Setting pinion depth on a Quaife Q58 (Radical SR8)

I refreshed this box two years ago, and it’s back for another look. When I pulled it apart, the crown wheel (ring gear to us Americans) and pinion were badly worn. It’s been a challenge finding technical information, as Quaife has nothing other than an exploded diagram, and Radical has moved on to the slight bigger Q72 for the latest SR8s. Still, after a lot of searching I’ve found that the pinion depth should be 109.9mm, the differential bearing preload should be 12-15 Nm, and the backlash should be between .004-.008 inches. I’ve worked out how to measure and set up the pinion depth, and I’m working on the preload and backlash set up now.

I made the following video about pinion depth and how to measure it in the gearbox:

I’ll be posting more videos about the rest of the gearbox refresh process.

LS9 69 Camaro


I’ve just finished my latest project, an LS9-powered 69 Camaro. It’s my most ambitious project to date, though the original II Much (my 67 Nova) might disagree.

The car has all the very best stuff from Detroit Speed: mini-tubs, Quadralink, subframe, subframe connectors, etc. Forgeline center lock wheels, Wilwood 14.25″ brakes, InfinityBox wiring and harness, VaporWorx fuel system, C&R Racing radiator and intercooler, and Vintage Air heating and air conditioning.

Some of the unique features of the car include a custom exhaust (2″ primaries, 4″ collector, oval tubes, x-pipe, and 3″ tail pipes), a complete custom dash and matching interior, Cobra Misano carbon fiber seats, 9 speaker stereo/navigation system, constant velocity driveshaft, automatic headlights, LED interior lighting, self-draining catch cans, and more.

Here’s a few pictures:

Custom interior

Custom interior…

...Coming from this

… from this

Ready for a hood

Engine ready…

... starting from here

… starting from here

Knowledge with Oil

Joe Gibbs Break-In Oil and Mobil1 0W-40 European Formula are ready for the job.

The shop Z06 is on the mend from recent piston surgery, and I bought some Mobil1 0W-40 motor oil to fill up the dry sump tank for its initial fire. GM recommends 5W-30 Mobil1 and every LS7 leaves the factory filled with it, and I like the 0W-40 only because it has more zinc, and it is preferred oil in my crowd at the local tracks. I mentioned all that to Dave Crume (of Crume Racing Engines), who built the short-block, and he cringed. He told me to use Joe Gibbs break-in oil for a couple of hours, then switch to a quality non-synthetic oil, and then to a synthetic oil at 500-1000 miles. He said the engine wouldn’t break in properly unless I did that.

Call me skeptical. Continue reading

STACK TPMS Install on the Tommy Camaro

The gauge shows tire pressures and temperatures at a glance by rotating through the four tires.

The Stack TPMS gauge shows tire pressures and temperatures at a glance.

More and more safety and convenience systems are making their way from late-model vehicles to our hot rods. Some high end builds are using anti-lock braking systems and traction control. Other examples are cruise control, three point seatbelts, thermostatically controlled environment controls, interior and exterior lighting, and navigation systems, to name a few.

The latest in this long list is TPMS: a tire pressure monitoring system. When we built the Tommy Camaro, the owner wanted to go without a spare, and use run-flat tires with a TPMS. After some research, and a walk-through at the PRI show, we found this amazing system from Stack. Stack specializes in data recording for race cars, and recently added a TPMS to their catalogue. Continue reading

Hose Clamps

There’s a variety of clamps in this photograph, and they all have their place. The upper radiator hose uses Gates heat shrink clamps.

We’re in the process of sealing up the cooling system of the Tommy Camaro  with a variety of clamps —  none of which are the typical hardware store worm drive type. The most obvious and interesting clamp is the Gates heat shrink product which holds the upper radiator hose together. Given the multi part nature of the upper hose, traditional clamps would have been an unattractive bristled mess of stainless steel. The Gates clamps look way cleaner and outperform the old school alternative.
Continue reading

Battery Cables

Making a custom length battery cable takes a drill, mini-torch, crimper dies, flux, and solder.

We do lots of custom electrical work in the fab shop, and one job that seems to come up all the time is making custom battery cables. Trying to find ready-made cables that are exactly the right length is difficult at best, and damn near impossible for those extra-long cables when your battery has been moved to the trunk. Given the weight and cost of heavy gage copper cables  we make our own, using SAE-rated battery cable, and heavy-duty cable lugs to get exactly the right length.
Continue reading

PTFE Hose and Fittings

There’s no ferrule in this hose end. The collar slides over the hose, and the fitting threads directly into the PTFE liner. It’s lightweight and easy to do, and no bleeding required.

