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2010 Camaro Upgrade - 2010 Camaro: The First Push

We Baseline A New F-Body, Then Break Out The Tools-Both Metallic And Electronic-In The Pursuit Of The 11s.

Mike Ficacci Oct 1, 2009
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We were a little late to the game with this '10 Camaro, owned by Tune Time Performance (Toms River, NJ), but have hit the ground running with an awesome first day and educational week. Which magazine went fastest? Who actually had a stock car when they did their baseline testing? I guess we can never be 100 percent sure of what anyone else does besides ourselves, and I for one am pleased with our baseline testing and first set of modifications.

We hit Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in New Jersey on June 17, 2009, and made four passes in this automatic-equipped Camaro. One hit was made completely stock and two were made with a custom tune complements of Tune Time Performance.

We brought a handheld weather station with us, which read about 1,000 feet above sea level upon our arrival and dropped to 250 feet as the barometer rose and the dew point fell. Our first pass was promising for our 6L80E-equipped SS with a 13.252 at 106.42 mph. We expected as much based on the numbers we had on file from a Pontiac G8 GT the year prior.

Matt Hauffe, owner of Tune Time Performance, was at the wheel and had this to say. "Getting the '10 Camaro to leave the line is just about as simple as it comes. The stock program limits power and all you have to do is put your foot down and hope for the best."

Matt then loaded his file and made back-to-back hits, the first of which was a 13.031 at 107.71 mph. The second was slightly faster, but 10 times more satisfying as we were able to get the Camaro into the 12s simple by breaking out the computer tuner. The result was a 12.947 elapsed time at 108.39 mph.

Of course, running high 12s is only enjoyable for a short period of time. For our next trick, we called the people at Mast Motorsports, who are truly at the forefront of variable valve timing technology like that in the 400hp L99 engine. We got our hands on its VVT camshaft package and also bolted on a set of SLP Performance 1 3/4-inch headers and 3-inch exhaust.

Variable valve timing is actually quite simple once understood. In conventional engines, you choose a camshaft grind and install it advanced, straight up, or retarded based on manufacturer recommendations and what purpose the engine is for. Variable valve timing allows you to change camshaft timing while the engine is in operation, ultimately making more peak torque down low via an advanced camshaft and more peak horsepower up top via a retarded camshaft.

Ultimately, we squeezed a whopping 406 wheel horsepower out of this 6.2-liter L99. Follow along as we install the Mast Motorsports VVT camshaft and SLP headers and exhaust.

Mast Motorsports

SLP Performance

Tune Time Performance

After our baseline test, we attacked the exhaust system and unbolted the manifolds. These both come out from the bottom followed by the rest of the system. The factory unit is one piece from the back of the exhaust manifolds to the muffler and slides out with the loosening of a few bolts. This system is very restrictive to those looking to make horsepower and it was a must to get it out of the way.

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Check out SLP Performances new 13/4-inch headers and 3-inch exhaust system for the 10 Camaro. Made out of stainless steel, its system is mandrel bent and coated to prevent heat loss into the engine bay.

First, the headers were installed. They went in easily and leave plenty of room from the firewall, side panels, and wiring systems to ensure we have no problems in the future.

Then, we got to work on the crossover pipe and mufflers to finish out the system. SLP made this unit in many pieces so it does have not have to be installed all at once. Take your time and make sure that your pipes are lined up and your exhaust tips are centered in the rear fascia. Our baseline testing produced 328 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 335 lb-ft at 4,300. With the SLP headers, this climbed to 350 hp at 5,600 and 358 lb-ft of torque at 4,600.

On to the cam swap: We ripped off the factory air induction system and pulled out the radiator. There is no way to get the camshaft lined up with the radiator in place so it too has to go. Before doing so, make sure the water is drained from the radiator, the air conditioning system is relieved of pressure, and you disconnect the power steering cooling lines. With the removal of a few bolts, the radiator pulls right out and leaves a large enough hole for us to remove the old camshaft and install the new.

Next, we unbolted the water pump assembly and crank pulley so we had a clear shot at the camshaft cover plate. This took some time as the 10 Camaro engine assembly is different from many LS applications. We had to unbolt the alternator bracket and remove the air conditioner belt by turning over the engine and working the belt off the back of the crankshaft pulley. At this point, we had a clear shot at the camshaft cover and started working the bolts off.

