Word gets around quick, and by now perhaps you have already heard about Redline Motorsports’ 2016 Camaro SS. It packs a 427-cubic-inch, twin-turbo Gen V bullet behind its stock 8L90E automatic transmission. Contrary to some other claims, as I type this it is the most powerful sixth-gen in the land, making 915 rwhp and 880 lb-ft of torque. It’s already run 9.9s and is getting faster with a new set of exhaust housings for the turbos, and an aftermarket torque converter on the way. It would have been much simpler to throw a cam, nitrous, and bolt-ons at it and go, but that was not in owner Howard Tanner’s long-term plan. Redline’s 2016 Camaro SS will serve as the prototype for future packages and parts, so they threw the kitchen sink at it to push the envelope. If you think new technology is cool, then read on. We are about to go in-depth on Redline’s twin-turbo 427ci LT1 sixth-gen build.
Fabricator Roy Balseiro is responsible for Redline’s sixth-gen Camaro twin-turbo system, which utilizes the beefy OEM exhaust manifolds. In doing so, Redline has accomplished multiple wins: adding reliability, ensuring a well-fitting system, and spending your hard-earned money on things that only add value. But, perhaps, best of all it allows them to mount a set of Comp 66/71 turbos just inches away, in the exhaust system’s natural path. This is ideal for spooling the turbos, simplifying the installation, and negating any sort of flex pipe. The engine can move and the exhaust system with it, as it hangs from the factory hangers. Redline chose the oil-less Comp turbos, which don’t require plumbing to the oil pan or a scavenge pump. Not only does this simplify the installation, but it also allows them to be oriented in any manner for better packaging. Since the turbos’ bearings are water-cooled, Redline taps coolant from the engine block on both sides. Stainless steel 2.5-inch tubing feeds each turbo and vents the pair of TiAL 44 wastegates to the atmosphere, since this is to be the max effort version of the kit. Redline plans to work with SEMA on a certified, CARB-legal version with cats. Some modification may be needed to this portion and the 3-inch stainless steel downpipes that connect to the factory NPP dual-mode exhaust. The cold side should remain mostly the same with a front-mount, 6-inch-thick air-to-air intercooler capable of 1,400 hp. Redline used Wiggins-style clamps at every connection of the aluminum pipes, which may add a bit of cost but ensures you won’t blow a clamp off in a hard-to-reach location. A TiAL blow-off valve is used to prevent compressor surge and make cool sounds. Though these turbos are too large for a stock LT1, Redline did some testing while the new bullet was being assembled. It proved capable of 725 rwhp and a lazy 10.55 at 137 mph, only making boost in the higher gears.
427ci Gen V LT1 V-8
Redline Motorsports has been building stroker LT1s since it was released back in 2013, applying much of the knowledge it attained with the LS engine building program. The regular 416-cubic-inch LT1 stroker applies a 4.00-inch stroke crankshaft and matching rotating assembly to the 6.2L block. However, this go-round Howard wanted to punch out the 4.065-inch iron cylinder liners and have Race Engine Development install Darton LS7-style dry sleeves with a 4.130-inch bore. Together with the Manley forged crank, rods, and pistons it would displace that familiar 427 cubic inches. A traditional dished piston along with LT4 cylinder heads and head gaskets were used to create a 10.5:1 compression. The LT4 heads use Rotocast A356-T6 aluminum that is stronger and handles heat better than LT1 heads with larger (65.47cc) chambers and solid 2.125-inch titanium intake valves that are lighter than the LT1’s hollow valves. Valvesprings were sourced from Brian Tooley Racing along with rocker trunnion upgrades to accommodate a Comp hydraulic roller cam. The big mill required 232/248-degrees of duration, 0.635/0.660-inches of lift, and a fuel lobe with a 38-percent increase in flow. With nothing but bad intentions, Redline locked the cam phaser and deleted DOD using a Katech valley cover.
While there was a learning curve with the Gen V’s new hardware, the hard part was actually providing enough fuel and controlling this beast. Redline started with an LT4 fuel pump that cranks out 2,900 psi (20 MPa), while the stock LT1 manages only 2,154 psi (or 15 MPa). But this setup would only provide enough fuel for 9 psi of boost pressure so Redline outfitted an MSD Atomic intake manifold with eight 950cc injectors from Fuel Injection Connection. A stand-alone EFI controller with an in-tank pump and dedicated PTFE -8AN line and Aeromotive regulator provide up to 600 hp of supplemental fuel. The system is activated and modulated via boost pressure, which is controlled by an AMS-2000. The boost controller is tied into a PLX wideband O2 and fuel pressure sensors to use the safety features of its software. At 16 psi, this rip-roaring system makes over 1,000 bhp. And that’s just scratching the surface of the Gen V’s potential.
1. Redline’s sixth-gen Camaro twin-turbo kit uses Comp 66/71 turbos that mount 6-10 inches from the exhaust manifold with 2.5-inch hot-side piping and 3-inch downpipes. These are water-cooled, oil-less turbos that can be oriented in any manner for better packaging.
2. After bolting up the hot-side pipes to the factory exhaust manifolds, Roy Balseiro hung the turbos and fabricated the 2.5-inch wastegate pipes and 3-inch downpipes. The internal bypass on the turbo is another nice feature that aids packaging since there is little room for a wastegate prior to the turbine. The TiAL wastegates have 9-psi springs.
3. The front-mount air-to-air intercooler mounts to the bumper support, and yes, it really is 6 inches thick. It will have access to plenty of air from the massive lower grille opening on the 2016 Camaro.
