CamT's build thread

Cam

Active Member
In my blog post #46 I had some detailed discussion regarding my rear view monitor. I've gotten around to mounting the rear camera - it was a PITA. The camera needs to be mounted upside down - why they made this the default and why they didn't make it so the user could rotate the camera is beyond me. So to get the camera mounted in the best location (on the roof) I had to fabricate my own housing.

Here's the orientation the camera needs to be mounted in:



I used a bunch of clay to capture the camera and rough out a shape for the housing:



The idea was to use the clay to capture the camera in place, building up a shell around it.

After curing, here's what I ended up with:



And viewing down into the camera "pocket":



Of course it wouldn't be complete without a little carbon ...





Add a few buttons and it looks like a computer mouse! The camera housing is secured to the roof via screws installed from underneath. I used a thin sheet of rubber to make a sealing gasket.

The Auto Vox X2 I purchased for rear monitor work has a built in dashcam feature. It's OK but I don't think it's up to snuff when compared to the "real" dash cams out on the market. I've got PTSD over an incident from a few years ago and I run a high quality dashcam in all my cars. For the SLC, I've got a Blackvue DR650S-truck. The "truck" version means the rear camera is water/weather resistant and designed to be installed outside the vehicle. I originally went with the truck version because I had intended to mount the camera inside the engine bay. I figured it would get hot and wet and dirty so any as-designed protection would be a good thing. It turns out if you mount a camera inside the engine bay it can have issues with white balance - my camera tried to focus on the interior of the engine bay, making things outside the car appear very washed out. My B plan was to mount the camera near my license plate.



There's a newer version of this dashcam, the DR750S-truck which upgrades the system to a 60fps front and 1080p rear. When I was making this decision 2 years ago I opted to go with the Thinkware dash cams for my normal cars and the Blackvue for the SLC - the Blackvue is the only system I know of that has this external rear camera feature - but at the time the Thinkware cameras were superior, IMHO. I'm sure everyone's got newer and better systems out now so it really pays to NOT buy your electronics until you really need to.

You'll notice there's a third camera just between my two license plate lights. That's a low resolution backup camera I'll be using when inching into parking spaces. It's aimed lower toward the ground and the image it sees will be displayed on my Alpine head unit. Between the low resolution camera, the Auto Vox backup camera, and my two side mirrors I should have enough imaging to back up! I also have a low resolution camera mounted to my front splitter for pulling into spaces - don't want to smash that splitter into parking bumpers!

To display the low resolution cameras I purchased an electronic blackbox gizmo from China that takes the two image feeds, combines them, then spits them out into a single video feed which goes to my Alpine head unit (it only has 1 input). The image is pretty fuzzy but it gets the job done.



More discussion and photos on my blog.

47. I see what you did there
 

Johan

Bronze Supporter
Very nice Cam, is it ok to have the camera mounted that far aft in the shell? How are you going to mount the shell? 3 tubes through the roof tunnel?
 

PeteB

Gold Supporter
Pete - do you have any shots showing what the dip looked like inside the doors? I assume you painted the car with the bodywork in place - how/where did you mask for overspray and what did it look like in the jamb area? I'm trying to figure out the best way to mask - my first dip will be with the body off the car, but I'd like to know how the spray penetrates the various body gaps and what kind of masking will be needed for future spray jobs.
I taped off behind the body gaps. Just one strip of 2” wide tape was sufficient.
 

Cam

Active Member
Johan - actually you want the camera mounted as far back as possible. If you shift the camera forward the included angle of the FOV shifts forward so the hole you cut has to grow (otherwise you will see the edges of the housing). The shell is mounted via 3 screws; I bonded threaded inserts into the shell and drill 3 thru holes in my roof (inserts visible in the photos above). I have a rubber gasket to prevent water intrusion. There is a 4th hole through the roof so I can pass the wire - it's laid out in more detail on my blog.

Typing up the blog and repeating everything here would be too much so I keep the details here a little lighter ;)

Thanks Pete
 

Cam

Active Member
Not a very exciting update today.

I'm just about finished closing out all the work on the front end. Wiring all bundled up. Time to put my radiator exit duct back in place; I made a mesh covering for the exit. I used an aluminum piece from McMaster - I'm not too impressed by it. It's a bit flimsy, I should have gone with the steel piece maybe. I'm sure at some point in the future I'll be redoing this - perhaps then I'll get the same material and use the process MSetter used when making his mesh covers - they're super nice. But here's what I got ...



I also fabricated a duct piece for my oil cooler. The side vent and my oil cooler are separated by a good distance and I think having the vent just dump right onto the oil cooler probably isn't very efficient. The duct will focus most of the flow right at/through the oil cooler. Unfortunately I didn't plan the cooler positioning very well and the duct piece I made had to be sectioned into two just so I could get it in place. Each half is positioned one at a time, then the two are joined together before being bolted to the body.

