I'm sure many of you out there received some excellent coming-of-age advice from your old man as you passed from a free-wheeling, irresponsible kid with lots of toys to a more mature, more responsible, and slightly downtrodden man with, if you're lucky, much more expensive toys. Yep, it's a hell of a party for a few years--then one morning you wake up and the mortgage is due, the significant other wants a new bathroom, and your stinky, obese pets need expensive diet food. All the while, that badass EFI GM that used to see more action than a Stallone flick is sitting neglected--why? Because just as Pops always said: There's always something to spend your hard-earned money on--and usually, it's not your ride.

But don't let it get you down--and for God's sake, don't sell the car! There are tons of budget bolt-ons under five hundred bones that will make a huge difference in your GM's performance--and at these prices, you can still make the rent, smart guy!

Of course, performance gains are dependent on a seemingly infinite number of variables, and those quoted here are purposely on the conservative side. To accurately score the products, a truly attainable performance gain was decided on, and the product cost was actually found and confirmed from at least one source. These numbers are attainable conservative averages, NOT the one-time, record breaking peak, achieved once, on a ringer, in January, below sea level, etc., etc.... Additionally, no "sale" or "clearance" prices are quoted. The prices used were everyday prices listed by at least one retailer.

And to add another perspective to each engine's top 10, GMHTP used a "cost versus gain" ratio when ranking each mod. To do this, the cost of the item was divided by either the rear-wheel horsepower increase, or the decrease in ET in hundredths, to keep things equal.

Finally, although several top ten parts for the LT1 F-body are the same as those for LS1 F-bodies, the prices and performance gains will vary. The performance characteristics of the LT1 are generally different than the LS1, and the powerplant starts with a lower base rating--so gains are somewhat harder to achieve. Now read up on the best budget mods that money can buy--and start wrenching.

Top 10 Budget LS1 Bolt-Ons Holley's NOS Universal EFI Kit
Your basic single-nozzle wet nitrous kit, available from a name-brand pioneer in the nitrous business. Simply drill and tap the induction tract and install the fogger. Kit is complete with all the basics to start spraying. We'd recommend popping for an rpm window switch and pressure safety switch, but you'll blow the $500 limit in doing so.

The Catch:
Has the potential to blow an engine, if used improperly or abusively. Push-button fun that calls for refills, not full time.
Ease of Install:
Moderate
Wear and Tear:
Heavy
Approx. HP gain/ET reduction:
80 HP
Cost:
$457.99
Cost versus gain:
$5.72 PER HP

Royal Purple Synthetic Oil
The slippery purple stuff. They offer a complete line covering all major vehicle fluids. Royal Purple products gain their performance advantages through Royal Purple's proprietary Synerlec(R) additive technology. Honestly better than 'regular' synthetic fluids.

The Catch:
None really, besides the expense over other fluids.
Ease of Install:
Easy
Wear and Tear:
Negative
Approximate HP gain/ET reduction:
5 HP
Cost:
$57.00 (motor oil, rear axle gear lube, and coolant additive)
Cost versus gain:
$11.40 PER HP

SLP Airbox Lid
This bolt-on unit eliminates the restrictive stock baffles and resonator assembly, significantly improving air flow to the throttle body. Not only are they effective, 'lids' are quite possibly the most popular mod for LS1 F-bodies.

The Catch:
Intake noise may increase "every so slightly". Like you care...
Ease of Install:
Easy
Wear and Tear:
Mild
Approximate HP gain / ET reduction:
7.5 HP
Cost:
$99.95
Cost versus gain:
$13.33 PER HP

4.10 Gears
One of the best ways to improve your car's acceleration is to lower your rear-axle ratio. For a few hundred dollars, you can get the gears and a complete install kit. The hottest ratio ever offered in the Fourth-Gen F-body was a whopping 3.42 in the M6.

