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Sun-Burned ’99 Spyder GS: Revived

DogWhistle

Supporting VIP
882
407
Sep 13, 2012
St. Paul, Minnesota
Great build. Appreciate your details and pictures.

Glad I found this thread again, love the attention to detail you have on this car! Keep the post coming, I'm waiting for an after picture after the seals added on the bows.

Thanks. We just finished gutting the interior to install sound deadening, and while we had an empty interior, we FINALLY tracked down the source of the rain leaks. It wasn’t where we thought they were.

Here’s a link to the article:
https://www.dsmtuners.com/threads/sealing-the-most-common-leaks-in-spyder-roof.523613/
 
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DogWhistle

Supporting VIP
882
407
Sep 13, 2012
St. Paul, Minnesota
14. Full Interior Sound Deadening

Those of you who spent hours scraping factory sound deadening from your car to save weight will cringe at this step. For daily driving and occasional touring, the "DSM drone" gets to you after a while. So, we installed Noiko sound deadening mats. They are constructed of about 2mm of rubber, with adhesive on one side, and an aluminum vapor backing on the other.

At first we thought that simply removing the seats, console and carpet would give us enough access to the resonating panels, but we quickly learned there is no good stopping point, so we wound up gutting the car from dashboard to taillights. This turned into a bigger project than anticipated, but that pretty much describes every project ever undertaken on this car, LOL.

Here are the basic tools you'll need. The red marker makes it easy to see your marks on a black surface. The material will cut easily with a scissors for the long cuts, but the razor blade will help with corners and any overlap.

IMG_6592.JPG


Removing the factory brittle sound deadening:

IMG_6438.JPG


Rust preventative spray on the any raw surfaces:

IMG_6439.JPG


We'll take as much help as we can get:

IMG_6440.JPG


All prepped and ready to start installing -- or so we thought:

IMG_6463.JPG


When installing the sound mats, do not precut them! You'll wind up with gaps around the edges of the area you were trying to cover. This is because the floor and braces are not straight or perpendicular to each other. Just peel the backing, start at one corner, and begin pressing down. You can cut the edges when you are done.

The manufacturer also talks about rolling the mat tightly onto the surfaces. At first this seemed like overkill, but we soon discovered that air pockets left under the mat will turn into pools of condensation and could start rust. Buy a roller and roll it tight.

Here is after the initial installation:

IMG_6589.JPG


IMG_6587.JPG


IMG_6585.JPG


The trunk sides were going to be hard to do given all of their bracing, vents, wires and lights, so we decided to do the backs of the panels instead:

IMG_6655.JPG


IMG_6656.JPG


Here are the pictures with all the tunnel mechanisms and wiring bolted back in, and here is the padding we added for under the carpeting and under the rear seat:

IMG_6800.JPG


After it was all back together, we did quite a few daily trips and then, a 350 mile road trip. The result is not a complete sound proofing of the interior, but it does dampen the exhaust drone, and, just as importantly, the tire whine. It feels like a more substantial chassis. The results are noticeable.
 
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DogWhistle

Supporting VIP
882
407
Sep 13, 2012
St. Paul, Minnesota
15. Upgrade to GSX 4-Wheel Disc Brakes

The front disc/rear drum setup on the car provided adequate braking modulation, but didn't inspire confidence to push the car through corners on twisty roads. Plus, the heavy weight of the rear drums was not doing us any favors in the suspension department.

We ordered a set of GSX spec disc brake calipers (dual piston front; single rear), ceramic pads, new rotors, stainless brakes hoses and new ebrake cables (since the end fittings are different). We sourced the disc backing plates from a donor GSX and had them bead blasted, and then we seal painted them with POR15 with rustoleum top coat.

There are a couple write ups on how to do the conversion from rear drum to disc, but there are two things none of them mention: 1) Don't forget to buy bolts to attach the rear calipers to the backing plate. The size is M10 x 1.25 x 10mm, You'll need four of them. 2) Getting the clamps off the parking brake cables, and getting those lines out of the car is the most difficult part of the job. This is a Florida car, with virtually no rust, and yet those cable clamp bolts were corroded and tight. There are three clamp points for each ebrake cable, and 4 per side if you count the inside floor tunnel. The rear two finally came out with a little break loose spray, but each of the outside front ones had to have the bolt cut. We were VERY fortunate that our exhaust had v-band connections so that we could remove the back portion and get to the left side front clamp. Those cut bolts were replaced with stainless steel hardware, and everything we unbolted and reattached was slathered in anti-seize.

