With our '01 Camaro SS looking good both inside and out, it was time to get down to the serious business of picking a powerplant. If you haven't been following along, our project Camaro is being built specifically to slay imports at their own game, which means we need to be able to out accelerate, out brake, out handle, and out drive one of their best-the Subaru STi. While the handling and braking will come later, this month's project involves prepping our new GM Performance Parts LS6 for battle. Why an LS6 you ask? For starters, it is a direct replacement for an LS1 (or other Gen III) as originally came in our SS, which means the factory harness, PCM, and sensors plug right in. The "Keep It Simple, Stupid" or KISS strategy should help make for an easier install with less potential for failure in the heat of battle. At 405 horses and 400 lb-ft of torque this figured to be in the ballpark of our intended goal, and even if we needed more power, a heads and cam swap could easily put us at 425 to 455 rwhp. Last and certainly not least, the idea of having a complete motor (not having to scour the Internet for every last gasket, bolt, or cover), which is brand-new and guaranteed to be reliable, was too good to pass up. Reliability is key with the abuse we intended to inflict, and thankfully GM Performance Parts was happy to oblige.
While waiting for our crate motor to arrive, we took some time to acquire a couple of extra parts, some necessary and some just for fun. Since we knew our engine was actually intended for a CTS-V, our first call was to Greg Lovell at AntiVenom, to see if he had access to a stock F-body oil pan. If you're planning to do this type of swap, you could also use your stock oil pan assuming you still have one. With the pan in our possession, we gave Improved Racing a call to order one of its F-body road race baffles. For the type of racing we plan on doing, this baffle is almost a requirement, as it can literally be the difference between catastrophic oil starvation and winning (or at least finishing) the race. With finishing in mind, we also chose to upgrade our stock power steering pump, to a unit built by TurnOne. These pumps are modified specifically for road racing and help reduce heat in the power steering system, which helps keep the fluid from boiling over, a common problem with an LS1 race car.
With the essentials out of the way, we called BBK Performance to order a pair of its new F-body long-tube headers to help us make the most power from our otherwise stock LS6. These long-tube headers feature 1.75-inch primaries, which are ceramic-coated for durability and thermal management. With our improved exhaust capability, we also chose to upgrade throttle bodies, switching from the stock 75mm to a larger BBK 80mm unit. In keeping with the theme of improving airflow, we also chose to upgrade to a Granatelli 85mm Z06 MAF sensor, which should help free up some horsepower after some good tuning.
Almost done, we decided our engine bay just wouldn't look right without some color, so we sent out our intake and valve covers to the Powder Pro and asked Sean to send us back something special. Follow along with us as we put everything together, and make sure to stay tuned for the next round of modifications.