The GTM Supercar Build Log

Carbon Fiber Splitter Installed

July 4th, 2011

With the new grille installed and nose aluminum back in I was able to install the FFR carbon fiber splitter. The nose of the car is not symmetrical at all (or maybe the splitter isn’t?) so getting the splitter to line-up from side to side is pretty much impossible.  If you get the ends lined up at the same spot on each side of the hood the front of the splitter will be asymmetrical as it curves across the front of the car. Flip-side is if you center the splitter to the center of the nose the sides/ends will be slightly off kilter, but at least the front portion is right on. Seeing as you cannot see both sides at once, I opted to have it look spot-on from the front and have the ends slightly off. In the end the difference side to side is only noticeable if you know to look for it (talking a quarter inch of variance from side to side where the splitter ends).

I mounted the splitter with some longer 1/8″ rivets, sandwiched with stainless washers (ie: rivet – washer – splitter+body – washer – end of rivet). The idea is that if the splitter takes an impact it will shear off without damaging the nose of the car (too much), as the washers will shear the rivets, rather than the nose fiberglass itself.

The splitter, combined with the new grille, really changes the look of the front of the car, and makes it look more polished and aggressive (imo).

Front Grille 2.0 Complete

July 4th, 2011

I let the 8115 cure overnight and removed the braces and clamps upon waking. Good to go. Re-riveted the nose aluminum back in to complete the task.

Front Grille Revamp

July 3rd, 2011

I’ve been getting annoyed with the mesh grille on the car as it is warping and getting chipped from road debris, so I contacted Shane (VRaptor Speed Works) to cut up a new grille for me. I had it powder coated after assembling it and started installing it today.

First, I had to take the nose aluminum out so I could pull off the old mesh grille – not too tough of a task. Then I had to disconnect my front camera and mount it forward an inch or so since the new grill’s middle support strake interferes with its old location. Finally I got the grille held and braced in place with some random lumber and adhered it into place with the old trusty 3M 8115 panel bonding adhesive.  Tomorrow I can pull the supports out and hopefully it will all stay in place.

FFR Rear Shock Mount “Recall” Install, Ride Height Tweaks

July 3rd, 2011

I recently got around to working on the rear suspension a bit – this included tweaking the ride height further, and installing FFR’s rear shock mount support braces to prevent cracking issues some had with the shock mount brackets.

Ride height is now set at 4.5″ on the drivers side, a hair under that on the pass side. I want to get both sides to 4.75 or 5″, but the pass side coilover is at its max adjustment (spring needs to be compressed to get more turns out of the spring perch collar). As a result I will probably be upgrading the rear springs to 800# springs to get a few more turns out of the pass side. The same coilover ‘height’ with the stiffer springs should allow the rear to sit a bit higher…we’ll see.

The FFR shock mount brace is a straightforward install. Unbolt the shock, unbolt the rear shock mount bolt, slip on the brace, rebolt it up.

Engine Cover, New Trans Oil Puke Tank, and Engine Oil Breather Tank Installed

May 22nd, 2011

Enjoying a rainy weekend here so I got a few more ‘to-dos’ checked off the task list. First on the list was installing the carbon fiber engine cover to make the engine bay look ‘pretty’. Since my old breather/oil fill cap would not fit/work with this cover I opted to install a remote breather tank for any oil fumes/vapors that get emitted through the breather otherwise.  This was something I’ve been wanting to do as the oil vapors and junk collect on the rear glass…and I wouldn’t want that stuff all over the new engine cover. The breather tank was mounted in the driver rear wheel well (lots of space back there to work with), and connected it to a screw in AN adaptor that fits the LS valve cover oil fill neck.  The engine cover then installs by sliding down over 4 set screws that I installed in lieu of the fuel rail bolts used previously. I just need to have some badges/emblems made to fill out the inserts now.

The trans oil puke tank was another issue I’ve been looking to correcting. The trans likes to spew oil in considerable amounts into the puke tank that I had installed previously, as it seems that the breather was mounted right over 5th gear. I acquired a new tank and mounted it high in the passenger rear wheel well so that any overflow from the trans should hopefully drain back down into the trans rather than just collecting in the tank. Time will tell on how well this current attempt works.

Fog Lights Upgraded

May 17th, 2011

Today I installed the new fog lights I had purchased for the GTM over the winter. I’ve been dying to swap out the generic fog lights that FFR supplies with these new Hella Optilux 2500 lights. These lights are way brighter than the stock lights, and have sharp looking halo LED lighting accents. I’ve never felt that comfortable with the GTM’s lighting on prior twilight drives, but these new fogs make all the difference.

Since the lights use separate wiring for the LED halos and the 55w halogen bulbs I decided to hook up the halo rings to the parking lights, and the fog lamp switch remains dedicated to the main bulbs. The bracket that comes with the lights is a ‘hanging design’ bracket, so I had Josh modify them so they could be surface mounted in the fog light recesses. A carriage bolt was inserted into the bracket to bolt it in place using the previous fog light holes. I’m really pleased with the look of these lights.

1000 Mile Milestone

May 8th, 2011

Finally reached 1000 miles in the GTM today and it is running great.

