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Old 06-13-2014, 09:48 PM   #1
ChocoTaco369
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Smile These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things (Black 2013 2SS/RS)

I want to start off by saying this will be more than a journal about my car. This will be a journal about my life. There is a reason why these cars have lived on as long as they have and in the way they have. They are more than a vehicle, they are an extension of your soul. You don't buy a Camaro to buy a car, you buy it to have a companion. They're like a pet in a way - they're not a person, but they're part of the family. These vehicles have a life of their own. This journal will be about my favorite things - cars, food, weights, dates and whatever the hell else I say so.

I purchased my 2013 Chevrolet Camaro 2SS RS LS3 M6 back in December of 2013. I've been wanting to start up a journal for awhile, but I made a pact with myself - no performance enhancing modifications until I got my car baseline dynoed. There's not much point to me in having a car journal if you're not going to touch the car.

My story starts off as a sad one. My trusty 2001 Firebird Formula, the love of my life, bit the dust back in November. I purchased my baby at the age of 19 with 24,000 miles on the clock back in 2005. I got her for a steal - $14,400 - and they gave me 50% more than my trade-in was worth. All-in-all, I walked out the door paying $10k cash for her.




I drove her for 9 long years. It was a devastating loss for me, and my options were either a complete engine rebuild or move on to a new car. Being 27, I wasn't keen on buying a $27,000+ car, but I was set on turning a negative into a positive. I went over my finances, used this as an excuse to push me into procuring a hefty raise and began searching. My old Firebird was an A4, and I decided I was tired of owning automatics and was going to buy my first manual. I began the search, and after 6 weeks of searching, I found my new car 2 hours away...in North Jersey of all places! Who would've thought a good deal was to be had there?

The previous owner had a car fetish. He would buy a new car every 6 months. This was apparently the 16th vehicle he purchased from this Chevy dealer. Yea, he apparently loved GM. I went over the car with a fine-toothed comb. Oil was clean, interior smelled new, no tears, no cigarette marks and the most telling sign of all - the stock tires still had the little nubs on them. Yay, the owner didn't celebrate his last days doing burn-outs before trading it in! It had a tiny little ding on it above the driver's side wheel well, which the dealer did a good job restoring. Every option except nav, NPP, sunroof, orange rally stripes with matching inferno orange interior, 5340 miles in pristine condition, I couldn't say no to $31k dead nuts even. It was $4K over what I wanted to spend, but you only live once, right?

















And after one of its first hand-washing by yours truly:




Let the games begin


MODIFICATIONS TO DATE:


- Mild2Wild Exhaust Controller
- Skip Shift Eliminator
- Hurst Billet Plus 2 Short Throw Shifter
- Custom Threaded 8 Ball Shift Knob
- Elite Engineering Catch Can
- Removed intake manifold noise dampener
- Removed engine cover
- De-badged C A M A R O
- CAI Inc. Cold Air Intake
- Solo High Flow Catalytic Converters
- Bo White Ported Throttle Body
- Headlight Armor 30% Tail Light Tint
- DIY Gloss Black Tail Light Bezels
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Old 06-13-2014, 10:40 PM   #2
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Ever since I purchased my car, I've been wanting to baseline dyno it. Good performance shops are few and far between in the Philadelphia area. There is only one I have experience with - Race Proven Motorsports. They were always a sponsor on LS1tech and are a Camaro5 sponsor as well. After I slapped headers on my old 4th gen, they performed the dynotune years ago. The bolt-on A4 laid down 338rwhp/352rwtq, which was pretty good for an intake+header+tune car. I haven't been there in years, but I was excited to see they were having a dyno day last May and decided to sign up.

I was familiar with their old location Claymont, DE where they tuned my car. It was a pretty nice shop - fairly spacious - but they didn't have an on-site dyno. They had to take it down the road to a nearby dyno. Since then, Fran at RPM moved into some new digs in New Castle, DE. This place was nothing short of AWESOME. Corvettes, Camaros, CTS-V's galore. I was really excited to see it, so the night before I washed and detailed my car in preparation.



One of my buds came with me, too. I woke up early and I was there at 9:40AM in an attempt to beat the crowd. It worked! Sort of. After a 45 minute drive down I-95, I was ON THE DYNO WITHIN 15 MINUTES OF ARRIVING. I was hoping I'd get to wait an hour or so for the car to cool down. Being a fairly hot morning at the end of May and having straight-off-the-road IAT's, I probably could've done better, but it put down OK numbers.



