The 2011 Camaro 2SS/RS M6 in this thread is the culmination of years of research waiting for the release of both the Camaro SS and the Coyote 5.0 Mustang so I could compare them head to head. Luckily this event roughly coincided with the expiration of my BMW lease.
My first thread on this:
Turned in my 335i Today
And then finally:
Turned in my 335i Today - Conclusion
The end of the quest:
In retrospect even though I chose the Camaro over the Mustang car against car, I think the trade in value i received for my WS6 would have led me to this very car anyway. This dealer gave me $4,000 more for my cherry LT1 WS6 than anyone else. :)
I named this thread "Batmobile" after my first trip into Philadelphia. I was sitting at a light at 16th and Market and a man waiting to cross the street with his very young son said to him "Look, there is the Batmobile" pointing to my car. I quickly left the light so as not to disappoint the boy. Sadly, the driver was no Batman.
In my next post I will lay out my goals for the Batmobile.
Mod List (I will update here as I go):
ya know done the right way..the Camaro would be a great Batmobile. It has the lines I think Bruce Wayne would like.
I hope black rims are at the top of your list...
My two gripes with the Camaro are the low roof and the weight. Current owners said, "Ignore the view, you will get used to it." They were right, I did. But I still wish when sitting for a traffic light that I could actually see it. And I have already misjudged the corner of the car and scraped the SS against our own Rav4. :=(
But there is nothing that can be done about the roof height, so I will just let it go and enjoy the good looks.
The weight is another matter. I hope to keep my SS as light as possible. And where I can save weight I will. But saving weight is expensive. So I will attempt to save weight where practical and at least try not to increase weight. I have already broken this goal with my first mod, an amp and sub. I had this stuff left over from my previous car and I love music. Okay, so no more going backwards after this.
One thing I will avoid is going the FI supercharger or turbo route for three reasons.
1. FI adds weight.
2. You can have too much horsepower.
3. I can't afford FI anyway.
My number two reason needs some explanation. I love horsepower, like most everyone here. But on the street (and to some extent the track) there can be more power than is usable. A few years ago I got back into motorcycles. I was so amazed I could buy a 10 second bike for $5K. Then once I had it I set about making it even faster. I quickly found out that 10 second vehicles are not very usable on the street. I rarely could even use more than first gear and part of second wide open. One night my throttle stuck wide open and I learned what it means to see your life pass before your eyes.
So my horsepower goals will be moderate. I can get to 420 rwhp with bolt-ons and maybe later 450 rwhp with a mild cam. That should be enough to have fun on the street and on the track. And the costs are reasonable. If I ever decide to go for more after that it would be with a stroker with strengthened internals.
Another goal is enhanced handling. After driving both the Mustang 5.0 and the Camaro SS it was easy to determine that the Mustang was the better handing car. While both are comparable at the track when you look at times, the Mustang feels better. Can the Camaro approach the handling feeling you get in the Mustang?
Here is my thread on that topic:
Rename the Z28?
Apparently, the answer is yes! I will try.
So I am not a fan of the upcoming HPE Camaro and not in favor of calling it the Z28. I had hoped that Chevy would call the new FI car something other than Z28 and save that name for the Camaro Boss 302 competitor.
Edit: Glad to see Chevrolet took my suggestion to name the car ZL1!!!
My thread on that:
Can the Camaro Handling feel Be Improved?
I do think the new Camaro will be cool, but like the GT500 it will most likely be a focused straight-line car. Fun I am sure, but not for me. The spirit of the original Z28 is what I am shooting for.
I want to have fun with this car. I want to take it to Atco. While I have street raced many times in my distant past I have never run a car down a real track. I plan to start tracking the quarter mile this spring. I will post my times here.
I also want to try tracking with curves. The NJ Motorsports Park in Millville is not far from my house. I want to attend a driving course there and learn how to track my Camaro road race style too. Autocross may be a good place to start.
Apart from all this I have some appearance goals. I do like the clean look. While I like other colors, black is by far my favorite car color. To me the stock grill is hideous. And the gold bow-ties are an eyesore. They have to go.
Right now my SS has no stripes. But lately I have been looking at the stripe threads and thinking maybe.