4. Roy bent the end tanks using a gear-driven bead roller.
5. After cutting a hole for the air to enter and exit, he welded on the aluminum ferrules for the Wiggins-style clamps—one on the driver-side, two on the passenger.
6. Finally, the end tanks can be carefully TIG-welded to the intercooler core.
7. Along the way, the cold-side aluminum pipes were fabricated. As you can see, the intercooler exit and charge pipe goes under the driver-side headlight.
8. Using Wiggins-style clamps add time and cost to the kit since the aluminum ferrules have to be TIG-welded onto each pipe, but it is the most reliable method and suitable for any boost level.
9. Each clamp has a dual seal and an O-ring that allows for some movement, which is key. Instead of a traditional Wiggins clamp that is like a Chinese finger trap, this Jodar clamp has an easy-to-use quick-release pin.
10. A TiAL blow-off valve is mounted topside to prevent compressor surge and protect the turbo. If you aren’t familiar with turbo kits, the blow-off valve vents the boosted air to the atmosphere when the throttle blade closes shut. This prevents the charged air from backing up in the system and hurting the turbo.
11. To make max power, the MSD Atomic AirForce intake was used for better breathing and the ability to mount port fuel injection. An Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator with a dedicated fuel line and in-tank pump supplies 950cc injectors with enough fuel for 600 hp in addition to the factory DI system. A separate controller is used for port injection.
12. To push the 9-psi wastegate springs beyond their limits, Redline used the new AMS 2000 boost controller, which is tied into wideband O2 and fuel pressure sensors for safety.
13. The controller itself was mounted directly to the floorpan, under the carpet, where Howard Tanner can adjust the calibration using the AMS software from inside the cabin.
14. Moving on to the bullet. Race Engine Development used LS7-style dry sleeves to enlarge the bore of an LT1 block to 4.130-inches. By being dry, the liners do not make direct contact with the coolant so there is little risk of leaking or any adverse affects to cooling.
15. Here is a closer look at the liners, which are fully machined as you can tell by the crosshatch. You can tell there is much more material in the cylinder liners than factory, which do not make contact with each other.
16. Redline treats the block to a fresh set of Clevite 77 bearings, coated with assembly lube. ARP fasteners were used throughout, including the main studs.
17. A Manley forged steel crankshaft provides 4-inches of thrust to the 427-cubic-inch LT1.
18. From the bottom it is hard to tell the LT1 block from an LS3 with its nodular iron six-bolt main caps.
19. Manley forged steel I-beam connecting rods measure 6.125-inches, like an LS engine.
20. Roy puts the rods in a vice to remove the caps prior to assembly.
21. Organization is key when putting together an engine, as the parts are not necessarily interchangeable. Roy assembled the piston/rod assembly by inserting the floating pins through the piston and small end of the rod. He then used roundwire locks to secure them.
22. Manley custom-designed these -20cc dished pistons for the boosted LT1, which was one of the biggest challenges of the engine build. It uses a 2618 alloy with a Total Seal ring package. The combination of direct-injection and unique canted valve heads makes the Gen V unique. So far Redline has found no issue with removing the OEM style bowl.
23. The piston skirt design is critical to providing clearance for the piston oil squirters in the Gen V. However, the ring package is critical to making power and minimizing blow-by with a boosted engine.
24. The piston/rod assembly was slid into the block using a ring compressor.
25. Then the ARP rod bolts were torqued to spec to complete the rotating assembly.
26. A 232/248-degree duration cam from Comp Cams was inserted into the block, and degree’d just like an LS engine. This cam uses a fuel pump lobe designed by Comp to increase fuel flow by 38 percent. Given its extreme power level, the variable cam timing system (VVT) was locked out so that Redline could use a larger cam without the valves making contact with the pistons. A factory timing set and oil pump were used to complete the short-block.
27. Redline uses the LT4’s hefty, multi-layer steel head gaskets for forced-induction builds. Between these gaskets and the 12mm ARP head bolts, the LT1 is much better suited to boost.
28. For a truly boost-ready engine, LT4 heads were chosen, which have a stronger Rotocast A356-T6 aluminum and larger (65.47cc) chambers. The lighter 2.125-inch titanium intake valves come in handy with the larger camshaft as well.
29. Roy lowered the LT4 heads onto the short-block. If you notice the red marker, that is where the intake bolt pattern was changed. The LT1 and LT4 do not share the same pattern, but Redline previously developed a template to machine the heads. As a result, they can use a street-friendly polymer intake manifold like MSD’s or even a stock LT1.
30. To finish off the long-block, Roy added Katech’s billet aluminum valley cover to delete the DOD system. Since fuel mileage isn’t a concern on this build, the spring-loaded lifters would be an unneeded liability. DOD (aka Active Fuel Management, or AFM) shuts down four cylinders during light load conditions to conserve fuel.
31. A factory timing cover was used to seal up the engine, and an ATI Super Damper would help protect the bearings.
32. Here is the LT4 fuel pump that was added to increase fuel pressure from 2,154 to 2,900 psi. With direct injection, this is the only way to increase the fuel flow since aftermarket injectors are not available.
33. The fully completed engine also features factory rocker arms with Brian Tooley Racing valvesprings and trunnion upgrades to handle the 0.635/0.660-inch lift camshaft.
34. An SFI-approved flexplate from TCI Automotive was cheap insurance on the Gen V, which will continue to use the factory 8L90E transmission.
35. With the trans and engine cradle supported, Roy lowered the engine to bolt it up prior to installing it in Redline’s 2016 Camaro SS.