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POWER PUSH 597HP 415-INCH LS3 μ

IN THE GARAGE The #1 Chevrolet Enthusiast Magazine The

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Jan. 2018 Features

18 NOMAD MA XIMofUS

Nine-hundred lb-ft trailer-towing, tire-roasting madness

Events

Tech

LS EXCESS 88 FESTIVAL OF LS-p owered cars

RY! 40 4L8 0EX TRAORD INA h, street/ GM’s race-tested-toug strip overdrive automatic from Performance Automatic is the latest in a respected pedigree

Special Section

Putt LS induction system to the test

a way to make a cool car even better

ED 26 NEVER FINISHBroo kwood

70 REINVENTED p finds UTION 52 LS SWAP SOLnew The Roadster Sho dly wallet-frien ing FiTech’s

32 THE LITTLE OLD LADY

60 POLAR EXPRESfortS to your classic 76 POWER PORT Add modern com 597 hp from a street friendly Air’s SureFit

1960 Chevrolet goes from neglected, decade-old show winner to custom-built show winner A survivor second-gen Camaro becomes so much more

88

Chevy with Vintage Gen IV climate control system

LS3 stroker

Hundreds of hot show up to battle it out at the biggest LS bash in the country

Departments 4 THE GRIND 10 THE ARCHIVES 14 BUILDERS GARAGE 106 PARTS BIN

We head to Bowling Green to cover the action at the annual Holley LS Fest.

14

70

18

ON THE COVER: Robert McGaffin

nailed the cover shot of NoMax, a 900-lb-ft Duramax diesel-powered ’56 Chev y.

μ

dicals postage Avenue, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10016. Perio The Enthusiast Network, LLC., 261 Madison All rights reserved. POSTMASTER: Send all UAA to CFS. (See TEN: by hly mont hed publis is 01, No. 47, Vol. sales siast Network Magazines, LLC. SUPER CHEVY (ISSN 0146-2628), g offices. Copyright © 2017 by TEN: The Enthu FL 32142-0235. Printed in the USA. Single copye mail paid at New York, NY and additional mailin FACILITIES: send address corrections to Super Chevy, P.O. Box 420235, Palm Coast, (for surfac year per 0 $24.0 add s order l ationa RY intern MILITA orders add $12.00 per year and DMM 707.4.12.5); NON-POSTAL AND possessions $24.00 for 12 issues. Canadian price is $5.99. SUBSCRIPTIONS. U.S. and U.S.only. funds U.S. postage). Payment in advance,

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THE GRIND By Steven Rupp

Going Greenish Recycling old Chevys isn’t killing the planet, so just stop with the nonsense

“S

aving the Earth” is all the rage these days. Yeah, the roads are filled with Tesla and Prius drivers that feel somehow superior to us mere mortals since their electric cars are saving the environment, while “outdated,” gas-swilling cars (especially our classics) are trying to destroy it. The problem is that they base this feeling on just a tiny slice of the overall pie: namely mpg. Yep, they view the 50 mpg of the Prius or the zero gas usage of the Tesla and determine that their rides are the best way to go since less dinosaurs are consumed, and less emissions are produced, to get them from point A to point B. I suppose if that’s all there was to it they would be right. But, as I alluded earlier, the pie is a whole lot bigger. The key element to any hybrid or electric car is batteries. Technology in this area has improved greatly but they are still big, cost a lot of energy to produce, and have a finite lifespan. Yeah, your Tesla doesn’t use any oil or gas and has no emissions, but the giant earthmovers that mine the nickel or lithium, especially overseas, does. The factory that converts all of those raw materials into batteries is most likely powered by a coal-fired plant. Then the heavy batteries are put on ships and hauled across the oceans to assembly plants. So, before that “green” car hits the road it already has a huge carbon footprint to make up for. Once on the road it doesn’t use gas (or in the case of a hybrid it uses less gas) but it does require electricity. Yep, you plug it in and unless you have a solar system the plug is connected to some sort of power generating plant, most likely fed by coal. So while your car is generating little to no emissions, the same may not be said for the plant that generated the power

for your car. Eventually the batteries in your ride will need to be replaced with new ones that start life in that same dirty strip mine and the old ones will need to be recycled in a plant that cost a lot of energy to build and operate. When the whole pie is considered, the guy that bought the PZEV (partial zero emissions vehicle) that gets 35-40 mpg, doesn’t pull electricity from the grid, and can easily run him down the road for well over 300,000 miles is doing the Earth as much of a service as the hybrid or electric car driver, he just doesn’t get the good press or free access to the carpool lane. My Chevelle was built 46 years ago and is still going strong. We’ve updated the engine to an LS mill, which gets way better gas mileage and churns out a lot less emissions than the original drivetrain. With luck the Chevelle will be around long after today’s cars have been turned into razor blades and beer cans. Given how little they are driven compared to most cars, their impact on the environment is minimal. So when some greenie gets all bent out of shape over our classic Chevys they just aren’t looking at the overall picture. Now don’t get me wrong, if you want to cruise a hybrid or electric ride, then by all means go for it. Nobody can argue that they don’t get great gas mileage and will save you cash once you make up for the premium paid up-front, but know that the Earth isn’t being magically saved by it. Also, when you see that classic Chevy cruising down the highway it’s not backstabbing Mother Nature. In fact, it’s one of the coolest forms of recycling on the planet.

A NEW LOOK The only thing constant around here is change. So with the new year, k our crack art team at Super Chevy decided to give the book a fresh look. I think it looks great, is easy to read, and the tech articles are much easier to follow. We hope you feel the same!

WHAT’S ON DEMAND THIS MONTH? 11/3/17

Virgin Australia Supercars, Auckland SuperSprint (Live)

11/4/17

Virgin Australia Supercars, Auckland SuperSprint (Live)

11/6/17

Engine Masters, Episode 28

11/6/17

Mobil 1 The Grid

11/8/17

Head 2 Head, Episode 96

11/9/17

Ferrari Challenge Europe, Mugello

11/9/17

Put Up or Shut Up, Episode 5

11/11/17 24H Series, Circuit of the Americas (Live) 11/16/17 Lamborghini Super Trofeo - Europe, Imola (Live) 11/16/17 FIA World Rallycross, South Africa 11/16/17 Roadkill Garage, Episode 24 11/17/17 Lamborghini Super Trofeo - Europe, Imola (Live) 11/17/17 Porsche Carrera Cup Australia, Bathurst 11/21/17 Dirt Every Day, Episode 71 11/23/17 HOT ROD Garage, Episode 59 11/24/17 Virgin Australia Supercars, Newcastle 500 (Live) 11/24/17 Roadkill, Episode 72 11/24/17 Trans Am Racing Series, Circuit of the Americas 11/27/17 MOTOR TREND Awards, Los Angeles (Live) 12/1/17

Porsche Carrera Cup Australia, Gold Coast

12/4/17

Engine Masters, Episode 29

12/5/17

SKUSA SuperNationals, Las Vegas

12/6/17

Modified, Episode 7

12/7/17

Put Up or Shut Up, Episode 6

12/9/17

Intercontinental Challenge Series, Sepang (Live)

12/11/17 Real Road Racing, Macau Grand Prix 12/11/17 Ultimate Adventure Week 12/12/17 SKUSA SuperNationals, Las Vegas 12/12/17 Ultimate Adventure Week Schedule Key: Racing Original Programming MotorTrendOnDemand.com * The program information provided is subject to change.

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“The Chevrolet Trademarks, including CHEVROLET, CHEVY, and the Chevrolet “Bow Tie” emblem, are used with permission of General Motors Corporation, Chevrolet Motor Division. Chevrolet, however, does not endorse, indicate any preference for, or assume any responsibility for this publication, the acts or omissions of the publisher, or the products referred to or promoted in this publication, unless otherwise expressly stated in connection with such specific use or action.” Super Chevy is published 12 times per year by TEN: The Enthusiast Network, LLC, 261 Madison Avenue, 6th floor, New York, NY 10016. Single copy price is $5.99. Copyright © 2017 by TEN: The Enthusiast Network Magazines, LLC. All Rights Reserved. This magazine is purchased by the buyer with the understanding that the information presented is from various sources from which there can be no warranty or responsibility by TEN: The Enthusiast Network, LLC, or the publisher as to legality, completeness, and accuracy. EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTIONS: Welcomed, but editors recommend that contributors query first. Contribution must be accompanied by return postage and we assume no responsibility for loss or damage thereto. Manuscripts must be typewritten on white paper, and all photographs must be accompanied by captions. Photo model releases required on all persons in photos. Super Chevy reserves the right to use material at its discretion, and we reserve the right to edit material to meet our requirements. Upon publication, payment will be made at our current rate, and that said payment will cover author’s and contributor’s rights of the contribution. Contributor’s act of mailing contribution shall constitute an express warranty that the material is original and no infringement on the rights of others. Mail contributions to: Super Chevy, 1821 E. Dyer Rd., Suite 150, Santa Ana, CA 92705. Phone 949-705-3100. Fax 949-705-3427. Any submissions or contributions from readers shall be subject to and governed by TEN: The Enthusiast Network’s User Content Submission Terms and Conditions, which are posted at http://www. enthusiastnetwork.com/submissions/

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THE ARCHIVES By Drew Hardin + Photos Petersen Publishing Co. Archive

Small Wonder H

ot Rod magazine devoted four pages of its March 1970 issue to introducing its readers to the 1970 Camaro. Two of those were a review of the car overall by Feature Editor Steve Kelly, while the second two were an overview of the new LT-1 V-8 written by Associate Editor John Dianna. Dianna was impressed; Kelly wasn’t. Kelly, in fact, sounded downright cranky, probably because the test car he was given “had more than a usual number of high-speed miles” as it “came directly from an automotive writers’ ‘ride-and-drive’ preview (you know, where we all go out and lay waste to everyday traffic-induced inhibitions, and one or two sets of brakes).” As such, the LT-1 in his car was not the “wailer” it should have been. “The new Z28 should run in the low-14-second region right out of the box, or maybe better,” Kelly wrote. “But this one didn’t.” His best quarter-mile e.t. was 14.93 seconds at 97 mph. “A close-ratio four-speed and a good Hurst shifter were manipulated at 6,200 rpm,” Kelly wrote. “We tried power-shifting at 7,000 rpm, and the result was slower times and lower speeds. The engine is good for more than seven grand, but torque drops off over 6,500, diminishing the need for going past that point.” The factory, by the way, rated the LT-1 in the Camaro as producing 360 hp at 6,000 rpm and 380 lb-ft of peak torque at 4,000. (In the Corvette that year the engine was rated at 370 hp and the same amount of torque.)

10 SUP ER C HEVY JANUARY 2 0 1 8


THE ARCHIVES

Kelly wasn’t all that impressed with the car’s chassis, either, pointing out that the new Camaro’s steering geometry “is inherent with understeer characteristics.” He was baffled as to why a rear sway bar, which helped mitigate the push, was an option. “Why all Camaros don’t have such a rear bar is a question not yet suitably answered.” He noted that the Camaros have softer spring rates “to smoothen the ride,” but that those springs cause “an excessive amount of tail-squatting on acceleration and up-shifting.” His test car “had all the heavy-duty underpinnings, so it would seem that the stiffer-rate spring and shocks needed to aid straight line racing will have to 12 SUP ER C HEVY JANUARY 2 0 1 8

come from outside sources.” Kelly ended his review with a warning: “Because the car we drove didn’t run as well as it should have, this doesn’t mean similar ones won’t do better. They’d better run better or there’s going to be some big upsets, both on the strip and in the front office.” Dianna, on the other hand, wrote his piece on the LT-1 after attending the press preview Kelly referred to. “We were afforded an opportunity to wring out the car (no sense calling it driving) around Riverside’s twisting course, and you didn’t have to be a Mark Donohue to turn in a few quick laps—that car really worked.” Dianna pointed out that the new engine “really isn’t new” and was nearly released for the 1969 model year. New Trans-Am homologation rules for 1970 allowing for destroked blocks opened the door for Chevrolet to drop the 1969 302 in favor of this high-output version of the 350 “that utilizes many of the high performance component designs of yesterday’s 302 engines.” The forged-steel crank and dropforged connecting rods “are from the

high performance family,” Dianna said, while the forged-aluminum TRW pistons “are basically the same as last year’s 302 units, with the same dome configuration and identical 11.00:1 compression ratio.” The LT-1’s camshaft “lost some of its intake timing, overlap, and total lift,” he noted, “but the new cam design should benefit lower-rpm street performance and off-idle acceleration.” While the heads retained the 2.02/1.60-inch valves, they now featured screw-in studs and hardened steel pushrod guideplates. “For years racers have been crying for these two simple additions, so Chevy parts-supply depots had better stack ’em high.” Dianna acknowledged “the times turned with the car Steve Kelly tested fell somewhat short of our honest expectations, but don’t let that bother you,” he added. “This engine is a real sleeper, and is capable of producing ‘cubic’ horsepower. We’ve seen a few ‘homemade’ versions of this new LT-1 package, and the only area in which they needed improvement was in hooking the power to the ground— and that’s just one of the things this ‘better-late-than-never’ Z28 has going for it.”


