We called over to Speed Inc., located just 30 minutes from downtown Chicago and asked Tony DiVito, service manager, to arrange a time to swap in our go-fast goodies and then tune the car. Founded in 1999 by Tom Izzo, Speed Inc. is highly regarded both locally and nationally and has even had customers ship them cars from as far as Saudi Arabia. No stranger to fifth-gen Camaros, veteran technician Dan Marks did his magic and had all the parts swapped in just less than four hours along with a fresh set of spark plugs. Header swaps on a new Camaro are a breeze as we’ve shared in the past, and in most cases you don’t even have to remove the steering shaft. The crank pulley is buried at the bottom of the engine compartment and it took a bit of finesse to get it out. The throttle body and cold intake swap both took under 30 minutes. Dan then reconnected the battery, cranked the key and the car fired right up.
Jim Moran is the tuner at Speed Inc. and uses HP Tuners for ECM tuning. He takes a two-pronged approach, both tuning cars on a Dynojet dynamometer as well as well as on the street. Jim shared with us that cars modified to this level and beyond will benefit from tuning because the air fuel will be off as a result of the changes. He also adds and takes out timing advance as needed. But the tuning is not limited to the engine, in fact he spends quite a bit of time going through the transmission controls, adjusting torque management based on the preferences of the customer as well as things like shift points, downshift characteristics and (when asked) turning off AFM. Jim also revised the cooling fan controls, turning the fans on sooner for us. We also elected to raise the shift points in Sport mode.
The dyno sheets tell the tale, the car picked up over 50-rear wheel horsepower from four bolt-ons and ECM tuning, which is more than we picked up on a previous fourth-gen Camaro build. Quite anxious to hit the track, we picked up the car and hit the track two days later. Still shod with the same stock Pirelli tires, we were able to squeeze in a few runs at Great Lakes Dragaway during one of their events. Our 13.15 had been run in 400 DA weather, so upon hearing that the DA was close to 3,700 we had no idea how well the car would run though it felt strong on the highway.
We’ve established a routine for getting the car ready for runs, and it starts with airing down the rear tires to 25 psi. Next the engine cover is removed as it could hamper our efforts to cool off the engine. Previously we’ve had to wait as long as 45 minutes to cool the car down before making a run, but now with revised tuning the fans come on sooner and the car was ready in only 30 minutes. While pulling into the staging lanes the traction control is turned off, otherwise the ECM would go nuts during our burnout and subsequent quarter-mile pass. Since we are still running stock radials fore and aft we take care to drive around the water box so as not to drag water up to the line. We then back up to the front of the water box, do a short burnout to get some heat into the tires and clean them off. The gear selector is put into Sport mode to take advantage of the custom programming. Pulled up to the starting line, staged the car, the tree came down, and we let ‘er rip. The pass felt strong and the slip confirmed it, Heavy Chevy had cranked off a 12.74 at 108.6 and cut a 1.92 short time on stock tires! We were able to sneak back in and make two more passes, and while the car didn’t run a quicker elapsed time it did hit 109.55 mph. We’ll be running the car as much as possible in order to get that time down to 12.5 or quicker, but so far have only bested that by a few hundredths (12.72 at 110.6 with a 1.96 sixty at 2,200 DA), so stay tuned.
8. Check out that Cold Air inductions setup, looks great right. Bill Hylton over at CAI is all about the details, so the system is designed to keep the incoming air as cool as possible. There is another strength of this sealed box approach. We’ve heard other systems that just had a partition between the air filter and the rest of the engine compartment, and honestly the engine noise can be just as loud as the exhaust with those other designs.
9. Nothing like Gen IV MAF setups, this Camaro mass air flow sensor is held in by a few screws, and swaps into the new air intake in seconds. We’ve read on the web that some MAF’s are strong, and some are weak. We checked and ours would be a strong one. We’ll have to do some investigating and research on this.
10. The Powerbond pulley looks almost OEM nestled cozily next to the alternator. We elected to use an ARP crank bolt because (unlike a GM bolt) it can be re-used. The air conditioning belt is stretch-to-fit and is the hardest part of the install.
11. Tony pitched in and helped finish up the exhaust install, though the other guys conspicuously put their eye protection back on and stepped back a few feet.
12. Look at those Kooks long tube headers. They fit great and slid right in.
13. The Kooks high-flow cats mate up easily to the stock H-pipe, and we re-used the stock sleeve clamp. This is truly a bolt-in and go system.
14. Jim Moran got to business and strapped the Camaro on the dyno. Jim made a number of pulls, and adjusted the air/fuel and timing advance to maximize performance, but kept an eye on knock retard and the inlet air temperatures. Interestingly, the car is only a bit louder than stock at idle. At part throttle it gave off a raspy growl, and at wide-open throttle it had a tuned exhaust note like a C5 Z06.
15. And there you have it; the car gained 53-rear wheel horsepower and 74 foot-pounds of torque. Check out that air fuel ratio, nice and safe.
16. Two days later we managed to get some runs at Great Lakes Dragaway during their busy Saturday program. We’ve experimented with warming up the stock Pirellis and they do hook better after a short roasting of the hides. We bettered the 1.95 60-foot time we had run stock, netting a 1.92 this time. The boards lit up and told us what we wanted to know, 12.74 at 108.6, an e.t. reduction of four-tenths in humid summer air (and still going).