Mark B's Build Thread

Mark B.

Supporter
Got my ASE and state inspections done and also took it to the truck stop to weigh the car. I now have all of the paperwork ready for the DMV (until I get there and they tell me I don't :D )

The inspections were uneventful. More talking about the car then anything else. Got several strange looks and a couple conversations when I unloaded the car off the trailer at the CAT scale south of Austin next to all of the trucks.

Weight came in at 2610 LBS with about 10 gallons of gas (about 60 lbs of fuel). The only things I have left to put in are the side windows, inner fenders, rear lexan, and maybe a rear diffuser so I'm pretty happy with the weight considering the full dry sump, firebottle system, big oil cooler, trans cooler, and heavy intake manifold.

My off-idle and cruising tune still needs a lot of work. Still having stalling problems on coast-down even with the VSS connected to the ECM and calibrated properly. Need to take some time and do more logging, studying, tweaking.
 
Hey Mark,
Howard's tow hook is being torqued so hard by track tow vehicles that it is bending the top of the footbox! His is located in a similar spot to yours, although yours spreads the load more. Judging from what happened to his, you might want to put some load spreading reinforcements under the upper footbox top.
 

Mark B.

Supporter
Hey Mark,
Howard's tow hook is being torqued so hard by track tow vehicles that it is bending the top of the footbox! His is located in a similar spot to yours, although yours spreads the load more. Judging from what happened to his, you might want to put some load spreading reinforcements under the upper footbox top.
Thanks Mesa, I have backing plates spreading the load a bit, but may be worth making them a bit larger...
 

Mark B.

Supporter
Next step in the registration process -- I dropped off all of my paperwork at the DMV (or DPS in Texas):
  1. New vehicle registration form
  2. Assembled vehicle form
  3. Purchase receipts for the kit, engine block, and transaxle
  4. Sherriff's inspection form,
  5. Texas Safety inspection form
  6. ASE Mechanic inspection form
  7. Certified weight receipt
  8. Driver's license copy
  9. Pictures of the car from all angles
  10. Pictures of a Mercedes C9 (I'm going the replica route so I don't have to get it inspected every year)
  11. MSO certificate from RCR
  12. $2 processing fee.
"looks like you have everything. It can take up to 3 weeks to review it all. We'll call you if anything is missing."
I swear it felt like I was leaving my child with a stranger and hoping for the best :D
After they review / accept it, then I get to go to the Tax office to pay for the title and finally get plates. That appointment is scheduled for end of October, so fingers crossed the review is done by then, otherwise I get to reschedule with the Tax office for a couple months down the line (thanks to Covid / staffing problems, all the appointments are months away).
In the mean-time, I've been trying to get insurance which is another load of laughs...
 

Mark B.

Supporter
FINALLY!!!!

I have my plates and registration!

After having to wait a couple extra weeks because the one DMV guy who does the assembled car paperwork reviews had Covid, missing my title appointment because of that delay. I got very lucky and called the DMV Monday to check the status of the review and before I even told him my name, the guy was like "Yea I just finished the review, no problems found. You can pick it up today." Then I got very lucky again and found a newly-opened appointment slot at the title office for today (they're booked 2 months out)...

I brought all of the afore-mentioned paperwork, along with the DMV approval letter to the tax office. The guy went through the whole stack literally about 10 times while I sat there and sweated. Then apologized because he had never done an assembled car title. After calling over the supervisor and then her boss, and me sweating for another 30 minutes, they said "Yep, you're all good." Now I need heart surgery :D

Shockingly, I didn't have to pay any sales tax even though I registered it as a replica of a Mercedes C9 (to avoid having to do annual TX state safety inspections). The supervisor at the tax office said that since I purchased an incomplete kit and assembled it myself, I'm exempt from sales tax. This contradicts what others have experienced, but whatever -- I'll take it :) . I nearly peed my pants when he pulled a new set of plates out of the drawer and handed them to me along with the registration sticker.

No time to go for a legal drive today, so that's what I'll be doing tomorrow. ;)
 

Mark B.

Supporter
Thanks guys!
Had some good drives this weekend. Started with some short jaunts around the neighborhood and worked my way up to a 1 hour drive -- 30 mins each way to the mall and back with my daughter. I had gone around the block a few times before and it's spent a fair amount of time on the dyno so I knew the basics were fine, but it was nice to finally take it out for real! (video coming soon, just need to edit a little)

The good:
  • The car is definitely fun to drive. Handles beautifully, but I didn't push it at all. Scary at 30% throttle so I can't wait to eventually get it out on the track.
  • My home tape measure, laser level, alignment tracks perfectly down the road. I've done several on my previous Corvette, but happy that there were no issues there.
  • No material mechanical or other issues. Temps were good the whole time, nothing caught fire or melted (that I've found yet) or fell off (that I can tell).
  • The Infinitybox fob works perfectly. I grabbed it from the box since we were going to be parking in a public lot. The ignition disable button works great! Door locks work, but pretty pointless since I don't have side windows yet :)
  • AC still works (but lack of side windows and poor idle tune that makes the car want to die when rolling to a stop with the AC on, make it impractical for now.
  • Battery didn't die. I have a pretty small/lightweight battery -- Deka ETX18L, which works just fine for multiple starts / normal driving, but I was a little worried leaving it out for several hours without the battery turned off, but no issues so far.