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BUILDERS GARAGE By Steven Rupp

Classically Cooler Classic Car Studio gives a modern makeover to a sweet 1969 Chevelle

C

lassic Car Studio (CCS) is known for churning out some killer cars. Sometimes they start off with a pretty rough ride, but other times they start with a fairly nice one. Such was the case with this 1969 Chevelle they are transforming. It came into the shop more outdated, and set up for the dragstrip, than worn out. Still, the plan was a full modern makeover for the black A-body so that it would be as nice to drive on the street as it was at the track. The body was massaged and changes were made, such as shaving emblems and tucking in the bumpers. After getting shot with BASF Glasurit paint and receiving 21st century graphics, the Chevelle received all new trim from Original Parts Group (OPG). The existing Dart Little M small-block was worked over and, along with its ProCharger F-1 supercharger, was fully detailed in red and black. The CCS team also fabricated a set of custom headers and a whole lot of intercooler tubing. The boosted mill is controlled by a Holley Dominator EFI

14 SUP ER C HEVY JANUARY 2 0 1 8

system and the powerplant is backed by a TCI Automotive TH400 trans along with a Ford 9-inch filled with 3.55 gears and a Detroit Locker. Wilwood six-piston brakes will reside inside 20x8.5 front and 22x12 rear US Mags wheels wrapped in Pirelli P Zero rubber. Inside, the Chevy’s interior is being covered in Vermillion Red Relicate leather, including the Procar by Scat front seats and the CCS-fabricated rear seats. To keep the Chevelle pointed in the right direction there’s a Flaming River column along with a Billet Specialties wheel. Classic Instruments gauges will track the vitals and a 7-inch Holley touchscreen interfaces with the Dominator ECU. For creature comfort there’s a Vintage Air system along with a Kenwood touchscreen head unit, Kicker speakers, and the requisite amps. Once it’s on the road look for a complete feature on this reborn Chevelle in Super Chevy. To check out more build shots of this and other rides, visit CCS at www.classiccarstudio.com and click on the projects tab.


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499

95

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/kit ASK ABOUT AVAILABLE UPGRADES: PERFORMANCE PACKAGES starting at $ WILWOOD CALIPERS, COIL-OVERS & AIR BAGS CROSSMEMBERS ONLY starting at $209/kit

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FOR CHEVY TRUCKS, FULLSIZE, NOVA, CAMARO, CHEVELLE & EL CAMINO APPLICATIONS

TURBO VERSIONS ALSO AVAILABLE!

• 11.75" Performance Brake Kit with CPP Big Bore™ Calipers 4.5, 4.75, 5x5, 5x5.5 & 6 lug bolt patterns • Forged Aluminum Hubs with Screw-in Studs • Manual or NEW! Power Rack & Pinion • Stock or Drop Modular™ Spindles

Sending units sold separately

POPULAR APPLICATIONS • High-Quality Chrome-Silicon Alloy Construction • Powdercoated Black Finish starting at • Heavy-Duty Coils for Panels, Suburbans or Towing $ /pr Applications Also Available

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BRAKE KITS

!

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Includes mounting brackets & hardware only. starting at $469/ea

HYDRAULIC BRAKE ASSIST

INSTALL KITS

Features an in-line filter, fitting kit & brake bleeding syringe. starting at $29/kit

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Prices subject to change without notice. Please note that kits and prices may vary between certain applications.


STEERING COLUMNS 5-WAY TILT MOST POPULAR

APPLICATIONS

KEY & SHIFT COLUMNS!

CLASSIC FIT™ TRUCK COLUMNS ALSO AVAILABLE

• Column shift columns include both 3 & 4-speed lighted shift indicators • Available in 28", 30", 32", 33" & 35" lengths • Available in plain, chrome & black finishes • Columns have a steel tube for automatic column shift & all floor shift applications • Accept any 1967-94 GM steering wheel or aftermarket adapter $

starting at

POWER STEERING

CONVERSION KITS ORT 14:1 SPIO RAT

CPP engineered the recirculating ball gears for low friction & increased steering response. • All New Components • Late Model TechnologyPerformance Steering • Bolt-on Power Steering Boxes • Use Inverted Flare Hoses • Most Kits Include Steering Box, Pump, Pump Bracket, Hoses & Hardware

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FITS MOST AFTERMARKET COLUMNS

199

starting at $ /ea HORN BUTTONS starting at $49/ea STEERING WHEEL HUBS starting at $55/ea COMPLETE PACKAGE All for one low price!

8

All CPP pump kits include our brand new #19-PUMP installed. Brackets are black powdercoated finish. FEATURES OE STYLE & FUNCTION!

PUMP KITS starting at $159/kit BRACKETS starting at $49/kit

CONTROL ARMS

Specially ADJUSTABLE designed USA RIDE HEIGHT made mounting FROM 1"-7" brackets. For all LOWER “A” body as well as Chevelle & El Camino. Springs & all necessary hardware. starting at $

569/kit

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Specially designed conical springs & all mounting hardware. FOR A LIMITED TIME GET A FREE SPANNER WRENCH & BEARING KIT

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LOWER Available in gloss black WELDED FOR or silver powdercoated MAXIMUM & finish with ball joints STRENGTH CT! already installed. VISUAL IM PA

299/kit

CPP NITROGEN GAS SHOCKS • CPP’s Classic Fit™ 180 psi Nitrogen Gas Cylinder • Black Painted Finish

starting at FRONT OR REAR APPLICATIONS FOR STOCK OR LOWERED RIDE HEIGHT $ /ea CPP ALSO CARRIES ALL POPULAR BRANDS

39

LS1, LS2, LS3 & LS6

CERAMIC COATED HEADERS

• CPP’s FitRite™ Adjustable Engine Side Plates with Polyplus™ Pads • CPP’s FitRite™ Adjustable Transmission Crossmember with Polyplus™ Pads • Engine Side Mounts • Ceramic-Coated Headers • Fabricated Engine Perches starting at • LS Oil Pan Kit* • Installation Hardware $

733/kit

$

COMPLETE UPPER & LOWER SET starting at

C5 TALL SPINDLE WHEEL BRAKE KITS

999

/kit

*Kits content will vary per applications. Note: C-10 kits will not include oil pan or windage tray.

FOR 1963-87 C-10 TRUCK, 1955-57 FULLSIZE, 1959-70 FULLSIZE, 1967-69 CAMARO, 1964-72 CHEVELLE & 1978-87 “G” BODY

$449/kit

CAST IRON EXHAUST MANIFOLDS

1962-67 NOVA MINI SUB-FRAME

Silver Ceramic Coated (Shown)

ION 13" ROTORS BOLT-ON INSTALLAT

STANDARD LOWER KIT $399/kit UPPER & LOWER KIT (shown) $699/kit DELUXE UPPER & LOWER KIT $929/kit

3978/kit

ENGINE INSTALL KITS

• EXCLUSIVE Progressive Bump Stops • OE-style Stamped Coil Spring Pockets • Patented D-Spec Performance Bushings • Reinforced Sway Bar & Shock Mounts • Steering Stops & Billet Interlocking UPPER ARMS starting at $337/pr Crosshafts LOWER ARMS starting at $445/pr

starting at

Bolt-on performance handling system adds stability & improved steering response. • Over 2" of Ground Clearance • Upper Control Arms Accommodate Stock Coil Springs, Shockwave™ GLOSS BLACK & Coil Over Conversions OR SILVER • Accommodates Factory & POWDER-COATED FINISH Aftermarket Sway Bars Deluxe kit also includes shocks, springs and spring perches.

• Totally Tubular™ Upper & Lower Control Arms • Dual-Adjustable Front Coil-Over Conversion Kit • Pro-Touring Front & Rear Sway Bars • Complete Rear Suspension System

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1967 Camaro PTK-Stage IV shown with 500 Series™ 14:1 Ratio Steering Box

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REAR COIL-OVERS KITS

POWER STEERING BOX FOR CHEVY TRUCK, TRI-FIVE, FULLSIZE, NOVA, CAMARO, CHEVELLE & G-BODY

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COIL-OVER CONVERSION KITS Dual-adjustable shocks allow you to adjust compression and rebound valving to custom tune the perfect ride quality!

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PUMPS & BRACKETS

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+

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500 SERIES™ KITS starting at $629/kit

289/kit

PRO-TOURING PACKAGES

• C5 spindle is for the 1964-77 Chevelle, 1967-69 Camaro & the 1968-79 Nova. • The 2nd Gen spindle is for the 1970-81 Camaro, the first of its kind, exclusive to Classic Performance Products. 13" Kit requires 17" disc brake type wheels.

BRAKE KITS starting at $

649/kit 269/pr

C5 SPINDLES starting at $

INCLUDES GASKET & FLANGE KIT!

Shown with • Heavy-duty cast-iron POLYPLUS™ construction provides engine pads excellent performance on engines up to 500HP ADJUSTABLE • Tight-to-the-block design allows for a wide variety of ENGINE MOUNT KITS No-weld CNC laser cut fitment on steel brackets. Available LS applications in two configurations.

AVAILABLE FOR LS1, LS2, LS3, LS6

5 FINISHES AVAILABLE! LS MANIFOLD KIT ONLY (RAW) starting at $225/kit HEADER PIPES ALSO AVAILABLE FOR 1955-64 CHEVY FULLSIZE & 1963-87 C-10 TRUCK Fits the gap between our LS exhaust manifolds and your exhaust system.

NEWLS! MANIFOLD KIT W/HEAD PIPES (RAW)

Classic Performance Products, Inc. 378 E. Orangethorpe Ave. Placentia, CA 92870

714-522-2000 — Fax: 714-522-2500

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starting at $

RUBBER starting at $99/kit

MOTOR & TRANSMISSION MOUNTS MOTOR MOUNTS $34/ea TRANS MOUNTS $25/ea


FEATURE

H

OT RODDING USED TO FOCUS ON JUST MAKING CARS FAST—bolt on a bunch of speed parts, beef up your transmission and

rearend to handle the added power, and maybe cut out some unnecessary weight. It might get down the road pretty fast after all that but you’ll certainly have sacrificed more than a little practicality. These days, with the advancement of technology and the rise in popularity of restomoded muscle cars it’s not uncommon to see an old car that is fast in a straight line, can take a corner like it’s on rails, and even have some modern conveniences. Throw that tried-and-true combination in a station wagon, and voila, you’ve got yourself one of the most fun to drive yet practical muscle cars ever. J.P. Dwyer and his father, John, decided to take that concept one step further.


