Sanyarcosean's 96 GT Vert Daily Driver Cam Build

sanyarcosean

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Welcome to my Build Thread!

I was on my daily stroll through Marketplace when I found an ad for a 1996 GT Convertible with low miles and in decent shape. I wasn't really looking to buy a car, but it seemed like a good deal and I thought I could get the money together, so I went and took a look.

Here is what I found:

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It is fairly nice with only 110,000 miles, and runs/drives great! Its last owner had it since 2009 and only put 5000 miles on it in that time. in 2005 it was involved on a front collision but seems to have been repaired well. The brakes were a bit iffy but they are getting upgraded asap anyway. The A/C didn't work... But that's why the top goes down right? A Deal was struck and I brought her home.

So what is the plan? Primarily this will be a daily driver, but it will also be used to autocross. I have not run a full season in way too long and Its time to get back into it. I've spent way to much time driving Miata's for this car to not handle like its on rails so CAM seems to be a good choice. It will allow me to make the mods I want and still fall in a class I think I can be competitive in. Because of weight, I believe CAM C will be the ticket, But I can make that decision after we see how the diet goes. I've been following @Warhorse Racing on Youtube for a while now and plan to follow his lead on this build.
 
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sanyarcosean

sanyarcosean

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So what was the first mod you might ask?? Well, when I bought her the car had an aftermarket shifter knob. It was plastic/fake carbon fiber and well worn. Not to mention the fact that it was tall and added to the already long factory throw. I hated that thing... LOL I know it seems trivial, but its a direct interface to the car so.. away it goes. Ordered up a nice traditional ball knob. It feels good in my hand and shortens the throw slightly. Its also trimmed in purple which I think is going to be the cars accent color. 11.jpg
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I had thought about threading the rest of the shaft on the shifter and cutting it shorter to reduce throw even more for free, but decided to go another route. Look for that in an upcoming post. ;-)
 

lwarrior1016

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Welcome to the forum, glad to have you along. I don’t know if you’ve seen him or not but @Warhorse Racing is also on here and offers fantastic advise to the autocross guys. I’m sure he will be in here to check you out.
 
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sanyarcosean

sanyarcosean

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Next on the list, Tires. The car had probably my least favorite factory wheels on it when we brought it home. I also will need something in a 17" or 18" to clear the brakes I plan to use. I had a limited amount of money ($1000) left after buying the car for wheels and tires and a long list of future purchases to budget for.

What I wanted was 18" wheels with 315 tires all around. That option though was going to be way out of budget when you consider new Azenis Rt615+ in that size are running $1200+ for a set of 4. Even if I could have swung the additional $$ I wouldn't have had money for wheels. Then I remembered @Warhorse Racing's video on being competitive with 245's.. A quick check found me 245/45R17 RT615+ for $680 delivered from Tire Rack.

Back to Marketplace and Craigslist to search for wheels. I found a set of (4) 17" x 9 chrome Cobra wheels on marketplace for $200 they were not the prettiest, but with a little cleanup work and paint they would do the job.

If you are following along, that left me about $100 to the good on budget and I've got a shop that will mount and balance tires on my bare rims for $80. Mission accomplished!

In theory, this wheel tire package gives me a relatively inexpensive baseline to learn the car with. Once they are worn out, hopefully all of the other upgrades have been made and I can step up to 18" 315's at that point.

Crappy Wheels.. The pictures make them look better than they were... lots of pitting and flaking chrome.
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Throw a couple of hours with a wire wheel on a grinder and some paint at them and they are not too bad.
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Azenis mounted balanced and on the car along with a good wash and wax.
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So far, I'm not disappointed! They look fantastic, but also made a huge difference in handling. Another added benefit over the old 16's is traction on hard acceleration. No more wheel spin, it just hooks and goes. I'm running 36psi all around and am sure I can probably back that down a little for even more grip. Possibly looking at our first Autocross Oct 1st or Oct 29th depending on my work schedule. I cant wait. Still a LOT to do, but I'm excited already!

Oh and this showed up.. Wonder what it all could be.... Find out in a future post!
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I'm excited to follow this build and help with any questions you might have.

I think starting with 245s is the right choice. I know you have autocross experience, but there will still be a period of adjustment. You don't want to chew up 315s as you get familiar with the car. And it can be hard to fit 315s on the 94-98 cars without flaring the fenders.
 
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sanyarcosean

sanyarcosean

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This week I addressed some minor issues and added a small upgrade to the GT.

1st on the list, a non-working power driver seat base. I made a trip to the local U-Pull and grabbed a passenger side manual seat mount from a 95. The only modification needed was to cut off the seatbelt mount. 2 minutes with a cut off wheel made quick work of that. After that it was a simple bolt in swap.

Next on the list was the Mystery Switch.. When I bought the car it had a switch on the gauge bezel that as far as I could tell didn't do anything. My initial thought was manual switch to turn on the cooling fan, but no. I didn't worry about it, but made a mental note to chase the wiring and remove it if I could. While at the U-Pull I also picked up a nice replacement bezel.
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What I found was that the Audio fuse under the hood had been removed and this switch was wired in its place (with an inline fuse) I can only assume at some point the factory amp caused battery drain issues so a switch was put in to disable it. Since the amp was long gone I removed the switch and wiring, and replaced the bezel.
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That's Better! Total for the day? $10.00

On to the upgrade. When I ordered center caps for the wheels from American Muscle, I decided to take a peek and see what affordable parts they had for sale. After all $75 got me free shipping. I was looking at short throw shifters and noticed that they had an unbranded one that looked decent for stupid cheap and it had positive reviews. I figured for $42.99 why not give it a try. It had to be better than the well worn factory piece.
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When It arrived I was unimpressed with the packaging. It was boxed in a box thankfully, but not packed well. Both boxes were damaged and the hardware bag was broken so hardware was loose in both boxes. That said, it did not seem any worse for wear. The only problem I had with the install was that the included hardware to mount the shifter to the transmission was the wrong size. No issue, I just reused the factory bolts which seemed to have enough engagement, but made a note to replace with longer bolts when I do my fluid change. it has two shifter length settings and I went with the short position. Once in and adjusted it has a nice feel and works very well. My transmission feels "notchy" when I shift, but I think that's more the transmission than the shifter. It does seem to get better as it warms up. (the factory shifter felt the same) All in all, I'm happy with the purchase!
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sanyarcosean

sanyarcosean

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that is the first time I have seen a switch installed to cut the amps off.
I wasn't expecting it either. lol its fun sorting through all the "upgrades" that P.O.'s have made to these cars. :)
 

KJ-00-GT

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Nice project, should be fun. I bought basically the same shifter from ebay and it greatly improved the shifting, mine feels notchy too.
 

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