The Catch:
Difficult to install properly--experienced professional install only. Kiss away some fuel economy, and your tires--because you'll be busy burning them off!
Ease of Install:
Difficult
Wear and Tear:
Moderate
Approximate HP gain/ ET reduction:
15 HUNDREDTHS
Cost:
$274.99
Cost versus gain:
$18.33 PER HUNDREDTH

TCI Torque Converter
Factory converters are all tuned for fuel economy, so they lock up as soon as possible, just short of bogging. Letting the transmission-to-engine connection slip until the engine reaches power-rich rpms allows for getting into the powerband at launch. The TCI converter is compatible with the factory lockup strategy for good cruising efficiency. Looser converters are available and do offer greater gains, but they require tuning, sacrifice in lockup function, and a lot more cash.

The Catch:
Fuel economy will suffer a little, primarily around town. The transmission and driveline will receive a little more stress with the loose converter. Drivability will change, but we're not sure it qualifies as a catch, because you'll like it.
EASE OF INSTALL:
Difficult
WEAR AND TEAR:
Moderate
Approximate HP gain / ET reduction:
25 HUNDREDTHS
COST:
$469.95
Cost versus gain:
$18.80 PER HUNDREDTH

FlowTech Long Tube Headers, off road Y-pipe and Sims
Factory exhaust manifolds and downpipe systems suffer from ultra-restrictive packaging, cost, manufacturing, noise, and emissions restraints. Long tube headers with race pipes flat-out make great power, and Flowtech now offers an alternative for inexpensive LS1 headers. The headers are made from mild steel featuring 1.75-inch primaries and 3-inch collectors. We found a kit including the headers, off-road y-pipe, O2 simulators, and install kit for under $500.

The Catch:
Emission illegal. Ground clearance will be reduced (use particular caution if you've lowered your car) to some degree, but if you drive cautiously you'll be OK. These meet the $500 limit for this list, but they are not "coated" (our photo shows the coated version, available for $130 extra), so don't expect them to last forever. If you have the dough, pop for coated or stainless headers.
Ease of Install:
Difficult
Wear and Tear:
Moderate
Approximate HP gain / ET reduction:
25 HP
Cost:
$464.98
Cost versus gain:
$18.60 PER HP

Mickey Thompson Drag Radials
Burnouts and spinning tires are all the rage, especially in this age of drifting. But you won't go fast if your tires slip. Tire grip is a key ingredient in getting any car off the line. M/T's new drag radials are available in the proper F-body sizes for 16- and 17-inch rims. Built using the latest in high-tech radial construction techniques and years of drag racing experience in compound development, this DOT-approved street legal drag radial will get your car down the track in record time and drive you home with an excellent ride.

The Catch:
They stick like glue, but they won't last like an OE tire. The other catch is that you'll probably want a second set of rear wheels just for the drag radials.
Ease of Install:
Easy
Wear and Tear:
Moderate
Approximate HP gain /ET reduction:
18 HUNDREDTHS
Cost:
$355.90
Cost versus gain:
$19.77 PER HUNDREDTH

Quick Time/FlowTech Electric Cut Out
Exhaust back pressure is bottled-up horsepower. The quickest way to uncork the power is to literally uncork the exhaust. The QTP electric cutout is a great alternative for those who don't want to drive around in "race mode"--aka race noise--all the time. Slick toggle switch electric control eliminates the need to crawl under and uncap the dumps.

The Catch:
Not legal for street use, and unlike other "illegal" parts, you could get caught with this one.
Ease of Install:
Difficult
Wear and Tear:
Mild
Approximate HP gain / Et reduction:
9 HP
Cost:
$184.99
Cost versus gain:
$20.55 PER HP

Thunder Racing Cat Eliminator Pipes
If long tube headers are not an option, cat eliminator pipes are a great way to pick up horsepower. They are designed to bolt in place of your original catalytic converters and give a very "factory" appearance.

