them, then drilled for a pin. Next up he began welding up the swing arm that will mount to the trunk lid. He used a section of aluminum bar and bent it to shape, then welded it to the piece of bar shown above that fit between the flanges. And he added a mounting flange for the underside of the aluminum trunk lid.

                        This is the swing arm assembly and mounting flange, which will be mounted to the bottom side of the aluminum replica 69 Camaro trunk lid.

                        The final assembly looks simple, but it works with precision and the fit of the trunk is perfect. The simplest solutions sometimes take a considerable bit of planning, time, and talent to pull off - Ryan made this step look easy. Now it was time to mount a rear wing - with a pair of chassis-mount uprights that pass through the trunk.

                        REAR WING MOUNTING

                        While the diffuser will generate some downforce, the rear wing we had in mind would be more effective for keeping the rear stuck down while cornering at speed. Since we made a dual splitter element up front the rear wing was going to be a modern departure from a typical 69 Camaro - a swan neck/top mounted, 14" chord, 72" wide carbon fiber Fulcrum wing made by AJ Hartman Aero. We've used this wing many times and it WORKS. It is also the one with biggest chord on the market.

                        I'm skipping some steps here but mock-ups of the wing element were made in Photoshop, then the element ordered, height and rear setback placements were tested, and the design was approved by customer. That all took months of back and forth, ordering, shipping, etc. Once the wing element was here Ryan made templates then started on the final aluminum uprights.

                        Ryan built uprights by hand using 6061-T6 aluminum plate (this was before we moved and got the new CNC plasma table - which is how we make them now). It takes time and precision to pull this off for a perfect matching pair of hand built uprights that look like they were made by a robot.

                        Flanges for the lower mounting of the aluminum uprights were added to the frame, the uprights were bolted in place, and the wing element was mocked up to get various Angle of Attack bolt hole layouts on the uprights. These were marked, drilled, and the wing mounted and test fit.

                        Not a bad looking setup, and yes, that wing is in the stratosphere. Now let's get some endplates on that wing...

                        AJ Hartman makes some really large, reinforced carbon endplates now, but at the time he didn't. So we made these big boys out of aluminum sheet, with a reinforcing bend at the back (which will likely get cut down). We started with cardboard mock-ups first.

                        continued below
                        Terry Fair -
                        2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                        EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                        • #27
                          Re: Vorshlag Build Thread - 69 Camaro Pro Touring/Track Car

                          continued from above

                          Once these were cut and formed, drilled and mounted, it was time for one more little feature. This swing-up panel on the right side was added, with a simple hinge...

                          This allows for the optional Gurney flap that AJ Hartman Aero makes for their wings to be added. The wing was ordered with the slot molded in for the removable flap, which can be quickly removed by flipping up this little access panel on the right side endplate and sliding it out. Pretty slick.

                          The next step is to cut slots into the trunk lid for the frame mounted wing uprights. I will show that in a future installment to this thread. For now, the trunk was removed, then later the wing, so that nobody walked into those massive endplates while walking around the shop.

                          FINAL WELDING AND ASSEMBLY STEPS

                          There comes a point in any build when you need to stop, pull some things apart, tackle some final welding, and bond some panels on, before you get too far ahead and cover things up. We had reached that spot here - it was time to finish a few aspects before the car could be put together for the last time, at least before the dyno tune and track test...

                          Many removable panels were removed, the headers and exhaust were dropped down, the drivetrain came out, and access was gained to finish off parts of the firewall.

                          There were some tubes that needed to be primed and painted before some permanent panels were bonded and riveted in place, like these at the firewall and around the dry sump tank.

                          This upper portion of the firewall could be bonded and final installed now that the tubes were primed and ready.

                          Lots of tack welds were turned into final TIG welds on the chassis (above left) and on the custom exhaust headers (above right).

                          The exhaust was now fully completed front to back, so it could be final welded as well. This was done in stages, to prevent warping or movement.

                          With the drivetrain out, the trans was removed, as was the bellhousing. We didn't spec any of these parts and with what we had seen elsewhere we wanted to double check everything. The clutch was taken apart, engagement of the hydraulic TOB was verified and shimmed, the starter was checked - everything.

                          The drivetrain was reinstalled and some final welding at the custom firewall was looked at. If you remember this car came to us with some unusual and unfinished firewall work that had to all be cut away. This work allowed us to move the drivetrain back relative to the stock firewall, yet still fit headers and other things around it - which the previous builder neglected to look at.

                          With the short pieces of formed sheet metal firewall Ryan had added between the tubular structure and the stock cowl piece, it was time to weld them together then blend the seam. Lots of welding and grinding here.

                          The tack welded portions from before were all now final welded and primed. Some time was spent making this visible section smooth and ready for paint. The pockets here were added for the hood hinges, shown in this build thread previously. These were seam welded and smoothed also.

                          THROTTLE PEDAL ADDED

                          For a while we had been discussing EFI options with the customer. We weren't sure if he would go with a Motec/Emtron/similar aftermarket "Motorsports" grade EFI, which can have unique capabilities like launch control, traction control, power-by-gear, etc. The other option was a less costly and less complex GM based LS3 computer, harness, and sensor package. He made a choice - keep it simple - so we started rounding up the OEM LS3 based bits plus a custom engine harness. It makes sense, since this is just a 480 hp crate motor LS3. That decision allowed us to pick which throttle pedal to use for the drive-by-wire LS3 throttle...