Time will soon be more readily available to work on the GTM so here is a rough list of things that I will be working on once I get the chance:

1. Raise rear ride height to 4.75″ (was set to this pre-body fitment, but it has settled to well under 3.5″)
2. Get a new alignment – the rear needs more toe-in
3. Carbon fiber front splitter and rockers
4. Carbon fiber engine cover
5. FFR “recall” suspension shock mount reinforcement brackets
6. Relocate transmission oil overflow puke tank so oil drains back into the transmission
7. Oil fume catch tank for breather on the valve cover oil cap (spraying oil residue over the hatch window)
8. Push-button start with RFID security
9. New ‘halo’ style fog lights
10. Fix transmission oil cooler switch (right now the switch is bad, causing the pump to always be on, as opposed to when the  trans oil reaches hot temps)

That is the ‘Top 10′ right now. There are a handful of other things that are on the ‘if these get done, then I’ll think about it’ list. Don’t want to have too much down-time and miss quality driving days :)

Back on the Road!

April 11th, 2011

The weather finally turned spring-like and I was able to get the GTM out for its first drive of 2011. Started right up and ran great. Haven’t really done any of the ‘winter’ mods I wanted to do as I recently moved so all that got pushed back for a while, but I should be starting on that stuff soon! Stay tuned.

A Few Pics…

November 10th, 2010

Not much to post about yet as I have just been enjoying the car and waiting for winter to arrive. I snapped some pics the other day because I just can’t have enough pics of the car, and a friend took some good wallpaper quality pics, so I’m posting them up.

The GTM has nearly 850 miles on it now.

Checking in…

October 11th, 2010

I haven’t posted anything in a bit so I thought I would check in and give a general update on the latest happenings/experiences with the GTM.

A crack appears

A few weeks ago (at around the 200 mile mark) I noticed a crack forming on the underside of the driver-side wheel well. It didn’t show through on the exterior, but it was obviously bothersome to me. There are rubbing issues with the tire and wheel well edge when I hit nasty bumps. I had a friend’s shop shave the inside of the fender down a bit, fix the crack, and repaint the underside of the fender, but the crack reappeared after 50 miles. The crack is smaller, and does not seem to be getting worse, but it is something I’ll be tackling over the winter with some suspension tweaks, and reshaping of the interior fender edge.

500-mile milestone

The GTM has 545 miles on the odometer as of today. Driving this beast never gets old. Most of my drives are 20-50 mile jaunts through the country side so I can stretch it’s legs out a bit. Every drive yields a handful of thumbs-up and metal-horns from bikers and other passer-bys.  Any time I stop for gas the car gets swarmed. Every stop is different, but still the same. Someone will ask what it is. Another will ask how  much it costs. Another handful are taking pictures with their cell-phones. People will drive by real slow with big grins on their faces. Someone will be in the background repeating the phrase ’super cool car, man’. I did have one guy come up really excited because he ‘just saw one of those on Supercars Exposed’. His opinion was ‘yours is way better, it sounds insane, and the color scheme is perfect’. Seeing the GTM ‘made his day’ and he could’t stop grinning and laughing over his ‘luck’. Another guy asked if it was a Veyron (ok, seriously now?). If I had a dollar for every time I saw someone I’m passing by on the sidewalk or in other cars do the ‘do a burnout’ gesture, or randomly start cheering…

Minor issues encountered

The GTM is running great, but it’s not faultless – yet. Aside from the fender crack above, I’ve only ran into small issues so far. The aforementioned sticky shifting issue was further addressed with a layer of Thermotec heat barrier over the Earl’s FlameGuard insulation sleeve. No reoccurrences  so far.

I had an electrical gremlin that caused my fog light switch and climate controls to dimly illuminate when pressing the brake. I realized that tonight, during my first night-time back-road drive, my left brake light was not working either. It was working fine with the lights off, though. Inspecting the brake light tonight, I discovered I had the connections backwards for the brake light bulb. I corrected that and that fixed the ‘broken brake light when lights are on’ issue, as well as the weird dash illumination gremlin. Love those 2 for 1 deals.

The thermostat-corrugated hosing connection seems to be slowly seeping out coolant when the thermostat opens while driving. I will replace the hose clamp with a smaller, better fitting clamp this winter.

When Carquip rebuilt my G50/52 transaxle for me they placed the breather valve right atop 5th gear (not a great place for it). As a result it is constantly spewing oil into my trans oil puke tank. Right now I have to empty the tank after every drive, otherwise it eventually overflows and sprays all over the inside of the engine bay where the tank is mounted. Not fun to clean up. This winter I will be relocating the puke tank to a higher location and connecting the overflow hose to the bottom of the tank so that anything that spews up into the tank immediately goes back down into the trans when it gets the chance.

I still haven’t had the AC leak tested yet to find where my AC leak is located at, but I will get that done before winter so I can fix it (or not). Working AC is very low on the list right now as I primarily use the Vintage Air unit for heat dispersion and defrost.

Aside from the above minor issues, things are going great. Looking forward to this winter so I can tackle everything and get the ‘Stealth GTM ver 2.0′ ready for spring.