The Catch:
Emissions illegal. Will set codes if used without O2 simulators or tuning. Your exhaust will almost smell like it's from 1972.
Ease of Install:
Moderate
Wear and Tear:
Moderate
Approximate HP gain / ET reduction:
7 HP
Cost:
$264.00
Cost versus gain:
$37.71 PER HP

SLP LoudMouth Cat-Back
Well known as the loosest (and loudest) cat-back available for F-bodies. The latest version employs a modular design that can be reconfigured to fit changing performance, noise-level, and sound-quality requirements. It is stainless steel, modular, loud, and inexpensive.

The Catch:
As the name implies, it's as loud as you can get. If you love noise, this is for you. If your local jurisdiction enforces noise laws, you're beat.
Ease of Install:
Moderate
Wear and Tear:
Mild
Approximate HP gain / ET reduction:
10 HP
Cost:
$399.95
Cost versus gain:
$39.99 PER HP

Top 10 Budget LT1 Bolt-Ons NOS Universal EFI Kit
Single-nozzle wet nitrous kit, complete with all the basics to start spraying. Again, the rpm window switch and pressure safety switch are too pricey to include but you should consider them.

The Catch:
Has the potential to blow an engine--be careful. Not active all the time.
Ease of Install:
Moderate
Wear and Tear:
Heavy
Approximate HP gain / ET reduction:
70 HP
Cost:
$457.99
Cost versus gain:
$6.54 PER HP

Royal Purple Synthetic Oil
Again, Royal Purple products gain their performance advantages through Royal Purple's proprietary Synerlec(R) additive technology--and using the oil, rear gear lube and the coolant additive really do make a difference.

The Catch:
A little pricey (but worth it!)
Ease of Install:
Easy
Wear and Tear:
Negative
Approximate HP gain / ET reduction:
4 HP
Cost:
$57.00
Cost versus gain:
$14.25 PER HP

SLP Throttle Body Airfoil
So easy it is hard to understand how GM missed it. The airfoil attaches to the throttle body, between the two barrels. The purpose is to split airflow in a smooth and non-turbulent manner as it passes through the dual barrels of an LT1 throttle body. You'll have trouble finding a performance minded LT1 F-body owner without one. Possibly because of its simplicity and palatable price, this could be the single most popular LT1 F-body mod around.

The Catch:
The gain is small, albeit a good gain per cost.
Ease of Install:
Easy
Wear and Tear:
Mild
Approximate HP gain / ET reduction:
1.8 HP
Cost:
$34.95
Cost versus gain:
$19.42 PER HP

Headers
Long tube headers have as good an affect on the LT1 F-body as the LS1 cars. Pacesetter, historically known as a good bargain brand, is a newcomer to LT1 performance and these headers look to be a viable low-cost option for the often budget-restrained hot rodder. Long tube headers are available with a mating Pacesetter 3-inch off-road y-pipe and install kit.

The Catch:
Emission illegal. You'll set catalytic converter codes without popping for O2 simulators or zapping the codes in the tune. They are not coated and not made from stainless steel. Generally not for lowered cars.
Ease of Install:
Difficult
Wear and Tear:
Moderate
Approximate HP gain / ET reduction:
20 HP
Cost:
$415.98
Cost versus gain:
$20.80 PER HP

TCI Torque Converter
Factory converters are all tuned for fuel economy and lock up as soon as possible. Letting the transmission-to-engine connection slip until the engine reaches power-rich rpms allows for getting into the powerband at launch. The TCI converter is compatible with the factory lockup strategy for good cruising efficiency. Looser converters are available and do offer greater gains, but they require tuning, sacrifice in lockup function, and a lot more cash.

The Catch:
Fuel economy will suffer a little, primarily around town. The transmission and driveline will receive a little more stress with the loose converter. Drivability will change but you'll like it.
Ease of Install:
Difficult
Wear and Tear:
Moderate
Approximate HP gain / Et reduction:
21 HUNDREDTHS
Cost:
$436.88
Cost versus gain:
$20.80 PER HUNDREDTH

March Performance Power and Amp Pulleys
The underdrive pulley kit increases horsepower by reducing accessory drag. The package is engineered to make power, yet retain charging and accessory drive function. Better looking than the factory pulleys.

