AUGUST MEMBER/CAMARO OF THE MONTH
AUGUST MEMBER/CAMARO OF THE MONTH
Congratulations christianchevelle! You are the August Member/Car of the Month here at ModernCamaro.com
We all want to know a little more about you and your Camaro so I have a few questions for you...
Will you share with us what began your love for cars and/or the Camaro specifically?
I was a troubled youth in the sex, drugs and rocknroll era, I got my own bacon out of the fire and joined the army infantry and did not own a car until I was back from two years in Germany. My dad at one time when I was 15 bought a used old 56 chevy pickup for $100 that he just brought home one day and said hey its yours.... I did not know the first thing about fixing a two barrel 283 and so well it eventually got sold.....
My sister though three years older than me got help from my parents as she worked and she bought a new maroon red Camaro with a v-8. Now life is not fair, and my parents loved me, yet I never have had help with just about anything, I worked after school from 12 on helping my dad moonlight to help as mom was in college and working, and mom drove a v-8 Torino,( after many years of a Corvair). Buddies had hotrods, but not me. Sister had a Camaro, I had squat.
SO this is my adulthood.....I bought a 1971 Thunderbird with a 429 being at Ft. Lewis...man did they see me coming. After the driveline with its substandard bolts fell out leaving me stranded on the freeway, I got it off the highway to find it had plastic bags inside the holes in the tires. And after new bolts and new tires the engine did not last long...SO I bought a engine out of another ford and had a guy put it in...and enjoyed the car for a while until it would not stop turning over....(fried starter solenoid). I just decided to ditch the ford, buddies offered to sell me a 76 GTO for $250, but I passed.
I had other things in mind and eventually got out of the army, (where I had learned to drive with a sergeant breathing down my neck when I was in the 3rd Brigade 8th Infantry Division Mechanized Mannhiem in the Logistics s-4 driving captains and master sergeants and etc etc). I drove m577 command track, 2 1/2 ton truck, jeep anything called for, and eventually went to the 2/13th infantry to drive m113 track. There is nothing like going along about 40 and taking out a small tree, forging rivers, and spinning on a dime. This is now my second gen 5 Camaro my first was a triple black 2011 2ss/rs l99 vert I had for a year until I bought Valkyrie My current 2ss/rs a CRT m-6 with dual mode, sunroof, and heritage grill. After the army I spent decades fixing up everything I owned and cars for others, I loved old chevies and owned a fleet. I always performance modified them and built my own engines after just getting short blocks, I built 283's, 327's 350's and 400's as the parts were and are cheap and plentiful. I am on my second marriage and Myself and my wife are both army veterans working for corrections in a penitentiary. I always started with brakes and making a car safe first. I did restorations of many cars and tubbed and body worked and tuned and installed my own cams, heads, intakes etc etc. And read hotrod religiously and especially the tech articles to learn how to lash my own valves, to do everything........... And avoided cars that were nightmares to work on.(usually stuck with chevy), ..yes I even fixed up a Yugo for a stepchild once and a Chevy Luv and Ford Granada ......
Please share with us the story behind your 5th Gen Camaro?
When determined to get a color more loved by myself and my wife I wanted a crystal red tint coat zl1 and the local dealership here took my deposit of $1000 to wait for them to get their one a year allotment to order one. While paying down the black Camaro at $1000 a month to try to ditch any negative equity the dealership moved to another location. They also blew me off and ordered in a grey zl1 without the options I wanted. I found out and I was mad. I found out from looking at their website, so I went there and got my deposit back, and bought my car in another city with the options I wanted only a ss. After all its my daily driver and my wife loved my saving money....lol, and it was already on the lot with everything I wanted, and I knew the body style change was coming so I jumped on it and do not regret it at all.
I wanted to make a Camaro naturally aspirated as easy as possible and cheaply with 500 rwhp that still got decent gas mileage, I have achieved that goal with the help of a great tuner and his dyno and a excellent eye for parts of my own as well along with lots of researching posts, and vendor websites and g.m. websites. I bought a TSP (Texas speed and performance) .639/.623 235/239 112 LSA cam and .675 springs by reviewing info and picked the most radical street strip cam I could, (compared to the low lifts of regular hydraulic flat tappet cams a hydraulic roller is really high). I am used to hot rodding and I keep my RPM's up to above 1500 to avoid cam surge and love the hell out of my Camaro. I know from my numbers on a honest Mustang dyno from a builder named Wongs performance engineering in Vancouver Washington that was recommended by a member here that I think I got the bomb for cam and the best tuner I could find in my area for the best price..( I researched and got quotes and went to a state with sales tax with parts and fluids in hand)... My dyno was 491 RWHP and 448 torque SAE with just a CAI with scoop, Stainless Power headers, and high flow cats, and the right cam for what I wanted.
People pull up to me and compliment the sound of my Camaro just at a stop light! As we all know modding is addictive, and adding now a Vmax and Fluidampr 25%UDP I should be at my goal or over.
I did it with the stock timing chain a good single roller which my builder said was fine, and the stock oil pump also was fine, but I did get 7.375 pushrods per my builder for a ls3 not 7.40 and have no valve train noise and love it. The dual mode with headers just roars when I stomp it like raspy glorious muscle car. I am sure the dual mode and electric power steering helped make my number but also tuning out a lot of torque management and air fuel tweeks to never run lean and ditching the error code for the front sensors on the headers being so far along the exhaust loop.
I did a lot of reading about do it yourself installs and found some made some real mistakes and have read about people blaming bad cams, ( never had a bad cam in my life) that were supposed to be wrongfully not micro polished good enough, or the cores must have been heat treated badly in the oven etc....but as my builder says: remember its the internet, And its a gathering place for people who have problems. And he is right, but so am I in many ways, I chose from my research to break in my cam and insisted on it, I bought into what driven racing oil was selling and did a break in with BR30 and ditched the oil after a 30 minute break in I insisted on, ( my builder would always dump oil anyway after the dynoing and tuning of cars). I realize I have a performance engine now with about 550 crank and run Driven racing ls30 as my oil I purchase through my local Baxter auto parts.
I read testimonials and Joe Gibbs Nascar teams loss of 1 in10 cams changing to 1 in 40 cams with a proper break in just as I did with all my flat tappet cams on running a new engine and cannot regret playing it safe. I have used for a few thousand miles now my stock harmonic balancer and changed to a fluidampr I wish I could have afforded during my build as I know it will be kinder to my timing chain and my cranks bearings etc..... The stock balancer/pulley on our engines looks very inadequate compared to what I have been used to using on small block Chevys and wanted to feel more comfortable.
My builder was impressed with my numbers as well on my dyno, and his advice is what I have to go by along with my own experience and common sense and what I can learn anywhere available. I plan at every 25 thousand miles to have in hand springs for my cam and have them checked. My first check I will most likely spring for a higher volume oil pump and a better timing chain and the money to go with it and maybe plan on doing the rockers though my builder says the trunions on LS motors were only a problem on the first year of the ls7 (427) in the corvette then they changed them.
I wish you all could be as successful at all the mods I have done, and will do in the future like 3:91 gears next year to go with all the suspension mods I have been doing and the Eaton True Trac to go with them and my LPW cover and poly bushings. I know just as with any car the car is a complete package and the weak link is were it will go wrong, and no one wants to be towed home! I do not hammer the heck out of my car, my car will burn rubber with the traction control on somewhat and get fishy if I really get aggressive shifting or down shifting. It is now a true muscle car, and I did my research buying it and knew way back in 2007 I wanted a new Camaro just from conceptual drawings and in fact told my boss I was going to get me one!!!!!
How did you discover ModernCamaro.com and what has kept you here?
I like the friendly members here and the lack of a Nannie state babying tots that are say....camaro5. I will usually find that while it may not be as popular that the personal touch of honest hardworking folks is better than teenage male bravado. And who needs the same post over and over, I like to be helpful and find others here are as well and really appreciate it. I found this site by just searching for Camaro forums on the net.
And finally, do you have anything you'd like to add to the ModernCamaro.com members or anyone else reading this interview?
There is always going to be other cars, yet we can and do personalize our cars to give them personality and that's what hot rodding is all about!!! We drive sexy luxury sports cars that come under cammed. Our cars have inspired Ford to add IRS and many options that the Mustang did not come with. I compared thoroughly and knew the Camaro was the best bang for the buck and still is. Because things like HUD do matter, so does heated seats and auto darkening headlights and automatic lights, back up sensors and back up cameras etc etc..... The new Camaros are and were ahead of the curve from both the Mustang and the Challengers and other Dodge/Fiat products.
Sure I would not mind a new Hellcat, but hey I would still have a first love of the Camaro I cannot see myself parting with ever. And a supercharged engine is overrated especially when it comes time to rebuild and fork out the cash....like at the gas station, or for mods. SO be proud and Fast and Loud our Camaros still draw a crowd as one design that was hit out of the park and the sixth gen will only carry on our spark!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well I have rambled on enough, God Bless the USA and you my fellow motor heads.... beware CAFE standards are coming,( Paul Revere), so are new oil standards..both in 2017 then by 2025 thanks to our president and the EPA all coal burning power plants must have 35% fewer emissions...and the government does nothing to help them with underground sequestration of emissions so basically they are trying to force them out of business and the cost of electricity will go up for even those driving electric cars will discover just how evil the government can mess up, ( Teslas etc..) and people driving cars that all have to get 55mpg avg (new CAFE standard starting with 5mpg jumps in 2017), will maybe even be paying less to drive than a government subsidized electric car!! per mile!!! Be glad my friends for the here and now, for the only things you can count on in life are change, death and taxes, and a 1970 Matador being ugly like a pacer. SO make sure you have enough ZDDP in your oil and read up because stuff happens all the time, and being smarter than the curve has kept me alive and led me to more good government jobs at more different agencies than any of my coworkers, and able to help more and do more good than I ever have been able to with the good grace of god and the love of my good wife. I am a carpenter by trade, and a handyman by need, and here by the grace of god. Thank you for your friendship.