Although some C5 Corvettes are now nearly old enough to drive themselves, with proper maintenance and a little elbow grease, they can still look nearly as good as they did when they left Bowling Green. Unfortunately, some components, especially those made of plastic and subjected to extreme temperature changes in the engine bay, just don’t age well no matter how well they’re cared for.
Project Y2k, our 2000 Corvette project car, corners better and accelerates harder today than it did fourteen years ago, but time has not been as kind to some of Y2k’s plastic underhood components. Dirty, cracked, and generally worn-out-looking, these aging pieces can make even the cleanest engine bay look cheap and tired.
Thankfully, Moroso offers some beautifully-made aluminum solutions for these ugly underhood problems. We’re installing Moroso’s aluminum coolant expansion tank, fuse box cover, brake booster cover, and an air-oil separator. Our blue-collar supercar is finally going to look as good as it drives.
For our first underhood upgrade, we decided to tackle the frumpy black plastic fuse box cover. The Moroso aluminum fuse box cover sits on top of the stock cover and gives it a much more finished, serious look. Moroso’s Thor Schroeder likes the big, TIG-welded aluminum fuse box because it “covers up that big expanse of plastic in the engine compartment and is a great way to finish up the look of the engine compartment.”
Coolant Expansion Tank
Often, the ugliest part of any engine bay is the coolant expansion or overflow tank. Not only is it a big ugly plastic blob, it will inevitably begin to crack and leak after several years. Installing Moroso’s big, bold aluminum coolant tank is one of the most immediately noticeable things an owner can do to improve the way a Corvette looks with its hood open.
Not only does the aluminum replacement tank look like something you’d find on a race car, it will keep looking good for years. Modified Corvettes, especially those with a turbo or supercharger, can produce enough underhood heat to melt or crack the stock plastic tank, making this an essential upgrade if one wishes to avoid a big mess and possibly a very expensive meltdown. As Schroeder at Moroso put it, “Our aluminum coolant tank gives you a piece of mind on the track and street creed in the pits when the hood is open.”
Boosting the Booster’s Appeal
The Moroso brake booster cover attaches to the stock brake booster with hook-and-loop fasteners, and has a sighting cutout in the side so the brake fluid level can be checked quickly without tools.
Breathing Cleaner with the Air-Oil Separator
The Moroso Air-Oil Separator dramatically reduces the amount of engine oil being introduced into the intake air by the stock PCV system. PCV systems route pressurized crankcase gases, also called ‘blowby’, directly into the intake between the air filter and the throttle body.
Under normal conditions, for ‘normal’ cars like your mother-in-law’s Camry, this system works just fine. But for those who want to get the most out of their engine, pumping atomized crankcase oil into the intake is less than ideal. At worst, an excessive amount of oil in the combustion chamber can foul plugs and cause serious power loss or detonation.
At best, when the PCV system is working properly and only a small amount of oil is being burned, basic scientific reasoning tells us that any oil being introduced into the intake must also be displacing clean air, reducing the amount of oxygen the engine can use to burn gasoline and create horsepower.
In addition, Schroeder noted that, “Oil deposits [can] form in the intake tract, including the valves themselves, and [lower] the efficiency of the intercooler in intercooler-equipped vehicles.”
In fact, when we pulled the PCV hose on Project Y2K, it was so swollen and soaked with oil that it slipped off the valve without any effort at all. All that oil going into the combustion chamber can’t be doing much good.
The air-oil separator traps and stores this gunk before it is drawn back into the engine. Moroso’s large-body air-oil separators like ours have a drain on the bottom to allow for easy, no-mess disposal of the collected oil.
We mounted the air-oil separator on the subframe next to the passenger-side headlight, in the extreme front-right corner of the engine bay. This location will allow us easy access to the drain elbow on the underside of the separator.
Installing the Air-Oil separator
In keeping with our affordable supercar theme, these parts deliver impressive bang-for-the-buck, totally transforming the underhood appearance of Project Y2k without being prohibitively expensive. We like to remind our readers of the ways in which Project Y2K outperforms a stock C6 – better handling, more power – and now we can confidently say that it looks better, too.