BlownZ: Installing Racecraft’s F-Body Strutless Spoiler

Our Blown Z project Camaro has come a long way during its life in the shop. It’s not to say it has been a constant uphill battle getting everything sorted out, but we’ve been making progress nonetheless. If you’ve been following along, then you already know that we started with a 2002 Z28 packing a blown, carbureted, and alcohol-injected small block. Since then, we’ve almost completely rebuilt BlownZ, and it’s now relying on 388 ci. of boosted LSX power.

This is how our Z28 looked from behind, prior to our Racecraft Strutless Wing install. The factory Camaro spoiler will still reside on the car, as the Racecraft unit will be partially mounted to it. The aluminum piece is the deck filler panel (PN# 400118) that's recommended we use with the strutless spoiler.

The ultimate goal with the Camaro is to produce something north of 1,200 horsepower, and run consistent 8-second quarter-mile times on skinny 275 drag radials. However, to do that safely and reliably, we’ve had to install multiple safety features and endless traction aids. We’re not cutting any corners with this car, and we’re throwing everything we can get our hands on in order for Blown Z to get us down the strip as quickly and safely as possible.

Apart from the obvious necessities when building a drag car of this caliber, such as a rollcage, parachute, and other obvious modifications that most 12-second bracket guys couldn’t even imagine, we took it upon ourselves to install a Racecraft Strutless Rear Spoiler and Rear Deck Filler onto our BlownZ Camaro.

Selecting the Right Spoiler 

We’ve got aspirations to be among those high MPH maniacs, so the big 17-inch spoiler it is for us.

Racecraft recommends the 15-inch version of this spoiler for those running in the quarter-mile. Some racing classes limit you to a 6-inch or 10-inch wing, although not really considered massive, it’s better than nothing if you’re running anything higher than 120 mph in quarter.

The main benefit you will get from this type of spoiler is getting the turbulent air off of the back of the car, and some assistance with getting air out from under the car; both of which help reduce unwanted drag. Racecraft offers most spoilers with a short wicker that adjusts from zero, to 1/4-inch, and 3/8-inch. This option offers less drag for applications that don’t  typically struggle with serious back-half traction problems.

For the maniacs pulling down 150 mph trap speeds in the 1320′, Racecraft offers a 17-inch version (PN# 400117) of its strutless spoiler. This larger unit includes all of the same benefits and features of the standard 15-incher, but offers different adjustments from 3/4-inch, 1-inch, and 1 1/8-inch varieties to help increase traction. We’ve got aspirations to be among those maniacs, so the big 17-inch spoiler it is for us.

The strutless spoiler comes with everything including hardware. The boys at Racecraft leave it up to the consumer if they want to leave it in it's bright, aluminum finish, or to have it painted to match the car. We'll be painting our 17-inch example (PN# 400117) to match the sinister black hue on Blown Z.

Installation

The process starts by prepping the factory rear spoiler, a relatively easy affair that consists of removing the plastic interior panel attached to the underside of the rear hatch. The panel is connected to the hatch with countersink screws, and require a #37 drill bit for removal. Once removed, take out the pan head screws that are mounted within the thin plastic. We used a #50 drill bit for this task.

Once we removed the interior plastic panel and rear spoiler, we were ready to install our new Racecraft strutless wing. We started by mounting the outer supports with duct tape tightly stretched on 2 to 3 layers. In doing so we made sure that each support was pulled tight for a 1/32-inch gap between back edge of body and front tab.

Here's the filler panel (PN# 400118) that Racecraft recommends we install along with our strutless rear spoiler. It further aids in aerodynamics and downforce.

We continued following the instructions and made sure that the supports were level by looking at them from each side of the car and simply eyeing them up. If needed, you can add more tape to hold adjusted position and mount the supports with one screw at each end using the lower hole at the rear. After you do that, you need to mount the center supports to the wing sails (with the legs in) at the front, back, and center with three bolts.

Next, slide the wing forward and lightly snug the bolts down so you can still make adjustments. Add the lower and front mounting tabs to both supports and finger tighten them as well. When you do this, don’t forget to center the sail truss at the front edge of the wing between the center supports. Next you’ll need to mount the wicker at the desired height, and tighten down the leaning outer tabs on each end.

Now you’re ready to slide the sail into position and rest it on the outer supports, aligning it with the slots and loosely bolting the two pieces together with all five holes in each side. You’ll want to firmly push center supports into the appropriate position, and keep the back edge of the hatch to sail gaps uniform at the outer supports, and progressively tighten the five outer support bolts on each side.

Installing the Racecraft strutless wing is mostly a matter of following the instructions exactly and taking your time to line everything up perfectly.

Before moving on to the next step, you’ll want to make sure the front portion of the center supports are aligned perfectly straight from front to back and parallel to one another by using sight and a tape measure. Next, mount the supports on the top tab nearest to center taillight lens and the lower adjustment tabs at the bottom edge of the car’s hatch by drilling a #28 hole. After doing so, you’ll need to adjust the center sail and tighten the 4-adjustment screw on lower mounting tabs.

Once we laid all of the components out on the ground, we started the basic assembly process...

