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Donovans Rio Red 94 GT Convertible Build

38768 Views 182 Replies 25 Participants Last post by  Donovan
After a few suggestions to make my own thread on my car I decided to put something together.

The back story on this car was that it was bought in 98 from an older lady in the portland area. It had 12k and was hardly driven. I was looking at 95 cobra convertables, but I could justify the extra 7k since I was just going to start chopping away at it as soon as I got it in my garage. Over the following 5 years I ended up installing the full Saleen body kit, put a R-4 blocked N/A 347 stroker in it plus a bunch of other stuff. Then due to some other projects this thing got back burnered. It basically sat (in working condition) until the spring of 09. Here is what it looked like at that point:

Original 347 build from 01'

Here is one of the problems that I had that made me start the rebuild/update. Fel-Pro paper gaskets don't seem to hold up for long.

My new goal was to fix some of the problems the car had with the charging system, fuel system, cooling system and some minor other bugs. Of course the right thing to do was start with a Aeromotive / Glens performance fuel system and some new gaskets. Well that led into a blower and now a turbo. Keep in mind that it hasnt been ran at all. I just keep changing my mind about what I want to install.

The goal at this point is to have a streetable 600-700 rwhp car. Here is my progress so far:

The basics of the new fuel system. They are twin walbro 255lph pumps with a stock sleeper (-10 an)pickup. The lines are a single -10 feed and a -6 return. I am then running a aero boost indexing FPR and aero rails. I am also using a 100 micron filter before the pumps and a 10 micron filter after the pumps for fuel filtration.

The (now gone) first blower moch up with a YS trim vortech:

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Bump for some updates Donovan.

I am mounting my intercooler right now and your pics are very helpfull. Now if I can just figure out what I am going to do about the power steering cooler.
Now that boating season is over I can get back to getting this thing done! Tommorow I will have my D&D T56 Magnum and install kit. A mcleod twin disc clutch arrived yesterday. The new intercooler piping has been mocked up and send off for finish welding. Also, i got some wrap for ther hostside so that will be in progress shortly along with some other small tweaks. Also have an AEM EGT sensor which i need to get installed...Pics to follow.

man i want to do that to my car so bad, job well done, i wouldnt change a thing. sick
The size and weight difference is huge between the factory T5 and the T56 Magnum.

The D&D provided driveshaft

The old 23 tooth driven gear. The do not work with the factory 7 tooth drive gear only the 8, but somehow it kept working.

My old Centerforce clutch. It in pretty good shape after a nice pressure wash, although I have a RXT mcleod dual disc clutch that I am installing.

As much as I hated to do it.....I found a spot to install the AEM EGT sensor before the turbo and ground a little of the ceramic coating to get it welded on.
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sounds like yours will run long before mine. I won't be home again until Dec/Jan.

Have you figured out the clutch fork and pivot ball?
Have you figured out the clutch fork and pivot ball?
I ordered a new 94+ clutch fork yesterday. The pivot ball is on the tranny I am hoping that will work. Did you have issues on yours?
Nice buildup. I'm amazed at your attention to detail and I hope it makes all the power that you're looking for.
Nice build!

I was just wondering though (I can say cause I still run one), are you running a Cobra lower?
Yes. Its ported, but not enough probably. Next time it comes apart its going to fox lake to get welded etc.
Ok. Back finally after having a child and renovating my house. Pics to follow. Got the tranny in and moving along!
I have been getting a lot of asks about the ABS stuff so here is a few more pics of it's final resting spot. Its very close to the front of the frame rail now, but will clear the wastegate by at least 1/2".

In this pic (on the left toward the front of the car) you can see where I cut back the ABS bracket so i could get it to tuck close to the front frame. I took off about 1/2" to 1". I removed the ABS unit from its cradle to make this cut.

In these two, You can see where I created a square notch to hang the thing. Because there is a hook you will need this or you can mod the bracket.

As I mentioned I got the tranny in. I added a Mcleod twin disc RXT (which uses a stock style flywheel). I bought the full D&D kit which came with the crossmember brackets which I thought was the best way to go given the options. One thing to note here is that I didnt get the adapter plate that I have seen others use to allow a setback of the crossmember. Naturally, when I centered up the crossmember, it was apparent that the factory mounts would get in the way so I cut the entire factory mount out with a plasma and then ground down and air chiseled out whatever remained. I also had to cut off the outside of the u channel on the driver side crossmember mount due to the clearance of the GW subframe connectors, this was no biggy though since I was planning to weld them in anyway. All said and done, it looks good and I dont think i would have used the setback anyway assuming that there would be enough ground clearance without it. Luckily, the tranny is up where it needs to be for adequate ground clearance so the job is done. Overall, I feel like this setup is the way our cars should have been built from the factory.

You can see here that I had to clearance the front of the shifter opening area to clear the massive shifter. I ended up taking out about 2". Don't be like me and do this with an air chisel when the tranny is in the car!

And finished product all painted up...

Next week I will be working on finishing up the turbo install and doing some finish wiring of my EGT, the tach and the tranny harness and should have some more updates.
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T56 Wiring

After doing some research and looking at the wiring situation i decided to rework the factory transmission harness and add the reverse lockout solenoid wiring.

Here is a pic of the finished harness with the reverse lockout added. I didnt lengthen the wires for either the VSS or the backup pigtail, but i mocked it up and set the loom lengths so that the harness would be on the driver side of the tranny away from the heat of the downpipe.

I was able to use pins 13 and 14:

Basically I added the pins to the factory barrel connector by drilling holes in the backing and then using the tps/vss style pins that I purchased from RJM. The cool part as I found is that pin 13 in that connector already goes to 53 on the ECM and pin 14 goes to 5 so I can use them with the accutach t56 solenoid timer inside the car without many extra harness mods. In fact the factory harness is wired for the A/T up to that barrel connector so there is a bunch of wires that could be repurposed for things like an EGT probe or Wideband 02 possibly with very little work and easy pinning without disassembling the harness. Might be worth checking out if you are starting from scratch and have a decent harness that you dont want to rewrap and wire.

Also for those of you who have GM harness pigtails and need to connect up the backup sensor and other tranny wiring for a Magnum T56 here is what you need to know:

Backup Sensor
Green connects to purple/orange ( +12v)
Brown connects to blk/pink (to backup lamp)

Stays as is, just move pickup assembly over from the T5

Backup (Reverse) Solenoid
Pink (+12v)
Green (Ground)
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Simply awesome! Very nice update! Is the shifter in the same location as the T-5?
Thanks for the update, looking good man!!

looks damn nice
Simply awesome! Very nice update! Is the shifter in the same location as the T-5?
It's hard to say if it is exactly, but i would say that its within 1/2".
Houston, we have a problem! Not quite sure what to do about the spark plug wire routing:

I am thinking that 2, 3 & 4 might need to go in between the downpipe and the header. Anyone have any similar setups with pics?
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Good looking build bud!
Houston, we have a problem! Not quite sure what to do about the spark plug wire routing:

I am thinking that 2, 3 & 4 might need to go in between the downpipe and the header. Anyone have any similar setups with pics?
What I think you need to do is to #### the COP's so they are parallel with the VCs. This will force the Spark Plug wires to be closer to the VCs and away from the header. You will have to put 90* boots on the COP's to make it work though :mad:

My setup will be similar however my header is not that close to my VC.
Great choice for the trans, I want one :leghump:
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