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Brunton Stalker XL #22 Build


toedrag

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Order placed: Mar 2014

Picked up from the freight company: Aug 2014

 

Brunton Options:

  • T-Bar roll cage w/side bars
  • Class 1 hitch receiver
  • Classic Body
  • Hard Top
  • Aluminum Gaz shocks

 

Personal options/plans for the build:

  • GMPP LS3 (430 hp) w/a T-56 Magnum close ratio trans, mated with an LSD w/3.73 final drive. GMPP ECM.
  • Minimalist dash design
  • Seats: Momo Supercup, driver's side on double-locking sliders. Will try to have both 3-pt belts & 6-pt harness.
  • Fiberglass Color: TBD
  • Chassis color: Black, powdercoat
  • Manual Steering

------------------------------------------

Lessons Learned throughout the build

 

I'm adding these notes as I go

 

Most used tools

  • Hand tools: sockets & socket wrench, box-end ratchet wrenches, vise grips/lockjaw pliers, bench vise, mini-sledge/dead blow hammer, regular hammer, angle finder/T-bevel, torque wrenches
  • Power tools: Angle grinder, belt sander, right angle drill, right angle drill attachment (for really close quarters drilling)

 

Tools purchased (or borrowed)

 

  • Cleco pliers & clecos
    • For temporarily attaching various pieces together, like body panels to the frame
    • Qty 50 clecos has worked well for me

     

    [*]Brake line flaring kit

    • I needed this because I routed my brake lines slightly differently than the standard Brunton method due to relocating the rear proportioning valve to be under the hood, adjacent to the brake booster, vs inside the tunnel.
    • I went through two Harbor Freight flaring kits. The wingnut ears broke on both, and the jaws holding the tube weren't square to the tool, which resulted in skewed flares. I ended up using the Autozone loaner kit.

     

    [*]Taps

    • 1/4-28, for remote mounting the clutch reservoir
    • 3/8-24, for rear brake line tee-fitting
    • 1/8 NPT, for chasing threads in the brake proportioning valve after one of my npt fittings tried to damage it.
    • 3/8 NPT, for a port out of the water pump
    • 1/2 NPT, for a port out of the water pump
    • M6-1.0, for whatever reason, my engine had un-tapped bolt holes for the plastic flywheel covers

     

    [*]Engine hoist, 2-ton would be better if you're keeping your chassis up high on a build table when installing the drivetrain. If the chassis is down low, a 1-ton hoist is sufficient

    [*]Engine stand

    [*]3/32's punch for removing the roll pin in the pressure line of the clutch slave cylinder. My local HW store had a set of 3 punches (1/16, 3/32, 1/8) for $8

    [*]Magnetic jaws for a bench vice used for assembling AN hose ends

 

 

Musings on the Stalker hardware kit & bolts in general

Most of the bolts in the Stalker hardware kit are used for suspension joints, which are mostly loaded in shear. There are very few bolts loaded in tension. The kit I received was comprised of Grade 8 hardware from Fastenal. I ended up replacing 95% of the included hardware with AN hardware because of the increased shank/grip length AN hardware provides. Plus, where the bolts are used as pivot points, I like knowing that the smooth shank of the bolt is the pivot and not the threads. AN washers are also available in both 1/16" thickness & 1/32" thickness, and the 1/32" ones are useful for shimming various gaps between the heim joints & cone spacers.

 

Having said this, I readily admit that this is more of a 'best practice' and may not have any real improvement over the provided bolts in the kit, given this application. The difference in shear strength between Grade 8 & AN bolts is probably a 'don't care' since the car isn't likely to see shear forces high enough to matter unless it's an accident. I guess in the end, it's probably more personal preference and potentially wasted cost, but I think I'll sleep better at night. Replacing the bolts was only about $150 total.

 

On the other hand, if you want some weight savings, use a half-height AN nut (AN364 type) and either trim the excess threads off the standard AN bolt, or use NAS bolts, which designed to be used with half-height nuts and are uber expensive since I think they originate in the UK, as in $5-$12 per bolt.

