Detroit Muscle Builds

Parts Used In This Episode

RideTech
Adjustable shocks, sway bars, bushings - Part No. 11510101
Matco Tools
MATCO Tools are the Official Tool Supplier to PowerNation
NCM Motorsports Park
Track
The Industrial Depot
Tools, Hardware, Shop Supplies

Episode Transcript

(Marc)>> Today on Detroit Muscle.

(Tommy)>> We took our bone stock Z06 Corvette and threw on a slew of performance upgrades, adding a top end kit, better flowing headers, and a more aggressive exhaust system. All that added up to an additional 100 horsepower at the tire.

(Marc)>> Now we're taking those nearly 450 horses to the track to see what other improvements we can make to maximize our Corvette's corning capabilities. [ Music ] [ engine revving ] [ Music ]

(Marc)>> We're here at NCM Motorsports Park and we have our C-5 Z06 Corvette ready to turn some laps. Matt Busby is the track operations manager here at NCM and has special insight about Corvettes and the Z06 platform.

(Matt)>> My car is a 2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06.

(Tommy)>> But Matt isn't a diehard Corvette guy. It took him a while to see that the C-5 Z06 is the perfect package for the track.

(Matt)>> Generally every year I kind of get something new. I've had Miata race cars, had an Asphalt late model. I've had a little bit of everything. Being around the race track you kind of realize there are certain platforms that are really, really good for this and best bang for the buck, all makes, all models, all money considered C5 Z06.

(Marc)>> So what is it about this car that makes it a beast at the track?

(Matt)>> I think the dynamics of it. The suspension geometry, it's a dual A-arm car. So it has just naturally good suspension geometry, long wheel base. I mean V-8's make a lot of power and just the package all together. I mean these things as long as you can keep them cool they're tanks man. Like I said, this thing's got 100,000 miles on it and I promise you it was not an easy 100,000 miles and it just runs great. [ Music ]

(Tommy)>> We put Matt behind the wheel of our Z06 to get his thoughts on our upgrades and what else we need to do to get the most out of our little red Corvette. [ Music ]

(Marc)>> So what do you think of the car so far? What do you notice?

(Matt)>> It's got a lot of torque. It's really easy to get the car moving. The brakes are actually really firm. This is actually rarity on C5's. It's got a lot of body roll. You can feel the car kinda moving around a whole bunch and that really doesn't help. So the tires are cold and it's a cold day out here. The surface is cold. So the car's just wanting to slide all over the place.

(Marc)>> Plus the tires aren't that great. They're kinda old and hard.

(Matt)>> But otherwise I mean it's a pretty tight car. You guys got a steal on this thing.

(Marc)>> We've had a blast with it so far. I can't wait to sit over there. How does the power feel compared to your car?

(Matt)>> It feels like it's got a little bit more up top but it's kinda lacking a little bit down bottom.

(Marc)>> Could just be difference in cam.

(Matt)>> Difference in cam and then I think the flywheel makes a really, really big difference as to how free the whole motor feels.

(Marc)>> Now one thing your car has is a shifter. Would you recommend us doing that as well?

(Matt)>> Yes! Made a big difference. We did the Hurst shifter and it's got that positive grab kinda feel to it. It doesn't, these things just generally can kinda end up feeling a little bit like a pudding cup. The Hurst made a huge, huge difference and it was relatively inexpensive.

(Marc)>> So what do you think this car could stand if we just had a short hit list of things? We take this thing back to the shop and do some more mods and come back out here. What's the short list?

(Matt)>> Shocks, tires, bushings, and an oil cooler would make a huge difference.

(Marc)>> Sway bars wouldn't hurt while we're at it.

(Matt)>> Sway bar, if you're down there doing all that yeah, sway bars. You know especially if you're gonna go to a coil over.

(Marc)>> What would be some simple brake upgrades we could do?

(Matt)>> Really, really high quality fluid, stainless steel brake lines, and a little bit more of an aggressive pad.

(Marc)>> Well that's great. I think we got what we needed. Beautiful!

(Tommy)>> While Marc's getting him some seat time over at the race track I decided to make my way across the interstate to check out one thing I've been dying to see, and that would be the National Corvette Museum. [ Music ] The museum opened in September of 1994 and is 115,000 square feet dedicated to everything Corvette. They own about 80 cars with 70 or so that rotate through the exhibit at any one time. Plus there are loaners from GM and private owners. So no trip here is ever the same.

