Corvette Bolt-Ons - C5 On A Shoestring

Part 10: Bolt-On Engine Performance

James Berry Jul 1, 2008 0 Comment(s)
Vemp_0807_01_z 1997_chevrolet_corvette Rear_view 1/27

The author gets a stern talking-to from a Pinellas County Sheriff's Deputy. With the new mods in place, tire- spinning acceleration was just a throttle stomp away.

While the bulk of our "C5 on a Shoestring" series thus far has concentrated on mundane tasks such as repairing broken weatherstripping, replacing old brake hardware, and reskinning the seats, we finally got around last month to addressing the car's straight-line acceleration. We started by bolting on SLP's Tuned Length Long Tube Headers and Power-Flo exhaust system, parts that yielded tremendous improvements in both sound quality and seat-of-the-pants performance. This time around, we'll be adding some complementary bolt-ons to the induction system, giving the LS1 a tune-up, and reprogramming the computer.

Instead of relying on numerous vendors to sup-ply the right components, we chose to go to one well-stocked source for everything. That source was Mid America Motorworks. We found everything we needed in the company's comprehensive catalog, including prices that were more than competitive. And if we ordered the wrong part or had any other problems, we knew the Mid America folks would go out of their way to make things right.

Vemp_0807_02_z 1997_chevrolet_corvette LS1_engine 2/27

Our first step was to yank the existing airintake assembly. This included removing the intake tube from the throttle body, then pulling the mass-airflow sensor, the air-temp sensor, and the non-stock airbox added by the previous owner.

Most of these upgrades are things the average owner could perform in the driveway. If you decide to go this route-as we did to install our CAGS bypass and replace the oil filter, fuel filter, and O2 sensors-be sure to use a top-quality floor jack and professional, six-ton jackstands to secure the vehicle. Also make sure you are aware of the precise chassis points on which to place the jackstands, lest you damage the car's undercarriage.

Once we had installed everything and reprogrammed the computer, we took the C5 out for a run to see what we'd accomplished. While we didn't have a chance to gather empirical numbers for this installment, our subjective impressions told us there was a whole bunch more grunt than before.

In our next article, we'll hit the chassis dyno to see exactly how much rear-wheel horsepower we've gained. Then we'll do some acceleration tests to see how the Shoestring C5 fares in the quarter-mile. Are we in C5 Z06 territory? Find out next time.

Here's a list of the engine enhancements we selected and their Mid America part numbers:

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