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846 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
After 7 long years, Mk3 #5156 is finally finished… I can hardly believe it!

First, let me say that I couldn’t have done this without the complete support of my awesome wife, Maria. She’s been behind me on this project 100% the whole way through – thanks baby! And, thank you to the members of this forum for countless ideas on what to do, what not to do and most importantly, how to spend more than you ever thought possible.

Timeline:
  • 6/24/2006 – delivery
  • 3/6/2010 – first start
  • 5/16/2010 – first go kart
  • 9/17/2010 – 5/19/2012 – took a break to move to California and renovate the new garage
  • 4/5/2013 – body painted
  • 11/14/2013 – licensed and on the road YES!!

From day one I did my best to focus on every detail and have no “I wish I would have…” moments. There were many times where I’d make a part or assemble something and would go back out into the garage later only to take it apart and redo it the (new) way I wanted. Sometimes it resulted in a pile of scrap parts (or worse yet, metal) and sometimes I wondered if it was all worth it.

In the end I’m delighted with what I did and I hope you are, too.

So, as it goes in this forum: no photos, didn't happen! Since I never had a build thread, I’ll throw in some in-progress shots.


Nothing like that first day, eh? At this time we lived in Rockford, IL


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And just 7 short (well, long really) years later:

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DSC_0320.JPG

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
The Details
  • Engine: 482 cubic inch aluminum FE, 4.25” bore x 4.25” stroke, forged pistons, H beam rods, ARP fasteners, Scat crank, Electromotive TecGT EFI, distributorless ignition,TWM stack injection, 10.5:1 compression, Keith Craft CNC ported heads, hydraulic roller cam, Aviad baffled/trap door pan, AccuSump accumulator, Setrab oil cooler with adjustable diverter valve, 511/508 hp/tq @ rear wheels, Levy super alloy T5, Quartermaster 8.5” clutch
  • Traction Control: Racelogic traction control, modified Ford hubs and Wilwood rotors for wheel speed sensors
  • Frame mods, chassis: Numerous cut/weld/fab frame mods, no significant structural changes, hand bent but arrow straight, polished stainless brake and fuel lines, AN fittings throughout.
  • Aluminum: FFMetal foot boxes. numerous custom aluminum panel replacements, 2” firewall forward, DS footbox top removable, hand formed DS footbox clearance “bubbles”, polished footboxes and firewall for heat control, Dynamat material on footboxes.
  • Rear: DTS 8.8” Ford rear, narrowed, Strange axles, 9” Ford ends, TruTrac, 3.55:1 gears
  • Brakes: Levy Wilwood 6 piston front, 4 piston rear with drum-in-hat e-brake, Wilwood pedals and balance bar, master cylinders, custom reservoir caps, Hurst line-lock
  • Suspension: FFR UCA, Forte LCA with custom spherical bearings, Levy dual adjustable Koni shocks, front and rear Addco sway bars, Levy 5 link
  • Engine: Modified RCI fuel tank with 2 gallon baffled sump, Aeromotive pump, regulator, stainless tube lines, Aeroquip hoses
  • Body: Body and paint by Ken Pike (Street Rod Painter) Nissan Daytona Blue GM Arctic white stripes with pearl added
  • Dash: Custom dash fabbed from .080” sheet aluminum, custom backlit LED switch, turn signal and info panels by Viking Panels, AutoMeter Phantom II gauges
  • Electrical/Interior: ISIS electrical, rear battery, cut-off with alternator disconnect, steering wheel horn with custom contact rings, Momo 13” steering wheel, Essex carpet, Sparco Sprint seats
  • Stuff: Lots of fabricated parts such as crank trigger wheel, fuel filter brackets, oil filter mount, radiator mount, ISIS module mount with removable modules, hood latch pin mounts, motor mounts, oil filter/cooler adapter, shock mounts, LCA spherical bearings, brake line tabs, throwout bearing spacer, lower coolant tube, fuel filler tube, etc.
  • On board fire suppression system

Let’s get back to the pictures, shall we?

Spent a lot of time straightening coiled stainless tube only to spend even more time bending it again :)






The valve cover and rear header tube hit the driver side footbox so I made some clearance bubbles





I polished the footboxes because I thought it would look cool. Then I changed my mind and decided the less shiny stuff under the hood, the better. I decided to leave the footboxes polished since it helps to keep them cooler. I highly recommend the polishes from Nuvite Chemical – awesome stuff!

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The Engine: Heart of the machine

I bought the kit thinking I’d go with a 351 Windsor. After spending time on this forum, I saw a lot of guys doing stroked Windsors so I started to warm up the idea of a 393… then a 408… then, “Hey, you can actually build a 427 Windsor with an aftermarket block – I’ll do that!”

It wasn’t long before I got the bug to go with a 427 FE… but they’re so heavy. At this point I’d talked myself into the idea that an aluminum block was the way to go – 427 FE with small block weight. After a little research, I realized that a 4.25” stroke FE was going to be the same cost as a shorter stroke so that’s how I ended up with the 482.

Here are a few highlights:






I decided early on to go with EFI. I also wanted to eliminate the distributor so a crank position sensor was necessary. I couldn’t find anything off-the-shelf that fit an FE so I got a universal trigger wheel and made a mount. It’s a shame that you can’t really see it on the completed engine.




I wanted AN -10 hose for the oil filter & cooler. The Transdapt oil filter pad adapter wouldn’t take 2 x -10 fittings because the pipe bosses were too close together so I made a new one.




