BUILD LAME Turbo V6 Camaro

General Information

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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Rdrnnr

wannabe racecar builder
Nov 15, 2020
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Just be aware, dhp software blows ass. I only use it when I need to because it's so unstable.
From what I've read into the software sucks but there's little things like idle timing hp won't do. Tuner buddy of mine that kinda showed me the ropes isn't a fan and says it's unnecessary but I'm gonna with what I've learned here since alot of the stuff you guys are sayin makes sense with the way things seem to work on the car instead of just bein told not to mess with things like the ve table lol
 

GTPpower

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From what I've read into the software sucks but there's little things like idle timing hp won't do. Tuner buddy of mine that kinda showed me the ropes isn't a fan and says it's unnecessary but I'm gonna with what I've learned here since alot of the stuff you guys are sayin makes sense with the way things seem to work on the car instead of just bein told not to mess with things like the ve table lol

I only use it when I need to get to something that hpt can't access, which usually ends up being about once in the lifetime of a car.
 
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Rdrnnr

wannabe racecar builder
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v6buicks v6buicks you got plenty of help right here when you get to that point tho and if I haven't blown one up yet you'll probably be fine. Course having a spare motor makes me a little ballsier for sure.

Turbocharged400sbc Turbocharged400sbc shall I drop it in and pull the stock tune? Spose to bout out of a 99 bird with auto and 3.42s so it should be similar to my parts car and plop right into my setup

I haven't looked to see whats in the bird yet ill try and remember before I get crackin too hard in the shop today. I double booked my dumb ass self but at least its inside and maybe ill get the weekend to play lol
 

Rdrnnr

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Nov 15, 2020
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It's mostly the OS that determines whether it is a high-altitude car that utilizes a separate barometric and map sensor it was typically more common on The Supercharged vehicles went to high altitude States like California Colorado and etc
Wouldn't this be to our benefit tho and add to functionality? Would one be able to scale off the two and maybe implement more accurate ve ? I'll definitely be making a copy if the bin that'll stay as found before I touch anyyything. My number one rule is to be able to go back every step in case I drop the ball on what I shove down its throat [emoji23]
 

Rdrnnr

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Nov 15, 2020
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My bird does indeed have the 7440 so ill be using that pcm in the turbo car. v6buicks v6buicks you want this one I ordered I think I got 60 bucks in it but I'll look. It's for a 99 bird auto 3.42s I'm assuming y87 from the gearing. They do have a different part number 4l60e than the rest so a better computer doesn't surprise me at all.
 

v6buicks

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My bird does indeed have the 7440 so ill be using that pcm in the turbo car. v6buicks v6buicks you want this one I ordered I think I got 60 bucks in it but I'll look. It's for a 99 bird auto 3.42s I'm assuming y87 from the gearing. They do have a different part number 4l60e than the rest so a better computer doesn't surprise me at all.
That's a big maybe. I'm still trying to save up for that trans, and it's going to be a minute before I ever get around to an ECM swap. That being said, I think we've filled up five pages with no real vehicle progress. Here's a lame update.

Remember me saying how I hate announcing to the world that I have aftermarket wheels especially when they're replicas? I finally solved that. It was a lot of work for what it was, but I think the results were satisfactory.

Ick. Worst part is that the little inlay sits in a recess which is molded into the cap. I can't just remove it and put a sticker on top.
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If you search for ZR1 center caps on google, the replica ones above or similar is all that you'll find. You can also find OE for stupid amounts of money. However, if you search for 95-99 SS center caps you'll initially only find the expensive OE stuff. After a lot of eBay digging I finally found the ones you see below. $35 for the set. I find it humorous that the OE stuff would actually put me backwards. I NEEDED the shittiest and most generic center cap for this project.
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They aren't black which blows, but I can fix that. They're also coated quite nicely for a junky cap. Lots of scuffing, primer and paint later, I'm good.
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Then I remembered the fancy vinyl cutter that my fiance was super excited to buy. Why buy crappy custom stickers online when I can make quality stuff on my own?
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Yeah, yeah, I know it's not a Buick. Why would I put Buick caps on a Camaro? :angrys00ls:
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Also, I'm thinking about making another sticker for fun. I might even try to make my money back on the vinyl. Anybody who likes the early 80s Buicks should eat this shit up.
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Rdrnnr

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Ill put it this way.. If I'm gonna 5.3 the bird I'm gonna have a spare on the shelf if you decide you want it I tend to hoard parts unless they go to a good home [emoji23] hell yes on the center caps I actually have black ones with silver chevy emblems for the ltz and I was lookin at the same for my c5 zo6 replicas or maybe havin my buddies sister laser engrave em
 

v6buicks

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I've been such a lazy bastard. I have no desire to be rolling around in the garage. I thought selling a few things, throwing a bunch of junk away, and doing some general clean-up would help, but going from the nice comfy indoors every day directly to nasty overhead rust remediation and welding without a lift or any sort of necessitation is a big NO.

