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  #821  
Old 04-27-2017, 11:45 AM
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I replaced the seals on the 1-2 accumulator piston and the new ones fit tightly in the bore, unlike the old ones that are in the video above. I don't know if that will make a difference, but I feel better knowing they are fresh and fit how I would have expected.

I determined the separator plate that was in the transmission was an aftermarket unit. I compared it carefully with a stock plate and found the following differences: (1) the 2nd and 3rd feed hole sizes were both enlarged to .125in and (2) the 2-3 accumulator feed was blocked off / plated over. I didn't see any other differences. I also looked carefully at the Transgo separator plate, which is sort of like a multi-layer circuit board in order to reroute fluid for dual feeding the direct clutch. I can't use the Transgo plate because my direct clutch is dual fed internally, however comparing the 2-3 accumulator feed between the stock plate and the Transgo plate, the feed on the stock plate is completely open (large window, maybe around 0.25" diameter) while Transgo restricts to 0.0625in.

My options were (1) use the stock separator plate, enlarging the 2nd & 3rd feeds to firm up the 1-2 and 2-3 shift while leaving the 2-3 accumulator fully active (2) use the aftermarket plate that was in the transmission previously with already enlarged feeds and the 2-3 accumulator blocked or (3) modify the aftermarket plate to include a restricted 2-3 accumulator feed like the Transgo plate. I decided on option 3 and drilled the aftermarket plate with a 0.0625 accumulator feed, because this should most closely replicate the Transgo setup (I am also using the Transgo 1-2 and 2-3 accumulator springs). I don't like the idea of completely locking out the 2-3 accumulator, because it has interactions with the intermediate clutch feed and it just doesn't seem right to me from an engineering perspective to block that circuit. Here is the separator plate after drilling that feed and placing 5 checkballs.



I crawled under the car and, like a waiter carrying drinks, carefully balanced the separator plate with case gasket and checkeballs as I lifted it into place. I installed a pan bolt through near the middle to hold it up temporarily, put in a few other bolts to ensure alignment, and then installed a new detent solenoid.



Then I installed the valvebody, a new filter, and the pan. I checked the manual valve linkage and all seemed well, so it was time to fill it up. Here's a funnel I picked up a while back for this job. It has a shutoff valve so you can measure up to 1qt at a time, then open the valve to allow it to drain down through the dipstick tube at whatever rate you feel comfortable with.





Here are all the things I changed since I last drove the car:
(1) New "red line" vacuum modulator, set to factory calibration
(2) Transgo "pink" spring added behind the modulator spool valve
(3) Replaced unknown-original manual 1-2 valve with Transgo manual 1-2 valve
(4) Removed outboard spring from 2-3 accumulator valve
(5) Removed spacer nuts that were locking down the 2-3 accumulator piston
(6) Installed Transgo 2-3 accumulator piston spring
(7) Installed Transgo 1-2 accumulator piston spring
(8) New 1-2 accumulator piston seals
(9) Added 0.0625in dia accumulator feed into the separator plate
(10) Replaced unknown yellow pressure regulator spring with Transgo orange spring
(11) Replaced broken e-clip on front band servo drive pin
(12) New valvebody gaskets
(13) New detent solenoid
(14) New filter, pan gasket and fluid
(15) Kickdown/detent switch added
(16) All valves inspected and moving/returning freely/properly in the valvebody

The first test drive didn't go well because I under filled the transmission by about a quart and it seemed to be slipping in all gears. After topping it back off, I got on the road and had good results on my second test drive. I went around town where speeds are usually around 45mph and got on the freeway going up to 70mph. Around town I got normal auto shifting 1-2 and 2-3 at predictable speeds/throttle conditions. Once in 3rd, it stayed in 3rd unless I slowed down and let off the throttle enough, in which case it sometimes downshifted to 2nd but in a normal auto-trans way. On the freeway, if I let it shift 2-3 as I accelerated at part throttle, then mashed the throttle while in 3rd, it just stayed in 3rd like I would expect (kickdown not wired yet); this great because previously it would unexpectedly downshift. I also tried driving the car down some hills in L2 and I now have 2nd gear engine braking thanks to fixing that front servo e-clip. I have not yet tried WOT starting in 2nd gear to see when all the shift points are or done much high throttle driving yet. More experimenting is needed and I want to wire up the kickdown switch too.