(Katie)>> The museum really fosters the spirit of the enthusiast and the togetherness of the car. So we have a number of onsite events every year to welcome those people here to the home of Corvette. Between the NCM Motorsports Park, the Corvette Plant and their touring offerings, and then here at the museum. You have basically your Disney of the Corvette world here.

(Tommy)>> After walking through the gateway center with the origins of the Corvette you enter the nostalgia display starting with the 1953 model.

(Katie)>> Even in that exhibit area we have a Ford Thunderbird on display that was recently donated to the museum, and it really shows how Ford actually helped save the Corvette. Had there not been competition it wouldn't have forced Chevrolet to step up their game, put a V-8 in the Corvette, and really turn it into the performance car it was always meant to be.

(Tommy)>> The racing gallery shows all the history of the Corvette on the track from the early years to today. That's followed by the design and engineering section with its clay models, prototypes, and test cars including the Cormaro. It looks like a Camaro but it's really a Corvette under that body. Then the enthusiasts section highlights all the organizations and individuals that have promoted the brand. There are plenty of beautiful iconic cars here displayed in the museum but there's a few that have quite a tragic story.

(Katie)>> No visit to the museum would be complete without learning a little bit about the history of the infamous 2014 sink hole that happened in the sky dome of the museum, and that takes you to one of the most iconic areas of the museum. The sky dome is the big yellow dome with the red center spire that you'll see when you're driving down I-65. The displays in here include of course those infamous sink hole Corvettes. We usually will have some pace cars. Maybe one of each generation Corvette.

(Tommy)>> Of the eight cars that fell into the hole three have been restored including the one millionth Corvette. The other five look just like they did when they were pulled out, and it's interesting to note this is a not for profit museum and gets no funding from General Motors.

(Katie)>> We always say we're not in the car business we're in the people business, and I think that's the big thing with Corvette. It is a people business vehicle.

(Tommy)>> So no matter whether you consider yourself a GM person or not here at the Corvette Museum there's plenty enough to tickle your fancy, and for me I get to click off one thing on my bucket list. Marc hits the track in our Z06 to get a baseline in performance. Then we get her in the shop and add a beefier clutch. Plus suspension that's built for handling.

(Tommy)>> So big man you got a plan.

(Marc)>> Woo shiny side up, and get around here as quick as we can.

(Tommy)>> I'll bet your wife would prefer that.

(Marc)>> Yeah absolutely.

(Tommy)>> He give you some tips about getting around the track a little better?

(Marc)>> Yeah a few. Some things that maybe I need to pay attention to as we go, but more than that he said this car was built for this track or the track was built for the car. I don't know. One of those.

(Tommy)>> I'm gonna see how good you can do. I got me a little stop watch that don't lie. Not lie as often as I should tell you, but let's see what you can do.

(Marc)>> Alright yeah, I'm excited. [ engine revving ] [ Music ] [ engine revving ]

(Tommy)>> Alright here he comes. Let's see what he does. [ engine revving ] [ Music ] [ engine revving ]

(Tommy)>> He's moving on pretty good. Alright we got the first one down. Let's see if he can improve it. [ engine revving ] [ Music ] [ engine revving ]

(Tommy)>> And yeah he's about two seconds off from number two run but he made a big jump between one and two. I'll tell you that ole car sounds good though. You got some on your face there boss.

(Marc)>> Is it a smile?

(Tommy)>> Yes sir a pretty big one. Well on your first one as you could imagine you was a little slower. You've gotta feel things out, and your second and third well you're within two seconds or so. You know that's respectable. I think we've got a few upgrades we could do to get you a little faster though.

(Marc)>> Yeah I think so. There's definitely some things I can tell just right off the bat. Tires, hit the limit of those pretty quickly. Then once I did pick up some speed I noticed the brakes started to fade quite a bit. It could use some braking upgrades, and then obviously some handling to match the engine mods that we did.

(Tommy)>> How's it run out though? How's the motor sound?

(Marc)>> Oh man, it loves the straightaway.

(Tommy)>> It sounds killer when it runs by, I can tell you that.

(Marc)>> It feels great.

(Tommy)>> Well let's get her back to the shop and get busy.

(Marc)>> Sounds good! [ engine starts and revs ] [ Music ]

(Marc)>> Well I knew the car was built for the track but until I got out there behind the wheel I really didn't know how well it was gonna do, and it kinda surprised me, but there are a couple of things I noticed that it needed and one of those is a clutch. So we got it back in the shop here. We've got to pull everything out from the torque tube all the way back to the rear axle. Well getting this whole assembly out with the torque tube, the transmission, and the rear axle wasn't that difficult. It was actually more intimidating that it was difficult, but now that we've got it out of the way we can access that clutch, and Tommy's gonna start working on getting the old one out of the way. While he's doing that I'm gonna tackle this rear suspension. Now we do have some new components that we want to swap out. so I'm gonna do it while it's sitting here on the transmission jack.