I'm going to switch gears and finish the sub-frame connectors later. I'm going to work on more fun stuff instead. I finally tossed may paypal balance and a ZZP gift card toward LS6 springs (they're cheap, so yolo), modified steel retainers, and valve locks. Once that stuff comes in I'll get cracking. I think that job will give me just the bit of momentum I need to finish the sub-frame connectors. As for the springs being a bit too harsh on the chain and tensioner, I'll deal with that issue when it comes.

Shoot, we're getting close to tax season, profit sharing season, and a possible third stimulus. Since our bathroom remodel is officially done, the wedding planning is pretty much done, and we are on track for our savings goals, my fiance gave me the green light to buy a TKX in the spring. ? This excites the hell out of me. I keep going over my conversion notes to find out if there's anything I missed and I actually have some minor updates there as well.

First of all, I totally forgot about the issues which Fiero guys have had with these wimpy flywheel bolts. Yeah, there are eight of them which helps. However, the super skinny shank, added length over flexplate bolts, and the crazy torque I plan to make sound like a recipe for destruction. I'm going to drill and tap the crank holes for the larger ARP flywheel bolts (SR20 application I believe?) so that I'm thoroughly bullet-proof. Second of all is the torque arm situation. This is more of an issue with my particular car than it would be for others. I know the TKO had provisions for the torque arm mount, but I am not a big fan of that design. I don't know if the TKX has the same provision anyway. I also failed to notice that the "tunnel mount" torque arms are a ton shorter than stock. They mount to a brace which bolts in about half way between the trans and rear end. Since I replaced my floors without adding those brackets and bolt holes back in, I kinda screwed myself in terms of bolt-in driveshaft loops. :confused: Oops. Luckily, custom transmission cross members with divorced torque arm mounts are available as well. I believe a 4l60e mount will work for my application. If not, it will be very simple to modify.
 
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Rdrnnr

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I feel this on so many levels I kinda did the same thing by buyin a turbo. Just that little kick to get movin again helps alot. Arent those spring rates on the ls6 comparable to the 90# springs? If I remember those were fine on single roller chain but I went with the 105s because the rate was less aggressive. I'm stoked to see this tkx comin together tho and glad things are goin good your way. I think a cross member torque arm mount sounds like your best bet or upgrading to the short arm that everyone seems to like. I picked up an old one from a friend's built ls car because he went to adjustable so that'll go on when I get serious on it again. Got a bunch of snow comin in tonight so hopin I can get caught up and closer to workin on it. Keep at it tho man this thing motivates me to get mine done
 
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v6buicks

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I feel this on so many levels I kinda did the same thing by buyin a turbo. Just that little kick to get movin again helps alot. Arent those spring rates on the ls6 comparable to the 90# springs? If I remember those were fine on single roller chain but I went with the 105s because the rate was less aggressive. I'm stoked to see this tkx comin together tho and glad things are goin good your way. I think a cross member torque arm mount sounds like your best bet or upgrading to the short arm that everyone seems to like. I picked up an old one from a friend's built ls car because he went to adjustable so that'll go on when I get serious on it again. Got a bunch of snow comin in tonight so hopin I can get caught up and closer to workin on it. Keep at it tho man this thing motivates me to get mine done
Yeah, the LS6 springs are labeled as 90# and are kind of the budget alternative to 105s. The 105s are easier on the chain and stuff, but don't allow for higher shift points. I'm really just using these springs and rockers as a placeholder until I can fork the time and money toward an ST5, lifters, double roller, ect. If I end up stretching the chain before then, I'll throw a single roller in there or just get a replacement chain. I have a new tensioner on hand. Making changes that require tuning are just not on my radar right now.

Is the shorter torque arm better? What are the benefits? Regardless, I'm probably still going along with my plan because those mounting points would be too much of a pain in the ass to recreate and position at this point. I can make my own driveshaft loop if I end up needing one.
 
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v6buicks

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As for motivation, I'll get there. I can just only do so much body/frame work at time before I get really burnt out. I'm also repeating a lot of stuff which is not fun. Pulling brand new brake lines, rebleeding the system, removing brand new valve covers, and dropping the transmission a fourth time gives the sense that this journey never ends. I guess it never truly does since project cars are never "done". I just wish the car had a little more to show for itself given the amount of time and effort I have in it!

Surely, there will become a point where everything will jive and just work. I need to remember that I initially doubled the power in this car, and did nothing else. I should be expecting a lot of failures down stream of the engine.
 
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