 

GM Bolts you may need to purchase.
At the time of my build, these weren't called out in the Brunton provided shopping list, but they are mentioned in the build videos. My local GM dealer had reasonable prices for the bolts. Do your own research, but these should generally all be grade 10.9:

  • Transmission to Bellhousing: Qty 7, M10-1.5x40, GM 12523235

  • Bellhousing to Engine Block: Qty 6, M10-1.5x40, GM 12523235, and Qty 2, same thread specs, but you'll need an Allen Head/aka Socket Head bolt & a washer (not sure of GM p/n for these 2)

  • Slave Cylinder to Transmission: Qty 2, M6-1.0x25mm

  • Clutch Pressure Plate to Flywheel, Qty 6, GM 12561465, M10-1.5x25 - The GM bolts have a smaller flange than a regular hex head bolt. You can't use a regular hex head bolt here, but an Allen/Socket head bolt can work.

  • Flywheel to crankshaft: Qty 6, GM 11569956, M11X1.5X23.5 with thread sealer. Many people re-use the bolts that were holding on the previous flex plate or flywheel, but I chose to buy new bolts from GM.

  • Plastic covers between the block & bellhousing, aka flywheel inspection covers: Qty 2 (one bolt for each of the 2 covers), GM 92138771, M6-1.0x17

  • Starter: Qty 2, M10-1.5x120, GM 11610787

 

Where I deviated from the Stalker design:

  • Manual Steering system: I used a lower steering shaft that is a 3/4" double-D telescoping shaft. The upper shaft is a 3/4"-48 spline hollow shaft. The quick release steering hub is also a splined type.
  • AN hardware for suspension
  • Mount the throttle linkage connecting rod higher on the GM pedal. Reinforce the mounting points for the GM pedal mounting base and Brunton throttle linkage bracket
  • Per Spec's instructions for installing the slave cylinder in the transmission, when I calculated the distance between the pressure plate fingers and the throw out bearing, it was within the 0.175" to 0.225" range, so I didn't install the 1/8" thick shim.
  • Fuel System
    • I chose to use a 100 micron pre-pump inline filter and a 1 micron post-pump canister filter, instead of a single 40 micron filter with 1 sq in of filter media
    • The pump mounts under the passenger side half-shaft, instead of on the side of the tank hanging down almost below the bottom of the car
    • The 1 micron post-pump filter mounts to a frame tube behind the passenger seat. The current Stalker design doesn't call for a post-pump filter.
    • Aluminum fittings, instead of a mix of brass, steel, and aluminum that's found in the optional Brunton fuel line kit. I ended up not using any of the Brunton Fuel Line kit...wish I could have that $200 back.
    • RaceFlux fuel line hose & RaceFlux AN hose ends, instead of stainless steel hoses & hose ends from the Brunton Fuel line kit. I had originally planned on using Aeroquip Startlite hose for the fuel lines, but as it turns out, Startlite is a poor choice for fuel, but I do use it elsewhere (google it).

     

    [*]Cooling system

    • The deviation here was only caused by the use of the Mark Scott radiator, instead of the custom sandwich radiator that Brunton had been using in prior builds. I tried to order it from them, and Brunton redirected me to Mark Scott.
    • The steam vent connections are all meant to be 1/4 ID hose
    • The overflow connections (that runs from the surge tank to the overflow tank) are meant to be 3/8 ID hose
    • Aeroquip Startlite hose & RaceFlux AN hose ends

     

    [*]PCV System

    • Brunton advocates removing the PCV system, but I'm not comfortable with that based on my application/usage of the car. If you're interested in the Pro's & Con's, spend some time on ls1tech.
    • I used two Elite Engineering catch cans (first generation, not the larger E2 cans) and the "hockey stick" bracket from Elite Engineering. One can is on the clean side of the PCV system, i.e. where clean air enters the system, and another can is on the dirty side of the PCV system, i.e. where the dirty air exits the valley cover. 3/8" hose connects everything together.

     

    [*]Brake System

    • Mounted rear brake proportioning valve under the hood near the booster
    • Used a check valve in the vacuum line between the booster & intake manifold
    • Added Parking Brake

     

 

End of Lessons Learned

------------------------------------------

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is my first automotive build of such scale. My application is street & non-competitive twisty track.