Also I would love the IOM interior. I really wanted this on my car but I could not find one locally. Would you want to sell me yours? I would be happy to trade interiors and give you the cost of the option. I do like the black interior, but the IOM raises the excitement level for me.
So to summarize my goals for the Batmobile:
1. Modest Horsepower goals
2. Upgrade the suspension
3. Track the quarter
4. Track the curves
5. Make it more mine
6. Keep spending under control
7. Have fun
What do you think? Blackout for the taillights?
Dump the SS emblem? (it's the only one on the except for the steering wheel)
edit: 1LE rims. Or perhaps the whole 1LE.
I started small. I really wanted GPS but no factory one is offered other than OnStar. I am reluctant to buy aftermarket in dash since it is a thief magnet. Maybe I will change my mind later once there are more options. Maybe Chevy will put out a factory GPS that fits the 2010-11 dash. Let's hope.
So for now the bracket will allow me to use any old GPS. Most of the time I know where I am going. My wife would not agree. :)
Later on I make even better use of this little mod.
GPS Bracket $65
I really did not want to drill my bumper for a license plate holder. I always regretted drilling my last 4th gen WS6. I found a solution. Search is your friend!
No drill front license plate holder < $1
My sub install. Steve @ SubThump figured out what I needed like a BA harness with a LOC for the MB Quart amp I had.
My wiring is a bit messy. I did not cut anything and just rolled up the leftovers. There is so much room around the battery.
The 10 inch hits just fine for me. And sounds great even with the seat up. The sub is upside down. Oops. :iono:
Also in that last pic is the PAC Bass knob I bought. I ran the RCA jacked wires coming out of the LOC through the bass controller and then back to the amp.
I made good use of my NaV bracket for the sub mound.
There is a bass controller for that Discus Amp, but it is super expensive although it supports all of the Amp controls.
Some songs need bass reduction and other need more bass. I wonder if this is due to the sampling rate of my MP3 collection?
I added no additional sound insulation. The install is rattle free although I can make the rear view mirror fuzzy.
Nice fit with the SubThump panels and the custom connector is a real time saver. The trunk install is a snap.
Now if I can just come to terms with adding 30 lbs to the car.
Edit: Steve @ subthump has a new plug coming to replace the stock BA Amp with no wire cutting. Can't wait. I already have a nice Discus 4ch Amp but it is too big for the stock location. I will have to get creative. How about the underside of the trunk lid?
looks great, go with Chrome wheels if you change them, looks much better.
Yes I like chrome with black too. But the lightweight wheels probably will not be chrome.
Here is the Bass Knob mounted on the GPS Bracket. No holes in the SS. Also I was able to run the wires for the knob hidden without taking anything apart. Nice.
The down side is my Discus Amp required a LOC from the SubThump BA harness. Along with that I had to run my Amp signal to the front of the car and back through the knob. So the bass is a little muddy, but plenty loud.
Here is the knob mounting:
Looking forward to the Z28 if it happens. My ideas on the Z28.
The Z28 does not need a ton more HP.
Edit: Chevy is doing this, but a high perf V6 will come later and no mention of a race series (yet).
I am going to mod and enjoy my SS now and not worry about the future.
I am not a big fan of the standard grill. I suppose they were going for a 1969 look but overdid the grate size to my eyes. But grill preferences are an individual thing. The Heritage grill is a major improvement to me. I looked around and found that with a black car an unpainted Heritage grill looks good.
For the lighter colors a painted grill looks awesome. I have a compressor and paint guns but decided for now at least to leave the grill unpainted. I also wanted to get rid of the giant gold chevy insignia front and rear. So the end result here is a cleaner looking car and the only badging that remains is the rear SS and the CAMARO on both fenders. I might move the rear SS to the center later once I decide on striping.
Of course the mail slot in the front tells those in the know that this is an SS or at least a V6 with the V8 front fascia. Works for me.
I put the grill in when the temps were below freezing. My foyer made a great grill workshop. The boot made a great prop.
This whole operation made my huge hyper-active dog very nervous.
Clean front view:
Clean rear view:
I left the rear SS there so Mustangs will know what this is.
Next I added some performance.
Although pricey the C.A.I. CAI is a nice piece. I went with the silver to brighten up things under the hood.
