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Spring Mods

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nj7000

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Well spring has finally come to Minnesota, and I'm getting a little antsy to do some kind of mod on the vette. I suppose I should have done it this winter, but school takes up plenty of time. ;shrug I put some DF flowmaster 50's on last spring, and they're good but not loud enough. Would putting a set of headers on change the sound at all? I still have the 2-1-2 system thanks to state regs. Also, what mods have all of you done recently? I'd like to keep it under $400.
 

Evolution1980

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Would putting a set of headers on change the sound at all? I still have the 2-1-2 system thanks to state regs. Also, what mods have all of you done recently? I'd like to keep it under $400.
Headers will definitely give a different sound versus the OEM cast iron exhaust manifolds. However, if you have emission checks to pass, you won't do it with headers (I don't think). However, if you can pass emissions now, then your state likely has some special plates that would exempt you from future e-checks.

As for the current muffler setup, search the C3 forums here for "Flowmaster". There has been many a word written about the sounds of the FM 40's -vs- the 50 series, and other exhaust in general. I have Cherry Bomb glasspacks on mine and I've been happy with the sound.

Asking people around here what mods they have done...:chuckle... you could get an entire laundry list from people. I keep it simple by stating that about the only thing original with my car is the rearview mirror! A little exaggeration, but not too much.

You put a price of $400 as an 'upgrade' price. But before putting a price out there, what is your intent for upgrading your car? Pick a category and everyone here will gladly put in their 2¢.

...Handling..."go faster" stuff..."stop faster" stuff...sound...aesthetics... ???
 

Vette79

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1979 L-48 Black Coupe
I agree. You have to be a little more specific. We are all here to help give you direction but we need some to...LOL. Do some research on chambered exhaust if you are looking for a good old muscle car sound. FM 40 series are deep and loud. I have a FM 50 series on my truck which I love.
 
N

nj7000

Guest
Well the headers part of it was my first question. I've had the car for about 5 years, and I haven't had to go through an inspection but I'll have to check what the requirements are in Minnesota.

As to the other question, I'm not exactly sure what I want to do with it. The car is in good original condition (not that I wouldn't deviate from stock). It has the stock L-48 w/automatic, which everyone knows is a dog of an engine. What options do I have to 'make it go faster'? I know it's hard to do anything significant without ripping into most of the engine, but what choices are there? If only most people knew that any minivan on the road could blow by me... :eyerole
 

Evolution1980

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It has the stock L-48 w/automatic, which everyone knows is a dog of an engine. What options do I have to 'make it go faster'?
You are feeling the same way I did when I first got my car.
Everything is pretty much going to depend on what the e-check rules are for your area. If you can find a way to get yourself exempt from e-checks, then you have a plethora of options. If you need to maintain e-check, you really have few options.

WITH E-CHECK REQUIREMENTS
There's not a whole lot you'll be able to do to actually make a noticeable seat-of-the-pants difference in the performance. Minor exhaust changes like a high flow cat and some performance exhaust. Since you already have the FM50's, you probably won't do much better in that area.
I'm not sure if there are any heads available that will still maintain e-check compliance. If there are, that may give you a noticeable difference, but you're still limited by your OEM exhaust manifolds. The engine really can't breathe all that well to fully utilize a nice set of heads.

WITHOUT E-CHECK REQUIREMENTS
This is easy... cheapest and quickest way to noticeable performance is to get rid of all the emissions stuff on the engine. You can dump the single or dual intake snorkel setup and go to an open-element air cleaner. From there, put some headers on. That'll get ya started for pretty cheap and give you some better sound and performance.

That was my setup for a long time and I was (relatively) happy with it. After that, I just went right into a new crate engine. I didn't bother trying to build up an old, worn L48 engine. It sits on an engine stand in storage waiting to be sold to the first person to give me $350 for it. :)
 
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nj7000

Guest
Can I put on a set of headers and keep the 2-1-2 exhaust design, or do I have to go dual? I know the point is to open the exhaust for better flow, so the 2-1-2 system with headers is kind of counterproductive. The exhaust shops here won't change the 2-1-2 setup to a dual because of federal regulations. Maybe I'm just not going to the right shop...
 

Evolution1980

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Can I put on a set of headers and keep the 2-1-2 exhaust design, or do I have to go dual? I know the point is to open the exhaust for better flow, so the 2-1-2 system with headers is kind of counterproductive. The exhaust shops here won't change the 2-1-2 setup to a dual because of federal regulations. Maybe I'm just not going to the right shop...
A 2-1-2 isn't as bad as it sounds. It's not all that different than having an X-pipe. I'm only guessing, but the General probably did a 2-1-2 design for two reasons. One, it's like having an X or H-pipe. That is, it balances the exhaust pulses and helps to scavenge exhaust gases from the combustion chamber. The second reason could be simply because it was cheaper than having two cats on the car. If one will let it pass emissions, then no point in having the extra expense of a second cat for the shear purpose of having dual exhaust.

As for the shops, unless you are legally exempt from e-checks, it's illegal for them to remove any emissions stuff. The smog stuff is there because the gov't said so. Removing it is going against the gov't. At least that's how I see it.
You can find shops that will do it, but ya need to work with 'em. Maybe they do an afterhours / on the side job. Or, just do it yourself. Removing the exhaust is probably one of the easiest things to do on the car. Hanging up new exhaust can be tricky and it's a two-person job (to keep it somewhat easy).
On the other hand, what's to stop you from simply telling the exhaust place, "Yeah, my car is exempt. Get rid of the exhaust." I don't know many shops that do "background checks"... ;)
 

Wayne robson

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Feb 24, 2007
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australia
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sold my last corvette.
A couple of weeks ago a 1977 stock L48 ttop, auto, vette sold on ebay for $18500, item number 170109555758 i would like to ask our corvette members, if money was no option would you have paid that for it , or in your opinion was it to much. (The item number is the link to the completed auction.)
wayne.
 

Vette79

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Millersville, MD
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1979 L-48 Black Coupe
Well, there's your answer. You can go big and spend a good amount of money purchasing and installing a crate engine or go small, stay somewhat original and install headers with dual exhaust. You will notice a difference. There are other little things that you can do over time like cam, intake and heads to open her up and breathe a little better. But at this point should you have gone with a crate? It's all personal preference in what your objective really is. Keep us posted...
 

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