(Tommy)>> With that big chunk out of the way swapping out our clutch isn't that big of a deal. We've got six bolts in the pressure plate. We'll drop it out with the clutch disc, and then remove six bolts off of the crankshaft to remove the flywheel. This clutch set that we got from American Powertrain goes in easy peasy. It's designed to accommodate our power level and give us plenty of bite without that stiff pedal.

(Marc)>> Well while Tommy's been working on that clutch I've been busy rebuilding our rear suspension. Now I've got the driver's side all done. Got a bunch of stuff from Ridetech. The main piece is gonna be these Delrin bushings here. These are a lot stiffer than the factory ones. We've just got to get them pressed out, get the new ones pressed in. Another thing they gave us in the kit were these adjustable shocks. Then we're gonna have a sway bar that goes on but that's once all this gets back in the car. For now I've got to make some noise with the drill. Get these old bushings out of the way for the passenger side. I like to drill several holes in the bushings. That way I can just hammer them out by hand. With our old bushings out of the way we can get our new stronger bushings pressed into place. All of this stuff is gonna make our Corvette handle better but it's actually gonna make it ride better too, not to mention you've got the added benefit of adjustability so you can tailor it to your driving style. [ air drill vibrating ]

(Marc)>> Alright this thing's ready to go in the car. Coming up our Corvette gets better braking and a heavy duty cooling system.

(Marc)>> Well we're plugging away on our Z06. We got the rear suspension all wrapped up and the drivetrain back in the car, and we moved on to the front. Got the front suspension done just like the rear. That'd be all those Delrin bushings all the way around, adjustable shocks, and that big sway bar, which is what I just finished installing.

(Tommy)>> Now whenever it comes to a Corvette there's no denying that they come with some pretty serious equipment under them, but there's always room for improvement. So what we're gonna be working on now is the brakes. What we're gonna be installing is a Stage 9 kit from EBC. It comes with a rotor and a set of pads. The rotor is slotted to help keep the temperatures down, and that helps to keep your pad running true. [ Music ] And as for pads we're using EBC's Yellow Stuff. They're great for street use and in case you want to take your car to the track. They don't create a lot of dust and they've got plenty of bite in case you got a heavy foot. We're also upgrading our brake hoses to this braided stainless steel that we got from Summit. They don't swell and flex like o-e-m's do under heavy braking.

(Marc)>> One of the things Matt mentioned when we were at the track is an oil cooler. That's one of the things we didn't consider early in the build but it's things like this you learn as you go. So we got an oil cooler, and one of the cool things about it is this manifold right here that bolts to the block. It's actually made for an LS. So we need to get this thing swapped in first. We're gonna remove this stock manifold, which houses the oil temp sensor. The new manifold bolts right in its place. What's nice about this is it has two Dash-10 fittings built in. One to feed the oil cooler and the other one for the return. So we'll route our hoses in a safe place, get them attached to the new manifold, and tighten them down. With the car back on the ground we'll remove the radiator. [ Music ] [ mechanical humming ] [ Music ]

(Marc)>> The oil cooler will mount to the front of the a/c condenser so it can get the most fresh air across it. We'll just use these plastic fasteners to get it strapped in place and then we can attach the other ends of our hoses and cinch them down. [ Music ]

(Tommy)>> Now we're not gonna just stop there with the oil cooler. We're actually gonna upgrade our cooling system as well. Now a while back we swapped out our factory unit with a replacement one but we've met and exceeded the limitations of the stock unit. So we went to Summit Racing and got us an upgraded piece. This one here has twice the cooling capacity as the stock piece with two 1 inch style flues in it. It's a direct bolt in. all we've got to do is install our fans and we can put this thing under the hood. [ Music ] Hey boss help me with this.

(Marc)>> Oh yeah! You should have seen me getting the old one out by myself. I think you might have been up front eating the last candy bar out of the machine.

(Tommy)>> I can't confirm and/or deny.

(Marc)>> Why don't you grab that harness right there and pull it your way.

(Tommy)>> Sorry this is my first time. [ Music ]

(Marc)>> We also got ourselves an air/oil separator from JLT Performance. We'll just get it mounted and the hose is routed in the p-c-v system.

(Tommy)>> Hey hoss, I got you some new rubber for your fancy wheels.