                          We had added bottom mount Tilton pedals for the clutch and brake already, so we "borrowed" one of the pedal covers and picked up an LS3 DBY throttle pedal sensor.

                          Ryan made an aluminum bracket to mount the sensor and a pedal arm assembly, to get the height of the gas pedal to match the Tilton brake and clutch pedals. Then we ordered another matching pedal cover from Tilton to use on this 3rd pedal location.


                          Even here in Texas, we have some race dates that can be cold and nasty. Our NASA season opener is usually the last weekend in January, plus our March NASA dates can be cold and foggy, at least in the mornings. I've been fogged in at more than a few events.

                          Jamie Beck's S197 Mustang ST3 classed race car, which we built in 2013

                          One invaluable tool to combat the fogging of your windshield is a lightweight defroster box like this. We have been adding these to every race car we build for the past 6 years, and they really work. The Mustang above we built for Jamie Beck back in 2013 got one of these and it has saved him from "driving blind" on track, on more than few occasions.

                          We use this Summit Racing heater assembly that weighs a whopping 7 pounds. It has a heater core, 3 fans speeds, can flow up to 260 CFM, and will put out as much as 28,000 BTUs of heat. This compares nicely to the nearly 21 pound heater box in a late model Mustang, shown above. The Summit unit is a lot more compact and easier to mount, too.

                          I've shown a little bit of the install of this defroster on the 69 Camaro before, but I'm sharing the link to the part, weights, and final install this time. This was fairly straightforward. Ryan built a little sheet metal box to mount the heater box assembly right onto the tunnel, under the dash, which I showed before.

                          The twin 3" diameter outlets for warm air mate up perfectly to 3" high temp brake duct hose, which we can then direct to vents at the base of the windshield. Ryan made two aluminum defroster vent "boxes" that have a 3" round hose end for the feed and mate up to the under long oval openings on the factory metal dash (see below left). These will mount with two small button head bolts from above, but are held in place by Clecos here.

                          Above left is the view from above, down into the factory defrost vent openings. The above right picture is the view from the driver's compartment with the fiberglass dash face removed.

                          Two heater hoses were later added with bulkhead connectors to feed the inlet and outlet of this heater core from the water pump, as seen here. I will cover a lot of plumbing work in the next update

                          FUEL FILL AT TRUNK FACE

                          The fuel filler location was something we discussed with our client at length, with a balance trying to be struck between period correct, safety, and utility. We looked at ideas of a flush mount motorcycle style cap, modern pro racing quick disconnect fill openings, and throw-back AC Cobra flip up caps.

                          After we selected a filler cap and flange that matched the opening on the fuel cell, Ryan built this welded and bent aluminum mounting bracket. This was to be mounted inside the trunk and just below the surface of the trunk - which itself already needed two big slots cut into it for the wing uprights to pass through.

                          With the mounting bracket attached to the trunk at the flange and below, the filler tube could be made from stainless exhaust tubing mandrel bends. The tubing was opened up at the "neck" and the S-shaped tubing was then final welded. There is a flexible section of hose right at the fuel cell, to allow for any misalignment.

                          This is what we ended up with, which will have a mating opening in the trunk with a small "well" there to catch any spilled fuel. This way the car can be fueled with the trunk closed and wing in place - just reach back, unscrew the filler cap, and pour in from a fuel jug and hose or at the track-side pumps. I think the balance we struck fits this build the best.

                          WHAT'S NEXT?

                          This post is getting a bit long, but we covered a lot of the 2018 work. I didn't get to the rear wheel tubs and the final interior panels - we will cover that next time.

                          There is also all of plumbing work and chassis wiring to cover, most of which was completed by Ryan before our shop move in June 2018.

                          The engine harness we ordered in 2018 arrived late that year, and earlier in 2019 our new technician Evan started wiring that up and mounted the E38 GM ECU. He also tackled the final rust repair fab work on the original chassis (two spots the size of a playing card at the base of the A-pillar), filled, smoothed and finished the fab work on the various radiator and hood duct boxes, built the the remaining door bars from the roll cage, and more. It is almost ready to fire up the engine for the first time as I write this.

                          Thanks for reading!
                          Last edited by Fair!; 03-04-2019, 04:53 PM.
                          Terry Fair -
                          2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                          EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                          • #28
                            Project Update for May 7th 2020: We have been working during quarantine, but with no racing going on, weekends opened up so I have been writing Forum Build Thread updates, and we even have two new builds since the last update here (a '67 Mustang and a '04 CTS-V, both dedicated road race cars). These new builds are coming in as we wrap up some long term projects - like this '69 Camaro.

                            This tube framed Camaro is one of the most labor intensive projects we have ever undertaken, and it's in the final stretch. I have been taking a more hands on role in this build, and I go out into the shop 20+ times a day to look over all of our customer and shop builds. I now take virtually all of the pictures you see here, write all of the service invoices, send regular, detailed "build update" emails to the customers (that look a lot like these build threads), and help steer every aspect of each project - more than ever before. This prevents any surprises - if they occur, it's on me.