The Catch:
Not the way to go if you have a big-assed stereo pulling on your battery.
Ease of Install:
Easy
Wear and Tear:
Mild
Approximate HP gain / ET reduction:
5 HP
Cost:
$104.88
Cost versus gain:
$20.98 PER HP

Quick Time/FlowTech Electric Cut Out
Exhaust back pressure is bottled-up horsepower. The quickest way to uncork the power is to literally uncork the exhaust. The QTP electric cutout is a great alternative for those who don't want to (or legally can't, to put it more correctly) drive around in race mode all the time. Slick toggle-switch electric control eliminates the need to crawl under and uncap the dumps.

The Catch:
Not legal for street use, you law-breaking scurv.
Ease of Install:
Difficult
Wear and Tear:
Mild
Approximate HP gain / ET reduction:
7 HP
Cost:
$184.99
Cost versus gain:
$26.43 PER HP

4.10 Gears
One of the best ways to improve your car's acceleration is to lower your rear-axle ratio. For a few hundred dollars, you can get the gears and a complete install kit. The hottest ratio ever offered in the Fourth-Gen F-body was a whopping 3.42 in the M6.

The Catch:
Difficult to install properly--experienced professional install only. Even they can botch the install. Often, they make noise ... because they are not set up right. Kiss away some fuel economy, and your tires--well, you've heard this spiel before! Your speedometer (and auto trans) will be out-of-whack until you reprogram the PCM.
Ease of Install:
Difficult
Wear and Tear:
Moderate
Approximate HP gain / ET reduction:
13 HUNDREDTHS
Cost:
$274.99
Cost versus gain:
$21.15 PER HUNDREDTH

Comp Cams 1.6 Aluminum Roller Rockers
A higher ratio, roller tip and roller bearing, narrow body, self-aligning rocker arm that beats the stock part in every aspect. The high ratio (stock is 1.5) facilitates increased engine induction by increasing valve lift. Fancy roller-bearing design helps cut parasitic losses from valvetrain. The rockers give a good boost to an otherwise lethargic stock LT1 valve lift.

The Catch:
May require some minor clearance work to factory steel valve covers.
Ease of Install:
Moderate
Wear and Tear:
Moderate
Approximate HP gain / ET reduction:
10 HP
Cost:
$366.69
Cost versus gain:
$36.67 PER HP

K&N Cold Air Filter Kit
A complete induction system replacement. The cold air kit channels fresh cold air directly into the engine, and replaces a load of crappy-looking factory airbox plenums, bellows, and clamps in the process. The cold air kit is a close second in popularity, behind the airfoil.

The Catch:
May create some induction noise (note: if you object to a little throttle music (aka noise), you shouldn't even be reading this article, nancy-boy).
Ease of Install:
Easy
Wear and Tear:
Mild
Approximate HP gain / ET reduction:
6 HP
Cost:
$224.95
Cost versus gain:
$37.49 PER HP

Top 10 Budget L98 Bolt-Ons RICHMOND RING AND PINION GEARSET
The vast majority of L98 F-bodies came off of the assembly line with highway-cruiser axle ratios. An upgrade to a 3.42 or numerically higher gearset will yield, dollar for dollar, the best performance increase you can get. Be sure to match the gearset to your engine rpm range, and beware that some L98 cars had the dreaded Australian 9-bolt rear: gears will be much harder to come by for these. Price includes the installation kit--and sticky tires might be needed too.

THE CATCH:
Gear noise increase; fuel economy decrease
EASE OF INSTALL:
Difficult
WEAR AND TEAR:
Heavy
APPROX. HP GAIN/ET REDUCTION:
60 HUNDREDTHS
COST:
$280.00
COST VERSUS GAIN:
$4.67 PER HUNDREDTH

MARCH PERFORMANCE SERIES UNDERDRIVE PULLEYS
A 2-piece steel underdrive pulley set is inexpensive and will give a noticeable power increase as soon as you pull out of your driveway. By reducing the energy used to drive the engine accessories, underdrive pulleys free up horses and also increase accessory life (since the accessories don't have to spin as fast). A correctly designed set of pulleys will prevent overheating while idling and allow sufficient alternator speed to keep the battery charged; if the alternator doesn't stay charged, just install the crank pulley and leave the alternator pulley alone. Part No. 4005 is for 1988-92 cars.