NOMAD MAXIMUS

“At the time, I was huge into diesel trucks,” recalls JP. So when he and his dad were tossing around ideas of what to build next, JP convinced John to build a diesel-powered muscle car. They wanted something useful; a show car that was able to do more than just wow the crowd. With that in mind, they started searching and came across a 1956 Chevy Nomad in Colorado. The car was in pieces and had no engine or trans so it was a perfect candidate for their unorthodox restoration. After John bought the Nomad it sat around his place in Gilbert, Arizona, for a few years while he gathered up the finances and parts to get the project started. One day, JP was surfing the web and he came across a Craigslist ad for a wreaked 2003 truck with its 6.6L Duramax LB7 diesel engine and transmission still intact. Better yet, it was advertised to have just under 1,000 miles on the truck! It was finally time to get the ball rolling on the dieselpowered project. Work started on the ’56 at a shop that will remain nameless because, as it sometimes happens, things didn’t go as planned so John took his Nomad back and found another builder to finish 20 SUP ER C H EVY JANUARY 2 0 1 8

the job. He ended up contacting James Crosby of James Crosby Design out in Ontario, California, and having the project carried on there. By the time the Nomad made it to James Crosby Design it had already undergone some bodywork and was painted. The paintjob John had chosen to go with was a traditional two-tone, but his colors were anything but traditional. He always liked the orange hue of the early 2000s Lamborghini Gallardos, so that became half of the paint scheme with the other half being a custom silver. The rest of the trim and finishing touches were handled at James Crosby Design. To break up the orange and silver paint, all the original Bel Air trim was put back in place, but not before getting its own custom touch. Instead of going the usual chrome route, John decided to have all the trim nickel plated and brushed. The plating was done by Millennium Polish and Chrome in Ontario, California, then James hand-brushed everything for a stunning end result. Now the moment you’ve all been waiting for—the engine. As mentioned before, the diesel powerplant they sourced was an LB7 Duramax. For


NOMAD MAXIMUS

those who aren’t diesel aficionados, the LB7 is the GM 6.6-liter V-8 produced beginning in summer 2000. The LB7 is turbocharged, direct-injected, and features four valves per cylinder. These engines make some healthy power stock, but John and JP wanted to squeeze a little more out of theirs. To do that, they had the engine brought over to L&R Engines in Santa Fe Springs, California, where it was given a refresh and a little upgrade. Remember how JP found this engine with an advertised 1,000 miles on it? Well, when L&R got to tearing the engine down to give it a once-over, the engine looked even newer than that, and they told JP they reckoned it only had 300 miles on it. So, it was clear they had a great engine to start with, now it was up to L&R to put it back together and get it making some real power. To get the results they were looking for, all they really did was upgrade the turbo to a ball-bearing unit from Garrett so they could push a little more boost through it. Instead of the factory 16 or so psi they were now able to run 18-22 psi. Pair that with some ace tuning and the LB7 was now making a consistent and reliable 700 horsepower and 900 lb-ft of torque. James Crosby Design custom-fabricated the exhaust system, which utilized the factory LB7 exhaust manifolds, 3-inch stainless steel pipes, and MagnaFlow mufflers. What makes this setup even better is that they were able to retain most of the stock 22 SUP ER C H EVY JANUARY 2 0 1 8

parts like the intercooler and radiator, meaning, according to JP, “you can take it to a Chevy dealer anywhere across the country and they can work on it.” To handle all that torque from the Duramax they installed an Allison LTC1000 Stage Three from ATS Diesel Performance. The transmission is a five-speed automatic with a 1,200-stall converter. Underneath the Nomad, James fitted a pretty trick and very modern suspension. John and JP wanted the Tri-Five to not only take a corner and ride comfortable on the street but also make use of the torquey diesel and pull a 17-foot Airstream trailer. So, up front James installed TCI Engineering spindles and A-arms paired with RideTech coilovers. The rear is where it gets a little more technical, starting with the rearend, which is a Ford 9-inch from Currie Enterprises with a locker and 3.00:1 gears. Then, James used TCI’s four-link and RideTech ShockWave airbags paired with a valve from a diesel truck that senses added weight and self-levels mechanically—no wiring or hydraulics required. Since the wagon will be hauling you-know-what and a trailer, they fitted four-piston Baer brakes at all four corners with 13-inch rotors in the front and 12.5-inch rotors out back. Forgeline wheels and Nitto tires make sure the ’56 can get a grip and look good doing it. The wheels are 18x10 up front with 18x11.5 rollers bringing up the rear. To match the look


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NOMAD MAXIMUS

of the car, the spokes were powdercoated by Concept Powder Coating in Rancho Cucamonga, California, and the barrels were nickel-plated by Millennium Chrome. The NT05 tires measure 275/40R18 and 315/35R18, front and rear. The interior of the Nomad was done by Elegance Auto Interiors out of Upland, California, and is just as stunning as the rest of the car. The seats are modified stock, wrapped in coco and gray leather with door panels to match. They seamlessly integrated the Dakota Digital HDX gauge cluster into the dash wrapped in the same coco leather as the rest of the interior. The custom center console is home to dual nickel-plated cup holders, a Genie shifter, and a pair of vents blowing cold air from a Vintage Air unit under the hood. Also found in the center console is a Bluetooth head unit from Kicker that controls four speakers and a subwoofer installed by Art of Sound in Upland, California. A little backlash from the Tri-Five community was to be expected, with people asking, “Why would you do this to a perfectly good Nomad?” JP’s answer to that is a simple one, “We didn’t. We took a car in pieces and gave it new life.” But they didn’t just want to give it new life. JP told us, “The end goal was to have something no one else has done before.” As far as we are concerned, a show-quality 1956 Chevy Nomad with a 700-horsepower turbo diesel that handles like a champ and can pull a 17-foot Airstream trailer at 80 miles an hour definitely fits the bill. FOR MORE WEB EXCLUSIVE CONTENT VISIT

SUPERCHEVY.COM 24 SUP ER C H EVY JANUARY 2 0 1 8


1960 Chevrolet Brookwood goes from neglected, decade-old show winner to custom-built show winner

A

true hot rodder can never leave well enough alone.

When Raymond Bleau of Fort Mill, South Carolina, first spotted this ’60 Brookwood wagon at the 2012 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction it was a decent driver. A 2006 SEMA Auto Salon Philadelphia winner, the wagon was a well-built hot rod, but years of rough roads, rainy weather, and outside parking took its toll on the ol’ wagon.

“I wasn’t even looking for a wagon until I found this one,” said Ray, who still wanted his own custom-built car—not someone else’s—but he couldn’t pass it up. So he decided to get to work, making this wagon his own. To start with, “It looked good from about 20 feet and the engine bay was basically stock,” said Ray. “It looked like it had been driven and then sat in the rain.” The fenders and tailgate had some minor rust but the major components like the Chevrolet Performance 350 crate engine with Ram

S t o r y J ess e K i s er+ P h o t o s t h e A u t h o r 26 SUP ER C HEVY JANUARY 2 0 1 8


NEVER FINISHED

Jet induction, air-ride suspension, and leather upholstery were there, if just. Ray brought the wagon back East to his friend Darryl Bobzin, owner of Darryl’s Speed & Custom deep in the heart of NASCAR country in Kannapolis, North Carolina. Darryl worked at Hendrick Motorsports for a time before moving over to Red Bull Racing, who dropped out of NASCAR at the end of 2011. That was perfect timing for Darryl to branch out on his own, with the wagon being his first project. “He did a little bit of everything, because we were friends I learned so much from him,” said Ray. “He’s very detailed, everything has to be perfect.” First, the front clip was removed and the 350 Ram Jet crate engine got a new timing chain, clean up, and fresh green paint to match the rest 28 SUP ER C H EVY JANUARY 2 0 1 8

of the car. The mill was also updated with an MEFI 4-controlled fuelinjection system and backed by a TCI 3,500-stall converter, which helps move the power to the stock 3.08 rear axle. Ray took pride in the fit and finish of the engine bay, spending a few months on just that alone. The front suspension was rebuilt using new bushings. “We repolished and mediablasted everything.” The body has never left the frame as long as Ray has owned it. Outside, the wagon was originally Sea Foam Green. Darryl added a two-tone scheme; mostly painting the bottom half of the car and engine bay, while the roof received a new clearcoat. But Ray wasn’t allowed to do any of the painting, “that’s the one thing he won’t let me do. He did it while I was at work.”

The wheels are staggered with 18s in the front and 20s in the back. They were custom ordered from Billet Specialties by the previous owner and wrapped in Nitto Extreme ZR 235/40R18s in front and 255/35R20s in back. The wagon already had an airbag suspension but the bags leaked and showed signs of dry rot. Ray picked up new air springs from RideTech along with new lines and fittings. The tanks were full of water and began to rust from the inside out so Ray mounted stainless steel tanks behind the rear seats, along with new stained wood. He then recessed the air-ride gauges into the stock dash. Inside, the seats are from a ’65 wagon and wrapped in light green and off-white leather. The carpet is custom and the dash was painted to match the exterior.


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NEVER FINISHED

“It was just a lot of little things, more than I originally figured,” said Ray. They replaced the passenger-side front floorboard due to damage from a sweaty air conditioner. “We just brought it back to show quality. Now it rides nice and we have fun.” Ray’s day job is handling IT support at a major investment company. When he isn’t at his desk job or working on the wagon he’s giving back to his community by volunteering as an EMS at Fort Mill Rescue. He said he likes learning how things work, a trait he picked up from his dad, a carpenter. “I’ve always been hands on with cars and my house, like I built my own porch. With EMS you’re hands on with understanding how the body 30 SUP ER C H EVY JANUARY 2 0 1 8

works. It’s nice to give back; adds some excitement in my life.” Ray was unable to find out who built the car originally, but a previous owner approached him at a Goodguys event and has since asked Ray a few times to sell it. “I want to finish it and get it to where I like it, then maybe I’ll sell it, but I’m having too much fun with it now.” Ray has had a few other hot rods, but is surprised at the response he receives when driving the wagon, “I’ve had a Camaro and a Mustang that are nicer, but when I bring the wagon around it gets more attention,” said Ray. “I think it brings back memories for us older folks riding around in the back of these when we were kids.”

One of Ray’s proudest moments with the wagon is winning Most Creative at the 2014 Spring Charlotte AutoFair at Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina … but still can’t leave well enough alone. Ray has a roof rack and surfboard for the wagon but thinks it might mess up the traditional lines. He’s currently working on updating the center console by building a fiberglass console and paint-match the dash. “It’ll pretty much be where I want it, but nothing is ever really done, you’re always changing things.” FOR MORE WEB EXCLUSIVE CONTENT VISIT

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THE LITTLE OLD LADY A Survivor Second-Gen Camaro Becomes So Much More

W

E’VE ALL HEARD STORIES about the cool classic car purchased from a little old lady, but nobody ever really knows the lady in question. It’s just a story that is passed from gearhead to gearhead, eventually becoming folklore of sorts. Well, we’re here to tell you a story about a real “Little Old Lady” car, which today is owned by Jim Ries of Classic Performance Products.

“I purchased this car over 10 years ago from a little old woman in Pasadena. The car was all original and in great shape so I just painted the car and put it in storage. Knowing someday I would build it using all of our parts,” Ries explained.

And so she sat, the fresh paint beckoning, waving its Camaro lineage at Ries until, finally, he resurrected her in 2016. Actually, it was a call from Super Chevy magazine, inviting Ries and Classic Performance Products in participate in the 2016 Falken Tire Super Chevy Muscle Car

Stor y Jason Reiss + Photos Robert McGaffin 32 SUP ER C HEVY JANUARY 2 0 1 8


THE LITTLE OLD LADY

Challenge, which brought the beautiful Camaro out of storage. “I put it to a vote with the guys in the Research & Development Department and of all of the cars in our R&D stable they picked this car to build,” Ries says. As the car—originally discovered thanks to Dan at Auto B Craft—was in fine shape, the build process for this machine was likely simpler than many of the other Muscle Car Challenge competitors. Ries says the entire build process took them only three weeks from start to finish. Now, it’s entirely possible they were able to do it so quickly because the CPP team had decades upon decades of experience in the classic Chevrolet restoration business—with Ries clocking in over four decades on his own. Ries claims the process was easy, and everything went together quite well. To build an entire Pro Touring-style car in a span of three weeks seems like a monstrous undertaking, but the process is eased substantially when there is no engine or transmission to put together from scratch. One trend we’ve noticed that has taken hold in this community is 34 SUP ER C HEVY JANUARY 2 0 1 8


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THE LITTLE OLD LADY

the use of Chevrolet Performance crate engines—typically of the LS3 variety—backed by a factory electronically controlled automatic transmission or a manual gearbox. Like many of the other vehicles at the Muscle Car Challenge, a 6.2-liter LS3 crate engine from Chevrolet Performance is under the hood. A set of CPP’s LS manifolds feed a stainless exhaust system built by Muffler Man in Placentia, California. The engine is backed by a 2016 4L75E transmission, which spins the power back through the Inland Empire Driveline driveshaft. A Shift Works shifter helps pick the right gear. Is it tough to cut up a survivor car to put in a set of rear tubs? We’d have to guess that it absolutely is, but the fit and finish of the Classic Performance Products kit makes the process easy. But the CPP team did more than just tub this Camaro—lots more, in fact! Although it’s not a full chassis car like some of the others at the Muscle Car Challenge, nearly every component underneath has been replaced or modified in some way, as the CPP 36 SUP ER C HEVY JANUARY 2 0 1 8

team installed their Stage IV ProTouring Kit (PTK4). In the front, the company’s Totally Tubular upper and lower control arms work in conjunction with CPP’s Corvette Conversion spindles and 500-series steering system to hold the road. A set of 550 lb/in CPP springs sits on a set of Viking double-adjustable shocks, and one of CPP’s monster

1 3/8-inch tubular antiroll bars is installed. The rear suspension centers around a set of CPP’s Narrow Offset Dropped Leaf springs, which is very different from some of the other suspension systems we’ve seen from the Muscle Car Challenge. A Currie 9-inch rearend houses an Eaton Truetrac diff, a set of 3.89 gears, and wears another


THE LITTLE OLD LADY

WHAT MAKES IT HANDLE DRIVETRAIN: Chevrolet Performance LS376 6.2L crate engine. Chevrolet Performance 4L75E transmission with stock torque converter. Currie 9-inch rearend with Eaton Truetrac and 3.89 gears.

