TR-6 On Twin Turbo

NY Twin Turbo

All the good stuff.....Times 2.
Dec 10, 2014
Some of you may remember this thread.......

If not, I'll cut through the chase and get strait to it.

Last summer I decided I would convert to a Coil Near Plug set-up. This was going to be the first significant reconfiguration of my twin turbo set-up since it was fabricated more than 13 years ago. For most TRs, normally this would be a simple bolt-up type of upgrade. But not for me.

I originally created my set-up as an entire package. All the components and their locations were designed after choosing and knowing exactly what other parts were also going to be part of the configuration. the location and fitment issues were first thought-out and then sketched and drawn-out on paper. Then during the mock-up process, most of the minor problem solving took place. Then came the final fabrication. But it still wasn't finished. it all came apart once again for final detail finishing, coating, painting and polishing.

So, just plopping on 6 big-ass coils wasn't going to do it for me.

If I was going to put coils on this thing they would have to be bad-ass. I needed to talk to the pros. I made a few phone calls and then I called Bob. We talked for a bit and I decided this was the way to go.

I needed to source all the components necessary to do the work before I began. This way I could experiment with mock-ups. I asked Bob to provide me with a TR-6 and an extra long un-terminated wire harness for the Holley/Pantera Coils. I also ordered the coils. This wasn't even going to get me close. I had more thinking to do. I figured I would keep working out the details in my head while I was gathering parts. I didn't want to dive right in because I didn't want to deprive myself of driving time while the Summer and Autumn weather was still good. I needed to do most of the fabrication work off the car and then hope to bolt it up during the Winter.

So this is how it all started.

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I took a good look at the top of the engine, the fire wall, the interior, the inner fenders. I considered different options for the component placement. But ultimately, it seemed that the best place for the coils would be in the somewhat traditional location. On top of the engine. But where? The damned things are so big and I didn't want a whole mess of of wires all over the place.There is already too much going on on top of my engine. I don't need another spaghetti-like bird's nest to add to this already crowded real estate.The wires need to be completely hidden. I also didn't like the idea of having these big electronic boxes poking up 3 inches above my valve covers.

I needed to consider all the things I might have to relocate or remove entirely...... And also all the things I would miss! Iv'e been looking at this set-up for a long time and still wasn't sure I wanted to change any of it.

Take a closer look at what I had going on up there.

Note the following................

-86-87 Coil pack with 84-85 emblem applied to the top. I always liked that little detail. It always reminds me where I started and that this was once an 85 T-Type.
-Custom cut and sized Magnecore wires with custom mounted wire holders.
-Polished valve covers with Jack's name on them. He's a good friend who has done much for me and is the only person who's company name I would display on my engine.
-The stainless hard lines for alky supply run down the valve covers on clips mounted to the upper bolt location.
-Valve cover breathers are obvious obstructions to the plan. But the engine needs to be vented.
-The downpipes are thankfully not as close to the valve covers as they appear in passenger side photo. But still they needed to be considered.
-The dipstick. Yea, that may be something too to consider.
-The large chrome pipe that I hard plumbed to the oil feed at the back of the block.

IAC on top? Badd A$$!

It's an Acufab 90mm 4 bolt Ford style Throttle Body mounted upside down. This puts the throttle lever on the proper side for a Buick and the IAC on the top. This left me room for my fuel crossover. But it also required me to redesign the the intake plenum cable mounts because the the throttle blade tips the other way.

I received the TR-6 and the 6 Holley coils late last Summer. I immediately began placing the coils on the engine looking to find the best possible location. more on this later.

But The TR-6 module was going to be the easy part. I knew I was going to be placing it in the standard location. But I had to do something about it's appearance! Big black box? No way. This wasn't going to cut it. Also, I wanted to be able to see whats going on inside it, but I don't want to open it after it's settings are chosen. I have the Hartline XFI ingnition adapter module for the 2-step operation. Other than seeing the LEDs, I don't want to access the box to change stuff often.

I needed to juice up the box to make it more "in place" on my my set-up. I wrote to Mark at TR Custom Parts about having some sort of a custom decal made for it. But unfortunately he responded explaining that he was swamped with work and only his standard decals were available. So I thought about doing it myself.

I always liked the Computer Controlled Coil Ignition emblem on my coil pack. So I decided to loosely imitate it on the TR-6 box. I wanted it to be a little 80's styled. But I also needed a way to see through the box! A window!

This is what I did........

First I drew this all out on paper so I would know what room on the cover I would have available.

I took the cover off and using a Dremel, decided to cut a window in it. I chose the far left of the box cover as this sits over the LEDs. This would still leave me enough room for my "decal".

Then I stripped the powder coating off and filled the unused holes for the top mounted coil option. Then I polished it to a mirror finish. Not as easy as I thought. The powder coat is tough and the metal is hard. But I got it there.

Then I went to the art supply store and bought some small sized peal-n-stick lettering. I masked a pinstripe border on the cover and featured the window and lettering with an even thinner accent line.