In case you thought you were finished adjusting things, you’re not, and you’ll need to adjust the front center support tabs and accurately mark the holes to the upper and lower hatch surface. You then need to lift the hatch and remove the counter screws that are located in the side of the supports, and unbolt and remove upper hatch panel. You need to drill all of the marked holes with a #50 drill bit and fasten to the underside of the upper panel.

...and continued to assemble the spoiler until it was ready for installation onto our Camaro.

Once you’ve managed that, reinstall the upper panel and bolt the upper tab to the center support, then reinstall the countersunk screws on side supports and unbolt the wing sail from side supports. Drill and fasten all of the remaining screws in the side supports.

You will then need to apply the adjuster tabs to the side plate bout to the outer support. Then remove the sail-to-outer supports leaving the bolts loose. Next, Loosen the center support bolts, adjust the sail forward to desired gap to deck and then tighten all twenty bolts on the strut and the three remaining on center truss.

Then install, adjust, and tighten down the outer wicker tabs followed by the side plate. You’ll need to tighten the bolts down by working your way out from the second hole in, positioning the sail and tightening the adjustment bolts. Next, you’ll have to pinch the lower adjustment tab and the side plate together, then mark and drill a hole using a #28 bit. Then bolt the pieces together and tighten.

It's best to have two people do the install, it makes the job easier. Our shop techs take their time installing the spoiler by properly adjusting the spoiler struts.

You’ll have to position the side plate and tighten the adjustment bolts. Racecraft suggest the some hand forming may be required to get the front edge of the side plate to fit perfectly.

And finally, concluding your strutless wing installation will require you to install the long and short tabs along the front edge of the sail between the inner and outer supports. Once the bolts are finger tight, slide the piece into position to where it’s flush on top of the sail panel. Wrap up the installation by tightening the bolts and install screws, but remember not to over-tighten, but just make them snug so they won’t move. Over-tightening could change the adjustment.

Make sure that everything is lined up correctly before you tighten everything down.

Benefits and Applications

Benefits of the Racecraft strutless spoiler (PN# 400117):

  • Carries the air beyond the decklid of the car to the wicker
  • Drastically reduces drag from the turbulent air on the back of the car
  • Assists in getting air out from underneath the chassis
  • Longer wings enhance the aforementioned characteristics
  • Moves the wicker back for more cantilevered downforce beyond axle centerline
  • Assists in parachute deployment
For those of you considering such an upgrade, there are many advantages to a rear spoiler like our Racecraft unit; more downforce, more traction, and in case your ego needs any stroking, you can always say yours is bigger. Obviously, if your F-body is mostly stock, you wouldn’t benefit much from this upgrade, but for you drag racers pulling down mid-11-second ET’s and quicker, you need to listen up.

We spoke with company founder Pat Fasnacht at Racecraft about the many benefits these can spoilers have for high MPH drag cars. “The Strutless Spoiler carries the air beyond the decklid of the car to the wicker, and this increases the downforce. “It also helps to reduce drag from turbulent air on the back of the car, effectively aiding aerodynamics. It further improves upon aerodynamic efficiency by assisting in getting the air to from underneath the car, similar in the same way it does in Formula-1 cars and NASCAR.”

In a small-tire drag radial car like BlownZ, we need all the downforce and pressure on the rear of the car we can get, and the Racecraft spoiler is going to help us with just that. Per Fasnacht, “Installing the longer 17-inch Racecraft wing enhances all of the aerodynamic characteristics, plus it’ll move the wicker back for more cantilevered downforce beyond the centerline of the rear axle. Plus, in really fast drag cars like BlownZ, it also aids in parachute deployment.”

Here's the spoiler once we are completed with the installation. You'll also notice how the spoiler hugs the body perfectly, without hardly any gap

Installing the 17-inch Racecraft wing enhances the aerodynamic characteristics, plus it will increase downforce beyond the centerline of the rear axle. -Pat Fasnacht

The wicker creates the majority of the downforce and can be adjusted to three different heights. The standard wicker height adjustments for all Racecraft wings are 3/8-inch, 1/2-inch, and 5/8-inch, allowing the racer to dial in the appropriate amount of downforce for their application.

The side plates that are included in this kit assist with all functions of the wing body mentioned above, while greatly enhancing side-to-side stability to the back of the car, especially above 150 mph. Once you’re capable of hitting speeds that high in such a short distance, you need all the traction and downforce you can get.

...and here's the completed project; ready, willing, and able for the dragstrip. After fully installed, and a fresh coat of body-matching black enamel, the Racecraft Strutless Spoiler looked at home on our purpose-built 'Maro.

In Conclusion…

After we’ve installed our 17-inch strutless spoiler, we know that it will provide us with improved traction and safety, and as an added benefit, it gives BlownZ that bad-ass drag car look. The installation only took a couple of hours (including paint time), and it’s a modification we’re glad we’ve invested in. Tune in for the next chapters of the BlownZ project saga, as we hit the dyno and drag strip to finally see the fruits of our labors.

Article Sources

About the author

Rick Seitz

Being into cars at a very early age, Rick has always preferred GM performance cars, and today's LS series engines just sealed the deal. When he's not busy running errands around town in his CTS-V, you can find him in the garage wrenching on his WS6 Trans Am, or at the local cruise spots in his Grand National.
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