Vorshlag 2015 Mustang GT Road Race Build #TRIGGER

Discussion in 'Corner Carver Racing Tech Discussion' started by Vorshlag-Fair, Mar 11, 2020.

  1. Vorshlag-Fair

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    continued from above

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    Again, the fitting of these mufflers was something I dictated over 18 months ago, and it has taken a good bit of work to make them fit. The trunk floor cut out, the back of the trunk wall cut, and now these exhaust tip heat shields. Myles designed these and cut them out of aluminum on the CNC plasma table but when the design is finalized we will replace them with CNC laser cut stainless steel versions. I will show more of this work when it is completed, hopefully very soon.

    REMAINING EXHAUST SYSTEM BEING BUILT

    This was more August 2021 work that moved the project forward rapidly. Zach attacked this and started by making an adapter to go from the 3" header collectors to the larger 3.5" exhaust system (again, being built for more power use down the road). Once the transitions were made they were tack welded to the V-band flange and bolted up to the headers...

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    We had laid out the design months earlier and bought Vibrant stainless 3.5" diameter mandrel bends for the whole system (everything in the lower left pic plus a few more), with a mix of 45, 30 and 90 degree bends. The first step was to get around the transmission crossmember with some 45s and head towards the driveshaft tunnel.

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    Then it was time to lay out the X-merge, which we had to make from scratch. We always start with two 90s and cut out an oval shaped sliver in between, then TIG weld them together. This gets you the bank-to-bank cross flow you want without adding much if any restriction to overall flow.

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    With the X-merge built it was joined to the front section that heads to the header collectors. Lots of cutting, measuring, tape-up happens before the first tack weld is placed.

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    This goes on for hours of careful fabrication until you are past the X-merge and on your way to the rear section.

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    ACCUSUMP INSTALL

    As I have mentioned before, this Phase 1 HPR built 383" LS6 engine is using a WET SUMP oiling system. Some like to think that only DRY SUMP oiling systems should ever be used on a road course, but of course that is not true. It is usually based on some legit engine failures heard about second hand without all of the facts. We've built too many wet sump LS engines to believe this. The key to keeping a wet sump LS engine alive at very high lateral and braking loads (road course use with R-comps or better) is good oil pan baffling and some sort of oil pressure accumulator. I also like to run LS engines +1 quart over "full", which burns oil at a faster rate and adds some windage, but I've never lost a wet sump LS engine when run this way.

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    I have also experienced one LS engine failure on track - the LS E36 above at ECR in 2008 on 315mm Hoosiers, BEFORE we added a 3 quart Accusump and baffled/trap door oil pan. It had a junkyard LS6 with unknown number of miles and I somehow let the engine get THREE quarts low on oil (long story - I was driving 3 cars that day and helping out 2 other drivers, so I was a bit distracted). This super low oil level caused a loss of oil pressure while cornering and the rod bearings began making racket, so I pulled in and it was the end of that day (but it wasn't catastrophe failure - that engine was rebuilt later for use on another build).

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    We replaced that with a more powerful LS2 based 7.0L and added the Accusump and Improved Racing pan baffle kit (plus an oil coolers) and never had an issue with it again. and we beat on that thing, making 500 whp. We have already covered the trap door oil pan on this build (and the work we needed to do to make it fit correctly) so the only missing link now is an accumulator.

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    So we found the right Accusump, and this monster is 24" long, which limits the number of places you can mount it - severely! I am all about the electronic triggering, so it doesn't need to be sitting next to me like in the E36 LS build, above. Having a hot volume of engine oil in the cabin is always a bit sketchy, in any case. Jason, Brad and I looked and there was SO much room in front of the engine that we snuck it in at the base of the radiator, ahead of the meaty Whiteline swaybar. Brad start making bracket templates...

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    The left side (driver's side) bracket was relatively straightforward to make. Brad was able to find an existing threaded hole in the frame rail and then tied into both mounting holes for the swaybar, with a place to mount the included Canton clamp bracket.

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    The right side was a bit trickier, and required one Rivnut be added to the lower subframe, as shown.

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    That bracket had a different orientation than the other side, but the cylindrical Accusump doesn't care. That bracket bolted to the swaybar and the subframe, as shown above.

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    This setup is much more rigid than I thought it could be, just showing how mounting on two planes for each bracket could stiffen up the assembly. Nice low mounting moves the CG lower, but its more forward than we had hoped - but again, not many places to mount something 24" wide like this.

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    We have a new pressure accumulator we are using on a couple of other builds in the shop (Masterlube) that is more compact and easier to mount (back corner of the BMW E46 engine bay above), but we didn't find that option for many months after this Accusump was purchased and mounted.

    REMOTE OIL FILTER MOUNT + BYPASS + ADAPTER

    There are a couple of pieces of the puzzle needed before we can begin plumbing the oil system for this car. The "Summit Racing" oil pan comes with an oil filter mount, but this Canton adapter allows for remote oil filter mount - which we want to do for two reasons.

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    We later realized we could order this oil pan without the oil filter adapter for a chunk less money, since we weren't using it anyway.

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    Once that was swapped on we started mocking up oil lines so we could order plumbing - these AN adapters screw right in and will make lines to the remote oil filter easy to run. The remote oil filter allows us to ditch the TINY oil filter made for an LS engine and replacing them with a much larger filter, that has more media and surface area.