THE CATCH:
None (but keep an eye on charging system voltage)
EASE OF INSTALL:
Moderate
WEAR AND TEAR:
Mild
APPROX. HP GAIN/ET REDUCTION:
10 HP
COST:
$52.50
COST VERSUS GAIN:
$5.25 PER HP

SLP THROTTLE BODY FLOW BOOSTER
SLP's throttle body Flow Booster (or "airfoil," as it is commonly known), Part No. 22100, increases flow through the L98's throttle body by decreasing turbulence that exists when air smacks the convoluted center section between the throttle body bores. It's never been clear why GM used a twin-bore throttle body instead of a single blade unit on this engine (space savings under the Corvette hood, most likely), but hey, we've got to deal.

THE CATCH:
None
EASE OF INSTALL:
Easy
WEAR AND TEAR:
Mild
APPROX. HP GAIN/ET REDUCTION:
4 HPCOST:
$34.95
COST VERSUS GAIN:
$8.74 PER HP

HOLLEY STEALTH RAM INTAKE MANIFOLD
The stock Tuned Port Injection system sitting atop L98s makes great low-end torque but takes the engine's breath away above 5000-rpm. Slap on a Holley manifold (Part No. 7540, unpolished) and let your motor breathe to 6000-revs or more. A fuel rail kit (Part No. 534-185) is also needed as the stock rails won't fit.

THE CATCH:
No EGR provision; stronger valve springs likely needed to prevent valve float at higher rpms
EASE OF INSTALL: Difficult
WEAR AND TEAR:
Mild
APPROX. HP GAIN/ET REDUCTION:
30 HP
COST:
$385.00
COST VERSUS GAIN:
$12.83 PER HP

ACCEL HEI CONTROL MODULE
The L98's ignition system needs to be upgraded if you're ever going to make any power. ACCEL's HEI control module pops under the distributor cap and gives an improved signal to the ignition coil for proper coil charging, thereby keeping the spark alive. The one pictured is Part No. 35362, for remote coil vehicles.

THE CATCH:
None
EASE OF INSTALL:
Easy
WEAR AND TEAR:
Minimal
APPROX. HP GAIN/ET REDUCTION:
3 HP
COST:
$43.88
COST VERSUS GAIN:
$14.63 PER HP

SLP COLD AIR INDUCTION PACKAGE
The Camaro's over-the-radiator air intake system and the Firebird's more traditional fenderwell intake system were pretty good at getting cold air into the L98 engine, but were unfortunately restrictive, thanks primarily to water and sound baffling. With a more direct airflow path and a cotton-gauze filter, SLP's system will wake up your F-body. The system shown, Part No. 21006, is for 1988 and 1989 cars; see SLP's Web site for other model years.

THE CATCH:
None
EASE OF INSTALL:
Easy
WEAR AND TEAR:
Mild
APPROX. HP GAIN/ET REDUCTION:
15 HPCOST:
$249.95
COST VERSUS GAIN:
$16.66 PER HP

HOOKER SUPER COMPETITION HEADERS
While "shorty"-style headers give excellent gains on an L98, nothing beats a set of full-lengths. True, long tube headers are generally designed for high-rpm performance, which the stock TPI intake system is definitely not. But hopefully you'll be replacing that mess of silver snakes atop the engine anyway, so why buy headers twice? Be sure to get a good ceramic coating put on these puppies to prevent premature corrosion, and also to protect underhood parts from heat.
THE CATCH:
A Y-pipe will be needed to attach to the exhaust system; decreased ground clearance; computer recalibration likely necessary
EASE OF INSTALL:Difficult
WEAR AND TEAR:
Moderate
APPROX. HP GAIN/ET REDUCTION:
20 HP
COST:
$410.00
COST VERSUS GAIN:
$20.50 PER HP

