If you want to find the weak links in your Camaro, just start upping the horsepower. Now, we don't blame GM for this. After all, they built the Camaro's drivetrain and other systems to hold up to the power output of a stock LS3 (or L99) and it's not their fault that us gearheads feel the need to add hundreds of additional horsepower in a never-ending quest to go faster.
With our 2010 SS project car, affectionately referred to as Project CP/28, the power output of the LS3 under the hood has gone from a bit over 400 to way over 700 ponies. That extra 300 hp wreaks havoc on all the bits associated with getting that power from the crank to the asphalt. Add a set of sticky tires, and our Camaro is just a clutch dump away from calling a tow truck.
One area that really gets abused is the rear axles. The '10 employs an IRS system, and the axles just weren't engineered to withstand hard launching the nearly 4,000lb SS. Once axles started snapping in protest, the aftermarket stepped up with a solution-namely stronger axle assemblies. One such company, Gforce Engineering, introduced two sets of axles for high-output fifth-gen Camaros. For rides churning out over 1,000 hp, they have a set manufactured from super-strong 300M alloy, and for the rest of us mere mortals, a slightly less robust (and less expensive) set made from 4340 chrome-moly. These would fit in perfect with our plans for our project. Aside from the strength, the Gforce axles are also designed to minimize wheelhop, which can cause all sorts of unfortunate breakage. With axles in hand, we headed over to Don Lee Auto in Rancho Cucamonga to do the swap. Of course, upgrading these axles will only serve to expose the next weak link in our powertrain chain, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.