Big jump;



From this view you can see that most of the incoming air would likely just flow above, below, and around the oil cooler, rather than through it.



The rough piece - made using foam core poster board.



After a whole lot of clean up ...



Test fitting:





I painted the duct black and made a mesh cover for the intake as well. With the intake in place it's tough to make out the details of the duct - good, cause it's not very pretty!



A few more photos and details on my blog.

48. Duct, duct, goose!
 
If you add some 3D forms to the mesh, it will really stiffen it up and make it what you need. I've never tried it but I imagine you could run the mesh through a bead roller.
 

Cam

Active Member
Thanks for the suggestion. Mark Setter has a really neat technique of using a couple of wood forms and his lift to draw the mesh through to create the 3D geometry. It’s on my list of eventual to-dos, just don’t have the time at the moment.

For the mcmaster material however, I’m not sure it would do much for the large flat expanse in the middle. Maybe if I ran a bead roller through as you suggest but not sure I would like that look.
 
Some more work on my interior; the a-pillar covers were due for installation and finishing. Thankfully the still fit after having installed the windshield. I took a little time to do some things for fun, not because they were critical path.

I installed the a-pillar mounted tweeters - I now have sound to go with my radio! It sounds pretty terrible, just the tweeters ... but at least I now know my head unit isn't a dud :). Before installing the a-pillars I added some rubber trim to the forward edge. The a-pillar covers hide the front roll hoop from the inside, but the bar is clearly visible when looking into the windshield from the outside. I used McMaster PN 1120A868 which has a 1" strip that extends far enough to cover the roll hoop and is flexible enough to go over the bar as the a-pillar trim piece is being positioned.

Here it is in cross-section:



Installed:



It gives this area a much nicer finished look.

I also installed my driver's seat and harness. It was pretty awesome strapping myself in and finally getting a really good feel for what it'll be like when I'm driving the car - can't wait!!



The interior is nearly complete - need to flesh out the passenger side and add a few more details.



I've already added a ton of sound and heat blocker to the rest of the car and the doors are no different. In fact the doors are a bit unique in that they're actually a 4-sided tube on either side of the cabin - a great tube for making noise. Even better when you stick a speaker in them. So I'm putting a lot of effort into this area in particular. If you're really into this subject follow the link below to my blog for more details.

Now that the interior's getting pretty well sorted it was time to throw my body panels back onto the car - boy does this car look awesome! The feel is completely different now that it's out of gel coat and primered. I'm really digging this storm trooper look!



With the doors back on the car I took a few minutes to throw my carbon door trim on - is there such thing as too much carbon? I don't know, if there is ... I'm probably skirting it ... just barely ...





The red really stands out when the lighting hits it right.



As always, more photos and discussion on my blog.

49. Working from the inside out
 
Double post, oh my! I'm on a roll ...

... but this subject isn't too interesting though it's one that's been on my mind for a while. I've danced back and forth on whether I would frit my windows. Unfortunately I had some paint issues which made it necessary. Dan did a great job summarizing his experiments with fritting. I ended up using the Rustoleum 2X rattle can instead of the Fusion he recommends. Not because I'm trying to be different, but because they didn't have any Fusion available and I was really in the mood to frit!



Adding the frit really does a nice job to clean up the borders and makes a much stronger contrast between bodywork and glass. Frit. Do it.



I'm using mechanical fasteners to attach all my polycarbonate pieces. I also plan to use some type of weatherstripping to seal the edges - more info on these later as my frits are curing. The can says 5-7 days to achieve full adhesion/hardness so I'm paying heed.

If, as it was for me, fritting has you a bit nervous, follow the link below for more details on how to proceed. It's a seemingly simple process but you've only got one shot at doing it right. If you're installing the rear window louvers the two large side pieces you hack off the back glass are good practice material. If not, good luck!

50. What the frit
 
The car is coming together so well with all the custom work Cam, too many items to compliment but a shout out specifically on your dash design, I like the way you centered the stack by shifting it over.
 
Had a pretty sweet day today - drove the car a few times around the block! It started out kind of sucky - my HP fuel pump was dead and the car wouldn't start. After swapping for a replacement things started clicking and I was able to get the car under its own power.

This is a straight copy from my blog -

Second round of initial thoughts? Hard to say. Once again, I really wasn't in the mindset to do a critical walk-thru of everything I was experiencing, I was just kind of experiencing it.

