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American Powerhouse

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  1. #1

    Default Rentedmule's '95 Formula project

    I've been lurking for a while so I thought I'd start a 'build' thread.

    I picked up a cheap, high-mileage (200K kms) '95 Formula M6 a few years ago with the intention of using it as sort of fun beater car and not spending any money on it. It ended up being a bit nicer than I expected for what I paid so I've started to fix it up and use it as an alternate auto-X car when my normal race ride is down.

    As purchased: Cloth interior, traction control and power options, non-WS6 with completely original suspension.

    It came with the C6 wheels, a stainless Magnaflow cat-back, and MSD plug wires but otherwise it was bone stock.

    It had a piles of rattles and clunks so after doing a new coolant temp and oil level sensor and a TB air-foil and smooth bellows I started in on the suspension.

    I ran it as-is at an auto-X just for kicks - it was fun but it pitched and rolled like crazy! I also tried it on the Toyo R888's I use on my truck and it was even more ridiculous.

    I swapped the original decarbons for SLP Bilsteins (wish I had held out for Konis...) and put on new strut mounts and Founders LCAs (rod end on axle, poly on car) and Panhard bar (rod ends on both sides).

    It was better but it still had a bunch of clunks that I couldn't track down. I found a set of used BMR coils with new isolators/spring pad thingies in the back and that completely fixed the clunks - weird because the old isolators still looked fine. Stance was better too but I wish the front wasn't lower than the rear - heater hose mod may be in the future.

    It still rolled a lot during auto-X so I popped for a set of Strano's hollow sway bars. Wow, do they ever make a difference over the skinny non-WS6 bars.

    Last edited by rentedmule; 06-22-2016 at 11:00 AM.

  2. #2


    I'm trying to learn how to properly heel-toe brake and rev match for track driving and I was finding the stock pedals hard to deal with. I did some hunting around LTxtech and found a few people talking about the Sullivan Racing Products pedals so I figured I'd give them a shot. I spaced the clutch and throttle pedal forward a bit for a better feel.

    The pedals were nice and all but after that I was starting to realize that the stock LT1 brakes were pretty much ornamental - the pedal feel was awful and it took 2 feet on it to haul it down from speed on course. I found a local who was parting a burned 2002 twin-turbo LS6 trans am he bought for an RX7 swap and got the spindle and brake setup. No idea what brand the pads and rotors are but they were almost new.

    I cleaned them up and hit them with some duplicolor caliper paint I had left over. I just got them on yesterday and they feel so much better! I have a 13" rotor C5 vette setup with Carbotech auto-X pads on my truck; these obviously aren't quite as strong but they feel great and were definitely a nice upgrade from the LT1's. I also swapped on some new 275/40-17 Nitto NT-05's. These seem to be the best of the options for 200 TW tires in a 275/40 but I haven't had a chance to try them out yet.

    Next up is a OEM Hurst shifter and LS aluminum driveshaft I found locally for cheap. A new clutch is coming after that as the current one is slipping on hard launches. It seems like a lot of people recommend a parts store clutch with a McLeod dual friction disc - anyone have thoughts on that?

    The driver's seat foam is also shot so I should probably replace that or find better seats. I currently have a memory foam pillow on the seat so it doesn't feel like I'm sitting directly on the floor . The power antenna motor seems to be dead as well so that's on the list too.

  3. #3


    I normally race my '03 sonoma and I use F-body or vette wheels on that so I have sort of a collection of wheels I can swap back and forth between rigs. My R888's (275/40) are on a set of speedlines from a '95 Firehawk. Unfortunately the firehawk logos on the center caps were wrecked/missing when I bought them and the paint was toast so I just painted them flat black:

    I also have the original chrome (now mat silver) 16x8's the car came with and a set of collector's edition TA wheels that I use for my street tires on the truck. I thought I had a pic of them on the car but can't find one right now
    Last edited by rentedmule; 06-22-2016 at 11:12 AM.

  4. The Following User Says Thank You to rentedmule For This Post:

  5. #4
    LTX Regular

    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    1996 Camaro Z28
    Bay Area California


    Sweet ride. Dig the setup. Simple and effective! Nice progression too.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Arctic White 1996 Z28. Stock internal LT1, CAI, LM1, MGW Shifter, 3.73's, some suspension junk, and shiny salad shooters (retired). Forgestar F14's 18x10 on all 4. Fun stuff coming soon. Also, Cali smog regulations suck...period. **Insert witty quote here** LT1FTW that is all. Have a nice day.

