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Front End Work Close to Done

Category : Build

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The fabrication work on the front of the car is almost complete at this point. The seam welding, rust repair, and gussetting is done, and the wheel wells have been clearanced for additional steering angle. There will be tubing added for bracing and to support the radiator and bodywork. I should have all the tubing for the build shortly, so I will be able to finish up the front, seam weld a few places on the interior, and start work on the cage.

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New Car for 2012

Category : Build

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Now that the season is over for me, it’s time to start building a new chassis to compete with next year in Formula D. I picked up another S13 hatch last weekend, got it stripped down and started work on the front of the car.

LS3 Is Running

Category : Build

I finally started the engine for the first time on Sunday. Everything looked good, so hopefully I’ll be taking it to Monticello this weekend to break it in. Just finishing things up now.


Had to modify the exhaust to go around the newly added rear sway bar.


Here’s how the car is sitting now. Should be getting some new vinyl and the rest of the front end on shortly.

LS3 Is In

Category : Build


All the stuff that comes with the GM controller kit.


Made a mount for the electronic throttle.


I put together a new FPR setup because the stock Corvette filter/regulator always fluctuated a few psi on pressure and is more expensive to change than the Aeromotive filter cartridges.


Cleaned up the transmission and installed new slave.


Disassembled and cleaned the Accusump to check for any wear on the piston or cylinder. Everything looked good. I filled it with two quarts of oil when I assembled it, so that should make it easy to prime the engine before first start.


Swapping the LS1 parts onto the LS3.


As it sits now.

I have a few more things to put on there and have to do some wiring. Hopefully I’ll be trying to start it in a week or two.

LS3 Is Here

Category : Build

I finally ordered everything I should need to finish this car, including the engine. Thanks to Dan Popowich for helping me out with getting the engine through Fred Bean. Still in the packaging:

The fuel pump in my truck died 5 minutes after I left Fred Bean in PA, so it was an 80 mile trip with the LS3 in my truck on a tow truck. Thank you AAA.

I finished up the front lower control arms I was working on:

I started taking things off the LS1 and seeing what I can reuse. Clutch still has some meat on it but might get a new one to make sure it lasts all season.

Also took a week to build an FC cage.

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Bodywork and Front Suspension Done

Category : Build

Since last update, I’ve pretty much finished everything on the car except for the motor. I’ve been doing a lot more research on the motor situation getting ready to order everything. After thinking about it a lot, I decided to get the GMPP controller kit for the LS3 and just do it DBW. I thought about all the pros/cons and decided this was the easiest/cheapest/least retarded way of installing this motor as compared to using the LS1 stuff or going standalone. The Lingenfelter converter box, 90mm cable throttle body, and all the harness conversion stuff really adds up when doing the LS1 PCM route. In addition, I would have to get a wideband to tune it, etc., so it’s actually more money than the controller. Also more work doing all the harness conversion, installing the wideband, and actually having to tune it. Anyway, going to finalize my parts list and order everything this week.

Putting the front suspension on:

Got sway bars and put the back on, need to get the motor in to decide on final spacer thickness for the front.

Painted the rest of the crap that needed to be painted, including fenders, bumper, and headlight parts.

As it sits now:

Decided to convert the front lower control arms to use rod ends on the inner pivot. Bushings bind everything up when trying to get a lot of caster. Also, I wanted to be able to make the control arm longer, which would let me reduce the size of the spacer on the front, reduce scrub radius, etc. Still waiting for the rod ends to be delivered, but started working on the new control arms:

Engine Bay and Front Body Panels

Category : Build

I got new fenders and carbon hood thanks to Extreme Dimensions.

Took out the motor to start cleanup on the front of the car.

I mounted the right headlight in the proper place and test-fitted the hood.

Made new fender mounts on the right side and installed the fenders.

Then did some bumper stretching with the heat gun to get it to line up with the new fenders and hood.

Added some gussets in the engine bay, painted the right side, and started assembling.

Welcome to the Front

Category : Build

The back is done, and now there’s the front. Not going to do much here, just make decent fender and headlight mounts to get everything in the right place, new fenders and hood, do a bit more stitch welding and bracing in places, and just general cleanup.

Suspension Cleanup and Assembly

Category : Build

I got the new hatch gutted and painted.

Bought a non-crashed, non-bent, non-rusty pile of crap subframe, cleaned it up, and installed new bushings.

Replaced my lower control arms which had been bent and hammered straight a few times and installed Energy Suspension bushings.

I thought it would be interesting to see how square the chassis is at this point. I put bolts through the front and rear lower control arm mounts and and dropped a plumb bob from those. It was exactly square (+/- 1/32″), which was shocking. I’m sure it could be bent in other ways, but I think this is the most important type of measurement. So this is good to know.

So just cleaning up the rear suspension now and putting everything back on. My diff output shafts are kind of wobbly now. You can move them up and down like 1/16″ and in/out about 1/16. What is wrong with it? Does it need new bearings? The one and only time I’ve ever opened a diff is when I installed the LSD 2 years ago, so I don’t know. Help.

Putting It Together

Category : Build

Rear Painted and Assembled