(Marc)>> Awesome thank you. [ Music ] You know what this means don't you?

(Tommy)>> What's that?

(Marc)>> We're getting close.

(Tommy)>> Oh yeah, I'm sure your excited mister Corvette man.

(Marc)>> We decided to go with Continental Extreme Contact Sports for our Vette. These are gonna handle everything we can throw at them whether we're on the street or the track.

(Tommy)>> You want me to let this car down?

(Marc)>> Please. They've got the best of everything. Dry and wet traction and ride quality.

(Tommy)>> Now with this upgraded Hurst shifter that we got from Summit it's crazy simple, but if you like snatching on gears trust me, you'll like the way this thing feels. Finally it's time for us to hit the track. That's enough wrenching.

(Marc)>> Now it's time to put those parts to the test at the track.

(Marc)>> One cool thing about the National Corvette Museum and NCM Motorsports Park is that they also offer insurance policies for your collector car, whether it's a Corvette like ours or not. It's called NCM Insurance. They offer agreed value coverage, which sets the value of the vehicle in case there's a total loss. They also have flexible mileage plans and a 9 to 5 endorsement which allows you to drive your car to work a couple of times a week, and you get to choose who does the work on your car. So in case something does happen you know it'll be fixed right.

(Tommy)>> Well we're back here at the track and Marc brought along his confidence and his smile, and we're gonna see what that old Corvette's gonna do.

(Marc)>> Yeah I think it's gonna do good. I mean those mods we did aren't very much but they're gonna make a big difference I think when you start that stop watch. You brought it right?

(Tommy)>> Yeah I brought it, I brought it.

(Marc)>> Don't be cheating this time.

(Tommy)>> I ain't gonna cheat but you make sure you give it your all.

(Marc)>> That's all I have is my all.

(Tommy)>> That ain't a whole lot but that's plentiful at the same time.

(Marc)>> That's why it's called your all.

(Tommy)>> Good luck buddy!

(Marc)>> Thanks! [ Music ] [ engine revving ] [ Music ] [ engine revving ]

(Tommy)>> Well he's coming. We've got zeroes. He's fixing to be on the clock. [ engine revving ]

(Marc)>> One thing I'm noticing right off the bat here. This thing is way more flat around these turns. Tires have a lot more grip. Got a lot more bite when it comes to braking even though the track's a little bit damp today. I'm really happy with how this car's performing. I like the way it performed before but just those few things we did since we were out here the first time made a huge difference out here.

(Tommy)>> Well he's on track to be a little faster from where he's coming. [ engine revving ]

(Tommy)>> Yeah he's a bit quicker and that was his first loop around.

(Marc)>> I'm anxious to see when we get back what these lap times are gonna translate to. See how much time we shaved.

(Tommy)>> We gonna reset this time when he blasts by. See if he can do any better. He's gonna blast by. [ engine revving ]

(Marc)>> It feels a lot happier out here I can tell you that. [ engine revving ]

(Tommy)>> Come on boss, come on! Yep he beat it by a couple more seconds that time. I bet he's gonna be happy with this. How good do you think you did?

(Marc)>> I don't know, better I hope.

(Tommy)>> How did it feel like it was doing?

(Marc)>> It felt about the same when it comes to the traction, mainly because it's wet, but other than that I've noticed a big difference just right off the bat. More traction when accelerating. Definitely tires made a huge difference.

(Tommy)>> What about brakes on that thing?

(Marc)>> Brakes made a big difference too. I'm limited by the traction with the wet track though.

(Tommy)>> Well you did about 10 seconds better than you were doing.

(Marc)>> 10 seconds!

(Tommy)>> So that even with the variable of the slick track that's even leaps and bounds better.

(Marc)>> Yeah that's a huge difference. I'm happy with that. Oil temp's like 147 steady. Coolant temp's like 200 steady. Brakes never fade. If we had a dry track man this thing would rip.

(Tommy)>> You think you're gonna need some more seat time.

(Marc)>> That's what I need.

(Tommy)>> That's what you need?

(Marc)>> I'll take a double with bacon, large fries, large drink.

(Tommy)>> I don't know what he just said exactly but I'll get him something that's like vegan friendly. If you've got a fancy Corvette like ours or another nice ride that you want to protect CoverCraft has got what you need. For ours we decided to go with a form fit cover. It's their most luxurious indoor cover made from special stretch fabric with a 100 percent cotton lining that feels like fleece. It's available in six colors and comes with a four year warranty. We finished all that we were planning to do to this thing but we're gonna keep it around for a while, and this cover is gonna keep it clean and protected.
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