We talked in detail earlier this year about Zip’s new Corvette Thermal Abs Exhaust Tunnel Plate from Elite Engineering. Replacing the factory close out panel in your C5 or C6 Corvette with this new plate will yield a noticeable drop in temperature around the center console area.
Hib Halverson, Corvette technical writer, recently purchased the Elite Engineering Tunnel Plate from Zip and posted his review on Corvette Action Center, an online source for Corvette news and information. Halverson first noticed the radiating heat from the console area of his 2012 Z06 during a 3500 mile road trip with his wife.
“After the trip, I used my Fluke/Raytek “Autopro” infrared (IR) thermometer to take some measurements. I drove about 10 highway miles, then another five miles on city streets ending my test in a downtown parking lot where I took the measurements. I read the temperature of locations on the console and the sides of the tunnel. The hottest area was the front wall of the console compartment where, in three spots , I measured 151°-154 F. The floor of the console compartment was pretty hot, too, measuring 143°-132°F, front-to-rear. A third hot area was the side of the tunnel, just below the top of the seat bottom cushion. I measured two spots, the front corner and adjacent to the seat belt buckle, both at 133°F,” Halverson writes.
He continues, “Zip Corvette Parts sells an extra-thick, thermally-insulated tunnel plate made by Elite Engineering, which fits both C5s and C6′s. Not only is the plate Zip sells treated with a metallic-ceramic, thermal barrier coating, but the bottom side, which faces the exhaust, has an additional two-ply (aluminum outer layer to reflect heat and a glass fiber inner layer to insulate) thermal barrier bonded to it. Because of its thermal properties, I ordered one of these tunnel plates from Zip hoping to reduce the temperature inside my car.”
Halverson described the installation as easy on C5 and C6 base Corvettes and Grand Sports. However, he noticed more of a challenge when installing on a C6 Z06 and ZR1. “Installing this plate on C6 Z06′s or ZR1′s was not quite as easy. The instructions (provided by Elite Engineering) erroneously tell the installer to reuse all 36 stock tunnel plate bolts, but on Z06′s and ZR1′s, the last eight thread inserts are set higher in the tunnel structure than the same holes on cars with steel frames, so the stock bolts are too short for those holes. If you can get any of them started, they’ll strip before you reach the required 89-in/lb. of torque. Zip is packing eight longer bolts with the tunnel plates they sell, but, if you don’t get your Elite plate from Zip, you have to buy bolts which are about ¼-in longer than stock.”
Once installed, Halverson was pleased with the results. “I took measurements in the same places on the tunnel. I noted temperature reductions everywhere. In the three hottest areas, there was quite an improvement. The front of the console compartment now ranged 126°-134°F, about a 20° decrease. The floor of the console box was now 116°-124°, about a 20° drop and the tunnel next to the seat was 93° and 100°, a 33-43° reduction depending on where I measured.”
The bottom line, according to Halverson: the new tunnel plate from Zip did exactly what he wanted it to do.
Read Hib Halverson’s full review of the 1997-2013 Thermal Abs Exhaust Tunnel Plate here. Halverson offers valuable insight and suggestions for a smooth as possible installation.