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Parts Used In This Episode

Summit Racing
Summit Racing Air Intake Tubing

Episode Transcript

(Tommy)>> You're watching Powernation!

(Tommy)>> Today on Detroit Muscle Joel and I show you how to cool things down and up your horsepower in just a few simple steps.

(Joel)>> Plus we do some wire work and demystify mechanical throttle assembly, kinda! [ Music ] [ engines revving ] [ Music ]

(Tommy)>> Hey guys, welcome to Detroit Muscle. Our 800 horsepower '71 Caprice is really starting to take shape. With the front sheet metal in place, now it's time for us to start connecting the dots with that LS Swap.

(Joel)>> And if a modern heart transplant makes your ears perk up you're gonna like what we have on deck today. It's all about making one of these live and breathe in an old school environment.

(Tommy)>> Some people get tired of the conversation about LS swaps, and I get it, but love'em or hate'em they're here to stay. There are shows like LS Fest that our friends at Holley host, and it's all about shoehorning late model power into anything and everything. It can be something that's super shiny and looks amazing sunbathing, or maybe going fast is what you're after. [ engine revving ]

(Tommy)>> Well that's not hard to do. [ engine revving ]

(Tommy)>> Really if you think about this it's what hot rodding is all about. Taking a ride and putting your own twist on it. People have been doing engine swaps for years. [ Music ]

(Joel)>> With LS engines there are plenty of benefits to make any gearhead salivate. They make good power, they're reliable, economical, and there's a whole lot of them out there. We've seen two old boys take one, basically just clean it up, throw some horsepower and a bottle at it, and make a substantial number. Getting an engine bolted in the hole is one thing, but we covered that a while back. Now it's time to take care of some of the particulars of the operation functions.

(Tommy)>> Let's get into the cooling system. Now from the factory the radiator upper inlet comes through here on the driver's side. Now that's not the end of the world, but sometimes things get a little bit complicated because our air tube is gonna be running across here as well. So we've got a bit of an easier way. One thing cool about this big body GM is that it shares components with a full size GM pickup truck. So LS swapped C-10s are very popular, and with this Pro LS conversion radiator that we found at Summit Racing that's gonna make this installation a breeze. It has number 16 threaded bungs that allow you to use either an a-n fitting or a screw in hose nipple like this. They make them in multiple sizes, and you can choose the proper one that's needed for your application. Also with us making some pretty significant horsepower we needed to upgrade our radiator anyhow. Now let's talk about the connections you're gonna have to make with the hoses for your cooling system, or let's say heater. They're located here on the passenger side of the water pump. There's a big one and little one, super crazy simple. It just runs up here and connects to the big one and the little one as well. Just match the sizes. The next thing I'm gonna talk about is this steam port. What this thing is designed to do is bleed off the air here in the cylinder heads. What you'll run into is your water outlet and your thermostat is below this point, and this connection needs to be made either one, into the water pump, two, use one of the little hose connections that's got a port in it, or what we're gonna do, connect into our fancy new radiator because it has that solution made for it. Now if you're not looking to run a heater they make a loop for those things, and that's what I would recommend you use. Don't try to use those little rubber caps because them things have been known to burst, and when they do they'll evacuate your cooling system in a hurry.

