The GTM Supercar Build Log

Archive for May, 2010

Nose Aluminum, Center Console Prep

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Moving on, I attacked the nose aluminum install. The manual is great in that it doesn’t mention these 2 pieces at all! The half-oval curved piece fits into the underside of the nose, and the funky U shaped piece fits upside down over the top of the hood’s ‘mouth’ and attaches to the flat curved nose aluminum piece just described.

The U shaped piece does not fit as is – I cut 1.75″ off the entire back of the piece – sides and top – and slid it up from underneath. This took some patience and trial and error, but it went in. I only had to notch it out a little bit with the Dremel for the radiator bolts. The large curved underside piece had to be cut pretty extensively on the back end so it could clear the radiator/condenser walls when the hood was opened.

Once everything was fit in I drilled out everything and clecko’d it together. The nose underside has to be powdercoated yet, then I will rivet it all together.

After that, I found the window switch mounts that go in the console trim plate, so I cut out the holes in the center console for those switch plates.

Body Close-outs, Louver Mesh, Side Louvers, Headlight Covers

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Lots of stuff done today, so I will break everything up into a couple posts.

Started off getting the front body closeout panels installed. These little panels mount at the bottom-front of the doors to seal off the body from air flow. The pieces don’t fit very well, and are meant to slide behind the footbox aluminum. Oops, I already riveted those into place. No matter, though. I trimmed the closeout panels to fit better and riveted them in place. The driver’s side panel was modified a bit to close the body gap better. Both panels were sealed with silicone to fill in any gaps, etc. Ideally, you should install these with the doors off – pretty tricky to drill and rivet them into place with the doors mounted. I used a remote drill Dremel attachment to snake the 1/8″ bit in there.

With the body close-out panels in place I went back to check on how my louver mesh was looking. This turned out very nice – I trimmed the excess screen down now that everything was dry and stuck into place so that it looks cleaner.

I also assembled the side duct louvers made by Shane @ VRaptor Speedworks. Shane also made the AC blow relocation plenum that I used. These will be powdercoated and then adhered to the inside of the body with the 3M Panel Bonding Adhesive.

Finally, before moving onto bigger things, I installed the headlight covers that screw onto the headlight covers I installed previously. These allow access to the headlights, but keep them sealed off otherwise.

Headlight Cover Panels, Rear Wheel wells, Fender Louver Mesh

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

Today was pretty productive. First thing on the agenda was to install the headlight cover panels. The cover panels mount to a diagonal support that rivets into the underside of the hood, and into the bottom lip of the body. It took a while to figure out the proper angle for mounting this so that the headlight cover, when put in place, would not hit the back of the headlights, nor interfere with the tires when turned all the way left/right. After some trial and error I got the support bar clecko’d in place, drilled out and clecko’d the headlight cover, then riveted it all.

After doing the headlight covers I jacked the car up and pulled off the passenger rear tire. The wheel well closeout panels are pretty straight forward. I forgot to snap a pic of the well closed out before putting the tire back on, but I will get one later. I did not rivet the front rear wheel well panel in place yet as I have to assemble my side duct louvers, have them powdercoated, and then finally install them first. Didn’t feel like doing the driver’s side rear well today so I moved on to applying mesh to the fender louvers up front.

I used some aluminum mesh screen material and cut long oval pieces of mesh to fit over each louver vent under the hood. I sprayed the mesh black first before getting ready to install it. Once they dried I siliconed them in place and taped them up to dry/cure over night. These should look real nice when done, as well as prevent any big debris from coming up through the louvers and onto the hood, windshield, etc.