The not-so-good (i.e. my checklist of stuff to work on next):
  1. It's way too loud inside. That's mostly because I don't have the body sealed to the engine compartment yet, but the engine is pretty loud anyway due to the cam. Sealing the remaining body gaps is #1 on the list
  2. Exhaust smell inside the cabin (see #1). Not terrible, but need to address before I drive it more.
  3. Heat from the radiator (see #1). I had already sealed up the very front of the foot-box, but not the sides. It wasn't hot here in Austin today, but the bonus blast of heat every time the fans kicked on wasn't appreciated.
  4. Side mirrors came out of adjustment (fixed -- blue locktite on adjusting screws).
  5. HVAC fan knob fell off (fixed -- blue locktite on the allen screw).
  6. Light-throttle and idle tuning still needs work. I've been tweaking it throughout the last few weeks and it's much better, but it still sometimes wants to die rolling to a stop, even though I'm running the vehicle speed sensor through the ECM and it's calibrated accurately. I had a couple "Hey, look at the idiot in the fast car who can't drive stick!" moments.
  7. While the speed sensor is working great, the mounting bracket must be vibrating a little because some times when I rev the engine or hit bumps, the speed fluctuates a bit. I *assume* beefing up the bracket will solve this, but we'll see.
  8. Need to raise the ride height by maybe 0.5". I scrape pretty bad coming down my driveway even with the ramlift. Also scraped the splitter on a highway seam/dip.
  9. The rear-view camera display is a bit too dim. It works great for parking, but since I was driving with sunglasses (due to -- you know, the sun), I couldn't make out much while driving. Switching it from 4-cam view to just rearview helped a lot though.
Next step -- put her back up on the lift, check for loose fasteners, melted things, broken things, etc, and get on with the list!
 

Mark B.

Supporter
So when I have a list of priority things to do on your car, I do the logical thing and do something that's not on that list.
Thanks to Kyle, I have a set of LED taillights that I've been wanting to install, so I knocked that out last night.

I swapped out the u-nuts for 1/4-20 u-nuts
20211124_192504.jpg


Removed the stock mounting pins, the drilled and tapped the holes for 1/4-20 screws
20211124_200941.jpg


I decided for now I want to run them without the trim panels since the car is black and so are the light bodys. I trimmed just enough off the corners so they blend well with the body
20211124_202047.jpg


I'm thinking I'll leave them like this for a bit -- I may actually cut a vent out just underneith and see how that looks/works. If I don't like it, I can always mount the trim panels.
20211124_204349.jpg
 

Mark B.

Supporter
OK everyone I need opinions for how I'm going to do my rear lexan. If you've seen my build you know that I have a Holley High-Ram that sticks out of the rear opening about1.5" at the highest point. I knew that was the case when I decided to use it, but now it's time to decide what to do about it :). At some point down the road I want to add carbon fiber hatch vents, but for now it's going to be just lexan as I'm way over budget.

Option 1: Cut a hole in the lexan around the portion of the intake that protrudes.
Option 2: Try my luck with heating the lexan and creating a dome shape over the intake.

I'm leaning towards option 1. The chance of error is significantly lower (I've never worked with forming lexan). Also having a little extra venting in the glass will be good, and I think it will look fine since it's not a huge piece sticking out, it and it's already powdercoated black. But I'd love to hear all of your thoughts on what you think will look better and if forming lexan isn't too bad.

The first pic shows a level laid on top of the rear clip showing where the lexan would lay. The pic makes it look huge, but the intake will protrude just under 1.5"
20211214_182407.jpg


Disregard the tennis ball for parking my wife's car ;)
20211214_182441.jpg
 
Your not looking out of the glass as it is so wrap up the lexan and use it as a form to make a fiberglass negative mold . You can then modify the mold to accept the intake and give it some useful vents. If you protect the lexan properly it will still be able to be used in the future. I've seen a gray SLC with a full cover over the engine and it looks slick.
 

Joel K

Supporter
Mark,

I agree with Rich, make a cover for the time being. That rear Lexan window is about $500 to replace so maybe You set it aside. You may want to put a lower profile intake at some point,

At the very least I’d make a cover or maybe frame up the area with a fiberglass panel to finish It up a bit. Here are a few pics of finished SLCs and a bonus pic of my favorite GTP car, love the back of the Chevy Intrepid from the 90s…

Bob’s LT5…
3AD95556-6680-458D-9819-194633E08815.jpeg


Howard’s
B3B39B8A-CB95-4937-8E19-F2B6903BAAA8.jpeg


I think is is an Australian build…
1C407C9A-C7D6-4452-970F-3F1E0D30BCC2.jpeg


BFD9A85F-7392-4B2F-957B-B8BBB145CDE0.jpeg
 

Kyle

Supporter
Check out the ruffian40 GT build. He did something similar. Also check local suppliers of polycarbonate. I can get a sheet for $75 around here that I’m going to cut into the shape for the rear window.
 
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