Here are the pictures of how the process went:

IMG_7550A.jpg


Rear disc brakes removed and the new backing plate fitted into place, with the hub beginning to be reattached. The drum ebrake setup was difficult to install after the hub was in place, so on the other side, the ebrake components went on first.

IMG_7554A.jpg


The finished front brake with the dual piston calipers. The disc is painted with high temp brake paint on both sides of the hub area to prevent rust from seizing it onto either the hub, or the wheel.

IMG_7553A.jpg


One side complete. A good friend helped with the project, but with the difficulty of removing the existing ebrake cables and a parts run for bracket bolts, it was a solid 9 hour project, start to finish.

As for the new feel of the braking system, it isn't a more sensitive pedal response, but when you do press into them, there is a lot more clamping force available. They are easy to modulate, but that is on the second half of the pedal travel. Apparently, a 3G master cylinder has a more firm feel due to moving more fluid per travel. We might upgrade to that depending on how the pedal feel is after the pads break in.
 
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Widgmaster

Supporting VIP
1,196
913
Aug 24, 2018
Sarnia, ON_Canada
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DogWhistle

Supporting VIP
882
407
Sep 13, 2012
St. Paul, Minnesota
[QUOTE="Widgmaster, post: 153775685, member:165098”] ...Just thought I would mention a color back solution to a black faded top . /QUOTE]

Thanks. That looks promising. We’ve been looking for something like that. We’ll give it a try.
 
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DogWhistle

Supporting VIP
882
407
Sep 13, 2012
St. Paul, Minnesota
16. Forced Four & Manumatic Shifter

So we've been wanting to add the Forced Four Shift Controller to this build to protect the transmission with increased line pressure and to add better shift control during all driving situations. We also wanted the 3G manumatic shifter for bump up and bump down shifts.

I talked with Shawn at FF and explained to him that we wanted firm manual shifts, but softer auto shifts for daily driving. He determined that we would be best off running the FF controller in PARALLEL to the factory TCU, and switching between the two to get the Jekyll and Hyde personalities we were looking for.

This arrangement makes for a little extra work, but again, Shawn was very helpful in answering all of our questions.

To make sure we knew what gear we were in in the manual mode, we ordered the digital gear display. We wanted it somewhere in our line of sight, but really couldn't find a place to mount the cased version without drawing attention to it, so we decided to put it into the dash display, in the spot that previously had the "A/T Off" light, since that was no longer going to be used.

A. Dash Gear Indicator

The first step was to remove the gauge cluster from the car and disassemble it.
FF Unit Out.JPEG
FF Glass Off.JPEG
FF Tabs.JPEG
FF Bezel Off.JPEG


Here are the screws for removing the gauges. Caution: Each gauge uses the attachment screws to conduct electrical signals between the circuit film and the gauge. These screws are different sizes for different gauges. Don't mix them up or lose any of them:

FF Screws.JPEG


We removed all of the gauges and light bulbs, and then peeled off the circuit film:

FF Peel 2.JPEG


Since the gauge cluster plugs into fixed male connectors behind it, it is important to let the cluster assembly travel all the way back when installed. Fortunately, there is a hole behind the cluster for the display wire to pass through:

FF Hole.JPEG

That means that there needs to be a hole through the back of the cluster housing to let the FF display wire through. Of the four screws holding in the speedometer, one of them is a non-electrical connector that lines up almost directly with that hole. We needed to enlarge the screw hole to 1/2" to pass the display connector and wire through:

FF Drill.JPEG


However, the FF plug had grip tabs on it, making it not fit through the hole, so we filed off the tabs so that it was only 1/2" in size. Here you see the before and after pictures:

FF Plug Before.JPEG

FF Plug After.JPEG


We carefully slit the circuit film to allow the plug through. Then you can see how it looks when the wire is in the final position:

FF Circuit Plug.JPEG

FF Circuit Tail.JPEG


Next, we had to slightly modify the display by removing the center light lens and notching the mounting area for the display led:

FF Cut Fit.JPEG


This display was glued into place and then we placed foam around it to make sure there would be no light leaking when the gauge lights were on. Notice that some of the previous tinted light lens had to be trimmed and reinstalled above the display:

FF Foam.jpeg


During the trial fit, it became obvious that the led display was just slightly wider than the opening in the bezel face, so we had to widen this area slightly:

FF File.JPEG

FF File Done.JPEG


We reassembled everything and tested the unit display. This picture makes the led look dim and overlit, but no matter how we took the picture, we could not show that the numbers were actually bright and crisp:

FF Lit Display.jpeg


Here it is installed in the car:

FF Dash Install.jpeg


We are extremely happy with how it turned out and are ready to begin the second part: Installing the manumatic shifter and FF Shift Controller.
 

