Help me out ... Want to mod my LS3 - - 5th Generation Camaro Enthusiasts
V8 Engine Discussion 6.2L LS3/L99 V8 | Exhaust | Ignition | Induction | Intakes

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post #1 of 8 Old 07-16-2012, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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Help me out ... Want to mod my LS3

So like the title says, I would like to mod my LS3 and I would like to do the work myself. I have a 2011 2SS 6 Speed and I am planning to do some tinkering this winter pending my funds allow for it. I have never really done any heavy duty work on a gasoline engine so Im hoping you guys will help me out with mod suggestions, tools I may need etc. I did some googling and couldnt really find any good info about yanking an LS3 from a Gen5 camaro so hopefully Im not regurgitating some old stuff.

As far as experience goes, I put myself through school working as a medium/heavy truck mechanic. I worked at a Mack truck dealer and a few other fleet shops. I did a lot of drive train work mostly, swapping clutches, eaton fuller, and allison transmissions, rear diffs etc. I also did quite a lot of electrical work, and by that I mean old school stuff like troubleshooting ignitions, truck and trailer marker lights etc. Semi trucks are pretty primitive compared to the modern car. I also worked on a few deisel engine rebuilds along with r&r fuel delivery systems etc. So anyway my point is that I have wrenched on plenty of stuff, but never any real serious automotive aside from the odd break job, wheel bearing, fuel pump, etc on my personal vehicles.

I have a pretty crappy work space in my 2 car detached garage with no compressor and one power outlet coming from a light bulb adapter But I do have a pretty good collection of tools, the Snap-On guy definitely liked me. Keep in mind I was buying stuff with heavy trucks and diesel engines in mind. So are there any LS3 specialty tools that you guys cant live without? Stuff you made yourself? What is it going to take to get the engine out of this car without a lift? Obviously Ill need a stand to put it on once I get it out, but can it come out the top (sure looks like it will)? If so I need a cherry picker, or if it has to come out the bottom does anyone have a solution for a broke guy with no lift, no engine table, a floor jack and a set of stands?

Why do I want to pull out my engine?

I dont know ... probably because I cant help myself when it comes to fooling around with stuff? But seriously I want to dive into this car and have some fun with it. I have been doing a lot of reading and it seems most people do the same types of mods Harley Davidson crowed. Intake, exhaust, tune, and throw in a cam for a nice sound. Sounds like a great start to me since I cant afford a blower, and if Im going to be yanking the engine to add a performance cam, what else can I do while im in there? What would be the next logical improvement that wont cost me a fortune or require me to beef up thousands of dollars worth of other components just so im not breaking stuff? Should I be looking at some type of aftermarket clutch, and what about the drive shaft and diff? I see people are making intakes for an LS3 that you can mount a carb on? Would I really want to get rid of the fuel injection? Im open to any and all suggestions.

Right now I am just trying to get prepared, figure out what tools Im going to need, how much money Ill have left after getting the tools, and then what mods I will be able to accomplish in my work space on my budget. In the end the plan is to do another thread following along my progress. Sorry for asking 8 million questions like a n00b but I would love to get some advise from anyone who has been into their Gen5 camaro/LS3.

Thanks in advance to anyone that wants to help me out
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post #2 of 8 Old 07-16-2012, 11:08 PM
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If I were gonna rip the engine out and do a cam I'd also upgrade the valve springs...and while I'm at it I'd just go ahead and disassemble the entire engine and upgrade the internals. Do it once, do it right, and never have to do it again. And while I'm at it I'd take the bare block in for a nice bore. You're (probably) gonna have to get the rotating assembly balanced anyway which means you'll already be at the machine shop.

End of the day you'll have a block that can handle anything you can throw at it. These engines are tough as it is, so can you imagine if you strengthened it up even more?!

I looked over the engine with the thought of how hard it would be to pull it and it doesn't seem to be too much to worry about. It looks like it'll come right out of the top. If you had to drop it out you could always use heavy duty jacks. And I'd suggest buying a small compressor. I definitely would not undertake such a job armed solely with hand tool...haha. And make a lot of friends who like working on stuff without getting paid.

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post #3 of 8 Old 07-17-2012, 12:58 PM
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Heads, Cam, Exhaust, Tune, Sticky Tires, and spray!

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post #4 of 8 Old 07-17-2012, 01:31 PM
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The great thing about these LSx motors is how easy they are to work on with basic hand tools and for the things you want to do with it pulling the motor seems like way overkill to me.

The first thing you need to do is establish some goals on the power levels you want from the car and it's intended usage and how often you plan on taking it to the track?

Once you do that then start looking for parts that are very compatible with each other and start putting them together as well as the information you are going to need to do the work so you are not trying to learn on the fly. Make sure you have things like the tool to swap your valve springs, as well as the proper tool to secure your flexplate in place if you do not have a manual transmission when trying to pull and re-install your crank bolt.

Working on these motors is really actually very easy, just make sure you gather parts that will work properly together and have the correct tools to make it all work. Most start with intake/exhaust/headers and then move up from there to a cam and heads and then install a clutch that's able to handle all the new found power.

Just depends on your budget and the cars intended usage.
post #5 of 8 Old 07-17-2012, 02:05 PM
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2011 camaro 2ss on black. Slp black wing intake, k&n drop in , muffler delete , 93 octane diablo tune L99/A6. totaled 12-4-13..

2014 camaro 2ss 1LE. best car yet!!!!
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post #6 of 8 Old 07-17-2012, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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Eventually I would like to have a serious car for the track. Right now my funds will limit how far I can go but I wanted to try and do it in stages (maybe over the course of 3 or 4 winters?). I get that I can bolt on a cold air intake, a cat back exhaust, and get a tuner to add some HP. But what about after that? What would be a logical progression from that point? I think most people want to go for a cam and I have to pull my motor to install that right? Someone mentioned heads, which I would like to understand more about what the benefits of aftermarket performance cylinder heads are. I guess I always thought that upgrade was done out of necessity after boring the cylinders over?

So say I had about $5k to spend on parts each off season. If step one is a cold air intake, cat back exhaust, tuner, and maybe some other stuff ??? What would you guys recommend as phase 2, 3, 4 etc.?? I am assuming there is a preferable order to make the upgrades in?

Also if anyone can recommend some specific brands I should be looking into that would be awesome. I have been looking at intakes from CAI, and cat back exhaust kits from corsa and flowmaster, and I know borla makes good stuff too. I dont know anything about performance tuners, I was looking at some Diablotech stuff which looks sweet but I dont know if its good stuff or not.

Again sorry for all the n00b questions, I just dont want to make a really expensive bad decision. If anyone knows of some articles I should be reading or videos I would love to check some of that stuff out.

Thanks to everyone for all of the input so far.
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post #7 of 8 Old 07-18-2012, 06:55 AM
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CAI is a stepping stone. when you go supercharged you most likely will need a new one.
if you like turbos do not by headers in step 1. if you like SC buy headers in step 1.
I like my vortec because i like the power to come on after 3k RPM.and the 20+mpg i still get.if you want low end power then a roots blower IE Maggie,Whipple.

depending on where i was headed in the end i would look at what SUPORTING mods would get me started in the right direction.

Paft suspension is always a good idea.

P.S my step 1 was headers (full exhaust) CAI,tune i got good power from my first step. BUT when i got the SC, had to sell the CAI...

just my 2 cents.

Sooo what are your goals?

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post #8 of 8 Old 07-18-2012, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by smart line View Post
Sooo what are your goals?
I want to get into drag racing, but I want to do it responsibly. Ill be the first to admit that I dont really know much about it. So I dont want to go overkill on mods right away, and I cant really afford to do that anyway. Ill be heading out to the track in the next week or 2 hopefully to see what I can do with a totally stock car, then Ill probably start implementing some of the step 1 bolt on accessories. Im thinking taking it easy and gradually progressing through the mods will help me out more than dumping a bunch of money into parts that I dont really totally understand and heading out to the track with 600+ HP and no experience and looking like a fool or worse

I have been trying to comprehend some of the info in the parts sticky at the top of this section but thats a huge list with a lot of specs that I dont understand and a lot of the links lead to 404. For instance, there are a lot of header and exhaust kits listed and I have no idea where to begin, 1 7/8" VS 2" which brand? do I mix an match brands? Obviously I could get all the exhaust stuff Hennessy has listed for the camaro on their site and it should work nicely, but am I getting the best bang for my buck?

I would love to learn more about supporting mods too, what is needed and what step it should be implemented in. I have an article in Hot Rod magazine where the install that Vortec SC you have (which is bad ass by the way!) and they mention they had to install an aftermarket clutch and some drag radials. Seeing that I started getting concerned about beefing up other components in my drive line for fear of snapping a drive shaft, or u joints, blowing up the diff, etc.

When deciding between SC or TC I dont really know what to think. All of the diesel engines I worked on were turbo charged and they typically had some pretty serious turbo lag which really isnt an issue in that sort of application. Im assuming the decision on which type of forced induction to get is dependent on what RPMs you want to get the most power? If so I have no idea I definitely still got a lot of reading/learning to do.

Thanks for the input
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