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Old 31-05-2011, 08:00 PM   #1
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Question Vl Commodore build

Hi,
I just brought a Vl commodore that i want to turn into a rally or off road car could anyone tell me what breaks and what needs to be made stronger has anyone ever been down this road before?
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Old 09-06-2011, 02:38 PM   #2
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what will the main purpose of the car be? rally? Im not sure about 'offroad'.

The early model commodore are quite strong from the factory. I would suggest pulling the front guards off and stitch welding all the towers and guards to the rails and the shot gun panels. basically all the panels from the front end.

I havent stitched the body of my VK but it hasnt pulled apart anywhere.

The rear upper suspension arm mounts into the body break you need to keep welding them up. I have good success with nolethane upper arms. As soon as the bush flogs out the arms get movement, axle tramp sets in and the mount breaks.

I have done a fair bit with mine and put equal arm lengths in with boxes in the car. (huge difference) and coil overs in the rear.

Add a sump guard. Make some mounts. make one out of 3mm plate steel or 6-10mm aluminium (more expensive)

brakes. if on a budget, get some VT twin piston for the front with decent pads and put a VT MC and booster. rears you should be right to start with standard with good pads.

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Old 09-06-2011, 03:05 PM   #3
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They bend in the middle and crack the rails under your feet if you smash the cautions or jump them a lot. A good cage goes a long way in these cars. And like Anthony has said keep an eye on the rear bushes. The bolts that hold the rear arms tend to come loose a couple of times a rally to.
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Old 09-06-2011, 05:13 PM   #4
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Would a VC Commodore sump guard fit a VL? A friend of mine had one made for his endeavour bash car, which has since been converted to a track car. The guard is sitting unused. It was professionally made, and a very nice piece of kit.
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Old 10-06-2011, 12:37 AM   #5
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It'd go pretty bloody close
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Old 10-06-2011, 01:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warps View Post
Would a VC Commodore sump guard fit a VL?
I have a few VL's at the moment one has a V8 the others are 6, and a few other models, VK, VH which should be the same as a VC (had a VC but I sold it) if you could give some measurements of mounting points I could check and if heaprsy is not interested I might be, depending where it is and how much $.
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Old 10-06-2011, 07:04 PM   #7
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Have spoken to my friend, and he's going to get some photos of the guard for me, and a rough idea of what he wants for it (apparently cost him a bomb to get made, although he's smart enough to know he won't recoup much of that)

He also has some other commodore stuff - fuel tank guard (for the 90L tank), some rims and good rally tyres, T5 gearbox and possibly a whole lot of other stuff he's not likely to use. Hopefully he'll get a list of the stuff to me with photos. If it's OK with the admins here, I'll post a For sale ad on his behalf.

All the stuff is located in Brisbane, by the way.
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Old 11-06-2011, 12:59 AM   #8
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mswan has some part of a clue

If you can get one, an old Mazda Rx4 fuel tank fits nicely in the boot up behind the back seat.
Yes, the upper rear arms will flog out almost every event. I never really found a cure for it, just kept replacing them every event.
Another thing to look out for here is the mounts for these upper links on the rear axle. The welds will crack eventually, and you may tear the whole bracket off the axle tube. Weld a strap down the front of them, then onto the axle tube and you'll never have the problem again.
The panhard rod mount (holds the lateral link to the rear axle) will crack on the chassis rails, so add a bit more bracketry.
As a bit of conjecture, I'd recommend against the VT calipers, having just recently discussed the pros and cons of this upgrade with Howard at Racebrakes in Melbourne.
The VT discs are only 2mm bigger dia than the VL turbos, and actually have a lot more flex in them. If you get the VL turbo/VN set up, and run good pads (Bendix Ultimates will fade after about 5km) and they will be fine. I think there is a good QFM compound, but even better is the Hawk stuff (really bitey, and chews discs if not fully up to temperature, but work brilliantly).
The bearings in the rear axle are not a brilliant design, and the resultant float in the rear axle will create pad knock-off, so install a residual pressure valve in the rear brake line to try to combat this by keeping some pressure in the brake lines.
4.1 diff ratio out of a Pintara can be fitted to the VL turbo LSD and works nicely. The price on these LSDs had come down a lot lately on the "calais turbo" forum as the guys on those forums now seem to prefer spools (who knows why?!?!)
The standard gearbox is ok, but the turbo box is stronger if you can get one, but the ratios are rubbish, and it weighs a ton. Having said that, I'd prefer the thing not to break, and put up with the huge gap between 2nd and 3rd because the car has plenty of torque anyway.
Get yourself a Wade 818(?) regrind cam. Very cheap, easy to install.
Also, the Lukey (?) extractors with the three really long secondaries will give you heaps of torque. There are some really crap extractors out there that will do nothing for you, but the Lukey ones made a huge difference to my RB30.
If you want to make adjustable front struts, ring Quadrant in Melbourne. They do a threaded strut body that is designed specifically for the early commodore legs. It was from the early "Commodore Cup" races cars from 10 years ago. Just cut the leg down, then tap on the new threaded bit, weld it up and drop in a bilstein insert, and you are all set.
Have fun!
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Old 14-06-2011, 08:15 PM   #9
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commodore build

