'97 Camaro top swap

Mattstrike

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Mostly finished, have a slight vacuum leak/unmetered air source to find, and I think I melted the spark plugs I had already. It was nice and cold out last night, this thing hauls ass now. The blower is super quiet, not sure if that's because it has a 4.0 pulley or if the 90 degree elbow is deadening the sound or if it's something to do with the BBV not closing all the way? 1st gear is nearly useless, I'm going to blame my tires for the moment so I've had to short-shift to get off the line. I'm planning to get it to the track during the last few test and tunes in November, curious to see if it's as fast as it feels.

 

Mr_Roboto

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Very cool. I thought you may have imported an aussie blower the way it looked, it's neat to see that it's home brew. It corrects perhaps one of the biggest USDM 3800SC flaws in that it's a RWD car.
 

Mattstrike

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It makes me want to line up with an LT and LS F-body, both manual and auto, to see how it stacks up. I'm sure eventually the initial charm will wear off, but having so much muscle memory from the way it used to drive to the way it drives now - it feels like it goes through 2nd gear faster than it used to go through 1st. I just wish the syncros in the T5 could keep up (1-2 they are toast, 2-3 are slowly dying).


Oh, and the way it grabs 3rd and squats on the upshift :trump:



My favorite part about this though was going on all the Camaro forums, where they shit all over the idea of a supercharged 3800, and posting the obligatory 'I got bored and did this in three weekends' within two days of three other posts getting shot down as stupid/too expensive/not worth it/impossible to even try (even though it's been mostly already done before).
 

OffshoreDrilling

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Why the blower over a turbo? Assuming parts are just easier to source? I’m a little familiar with 3800s but not in the rwd form. Is there something prohibitive about top swapping in the f body?
 

Mattstrike

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The M90 doesn't fit in the F-body, the case has to be cut and welded to point the throttle body forward otherwise it won't fit with the firewall in the way.


Blower over turbo was just my personal choice. I want to DD this car. The blower setup, while not racecar fast, is reliable. I have four M90's sitting on the shelf, two complete L67 setups just sitting around, already had headers, and in general a top-swap is quicker/easier. I didn't want this to be another can-of-worms project just to have a fast(ish) car. I put maybe $350 into this total.

A turbo would have cost way more. I have a T3 from a Saab sitting here, but that probably need a complete rebuild, then of course fabricating custom manifolds and figuring out how to put a downpipe in a car where my options are A/C delete or 2" of ground clearance, then figure out oil and coolant hoses, or try to go remote and add a scavenge pump.. Not worth it unless I'm going to put a big turbo on it, in which case it's bye bye T5, you didn't need those chunks of metal inside you anyway.

Besides, my stupid Bonneville is enough of a can of worms as it is lol.
 

CMNTMXR57

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I was just gonna say, knowing Matt, it was simply because that's what was in his parts bin. :D
 

GTPpower

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How much room do you have between the blower and cowl? For instance, if you could raise it up for an intercooler.
 

Spivitz

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Sweeeeet, looks fun
:likes:
 

Fish

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Ive always wanted to do a top swapped Fbody. Bla bla bla turbos go fast, but superchargers arent slouches and sound way better IMO.
 

Mattstrike

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Intercooler isn't happening with stock motor mounts. Blower case itself is just under 1" clearance, but the vacuum tee and in my case the flange for the throttle body are closer to 1/2" clearance.

To run an intercooler you'd need to modify the K-frame and motor mounts or get a tubular one that drops the motor and trans down together 2" without changing the suspension geometry. I for one don't see any good coming of this, you'd have to shallow the oil pan to maintain ground clearance. Maybe mine is lower than factory, but shit there's only like 3" between the bottom of the K frame and the ground as is. I can barely get my low profile floor jack under there. I guess if you live where they actually maintain the roads you'd be OK?

If I were going to do it, I'd mount the intercooler core at least partially recessed into the LIM, reduce the overall stack height. Or skip the intercooler and go straight to corn.

I've ridden in some slow turbo cars, but it's just not the same feeling as the slow blower cars. Blower is full on no matter where you peg it from, turbo has lag. I like the blower in a DD better.

We'll see how it does at the track. If I can keep up with a stock LS1 car I'd be happy.
 

Fish

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I recall someone was doing something like that. IE sinking the heat exchanger into the manifold. I dont remember if it was [MENTION=396]Mike K[/MENTION] or if I saw it on a MP112 setup. Its been so long. :rofl:

Either way, you would be adding some depth there. Couldnt you do spacers for the frame and motormounts to get you that extra little clearance you might need IF you were to find something that recesses? Also would that affect flow if its recessed into the LIM?

A/A IC an option?
 

Fish

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Actually, does ZZP still sell the short stack? IIRC that was a 1 inch thick core. Not optimal, but something.
 

Mr_Roboto

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Intercooler isn't happening with stock motor mounts. Blower case itself is just under 1" clearance, but the vacuum tee and in my case the flange for the throttle body are closer to 1/2" clearance.

To run an intercooler you'd need to modify the K-frame and motor mounts or get a tubular one that drops the motor and trans down together 2" without changing the suspension geometry. I for one don't see any good coming of this, you'd have to shallow the oil pan to maintain ground clearance. Maybe mine is lower than factory, but shit there's only like 3" between the bottom of the K frame and the ground as is. I can barely get my low profile floor jack under there. I guess if you live where they actually maintain the roads you'd be OK?

