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  1. #1
    New Member
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    California
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    Corvette(s)
    1981 black coupe

    Default 1981 corvette upgrades

    i want to change some stuff in my engine but im at a 1000$ limit and live in california. What can i do to get more horsepower and pass smog at the same time. its for my senior project. My vette has 45000 miles on it and is in near perfect condition. Can i get some expert opinions on what i can change?

  2. #2
    Member LordVader's Avatar
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    Okawville, IL
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    Corvette(s)
    1980 Black / Oyster int

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    I can not give any expert opinion as to engine upgrades in CA, But

    BTW any pics of that 81?

    Mike.
    You don't know the power of the Dark Side



  3. #3
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    1981 black coupe

    Default

    Of course i have a picture.
    So whats your opinion for work?


  4. #4
    Member LordVader's Avatar
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    1980 Black / Oyster int

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    Very Nice 81! I like the wheels you have on it.

    It has been over 20 years since I lived out in CA. So I have no idea of what you can and can not get by with to pass smog. out here where I am my 80 does not have to pass any smog tests since it is considered a vintage car.

    You may want to check if CA has the same type of deal.

    Mike.
    You don't know the power of the Dark Side



  5. #5
    New Member
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    Corvette(s)
    1981 black coupe

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    Ya California will smog the hell out of anything. I got the car for free for graduating and i love every minute in it.

  6. #6
    Member TimAT's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
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    Gladstone Missouri
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    Corvette(s)
    1969 LS-7 BB

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    Big2Bird is in Ca and has an 81- he'd know what to do to get it running better and pass smog too..

  7. #7
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    Corvette(s)
    1981 black coupe

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    That would be cool if he would post on here because im sure im not the only one who would like to know about the 81

  8. #8
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    Oct 2007
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    vancouver wa
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    Corvette(s)
    81 white, 355 ci, rhs heads,voodoo cam=fun

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    Cylinder heads and camshaft is where the power is at. Along with free flowing dual exhaust. Thats the bottle neck for your calif car, the exhaust. Long tube headers would help a bunch but going back to a single pipe and cat then back to two mufflers kinda defetes the purpose. Heads and cam are going to go way over your budget. I would research if Calif would alow dual cats. I think not. But long tube headers with C02 bung and duals would show a gain in power. You can also bump the timing up from the factory 6 BTDC but remember to put it back for the smog nazi at test time.

    big2bird also hangs out at vettemod.com

  9. #9
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    Orange Park FL USA
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    782
    Corvette(s)
    1970 Marboro Maroon Convertible

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    I agree with Spikebot. If you can somehow get a set of dual exhaust by the smognazis. A set of longtube headers,dual cats,and a nice set of mufflers should really wake your 81 up and stay within your $1000 budget.

  10. #10
    Member 6880 Mike's Avatar
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    Corvette(s)
    1968 convertible; 1980 L-82

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    Tune it and keep the rest of the money in your pocket. In stock form, your car should already meet California emissions requirements.


  11. #11
    Member damoroso's Avatar
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    Corvette(s)
    1981 Big Block

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    You can always do your mods in phases. Start with the exhaust (whatever they'll let you go to) and plan for a better cam/heads combination. I don't think you'll be able to really gain all the benefits of a cam swap without doing the heads too. You can bump the compression a bit with the right heads too, and that'll help the performance gains. The good news is your carb, intake and ignition are fine for mods like this.

  12. #12
    New Member
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    Corvette(s)
    1981 black coupe

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    Thank you all so much for the tips so far. I really appreciate it.

    Labor isn't a problem for me. A friend and I are going to be doing it all. Do you guys have specific companies or products you would recomend for me?

  13. #13
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    Corvette(s)
    '81 Black

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    If you want to do it right and cheap I would say time is more important then the labor. If you have the time, go and look on ebay for a nice pair of heads. Second hand heads and a new camshaft will be under 1000 bucks. But before you begin, first read some books if you're not into building blocks. And like Damoroso says if you build it in fases, buy the right parts the first time so you don't need the change them again half way

    Groeten Peter

  14. #14
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    1981 black coupe

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    I plan on doing it right. My friend has been a mechanic 30+ years. He just doesn't know what I can get and prices. I was just curious about what parts you all would recomend for me. I thank you all again for responding

  15. #15
    Member Whiteshadow89158's Avatar
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    Corvette(s)
    1981 dark purple coupe

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    you can get almost anything but the parts wont be as powerful as others. just do your research and make sure everything is C.A.R.B. approved. First thing should be exhaust, give a exhaust shop a call and ask them what the restrictions are and if you can do a dual cat setup.
    "It's not the long haired well fed men i fear, but the pale and deprived"~ Gaius Julius Caesar

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