Canadiangeek.net How do you know you can't do something if you haven't tried

25Mar/15

I couldn't let the day go by without some progress so i went out to the garage and removed all of the aluminum after taking a TON of photos that show how the aluminum was mounted.

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24Mar/15

The new wiring harness arrived from SMC Performance today.... This thing is amazing, great build quality, I AM VERY happy with this purchase.

The connectors are high quality, the wire loom is top quality and everything is very clearly labeled. It even has a little light attached to the ODB2 connector for the check engine light.

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Factory Five has asked for some photos of the "surplus" parts that i have so we can see if they are in fact some of the missing parts with incorrect part numbers. Other then that the car progress is somewhat non existent, I have now moved the boxes for the interior and body across town to another garage. Sunday is the day the body will make the same trip into storage. The Canadian GTM kit will be here this week.

This weekend i hope to take photos of all the internal Aluminum and remove it, Get the Lift bolted back in place, and send every aluminum panel to the body shop for powder coat.

PS.... My neighbor across the street (who until now I had never met) pulled over in his lotus today talk to me about the car under the tarp.... turns out he is a mechanic by trade. Looks like the car is already making new friends 🙂

22Mar/15

I was able to clean out the garage last night, seats, interior, body components are all in my Van waiting to be dropped off at another garage. Anything not project related is in my truck ready to go to the dump tomorrow AM.

40 people showed up for the party tonight so i ducked outside with 8 or so guys and carried the GTM into the garage. Was pretty easy:
1) Remove all the red tape
2) remove the two screws in the licence plate hole, and the two screws in each door jam
3) Removed the glass
4) Set the hood and doors aside.
5) Lifted the body while pulling the bottom lip away from the frame.

Body could easily be moved by 2 people. 3 people could easily move the metal frame.

For now its sitting on jack stands, I will have to get the lift mounted some time this week.

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21Mar/15

I went though all the boxes today, took about 5 hours, went slowly package by package dumped one at a time out on a table and counted bolts, washers, etc. There were no back-ordered parts, my GTM shipped complete.

Looks like i am short about 15 parts, i will send that list off to Factory Five. Most of the missing parts are small parts. The rearview mirror is also broken. I sorted all the parts into new boxes organized by the portion of the manual that they line up with. I have a truck full of parts and the body to take to another garage (they wont be needed for a while).

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18Mar/15

Car is now safely at my house (still on the trailer for now), sorry for the novel but its been a long and interesting day.

The day started off at 7AM, I picked up my friend Robb and started the drive from Calgary AB Canada to Sweetgrass MT USA .

It took about 3.5 hours to get to Lethbridge Alberta, we stopped at the Home Depot and picked up 3 2x4's, some screws and duct tape (thanks guys). We received a call from Jim (the Stewart Transport driver), he let us know that he was running about one hour behind. From there we headed off to the border crossing, the customs agent on the USA side was a bit harsh but a common border crossing attitude, "why do you need a trailer to haul car parts, why couldn't you buy these parts in Canada? Why dont you have money, how are you going to pay for the parts". It wasn't so much the questions but the tone of voice. Regardless he let us go though.

We arrived in Sweetgrass at 11:30AM. Both of us were unable to get cell phone reception, the Stewart Transport driver asked us to wait in "the big parking lot on the US side" so we figured that meant the lot across from the duty free. Jim (truck driver) arrived around 1:10PM (on time). He opened up the back of his trailer and in i went to get my first look at the car. To be honest its almost exactly what i expected. The Fiberglass seams are a little rougher then i expected but the size and overall look of the car are exactly what i was expecting.

I backed my trailer up to his in one of the truck rest stop lanes. Jim indicated that he has done this many times and there were no signs around to indicate that this was against any rules. About 5 minutes into the move an unmarked truck with a border official in it came around to tell us that were not allowed to transfer trucks at this specific rest stop .... So we closed up the truck and headed down the road. It had snowed the day before so it was easy to tell what roads were used and which roads in the small town had 0 traffic. So we found a road with no tire marks on it (most roads in sweet grass are dead ends at the border and just have storage yards), we started transferring boxes again (no traffic around) and the owner of "at the border storage" walked over from his warehouse that was nearby to tell us that he was going to "phone the cops" and we would have to pay him to be able to move the contents over on his property.

If your reading this please never use or pay the jack A$$ that owns "at the border storage", he could have been polite about the whole thing and maybe earned some business but he decided it would be easier to threaten the Stewart Transport driver. (I will be posting some negative reviews around the web about him and his company as a result, what goes around..... )

So instead i drove to a nearby meat packing plant and asked at their head office if we could use the large lot at the back of their building. Nicest guy in the world, i honestly tried to offer him money but he wouldn't take it. I believe his words were "my guys aren't moving the boxes, you don't owe me anything". The world needs more people like him. We setup at the meat packing plant and started moving boxes over. One by one we moved boxes into the bed of my GMC 2500HD, there were a lot more boxes then i though there would be, the boxes filled the bed past the roof and filled the back seat of the truck.

Jims truck had a wood floor just like my trailer and the GTM was sitting directly on that floor (there was some cardboard between them). I decided to put the GTM directly on my trailer using the same cardboard. We then used 2 4" straps to hold the car down the the trailer and put a tarp over the car. We then used the 3 2x4's screwed down to the deck with the tarp sandwiched between them. This worked great, the car never moved the whole trip.

