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Answers provided by Danny Kellermeyer.

Danny Kellermeyer is a force to be reckoned with in the Corvette racing world. Danny and his team of Corvette drivers have dominated several Corvette club racing series. He has no plans to rest on his laurels after capturing the 2010 and 2011 Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Great Lakes STO National Championships, as well as the Waterford Hills Road Racing (WHRRI) 2010 and 2011 STO championships.

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1

I'm lost what to put in my street-driven vette. It's the original motor 350/350 bored 30' over with 11.01 compression and original stock 202 heads. I would like to do an engine rebuild kit, but not the strokers. I also want to get it blueprinted and Dyno tested to make sure everything is perfect. AC, PW,and PB are all stock. I don't want to change the heads; the crankshaft was replaced back in 1986. I already have a newer manifold and carb. I need pistons, rings, cam, lifters, all bearing, main, rear, camshaft bearings, etc. Wanting more power if that's allowable, without doing major changes. What do you think would be a great kit? And what would you do? – Kim Quintero


Hi Kim,

Sounds like you have a nice engine project ahead!

If I remember correctly, the 350/350 was L46, a higher performance version of the base 350 cu in V8, 492 heads with 2.02"/1.60" valves, 11:1 compression ratio and produced 350 hp. It was a four bolt main block, forged crank and forged pistons. At this point in time, if a hod rod guy could get 1hp/cubic inch, they were good. Now the Corvette engineers did this for the consumer. So I would say “Don’t screw with a good thing”.

Focus your rebuild on the good stuff. The forged pistons were TRW originally and are still a good replacement. Heavy for today’s weight, but your crank is balanced to that kind of weight. Hypereutectic would be second choice but stay with forged for a good fit and reliability. I use Clevite brand.

The cam you have is a good design for road and performance. I’m sure your cam is worn, as all flat tappet cams become, so get a replacement. Most cam companies still service that same grind.

Bottom line: it is hard to beat a good thing. That engine was smooth, had low end drivability and upper end performance. Heads flowed well and lower end held strong and tough. That was a well designed and well built engine.

DJ Race

Thanks Danny, and you're right...I don't want to change much. I would like to put in a roller cam and lifters; what would you recommend as a kit? The rest will stay the same except if I need to replace the springs and pushrods. There is so much to choose from, it's mind-blowing. If you could give me your opinion on the retro roller kit, that would be great. Again thank you! – Kim


Kim,

Thanks for your follow-up question on your engine rebuild.

A roller camshaft can reduce the frictional load of an engine, taking less horsepower to turn and generally not wearing out as quickly. An added benefit is roller tappets do not require replacement when changing cams. Roller profiles can be more "aggressive" and accelerate the tappet more than a flat tappet profile. If a cam profile is more aggressive, it has more "area under the curve", which means it can make more power.

Make sure the camshaft kit you get is for an early small block and not one for a hydraulic roller cam late (86 up) small block. Your original 350/350, 1969 Corvette engine flat tappet was 224/224 degrees duration @ .050 lift, so I would get something like this or slightly larger (approaching 230). Stay in the 112-114 lsa. This should give you a little more power and still have drivability.

Here is the real concern: price. The roller cam and lifters will be $600-$800. Add pushrods, cam button and you are in the $800–$1000 range. A new flat tappet hydraulic cam and lifter will be $200–$300. The increase in power you want can be achieved with either cam, just depends on your budget.

If you choose the flat tappet cam, make sure you apply cam lube (high in zinc and phosphorus) and use oil which is high in zinc and phosphorus. Oils today have eliminated these additives. You can also use a ZDDP oil additive to increase zinc and phosphorus levels. I still do that on all our race engines even though I run a roller camshaft.

Hope this gives you a little more insight!

DJ Race

2

I just bought my first '05 convertible corvette and want to add two things: a classy looking wind restrictor and a pair of hoop roll bars behind the seats. Having searched the web, I have found several restrictors that I like, but few roll bars. Do you have any idea who produces those or do you know anyone who will custom build something like that? Also, do you think I will have room behind the seats for both the bars and the screen? If I cannot fit both restrictor and bars in my car, I was considering the chrome hoops that are mounted with a peel-and-stick method, but that kind of mounting seems a little suspect to me. – Denny Brune


Mr. Brune,

Thanks for writing in! It sounds like your C6 is one of the most personalized convertibles I’ve ever heard of. I’ve seen a few roll bar hoops in C5 and C6 convertibles. I do know SR1, Racefab Inc, and Corvette Central all have one that goes to the bulkhead and attaches there. None incorporate both hoops with a windscreen, however. Personally, I like the one Corvette Central sells for its fit and intrusion into roof space.

I remember seeing a Callaway that had a windscreen, but don’t remember if it had two hoops or just one. I’ve seen quite a few decklid mounted hoops that look good but are completely dress up items and, again, wouldn’t have a combined windscreen.