The CAI install is easy and should only take a few minutes. But the Scoop is harder. The best way to do this is peel back the fender liner. And since the Scoop needs the space where the washer bottle is, this has to be moved.
Also be aware you to trim a plastic plate to allow cold air in. This is easy with a dremel. Other methods not so easy. Use this project as an excuse to buy a dremel if you do not already have one.
Great thread on this here:
I did not want to cut any metal. So I built a bracket to let me mount my new tiny washer bottle on the now exposed stock intake post:
Here is the relocated washer bottle. Since it hold a lot less liquid than the stock one this is a weight saver!
You can really feel this mod. The car now makes a deep howl at high RPMs. You can hear the deep breathing. But it is not an annoying sucking sound I have heard on other cars with a CAI. Great mod and 15+ RWHP.
Barton Shifter and CAGS Bypass
My next mod is to improve the shifting of my manual SS.
This comes in two parts. First eliminate the mechanism that forces you into 4th gear at certain speeds. That mechanism is called CAGS. You can buy a CAGS bypass from many sources and they are very inexpensive. I bought the one from SLP and it ties both ends together the best with no wires hanging off.
This installs from under the car on the drivers side in the middle of the transmission. This is tight squeeze.
The first time I installed it I plugged it into the wrong place (doh!) on the passenger side. I was rewarded with a CEL which pointed out my stupdiity.
To diagnose that CEL I bought a code reader/editor from Amazon. The code told me what was wrong and I turned off the code and then reinstalled the CAGS bypass.
Now it is great! The shift pattern light comes comes on but I can pick any gear I want.
Next I wanted to improve the actual shifting. I looked at all the shifters and the install of each. I picked the Barton Shifter. The shifter works as well or better than most of the others at a very low price with exceptional customer service.
The install is a bit of a pain. You have to go under the car (why?) and lowering the transmission is helpful. This also makes the CAGS bypass easier.
I bought the shifter with the steel SS ball and also the stick that lets you install the stock shift knob. I installed the SS knob at first:
I don't have a pic, I borrowed the one above. This is the only pic I have which is really my bass knob pic
This setup is beautiful, but not very practical. The metal knob is freezing in the winter and it rattles to high RPM. There are fixes.
So I went back to the stock knob:
Much quieter, and warmer. But the big knob is noticeably harder to shift.
Also I went back to the stock knob because I have the 2nd gear synchro crunch problem. So when I take it back to the dealer I don't want it to look like i modded the shifter. This has been used in the past to deny warranty claims. :(
Long term I will go back to the pretty SS knob and fix the rattle or i may use the other Barton knob i have which is a composite black 6 speed pattern in the winter and the SS knob in the summer.
It is cool to have choices. Thanks to Barton. Just like SubThump, you cannot got wrong with Barton!
My Audio Build Phase 2
After I bought my 5th Gen i picked up Subthump's X3 harness, sub box, and amp board to go with some equipment I had laying around.
Thread is here:
At the time Steve told me he was working on another harness to replace the BA amp. And he delivered. I picked up his BA amp harness kit to take my build one step further. I would keep the factory head Unit for now and upgrade my primary amp.
I had a new Discus 4 channel DSC480 in the box lying around. So I decided to use that. But one problem. It is huge. It would never fit in the factory amp location. So i could use SubThump's harness, but I would need to find a mounting spot for this big amp.
After crawling around in my trunk with the amp I found out I had just enough room to mount the amp on the end of my drivers side 10-12 inch sub box. The amp was too large to just screw on so I built a little platform for it:
I then ripped the trunk apart and worked though all the wiring. This took a while, but that was the easy part. I tested the new amp and all was well. Then I mounted the new amp on the sub box and quickly realized this monster was almost too big to fit into the trunk. After several aborted tries I finally got it into the trunk, but only after scratching the amp a little.
Then I pulled all the new wiring around and hooked up the amp. Then I tried to get it into position. It turned out my new amp board was a little too long to fit easily. It is a bit difficult to get the big sub box into position. With my extension it was almost impossible. After a number of tries and repositioning I finally shoved it into place. Phew.
At least it works!
While I had everything apart I decided to anchor the amp board. I want to try autocross and I think the G forces would start the amp board flopping around. That strap is anchored under the PIA plastic cap on the post you see in the pic. Not pretty but solid.
