These days, it’s not uncommon to see V-6 equipped LLT/LFX fifth-gen Camaros hitting the track and that’s because drivers, tuners, and builders alike see just how much potential GM’s little V-6 really has. With aftermarket forced induction offerings aplenty, including turbochargers, superchargers, and nitrous oxide induction enthusiasts all over the country are putting down big dyno numbers, backed by low E.T.’s at the track, without even cracking open the potent V-6 mill. But with big power comes big responsibility (who are we kidding, it’s impossible to be entirely responsible behind the wheel of a 414rwhp blown Camaro!) and big support. You see, once you start doubling power numbers, you simply can’t expect the factory V-6 drivetrain to keep up.
In fact, Ram Clutches knows all too well how easy it is to make big power with the new V-6 platform and has worked hard to create a dual disc clutch for V-6 enthusiasts that will take a ton of abuse without ruining the driveability of a well-appointed Camaro. The new clutch system, a 9.5-inch dual disc, features two organic or metallic sprung hub discs for the smoothest possible engagement and a “drastic” reduction in gear rattle, along with a billet aluminum flywheel, a ground steel flywheel insert, and a unique input shaft support system for a smooth, rattle free, low pedal pressure solution for up to 900 lb-ft of torque. At just over 1100-dollars (P/N 75-2015), the Ram dual disc comes with everything you need for the installation and bolts right up to any existing Camaro LLT or LFX engine without any further modifications.
Well, that is unless you would like to perform further modifications, like the ones Clint Symons chose to do along with our Ram Clutch installation at Florida Speed and Power in Bradenton, FL. You see, GM decided that it would be cost effective to share the clutch and brake fluid on the new Camaro platform, which is probably okay if you’re a grandma driving to the grocery store on the weekends. But if you’re a maniac driving on the track on the weekends, sharing hot clutch fluid with a heat producing monster like a Brembo brake system isn’t exactly the best choice. But, where the OEM took a trade off, the aftermarket saw an opportunity, and JDP Motorsports stepped up big with the company’s individual clutch and brake reservoir system. While we were in there, Clint also chose to upgrade to a new high-flow master cylinder from Ideal Garage to ensure trouble free clutch operation. Follow along as Matt Sorian and Rodney Whittaker of Florida Speed and Power walk us through the installation and start saving your pennies, you’re going to want a tough clutch like this soon if you’re making big power!
1. These days, it’s easy to make big power out of a V-6 fifth-gen Camaro and our test car was delivered to Florida Speed and Power (FSP) with over 414-rwhp on tap thanks to an IPF supercharger system, a free-flowing exhaust, and several other bolt-on modifications. For a car making this kind out power over stock, an upgraded clutch is a must!
2. Capable of handling up to 900 ft-lbs of torque, the all-new Ram Force 9.5-inch Dual Disc clutch system is a perfect compliment to any big power V-6 (LLT or LFX) build. With twin sprung hub discs, a billet aluminum flywheel, and a unique input shaft bearing system, the Ram dual disc clutch offers smooth pedal effort (comparable to stock) with reduced gear rattle and noise, along with increased torque loads and smooth engagement.
3. Ram’s billet aluminum flywheel features a surface ground steel insert for optimum mating and smooth engagement (not shown) and an innovative input shaft support system (the bearing, shown here) which allows the input shaft to “spin true without runout” in order to reduce excessive noise and vibration.
4. Clint’s V6 arrived at FSP with several go-fast modifications, including an IPF supercharger system, a ported throttle body, and a complete SOLO exhaust system. Thanks to the increased power, the stock clutch was slipping under heavy acceleration and just couldn’t keep up on the track or street.
5. Rodney Whittaker, co-owner of FSP, wasted no time getting to work on Clint’s V-6. Removing the SOLO exhaust was the first step, which meant unbolting both the front and rear clamps, supporting the crossover piping by the muffler, and finally lowering the entire system out of the way.
6. Using a T60 Torx bit, Rodney detached the 2-piece driveshaft from the rear of the transmission, as well as from the rear end, and then removed the 2 bolts that hold the center of the driveshaft to the Camaro body. You may want a buddy to help with this job, unless you’re a pro like the FSP staff.
7. Although the driver operates the factory 6-speed manual transmission, it is still monitored rather closely by the factory ECM and contains several electronic items that must be unplugged before you can remove it.
8. With the wiring harness out of the way, Rodney removed the factory slave cylinder connection, which is found on the driver’s side of the transmission. It’s not uncommon for this to leak some hydraulic fluid once removed, so make sure you have a pan or rag handy, unless you want to be swimming in clutch hydraulics for the rest of the project.
9. It’s critical to support the transmission properly before loosening the bell housing bolts and we recommend using a quality transmission jack, along with a ratchet strap, to keep everything safe. Transmissions are heavy, and heavy unbalanced things aren’t safe, even if you consider yourself a tough guy…
10. Once supported (properly!) Rodney was able to remove the rear transmission cross-member from the chassis (4 bolts), which allowed the engine and transmission to tilt downwards, away from the chassis. This allowed enough room to remove the shifter mechanism from the transmission, which attaches with 3 rods to the tail shaft assembly.
11. Next, it was time to remove the bellhousing bolts, which is a task best performed by the most patient person in the area. The LLT/LFX V-6 6-speed transmission attached to the engine with 11 bolts, one of which is actually hidden behind 2 hard lined heater inlet and outlet tubes…
12a-b. …which attach to the back of the engine by two “impossible” to reach bolts (#1 in the diagram). With the transmission removed (skipping ahead a step) you can see how the heater lines attach. Don’t get frustrated while trying to remove these, they can and will come out of the way, freeing the bellhousing bolt in the process.
13. Finally, it was time for Rodney to drop the transmission out from under the Camaro. With a lift and a proper jack, this is a simple process, just remember to watch out for any snagged lines, wiring harnesses, or other obstructions on the way out.
14. The stock clutch must be separated from the flywheel before removal and bolts in place using 6 bolts. Careful now, it’s heavy, so take your time pulling it off of the flywheel dowel pins and out from under the transmission tunnel.
15. Yeah, Clint got the clutch a little bit hot a couple of times, to say the least. The flywheel shows the hot spots, which are to be expected with a high-powered car using a stock clutch at the dragstrip or road course. Removing the flywheel requires pulling 8 bolts from the center, which attach to the factory crankshaft.
16. Installing the RAM Force 9.5-inch Dual Disc clutch system requires first dissembling the unit and then installing it into the Camaro one piece at a time. First, Rodney installed the Ram billet aluminum flywheel, which attached to the crankshaft using the same 8 bolts that held the stock unit in place.
17a-c. Next, the first clutch disc slides in place, followed by the floater plate, and then the second clutch disc. Ram supplies the 1-inch by 23-spline alignment tool, which is specific to V-6 applications, to line everything up. Note that both discs feature sprung hubs for a smooth, quite engagement.
18. Finally, the pressure plate can be installed, which slides over the dowels and bolts in place with 6 bolts. This is a great time to double check the alignment of the clutch discs and make sure everything is squeaky clean. You don’t want any fingerprints, dust, or oil on the clutch surfaces, so make sure you clean them up now!
19. Installing the transmission back in place is a simple job and requires no additional steps. Simply slide it up in the chassis, make sure the input shaft aligns with the new clutch and bolt it down to the bell housing. Note: don’t force it to “align itself”… If the transmission doesn’t want to line up, pull it out and try again. Never “pull it” onto the dowels.
20a-b. Along with the new Ram clutch, FSP and Clint chose to upgrade the V-6 hydraulics, installing a new high-flow master cylinder from Ideal Garage, and a new fluid reservoir system from JDP Motorsport. The high-flow master cylinder will improve the clutch throw, resulting in a complete pedal travel, while the JDP reservoir will separate the clutch and brake fluid, something that is shared on the fifth-gen Camaro platform.
21. Removing the factory all-in-one brake and clutch reservoir is a messy proposition. Rodney pulled as much DOT3 fluid from the system as he could before pulling the master cylinder line (right front), the wiring harness, and the two bolts from the reservoir, which freed it from the engine bay.
22. With the reservoir removed, you can see how the factory brake and clutch hydraulics flow. Be careful here, the front and rear brake master cylinders are exposed during this procedure and you don’t want any debris getting into the system.
23. Installing the high-flow Ideal Garage master cylinder requires flexibility and finesse. Found inside the Camaro, underneath the dashboard and connected directly to the stock clutch pedal, the master can be rather difficult to access. Pro tip: Remove the kick panel and grab a long ratchet extension – with a swivel – to handle the two master cylinder bolts.
24. With the new master in place, Rodney returned to the engine bay to install the new JDP reservoirs. The large brake reservoir attaches just like the stock unit, although the new clutch reservoir requires an additional bracket, which is included in the kit. Separating the clutch and brake fluids will increase the life of both, since no heat is transferred between both on the street or track.
25. Finally, it was time to bleed the new hydraulic system and try the new Ram clutch out. Clint’s initial test drive was a success, with a stock like pedal feel, full travel, and not a hint of clutch chatter or slip. “Pedal is firmer but smooth and it drives great.” Next up, Clint’s 400-rwhp Camaro will hit the track, where we’re sure he’ll be cutting some quick 60-foot times, run after run.