Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
12/13/16 10:29 a.m.

Man, I completely missed this, but found it via build threads while looking for something else. HAs any of the post challenge work started yet?

ShawneeCreek
ShawneeCreek Reader
12/14/16 10:06 a.m.

No, the work hasn't started yet. I've been enjoying not having to work on it every night after work. I did finally finish throwing away all of the leftover interior pieces (from both the car and van) and most of the scrap metal has been scrapped.

However, I do plan on working on it over the holiday break between Christmas and New Year's. So hopefully more progress then. Maybe make the step ramps so that I can do an oil change and test fit the 18" wheels from the G6.

87bluebird
87bluebird
12/26/16 11:39 a.m.

This van is awesome. Couple suggestions I have.

Use a rear wiper motor from a station wagon, suv, or van mounted above the windshield for a single wiper from the top. That will be a lot better than rainx and no wiper.

Also I would suggest sectioning the van body. By that I mean cutting a 3 or 4 inch section out of its doors hatch and body below the windows. Like people used to do on hotrods. this will allow you to raise the rockers bumpers bottom of doors etc. up to where the cars rockers were. Then you can lower the suspension. This will remove some weight and make it so it don't scrape everytime you turn or hit a bump.

Also those f40 6speed transmissions are severely underrated. There is thousands of posts online were people say it won't hold up because it's rated so low but there are not many posts about them actually failing. And people (mostly fiero guys) have bolted built l67s and ls4 v8's to f40 transmissions. So you aren't limited to the 3900 engine if you later want to upgrade to a more powerful engine that transmission will be fine.

ShawneeCreek
ShawneeCreek Reader
12/28/16 12:31 p.m.
Vigo wrote: It was fun talking and getting to check out the van and see it run. I was a little disappointed in the turnout for the van class but ultimately you single-handedly saved it from being dominated by a complete E36 M3box van that wasn't even built for the event and wasn't being run that hard because i didn't care to risk breaking it (i drove it to work today!). So good on you for rescuing the dignity of the van class with an actually-impressive build! I'm sure you already realize this, but drag slicks would have dropped your van into the 15s. Since it weighs nearly the same as the original g6, it should have the potential to get very close to the 14s with no additional power.

Thank you. That means a lot. And I'm currently planning out how to get some racing slicks and how to fit a pair of wheels and drag slicks in budget. Small update today. I took the van to the BMV to get my out of state VIN inspection.

A few impressions from my drive:

  • all of the gears work! (I'd previously only used first through third)
  • the clutch pedal is very stiff, especially after 3 miles of stop and go traffic on the interstate - there is an exhaust leak in the engine bay somewhere
  • It is noisy and drafty. Likely due to the large gaps that are left between the van body and car chassis.
  • It has a 2,000 rpm idle. This is probably because of the junky "cold air intake" put in by the previous owner. It's probably sucking in air after the airflow sensor.
  • Driving it feels like driving a minivan, until I look out and realize I'm at door handle height.
  • Definitely need to get the rear height fixed. It's exceedingly stressful driving and worrying about every single bump, pothole, and rut in the road.
  • I snapped a few necks during my drive. And I saw at least one cell phone camera out. I like driving something like this that makes people smile

Until next time.

2002maniac
2002maniac Dork
12/28/16 1:03 p.m.

The stance looks awesome, but I would shave the mustache!

ShawneeCreek
ShawneeCreek Reader
12/28/16 2:19 p.m.

In reply to 2002maniac:

Agreed that's on the list of improvements.

maschinenbau
maschinenbau HalfDork
12/28/16 2:23 p.m.

AWESOME to see it out in the real world! One of my favorite Challenge cars of all time. I like the rear height. Maybe you could install some adjustable air shocks. Both my El Camino and the Challenge Roadmaster wagon had them. Very handy to air them up when hauling something heavy. And cheap.

ShawneeCreek
ShawneeCreek Reader
1/14/17 4:20 p.m.