It was then time to head back across the border, I was dreading this part, i have imported cars before and Canadian customs tends to be worse then US customs. I got into the car line up like usual and proceeded to the window, pulled out our passports and paperwork and was greeted by the kindest most open border agent i have ever met. He showed me where to pull over and handed me a paper to hand the agent inside. I went inside and talked to the agent inside and he was incredible, he asked a lot of questions about the car, commented on how nice it was that I had all the paperwork ready. All in all a very pleasant experience. The only negative part was when it came to pay the GST (Tax), I brought the bank transfer document that showed what I paid for the kit in Canadian dollars back when our exchange rate wasn't as bad. Turns out they use the kits USD price and work out the GST (Tax) cost using the exchange rate for the day of import. This amounted to $300 more in GST (Tax).... I was just happy to get through customs so i just smiled, nodded, paid and headed back out to the Truck.

While filling out the paperwork inside the customs office i was watching out the window as people would walk by the car, stop, look at it, walk back, look again, ponder, then walk away.... you could just tell they were trying to figure out what it was.

The whole trip took 13 hours.

We unloaded all of the boxes from the truck into the garage and started checking out the new loot. Some boxes were packed tight, some big boxes have hardly anything in them. My whole garage is full of parts boxes.... I did start looking over the boxes of parts, its seems to be a mix of high quality parts and some (being polite) "budget components". I can tell that some of these pieces will never make it on the car, i will be replacing them before the cause me headaches. Its now dark outside and I'm exhausted so I'm calling it a night. I will now have to compare the contents of each box with the manifest that i was provided, I think this may take a few hours to complete.

I then plan on putting the parts together in boxes by project timeline... that way i can bury the interior in the back of the shed so it doesn't take up valuable garage space.

Then the next challenge is to get the car off the trailer, my plan is to:

  1. get the lift mounted to the floor
  2. back the flat deck into the garage
  3. use a jack to lift the front of the GTM off the trailer and into the air
  4. swing the front set of lift arms on the 2 post lift under the front of the GTM
  5. jack the back of the GTM off the trailer with the jack
  6. swing the rear set of lift arms on the 2 post lift under the back of the GTM
  7. use the lift to lift the whole car up past the wheel wells of the trailer
  8. pull the trailer out of the way

There are 3 birthdays (Son, Daughter, Wife) over the next 4 days so i may not get any more time this week to move any further.

Pictures or it didn't happen.
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17Mar/15

Stewart Transport Truck will be meeting me at the border crossing in 20 hours.... (Driver called this morning). I cant say enough kind things about Stewart Transport, the driver is super friendly and calls me every day to let me know how the schedule is holding up.

I have my paperwork, passport, straps, tarps, truck and flat deck all fueled up and ready to go....

Funny, tomorrow will be the first time i will have ever seen a GTM in person, hope i like it :-). I have seen many photos but never actually seen one in person.
(As far as i know i will be the first in my City to build one, I only know of one in my province (Edgeman)).

Quite excited, Actually kinda happy that i have to go on a road trip to go pick it up... adds to the whole experience.

13Mar/15

little update.

1) Transmission looks like it should come close to aligning with tabs that are already welded to the GTM frame, When the unit is shipped to me i can double check how close those tabs really are. I think those tabs and a couple of gussets welded to reinforce from the side should be sufficient. (means i don't have to buy anything additional)

2) Haven't heard from the Stewart Transport driver in a few days, I think that means the delivery wont be Monday, hoping for Tuesday or Wednesday. Monday is my wife's birthday anyway, that would not be a good start to the project, I will say something like "honey i need to go out of town on your birthday....", she will hear "Honey i bought a car that is becoming more important then you" 🙂

3) I have all my paperwork in order ready to go at a moments notice
Passport, invoice, customs letter, declaration to import, etc.
I also loaded up the trailer with tarps, straps, etc.

4) Cant secure the 2 post lift down for a few more days. Everything I read said to wait 28 days for the concrete to complete its curing.

5) Engine harness was completed by SMC Performance. I dealt with Shaun Carter, they were great to work with, I provided them pictures of my sensors and ECU, sent them my VIN so they could verify the year/etc. From that they created a harness complete with extended fan wires and fuel harness. Its in the mail now, should be here soon.

6) The Canadian GTM kit was partially shipped from Factory Five to Breeze Automotive, still missing the steering rack... unfortunately that's one of the first parts that i need.

Once the kit comes the plan is to
1) Verify all the parts are there and arrived intact.
2) take the body and body pieces to another garage for storage.
2) Identify all of the aluminum parts that require powder coating and send them away.
3) Start mounting Aluminum and mounting the suspension so the chassis can roll.
4) I can then mount the new engine parts (relocation brackets) and get the engine mounted.

My goal is to push for starting the engine as fast as possible, I figure the longer the engine sits, the more likely the valves are to rust.... and i really want to start it :-), after that I will start with brakes and finished wiring.

I intend to leave the body work until last, the chassis will be completed, aligned and drive-able (not legally) before the body gets put back on.

10Mar/15

So the driver from Stewart Transport called me to tell me he is on his way, he has over 1000 miles to cover first but he is on his way. With weather the way it sits now it looks like the kit will be in Sweetgrass on the 17th or 18th of March (early next week). I will drive down early in the AM and cross the border into Montana, I will then wait in the big parking lot (eagerly) until he arrives.

I will be sure to get lots of photos including the iconic "car hanging from crane on tractor trailer"

9Mar/15

More pictures of the Trans

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5Mar/15

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Erik (The Race Line) sent me a picture of the transaxel today. Erik promised me some photos as its torn down and and modified, i will be sure to post those as well.

The high lift garage door parts should be here tomorrow, might be a few days before i have the time to install it.