I fiddled around with my head unit tone and the settings on the amp to see how everything fit together. Okay, now on to my review of the upgrade. First eliminating the center channel did improve the sound a little. And the highs and mid range are a bit cleaner at any volume. But the difference is not night and day.
To take full advantage of the amp I think I need to upgrade the speakers. One other thing, the new amp really improved the stock system's bass (as Steve said it would). So much so now my 10 inch high end Kicker hits only slightly harder than the stock (jumpered) 6x9s. Probably I can bump the gain on the sub amp, but really there is no need. Therse is more than enough bass for the music I listen to. Usually I run my bass knob at 1/2 volume.
The end result here does sound really good. But my chimes are a little loud. :)
I did learn something. I think I can buy a 5 channel mini class D amp like the Alpine PDX-5 and get the same sounding results. Perhaps I can fit it into the stock location. So if I go this way I can return my sub box to its original size and save about 30+ pounds with getting rid of the two big amps and the amp board.
For those of you who do not have Subthump's 10-12 inch sub box already buy this:
The Infinity is a great amp for the $$ and this setup will sound great and save you a lot of trouble. If I was starting over this would be my choice.
Getting excited about the upcoming Z28. Especially in light of the success of the Boss 302. Ford really upped the ante in the Muscle Track Car race.
My Dream Z28.
Keep it real. Keep it simple. No gingerbread on the car. Start with a 1SS. Keep it light. Keep it affordable. Build as many as we want.
* LS3 with 25-45 HP bump (Head, intake, and cam package)
* Manual six speed only
* Tighter Transmission gear ratios (only 1 O/D gear needed)
* At least a 3.73 rear ratio
* Better shifter
* Stronger clutch
* Stronger axles
* FE4 Suspension + a few improvements if possible
* ZL1 front brakes
* Less flexible brakes lines
* No rubber bushings
* No wheel hop
* Neutral handing
* Lighter Wheels (18 inch)
* Sticky tires
* Lower car 1 inch
* Lighter mufflers, battery, and a few other select parts (get creative)
* Keep the soundproofing (I do not want to drive in a tin can)
* Bluetooth + ipod
* Real cloth sport seats (Z28 motif perhaps)
* Z28 interior dash emblem
* Z28 Sill plates
* Z28 on the front of each fender (no other exterior emblems)
* Smaller front and rear color coordinated Chevy bow-ties
* No mail slot
* More effective front and rear spoilers
* No useless side cladding
* Improve underbelly air flow where possible
* Functional brake cooling scoops
* Distinctive Z28 exterior stripes/graphics (Can be wild or tribute)
* Offer true Sunoco blue as a color (Also, red, black, white, and silver)
* Option #1: Rear seat delete with roll bar/brace replacement
* Option #2: Delete graphics
* Option #3: Racetrack delivery (see below)
That is it, just 3 options. No automatic, sunroof, or upgraded stereo. If a Z28 owner wants more bling they are perfectly capable of adding it themselves.
Optionally Allow owners to take delivery at a race track. Include a morning of a driving class with some individual track time with a professional driver.
Chevy can sell all Z28 parts to existing SS owners who want to build their own Z28 to help mitigate the cost of building the Z28.
My family often asks me why I drive only manuals. Easy choice.
I learned long ago the manual is for me. 98% of the time shifting for myself adds to the fun of a drive but:
* 1% of the time in a long slow moving traffic jam
* and the other 1% of the time on steep hill with a jerk 6 inches behind my back bumper
* I wish I had an Auto-On switch.
* Manuals are cheaper to fix but are more likely to break
* Clutches eventually do wear out
* Running at the drags will help you buy a new stronger clutch sooner
* Launching manuals hard can break driveshafts and axles
* Manuals cars are a little lighter
* Manuals are cheaper
* Manuals get slightly better gas milage
* With a manual you will most likely buy a better shifter and cool shifter knob
* Autos are more consistent and usually faster at the drags
* Manuals are better for road racing (much!)
* Manuals are good exercise for your left leg
* With a manual in a Camaro SS you get 25 more HP!