SUSPENSION PACKAGE: Classic Performance Products PTK4 – Stage IV Pro-Touring Kit

FRONT SUSPENSION:

pair of Viking double-adjustable shocks. CPP traction bars, spring pads, tie plates, and subframe connectors are also in the performance mix. By incorporating the company’s Corvette Conversion spindles it permits the use of CPP’s own 13-inch rotor, dual-piston caliper front brake system, which includes a CPP aluminum master cylinder, an adjustable proportioning valve, and their Hydra Stop hydraulic booster. Their 12-inch rotor, single-piston caliper brakes are installed in the rear. It helps to remember that this Camaro is not an all-out competition piece like some of the others we’ve previously featured from the event. It is filled with traditional street-style gear that won’t rattle your teeth out over bumps or detach your retinas from the back of your eyeballs under hard braking. In short, it’s equipment—mostly

bolt-ons—you can install onto a typical street car and be assured they will fit right the first time. These are parts that perform to your expectations without completely wrecking the budget. Rolling stock consists of a set of Foose 18x9 and 18x11 wheels riding on Falken Azenis RT615K tires measuring 275/35/18 in the front and 315/30/18 in the rear. As the car was painted over a decade ago, it wears a Mercedes silver hue from 2006. The all-steel body has been smoothed out by Auto B Craft, and Ries was lucky that none of the additional running gear needed to be replaced prior to paint. Sometimes it really does pay to buy a car from a little old lady in Pasadena. FOR MORE WEB EXCLUSIVE CONTENT VISIT

CPP Totally Tubular upper and lower control arms. Viking double-adjustable coilover shocks. 1 3/8-inch hollow CPP sway bar with billet mounts.

BRAKES: CPP twin-piston calipers with 13-inch rotors front. CPP single-piston calipers with 12-inch rotors rear. Hydra Stop brake booster with aluminum master cylinder.

REAR SUSPENSION: CPP traction bars, spring pads, and tie plates with narrow offset dropped leaf springs. Viking double-adjustable shocks. CPP adjustable tubular sway bar with billet mount upgrade.

TIRES: Falken Azenis RT615K, 275/35/18 front and 315/30/18 rear

WHEELS: Foose 18x9 (6-inch backspace) front and 18x11 (6.75-inch backspace) rear

COST: Suspension package: $4,875, not including brakes.

SUPERCHEVY.COM

HOW’D IT STACK UP? Slalom Average Speed

100-Yard Dash

Road Course Lap Time

Classic Performance Products 1970 Camaro

46.2 mph

5.33 seconds

1:18.25

2010 Camaro SS

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5.76 seconds

1:25.87

With veteran wheelman Kelly Collins piloting the CPP Camaro, it performed quite well during the testing phase of the 2016 Falken Tire Super Chevy Muscle Car Challenge. Although this car does not use a full race chassis, it still outperformed the benchmark 2010 Camaro SS substantially. During the slalom event, Collins muscled the car through the course in 6.20-seconds, which equates to a 46.2 mph average over the 420-foot long course. On the road course, Collins took the Little Old Lady through the clocks with a best time of 1 minute, 18.25 seconds. Not only did this best the modern Camaro by over 7 seconds, it shows the capabilities of Classic Performance Products’ true bolt-on Stage IV Pro-Touring suspension system are substantial. A great showing for a car built in less than one month, and proof positive that all cars deserve a second chance at greatness.

38 SUP ER C HEVY JANUARY 2 0 1 8


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TECH

4L80EXTRAORDINARY!

GM’s race-tested-tough, street/strip overdrive automatic from Performance Automatic is the latest in a respected pedigree Story Jim Smart + Photos The Author

G

M’S 4L80E OVERDRIVE AUTOMATIC is the latest in a continuing legacy of rugged Turbo-Hydramatic transmissions from Chevrolet. Fifty years ago, the TH350 and the TH400 transmissions were a new generation of dependable three-speed automatics from GM’s Hydramatic Division. The TH350 light-duty automatic introduced in 1969 was conceived for smallblock V-8s while the TH400, introduced in 1964, with its higher torque capacity was engineered to handle big-block power. At the cusp of the 1990s, GM changed the way it designated its automatic transmissions. The 700-R4 became the 4L60 that meant four forward speeds (4); and a longitudinal design (L); 60 for torque capacity, which would be a 6,000-pound vehicle weight rating. When these automatics became electronically controlled in the early 1990s, an “E” designation swiftly followed. GM took the assets of these two transmissions, the TH400 and the electronically controlled 4L60E, and adapted them to modern technology: electronic control and stronger internals. The 4L80E, 40 SUP ER C HEVY JANUARY 2 0 1 8

which entered production in 1991 for trucks, was conceived on the heels of the 700-R4 and 4L60, although it shares quite a bit with the tried-and-true TH400. Think of it as an overdrive TH400, which means it’s capable of handling gobs of torque compared to the lighterduty automatics. The 4L80E has gear ratios of 2.48:1 (First), 1.48:1 (Second), 1.00:1 (Third), 0.75:1 (Fourth), and 2.07:1 (Reverse). When the 4L80E was introduced, torque capacity was vehicles up to 8,000 pounds and engines producing up to 440 lb-ft of torque. The uprated 4L85E,


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T E C H 4L80EXTRAORDINARY! introduced in 2002, is rated for vehicles up to 16,500 pounds and engines producing up to 460 lb-ft of torque. Adaptive learning technology enables the 4L80E/4L85E to “learn” your driving style and adapt to it as a result. If you’re installing a 4L80E/4L85E in a classic Chevy, controllers are available from the aftermarket.

Designed and built with the best performance parts available, the four-speed Street Smart 4L80E from Performance Automatic has an improved gear ratio spread for vehicles that need the most from their transmission. The Quik Connect Program is also included with all Platinum Transmission packages. Performance Automatic’s Quik Connect Program

1

The Performance Automatic 4L80E is a proven street/strip (read: overdrive) automatic designed for big-blocks and high-power small-blocks, and the beloved LS. We’re building a 4L85E with uprated high-performance hard parts and frictions. The result is greater horsepower and torque capacity.

2

is a comprehensive program containing easy-to-follow instructional videos along with personalized technical assistance. It is personalized service needed in today’s high-tech hot rod world. The Quik Connect Program is tied to specific products, including the 4L80E, offered from Performance Automatic. These products will have a special designation with the part

3

Performance Automatic begins with a hardened input shaft as a means to increasing torque capacity. Higher planet capacity is what comes next.

4

5

The 4L80E/4L85E looks like a lot of monkey motion inside. However, how power travels through this transmission is simple. We’re most interested in what Performance Automatic does to give the 4L80E greater capacity. Durability comes from better clutches and rugged bands, hardened input shaft, improved sprag, and five-pinion planets.

42 SUP ER C HEVY JANUARY 2 0 1 8

High-performance Raybestos clutches and bands are employed throughout the 4L80E. The bottom line is greater holding power. Greater clutch and band holding power means less heat and less heat makes for a happy and long-lasting transmission.


T E C H 4L80EXTRAORDINARY! number. Once the customer registers the product, they will have access to the complete program. Inside the Performance Automatic 4L80E are significant improvements that add torque capacity and durability. A hardened input shaft gets you off to a good start with greater torque

capacity. Performance Automatic gives the 4L80E greater pump capacity for higher volume and pressure. It fits the 4L80E with Raybestos clutches and a higher capacity intermediate band for solid hook-up. Modifications are made to the valvebody for crisp shifts and precise shift timing. A heavy-duty

6

Transmission shops have different approaches to building. Some prefer to soak frictions in transmission fluid before assembly while others install dry. The logic behind soaking the frictions is to get an accurate read on clearances during assembly. Not all transmission builders will agree on this one.

7

Increased torque capacity comes from this 4140 steel billet forward clutch hub from Performance Automatic. The forward clutch is fitted with Raybestos frictions and plates along with a Torrington thrust bearing. The result is greater torque capacity, holding power, and smoothness.

8

This is the 4L80E’s four-pinion rear low gear planetary gearset. You can upgrade to the five-pinion planet, which improves torque capacity by spreading the load over a greater area.

44 SUP ER C HEVY JANUARY 2 0 1 8

sprag improves durability. A heavyduty locking torque converter fitted with improved frictions eliminates slippage and excessive heat. Heat is a 4L80E’s greatest enemy. In short, Performance Automatic yields a 4L80E engineered to handle 700+ horsepower and comparable torque.

9

The overrun clutch drum and new overdrive roller clutch are assembled using the new Raybestos clutches and plates. New bushings have also been pressed in.

10

This is the four-pinion overdrive planet for the 4L80E. The 4L80E and 4L85E both have four-pinion overdrive planets. The 4L85E differs from the 4L80E in that both the low and intermediate planets are five-pinion on the 4L85E, thus increasing torque capacity.

11

Servo sizing has a direct effect on band holding performance and slippage. You want the largest servo size available, which prevents slippage and unnecessary heat. A billet aluminum servo is suggested when power goes over the top. Stock servos tend to break in extreme power applications.


SHOP BY VEHICLE OR TALK TO AN EXPERT

g-Force Sport COMP-2

Potenza S-04 Pole Position

Eagle Sport All-Season

Ventus S1 noble2

Blizzak WS80

ExtremeContact Sport

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Pilot Sport 4S

Direzza DZ102

X-Ice Xi3

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ARHR VNT71R 15 17

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NITRO 5

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T E C H 4L80EXTRAORDINARY! 12

15

The direct clutch package gets a fresh complement of Raybestos clutches and upgrade apply piston.

13

New bushings are installed throughout the 4L80E regardless of the condition of the existing bushings. Each is coated with transmission assembly lube for a slippery start up.

16

Teflon sealing rings replace the old-school iron rings because they do not break. Installation is tricky. However, if performed correctly these seals outlast anything out there.

17 Raybestos heavy-duty clutch frictions and steels are employed throughout each Performance Automatic 4L80E build. Clutch plates are heat-treated and can withstand heat much better than original equipment.

14 18

The 4L80E geartrain package has had all the clearances checked and have been carefully assembled by Performance Automatic’s professional staff. Here it is being loaded into the case, this is also when the front pump gasket is installed.

46 SUP ER C HEVY JANUARY 2 0 1 8

The front pump assembly has been checked for scoring and wear issues. The pump is then assembled and filled with assembly lube.


T E C H 4L80EXTRAORDINARY! 19

23

The valvebody separator plate is modified by Performance Automatic for shift improvement and then thoroughly washed. Front pump seal issues bite us in the posterior most. The seal flange must face the outside of the pump with the seal lip pointed toward the inside. Finally, the seal lip must be generously lubricated. The outside perimeter gets a super thin film of Permatex’s The Right Stuff.

24

20

All valvebody check balls and springs are properly placed per Performance Automatic specifications, then, closely inspected before buttoning up the unit.

25

The front pump assembly is then carefully guided into the case using a #2 Phillips screwdriver as a guide.

21

It’s now when the accumulator piston assembly is installed, taking extra care to be sure the springs and pistons are properly seated.

26 22

Next up, accumulator pistons are inserted and the springs put in place in preparation to be installed. 48 SUP ER C HEVY JANUARY 2 0 1 8

The completed 4L80E valvebody has new shift solenoids and pressure control solenoid. Shift problem issues can often be traced to these solenoids. Before concluding you have transmission failure, check the valvebody and solenoids for proper function.


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T E C H 4L80EXTRAORDINARY! 27

Every Performance Automatic build is dyno-tested for proper operation prior to shipment.


28 The Smart Shift from Performance Automatic is a simple solution for precision shift control. You don’t need a laptop or have to be a computer programmer to get results from this controller. Simply wire it up, plug it in, and use the switches and dials to set it to your car. In short, the unit is well named.