Harness Bar Installed, Defrost Ducts Mounted

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

I received my harness bar earlier in the week and after having it powdercoated, I was ready to install it.  The harness bar (made by North Racecars) uses 2 mounting bolts on each side – one through the rear wall and into the 1″ frame the wall mounts to, and the already-present seat belt mount. I set the bar in place using the seat belt mount bolts, then drilled out the frame through the rear wall. Rivnuts then had to be installed for the harness bar bolts so I had to remove the fuel tank covers, engine covers, and one of the upper cockpit walls to get the wall out. Unfortunately, one of the rivnuts stripped out when removing the rear wall so I had to carefully cut the bolt head off to get the wall out, then cut the rivnut out. With that out of the way, and a good chunk of time wasted, I set in the new rivnuts and reinstalled everything. During the reinstall a rivnut in the wall for the passenger fuel tank cover stripped out, but I was able to get the bolt out and re-thread it with a tap. Good as new.  The harness bar, with the extra rivnuts in place, installed in about 30 seconds. Nice quality piece.

After doing the harness bar I riveted the defrost ducts in place on the center console.

Console Dash Prep, Defrost Ducts Prep, Seat belts

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Today was one of those days where it feels like its two steps forward, one step back. I pulled out the center console and cut out the fiberglass for the shifter, ac controls, and ignition, hazards, and fog light switches. Test fit them all and put the console back in. Oh, fun, the cable shifter box is overlapping the holes that the ignition, hazards, and fog switches mount in. Going to have to cut the shifter box out, trim the mounts a bit, and move it back down the tunnel an inch so that I can get the switches in there, and reweld it. Bit of a bummer since I was hoping to mount all the switches and shifter boot, etc. Turns out I wouldn’t be able to anyways, as the faceplate for the console calls for 2 separate window switches, and the mount that came with the kit is a dual switch mount, which cannot be separated to fit the individual mount slots on the console plate.

With the console taken as far as it could go, I turned my attention to the defrost ducts. Picked spots that I thought looked good by laying the aluminum trim rings on the dash edges of the center console, marked the holes and inside edge of the aluminum trim, then cut out the slots with the Dremel.  Once those were cut out I drilled out a hole on each side into the duct, clecko’d it, then drilled out the rest of the holes. Screens were then siliconed into place and taped for overnight curing. I decided to spray the aluminum trim rings a gloss black, as the raw aluminum seemed a bit much.

While the silicon cures and paint dries, I mocked up the seat belt mounts. Took some trial and error to realize that the belts work best swapped side-to-side (ie: driver belt on passenger side, visa versa). Would be nice if the manual mentioned this. I set them in place loosely since I need to everything apart for the harness bar mount (at the powdercoat shop right now), and for the harness belt mounts that will bolt on the seat belt mounts.

Door Sill Carpet and Aluminum Trim

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Taking a little break from working on the dash, I installed the door sill carpeting. Pretty straight forward. Plenty of trimming involved since I have the 1/2″ dynaliner and dynamat on the floor. Once the carpet was in place I installed the door sill aluminum pieces. I had my powdercoat guy give these a ‘brushed aluminum’ look with a nice clearcoat. They look pretty sharp. I didn’t want to ruin the look by riveting them into place like the manual would have you do, so I stuck them on with heavy duty double-sided adhesive tape.

Interior Mockup/Prep Continues, Hatch Mesh Installed

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

The battle of fitting the interior pieces continues. After getting the center console situated I really struggled with the passenger pod.  In the end I ended up cutting the inside corner that hangs/curves down off and trimming the fiberglass around the A-pillar to get it fit properly. Lots of time spent getting it just right. The driver’s side is not easier. I have it pretty close to being fit just right, but it still needs some more trimming/elbow grease. With the dash fit ‘good enough’ for now I set to cutting the gauge cluster carbon fiber panel so that it fits around the steering column. It would be nice if a template or some direction was given, but its pretty much trial and error in getting it to fit just right. In the end, I got the gauge cluster in. Not bad.

After doing the dash work I set to adhering the mesh to the hatch. Earlier in the week I painted the mesh black to get it ready for install. I adhered the mesh to the hatch with black silicone, then taped them into place with painter’s tape to dry.