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  2. Vorshlag-Fair

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    continued from above

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    We like to use these remote oil filters from Improved Racing and we have installed these on at least a half dozen cars over the years. We try to always use this version that has a thermostatic bypass, with ports that can go to an oil cooler -or- route right back to the engine after passing through the oil filter if the oil is too cold (you can pick from a number of thermostatic opening temps). These are modular and you can choose between a variety of metric or SAE thread sizes to match up to the filter of your choice. We build around this MASSIVELY large 51087 Wix filter, so we can keep the same one in stock for a bunch of different cars.

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    We have used these Improved Racing remote filter mounts on numerous builds, and even done one recently (endurance Cadillac) without the internal thermostatic bypass, which is considerably cheaper. It is rare that the included bracket fits the confines of the engine bay where we need to mount one, so we often make custom brackets to mount these.

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    Since there will be four beefy braided lines hanging off of this, in addition to the oil unit itself plus the massive Wix filter full of oil, Brad went a little overboard when making this bracket. And I love it.

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    Brad added these window cut-outs so we could see the brand, part number, and flow arrows - to keep from hooking up the lines incorrectly. He mounted it using two existing threaded bosses in the engine bay (from the stock airbox) plus a couple of holes he drilled for the lower portion of the bracket. Very rigid and lightweight, all aluminum - with some dimple dies for good measure!

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    This is now in the car, along with the Accusump, so we can finally plumb the oil system. Well, we need to add an oil cooler, but we're working on that next.

    WHAT'S NEXT?

    That's a lot for this time, so we will end it there. Zach is working furiously on the last of the 3.5" diameter exhaust system now (the tricky bit near the swaybar and diff), then Brad can get the fuel system plumbed. We have to finish the exhaust and heat shield above the mufflers so we can pick a good spot to mount the Radium Engineering remote surge tank as well as our custom bracket for the Odyssey battery. The remote coils need to be mounted, plug wires built, the coolant reservoir fabricated, and a ventilated oil catch can installed.

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    A bit of wiring needs to be knocked out, like the high amp circuit breakers for the battery, remote kill, and alternator. The diff fluid cooler needs to be mounted in the trunk, or underneath the mufflers (with a mind towards the diffuser we will add after our first track test.) A large Derale oil cooler needs to be mounted, then the oil system can be fully plumbed. I have to choose a digital dash, and I'm struggling with which brand and model number to pick. That will need to be added and wired into the Holley. Then it is time for fluids, a start-up tune, and we can fire off the engine.

    Thanks for reading!

    Terry @ Vorshlag
     
  3. Vorshlag-Fair

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    Project Update for April 18th, 2022: Another long break between forum thread posts (Sept '21 to April '22) comes from more of the same reasons - overwhelming parts sales and a very busy shop. Some customer cars have wrapped up and left and a few more are about to go, so we're working on our LS550 project more often of late. If we didn't have 6 paying customer builds going on and a record shattering volume of orders, then this Mustang could have been built in about 4-6 months. But "everyone good is busy", and we have been so very busy.

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    Since my last post (September '21) we have completed the exhaust system (and ceramic coated that), built the cold air inlet and filter box, added a massive oil cooler, added the Radium surge tank, plumbed the oil system underhood, plumbed the fuel system underhood and to the back, plumbed the fuel system and vent in the trunk, added a massive differential oil cooler & plumbed that, added an electric fan to the radiator, remote mounted the coils and wired those, plumbed the radiator, mounted the strut reservoirs, added the pressure sensor and solenoid for the Accusump, modified the front grills, improved the upper radiator mount, added a second front tow hook, cut out the rear speaker deck, built a firewall for the trunk, installed a remoter latch release for the carbon trunk, installed an Optima battery and box into the trunk, then added a remote coolant reservoir, added a heater core under the dash and plumbed the heater hoses to all of that.

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    As usual there is a good bit of detail on each task below - but I am still going to cover the last 7 months of work below. We are very close to starting the engine and driving this car as I write this - by the next update we should have fired it up and hopefully be on track. Lots to cover so we better get started!

    EXHAUST SYSTEM COMPLETED

    From August to September of '21 our engineer / fabricator Zach (below right) built this crazy exhaust system, and it is a thing of beauty. Stuffing two GIANT mufflers in the trunk and routing two 3.5" diameter tubes around all manner of things, having good ground clearance, and getting it to look good took a lot of math, patience, and talent.

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    I made the requirements for this very custom exhaust even more complicated by insisting that Zach route these massive mandrel bends to an improbably challenging exhaust outlet location - the rear bumper cover.

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    I also wanted the mufflers to be symmetrical and "look pretty" when you open the trunk. And I wanted V-band clamps at various points along the way to make maintenance easy while removing any exhaust leaks. Oh, and mount everything with high temp silicone bushings with 100% stainless steel brackets.

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    Many have wondered at my sanity for this system - why spend 50+ hours to hang a pair of mufflers and exhaust through the rear bumper cover? Well maybe the pictures below will explain what I have in mind for the future...

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    The future plans for this car include a large rear diffuser - maybe now you can see why I had Zach go to so much trouble? The LARGE mufflers are also done to cancel out NOISE while allowing enough exhaust flow for a 1200 hp engine. Tucking them up at an angle allows these massive things to fit while making room for the diffuser down the road.

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    Some pretty terrible atrocities had to be done to the rear trunk to pass the giant 3.5" diameter tubing through here, and there's a curved bend there as well. Lots of fiddling to get the tips angled the same, making mounts, etc.

