🔧 BUILD LAME Turbo V6 Camaro

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Hello! Welcome to the shit show! I am updating this post in 2021 to explain what new readers are about to witness. If I knew that this thread and build were going to explode into what it is today, I would have started it out a lot different.

This car was (and still is) a basket case. The whole inspiration for starting this project was to start learning how to modify engines in a car that I didn't like. That way, if and when I screwed up, I wouldn't be ruining a nice car. It spiraled out of control from the first moment that I felt boost. I loved what I had created, but it took a ton of work to get to where I was. As soon as I got the car running nicely I was always saying "I'm going to fix______, and THEN I'll just enjoy driving it." You know the drill. Drive, break, fix, repeat! Before I knew it, I enjoyed driving and working on this turd more than the nice car I was trying to preserve!

The point is that the focus of this thread shifts A LOT. To complicate matters, I never have just one ongoing project open at a time. I listed some thread contents with links below. I will update this as new milestones or big updates happen. Just know that even if you click on the shortcut, you may have to scroll past other project posts to reveal the outcome. There are also some mini-projects and very helpful advice from other members in between, so read the whole dang thing if you want!

2018-2019
1. A late introduction
2. Discovering how a PCV works (and plugging it)
3. Custom grill for intercooler
4. Fuel pump trap door
5. Learning that I'll never learn anything from my goofy wide band gauge
6. Deleting AC completely, but retaining heat
2020
7. Low profile heater hose fittings
8. Deleting an air bag without setting a light on the dash
9. Starting a second round of floor repairs
10. ABS delete and line lock installation
- A separate thread for the electrons
11. Installing catch cans with nice brackets (Way overkill)
12. Figuring out the "blow by" problem once and for all (F-body intake plug)
13. Second clutch job, first rear cover job, and preliminary transmission swap research
14. Floors are "done", and Interior is installed.
15. I don't know how to tune, but this wide band might help.
16. Poly trans mount. Yeah, it actually deserves a link.
17. I waved the tuning white flag. Dyno Brian sets me straight!
18. T5 Pro5.0 shifter
19. New shifter was too much fun. OG T5 explodes, and my transmission conversion ideas start to get serious.
-TKX conversion
-TKX swap official write-up
20. Reconfiguring my exhaust for a quieter and less leaky future
21. I'm not done enjoying this car for the year, so I install a $100 T5 instead of a bulletproof conversion. SPOILER ALERT: It only lasts two months.
22. Minor repairs/updates that make the car livable (lighting, stereo, speedometer re-zero, and a clutch master cylinder that actually does it's job!)
23. Wheels and addressing rust again since I got time!
2021
24. Custom center caps
25. 1.9 roller rockers and LS6 springs
26. CAI V2.0
27. TKX is delayed so it's time to address the little annoyances.
-OE pan is junk. Dorman pan gets hot rodded
28. TKX is still delayed, so I install just one poly engine mount and beef up my flimsy turbo drain plumbing
29. TKX does NOT ship the following Monday. Flywheel bolts upgraded to ARP M10 x 1.0
30. When you're on a Chinese garbage budget, you better be ready to work harder. (Oil drain fitting hot rodding)
31. Finally repairing the oil sender pig tail, replacing the other engine mount, and test fitting the TKX.
32. Finally addressing rear brake lines while I wait for more transmission parts.
33. Modifying an ICM for a WOT box
34. Dash gets re-instrumented so that diagnostics become possible.
35. N2MB WOT box
36. Porked crank key. PSA: Be careful installing your balancer!
37. Car runs great after plug change, but the rear main seal needs to be changed again.
38. BURNOUT! Also, I kinda bought a cam.
39. Turbo drain finale (better be) and full exhaust commenced
2022
40. Downpipe V3 and BMR strut tower brace
41. Panhard bar and relocation for bro truck exhaust
42. Muffler, driveshaft, torque arm, and giving up smoking.
43. First trip to the GS Nationals (feat. time slip)
44. The very custom AC project is born
45. New dyno results (up 50 hp!)
46. Exhaust hanger repair before Michigan/S.S. Badger/Wisconsin trip
47. Sizing a better turbo
48. Painting but still not installing the IS3 heads and Monster clutch unboxing
49. Firewall brace
50. New ECM
2023
51. Out of storage and SC engine buy failure #3
52. Modified double roller and spitballing crankcase evac ideas
53. Completing the rear suspension. UMI rear control arms.
54. Cracked headers and L32 swap begins
55. My newest L32 was trash. I'm upgrading the L36 instead
56. Side project: The ultimate-ish intake manifold takes shape


Now back to 2018!
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Now that this car is running and driving, I figured I would start a thread dedicated to all the questions I’m about to pummel this group with. This is the first time I've really built anything to move quicker than stock, so I'm hoping to learn a lot from you guys before I make unnecessary mistakes. I also have a thread in the Turbobuick.com 3800 section, but I'm not getting as much input there due to a lack of audience. Here goes nothing...

The car I have is a 2002 Camaro with only ONE factory option (rear window defogger). The story supposedly goes that my buddy's dad was looking forever for a new Camaro because he never buys anything for a penny more than the best deal. He almost ran out of time as this was the final model year for the F-body, and '03s were already on the market. The dealer from which he found this car bought it for the sole purpose of being able to advertise "Brand new Camaros for under $10k", so this was the one he took home.

Fast forward to 2018. The car was structurally a wreck from living in the rust belt, but has a great interior, okay black paint, a third pedal, a 3800 (which is a plus in my book), and a lot of sentimental value since I remember riding in it when it was brand new. My buddy’s dad handed me the keys in hopes that I would enjoy it and make it a race car. To be honest, I don’t care for F-bodies, but I couldn't resist this one for the reasons above despite knowing that the floors were in desperate need of existing again.

I already had my dream car which is a 1986 Buick Regal Grand National. As much as I love that car, I like it the way it is in fairly stock form and modifying Buicks has gotten terribly expensive anyway. I figured a black 3800 Camaro could easily fulfill my childhood dreams of racing a badass turbo Buick V6 car while being on a budget, so here I am.

The car is now equipped with:
-6765 ebay turbo
-Precision PW40 wastegate
-Custom turbo exhaust utilizing a stock Camaro and FWD manifolds
-Air to air ebay intercooler
-AEM 50-1200 fuel pump
-Siemens Deka 80# fuel injectors
-Open 3” downpipe
-Custom 3” charge pipes
-Intense mail order tune
-Very ugly but functional upright radiator conversion (the core support was all just rust anyway) :dunno:
-Custom space saving AC delete without bypass pulley
-Midwest Chassis bumper support modified to mount my intercooler
-Spec Stage 1 clutch kit

The car is far from refined and has a lot of little issues to sort out, but I will leave the first post as sort of an introduction to that. I hope you enjoy hearing about it. It’s been fun to build!

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v6buicks

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The right angle nipple coming out the top that is connected to the nipple on the piece of evolve goes to your catch can/centrifugal oil separater.... It leaves there devoid of as much oil as your extractor can do and enters into the intake of the engine behind the throttle.

On the M90PCV tower I do this by tapping the side of the tower and putting a port there so that the gas flows around the outside of the rubber Spring nose And goes through the factory pcv hole before the rotors.

You are basically splicing into the factory PCV gas path
That's what I was trying to suggest. lol Thanks.
That is one reason why the l36 plenum has the PCV straw that allows the oil mist to homogenize with the incoming fresh air better. The M90 they just toss it in there and hope the roaders mix it up
Interesting. So how does the F-body intake do in that regard? Is the side of the tower the best place to go or would it be better for to tap in elsewhere for better distribution? Of course the better option would be to just get good separators and not worry about it as much. lol Is there a good tank or separator I should look for? These things range from diy coffee mug and jb weld contraptions to several hundred dollars worth of nice aluminum, so I'm guessing it's more about how it fits and closed vs open.
 
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Pewter-Camaro

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That's what I was trying to suggest. lol Thanks.

Interesting. So how does the F-body intake do in that regard? Is the side of the tower the best place to go or would it be better for to tap in elsewhere for better distribution? Of course the better option would be to just get good separators and not worry about it as much. lol Is there a good tank or separator I should look for? These things range from diy coffee mug and jb weld contraptions to several hundred dollars worth of nice aluminum, so I'm guessing it's more about how it fits and closed vs open.

I have a Moroso catch can that I never used and a couple one way valves that I used to make a PCV catch can system for the Mustang. Shit has been sitting collecting dust. You are probably a bit far from me as I’m in Mchenry but we can work something out.

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v6buicks

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I really only needed a turbo gasket for the GN, but I refuse to spend under $100 at Summit and not get free shipping. There was nothing else I needed for the GN so...
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I got new rear control arms for the catfish! I thought about getting the dual threaded, but it didn't seem worth an extra $100. It's pretty cool how many different options are available. After doing my research, poly front and heim rear seemed like the best option.

I like driving this car so I didn't want to get anything too harsh (two heims). However, the rear end needs to be able to articulate appropriately. Two solid poly joints are known to bind the the rear suspension which probably isn't a huge deal. I want this thing to handle well though. Then obviously there are rubber options that will wear out and not really help my traction/vibration issues. So there you have it. Poly/heim seemed like the choice for me.
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I almost forgot about how old rusty control arms can be a major bitch to remove. I almost started dreading the job, but I soon found out that I'm not the first person to dig in here.
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These bushings look and feel pretty new and the bolts were hardly even rusty. I was really hoping that the bushings would be destroyed and I'd feel a night and day difference in performance, I guess there's still a chance though because the stamped stock arms are dicked.

Oh yeah. When UMI says that their control arms are shipped at stock length and do not require adjustment for stock cars, check it anyway.

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Mine were both about a half inch too short.
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Old paint jobs seems to be holding up decently. A lot of rust is coming back on the axle housing but I fully expected that and really don't care either.
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I feel like a broke drift boi putting $200 tubular control arms on a worthless rusty shell.
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I anti-seized the bolts, greased the bushings, torqued the bolts at ride height, went for a spin, and didn't come home for almost 2 hours.

These control arms made launching a lot easier and more consistent. Lots of clunks went away which is kinda odd since the old bushings looked fine, but Im not complaining. This car rules and I can't wait to try more stupid shit. The steering is still sketchy, but with all the rear linkages replaced with UMI stuff I have full confidence in the rear end.

I really want to do coil overs and front suspension work, but I really need to slow down with all the fun car spending. Once again, I'm just going to drive this thing and enjoy it this summer.
 

sktchy

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Told you those control arms are a huge improvement! I have non adjustables with poly on both ends and the only time I ever get rear end bind is when I'm backing up and turning and even then it's just enough to make it noticeable and a little grease in em usually takes care of it. But my car is also lowered a little bit and I've done the panhard bar and torque arm as well so not sure if that helps some.

It would be nice to have some adjustment just in case I'd wanna move the pinion angle but it doesn't seem to be causing an issue so far and I'm not launching hard enough to have to dial it down for traction either.

Those upgrades make the suspension work so much better and it just drops the ass on throttle and goes instead of wanting to hop and roll back and twist on the right rear tire hard.
 

sktchy

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I thought the control arm adjustment just centered the wheel in the wheel well after you lower it. The torque arm adjustment determines pinion angle.
Your probably right. None of my stuff is adjustable so it's gonna be where it is but it seems to work well anyway. If you noticed the difference I did after doing it then you had to talk yourself out of the car after 2 hours lol
 

v6buicks

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I forgot to show you guys a little issue I discovered after my test drive. Despite all the fun I've been having, it appears that I'm leaving some on the table too!
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This coupler has always been a bitch to install. It hasn't fit right ever since I cut the pipe down and lowered the turbo a couple inches. The real answer to this problem would be to cut up the aluminum pipe and make it fit correctly with a normal reducer coupler, but that's a lot of work that I really don't want to get into this year. I bought this funky offset reducer knowing that my pipes wouldn't line up perfectly after they got welded. I was right, but the offset was perfect for version 1.0 of the plumbing. Things shifted enough in 2.0 that I can barely get the big side over the pipe. For the time being, I'm going to use the longer version of this same coupler. I'm hoping I can use that as a band-aid without cutting the pipe down much further. It'll still be a huge pain to install. It won't fit right either, but I should at least be able to get the entire clamp around the tube bead and silicone instead of hanging halfway off.

This car has been so good that I'm thinking about entering the test and tune at nats again. I still haven't noticed any smoke this year. Don't know what was up with that. The clutch doesn't feel any worse than usual either. Maybe I should send it and see if any of my small improvements (and driving skills) can yield a better ET. I may have cooler track temps too. It would be nice to clock a 12. I don't like telling people that all this work only got me into the 13s. lol
 

v6buicks

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I installed the new coupler and took the car for a rip. It breaks up on top now which means it's probably time for plugs again. It also only makes 8 psi which leads me to think that the shitty manual boost controller is not working anymore. The wastegate has an 8 psi spring. I might finally try installing that mac valve for the AEM truboost. I'm not sure which car to focus on now.
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v6buicks

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Unless somethin popped off at the mani and it's not referencing boost correctly? Im not gonna lie I miss that truboost. I definitely need to get another because it really helps spool when you have it set right and will always tell you peak boost pressure.
Plumbing is good. I just have a really shitty controller. It's a reed valve like you would see on an air compressor. Lol
 
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v6buicks

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I confirmed that the old MBC is shit. Regardless of how I turned the dial I could blow through it in both directions. Time to get the AEM going. I started by making a nice little aluminum bracket for the valve.
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This was just a little something I played wanted to play with while waiting for paint to dry on the GN radiator, so I didn't get it wired. I'll get to that later. Not looking forward to learning how to program this thing. It's kinda odd.
 
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v6buicks

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That rust in the wheel wells/strut towers is making me nervous. Throw some patch panels on that B!
I've considered getting an RSM tubular front end but not because of weight savings. ?

In all seriousness, stuff will happen whenever I get around to pulling the K-member and upgrading the radiator. The whole core support will be rebuilt among other things.
 
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v6buicks

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The aem isn't too hard. It mostly works off a duty cycle but once you get the swing of navigation the menu you'll get it figured out. On you low end set it to start opening your gate spring like 2 or 3 psi before spring pressure and it'll help spool a few hundred rpm.
I didn't know I had that kind of control with this thing. Sick!
 
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v6buicks

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Except it's not all sunshine and roses in here right now. I'm a dumbass and cut my wideband harness to the perfect length to connect to the EBC. ?‍? Damn it.

I can't be too mad because I always hated how long the wires were anyway. I'll get a connector kit and fix it, but that was definitely not a project for today if I was able to help it.
 
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sktchy

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I didn't know I had that kind of control with this thing. Sick!
Oh dude I will absolutely have another someday. I'm fairly sure it's got a map kinda reference to log boost and you can just tap the right button iirc after a boost and it will tell you what your peak is. Scramble button is another option I always wanted to make happen and never really got to make enough power to be able to make useful.
 

Mr_Roboto

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Except it's not all sunshine and roses in here right now. I'm a dumbass and cut my wideband harness to the perfect length to connect to the EBC. ?‍? Damn it.

I can't be too mad because I always hated how long the wires were anyway. I'll get a connector kit and fix it, but that was definitely not a project for today if I was able to help it.
Get the butt splices with the heat shrink built in. Easy enough fix.
 
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v6buicks

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Get the butt splices with the heat shrink built in. Easy enough fix.
I thought about doing that. I've always wanted to try them out, but then I'd have to reloom everything and I cut through the plastic sheath that AEM uses. It would never look right again. The gauge side connector is readily available, so I just bought a new kit.

In hindsight, this is probably a good thing. I was getting way too distracted by this car for being only 4 days away from Nats. I want to to be available as a back up, but the GN is still the top priority.
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No more rusty screws. Thanks, media blaster!
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v6buicks

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Normally I'm super down in the dumps after the Nats and this was another really good one. I swear they just get better. However, this year the feelings are bit different. I'm relieved. Don't get me wrong, the event was great, the GN was great, and I'm glad I thrashed, but I'm very happy that I no longer have the "Am I going to make it?" stress anymore.

Now I can fix what I learned about the GN over the past week and give the Camaro the love it's been missing all year. The first order of business was repairing the wideband harness I cut. All the crimps turned out great which is good because the kit only provided a couple extra terminals and seals.
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That worked just fine. While I was in the car ensuring that the wideband would actually read something, I fiddled with the boost controller. I think I have it all set up including the delay, but I didn't test drive it. I needed to clear a space in the garage to make sure that both the Camaro and GN had shelter. Bird shit is getting to be a huge problem in my dive way. I hope I'll have time to test and fiddle some time this week, but I need to gets some logs on the GN too..... I also promised my wife that I would not be as involved with the garage or spending money on the fun cars anymore. Not only do I need to get the house in shape for a baby, but I need to save up some money for a new truck/daily driver.
 

sktchy

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Meh, I wouldn't sweat the connections on your wideband. I soldered speaker wire in for o2s the last time I tried em and it did the same thing as it does stock so wiring is not near as particular as the guys that think it needs to be a certain length from the factory would lead you to believe.
 

v6buicks

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Oh yeah. I forgot to mention that the GN (even running like shit) feels quite a bit quicker than the Camaro. This makes the "racecar" no longer feel like a racecar. I also feel a never-ending cycle/challenge coming on.... :cool: Yes, I drive this car on the street, but it's not nice nor will it ever be. I'm very much considering the idea of going full dumbass and getting a mini spool for the 10-bolt. For now this car is only fun in a straight line, and it doesn't launch worth a shit. I need to change that. I may hate it in parking lots, but meh. I realize that it's going to be a long time before I get that 8.8 swap with LSD.
 
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