Floor Carpet Installed, Seat Belt Prep, Center Console Mockup

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

Interior is starting to look like an interior more and more each day. Installed the floor carpeting today, and then prepped the seat belt retractors (have to remove the stop clip in each one) and receptacles. Receptacles were installed, but I am waiting on my harness bar to arrive before I tear down everything and install it, and the seat belts.

Did a mockup with the center console to see how it fits. I’ll have to cut out some of the Dynaliner where the console hugs the tunnel frame like I did with the engine cover previously. Right now the console fits fine, but its edges are pushed out enough to make it impossible to fit in the passenger dash all the way in.

Upper Cockpit Aluminum, Interior Close-out Panel, Fuel tank Covers Installed

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

More interior work, and thankfully the last of the suede! Started the day by test fitting the  upper cockpit aluminum pieces. These are designed to supposed to be bolted to the cockpit support mounts that were installed previously, but it just looks like crap bending the piece to get it to fit to it. The seal that follows the edge of the door looks better if you just put a slight bend to the upper half of the aluminum (cut a notch in the flange on it) and put some larger bulb seal on the top so it seals against the body. These panels are mostly covered by the seats, so I guess it’s not a huge issue, but I still want them to look decent! Once the pieces were drilled and clecko’d for fit I took them out, applied suede, let them dry, put the bulb seal back on, and then riveted them in. The driver-side cockpit piece holds the hatch release lever, so that was screwed in as well. The hatch release cable was ran parallel with the shifter cables and on to the hatch release.

While the cockpit pieces were curing I installed the interior close-out panels. These are a couple funky pieces that mount with flush against the door sill cockpit aluminum pieces. It’s nice of Factory Five to put these panels literally at the end of the manual so that now that the fuel tanks are in place, etc, they are pretty much impossible to install. I ended up hacking off the top half of the pieces so I could slide them between the fuel tanks and then rivet the overlapping flange on the door sill into place.  Once in place I put a couple rivets in to secure it.

With this all taken care of it was time to put everything back in. Engine cover and driver-side fuel tank cover went in clean. Passenger side fuel tank cover didn’t like the upper cockpit aluminum (it pushed the top over to the right a few mm), so I had to egg out the mounting holes. After some trial and error it all went in.

With the interior halfway there, I busted out the shop-vac and cleaned up the years worth of body-shop dust and grime. Looking good now!

Rear Wall w/Window Completed

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

Time to tackle the rear interior wall and window! With everything fit in place I removed the rear wall for the 30th time, covered it in suede and installed the rivnuts for the engine cover and fuel tank covers. The holes for mounting the wall to the body, upper cockpit sidewall mount, seat belt mounts, etc, were cut out with an exacto knife.

After letting the window sit a bit so the suede was stuck good I installed the interior window. If you browse the GTM forum you will find that this is typically a very rough process and takes a long time. With that in mind, I was mentally prepared to be patient for a few hours and I ended up finishing the entire window install in less than an hour. Nice!  It is actually pretty straight forward, and I spent more time figuring out how the weather stripping gasket closer tool worked than anything. I installed the weather stripping while having the wall turned ‘interior’ down, using a clamp to hold the gasket open as I slid it onto the aluminum. Once that was in place I slid the window into the window groove within the gasket by inserting one side first and sliding it to the end of the aluminum, then flipped the entire wall piece over and used a little flathead screwdriver to push the gasket over the window. This took about 10 minutes and the window popped right into the groove. With that done I flipped the window back over and squirted some Windex in the remaining groove that needed to be closed, figured out how the closing tool worked, and then went to work. If you are working to the left with the closing tool you just need to keep the prong of the tool pushed in and under (back towards you) the groove that receives the ‘tongue’ of the weather strip. It’s not easy to push the tool over the tongue and have it seal, so I kept spraying Windex on my finger and rubbing it on the strip ahead of the tool as I pushed.  After the window was done I covered the back of the window with the adhesive-backed heat barrier I used previously on the GTM.

With the window done, I pulled the contact paper off and saw only one scratch, which seemed to be there from the manufacturing process.  Before calling it a night I installed the rear wall again.