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    Zach left us in September of '21 for a fabulous job at Rivian, so our engineer / CNC operator Myles (above left) did the final TIG welding on this. Again, lots of patience and skill was needed, as well as a temporary structure to keep the two pipes from twisting. This went in and out of the car several times to check fit while Myles fully seam welded the exhaust tubes - which is made up of a lot of mandrel stainless bends.

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    By November of '21 the exhaust system was fully ceramic coated and polished, but Myles had left us for a fantastic DoD job (he still stops by for consulting help from time to time). So Doug (our new fabricator / tech) and Brad installed the finished exhaust on the Mustang.

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    I have dozens more pictures of this exhaust, and it is by far the nicest, largest, and wildest one we have built in 17 years of building cars here. I really cannot wait to hear what it sounds like when we fire it up! I have the same muffler on my built LS powered '00 Silverado and it sounds really good, but with 500+ whp and screaming around track at 7000 rpm, it should sound pretty amazing. With 1200 hp at 8500 would be something unworldly...

    LOWER BELLHOUSING COVER PLATE INSTALLED

    This is a minor task but one we recommend - covering the lower front opening of the bellhousing with this Canton plate.

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    Of course the Canton part didn't fit and needed some cutting, but that could be due to our non-OEM oil pan we're using. Regardless, we wanted to keep this area covered up so dirt, water, and debris cannot get into the bellhousing.

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    Just a minor thing but it is often overlooked, and getting this aluminum cover plate is very low cost. I have included the part number (21-870) so that others can buy this.

    FUEL HARD LINES

    We started on the fuel system already with the fuel rails, and we will tackle the trunk / fuel tank / surge tank lines in another task. For now we needed to run the big lines from the front to back.

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    For various reasons I prefer to do the long runs of fuel lines with aluminum hard lines. I like running them UNDER the car but ABOVE the bottom of the lowest parts of the car (frame rails) so they cannot get snagged and ripped away in an off track incident. It isn't the ONLY way to run fuel lines, it is just the safest way that we have adopted on many cars. The OEMs also tend to run hard lines for long fuel runs - either metal or plastic. Of course plastic has so many downsides...

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    This aluminum tubing is bought in a roll, then straightened, then bent to fit the long runs, and finally flared at the ends for the fittings. We always build these to terminate and transition to flexible lines at bulkhead panels at both ends. Above are the two bulkhead panels built for the rear (top left) and at the front engine bay (top right).

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    The rear bulkhead on our LS550 is placed at a convenient spot near the fuel tank/trunk area, above left. For this build we chose larger than normal hard line sizes: the feed line is a -10 or 5/8" diameter, and the return is a -8 or 1/2" line. Normally on a ~500 whp engine like we have in Phase 1 we'd use a -8 and -6 lines, so we're up TWO sizes. This is to build for a Phase 2 engine, and this fuel system could support about 1200 hp.

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  4. Vorshlag-Fair

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    continued from above

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    In the engine bay we have a bulkhead connect panel in the back left corner of the engine bay (above left), right under the brake booster. I missed getting that picture after Doug installed it from the inside, and it is really hard to see now (above right) because there's a lot going on back here. We have three fuel lines (the main feed, the return, and a regulated line to the fuel rail), the Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator, and giant -12 oil lines snake around all of this as well. As big as this engine bay is, I really had trouble laying out a "clean" placement of everything on this side. But for now, this will do.



    COLD AIR & FILTER BOX

    At this point we had all of the major components mounted under the hood. The engine was in place, the Accusump, the remote oil filter, radiator and fuel filter. Now it was time to lay out the air inlet tubing and air filter to feed this little 6.3L LS engine.

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    With the help of Erik at HPR and some tuner friends we had determined early on to use a 102mm Drive By Wire throttle body (DBW). A smaller TB only chokes down the engine, and the 102mm unit I bought cost $95. This unit is easily tuned with the Holley Dominator EFI we have. 102mm = 4.015". The problem is the Outer Diameter of a 102mm throttle body is 4.25"...

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    4.25" ID intake hoses are VERY rare, and what we ended up doing was up-sizing the entire cold air intake tract to 4.5" dia hoses, aluminum tubing and air filter, which is much more common size. As you can see (above right) we have a "transition" hose that goes from 4.25" to 4.5" right at the throttle body, then a 90 deg silicone bend that is 4.5" dia, and an air filter that is 4.5" ID as well.

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    Brad spent a little time getting this cold air built, and worked with me to get it laid out just so. Where the filter ended up is exactly where I wanted it. Jason and I spent a good bit of time chasing down the right parts - the bend, transition, tubing and air filter. This filter is an oil-less K&N that barely fits the area we have for it. The parts to build this came from 5 different places, and took many weeks to arrive - like everything during this supply chain mess. Now it was time to build the filter box.

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    Brad builds some beautiful brackets and sheet metal assemblies and he always starts with cardboard templates. This airbox was going to be tricky...

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    The template came together in a few stages, and had to be built around a number of items - like the remote oil cooler, and a protrusion in the engine bay. The inboard side wall (with the "U" in it) is built to keep hot air from the radiator exhaust. Then a layer of cardboard was fitted to the top to mate up to the inner surface of the carbon hood we are using on this car, which will be sealed with some weatherstrip rubber along the top edge.

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    Brad transferred the final templates to aluminum sheet, which he cut on the shear and band saw, making 3 main pieces. As he was cleaning the edges of the aluminum, some contaminated sandpaper (which had been used on steel) was used. This all was being done in January of '22.