We’ve gotten a lot of requests for more information about the hose we used in our twin vent install on the Tommy Camaro. It uses a PTFE inner liner, which is important to reduce fuel permeation (smell), and an Aramid outer braid. Aramid is a Kevlar brand name and it is tough stuff. It is literally bullet-proof. The braid feels soft to the touch, but requires side-cutters to cut the thread — it just laughs off heavy duty scissors.

Assembly is easy: just slid the outer (silver) collar over the end of the hose, and then twist the fitting (black) into the hose with some light lubricant. The fitting twists easily into place with your hand or a short AN wrench, and the fine threads on the inner fitting support easy clocking for non-straight hose ends. The hose is rated for high-pressure applications, including power steering. You can get all of it at Pegasus Racing.

I’ve also gotten several requests for the part numbers we used in the install, so here they all are in one place:

  • Vent fitting: 90 degree AN ORB fitting is an Earl’s part: AT949006ERL
  • Tank fitting: 90 degree 1/4 NPT to AN 6 is also Earl’s: AT982206ERL
  • Vent hose end: 90 degree AN 6 Pegasus Racing hose end: 3481-06-90 DEGREE
  • Tank hose end: straight AN 6 Pegasus Racing hose end: 3481-06-STRAIGHT
  • Hose: Aramid braided (Kevlar… and it will take its toll on your cutting tools) AN 6 PTFE hose from Pegasus racing. 3490-06-FOOT

Fuel and Differential Vent Install

Fuel and differential Vent sit nicely on top of the DSE Quadralink crossmember.

Modern muscle cars like the new Camaro have performance and drivability that could scarcely be imagined in 1969, but as technology has found its way into the aftermarket our older muscle cars are accelerating, braking, and cornering so well that fuel slosh, spillage, starvation, and odor have become a bigger problem than ever. A common problem is that under acceleration fuel will leak from the vented gas cap found on many older cars. Switching to a sealed cap eliminates the leak but now a properly designed vent system is needed.

Fuel tank venting is a deceptively complex problem and when improperly executed can result in spillage, fuel pump overheating, tank deformation, “burping” during fill ups, and strong fuel odors. Many resort to running a half tank of fuel and hoping for the best. To ensure we have a steady supply of fuel at all times we equipped our Camaro project with a Rick’s Tank and Vaporworx fuel pump system. Rick’s Tank and the Vaporworx system do not address tank venting, and both Rick’s and Vaporworx recommend our Fuel and Differential vent for this. We’ll be running our vents side by side — one for the DSE built 9 inch and the other to the Rick’s Tank

We’ve already upgraded the rear suspension to a DSE Quadralink, and the beefy crossmember that’s part of the kit is the ideal place to mount our vents since they need a 2.5″ hole in a flat and level space. All plumbing runs underneath the car, and the location needs to be chosen so that any collected liquid in the vent can run back to the tank or differential via gravity.

The gray nylon gasket resides in a precisely machined groove to keep it from being over-compressed, the white washer prevents scratching when tightening the main nut, the gold bit is a 40 micron sintered bronze filter, and the set screw keeps everything in place after installation.

Continue reading

Shock simulators in the Fab Shop

Quadra-Link suspension installed using shock simulators

We’ve made more progress on the 69 Camaro getting a high-end Pro-Touring upgrade here in the Fab Shop. We’ve just finished installing the DSE Quadra-Link rear suspension along with welding in the Speedtech Chicane front coil over adapter. Both systems are supposed to be installed by using the coilover shock to guide where the upper mount is supposed to go.

But we had a better idea… Continue reading

FabBosses used to secure ECM

The GM E67 ECM is securely mounted with 4 FabBosses

Progress continues on the 69 Camaro. We’re working on wiring the car and adapting the GMPP harness to manage our LS3. Using FabBosses to mount the ECM was easy. We bolted a 1/4 – 20 versions to the ECM, trimmed them slightly to deal with the curvature of the panel, and welded them in place. It wasn’t necessary to fully weld the FabBosses — we just put two solid 1/2″ welds on each side of the ‘Boss. Total time: 1 hour.