S2's Build Thread

Scott

Lifetime Supporter
Kyle, I sent you a PM regarding the steering rack.

Howard, the discrepancy in thread length only exacerbates the need for a spacer. The splines are simply too long for the hub. The stub axles are from The Driveshaft Shop. The deep cones are from their Nissan product line, hence the "NI" in the part number. RCR said that they'd send me a spacer, but I don't like that approach. If you're building a SL-C, you should check if you need a spacer.

Howard, I've read your thread on the race-worthy-hubs several times. Apparently Agile Automotive had solved this problem, in almost the exact same manner , years ago. They upgrade their SL-C's to the 33 spline stub axle and the SKF 33-spline ZR1 hubs (they have active rather than passive sensors). They recess the socket head cap screws as done by others, but rather than chamfering the upright they machine the stub axle due to the high forces placed on the uprights. They also drill a hole through the upright, de-pin the sensor's connector, pass the wires through the upright and then re-pin the connector. That works on the race suspension, so I assume I can do the same. That said, I assume that I'll need to mill a slot into the backside of the hub spacer (the large triangular one with three dowels) so that the sensor wire can reach the hole in the upright.
 

Scott

Lifetime Supporter
The SL-C got air jacked for the first time today! Note that the stainless steel flex lines and the mount for connector/valve are temporary.


Getting the air jack system up and running was more work than I expected. The lift brackets were completed just over two years ago and mid last year the aluminum hard lines were installed, but I wasn’t able to find a system that I felt safe flowing 30 bar (435 psi) to test things.

I stumbled into the Paoli booth at the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) show last year. Apparently they have motorsport credentials. I tried to order some equipment from them, but there is a bewildering number of fittings and the catalog, while pretty, doesn’t help you put a system together. I kept asking for them to spec a system for me which is apparently a foreign concept.

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I spoke with Hill McCarty at Agile Automotive and he agreed to supply the system. I felt better when he had some of the same issues that I experienced. He ordered the system just before Covid exploded and, as Paoli is based in Italy, the order was understandably delayed for months. It arrived damaged so Agile ordered a replacement part and subsequently shipped everything from Maryland to Boston. UPS lost it for over three months and put Agile through the ringer when they made a claim. That probably took another three months. UPS finally found it in Texas, shipped it to me, but when it arrived a couple of the fittings didn’t match up and Agile had to chase Paoli for three weeks to get an answer.

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The Paoli nitrogen system (bottle, trolley, regulator, quick disconnects, fittings and hose) and the AP Racing system (air jacks, connector/valve and wand) are well made. The three jacks (one in front and two in the rear) result in a stable car. As seen in the video, you simply slam the wand into the connector to raise the car. The wand can be left plugged in to compensate for any leaks or it can be immediately removed. The car is dropped by pulling the valve backwards. The video shows the car being raised at 300psi which is well under the 435 psi max. My guess is that even when fully loaded I can get it to raise faster than shown. I can also raise it gently by slowly increasing the pressure on the regulator.

So was it all worth it? Hell yeah! I’m thankful for all of the hard work that Agile put into making this happen. If you’re looking for a nitrogen system, they now know exactly what’s required. Better yet, they ordered another system to replace the one that UPS lost so they might have one in stock.
 
I have missed some of the more recent posts, now caught up.
My DSS 33 spline stub splines did not warrant a spacer although they did have the thread depth variation shown in the one photo here. The DSS said they would send spacers to make up for the variation and that it was a common cure for ''splines that are too long for a particular application'' (even though not my particular reason for need). One can understand that making a spline length specifically for every application they offer a solution for is probably not economical on some level. With this logic in mind I would have been OK with a spacer, what was not OK was the varied thread depth. The DSS rep understood and quickly sent a matching replacement set.

The only difference between Howard's solution and mine - the bell selected for my two piece stub was deeper, this being done to replicate the original location 'in space' of the cv mount surfaces. This removed need to reconfirm axle length.
 
Scott,

Started on polishing and finalizing my suspension today and took the passenger side rear apart. Below are pics of the stub axles from my car. There were no spacers but the "washer" under the nut has a recess in it as shown that is basically acting as a spacer.

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So was it all worth it? Hell yeah! I’m thankful for all of the hard work that Agile put into making this happen. If you’re looking for a nitrogen system, they now know exactly what’s required. Better yet, they ordered another system to replace the one that UPS lost so they might have one in stock.
Any idea how many cycles/lifts you'll get out of the nitrogen tank? How much does it cost to refill the tank?
 