I think you would have to go to a custom outfitter to get what you wanted unless you start with one of the 2” seat hoops and combine the two with a windscreen material. That's something one of the Corvette outfitters would have to do, and you are right, there isn’t a lot of room to do all of this on your car.

Just remember, any of these are beauty enhancement as they are not intended to improve safety or roll over capabilities. All will have the footnote "does not constitute a roll bar" or "not intended for competition".

DJ Race

3

I bought my 2008 C6 Z51 with worn out Goodyear tires, then replaced them with BFGoodrich high performance tires at 14,000 miles. I ran 50 laps at Watkins Glen when the tires had over 30,000 miles. Never slipped or skidded, even on turn one, inches from losing her high on the red/yellow stripes. I am thinking of putting on Michelin Super Sport Run-Flats. I know this is a high performance tire but is there another you would suggest for me? I drive every day, winter and summer, and plan on a lot more track days. – Howard Young


Howard,

Good Question on tires for a C6, and what better place to put a Corvette though its paces than at Watkins Glen? My favorite section is 5-6-7-8 (inner loop) combination. Nice and smooth on all the curbs, and allows the car to be an extension of you.

I tend to look a lot at the tread design and ratings on the tires. The Uniform Tire Quality Grade (UTQG) is a comparison but doesn’t tell you all you need to know. If I’m looking at the right tires, both are Tread Wear of 300, Traction of AA and Temp of A. Actually, BFGs and Michelins are the two big players in the Corvette community, and are also my two choices. I see the Michelin Pilot as a little better, but the downfall is the price. It's about a third more than the BFG. Your tire life is better addressed with your alignment and proper track pressures.

Find an extra set of wheels and use that set as your designated tire for your track days. The investment is more, but the payoff in the long run is worth it. It will keep your street tire edges sharp and that is what you want – good traction and the ability to cut water on wet roads. Start with manufacturer's recommended air pressure and then tailor it to fit your driving style.

Alignment will be based on how much street driving you do, compared to your track time. Go to the high negative camber limit (for the Z06) even though you have a base car. If your driving style is a little aggressive, this gives you a good alignment for both street and light track. For more track time than just once or twice a year, go more aggressive on negative camber. Remember, keep your front toe to ZERO. Toe in or out will give you wear on the street.

Sounds like you’re going to have fun during the 2015 season and that is what a Corvette is made to do. Thanks for "Asking DJ Race".

DJ Race

4

What after-market parts will beef up performance and handling on a 2005 Corvette. Car was purchased from a dealer with $7,000. Owners were a bit afraid of it.
My gain, – Preston Woods


Preston,

Sounds like you got a great buy on your 2005 Corvette. The LS2 is a great engine to work with and a good start at its 400 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque.

I'm going to assume your car is either higher mileage or a little rough (you usually don't find low mile and clean cars at that price). Do a few checks to make sure your engine is solid and running fine. You don't want to try to improve an engine with poor compression or with codes and misfire detection. A compression check and % cylinder leakage check will be a good start. Check out any trouble codes you may have. That is one of first things I do on the race cars even when I'm sure the engine is ok.

Engine Improvements: Production engines like air and exhaust improvements. A good air cleaner system will allow air to come in and a good exhaust system will allow the air out for power improvements. Do your homework on the exhaust because you don't want to have the really high flow drone and noise if you are street driving it only and you don't want it closed to much if you're going to do all track stuff. The air cleaner and exhaust will give you initial improvements and has to be done if you want to go further with head and cam packages.

The next step would be looking at head and cam packages. If you get to this point of power improvement, make sure you talk to your engine builder about what you're going to do with the car and which cam is best for your application. You don't want to get into a situation where your cam is a roadrace cam and you are street driving, or you're only going to be on the track and you have all low and midrange power. There are lots of great cams out there today, but do you homework to find the one best for you.

Suspensions Improvements: I'm going to assume again you have checked the basic suspension out to make sure the bearings are good, the bushings in the a-arms are good and the tie rod ends and links are not loose. Springs and shocks make or break your handling on the car. An economical way would be to find someone who is upgrading their Z51 car to aftermarket springs and shocks. Z51 is a nice street package and if you want to autocross or do a day at the track, you can do it with a Z51. Or if you have suspension improvement money, step into a performance package which would include springs, bars, and shocks. These packages would limit some body roll and plant the tires to the ground. Of course you're going to have to reset your alignment and get the tires all pointing in the right direction.

Brake Improvements: The one forgotten area most of the time is the brake package. Everyone wants to go fast but forgets about stopping. Make sure you have good rotors and a good pad. You don't need the high dollar big brake stuff, you just need good rotors and pads that will complement your needs. For street you will need a good quality street pad, Autocrossing or a track day you will need a better compound, and Roadracing or all Trackdays you will need a high temp and quality pad.

