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Darin Morgan 09-13-2009 11:06 AM

My first Hot Rod and the steps to increasing power!
My brother (Brad Morgan) and I have developed, built and tuned some of the fastest racing engines in the world. IHRA and NHRA Pro Stock, Alanabi Racing Pro Mods, Comp cars, the list goes on forever! We have given our entire lives to the sport of racing and engine development and are loving every single minute of it but neither one of us have ever had a street rod or hot rod of any kind. We have always been to busy working on everyone else's hot rods to have done one for ourselves. Actually, after working on race engines all day, the last thing I wanted to do was having to work on one at home. I design, fabricate and/or manufacture after-market intake manifolds and cylinder heads, as well as work for professional race teams' engine development programs. The funny thing about this is, I have never had a nice street car in the 25 years I have been working for race teams. Well, at the age of 45 I decided that enough was enough. I decided to get a nice muscle car. I couldn’t decide what I wanted. Maybe a Z06 or supercharged Mustang. Maybe a Challenger SRT8 perhaps? I just could not decide. The Camaro decided for me. I have always wanted a 68 Camaro and looked for many years to find one that was just right. I never found what I was looking for. I went to an auto show and saw the Camaro Concept car in 2006 at the Texas State Fair and from that moment on all I wanted was a 2010 Camaro. I have seen, worked on, and driven some bad ass street cars. But in my my time and in my opinion, 2010 Camaro beats them all! This car is the most beautiful piece of metal to ever roll off a GM assembly line. My wife told me that we had to get one and we had to get one NOW. I wanted to wait until Spring of '10. She was the one who poked and prodded me to just go out and spend the money! What a woman! She wanted it just as bad as I did though. LOL. When it came time to order one, we ordered it sight unseen without even a test drive. After debating back and forth on colors, my wife convinced me to get the Inferno Orange Metalic 2SS/RS with sun roof, IO interior, polished aluminum wheels and black stripes. When we first pulled up to the dealership and saw our car, we instantly fell in love. So much so that we are talking about getting another IOM Camaro next year (we'll leave the motor on this one stock so wife won't be afraid to drive it).

Now that I have our new Camaro I need to achieve a power level that I will feel comfortable with. Around 500hp on the street is comfortable to me. I have driven some twin turbo 1000-1200hp Corvettes but they where about worthless. I am not a fan of smoking the tires at 80-90mph and going sideways. I don’t find that the least bit fun although some people love it. On top of having way to much power to be a lot of fun, they cost a bundle. 500-600hp is more than affordable and engine longevity is not reduced. So here is my plan:

Phase 1 465-485hp engine HP
(1)Order HP Tuners software and a nice wide band O2 (waiting on arrival);
(2)Port Throttle body (done);
(3)Install New Era cold air intake (done);
(4)Install American Racing stainless long tube headers with high flow cats (next week);
(5)Install SLP Loud Mouth II exhaust; (next week);
(6)Order and port stock manifold and install (ordered); and
(7)Dyno tune engine.

Phase2—A little more than one year later-- 500hp
(1)Order a set of LS3 heads (done).
(2)Port cylinder heads.
a. Increase exhaust valve size to 1.600 and keep 2.165 intake. These heads do not need a lot of work. The throat size is too small at
86% and the exhaust throat size can be enlarged as well. Both need to be right at 90%;
b. Weld and contour combustion chamber;
c. Mill head about .020 for increased compression; and
d. Contour short side and increase flow about 10-15%. Should be worth about 20hp.

(3)Install titanium valves to reduce valve train mass and increase rpm range with stock AFM lifters. Heads have very little spring pressure These stock lifters are very tall and there ability to handle increase loads at engine speeds over 6300rpm is pushing it. The titanium valves will allow me to increase rocker ratio from 1.7 to 1.8, pick up lift and valve speed while maintaining the same duration. That should allow me to twist 6600-6700 without hurting the stock lifters. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: why not just install a good camshaft and lifters? I will do that but I want to see how much I can get out of the stock cam and lifters first. Just for my own shits and grins. I will put a bigger bump stick in it later.

(4)Dyno tune new combination.

(5)Then take it to the track and see what she runs.

Darin Morgan 09-13-2009 12:28 PM

Firsts things first!
Lets face it folks, the stock system is insufficient on so many levels. I want REAL cold air coming in from the front of the car and a short air column to the MAF. As an induction system designer I fully understand the importance of a cool dense air charge. I also know and understand that the longer the intake system and the more bends it has, the more frictional and pressure differential flow losses will result. Shorter and straighter is better!

I saw the New Era hand fabricated intake on the Camaro 5 board and had to have one. I received the New Era CAI a week later and installed it after work. It took a whole 20 minutes to have the thing on the car. Talk about simple!
I noticed the power increase right away especially the off throttle low end torque. I love this CAI!