                            This update will cover work we did to this Camaro in 2019, including a few hurdles that took some time. We have made serious progress and the build is nearing completion. As I write this, the engine runs great, the transmission shifts well, it can move under its own power, and we only lack a few parts purchases and last minute tweaks to get this Camaro onto a road course. The global pandemic shut down some of our suppliers, which has delayed some more recent work.

                            In this round we show work completed such as the wiring, plumbing, lighting, ECM install, and initial tuning. We will also cover the final interior panels and some other fab work.


                            Wiring is boring, tedious work to watch on any build, but I show our clients every step of every work invoice. There are likely 200 pictures of wiring work done on this car. I'm not going to bore you with most of that, but I will talk about some of the options on a build like this - for the chassis harness, connectors, EFI system/engine harness, and more.

                            CHASSIS WIRING

                            We decided to keep it simple on this build and chose a 26 circuit Painless wiring harness we have used on previous builds where we had to do a complete re-wire. I'm using the exact same chassis harness on our Team Vorshlag E46 endurance road race build as well as my personal 2015 Mustang LS swap race car. We have used this harness for several completed race car builds and it works.

                            Now I'm not advocating for ditching the entire chassis wiring harness on a modern car (less than 20 years old), but if you have nothing to start with or are starting with a car more than 20 years old (where there are likely old / brittle / broken connectors and bad grounds) this isn't a bad idea. Some of you might turn your nose up at Painless Wiring harness being used on this chassis, but know this: we have had FAR fewer problems with these harness kits than some of the $25K+ Wiring jobs I've seen done on high end builds - with Power Distribution Modules to wire and program, Raychem harnesses that can never be serviced, etc.

                            There is nothing wrong with spending that kind of money on Professional Motorsport level wiring if you have the budget and it suits the purpose - I just think it is unnecessary to go to that extreme expense for the cars we build and that our customers use. We aren't running 24 hour LeMans races with the cars we build here, and we don't have customers with unlimited budgets. These Painless harnesses are color coded using GM schemes, well built, cost effective (sub $250), easy to finish out, and use modern fuses, relays, and connectors. Everything is brand new - no junk yard damage or old age rot.

                            Finishing out the connections, routing, mounting and such can take dozens of hours, so plan for that. We have mounted the fuse box under the dash and have almost every single system wired and routed now.

                            We built this car using Deutsch DT series connectors, which are costly but worthwhile. We keep a variety of DT connectors and pins on hand from 2 to 26 pins, which keeps us going on builds like these. These are not inexpensive connectors so we keep track of what was used on any given build in the My Shop Assist hour tracking system. Keeps us from guessing or under/over charging any customer.

                            There is a bit of planning and paperwork involved with a proper wiring job as well, and we have to keep records of how we terminated various systems to manage all of the circuits (a copy of which goes with the owner). Soldering, heat shrink, harness covering... it is all tedious but necessary. Evan and Brad do all of the wiring work on projects in our shop and they both do excellent work.

                            This is still a work in progress, and as systems are completed and tested we go back and make sure the harnesses are wrapped and secured properly. I will show the final wiring on this chassis when everything is wrapped and tucked, which should happen after the first track test and after paint.

                            BATTERY UPGRADE + KILL SWITCH

                            For many years my obsession for weight loss on cars drove me to use ultra lightweight motorcycle batteries, like the Odyssey PC680, which weighs 14.7 pounds. But after years of fighting with their lack of battery reserve - and pushing cars that should be driven - I've conceded that a little more mass in a battery is very worthwhile.

                            This build started off with a PC680 but during some testing we kept killing the battery, then recharging, and it finally died. So I got to "buy" that one back while we upgraded to this PC925, which is a 21 pound battery. It has more reserve, and more girth - which required a new battery tray and enlarged base mount.

                            With that larger battery in place it was time to mount the CarTek Electronics battery isolator or "kill switch". We chose the CarTek GT unit for this build, which works with OEM style ECMs. This is an FIA rated, non-sparking, solid state kill switch. It comes with two buttons, and works by dropping the entire ground circuit for the chassis as shown in the animated gif above.

                            To mount that I wanted to make a new bracket behind the passenger seat, in a tubing junction between a diagonal and the main hoop. I sketched out what I wanted and Myles turned it into a CNC cut piece that Evan then cleaned up and TIG welded to the roll cage.

                            Then it was a matter of wiring up the main grounding and positive cables + ECU power through this CarTek unit and then the remote button wires. It makes for a clean, reliable kill switch setup.

                            ECU CHOICE + MOUNTING

                            Another big decision people doing builds like this often struggle with is: what EFI system should I run? There are so many choices, from Holley, ECU Master, EmTron, Motec, AEM and many others. But don't count out the value leader, built with billions of dollars of engineering behind it - a GM factory ECU coupled with a stand-alone engine harness from a quality supplier (not a junkyard).

                            All EFI systems in any swap like this need to be tuned to your needs by a professional tuner. Not everyone has the experience or software to tune every specific aftermarket option, but virtually every tuner in the land has HP Tuners or EFI Live - which can be used to tune these factory GM "LS" ECUs. These include the 0411 (1999-02 Camaro Gen III LS 24X), E40 (LS2 24X), and E38 (LS3/LS7/later Gen IV LS) computers. There are a few others but they are odd and not as well supported. There are several ignition coil types (see below right) and several types of throttle bodies, so if you are starting with "parts" you need to know what computer can support it. The later GM computers can support both types of throttle bodies and virtually any coil type, with the right custom engine harness. The stock DBC throttle bodies are very small (75mm) but the smallest stock DBW is fairly large (90mm). I want to use a 90 to 102mm DBW TB on virtually anything, even bone stock engines.

                            You also need to have the right number of teeth on the crank reluctor (24X and 58X) to pick the right ECU. You can change reluctor wheels, but you have to pull the crank out of the block to do this right, so don't think this is trivial. The later 58X crank reluctor is better in every way (unless you have a 24X engine) and there are more choices for the DBW throttle bodies, but they do cost more. When you are doing an LS swap, however, you get to make these types of choices. This '69 Camaro started with an LS3 crate engine / LS3 sensors / LS3 DBW 90mm TB, so it was an easy choice.

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                            The latest E38 ECU is the most powerful, cost effective, abundant, and best supported of those. And unlike all of the aftermarket EFI systems, with the right components the factory GM ECUs can be the only emissions legal options for cars that need to be "smogged". This was our first E38 build, and we tested Wiring Specialties' first E38 / 58x stand-alone harness. And we learned one thing about the E38 ECU the hard way, which I will explain later in this post.

                            The CAN network data channels from these later E40 and E38 ECUs can send loads of engine data to a digital dash and/or data logger and you have lots of tuning control - Alpha-N tuning is even possible for racier engines that are difficult to tune for driveability. We have built most of our LS swaps over the years with GM ECUs and have had no issues, and the costs for these + a harness are 1/5th to 1/10th of some of the higher end EFI systems. Only the latest Holley Terminator EFI systems can match the performance and come close to the costs of a GM E38 + harness solution.

                            After discussions with the customer we ordered a brand new E38 ECU (we often start with a used unit, but the costs have come way down on new). We already had HP Tuners VCM suite for basic tuning - but we always have an outside tuner shop do the final dyno tune + driveability programming. We can at least turn off the "VATS" security issues and get a basic tune loaded for start-up testing. We don't want to take a car to be tuned that has leaks or issues, so a start-up tune let's us do a number of tests, check cooling systems for leaks, etc.

                            Once we had the new E38, we mounted that to the tunnel, per the customer's request. This was more of a throw-back to vintage Trans Am cars that had ignition boxes and such mounted for easy access. We used these "Lord" mounts to mount to the panel, shown above right. These are rubber isolators with a threaded stud on one end and a threaded hole on the other. We mount electronics like this, such as ABS computers and surge tank/pump setups.

                            ENGINE WIRING HARNESS

                            When we chose the E38 ECU, we called Wiring Specialties to have them build the custom engine harness. This was done 2+ years ago and we got one of their first 58X reluctor LS3 style stand-along engine harnesses. We custom configured it for the coils, injectors, ECM placement and other aspects of this car.

                            I like their engine harness design as it has everything labeled, includes wired CAN flying leads, a Bussman sub-panel fusebox, is professionally wrapped, and uses new GM style connectors that plug right into this LS3 crate engine. Their tech support has also been great and we have used their LS harnesses several times.

                            We mounted the Bussman auxiliary panel next to the ECM and mounted the OBD-II port (which is used for programming) behind the switch panel on the center console, as shown above.

                            The engine harness worked perfectly, other than a few small changes we needed to make due to differing parts - like the alternator, which was not an OEM unit. We removed some unnecessary items as well. The harness laid into the engine bay perfectly and all of the plugs worked as designed.

                            Evan added this MAF sensor bung to the bottom of the intake tube, using a billet bung. That allows the LS3/LS7 MAF to drop in place. We don't always use a MAF sensor, especially when the engine has a BIG cam, as you can be fooled with bad sensor data from intake reversion.

                            Last but not least was the dual electric fan wiring, which was wired into the Wiring Specialties harness and controlled by the coolant temps on the engine via the E38 ECU.

                            FINISH WELDING

                            It was during some of the plumbing and wiring work that we had to pause, remove a few items, and finish weld them. Many of the later built brackets were still tack welded together, in case something needed to be removed, move, etc.

                            Evan spent some hours on the welding bench and bent over the chassis final TIG welding many structures before we fire up the engine for the first time.


                            Lots of plumbing on this car had to be completed as the wiring was wrapping up. This is the fuel lines, which run between the lower undertray panels and the false floor in the cabin. To give the most ground clearance they were run through several frame members.

                            A flat bottom car makes for some of these difficulties, but it also gives us a cleaner install. These bulkhead connectors were installed through the frame to get from the engine bay to the fuel cell in the trunk. We ran these in aluminum hard lines, which are more robust than flex lines and cannot flop around and run into something.

                            After traversing the chassis under the passenger seat these lines go through a rear crossmember and snake up along the passenger side frame rail. They terminate into a twin bulkhead panel then flex lines run from there to the fuel cell, as shown below. This is a full return style fuel system, with a regulator in the engine bay and a full circuit to and from the fuel cell.

