C5 Corvette Bolt-Ons - Yearning To Breathe Free

A Handful Of Bolt-Ons Yield A Boatload Of C5 Performance

Ron Fuller May 1, 2008 0 Comment(s)
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Hitting the road in your '97-'04 Corvette should be nothing short of exhilarating, as exciting as the day you drove the car for the first time. But while the C5 embodies a near-perfect combination of style, acceleration, and handling, its power-robbing, insipid-sounding stock exhaust system is a major weak point. Fortunately for performance-minded C5 enthusiasts, Bassani has a full arsenal of Corvette exhaust systems designed to improve both the sound and the output of the car.

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In addition to being restrictive and whisper-quiet, the factory muffler assembly isn't much to look at. Bassani's stainless-steel Aft-Cat system should make for considerable improvements in all areas.

According to Bassani, unleashing pent-up horsepower is a fairly simple task on a C5. The company's C5 Aft-Cat system uses mandrel-formed, 2 1/2-inch, stainless-steel tubing to supplant the crush-bent stock pipes. Next, the highly restrictive factory mufflers are replaced with Bassani high-flow units, which improve power while lending the car a unique "muscle car" sound.

The stock H-pipe, meanwhile, gets the hook in favor of Bassani's stainless-steel Power X Crossover pipe. Not only does the Power X design increase performance by scavenging spent exhaust fumes, it further enhances the exhaust tone as well. As installed, the Bassani setup evinces no extreme roar or popping on deceleration-just the pure sound of a highly tuned sports car.

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The stock H-pipe serves more to strengthen the stock system than to balance exhaust flow. By contrast, the Bassani Power X Crossover is designed to improve both power and sound.

As the accompanying photos show, installing the Bassani Aft-Cat system and Power X is a relatively simple affair, with no welding or fabrication needed. The job requires two cuts to the stock system. After that, all the Bassani components can be bolted up using the supplied hardware and OEM-style band clamps. Like all of Bassani's stainless-steel exhaust products, the C5 system comes with a lifetime warranty.

Want even more power from your C5? The Bassani parts have proven to work well with complementary upgrades, including aftermarket cold-air systems and PCM programmers. The owner of our test car previously had installed a high-performance K&N air cleaner and cold-air induction kit. To help get the most out of the intake and exhaust mods, Bassani's R&D team mounted up a Hypertech HyperPac designed specifically for this C5 application.

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The job starts with the unbolting of the stock muffler flange...

Installing the HyperPac requires little more than mounting the unit to the windshield with a supplied suction cup, then attaching its cable to the diagnostic port located under the dash. With that done, the Bassani crew downloaded the built-in Hypertech Power Tuning to the C5's computer using a series of easy-to-follow, on-screen prompts.

Before-and-after dyno testing at Superior Automotive in Anaheim, California, found that the combination of the Bassani exhaust parts (Aft-Cat and Power X) and the HyperPac tuning bumped rear-wheel output from 290 to 321 hp. That's a tremendous result, especially given the modest nature of the modifications involved.

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