Small update: it's officially street legal! And I splurged a little and got custom plates. You know, to make my slammed, bodyswapped minivan more unique and identifiable on the street

Until next time.

petegossett
petegossett UltimaDork
1/14/17 6:30 p.m.

So, Cars & Coffee in the spring?

ShawneeCreek
ShawneeCreek Reader
4/11/18 6:16 p.m.

Much like the truck lots of life has happened in the past year (new job, new house, new state, new garage).

The good news is that I persisted in dragging the van along. I had to remove both the front bumper and the side skirts to get it on the uhaul trailer. It worked. And I learned that the frame/subframe is definitely tweaked. With the left front tire at the stop in the trailer, the right tire was still an inch or two away. 

The even better news is that Mrs. ShawneeCreek and I are planning to bring this to the $2018 Challenge this year. I want to show those station wagons that minivans are betterdevil To that end I've got a plan and a to-do list:

(and quite a few Rock Auto magnets) First up this month is test fitting the car's original 18" wheels. If I use them, plus a new one to replace the one damaged in the accident, I can get a little more budget room. Step one, get the car in the air. It's... difficult. Because the van is so low. I ended up rolling it onto a 5/4 deck board, then putting down another 5/4 board and rolling onto that. Then I could finally fit my low profile jack underneath.

Here's the current 17" wheels at tire height:

And at full droop:

Luckily, I was able to remove the wheel and tire from the wheel well. But only after jacking up the car another couple of inches. Now the 18" wheel without a tire:

And..... drumroll please .... at ride height:

IT FITS!! Houston, we have a go. I've got sufficient clearance for the wheel and tire. Now to research tires and get that replacement wheel.

- Sean

Dusterbd13
Dusterbd13 MegaDork
4/11/18 7:38 p.m.

Have you managed to get fuel in it? I think i remember you telling me that you couldn't. 

ShawneeCreek
ShawneeCreek Reader
4/11/18 8:10 p.m.

Not yet. That's also on the list to get fixed this month. I've just got to add a fuel door and connect it to the filler.

maschinenbau
maschinenbau Dork
4/12/18 7:46 a.m.

I love everything about this van and had a great time watching it perform in 2016. Can't wait to see it again! 

But we'll just see about how you stack up against the wagons. I'm going all out with my Datsun build devil

Robbie
Robbie PowerDork
4/12/18 8:29 a.m.

Oh. my. god. yes.

Also, where is the new house and new state and new job? (crosses fingers that it is significantly closer to me)

ShawneeCreek
ShawneeCreek Reader
4/12/18 10:26 a.m.

New house is near Bay City, Michigan and new job is in Saginaw, Michigan. Unfortunately, that's going to be a little further from Chicago than before.

DeadSkunk
DeadSkunk UberDork
4/12/18 8:11 p.m.

In reply to ShawneeCreek :

But now you can show up for our SE Michigan GRM meets. smiley

onemanarmy
onemanarmy Reader
4/16/18 12:06 p.m.

just read start to finish.  Glad to see its still around. 

 

My vote is to go back to all white.  Serious sleeper.

Why did you leave so much of the interior in while racing?  Part of the rules?

spin_out
spin_out HalfDork
4/17/18 10:24 a.m.

I'd also vote for going back to all white.  I wanted to stop you from painting it in the parking lot because it looked pretty good before the black.

I'm pretty sure the rattle can black paint will wash off with some kind of thinner on rags.  As a bonus that removes the cost of the black paint from your budget.   $$$$

Dusterbd13
Dusterbd13 MegaDork
4/17/18 10:28 a.m.

Laquer thinner should work

Indy-Barely Functional-Guy
Indy-Barely Functional-Guy SuperDork
4/17/18 10:39 a.m.

Plus one for getting the black paint off.

ShawneeCreek
ShawneeCreek Reader
4/17/18 11:31 a.m.
onemanarmy said:

Why did you leave so much of the interior in while racing?  Part of the rules?