                            We have shown the fuel filler before, but this remote filler cap will now be hidden under the trunk, giving the car a cleaner look.

                            In the engine bay there is a fuel filter, regulator, and oiling system bits. The customer supplied the Aviad dry sump system including the 3 stage external pump, a remote oil filter, oil pan, and dry sump tank.

                            continued below
                            Last edited by Fair!; 05-07-2020, 04:41 PM.
                            Terry Fair -
                            2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                            EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                            • #29
                              continued from above

                              All of the AN fittings and hoses used are anodized black Fragola and their braided black hose. The oiling system was fairly complex, going from the pan to the external 3 stage dry sump pump, through an oil cooler, into the settling tank, and back to the engine plus a Peterson external vented catch can. The power steering also has its own dedicated cooler (above right) as well.

                              These TFS steam port fittings were added in place of the stock LS3 steam crossover tube assembly. This allows us to plumb the steam ports with AN fittings and proper hoses instead of a hose clamps and basic hoses.

                              You can see the coolant crossover of "steam lines" installed above, running under the throttle body to each cylinder head. The hose then goes up to the remote coolant reservoir mounted at the passenger rear of the engine bay, higher than anything else in the system. The custom built tank has an AN fitting under the cap for this circuit.

                              CENTER SWITCH PANEL

                              Please note: this center stack is temporary. We keep adding items and will redesign this after the Camaro does its first track day. We always need some dash panel to house all of the switches, within reach of the driver. Since the driver's seat is moved back considerably in this Camaro, we decided to add the switch panel to the transmission tunnel to be closer to the driver.

                              This one is fairly basic and is aimed at the driver, just past the shifter. It will house vital things like the remote kill switch and fire pull, starter button and main ignition kill. It also gets less vital switches like wipers, lights, horn, a CEL, AiM dash screen switch button, and the defroster controls. Some of these items were in flux for a while so we started with some blue tape and temporary markings.

                              I will say that I am not in love with the switch gear used here, but it isn't parts store random junk, but proper aircraft sources switches. We can and probably will update the final panel with more modern switches if the customer likes, but these work for initial track testing. The nice thing about these switches is that they mount with a simple round hole, and we can add more easily.

                              I showed this before but the open back of this panel has the OBD-II port. We keep adding things as we move through the build and this panel is getting crowded, and in the end I'd really like to have laser etched / back lit rocker switches instead.

                              We have been adding circuits and buttons as the build wraps up, even have a brake bias dial we need to mount here. Again, once we have track tested the Camaro and before paint we plan to CNC cut a new switch panel and reorganize the switches and engrave the labels.

                              COOLER DUCT BOX FINISH WORK

                              A previous entry showed the design and majority of the fabrication work involved with all of the ducting, but we still had some hours of metal work to do before this section was "finished". This is the finished assembly - which is a massive amount of fabrication, much of it hidden by the hood.

                              The upper ducting box will be mounted to the hood and a foam weatherstrip seal between the upper and lower boxes will be added to tie them together once the hood is closed. And while it might look like the ducting on another car you have seen, this is 100% unique setup: with a unique hood opening shape, the two coolers on the side feeding in via secondary ducting, and where the "split" happens between the upper and lower ducts.

                              Once we had this car in the new shop, in December 2018 Evan removed the upper duct box section, which is attached to the hood (with Clecos for now). You can see the massive hood opening needed for this big, swept back duct box. The engine's rear offset is apparent in the right picture, showing the throttle body way back behind the hood's centerline.

                              Even spent a few days welding, sanding, grinding, and hammer / dolly working this structure. I have never had anyone here that did "weld porn", and that type of pretty work isn't practical in most fabrication environments. We want structurally sound, heat consistent functional welds. This aluminum was particularly difficult to weld, for whatever reason. But Even managed to clean up all of the visible surfaces.

                              By adding weld material, then grinding / sanding it, with a bit of hammer work he made all of the upper sections look smooth and continuous. There won't need to be any bondo added to these duct boxes - which will be painted or powder coated a contrasting color against the main body's white.

                              This was a good view of the upper duct box after it was fitted back to the car. We bolted this in place for the track test (which I will show next time), then when it goes to paint it will be bonded to the underside of the hood. And yes, those little gaps at the back corners have been fixed - again, next time.

                              ECM TUNING, FIRST FIRE, AND A MYSTERY

                              In April of 2019 we were wired and plumbed, the E38 ECM was installed and the engine harness was plugged in and ready. It was time to fill the engine oil tank with some start up oil... it took a couple of gallons of 15W50 Mobil1, which we will use as a start-up / dyno oil before switching to a Motul oil for the track test.

                              After filling the oil tank to the level prescribed by Aviad, we removed the dry sump cog belt and spun it with a drill to prime the oiling system for the first time. We had added an external oil pressure gauge to see this vital variable during startup.

                              On April 18, 2019 we had the engine wired enough to crank it using the starter, but as the video above shows we were awaiting some DT plugs and connectors to wire in the rest of the ECM and fuel system.

                              In the next number of weeks Evan finished wiring in the fuel system, both oil and fuel pressure gauges now - which were still temporary. We hadn't purchased the digital dash yet, as we were still talking about that with the customer. He has a V-box data logging system he wants to incorporate from his GT3.

