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Picking Up Easy Rear-Wheel Horsepower & Torque With BlackHeart Shorty Headers for Your C7 Vette

Power Shorty-Cut: Uncorking performance using Hooker’s BlackHeart C7 shorty headers on a Z06

Wes Duenkel Jan 6, 2017
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The naturally aspirated C6 Z06 responded well to tuning modifications, but would the C7 Z06’s supercharger make finding additional tire-shredding power from GM’s new supercar a challenge? Fortunately, supercharged engines love to breathe, and the power-hungry folks at Hooker BlackHeart Speed Exhaust found room for improvement in the OEM cast-iron exhaust manifolds.

The engineering team at Hooker developed a tubular shorty header that’s a direct OEM replacement and features 1 7/8-inch primaries and a unique, 4-into-1 inline merge collector. They’re hand-welded from 304 stainless steel and include fully blended welds at the flange and collector for maximum exhaust gas velocity and scavenging. Besides saving 19 pounds over the stock castings, the headers add 11 horsepower and 14 lb-ft of torque in the meat of the power curve. (We’d expect much larger gains with other modifications and a proper PCM tune.) These 304 stainless steel works of art fit 2014-current (C7) Corvettes, including the Z06.

We joined the Hooker BlackHeart Speed Exhaust team at their research, development and manufacturing facility in Bowling Green, Kentucky, to witness installation and testing of their shorty headers on a 2015 Corvette Z06. Follow along for the details.

2015 Chevrolet Corvette C7 2/32

01. Before putting our test subject under the knife, we strapped it to Hooker’s in-house Dynojet dynamometer for baseline power figures. The rollers measured 568 horsepower and 584 lb-ft at the stock Z06’s Michelins.

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02. Hooker’s installation expert Clint Belcher began the process by disconnecting the battery.

2015 Corvette Skidplate 4/32

03. Next, Belcher removed the skidplate and chassis braces between the front crossmember and the frame.

2015 Corvette Rear Clamps 5/32

04. After loosening the rear clamps and disconnecting the front flanges, Belcher removed the factory mid-pipe.

2015 Corvette Engine Oil 6/32

05. To give us a bit more working room, Belcher drained the engine oil and disconnected the dry-sump hoses. Plugging the hoses and lines kept the mess to a minimum.

2015 Corvette Catalyctic Converter 7/32

06. Next, Belcher removed the nuts securing the catalytic converter downpipes from the manifolds.

2015 Corvette Vacuum Lines 8/32

07. Hooker Development Engineer Doug Marino started work on the topside of the engine by disconnecting the PCV and vacuum lines from the rocker covers, dry-sump system and brake booster.

2015 Corvette Power Distribution Box 9/32

08. The power distribution box needed to be removed to allow access to the right side manifold. Marino started the procedure by pulling back the locks and lifting the handles on the cover.

2015 Corvette Power Feed Wire 10/32

09. Then, Marino disconnected the power feed wire.

2015 Corvette Harness Connectors 11/32

10. With both handles pointing up, Marino lifted the cover, exposing the harness connectors.

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11. Marino slid the connectors sideways to disengage them from the lower tray, and lifted the tray from the engine bay.

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12. Meanwhile, Belcher accessed the spark plug wires by removing the coil covers and disconnecting the wires from the coils and plugs.

2015 Corvette Steering Shaft 14/32

13. Belcher disconnected the steering shaft to gain a bit more room on the left side.

2015 Corvette Spark Plugs 15/32

14. Next, Belcher and Marino removed the spark plugs.

2015 Corvette Heat Shields 16/32

15. Then, they detached the heat shields and removed the manifold bolts.

2015 Corvette Down Pipes 17/32

16. With the manifolds free, Marino gained the room necessary to remove the catalyst down pipes.

2015 Corvette Oem Manifolds 18/32

17. Then, Marino removed the OEM manifolds by tilting them back and snaking them out of the engine compartment.

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18. With the OEM manifolds removed, we could compare them with the Hooker BlackHeart shorty headers. It’s easy to see why the Hooker shorty headers weigh 19 pounds less than the stock iron castings.

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19. The Hooker BlackHeart shorty headers’ tubular design outflows the OEM manifolds.

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20. The Hooker BlackHeart shorty headers feature a unique, 4-into-1 inline collector that’s carefully welded together by hand.

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21. The inlet and outlet sides of the headers are hand-blended to maximize exhaust velocity and scavenging.

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22. Belcher resumed the installation process by hoisting the Hooker BlackHeart shorty headers into place.

2015 Corvette Oem Gasktets 24/32

23. Marino reused the OEM gaskets and secured the headers to the cylinder heads using the supplied hardware.

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24. Belcher installed the spark plugs and wires.

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25. Marino reconnected the spark plug wires to the coils, and reinstalled the coil covers.

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26. Marino and Belcher tag-teamed the job of securing the header collector flanges to the catalyst flanges.

2015 Corvette Oem Mid Pipe 28/32

27. Marino reinstalled the OEM mid-pipe, skidplate, chassis braces and oil lines.

2015 Corvette Power Distribution Box 29/32

28. Marino continued up top by reassembling the power distribution box.

2015 Corvette Dry Sump Tank 30/32

29. Belcher filled the dry-sump tank with fresh oil. (Be sure to follow the OEM procedure, as it’s easy to overfill the system.)

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Rear View 31/32

30. With everything reconnected and complete, Belcher strapped the Z06 back on the dyno.

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31. Without any other changes, the Z06 gained 11 rear-wheel horsepower at 5,200 rpm, and 14 lb-ft of torque at 4,300 rpm. We expect the gains to increase with further exhaust and other modifications.


Hooker BlackHeart Speed Exhaust



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