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Old 02-09-2018, 10:27 AM
heinke's Avatar
heinke heinke is offline
MetalShaper of the Month Jan 2018
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Livermore, CA
Posts: 214

Originally Posted by 123pugsy View Post
Very cool.

Just checking if you know not to use Windex type cleaners on Plexi. It will look like a shattered glass eventually.
Thanks for the tip, I didn't know that. I do know I have a bottle of plastic cleaner/polisher stuff. Now I'll just need to remember to use it
Joel Heinke
Be original; don't be scared of being bold!
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Old 06-01-2018, 01:45 PM
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heinke heinke is offline
MetalShaper of the Month Jan 2018
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Livermore, CA
Posts: 214
Post Making GTO headlight fairing rings

The C5 GTO has been at the paint shop for a few months now so there hasnít been much content for me to provide an update. Iíve been busy starting my next scratch built car project but thatís going to be the focus of a different build thread.

I decided to make new rings that secure/seal the headlight fairing covers in place. I had purchased a couple of these about 15 years ago when I started the GTO project but they turned out to be poor fitting and generally not up to the quality level Iím putting into this car. One was .063 in thickness and the other only .050. While the thicker one might hold well enough to keep a seal the thinner one seemed very flimsy. I decided to make the new ones from Al 3003 .090 to keep the flexing to a minimum and for consistent clamping all the way around the ring.

This is the first time I worked and shaped aluminum sheet this thick. My first impression came from cutting. I was able to cut with aviation snips but it took quite a bit of muscle and I raised a blister on my index finger in the process. As for shaping, it wasnít all that different from shaping .063. Itís stiff enough that bending it over my thigh like I can with .063 didnít work but bending it on the English wheel with a go-kart slick worked great.

I had cut the nose off my fiberglass GTO body buck just behind the headlights and itís been collecting dust around the garage for a few years now. I was glad I had it as it was very useful for checking shaping progress and to use as a hammer form for fine tuning the edges. After raising the middle and bending on the English wheel, the edges needed to be shrunk. The edge at the back needed the most.

After a few minutes of shrinking on my TM power hammer, the fit was much better.

A little bit of fine tuning with a rubber hammer over the fiberglass buck had it fitting good.

Next I used the Plexiglas fairing lens that had previously been fitted to the headlight opening as a template to mark a cut line. This way I could get an consistent overlap for the ring over the car body. This is where the other rings really fell short. In some areas they barely covered the lens edge and in other areas they mostly overlapped on the body.

After cutting off the excess material, thereís a consistent 3/8Ē gap around the lens.

I wanted the ring to have a slight domed shape and I figured this would be easier to do before cutting out the middle. I added the doming by forming the edges over a bit using a flipper over a round edge die from my power hammer. Given the .090 material thickness, Iíll also probably fine tune the domed look by tapering the edges with a file during the finishing/polishing stage.

Now comes the harder part, cutting out the middle. I carefully marked a line ĺĒ from the edge along with little finger shapes to go around the mounting screws.

I setup my trusty ďbench mountedĒ reciprocating saw for the cut operation. I find it easier to control the inevitable bounce by holding the material in my hands versus the actual saw. Also key is to lubricate the saw blade with WD-40 to minimize its grabbing effect on the aluminum.

After cutting and about an hourís worth of filing to clean and straighten things up, a nice fairing ring emerges.

A test fit to the buck shows the ring retained its shape through all the cutting and filing.

Iím going to hold off on polishing/finishing these rings until I have the chance to test fit on the actual C5 GTO. Iím guessing that some fine tuning of screw holes will likely be necessary. With the new cleanly shaped rings it really accentuates the warping in the fairing lenses. I guess that means these need to be redone as well.
Joel Heinke
Be original; don't be scared of being bold!
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Old 06-01-2018, 03:45 PM
68rustang 68rustang is offline
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Cleveland, OH
Posts: 4

I always enjoy the updates and hope to be able to see your car in person someday.

As an aside, these engines were featured in one of the recent Hot Rod magazines and I couldn't help but think of your car. Yes, they are ridiculous and very expensive but it is just the right amount of C5(LS) and GTO(v12)
Eric Singleton

Last edited by 68rustang; 06-01-2018 at 03:48 PM.
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Old 06-02-2018, 08:35 AM
Gojeep Gojeep is offline
MetalShaper of the Month March 2015
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Eastern Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 1,584

Nice to see an update on this.
aka. Gojeep
Victoria, Australia

Invention is a combination of brains and materials.
The more brains you use, the less materials you need.
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