(Joel)>> The next subject matter that we're gonna cover is something that just might stump your counter man at the auto parts store. Now as far as a direct application radiator hose for a supercharged LS-3 '71 Caprice there isn't one. So in situations like these you might have to get a bit creative and build your own hose. For the sake of form and function ideally you would have a one piece connection running from one fitting to the next with no interruptions. Now this may require several trips to the auto parts store to get the size, style, and angle that's gonna fit your application. Another option that a lot of guys steer towards is simply buying one of these universal style hoses that you can bend and flex in any direction you need to. These things will work in a pinch but when it comes to looks they're a bit of an eyesore. Which leads us to our next option, splicing, and you have a couple of options there as well. Now you guys have probably seen one of these before, and all it is is a little plastic fitting that goes between two radiator hoses and you can clamp them together in case you have a blowout going down the highway or something like that. But again, this is not a permanent solution, and over time eventually they literally melt. So a lot of times what me and Tommy like to do is grab one of these inch and a half style aluminum tubes and use this to splice our hoses together. What's great about these is that they last a long time, they're not gonna rust, and if you've got a little bit of exposure here you can polish this edge or even paint it so it looks nice and clean underneath the hood. Once you've got your plumbing finalized it's time for your final step, your clamp selection. Now these metal bands have been a staple of the automotive industry for a really long time and very rarely do they have any issues, but in terms of aesthetics there's a few better options out there. These heat shrink clamps have become really popular lately in o-e-ms along the assembly line, and to install one of these you just simply slide it over your hose and use a heat gun to shrink it up nice and tight for a good seal. For what we got going on for Fat Stack we're gonna go ahead and use the aluminum tubing, the heat shrink clamp, and then we've got some trial/error to do on a few of these hoses.

(Tommy)>> Up next, we filter out the noise when it comes to air cleaners.

(Joel)>> Well guys we're finishing up our to-do list on our '71 Caprice Fat Stack project, and the next item on the agenda is the air cleaner. Now installing an aftermarket air cleaner is one of the easiest ways to add a good chunk of horsepower to your ride. So it's not surprising as to why it's one of the first modifications a lot of enthusiasts make. The variables involved in your selection of filter can vary from size, shape, location, and even the material that it's manufactured from. Most o-e-ms opt for a paper style as a cost effective solution for mass production, but they can be the most restrictive. However, the majority of aftermarket filters are constructed from cotton gauze, which allows for much more air flow but presents the risk of more contamination. It's not uncommon for guys to completely remove the air filter off their hot rod at the dragstrip to maximize air intake and lower the numbers on their quarter mile time. But this is not ideal for cruising down the highway as foreign matter can quickly accumulate inside your engine. When it comes to size two main factors can dictate the required filter. An engine's cubic inch displacement and r-p-m at maximum horsepower. The higher those two numbers the more air flow is needed for sustainable output. Try to imagine running a marathon with a clothespin pinched on your nose while breathing through a straw in your mouth. Even the most gifted athletes in the world wouldn't last long under those circumstances. Same goes for your engine in your project. You can throw all the horsepower you want at it but if it can't properly breathe you'll be lucky to even make it across the finish line. As many of you know, the air filter is only but one piece of your air intake system's puzzle. A lot of times when you're doing an LS conversion you're literally gonna have to start from scratch and build your own setup, but not to worry. There's plenty of companies out there, like Summit Racing, that offer kits that can accommodate any size, style, or material that you're going for. Another thing to consider is your hood clearance. Now usually these things are pretty bulky, and you could mount it straight off the intake, but if you do that more than likely you're gonna have to cut a big ole hole in your hood. Now the o-d on our throttle body is slightly larger than the tubing we're using. So the first thing we need to install is this reducer. This reducer is made from a flexible material, which is important because you want something that's got some give to it. Normal engine vibration combined with the filter tube being hard mounted to the body can generate a lot of energy. So you want to have something that's capable of absorbing all that. Now when you go to install your pipe you're gonna feel inclined to go ahead and push it in as far as it goes until it seats. One little problem with that. You can't open the throttle blades. So make sure you back it off enough where you've got enough surface area for your clamp to hold on to and you've got enough to open and close the butterfly as needed. We're gonna have to do some surgery in order to get our kit to fit. So we have to size up all of our components to see what we're working with. Having a band saw to cut with makes this super simple. You can use a hacksaw to get the same result, but whatever tool you do decide to use I would also recommend using some tape to line up your cut to ensure you make it as clean as possible. Now our air intake is running on a negative pressure system. So our setup doesn't require having a bead lock, but if you're running positive pressure like radiator hoses it is recommended. After all your cutting and grind make sure you file down any rough spots and remove any leftover debris so it won't get sucked up into your intake. What's cool about some of these aftermarket air filters is they have these little grommets that are built in, and they work as spacers that'll accommodate whatever size pipe you're using. Since we're using four inch we need all the help we can get. [ Music ] Just some solid hand tightening will work just fine here. You don't want to over-crank this thing and end up splitting any rubber components because that will undo everything you just did. These clamps are typically pretty solid. They just need a little squeeze with a socket snub. [ Music ] Alright, clamp's nice and tight, good hood clearance, I like it! From the factory our Caprice came with a standard ole 14-inch air cleaner, and that was fine at the time because we were only pushing a couple hundred ponies. With our new setup we have the capability to pull enough air to support over 1,000 horses if we ever decide to give this heavy Chevy a little boost. Coming up, we hail to the king.

