How to properly install a splitter on a C5 Corvette | Nine Lives Racing splitter mounts | Project C5 Corvette Z06

J.G.
Update by J.G. Pasterjak to the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 project car
Feb 15, 2022

Photography by J.G. Pasterjak

Thanks to the proliferation of good, solid aero information for track and even autocross cars, more and more builders are adding splitters.

Designed to create both a shelf of high-pressure air at the front of the car and a clean path for high-velocity, low-pressure air beneath the car, splitters are an easy* and affordable* way to use aero to improve grip.

You’ll notice those asterisks, and that’s because those terms are highly variable when it comes to splitter installation. Some cars can easily accept a splitter, while other installations require some–or even lots–of fabrication skill and knowledge to pull off.

C5 Corvettes tend to sit in the latter category. There isn’t really any exposed structure up front that’s sturdy enough to support a splitter, and what exists simply sits to low and too far back to do much good.

Enter Nine Lives Racing and its Sturdy Boii splitter mounting kit for the C5 Corvette: $307.80. Johnny C. and his big brain take the hard work out of splitter mounting, allowing you to concentrate on the easy bits of turning wrenches and using basic hand tools.

[Shop Visit: Nine Lives Racing]

The Nine Lives Sturdy Boii kit includes a pair of mount brackets, attaching hardware, and templates for both locating the holes for the brackets and cutting your own splitter from your choice of material.

Nine Lives Racing will also happily make a splitter from materials ranging from mundane to exotic, but for our install we chose to cut our own based on the templates. This would allow us to maximize the limitations of our chosen rule sets.

The install isn’t too difficult and only requires a couple specialized tools. (If you don’t already have them, here’s your excuse to buy them.)

Here’s how we installed a splitter on the front of our C5 Corvette Z06 track and autocross car.

1. We began by removing the C5 Corvette’s front bumper cover, the upper bumper bracket, and the bumper foam. For this, we needed a 7mm socket, a 10mm socket and some patience. Luckily, there are no hidden clips that you only discover after you break them. We just worked our way around the perimeter of the bumper–some fasteners were undone from inside the wheel wells as well–and lifted off the cover from the front after disconnecting the marker lights.

2. The Nine Lives Racing kit comes with the brackets and all necessary hardware plus templates for the splitter itself and the mounting holes. The clever brackets even have built-in stress risers, so they’ll shear away in the event of an incident, ideally preventing any structural damage to the car.

3a and 3b: We started trimming the template so we could trace it to our splitter material. Since we’re going to design the front part of our splitter ourselves, we’ll only need to use the template for the back part of the splitter.

4a and 4b: Once our layout was transferred to our splitter material, it was time to start cutting. For material, we chose a carbon-based, laminated-layer organic composite material called plywood. We used ½-inch poplar, but most any premium, sanded ½-inch sheet should work fine. Stay away from cheap pine or OSB unless you’re making at-track repairs and don’t care about being the butt of social media jokes for the next few weeks.

5a and 5b: Now it was time to trim out the drill templates. They slip over the frame and show you where to locate the holes for the brackets. We oriented them so the template was tight against the front of the frame rail, then made sure the template was straight and level.

6 and 7: This is the only place where we needed anything outside simple tools. After we drilled the holes, we installed the supplied rivet nut inserts–commonly called riv-nuts–using the appropriate setting tool.

8. Once the riv-nuts were all in place, we could bolt in the brackets.

9a and 9b. We held our splitter blank in place with a post jack while we marked the location for the holes.

10. The kit comes with T-nuts that hold the splitter to the brackets. A little tap with a hammer set them in place for installation, and proper torquing of the ¼-20 bolt fully sank them into the plywood.

11 and 12. Don’t be alarmed if your splitter looks a little jimmy-jacked. All the mounting holes are slotted for fine adjustments and tweaks, so you can level everything out nicely.

13a and 13b. Because this splitter is going on an SCCA CAM-S class car, we needed to adhere to the class rules. CAM splitters may extend 6 inches past the front of the bumper or bumper cover, but must be in line with the body on the side when viewed from above. We transferred the bumper’s outline to the splitter using a square.

14a and 14b. Then we came out 5.75 inches (to allow for a small safety margin for coatings) and drew our final contour. Then we cut along that line and had our final splitter design.

This wraps up the installation instructions but not the splitter story. We still need to choose a finish, properly prep the edges and, most importantly, track test our creation.

For a coating, we’re leaning toward truck bedliner coating, which should be durable and weatherproof, and we hear it’s only a problem if it gets on your hootus. Stay tuned for a follow-up after some track testing.

 

Click here to view these mounts on 9livesracing.com.

