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Tuning / Diagnostics -- engine and transmission Tune and diagnostics for engines and auto transmission.

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Old 04-09-2010, 08:10 AM   #1
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Modifying for " Dummies"

Hello All,

I have started this thread for people like me who have no clue about mods to our new Camaro's. From basic stuff like axle back to forced induction. The purpose is to inform the uninformed about what to look for in buying aftermarket products, what items actually supposed to do for your car, what are the steps in completing a project ie... headers first, cam second etc...

Please do not turn this into Vendor A is Better than Vendor B type thing, this is for people who want to add things but don't know where to start or how to accomplish what they would like their Camaro to perform or sound like.

Vendors are more than welcome to post videos of basic changes all the way to forced induction products like superchargers.

So here is the first few questions.

What does a cam do?


What is the difference in ProCharger, Supercharger, Turbo Charger, one screw, two screw ( All these things I have read on this site)? Is it a brand thing or do they actually do something different?


Thanks and look forward to reading your responses. Mods, if this is in the wrong place please move it, thanks John
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Old 04-09-2010, 08:37 AM   #2
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Cams change the pumping efficiency of your engine, and typically shift your power curve around. The more aggressive a cam is, the less efficient your engine becomes at lower RPMs (but becomes more efficient at higher RPMs).

Major factors of a cam:
Duration
Lift
Split

Duration is how long the valve is open, measured in degrees of crankshaft rotation starting and ending at 0.050" valve lift. This is typically the advertised duration you see. Lift is the maximum valve lift accomplished, which can also change with your rocker arms depending on what ratio they are. The rocker arms multiply the lift of the cam lobe (I believe the LS3 uses 1.7 rockers). Split (or lobe separation aka LSA) is how far apart the center lines of the intake an exhaust lobes are, again measured in crankshaft degrees. A byproduct of duration and LSA is overlap, which is how long both the intake an exhaust valves are open. Overlap typically dictates drivability of a cam. This is a very watered down explanation.

I've got too much else going on to write up about forced induction right now.
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Old 04-09-2010, 08:42 AM   #3
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So if you change your cam, more than likely you will have to change something else because of the added force, such as lifters and springs, maybe pushrods Etc....Correct?
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Old 04-09-2010, 08:46 AM   #4
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So if you change your cam, more than likely you will have to change something else because of the added force, such as lifters and springs, maybe pushrods Etc....Correct?
Typically you need new valve springs, retainers, keepers, and seats/seals. Those can be had for about $275 for everything. Pushrods may have to be changed if the length ends up being wrong because of a change in the base circle of the new cam.
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Old 04-12-2010, 01:25 PM   #5
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Bump for discussion
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Old 04-12-2010, 04:39 PM   #6
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Good things Dr Jekel. I'm also a wannabe gearhead, but mostly an idiot when it comes to the stuff. I'm shooting blind with a lot of the stuff i'm doing. So far it's a lot of safe bets, and everything has been done with expert advice of people who know far more than I do.

I'd like some info on the headers. As I understand long block headers will void my warranty and my visual smog inspection here in california. But I will get the most HP gain from them. I also hear i'll have to add some pipe and potentially move the cat on some products. The reason this ties into tuning is because a lot of people have been getting the CEL on modifying their headers, and some tune it right off, but I don't want to completely void the engine portion of my warranty due to unauthorized tuning... any help on that part would be awesome.
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Old 04-12-2010, 05:30 PM   #7
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^ there really isn't any way around that. In CA you have emissions in 5 years rite? so you have 5 years unless you get nabbed for something else I would assume. Past that you have to run shorties. The problem with the CEL is you have moved the Cats too far back and the rear o2's do not heat up fast enough so you get a code. This and because of efficiency is why you get the car tuned, if you are scared of the warranty void problem I guess you could have issues either way. I know out here things like boltons most dealers don't care but you come in with a Supercharger and Rods hanging out of the side of the engine they scratch their heads a little.
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Old 04-12-2010, 06:19 PM   #8
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my dealership is very tempremental... small town. I know where you're coming from. I may stick to shorty headers just to avoid smog issues in the end. I'll have to make up the power in a turbo kit after abou 60k miles.
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Old 04-13-2010, 06:23 AM   #9
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So what do you gain from Shorty Headers, sound?
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Old 04-14-2010, 12:55 PM   #10
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Old 04-15-2010, 12:07 AM   #11
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pretty much just sound from what i've researched, the stock manifolds are quite efficient.
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Old 04-15-2010, 06:29 PM   #12
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If you put a cam in the car without headers you are going to suffocate it. You have to think engine is an air pump, more in and you can't get more out its going to not pick up much power. You would really need to do that first or at the same time otherwise your results will be minimal unless you buy a very certain type of cam that is designed to work with stock manifolds.
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Old 04-19-2010, 02:11 AM   #13
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this is a great thread,,,im learnin !!
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Old 04-19-2010, 06:19 AM   #14
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So headers, CAI and Cam?
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Old 04-19-2010, 08:06 AM   #15
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So headers, CAI and Cam?
What about them?
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Old 04-19-2010, 08:15 AM   #16
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So if you put CAI, do you need headers for it to perform better. I guess more air in , more air out?