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    This made the aluminum nearly impossible to weld, due to the steel contamination. Both Doug and Austin both tried to weld the seams here and it wasn't pretty, but they cleaned up the worst of it and the two aluminum pieces were saved.

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    Brad then made a series of small "L" brackets and was able to rivet the third and final piece to this airbox assembly, which fit perfectly to the corner of the engine bay, allowed the 4.5" tube to slip through, and lined up to the underside of the hood. There is a "U" shaped opening that will allow some warm engine bay air into the airbox, so we will monitor Intake Air Temp sensor in our first track test - and likely we'll make a block off panel for this upper opening, to completely seal off the filter from warm air.

    GOLD FOIL, IAT BUNG, AND GRILL OPENINGS MODIFIED

    By February of this year we had ordered some more bits and pieces to wrap up the Cold Air Inlet system. Brad started off by covering the airbox with DEI gold foil. And yes, this should normally only be on the "outside" of the air box, but some of this was done to cover up the contaminated welds on the box.

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    With the airbox completely wrapped in GOLD it was time for Doug to located, drill, and TIG weld the threaded bung for the IAT sensor.

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    After that was welded up the aluminum tube was also wrapped in DEI gold foil. Then Brad added the upper welting to the "U" and the thicker weatherstrip seal along the top edge, which seals the box to the underside of the hood.

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    Last up was the grill openings that "feed" the airbox cold air from outside, as well as the radiator and oil cooler. The factory 2018 GT upper and lower grills have a lot of areas blocked off. The OEMs do this to reduce drag and eek out a fraction of one more MPG, after wind tunnel time spent with engineers, thermal testing, etc. Since we're adding more power than the regular 5.0L would have, so we need to open up things...

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    We have used this trick in the past to "uncover" grill openings when it is a cast plastic part with these decorative hexagon shapes on the front. A 36 grit sandpaper disc is used to remove the inner layer of plastic and the hexagons remain - so it still looks factory, but allows much more airflow.


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    This was done on the front left corner that feeds the air filter box, as shown above. This mod added 5x as much surface area for air to get to our uniquely positioned filter inlet & airbox, and will have a small "ram air" effect at speed once we seal off the inner wall of the airbox.

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    Since we have a rolled radiator and a low mounted oil cooler, the upper grill isn't feeding much (and we might block it off on the back side. To feed the lower opening Brad also opened up the lower grill area as well, which was about half closed off as well. This should help with cooling airflow to these two low mounted heat exchangers.

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  5. Vorshlag-Fair

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    OIL COOLER ADDED AND PLUMBED

    Almost every track car we have ever built needed a supplemental oil cooler or oil cooler upgrade. Our 2018 Mustang GT (below left) made 485 whp with the Gen 3 Coyote and headers, and the Mishimoto oil cooler we modified and added made the oil temps cooler. This car recently came back to us from the new owner, who complained of high oil temps (possibly a differing driving style, shift points, geographic location, etc) and we just installed a larger, thicker, and more efficient Derale stacked plate oil cooler (below right) on that car.

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    Our LS550 is going to make a little more power than that in Phase 1, so we're installing one of the largest Derale 10000 series "stacked plate" coolers - with room for one more right next to it for the future Phase 2 engine.

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    We actually bought this Derale cooler for my wife's LS swapped 86, but that has been stuck in our lobby for a while awaiting its turn in the shop for completion, so we "acquired" it from her parts shelf and got to work mounting it on the LS550. We also ordered up a Derale part number 50022 mounting rail kit for Derale stacked plate coolers (above right), which we have used on a few in-house track car builds.

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    Brad made some simple brackets to attach these Derale rails to the car's main frame horns at the top and to the lower subframe / radiator support at the bottom (see above right). Our goal was to keep the cooler mounted low to get the airflow from the lower grill, and place it close to but not touching the aluminum radiator - so air cannot bypass around the Derale oil cooler (it sits 3/4" away from the radiator).

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    The same day this cooler was mounted, Brad began plumbing the rest of the engine oil system - from the pan to the remote Improved Racing oil cooler with thermostatic bypass and on to the Derale oil cooler. Again, when the oil is below 185F it will bypass the oil cooler. When it warms above that, then oil will go from the filter to the cooler then return to the engine.

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    We ran all of the oil lines in -12 AN sized Fragola braided lines. We have seen shops use smaller lines on engines like this but then they also tend to chase low oil pressure problems. On the 2018 GT we used -10 lines because that is what the Mishi oil cooler kit utilized, but on a higher RPM race engine you pretty much always use -12 AN lines or larger (-16 AN is also common).

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    The lower brackets looked a little "springy" to me so in February of '22 I asked Doug go back and reinforce these parts. Now the cooler is less likely to bounce on the lower mounts.

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    This sized cooler has worked on similar power levels for us in the past, and as you can see above that adding another identical cooler right next to this one will be pretty easy and take little effort. That would effectively double the oil cooling, which would be perfect if we double the power.

    DIFF COOLER, PUMP, & PLUMBING

    My love of Derale cooling products is no secret - we keep using their heat exchangers on virtually every project in the shop over the last 2-3 years. We utilized this massive differential oil cooler with integral shroud and twin fans on a customer's 680 whp track car and it worked well, so we ordered another for my Mustang track project here.

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    We purchased this cooler / fan setup in late November of '21 but the installation task didn't happen until December of '21, when Doug jumped in and started cutting out the floor for the hot "exhaust" side for this, then tackled mounting it in February '22.