CRANE CAMS GOLD RACE 1.6 RATIO EXTRUDED ROLLER ROCKER ARMS
Upgrading from stock 1.5 ratio rocker arms to a full-roller 1.6 ratio set yields increased valve lift as well as reduced valvetrain friction. As the vast majority of the added power comes from the extra valve lift, a simple swap to a 1.5 ratio roller rocker set will be a major waste of time and money. Cars with centerbolt valve covers need "narrow body" rockers, and Crane's Part No. 10758-16 is one of the few out there.

THE CATCH:
Minimal fuel economy decrease; reduced valvespring life
EASE OF INSTALL:
Difficult
WEAR AND TEAR:
Moderate
APPROX. HP GAIN/ET REDUCTION:
15 HP
COST:
$319.95
COST VERSUS GAIN:
$21.33 PER HP

MSD 6AL IGNITION CONTROL
Yet another upgrade to the L98's weak ignition system. A multi-spark, capacitive discharge ignition system like Part No. 6420 from MSD is an excellent power-building part that will complement any further engine modifications well. This model also has an adjustable "Soft Touch Rev Control" rev limiter to keep your L98 motor safe. Expect gains in gas mileage, throttle response, and engine smoothness too. Installation is easy with one of MSD's plug-and-play wiring harnesses (harness varies depending on coil style).
THE CATCH:
Spark plugs will need to be replaced more often
EASE OF INSTALL:
Moderate
WEAR AND TEAR:
Moderate
APPROX. HP GAIN/ET REDUCTION:
10 HP
COST:
$229.70
COST VERSUS GAIN:
$22.97 PER HP

MUFFLEX CAT-BACK EXHAUST SYSTEM
Whether a dual-cat or single-cat configuration, the exhaust on any L98 motor is restrictive at best. A 3.5-inch cat-back exhaust from Mufflex will free-up power and fuel efficiency and also outflow 3-inch systems. Mufflex offers its systems with Flowmaster or Spintech mufflers; choose the sound that's right for you. Check the Web site for complete offerings and part numbers.

THE CATCH:
Noise (not necessarily bad)
EASE OF INSTALL:
Moderate
WEAR AND TEAR:
Mild
APPROX. HP GAIN/ET REDUCTION:
18 HP
COST:
$490.87
COST VERSUS GAIN:
$27.27 PER HP

>Top 10 Budget LC2 Bolt-Ons CLUTCH SWITCH
With a few bucks worth of wire, a couple of connectors, and a store-bought switch, simply tapping into your Buick's ALDL port under the dash will allow you to lock the torque converter clutch under WOT--effectively making your 200-4R transmission a stick-shift for the remainder of the 1320. Buick racers have seen up to a couple of solid tenths from this mod--for the price, the best budget Turbo Buick bolt-on on the planet!

THE CATCH:
None
EASE OF INSTALL:
Easy
WEAR AND TEAR:
Minimal
APPROX. HP GAIN/ET REDUCTION:
15 HUNDREDTHS
COST:
$10.00
COST VERSUS GAIN:
$0.66 PER HUNDREDTH

RACE CHIP
If you've got 100-plus octane fuel (leaded, 117-octane C16 is preferred) a great performance bargain is to replace the stock chip with a race version. Through increased fueling, aggressive spark advance in the 24-26 degree range, and a boost increase from the stock 12 to 22-plus psi, it's common to add over 100 horsepower at the wheels.
THE CATCH:
Leaded race fuel is nearly always a must when using this chip (see "alcohol injection system") to avoid blowing the engine, oxygen sensor life shortened, some chips have auto torque converter lock-up for track-only use.
EASE OF INSTALL:
Easy
WEAR AND TEAR:
Heavy
APPROX. HP GAIN/ET REDUCTION:
100 HP
COST:
$120.00
COST VERSUS GAIN:
$1.20 PER HP

ALCOHOL INJECTION SYSTEM
Imagine running sky-high boost and timing numbers with a full-on race computer chip--with only premium fuel in your Turbo Buick's tank! That kind of automotive wet dream is reality, thanks to alky injection. Sure, there is a learning curve associated with this type of tuning, but the fact remains that an all-inclusive alky kit sells below $500--and can provide insane power gains when tuned properly.