* With a manual a higher percentage of those HPs make it to the rear wheels
* With a manual in a Camaro you can avoid cylinder de-activation
* With a manual in a Camaro you have less tune envy (easier to keep your warranty)
* With a manual you get more respect (Everyone asks, "Is that a six speed?")
* With a manual in a Camaro using the cup holders is a PIA
* With a manual you can blip the throttle at a stop light and between gears
* A manual Camaro is easier to sell
* An Auto Camaro will depreciate a little faster
If you enjoy driving a manual and you are buying a Camaro (V6 or V8), picking the 6 speed will add to the fun. Even for a daily driver.
Phase 3 sound system build
My Phase 2 setup did not sit right with me. I had a problem with losing the front channels off and on. I was not sure if it was the amp overheating or a loose connections.
To figure it out, it had to come apart. But if I was going to take everything apart I figured I might as well try the Infinity 4 + 1 Amp and dump my dual amp setup.
So I picked up one of these cute little amps and set about redoing my build.
After every thing was back apart I found what I was looking for, two loose connections! Now I can see why the two front channels drifted in and out.
The Infinity amp was much smaller and lighter than either Discus Amp. While I was at it, I trimmed the amp platform I built to make it easier to install the sub box.
I set everything in place and tested the amp. It sounded great! Better than with the separate amps. It sounded so good I ripped out the separate sub knob I installed under the dash. My Kicker 10 inch sub did not hit quite as hard but the sound was much improved. The front and rear speaker also kicked up the sound a notch with the new amp.
I put everything back together and was able to rid my SS of more than 25 pounds! (Pounds that I added.) The perfect thing for my track day coming up. :cool:
I did not touch the settings so my blinkers will wake the dead and the gain is up a bit too high with background white noise. I will get to that maybe tomorrow.
Anyone need a side amp board and two Discus Amps? :)
looks good. I have the same sub hooked to a memphis 500
Edit: So many typos!
A month or so ago I upgraded my SS suspension with BMR Parts:
I wanted to wait and drive with the mods before I reviewed the changes and attend a Track Day to really understand the difference in the car. I also took a 1,000 mile trip in my SS to Niagara Falls. This car is my daily driver, but since I work from home I am putting on under 10.000 miles per year.
Race Proven Motorsports in Delaware installed the BMR parts. They took their time and I am happy with their work.
I chose not to lower my car. Besides scraping more often lowering springs also hurt you at the drag strip (edit: I have since learned a 1 inch drop has no or a very small effect). If later I get more serious I will spring for coil overs (sorry).
I kept my alignment specs stock. Street qualities are more important to me than track qualities
I knew I would make some sacrifices. I found:
Early in the morning there was a general driver meeting followed by a raffle. I won a set of Race Ramps!
Myra, my instructor has been racing for nine years, and currently races a Miata. She makes a living as an instructor. Getting ready for my first run I discover a flaw in the trakability of the 5th Gen Camaro. If you have a sunroof and you are six foot or more your helmet hits the roof. Track Camaro = no sunroof. After a while I got used to driving with my head tilted sideways.
Myra took the first few laps at the wheel explaining track day etiquette, flag meanings, and the racing lines of the track. She at first we put off by the size of the Camaro. But than as she became more comfortable she started smiling and going faster. Before too long we were running up the butt of a yellow C6 Corvette. She said, "Don't try this at home." I held on for dear life. afterwards she said "Big power, great brakes, no fade. This thing, although huge, can get around the track."
My turn. I was much slower. So slow in fact I had a train behind me for a few laps. After my first session I improved and created no more trains. With help from Myra I was able to master several of the turns. Turn 2 was fun. It is an uphill right hand sweeper. She convinced me to stay off the brakes and slowly dial in more power through the turn, "Trust the car." She said over end over. By the end I listened to her and it became my favorite turn. She also spent the day trying to get me to take her Miata racing line through the "Octopus". On my last run I (almost) nailed it twice.
By the end of the day only one C6 in my class could catch me and go for a pass. I lapped a couple of cars and ran down a few others. The car was very stable in the turns and I was able to steer through many of the turns with the throttle. In the Octopus I was I was able to rotate the car with the throttle after a strong push on the brake. I felt like a hero. (in the beginner A class, lol.) But in the end I felt like it was as much or more the car as me.
