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Old 01-23-2022, 09:56 PM   #26
kcpaz
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I ran the crappy "Prius" tires for about a year (needless to say they weren't up to the task), and finally decided it was time for some real rubber. Kumho had just released the new Ecsta V730 (a 200 treadwear tire) so I ordered up some 255/40/17's and went to work cutting, rolling, and stretching the wheel wells (especially the rears), and cycled the suspension again to make sure everything clears without rubbing. I actually have more room to move inward at some point if I want to run a wider tire, but right now the Style 42 wheels are the limiting factor. I have to run a 10mm spacer to clear the rear calipers. Unfortunately, I didn't take a lot of pictures of the rear wheel wells, but if somebody really wants to see what I did, I can snap some next time I have the wheels off. Unless you compare a stock rear fender to my modified ones, its difficult to tell that anything has been modified... just what I wanted.



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Old 01-23-2022, 10:08 PM   #27
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Way back when I first bought the car, I stumbled upon a fiberglass replica of the OEM option rear window louvers for super cheap. The thing was, they didn't include any mounting hardware. I finally got around to figuring out how I wanted to mount the whole thing. I studied various pictures on the internet that showed the original mounting system, and decide to come up with something similar, but made out of aluminum rather than plastic, and I wanted it to be something that I could remove without tools. This is what I came up with...

bead rolled aluminum "flanges up to, and quarter turn springs mounted upside down on the bottom.


Pinned center support rod that the louvers slide up into



Mounted and tested up to.... well, lets just say north of 100mph on a "closed course"





Makes the Group-A spoiler looks less awkward
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Old 01-23-2022, 10:50 PM   #28
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Lord have mercy every hour it gets better. Are those Cali Barrett Jackson plates?
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Old 01-23-2022, 10:52 PM   #29
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Sooooo... the mounting of the louvers brings me all the way up to July 2021. That's two years of daily driving duty. I basically drove the car to and from work every day that there wasn't salt on the roads in winter. 13k miles of flogging, burnouts, and highway pulls. All along, I was constantly waiting for the stock bottom end to give up the ghost and it never did....... until one cold evening in October. Headed home from work, on one of the bridges that I use to "heat up the tires" before entering the interstate, bounced off of the rev limiter (not unusua) and right as I was pushing in the clutch for the upshift, THUD!!!!, then silence. I had a pretty good idea what had happened, and was happy that there were no signs of fire. I was able to use the momentum... err, I mean speed that had accumulated to coast into a parking lot where I could confirm my suspicions. Puddle of oil on the ground, and shards of what looked like piston skirt sitting on top of the from control arms.

Once I got the car back home, and got it on jackstands, I could see that one of the rods had punched a hole right through the block at the crank position sensor. Actually, the sensor and it's mounting boss was hanging by the wiring harness.




Where did the piston go?!?!



Oh, There it is...


Also, as you can see by the blow-by residue on the heads, the MLS LS1 head gaskets weren't up to the task. I had been losing coolant weekly (some of it externally) and I suspected the gaskets, or that the heads were lifting, but didn't know for sure. This confirms it. I should have used the LS9 gaskets, but I was worried about the larger bore on those versus the 5.3 bore.



So, what happened? Well, The Radium Engineering surge tank uses a bulkhead connector to connect the fuel pumps to the external wiring. Honestly, I always thought this connector (Conxall barrel connector) seemed chincy compared to the quality of the rest of the part. When I was draining the fuel system after the engine blew (had almost a full tank of ethanol fuel), I noticed that only one of the two surge tank pumps was running. That's problematic because there's no way that one Walbro 450 pump can support 700whp on E85. Upon further investigation, I noticed that one of the pins inside that bulkhead connector was covered in some black substance. Turns out, that pin's connection had loosened over time. This caused the casing of the barrel connector to get hot and melt, which compromised the connection between the recepticle and the pin. When I accelerated up that bridge, the connection on that pin finally broke... the fuel pump died, and at almost 7000rpm, at full load... well, things lean out and happen faster than the ECU could react. That piston probably cracked and instantly exploded under a lot of cylinder pressure, which sent shards of aluminum down towards the opposing piston rod (as well as up into the intake manifold), which broke the rod, which windowed the block. Turns out Radium revised the design of this surge tank and got rid of the Conxall barrel connector... probably for this exact reason.

So, that's where things stand right now. I have an LQ9 6.0 engine sitting on an engine stand, ready to go with LS9 head gaskets, ARP studs, same cam/springs, and gapped rings... but I'm not sure I want to add 100lbs of weight to the front of the car with the iron block, and I'm not sure I want to rely on GenIII rods/pistons again. I also have a good LS1 aluminum block and heads that I can use, and build a fully forged bottom end. While I make up my mind, I've decided to take advantage of having the engine out, and work on restoring the exterior and repainting the body.
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Old 01-23-2022, 10:54 PM   #30
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Lord have mercy every hour it gets better. Are those Cali Barrett Jackson plates?
The black/red plates are South Dakota historic plates. One and done for the life of the car. No renewal fees.
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Old 01-24-2022, 01:27 AM   #31
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I love everything about this build but especially this.

