As we revealed last month, installing a FAST LSX intake manifold on our '02 C5 gave us some impressive net gains: 20 horsepower and 16 lb-ft of torque. But we're not stopping there. For better or worse, those numbers are plug-and-play results. And while it's a great take-home for a few hours of work, there's room for improvement. Our goal this month is to optimize our '02's PCM tuning work in unison with the new intake, and for that we needed Enhanced Street Performance's expertise.
Met by owners Dave Brady and Greg Gemme, we were introduced to the shop's tuner-at-large, Scott Peitzsch. With laptop in hand, Peitzsch took some time to explain to us the concept of "safe horsepower" and why it's important to get a post-installation tune any time you perform a significant modification on an EFI engine. For instance, while the FAST manifold gave us the power we were looking for, the increased airflow resulted in an inefficient and potentially dangerous lean (i.e., fuel-deprived) air/fuel ratio. Since the cost of a tuning session is far below that of a replacement engine, we were all in. Besides, we can think of worse ways to spend a Saturday than next to a Vette on a dyno.
After Peitzsch ran some new tables through our C5's powertrain computer and selected the best one, it was time for a real-world road test. Although we didn't pick up any extra power with the new tune, our lean issues were safely put to bed, and driveability was noticeably improved. Acceleration was crisp and ready to unleash with little more than the twitch of one's lead footùa huge difference from how the LS1 acted when first purchased. Overall, the session was well worth the time and money. And the service? Well, one doesn't need extra-sensory perception to pick out high-hp parts, but one does need a quality shop such as ESP to ensure those parts are installed and tuned correctly. With that in mind, a big thanks goes out to Brady, Gemme, and Peitzsch-and to the helpful Corvette Forum members who introduced us.