I did notice the shifting is much softer now. Previously every shift, even at light throttle, was snappy and immediate, but now it seems mushy. I'm guessing this is due to restoring accumulator functions, but it might also be related to the new Transgo spring behind the modulator valve or the modulator adjustment. Transgo instructions say to remove that spring for a firmer shift, so I might do that after I get some more miles on it.

No post is complete without a picture of the car. Here she is at the end of the test drive.

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  #822  
Old 04-27-2017, 12:40 PM
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Sounds like excellent progress!! which is awesome b/c there was certainly a lot of research and work to get here.

Dan
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  #823  
Old 04-27-2017, 04:03 PM
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When working with something that has had unknown modifications it is often best to restore it back to original or at least a known modified base point. It sounds like you have done that, so now you can upgrade the trans to perform to your liking. I'm glad to hear you have had some success with this trans.
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  #824  
Old 04-27-2017, 05:31 PM
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Thanks both. I'm not quite ready to pop the cork, but I feel a lot better about it. I gotta get some more miles on it and see how it does. Also I feel like some deficiency from the swap is going to rear its head at any moment.
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  #825  
Old 04-27-2017, 06:25 PM
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Thanks both. I'm not quite ready to pop the cork, but I feel a lot better about it. I gotta get some more miles on it and see how it does. Also I feel like some deficiency from the swap is going to rear its head at any moment.
One always feels a little uneasy at first with issues like that.
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  #826  
Old 04-28-2017, 10:50 AM
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Hell enjoy succes while you can.

You are allot more diligent than I am I would be still trying to get the T56 to fit while you are out cruising.
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  #827  
Old 04-28-2017, 12:06 PM
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The problem is I are an engineer and it was fascinating to learn how that thing works. I still want the 6-speed, but if this fix sticks, I'll have more time to drive and sort out other stuff. I still haven't even got the car aligned!
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  #828  
Old 05-08-2017, 12:30 PM
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I had an interesting drive in the Nova the other day taking my son to baseball practice. On the way there the transmission seemed to be acting a little odd again like it was slipping in all gears. So when I arrived, I checked the fluid level and it was just barely registering on the dipstick. It must have burped some air out of the system, because I had just recently checked the level with it warmed up and it was showing full. I didn't have any fluid with me (lesson learned) and when we attempted to leave, the car did not want to go into gear; I had to rev the engine a little, at which point it did manage to shift into gear and got us home.

After I got home, I added a quart of fluid which now shows as overfull on the dipstick. Since then it's been shifting just fine; all forward gears when expected and it holds 3rd cruising above 45mph and on the highway. It even firmed up substantially. It's got me wondering how accurate my Lokar dipstick is and if perhaps fluid level has been contributing to my issues all along. I'm kicking myself for not putting a square across the pan mounting surface to see where it lined up on the dipstick while the pan was off.

I feel more confident about the transmission now, because I was able to put a few miles on the car. I loaded my family up and headed to a cruise night in Santa Paula (about 30min drive). I lived in Santa Paula during high school, when I first got this car, and I only took it to the cruise night once, over 15 years ago. It was really cool taking out there again and parking among a lot of much nicer classics. A lot of folks did a double take when they saw the LS engine in there. I forget that as common as these swaps seem to be with the folks I talk to online, the majority of the cars at the local cruises run classic carbureted engines.













You can see above this is a family affair. The kids love riding in "daddy's red car". My wife jumped out to take a photo as we left the cruise - too bad one of my parking lights is out!

After the cruise, I spent a little time installing a coolant recovery tank. This is a Mr. Gasket pn 9133 3"diameter 10" tall tank. It has tiny 1/4" diameter tube inlet/outlets while my radiator has a 3/8" overflow barb, so I will have to pickup some 5/16" tubing to split the difference and connect it. For now it's just mounted and ready.