And of course, a video:



I strongly recommend Fran and Race Proven Motorsports to anyone in the Philadelphia/South Jersey/DE/MD area.
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Old 06-13-2014, 10:57 PM   #3
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Wow. I left ls1tech and now you are here?
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Old 06-13-2014, 11:00 PM   #4
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That website was awesome before it was sold wasn't it? I don't think I've posted there in half a decade, but it was a great place when the 4th gens were still new-ish and not on their third and fourth owners.

Gotta grow up and move on, I guess.
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Old 06-13-2014, 11:05 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ChocoTaco369 View Post
That website was awesome before it was sold wasn't it? I don't think I've posted there in half a decade, but it was a great place when the 4th gens were still new-ish and not on their third and fourth owners.

Gotta grow up and move on, I guess.
Yep. That place went to the nearest port a john. Nice car.
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Old 06-13-2014, 11:08 PM   #6
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Thanks!

It happens to every site I guess as the cars become cheaper and cheaper and the members get younger and younger. Killing the F-body was guaranteed to kill the site so they sold it - rightfully so - while the gettin' was good! It's funny to see so many of the same members migrated over here...but not really since once you go Camaro you never go back.
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Old 06-13-2014, 11:15 PM   #7
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Congrats Mr. Taco! I was a disciple in your Seafoam thread on LS1Tech and was always impressed with the way you stayed with it for such a long time. You and I had similar Formulas and I want to post a pic of mine in its heyday:



My current ride is a 2013 SS L99 that I'm making drag strip ready, but I don't want to take the attention away from your build thread, only want to wish the best of luck to you with your great Camaro! Have fun sir!
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Old 06-13-2014, 11:25 PM   #8
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Beautiful ride. I miss those cars dearly. There's always room in my thread for great pics of 4th gens.
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Old 06-14-2014, 12:29 AM   #9
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Ah, this is exactly why I've avoided a build thread. 3 hours later I've ordered another modification.

This guy on eBay drills and threads real brand new pool balls for shifters, so I'm having a brand new real 8 ball drilled and threaded for my Hurst shifter at the 3/8”-16 thread. What blows my mind is how Hurst can charge $40+ for one of those cheap balls and I can get a real 8 ball that won't rattle because of the heavy weight for <$20. I'm excited, it looks like a quality product.



No one-size-fits-all loose junk spacers. This is how you do it.
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Old 06-14-2014, 12:34 AM   #10
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http://www.camaro5.com/forums/showthread.php?t=362123

More mods. ^^^
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Old 06-14-2014, 12:46 AM   #11
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I've had a Beltronics V955 for 6 or 7 years now. It's on its 3rd cord but it's still a beast.

I don't need it anymore, though since I moved to PA. No radar in PA. I use it when I travel into NJ, DE, MD, etc.
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Old 06-14-2014, 07:25 PM   #12
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One of the best parts working for a large contractor is our compound has a large wash bay. My gym is less than 5 minutes from my office, so I usually go by on Saturday and use the facilities.






CLEANING TIP!

This is my first black car. Living in the Philadelphia area, all the water around is pretty heavily treated. It is ASTOUNDING how many gross, white waterspots form on your car washing with this water...and I can only imagine how healthy it is to drink! It has taken me forever to figure out how to get them off. Wet cloths don't do it, but if you take a damp cloth and put a little bit of white vinegar on it, ALL THE SPOTS COME RIGHT OFF!!! You just go over the car with the damn vinegar cloth, spray on some spray wax and dry with cloths and it comes out great.
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Old 06-14-2014, 07:40 PM   #13
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Top flight writing and I am more the guy that likes the story's of WHY you bought this car and how much it means to you than just modding the crap out of it.

Love your thread so far, will be watching!
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Old 06-15-2014, 10:35 PM   #14
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Totally off topic, but since it's my journal, I guess the topic is whatever I want it to be!

Cars are great and all, but my favorite thing to do is cook. And I mean actual real food, not frozen pizza, pasta, anything that involves boxed cake mix or a crock pot and condensed soup. Meat and potatoes. Actual things human beings are supposed to eat.

I am not a huge chicken fan because it is usually so dry and boring. Whole chicken, on the other hand, can be great. I enjoy any meat that works well with a sear, and the best way to sear a whole chicken is with a cast iron pan and some bricks wrapped in foil. My method for searing is ALWAYS heat up a cast iron pan in the oven - for a chicken, 450 works great. Cast iron is mandatory in the kitchen. I have a 10", 12" and 15" skillet. I recommend Lodge Logic, they are of excellent quality. If you have never used cast iron, you will be astounded by the results. Everything comes out better - things do not stick if you use them properly and they hold heat incredibly evenly. Stainless steel and aluminum pans are garbage. Plus, they are the most durable, last the longest, are the easiest to maintain, require little to no cleaning and are by far the healthiest to cook with since there are no chemicals and they're the only type of pan where some metal leeching can be healthy.