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    Jason and I debated ducting cool air to this from several spots on the fender, then building a ducted exhaust out the bottom. We moved it this way and that, but the frame rail, mufflers, shock towers or something else was always in the way. In the end we decided to keep it simple, then use the giant "muffler hole" in the trunk and to give us some "cooling" air for the diff cooler. The hot air coming out of the back of this cooler will then exhaust out the rectangular hole in the floor outboard of the frame rail, shown above right.

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    The mounting brackets were fairly simple - a bent piece of aluminum at the bottom and another aluminum bracket at the top. The unit was "clocked and cocked" in a way to make for the easiest exhaust flow path, and we might still make a duct on the exhaust side if we don't see the temperature drop across this cooler that we want.

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    In late February of this year the same noisy but effective gerotor oil pump we used on the 2018 Mustang GT was added to the trunk floor of this 2015 with the same isolator mounts. Then in March '22 Doug plumbed the diff cooler system going from the rear cover, to the cooler, then to the pump and back to the diff housing. There is also an elevated "filler neck" on the rear most corner of this cooler, which has a AN "Tee" and cap to fill at. A long funnel will be used to fill this system with a measured amount of fluid. The pump will act as sort of a check valve so that when the system is turned off it won't drain all the oil from the cooler back into the diff housing, which could over-fill that. This car will only be driven with the diff pump going.

    ELECTRIC FAN & UPPER RADIATOR MOUNT

    In the last installment we had the large Howe dual pass radiator mounted on a steep rolled mount. We still need an electric fan to pull air through this unit between autocross or track runs, and at speeds below ~40 mph. Yes, you still need a fan on a race car - don't let someone tell you otherwise. I've seen the folks who preach the "race cars don't need fans" theory, but they have also melted down engines numerous times, just sitting still.

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    After mocking up the 16" dia Mishimoto slim line fan in the last update (above left) it was time in February of '22 to get the protective cardboard off the radiator for the first time and build some fan mounting brackets.

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    Brad started with some cardboard templates and transferred them to some .100" thick aluminum sheet, which he cut and bent to shape for the two main vertical brackets. This thickness is plenty strong and yet still easy to bend on our box brake. A somewhat simple bracket but it works and does what we need - attaches to the four mounting tabs of the fan assembly.

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    These vertical brackets mount at the bottom to a simple aluminum angle cross brace, which bolts to the lower radiator mounts on the subframe. At the top are two simple bent brackets that bolt into two factory installed rivnuts on the upper radiator support. The fan sits 1/2" behind the radiator - close enough to be effective in this suction side mounting while far enough away not to touch the fins or damage the radiator in any way.

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    I'm so glad we bought this OEM replacement upper radiator support, as it has made mounting things on the front end SO much easier - the radiator, the fan, the front strut reservoirs (we've since moved them), and the Aerocatch hood pins (see above) all mount to this, as well as the bumper cover! We would have added many many hours of work trying to save 3 pounds and building this structural part "bespoke".

    REMOTE COIL MOUNTING

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    So I never liked the look of the 8 individual coils mounted to the factory LS valve covers. While it is an elegant and simple solution, and makes for easy spark plug wire runs, it is ugly. I'm vain and for this build needed something flashier. Moving the coils away from the heat of the headers was another secondary reason for "remote mounting" the coils. I also had a pair of these showy "CHEVROLET" valve covers, which I had custom powder coated in red with exposed lettering, that I really didn't want to cover up.

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  6. Vorshlag-Fair

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    continued from above

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    I spent way too much time mulling over the ignition coil locations, looking at show car and race car remote coil solutions. In the end these simple ICT billet mounts were "the most right" answer. And the big strut tower cross brace we had on the car was quite a bit further away from header heat, and looked like a nice mounting structure. I honestly wanted the coils further back and/or hidden completely, but the engine bay was starting to get tighter as we added more bits and pieces.

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    Doug tackled this installation and it went quickly - we mocked up the locations with measurements and symmetry, then he removed the hollow aluminum Ford Racing cross brace from the car. Doug marked and drilled the holes for M6 rivnuts, which made for a clean mounting arrangement.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    This coil location exposes the valve covers and somewhat hides the coils, while keeping them a bit further from the heat of the exhaust headers. The Holley Dominator wiring has since been plugged in for the coils and tucked out of the way, with custom spark plug wires being built later this week.

    TOW HOOK ADDED AND BUMPER BEAM PAINTED

    The front tube bumper for this Mustang was built some time back, and it had a single tow hook on the left front. We use these tow hooks to pull cars into and out of a trailer, and for track side extraction. When we make them welded to a rigid bumper like this, we can also anchor tie down straps for us in towing in a trailer. When you have a massive splitter or diffuser this is a REAL bonus.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    The guys who built the tube bumper for this S550 have since left Vorshlag, and with them also went the knowledge of how to run our CNC plasma. In December, while I was learning how to use our plasma table (lots of YouTube videos and text messages with our two former engineers), the PC that runs the servos on the CNC took a complete dump. Long story, but this ended up being a major hassle to replace and reprogram this PC. I spent weeks getting this plasma table back up and running.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    The LS550 project also spent 8 months in purgatory in late '20 and early '21 - sitting in my barn, awaiting room in the shop to open up. While stored out there the raw steel bumper beam had gotten a light coating of surface rust. The lone tow hook also needed a matching unit. Once I had the PC replaced and the plasma table cutting again, the matching 1/4" thick steel tow hook was one of the first parts I successfully cut with the new setup.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Doug took some measurements for placement and angle and tack welded the second tow hook on to match the original, but mirrored on the other side.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    With that verified (the front bumper cover went on and off to check fit) the tow hook was seam welded onto the bumper, then it was removed, cleaned, scuffed and painted silver. Yes, we have some other things that will mount to this bumper later (front splitter mounts), but I was tired of seeing a rusty tube bumper in so many pics - at least now its not an eyesore.