THE CATCH:
Tuning this type of system can be challenging, and just like in your favorite watering hole, if the alcohol runs out suddenly, it's not pretty.
EASE OF INSTALL:
Moderate
WEAR AND TEAR:
Heavy
APPROX. HP GAIN/ET REDUCTION:
100 HP
COST:
$495.00
COST VERSUS GAIN:
$4.95 PER HP

AIR INTAKE SYSTEM
The stock air intake system is a mess: the small filter is covered up, it ingests hot air, and it sends cleaned air through restrictive sharp bends. Replace it with a TR Custom Parts Big Mouth Lite cold air system, which uses a 9-inch K&N air filter and 4-inch O.D. aluminum tubing that is designed to place the filter as far away from the hot underhood area as possible, and keep the bends and restrictions to a minimum. Along with being lighter than TRCP's standard chrome unit, it is also $45 cheaper.

THE CATCH:
A different elbow must be used when converting to LT1/LS1 MAFs, some MAF pipes may have to be modified to work.
EASE OF INSTALL:
Easy
WEAR AND TEAR:
MildAPPROX. HP GAIN/ET REDUCTION:

15 HUNDREDTHS
COST:
$150
COST VERSUS GAIN:
$10 PER HUNDREDTH

SYNTHETIC FLUIDS
Going from regular engine, trans, and rear axle lubes to highly advanced synthetics like these Quaker State "Q Power" and "Q Racing" fluids will free up real horsepower by reducing friction--the price is cheap and the effort is small, just the type of mod that you'll love.

THE CATCH:
None, except maybe price.
EASE OF INSTALL:
Easy
WEAR AND TEAR:
Negative
APPROX. HP GAIN/ET REDUCTION:
4 HP
COST:
$52
COST VERSUS GAIN:
$13 PER HP

TORQUE CONVERTER
Sure, your TR stalls at a not-too-shabby 2400-rpm. But that doesn't mean that you can't pick up some ET from some more rpm--even on the cheap. A great budget unit can be had from Pro Torque: its 12-inch, 2800-stall, lock-up 200-4R converter isn't built to the hilt and, as such, isn't meant to last in a 10-second Buick. However, if your Buford is in the 375-horse range, the Pro Torque could add between one- and three-tenths reliably, depending on the turbo you're running.

THE CATCH:
If you have a loose stock D5 and stock turbo, you won't pick up much ET.
EASE OF INSTALL:
Difficult
WEAR AND TEAR:
Moderate
APPROX. HP GAIN/ET REDUCTION:
30 HUNDREDTHS
COST:
$395
COST VERSUS GAIN:
$13.10 PER HUNDREDTH

MODIFIED INTERCOOLER NECK
While the stock intercooler was certainly better than no cooler at all, it suffered from restrictive 2-inch necks with sharp bends. Intercooler technology is leaps and bounds better these days, but you won't find a new one for under $500. Luckily for those on a budget--you don't have to. The Duttweiler Neck mod expands your cooler's necks to 2.5 inches and features smoother bends for better flow. This mod offers noticeable increases in performance at a dirt cheap price--the neck alone can be had for $73, but due to the complexity of welding them onto your stock core, we've tacked on the installation charge so all you have to do is bolt up the intercooler and go.

