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I recently bought my 1999 Z51 Coupe - all original with 48,000 miles on it. I would like to get some advise on what the best low cost performance upgrades for the money would be...?? Exhaust, air intake, performance chips, etc...?? I'm not looking to convert it into a top fuel dragster or anything - just get a little more horsepower than what I have now... What will give the most noticable results: this vs. that...?? :huh:

 

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I recently bought my 1999 Z51 Coupe - all original with 48,000 miles on it. I would like to get some advise on what the best low cost performance upgrades for the money would be...?? Exhaust, air intake, performance chips, etc...?? I'm not looking to convert it into a top fuel dragster or anything - just get a little more horsepower than what I have now... What will give the most noticable results: this vs. that...?? :huh:

Best for the money is a dyno tune couple hundred dollars and about 20hp(I think).

Cold Air Intake would give about 10hp(with out a tune) for about $300

Long tube headers(most come with cat deletes ot high flow cats and a X pipe to mufflers) about 10-15(with out CAI or tune) for $1500 Shorty headers are a no gain.

A 2001-2004 intake manifold(the "LS6" intake) is worth a few HP. AN aftermaket manifold can gain more but expect to pay $400+ (again for max results you will need a tune)

As for mufflers they can gain you or lose 4-5hp when ranging from stock to straight pipes but I would use them more to craft the sound you want from the vehicle rather than performance.

The best result would be to combine the Long tubes with CAI and possibly the updated intake(this is must if you plan a heads and cam swap later) with tune to tie it all together.

As you can see, nothing is low cost on these cars, unless you compare to a true exotic.

The ultimate bang for you buck is going to be a supercharger kit but you are looking at $7000 minimum investment and that is with good wrenching skills
 

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What's "low cost". Knowing your budget will allow us to help you with choices.
Were it me I'd do headers, cam, ported throttle body and a tune...but that's just me.:D
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Best for the money is:
Dyno Tune - $200 / 20 hp
Cold Air Intake - $300 / 10 hp
Long Tube Headers - $1500 / 10-15 hp
Mufflers / 4-5 hp to craft the sound you want from the vehicle rather than performance.

The best result would be to combine the Long Tubes with CAI with tune to tie it all together.
:agree: I'm thinking something along the lines of DarthAWM's suggestions. I didn't realize the exhaust was quite that much but...?? Total cost I was planning between $1000 - $1500 but if it's a bit more - oh, well... I can always pick up one thing at a time and throw it in the garage until I have it all together to take in and combine the installs with a tune...

Any preferred "BRAND NAMES" to look for in these items?

:smack Thanks again for any input! :nuts:
 

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:agree: I'm thinking something along the lines of DarthAWM's suggestions. I didn't realize the exhaust was quite that much but...?? Total cost I was planning between $1000 - $1500 but if it's a bit more - oh, well... I can always pick up one thing at a time and throw it in the garage until I have it all together to take in and combine the installs with a tune...

Any preferred "BRAND NAMES" to look for in these items?

:smack Thanks again for any input! :nuts:
LG and American Racing are the top names in headers. American Racing has the edge in peak HP while LG has the edge in low-midrange torque. I run the LGs myself and love them, when coupled with Corsas they produce an agressive tone at WOT and are quiet as a church mouse at idle and cruising speeds. As for the price remeber yu are paying for Stainless Steel headers cat deletes(cats were $100 extra with LGs) x-pipe and tubing all the way back to the muffler bolt up. They are a complete system.

Its hard to go wrong with a CAI they are all pretty good. Vararam is the only one I have heard issues with on fit and finish but the performance is raved about. Personally I have the no name(well unkown to me)T pipe with two K&Ns on it as I had a freind selling it cheap.

If you do go with an intake maifold, the 2001-2004 stock will becheqpest as it can be had on Flea-bay or Craigslist but you will need the $75 set on intake manifold gaskets. FAST intakes are pretty good, but are pricy and I've heard of fitment issues on some modes(90mm I think).

As for tune always go with a dyno over mail order, you will get a much better match to your car when the tuner is connected to it than assuming the norm for the mods. Some shops will even due these at events like Blooming to Gold and Corvettes at Carlisle.
 

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Lots of good advice. I have a 99 FRC (Z51 with chopped roof). I did a full bolt on package at first. The key to how much money you spend will be determined on how much of the work you do yourself. Here's what I did.
Corsa Indy's w/Daytona tips - $900
Stainless Works Headers w/3" pipes x pipe and cats - $1600
LS6 manifold used - $350
VaraRam - $350

I did all the work myself, so I saved a bunch of money on the labor.

I then dynoed without a tune @ 347rwhp/352rwtq.
I was like yeah... And the car was really responsive, then my clutch started to slip...

So then I had a tuner put in a SPEC 3 and aluminum flywheel, and 4:10's w/ hardened output shaft... $2000.

The moral of my story is, I guess, hp isn't cheap.

I would suggest this as a way to go first.
I would do a good exhaust, Borla's, Corsa's, B&B's, you can find them used in good shape, even a set of Z06 titaniums can be found for around $450 and sound better than the stock exhaust. Be advised that if you are going to do your exhaust yourself you'll need to find a way to get the butt in the air at least 32" before you can get the 'over the axle' pipes out. If you know a good exhaust shop, you should be able to get them to swap it in for $50, it really should only take about 20 mins. to do on a lift. I would find an LS6 manifold and a good CAI (Cold Air Intake). Bolt the stuff on and have fun. You are looking at around $1200 and those mods won't require you to have a tune, just some driving time for the computer to adjust, and you'll see about 10-20rwhp increase. Most importantly with a good sounding exhaust the fun factor goes up quite a bit. You can always get a set of headers down the road if you decide to. They will net you, with the mods above, about another 20rwhp.

That's a sweet ride btw. I'm really partial to C5's.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Lots of good advice. I have a 99 FRC (Z51 with chopped roof).
That's a sweet ride btw. I'm really partial to C5's.
Thanks for both the advise and complement. I think that's what I'll do for starters and keep adding from there. I like the part about not having to do a tune right away for $$ reasons... I plan on doing it but if there are things I can do that will help prior to that... COOL!

I agree on the C5's! If it says "CORVETTE" on it - I LIKE IT!! But next to the 1968 to 1973 body style (which is what began my love for Corvettes the minute I saw one in person with big meats in the back and header outsiders! I knew that was my kinda ride!), the C5 has been my fav since '97 when I still had my C4. The new C6's not so much... I don't know why exactly! The headlights for starters... BLEK! Corvettes have POP UPS! LOL... But they're all cool in my book!
 

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Four years ago , I started just like you!!

Ha Ha, about four years ago I bought my dream black C5.
Just like you, bone stock, with 70K/miles on it. After I got spanked by few talons, I want it a litle more HP!!! Its like smoking, the more you have the more you want. If you start crancking up the horses, make sure that you dont count money spent, because it does not matter , for as long the car it will put a smile on your face, and your blood pressure is 210 with 160 !!! LOL
For upgrades it all depends how much HP you would like.
My rule of thumb is about 45 dollars per one HP,:smack so go crazy!!!
Good luck with your new baby!!!
:cheers:

And my car is pushing 755 WHP and 805 pounds of torque!!:nuts:
 

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You could save some $$$ and get a set of XS-Power headers. I put down the same #'s as the more expensive brand of headers.

1 3/4" - 3" SS

Add a cold air intake/headers/dyno tune and you will be happy...for now :devil:

oh and LG has a great priced intake for your car $197 (since you have a 97-00)
 
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