                              Evan loaded a basic tune into the blank E38 using our HP Tuners package. Nothing special, just a generic LS3 Camaro tune he had on hand.

                              We added 5 gallons of 93 octane fuel and bumped the starter to prime the oil system, had good oil and fuel pressure. Now it was started...

                              It's still open headers with no O2 sensors so it sounds pretty raspy, but we will get to that soon enough. We immediately found that while it would start and run, it would not stay running for more than a few seconds. After a a bit of testing Evan managed to get it running by adding a jumper to the fuel relay. But the ECM was not sending a steady signal to run the fuel pump. Weird? More on this below...

                              FRONT BRAKE UPGRADE

                              The brakes are super important on any track car, especially the caliper and rotors. The 69 Camaro came in with a brand of brake parts we try to avoid at all costs, so when a customer with a C6 Z06 Corvette went to go sell his car, and removed this Powerbrake 6 piston 350mm front brake system, I made sure to put him in touch with the '69 Camaro's owner. We have a lot of cars with these brakes, including several of my own cars. The brake feel, the wear, and the quality of this brand always impresses me.

                              We managed to get a deal going between the seller and this car's owner for these take-off Powerbrake 350x34mm rotors and 6 piston calipers / pads. We quickly installed them and they fit great - since this car uses C6 front suspension and hubs.

                              These were in great shape and had relatively new rotor rings and pads. The only worry was fit to the wheel spokes, but luckily they had plenty of room - I could stick a finger between the spoke and the caliper on the 18x11" front wheels.

                              The backing plate we made for front brake cooling was made to fit the previous caliper and rotor, but the rotor offset was the same. All it took was a little trimming to the backing plate near the caliper mounting bracket to made it fit, so we will keep the same brake cooling setup. You have no idea how much relief it gave me to get this Powerbrake system onto this car over the previous brand. Whew!


                              Between some of the ECM work above we received a big order of Deutch connectors and Evan got to work on more of the chassis wiring - like the external lighting system.

                              This included the LED tail light kit previously installed into new replacement housings. These look period correct in every way except they are a lot brighter.

                              And LED head lights: Low beam and high beam (shown above left). Cannot wait to see these lit up with the bodywork back on.

                              The chassis wiring moved forward considerably at this point with Evan wiring and bundling groups of wires to different sections of the chassis.

                              We have almost all of the lighting wrapped up and have been working on other finishing touches in recent weeks.

                              RUST REPAIR + BODY WELDING

                              When these cars were designed 50+ years ago they were still figuring out things like rust prevention and water drainage. The base of both A-pillars had a little rot and we stopped to fix this last bit of the chassis here.

                              Both rotten bits were cut out and replacement panels were made from new steel.

                              These were TIG welded in place then smoothed before being primed with self-etching primer. The custom cowl structure and hood hinge pockets are just ahead of these areas so now the cowl can be considered finished.

                              Out back the upper rear body panel just ahead of the trunk lid was just tack welded in a couple of spots, from repair work left incomplete by a previous shop. With much of the rear structure of the car cut out this panel was in danger of coming loose - so unlike a full unibody Camaro, this needed to be stitch welded.

                              Evan cleaned the primer off that Heritage had sprayed before then TIG welded the panel using a silicone bronze rod. This was done with careful applicaiton of heat to prevent warpage.

                              This was done on both sides and sanded smooth for seamless panel junction. This added some much needed rigidity to the rear of the car, which also was tied into the chassis with aluminum interior panels (see below).

                              INTERIOR PANELS

                              I've shown the initial batch of interior panels in previous installments. Ryan had built the tunnel panels, flat bottom bits, and the firewall

                              When Evan took over fabrication work on this car he built the remaining panels in the same style, mounting type, and finish quality. Evan has built all of the rear panels in the interior as well as the false floor panels.

                              This trunk firewall was tied into the rear bodywork - which significantly stiffened up the body structure. We have cut so much away from this unibody that it needs to be tied into these panels to have proper structure.

                              The interior panels are wrapping up and we only have a few small details to finish in this area. I will talk about the rear wheel tubs in another post.

                              FALSE FLOOR PANELS

                              The underside of this Camaro is covered in a flat panel of aluminum, but it sits below the square tubing that makes up the tube frame. We need some panels for the driver and passenger to rest their feet on while driving, as well as to step on while climbing in over the cage.

                              There was already a short panel that was part of the Tilton pedal box on the driver's side, but we needed more there. Evan made a template from craft paper then transferred that to aluminum sheet.

                              This was being made to bolt to the tubing shown above, but there was a portion on the side that would but up against the frame rail - so he and Myles made a pair of CNC cut brackets that were bent, welded, and added to the frame. This made for a 360° frame for this floor panel.

                              The panel was then cold worked in the bead roller to give it more strength, then bolted to the frame with button head stainless hardware into rivnuts added to the perimeter mounting. Makes for a very rigid floor panel to step on when getting in.

                              The passenger side had the same basic frame shape but several fuel lines and the rear brake lines underneath. This panel was larger in shape to cover more of the brake line, so it attaches to the frame and firewall with more button head stainless hardware. We will add the bead roller lines next.

                              WHAT'S NEXT?