Next I'll be scheduling some time at the exhaust shop to swap the Ultroflo VT mufflers for a pair of Super Turbos. The valves in the Ultroflow VT have been getting worse with use and they're now rattling like crazy at idle. Here is a video so you can hear what they sound like.

https://youtu.be/xly_lj2LCSE
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Last edited by TheBandit; 05-08-2017 at 12:45 PM.
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  #829  
Old 05-08-2017, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBandit View Post
I had an interesting drive in the Nova the other day taking my son to baseball practice. On the way there the transmission seemed to be acting a little odd again like it was slipping in all gears. So when I arrived, I checked the fluid level and it was just barely registering on the dipstick. It must have burped some air out of the system, because I had just recently checked the level with it warmed up and it was showing full. I didn't have any fluid with me (lesson learned) and when we attempted to leave, the car did not want to go into gear; I had to rev the engine a little, at which point it did manage to shift into gear and got us home.

After I got home, I added a quart of fluid which now shows as overfull on the dipstick. Since then it's been shifting just fine; all forward gears when expected and it holds 3rd cruising above 45mph and on the highway. It even firmed up substantially. It's got me wondering how accurate my Lokar dipstick is and if perhaps fluid level has been contributing to my issues all along. I'm kicking myself for not putting a square across the pan mounting surface to see where it lined up on the dipstick while the pan was off.

https://youtu.be/xly_lj2LCSE
Earlier when you made the comment about it being so low it wouldn't engage I thought to my self that is weird that it's on the razors edge of functioning when its only a half quart low.
I wish I would have said something now... Much life everything hot roding I hope that's all it is.
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  #830  
Old 05-08-2017, 01:38 PM
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Great to hear you had a chance to get it out for a shakedown run and spend time with the family doing so. Carry on.
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  #831  
Old 05-22-2017, 11:44 AM
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I decided I couldn't wait any longer to swap the mufflers. The valves in the Ultraflo VTs were rattling and clanging around like crazy at idle. From the beginning I was skeptical about these things, but I really liked the idea of a varex-like muffler that could be quieter at idle/cruise and wake up with throttle. Unfortunately the design had a fatal flaw and it seems Dynomax has since discontinued the muffler altogether.

Beyond the issues with the valve, the exhaust was very loud. I liked it, but I was also feeling guilty about disturbing neighbors. So I bought a pair of Super Turbos in the largest case I could fit. They are P/N 17992 3" offset/offset with a 16" case. While researching these I learned that the smaller 14" case versions neck down from 3" to 2.5" inside the muffler in order to fit into the case, but these larger 16" case versions are 3" throughout.

I took the car to Ken's Muffler in Oxnard. These guys were awesome - super friendly, fair pricing, and they really took their time fitting everything.





Here is what the exhaust looked like when I rolled in. I weldered it myself a few years ago using 3" mandrel bends that I cut up and spliced together. I had the Ultraflo VTs exiting directly in front of the axle. I planned to put some turndowns on there, but never got around to it.



It was great having the car up on a lift where I could walk around underneath and see everything. I swore when I finished the exhaust originally I would never lay under a car and tack exhaust together again. My back still hurts thinking about it!

The plan was to swap the mufflers, add 3" tailpipes, and add a crossover H-pipe (another thing I never got around to). Here is what they came up with:







Snaking 3" pipe through here is not easy. My shocks are relocated inboard of the frame and that made it especially hard to get the pipes through. I'm concerned it might be a little too close to the shocks. They've got maybe 1/2" of clearance. I'll try to climb under their sometime with an IR thermometer and see how hot it's getting.







I decided to have the tailpipes exit unobtrusively below the quarter panels just behind the tires. This is about where they exited from the factory. I much prefer the sound of turndowns because you can hear the exhaust note from all around the car and not just the back, but getting the exhaust away from the cabin is better for my health and quiets things further.





My first driving impressions were "this is weird". It's much much quieter. It doesn't sound like my car anymore. I hear all these weird sounds I never heard before like wind noise, the fuel pump, the tires rolling, squeaks, and other people talking. The exhaust still has a good note, but it's subdued. It's going to take some getting used to!
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  #832  
Old 05-22-2017, 12:04 PM
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The next job lingering on my "to do" list for months was bleeding the brakes. This was something I meant to do before driving the car at all because it sat for so long, but I got distracted by my "get the engine running" strategy and the subsequent excitement of having it on the road. I decided I could live with a mushy pedal for a while. Well when I finally got around to it, here's what I found the master cylinder:



This is DOT5 silicon brake fluid. I started using DOT5 years ago because it doesn't damage paint. The front fluid appears to have been contaminated. The rear was perfectly clear/clean. Full disclosure: the picture above was taken after I finished bleeding the rear brakes, so the level is low in the photo. I used a small cup to remove as much of the old fluid out of the front as I could, then I used a paper towel to soak up whatever remained in the reservoir before adding new fluid for bleeding the front.