After this, I sprayed the cover with high-gloss black.


Then I pealed away the letters and masking tape to reveal the high-polished finish beneath. And then I sprayed the entire cover with crystal clear.


For the window, I decided to use real glass. I set the glass from behind using a thick bead of clear silicone. I carefully cut and scraped the excess away the next day for a supper tight water proof seal.

Then I noticed that even the window was not as convenient as I wanted it to be. I would have to lean over the engine to view the lights within! So to make it even a little more easier, I decided a strategically placed mirror would top-off the whole concept. I glued a mirror into the underside of the cover so I could view the internals from the passenger side fender. I was careful to keep all these components clear of the electronics within, and I tested their stability with some rough manhandling before I was assured this would hold up and not fall apart within the box.


The lower box was neatly masked and treated to black high-gloss finish. Then all mounting points were cleaned to provide good ground contacts.


Continuation in next post......................


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To top it off, I inserted studs into the box because I like the look of hex bolts better than Philips screws to hold the cover down.


And this was the final product. All set-up with chosen dip-switches set and ready to go. You can clearly see how well the mirror plan worked out! I was even shocked myself! I trimmed the slight amount of silicone from the edge, waxed it, boxed it and set it aside because there was a lot more work coming.

Now back to the coils..............

So like I said earlier, I needed to find a good spot for these things. They are about 2 inches tall x 3.5 inches wide and 4 inches long. This wasn't going to be easy. When I placed them on top of the valve covers they looked absolutely ridiculous and out of place! It would look completely like an afterthought and in no way part of the original integrated design. And to imagine the plug wires and their routing just added to the ugliness of it all. The stand out from the top surface of the valve cover was too much. No. I needed to set them lower to reduce the profile.

For one minute I considered suspending them above and along side the intake manifold. UGLY!! This would make them the biggest feature in the engine compartment. And I didn't want this. There is too much going on in my engine bay to have all the attention stolen by these coils.

After placing them around the top of the engine, I thought the best location for these things was going to have to be in the available valley space between the valve covers and the intake runners. Problem was....there wasn't a lot of space available. So I had to clear-up some real estate.

I began by imagining my valve covers had no breathers in them. And then moving my alcohol supply lines. What about the injectors? Could I do something with those? I figured I would try. If I could get them to sit a little lower it just may work. Drawn out on paper and double checking the measurements it seemed so.

So I started making some room. First thing I did was call Jack Cotton and ordered a custom set of blank valve covers from Champion with no holes in them. I knew that there was going to be a long lead time on this and knew the breathers were being deleted.

While I waited for these I started experimenting a little. I removed the coilpack and ignition wires. I spun the injectors around and plugged them in from the back. It's tight back there, but the pugs fits just fine. I'm going to need a hook and baby flat head when I work on the injector harness from now on! Then I removed the alky supply lines.

This plan worked. Opened things up a bit.


The wire harness on the driver's side and the oil supply on the passenger's side seemed low enough to not be in the way.

Then the valve covers arrived. So I was able to experiment with the spacing of the coils so that they wouldn't favor the front or rear of the engine and would look symmetrically proper. True symmetry is impossible, of course. I just had to go with what looked right. The drivers head is further forward and the coils all have there terminals on the same side. Also the spark plug locations are not equally and so-on. But I knew when it looked right, then I was there.

Loosely placing the coils on the engine and moving them around wasn't going to lock a position to begin a solid mounting strategy. I needed to create a mock-up bracket. Something easy to fab-up and change as my ideas progressed, and rigid enough to move around. Normally I would use wood or cardboard for this. This time, I decided to make it out of copper.

So after some careful measurements this is what I did.

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I always planned for the wire harness to be hidden. Now I was able to see the concept come to life. I knew I would be running the harness through the coil bracket itself! Each plug would poke out from behind and under each coil and the wires would neatly disappear into the bracket and return back to the TR-6.

I used long metric bolts that self threaded directly into the 3/16 copper stub-ups. The copper stub-ups are soldered around the top and all the way to the bottom of the base pipe. This made for a pretty strong connection. I was able to torque down the coils enough to begin to slightly flatten the top of the pipe. I was actually surprised! This was supposed to be a mock-up. If this configuration worked, I was going to have this duplicated and made up in stainless or aluminum by Brian Cotton. But now it seemed this copper stuff might just work! It was still too soon to tell. I figured it was good for now and it would allow me to continue with the planning.

The valve covers arrived and I couldn't wait to see it in 3-D. So I loosely threw them on. I also temporarily put my full length ignition wires on the coils. Then I took a picture. It was hard looking at a non-polished set of valve covers on the car. But I would have to get past that for now. Because there was still so much work to do.



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Damn Dude!!!

Didn't you say that you were in the Construction Industry?

You missed your calling.
Damn Dude!!!

Didn't you say that you were in the Construction Industry?

You missed your calling.
I am. I don’t know shit about cars.