DogWhistle

Supporting VIP
882
407
Sep 13, 2012
St. Paul, Minnesota
Installing The ManuMatic Shifter

The moment of truth: Switching over to the 3G manumatic shifter. We had already read the steps and tips from @TheFlashDSM, but our installation is going to be a little more involved.

We had read that the 3G shifter sits farther forward than the 2G. Using the existing mounting holes, this is very true. So we decided to use a manual shift boot rather than try to somehow modify the shifter trim plate in the console. Someone could probably do a 3D printed version of one, but we aren't set up for that. Besides, the conversion has already taken longer than planned.

As an unlikely first step, you have to modify the shift boot to be 2" shorter, otherwise the extra material bunches up at the front of the shifter and prevents you from putting the lever all the way into Park.

Here's the full height of a manual boot:
Boot Original.jpeg



Next, turn the boot inside out and pop apart the plastic grommet. This one was zip tied but not sure if that was factory:
Boot Grommet.JPEG



Turn the boot right side out and measure the 2", and cut it off:
Boot Measure.JPEG

Boot Cut.JPEG




Turn the boot back inside out and reinstall the grommet. Turn it right side out again, and you are finished:
Boot Done.JPEG




Special Note here: Because the 3G shifter sits much farther forward, removing some of the plastic trim ring in the boot is needed to let the lever move all of the way into Park. Here is the ring underneath.

Notch the center of the ring:
Boot Notch.JPEG



Now the boot is ready to install:
Boot Console.JPEG




Here is the stock 2G auto shifter:
2G Shifter.JPEG



Pulled that out:
2G Shifter Remove.JPEG



Bolt in the 3G shifter:

The Brake pedal release cable bolts right up with nothing but a little bit of adjustment, but the Ignition interlock cable requires a large washer to hold it further forward on the housing. The shifter post will not let the Transmission linkage cable slide on without first filing the nub on the end of the post off. The post is disappointingly soft and files fast. In the pictures you can see we drilled through it to add a cotter pin for safety.

Brake release and Ignition interlock cables:
3G Inner Cables.JPEG



Transmission cable:
3G Shift Cable Outer.jpeg






DO NOT FORGET to adjust the shift linkage:
Shift Link Connector.jpeg




So here is the finished installation. Showing the lever in Park, in Drive, and in Manumatic mode:

3G Park.JPEG


3G Drive.JPEG

3G Manu.JPEG



We're happy with the results. It shifts like butter, especially considering that the transmission linkage cable now crosses over to the driver's side of the shifter. Can't wait to get the wiring done for the FF controller to make the most of the work so far.
 
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DogWhistle

Supporting VIP
882
407
Sep 13, 2012
St. Paul, Minnesota
Wiring The ForcedFour Controller

Since the stock 2G shifter had a button on it to engage or disengage Overdrive (4th gear), the first step is to snip and solder the two wires together to make the factory TCU think the OD button is still present and is in the OD engaged position.

Here is the plug location on the 2G shifter. The wires are Black and Red, but on the harness side of the plug, the wire colors are Blue and Red.
OD Wire Plug.jpeg


OD Switch Wires.jpeg



We mounted the ForcedFour on top of the factory TCU. We used velcro to allow for some repositioning if necessary, and during the on car wiring, it turned out to be a good choice. We could relocate the FF unit temporarily to gain more room.

Next to the FF unit, is a 5 pole relay that turns one TCU off and the other on and vice versa. Shawn cautioned us that this was necessary to prevent damage to either controller. The on/off function is controlled by moving the shift lever from auto into manumatic position.

Behind the relay, is a switch we added. Flipping this switch allows the FF unit to take over automatic shifting control in case the factory TCU were to give out. It's doubtful that this would ever happen, but better to have the option now that all of the wires are so easily accessible.

Don't let this picture scare you away from installing your own ForcedFour controller. We were simply separating the wires into the groups of where they will be connected.
FF Prep.jpeg


Edit: Maybe this picture should scare you just a little bit. The cramped footwell and short leads to the factory TCU make this one of the least favorite wiring jobs we have ever tackled. It's not complicated but it sure is cramped.
 
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Salty-Seagull

Supporting Member
278
237
Jul 16, 2019
Kimball, Michigan
Wow, your car is turning out amazing!

Thanks for the heads up on the caliper bolts. I am in the process of tracking down the parts to do a rear disc conversion on my RS down the road, and those were not on my shopping list.. That would have been an unpleasant surprise, LOL.