Do you need to do all three at one time, CAI Headers Cam?
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Old 04-19-2010, 08:30 AM   #17
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Headers help, but their effect is a lot greater when you increase the pumping efficiency of the engine (like a cam change). If you're moving more air in, you need to be able to move that air out. You don't NEED to do specific mods in tandem, but it doesn't hurt, because they can have a compound effect.
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Old 04-19-2010, 08:32 AM   #18
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this is a great thread.hope it goes thru the whole car.i am also learning.
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Old 04-19-2010, 09:12 AM   #19
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Headers help, but their effect is a lot greater when you increase the pumping efficiency of the engine (like a cam change). If you're moving more air in, you need to be able to move that air out. You don't NEED to do specific mods in tandem, but it doesn't hurt, because they can have a compound effect.
I guess the best way to ask this question is which to do first? Let's say in comes down to money, for example, and you would like all these things, kinda doing it in stages. Which is the best way to start.? and what will you accomplish with each part?
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Old 04-19-2010, 10:03 AM   #20
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Headers are nice because they'll also change the sound of your exhaust. Intakes can sometimes be a snake-oil modification (I'm waiting for some of the companies to blast me on this... ). However, intake systems are a lot cheaper than a set of headers. The biggest advantage to headers though is that they make putting a wideband in for tuning a LOT easier. Those tail pipe sniffer setups don't work for shit, and shouldn't be trusted. The only true way to get accurate AFR measurements is by having a wideband in the exhaust stream close to the engine.

If you can do headers first, do it. I know of a local car that made some pretty stout numbers with just a cam kit and headers, yet a stock airbox... and it would put some of these other builds to shame.
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Old 04-19-2010, 10:18 AM   #21
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I really appreciate the info. I looked at headers this past weekend at Camaro Fest and it's like anything too many opinions on each different brand, ARH, Kooks, Doug Thorley etc... seemes to be too much infor. Best I could tell the brand you had was the best and everyone else sucks. I saw ARH and the looked quality, but I haven't seen DT or Kooks up close just in cars so I really couldn't tell much, some say ARH don't fit, some swear by them, who knows.

But it looks like I can do headers first, then CAI and then Cam without too much problem. I have a couple of e-mails from vendors that I am waiting on for their reply so we will see what they say. What should someone look for in a vendor to know your not getting stroked?
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Old 04-19-2010, 10:28 AM   #22
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What should someone look for in a vendor to know your not getting stroked?
Somebody that isn't spitting out crap about how their product makes X amount of horsepower and Y amount of torque. See if anybody's done a true unbiased comparison test between various parts. I wouldn't rely on a comparison test for air intakes done by an air intake manufacturer.

If you're going to do headers, get actual long tubes so that you actually get a high rpm benefit. Chances are, if you're putting performance parts on, you care about what they're going to do above 4500rpm. I've only experienced ARH and Kooks, and both seem to have good clearance and fitment.
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Old 04-19-2010, 10:32 AM   #23
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ARH is stainless with no coating and ARH says it's better than steel and a coating. I didn' see the kooks. With all things being equal which would you go with ARH or Kooks and Why?
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Old 04-19-2010, 10:40 AM   #24
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Stainless steel is the way to go. Ceramic coated stainless steel is even better because it will retain more heat in the header, improving O2 sensor response and operation.

As far as ARH vs. Kooks... it's six, one half dozen. I don't see an appreciable difference.
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Old 04-19-2010, 11:18 AM   #25
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Stainless steel is the way to go. Ceramic coated stainless steel is even better because it will retain more heat in the header, improving O2 sensor response and operation.
As far as ARH vs. Kooks... it's six, one half dozen. I don't see an appreciable difference.
I know the ARH are not coated, are the Kooks?
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