                              We have a lot more work to share, and I had another whole section written, but this post was getting too long so we will share more next time.

                              Thanks for reading!
                              Terry Fair -
                              2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                              EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                              • #30
                                Project Update for December 1st, 2022: If you are reading this you might be thinking - was there a two year gap in updates? - and the answer is yes. We have been working on this Camaro this whole time, other than a few month or two gaps where we didn't. This was due to some staffing changes and additional customer car build projects I took on during the pandemic, which slowed down other builds.

                                We spent significant time in 2019 and 2020 working on this Camaro, but really hit it hard in late 2021 and 2022. Recently, after wrapping up three other customer race car builds, we were able to tackle the final punch list items on the '69 Camaro tube framed car. Now we have it running, driving, stopping and many other details completed, and it is ready for alignment and dyno, then going to the track for testing shortly after. So excited to see this one get to the finish line!

                                There's still a ton of work to cover on this Forum Build Thread on how we got there, and the images above aren't even covered in the scope of work this time. As you might imagine these write-ups consume an enormous amount of time, and I wrote this over a 4 day holiday weekend (Thanksgiving). I will skip the boring bits and get us caught up to mid 2020 in this post, but it might still take a few more updates to get us caught up to present. There are still some cool images and tech tips within, so it will be worth the read. Let's get to it!

                                RIDE HEIGHT CHANGES

                                This car came to us a rolling chassis (hot mess) with lots of parts that we ended up removing, and some big ticket items we were stuck with. Often these parts were supplied by companies that were no longer in business (the entire rear axle, the brakes, the wheels, and much more) or from companies that had radically redesigned or upgraded the parts (RideTech dampers & G-Force trans). These parts were often built in such a way that drove aspects of this build that were out of our control.

                                The ride height the customer wanted initially was very low and I was concerned that this was going to lead to an end result that was not well suited for track use, much less the "occasional street drives" he insisted on. With the triple disc clutch I think that any street use will never happen, but again - we didn't supply that. In late 2019 we finally had to have a talk about realistic ride heights and tire clearances.

                                The ride height we compromised on at this point was still pretty low, but we could make it work. The problem left was - to get any steering angle with the wheels & tires plus the control arms and spindles provided, it made for some unacceptable fender interference on the front tires. Just pushing the car around the shop with steering angle had caused some tire rub and small tweaks to the front fender lips. This just wasn't going to work.

                                We had to have another call with the customer - we either raise ride height further and/or we trim the front fenders.

                                The ride height stayed so the unobtanium aluminum front fenders were marked and trimmed at the blue line shown above. That gained us enough clearance to turn the wheel, but we would later have to re-work the front flare extensions to make that fit (also shop time I ate).

                                WATTS LINK CHANGES + AXLES INSTALLED

                                The Watts Link was another series of parts that came with this car and changing them significantly was going to involve a lot of push back. At the more realistic ride height the car was at now in late 2019, it was time to look at the geometry of the lateral arms on the Watts... the arms were too angled off of level at ride height, the "towers" these arms mounted to were too short, and not well supported.

                                A few updates to the Watts Link system were needed, which was only ever partially completed and tack welded together. The Watts Link lateral arm vertical "towers" were lengthened, with engineer Myles designing and CNC cutting these on the plasma table. Then fabricator Evan bent and welded these up, along with several gussets.

                                The towers were now longer and needed some real lateral triangulation and bracing. We came up with a 1.5" diameter main lateral brace that was curved up to clear the exhaust, that was then welded between the frame rails.

                                Jason and I worked with Myles and Evan and we came up with some triangular bracing from 1" tubing that was again curved around the dual 3" exhaust. These tied the vertical Watts Link towers to the lateral 1.75" tube between the frame rails.

                                Once this was tack welded, mocked up and signed off on from engineering, Evan stitch welded all of the braces and towers with the TIG. Lots of overhead welding fun. A couple of fuel lines had to be moved to make all of this fit and a bulkhead brace was added to hold those and brace up the curved ends of the lateral tube (see above right).

                                Finally my eyeball didn't twitch when I looked at all of the arms and visualized all of the load paths. This looked like it would be road and track worthy now, so it was time to wrap up some final details on the axle and rear swaybar.

                                This Ford 9" housing was supplied by a long dead company, but we needed to pull it apart to measure for axle shafts. The aluminum Moser center section and WaveTrac diff were supplied by us earlier, now it was time to finish off the floating axles. Jason drew up what we needed and we got those from Moser a few weeks later - in late October 2019.

                                Evan assembled the rear end with the new axles and then the completed rear assembly went back into the car, along with the rear swaybar also supplied by some unknown company years before.

                                The last thing in this rear section that needed to be completed was the swaybar endlinks - we had none, so some ends were ordered, tubing acquired, and some mounting tabs CNC cut. Those were then used to anchor the upper mount at the frame and the endlinks were welded together and rod ends assembled and that was another thing checked off the punch list.

                                ALUMINUM REAR INNER WHEEL TUBS

                                This chassis was scratch built so there were no inner tubs - these were started by a previous fabricator but never finished. It was time to wrap those up.

                                This pile of inner wheel tub parts was all we had, but the outer mating sections needed to be built and attached to the outer fenders. These would separate the cabin from the outside and keep the passengers away from flying pebbles, tire debris and rain spray.

