The longest project of my life!
Started approximately 10 years ago. Interrupted with work, work, work and then kids and more work.
The aim was to end up with an unflared, neat, LS1 / T56 combo that would be used as a streeter with decent brakes, decent suspension and a nice useable package.
Most of the photos below are at the "raw" stage before being made all pretty.
The car started out as a very neat and unmolested 6cyl SL. I also purchased a wreck (back when they were affordable) which had bunch of good stuff to take off (yellow number tacho cluster, manual pedal etc)
The car was stripped of all paint, a few small dents were knocked out, and then the engine bay painted in Hazard Yellow (VE Commodore colour) and interior in KBS black.
The T56 would not fit in the existing tunnel. So a new one needed to go in.
While the cutting and shutting was occuring, a 9" diff was modified to fit. While that was occuring the diff was shortened to suit a 10" wide rim with coil overs (The upper sring perch was modified on tbe body to mount the upper coil over connection). The chassis rails weren't touched in this process.
Shitty progress shots below
Engine Mount / Sumps
Started with CAE mounts. These werent too bad to be honest. The engine was as far forward as you would like it, and height wise it sat pretty well.
Sumps......I went through a few. Started with a cut and shut rear hump factory GM sump. It fit up ok. I just didnt like the oil volume side of it. Moved to a Morosso pan with remote oil filter (it was all that was around at the time)
I ended up using Nissan GTR calipers and a VP GTS rotor (330mm). I designed custom bracket to mount the calipers. It all fits up pretty well. The only down side is the increase in front track (no front flares) so front rim fitment became a big problem later on (We will get there)
A 7" booster and 1" mastercylinder was purchased and installed with a wilwood proportioning valve.
Once all of the cutting, shutting and dummy fitment was complete (or so i thought) the body was finally painted and I installed dynamat throughout the interior, inside of the doors etc. A new compete rubber kit was also purchased and installed.
New bumpers, headlight surrounds, lights etc were purchased and mounted.
I also experimented with some old parts as to what black bumpers, headlight surrounds and a grille would look like.
UC upper arms, UC steering arms, front mount style sway bar, new UC steering rack, Koni reds and king springs in the front.
The rear runs a 9" diff (31 spline, Strange Trutrac centre from Altra 9) with QA1 adjustable coil overs, adjustable upper arms, adjustable lower arms and sway bar.
Biggest nightmare of the build.
I started with block huggers (No where near it)
Tried CAE headers. Modified said headers as much as I could. Moved the starter motor to the passenger side, hammered pipes until they were almost squashed flat and they were still miles from fititng.
I ended up taking a punt and contacting Boosted fabrications who i saw made a said of headers for a Torana with an LS1/T56. For a set of headers that were made without the car, they were neary perfect. I moved to tuff mounts which helped in relation to headers (but made clearance at the back of the engine and shifter position worse).
The factory starter then went back into the correct position. One note, I replaced the rag joint in the steering with another knuckle. One of the cotter pins needed to be shortened (Threaded end) to not foul on one of the primaries when in the car.
Wheels / Tyres
The rear end of the car was built around a 10" rim with -9 offset. The front rim sizing was dictated by the brakes and lack of flares. I have ended up running 17" steel rims (from an Opel something). 17x10 on the back, 17x7 on the front (+44 offset from memory) They come in 5 x 120 so it worked out well. Im running a modified LJ centre cap (Just because I like the look of the combination)
Advan AD08 tyres all round (I want to give it the best chance at stopping and turning!)
I went a little over board here I think. I spend a bit of time around some high end race cars and work with one of the best harness guys in the country. Seeing his work inspired me to have a go at improving the wiring in the Torana.
I started at the back of the car buy purchasing the original style connectors and plugs, using motorsport spec wiring, dual wall heat shrink (Raychem), Deutsch connectors and going from there. The original dash harness has stayed with a full strip, repair and re-seal occuring. New rear tail light harness, body harness, engine harness and headlight harnesses were made up.
I hid the wiring under the gaurd for the headlights, wiper motor, horn etc. I added a bulkhead connector under the gaurd to make it nice and neat. The charcoal cannister, horn relay and headlight realy were hidden up under the guard.
Progress shots below before it was all tidyied up and sealed up (Shitty phone pics)
For the LS1 wiring, i sent off the harness and ecu to have the generic mods done. When i got it back, I couldnt live with the mountain of condute split tubing so stripped the harness down to put some nicer looking protection on it. Once it was stripped, i wasnt happy with the solder/tape joins.
So i bit the bullet and decided to make my own engine harness from scratch.
All of the connectors and pins can be bought new (and fairly cheap) the tools are not expensive, so i thought why not. I started on a document to create all of the info and went from there.
I also wanted a nice bulkhead connector on the firewall rather than a massive grommet.
I designed the fuse box and realy circuits, mapped out the factory ECU pinouts and planned where to integrate into the Torana wiring. Lastly was to measure up the harness, plan the branch lengths and get to it.
The kitchen table looked a mess for a few nights, but we got there in the end.
The car side of the harness:
2x plugs to integrate into the car wiring, 1 x OBD comms, 1 x power, 1x fusebox to ECU, ECU plugs and the bulk head plug
Once it was finalised I then sealed it all up in Raychem.
Engine side progress shot:
The heat shrink label kit is a nice little touch for only a couple of bucks also.
Before shrinking the Raychem, pinning out and adding the plugs
I ended up with bit of a mega document which covers off on the relay circuits, car integration, ECU pinouts, branch lengths, bulkhead pinouts etc. It made it so much easier when integrating.
The only touch up needed was a bit of an embarrsing issue..... Bank 1 on an LS1 is the right hand bank when looking at the engine. I wired it up the other way around. Swapping the pins around at the ECU end took an hour and solved the issue.
Final Engine Install (Hopefully)
The engine/gearbox is all in and clearing well. It starts and runs (headers only at the moment) Next step is to fab up an airbox.
Speaking of air boxes: The standard blower fan box wont fit with an LS1. I bought a fibreglass slim line unit.... Dont bother if you actually want it to fit or work. The holes do not line up with the factory moutning holes and you need to cut your barrel fan down so there is 5mm of "blade" left. No way it will move any air.
I ended up having the original heater box cut and shut to make it all fit nicely. While it was out, I re-routed the wiring so it stayed within the unit. Bit of mucking around, but got there in the end. It all works.
As you can see, its all in and fits nicely. The single bulkhead connector with the engine harness is visible under the blower fan unit (I used the hole for the blower fan)
Mal wood under dash clutch pedal
CRS chassis strengthening kit
Cable X speedo covertor
Reverse lockout solenoid cheater box
Aeromotive Phantom in tank fuel pump setup
Magnaflow mufflers, cats, X Pipe
Ive skipped a few steps in the above (many many items done twice/three times)
Left to do:
Windscreen install (front and rear). Booked for this week. So I can give it a nice wash (first in 10 years.....)
Tailshaft install (should get it late next week)
Exhaust install. Have mufflers, cats, cross over. Need it welded up once the tailshaft is in.
Carpet purchase and install
Tidyups: Steam pipe plumbing (neaten up the water pump to bank 2 routing), re-coating of plenty of painted items, plus much mmuch more. Once it was close to running, i rushed a few items to make the most of some time off work (to make sure everything worked as it should)
Hopefully is on the road in around May.
Edited by BENN0, 05 January 2021 - 08:51 PM.