Welcome to my latest project, the Spartan V8 prototype roadster.

Take a look around, and feel free to leave a comment!

What is it?
The Spartan V8 is a type of high performance car called an "exoskeleton" car, exoskeleton referring to the framework of the car which is both visible and aesthetic by design. It is being designed entirely from scratch, by me alone (constructed and tested entirely in SolidWorks). I'm about a year into the design; from initial idea, to working concept, to full 3d virtual model. Once I have the remainder of the crucial components (engine, transmission, suspension, etc) modeled accurately in 3D, I'll be able to finalize the design and begin construction.

What would it be like to drive?
Something like this.
The metallic click of a switch engages the ignition and fuel pump with a hum. You engage the clutch and push the starter button.. the V8 engine thrashes and bursts to life with a snarl, sending shivers through the frame, and straight up your spine. The shifter in your right hand snicks into gear, and you ease out the clutch and apply the throttle.. by the time you fully release the clutch, its already time to shift into second. As you shift to 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th, the sheer acceleration nails you to your seat, the exhaust roars to either side of you, the intake growls in front of you, the big 305 series tires shriek in protest as they claw at the pavement, the wind whips past your head and body, and you are catapulted to speed more rapidly than you thought possible.
A stab at the brakes invites the race compound pads to bite into four oversized vented rotors, rapidly bringing you to a screeching halt.. brutally throwing you forward against the belts of your 5 point harness, threatening to eject you from the cockpit as you slow back to a stop. Your pulse is racing, your breathing is quickened, and the back of your neck is tingling. Savage and raw, the Spartan V8 isn't just quick. It is downright terrifying.

More akin to riding something wild, overpowered, and foaming at the mouth than just driving a car. It roars, it screams, it snarls. It thrums with power lurking just under its thin skin, daring you to mash that accelerator to the floor, and chase down something exotic..

Why design and build your own car?
Why not? It will be fun to design, build, and drive. It will be a learning experience like no other. Also, because of it's tremendous power to weight ratio, the Spartan will be a veritable supercar - more than able to hold its own on the road or racetrack against other street cars costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Check back whenever you like, as I'll be adding updates frequently.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Chassis Wiring

Parts are ordered to begin building a fuse block and relay assembly that will support the PCM and supply power to the various electrical loads.  Fortunately, on a vehicle such as this, not many circuits are required.  Lights, horn, cooling fan, fuel pump... and that is about it.

I'm building my own system based on Brendan's fuse block/relay assembly found here

The reason for building my own is mostly to eliminate extra circuits and complication, as the factory fuseblock is large and has too many circuits.  By building it myself, if there is ever a problem, I'll know exactly where and what to look for to troubleshoot.

Lots of credit goes to Brendan's website, http://www.lt1swap.com

Friday, November 27, 2009

Engine Wiring

The engine wiring is going well thus far, but I still need a few connectors to be able to complete it.  The engine looks considerably different with the intake flipped 180*, you can see the MAP sensor hanging out of the front of the intake now.  As I add more wiring, I'm taping the wires into bundles, which will then get taped up and loomed.  So far, most of the wiring is near invisible, which is in stark contrast to the unsightly truck engine harness spaghetti that used to sit right on top of the intake.  As can be seen in the last picture, there is a bit left to tidy up.
Much credit goes to "Pocket" and his wire harness writeup here http://www.thirdgen.org/techboard/ltx-lsx/544768-ls1-harness-start-finish.html

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Fuel Injector Plugs

Since I'm running an LS1 intake, fuel rails, and injectors, my truck engine wiring harness injector connectors will not fit the LS1 injectors.  The fix for this is to either use adaptors, or cut the truck connectors off and splice in LS1 connectors - obviously I've opted for the splicing.  Making the splices is easy, but as these connections will be out under the hood and exposed to the weather, I'm trying to take special care that they are well sealed.  I twist the wires together, inline, and then solder them.  After that I add a fair amount of silicone in the joined area, then slide the heat shrink tubing over the silicone and soldered joint.  Heat the tubing to shrink it, and wipe up the excess silicone that gets squeezed out.  It is my hope that this will ensure a good, lasting electrical connection.  Note that I've used diagrams from AllData to ensure that I connected the wires correctly to each injector plug.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Truck Engine Harness

Received my engine harness and have begun to label all the connections.  This is the truck harness, which will be modified to work with the mixture of car and truck components on the Spartan's engine.  Alternatively, I may still switch to an actual LS1 harness, which would involve slightly fewer modifications.  Either way, there's a fair amount to be untangled..

I've made the leap to just redoing my current truck harness, repositioning the connectors and wires to suit the positioning of my engine and computer.  I depinned the PCM connectors and labeled each wire's position.  Next is stripping down the entire harness down to individual wires.  The connectors are all already labeled, so at that point I'll be able to remove the portions of the harness that I won't be using.

Each connector was separated out of the harness and coiled up.  Next I'll be eliminating any of the wiring that I can.  The pile in the upper left corner has already been eliminated.  I won't be needing any of the drive by wire, automatic transmission, four wheel drive, or air conditioning wiring.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Rear Suspension

This is the rear suspension from my donor car, modeled in SolidWorks as a working assembly. 

Front Suspension

I figured I'd add in some of my older models showing my work with modeling the suspension from my donor car.  This is the front suspension, including the rack and pinion, upper and lower A-arms, upright, hub, rotor, coilover shock and spring, and associated framework.

Monday, November 9, 2009

C5 Oil Pan modeled for fitment

Added the C5 Corvette oil pan to the engine model.  There are only a few missing items yet; exhaust manifolds (need to be redrawn), engine mounts, and starter.  Once these items are all modeled, engine fitment into the tubular frame can be verified and adjusted where needed.

(added ac delco filter :)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

More additions to the engine..

Water pump and serpentine belt added tonight.  Notice the missing idler/tensioner pulleys where the belt curves around thin air.  I need to get measurements for the exhaust manifolds and redraw them next...  Should be seeing a C5 corvette oil pan in the mail sometime in the next week or so - at that point I can get rid of my generic LSx pan and draw the actual C5 pan.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Water pump added, continuing to finish up the accessories on the engine..

Corrected a few dimensions, added some texture to the alternator, and started roughing in the water pump.  It's important to note here that the whole engine model is just a rough dimensional model - not really meant to look aesthetically correct, just as good as it needs to.  The whole purpose in drawing the engine is just for a sort of virtual test fit between the motor, transmission, and frame.  This will ensure adequate clearances, precise positioning and motor mount design.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Roughing in the accessories in SolidWorks

Beginning to rough in the alternator and power steering pump into the engine model.  I'm taking special care to ensure that the spacing off the motor is correct in all three directions, as a minor mistake at this point means that there may be a frame tube in the same spot that a part of the motor needs to be.

Engine Accessories

Added the power steering pump, alternator, and their associated brackets.  These accessories will then be added to the 3d SolidWorks model.  Once that model is complete, I'll be able to accurately design the engine bay framework around it.