I ported the throttle body the next day. Didn't notice any increase in low end TQ or top end power but the off throttle low end transition was stumble free and instant! I noticed the smoothness of throttle transition while passing on the highway. Just a tad of throttle gives instant power. I love it.

Darin Morgan 09-13-2009 01:29 PM

Now for the exhaust
I knew the stock exhaust system was asthmatic but after taking it off, I now see why. This stock exhaust system is keeping the engine from reaching it's full potential. I have taken extensive pictures of the stock system so everyone can see how bad it actually is. Its also VERY HEAVY!!!! I would try and weigh it but really don't want to get a hernia. LOL. It looks like the American Racing Stainless Steel Headers and exhaust system I ordered will save about 30-40 lbs at the very least.

Saturday, I attempted to install the ARH system and noticed that the driver's side header would not fit. If something doesn't fit, its wrong. I stopped right there and inspected the rest of the system. In my haste to install this awesome system, I failed to look at the packing slip to see that they shipped me the wrong system!!!! They shipped me a header system for G8 not a Camaro. Here I was with a car striped of its exhaust system and basically undriveable. After spending 1.5 hours to remove the stock system, I was not about to put it back on. I was really upset at first, but then I realized that I have done the same in my haste to ship parts to customers only to have to expedite the correct parts to them to make amends. They were pissed at me and I felt really bad about it. So it would be hypocritical of me to bitch out the supplier for doing something that I have done as well. I will park my car and request that they get me the correct components ASAP. Then wait humbly till they arrive.

Stock Exhaust system. This thing is HEAVY!!!

Zieke 09-13-2009 01:40 PM

looking forward to seeing the rest of your build.

bdstealth 09-13-2009 05:58 PM

Nice I can't wait to see the exhuast.

Darin Morgan 09-13-2009 10:14 PM

A BUNCH info on the L99/LS3 and other LS series engines can be found here,,,

Here are some more specs,,

4 basic types
Cathedral port - 15 degree valve angle, 3.89” minimum bore
Wide Rectangular – 11 degree valve angle, 4.10” minimum bore
Tall Narrow Rectangular – 15 degree, 4.00” minimum bore
C5R – 11 degree, 4.10” minimum bore, racing head
All 4 types are standard 4-bolt per cylinder LS bolt pattern

3 basic types
Cathedral port
Wide Rectangular
Tall Narrow Rectangular
Each intake type has a unique port size, port shape and port location as well as a unique bolt pattern.
Intake type must match head type.

5 arrangements
3.89” bore – 4-bolts per cylinder – no main web pockets
4.00” bore – 4-bolts per cylinder – no main web pockets
4.065” bore – 4-bolts per cylinder – no main web pockets
4.125 bore – 4-bolts per cylinder – has main web pockets
LSX Block – 6-bolts per cylinder – has main web pockets
Bore range 3.99-4.25
All blocks have the std. LS family head bolt pattern minimum
All LS blocks have same size main journals, cam bearing sizes, front and rear bolt patterns, etc.
Earlier model LS1 engines have some unique features, for these features, see the High performance LS1/LS6 V8 guide (p/n 88958786)
The LSX 6-bolt head pattern is based from the standard pattern, with the additional 2-bolts per cylinder – ANY LS BASED HEAD WILL BOLT ONTO AND WORK WITH THE LSX BLOCK

3 types
.500” valve lift or less
Stock LS1/LS6/LS2/L92/L76/LS3/LS7 springs work
.500” up to .525” lift
Requires use of LS6 valve spring p/n 12565117 or 12586484 (non-LS7 Heads)
Stock LS7 Springs are ok to use
.525” up to .570” lift
Requires use of valve springs p/n 12586484 (non LS7 heads)
Requires Hollow stem valves (kit p/n 17801930 for LS1/LS2) for optimized valve control (non-LS7 Heads)
Stock LS7 Valves and springs are ok to use
.570” thru .591” lift
LS1/LS2/LS6/LQ9/L76/L92 heads – These cams will only work with aftermarket springs/retainers/keepers
Stock LS7 valves and springs are ok to use
Rocker Arms
4 basic types
Cathedral port heads - LS1/LQ4/LQ9/LS1/LQ4/LQ9/LS6/LS2
Intake and Exhaust rockers are all the same – p/n 10214664
1.7:1 rocker ratio
Wide Rectangular – LS7
Intake and exhaust are different
Unique rockers to the LS7 head – will not work on any other head
1.8:1 rocker ratio
Intake rocker p/n 12579615 has offset
Exhaust rocker p/n 12579617
Tall Narrow Rectangular – L92/L76/LS3
Intake and exhaust rockers are different
1.7:1 rocker ratio
Intake rocker p/n 12569167 – has offset
Exhaust rocker p/n 10214664 – no offset, same as cathedral port heads
C5R – Unique head, requires Jesel or T&D shaft mount system
Stock Rockers for all LS engines are NOT adjustable.