All in all I am very happy with my BMR suspension mods and there will be more track days and the drags in my future.
Most BMWs were no problem for the BMR SS.
Here the Vette has the correct line. I missed this apex in the Octopus.
The car is looking spectacular and your track day sounds like it was tons of fun.
Funny - I sold my BMW 335i for the Camaro also ! Glad you are racing your car. How are the stock brake pads when you are racing? I have just been AutoXing but going to track in October and buying some new pads to have on hand at track in case I need them.
BigFlow LT and High Flow Cat Install
I installed my BigFlow 1 7/8 LTs with high flow cats on my LS3 yesterday.
Mostly everything wet smoothly. I started this install by watching a video and reading every thread I could find on the topic. Everyone should start here:
After looking through the list and later reading about broken spark plugs I decided to take mine out.
There are two problem areas: O2 removal and Oil dipstick replacement.
As for the O2s I ran my car for a few moments and then drove up on the ramps and then sprayed all the sensors. The key is I think is run the car long enough to get the exhaust warm, but not long enough for the heat to travel up to the O2 sensor. Then I used my O2 removal socket. I have removed O2 sensors before, these things make the job easy and helps prevent i think O2 damage.
As to Dipstick replacement I placed tap on the valve cover where the dipstick end comes up by the top of the engine and where the dipstick bends down. Then before I removed the dip stick I felt under the starter where the dipstick enters the pan. This prep with a friend feeding the dipstick down made replacement a 2 minute job.
PlanetLSX says the car must be at least 2 feet off the ground. Way over kill. I did my install with 10 inch high ramps. the only problem I had was removing the drivers side manifold and cats. I jacked up the car another 4 inches and the ugly thing slid right out. I also heard that one guy removed the cats from the manifolds and installed LTs with less than 10 inches of lift.
One PIA was the O2 Plugs. They have these little pins you have to pull out that you do not need to put back in later. The 2 rear ones pull out with a pair of pliers. But the 2 in the back of the cylinder heads have these little plastic strings you can use to pull the pins out. You would never be able to put these back in. The clips hold the plug in just fine. Plug the front O2 sensors back in from under the car. My LTs needed the plug extensions.
The rest of the install went smoothly except for one thing but took all day until the night. Many say it could be done in two hours. Not by me at least. I did have a friend helping me by taking out a few bolts, and assisting with the dipstick replacement, and initial header positioning.
I am not voiding my warranty by tuning my car just yet. So I installed rear O2 spacers to help prevent the dreaded CELs. No CELs so far after one day.
After all my preparation and taking my time I was shocked when after installing the tubes I realized my cats were not going to fit. I was told by the people who sold me the long tubes that they would bolt right up to my stock cutback. Not so, they are three inches too long!
I was not sure what to do next. Put everything back together and the manifolds back in? Leave the car on the ramps and see if I could find shorter cats? My friend said he had a sawmill. I decided ti bit the bullet and cut. I tightened down the headers for position and carefully measured and then bravely took a big saw to my car. It turned out there was just barely enough room to fit the cats before the first bend in the pipe. But I did get it to fit.
One last thing. The passenger side has very little room to work. You just need to be patient and keep trying different extensions and combinations. I used my 1/2 and 3/8 socket sets. Why are the manifold bolts 1/2 inch standard? Because I everything is so tight I tore up the insulation on the firewall removing those back bolts. Why is the insulation so flimsy? I also tore up the back of my hands.
The big cut was from my pit bull. I opened that up a few times during the install. She is a little too excitable sometimes.
So at 9 PM I took the car out for the first time with the LTs. I was exciting. Since I am using the stock catback it sound almost stock most of the time. But wan you ht 4-5 K it starts to wail. The sound is a ripping sound sort of high pitched and loud. The car now has sort of a Jekyll and Hyde character. I enjoy cruising and I like the quiet side of the car for that. and I really hate drone. The car has none.
I definitely feel more power. Now when I open it up in first gear the traction control light is on until I hit second. Fun! I plan to keep cloves of garlic on the rear view mirror to keep away the CELs. Wish me luck.
Edit: One CEL so far. Nothing to be afraid of.
Try a track day if you get a chance. I would have to say that was the best day I ever had I my SS.
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