 

The full album is here: http://www471.pair.com/stalkerv/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=25321&g2_highlightId=26671

 

I've also set up a camera mount in the garage and will be taking a picture at the end of each build day, which should net a nice timelapse movie later on. The daily album is here: http://www471.pair.com/stalkerv/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=26793

 

Picking it up from the freight company. Yes, the crate saw some trauma, and the plywood end panel is missing from the crate. I have to file a damage claim for a small crack in the fiberglass on the rear body panel; we noted it on the paperwork before taking delivery. It'll be less than $200 to fix.

http://www471.pair.com/stalkerv/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=26672&g2_serialNumber=4

 

One of my two helpers:

http://www471.pair.com/stalkerv/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=26685&g2_serialNumber=3

 

Unpacking

http://www471.pair.com/stalkerv/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=26689&g2_serialNumber=3

 

Body panels strung up on the ceiling. Other body panels are scattered about the upper parts of the garage:

http://www471.pair.com/stalkerv/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=26693&g2_serialNumber=5

Edited by toedrag
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Posted Images

My Build Table:

http://www471.pair.com/stalkerv/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=26651&g2_serialNumber=2

 

Floor Panels fitted:

http://www471.pair.com/stalkerv/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=26774&g2_serialNumber=2

 

Seat Back, Hip Panels fitted. Starting Tunnel:

http://www471.pair.com/stalkerv/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=26791&g2_serialNumber=2

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Had some good garage time over the weekend:

 

 

Front & Rear tunnel completed (mostly). I'm not sure yet if I'll put screws on top of the rear tunnel piece...The tunnel fits really nicely under the seat back panel. I also tweaked the seat back panel at the top edge by putting a slight bend in it so that it sits flat against the frame.

 

http://www471.pair.com/stalkerv/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=26949&g2_serialNumber=2

 

 

 

 

To locate the position for the firewall mount bearing in the driver's side footwell panel, I ran a string line along the longitudinal center of the car and referenced the steering shaft to that string line.

http://www471.pair.com/stalkerv/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=26943&g2_serialNumber=3

 

 

 

 

 

The result was that the center hole of the bearing needed to be about 1/4" inward, toward the longitudinal center line of the car, from where the pre-drilled (by Stalker) hole was located in the welded mounting tab, which is why the bearing isn't perfectly plumb/vertical as seen below:

http://www471.pair.com/stalkerv/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=26945&g2_serialNumber=4

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toe drag,

 

Make your tunnel cover removable . . . . You'll thank me later down the road. :)

 

I ended doing a slight frame mod on #85 for steering shaft position:

 

http://www471.pair.com/stalkerv/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=6981

 

Since you already drilled all the mounting holes and made it one piece, you need to get the tunnel top sheered now when you split it. Otherwise you will have a gap the width of your cutting blade....or hide it in another way if it even bothers you. I stopped myself at this point following the video and realized it wouldn't work without a gap the described way. In asking Brunton, they said they don't have that issue because they sheer it.

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Since you already drilled all the mounting holes and made it one piece, you need to get the tunnel top sheered now when you split it. Otherwise you will have a gap the width of your cutting blade....or hide it in another way if it even bothers you. I stopped myself at this point following the video and realized it wouldn't work without a gap the described way. In asking Brunton, they said they don't have that issue because they sheer it.

 

Makes sense, thx.

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Good reminder...I think Scott covers how to make a little access panel in the front tunnel cover by making a cut along the line where the dash meets the tunnel cover. Or, did you mean the rear tunnel cover?

 

On the steering shaft bit, I've been studying your gallery pics for a while now :) Yours was the inspiration for using the telescoping lower shaft.

 

toedrag,

 

The top cover of my tunnel is removable as well as the lower section of the dash . . . and . . . the tunnel cover underneath 'that' section of dash. Down the road, you may find yourself in a position where you need 'relatively' easy access to things such as the drive shaft, the drive shaft safety loop/bar/retainer, shifter, wiring, fuel line, etc.:

 

Note the wiring and fuel liine runnning just underneath the tunnel cover:

 

http://www471.pair.com/stalkerv/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=23579

 

Drive shaft accessed and drive shaft safety bars (safety loop) removed:

 

http://www471.pair.com/stalkerv/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=24447

 

Drive shaft safety bars installed:

 

http://www471.pair.com/stalkerv/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=24459

 

Shifter and forward-tunnel access:

 

http://www471.pair.com/stalkerv/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=21280

 

. . . . . . :smash:

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The latest cars have a one piece tunnel cover between the seats now. Bent U shape. It is still removable of course, but you would likely have to pull the seats to reach the bottom screws. It looks cleaner and has a smooth round edge, but won't be as fast to see the driveshaft. Tradeoffs......

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Well, I fitted the dash, scuttle, & firewall shelf over the last 2 days. My list of 'XL build variations/corrections' to the build videos is growing. Most of my notes are inconsequential, but the one I found today will cause me a teeny bit of extra work. You see, the build videos have you cut the front-most edge of the tunnel top cover near the back edge of a frame tube so that it doesn't interfere with the firewall shelf. However, on the XL, the firewall shelf sits about 2" forward of the frame tube, so it creates a little rectangular gap, about 2" x ". I'll take pictures later tonight, and it'll make more sense. In hindsight on the XL, it's probably best to just not trim the front edge of the tunnel top until the firewall shelf has been fitted. The fix will just be a piece of scrap aluminum, of which I have plenty. It's a minor nitpick I realize.

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Dash fitted

http://www471.pair.com/stalkerv/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=26970&g2_serialNumber=3

 

Scuttle & Firewall Shelf. [EDIT:]In hindsight, BEFORE cutting the firewall panel, I recommend test fitting the hood without the firewall panel in place. This will allow you check the profile of the hood & scuttle. In my case the hood edge was a little taller than the scuttle, and I only realized in mid November that I could actually raise the scuttle lip up about 1/8-1/4" to mate with the hood. (You do that by putting clecos on each side of the scuttle and use a piece of wood or other shim to raise the edge that faces the firewall panel) This means that you'd need to cut the firewall shelf a little taller than you would have otherwise, in order for there to be enough aluminum to add screws to attach the scuttle to the firewall panel. Point being, don't cut the firewall panel too short so that you don't have any aluminum behind the scuttle lip if you end up needing to raise the scuttle a bit. [END EDIT]

http://www471.pair.com/stalkerv/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=26972&g2_serialNumber=3

 

With the Scuttle removed, here is the top view looking down at the gap between the Firewall Shelf & Tunnel top

http://www471.pair.com/stalkerv/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=26978&g2_serialNumber=4

 

As you can see in the above picture, the Firewall Shelf sits ~2" in front of the crossmember. I've already made a fill-in panel, and it will attach to both the existing tunnel top & the cross member, and it goes under the firewall by about 1/16". I may leave it, or I may ask the Stalker boys to send me another tunnel top panel and I'll re-do it. It's hidden, so it's not high on my priority list...Maybe for version 1.1.

Edited by toedrag
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I just did mine tonight. I am right with you. The videos are quite a bit out of date for the XL they have now. I took a bunch of pictures of the one they were building when I was there which helped. I am also asking them a ton of questions to make sure I don't screw up. I am currently waiting for some answers about the steering parts which also does not match the video any more since.

I was told about leaving this long when I was asking a bunch of questions, so luckily I did not cut it like the video.

 

http://www.usa7s.net/vb/attachment.php?attachmentid=6823&d=1408679054

 

And here is a picture of theirs. I cut that little notch out though instead of leaving it hang over the square tube like they did. Doesn't matter either way though.

20140809_205419.jpg

Edited by jevs
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Scuttle meets the side panel on the driver's side:

http://www471.pair.com/stalkerv/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=26974&g2_serialNumber=3

 

Scuttle meets the side panel on the passenger's side:

http://www471.pair.com/stalkerv/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=26976&g2_serialNumber=3

 

 

Finished for the day:

http://www471.pair.com/stalkerv/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=26968&g2_serialNumber=3

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That's because you did not get power steering :). They might not have sold one without it before you?

 

See pic in my previous post. I guess I got lucky, I talked myself into the power steering.

Edited by jevs
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I just did mine tonight. I am right with you. The videos are quite a bit out of date for the XL they have now. I took a bunch of pictures of the one they were building when I was there which helped. I am also asking them a ton of questions to make sure I don't screw up. I am currently waiting for some answers about the steering parts which also does not match the video any more since.

I was told about leaving this long when I was asking a bunch of questions, so luckily I did not cut it like the video.

 

[/url]http://www.usa7s.net/vb/attachment.php?attachmentid=6823&d=1408679054

 

And here is a picture of theirs. I cut that little notch out though instead of leaving it hang over the square tube like they did. Doesn't matter either way though.

 

Too funny; I just saw your pictures and noticed that you did it correctly, which made me start wondering what I missed. I literally just pulled up the video again to see if there was some sort of clarification at the end of the video, like Scott saying, "oh, and on the XL, leave this long" in the last 3 seconds. No biggy. Although, it does make me wonder about other differences that I/we haven't discovered yet...

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I have a lot of pictures if you have a question I can look for you.

 

I don't have a scuttle and have to order some steering parts for the next step. Not sure what I will do next. Just figuring out and ordering all the parts can be time consuming.

 

My scuttle is on the side of the highway somewhere in Florida.... :(. It was not fastened to anything under the plastic wrap and when the plastic whipped away (didn't take long), that part was gone at my next rest stop.

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