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I finally got a chance to drive a Z with a Vortec SC unit. I am going to put my review in stages and talk about various aspects of this unit. I will rate on a scale of 1-10 starting with Fitment, Drivability and Performance.

Fitment (7): The unit fits nicely onto the Z’s, the install is not hard and I suspect it could be completed in less than a day with a good mechanic and the right tools. The compressor is large, and has a look of performance under the hood, unlike the HKS SC which looks ugly and resembles an alternator. The pulley system on the Vortec is a total joke. I think they could have engineer it better without having to use such a long belt and what looks like 10 pulleys tied together. There is just more that needs to be replaced and more stuff to wear out in my opinion. I also know that people have had problems with belt’s wearing out prematurely or being very noisy and having to tension them often. Now with the covers on the car you would not be able to see all those pulleys so it would look a lot cleaner, but the cover was removed due to the Crawford Plenum.

Drivability (9): First let me tell you that this car was DaddyZ’s 04 Track model. He is from the other board and I contacted him last weekend and set up a meeting last night. It only cost me dinner to get a chance to drive his car. It’s a Redline with just over 5K miles. One side note, the 04 suspension feels much better than the 03. In fact I have often said that the 03’s don’t have a suspension! Bouncing down the road on flat pavement does not mean the car actually handles. The 04 is much smoother than and feels as if it holds to road a lot better. The 03 suspension sucks IMO because the shocks should have had more Rebound Dampening which the 03’s seriously lack. So let’s get back to the SC and how it functions with the Z. I was impressed with how well it drives without feeling like the car is being bogged down with the extra belts and pulleys. If I could not here the SC whine it would have been very hard to tell it was even on the car. I will get to performance on the next segment. Here are a few things I noticed. The Blow off Valve sounds like complete crap, instead of a cool whistle it sounds more like an inflated balloon releasing air. At idle the car runs fine without any hesitation and coasting around a parking lot the car drives like stock. On the highway it was just the same but with a slight hint that something was different and not different in a bad way

Performance (6): Now before all the Vortec owner come here with torches and gasoline to flame my a$$. Let me explain why I only give it a 6 on a scale of 1-10. I think it’s important to consider everything. I believe the engine is still very tight with just over 5K miles. You also have to consider the weight factor because you got two very big dudes crammed in a Z. I am around 6ft, 240 lbs and DaddyZ is pushing close to the same weight as me. So its probable safe to say that you have close to 500lbs of humanity that have not missed a meal in a long time riding in his Z. Also he said that the car is running very rich and he thinks the mechanics at the dealer might have left one of his intake pipes loose. He mentioned this as soon as he drove up and said it felt like he was loosing boost. Well that would have been easy to see by looking at the boost gage but he said he had removed his gages because it was going to the dealership. LOL it’s sort of funny… because I think most dealers would probable notice a big snail looking thingy right where the air box goes. Anyway no boost gage but I was told this unit has a 9lb pulley and was making 370~380rwhp. The first time I gave it WOT I was a little disappointed at how it didn’t feel like it was pulling very hard. There was some pull up high but I was expecting more especially at the top end. I mean I am in a car with over 100hp at the wheels than my car right? Now the power is very smooth and linear and I could feel more pull at the high end, but overall I was not that impressed. I didn’t expect to feel much down low but once we got over 5K RPM’s I was expecting much more of a rush and it really never came. Now I hope some of you Vortec guys can post here and let me know if I am just driving a car with a bad tune or leak in the system. Another thing I noticed was the compressor sounded like marbles rolling around inside it at idle. Now I am not sure if this was a pulley but it sounded like it was coming from the compressor. The unit was very noisy at times, so I am wondering if this unit is due for a rebuild? I also tried to get the WOT in second and get the tires to break loose but nothing happened. Is this typical for a Vortec? I don’t know what a Vortec should feel like since I have nothing to compare too. But I think this unit was seriously lacking in boost, but with no gages I can’t say whether or not this is fact or not.

If there is anybody in Dallas area with a Vortec Z or even a TT that would give me test drive I would really appreciate it. I would like to drive another Vortec Z so I can make a better assessment of a Vortec unit. The unit on the car I drove was not new and had probable 5k total miles on it. Anyway I am still considering my FI options…


Llare
 

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Thanks for the thorough review Llare. It would be interesting to see what another one with the same setup would be like? Maybe it was because of the intake pipes and a few other small problems. That can add up quiclkly to power loss
 

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Yeah I hope I can test out another car... I was really looking forward to driving my first forced induction Z. I was really disappointed with the overall performace. I know most people like there Vortec units and I am not bashing it at all. I know there may be some issues with this perticular unit. I hope someone in Dallas will contact me so I can test drive another Vortec Z. I really wanted the Vortec because of the looks and performance, but after driving it I have to explore other options at this point.
 

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I understand that. I know there are a couple guys on here with Vortech. I have always heard good things about them. Hope that this was just one of those flukes.
 

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If anyone wants to test drive my TT in Charlotte, I will require a Starbucks prepaid gift card in an amount no less than $25. :)

The Vortechs will not have the rush of the TT's, but they are deceptively fast. But at the end of the day, they will not touch a TT in the quarter mile...sorry folks. :( The TT's are mostly running in the mid to high 12's and the SC's are in the low to mid 13's.....all of them on street tires.
 

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Have to go with gq on that... only way I would say the TT and SC are a close match is if you make a rolling start. The Vortech is strong once its rolling, especially from high rpms in 2nd or 3rd. But from a standing start of for a very long race, the TT is just going to outmuscle it.
 

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Originally posted by Llare@Nov 10 2004, 11:52 AM
If there is anybody in Dallas area with a Vortec Z or even a TT that would give me test drive I would really appreciate it. I would like to drive another Vortec Z so I can make a better assessment of a Vortec unit. The unit on the car I drove was not new and had probable 5k total miles on it. Anyway I am still considering my FI options…


Llare

Hmm, coming from personal experience and with more than 6k miles on my vortech alone, I couldn't be happier. I don't know who installed the system in the car you drove but I have the 9lb pulley and i am getting over 400 to the wheels. I'm in Dallas but I don't let anyone drive my car, let alone someone I have never known. My car still pulls hard in every gear and there is an amazing amout of difference compared to driving i stock. And judging from comments from other drivers that have heard my car, whether at car shows, on the street, or anywhere else, all like the blow off valve sound.

Oh, and hope everyone has a good Christmas and a safe new year.
 

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Good review - very unbiased and fair. I hope you get to drive another soon so we can see whether it was a problematic installation or not.
 
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