The GTM Supercar Build Log

Warm-Start Fixed, Driving Ensues.

Last night I was plodding through my log data for the drives and failed warm-starts I made this past weekend, looking for clues or anything that would help shed some light on the problem at hand, and I found something peculiar. Every failed start, and every warm-start that idled a bit then died, all failed with an IAT of -38. Some quick research shows that the LS computer seeing an IAT of -38 means it thinks the sensor is disconnected/unplugged. The sensor was obviously still in place, so I knew I had a potential problem. In the past, the -38 had shown up during idle tuning, but I assumed it was a software glitch as it only showed up for a few frames here and there. The computer thinking that its -38 out when it’s really 95 poses a problem.

I first tested the IAT sensor by using a multimeter and a heat gun. To test the sensor you just need to measure resistance by putting the multimeter on the 2 prongs on the sensor pins, and heat it with a heatgun. An ambient temperature of 80-85ish will yield a resistance of 2.15 or so. As the sensor gets hotter the resistance drops. I was looking for that ‘-38’ glitch to occur (ie: random jumps in resistance measurements). It never did. My sensor was working flawlessly. Next, I moved on to hooking up the laptop and scanner and monitoring the IAT while I wiggled wires around. I was not confident at all that this would yield anything as the problems only occurred with a warm engine, but…you never know. Within 20 seconds I found the wiring fault that was causing my IAT readings to bottom-out. The IAT sensor signal wire from the engine harness was damaged in the plug that connects to the MAF/IAT sensor harness. I was able to duplicate the -38 reading at will, so I went to the local Chevy dealer and got a new pigtail ordered. In the meantime, being impatient and having hoped to get the car out for its first ‘public appearance’, I snipped the IAT sensor, surgically removed the bad wire segment from the connector pin, soldered a new wire on, put the connector plug back together, spliced it in. Viola – 100% working IAT sensor. This means it’s time to drive and see if anything has changed.

My first drive on trafficked roads took me to my first stop light, introducing the GTM to a busy intersection and testing my nerves hoping it wouldn’t stall out of its idle with 10 cars around it. All was fine, though, and I made it a few miles down the highway to the gas station for the GTM’s first gas station fill-up.  I remember others stating how slowly you have to fill up the tanks, so I took 10 minutes to add 6 gallons of fuel, and explain to another customer why the GTM appeared to not have a steering wheel. Most of the Kwik Trip work staff had vacated the building at this point and were all standing 20 feet away watching and grinning. Wow, really? Perfect time to see if I fixed the warm-start issue by repairing the IAT wiring. No pressure. The GTM fired up, I exhaled, and got out of there. Another stop light  and I hit the highway, then some back roads, which brought me back around and eventually home. Everything ran well, temps stayed below 200, stability was great at speed. Bump steer could use some tweaking, and I learned quickly how sensitive the manual steering is on this beast. I was pleased to find that Slayer could still overpower the 408ci LS2’s drone, via the Blaupunkt thin series components. Initially I reported I hated the rear view mirror; it’s not so bad now that I’m used to the vantage point of the driver’s seat, and it still has its uses, even if I can only see the lower half of the bumper of any vehicle right behind me.

It was my father-in-law’s birthday today, so I invited him out on the second drive, now that I was somewhat confident handling the GTM. The GTM started right up, so it seems the warm-start issue was nailed. 20 miles later after visiting my favorite WOT playground and slow city driving we returned safely. Some choice descriptions of the GTM experience from my father-in-law included ‘that scared the shit out of me’ , ‘that thing is terrifying’, and ‘my legs are still shaking’. His constant grin was the best feedback, though. Good times, and I can say the GTM gets to triple digits awfully fast.

Now the only thing I am really concerned with fixing is the threat of stalling after quick stoppages.  If I stop the GTM quickly the engine comes awfully close to stalling out. Not a huge issue, but it’s not something I want to be worried about every time I come to a stop anywhere – especially in traffic.  I am also researching cameras for shooting in-car video, so hopefully I will get some decent drives to post soon.

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