Well, I’ve got about 400 miles on bowtie6 with the new frame and the Ecotec. Simply put, this thing rocks. I expected an improvement, but damn! This thing is awesome. And I have only scratched the surface.
Where to begin? Well, the coilovers are amazing. The front coilovers have made an incredible difference in the steering “feel”. Before, with Richard Good uprated springs and SPAX adjustable shocks the steering was very “heavy”. At parking-lot speeds it took quite some effort to turn the wheel. Perhaps it had something to do with the 205/55-16′s up front or the extra heavy springs but now, this thing turns as if it had power steering. At speed, the steering response is very quick; point and shoot actually. What does this look like? Take a look:
The front suspension towers were designed in such a way to accommodate the TR6 front suspension pieces but also the front coilovers. Some things to note:
- Yes, those are “stock” rotors. They are cheap, and this allows me to use a very aggressive pad compound on my Wilwood calipers. I am not racing this car so there is no need for the extra unsprung weight of “vented” rotors. Contrary to popular opinion, these rotors along with the uprated calipers offer plenty of stopping power. Remember, the master cylinder is from a Vette so this offers more than adequate clamping power.
- Take a look at the sway bar end. It has a blue SuperFlex bushing. All the rest of the front suspension uses SuperFlex bushings – I ordered these from England. They are amazing; a bit pricey but certainly worth the expense.
- The coilovers are adjustable for rebound. That is the little knob on the top, right below the top “A” arm. I’m still trying to dial them in.
This is what the Wilwood caliper looks like:
Just like a good looking super-model, bowtie6‘s backside is just as sexy…
- The rear coilovers are similar to the fronts; these are also adjustable for rebound.
- The exhaust is a single 2.75 pipe. We have a single resonator just past the bend off the headers and then at the exhaust end, a pair of SuperTrapp mufflers. The basic principle with SuperTrapps is their adjustable baffles. This works by adding or subtracting discs that add or subtract backpressure and noise. The less discs the more backpressure and less noise. With more discs, less backpressure and more noise. I added quite a few discs but this made for a very high shriek anywhere north of 4500 revs. So, I had to tone it down. Right now we’re running eight discs – four on each side.
I’ve already started messing with the ECM a little. HPTuners is an awesome tool to dial in the engine and I am just getting started. With the new redesigned intake, headers and above mentioned exhaust things are flowing very “freely”. I noticed the airflow mappings were way off and this has been the first thing I’ve started to modify with pretty good results.
With the new custom frame finished, it is time to start putting things back together. Yesterday, the front suspension was fully disassembled and I found some interesting surprises. When I first put bowtie6 together, the front suspension was completely overhauled and of course, the a-arm bushings were replaced with what I thought to be high-quality state-of-the-art components. Well, after 15,000 miles I have found the bushings deteriorated and they did so severely.
The bushings mounted on the lower a-arms survived fairly well. I did not take any pictures of them, since they damage there was not as dramatic as the top a-arm bushings. Suffice to say there was a bit of slop and the bottom bolt did not fit tight. The top bushings though, were in very bad shape.
Take a look at the images in the following gallery. Basically these were taken before we removed the worn bushings and as you can tell, there is significant wear. In addition to the bushings actually coming apart, there is quite a bit of deformation in the overall shape of the bushing. Not what I have expected from these bushings, but then again such is life.
For replacements, I have sourced a different brand this time. The new ones come from a high-performance supplier in the UK. The new set was actually quite pricey but the design is far superior. The bushings I replaced were of a two-piece design. The new ones are basically one piece, but they are a bitch to put on. It took two of us, a good vise and a bit of cursing to coerce the new bushings in place. The new bushings are polyurethane and have a little bit more “give”. I’m hoping this might help prevent them from breaking apart as severely as the others did.
The point of all this is for you folks thinking that these type bushings are the final solution – think again! These things do wear out and in my case they did in only 15,000 miles. Of course the high load that the compressed front spring puts on the front suspension is in part responsible for the wear, but nevertheless these bushings do wear out. For you folks running V8′s (LT1, Fords or whatever) keep this in mind: the V8′s weight is much higher than the original TR6 tractor engine or (in my case) the V6.
Last post I had pictures and talked about the new front suspension on bowtie6‘s new frame. Quick post today…
The mounts for the front sway bar are done and the look trick! The sway bar is stock, mounted on poly bushings – it worked well on the prior setup, so this will be our starting point for the new frame. This is what it looks like:
Whew! This has been a long week.
Worked on bowtie6 a little today. The rear suspension came apart and took the transmission tunnel apart also. Let me talk about the tunnel: when the V6 was grafted into the TR6, we made an all aluminium transmission tunnel cover. It is secured on a special square tubing edging that was welded to the floorboards. My main concern with the Ecotec was that the transmission tunnel cover would be too small. Well, by taking the tunnel off today we were able to determine there will be enough room. We had to make room to run the exhaust pipes on the V6 and since the Ecotec dumps on the passenger’s side, we will have enough clearance.
Then today’s good news: My cousin Jim has made some extraordinary progress on the front suspension. Here is a small gallery showing the new front section of the new made-from-scratch frame. You can see the new front suspension towers and the new coilovers that are so trick! With these guys in place, ride height will be adjustable and best of all: no more spring compressors in order to take things apart.
If you look close enough, you can see the steering rack mounts Yes, those are aftermarket rack mounts and they work quite nice. Needless to say, the rack has been positioned in a very special location in order to prevent bump steer. The rack is stock TR6 – they are nice enough. The front suspension also shows factory rotors, however the calipers are uprated Wilwoods with four pucks each. They have proven to provide very good stopping power.
Take a look: