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Originally posted by The Reaper:
I'm holding you to that promise of pictures on Saturday. You don't want to disappoint the Reaper.

Well with two hours to go, here is the update (as promised because I don't want to upset the Reaper Wink )

After two months (from our last update), we have finished so much on the car.

Here are our main items we finished on the car:

Air Intake: We finished the intake system and have the air filter installed and functional. The only thing we have left to do is build our side gill and build an air box around the filter. We should be finishing this within the next month.

Wiring: We did an enormous amount of wiring over the past two months. September was almost completely dedicated to wiring within the car. We finished wiring the controller for the air suspension, re-wired the entire interior of the car including a new fuse block for both the driver and passenger side, as well as integrating the engine controller wiring into the car. We also re-located the battery and moved the main power cable to the middle of the car. The wiring was a huge process that is now complete.

Fuel Tank: We got the fuel tank completely installed in the car including fuel lines, fuel pumps, etc. From our preliminary calculations, we calculated that the tank would hold around 14-15 gallons. After filling it with 10 gallons of fuel, it looks like the tank will be around 16-16.5 gallons. Very good size for our application. (Especially since the LS9 will get around 21 MPG on the freeway.)

Fluids: We filled the engine up with all of it’s fluids! Oil, fuel, and coolant.

Over the last week we got the engine started! We had an issue initially with the engine harness not firing the cylinders on the right side of the engine, but it turned out to be a connection issue within the harness. We got that problem fixed and then we decided to install the old exhaust system from the LS3 to get it fired up. After that bolted right up, we were able to start the engine, and WOW, this thing sounds great. Watch the two videos below and you will hear what I am talking about!

(At time of posting, the videos are still uploading. They should be up and ready in about an hour Big Grin)

Our last issue that we are overcoming now is an issue with our clutch connection to the engine. Unfortunately, when we first mated the engine and the tranny, we noticed an issue with the clutch disengaging. We recognized the issue and it was going to be a 50-50 shot if the clutch was going to disengage fully when installed. Unfortunately, the clutch does not fully disengage, like we had anticipated early on. Our next step will be pulling the transmission out, by itself, and swapping out the current throwout bearing with a hydraulic version that will have more throw. A slight monkey wrench in the project but not detrimental. We will get that changed out and we should be on the street in no time.

Once we have that issue knocked out, our last projects include finishing the air intake system, the intercooler system, the LS9 exhaust system, and buttoning up the interior including fabricating our new hatch cover. If all goes well, we should be on the road in the next month or two.
I am also interested in the cable shifter and was able to get a feel for it first hand. I'd seen and played with it at the POCA fun rally and was impressed, but it wasn't hooked up to a ZF there. Last month we were in Temecula and were able to stop by and visit with Scott in his shop and got to shift it in his car. He said they still had a few tweaks to do, but I thought it was fantastic as it was. The shifting was very light an precise and the throw was significantly (1/2?) shorter and the shifter was perfectly centered in the gate. On my car the shifter is maxed out (almost rubbing the gate) in R and 4th-5th.

I had a few concerns (about grit, dirt, and wear and also corrosion of bare aluminum) which I asked about in a followup email. Scott replied

"The reason the stock unit is enclosed in a case is because the pivot shaft must be heavily greased to function normally. It has a ball socket arrangement that must be clean and greased for a smooth operation.

Our design is maintenance free and does not require grease. There is nothing that will get gummed up with road grit with our design. There are only 2 moving parts. The rail direction movement has a ball bearing for the pivot. The cables are marine grade cables so they will be fine in the environment of the Pantera engine compartment. There is ZERO wear in the gear select direction of movement. Nothing to gum-up or get dirty that would affect functionality. There is nothing to have reservations about regarding the environment."

So now all we need to know is availability and price Smiler

So after a few weeks of troubleshooting, with tons of measuring and CAD drawings, we figured out what the issue was with the clutch.

We were completely off with the thought that the throw of the bearing was the issue. Our clutch only requires .375 in of throw to disengage, and we had well over .700 in of throw. After we figured that out, it was back to the drawing board to find the issue. We spent lots of time measuring the clutch and the transmission and drew both in CAD to see if we could diagnose the issue on the computer. Sure enough, after enough analysis, we figured out that the stack height within the clutch was too tall, and was arranged in a way that the second clutch disk was too thick to be completely engaged on the spline, and was rubbing on the stepped edge of the spline causing the disk to be engaged even when the clutch was depressed all the way.

The solution: we called up SPEC and discussed with their tech support and they decided that they would build us a new set of clutch disks based on our CAD drawings that would engage the splines correctly. In about 5 days, we had a new set of clutch disks sitting on our front porch, and sure enough, once we got those re-installed in the transmission, they worked like a charm!

The reason we had this issue is because of the design of the dual-disk clutch for the LS9. It was designed for the ZR1 Corvette, obviously, and the Corvette is designed with the transmission in the rear of the car with a torque tube that spans the distance between the engine and the transaxle. Because of this, they do not have to deal with the clearance issues that come with a transaxle being bolted directly to the engine.