Darin Morgan 09-14-2009 07:43 PM

Decided to put it back together
Since the headers I ordered turned out to be the wrong ones and the correct ones will take a little over a week to get here, I decided to put the stock system back on and install the SLP Loud Mouth II exhaust. This way my wife won't be without a car for a whole week and won't miss the Camaro rod run. The SLP Loud Mouth II sounds really nice even with the stock system in place. It also lightened the rear of the car by 12 lbs!

Darin Morgan 09-19-2009 06:04 PM

I purchased an LS3 manifold to port. I studied it for a while and found that the only way to fully port it was to cut it apart. I sawed the bottom of the manifold out and made a plate to put in its place. I was then able to port the manifold completely and properly. The sharp edges in these manifolds are deplorable! I understand that the OEM produced this for ease of manufacture and not for all out performance. That is painfully obvious.

I used a router bit to cut this out by hand. I purposely left a lip all the way around to have a place for the cover plate to seal.

Cut out and looking in stock manifold. YUCK sharp edges everywhere!

Not only is there a huge post in the middle of the manifold for support, but the sharp edge leading into the port is what we call a shear. A shear like this will instill vortex generation and eddies in the airstream entering the runner. At higher air speeds the sharp edge will severally limit the runners flow potential, essentially shutting the runner down at high air speed. In other words, the runner is limited just by the sharp edge and not by its area and sizing. The higher the rpm of the engine, more turbulence ensues. This is my primary focus.

Pretty ugly if you ask me. The main problem with modifying the manifold in the shear area is that the manifold is plastic/nylon and I dont know how epoxy will hold. I dont want to use unsecured epoxy to modify the shape of the runner entrance. Not on a street vehicle.
Good shot of posts in the middle of the manifold. These may be good for support but they suck for air flow. Not extreme sharp edge right before the number one cylinder. This cylinder must take air first and it has a DOUBLE shear! One on this wall and one on the side wall. Radiusing this should help this runner a bunch!:thumbdown::confused0068:

More pictures to follow,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, ,,,,,,,,,,,,

Darin Morgan 09-19-2009 06:16 PM

The lip around the bottom is surfaced rough to hold the sealer epoxy that the plate will sit on. Its time to get fabricating and porting.


Darin Morgan 09-19-2009 06:28 PM

Manifold fully ported. All sharp edges removed and radiused. It's not much of a radius but it's MUCH better than stock.

Short of filling he plenum with epoxy and reshaping the edge, this is as good as it gets. It's not even a 1/4" radius, it's more like an 1/8" radius. Took me hours of hand sanding to get the manifolds radiuses as perfect as possible. There is no material so I had to lower the edge .200 which gave me a little more to work with. I was then able to achieve the best radius possible with the material at hand.

The front runner will get a lot more air now! All the sharp edges and shears are gone. These manifolds are VERY thin and one must constantly check thickness as you grind or sand material away. There is not much to work with.

The far back runner was a little difficult to reach but with long reach tools I was able to get a decent radius on it.
Here you can see all the radiuses and how round they are compared to how sharp they where before. Don't mind the nubs in the middle of the plenum. I will take them out later.

Scott@Bjorn3D 09-19-2009 06:38 PM

Lets me ask a dumb question. By looking at the exhaust is you car a L99?

Darin Morgan 09-19-2009 06:46 PM

I had to fabricate a sturdy plate with ribs to seal the manifold back up. Since I took out the vertical support posts I now must fabricate a plate with the support in a different location. The reason the supports are there is due to instantaneous manifold pressure changes. Let's say you're at 6000 rpm and you slam the throttle shut. The manifold pressure drops and all that flat area on the bottom of the manifold is being pulled in. Let's say you have .75 square feel of area. That's 108 square inches. If you have a pressure change of only .5psi that like a 54 lbs weight being slammed on the bottom of the manifold. This of course will not break it right away but it will fatigue it and eventually break it over time. Been there, done that.

You can see I put the supports horizontally across the plate to brace it from the pressure changes. I also have vertical lips that will be secured via 1/420 bolts for further support.
Yea, I know the welds look like shit but I was in a hurry plus its the bottom the manifold and no one will give a rats A$$. LOL
If it was for a customer I would of course make it pretty.


You can now see that the restrictions and shears are all gone.


I drilled and tapped for 1/4 20 hex head bolts. I was amazed at how well this nylon holds a thread. I can actually torque on them a bit. This is the plate secured in place but not final epoxy sealed yet.

There you go. Now I just have to quantify the power increase and changes to the tune. I would expect it to be at least 12hp and more like 15hp especially in the upper rpm ranges.:thumbup:


ljustin293 09-19-2009 06:49 PM


Originally Posted by Scott@Bjorn3D (Post 944994)
Lets me ask a dumb question. By looking at the exhaust is you car a L99?

I'm pretty sure per his :break in: thread, it is the L99

2SSRS@Gen5diy 09-19-2009 07:14 PM

Do you now work for Alanabi Racing? a good friend works with him as the driver of his top fuel car.

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