    [​IMG]

    It will be so much nicer when we haul this car in the trailer - hooking up the front tie-down straps takes SECONDS with this type of setup, and if we do need a tow from a wrecker on track they have multiple places to hook up to.

    FRONT SHOCK RESERVOIRS

    This is pretty basic - finding a good place to mount the front shock reservoirs - but again, was a bit more challenging trying to satisfy my OCD inside this ever crowded engine bay.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    It is no secret that we took all of the last versions of the suspension from my 2018 Mustang (above left) off that car before it was sold - even the shock reservoir brackets. We tried and failed to re-use those when we swapped the MCS RR2 coilovers over to the LS550 (above right) and for the longest time the canisters were wrapped in foam sheet and zip tied to the upper "dog bone" fender structures (above right).

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    How and where you mount the canisters for remote reservoir dampers is important. You want them in an easily accessible spot - so you actually use the knobs (in this case, low speed compression). Dampers turn motion into heat, and remotes can get hot - so keeping them away from the heat of a radiator or a turbo is important. And WHERE you clamp on them matters - they are made to be clamped on the ends, at grooves machined into the outside of in the canisters, far away from the travel of the working and floating pistons inside (see above).

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Our guys made up a pair of these reservoirs - just some flat aluminum sheet, passed through our set of rollers to match the same radius of these cans, with a "spacer" block of flat aluminum welded to the back side. This spacer allows for a pair of counter sunk bolts to be hidden flush under the reservoirs when mounted, and the offset from the back with the spacer allows hose clamps to pass between brackets and whatever they are bolted to.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Brad knows my OCD and visual symmetry needs well - and shares it - so when we discussed the mounting of the reservoirs he found a common body panel angle and matching locations on both sides of the engine bay to mount to. The angle of the front panel was marked in blue tape and the reservoirs mount right to the strut towers. Holes were drilled, rivnuts added, and the brackets mounted symmetrically.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    The reservoirs are mounted at the same angle and hose clamps attach in the designated "safe zones" on each canister. To class it up the stainless hose clamps, the exposed portions are wrapped in heat shrink tubing and heated to fit - this keeps the "teeth" on the clamps from scratching the finish on the MCS canisters.

    RADIATOR CAPPED, NEW UPPER MOUNT, & HOSES BUILT

    The upper radiator bracket was originally built a while back, and was done rather hastily. We had the radiator out in late February '22 to "cap" the original filler neck that was cut off, since we will be using a remote mounted coolant reservoir and cap, which will be mounted higher than the radiator. Doug got that hole welded up, and while the radiator was out, Brad got to work making a better upper mounting bracket.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Brad's bracket work once again classed it up a lot. I missed the cardboard template steps but caught a few pictures as he made this new, full width, dimple-died, aluminum upper bracket.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    More .100" thick aluminum was cut to fit and holes drilled, then it was dimpled with the press and our set of dies. These "lightening holes" help remove weight as well as adding stiffness. And it looks cool, too. There's a rubber isolator added to keep the aluminum radiator from touching the bracket (see the black bit in the above right pic.)

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    Once it was all fitted and tested, it was removed and brush finished, like Brad does to most aluminum brackets. This finish allows the part to look good in raw aluminum or it can take a nice anodize plating or powder coated finish later. Really happy with the upper mount worked out.

    continued below
     
  7. Vorshlag-Fair

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    continued from above

    The radiator hoses we make have proven to be reliable over the years. We're just trying to connect the radiator to the engine with hoses that have some flexibility, the right sizes, and never leak. The hoses often need to compensate for size changes between the water pump and the radiator; 1-1/2", 1-5/8" and 1-3/4" are all common sizes.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    We start at the ends, sourcing these from Pegasus, HPS, and others. Parts took weeks to all arrive, test fit (above left), then it was time to connect the ends with aluminum tubing - all while trying to leave as much access room and radiator exhaust airflow room as possible. Sure, we could have modified the radiator and water pump to use -20 AN ends and built AN braided hoses for all of this, but it adds 5x the fab time and cost - plus makes sourcing a replacement water pump at a remote race weekend impossible.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    We tend to make the hose bends and the adaptation between diameters on these silicone hose end sections. We connect the hose ends & bends on this install with straight 1.5" OD aluminum tubing, as shown above. We add these raised beads on the tubing at the ends, to help secure the hoses, using our little bead roller. Sure, you can often hack together some OEM rubber hoses from a car parts store, but these silicone + aluminum assemblies look good, work well, and do not leak - when built correctly.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    These also have just enough flexibility to allow the engine a little movement (from torque). We use these turbo style T-bolt clamps to secure each junction, which have smooth inner clamp surface - unlike worm gear hose clamps. I will talk about the "steam vent" port and plumbing we added in the highest hose (see above right) in a future post.

