Behold the return of "CT," our project '99 Camaro SS. As there have been a few GMHTP issues printed since we ran the last installment of this series, a quick recap of the upgrades we've performed so far is in order. The May 2009 issue featured an introduction to the project along with a GM LS7 clutch and B&M shifter swap. This was followed with a CARB-legal K&N intake and Edelbrock exhaust upgrades (July 2009). In last November's issue, a full corner-carving suspension treatment complete with Spohn hard parts, AFCO shocks, and aggressive Nitto rubber was had. Finally, the January 2010 issue showcased an AFR cylinder head/GM LS6 cam and intake manifold swap.
Our theme for this ride has been a 50-state emissions-legal build in as strict as possible adherence to the requirements of the California EPA's Air Resources Board (a.k.a. CARB), a government entity that has laid down what is universally understood to be the most demanding and comprehensive emissions regulation system in the U.S. Our goal: demonstrate that seriously upping the power ante on LS-powered rides is possible even when faced with what many perceive as onerous regulations on emissions legality (rules which we all ought to get used to, as their applicability can only be expected to become more widespread as time goes on).
So, exactly how much power can one wring out of an LS1 while staying fully CARB legal? As we've seen so far, remaining naturally aspirated places a comparatively modest limit on increases, largely because of the requirement of keeping stock displacement and the completely devoid market for CARB-legal LS camshafts. (Even if cams were available that had gone through the certification process, they could not be especially aggressive as lumpier cams are bad for emissions.) Ditto for aftermarket PCM calibrations for N/A vehicles, which as of this writing no company has apparently bothered to have certified. Fortunately, lack of CARB-legal componentry is a non-issue when it comes to forced induction; several CARB-legal supercharger kits are available for LS-powered rides.
As far as turbocharger kits go, CARB legality is more problematic, particularly because of cold-start emissions; installing a turbocharger upstream of the catalytic converter(s) delays warm-up of the device. Fortunately, this is not the case with the patented remote-mount turbocharger systems devised by Squires Turbo Systems (STS). In fact, according to data collected during CARB testing, installation of a CARB-approved STS kit actually provides cleaner emissions than stock, with data showing significant reductions in emissions of pollutants like carbon monoxide and oxides of nitrogen. Combine this with the fact that, amazingly, GMHTP has yet to cover a full tech install of an STS turbocharger system, and it made going the STS route a no-brainer for this project.
One advantage to STS turbocharger systems is their relative ease of installation: there's a whole lot less to alter in cramped underhood areas compared to a traditional style turbocharger kit. But while the install is straightforward, there are still a lot of steps to it; so in the interest of completeness, we'll begin slapping the kit on this issue and finish it off next time. Follow along as we bolt this sucker up, and pay attention because we'll go over the advantages of rear-mount turbo systems as the installation progresses.