THE CATCH:
Cutting off the old necks and welding on the new ones is complicated, so pay someone to do it for you.
EASE OF INSTALL:
Easy
WEAR AND TEAR:
Mild
APPROX. HP GAIN/ET REDUCTION:
15 HP
COST:
$250
COST VERSUS GAIN:
$16.66 PER HP

EXHAUST SYSTEM
When compared to the wimpy stock exhaust system, Hooker's Cat-Back, 2.5-inch exhaust is a great deal. The bigger pipes get all of those pressurized fumes out fast, and the turbo mufflers sound great at any rpm.

THE CATCH:
None
EASE OF INSTALL:
Easy
WEAR AND TEAR:
Mild
APPROX. HP GAIN/ET REDUCTION:
15 HP
COST:
$300
COST VERSUS GAIN:
$20 PER HP

3-INCH DOWNPIPE
The closer to the turbo a pipe is, the bigger it has to be to effectively remove the super-hot exhaust fumes. The stock downpipe squeezes down to 2-inches in some places--way too small to do this efficiently. While there are certainly cheaper alternatives to the 3-inch downpipe that we recommend here, the THDP offers superior sealing along with tangible performance gains.

THE CATCH:
The turbo shield must be modified to fit with this downpipe.
EASE OF INSTALL:
Moderate
WEAR AND TEAR:
Mild
APPROX. HP GAIN/ET REDUCTION:
20 HP
COST:
$440
COST VERSUS GAIN:
$22.00 PER HP

SOURCE
K&N Engineering
1455 Citrus Ave.
Riverside
CA  92502
800-858-3333
www.knfilters.com
Full Throttle Speed
17342 Brill, Dept. GMHTP
Clinton Township
MI  48035
SLP Performance Parts
1501 Industrial Way North
Toms River
NJ  08755
PaceSetter Performance Products
P.O. Box 56397, Dept. GMHTP
Phoenix
AZ  85079-6397
ProTorque
1440 Church St., Dept. GMHTP
Bohemia
NY  11716
Crane Cams
530 Fentress Blvd.
Daytona Beach
FL  32114
3-86/-252-1151
N/A
www.cranecams.com
Speed Inc
803C Albion Ave., Dept. GMHTP
Schaumburg
IL  60193
MSD Ignition (Autotronic Controls Corp.)
1490 Henry Brennan Dr
El Paso
TX  79936
Thunder Racing, Inc
13779 Airline Hwy, Dept. GMHTP
Baton Rouge
LA  70817
March Performance
5820 Hix Rd.
Westland
MI  48185
734-729-9070
www.marchperformance.com
Quick Time Performance
Midland Park
NJ
quicktimeperformance.com
Holley Performance Products (Holley, Flowtech, NOS, Hooker Headers)
1801 Russellville Road, Dept. GMHTP
Bowling Green
KY  42101
Richmond Gear
Old Norris Rd.
Liberty
SC  29657
864-843-9231
Comp Cams, Inc.
3406 Democrat Road, Dept. GMHTP
Memphis
TN  38118
TCI Automotive
151 Industrial Dr.
Ashland
MS  38603
662-224-8972
www.tciauto.com
Royal Purple, Ltd.
One Royal Purple Lane, Dept. GMHTP
Porter
TX  77365
TR Custom Parts
141 Ezra St., Dept. GMHTP
North Haven
CT  06473
Jay's GN Parts and Repair
RR1 Box 712, Dept. GMHTP
Youngwood Sportsmans Road
Hunker
PA  15639
Mufflex Performance Exhaust
2369 Nottingham Way
Trenton
NJ  08619
6-09/-890-0481
www.mufflex-performance.com
Summit Racing Equipment
P.O. Box 909
Akron
OH  44309
Mickey Thompson Performance Tires and Wheels
1900 Compton Ave., Suite 101, Dept. GMHTP
Corona
CA  92881
Tbyrne Motorsports
1227 Horseneck Road, Dept. GMHTP
Westport
MA  02790
Alkycontrol ACCEL (Mr. Gasket Company)
10601 Memphis Ave. #12, Dept. GMHTP
Cleveland
OH  44144
Quaker State Quad Air, Inc.
7161 Fitch Road, Dept. GMHTP
Olmstead
OH  44138
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