    REAR FIREWALL BUILT

    The trunk of this car has two GIANT mufflers, a differential cooler, battery, remote surge tank and more. The rear seat is never going back into this car, so we have a giant hole between the trunk and the cabin. So let's make that hole even bigger!

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    To make the trunk firewall the rear speaker deck became pointless - it had two massive holes in it, plus lots of little holes and raised bits. Brad and I discussed this in February and he marked the main upper "structural beam" at the upper leading edge. This ties the two shock towers together and we want to keep that structure for now. The perimeter was marked and he used lots of tools to cut out this piece.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    This speaker deck amounted to only 2.5 pounds (above left), but there were some raised sections in the remaining portion (above right) that had to be cut & ground away so a flat sheet could go over this panel with tight gaps. The point here is to seal air, fumes, and potential fuel / fire from reaching the cabin, so tight gaps to the remaining structures the firewall bolts to are key.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Brad got all of the metal trimmed and flat, taped off the raw ends and primed them - no more rusty metal - then got to work on the two pieces that would be made from aluminum sheet for the firewall.

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    Hot bits in the trunk with big openings that need to be sealed off from the cabin, as seen above.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    The main "vertical" matches the back seat angle and mounts to a flat section of vertical structure on both sides of the main opening. This sheet was relatively easy to shear and fit to the car. The upper deck replacement was trickier and Brad made a full sized cardboard template for that.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    There are two other portions that will remain in place on the sides of the back seat opening (see above left). These are riveted in place. The main vertical panel is bolted in place with button head bolts into rivnuts. The upper panel has a bend along the top leading edge and that bolts to the cross structure and overlaps the vertical panel (see above right). There are bolts along the back edge of the upper panel as well. Don't worry, the Lexan rear window will be removed with bolts as well - so if we need to remove this firewall we can, just takes a bit of time.

    CARBON TRUNK & REMOTE RELEASE

    Things were really speeding up on the project here - with a bulk of the work in this post done in February '22, when we had a gap in customer work while we waited on a bunch of parts. Instead of making the trunk mounting complicated I decided to go ahead and ask Brad to install the stock trunk release latch and striker. It has never been closed up until now...

    [​IMG]

    As I mentioned in previous posts before, this is an Anderson Composites carbon trunk, and it is very light - but has all the features and mounting points of the OEM trunk. This allows all of the factory hinges, brackets, and latches to bolt right up. As you can see above it also fits very well - we just bolted it on, and it fit like this.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Then it was time to really look at the trunk release. There won't be "keys" or remote solenoids on the doors or trunks on this race car, so we kept it simple and used an extra Lifeline remote fire bottle pull handle cable as the trunk release (above right). This would attach to the "emergency release" handle on the latch, mandated to be inside all trunks - in case someone is trapped inside. Brad made a bracket to mount the cable pull to the inner sheet metal behind the passenger door and the handle is reachable from the passenger side window opening.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Simple, effective, easy to see - and we'll add a proper label to the "pull" and a decal outside that window pointing to "trunk release", too. First time we have closed the trunk on this car, which was a nice thing to check off the ever shrinking To Do List.

    RADIUM SURGE TANK, FUEL TANK VENT, & REAR FUEL PLUMBING

    As I have stated before, we're re-using an OEM fuel tank in this build along with a remote surge tank. This mega-stripped salvage car came with nothing back here - no tank, zero fuel system plumbing, nothing. So we had to track down some OEM bits (tank + stock pump / float assembly + in-tank crossover hoses) and then build the rest.

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    We got a stock fuel pump and sump assembly from my buddy Paul at Tri State Autoparts, and then got to work modifying that. The stock pump will be used just as a lift pump, which should be more than adequate at pushing fuel from the stock tank to the Radium remote surge tank.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Paul left us the stock "pig tail" so we can wire up the stock pump easily. We've drilled into the top of this plastic housing for the "overflow" return from the surge tank at the top. Then the quick connect for the stock feed line from the stock pump has an adapter to a -8 AN end, as shown above right. That's how we get fuel out of the stock pump and excess goes back in.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    The feed and "overflow" lines are both -8 AN braided Fragola hoses, which Doug built and attached to this side. These feed up through the back seat and unto the trunk. The top of this side of the fuel tank will get another cover to act as a "firewall" to the cabin - I'll show that next time.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    The stock filler neck nipple (not shown) connects to the filler neck hose, which is the only stock plumbing hose left on the fuel system. Above left is the big 5/8" quick connect for the "vent" on the stock tank. This allows air to escape when the tank is being filled as well as to allow air back in when the fuel level goes down.

    continued below
     
  8. Vorshlag-Fair

    Vorshlag-Fair Official Site Vendor Official Vendor

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    continued from above

    We found this AN adapter from Motion Raceworks and it connects to a big -10 AN hose that goes to the vent stack, shown below.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Next up comes the fuel tank vent system, and all this was done so we can do away with the factory charcoal filter (which is long gone). We are trying to vent the tank for filling and use, as well as make a "rollover valve". We started with a valve cover breather with a 5/8" opening, then a 5/8" barbed fitting to -10 AN, and finally this Vibrant -10 AN/ORB one-way check valve. The check valve was opened up and the spring modified to have a lower spring pressure. This way if the car ever rolls over on its lid, it acts as the rollover valve. It still should have enough spring pressure to keep the fuel separated from atmosphere as a check valve. If there are excess fuel fumes in use we will address this then, but with the sealed trunk firewall, it may be a non-issue.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Doug made a bracket to hold for the lower check valve portion, then machined that fitting to work like a bulkhead fitting at the bracket. The check valve is mounted at the trunk floor level (as shown below), then a ~18" long hose goes up to another bracket at the top of the trunk, which mounts the breather. This is mounted higher than the external fuel filler neck on the fender, to keep fuel from ever coming up and out this vent.

