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Day 3540 “New Parking Spot”

I’ve been slowly getting the driveway reorganized. The carport is moved out of the way. So, this past week was the first week the car was able to sleep in the garage. It changes my morning routine up quite a bit.

I also have a 2 post lift coming this week. Once that is up, I will be doing some maintenance on all the vehicles first. Then, getting the truck ready for daily use. After that the car is getting a bunch of stuff finished. This summer is going to be a busy summer for OperationX.

Day 3577 “Clean and Airborne”

So a lot has been going on but nothing car related. Now COVID-19 is putting a damper on everything.

I took the opportunity to give the Camaro a wash. (I’m not lying, this is probably 1.5 years overdue.)

I’ve also since got the lift installed which is really nice. I can fix so much stuff without crawling around on the floor. I’m so close to being able to put some real wrench time on the Camaro. The end of April I’ll be done with my bachelors and will have more time that I can remember ever having to put into projects. The house is done. School is done. All I have are things I want to do. OperationX is back on the schedule!

I hope everyone reading stays safe and healthy during this time of crisis in the world. I had hoped that this year was going to be a good year considering I would be done with both classes and the house. I still have high ambitions, despite COVID-19. I expect that I will be making a lot of progress on the many things I had planned for this year. Lets see where this year takes us.

Day 3581 “Equipment Testing and Wiring Nightmare”

None of my installed equipment, other than the more recent things, has been powered on since more than a year ago. First is to figure out all the wiring I’ve added over the years and then power up everything. Its a bit overwhelming. Once I got in there I remembered a lot. It also helps that I made a wiring diagram of a lot of it.

I had to start modifying things to be direct wired. I tried alternative power sources and this was the only one that worked. So I got to hacking.

Not prettiest thing I’ve made, probably not the worst either.

I added more wiring to the already massive amount above the windshield. There is only a phone charger, mirror power, mirror camera wire, and factory wires shown here. They just add up.

The pillar is going to be pain. I’ll have to do something to enlarge the space. It doesn’t fit anymore.

Then on to the, probably over complicated, relay stack that controls all my Push Button start, auto-locking, Immobilizer, and the power relays for accessories. This is where the diagram was my savior. I’m so happy past me didn’t get lazy on this.

Here, I’ve made a short clip of the start up inside the car. Lots of stuff going on. The image is a large GIF file. I don’t know how well it will show here. Give it time to load.

The other thing I’ve started is the console. I have to start fabricating in order to fit the required electronics.

This is most of the stuff that has to fit.

I mocked up the dimensions related to the car so I can start fab-ing brackets and a console frame. This also is based on how comfortable it is to drive. There will be many parts to this console for various functions. But rest assured, it will have a functional cup holder.

I have a bit more work to do before I see any head way. There is more equipment tests I have to run on stereo, push button start, auto-locks, and the immobilizer system. hopefully that will get hashed out this next weekend.

Day 3597 “At first I hated the look… I still do”

I’m moving on to a few things that are in my way to clean up the area for the new console frame. The main thing is the HVAC controls. I didn’t know if I could relocate them to somewhere else and it fit my clean look. I tried and I hate it so much that I jumped on plan B immediately. I wanted to do “Plan B” to begin with but My programming skills are mediocre at best. I thought I would could mount them somewhere to have time to work on the “Plan B”

First Task is getting the controls mounted to something I can use instead of the factory controls.

I 3d modeled all the mounting points and 3d printed a prototype plate.

first prototype works well.

Now making the factory harness long enough to reach where I need it to. ( a lot of people have reloated the HVAC controls to the glove box, this was not new territory)

I temporarily mounted it next to the radio just to compare the size needed to fit the controls around my other stuff. It looks so annoying. It makes everything look crap to me.

I immediately got on I got amazon and ordered these. I’m going to mount the controls in the dash hidden and use stepper motors to turn the knobs for me. The challenge is how do I tell the motors where to go. I have 2 ideas.

#1 I could make buttons that are simple to make and mount. They would signal a Rasp Pi or Arduino to move the steppers to where I want it. Or #2 a cooler idea would be to make an app that installed on the Tablet to be my HVAC controls. #1 I know I can do and it may make things much easier for me, but #2 is just worth a try.

Day 3706 “Slow and Steady… nope, Steady is on back-order”

I haven’t posted in a while, however that isn’t because I haven’t been working on stuff for the camaro. In the last post I relocated my HVAC controls and I ordered stepper motors to replace the knobs to control it remotely.

The motors are in. I did a test on how to operate them with my Raspberry Pi 3. They spin but I still have to develop some way to index the turning with values. More work is needed.

I’ve been changing a few things on the camera mirror. I upgraded to a wider version and mounted the camera to the back glass. I like this location since it raises the camera to be able to see the car. This helps the depth perception since its a fish eye lens.

I also made a purchase that I’ve been holding off on since I didn’t need it yet. I was concerned that I would wait too long and it wouldn’t be available anymore. So, I decided to jump on buying it. Here is a conversion plate for a T56 to bolt to a 3.8. Its made in Australia by Malwood, so It took a minute to get here. It currently sits on the parts pile for when I grenade my T5 or just find a good deal on a T56.

I purchased a new 3d printer (Ender 3 v2) since my old one was failing to complete prints due to some hardware issues. I plan to print dash /console parts on this. I want to build a large format printer, however I’m not ready yet. The old printer can donate its life (and guts) to be reborn as part of a custom large format printer.

And finally, where most of my effort the past couple months have gone. The shop floor has finally been coated. I needed to insulate the ceiling beforehand so I didn’t have to get a lift on a brand new floor. We had a few hiccups, but its now done and looks great! it looks so clean I don’t even want to drive on it lol.

Next steps in the shop are getting everything back in the main part of the shop. My soon to be paint booth is just a mess. It needs to be empty so I can start working on that. My paint job I did back a few years ago need attention. The list never gets smaller.

Next steps on the car, however, is to finish the HVAC relocation remote contol, and getting back on the console/wiring. I need get the loose ends on the truck tied so it can be my daily for a while. I can then focus on the car for a bit without having to put it together well enough to drive it every Monday lol.

Day 3904 “Quick Update”

The Blog hasn’t been getting a lot of attention lately but the car doesn’t like that so it breaks and I have to fix it. But with the weather getting warmer and the shop back to a functional space I can park the car and start tearing it apart this year. I just have to get a few things lined up.

First thing is my Backup Daily had a mishaps. I don’t know if how much its going to take to repair. Currently I know the A arms in the front are bent and door and fender need to be replaced. I’m not going to put a lot of time into making it look good. I just want to get more use out of the motor in it which has less than 100k on it. I may swap it into a s10 roller. I’m still undecided on what route to take. I will need a daily while I take apart the Camaro.

As for the Camaro, its fine but apparently gets emotional when I don’t give it attention. I needed to do some electrical maintenance on the Battery cables. The voltage was running low for a while but I didn’t look into it very closely until it quit charging on me during the snow storms and nearly left me on the side of the road. “OK, I get it. You want attention. I can take a hint.”

The Alternator cable has gotten very hot and ruined the plating. I figure it was a bad ground to the block or something. I cut off the bad parts and replaced the end.

I also improved all the grounds and cleaned up a good bit of corrosion on the battery terminals themselves.

It’s all buttoned back up and now charging at 13.8 again. 😀

And finally, Something to enjoy while I’m doing major surgery on the Camaro. I’ve had it about 5 months now and its makes parking the car for extended periods of time a lot easier. I commute on it everyday it isn’t raining 😀

Welcome the newest member of the family. The 99 Honda CBR919RR.

Day 4857 “Breaking the Silence”

Well, Its been something like two and half years since I’ve posted anything. I’ve been sorting out life stuff since. Today is Day 4857. Yes, this started in June of 2010. It seems like it wasn’t that long ago but I have a 12 year old that says different. I’ve had a counter widget on my phone for at least 7 or 8 years that tells what the day is starting from June 18th 2010. 🙂

First, I fixed the daily driver problem with another s10 pickup. I’m still going to find a roller to swap the engine from Red over to and have a beater truck as well…. hopefully.

The CBR has been a nice vacation from the Camaro. Between the s10 and the CBR I hardly drive the Camaro, which was the point I guess. But I really haven’t done anything to the Camaro just because its been low on the priority list. I also got a touring bike for me and the wife, which also took time and money away from the Camaro of course.

Now, all that is behind us and I feel like its finally time to start checking some Camaro projects off the list. I’ve made some changes in the direction of some of the projects. This is because its not a daily driver anymore. Some of the features I was integrating no longer make sense.

First, and maybe the biggest change, is that I’m no longer using the tablet in the dash. It was going to take a lot of blending and 3d printed parts to make it look right and lots of programing to remote control the HVAC controls. In the end, it is a nice to have with a lot of headaches. So I bought replacement panels to restore the dash to factory-ish. The function of the tablet was primarily to show computer data which I’m going to do another way that is a little easier to accomplish and less chopping away at the dash.

There was some maintenance required as well. It’s still not completely fixed but oil seems to be leaking from several places. I had to replace the balancer and front main seal. As you can see there was 300k miles worth of groove in the balancer. That fixed probably 50% of the leaking, but I haven’t driven it too much to check more.

It was leaking from Front Cover bolts as well. I had to tighten several bolts all over the car.

The next task was to tackle this wad of mess. This was the wiring I used to add the Immobilizer, Push button start, Power locks, etc. It wasn’t setup to be very space saving but I had a plan.

I built a base for the custom console that I want to build to house this stuff.

I then recreated the wire mess in a little more manageable method, with wires labeled and a new wiring schematic to go by.

This was only to realize it still needed to be smaller to fit in this tiny space between the seats. So, getting smaller micro relays and sockets seem to be small enough and the mid range amp might fit up front. Hopefully the fuses will fit as well. Next is to mount the arm rest at the correct height and hopefully everything still looks good and fits.

One issue I ran into is when I put the Camaro on the lift I have to loosen the rear wheels because these C5 rims stick in a little too much and the rub the bump stops on the frame when its in the air. It’s enough that I think it would pop a tire being on a sheet metal edge. I decided to put a .5″ spacer on the rear. But that required me to put in longer wheel studs since they wouldn’t even catch with a .5″ spacer on the factory studs. The wheel stud installer made quick work of it. I only had to grind a little gap on the rear end to allow longer studs to be inserted without pulling the axles.

The rotors look terrible but that’s for another day.

I still had to grind a little material off, but afterwards there is no clearance issue.

The rear sits out a little bit more but not really enough to notice. It would have been fine if it was more, but I just wanted to be able to raise the car and it not tear up tires. The studs are long enough to swap to 1″ spacer if I wanted to in the future.



There is more to come. My goal is to get some projects finished before starting the supercharger. I’m sure that project itself will take some time and I don’t want there to be unfinished stuff in the way. I’ve got a pretty good handle on what I’m going to be working on before the supercharger.

Here is the summary of what I’ve planned for the Camaro:
1. Wiring and building the custom console
2. Put the interior back together (dash pad included)
3. Finish the hidden subwoofer box in the spare tire area.
4. Add an android head unit to replace the tablet (I don’t use SXM any more so this is now a possibility)
5. Fix the power windows (motors are weak or the whole system needs to be replaced)
6. Enjoy it being together for a brief moment. Then Supercharger
7. Redesign the headlights with 3d printing (currently sheet metal)
8. Setup a new Rear view mirror (digital)
9. New exhaust depending on how the supercharger sounds
10. Maybe some new wheels
11. T56 Swap (when the T5 eventually grenades)
12. By then someone might be making new seat cushions replacements (you’d think this would already be in reproduction after 20 years but no one does.
13. Then maybe a custom seat covers
14. After blowing up the motor, converting to EV (might be silly but its different, and that is all I wanted it to be)
15. If I go to car shows frequently enough I’ll do the “All LED” project where I fabricate LED panels to replace any blinkers or taillight to addressable LED and make them to car show patterns and stuff. (these last 2 are just thoughts but if I run out of things to do I want to still have something.)

I figure that I can get to the supercharger pretty quick. I hoping by spring. I don’t expect to get much done during the holidays but you never know.

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