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Comments
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JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
2/15/22 12:11 p.m.

For the record, I went with truck bed liner for the finish coat. Kept off hootus, thankfully.

G_Loc
G_Loc
2/15/22 6:15 p.m.

Looks great!  Thinking about going this route myself and have a question: are the brackets easily removed once installed?  Would the bumper have to come off?  They seem to hang pretty low and I'd hate to damage them while driving around town or whatever (bought the car for track use, but I do like to drive it around between events!).

 

Thanks

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
2/15/22 9:21 p.m.
G_Loc said:

Looks great!  Thinking about going this route myself and have a question: are the brackets easily removed once installed?  Would the bumper have to come off?  They seem to hang pretty low and I'd hate to damage them while driving around town or whatever (bought the car for track use, but I do like to drive it around between events!).

 

Thanks

I'm like 90% sure the bumper will have to come at least part of the way off to get the brackets back off. The problem is the bracket that holds the top of the bumper cover to the steel bumper makes it almost impossible to get to a couple mount bolts. You *might* be able to somehow just slip the top of the bumper off, or modify that brcket a bit to make the bolts more accessible. You may also be able to modify the splitter brackets to come apart somehow. After this weekend's Pro Solo, I'm going to spent some time seeing if I can figure out some sort of quick release at least for the splitter itself. 

Also note that I haven't tried to load the car on the trailer yet, and I think that's going to be an adventure. I may end up needing about 30' of ramp.

GaryC83
GaryC83 New Reader
2/16/22 4:59 a.m.
JG Pasterjak said:
G_Loc said:

Looks great!  Thinking about going this route myself and have a question: are the brackets easily removed once installed?  Would the bumper have to come off?  They seem to hang pretty low and I'd hate to damage them while driving around town or whatever (bought the car for track use, but I do like to drive it around between events!).

 

Thanks

I'm like 90% sure the bumper will have to come at least part of the way off to get the brackets back off. The problem is the bracket that holds the top of the bumper cover to the steel bumper makes it almost impossible to get to a couple mount bolts. You *might* be able to somehow just slip the top of the bumper off, or modify that brcket a bit to make the bolts more accessible. You may also be able to modify the splitter brackets to come apart somehow. After this weekend's Pro Solo, I'm going to spent some time seeing if I can figure out some sort of quick release at least for the splitter itself. 

Also note that I haven't tried to load the car on the trailer yet, and I think that's going to be an adventure. I may end up needing about 30' of ramp.

Can't you modify the bracket and make a new lower and use a set of rotator door latch style setups on the uppers that could hold some pins on the lower plate captive?  Set it all up with a cable pull. 

 

Something like these at the link and then a pin held in double shear for the lower mount. Should be fast, cheap and easy. And I'd think it should give more than enough support if you do it right... 

 

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/dak-bcl-2?seid=srese1&gclid=Cj0KCQiA3rKQBhCNARIsACUEW_YaTAbPikrapic5yQH72KKReH8rqUgfHi4-iujRmGW9qAewKx2KkHQaAhC8EALw_wcB

 

By no means am I saying that's the best option or would work without looking at stuff.... but its where my head went to. Probably maybe are some better latches suited to it, that would hold the pin more captive in a rotator style setup... but something along those lines would be where I would be starting to explore for a quick release setup. 

stylngle2003
stylngle2003 GRM+ Memberand Reader
2/16/22 6:38 a.m.

Pro Awesome has quick release hardware that is pretty....awesome.  Not sure what all would be involved with adapting to Johnny's kit, though. 
 

https://professionalawesome.com/product/professional-awesome-quick-release-splitter-support-system/

G_Loc
G_Loc New Reader
2/16/22 4:40 p.m.
JG Pasterjak said:

I'm like 90% sure the bumper will have to come at least part of the way off to get the brackets back off. The problem is the bracket that holds the top of the bumper cover to the steel bumper makes it almost impossible to get to a couple mount bolts. You *might* be able to somehow just slip the top of the bumper off, or modify that brcket a bit to make the bolts more accessible. You may also be able to modify the splitter brackets to come apart somehow. After this weekend's Pro Solo, I'm going to spent some time seeing if I can figure out some sort of quick release at least for the splitter itself. 

Also note that I haven't tried to load the car on the trailer yet, and I think that's going to be an adventure. I may end up needing about 30' of ramp.

Appreciate the response.  Before I saw this, I  had e-mailed 9LR asking about a quick release.  They made it seem that you can just unbolt them by popping the hood and reaching over to where the bolts are.  Anyways, looking forward to whatever you come up with!

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
2/17/22 9:29 a.m.

So, JG, did you get the Corvette on the trailer? Fortunately you do have a rather long driveway....

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