No, not really. I left it in because I thought it looked cool. And I knew that I wasn't going to win, so let's go for style. This year though I'm going to take out as much as I practically can. I'll probably gut the doors and back hatch. This thing weighs 3,549 pounds without a driver. I'd be happy to get that closer to 3,000 in race trim. We'll see how close I can get.

Oh, yeah. The black mustache is definitely coming off. I've already scraped all of the white off of the rear windows. I don't really want to leave it all white though. Sleepers are cool, but don't photograph well. The current plan is adding some red and blue on top of the white in some sort of IMSA/Touring Car/"Heartbeat of America" theme. Official planning for that won't happen until next month though. I need to get suspension, fuel filler, and tires done first this month.

To that end, I've ordered some parts. I got the convertible G6 rear springs (to raise the back end up a little). I originally intended to get them from a junkyard car, but they are really rare. Rock Auto sells the pair for $35 + shipping. Done! Not a whole lot more expensive than the junkyard, and a ton less effort. I'm going to hold onto the stock springs though, just in case all of the weight removal raises the van up too high.

I also ordered tires. I was hoping for full-on race slicks, then I saw prices for a set ($1,500-3,500!!). I backed off to a UHP summer tire that I can use on a daily driver after the Challenge, or at least have a better chance of selling after the Challenge. I decided on the Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R. 200 A A UTQG, so it should be a step up from the 500 AA A UHP-all seasons that are on it now. Plus they were $35 off per tire, plus a $70 rebate. $630 shipped to my door. That's a whole lot easier to stomach, but still a big hit to my personal budget.

Progress. It's a good thing.

-Sean

ShawneeCreek
ShawneeCreek Reader
4/20/18 8:01 p.m.

More progress tonight thanks to the spring like weather returning. My convertible springs arrived, so I decided to put them in. The back of the van was still in the air with the wheel off. It was just a matter of tightening down the spring with a compressor, removing the bolt that connects the knuckle to the lower control arm, and lower the control arm gently with the floor jack.

New convertible spring in the left, original coupe spring on the right.

They have the same free length, but the convertible spring has an extra coil. This was to support the extra 400 pounds of weight that it carried over the coupe. This should hopefully give me some more ground clearance and keep the bumper from dragging on every corner.

Assembly was the reverse of removal. On the passenger side I bolted the lower control arm back in without the spring so that I can move the suspension around for the fuel filler work.

Here's what I'm dealing with: the van's fuel door is on the driver's side

And the G6 has the fuel filler in the passenger rear wheel well just behind the suspension and tire (the large black tube with one small tube on each side)

And then exits into the fender above the tire. And in my case it currently exits right up against the backside of the siding door track.

I've got an extra fuel door from another APV. Tomorrow I'll loosen up the clamps holding the filler in place and see what I can do.

- Sean

MazdaFace
MazdaFace HalfDork
4/21/18 7:33 a.m.

Awesome to see this beast is still getting the love it deserves!

ShawneeCreek
ShawneeCreek Reader
4/23/18 5:14 a.m.

Made some more progress this weekend. Inside the van I removed the panel above the right rear fender and fuel filler.

You can see how the fuel cap is pointed at the structure for the van's sliding door. After loosening the clamps holding the filler pipe in place and moving things around a bit I decided to not put in a fuel door. My reasoning is 

  • it's not THAT difficult to put gas in it this way
  • I'm unlikely to use more than one or two tanks of gas before I sell this on
  • this way everything is mounted the way the factory intended, away from the rear tire

After deciding this I filled the tank up with gas and bolted the cover panel back in place. Then I put the other convertible spring in place.

I had a little garage time left and used it to start removing weight from the van. Before:

After:

It may not seem like much, but the back seat and brackets were 20 or more pounds, plus the two speakers in the back hatch, and all of this interior plastic.

The last thing I need to get done this month is fixing the rusted out battery tray and inner fender on the truck.

- Sean

 

ssswitch
ssswitch Dork
5/24/18 7:57 p.m.

It is so cool that work is still getting done on this project. What an awesome Dustbuster.

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