Video: Clearancing battles in the VS ute

Scotty test-fits key bits of the Grimace VS on a tight deadline, and nothing goes to plan!

Videographers: Matt Hull

Meguiar’s MotorEx is looming large, and we’re hoping to have the mighty Grimace VS on the VPW stand in running, if not at least complete, form. While there’s a month and a half between then and now on paper, weekends and filming days cut that figure down to about 20 days of working time.  

With that in mind, it’s time to knuckle down and get stuff done. That includes making sure everything fits and clearances as it should – an issue that can be frustrating on even the best-planned and supported swaps. 

Plopping an LS into a VS brings starter-to-steering-rack issues, with the stock location hitting the rear-mounted rack. Odds are the rack will have to be shifted, as starter relocation kits reportedly don’t work with Dart blocks like ours.   

Oil filter clearance is another drama. Scotty’s original plan involves a fabbed sump, but the unit places the filter right in the way of the rack mounts. While fixable through a remote adaptor and extra fittings, it’s more mucking around and sunken time, so VPW comes through with a cast sump of the same capacity that places the filter up the front.  

While it fixes the filter issue, the rear of the pan now fouls on the rack. Scotty considers scalloping the back of the pan, but the 15mm of clearancing required would hit its internal tubing. It’s all about the path of least resistance at this point, so it looks like the OG sump will get a run after all.    

As the engine bay hokey-pokey continues, Scotty figures he may as well give the engine bay a tidy-up and respray in Purple Mica to match the exterior.

He also sources a new (old) headlight from a VS Stato to replace the wrecked one the car came with, and new bumper clips to hold everything together. Grimace won’t be winning any Top Paint awards at MotorEx, but it’s a whole lot of relatively small details like these that can elevate a car from dunger to semi-presentable. 

Scotty wraps up this instalment of Carnage by dummying up the nine-inch diff, with some nice control arms and Strange adjustable shocks. If you squint, it’s starting to look like a proper car again – one that might even make MotorEx, so stay tuned! In the meantime, check out the episode below: