🔧 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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sktchy

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Don't dump any money into your 10 bolt. I have a friend that fully built one complete with a girdle cover and welded tubes and snapped one of the axles like a toothpick with an na 408 without even putting it on the trans brake.

It's kinda like me wanting to put a pro 5.0 shifter in my t5 knowing it's not gonna hold either way.
 

v6buicks

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Don't dump any money into your 10 bolt. I have a friend that fully built one complete with a girdle cover and welded tubes and snapped one of the axles like a toothpick with an na 408 without even putting it on the trans brake.

It's kinda like me wanting to put a pro 5.0 shifter in my t5 knowing it's not gonna hold either way.
A mini-spool is only like $10. The way I drive the car right now, I don't think I'll ever break the 10-bolt and therefore just never upgrade. No launch = no fun. If I break it, I break it.
 
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sktchy

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So for 10 dollars what exactly does said mini spool do?

Is yours a one wheel peel? I forget that's a thing since mine is a y87 with the g80 "locker". It won't do a burnout for anything with the 3.23s unless I dump the clutch and give it the beans in 2nd but even stock with the 3.42s the parts car never had a problem holding the brakes and letting em rip.
 

v6buicks

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Launch. Mine is an open and no matter how careful I am, the car either spins a tire or bogs. I should have the traction with decent 275s and the torque arm. I just need power to both wheels!

It seems that nobody actually makes a drop in mini spools anyway. I forgot that this thing has C-clips so you have to do an eliminator kit. :( I'm not below a Lincoln Locker but I'm not sure that I want to go through all the cleaning and risk of getting spatter where I don't want it. Idk. We'll see.
 
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v6buicks

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Just get a diff out of an ss or y87 car if that's all your really after and your trying to keep it cheap. Im not sure what gear set you have but hopefully at least the 3.23s and I'd still go deeper if I was tearing into it.
Changing a 10 bolt for a 10 bolt is WAY too much work and way too expensive. Mini spool is not really getting into it imo. You can do it all that without removing the gearset.
 
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Mr_Roboto

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Just get a diff out of an ss or y87 car if that's all your really after and your trying to keep it cheap. Im not sure what gear set you have but hopefully at least the 3.23s and I'd still go deeper if I was tearing into it.
You really don't want to go deeper on a 7.5. That's part of their problem besides flex. The tooth engagement is hot garbage when you get high numerical.
 
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v6buicks

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The test drive went pretty shitty. Something isn't working right. With the all the settings in a place that make sense to me, the electric boost controller is not helping a damn thing. In fact, I actually have less boost than the wastegate spring pressure. 5 psi. This doesn't make sense. I'm going to replumb everything to just work off gate pressure. If that puts me back to 8 psi then I know that something is wrong with the boost controller.
 

sktchy

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The test drive went pretty shitty. Something isn't working right. With the all the settings in a place that make sense to me, the electric boost controller is not helping a damn thing. In fact, I actually have less boost than the wastegate spring pressure. 5 psi. This doesn't make sense. I'm going to replumb everything to just work off gate pressure. If that puts me back to 8 psi then I know that something is wrong with the boost controller.
Iirc getting the vacuum lines right is critical and was kind of a pain. It always worked perfectly once I got it right and if it isn't working out for you I'll buy it back for sure lol.

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I know the settings can be a pain too and I can't remember what exactly it was I had to do to get it to work right on mine or I'd tell you. Could be buried back deep in my thread but idk.

As for the 10 bolt I'm still gonna swap my 3.42 rear into my car one of these days but that's just because it's already here and won't cost me anything but time. I think the real way to go is to put a built 9 inch in it according to my ls friends since they break 8.8s too. Where you've already put a tkx in it and have big HP plans down the road you may as well start looking for one in the junkyard or just weld your spiders in the meantime if traction means more to you than turning lol. But then again you do have a lot of other things to focus on in life so I say run it til it breaks. One wheel peel is probably saving you anyway and it kinda sucks not being able to just mash the gas and do a burnout.
 

v6buicks

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I was walking by the car just to grab a screwdriver and a happened to see the problem. I don't know how I missed it, but at least my theories about the narrowbands vs wideband turned out to be correct.
PXL_20230527_183500526.jpg

I had a feeling this would become an issue. The turbo is not supported by anything except the passenger side manifold and I really don't have a great place to brace it.

I'd say that this is enough of an issue to park the car for a while. I'm not going to bother pulling this off and unwrapping just to band aid it with a weld. The nursery is done, but wife has been way more patient with the cars than she needed to be. With Nats behind me and no event goals for the foreseeable future, I'm at a good stopping point for this car.
 

v6buicks

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You guys are funny. Do you know me yet?

I'm not LS swapping. EVER. However the build is going... somewhere. It's either getting parted out or really serious because as you'll see shortly that it may not make any sense to continue with this F-body.

IF I decide to band aid this shell a little more, I'm removing this short block and putting it in the Comp G I'm about to buy. Then the Comp Gs L32 which should be in great shape will go into the Camaro with all kinds of new goodies. Let's see how that pans out.

