1963 Corvette Engine Compartment Modifications - Split Personality, Part 7

Covering The Engine Compartment, Air Intake, And Cooling Systems

Rich Lagasse Jan 1, 2009 0 Comment(s)

Hood
Changes to the underside of the hood included filling, smoothing, and radiusing each seam and joint; making a recess to clear the dry sump tank; installing detachable hood hinges from American Freedom Products; and using a gas strut for the hood support, which was sent to us by a friend from Australia. The hood strut is from a BMW which was just the right length. We used the stock upper and lower brackets from an original hood support and mounted them in the stock locations on the hood and fenderwell. We were surprised at how well it worked. The hood latches were smoothed and chromed. The main advantage of the quick-disconnect hinges is in allowing you to remove the hood without removing the hinge bolts so you don't have to realign the hood again. (See photo 6, hood hinges; photo 7, hood underside; and photo 8, hydraulic hood support.)

Cooling System
The folks from the Pro-Fab shop of Be Cool (Marks 7 Machine) constructed the radiator, radiator mount, A/C condenser, and expansion tanks from our designs. Their work was outstanding, and everything fit perfectly. The radiator has both the upper and lower inlet/outlet on the passenger side to gain more space in the center of the engine to allow room for the cold-air intake system. Braided stainless hoses and AN fittings were used throughout. The upper and lower radiator hoses were found by searching through the hoses in our local NAPA parts store. It may seem unusual, but the upper hose is from a Ford pickup (PN 8779), and the lower hose from a Pontiac V-6 (PN 9050). To match the other braided hoses, we used 1 1/4-inch braided Spectre hose covering which was tough to install but worked well. The thermostat housing is a 35-degree angled swivel unit from Street & Performance, and the hose ends are also from Street & Performance. (See photo 9, radiator/upper mount; photo 10, expansion tank; and photo 11, upper radiator hose.)

Twin Spal fans mounted to a shroud were used along with a Spal electronic control system, which allows you to set the temperatures for the fans to turn on and off. This shroud has rubber flaps which open at driving speeds to allow more air through the radiator. (See photo 12, fans/shroud.)

Cold-Air Intake
This was a tough one. We laid out several approaches which would gain access to cooler outside air and find the best route. The main considerations were how well the intake could be integrated into the body as well as the best route to take to get to the engine. Other factors were the type of ductwork that could be made, and how we could make the connection to the throttle body and incorporate the mass airflow and incoming air-temperature sensors. Space is at a premium when you're looking for a route that passes through the chassis, under the radiator and steering rack, and squeezes between the steering rack and the engine damper. The approach we used begins with a scoop which was molded into the front valance. The scoop incorporates a custom grille and air filter and, further upstream, a combination of silicone and metal ductwork to connect to a custom throttle-body elbow made by Street & Performance. (See photo 13, cold-air scoop and grille; and photo 14, ductwork and throttle-body elbow.)

The intake grille and scoop is located between the bumpers and molded into the front valance. The grille is a custom piece machined by a local machinist to our design. The design uses horizontal grille bars to follow those of the original grille. Behind the grille is a custom air filter we made ourselves using K&N red foam filter material. The scoop was made, starting with a small aftermarket hoodscoop and then extensively modified to blend into the valance. The rear of the scoop was shaped to fit an aftermarket C4 silicone "bridge" which fits into a 90-degree silicone elbow and then makes the upward turn under the steering rack. From that point, an ovalized tube was used to make the connection to the throttle-body elbow.

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