Winter of 2017/2018 Hibernation Report

Well, with winter firmly entrenched here in New England and our two NG 9-5’s firmly occupying our garage, there isn’t a lot of room for Sonett work.  But that minor detail isn’t going to stop me!  With the long block together, there is still a lot to do.

It’s hard to believe I’m so far into this project without doing any business with Jack Ashcraft, who is a noted Sonett specialist.  I guess I’m just not following the typical “rebuild playbook”.  But I had a component I didn’t know much about, and I knew he did…the wiper motor!  I don’t need it now, but will at some point.  And frankly, I got sick of tripping over it in my garage.  So I packed it up and shipped it out to Oregon.



A couple of weeks later, the refurbished unit shows up.  Jack cleaned out the 40 year old grease and dirt, cleans up and paints it, and checks out the motor and internals.  He also runs it on his test bench and gives you instructions on how to get it to “park” correctly if you’re dumb enough to pull the spiral cable out of the sleeve…which of course I did…  So, one part ready to go for when the time comes.  I boxed it up well and put it away for safekeeping.



Next up is figuring out a way to time my motor.  I’m not planning on using a distributor (!) so I looked about and found a site the sells toothed “trigger wheels”.  It’s a site in the UK and they allow you to pick the right tooth setup (36-1 in my case) and the right size too.  So I measured up the diameter of my balance shaft pulley and ordered up a wheel to fit it perfectly.  I also ordered a universal sensor and bracket in case we need them with the new EFI system.  Not sure how it will get mounted to the pulley yet, but that will get figured out soon.



Next up was an ignition for said EFI system.  I decided to go with LS2 style ignition similar to my brother Jake’s monster GTO project.  I figured if I ran the same thing he does, then I can call him for tech support when mine doesn’t work!  Jake sandblasted the old V4 valvecovers, welded on standoffs for the new coilpacks, and powdercoated them black.  Beautiful, and one of a kind!


I jumped online and ordered up new coils.  Technically, they are D585 coils that come on the truck versions of the LS motors.  Jake had welded the standoffs to fit these coils, so I bought four brand new GM coilpacks and then picked up some stainless cap screws and lockwashers to mount them with.  So happy with the finished result!  This will let us have absolutely superior ignition firepower to any other V4 I’ve ever seen.  Plus the plug wires will just be a few inches long, as opposed to a foot or two long in most cases.  If this were a combat operation, this setup is the nuclear option!



With birthday number 42 rolling around, I woke up to a pleasant surprise from Mrs. Sonett… a Sonett birthday cake!!!  It was delicious!  And it was a great reminder of what my car is supposed to look like, since the only thing I see these days is a gigantic pile of Sonett pieces…  maybe if I just tell people those pieces are hibernating like the local bears and that they will wake up for Spring soon, I’ll feel better about it!


One thought on “Winter of 2017/2018 Hibernation Report

  1. It’s been a while since there was an update, so just curious how things going?

    Your posts always inspired me to get out into the garage and do a little work, so hoping everything is well with you and your Sonett.


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