WHAT DOES 4L80E MEAN? 4 = Four-Speed L = Longitudinal application (North/South) 80 = Torque capacity based on gross vehicle weight, where “80” means 8,000 pounds E = Electronic control

GM TRANSMISSION WEIGHTS TRANSMISSION

WEIGHT (LBS)

TH350

120

4L60E

155

TH400

130

4L80E

187

SOURCES: Performance Automatic 240.439.4650 performanceautomatic.com


TECH

LS SWAP SOLUTION

Putting FiTech’s New Wallet-Friendly LS Induction System to the Test Story Jeff Smith and Steven Rupp + Photos Jeff Smith

F

ITECH RECENTLY INTRODUCED a line of affordable and easy-to-install self-tuning induction systems for GM LS engines designed with both the do-it-yourselfer and the professional EFI tuner in mind. The fabricated sheet aluminum intake may be what grabs the eye first but it’s the rest of the kit that really stands out. It’s a complete system that comes with everything needed to finish the induction system of an LS engine and have it fueling accurately with little fuss and for minimal cash outlay—even with the super cool TIG-welded intake manifold. It wasn’t all that long ago that the only place you would see a fabricated sheetmetal intake was on an NHRA Pro Stocker or perhaps a highly competitive Comp Eliminator car. The rest of us mere mortals just couldn’t afford those enormously cool but ultra-spendy TIG-welded manifolds. But what was once an extravagance is now affordable. FiTech garnered such significant attention with its self-learning throttle body fuel injection system that we covered it in the June 2017 issue (“Injection Inspection”) where we compared it to a carburetor on 52 SUP ER C HEVY JANUARY 2 0 1 8

a 440hp 5.7L LS engine. That testing went so well that when we learned about FiTech’s Ultimate LS induction kit, we just had to try it. Here’s the deal. FiTech has built a simple, short runner-length fabricated aluminum intake configured for both the 24x cathedral port (LS1, LS2) and the 58x rectangular port (LS3, L99) engines. FiTech calls it the Ultimate LS induction system and the base kit includes everything needed, including the intake manifold, throttle body, ECU, complete wiring harness, injectors (either 36 or 66 lb/hr), fuel rails, fuel hose, fittings, and nearly every sensor you’ll need


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T E C H LS SWAP SOLUTION to easily bolt the system onto an LS engine. This is great news for those with LS engines, either built or sourced from a salvage yard, who want an affordable way to get it running in their Chevy project. The beauty of this approach is its simplicity. Once you’ve plugged in the wiring harness to the engine and powered it up, all that’s left is to input the engine size and your preference for idle speed, air/fuel ratios, timing, and a couple of other parameters and the engine is ready to run. It’s literally that easy. It’s this simplicity that can make an LS swap into an older muscle car easy and affordable. FiTech even offers an option that includes software that will manage any of the electronically controlled GM LS automatics like the 4L60/65/70E, or the larger 4L80E. This means you don’t have to drop extra cash on a separate controller. The kit

will include all the harness connections for the transmission so the shift points can be called up on the same handheld FiTech device that controls the engine. The manifold itself is constructed of 3mm (0.118-inch or roughly 1/8-inch) sheet aluminum and is robust enough to handle reasonable boost pressures without distorting. One of the first things we did was peer inside the plenum with the throttle body removed to evaluate how the runners enter the plenum. The FiTech manifold actually extends the runners beyond the plenum floor and configures the tubes with a radiused entry to improve airflow. While short runner manifolds look very cool, there’s more to this than just visuals. Intake runner length is one of the more critical aspects of engine design and this length is tied directly to the rpm band where the engine makes power. As you may know, longer intake runner lengths affect the reflected wave

tuning to improve low-and mid-range power at the expense of top-end power. Conversely, shorter length manifolds sacrifice low-speed torque while improving the top-end power. Even with the FiTech manifold runners extended into the plenum it appears that this intake would tend to enhance peak rpm power because the runners are significantly shorter (perhaps to help it fit beneath a broad range of possible hoods) than a typical LS factory manifold. As a point of comparison, LS6 intake runners measure roughly 22 inches while the FiTech comes in around 12 inches. We thought it would be interesting to test this new FiTech intake against a stock LS6 to see how it would fare. Knowing that the FiTech runners were significantly shorter, it was fair to estimate that the factory LS6 intake would probably make more torque in the lower and mid-range engine speeds

Here’s the Ultimate LS induction system. The manifold comes with injectors, fuel rail, throttle body, complete wiring harness, and most of the sensors, including the TPS, MAP, and coolant sensors plus the idle air control motor and the wideband oxygen sensor. The manifold is barely 7.5 inches tall from the valley plate to its highest point, which is just 0.5 inches taller than an LS1 intake.

This inverted view reveals four separate pipe thread holes available for any vacuum requirement like power brakes or PCV. Our test engine was a cathedral port Gen III engine but a nearly identical version will bolt up to rectangular port Gen IV engines.

54 SUP ER C HEVY JANUARY 2 0 1 8

Here, FiTech’s Jeremy Schmidt (left) and Jason Oberhelman (right) slide the Ultimate LS manifold in place. Note that the manifold comes with a -6 AN crossover hose that ties the two fuel rails together.


FiTech’s throttle body systems incorporate the ECU into the throttle body, but with the LS system, the ECU is a separate box that can be mounted almost anywhere.

This rear view reveals where the MAP sensor is placed. This manifold’s low profile makes it a great addition for any car like a third-generation Camaro or Firebird with a very low hood line.

while the FiTech would improve power from peak torque on up to peak horsepower. The only question that remained was how much peak horsepower the FiTech would add. It might also be useful to mention that any of these FiTech systems can be upgraded with larger injectors if future upgrades require more fuel flow than the originals can supply

or tuned with custom maps. As long as the injectors are high impedance versions, increasing the injector size requires no more effort than merely inputting the information into the base configuration. For example, adding 85 lb/hr injectors so you could run this configuration on E85 is as easy as changing the injector size on the configuration screen.

Another attractive feature offered by the Ultimate LS induction kit is knock detection. FiTech has employed a rather sophisticated algorithm that once it detects knock, it can pull an adjustable amount of timing either across all cylinders or just from individual holes that experience knock. The total amount of retard is adjustable along with the retard’s maximum rpm.


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As you might expect, it is also adjustable for sensitivity since there’s lots of other noisy components that can trigger the knock sensor. All of these features offer protection for the engine, which allows the tuner to be a bit more aggressive in the tune—especially at part throttle. For our test, we chose to use editor Rupp’s budget 5.7L iron block, cathedral port LS engine as our test mule. If you recall, this engine started life as a Summit 5.3L LS block that was bored to the larger 3.89-inch 5.7L bore size using stock replacement pistons and a stock 5.7L 3.62-inch stroke crank. The only real performance addition was a Comp XFI RPM hydraulic roller measuring 216/220-degrees of duration, at 0.050, with 0.525/0.532-inch valve lift, and a lobe separation angle of 114 degrees. As you can see, this is a pretty mild cam, which should deliver decent mid-range and peak power while still offering excellent street manners. We began our baseline with the LS6 intake using the FiTech 500hp kit’s 36 lb/hr injectors, controller, wiring harness, and software. This was the best way to perform the test so we could evaluate just the effects of the manifold without adding the variable of a different EFI control system. We experimented with the air/fuel ratio but finalized it at 12.8:1 and maintained the same settings for both manifolds. It only took a few minutes and less than a half-dozen dyno pulls to give the FiTech ECU enough tuning time to stabilize the power with the stock LS6 intake and OE 78mm throttle body. As you can see from the numbers, the combination of a decent length intake runner put max torque at 417 lb-ft at 4,800 rpm and pushed peak horsepower to 426 at 6,200. That placed the powerband at 1,400 rpm, defined as the rpm spread between peak torque and peak horsepower. Ideally, we’d like to have as wide a powerband as possible for street engines. Typical powerbands are generally around 1,500 rpm, so the stock manifold is relatively close. It didn’t take long to swap over to the FiTech Ultimate LS induction system intake because LS engines don’t require draining coolant or installing new gaskets. In far less than an hour, we were back up and running. Besides the change to the sheetmetal intake, this


The handheld display is the same as used on the FiTech throttle body systems. The device uses a combination of touch screen and that small button on the right to make navigating through the inputs and tuning screens really easy.

The 500hp Ultimate LS package comes with a cable-operated 92mm throttle body while the 750hp packages come equipped with a slightly larger 102mm throttle body. We experimented with the larger 102mm throttle body on our mild LS engine but it didn’t improve power.

This is a shot inside the plenum with the throttle body removed. Note how the runners extend inside the plenum to increase length while maintaining a relatively low profile. Also note how FiTech radiused the inlets for each runner to improve airflow.

swap also incorporated a larger 92mm throttle body that comes standard with the 500hp kit. After only a few pulls, the power stabilized and the results pretty much followed our expectations. The shorter FiTech runner length did give up some low and mid-range torque to the LS6


T E C H LS SWAP SOLUTION intake with the greatest differential being 13 lb-ft at 3,800 rpm. But once the engine crested 5,300 rpm, the torque and horsepower numbers began to exceed the LS6’s achievements, with the FiTech making 17 more horsepower with 443 at 6,200. Comparing peak torque numbers, the FiTech was down from the LS6’s 417 lb-ft to the FiTech’s 405 lb-ft peak. Essentially, the FiTech manifold traded torque for horsepower by using the shorter runners to improve the numbers above peak torque while experiencing losses in torque at the engine speeds below peak torque. If we look at the average torque and horsepower numbers, they are within less than one percent. Just for fun we also referenced the power numbers from the FiTech throttle body test. We looked at both the carbureted single- and dual-plane intake numbers and the LS6 intake numbers are very similar to the dualplane TBI results. As you might expect, the Ultimate LS intake’s power curve was similar to the single-plane carbureted manifold. As a final test, we tried the larger 102mm throttle body that’s used on the 750hp Ultimate LS kit to see if it might be worth some power. The results proved to be inconsequential, which means for this application the larger

Here you can see the stock LS6 intake we used for the baseline manifold. It made more torque due to its slightly longer runners but fell short in peak horsepower.

throttle body wasn’t necessary. Had our engine been capable of near 700 horsepower, then the larger throttle body would be of value. Overall, our test was a complete success. The one thing this test really doesn’t indicate however, is this manifold’s ultimate potential for airflow. FiTech rates the larger unit with its 66 lb/hr injectors at 750 hp, which could easily be possible with enough cylinder head and camshaft. The LS software also will control nitrous if you’re so inclined. Also note that all of the FiTech components are offered a la carte, so if want the harness and computer, or any part of this kit, separately then FiTech can hook you up. This is great news if you have a complete LS and just need the easy-to-install computer and harness. All of this means POWER CHART the FiTech manifold RPM LS6 LS6 FITECH FITECH DIFF DIFF has plenty of potenTQ HP TQ HP TQ HP tial as a performance 3,000

377

215

364

208

-13

-7

3,200

381

232

370

225

-11

-7

3,400

386

250

378

244

-8

-6

3,600

392

269

385

264

-7

-5

3,800

402

291

392

284

-10

-7

4,000

410

312

399

303

-11

-9

4,200

413

330

400

320

-13

-10

4,400

413

346

403

337

-10

-9

4,600

416

364

405

355

-11

-9

4,800

417

381

405

370

-12

-11

5,000

414

394

403

384

-11

-10

5,200

408

404

402

398

-6

-6

5,400

400

412

402

413

+2

+1

5,600

393

419

400

426

+7

+7

5,800

383

423

395

436

+12

+13

6,000

373

426

386

442

+13

+16

6,200

361

426

375

443

+14

+17

6,400

347

423

363

442

+16

+19

AVG

393.1

353.8

390.3

353.1

-2.8

-0.7

58 SUP ER C HEVY JANUARY 2 0 1 8

manifold in lots of configurations and displacements. Stuff a 427ci rectangular port version under this intake with an aggressive cam and you could expect 625 to 650 hp potential without losing any sleep over whether you’d make enough power. Combining lots of power potential with an affordable price (kits start at $1,495) and it’s a deal that will make both your car and wallet pretty happy. SOURCES: Competition Cams – COMP 800.999.0853 compcams.com

FiTech Fuel Injection 951.340.2624 fitechefi.com

Summit Racing 800.230.3030 summitracing.com

Westech Performance Group 951.685.4767 westechperformance.com

The LS6 intake made as much as 13 more lb-ft of torque at 4,200 than the FiTech but the lines cross after 5,200 rpm and the sheetmetal intake’s shorter runners produced as much as 19 more horsepower at 6,400 rpm. The average power numbers are nearly identical between the two manifolds.