Scott

Lifetime Supporter
what is the chart included with the various racing series supposed to indicate?
Mesa, that's their market share in each category. For example, NASCAR requires that teams use their wheel guns. I'm not sure if the other 100% categories are by rule or by choice.

Any idea how many cycles/lifts you'll get out of the nitrogen tank? How much does it cost to refill the tank?
Chris, my local weld shop could only fill the tank to 2,000 psi unless I left it overnight. We jacked the car maybe eight times... we were having fun so I'm not sure. The pressure dropped ~500 psi. So if that number of lifts is correct, consumption is linear, a fully loaded car doesn't consume more, and we conservatively estimate that I stop lifting at 500 psi in the bottle, I get 3 x 8 = 24 lifts. Using the same logic a 3,000 psi fill would result in 40 lifts.

I paid $34 to fill the tank to 2,000 psi. The 24 lifts assume that I still have 500psi in the bottle so (0.75 * $34) / 24 lifts = $1.06 per lift. Nitrogen prices will vary depending on location and how far the refill station is from the manufacturing facility. Regardless, the cost to fill the bottle is inconsequential and puts the nitrogen fees charged by tire shops into perspective - they're making a killing. If you fill your own tires from the bottle once, you'll likely get a season of lifts for free.
 

Scott

Lifetime Supporter
The electric parking brakes are installed. I had been waiting to upgrade the rear uprights before finalizing the bracket design. Unlike the prior uprights, the new uprights are symmetrical and feature a thicker center web which comfortably accommodates a M10 screw. This makes drilling and tapping the holes to mount the bracket straight forward. I 3D printed mock brackets to ensure a good fit before having them CNC machined.

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The heads of all of the screws (e.g., two in the bracket and two in the caliper) will be drilled to accommodate safety wire when the car is done. I plugged the two connectors into the ECU, applied 12V and depressed the supplied button for three seconds and everything worked beautifully.

The parking brakes are done until the wire harness is made. Since the ECU is in a potted aluminum case I have a lot of flexibility on where to locate it. There are two wiring approaches:

Standalone: Modify the parking brake (PB) harness and keep it independent. I would shorten the caliper-to-ECU wires and lengthen the button lead so that it reached the cockpit.

Integrated: Tie it into the MoTeC system:

  • Connect the PB switch to a MoTeC output on the tail Power Distribution Module (PDM).
  • Connect the status wire (i.e., the one that lights the parking brake LED) to a MoTeC input on the tail PDM.
  • Use a MoTeC CAN bus switch in the cockpit to control the brake. Their switches have three indicator LEDs (red, orange and green) so I’d configure all to be off when the parking brake is disengaged and for the red to be lit when it was engaged. While MoTeC is anything but a DIY system, this type of logic can be easily configured via their free Windows-based software.
If I have enough inputs and outputs available, I’ll for with the integrated approach.

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External view

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View from the engine compartment outwards

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Top view
 

Scott

Lifetime Supporter
Chris, looks are deceiving! It felt great to just bolt it in, power it and activate it, but it took a long time and a lot of effort to get it to that point. My first post on the parking brake was almost two years ago.

The parking brake story isn't all that different from other parts of the car. I bought the Superlite parking brake and I spent a couple of days trying to figure out the best way to install it. I couldn't find a way I was happy with so I started to do some research. I then learned about motor-on-caliper parking brakes and I spent 6 months looking on-and-off looking for a standalone solution. I gave up several times and finally ordered an E-Stopp to power the Superlite caliper. Late that same night I did another internet search and found the HiSpec unit. I took a lot of measurements and exchanged a bunch of emails and ordered one. It took a month to arrive. When I bench tested it there was an issue so I returned it for repair. Upon receipt of a working set I finalized the bracket design, 3D printed a mock version and drilled and tapped the uprights. I was about to have the brackets CNC'd when I learned that Superlite had upgraded the uprights. The new uprights took a while to arrive. Unlike the prior version, they are symmetrical. While this makes it easier to mount the mounting holes are in a different location. So repeat; design and print a new bracket, drill and tap the new uprights and test. I then sent it to China to be machined and in the middle of the delivery window COVID hit. After a couple of months they sent the files to India which then also got crushed with COVID.

Two years later I'd call the parking brake easy. There are at least two proven solutions out there for builders: HiSpec and Tesla calipers (discovered by Bob) with a 3rd party controller. I prefer the HiSpec solution because the ECU is a potted aluminum case and it has good quality connectors and safety features. Both are less expansive and vastly superior to the Superlite option. Willwood also has an offering which seemed bulky when I saw it at PRI, but I assume that it would also work well.
 
Chris, looks are deceiving! It felt great to just bolt it in, power it and activate it, but it took a long time and a lot of effort to get it to that point. My first post on the parking brake was almost two years ago.

The parking brake story isn't all that different from other parts of the car. I bought the Superlite parking brake and I spent a couple of days trying to figure out the best way to install it. I couldn't find a way I was happy with so I started to do some research. I then learned about motor-on-caliper parking brakes and I spent 6 months looking on-and-off looking for a standalone solution. I gave up several times and finally ordered an E-Stopp to power the Superlite caliper. Late that same night I did another internet search and found the HiSpec unit. I took a lot of measurements and exchanged a bunch of emails and ordered one. It took a month to arrive. When I bench tested it there was an issue so I returned it for repair. Upon receipt of a working set I finalized the bracket design, 3D printed a mock version and drilled and tapped the uprights. I was about to have the brackets CNC'd when I learned that Superlite had upgraded the uprights. The new uprights took a while to arrive. Unlike the prior version, they are symmetrical. While this makes it easier to mount the mounting holes are in a different location. So repeat; design and print a new bracket, drill and tap the new uprights and test. I then sent it to China to be machined and in the middle of the delivery window COVID hit. After a couple of months they sent the files to India which then also got crushed with COVID.

Two years later I'd call the parking brake easy. There are at least two proven solutions out there for builders: HiSpec and Tesla calipers (discovered by Bob) with a 3rd party controller. I prefer the HiSpec solution because the ECU is a potted aluminum case and it has good quality connectors and safety features. Both are less expansive and vastly superior to the Superlite option. Willwood also has an offering which seemed bulky when I saw it at PRI, but I assume that it would also work well.
Option 3 - manual Swagelok ball valve plumbed in line with brakes. Easy peasy :)
 

Scott

Lifetime Supporter
Alex,

Swagelok makes nice stuff, but as Alan points out plumbing a valve into the rear brake lines isn't legal in most states. In fact, I don't think it's DOT compliant so it may not be legal in any state. There are two issues with your approach:

(1) "Reject vehicle if the method of applying the parking and service brakes are connected and are constructed so that failure of one part leaves the vehicle without operative brakes. “

They want the systems to be separate and inline plumbing results in a single system.

2) “Reject vehicle if the primary emergency/parking brake system is inoperative or if it is not as originally equipped. The system must be held in the applied position by energy other than fluid pressure, air pressure or electric energy”

Hydraulic systems require fluid so, even if they are implemented as a separate system, they are by definition not allowed. The on-caliper-motor-based brakes use electric to apply the brake, but the holding force is mechanical (i.e., if you take the battery out they stay engaged).

Regulations aside, hydraulic systems can leak or lose pressure. Every car lift I've been under uses hydraulics to lift the car, but they all had mechanically activated safety stops. You could probably cut the hydraulic line and still have time to get out from under the car. However, an unattended car could slip away. Would you disable the mechanical locks on a lift and sleep under it for the next 20 years?
 
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Scott

Lifetime Supporter
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My wife came home one day to find this 1970 Cadillac Deville parked in the driveway. “Whose car is that?” she asked in a highly-agitated tone. “Mine,” I responded. She didn’t believe me until I showed her the title.

Apparently the large fuzzy dice hanging from the mirror pushed her over the edge. There hadn’t been that much marital controversy since I installed the functional porcelain sculpture in the boiler room. I would like to point out that the wall-mounted Purell dispenser made it the only COVID-ready part of the house LOL.

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So why did I subject myself to this wrath? In a word, regulations. There are a bunch of steps to register a non-OEM car in Massachusetts. One of the most challenging is obtaining an emissions exemption. There are three ways to accomplish this:

  1. Prove that the car has a pre-emissions motor (i.e., pre 1974). You need a receipt with the VIN on it for the State Trooper salvage inspection. After several other steps you schedule a meeting at a MAC center where they put the car on a lift and inspect all of the casting numbers to certify the age of the engine. You then need to provide a table which illustrates that all of the final gear ratios are the same or higher than the car from which the engine was sourced. My cobra has a 1966 427 side oiler so this approach worked for that car, but it’s not applicable to the SL-C.
  2. Use an approved drivetrain which includes engine, transmission and ECU. I think they also require the same differential and wheels. In any event, I couldn’t take this approach because there are no combinations which include a transaxle.
  3. Purchase a pre-emissions car with a displacement larger than than the new engine and insure, register and inspect it for at least one year in MA. Then take it to a salvage yard so that “The chassis, frame, body tub, and engine will be completely destroyed in a manner that prevents their reuse as motor vehicle parts” and complete the paperwork which states that there are “significant penalties, including, but not limited to, possible fines and imprisonment, for submitting false, inaccurate, incomplete or misleading information.”
I had found a less-expense car, but when I met with the person selling it I learned that he was selling on behalf of his recently deceased grandfather who had bought it new, garaged it and personally serviced it for over fifty years. It seemed like bad karma to crush it so I kept looking.

Since my engine is custom built I didn’t want to get into an argument that the displacement might be slightly larger than 427 CID. The Cadillac has a 472 CID so there can be no debate that it’s larger. The three guys who crushed the car were upset. They kept asking “why” would someone crush a perfectly operating car. In a word, regulations.
 

Scott

Lifetime Supporter
Alan, you're correct, it's a form of carbon offset. Don't get me started on the logic of my state. That said, MA pioneered Right-to-Repair so it's not all bad;-)
 

Bob Winn

Supporter
I Iive in MA, and it's part of the reason I didn't buy a spyder 550 I was looking at last year. It is also what pushed me over the edge to build a EV slc. The liscence path is easier. I love a lot about MA, but the longer I live here.... the cracks are starting to show. I look at guys on youtube in Florida driving around with massive turbo kits, no hoods, no cats, probably no insursance... Just driving around. I get pulled over in my tesla because they think I tinted the windows. It's bone stock. Sigh.

I know a lot of MA kit car guys are somehow going through NH to get them registered, I just don't want to play that game.

I thought the Sema law was going to help, but I don't here much about it anymore.

Good for you for going all the way here. Your build is top notch so it's not that surprising. I love the tube and cable management, when I get there you have to show me how to do staggered bends that neat.

Bob
 

Scott

Lifetime Supporter
I sure as hell hope that the 180-degree crossover exhaust sounds good because it’s a lot work. Like everything else, there’s a learning curve. The first step was to mock the tubes that cross under the oil pan. The longest crossover tube sets the length of the other seven tubes so you want it to be as short as possible.

It looks like I’ll be able to get them all to be 38” long, but I still need to finish the #2 and #8 tubes on the right side. The pictures below show the left header. The two middle tubes (#3 and #5) cross under the oil pan and the front and rear tubes (#1 and #7, respectively) take a circuitous route before feeding the left merge collector. The merge collector is located where the stock transaxle adapter plate bracket is located. I will replace the stock bracket with a dog-bone bracket leaving that desirable space at the bottom open. A custom four-tube flange will be located under the middle of the oil pan allowing the left and right headers to be separated.

The plywood is the underside of the car, the blue tape on the plywood delineates the lower 2” x 2” chassis rail and the green tape delineates the upper rail. Each piece of yellow tape indicates two cuts and a weld.

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The icengineworks blocks are extremely useful and I’ve learned a couple of tips:
  • Use a Sharpie to write the centerline radius (CLR) in the same location on every block before you start. This will save you a lot of time trying to read the molded print — or maybe I’m just old. This will also help prevent a different CLR being inadvertently inserted into a bend.
  • Always have a J bend and/or a U bend of every CLR on hand. It’s a lot easier to hold various CLR sections up to see what fits best vs. snapping one piece on at a time.
  • A plastic engine block next to the car on a lift provides the best of both worlds for checking fitment.
  • If you drop a piece and it splits apart use Crazy Glue to stick the two halves together. If you snap them back together without the glue, they may pop apart and cause a whole tube length to fall on the floor.
  • When you count the blocks to determine how long the tube is at a given point, put a piece of tape on the block and write the number down.
  • Use a stable piece of plywood under the engine. If a tube drops it won’t go far. If you let it hit the floor, you’ll need to start over again.
  • Long tubes get heavy and they can rotate or fall off. If you have plywood under the engine you can place blocks under the tubes to support them. I used step blocks from my milling machine’s clamping set because it’s easy to quickly adjust their height.
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