Excessive heat in a vehicle can be terrible — it wears on the engine, cooling system, paint, wiring, and just about every other aspect of a car. Heat can even go a step further, taking its toll on the driver and passengers in the automobile. It’s for this reason that most car manufacturers use thick insulation under the carpet and shields to keep the heat out of the interior. Sometimes the factory efforts aren’t enough, and performance aftermarket companies like Design Engineering Inc. fix the problem.
Recently, we began working on our C6 Corvette. Of course, we can’t leave anything alone, so we decided to lower the ‘Vette, an LSX 376 engine with a ProCharger supercharger, and other miscellaneous modifications.
With all of our new modifications, it’s pretty apparent that we’re going to be planting our foot in the C6 more at the race track and around town. Wide-open throttle is a great way to generate more heat in the exhaust system, and we don’t want the excess heat in the interior.
While the Corvette may be the cool American sports car, we can’t say the same for the interior of these vehicles. Corvettes are infamously known for the heat that radiates out from the console area. When you look under the car, it’s pretty obvious General Motors didn’t have a ton of room under the Corvette for the exhaust system. The exhaust pipes run down the center of the car and are tucked up tightly against the body of the C6. As we all know, heat rises, and a lack of insulation causes the warmth to creep into the interior of the beloved sports car.
Design Engineering Inc. (DEI) has come up with a new solution that will drastically reduce the amount of heat transferred to the Corvette C5 and C6 transmission tunnel and into the vehicles’ interior. You will still be driving a cool car, but now you will be able to cruise in comfort with less heat invading your space.
The DEI Trans Tunnel Shield Complete Kit (PN 050530) includes five pieces that adhere to the bottom of the Corvette. The panels are precision die-cut for easy installation and a superior fit. The panels are 10mm thick and made of an embossed aluminum material that is capable of withstanding temperatures up to 1750-degrees. The embossed aluminum is bonded to a high-temperature, finely woven needle punched glass fiber composite. This material is backed with a robust self-adhesive backing that can withstand temperatures up to 450-degrees Farienheight. Once installed, these lightweight panels will not be affected by wind, water, or any other harsh circumstances.
We were curious about what kind of effect the tunnel shield would have on the interior. We spoke with Steve Garrett, Creative Director / Media Coordinator of Design Engineering about this product.
I installed the full kit on my C5 Corvette, and the heat difference was night and day. It knocked down about 80-percent of the heat coming through the transmission tunnel. - Steve Garrett
“I installed the full kit on my C5 Corvette, and the heat difference was night and day. It knocked down about 80-percent of the heat coming through the transmission tunnel. This product also blocks some road noise coming through the tunnel, Steve explains.”
The installation of the product is straightforward and easy to perform. “It is not necessary to remove the mid-pipe on the exhaust system, but I would highly recommend it. With the exhaust out of the way, you need to thoroughly clean the transmission shield plate and the sides of the tunnel. Once that is done, it is a peel-and-stick application. There’s no need to remove the bolts holding the plate on. The holes are precisely cut in the shield to fit exactly around all the bolts,” Steve went on to share.
We decided to remove the exhaust so that we could clean the tunnel area effortlessly. Our next step was to remove the dirt and grime that had accumulated over the years to ensure proper adhesion. With everything tidied up under the car, we were ready to install the heat shield.
We made sure to follow the directions and test-fit the pieces before we pulled the backing off of the panels. Our set fit perfectly, so we were on to the next step. DEI suggests that you take off a little of the film and work your way down the car slowly. You don’t want to pull the entire film off, exposing all of the adhesives. We peeled off some and then pressed the heat shield down and worked our way down the C6. Once we had it in place, we worked around the shield to make sure we had good contact. We then used a 12mm socket to push up on the shield around the bolts.
With the center section installed, we turned our attention to the side panels. You will basically do the same process for this part of the installation as we did for the middle piece. Test fit the pieces first, ensuring that they match. You will then peel off a little of the backing and work your way to the other end. Once we were done with the installation, we used the supplied roller and pressed the shield into place, making sure we had excellent adhesion. Next, we reinstalled the exhaust section on the Corvette, and we were done.
The adhesive that we use on these pieces is very aggressive. If the car is cleaned properly, the shields will stay on as long as you want them to. - Steve Garrett
We were curious about the life of the product and how long we could expect the panels to adhere to the ‘Vette, to which Steve shared, “The adhesive that we use on these pieces is very aggressive. If the car is cleaned properly, the shields will stay on as long as you want them to. We have sponsored vehicles running this material at the Salt Flats and have had no issues.”
We fired the C6 up, anxious to see if we could notice any difference in the temperature of the ‘Vette’s interior. On our first drive, it was undeniable that the console and tunnel area in the car was not nearly as hot as it has been in the past. We also noticed less road noise from the Corvette, resulting in a quieter ride, making the car much more enjoyable.
Installing the DEI heat shield was a simple process that can be done on jack stands in any garage. If you’re looking to make your C5 or C6 more comfortable on the road, this is a must-have product.
For more information, be sure and check out designengineering.com for detailed instructions and other great products.