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Rev Up Your Style... with a ‘50s American Classic Back in the ‘50s, no car combined good looks with a great ride like the “Hot One”, the Chevy Bel Air. The full size Bel Air models of 1955, 1956, and 1957 were considered among Chevrolet’s finest and are still coveted by collectors today. Now, you can cruise in style once more when you gear up in our “Chevy ® Bel Air ®” Twill Jacket. This new apparel exclusive is crafted of 100% cotton twill in a sharp two-toned navy blue and black design, with chrome-color piping across the front, back and down the sleeves. Custom art on the back showcases the classic ‘55, ‘56 and ‘57 Bel Air along with a vintage speedometer, while the front sports an embroidered ‘50s Chevrolet logo. The jacket also features a full fabric lining in red, rib knit trim in black on the cuffs and bottom, two front pockets, an inside slip pocket and full zip closure. Imported.

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TECH

POLAR EXPRESS

ADD MODERN COMFORT TO YOUR CLASSIC CHEVY WITH VINTAGE AIR’S SUREFIT GEN IV CLIMATE CONTROL SYSTEM

Story Jim Smart + Photos Steven Rupp and Jason Scudellari

T

ODAY’S AFTERMARKET is nothing short of remarkable when it comes to great products for classic muscle cars. You get the incredible styling and nostalgic feel of vintage muscle along with all the creature comforts of modern automotive technology. Vintage Air, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, brings you its SureFit Gen IV in-dash, electronic climate control for classic 1964-’72 Chevelles and El Caminos. Just imagine—affordable, full-spectrum climate control in a classic Chevy. To get cool comfort in your vintage Chevelle or El Camino, you must first have a reliable method of heat extraction during the hot months. And that’s what refrigeration (air conditioning) does. It doesn’t put cold in, it transfers heat out. And what better way to do this than with a SureFit Gen IV in-dash, electronically controlled climate control system from Vintage Air? Not only does the SureFit draw ugly summer heat out, it makes the cabin toasty in winter when 60 SUP ER C HEVY JANUARY 2 0 1 8

the summer months are but warm memories. We’re working with a 1971 Chevelle (well, technically a Malibu) that originally came from the factory without air conditioning; equipped with little more than a heater to keep the toes warm. Vintage Air has shipped us its complete SureFit Gen IV system (PN 961071) for our Chevelle project. The SureFit is such a stealthy system that you hardly know it’s there until you need heat or cooling and flip the controls. It tucks up nicely behind the Chevelle’s dashboard and stays


T E C H POLAR EXPRESS clear of your feet. The OEM-style sliding controls work in a very similar fashion to what GM had there to begin with, making it second nature to use.

4 The hot water valve is electronically controlled. No vacuum hoses or cables to leak or add clutter.

1

5

We like the Vintage Air SureFit Gen IV package for 1964-’72 Chevelles and El Caminos, which hides neatly up under your dashboard. Instead of old-fashioned cables or vacuum motors, the SureFit uses electronically controlled servo motors (arrows), to operate air doors within the unit. There’s nothing to adjust or sweat about. A powerful blower keeps air moving throughout the cabin.

2

The arrow shows you coolant flow direction and proper installation.

6

Vintage Air provides a plug-and-play harness, which includes compressor and fan relays and grommets, making installation easy.

3

Vintage Air’s OEM-style climate control offers sliding fingertip function. An LED indicator light indicates A/C function. If you want a more custom look Vintage Air offers a variety of control panels.

7

The refrigeration lines and expansion valve are wrapped with insulation tape prior to installation. The added insulation really bumps up the system’s efficiency.

62 SUP ER C HEVY JANUARY 2 0 1 8

A steel firewall panel is provided to fill in the factory heater/ air-conditioning passageway. Our Chevelle already had a DSE block-off plate since the previous owner had pulled out the factory heater core.


T E C H POLAR EXPRESS 8

11

Defroster ducting and outlets have been installed in place of the original equipment.

12 The Chevelle’s glove compartment will not clear the SureFit Gen IV unit so you’ll have to cut and modify the back of the glove compartment in order for it to clear.

9

The Vintage Air electronic control module (ECM) is tied into the system as shown. This is the climate control system’s computer.

13

Vintage Air provides a cap for the glove compartment cut. It ends up being smaller than factory, but retains plenty of storage space.

10

Two plastic air conditioning line and heater hose transition panels are provided in order to get these lines and hoses through the fresh-air vent to the firewall. You have two options here. You can use the round transition panel at the firewall or bore four holes in the firewall panel.

14

Securing the SureFit at the firewall is straightforward using the 1/4-20 nuts provided in the kit. Secure the unit up above at the cowl brackets. Note the line passages at the kick panel air intake. Here’s how the installed SureFit Gen IV unit should look (ducting hasn’t been installed yet).

64 SUP ER C HEVY JANUARY 2 0 1 8

The kick panel is cut for line access. We’re going through the passenger-side fresh-air intake.


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T E C H POLAR EXPRESS 15

This is how the refrigeration lines and heater hoses are routed through the fresh-air vent bulkhead on the passenger side prior to unit installation. The lines are routed through the fresh-air vent to the firewall.

18

16

Here’s the firewall passage where we have marked for refrigeration lines and heater hoses, bored the holes, and installed grommets.

17

The air-conditioning lines are routed through the top holes with the heater hoses, and heater control valve, routed through the bottom holes. The heater control valve allows coolant to flow to the heater core. The solenoid is energized when we want heat, opening the valve. When the solenoid is de-energized, the valve closes. This is what you can expect with a Chevelle with factory air conditioning. The SureFit Gen IV air-conditioning ducting transitions to the factory registers. Our non-A/C Chevelle didn’t have these ducts, but Vintage Air supplies underdash options.


Here are the Vintage Air registers, defroster outlets, wiring, and glovebox cap spread out on our worktable. This is the best way to tackle this installation, with everything positioned on a table for easy access.

19

21

The Vintage Air sliding control panel is OEM style. These fingertip controls are within easy reach of anyone seated in front.

20

Heater-equipped Chevelles and El Caminos won’t have the in-dash air-conditioning registers. Instead, we’re using the provided registers located along the bottom of the dashboard.

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No welding! Simply cut one hole in tank. Unique “swing-out” clamping system makes installation a snap! VAPOR-GUARD HOSE & HOSE ENDS

• Easy to cut and assemble! • Multi-layer rubber hose designed to withstand the corrosive properties of modern fuels • Primary Barrier Liner – initial layer offers high resistance to heat and aggressive fuels • Vapor Guard Barrier – Thermoplastic layer provides superior fuel isolation significantly reducing vapors from escaping through the hose • Reinforcement braid-aramid material – (EFI hose only) is used to provide the higher pressure rating that is required with fuel injection • Available in 5/16” and 3/8” sizes • Special retention bead retains hose under pressure while assuring hose liner is not damaged • Full line of Vapor Guard hose ends also available!

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• Installs in any fuel tank from 5 ½” to 12” deep • Includes innovative Holley HydraMat pick up to ensure consistent fuel supply • Black anodized aluminum construction with ¼” NPT fittings • Ideal for Terminator, Sniper, Atomic TBI conversions or LS engine swaps! • Available with 255LPH or 450LPH fuel pumps

• Complete OE fit, bolt-in solution for your EFI conversion; includes new tank straps • 255 LPH fuel pump with hanger assembly provides the fuel you need with quiet in-tank operation • Sender has ¼’’ NPT supply and return lines for easy fuel line connection • EFI style tank includes large 4.3L internal fuel tray baffling to prevent fuel pump starvation • Recessed fuel pump and sender make for easy installation with no modification to your car • Tanks are coated galvanized steel then powder-coated silver for total corrosion resistance • Fuel level sender included with correct Ohm range for use with factory gauges • Notched tanks for first gen F-bodies with rear suspension mods and huge tires also available

ASK OUR EXPERTS: 866-464-6553 Some products not legal for sale or use on pollution controlled vehicles


T E C H POLAR EXPRESS This Vintage Air illustration provides a good overview of the air-conditioning and heater hose routing in traditional small- and big-block applications. The overall concept for LS engines is the same.

22

´

23

Green O-rings are engineered specifically for refrigeration lines and connections. Lubricate these O-rings with the lubricant provided. Never use chassis lube. Carefully slip these O-rings on and gently connect fittings and tighten lines, but do not over-tighten.

24

The condenser, which gives up heat to the slipstream, is mounted in front of the radiator. You have choices when it comes to the compressor location, condenser position, and hose routing. You can even relocate the receiver tank just about anywhere if you’re willing to make custom lines. On the receiver’s high-pressure line is the pressure switch, which needs to be wired back to the ECU.

25

26

Our Vintage Air compressor is mounted on a Kwik Performance compressor bracket (which came from Vintage Air with the kit) designed for LS engines with a Sanden compressor. All we have to do now is crimp the hoses and charge up the system with R134a refrigerant. You can buy the crimping tool from a shop like Summit Racing or, once properly clocked, take the hoses to an A/C shop that will do it for a few bucks.

SOURCES:

SUREFIT GEN IV FEATURES:

The compressor and condenser (high- and low-pressure) hoses are routed like this through the passenger-side fender above the wheelhouse. The heater hoses are routed low to the LS engine’s water pump 68 SUP ER C HEVY JANUARY 2 0 1 8

• •• •• •• •• •• •• •

Vintage Air

“Fly-By-Wire” full electronic servo motors void 800.862.6658 of cables and vacuum hoses vintageair.com Infinite “just right” temperature blending Infinite fan speed adjustment High-Volume dehumidified defrost mode Separate high-capacity aluminum plate/fin evaporator (cooling) coil Copper/Brass CuproBraze parallel flow heater core In-Dash design goes in place of your factory heater or factory air conditioning Uses factory system controls with Vintage Air’s patented Electronic Cable Converters New electronic panel included for 1968-’72 Chevelle/El Camino Steel Firewall Panel Replacement Molded Plastic glovebox Uses factory air-conditioning ducts or bolt-on underdash ducting Optional (PN 627902) stamped firewall panel for 1967-’69 Camaro, 1964-’72 Chevelle, or 1968-’74 Nova Optional (PN 493062) factory-style vents


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Reinvented THE ROADSTER SHOP FINDS A WAY TO MAKE A COOL CAR EVEN BETTER

I

t’s always fascinating how some cars come about. The

Roadster Shop is known for churning out some of the baddest and hottest performing customs in the country, but typically the cars they transform fall into the “classic” category. A couple of years ago they were invited to partake in a GM SEMA car program. A rendering was submitted of a fifth-gen and ultimately GM chose them to work over a new Camaro ZL1.

70 SUP ER C HEVY JANUARY 2 0 1 8


Story Steven Rupp+Photos Robert McGaffin

SU P ERCHEVY. CO M 71


REINVENTED

As Roadster Shop’s Phil Gerber told us, “We wanted to take a car that was regularly customized today and give it a new twist that we hadn’t seen before. There’s a lot of bolt-ons for fifth-gens, but they only go so far. We saw other areas for enhancement and had different ideas when it came to commonly customized areas like the rear spoiler and rockers.” But they wanted the car to perform as well as it looked so they hit up some of the best parts companies in the country. Roadster Shop rolled with the modern vibe of the 2014 ZL1 by using matte carbon fiber extensively in the build. This included the front splitter, carbon roof panel, and carbon trunk lid. There were other items they wanted to address, not available through the aftermarket, so Roadster Shop made their own. Custom touches like carbon-fiber quarter inserts, fabricated aluminum side rocker trim, aluminum low-profile air gap spoiler, one-off billet ZL1 emblems, and custom graphics were just a few of their subtle yet striking changes. For suspension, the already capable ZL1 chassis was supplemented with 72 SUP ER C H EVY JANUARY 2 0 1 8


Performance You Can Hear

FREE SHIPPING


REINVENTED

double-adjustable Penske coilovers, which help drop the stance 1.5 inches, teamed with Hyperco springs. The brakes were swapped over to a Brembo Gran Turismo kit with Type 3 rotors and monoblock six- and fourpiston calipers. Rolling around these upgraded binders are a set of monoblock, matte bronze Forgeline GA1R 20-inch front and 21-inch rear wheels wrapped in Pirelli P Zero Rosso 275/25R20 and 295/35R21 rubber. The engine may look fairly stock but it was worked over with a Lingenfelter 630hp performance package that included a 2.55-inch blower pulley (taking boost to 12 psi), ECM reprogram, and a high-flow air intake to feed the beast plenty of atmosphere. Originally built to show off at the annual SEMA show, the Camaro has since made it to many a track day, including some of the Optima Ultimate Street Car events, so it’s nice to know that this car wasn’t built to be all sizzle and no steak. FOR MORE WEB EXCLUSIVE CONTENT VISIT

SUPERCHEVY.COM

74 SUP ER C H EVY JANUARY 2 0 1 8


k

What happens when you combine an LS3 stroker short-block with a set of AFR 230 cathedral port heads? You get a Hybrid Horsepower.

