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Supercharging a 2007 Z06

Over 150 reasons to supercharge your Z06

Nic Conley - November 23, 2011 10:00 AM

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A&A Corvette’s Vortech kit is organized, complete, and extremely sanitary. Polished brackets and spacers complement the Z06 engine bay. Andy and Steve at A&A were always available to answer questions, and take a lot of pride in their product. Included is one of the best instruction manuals we have seen.

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We ran a baseline pull on the Dyno Dynamics chassis dyno. Our car made 414 rwhp, which equates to 509 flywheel hp, using the correction factor with this particular dyno. The LS7 engine fills the engine compartment, but we knew there was room for a few more horses under the hood.

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The first thing we did was to get the car on a hoist. Although this job can be done without one, I can’t imagine how much longer it would have taken without it. We were above and under the car more times than I care to count. The front wheels are removed, since the steering rack will have to come out.

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New NGK plugs are included with the kit, which must be gapped to .035-inch. The smaller gap is to insure that the spark doesn’t get “blown” out at high rpm.

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Larger injectors are also included, so the rails are removed and injectors are replaced. Caution should be used around the fuel rails, since there will be pressure behind the fittings.

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The new injectors require adapter harnesses (included) that must be connected.

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The intake tract is removed along with the air filter assembly and MAF sensor. The actual sensor will be reused.

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In order to install the intercooler and ducting, the front fascia must be removed. It looks like major work, but is pretty straightforward. This makes the whole front frame accessible.

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The cooling fans are dropped out so the radiator can be removed.

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Outer tie rod ends need to be disconnected.

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The oil cooler is taken off the front crossmember.

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The steering sector shaft is unbolted so the steering rack can slide out. It is very important that the steering wheel is locked to prevent damage during this step.

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The LS engines don’t utilize a keyway on the crankshaft, but rather a press-fit. To ensure the damper doesn’t slip, it must be drilled and “pinned” using a ¼-inch steel dowel.

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Our Vortech head unit utilizes engine oil to lubricate its internal bearings, so a drain hole must be drilled in the oil pan. The hole is drilled, tapped, and the hose routed around to the left side of the pan. Placement of the hole is crucial.

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Spacers are installed between the radiator support and frame, allowing for the intercooler and ductwork installation.

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The supercharger mounting bolts must be installed on the bracket first, and then installed on the front of the engine.

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The head unit is bolted to the front bracket with the serpentine belt already routed through the tensioners, an impossible task once the blower is in place. To replace the drive belt – you guessed it – the blower must come back out.

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The supercharger is installed as a unit, then the belt is tensioned as tight as possible. Belt slippage is not an option with a blower.

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The new radiator came from DeWitt’s. It dwarfs the original unit, and utilizes an internal oil cooler on one side, and a trans cooler on the other. Very sweet. It is getting pretty tight in here!

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The new design intercooler features a “duckbill” scoop which forces more air through it rather than around it. A&A claims significant improvement over past intercoolers. It is lowered into position, and holes are drilled for mounting. Fit is snug, but very clean.

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Ducting is routed from the blower outlet out the right front and into the intercooler.

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The boost bypass valve is mounted just in front of the right wheelwell.

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The correctly mounted intercooler should look like this.

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The intake ductwork is routed, as is the air filter assembly. The satin black trim panel is installed to finish up the front. Looks great!

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Instead of replacing the fuel pump, A&A includes a Kenne Bell Boost-a-pump, which amplifies the voltage to the pump, supplying the engine with substantially more fuel pressure and volume. We begin by removing the left-rear inner fender liner. The Boost-a-pump is mounted in the forward side up against the body, and wired as per the instructions. A pretty simple operation that only takes about half an hour or so.

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The only other addition we made was installing a gauge pod with a boost gauge and fuel pressure gauge. This is highly recommended whenever installing a supercharger to help monitor those vitals. A&A also supplied us with the Auto Meter pod and gauges.

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The torque chart shows rwtq at a whopping 475 at 5,100 rpm! Notice how much torque it makes at only 3,000 rpm. Also note that where the engine’s torque peaks at 3,600 and at 3,850 or so, the blower just takes over. The horsepower chart speaks for itself.

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Just hearing the number 427 conjures up memories of the mighty rumbling big-block powering the Corvettes or Camaros of the late sixties. Who isn’t awe-inspired by the mere idea of being behind the wheel of one of these beasts from the muscle car era?

Well, Chevrolet has continued to impress with the LS7 engine carrying the same legendary cubic inch notoriety. The 7.0 liter Z06 engine displaces 427 cubic inches, and delivers much more than even its monster predecessor. Producing 505 flywheel horsepower and 475 lbs-ft of torque, this 7,000 rpm mill is capable of propelling the almost 3,200-pound Corvette to 60 mph in under four seconds and the quarter in less than 12. What could be better, you ask? Well, how about another 150 ponies or so?

A&A Corvettes, located in Oxnard, California, set us up with one of their supercharger kits for the Z06. A&A uses Vortech head units, and manufactures their own bracketry for perfect fit and finish. The brackets and head unit are polished to a mirror finish, and fit tightly, but neatly, under the stock hood. For the Z06, a radiator upgrade is required, so the kit includes a huge all-aluminum radiator with a built-in oil cooler. (The factory external oil cooler is removed.) This particular kit is limited to 6 psi, due to the fact that the LS7 runs a stiff 11:1 compression ratio. With some internal engine modifications, it will handle more boost, but we wanted to see what a stock engine would do with a mere six pounds of boost applied to an already massive 505 horsepower.

We brought this 2007 Z06 to Performance Solutions in Boise, Idaho, for a heaping helping of pressurized horsepower. Dyno pulls were done in-house at Performance Solutions on a Dyno Dynamics 450DS-TR chassis dynamometer. Our baseline pull was impressive enough, producing 414 rwhp, which equates to 509 hp, using the shop’s proven correction factor. This pull was done using the Corvette’s exhaust “cutout” feature. We were concerned about the results, considering we were going to be running the “after” pull with only a base tune flashed into the PCM by A&A. The timing curve was pretty conservative, and the air/fuel ratio was just a tick over 10:1. A very safe tune.

The results? How about 541 rwhp and 475 rwtq?! That puts the flywheel hp right about 665! And that was only running the engine to 6,400 rpm, instead of its 7,000 rpm redline. There is easily another 20 or so left after the air/fuel ratio is leaned slightly, and the timing curve is adjusted. Now consider that the driveability has not changed one iota, and with modest use of the loud pedal, fuel mileage stays consistent with a stock Z06. Traction was only a problem before, but now, traction is but a dream.

The installation of this kit is not for the timid, and is definitely NOT a bolt-on kit. Some healthy mods are required, including drilling and pinning the crankshaft, drilling and tapping the oil pan, and a slew of others. We don’t recommend trying to do this install yourself unless you have a LOT of time, patience, and a very good knowledge of how these kits work. The fit is TIGHT and things MUST be done in a specific order.

Our recommendation would be to have a competent shop perform the install, and you can just sit at home and dream of what you will do with over 650 hp at your foot. The following is not intended to be an instruction manual, but more an overview of what was involved in this task. Was it worth it? Are you kidding? A red Z06 with a six-speed and 665 horsepower? Bring it on!

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