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I never really liked the look of the coffin hood cars, so I sourced a flat-hood conversion and some quad-rounds
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Old 01-24-2022, 01:32 AM   #32
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I love everything about this build but especially this.
Honestly, that's one of my favorite things too.
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Old 01-24-2022, 01:44 AM   #33
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Honestly, that's one of my favorite things too.
I'm running the same set up. Beautiful ugliness.
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Old 01-24-2022, 01:46 AM   #34
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I'm running the same set up. Beautiful ugliness.
exactly
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Old 01-24-2022, 05:29 AM   #35
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This car is just lovely. Excellent work.

Engine explosion sucks though, hopefully that doesn't slow you down for long.
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Old 01-24-2022, 03:10 PM   #36
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Gorgeous!
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Old 01-24-2022, 03:54 PM   #37
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Everything looks great except the Turbosmart stuff, but I'm a little biased.

Those Radium bulkhead connectors have never been impressive. Too bad it caused such a catastrophic failure for you.
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Old 01-24-2022, 07:36 PM   #38
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I have that connector on my Radium surge tank....
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Old 01-24-2022, 10:30 PM   #39
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Everything looks great except the Turbosmart stuff, but I'm a little biased.

Those Radium bulkhead connectors have never been impressive. Too bad it caused such a catastrophic failure for you.
I've used both Tial and TurboSmart on race cars and street cars. Both are high quality IMO. This car just happened to use TurboSmart, but not because of any brand loyalty.
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Old 01-24-2022, 10:35 PM   #40
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I have that connector on my Radium surge tank....
The problem with that connector design (other than the poor quality), is that the external wiring harness shoots straight up, and then in most people's application, hangs down, which puts side load on the pins. That's my theory anyway. I suspect that if the wiring harness is properly stress relieved as close to the connector as possible, this might prevent the issue I had. Hopefully that makes sense. Regardless, I'm researching a solution as Radium says the top plate on new tank design isn't compatible with the old tanks. I think I've found a way to modify my existing tank, but I haven't done it yet. I'll keep this thread updated when it happens.
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Old 01-24-2022, 10:52 PM   #41
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This car is just lovely. Excellent work.

Engine explosion sucks though, hopefully that doesn't slow you down for long.

I'll have plenty of other things to do while I decide on the engine solution. Body work, paint work, things of that nature.
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Old 01-26-2022, 08:11 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by kcpaz View Post
The problem with that connector design (other than the poor quality), is that the external wiring harness shoots straight up, and then in most people's application, hangs down, which puts side load on the pins. That's my theory anyway. I suspect that if the wiring harness is properly stress relieved as close to the connector as possible, this might prevent the issue I had. Hopefully that makes sense. Regardless, I'm researching a solution as Radium says the top plate on new tank design isn't compatible with the old tanks. I think I've found a way to modify my existing tank, but I haven't done it yet. I'll keep this thread updated when it happens.
I would agree with that diag, I'll at least use a strain relief on it. If I can find something suitable.
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Old 02-06-2022, 09:28 PM   #43
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Decided to commit to tackling the paint/body work before I put an engine back in it.

Deleting the belt moldings



Antenna delete




Then, something I've been wanting to do ever since I "tucked" the bumpers. Removing the rubber bumper pads, fill the holes, and extending the aluminum bumpers to fit the body.






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Old 02-06-2022, 11:02 PM   #44
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Wow, body work is looking great. The bumper extensions make all the difference
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Old 02-06-2022, 11:09 PM   #45
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Wow, body work is looking great. The bumper extensions make all the difference
Yeah, I was a little nervous about how it would turn out, but once I got it all bolted back up, I was very pleased. Now I just have to repeat the process in the other 3 corners….
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Old 02-06-2022, 11:12 PM   #46
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How thick of material material are you using? Tig welding I assume?
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Old 02-06-2022, 11:37 PM   #47
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How thick of material material are you using? Tig welding I assume?
I used 1/4” thick plate. It’s basically the exact same thickness as the original bumper, at least at the ends. Yes, TIG welded. I’ll take some better detail pics on the other corners. I was rushing to try and get this corner done before dinner.
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Old 02-06-2022, 11:47 PM   #48
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Cool. Do you do any tig welding on the car? I do collision repair and I've always been told that tig welding on vehicles will fry modules but I see people do it online all the time...

I have a wire feed aluminum welder at work but it does not make nice looking welds
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Old 02-06-2022, 11:48 PM   #49
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I like silicon bronze wire for filling holes in sheet metal but I know you can buy it in rods too
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Old 02-07-2022, 01:04 AM   #50
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Cool. Do you do any tig welding on the car? I do collision repair and I've always been told that tig welding on vehicles will fry modules but I see people do it online all the time...

I have a wire feed aluminum welder at work but it does not make nice looking welds
I’ve heard this too, and not just with TIG, although I suspect the concern is regarding the high frequency start of the TIG process. I’ve unplugged ECU’s and batteries in the past, but even when I haven’t, I’ve never had an issue.
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