(Joel)>> Without a doubt one of our favorite features of our '71 Caprice Fat Stack project has got to be this non-practical power plant. You know the 6.2L LS-3 was a staple of performance on a lot of production Corvettes from 2008 to 2013. In 2009 Chevrolet introduced a supercharged model of this block in the ZR-1 package. Several automotive enthusiasts have dubbed that particular car the King of Corvettes. However, a few of you purists out there would probably argue that the true king reigned supreme all the way back in the '60s, and its name much like its good looks stuck with you. The Chevrolet Corvette was named after a smaller class of warship originally designed for speed and maneuverability, which is an accurate description of a '67 Sting Ray with the original 427 big block under the hood. This Vette has been fully restored with all n-o-s parts and can fly like a stinger missile.

(Tommy)>> The 427 boasts 435 horses and 460-foot pounds of torque. Plus can go from zero to 60 in 5.6 seconds. In '67 it cost a little over $5,000, but now it's worth more than a small house.

(Joel)>> The '67 Sting Ray was a big hit with its inclusion of bolt on wheels, side pipes, and a sleek body design that made it look fast even when it was sitting still.

(Tommy)>> Now to many the '67 was the pinnacle achievement for the Corvette brand. GM chief designer Harley Earl debuted the original in 1953. It had an all fiberglass body, which was a first for an American made car, and every Corvette since then has followed that formula.

(Joel)>> People quickly fell in love with its distinct style, but they weren't crazy about only having a 150 horse six banger truck motor under the hood. Around 1954 the Corvette started losing ground to Ford's two seater TBird, and in 1955 only about 700 were sold. Swooping in to save the day was GM engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov, who dropped in a V-8 engine coupled with a three speed transmission, boosting the horsepower to 195.

(Tommy)>> In 1963 GM designer Bill Mitchell did a complete revamp of the Corvette and introduced the Sting Ray moniker. During that time many refinements were made including independent rear suspension, side exhaust pipes, four wheel disc brakes, and that killer 427 V-8 with a raised hood scoop. If you saw a stinger and that checkered flag coming at you in the rearview you better look out.

(Joel)>> Part of those 435 horses were derived from the triple Holley two barrel carburetors known as the Tri-Power. They were first introduced in '67 and were capable of sucking in 1,000 cubic feet of air per minute. This option was a little over $400 bucks, which meant it costs about a dollar per horsepower.

(Tommy)>> Some other changes in '67 were the optional bolt-on alloy wheels, functional five slotted fender vents, and a parking brake relocated between the seats. The '67 Corvette still had plenty of chrome to go around, and of course those aerodynamic retractable headlights.

(Joel)>> The rally red exterior with matching interior is unique. Sitting in that driver's seat is designed to make you feel like you're flying a fighter jet, which is why they chose the name Corvette, and the Sting Ray performs extremely well thanks to its four wheel independent suspension.

(Tommy)>> '67 was the end of an era for the Corvette. It was the last of the C-2s, and some enthusiasts even feel it was the last of the true Corvettes. Corvettes have gone through many transitions but one thing still remains the same. People love them everywhere you go. Up next, we put the pedal to the metal so we can wire up our throttle.