    [​IMG]

    Next up was the Radium Remote Surge Tank, which we spec'd out with two Walbro 450 LPH pumps. This is tad overkill for the Phase 1 engine, but the single pump setup was a bit short. This has room for up to 3 pumps, and we will add a third when we go to Phase 2. We ordered this one "bare" so we needed to add the pumps, fuel hose, and wiring.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    These setups are modular and easy to work with. We ordered it made for the Walbro 450s and Doug made quick work of the assembly. The included screen at the bottom is made to hold these Walbros and he used submersible hose for the connections at the top. The included wiring was connected to the machined Radium top plate, which has wiring bulkhead connectors for all 3 pumps (6 posts) and another spot for a fuel level sensor.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    We added this optional fuel level float sensor, which basically tells you that the surge tank is NOT full - which is usually a "OMFG GET TO THE PITS NOW" warning. We'll mount a big LED in the center stack to warn the driver when this ever happens.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    The Radium sensor has the two pink wires that come out of the hole, which is sealed by the float assembly from the underside. As you can see the float only moves about 1/2" and it is near the top of the surge tank, letting you know you have drained the main fuel tank and are on the emergency reserve that is within the surge tank only.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    With the pumps and sensor installed and wired inside the Radium surge tank it was re-mounted in the trunk and the fuel lines plumed to and from that to the main tank. Two of these line run under the back seat floor and into the trunk, as shown in the two pictures above. The other two lines go to the rear bulkhead under the car for the main -10 / -8 lines to and from the engine bay. Fuel system plumbing is now complete - wiring and relays will happen in the next installment.

    BATTERY & BOX ADDED

    I have a lot of experience with car batteries, which can be made very light - but it always comes at a cost. After 3 decades of this stuff I have settled on larger batteries of AGM / gel cell types. Of the Optima series I like their 75/25 group options, and on a race car we use the heavier Yellow Tops (thicker plates/can be discharged to zero) vs the lighter Red Tops (thinner plates/higher CCA).

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Nobody makes a good battery mount for these, but we do - shown below. Our mount is a steel lower tray we CNC cut and bend, then an aluminum upper. We've used these in numerous race car builds. First step is to find a good place to mount it.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    I looked all over the LS550 for a spot and had my eye on this this lateral cross beam in the forward section of the trunk floor. There was a thick layer of sound deadening material here but otherwise it was flat, so I asked Doug to use a heat gun and scrape that area clean.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    The bottom of our battery tray has 6 holes pre-cut for hold-down bolts, which can sit above the top of the tray and fit inside the voids on the bottom of these spiral wound Optima designs (see above left). I asked Doug to add 4 more tabs for even more bolt holes - because the section where we can bolt down the steel tray is "blind". This area is a thick hollow section and we would need to add Rivnuts here to mount the battery.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Yes I know this is less than ideal, but it was the "least bad" spot to put the battery for easy access, weight bias, and where much of the rear wiring would be anyway. These are LARGE for rivnuts, they were installed with a pneumatic gun, and there are eight of them. This battery is not coming loose in any crash, and we have a bomb-proof rear bulkhead right in front of it. I have zero worries here. I will show the battery wiring in the next forum update.

    C6: DISTRACTION OR MOTIVATION?

    Some of you saw in my last post where I talked about buying this narrow body 2006 C6 we bought last year. We bought this to hold me and my wife over until this LS550 and her LS 86 are both on track, to keep our track skills fresh and to not wither away behind a keyboard for the ~3 years it took us to get this LS550 almost ready. Some wondered if this C6 would be a distraction or replacement that kept us from working on our two race cars.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    We had upgraded to these cheap flow formed 19x10" wheels (2 sets) and 275/35R19 Hankook RS-4s - which I bought for long term testing consistency, but as an "endurance" 200TW tire is gives up some speed. We chased a particularly nasty ABS issue on this car for a long time, but eventually just punted and swapped in BMW Mk60 ABS and that solved that. This ABS fix & 275mm tire upgrade helped this stock LS2 powered (360 whp) car go from 1:30.0 to 1:26.2 lap times at MSR on the 1.7. Then this 3100 pound C6 got MCS RR2s coilovers and it dropped nearly 4 more seconds into the 1:22 range on these same tires just a week ago.

    [​IMG]

    Honestly, this big lap time drop on the C6 motivated me to get our LS550 finished - because this C6 is roughly the final weight we will be at in this S550 (see recent weight check, above left), but we should start phase 1 at nearly +180 whp and be on better 305mm RE-71Rs (I have a fresh set to test with) and then the 315mm Hoosiers.

    WHAT'S NEXT?

    I think this is a good place to stop, before this post gets too long. This round of updates caught us up with work done into March 2022, which is close to when I'm writing this. We have some more work completed during the period while I was writing this - the heater core is mounted, the coolant reservoir as well, and the Peterson vented oil catch can. Some small plumbing to wrap up on this round, too.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    The carbon doors are already being fitted to be installed soon, to keep the total weight down for Phase 1. Just some final wiring to knock out, digital dash, and tuning. Then we'll be on track "sooner rather than later".

    Thanks for reading!
     
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