But that’s ok. I don’t know a damned thing about construction either. Every day the industry is making me dumber and dumber.
After looking at the coil set-up, I began wondering if there would be those who questioned if this was an LS engine.
I hope this doesn't happen ! Because that would just cause me to go into bitch-fit mode and want to stab someone in the throat.

I still had to come up with a way to secure these coil brackets to the engine. For now, they were just resting up on top. But more on that later............
I moved on to the next assignment.

I had to come up with a way to vent the engine and fill it with oil.

I had available space at each corner of the engine compartment up against the fire wall. The AC/heat and windshield wiper motor have been long gone for years now. It was time to consider using this space. I figured I would need breather/catch cans that could serve a few purposes.

For one, they needed to provide filtered ventilation for the crankcase. They also needed to separate the oil mist from the crank case gases. And they needed to act as the location to pour oil into the engine. I never liked the idea of draining catch cans when they get all gooey. So they would have to be able to self drain back into the engine. In order for this to work, they needed to be located at a high point and have a funnel-like bottom. All the attached vent lines needed to be pitched down to the oil pan to allow gravity to do it's job.

I figured I might still add vent lines from the valve covers as well. But only if it wasn't going to be a visual eye-sore or get in the way of the coil mounting.

I looked all over the internet and in catalogs for cans that would be just right for my application. I already knew what I needed and how they should look. I thought I should be able to find something close, no? But I didn’t see anything I liked that would do what I wanted it to do. So I guess I was going to have to make them myself !

Just one problem. I can't weld aluminum. Or maybe I can. But either way, I don't have a TIG welder. Again, this would have to end up being a semi-permanent mock-up. If things din't go as planned, I would just have Brian Cotton make me two cans based on my prototypes. But one thing is certain, I can't keep running back and forth to Massachusetts every few days!

Also, I wasn’t interested in using braided line for the vent tubing because it is not flexible enough to route the way I wanted it to. I also wanted a large inside diameter without the supper thick and heavy outside diameter. I began researching different types of industrial tubing to find an alternative.

I began to gather what I needed. here is some of the stuff I got for the breather tanks. And yes! That is a heavy duty aluminum kitchen funnel I bought from the restaurant supply.


I found this tubing on the internet. This stuff is bad-ass! High heat resistant (275 degrees) supper flexible, non collapsible, kink and crush resistant, smooth interior, tight bend radius, tare resistant, oil and chemically resistant. They even make a fire proof version! I called the company and spoke to the tech adviser. Good stuff for breather applications. I ordered 2 different sizes. 1 inch ID and 3/4 inch ID.

And would you believe they call this stuff Flex Tube -TR. How did they know I was going to use it on a TR?

With two 1 inch vents off the oil pan, and two 3/4 vents off the valve covers, I'll never have to worry about crank case pressure ever again!!!!



So now I got started on the fabrication.


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I made an attempt to aluminum braze the cans together. But because the aluminum components are of different thicknesses, sometimes the thinner stuff would melt and burn away before I had the chance to get the thicker stuff up to temperature to accept the brazing rod. After several attempts I chose to use epoxy to put the cans together.

I included a baffle within. Just in case oil was to burble up and try to make an attempt to escape the engine. And tested it with a garden hose feeding it from the bottom. Nope. Oil ain't bubbling out past this.




Below you can see I have included a 1 inch barb on the bottom for the oil pan connection, and a 3/4 inch barb for the valve cover connection. And the large 2 inch opening in the top is to receive a K&N breather cap and also to serve as the oil fill location.

I never planned to leave the tanks with an aluminum natural or polished finish. There is too much polished junk in my engine compartment already. I figured I would spray them black.

Installed and painted black. you can see I added the support bracket to hold them plumb rather than up against the fire wall. I also used those cheesy polished shrouded worm clamps to dress them up a bit. But it doesn't look all that bad.



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More pictures of the breathers symmetrical lay-out later. For now, back to the coil brackets.............

So I had these things resting up on top of my engine. I needed a way to secure them. I thought about using existing bolting locations to connect to. Maybe the injector rail bolts? Or maybe the valve cover bolts? But this wasn't a prototype being made up to be mass produced. It was a custom fab-up for my own ride. So I planned to have tabs welded to the valve covers to secure them.

If you guys remember from my last coil bracket photos, I had the front end of the main pipe capped off. I went back and sweat the caps loose and then soldered in a couple of 5/16th brass nuts. This could now receive a bolt for mounting. I also added a tab to the rear of each main pipe as well. Then I sprayed them gold.

Why gold? I don't know. I just thought it would look cool I guess. Maybe because gold is more of a brass-like color. And it seems as if I got this brass-silver-red-black thing going on everywhere so why not keep it consistent.



I also wasn't too happy about the etched "Holley" logo on the top of all the coils. I needed to delete this and juice up their appearance a little. So I choose to laminate the tops with a dark stainless steel appearing wrap.


Now they look nice!


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