While removing the cam cover, be sure not to forget the two bolts located under the front cover that connect it to the oil pan. This is where things get interesting if youre unfamiliar with the variable valve timing system. What you are looking at is the camshaft phaser, which actually performs the action of changing camshaft timing while in motion. The system is powered by pressurized oil forced through the center of the phaser to the holes located on the outside rim.

We removed the phaser, which is torqued to approximately 140 lb-ft. The phaser bolt is unique in that is has holes and galleys to allow the flow of oil between the phaser and camshaft. Being a torque-to-yield bolt, it is always a good idea swap this bolt for a new one whenever you take it out.

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Once that's out of the way, we can remove the factory camshaft. The stock camshaft specs out at 0.500-inch intake/0.492-inch exhaust lift, 195-degrees of duration intake and 201-degrees of duration on the exhaust. Our Mast Motorsports camshaft is going to increase lift on both the intake and exhaust side. Its kit provides a stronger valve springs capable of handling the added lift an duration.

The Mast Motorsports camshaft comes in much larger than factory in both lift and duration at 0.573I/0.588E with durations of 220-degress intake and 234-degrees exhaust, with a lobe separation angle of 116-degrees. The unique design of Masts camshafts ensure driveability, yet also make power through the entire power band. As you can see, the valve springs are larger off the cylinder head, which results in a tighter coil when installed. Not installing proper valve springs when using a larger camshaft can result in valve float, which kills horsepower and can do serious damage to an engine.

Using some engine assembly grease, we can slowly install the camshaft, making sure not to hurt any of the cam lobes against the camshaft journals. Take your time here and spin the camshaft slowly applying some pressure unless you feel the cam simply will not go. If that is the case, back it out, ensure no damage has occurred, and try again. Justin Knapp at Tune Time Performance installed two long rods into the oil valley that hold the lifters from falling as you install the camshaft. This is a great idea as will not have to remove the cylinder heads.

Next, we opened up our cam phaser, making sure to leave the one bolt still on that holds the spring in place on the backside. Take the time to inspect the phaser so you dont accidentally take all the bolts off, and shoot the springs across the room. I have never seen this happen, and personally, have no desire to.

Once opened, you can install the phaser limiter, which ensures there is no valve float. Ultimately, by adding both duration and lift to the valvetrain, we have to take some cam timing away from the engine so the valves do not make contact with the pistons. We can then close the assembly back up and torque it all together at 8 lb-ft.

Then, we can reinstall the phaser, ensuring the pin in the camshaft lines up with the pinhole in the phaser. Mast Motorsports installation instructions wanted us to torque the phaser bolt to 45 lb-ft, then tighten another 50-degrees. Luckily, our torque wrench measures in both ft-lbs and degrees. We held the engine from spinning via the flywheel and torqued it down. To my surprise, 45 lb-ft plus another 50-degrees actually worked out to 158 lb-ft of torque.

We then took off the coil packs, valve covers, rockers, and pushrod so we could access the valve springs. Nothing out of the ordinary in here compared to the rest of the LS-family besides the offset intake valve rocker arms found on the L99, L92, and LSA engine, among others.

After taking out all the spark plugs, we used compressed air to pressurize the cylinder we were taking the valve springs out of. This ensures that the valve does not fall into the chamber once we take the spring out. If a valve were to fall into a cylinder that is at the bottom of the compression stroke, we would then be forced to take the cylinder heads off. We then placed out spring tool on top of the valve assembly, compressed the spring, took out the retainers and locks, and simply lifter the spring out. The new one could then be installed in to same fashion. Some tools are better than other and we have to use another on the 4 and 8 cylinder as they are under the cowl with limited space.

We then headed over to the dyno and made an impressive 406 rear-wheel horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 378 lb-ft of torque at 4,600. The L99 made over 400 hp from 5,800-6,500 rpm.

We then hit the track and let this baby rip. What was the result? Low e.t. was 12.278 at 114.54 mph and we were still on the stock 20-inch Pirelli radials. Our corrected altitude was now 3,000 ft above sea-level, serving notice that there are 11-second e.t.'s waiting to be unleashed by this F-body.



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