  6. #5
    LTX Master

    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    93 Z28
    Houston/Clear Lake


    That's a pretty nice looking Formula and what truck do you keep talking about?
    93 Z28, 383, PI 3200, Strange 12 bolt, 3.73, Strange coilovers, suspension, and going 24X... for three years or so.

  7. #6


    Thanks guys, it's nothing fancy but it's really a fun car. The truck is an '03 Sonoma with a bunch of suspension work and weight reduction for auto-X. Still a V6/auto but I'm putting together a heads/cam/turbo motor and manual swap now - I have the motor the donor motor and trans and most of the necessary parts but I'm missing the skills to put it all together!

  8. #7


    I got the shifter in and it feels good - not a massive difference but certainly an improvement. I also had it aligned to -1.0 camber, +4.5 caster (that's all they could get), 0 toe, and it feels great on track. Turn-in is quick and there's noticeably more grip than with the factory alignment settings. The brakes were a ridiculous improvement over the awful LT1 setup - absolutely night and day. I'm still getting used to running the car after racing my truck for so long but it was fun and my times weren't awful. The launch is gentle here but the new clutch arrived this week so I should be able to beat on it soon.

    Ignore the date, I haven't set up my camera yet

    I'm still having an issue with power steering fluid blowing out of the reservoir. I put a fluid cooler in to no avail. Someone on LS1tech suggested flushing the system with new fluid so I'll give that a shot.

  9. #8
    Xtreme Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    1994 camaro
    Lehigh Valley PA


    looks basically like my old formy with the suspension etc. i had tubular umi front upper and lower a arms (street version) and a umi adjustable torque arm, same founders rear lca's and stuff. with toyo r1r's it handled amazing. nice car
    2009 G8 GXP #871 - Stock and faster than my LT1

    1994 Z28 T56 - Le2 H/C, SBE, Hooker lt's, some rod ended suspension stuff, and a whole lotta tetanus

    The wrench for LTConvert's 94 Z28- Ellwein 383/LE Trickflows/ P600B/ CPT Pro Race/Pro Torque 3200

  10. #9


    This is a boring project but I guess I'll update anyway!

    I mostly sorted the power steering issue with a full fluid flush and rerouting the lines but I still keep a microfiber cloth wrapped on the reservoir cap to catch spray.

    New clutch is in and works well.

    Swapped the Bilsteins for Koni Yellows that I picked up used from the forums.

    Installed Strano's master cylinder brace (nice upgrade!).

    I got my lapping license last spring and did a few track days in addition to regular auto-X stuff - the car is slow, I'm a rookie, and my NT05's were shot but it was still a lot of fun!

    I cooked my Hawk HPS pads at my first track day (down to the backing plates!) and swapped to EBC Yellowstuff. They seemed to hold out better.

    My tires were shot and I found a great deal on R888's so I bit the bullet and decided to go with 315/35-17's. I sold the chrome C6 replicas that came with the car and bought some 17x11 (+50) ZR1 replicas, longer ARP wheel studs, and 1/4" spacers. The tires won't ship until the weather warms up so no pics yet. I'm sure there will be a BFH involved to make everything fit well. I know R888's aren't the 'hot' tire these days but the entire new wheel/tire combo cost less than my 4 NT05's did so I couldn't pass it up.

    I also installed the ported stock TB I had (53mm), installed a 160 thermostat, and sent my PCM to Solomon for a tune.

    I also installed an MSD6AL-2 for the rev limiter feature. I pay more attention to the course than the tach when I'm racing and was pushing it a bit hard. I didn't bother hooking up the 2-step function yet but I may eventually.

    msd mount 2 by Rented Mule, on Flickr

    Next up is a proper race seat: the factory lawn chairs are pretty bad and pretty worn out.
    1995 Firebird Formula, M6, ram-air, BMR/Strano/Founders/Koni suspension, a few bolt-ons

  11. #10


    I was getting a lot of oil and sludge in my PCV lines so I picked up a Mighty Mouse LT1 catch can last fall. I thought it would be a bolt-on deal but it required relocating the coil (which I had no idea how to do). I ended up making a bracket that used a bolt from the ABS pump to mount it near the driver's firewall.

    catch can 1 by Rented Mule, on Flickr

    catch can 2 by Rented Mule, on Flickr
    1995 Firebird Formula, M6, ram-air, BMR/Strano/Founders/Koni suspension, a few bolt-ons

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