Adding power to the '10 Camaro is not for the weak hearted, and the aftermarket is booming! But as with any vehicle, adding power applies additional stress to other components residing within. While the '10 Camaro has proven a reliable, powerful piece, we've been steadily realizing that the IRS (Independent Rear Suspension) system has been sketchy at best. Not that we've seen the ring gear explode through the differential case or anything, but moaning and groaning has become the normal in failure due to large amounts of stress to the bearings, and clutch pack failure within the rear housing. And of course after some serious track launches axle failure is eminent. Most of the issues are prevalent when adding horsepower and torque coupled with dragstrip abuse.
To battle this issue without converting to a solid rear axle, a viable solution had to be obtained. Enter Hendrix Engineering in Salisbury, North Carolina. Headed by Thomas Hendrix, Hendrix Engineering has dedicated itself to innovation in the aftermarket having developed well needed performance upgrades for the Pontiac GTO, Camaro, and Corvette to name a few. In order to combat the potential issues with the fifth-gen rear's strength, Hendrix went out and specifically purchased a fifth-gen and had to decide if it was wise to improve upon the stock unit, or start from scratch. With the differential residing in tight area within the rear subframe, Hendrix gave it a go and developed a unit based off of the most widely utilized rear end upgrade, the Ford 9-inch. That's right, I wrote the four-lettered word in an issue of GMHTP. Not to fret, out of all of the components sourced, none were from that Ford place.
It was a tall order to fit the 9-inch housing and third member (centersection) into the fifth-gen, but with a myriad of research and development, Hendrix made it happen. Depending upon what type or brand of third member you decide to utilize, this thing is capable of bulletproof status and can handle just about anything you can throw at it. Made with a thick stamped steel housing with Ford-style 9-inch ends, not only is this thing strong, but aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Now to keep with the IRS configuration, beefier half shafts were developed with bigger bearings within the constant velocity joint, and of course a redeveloped, two-piece aluminum driveshaft without the rubber damper had to be incorporated.
To add a little heart to the 9-inch housing we called upon the pros at Strange Engineering for one of its complete third-members. Since this monster is primarily a street candidate, with strip slaying tendencies, Strange Engineering suggested its Pro Nodular Iron Case complete with a chrome-moly yoke, TrueTrac Differential and standard 3.70 gears, as opposed to the 3.45 stock gear presently in the six-speed Camaro. And in order to tackle this install properly we called upon Matt Hauffe and the crew over at Tune Time Performance in sunny Toms River, New Jersey. Considering that Matt owns both a Pontiac G8 and a fifth-gen Camaro, a good portion of his time revolves around bettering these LS powered beasts. Let's get started!