After we got that issue fixed, we decided to go for a drive in the car before finishing up the rest of the systems.

The car drove GREAT and wow does it have a lot of power. Unfortunately, the car started to feel a little bit less powerful after driving for about 20 minutes and then we got a check engine light. We figured that it probably had something to do with the intake air temperature since the intercooler is not yet functional. After we came back to the shop we plugged in our laptop and sure enough, we had two trouble codes, Intake Air Temperature Warning Level 1 and Intake Air Temperature Warning Level 2. As expected, the intake air was getting a bit too hot for comfort so the engine started to pull timing to protect itself and threw a check engine light and trouble code. Even with that little issue, boy was it nice to drive the car after over a year of hiatus.

When we got back it was time to get some of the other items on our to-do list finished. The first thing on that list was obviously the intercooler.

Our previous design for the intercooler connections was a bit convoluted due to the space constraints between the firewall and the engine. We came up with a great new design that looks WAY better.

We also got the intercooler lines from the back of the car to the front of the car. (Also, check out all of the lines that span the length of the car! We will be constructing some nice stainless steel splash shields to protect all of our lines.

Our last tasks include finishing the connections for the intercooler to the intercooler radiator at the front of the car, constructing a new exhaust system using the LS9 exhaust manifolds (temporary until we decide to go with 180 headers), finishing the air intake system, finish the roll bar installation, upholster various interior pieces including the engine hatch cover, etc.

We are so close to having a completely functional car. With the exception of some other miscellaneous tasks that we have after our last big tasks, the car is almost done! We are aiming to have all of our tasks completed over the next 30 days to give us ample time between then and our next track event to break-in the engine and work out any bugs. We will be out at Willow Springs this March so we can track test our new beast!

Check out some additional pics of some other things we got completed over the past two months including the installation of our new seats and roll bar
Originally posted by David_Nunn:

How was the "new" cable shifter on your drive?

WOW! It was great. I couldn't believe how great it drove. It felt like a very smooth, modern shifter. None of the issues that plague the standard mechanical shift rod shifter apply with the new cable shifter.
Put some miles on the car today! What a blast. The blower whine is so cool! It ran great. Only put about 30 miles on it but so far so good. No problems to speak of.

Next I need to build the LS9 exhaust as I installed the stock LS3 exhaust so I could get it out on the road for a test drive.

The engine really likes to rev. Way more than the LS3 did. Only getting about 5 pounds of boost so I need to look into that. Not sure if the restrictive exhaust would contribute to a lower boost output???
Put another 120 miles on the new engine today. Not a single issue! I love the blower whine.

I have some small items to button up and then it is off to Willow Springs in March.

I also am VERY happy with the cable shifter system. It is very smooth and precise. It is unaffected by heat or engine/drive train movement and never needs to be greased!

By the way, anyone see that shiny new lift I recently installed in my garage. Man, I should have done that long ago!

Not sure I'd install a lift with the word "bend" in it...

Looks good, I have a scissor lift, gets most jobs done, not enough vertical space for something like you got...

Good one. They actually started business making tubing benders for the muffler shop market. Thats where the name came from. Unlike some of the other copies, they have been making lifts for 40+ years!

A scissor lift would be very nice as well however we are also taking advantage of the extra space to park my son's car in the garage.
Took the car out for another long drive this weekend. Have you ever heard of adding 2 tie wraps and getting about 100 horsepower more!

Neither did I!!!! But that is exactly what happened!!!

I can finally say that this car is scary fast. I was a bit disappointed when I first got the car running with the power level. It was faster than before but just wasn't as fast as I thought it should be. I haven't installed the new exhaust and the current exhaust is VERY restrictive so I though that might be the issue but it still seemed like it should be faster.

So last weekend I installed a boost gauge and low and behold, I was only getting 4.5 pounds of boost MAX!!!

The LS9 has a blower bypass butterfly valve that when open, it creates a passage around the blower. The stock GM Engine Management Computer controls the valve. I forgot all about that valve. The Engine Management Computer I am using doesn't have this specialized control.

So yesterday I took 2 tie wraps and forces the valve off, all the time, off!!!

OMG, what a difference!!! This thing runs like a bat out of hell. I couldn't be happier. And I am still running the restrictive exhaust. I can't wait to see how it feels with a free flowing exhaust.

And I am getting north of 20 MPG!!!!


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That type of power gives me reason to be concerned. Respect it.

Yes, indeed. I have the utmost respect for the new level of power. We mainly use the power on the track but it is also such a blast on the street. Very, very careful on the street. After I get the exhaust done I am going to have to go do some 0-60 and 1/4 mile runs to see where we are!

Years ago a spun the car on a freeway onramp and since then I decided to be smart and have fun on the track and be safe on the street. It was a wakeup call...

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