It's been a long time since the bumper cover was off.
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But...
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And..
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And
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And uhhh....
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Uhhh
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So that idea I had where I just build a custom core support is off the table. This thing needs a lot more. I either need to strip it all the way down and reassess. I considered an RSM tubular front end, but building all the brackets for headlights, fenders, hood latch, fuse box, intercooler, washer tank, ECT gets to be really involved. However, I'm enjoying this car enough to say it's worth it....

Let's continue the K-member drop process.

Remember this?
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Well this makes me feel good and bad at the same time. My welds weren't the problem at all. The exhaust is either bound up or not braced well enough.
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I was still fine with it and came up with a plan to fix the cracks and brace the turbo to the block.

But..
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Suddenly this entire car is looking like scrap metal, and once again it has me in a funny position.

No longer is this turbo kit I worked so hard to build worth my while. Fixing it will just be a band aid until the next part cracks. I have a set of headers on the basement built for a 3800 G-body swap. They might fit, but it's going to be a lot of work to get the intercooler in there. Do I part this car out and start over in a new shell or keep trucking on this one with nicer headers and be in the same boat a few years down the road?

Big decisions!
 

Mr_Roboto

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holy shit on that turbo header. I know you say there's not really much in the way of supporting it, just wondering if you mean at the flange? I mean the GNs (at least the hot airs) didn't use a support on the turbo flange but rather on the turbo its self. Maybe that's why they are known for cracking headers though. :rofl:

Regardless, I bet she comes up on the converter a lot better if that gets sorted.
 
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sktchy

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Ok I knew this car had cancer but not that bad. Now I really need to take care of the little spots in my floorpan asap and get my front bumper pulled and check everything back there, move my intercooler to a better location etc.

That would really make me question keeping the shell and the fbodys aren't exactly great built cars anyway. I guess I'd be thinking really hard about putting that whole drivetrain in somethin else.
 

v6buicks

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holy shit on that turbo header. I know you say there's not really much in the way of supporting it, just wondering if you mean at the flange? I mean the GNs (at least the hot airs) didn't use a support on the turbo flange but rather on the turbo its self. Maybe that's why they are known for cracking headers though. :rofl:

Regardless, I bet she comes up on the converter a lot better if that gets sorted.
No shit right? The difference between this and the GN is that the GN has the turbo pulled in nice and close to the head. That bracket that holds the turbo to the block is beef AF and you may be right about it being partially to do with the infamous header cracks.

The Camaro's turbo is hanging wayyyy out there while not being supported at all. What I meant by not having a good place was on the block side. There aren't a lot of places to bolt to that would look okay or even be of any help.

No converter on this car, but I've pretty much been sitting here drinking rum and listening to the rain since I made the last post. This may be the end of the road for Lame V6. Fixing all that rust, replacing the headers, and modifying the cold side has me counting hours. Everything that's hard to replace or redo is either broken (hot side AND cold side plumbing) or easily swapped into another chassis (well running 3800 and TKX). Since I don't like Camaros much, there's nothing except the sentimental value holding me to it anymore. I'd probably be a lot further ahead if I quit the Camaro, pulled the good stuff (pretty much just the TKX stuff and RWD specific 3800 parts at this point) out, sold the roller, and saved the drivetrain for a platform I appreciate more.

Ideas for swap include badass corner carving G-body which has a lot of big pros and cons, massive 70s Buick for (Electra or Wildcat) for the lols and ultimate comfort, RWD converting a Reatta which is a pipe dream I've been holding onto forever, and Volvo 240 (redemption!). I'm all the fuck over the place. Sticking with the F-body no longer feels like a solid choice. ?
 
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v6buicks

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My 4dr Lemans is in Elkhorn still, it needs a shit ton of rust remediation but the price is right. :rofl:

Always had the idea it'd be a chuckle to paint it up like an MFP car from Mad Max and jam a turbo out the hood.
I frequently forget that the plan for my car was similar. I knew how bad this thing was. The turbo was always going to be where I put it, but I was hell bent on putting a sloppy dump out the hood or fender. Then I decided that I was better than that, and I could learn a lot from the car by giving it my best effort.

Despite never dumping the exhaust out a body panel, this mission is accomplished as far as I'm concerned. I had a fucking blast and I learned more than I ever could have imagined about cars, my personal limits, and how to tackle any sort of project. I should be happy, but its never easy to let a car go especially when you drove it to it's resting place.
 

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I was going to say have you thought about trying to find a southern replacement to dump your stuff into? I realize these are getting few and far in between as clean cars though.

It's hard to let something like that go after putting all the investment in. It's not just time or money it's emotional as well.

I'll say this for what it's worth, I'd look at alternatives and make sure you find something viable before parting it out. You've got it running well enough currently (besides the header) I don't think I'd be in a hurry to go that route without an alternative. Finding a good clean shell that's RWD these days isn't always as easy as it seems. Especially when you consider that a G-body is at its youngest what now ~35 years old?

Hell, an F-body is at a minimum 20 now.
 
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sktchy

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Gbody or volvo was my first couple of thoughts as well but really the possibilities are endless. Tube front on the Camaro would basically make it a dedicated race car and driving it on the street would probably suck after all that.

So many possibilities, maybe with a little patience you'll come across the perfect car to play with instead. Things seem to have a way of working out like that.
 

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