POWER PORT 597 HP FROM A STREET FRIENDLY LS3 STROKER

Story Steven Rupp and Richard Holdener + Photos Steven Rupp

T

HE SUCCESS OF ANY LS BUILD is determined by the combination of the components used. You can have the best flowing heads, the wildest cam profile, or even the hottest intake, but unless all of these work together in harmony, the best parts are just a conglomeration of individuals working against each other. Truth be told, whether or not success is achieved comes even before the choosing of the parts. You must first determine the specific needs or usage for the engine. The buildup of a dedicated drag-race engine will certainly be different than that for a daily driver. A careful examination of the requirements for the build will help greatly when it comes to component selection.

76 SUP ER C HEVY JANUARY 2 0 1 8

Asking yourself how much power you want should actually be one of the last questions asked. By the same token, “as much as possible� should never be the answer. Who really wants (or can afford) a Top Fuel engine in their daily? Only with an honest appraisal of your needs (and financial restraints) can you start down the path to success. This 415 LS stroker was a perfect example of a successful build.


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POWER PORT Before getting into the specifics of the stroker we should address the elephant in the room, namely our choice of cylinder heads. Among LS fans, the line in the sand is clear and distinct. The rectangular port boys are on one side and the cathedral port mafia is on the other. Which is better? The answer is, as always, it depends. Cop out, you say? Yes and no. Hear us out before you judge us. You need to understand that the question must be considerably more specific to be answered one way or the other. In a direct stock to stock comparison, the factory rectangular port LS3 head will definitely support more power than the hottest factory cathedral port LS6/LS2 243 casting. Depending on the flow bench, the LS3 head flows 60-70 cfm more than the 243 head, so naturally it can support more power. Having tested stock LS3 heads against a set factory 317 (truck) heads (that essentially share the same intake port as the 243), we can say without hesitation that the LS3 heads made more power. We can also say that the LS3 heads lost out to the 317 truck heads below 4,000

rpm. The 243 head would fare slightly better than the 317 thanks mostly to the increase in compression, but would not catch the LS3 heads for peak power. This scenario changed dramatically when we introduced aftermarket heads into the mix. A set of AFR 230s crushed the stock LS3 heads from top to bottom. The debate rages on, but rest assured the cathedral port mafia will argue with you rectangular port fans till the cows come home. We know the rectangular port LS3style heads can certainly make power, but the attending port volumes are best suited to large displacement and/ or high-rpm applications. Although our LS3-based, 415-inch street stroker offered ample displacement, we selected the cylinder heads based more on its intended usage. This particular engine was destined for autocross track use in the Optima Challenge series, but the owner wanted the engine to be, first and foremost, dead reliable and last forever. OK, maybe forever was a stretch, but let’s just say there was no desire to sacrifice a few additional horsepower for an early rebuild.

Among the top items that reduce engine life is rpm. Only detonation kills an engine quicker than excessive engine speed, but since we employed a Holley HP management system to dial in the air/fuel ratio and timing, a few select keystrokes easily kept detonation in check. Keeping engine speed down meant cam selection was critical. Despite the relatively mild cam timing, the 415 still managed to pump out some impressive power and torque numbers. Guys can brag online all they want about how much peak power their engine made till it exploded, but having a torquey stroker you get to drive day in and day out is better than winning some online post war. Since this engine would be used for autocrossing and road course work the owner was interested in midrange power, especially torque, and not so much in topend horsepower. This was another reason to go the cathedral port head route. So remember, just because the “next big thing” got released it doesn’t mean last season’s parts aren’t worthy of your consideration.

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The factory rods were not going to get the job done on this stroker so the kit from Scat included a set of 6.125-inch H-beam rods (PN 2-350-6125-2100). Our main player in this build was a new Chevrolet Performance 6.2L LS3 block from Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center (SDPC). Starting with a fresh block saved us a lot of hassle, and to save machine shop costs we kept the as-shipped 4.065-inch bore instead of massaging it out to 4.070-inch (which would have yielded a 416-inch engine).

The extra displacement came courtesy of a 4.000-inch, forged steel stroker crank from Scat. In fact, the entire rotating assembly came ready to rock through Summit Racing as a kit (PN 1-44207BI), which saved us from having to hunt down and match up items like bearings and rings.

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The forged slugs from RaceTec featured a 10cc dish to help keep the static compression ratio pump gas friendly. Combined with our 62cc chamber AFR heads we were just over 11.2:1 compression.

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POWER PORT

www.yogisinc.com/sc Carburetors & Manifolds Call us for your Edelbrock needs.

877-596-3842 www.tanksinc.com/sc 63-74 Corvette Priced at...$275

Complete chassis harnesses. Starting at...$400

Vintage Air has a wide selection of SureFit & universal units. Starting at...$410

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We were happy to see that the kit came with high-quality Clevite main and rod bearings.

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After hanging the rods on the pistons, prepping the rings, and oiling down the cylinder walls, each assembly was installed with care into their respective bores.

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Remember that in the same way the pistons have a “top,� the rods have an inside and an outside edge. We made sure the chamfered side was facing the radius on the outside of each crank journal.


People ask us why our systems cost so much less…we ask why others cost so much more!

Once we had some rods in place we turned then engine over by hand and found that some of the rod bolts were just barely hitting the bottom of the cylinder bores. There are two ways to fix this. The first is to make a mark where the bolts are hititng and then notch the bottom of the cylinder sleeve for clearance. The other way, which we opted to do, was to torque the bolt to spec, mark the edge where it was hitting the bore, and then remove the bolt and shave a tiny bit off. Once retorqued to spec, the shaved edge easily cleared the edge of the cylinder bore.

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Running a front cam sensor required the use of a 1x cam sprocket on our Comp timing chain set (PN 3158KT).

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To balance maximum engine speed, power, and torque production, we installed a Comp hydraulic roller cam that served up a 0.601/0.613-inch lift split, a 227/241-degree duration split, and 114-degree LSA. The result should be excellent street manners and great mid-range torque and power. This was a custom cam using a cam core 54-000-11 and the grind number 1377R/13782R HR 114.0 +2.

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POWER PORT

Rather than rely on drop-in replacement lifters, we installed these Comp link bar lifters (PN 8957-16). The link bar design eliminated the need to run the factory lifter trays and retaining bolts.

What made our LS3 stroker a hybrid was the use of cathedral port 230cc Mongoose large-bore heads from AFR. The Mongoose line of cathedral port heads from AFR come in sizes ranging from 210 cc all the way up to 245 cc. The large bore version requires a minimum of 4.000-inch bore and can be had with either 62cc or 72cc chamber volumes. AFR also offers a small-bore version (3.900-inch +) which has a 65cc chamber volume. Thanks to flow rates reaching 328 cfm (at 0.600 lift), these LSX Mongoose heads were capable of easily supporting our power goal.

The AFR heads featured full five-axis CNC porting, a 2.165/1.600 valve package, and a dual PAC spring package with titanium retainers, which allowed for plenty of rpm potential and ample coil-bind clearance for our 0.617-inch-lift cam.

82 SUP ER C HEVY JANUARY 2 0 1 8


Before installation of the front cover and damper we installed a new Chevrolet oil pump we picked up from Summit Racing (PN 12678151). Make sure to pre-lube the pump with assembly lube or engine oil prior to installation. This will make priming much easier prior to startup.

The AFR 230 heads were installed using Fel-Pro MLS head gaskets (PN 1161R/L053) and ARP head studs (PN 234-4313).

Here is a shot of the all-aluminum, long-block nearly completed. The valley and rear covers were in place, but the oil pump had yet to be installed on the crank. Keep in mind that the new blocks from Chevrolet ship bare so small items will need to be found. Used is fine since covers don’t wear out, but new parts are sold, often in kit form. One nice kit is the Chevrolet Performance (PN 192999099) one we found over at Summit Racing. It included a front cover, valley cover (both with bolts and gaskets), as well as head dowels, cam sensor, chain damper, and a crank sensor. Summit also sells a cool block kit (PN SUM-G1584) with all of the needed LS threaded block plugs and the sometimes overlooked, but necessary, oilrestrictor (also referred to as a dog bone or barbell).

The AFR heads received a set of factory rockers and hardened Comp 4.000-inch pushrods. Don’t trust the stock pushrods with elevated valvespring pressures and rpm.


POWER PORT

The MSD Atomic intake relied on O-ring sealing to mate the intake to the AFR heads. The long-runner intake offered an impressive balance of peak power and torque production.

Save Weight & Add Strength In All The Right Places 1966 NOVA Andy “The Nova Guy” Mule

MSD provides several spots on the Atomic AirForce intake to mount the MAP sensor, but whatever spot you chose (top rear, top front, or rear) you’ll need to drill open the passage. We opted for the rear mounting position.

SOURCES: AFR 877.892.8844 airflowresearch.com

ARP 800.826.3045 arp-bolts.com

Chevrolet Performance chevrolet.com/performance

Clevite 662.893.2860 us.mahle.com/mahlemotorsports

Comp Cams 901.795.2400

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compcams.com

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The Hybrid Horsepower stroker was ready to fire up on the dyno. For testing, we used a 102mm cable actuated throttle body along with Hooker 1 7/8inch long-tube headers, a Meziere electric water pump, and a few quarts of Lucas 30w break-in oil. For tuning, we used the Holley ECU that was grafted to the Superflow 902 dyno.

As you can see from the results, the AFR 230 cathedral port heads were right at home on the LS3 stroker. Despite the mild (street engine) cam timing, the combination produced an impressive and usable torque curve that peaked at 563 lb-ft at both 4,500 rpm and 5,100 rpm. The curve was more of a plateau, as torque production varied by just 2 lb-ft from 4,400 rpm to 5,200 rpm. The small cam limited peak power, but thanks to a combination of ample displacement, efficient AFR heads, and MSD intake, the 415 still managed to pump out 597 hp at 6,200 rpm and didn’t fall off much, even at 6,500 rpm. On the plus side, the smaller cam will have excellent street manners and more than enough vacuum to run power brakes.

Once the 415 LS3 was in the car we were able to swap over to the 103mm MSD billet throttle body (PN MSD-2945) that didn’t arrive from Summit Racing until after our dyno test day. The throttle body uses an extra-strong stainless steel shaft, which equates to less twist and better TPS signal stability. At our power level we could have ran the 90mm version (PN MSD-2940), but the larger unit was actually less money and will give us more flexibility to add more power down the road.

To make life easier we ran a factory LS2 fuel rail and FAST 65 lb/ hr LS3-style fuel injectors (PN 30657-8). The problem was that the harness in the car was set up to utilize LS1 injectors. The quick and easy fix was a set of adapter harnesses (PN 170604-8) from FAST that would bridge the gap from the USCAR injectors and the Minitimer plugs on the harness. For the dyno we ran a GM oil pan from a newer Camaro, for the Chevy it was being installed into we ran a Holley oil pan (PN 302-2) and their trick trap-door baffle system (PN 302-11).

SU P ERCHEVY.C O M 85


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Kyle Tucker was on hand with his super badass Detroit Speed equipped 1987 Z28 Camaro. It ran strong in all the events, but really surprised us on the dragstrip with an 11.116 quarter-mile blast!