Hope this helped a little and thanks for "Asking DJ Race".

DJ Race

5

1967 327/350 w/transistor ignition - new battery. Car starts easily, sometimes runs "forever", sometimes just quits - no warning or symptom of impending quit (not a fuel problem), just loses ignition. Will often restart after a wait. Ideas? – Jim Fitzgerald


Jim

Thanks for asking your question on your 1967 (327/350) Corvette. Happens to be one of my favorite engines too.

Intermittent problems have to be one of the most hated problems to diagnosis. Your right, the quitting with no warning, sounds like electrical for sure. Then your statement "Will often restart after a wait" tells me that you do have some good diagnostic time. You're going to have to check some things right then.

When this happens, don't touch anything especially the ignition switch.

Is the power to things like lights, radio, horn, and etc still working? If yes then it is not major electrical feed like battery cable (both ground and positive cables and connections). This includes fusible link and junction block. If no, then start looking at major power feeds. I like using the Fluke meter, but a good test light for a '67 works great.

If the power is okay, Check spark to see if you have any. If you don't, that is the time to consider ignition switch, to ignition problems. The feed to the ignition system goes right out thru the white wire to the distributor and the amplifier box. Don't ever forget that ground is as important as power. Does the amplifier have a good ground?

If it is failed you have a good chance to root cause the problem and fix it.

If it fails very randomly, I would take some time and do some quality looking at all connections and grounds starting with the ignition switch thru the ignition system (again that is considering that you have power at the time the engine stops). I find first, carefully looking with your eyes. Second light touching, to feel for broken or loose wires. Third, disconnecting to look for open terminals, corrosion, and broken wires, is a good way to inspect and diagnosis properly. You could of course have a transistor board problem, but don't jump to big expense items before you prove it is bad. That coil is different too, so check the ohm resistance to make sure it hasn't partially shorted. The shop manual says that coil should be 8,000 to 12,500 Ω . A partially shorted coil or a wrong coil would tax the transistors and the heat would not be able to soak away, giving you an intermittent quit. Once cool it could restart again.

Best of luck and quality checks may just pay off with little cost out of pocket.

Thanks for asking DJ Race.

DJ Race

6

Hi DJ, I own a 1980 vette with the pathetic 305ci California engine. It is in poor condition and needs a lot of work. I can't decide whether to invest in overhauling the 305 or replacing the engine with something like GM's E-rod engine. If I decide to rebuild and overhaul the original engine, I need to do something about the carburetor. It is in really poor condition and should have been rebuilt about 20,000 miles ago. Should I replace the carb or have it overhauled? I would really like to improve the performance of the vehicle, maybe even beyond it's stock original factory performance. I do have to be conservative in my spending, since I do have a limited budget for the project. I may have to do this in stages over a period of a few years. What would you recommend? I also really like the idea of putting side exhaust headers on the car, like the '69. Maybe even dress the car up with some chrome on the front like the early C3's. I don't want to sell this vehicle, since it has been in the family since 1980. It belonged to my mother originally.
Thanks for your time! – Dan


Pat

Thanks for a good question. I see a lot of Corvettes of the late 70's to early 80's with the questions you have. I think you have to consider a lot of things. Car value, cost of improvements, sentimental family feelings, performance improvement, emission considerations and retaining originality. Your going to have to balance all of those questions on your own, but maybe I can help.

First lets look at an E-rod engine. Outcome would be nice. The E-rod LS3 with harness, computer and all runs approx $8,000 and that is the beginning. More for different exhaust, radiator, wiring and lots of dollars for labor to fit in and get it running. It just goes on and on.

Second: Lets look at a rebuild. Cost is reasonable, Originality is retained, you can do a lot of labor yourself and no additional fabrication will be required. The problem after this is you end up with the same 180 horse "pathetic 305 California engine" you started with. We won't go into the performance or sheer lack of performance.

Third: (This would be my choice) Pull the 305 and put it on a pallet and keep it if you ever want the matching number engine. Find a 350 or even a 383 (a 350 with a 4" stroke) and do some light modifications to it. Look for good steel heads and keep the compression under 10:1 so you can run regular gas. Keep it a 350 block under 1985 and it will fit right in with no modification. Exhaust are the same, dipstick is on the left side, oil pans fit, radiator hoses fit right on, trans flywheel starter bolt on, and all brackets like power steering and alternator fit directly. Boy how nice is that. You can make it look original and if you do it right with a nice drivable cam, you can still get 300-350 hp. Cost would not be anymore than your 305 rebuild, nice power improvement and the originality looks the same. Nice combination I think.

This should give you a little extra cash to outfit a side exhaust or do some body improvements. I hope this gave you a little insight.

Thanks for your question.

