First gear, useless. Second gear? Well, let’s just say you better be holding that steering wheel straight when the boost hits. The noise can only be described as a tearing sound, as the tires just start to haze and boil right as the boost comes on strong. Third gear, you’re moving now. Picking up speed and the turbo is just singing along picking up miles an hour faster than you can imagine. No need for fourth on city streets, but if your buddy thinks his GT500 is fast, you can certainly show him who is boss from a nice low roll. Best of all, out of the throttle, we couldn’t hear anything at all. And I’m talking about “is it still running?” kind of quite.
Of course, what we’re talking about here is life behind the wheel of a 500-rwhp Fifth-gen Camaro equipped with Turbonetics bolt-on Fifth-gen Camaro turbo system. The kit, which ships to your door with every single piece you need to complete the installation – and we do mean every single piece you need – comes with a Turbonetics T76 water-cooled turbocharger, a massive air-to-air front mount intercooler, a set of 35mm wastegates, a Duo blow off valve, and all of the tubing, couplers, gaskets, hardware, and accessories needed for a complete 100-percent bolt-on installation. That includes a set of spark plugs, a set of injectors, a pre-programmed handheld tuner, and enough thermal heat wrap to allow your Fifth-gen to safety reenter the atmosphere, should the need arise. We’re serious here, Turbonetics even includes the tap you need for the oil drain line fitting… there is no running to the parts store for this installation. And, as we’ve said, installing the system on a stock Camaro makes it 50-state legal (even you, California!), so you can pass emissions with 500-rwhp on board and never have to worry about any hassle.
Sound too good to be true? Well, we’ll warn you now that this isn’t an install for the complete novice. It can be done at home, no doubt, but we would recommend you block out a couple of weekends to get everything just perfect. And call your car buddies, you’re going to want some help from time to time. But seriously, everything is included and you don’t have to do a single bit of cutting or welding, so if you’re mechanically inclined, you can easily knock this out. For our installation, we turned to Greg Lovell and Kyle Miller at AntiVenom here in way-too-hot-outside-Florida, and they were able to knock out the installation on a ’10 Camaro in just a couple of days. The results, well, they speak for themselves…
1. Chances are, if you’ve owned your Fifth-gen for any period of time, you’ve done a couple of bolt-on modifications. And they were fun, at first, but maybe now you want a little more power… Our test Camaro arrived at AntiVenom in Seffner, Florida sporting a set of long-tube headers, a full exhaust, and a cold-air intake system, and put down 414.54-rwhp and 407.43 lb-ft of torque on the dyno. Very strong bolt-on numbers for sure but about 100-rwhp shy of what the owner was looking for.
2. Enter Turbonetics and the company’s complete bolt-on, 50 state legal, single-turbo system. Designed specifically for the ’10-12 Camaro, this system shipped to AntiVenom’s door with every single piece needed to complete the installation, including all of the tubing, lines, couplers, heat wrap, zip ties, bolts, nuts, washers, brackets, and even some tools, that would be needed to complete the job. When we say complete, we mean it. .
3. Kyle Miller, AntiVenom’s lead technician, wasted no time digging in to the Camaro, prepping it for the turbo system installation by removing the front bumper, draining the oil and coolant, and disconnecting the battery. If any of these steps seem complicated, we recommend finding a qualified installer to take care of your turbo installation. It’s not complicated work but it’s quite the undertaking for even a professional installer.
4. The 50-state legal turbo system requires Camaro owners to use their factory exhaust manifolds and catalytic converters with the Turbonetics system. As you can see, our test Camaro came with a set of long-tube headers, which we switched out for a pair of stock exhaust manifolds. You did keep your stock exhaust manifolds, right?
5. With the stock catalytic converters in place, Kyle’s first step was to slide the new Turbonetics merge pipe in place. If it looks a bit strange, understand that this is a front mounted turbo system, and Turbonetics designed the system to bring exhaust back towards the engine bay using a well designed merge pipe, which features two priority wastegate mounting locations for quality boost control. This allows users to keep the stock manifolds, cats, and exhaust.
6. Twin Turbonetics 35mm wastegates bolt to the back of the turbo merge pipe. These wastegates control exhaust flow through the turbocharger and allow for adjustable boost settings. Using an internal spring, these wastegates are set to provide approximately 5 to 6 pounds of boost on a stock LS3/L99, which is perfect for longevity and performance.
7. Preparing the Fifth-gen engine bay for the turbo system installation is the most time consuming a tedious portion of the installation, but quality prep work will make for a hassle free turbocharged ride. Turbonetics has obviously thought about everything with this system, including thermal management, reliability, and maintenance, which is excellent to see in a mail-order bolt-on system.
8. Heat wrap, heat wrap, heat wrap. Almost every single line, wire, and cable on the driver’s side of the engine bay needs to be covered in thermal insulation, and Turbonetics provides a lot of it to make sure you don’t skimp out. Turbochargers get very hot, so unless you enjoy melting pieces of your Camaro, take the time to wrap all of the A/C lines, power steering hoses, battery cables, spark plug boots, and miscellaneous wires you find under the hood.
9a-b. The Turbonetics T76 ceramic ball bearing turbocharger is the star of the show, and is capable of delivering over 500-rwhp at the stock boost level with factory catalytic converters and the provided tune. Both water cooled and oil lubricated, the T76 requires both coolant and oil to be provided by the factory Fifth-gen engine…
10. Which means you’ll need to dig in deep and do some cutting and drilling. Using the provided AN water line fittings, you will need to cut the factory heater hoses (located on the passenger side of the engine) and splice the fittings in place. These will connect to the upper and lower ports on the turbocharger, allowing it to be cooled by the engine coolant, which increases the turbo’s life and performance.
11a-b. Getting oil to the turbocharger is a much more difficult task and it requires drilling and tapping the oil pan. This is one part of the installation where it’s critical to get everything right. Using a 9/16-inch drill bit, Kyle carefully drilled the stock oil pan (on the driver’s side, 2-inches from the bottom) and then tapped it using the provided tap. A barbed fitting then threads in place, which returns oil to the pan. The supply side simply bolts to the block, using an oil galley located behind the alternator.
12. At this point, you’re ready to mock up the turbocharger and slide it into place. Using the provided bracket, Kyle bolted the turbocharger to the up-pipe flange, and dropped the T76 turbo in place. Note that the compressor housing (the shiny side) may need to be clocked, or angled differently, to fit in the chassis, so take your time to get everything lined up perfectly.
13. Compressing air heats it and hot air is bad for performance, which is why Turbonetics includes a massive 26x11x4.5-inch aluminum Spearco air-to-air front mount intercooler with the Camaro SS system. This gigantic intercooler will transfer heat away from the compressed air, allowing it to cool, before heading into the engine. Three rubber-isolated studs (and one hard mounted stud) hold the intercooler in place.