Thanks everyone for the helpfull responses
I have a 60lt fuel cell which i will get around to puting one day, i've just ordered all the steel for the cage that im going to do myself as i've done a few before from what yous have been saying looks like ill have to put more bars in. my friend has already told me about the pitara 4:1 diff setup so now im on the look out for one, has anyone got a Wade 818 regrind cam or know where i can get one cheap?
I've started pulling out the interior and seats etc ready for the cage the car ive got is in etch primer but its a pretty dodgey job so ill have to redo that too. hopfully the build wont take to long and i can keep updating yous on whats been happing with it and some pictures too
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Old 17-06-2011, 01:59 PM   #10
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Having got one of these rare beasts here's a brief run down from my experiences...

You don't say whether you have a V8 or 6 cyl. I'm giving from a 6 cyl persepective, but I'm sure it all equally applicable.

Weld up (or get someone to do it) the rear upper control arm mounts where the connect to the body. They'll come away from the body and flog out the upper control arms, flog out the driveshaft center bearing and if your unlucky crush your fuel rail.

Brakes. Best thing I ever did was upgrade to a disk rear. Swap the standard master cyl for a 15/16"s one from a VN to get rid of the drum valve. Also fit Bendix Ultimate Pads all round. I will be upgrading to VT finned twin pots in the future, but I haven't run out of brakes yet! (toushes wood).

Upgrade to a VN rear diff. The axles are twice the tickness of the standard VL item. The diff is 2" wider tho (1 inch each side) so you'll need to slightly flare you rear guards. We did that after we snapped both axles at the same time at Jenolan.

Bilstein suspension.

Move the battery to the passenger compartment and then move that Vaccume canister infront of the RHS front wheel to where the battery was. You touch a bank with the front of the car and the braket the canister is attached to flexes and you looking for a new canister (annoying more than anything)

Realiase that the front bar is a disposable item. It's a VL and those grill features are not strong.

(RB30) Make sure you have heat shielding between your extractors and the dizzy otherwise you'll be replacing crank angle sensors every 6 to 12 months as they don't like the extreme heat. Well thats our diagnosis and our next mod. I've been through 6 of the damn things so far.

The sump guard will mostly fit, But the radiator support is not that strong.

Oh, I haven't done this (yet) but if you can protect the fuel rails that run down the side of the car as mine have been within inches of getting crushed.

That's all from my memory at the moment.

Cheers,
Adam.

PS: Cable tie the back of the front side bumper bits to the bodywork as the slide attachments like to snap frequently!
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Last edited by brann; 17-06-2011 at 02:00 PM. Reason: remembered something
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Old 17-06-2011, 04:39 PM   #11
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The V8 VL runs the bigger 28 spline axles. Not sure about the centres. They looked @3mm bigger in diameter when I compared it to the VL 6 cyl axles. I have one on the back yard ready to build but cant get to it at moment as i need a pontoon due to all this rain. Might be able to check on Monday.

PS. thanks Adam for the 6 cyl minispool, its still holding up (but have only done a few club events) and the 3.45:1 ratio works well with a stock VK 308.
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Old 19-06-2011, 01:48 PM   #12
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Okay, maybe I exaggerated the size increase but it was definitely bigger!

And the availability of the VN axles VS the VL V8/Turbo 28 spline lead me to make that change. That and the 4.11's that were already fitted to the diff!

Glad the mini spool is still going strong.

Cheers,
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