Here's what I can say so far:

  • The steering wheel feels a bit low. I'd already raised it about 0.5" from the highest factory setting but it feels like it could be even higher. This might be exacerbated by my seating position.
  • I'm sitting pretty close up on the wheel. It almost feels like the wheel is at my chest. I chose this seating distance because I felt I needed to get right up on the wheel for no/slow speed maneuvering. It's true - at a stop, it takes a LOT of effort to turn the wheel (at least for me). Once you get the car rolling, even at a snail's pace, steering effort drops off dramatically - almost too much maybe. I need to get the car up to real speeds but at the 30-ish MPH I was hitting steering effort is lower than I'm used to.
  • Coupled with my seating position - my right elbow is too close to my center console. I made my console high so I could have a storage pocket there but that may have been a mistake. Pushing the seat further back moves my elbow further away so maybe that's the solution - or I make a new console. When turning right, it seemed I would tend to grab the wheel at 12 o'clock to initiate my turn because I didn't want my elbow fouling the center console.
  • The car feels soft. I've got front and rear suspension set at 10 clicks of compression and rebound. Even at this setting the car feels soft - almost zero harshness at all. That's not to say the suspension doesn't feel precise, it's just not beating me up like I'd expect it to. Not enough transitions to get a good feel, but the car felt FLAT. No body roll. It's weird to feel the car turning and remain flat, and yet be soft at the same time.
  • Initial alignment seems OK. Vehicle was tracking just fine and the car didn't pull on braking.
  • Brakes don't have much bite. I didn't get on them too hard - no panic stops, just smooth, consistent pressure from 30/40ish down to 0. But there's no initial bite like there is in my German cars. Brake pedal is firm. It's going to take some time to get used to the new pedals. Heel/toe was easy to do - I had tried the maneuver a few times in the garage and wasn't sure I'd be comfortable doing it but it felt very natural while driving.
  • Shifter is awesome. I didn't even think about it while driving. Shifting felt a bit clunky in the garage with the engine off but with power and under motion the transmission shifts like it was lubed in 10 lbs of butter. Smooth. Not notchy like I expected. Reverse is easy to engage and feels natural (for someone who's never had to engage a lockout before).
  • The seat feels good. I'm a pretty small guy and the bolsters feel good. Not overly large and didn't try to crack one of my ribs. The harness also feels good. I'm on the small end of the spectrum when it comes to what Schroth had designed for - my belt adjustments are almost maxed out. None of the belts felt like they were digging - I was originally a bit worried about the 2 crotch belts but I think their loop design works to give the crotch belts more articulation and less surface area.
  • Acoustics are OK - thankfully. I had a pretty terrible time in JBurer/Allan's #17 car. The acoustics in the car were giving me a headache after a short drive. Lots of echo and ringing in the car. Jury is still out on my car but I didn't feel like my ears were getting smacked on from all sides. It'll be different once the windows are installed so fingers crossed the acoustics will still be acceptable once that happens. The cabin isn't quiet by any stretch of the imagination, but all the sounds are good. Engine and exhaust come in nicely but aren't too overbearing. Downshifts and exhaust pops sound pretty bad ass.
  • The car feels light (to me). Keep in mind my daily drivers are an electronics laden S5 and Q5, neither of which are dainty. But this car feels super-light ;). Power feels good for now, though I haven't really driven it in anger. I probably haven't gone past 50% throttle - trying to keep things responsible for now and not break things ;). I'm excited to see how it feels on the road, at speed, and with traffic.
  • Transmission gearing - yeah, feels short. Not too short just yet but I've been floating near the 2/3 shift point at relatively low speeds and the engine's revving a bit on the high side. Normally I'd lug my engines a bit more and keep the RPMs lower before shifting. Jury's still out on gearing.
  • Engine - hasn't broken a sweat yet. The cam is pretty lumpy; it's not as bad as my Mustang was - that got to be such a pain in the butt to drive I hated starting it up. As lumpy as this LS376/525 is, it seems tolerable for the street. I think a tune is mandatory. It needs to get smoothed out and I'd even be OK bumping the idle speed a bit if it meant holding a steadier speed at idle. This engine seems to like to rev. As I said, it hasn't broken a sweat and I haven't mashed the go-pedal yet but it spins seemingly effortlessly.
  • Forward view - actually pretty darn good. I thought the thick a-pillars were going to be annoying but they're in such a place that it doesn't cut down on my side and forward view enough to be annoying. At least not yet.
  • You sit really low to the ground. Really low. Without having driven in traffic yet it's hard to get an appreciation for how different the perspective is with other cars around. I can tell this is going to take some adjustment.
  • AutoVox mirror - works pretty darn good. I'm super happy with it. Resolution and clarity/sharpness is good. Awesome that you can adjust vertical imaging with your finger. No issues with vibration. Compatible with polarized lenses.
Excuse the terrible editing - I didn't try to make this a nice video.

Cam's Superlite SLC - 2nd road test (Youtube link)

... and a few photos ...















If you want the long and (not) sordid story click below for my blog!

51. Failure to launch
 
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