As the weather has decided to take a turn for the better (days where the temp is actually about 40 degrees, YAY!) I was finally able to get out into the garage and could begin installing some of the parts I had hoarded over the winter.
One of my goals for this year is to work on the efficiency of my motor, but in order to do that I have to know what my motor is doing. Monitoring engine vitals via a Cobb Accessport is one way to do that, but deciding on which six sensors you are going to monitor on the tiny screen makes that difficult. One of the ways to help alleviate that problem is by adding gauges to your car. One of the popular gauge additions to any forced induction vehicle is a boost gauge. Mechanical or electrical, a boost gauge requires a signal that is usually plumbed into a vacuum source. Sure, you can just splice a T-fitting into a vacuum line and plumb your boost gauge in that way. In most situations that would work, but most of the time those plastic fittings end up cracking, leading to a dreaded boost leak.
So what can we add to our cars that allow the ability to plumb into a vacuum source and keep the dreaded boost leaks away?
The answer, intrepid readers, is a vacuum block.
From the SURE Motorsports website: “The AirPort is machined from 6061-T6 billet aluminum. The Airport and it’s fittings are designed from scratch and completely unique. With a total of 6 ports, you can source up to 5 devices all while keeping your vacuum lines organized and look great at the same time!”
During the Black Friday sale of 2017, I was able to snag one of these for a price that was too good to pass up. Knowing that I was going to add a boost gauge to my car this year, it was a great opportunity to try it out. The unit comes shipped in a box filled with foam padding, cut out to hold each piece separately. The Airport can be ordered in various configurations: just the unit itself ($45), the 3 port kit (which I ordered, $99) and the 6 port kit ($115). As well, you can order a small or large mounting bracket ($14.50/$16.50) for installation and extra fittings and plugs ($6.50/$4.50).
Thankfully the 3 port kit came mostly with what I needed, adding a bracket for mounting and the price of this kit exceeds $100. Considering that vacuum block is basically a block of aluminium with holes drilled in it, the hefty price tag might be much to some, which offerings from Full Race Engineering ($49.99; edgeautosport.com) and Vibrant Performance ($44.00; summitracing.com) coming in under $50. As I prefaced earlier, that Black Friday price was so good that I went ahead with the purchase, if I were to repeat the process without that sale price, I might reconsider one of the other units to save myself some cash.
The installation was pretty straightforward, you can actually watch that process in my latest video: https://youtu.be/x07ssqyc5F4
I did run into some issues that I didn’t address in the video, but will elaborate on here. The first issue I ran into was when I was installing the block off plugs. One of the ports had an issue with the way it was tapped, the block off plug didn’t want to thread up, neither did any of the NPT fittings. I eventually had to run a 3/8 NPT tap down the hole again to clean up the threads. It was just a minor inconvenience, but for $99 I would like to think that all the holes would be tapped properly. Since everything is aluminum it is very easy to strip and damage the threads, which could lead to a potential leak.
I don’t want to harp too much about the pricing, but it would have been nice to have had a mounting bracket included at least. As the extra ports are an additional cost, having the mounting bracket as part of even the basic kit would help stretch the funds of modders on a budget. Some of the other offerings don’t include a mounting bracket, but do include all 6 fittings in their price. Something to think about.
After finding a bracket on the worktable, installing the Airport was easy. I used the vacuum port on my intake mainfold to run to the unit, and then ran a line from the Airport to my BPV. So far I don’t have any leaks and I have the flexibility to add items later on that need a vacuum signal. I am somewhat pleased with the Airport, but if I would have had to pay full price, I might have considered one of the other offerings at a lower price point.
Until next time!