The new Camaro is so close, we can almost taste it! GMHTP went through the basics of Chevy's gorgeous new muscle machine last issue ("Camaro Rides Again," January 2009), but left readers to drool in anticipation over perhaps the most important part: the gritty particulars on its trio of engines.
You'll find just about everything you're looking for here, save for finalized SAE-certified horsepower/torque and EPA fuel economy numbers (final testing and certification was still pending as of press time). They should be released as this issue is hitting newsstands, so point your browser to www.gmhightechperformance.com and we'll let you know as soon as the news breaks!
LS3 6.2L V-8
TR6060 six-speed manual
422/408 (preliminary, estimated)
Big-cube pushrod power, tried-and-true in the Corvette
The Camaro-bound LS3 in cutaway view. Dig the "CHEVROLET" script on its engine cover! --->
Buyers of row-your-own SS models will be blessed with an engine that's been plastering smiles on the faces of automotive enthusiasts since its release in the MY 2008 Corvette. If you haven't had the pleasure of time behind the wheel in an LS3-equipped Y-car, rest assured: this mill is a torque monster that's not only built to thrill, but to take any and all abuse thrown at it in stride.
Taking a page from Corvette, both the Camaro-spec LS3 and L99 get rectangular-port cylinder heads featuring offset-rocker technology and big 'ol valves: two per cylinder, of course. As we know, this head has been revolutionizing the LS scene since debuting on the L92 a few years back. --->
For details on what changes the LS3 will take on in this new application, we spoke with John Rydzewski, Assistant Chief Engineer for Car Small Block Engines. Fortunately, Rydzewski had little to say, as this is one of those cases where no news is good news. The Camaro's LS3 will be, for all intents and purposes, identical to the mill we introduced in the November 2007 issue ("Sick Six Point Two"). As a recap, here are the essentials: based on the Gen IV small-block architecture, a 4.065-in. bore meets a 3.622-in. stroke to yield 376 cubes, and cast aluminum pistons put a 10.7:1 squeeze on the air/fuel mix. Rectangular intake ports provide flow never before possible in an as-cast factory LS head, and an aggressive hydraulic roller camshaft with .551-inch lift on the intake side takes advantage of their spectacular capabilities. A dependable nodular iron crank and forged powder metal connecting rods make for a durable bottom end. All of that stays for the Camaro, though the LS3 will make a handful less horsepower than in the Corvette simply because of slightly more restrictive intake and exhaust systems (and, we'll bet, the same corporate politics that have kept Vettes atop the GM horsepower pecking order for decades). Other differences include a unique oil pan to fit in the Camaro's chassis, along with rudimentary changes to items like the starter, dipstick, PCV, and accessory drive system.
The LS3 and L99 share the same engine block, and it's virtually identical to the one shown here from the 638hp supercharged LS9 (have a look at "LS9 Lives!," April 2008, for an exposition on that engine). The few details differentiating Camaro blocks from those in the Corvette ZR1 include lack of the LS9 block's piston cooling oil jets, larger head bolt holes, and deck plate hone, all left out mainly for cost savings. The "risers" in the lifter valley will also be drilled for use of AFM on the L99 (they'll be vestigial on the LS3). --->
But the story isn't quite over, because the Camaro's LS3 benefits from the same updates all 6.2L engines receive for MY 2009; namely, an even stronger aluminum block. "We went through a round of casting and machining improvements to the 6.2L block when the LS3 was introduced," explains Rydzewski. "Then, when the ZR1 went into production, we improved the safety factor further by working the window area in the bulkheads again, so we would be capable of meeting our durability schedules with the LS9's power levels." Just think: the LS3 block has been proven to factory robustness standards in a supercharged 638-horse engine that blistered a record run at Nrburgring Nordschleife! Even accounting for some detail differences like non-doweled, powder metal main caps (versus the LS9's forged steel units), this block has a great safety factor for added ponies-one we're certain many GMHTP readers are waiting in the wings to take full advantage of!
Of final note is that this LS3's ECM will be the same E38 controller found in the Corvette. The Camaro also takes advantage of GM's new generation of vehicle electrical architecture: known as Global A, it's basically a more efficient communications protocol for onboard systems. And while not needed for LS3, the E38 is capable of supporting VVT and AFM features found in the LS3's close relative and Camaro stablemate, the L99.