Below is the setup I used for bleeding. I bought a checkvalve hose assembly from NAPA. It has a spring that acts as a hose clamp to keep it on the bleeder. I ran that to a cheap little one man bleeder bottle with a magnetic holder. This was my first time using a one man bleeder setup; in the past I have always just stuck a hose down into a jar and had a friend pump/hold the brakes while I open and close the bleeder valve. This one man setup worked well.



While I could technically go back and forth and check for bubbles in the hose, I made good use of my 6 year old to spot bubbles while I pumped the brakes and kept the reservoir topped off. He's always happy to help me on the car.



I pumped quite a bit of fluid through the front passenger side to flush out the nastiness, but when I started on the driver's side the hex rounded off on the bleeder screw (even though I used a six-point socket attempting to break it loose). I need to pick up a new screw today so I can finish the job. I can't wait to see how the brakes feel after this.
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  #833  
Old 05-22-2017, 08:41 PM
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That all looks good!

I doubt your exhaust will cause any issues with the shocks. That's the shaft end that it's closest to, and it doesn't really care how warm it gets...and the pipes shouldn't be that hot that far away from the engine.

Have you had any issues running DOT 5 brake fluid? I've always read that it's not really intended for automotive applications...not sure why, though.

I have no idea why brake bleeders are so prone to rounding...maybe they're soft or something? It always seems to happen at a really inopportune moment, too.
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  #834  
Old 05-23-2017, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham08 View Post
I doubt your exhaust will cause any issues with the shocks. That's the shaft end that it's closest to, and it doesn't really care how warm it gets.
Good point... SMH :embarassed:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham08 View Post
Have you had any issues running DOT 5 brake fluid? I've always read that it's not really intended for automotive applications...not sure why, though.
I flushed the system in 1999 and have been running DOT5 since that time. Somewhere around 2007 I replaced the original master cylinder. IIRC it started leaking at the rear seal - hard to say if that was caused by the fluid or just normal age/wear. I was thankful at least that all the fluid on the brake booster and frame did not corrode the paint . That's the main reason I switched.

I haven't done anything to the brakes other than consumables (pads, shoes, etc) since that time. This is the first I've seen the fluid contaminated like this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham08 View Post
I have no idea why brake bleeders are so prone to rounding...maybe they're soft or something? It always seems to happen at a really inopportune moment, too.
My guess is they are soft to help them seal, but I'm not sure. *EDIT* My bleeder woes aren't over yet. I installed a new bleeder screw last night and I couldn't get it to seal. I just about rounded the hex on it trying to snug it down so it would. Then I pulled it out and found a small gouge on the sealing surface. I ran a q-tip inside the port on the caliper and pulled out a little piece of grit that I think caused the skid mark. Then I put the new bleeder screw back in and it seemed to seal okay, so I took it for a drive. Pedal felt solid again, but when I got back there was little fluid on top of the bleeder indicating it didn't fully seal. So I guess I'll take it out again, q-tip inside again, and replace it again and hope for the best.
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Last edited by TheBandit; 05-23-2017 at 05:38 PM.
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  #835  
Old 05-23-2017, 11:34 AM
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Here are a couple videos of the new quiet exhaust
https://youtu.be/tHd9sJ4Y6zw

I've noticed when reving it does not want to snap back down to idle. It sort of floats back slowly. I don't know if that's something in the tune that can be adjusted. It doesn't matter so much when driving with the auto.

https://youtu.be/0Rq46NMBn7Y

Noise from the fuel pump is much more noticeable now and it gets louder as the fuel level goes down. I'm not too happy with it; it makes me want to do a PWM setup.
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Last edited by TheBandit; 05-23-2017 at 11:37 AM.
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  #836  
Old 05-24-2017, 03:01 PM
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This morning I took the car in for an alignment. I debated a while on what numbers to shoot for. I decided on targeting +5deg LF +5.5deg RF caster, -1deg camber and 1/8" toe in. Kevin's Precision Alignment in Camarillo was a great place to deal with and they got me within 0.1deg of those specs.







