My Camaro

page 55


2013 season.

I actually didn’t do much to the Camaro until the end of the year besides drive it….about 950miles (1500km) this year which is a not too bad.

In July the TMCN (Mustang club in the Netherlands) had their yearly track day and our little club was invited again. First we did a skid training which was fun, then an autocross followed by a 3 lap race on the small TTT (Test Track Thedinga) in Emmen. I took Lars with me and he rode along on the track for the first time, we had a fun day!

Since my PCV valve was sucking oil badly I knew I needed to do something about this because filling oil after each drive is a pain. I had a small baflle in my valve covers but it didn't help. I already installed a breather/catch can in the PCV line to prevent oil getting in my intake but if it fills up quickly it's no use either. The Holley valve covers have the breather/PCV hole right above the rockers where the oil splashes up. In my opinion this is not a good location for it, originally the hole (with a real functioning baffle) is located in line with the valve cover mounting bolt holes, next to and not above valves and rockers. I bought myself a set of original valve covers which I decided to cut up in order to use the original baffle. I first made a template out of thin cardboard and test fitted it in my aluminum Holley valve cover. After I was satisfied with the design I transfered it to the original steel cover and cut it out with the angle grinder. I flattened the sheet metal and then bend it into the shape it needed to be. Some more test fitting and grinding later I could drill the holes for the mounting screws. To be sure all air would be sucked through the baffle I sealed it to the valve cover using RTV sealant. Since then I’ve put some miles on the motor again and I am glad to say it works like a charm!

I also had a problem when cold starting after the car stood for a while…it took some time to build oil pressure. I turned off the fuel supply and cranked a bit longer to be sure I had oil pressure on startup but of course this isn’t the way it should be. When started pressure was fine and stayed good even when really hot and running on the track. When starting again (hot) oil pressure was there immediately. Just to be sure I bought a new oil pump and pickup screen when I was at SEMA in Vegas. Also my header gaskets were leaking so I got some good aluminium re-usable ones while I was there. The week after Christmas I took out the motor to replace the pump and check the bearings for wear. I didn’t find anything wrong but did put in the new oil pump even after the old one proved to be good after testing. The only thing that could have caused this problem turned out to be the oil filter anti-drain back valve. When this valve doesn’t seal properly the top end of the block can slowly drain the oil to the pan. I’ve had Fram filters before without problems but after doing an internet search and reading horror stories combined with my own problem I can say this was the last Fram filter I’ve used. Another thing I found just before I wanted to put the motor back in the car is that one of the motor mount rubbers was broken, the rubber had completely separated from the metal. I got some Polyurethane ones which are much stiffer and I am very pleased with them…gives a whole different feel. After putting the motor back in I started it and had instant oil pressure so that was fixed and the header leak was gone too.

Now began the next step…The Camaro runs very nice on LPG (propane) but the maximum the setup can supply fuel for is 280HP. Up till now it has been okay but I’ve found that on the track I needed more power….no fun seeing your mates take off when exiting a corner knowing your motor can do better. My motor should deliver around 340HP (and loads of torque) based on some engine dyno program I used so upgrading the fuel system was the answer. I had a Holley 650DP which had proved to give an extra 0.4 seconds on the ¼ mile but actually a double pumper isn’t the best for my setup. With my highway gears (1:2.73) and automatic with a stock stall convertor a vacuum secondary carb would perform better. On top end a 650 might just be on the small side with my 409cui so I got a Holley 750vacuum with electric choke when I was in Vegas. I could have found one locally but it’s cheaper to bring one from the States. The carb made a huge difference compared to the LPG setup, it’s like driving a complete different car.

One thing that has bugged me was the wiper motor…. Long time ago it suddenly quit on me so I took it apart, cleaned it and got it to work again. When a friend was over from the States recently we were driving and it started to rain so I turned on the wipers. They worked for a few minutes but then decided to stop somewhere in the middle of the windscreen. That was it for me…I wanted a DSE (Detroit Speed Engineering) Selecta-Speed Wiper Kit but although they are good they are pricey….specially with the shipping and taxes that comes on top of the purchase price. Then I found a slightly used one for sale on a local site. I was lucky since these parts are super rare here and is also was the recessed park type. (wipers are hidden under the hood when parked in the off position) It was for a 79 model but the Camaro’s are all the same….right…? I thought the only difference would be the wiper knob but my dash isn’t stock anyways so no problem there. As it turns out the firewall is different on a 71 too! I made a template out of plywood and marked the positions of the original motor and arm and then used the new motor to check where the mounting holes should be. I made a cover plate for the firewall and drilled new holes and mounted it. Electrical connections are easy, just a switched 12V and ground and you’re good to go. Now I have 5 interval settings and 2 speeds which is a huge improvement! The wiper blades were worn too but those are hard to get here. I bought a universal set and modified them to fit, just a bit of work and they were cheap.

By now it’s February 2014, winter and normally the weather doesn’t allow me to drive the Camaro but this time it’s different since there’s no snow or ice. I took it to go to work and it had a hard time starting when I wanted to leave there. I’ve had that problem before sometimes but it was intermittent and went away so I didn’t pay too much attention to it. Close to home the motor suddenly died on me, I got to the side of the road and could restart right away...but this was not normal so I got a bit worried something was wrong. I drove to the garage and parked it, came back the next day to do some testing and it wouldn’t start....at all! It had fuel,but no spark....so some testing and measuring lead me to the broken Mallory Unilite module. The manufacturing date on it is 1993 so that actually isn’t to bad. Again I had some luck since I found a new module on a local site which I was able to get the same night. After installing the new module it fired up right away! I guess the module had been starting to go bad some time ago already so I am happy that is fixed now.

With the new found power the motor revs up quickly and it’s easy to light up the tires which is tricky since I don’t want to over-rev the motor. I decided to get a rev limiter to protect the motor. After some searching I got an Omex Speed System which has a soft rev limiter (starts dropping power 200rpm before set max rpm and total cut-off) and a shift light which can be set at an independent rpm. When I installed the new ignition module I also mounted the rev limiter, tested it at a low rpm setting and it works. This will be great when playing or racing since I do not have to pay too much attention to the tachometer and I can keep my eyes on the road.

Last thing to do getting ready for the 2014 season is new rear tires. I bought the old ones used (cheap) and paid in Guilders….we have had the Euro since 2002 so that will tell you how old they are. I am pretty sure the new tires will make a very big difference in handling compared to the old worn out Goodyears. The old were 275/40/17 which is a bit wide on an 8,5" rim but it fit and looked good. When shopping for new ones I found that going 1 size smaller almost halved the price so I decided to get the Falken FK452 265/40/17 .

The Camaro is not getting prettier (paint mainly) from using it but it is getting better bit by bit. After all it's made to be driven!

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You can reach me by e-mail at: camaro-rs@planet.nl