(Tommy)>> The next thing that we're gonna be getting into with Fat Stack is connecting the throttle. I know that may sound like a simple task but you guys know what I mean. Oftentimes they get a bit more complicated, and we've got to have one. Now with that depending on what you're working on there's really two different designs out there. One is drive-by-wire and the other is cable operated.

(Joel)>> When it comes to the selection of your throttle assembly there are basically two schools of thought. A traditional mechanical cable is gonna be more commonly found on your older vehicles, while an electronic style like this Ford getup we've got on the table is gonna be a little bit more popular on the late models. Whatever make you're working with Ford, Chevy, Dodge, it doesn't matter because they all pretty much operate the same way. The benefits of an electronic setup can vary from adaptive cruise control, better fuel economy, and when it comes to tuning one of these it's as simple as plugging in a laptop. One of the drawbacks however, especially when it comes to the older vehicles, is just finding a spot to mount one of these. There are some companies out there that make adapter kits for your more popular models like a Mustang, Chevelle, Camaro, etcetera that will help you bolt this right into place. However for something like a '71 Caprice we probably have to get a little bit creative and do some fabrication. To keep things simple and easy we're gonna stick with the drive-by-cable setup for old Fat Stack.

(Tommy)>> For our setup it is gonna require a small amount of fab work, but nothing too serious. We're gonna have to make a new bracket for our cable because our old one, it's a bit too short. Now with it, whenever you go to fabbing up your bracket there's a couple of things you need to keep in mind. One is that you need to make sure that the material that you make it out of is strong enough to withstand the force of that tension at all times. The next thing to keep in mind is the point that you connect to the throttle in relationship to the point you're gonna be pulling from. With our setup using this straight edge will dial us in to exactly what we need. We're making our bracket out of some approximate 90 thousandths aluminum because it's strong and lightweight. I'm gonna use two separate pieces so that I can combine them to accommodate the angle that is needed to proper align our cable. You can get as elaborate as you would like to here. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I want it to be fancy but not take several days to make. I can drill a couple of holes now. [ drill humming ] [ Music ]

(Tommy)>> Yeah, that turned out pretty nice, didn't take a whole lot of time, and a little bit of wrinkle black on that will make it look o-e made.

(Joel)>> Now the design of the accelerator pedal and cable assembly on a lot of these old GMs was practically the same across the board. Basically you got a metal rod attached to a swivel, and then the cable itself is held in by a plastic button style grommet. Now swapping out our factory cable for our aftermarket one should be fairly easy and straightforward, especially with no interior in the car. Save me some money at the chiropractor at least. [ Music ] Pretty cool piece of trivia. The original pedal assembly was dreamt up by renowned Italian automotive designer Achsell Arator. You can see in his early concept art that he was ahead of his time by taking a simple mechanism and turning it into a work of art. It went through several iterations but it was too extravagant and expensive for mass production. If you believe that I've got a smoking deal on an '83 Corvette if you're interested. Alright, so our cable's installed. Now all that's left to do is adjust the throw.

(Tommy)>> Now it's time to finalize our accelerator pedal, and it's super simple. Joel's gonna take care of that end, and my end is pretty complicated. I'm just gonna hold the accelerator to the floor. Now he'll lace that thing up, and then open the throttle blades all the way down, and then tighten it all up. Once that's done and he releases that it should pull the pedal back up. Joel you could just click it all on there first, as long as you're not in a bind. Now we may have to tweak this just a little bit once we get carpet in it. That's easy peasy.

(Joel)>> Try that! [ Music ]

(Tommy)>> Looks like it works! Now if the car only ran. We're slowly but surely taking care of the to-do list on Fat Stack. With our honking new air filter, twin prop aluminum case heat exchanger, ring loaded throttle blade it's gonna be a lot sooner than you think we'll be lighting the fires.

(Joel)>> You know there's a common phrase that pertains to these big builds that says the last 10 percent will take up 90 percent of your time. I promise you, if you keep chipping away at the block weekend after weekend the next thing you know you'll be cruising the streets riding in style.

(Tommy)>> He'll be riding in style!
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