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Supercharged LSX Engine Build - A New Level
A ProCharged Z06 pushes output to the extreme
Apr 25, 2011
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Supercharged LSX Engine Build - A New Level
Equipped with ProCharger’s off-the-shelf LS7 blower kit and “generic” ECM tune, Dave Cell’s ’09 Z06 cooked up a ZR1- toppling 583 hp and 512 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels during testing early last year.
While ProCharger doesn’t offer a complete F-1A kit for the Corvette, the larger unit bolts right up to the existing brackets, making it the ideal incremental upgrade.
The prime mover in Cell’s new engine package is this F-1A supercharger head unit, capable of moving 1,650 cfm of air and supporting 1,100 hp (as compared with 1,200 cfm and 825 horses for the standard-issue P-1SC).
ProCharger also contributed this racing blow-off valve, which was attached to a custom mount fabricated by Greg Lovell at AntiVenom. In addition to making those cool whooshing sounds you heard in the Fast and Furious movies, a BOV vents compressed air to keep the blower spinning during upshifts and other closed-throttle situations.
The coffee-table-sized intercooler from the original supercharger kit was adjudged sufficiently capable and reused.
Since the new setup called for as much as 16 psi of boost, Cell wisely upgraded from the stock LS7 aluminum block to this GM Performance Parts LSX iron unit. The LSX’s heavy-duty construction and two additional head bolts per side make it perfect for use in a high-boost combination such as this one. Displacement remains a Z06-appropriate 427 ci.
Topping the new block are a pair of LSX-LS7 heads from West Coast Cylinder Heads. With the company’s Stage II CNC porting, these heads yield a final compression ratio of 9.8:1 and handily outflow the excellent LS7 stockers.
A peek down the exhaust port offers a good look at the lapidary quality of the WCCH porting. The company also opened up the combustion chambers to 73 cc’s to help unshroud the valves.
When it comes to forced induction, what goes in must come out. These 1 7⁄8-inch long-tube headers from American Racing Headers should prove more than equal to the task.
The ARH headers feature stainless steel construction and come with both high-flow catalytic converters and an X-style crossover pipe.
Lovell modified them to accept sensors for monitoring the engine’s air/fuel ratio and exhaust-gas temperatures.
Although the ProCharger intercooler is perfectly adequate for street and drag-racing applications, Cell decided to backstop it with this water/methanol-injection kit for use in top-speed and open-road competition.
The meth kit displaced the stock windshield-washer-fluid reservoir, a trade-off Cell was happy to make. Lovell plumbed the system with custom hard lines and installed a drain plug to facilitate quick fluid change-outs.
Underneath, Cell replaced the factory Z06 driveshaft (bottom) with a burly 3.5-inch aluminum unit from the Driveshaft Shop. The DS piece is said to be good for 1,000 rwhp, and, unlike a pricier carbon-fiber piece, it should prove virtually invulnerable to damage from road debris. Polyurethane couplers are significantly tougher than the stock rubber “donuts.”
Axle failures aren’t terribly uncommon on enthusiastically driven C6s, and upping engine output only exacerbates the problem. Cell dumped the stock axles in favor of Driveshaft Shop “1,000hp” units, mating them to the stock (!) Z06 rearend. “Fingers crossed,” he says of the unorthodox pairing.
The factory clutch is another weak spot on enhanced-output Z06s, so Cell replaced his with a triple-disc carbon setup from RPS. An SFI-approved bellhousing (installed after this photo was taken) should be considered mandatory on any car making this level of power.
The stock brake rotors on Cell’s car were showing small cracks around the drill holes, so he ordered up a fresh, fissure-free set. Carbotech pads, Doug Rippie stainless lines, and a Quantum Motorsports cooling kit buttress what is already a superb braking system.
More power—especially more supercharged power—almost always means more heat, and in a small engine compartment such the C6’s, that can be a real problem. A DeWitt’s aluminum radiator loaded with distilled water, Red Line Water Wetter, and a gallon of DexCool (for water-pump lubrication) should help the blown Z keep its cool.
Cell kept the factory Z06 exhaust system but sprayed it Ferrari-style flat black to match the stripe on the car. Lovell also modified the mufflers internally for increased flow, and installed a “Mild 2 Wild” switch to bypass the sound deadening altogether. With the switch activated, the Vette sounds like a Cup car prowling the paddock at Daytona.
Final engine assembly was handled by Joe Irwin at Fast Forward Racing Engines, after which Lovell shoehorned the big stroker into the car. Note that the headers were ceramic coated prior to installation, the better to keep engine-bay temps to a minimum.
Cell plans two different boost configurations for the new engine combo. The first will employ a 4.75-inch blower pulley and water injection to generate around 10 psi and a target output of 725 rwhp. The second will rely on a 3.7-inch pulley and methanol injection to pump out 15 to 16 psi and generate approximately 925 rwhp. We’ll be back with the final test results in an upcoming issue. vette
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