Rub your whole chicken with a spice mix and chill it for at least an hour in the fridge in the open air to dry it out a bit. I used coriander seed, cumin seed, black pepper, salt, paprika, oregano, a bit of brown sugar and dried ghost chili pureed into a powder in my coffee grinder.

Once your cast iron pan is very hot (about 40-60 mins in a fully preheated oven), transfer it to a burner on medium high. Throw in a blob of saturated-based cooking fat (never cook with unsaturated oils, they're unstable!). I used a tablespoon of coconut oil with a teaspoon of rendered bacon fat. Sear the chicken skin-side down held down with a brick until golden brown, about 3-5 mins. Flip it, put the bricks back on for another 3-5 mins. Flip it again so the skin side is up, put the bricks back on and throw it into the preheated 450 degree oven for 20 minutes. After 20 mins, take the bricks off and cook for another 45 mins or so.

The end result was just awesome. Just the juiciest chicken ever where if you grab it by the legs the bone pulls off.







Good stuff.
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Old 06-16-2014, 10:19 PM   #15
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A little package came in the mail for me today.





But what could be inside?




I am absolutely thrilled right now. My new 8 ball shift knob came in and it couldn't be of better quality. It is a real, brand new 8 ball drilled with a die press and fitted with a 3/8-16 thread for my Hurst chrome handle shift stick. Until now, I was running the Hurst short shifter, but with the stock replacement stick and stock knob. Honestly, for the most part, I preferred the stock shifter with the stock knob to the Hurst. It just felt notchy, hard to throw and had some slop in the shifter.

But at least I could make it look cool, right?

First, the install on a 2013 differs significantly from the 2010-2012 years the instructions were written from.

On the 2013, there is no zip tie holding the chrome piece on the shifter boot. Instead, you have to pop the chrome piece off by releasing the black keys on the "washer" that holds it into place.



Oh yea, the washer is also GLUED into place, so you have to gently cut along that glue to release.



Oops. Fragile piece of plastic junk, I barely even pressed on it and a chunk came off. I hope I won't need that again.

From there, it installs like the instructions, except the leather shifter boot BARELY fits over the plastic grommet you place on the Hurst chrome stick above the bolts. That took some finessing.

BEFORE:



AFTER:




OH. MY. GOD! The difference is absolutely UNBELIEVABLE. The shifter is so much tighter, the grip is incredible, the shifts are faster, crisper...that stock knob is sloppy, imprecise and horrible. This thing is just perfect. This is the real deal. A real pool ball, drilled and fitted perfectly to the specifications I asked for. And the most impressive thing? $18.49. SHIPPED. OVERNIGHT! I ordered the damn thing on Saturday night right before bed, I sent him a message telling him how to drill it out immediately, he sent it out in the mail ON SUNDAY and received it TONIGHT. FROM GEORGIA TO PENNSYLVANIA!

That, ladies and gentlemen, is an incredible bargain. It must've been $10 just to ship the thing so quickly, let alone the actual part and labor. This is my third vehicle - 2 F-bodies and this Camaro - and out of all the mods I've done, this may be my favorite ever.

This is so bad freaking ass. I'm in love with it.

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Old 06-16-2014, 11:10 PM   #16
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I like your thread already!
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Old 06-18-2014, 10:52 AM   #17
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Well, I just did a bad thing and spent an entire paycheck. If anyone knows of any tax loopholes to write off modifications for your cars, let me know. Maybe you can get fuel efficiency credits or something. More to follow soon.
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Old 06-19-2014, 09:15 PM   #18
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I received 3 tracking numbers in my email today. Delivery of all three packages is tomorrow. I am excited to see what shows up
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Old 06-19-2014, 09:24 PM   #19
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Amazing build.i am going to see what is next.
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My build thread
http://www.camaro5.com/forums/showthread.php?t=312830

Performance- Roto-Fab Cold Air Intake
Cosmetics - Eagle Eye Headlghts with 8K HID bulbs, CCFL Foglights with stage 3 LED bulbs, Carbon Fiber Bowtie, 20x8.5 by 20x10.5 XO Berlin Wheels, Gloss Black ZL1 spoiler, ZL1 Manual steering wheel, Leather shift knob with red stitching, Suede shift boot with red stitching, 4 pack auxilary Guages, Elite Catch Can more coming soon....
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Old 06-24-2014, 03:24 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by ChocoTaco369 View Post
I received 3 tracking numbers in my email today. Delivery of all three packages is tomorrow. I am excited to see what shows up



Great thread !