If I were going to do it, I'd mount the intercooler core at least partially recessed into the LIM, reduce the overall stack height. Or skip the intercooler and go straight to corn.

I've ridden in some slow turbo cars, but it's just not the same feeling as the slow blower cars. Blower is full on no matter where you peg it from, turbo has lag. I like the blower in a DD better.

We'll see how it does at the track. If I can keep up with a stock LS1 car I'd be happy.
I think going straight to corn or methanol injection is how I'd roll.
 

Mattstrike

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You can space the K-frame down, but that means that the lower suspension is going to be that much further up in it's travel arc - putting it closer to it's limits where you have to start considering how it's going to effect geometry and hope the steering shaft can handle the more extreme angle as well as extend enough, all of which is more of a factor if your car is lowered. Either way you go, adding an intercooler will add height so you'd have to take it back out of the bottom somewhere.

For me it's about cost. For the amount of money to pull off an intercooler system I should have just gone with a turbo from the beginning. So if I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it in the most ill-advised or unique way possible, and rely on my ability to re-purpose things that aren't meant to be used in that way. Like finding a way to use an A/C system to cool it off.
 

Mr_Roboto

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You can space the K-frame down, but that means that the lower suspension is going to be that much further up in it's travel arc - putting it closer to it's limits where you have to start considering how it's going to effect geometry and hope the steering shaft can handle the more extreme angle as well as extend enough, all of which is more of a factor if your car is lowered. Either way you go, adding an intercooler will add height so you'd have to take it back out of the bottom somewhere.

For me it's about cost. For the amount of money to pull off an intercooler system I should have just gone with a turbo from the beginning. So if I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it in the most ill-advised or unique way possible, and rely on my ability to re-purpose things that aren't meant to be used in that way. Like finding a way to use an A/C system to cool it off.
If you're gonna do the box and diff in, do it right just twincharge it up. Throw an intercooler in between the Heaton's inlet and the turbo's outlet. E85 and your'e done.
 

Mattstrike

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As promised, took it to the track this weekend. As expected had trouble launching. I don't think the cold and all season tires did me much good there.

Managed a 14.7 @ 96.4

Overall not a bad run, 60' was high at 2.5, and the 1-2 upshift is slow because the syncro's aren't very good. I figured it was going to be mid-14's but couldn't get there with the launch. It was either a stellar one wheel peel leading to a 16+ second pass or a slow 60' and high 14's.

We know there's more room yet in the tune, but we left it conservative until I work out some of the little things.. Like I'm having an issue with hunting idle and misfire while cruising on cylinder #3 according to the scanner (no miss under boost at all). Scoped the cylinder and did a compression check, tested the coils/wires and checked for any arcing, no issues there so that leaves a vacuum leak at the injector, or something wrong with the injector maybe? The plug is dry, black and sooty - which I thought meant rich but the idle hunting and misfire makes me think vacuum leak. I might dig into it again tomorrow.
 

Mattstrike

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Because I sometimes forget I did stuff... A few updates! Fixed a bunch of vacuum leaks, which fixed the misfire but not the hunting idle. Re-sealed the A/C compressor, so now that works again. Ended up powder coating a bunch more stuff under the hood, one of which were the idler pulleys. I pressed out the old bearings, coated, then pressed in new bearings - not 1000 miles later the new bearings seals have failed and they leaked their grease out everywhere... NEW bearings... talk about annoying.

Caught up on some maintenance; new rear springs (cheap stock ones for now), sway bar end links, bump stops, etc. Everything down there is tight now.

Powder coated the wheels. Stripping them was the worst part; chemical strip has to be done first.




Had to clean up the bead/seal area afterwards.


Shaved and relocated the bump stops. Needed the clearance with the Corvette wheels, seems like the guy who had them before me let them rub a little, which gave them enough clearance to not rub on mine so I never noticed. But, you know, fix it..










And the first real test that the car still works, HRPT 2019 long haul!






Took it down the track at Norwalk just for fun. That 1-2 upshift is getting brutal, took forever for it to mesh and even then it still ratcheted a bit; and of course after the mountain roads near Bristol the clutch slips in 4th, which happens at 90mph-ish. I didn't really push the launch either, 2.4 60'. Still ran a 95.6 @ 15.2.

So, all that said, it's getting parked for the most part until I can sell my old motorcycle and get that fancy transmission adapter plate I need. I'll be installing the wideband and boost gauge in the meantime, and working on the tune. Trans is up next, might even get to that this year yet ($$$ willing), then next year is rear end locker, lowering springs and appropriate shocks, probably a bunch more powder coating, and I'll have to get new bearings again for the idler pulleys, and start dropping pulley sizes.

The biggest issue right now is it's barely getting 24mpg on the freeway, it used to get 32-34. Cruising, nothing is really changed. I kept the EGR, EVAP, everything. So, in theory, the only mileage loss should come from driving the blower. Stock L67 in my old H-body got 30mpg regularly, so I should be still up there. Hopefully the wideband and data logs figure it out. If not, then I'm switching to e85.
 

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