If the '10-'14 Chevy Camaro SS is paint by numbers, then the '14 Camaro Z/28 is a masterpiece. Chevrolet may have used the same oil and canvas, but the outcome is completely different. It's virtually impossible to build a better fifth-generation Camaro for road racing. But if there's one thing the '14 Camaro Z/28 lacks, it's a lopey idle befitting a neo-Trans-Am racer and those less concerned with emissions than the federal government. And that's exactly what Redline Motorsports intends to give it.
From the minute this customer car was dropped off at the Pompano Beach, Florida, facility, Redline's owner Howard Tanner has been itching to slide one of his custom camshaft packages into the LS7. Having a number of Corvette Z06s pass through the shop, Redline is very familiar with the venerable 7.0L Gen IV small-block. Plus, Redline has been retrofitting LS7s and LSX454s in fifth-gens since 2009 with its dealer-sold HTR packages. The '14 Camaro Z/28 is like one of these packages on steroids, so just imagine what it can do with Redline's touch.
Speaking of caressing the '14 Camaro Z/28's LS7 oh-so-gently, let's get down and dirty. Redline's camshaft package includes a custom spec cam (ground by COMP Cams) that measures 0.644/0.648-inch lift and 238/250 duration at 0.050 with a 114 LSA. If that intake/exhaust split sounds a little wonky, keep in mind the LS7 is a big engine that moves a lot of air. And the differential between the rectangular intake and D-shaped exhaust flow is substantial, unlike the earlier cathedral intake and oval exhaust ports (LS1/LS6). Redline combines this custom cam with stock length COMP Cams chromoly pushrods and a dual valvespring package that uses titanium retainers. Last but not least, the crew would be retrofitting a set of American Racing long-tube headers built for the Camaro SS (with LS7 flanges) and doing a custom calibration on the dyno.
Follow along on the install as Redline tears into the brand-new '14 Camaro Z/28 to create a hot rodder's symphony and pick up a few ponies in the process. [Ed note: if you'd like to see and hear this thing in action hit up our website.]
01. If this shot looks familiar, then perhaps you caught the baseline testing of this ’14 Camaro Z/28 at Redline Motorsports in Pompano Beach, FL (http://bit.ly/1lPTJ5o). With 455 rwhp and 421 lb-ft of torque on tap, the Z/28 is pretty potent straight from the factory. Of course, there is always room for improvement.
02. The owner was intent on keeping the LS7 stock looking, but with a much better sounding idle. As a result, Redline would be keeping the factory cold-air intake and K&N filter. Though, clearly it already resembles an aftermarket piece.
03. Once Redline started the disassembly process they noted one key difference on the Z/28 versus other fifth-gen Camaros: the dry-sump oil lines. These are unique to the Z and have a particular effect on the header fitment, as does the oil cooler.
04. The valvesprings are changed out first, ditching the wimpy stock pieces for Redline’s shiny dual spring package with titanium retainers as well as locks and keepers.
05. he engine is turned over to draw the lifters into the plastic lifter buckets (inside the engine) to prevent them from falling into the oil pan when the cam is removed. Then the timing cover and oil pump are removed.
06. Though this crank-driven gerotor oil pump may look similar to the LS3 and LSA’s from the outside, the LS7 actually uses a dual-stage pump. The second scavenge pump is inside the housing cavity. Oil is sucked from the bottom of the pan into the pump, and then out the hoses and into the oil tank. The use of the oil tank to house the oil makes it a dry-sump system, but there is still some oil in the pan and crankcase (unlike a full-on race system with four or five stages) – some call it a “semi-dry” system as the result. On the plus side, the tank is successful in keeping the oil pickup submerged under serious g-forces.
07. The three bolts on the timing set sprocket were removed, then the thrust plate, and cam itself.
08. Redline had this camshaft custom ground by COMP Cams that spec’s 238/250 duration at 0.050 with a more even 0.644/0.648-inch lift and cut on a 114 LSA. The high lift takes advantage of the LS7’s excellent flow, and reflects a similar intake/exhaust split to stock (210/230 duration, 0.593/0.589-inch lift).
09. The new bumpstick is inserted into the LS7 block and lubed liberally with COMP’s cam and lifter lube. The thrust plate, timing set, and timing cover are then reinstalled.
10. Like the intake, the factory exhaust manifolds on the Z/28 are stout. As nice as these hydroformed Tri-Y headers are, a long-tube design should boost average and peak power.
11. At the time of publication, Z/28-specific headers were not available, so Redline retrofitted these Camaro SS 1 7/8-inch primary long-tubes from American Racing Headers. However, a Z/28 version with a couple of unique bends to avoid the dry-sump lines and outlets that mate up to the 2.75-inch exhaust will soon be available. ARH also offers a stepped header originally designed for the COPO that may yield even better results, but negates the use of catalytic converters.
12. With the install complete, the ’14 Camaro Z/28 was loaded up on Redline’s Land & Sea chassis dyno as Howard Tanner made a few changes to the factory tune. EFI Live software was used to adjust the idle, fueling, ignition timing, and other features of the E38 computer, as is required with nearly any cam change on an EFI engine.
13. Redline’s ’14 Camaro Z/28 Stage 3 camshaft and header upgrade raised the power peak by 500 rpm and gained 132 rwhp and 100 lb-ft of torque. A total of 578 rwhp easily puts this LS7 over the 600hp mark at the crank, and Tanner estimates that there is still power on the table with so many untouched factory components, like the intake manifold.