The dyno results are in, and the new 383 Project Shark Attack engine isready to install. We broke in the camshaft using an 800-cfm Holleycarburetor, but we finished the dyno testing with a Holley throttle-bodyfuel-injection unit. We made the same horsepower with better torquenumbers in most areas with the Holley TBI unit. We'll discuss the tuningand dynamics of the Holley throttle-body injection in an upcoming issue.
First, we had to get the engine compartment ready to accept the engineand transmission drop. The engine compartment had plenty of oil andgrease on the fiberglass firewall and inner fenders, which caused someconcerns. A major problem was how to get the paint to stick to the oilyfiberglass. We decided to paint the firewall and inner fenders the carcolor, which is '93 Corvette Torch Red, after applying a coat of PPGDP90LF primer to the engine compartment. Amazingly, the primer andcolorcoat stuck extremely well to the firewall and inner fenders, withno fisheyes anywhere.
Since we're doing a body-on restoration in record time (to make the 2005Hot Rod Power Tour), an overall comprehensive plan of attack can savemany hours of aggravation. Careful planning saves labor and preventsextra shipping costs. By planning labor operations up front, you canforecast the necessary parts to complete each phase of the project,preferably before general panic sets in. Stick to the plan and make surethe engine is prepared for installation. It's easier to assemble anengine on a stand and check bellhousing runout and concentricity, ratherthan wrestling with it in the engine compartment.
Before installing the engine, we removed the OE quarter-inch steelfuel-return line, then installed the 5/16-inch steel fuel-return linethat's necessary for the TBI fuel-injection unit. Now for some planningnotes: The TBI unit requires an inline fuel filter, so we should installthe A/C evaporator case to see what's necessary for the fuel filter andfuel-line placement. Installing the evaporator case before the enginesimplifies the task and saves time.
Another timesaver was to replace the positive battery cable that'srouted down the transmission tunnel. Our current positive battery cablehad the terminal end cut off, as a quickie repair bolt-on batteryterminal was used. In doing so, we decided to replace both batterycables with M&H Electrical Fabricators' correct look and fit batterycables.
We wanted to get rid of the old mechanical clutch linkage, so we askedKeisler to provide its latest technological upgrade hydraulic-clutchassembly. The assembly used a hydraulic actuated clutch-release bearingmounted to the transmission's input-shaft retainer housing. The kit camecomplete with master cylinder, hydraulic clutch-release bearing, hoses,reservoir, and all attaching hardware. Since this was the firsthydraulic clutch install we've attempted, we thought about the requiredsteps and decided to install the hydraulic master cylinder before theengine was in place.
The last item to replace is the fuel-system vapor canister tucked awayin the driver-side inner fender. The fuel-vapor canister is oftenoverlooked and should be replaced after 10 years. The fuel vaporcanister stores fuel vapors that build up in the fuel tank. In today'sworld, that means better fuel mileage. Ever wonder why you might havesmelled a fuel odor at the driver-side fender? The original hosesdeteriorate over time, with the charcoal in the canister eventuallycrumbling into dust, limiting its ability to store vapors. This causesfuel odors. We make the canister operable on all cars, whetherfuel-injected or carbureted.
Now that the ancillary pieces are in, we can set the engine in place andinstall the engine-mount bolts. A transmission jack is used to put thetransmission in. We're using a Keisler-engineered Tremec five-speedtransmission kit that has all the necessary pieces for installation.With the time constraints we have, the Keisler kit saves many hours ofdesign and fabrication. We wrapped up the installation in approximatelyfive hours, including speedometer-cable installation.
We're trying a new shorty-style header design from Hooker so the oxygensensor gets a good flow of exhaust gases for optimum fuel mileage. We'llbe using the serpentine-belt-driven accessories from a '90 Corvettealong with the new MSD 130-amp universal-fit alternator. Stay tuned forthe engine and transmission final installation with the Holley TBItuning.