In this photo: poly motor mounts and the oil pump drive that started life as a distributor. I originally used the “stalk” from the distributor but it was too small to fill the hole in the intake manifold leaving a gap. I couldn’t find a seal or o-ring anywhere that would take up the gap so I ended up making a whole new stalk.




First time sitting in the car on the new motor mounts. I spent a lot of time just looking at it and smiling. This photo was before I removed the polished finish on the valve covers. The polish looks good in photos but I like the dull look in real life.




Still haven’t figured out what to do about air filters. The only ones I like are the Cook’s CNC machined individual stack type. So far, I just can’t see parting with $1,500 for air filters so I’m going with screen for now.




Dyno chart below. I think there’s quite a bit more power available by changing the exhaust, getting rid of the screens in the intake and even going to a solid lifter roller cam. For now, 511 RWHP is plenty.

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Electrical & Horn

I went with the excellent ISIS system. I decided to mount everything behind the dash so it was necessary to make some mounts that would facilitate removal of the modules with the dash on. The aluminum frame has holes on the top and each module has little stainless pins that drop into the holes (with grommets for rattle prevention). Under the dash is an ISIS MasterCell, 2 PowerCells, the Electromotive TecGT ECU and the RaceLogic traction controller. I thought I was going to be able to get away with zero relays on the car but ended up needing one to facilitate alternator cut-off controlled by the master switch.




Another thing I really wanted was an OEM feel for the controls – horn, lights, etc. I used the Russ Thompson self-cancelling turn signal (nice part) and used the button on the end of the turn signal stalk for bright/dim headlight control. The Momo steering wheel had a provision for a center horn button so I needed a way to get the connection up the column. I ended up making brass slip rings with brushes. Since I had to make 1, I must made both ground and hot. In hindsight, I should’ve mounted them on the bottom of the steering column because it’s very hard to get the dash together with the brushes sticking up.

 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Dashboard

Early on, I knew I wanted to do something different with the dash. At one point, I’d planned on trying to come up with a more modern OEM looking dash with an integrated center console, lines that flowed into the door panels, etc. I saw the Casey dash and really liked the idea of the removable panels and what I did was inspired by his work.

I drew it out on the computer first, then made a paper model so I could determine if it would really work in the car, then went to work with some sheet aluminum. This was a lot of work – way more than I originally thought. It would’ve been MUCH easier if I had CNC equipment. Still, I’m very happy with the final result.













 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Miscellaneous


I couldn’t find any clamps for a fuel filter that would fit on the 4” tube so I ended up making some. Of course, nobody can see them on the completed car, but at least the fuel filter isn’t going anywhere.




In order to drive the wheel speed sensors for the traction control, I had to modify the Ford front hubs (the tone wheels were too fine toothed for the sensors). There was no provision for any kind of wheel speed measurement for the rears so I milled slots into the edge of the Wilwood e-brake drum. It works great but when I replace the rotors, I’ll have to do it again.




I didn’t like the way the steering wheel wasn’t square with the dash on the Mk3 so I moved the foot box bearing over to fix it. Also in this picture are the lower radiator pipe, fuel filler and oil filter/diverter valve mount. Also in this photo: the bottom pieces of the hood latch setup I used. I used the pushbutton quick releases and needed a way to connect them to the body. I made bonding plates and machined the arms from aluminum. Funny thing: With the polished footboxes, I had to make little shields to obscrure the epoxy bond area because you could see it when the hood was open even though it’s on the bottom of the body.




Oil cooler plumbing, accusump.




I love this shot – you can really see how compact these cars are. I wish I’d taken more overhead pictures like this.

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hey, it’s a car!!

This journey was a ton of fun. The fact that you end up with a car at the end is nothing short of incredible.

First start:

First Go Kart:

Dyno sweep:














 

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Senior Member
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8,354 Posts
Uuhh....Wow! Rob, your craftsmanship is amazing! Such skill.

Cheers, Dale
 

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594 Posts
Beautiful! Congratulations!
 

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Junior Charter Member
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746 Posts
Amazing

Everything is simply first class. A labor of love and passion is what is see.

Congrats!!

Troy
 

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Wow, your skills are just amazing. You take anal to a whole new level. I always thought that "Garage Freak's" was the top , but seeing yours, well I don't know. Absolutely gorgeous. Congrats.:D

John O
 

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392 Posts
Awe Inspiring!!!!! Bravo!!!!! You've raised the bar and set a whole new standard for the rest of us to imitate!!!! Now when I get frustrated as I add to that ever growing pile of discarded steel and aluminum scraps of parts I've made and remade (some 3, 4 + times) "just to get it right", I'll pull out that mental image of all those breathtaking parts you've fabricated. Sweet!!!
 

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968 Posts
Great Job!

I applaud you for the great car and the obvious time and effort that went into all aspects of the build!!!:clap:

Rocky
 

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5,632 Posts
Wow! ...just WOW!!! ..Well done Rob. That car is intense!...da bat
 

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2,010 Posts
Awesome! Just awesome! Congratulations!
 

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Super job!! I just love all the custom stuff you did.
 

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Amazing fabrication skills, It's safe to say no one in their right mind will ever be able to say "Yeah I have one just like it". Great job man
 

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4,187 Posts
Just.... wow! Fantastic job on the build. :thumbup1:

Thanks for showing some of the details. Very well crafted, you should be very proud of the finished product.
 
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