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1999 Chevy Camaro - Study Haul, Part II

Lincoln Tech's 12-Second '99 LS1 Camaro

By J.T. Metz, Photography by Paul Glock

During this down time, the students also swapped the stock 1.70:1 rocker arms for a new set of Comp Cams 1.75:1 Pro Magnum roller rockers and the corresponding valvetrain (springs, retainers, guide plates, and pushrods). The new rocker would only add about 0.015 lift, but this was as much rocker ratio as the Comp Cams technical people felt the stock valvesprings would stand. While the stock LS1 valvetrain is very good, keep in mind that the Camaro had over 100,000 miles on it, so a decision was made to replace it all. Note to all fourth-generation F-body owners: Do not attempt an engine-in-car valvespring replacement without a More Performance LS1 spring tool (PN 880SCT).

Back at the track, the students' bad luck continued! As the Camaro entered the pits, it lit a code light again. A decision was made to lap the car anyway. Amazingly, with as little as 15 degrees total timing due to "open loop" status, the car laid down a best e.t. of 12.73 at only 107.93 mph with another best 1.77 60-foot time. As Lincoln Tech Motorsport coordinator Clement Trusty related, "It was much calmer so it hooked better, but the 2-3 shift was almost not there (remember this). It was definitely down on power in the second half." A return to campus revealed a knock sensor malfunction code. Sensors do go bad at about 100,000 miles. But good techs are trained not to blindly replace sensors and control devices, opting instead to check for flaws. A thorough, half-day-long wire-shaking, probing, and inspection of everything related to the knock sensor preceded the removal of the Z06 intake. This revealed a pinched intake gasket, which had leaked coolant around the front sensor, requiring the gasket and sensor be replaced.

Back to the track, we forgot all past anguish when the Z28 laid down a 12.46 at 111.24. Even more encouraging was the 1.85 60-foot time. We managed one more pass with near identical times before the rains came again. The improved e.t. and mph with the slower 1.85 60-foot times led the students to believe that their 50-plus-pass drag radials were done. The next week the car arrived at the track with a new set of Hoosiers 26x9.5x16 DOT tires. This new tire offered less footprint but more of a slick-type sidewall. The Camaro responded with a 12.44 at 110.93 with a 1.76 60-foot time. The young techs were agonizingly close to their goal of a full second e.t. improvement. The Z's poor weight distribution (56/44) made them re-examine their suspension setup. They bolted on an Auto Fab Racecar coilover rear suspension conversion kit for third- and fourth-generation F-bodies. The kit allows the installation of QA-1 12-position adjustable shocks and 130-pound springs.

At the track, the students softened the stiff initial setting until the Z28 delivered a 12.35 at 111.94 with a 1.68 60-foot time. Unfortunately, after several attempts nearly duplicating these numbers, the Camaro, which had responded so magnificently, would now only occasionally go into and stay in Third gear, thereby closing this chapter of the project.

However, this group of young technicians is not ready to quit. Now that they have gone "into" the transmission, they may as well "freshen" the engine, too. How many non-power-adder, pump gas, 10-second street-driven cars do you reckon are out there?

AutoFab Racecars More Performance
BBK Performance Products
1611 Railroad St.
CA  91720
Street Legal Performance (SLP)
Toms River
COMP Cams QA1 Motorsports
Hypertech Inc
1910 Thomas Rd
TN  38134
By J.T. Metz
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