After running a 12.27 at 114.54 mph with the Tune Time Performance '10 Camaro SS in the October issue, we (like most folks), wanted more power and lower e.t.'s. First, let's rewind and refresh so you know what we've done to this new Camaro (automatic trans, L99, 400hp).
The first thing on day one for the new F-body was baseline dyno and strip testing. It ran a strong 13.25 at 106.42mph at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey and spun the Tune Time Mustang dyno rollers to 328 rwhp, 335 lb-ft of torque). On that same track day, Matt Hauffe (owner of Tune Time Performance) plugged in his laptop and tuned his Camaro to an elapsed time of 12.94 at 108.39 mph. Next, after running 12s, the Tune Time crew treated the Camaro to SLP headers/exhaust and a Mast Motorsports VVT (variable valve timing) camshaft package. The headers/exhaust, cam and tuning shot the power up to 406 rwhp at 6,300 rpm with 378 lb-ft at 4,600 rpm. The summary of those modifications at the strip was to lower the e.t to 12.27 at 114.54.
Since we were already using a Mast Motorsports camshaft package (cam, valve springs, titanium retainers and cam phaser limiter), we figured why not use its Black Label LS3/L99/L92 cylinder heads? The MM Black Label heads are at the forefront of technology featuring CNC'd ports and combustion chambers. Out of the box, these heads outflow stock rectangular port LS3/L99/L92 heads by large numbers (see the flow charts).
Once we assembled these beauties (valves, springs, spring locators, shims, seals, retainers and locks), we swapped them onto the L99 and witnessed a major power increase. Power jumped to 452 rwhp at 6,500 rpm and torque climbed to 400 lb-ft at 4,600 rpm. With those great gains (46 hp and 22 lb-ft) we were antsy to hit the track the following day.
Also during this head-swap, we wanted to try out the new FAST LSXR 102mm intake manifold. It's an excellent intake designed for larger cubic inch and forced induction LS engines with LS3/L99/L92 rectangular port heads and we wanted to see if we'd see any benefit in our application. We installed the FAST 102mm intake the night before our scheduled track test and peak power increased by 4 hp and 5 lb-ft of torque. The downside is that we lost power in the first half of the powerband. Matt tried to restore the lost power (7 to 8hp) in the low to mid range rpm (2,500 to 5,500), but it wasn't happening with our combination. Other independent tests using the LSXR 102mm intake on a 376ci and a 500ci LS engine have reported gains of 16 hp and 26 hp respectively over a stock intake. Our present configuration just wasn't ready for the big 102mm intake. We have future plans for this intake as we further modify the power output.
Our scheduled track date the following morning was a washout; in fact it rained for the next four days. In the meantime, we reinstalled the stock intake and ordered a custom-made set of Livewires spark plug wires from Performance Distributors (2 inches longer; the stock wires were too short thanks to the taller Mast heads). We also ordered a set of Mini VIP 18-volt step up regulators from PD. Again, Matt would retune on the dyno with the stock intake and new plug wires.
With the stock intake and the new Livewires installed, Matt once again tuned his Camaro until we were right back to 452 hp at the wheels. Now we could have a real-world strip-test of the MM Black Label heads. On the first pass, when the scoreboard lit up a 1.86, 60 feet (previous best was 1.93), we felt an 11-second time would flash on the scoreboard-and it did. The new F-body posted an 11.81 at 119.27 mph. Yes we were excited, especially considering the weight (4,050 pounds) and the stock torque converter and gearing (3.25:1). A hot-lap produced an 11.89 at 119.19 mph.
With rain approaching on the radar screen, we could only chance a 20-minute cool-down. We made a couple more passes, posting an 11.87 and an 11.91 at over 119 mph. Totally satisfied with our results, we packed up and headed home.
Before our strip test, we wanted to test Performance Distributors Mini VIP 18-volt step up regulators, but time constraints and a heavy work load at Tune Time's shop prevented it. A few days later it was showtime for the 18-volt Mini VIPs. They added an impressive 8 hp and 7 lb-ft of torque to the equation (458 rwhp, 407 lb-ft). That's enough power to easily be worth a tenth at the track. Due to a stronger spark igniting the fuel in the combustion chamber, the A/F (air/fuel) mixture ratio was a tad leaner, going from 12.7 to 12.9. Tuning in a touch of enrichment could have given us a few horses, but the tune was left untouched.
The Mast Motorsports Black Label heads impressed us beyond our expectations. When you can bolt-on a set of heads that are 46 rwhp better than the great LS3/L99/L92 heads, it's amazing. The Mast Motorsports 12-degree heads show the latest improvements in LS cylinder head technology. We're sure a larger displacement or a forced induction LS engine would be rewarded more power from these massive-air-moving heads.
Note: Looking at important mid-lift (0.300 and 0.400 lift) flow values, besides peak (0.600 and 0.700 lift), the MM heads show they are the highest flowing bolt-on heads available for the LS engine.