I had a 94 & 96 Trans Am too....loved those cars !

I came sooo close to buying black with orange, good lookin combo inside and out !
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Old 06-24-2014, 03:57 PM   #21
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Great story, Congrats on the new ride. Mod on
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Old 06-30-2014, 10:24 PM   #22
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I've been needing to do an update for awhile. Small progress has been made over the past week.

I've received a few things in the mail:




But more on that later.

I've been wanting to do a little bit of a project. I live in PA but bought my car in NJ. Long story short, NJ requires a front license plate, PA doesn't. Being the lazy dealer all dealers are, they drilled in the bracket. I have been driving around with the front bracket on for about 6 months now and I've grown very tired of it.



Ultimately, the real fix is to get the bumper grouted, sanded and repainted, but I don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on that right now so I'm going for the quick fix. I purchased these on Amazon:



http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I chose this size plug because they are very common on GM vehicles and I figure it wouldn't hurt to have one or two or ninety-six extra plugs lying around. I created a mount, purchased some plastikote primer, black match spray paint and automotive clear coat. 3 coats primer, 4 coats black, 3 coats clear coat later and this is what I came up with:





I drilled out the plastic rivets holding the plate bracket on with a 3/16" drill bit and then honed out the pilot holes in the bumper with a 1/4" bit. This is what I came up with:






It doesn't look bad at all from a distance - way better than the license plate bracket - however, I noticed something pretty awful up close. Clearly, the bracket has been rattling and scuffing the crap out of the bumper the entire time.



So, thanks a lot, dealership. I guess I will have to tend to that later. You can't see it unless you get on your hands and knees and get your face within a foot of the bumper, but it still chaps my ass a bit. Oh well, at least I feel handy. It looks awful in the picture above, but since then I've washed, waxed and buffed the bumper and it looks much, much better. Still annoying, though.
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Old 06-30-2014, 10:33 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChocoTaco369 View Post
Ah, this is exactly why I've avoided a build thread. 3 hours later I've ordered another modification.

This guy on eBay drills and threads real brand new pool balls for shifters, so I'm having a brand new real 8 ball drilled and threaded for my Hurst shifter at the 3/8”-16 thread. What blows my mind is how Hurst can charge $40+ for one of those cheap balls and I can get a real 8 ball that won't rattle because of the heavy weight for <$20. I'm excited, it looks like a quality product.



No one-size-fits-all loose junk spacers. This is how you do it.

I love it!, you have to PM me the link for one
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Old 06-30-2014, 10:40 PM   #24
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OK, now for the contents of the boxes.



First off, big shout out to Chase at Apex. My original plan was to purchase an item at a time, but I figured I was going to buy the stuff anyway and I may get a better deal if I bulk order everything I wanted and just bit the bullet. I was certainly correct, and I strongly urge anyone looking to buy mods that they save up until they can purchase them in bulk, then contact the man personally.

I must say, I have never purchased a custom-fit sun shade before, but I will never go back.




I started with the easiest piece to install first, which of course is a simple cold air intake. Honestly, the instructions were hardly even necessary aside from the heat shrink step. I can't fathom paying someone to install this. Seriously, I see posts all the time asking the cost to install a CAI. Please, please, for the love of God, do it yourself. It is about 10% the difficulty of changing your oil. It is slightly harder than replacing the air filter.

Ok, moving on.

Before:




During:




After:




My review: it is a very well-made piece. The fit and finish is excellent and the installation can't be much easier since I'm unaware of a kit on the market that literally installs itself. The car bone stock has TERRIBLE throttle lag. If I quickly jam my foot on and off the accelerator, it doesn't even register. Well, now when I do that same thing, it gives it a tiny jolt. There is still throttle lag, but I'd say it's about 35% gone (I'm hoping a ported throttle body will be the ultimate cure). I detect nothing on the butt dyno, it still feels like a heavy, slow pig that can't break the tires loose at all when I dump the clutch at 6,200 RPM's on a 1-2 shift, but the intake is noticeably louder. Honestly, at WOT, it's substantially louder. Even the exhaust is a little different. It "farts" a little more. Ultimately, it's a CAI, not a supercharger, so we will see what the other goodies in the box yield in terms of performance.
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Old 07-08-2014, 12:54 PM   #25
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4th of July weekend was highly productive.

Friday was a BBQ, Sunday was another BBQ, but Saturday was wide open. Sunny with a high of 82, it was the perfect day to be outside. I decided to install the Solo high flow catalytic converters on Saturday.