Btw it looks like you accidentally tagged me in your manumatic transmission swap. I didn't make a write-up for that. 😁 It looks like it turned out great though!
 

DogWhistle

Supporting VIP
882
407
Sep 13, 2012
St. Paul, Minnesota
Thanks for the compliment. We do mods to make driving more fun, and manual gear control will definitely be fully enjoyed.

You are correct, we were thinking of TheFlashDSM who did the write up and pictures. We fixed the tag, and glad to have you following along.
 

DogWhistle

Supporting VIP
882
407
Sep 13, 2012
St. Paul, Minnesota
Thank you. We’d seen it done on a couple of other cars of different brands over the years, so it was a go to when the shifter plate wasn’t even close to fitting. Many new import cars, such as Hyundai, come standard like this now for the cvt’s.

We were thinking of you when we discovered how thick the leather boot was, hindering shifting into Park. So far it’s working well.
 

Widgmaster

Supporting VIP
1,196
913
Aug 24, 2018
Sarnia, ON_Canada
Looking at your picture of the shift boot you are cutting... that is not leather... it is Naugahyde / Vinyl ... I can tell by the backing on the boot you are working with.. Good quality leather is even thicker than Naugahyde .. Any ways it`s a great job you did.. I`m impressed ...and what you did with your interior is beautiful.. If I still had my shop I would offer you a job......LOL
 

DogWhistle

Supporting VIP
882
407
Sep 13, 2012
St. Paul, Minnesota
Daily Driving With ForcedFour

After that less than fun wiring portion, we were sure hoping that the ForcedFour would meet our expectations in terms of control over the shifting characteristics and parameters of the transmission.

It did not disappoint.

Shawn has made several improvements through software updates that have simplified the setup process, without sacrificing choices. Out of the box, ForcedFour is setup for instant shifts - no delay -- that can be pretty harsh for street use at partial throttle, without the "soft shift" feature activated. Even then, you may still want to dial in a few mS of delay to save your drive axle u joints and engine mounts.

The FF unit has been very consistent and predicable, offering gear control just as surely as if you were driving a manual, with no clutch operation to slow the shifts, and no clutch to bleed, adjust or replace.

We are battling a TPS issue. We're using a 1G NT TB with a swapped 2G TPS. Although the TPS operates fine for the ECU & TCU, and checks out on EvoScan, it does not register as a variable value on the FF software. The wiring connections have been double tested for continuity, but when the car is out of storage in the spring, we will test the FF TPS lead for variable voltage. Without being able to read the TPS, the FF thinks partial throttle is WOT, and the shifts are very hard, unless we open the throttle and accelerate, or lift off. We are looking forward to getting this last bit of programming finished so we can enjoy the FF unit to its fullest, without any special situations.

Because the shifter is a manumatic and we retained the stock TCU to handle auto shifts, we do sometimes forget, daydreaming at a stop light, that the shift selector is in manual, and try to leave the intersection in 3rd or 4th gear. Because of the torque converter, it can be done, but the best way is to pause a couple seconds and bump the selector down to 1st gear, or flip over to full auto, and try to
drive away before anyone notices our mistake, or honks.

But one of the biggest improvements by using the FF, is freeway ramps. Being able to control the gear without the car thinking it needs to downshift to accelerate is peace of mind.

Hilly and curvy open lane blacktop is also great to select exactly the gear you want, rather than worry that too much throttle input will trigger a downshift.

These are examples that manual transmissions enjoy every day, but the overall advantages of the ForcedFour shift control is the ability to return to auto operation at any time, no clutch and related equipment to service or replace, faster shifts, and a stronger transmission to use when adding horsepower to your build.

We'll update the thread with the solution to the TPS mystery this spring.
 
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DogWhistle

Supporting VIP
882
407
Sep 13, 2012
St. Paul, Minnesota
Here's the promised update. "Spring" somehow turned into "Fall" before I got around to checking the TPS wiring issue more closely.

Shawn @ ForcedFour was right, it was a wiring issue. Although the TPS connection tested good for variable voltage without the unit plugged in, by plugging in the connector and repositioning the FF unit made the TPS wire tap internally lose connectivity, thus no TPS signal. We modified and secured the tap connector to make sure it did not disconnect.

Now all of the programming in the FF software works accurately since the Smart 150 no longer thinks we drive everywhere at full throttle! LOL

We'd be happy to help anyone considering adding one of these to their automatic. It really does change the way you enjoy and drive your car. And isn't that really the ultimate point of all of the mods we make to our DSMs?
 
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