Five hundred rear-wheel horsepower may seem like a lot to some people, but not to Frank Viana. After thousands of dollars spent putting in a fortified bottom end, lumpy cam, and a Procharger kit, the Chino Hills, California, resident couldn't understand why his 2002 35th Anniversary SLP SS wasn't making more power. Thankfully, he had only a 50-mile drive to Van Nuys to consult LS1 specialist Robert Barth at Strictly Performance Motorsports. Thinking back to the February '06 issue of GMHTP, Barth is no stranger to Procharged LS1 SSs. The question was, could he command a repeat performance with Viana's six-speed SS convertible?
Step one was adding a custom fuel system using two Aeromotive A1000 fuel pumps, and an Aeromotive regulator to supply 60 psi of fuel pressure to custom fuel rails and Siemens 72 lb/hr injectors. After modifying the tune using HP Tuners, Barth managed to up horsepower from its previous best of 505 to 588. In the second phase of the build, the previously installed motor was replaced with a fresh mill from Strictly Performance. After honing the cylinders and machining the LS1 block with billet main caps, an Eagle 4.00-inch stroke forged crank was used to thrust Eagle forged rods and Ross pistons, occupying 385 inches of usable displacement.
For throttle response, the stock 10.1:1 compression was maintained with Cometic head gaskets and Strictly Performance ported heads. These hand-ported stock castings utilize 2.02 intake and 1.56 exhaust valves, as well as dual springs from REV to accept 20 psi of boost pressure from the Procharger D-1SC blower. Strictly Performance also equipped the fresh motor with a custom-grind cam to take full advantage of the boost, as well as the displacement and top end flow increase. Using .578-inch lift and 233 degrees of duration at .050, the combustion chambers gulp the charged intake air. Meanwhile, .603-inch lift and 244 degrees of duration allow efficient dispersion of the spent gases through Bassani 3/4-length headers with 1.75-inch primaries. A ported high volume oil pump supplies the engine--including the cam, Ross rings, and Clevite bearings--with lubrication.
To complete the second phase of the build, Strictly Performance also fabricated a custom strut for the Procharger's J-bracket to keep it from flexing. In combination with the 8-rib upgrade option and ATI Super Damper, the strut would help prevent belt slippage. Because the original Procharger bypass valve wouldn't hold up to the 20 psi supplied by the D-1SC, it was also swapped in favor of a Turbonetics Raptor. Still using base Procharger twin air-to-air intercoolers, this combination was sufficient for 705 rear-wheel horsepower with additional tuning, but Barth knew there was additional power to be had through replacing the stock-style 2.5-inch off-road Y-pipe and single inlet/dual outlet Cat-Back with one of his true dual setups. Big 3-inch tubes were carefully bent to the contours of the floorpan, then welded to an X-pipe and Magnaflow mufflers, made to connect to the SLP center mount exhaust. With a few tweaks and the addition of a McLeod twin disc clutch, pressure plate and billet flywheel, the SS reached 813 hp and 765 lb-ft of torque.
At last, Frank was satisfied with his '02 SS, and saw no need to discard his Weiand/Lingenfelter aluminum intake manifold and BBK 80mm throttle body in favor of a higher-priced setup. Prior to the exhaust and clutch upgrade, he had already managed a 10.20 at 143 mph at California Speedway (aka Fontana). Utilizing only Mickey Thompson 275/40/17 drag radials mounted on the stock 35th Anniversary rims, 3.73 gear, and SLP subframe connectors, Frank mustered up a 1.84 short time. As soon as the stock 10-bolt makes its untimely demise, he plans to upgrade to a 12-bolt rear and possibly even some sturdier suspension pieces. Meanwhile, he's keeping his fingers crossed for the stock T-56 and driveshaft.
Hopefully this California dream machine won't need an aftermarket trans or 12-bolt to continue its primary duties as a Sunday driver, though. With the top down, the sun glaring off the cherry Bright Red paint, and 800hp tunes playing out the SLP center mount exhaust tips, we can't imagine a better car for SoCal--and neither can Frank.
Data File2002 Camaro SS
|BLOCK:||LS1, 385 cid|
|HEADS:||LS1, ported and polished by Strictly Performance, 2.02 intake, 1.56 exhaust valves|
|CAM:||Strictly Performance hydraulic roller, 233/244 duration at .050, .578/.603-inch lift|
|PUSHRODS:||COMP Cams 7.400-inch|
|ROCKER ARMS:||Crane Gold 1.8 ratio|
|THROTTLE BODY:||BBK 80mm|
|FUEL INJECTORS:||Siemens 72 lb/hr|
|FUEL PUMP:||twin Aeromotive A1000|
|IGNITION:||stock coil on plug|
|ENGINE MANAGEMENT:||stock computer, tuned by SP Motorsports|
|POWER ADDER:||ATI Procharger D-1SC|
|BYPASS VALVE:||Turbonetics Raptor|
|EXHAUST SYSTEM:||Bassani 1.75-inch headers, X-pipe, 3-inch true dual Cat-Back with Magnaflow mufflers|
|CLUTCH:||McLeod twin disc|
|FRONT SUSPENSION:||stock sway bar, springs, shocks, control arms|
|REAR SUSPENSION:||stock sway bar, springs, shocks, control arms, Panhard bar, torque arm|
|REAREND:||stock 10-bolt, 3.73 gear, posi|
|FRONT TIRES:||Goodyear 235/45/17|
|REAR TIRES:||MT Drag Radial 275/40/17|
|RACE WEIGHT:||3,800 lbs|
|BEST 60-FT TIME:||1.84|