DJ Race

7

Wondering if I add headers to a 1999 corvette how much horse power would I gain I have different exhaust and air system – Pat Harlan


Pat

It sounds like you already have air cleaner and exhaust changes. That is where the major horsepower increase is. The LS6 is a little more responsive to changes than your LS1 engine. That is because of the better head flow and the better camshaft.

The air cleaner is pretty straight forward, as most systems open the air up well and are not as restrictive as the production ones. If you have only put a filter element in your production air cleaner housing, you should look at getting a complete air filter assemble.

The exhaust is a little more technical. The big question is do you still have your production cats in the system. The cats are restrictive. High flow cats are better but still have some restriction. Placing headers on a system with restriction such as production cats will maybe give you 5 extra HP. With no cat or high flow cats, your HP maybe up by 8-12. Short vs Long tubes don't make much difference with your stock cam and heads. Long tubes will start to gain you more when a cam and head change is made.

Bottom line: Make sure your air cleaner and exhaust system changes are allowing good flow. Headers on your stock engine will give you another 5-12 depending on your cats situation.

Thanks for your question.

DJ Race

8

Danny, a performance, not a racing question, but I hope you can help. I like the C3 Corvette and have an opportunity to buy a very well maintained 1982. Can the engine be uprated? Are there better years for the C3 than 1982? Thanks for any guidance you can provide. – Steve Goldman, Bala Cynwyd, PA


Steve, thanks for your performance question on your 1982 Corvette.

As you know your C3 was the last of one era and the first of another. The pull-ahead engine crossfire systems would be the start of something new and different. The only problem, they found quickly the customers wanted higher RPM, so the crossfire was out. It did do what it was designed for, and that is low torque and smooth operation. The torque at 285@2800 overshadowed the 200@4000 horsepower, so add on performance stuff usually didn’t make much improvement. Exhaust system makes a little improvement but basically due to low flow cats or cat elimination.

That means you would need to go inside to make any improvements. Compression ratio is the best and easiest. The factory CR of 9:1 was on the low side, but they burn clean to meet emissions. Your heads are 76cc chambers and they can be surfaced to raise compression if you ever have them off for valve job or head gasket. Remember calculate the CR before doing anything. Your engine was built with a .021 head gasket. I’ve seen too many people improve their head cc and then put on an aftermarket gasket (like a Felpro), which is .038, and lose compression in the final result. So check your calculations. If you don’t care about your engine looking production, an aftermarket set of heads could be put on to raise compression and flow better for additional improvement.

A camshaft with a little more lift and duration is an improvement also. Both of these improves need to be carefully thought out for your Corvette. You don’t want to go very BIG at all. A slight change in each makes a nice driving car and too much makes it turn to a temperamental piece of junk. So be careful.

It all stems back to that Crossfire intake that has low-end performance and no high-end flow. So the cam, head flow and CR all want to complement the intake and not fight it. Talk to your engine builder and make sure he realizes your engine must idle good, and not run over 5,000 rpm. Your whole package must meet those demands.

We did one crossfire with just raising the CR by .6 and a quite exhaust with no cat and it was a great driving unit. Hope this all helps a little and thanks for your question.

9

I asked you several weeks ago for suspension settings for my 2007 Corvette. I was very pleased with your info. Along the same lines, I would like to know what setting of the three available on the Automated Handling System should I use at VIR and what each of the three does as Chevrolet does not shed much light on this subject. Also the last time I was active in the sport I was in a 1969 Small Block coupe, some help on tire air pressures for the C6 would be of great aid. – Ken Riebel, Baldwin, Maryland


Thanks for replying back. We don’t have any traction/handling options in our racecars, but we do track days with C5 and C6 Corvettes to have fun. Engineering keeps changing the pattern of operation on Corvettes year-to-year and model-to-model. As I recall this would be your 2007 C6 operation and this is how I would suggest new / intermediate / advanced drivers to set his traction/handling control. Believe me it does save you in the event you get too aggressive so don’t turn too much off in the beginning.

Start Car: Traction control On / Active Handling On (Use for starting driver or wet track events)

Press Active Handling button once: Traction control Off / Active Handling On (Use for track driving if novice driver)

Press Active Handling button again-Competitive Mode: Traction control Off / Active Handling On but is not as intrusive (Use for track driving if intermediate driver)

Press Active Handling button again and hold for 5 sec: Traction control Off / Active Handling Off (Use for track driving if advanced driver)

Note: a) You can’t take ABS off and you wouldn’t want to. b) If you have low tire warning you won’t be able to get into the completive mode or the Traction control Off / Active Handling Off mode.

Hope this gives you a little more insight into track driving.

Pressures: I would run the max pressure suggested on the side wall when hot. So you might have to start out 4 or 5 pounds lower than that when cool. Then you let it grow to the max pressure. You will have to play with this to see what works, depending on what tires you are running.

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