If I had to describe this install in one word, it would be "annoying." It is extremely straightforward: unplug four harnesses, undo four bolts, loosen two clamps, remove two midpipes, swap the four oxygen sensors into the new midpipes, replace the midpipes, tighten two clamps, install four new bolts and plug in four sensor harnesses.

Great. Done. In and out, right?

Well, no, because some of the clearances are a royal pain. There are few things in life more frustrating than having a clear line of sight to a bolt but having no straight path to get to it!

Let me first say this installation would've been impossible without a 24" breaker bar, a 24" extension, an oxygen sensor socket and a can of PB blaster. If you do not have these tools, do not even bother with the installation until you get them! With the tools, it isn't difficult at all. You just have to be patient with the clearances and accept it's going to take a few hours. I have the following tips:

1.) Make sure you get your car up to operating temperature first or you will not be able to break loose the O2 sensors. Drive the car until up to operating temperature, jack it up/put it on ramps/toss it on a lift, spray the rear O2 sensors ONLY at the threads (NOT THE BODIES) with PB blaster, let it soak 5 minutes and break them 1/4 turn with a breaker bar and an oxygen sensor socket. Do not keep turning, only break them loose or you can twist the wires up and snap them.

2.) Allow the car to cool down until the cats are cool to the touch (60-90 minutes). From there, unscrew the rear oxygen sensors with your bare hands.

3.) Make sure all oxygen sensors are unplugged at the harness and the harnesses are hanging from the bottom of the car before you drop the midpipes. Do not try and break the front oxygen sensors loose until you drop the midpipes. Remove the rear O2's completely before dropping the midpipes but leave the front O2's screwed into the midpipes with the harnesses disconnected.

4.) Make sure you swap the oxygen sensors over from the old midpipes to the new midpipes BEFORE bolting them up. Otherwise, it'll be near impossible to install them.

I made sure to put anti-seize on the threads of the oxygen sensor threads AND the rear oxygen sensor extensions. I tightened everything pretty firm, taking care not to crush the fragile oxygen sensor bodies.



As you can see, the Solo high flow cats barely resemble the massive stock assemblies.

The entire install, including the warming up of the car and the cooling of the exhaust took about 4 hours. And believe me when I say I'm not a mechanic. This was done on jackstands on a concrete driveway apron lying on an old throw rug.

Let me just say the change in the exhaust from these cats is HUGE. The stock catalytic converters act as better mufflers than the actual mufflers on these cars. My car has the NPP exhaust option, which previously I would describe as "lame" at best. The car is at least three times louder now, and the tone is completely different. It sounds like a whole new car. My previous vehicle was a 2001 Firebird Formula with QTP headers and a dumped cutout, so I drove around in "loud as balls" mode 100% of the time. While this car is not as loud as my old Firebird, I'm stunned at the volume increase that a simple catalytic converter swap made on a stock manifolds car. I cannot say enough good things about how much better the car sounds. You can actually hear the stock cam chopping at idle now.

The car also feels completely different. It doesn't feel like it's struggling to breathe anymore. Comparatively, the car was falling flat on its face before with the stock cats in place. It feels as if a massive restriction was lifted. I was wholly unimpressed with the power the CAI intake made, but this mod was actually noticeable. I'm very pleased on the sound and performance gains of this little mod.

Now for the bad.

I made it a whopping 176 miles before the passenger side cat threw a code, and 194 miles before the driver's side cat threw a code. I cleared the first code and they were both back within 20 miles.





This is frustrating to say the least since the ONLY reason to purchase this product is to prevent a check engine light and eliminate the need for a tune to keep your warranty. If you're going to void your warranty and you don't live in Kommiefornia, you'd be insane to not buy longtubes. Rather than jump the gun, I will give everything a nice tightening up to make sure the first few heat cycles didn't back out my sensors or O2 extensions. However, I will not have access to a garage and a floor jack/jackstands for 2-3 weeks. From there, I'll be willing to do as much as the "spark plug anti-fouler" mod. If I have to do anything past that, I'll be pretty irritated.

From what I've seen, the 2010-2012 Camaro's do great with the Solo HFC's and the 2013-2014's seem to be a crapshoot due to some change with the tune creating a greater vulnerability of the rear O2 codes. This is confirming my fears, but I'll reserve judgment until I can make a few final adjustments.

I am in the process of putting together a video of the before/after of the Solo HFC install. I could not find a before/after video ANYWHERE showing stock cats+NPP vs Solo HFC's+NPP, so this should be extremely informative. The videos turned out great, I just need to do some amateur editing. More to follow later.
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