                                These floating nut plates were added to the seams where the pieces would bolt together, to allow for a slight misalignment and shift, with small button head bolts holding it all together.

                                Cut-outs were made for some things like the rear upper endlink mount, mounting bolts to the chassis, and clearance for the axle itself. Another fabricator would tackle the mounting edge at the outer sheet metal skin of the rear fenders, as well as some other final at a later time. This had the rear tubs about 90% complete.

                                BRAKE LINE PLUMBING

                                This is one of my least favorite jobs on a "scratch built" car - making all new hydraulic brake lines for all 4 corners. There wasn't a single piece of the factory lines we could use, so this was a decent chunk of work to plumb up. This work began in late December of 2019.

                                We use a copper/nickel alloy hard tubing, which flares nicely. We use a tubing straightener we built to take the coils of hard tubing and make it straight, then use a number of tubing benders to get the line where we want to go. We often use TIG welding tire to mock up complicated sections, then transfer to the hard lines.

                                There is some science and some art that goes into the layout. On a normal chassis you have the frame and/or unlevel floors to route the hard lines from front to back under the car - but protected. On a "flat bottom" car like this, we like to run the lines from front to back inside the car - so an off track incident doesn't scrape the brake lines right off.

                                Luckily we have some routing between the "flat bottom" panels and the "false floor" feet panels above - just had to make a somewhat long bulkhead fitting at this lateral cross floor tube, shown above. Drilled the hole, routed the fitting through that, and made lines terminate before and after that - and again at another lateral crossmember tube behind the passenger seat.

                                I recommended a proper 4 channel ABS system on this car, but the customer wants this car to be very analog - no Anti Lock Brakes - so a 3 channel hydraulic system is all we ran. Hence the single line from front to back.

                                Once the hard line ended at the rear axle area, three flex lines were made to connect from the chassis to the middle of the axle. Then hard lines ran from a "T" out to the two rear calipers.

                                Small bulkhead brackets were CNC cut and welded to the axle housing, to make a good spot to connect the two rear flex lines. We had these flexlines made with BrakeQuip components to our specs, based on some scrap hose we marked up with what fittings / angles were needed on each end. Solid axle brake lines rarely end in flex lines, but we included them to make it easier to service the rear brakes.

                                You can see the tubing straightener above left, along with some of our tubing bender tooling. The same "bulkhead" brackets we needed out back were made for the front brake flex lines also,

                                We already had the C6 style flex lines from the PowerBrake 6 piston front brakes we talked the customer into buying from another customer who was selling his C6 Z06, so we didn't have to make new custom front flex lines. This wrapped up our hydraulic work on the brakes.

                                FIRE SYSTEM PLUMBING

                                In February of 2020 we had all of interior panels completed, and it was time to mount the fire suppression system and tackle some of the final inside work.

                                We had recently seen the horrific fire damage from the original Pro Touring car - the '69 Camaro tube framed big block car called Big Red. This fire cooked a lot of items in that car, but it was rebuilt. We're hoping to prevent anything like that happening on this Camaro.

                                We started with this 4.0 liter Lifeline aqueous foam fire suppression system, which was about $400 when it was purchased and comes with all of the tubing, nozzles, a mounting bracket for the bottle, and one manual "pull" to trigger the system in a fire situation. This system weighs 19.4 pounds in the box, but it is 19 pounds of insurance - for your skin and your ride. I talk more about this in an upcoming article about fire systems, which will eventually be in the "safety gear" section of our forum.

                                Like on every fire system, Jason and I in engineering will lay out where we want the bottle, nozzles, and pulls, then let our technician mount and plumb it the best way they see fit. Evan mounted the bottle first, onto a rear interior panel that was extensively braced by the tube chassis underneath.

                                We generally add two nozzles in the engine bay, on either side and pointing at the fuel rails - as we did on this Camaro, blue nozzles on the cross brace shown above.

                                Then we tend to add two nozzles to the interior, pointing at the waist of the driver and passenger, with small brackets added to hold the nozzles securely. The included aluminum lines are easy to plumb with the included push-lock fittings and "T"s.

                                On this car the final nozzle was placed right above the fuel cell, mounting right into the interior panel. Generally you can mount the nozzles, bottle, and plumb an entire fire system like this in 5-8 hours.

                                BATTERY KILL + FIRE PULL PANEL

                                To mount the two fire "pulls" we first sketched out a "gusset panel" for the roll cage. We often add something like this to the cage near driver's front A-pillar and FIA vertical bar, as shown above.

                                This was then transferred to some 18 ga steel, cut out, drilled, dimple died, and stitch welded to the gap between these two cage tubes.

                                That is the panel that was used for the first pull - the outside accessible one, so a corner work can trigger a fire system (and remote kill the electrical power) if the driver is unable or already out of a burning car. The second pull was added to the very "temporary" looking center panel, shown above.

                                And I do hope the car owner allows us to upgrade that center panel with better switch gear and a cleaner layout, after the Camaro is track tested and at paint. We have gotten better with our CNC plasma cutter making these custom panels for builds, like my 2015 Mustang shown above.

                                continued below
                                Terry Fair -
                                2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                                EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev