If you've been following our C4 project from the outset, you know that the past few years have seen the car make depressingly little progress toward its goal of achieving quarter-mile parity with its late-model kin. There are a number of reasons for this, not least a self-imposed mandate to minimize our theoretical cash outlay along the way. The results of our ministrations have therefore been decidedly mixed, with some highly touted "upgrades" performing well below expectations and other, oft-overlooked tweaks proving surprisingly effective.
Having all but exhausted the usual slate of bolt-on performance hardware-cold-air kit, headers and exhaust, higher-ratio rocker arms, gears, and the like-we somewhat grudgingly decided to focus this month's installment another item whose efficacy is the subject of much debate in speed shops and on enthusiast Internet forums: an aftermarket throttle body.
While the stock 48mm TB is generally regarded as adequate for output levels of up to 400 horsepower (indeed, this was the primary reason we had resisted installing one up till now), we've recently seen several dyno tests in which 52mm units made 5-8 extra horses on stock-to-lightly modified engines. Would our 80,000-mile LT1 be similarly invigorated, or would we once again be left in the delicate position of making excuses for an underachieving part?
To find out, we contacted Professional Products, the Hawthorne, California-based outfit perhaps best known to late-model-Corvette fans for its wild-looking Hurricane LS intake manifold. PP currently offers one of the aftermarket's broadest selections of induction and fuel-delivery hardware for Vettes of all vintages, along with distributors, engine dampers, fasteners, filters, and more. The company provided us with one of its polished 52mm LT1 throttle bodies (Part # 69700), which came packaged with fresh bolts, gaskets, and detailed installation instructions.
Although flush from a mostly successful coolant-temperature-sensor swap performed just days earlier (note to self: always drain antifreeze from engine before working on cooling system), your author decided to leave this installation to the pros at AntiVenom in nearby Seffner, Florida. That said, anyone with a modicum of mechanical ability and a decent set of hand tools should be able to replicate the job in a garage or driveway in around an hour. Follow along now as we cover the highlights of the swap, after which we'll wrap things up with post-install dyno results and driving impressions.