FESTIVAL OF

LS EXCESS Hundreds of hot LS-powered cars show up to battle it out at the biggest LS bash in the country

T

S F E ST LLEyeYarL HE HhaO s and each ppening for

has been tter. to get bigger and be September it seems ) LT V en G w, the LS (and the ne let’s ro ev Ch It’s a celebration of by d re we anything po engines. That means play in an event geared toward e m co n hough newest mills ca eir cars hard. Yep, alt e here th g flo to e lik ar rs guys that ca of p e far larger grou there’s a car show th and autocross. There’s even a ce, to drag race, road ra Add in a massive vendor midway ut. to oo sh chassis dyno the racers and see and do for both to n to a and there’s and he spectators. olley’s Bill Tichenor g was off We checked with H racin istration for the drag so the stagrelayed that pre-reg ar t better than last ye the charts; 60 percen r the quarter-mile track. Given ed fo ing lanes were pack a Grudge mand, Holley added de ip str ag dr ge hu e th

88

SUPER CHEVY JANUARY 20 18

LS-engines rday, were insane. We guess The crowds, especially on Satu e. have a pretty big fan bas

Story & Photos Steven Rupp


FESTIVAL OF LS EXCESS Match category to handle the overflow from the brackets. Likewise, the autocross had gotten so big that they had to have two tracks, one at Beech Bend Raceway and one over at the National Corvette Museum. The weather for the event was excellent, so that might be why the crowds at this year’s Holley LS Fest were insane. People everywhere were crowding in to catch some of the LS-powered action. The spectators

were also treated to a drifting demonstration by LS-powered rides. There was also a power-adder challenge and a chassis dyno competition. Given all of that, there was something for everyone this year. On Sunday, the LS-fueled mayhem continued roaring at full throttle. The autocross action that consumed Friday and Saturday was taken down and in its place the Super Chevy/Baer Brakes sponsored 3S Challenge was

set up. So, what is the 3S Challenge? Well, it’s a little of this, a little of that, and a whole lotta fun. Two cars line up at a tree, like a drag race, and when the light flips green they sprint side by side. At the end the right side turns right and the left turns left into 180 degree turns. After negotiation a quick squiggle the cars make a dash for the timing lights. But, there’s a catch! After triggering the lights they have to come to a complete stop within a rather small coned-off box. Hit a cone and your run is a big fat DNF. So, you have to temper your desire to trip the timing lights faster with an understanding of your car’s braking prowess,

The Super Chevy/Baer Brakes sponsored 3S Challenge is way harder than it looks, to get the best time you need to cross the finish like quickly, but you need to stop in the box without hitting the cones or you’ll get red flagged. That means you need to hit the brakes before the finish line. Finding the sweet spot is a real challenge, as Nathan Johnson in his ’68 Camaro found out.


or lack thereof. Each car’s best right lane time is averaged with its left lane performance for an overall time. It’s an event that’s fun to watch and much harder than it looks. A big part of the event is the Grand Champion competition. Here, cars sign up to see who will be top dog when all the times from the dragstrip, both autocrosses, and the 3S Challenge are added up. Nine of the top 10 cars were Corvettes (two of them vintage and the rest a mix of C5, C6, and C7s). At the top of the heap was prior winner Danny Popp in his rather insane trackprepped C5 Z06.

Danny Popp, in his heavily modified C5, won both autocross events and scored high enough in the other events to easily take the overall win. The good news for everyone else is that he’s ineligible to compete in the Grand Champion competition next year.

Talk about a sleeper! The wood paneling and pretend hub caps are there to suck you in, but in reality, the wagon was very quick and what appears to be tall-sidewall grocery-getter tires, are actually lowprofile high-performance tires.

SUPERCHEVY. COM

91


FESTIVAL OF LS EXCESS

Last year’s winner, Mike DuSold, placed high in both autocross events, but blew his differential at the dragstrip where he was hoping the twin-turbo, tube-chassis, full-tilt Camaro would place near the top. Even with zero points for that segment he still managed to place 11th for the Grand Champion competition.

Hundreds of cars were on hand for the event, including a very large contingent of Chevrolet Performance COPO rides. Gotta love factory built drag cars that run in the 9s.

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Brian Finch did great at the NCM autocross where he placed 11th against a field of ABS and tech-filled modern cars. On the dragstrip, Finch knocked down a solid 11.78 in the 1320, on low-profile street tires.

As mentioned, the bracket classes were packed with competitors with one of the more popular ones being the Drag Radial class. This twin-turbo Vette, brought to the party by LSxperts, holds a half-mile record of 229 mph, which tells you the level of the cars that showed up to race.

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FESTIVAL OF LS EXCESS

Al Unser Jr. was the only non-Corvette driver to break into the overall top 10 for the Grand Championship deal, which says a lot about the car and his driving skill. Nabbing a 4th place on the dragstrip with a 10.849 certainly helped.

With so many cars running in the various events, the spectators certainly got a great bang for their buck.


Larry Woo killed it at the Beech Bend autocross where he managed a 5th place finish against some very tough competition. How far was he off from Danny Popp in 1st place? Just 0.550 seconds separated the two.

In addition to all of the objects in motion there was also a huge car show of LS-powered rides.

SUPERCHEVY. COM

95


FESTIVAL OF LS EXCESS

What’s cooler than a worn-out looking Bentley with an LS engine under the hood? How about one that runs deep in the 11s? The variety of odd cars with LS-engines installed was pretty impressive.

Dozens of vendors were on hand to show off their wares. One of our favorites was Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center (SDPC), which had a slew of Chevrolet Performance crate engines on display along with some custom mills they make, like this 610hp 427 LS3.


Ryan Mathews had a great day in his Detroit Speed equipped 1972 Corvette finishing 5th overall for the Grand Championship. The C3 Vette even managed to knock down a killer 11.412 on the dragstrip, not bad for a handling car!

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AS REQUIRED BY TITLE 39, SECTION 3685 UNITED STATES CODE BELOW IS THE STATEMENT OF OWNERSHIP, MANAGEMENT, AND CIRCULATION OF SUPER CHEVY. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Publication Title: SUPER CHEVY Publication Number: ISSN 0146-2628 Filing Date: 10/01/2017 Issue Frequency: Monthly Number of Issues Published Annually: 12 Annual Subscription Price: $24.00 Complete Mailing Address of Known Office of Publication: 261 Madison Avenue, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10016. Contact Person: Brian Laboe 212-915-4182 8. Complete Mailing Address of Headquarters or General Business Office of Publisher: TEN, The Enthusiast Network, LLC, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245 9. Publisher, Angela Schoof; 1821 E. Dyer Rd., Suite 150, Santa Ana, CA 92705 Editor, Steven Rupp; 1821 E. Dyer Rd., Suite 150, Santa Ana, CA 92705 Managing Editor, Bill Klein; 1821 E. Dyer Rd., Suite 150, Santa Ana, CA 92705 10. Owner: TEN, The Enthusiast Network, Inc, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245 11. Known Bondholders, Mortgagees, and Other Security Holders Owning or Holding 1 Percent or More of Total Amount of Bonds, Mortgages or X Other Securities: None R 12. Tax Status: (For completion by nonprofit organizations authorized to mail at nonprofit rate) (Check one) The purpose, function, and nonprofit status of this organization and the exempt status for federal income tax purposes X Has Not Changed During Preceding 12 Months R R Has Changed During the Preceding 12 Months 13. Publication Title: SUPER CHEVY 14. Issue Date for Circulation Data Below: October 2017 15. Extent and Nature of Circulation: Average No. No. of Copies Copies Each Issue of Single Issue During Preceding Published 12 Months Nearest to Filing date a. Total Number of Copies 99,457 94,707 b. Paid Circulation (By Mail and Outside the Mail) (1) Mailed Outside-County Paid Subscriptions Stated on PS Form 3541 61,718 59,143 (2) Mailed In-County Paid Subscriptions Stated on PS Form 3541 0 0 (3) Paid Distribution Outside the Mails Including Sales Through Dealers and and Carriers, Street Vendors, Counter Sales and Other Paid Distribution Outside USPS 9,607 11,474 (4) Paid Distribution by Other Classes of Mail Through the USPS 0 0 c. Total Paid Distribution 71,324 70,617 d. Free or Nominal Rate Distribution (By Mail and Outside the Mail) (1) Free or Nominal Rate OutsideCounty Copies included on PS Form 3541 1,095 1,046 (2) Free or Nominal Rate In-County Copies included on PS Form 3541 0 0 (3) Free or Nominal Rate Copies Mailed at Other Classes Through The USPS 0 0 (4) Free or Nominal Rate Distribution Outside the Mail 24 50 e. Total Free or Nominal Rate Distribution 1,119 1,096 f. Total Distribution 72,443 71,713 g. Copies not Distributed 27,014 22,994 h. Total 99,457 94,707 i. Percent Paid 98.5% 98.5% 16. Extent and Nature of Circulation: Average No. No. of Copies Copies Each Issue of Single Issue During Preceding Published 12 Months Nearest to Filing date a. Paid Electronic Copies 17,823 18,345 b. Total Paid Print Copies (Line 15C) + Paid Electronic Copies (Line 16A) 89,147 88,962 c. Total Print Distribution (Line 15F) + Paid Electronic Copies (Line 16A) 90,266 90,058 d. Percent Paid (Both Print & Electronic Copies) (16b divided by 16c X 100) 98.8% 98.8% X I Certify that 50% of all my distributed Copies (Electronic & Print) are paid R above a nominal Price 17. Publication of Statement of Ownership will be printed in the: January 2018 issue of this publication 18. Signature and Title of Editor, Publisher, Business Manager, or Owner Thomas Slater, SVP Consumer Marketing 10-1-2017 I certify that all information furnished on this form is true and complete. I understand that anyone who furnishes false or misleading information on this form or who omits material or information requested on the form may be subject to criminal sanctions (including fines and imprisonment) and/or civil sanctions (including civil penalties).


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Shop..............................................29 Holley Performance Products.........................66-67 Honest Charley.......................................................104 Hot Rods By Dean.................................................100 In Line Tube............................................................105 Leader Industries ...................................................105 Live Cell Research....................................................77 Lokar...........................................................................97 March Performance ................................................82 Mast Motorsports ..................................................101 Moroso Performance Products ............................65 National Parts Depot ..........................................CV4 New Port Engineering..........................................103 Ol’ 55.........................................................................104 Optima Batteries......................................................23 Original Parts Group ................................... 35, CV2 Patriot Exhaust Products........................................94 PCM of NC ...............................................................75 Performabuilt Transmissions..............................101 Performance Automatic.........................................82 Performance Online................................................43 Performance Suspension Technology.................37 ProCharger................................................................31 QA1 Precision Products.........................................91 Ram Automotive....................................................105 Restoration Parts Unlimited.................................. 53 Roadster Shop...............................................21, 50-51 Shafiroff Racing Engines........................................55 Southern Rods & Parts.........................................103 Specialty Power Windows ...................................102 Speedway Motors.....................................................73 Strange Engineering.................................................. 9 TCI Engineering ......................................................84 Thermo Tec...............................................................99 Tire Rack....................................................................45 TMI Products ...........................................................63 Undercover Innovations ......................................101 US Radiator...............................................................95 Viamedic....................................................................81 Western Chassis .......................................................96 Wilwood Engineering ............................................25 Wise Guys Seats Accessories...............................103 Yogi’s Street Rod Accessories.................................80 The Advertiser Index is provided as a service to SUPER CHEVY magazine readers. SUPER CHEVY is not responsible for typographic errors in names or page numbers.


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PARTS BIN By John Gilbert

Z GREAT CHRONO

AutoMeter is proud to announce the newest addition to their line of American-built gauges: the Chrono series. Chrono is available in a range of 2-inch instruments with highly detailed, three-dimensional beveled dials and over 320-degrees of pointer movement, both unique in the world of instrumentation and stunning to behold. With timeless styling inspired by high-end sporting timepieces and a nod toward aerospace, Chrono features white LED through-dial lighting for incredible visibility; the most accurate digital stepper motor movements available; and a bright anodized, low-rise bezel with flush-mount window that will set the dash off in any vehicle.

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866.248.6356 AUTOMETER.COM

LOW FAT CHEVY

Fatman Fabrications just announced dropped spindles for 1958-’64 fullsize Chevys that provide better brakes and a 2 1/2-inch drop while retaining the stock GM front suspension. Fatman machines the laser-cut assembly so that the spindle bolts directly to the stock Chevy tie-rod end and control arms. Late 1990’s GM 12-inch-diameter disc brake rotors with a 4 3/4inch bolt pattern make it easy to match the stock GM rear axle bolt pattern. These spindles are part of a new line of disc brake drop spindles Fatman is developing for IFS GM fullsize cars.

FATMAN FABRICATIONS 704.545.0369

FATMANFAB.COM

TRI-55-56 SEAT

Golden Star Classic Auto Parts now offers a complete front seat assembly for 1955-’56 two-door Chevrolets. Good, original (as in useable) cores for re-covering are impossible to find. Golden Star’s exclusive Tri-Five seat assembly includes both bottom frames with springs and back frame with springs. Adjustable seat mounts and hardware are also included in this front seat package for your classic two-door Chevy.

GOLDEN STAR CLASSIC AUTO PARTS 972.315.3758

GOLDENSTARAUTO.COM

106 SUP ER C HEVY JANUARY 2 0 1 8


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