Afterwards I drove the car to work. It tracks well, but the steering box has a dead spot in the center. Eventually I want to replace or rebuild it to a tighter fast ratio. I'll admit the quiet exhaust is kinda nice for commuting



I'm registered to take the car autocrossing this weekend at Camarillo Airport. Hopefully I'll get a full day of racing in without any breaks or bugs. It'll be a learning experience! I can't wait.
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  #837  
Old 05-24-2017, 04:37 PM
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Good luck at the autocross.
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  #838  
Old 05-24-2017, 04:55 PM
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Good luck at the autocross.
Thanks! I am going to need it!
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  #839  
Old 05-25-2017, 09:38 AM
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Great progress!

Have fun at the autox!
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  #840  
Old 05-30-2017, 01:34 PM
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This Saturday I took the Nova autocross for the first time since the swap and only my second time doing this at all. What a riot! Since my last time doing this in 2009, I have the new engine, stiffer front springs and sway bar, more static caster and camber, a modified camber curve via the Guldstrand mod, and better shocks up front. Unfortunately I haven't done anything to the rear yet, so the car is horribly unbalanced. And my tires (10+years aged hard compound big & skinnies) were not helping either. That did not stop me from having SO MUCH FUN piloting this thing around the course! The bug has bit hard...

So here she is sticking out like a sore thumb on the grid full of Corvettes, Porches, Miatas and other comparably modern cars.









I love the stance of my car right now - classic muscle car with a little rake and a big/skinny combo showing plenty of sidewall on 15" wheels. This is 100% wrong for autocross!

Here are a few photos from on the course. In the photo immediately below notice how much the rear lifts under braking. You can really see the driver's rear tire unload in a sharp left. The car is putting it's weight on the front outside tire. Look at it fold under the rim! This causes the car to push really bad.



Over the course of the day I learned to throttle-steer the car. In the photo below the car has leveled out a bit front-to-rear as I began to throttle out of the corner.



Photo below shows the rear unloading thing from further way. You can see I'm asking way too much of those skinny 215s up front. I think stiffening up the back will help a ton so those back tires can do more work. It probably wouldn't hurt to lower the back of the car too.



In the next photo below I am braking hard to slow the car after the finish.



The day was a family affair. I invited my brother down and let him drive 3 of my 12 laps. I think he got the bug just as bad as I did. He's talking about bringing his Manx buggy next time.





My kids stopped by for a visit too. Here's my daughter gearing up for her turn in the car. Sorry kiddo - rules are you have to be able to see over the steering wheel before you can drive!



Unfortunately in all the prep for this event I forgot to clear the memory card for my GoPro! I was only able to capture a little footage from the very first run on it when I was getting a feel for the course and car. Here it is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQUMTftKcS8

My times were not great, but I did progressively improve from around 57.5sec on my first run down to a best of 50.0sec. Out of the 9 runs I ran, I spun on only one, but similar to the above video I lost it a few other times and had to recover.

The car did well mechanically. It didn't overheat and nothing broke. On one of the runs the transmission seemed to come out of gear momentarily and I found the transmission fluid was low on fluid again - just barely registering on the dipstick. I added a quart and it did fine after that. I am not sure where the fluid is going - it's not leaking anywhere so my only guess is the system is still burping air. The steering gear didn't make any noise and it felt like it was working right, but it does have a dead zone in the middle and it's horribly numb - I am getting just about no feedback through the wheel.

The experience shook up my priority list for what to do with the car next. I think number one is getting the rear suspension in order. I have a set of Hotchkis leafs for the back to help balance it out, but I also need to get shocks and a rear swaybar. Next the car needs better tires and probably larger wheels too, because there's almost no tire selection out there for 15s that would be sized right for the car. Finally I want a heavier and faster steering box. Then brake upgrades.
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