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Old 05-21-2009, 10:55 AM   #1
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3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

Youtube Video added. In-car footage from heat race on page 5.


I'm a newb to Camaros and this forum, but not to wrenching and bulletin boards in general.
My friend Nick and I are currently building a 3rd gen Camaro street stock, I thought I would see what you guys think about it...

Late last Fall, my buddy Nick came by and informed me that he wanted me to go with him to look at a Camaro he saw on craigslist. He said it didn’t have an engine or tranny, but it was only $100 and had a “clean title”. We drove out to the address on the listing and checked it out. Instead of being a car minus an engine and tranny, it turned out to be a shell. It had no interior except for an unbolted driver seat, no engine, no tranny, no wheels and tires, resting on a tree stump and some cinder blocks in an overgrown barnyard, beat up hood laying in the weeds, etc, etc. I tried to talk him out of buying it and I thought that I had succeeded, because he was convinced that it needed more work than he wanted to do to become streetable. Since we didn’t bring a trailer anyway, we left and he spent the night thinking it over. The next day he informed me that he was going to buy it and build a street stock, so we grabbed his trailer, swung by the junkyard to get some wheels tires,and lugnuts, then went and retrieved one slightly used 1984 Camaro.
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.
First off, let me tell you something about us. Nick owns the car and will be driving it. My name is Zane. I am donating labor to help him get racing. I am a mechanic, not a “race car guy”, but I can fabricate. Nick has been around racing much more than me, and actually has pretty good contacts around town. He has crewed (donated labor) on some pretty high dollar (locally speaking) race teams and done a lot of travelling to races here in the west. He has never driven though, so this will be a first for him. We will be racing locally, at Meridian Speedway. It is a ¼ mile flat paved oval. We will be racing in the “Street Stock” class. Street stock is the basic “run what you brung” kind of class with a lot of restrictions in place to keep it affordably competitive. For instance, you must run stock type cast iron intakes, and cast iron exhaust manifolds. The class carburetor is a Holley 4412, 2 bbl, 500 cfm. Suspension must remain in stock configuration (leaf spring cars must remain leaf spring cars, etc.), but you can buy racing shocks and springs. A lot of the cars are full frame cars, but several guys are running 2nd gen Camaros. I believe we will be the first here locally to run a 3rd gen Camaro, because the rules just changed this year allowing cars with 101” wheelbase to compete.
The car originally had the four cylinder engine with a 5 speed, but later had been being run with a SBC and an THM tranny according to the seller. There wasn’t an engine and tranny in it anyway, so the only thing that mattered to us was the fact that it still had the clutch pedal, since Nick wants to run a manual tranny. Nick already had a good 350 four bolt main engine from an earlier project, so we have the power plant covered, it just needed to be freshened up with new rings and bearings.
Upon getting it home, we knew we would have to work fast to make racing season, so we very promptly parked it in his garage and closed the door. Then we forgot about it for a couple of months and did absolutely nothing to it. Nick was finishing up welding classes at the local university, and didn’t have much time for anything else, including a job, which meant that he had no money to buy materials for the car. After seasoning the car well in the garage for weeks on end, we finally decided to get to work on it. Nick was able to get us a couple of sponsors. One of the sponsors is a fabrication shop owned by Nick’s buddy Mark and the other being a junk yard up the street from his house. We would build the roll cage and do other fab work in Mark’s shop, and a lot of the stuff we needed to get the car going would be free from the junkyard.
So the game plan is to build the car to the following basic specs:
350 four bolt main (I’ll update with the particulars later)
3 speed Sagina tranny with dual stick shifter mated to a metric bellhousing
Stock rear diff w/ 3.73 gear ratio and a “Lincoln locker”
1 ¾” x .120” HREW tubing roll cage
8 gallon fuel cell
2” schedule 40 black pipe front bumper / 2”x3”x ¼” rectangular tube rear bumper
Quick release steering wheel hub w/ 15” steering wheel running P/S
Kirkey Racing seat
Simpson 5 point harness
Hoosier 970 series racing tires
5/8” extra long quick start wheel studs
Suspension is still up in the air, we will go as far as our limited budget will allow
We started by stripping all the crap that was still in the car out of it. Having no interior saved us a lot of trouble, but we did remove all of the glass, the dash, the heater assembly and all the duct work. We removed the doors and took the torch to them until they were reduced to just the exterior panels. We removed the headlights, taillights, and all of the other plastic crap. We removed all of the wiring, ecu and related useless crap. Nick got a job so he bought enough tubing to start the roll cage. We took the car over to Mark’s shop and started on the cage. Nick bought a few sticks of 1 ¾” .120 wall HREW and got busy on the cage. First we installed the main hoop and halo. Then we bent up some A pillars and welded them in. Then we made the rear support tubes for the main hoop and welded them in.
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.
The cage is being tied into the floor pan using 1/8” plates.

We tried to tie it in on top of or as close to the box portions of the front & rear sub frame as possible.

Last edited by zlathim; 09-01-2009 at 11:32 AM. Reason: Edit for first race!!!!!
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Old 05-21-2009, 10:56 AM   #2
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

After adding some door bars, it began to look like a race car, at least on the inside. We hacked out the steering column and fabbed up a bracket with a heim that comes off of the dash bar of the cage to support the steering shaft.
Click the image to open in full size.
Nick attached to seat back to the cage and made a steel frame for the bottom that also ties into the cage.
Nick reinforced the rear sub frame area with 2x3x1/4” rectangular tubing and installed the new steel can fuel cell.
Click the image to open in full size.
The front struts on this car present a challenge. All the other cars in our class are double a arm suspensions. Everyone runs with no inner fenders, because they are in the way and just end up getting beat up anyway. On our car, the inner fender is the anchor point for the strut tower. If it gets bent up, our steering geometry will be screwed. We are in the process of trying to tie the strut tower into the front hoop of the roll cage. If we can do that, the inner fenders are going to get chopped out.
Nick built and installed a 2” schedule 40 front bumper and rectangular steel rear bumper (not pictured). Both of them tuck under the factory bumper cover. The firewall has been sealed off using 18 gauge sheet metal.
Click the image to open in full size.
The entire rear of this car was a big a$$ heavy piece of glass, that when removed leaves a cavernous opening. We had to extend the rear firewall up with some sheet metal to seal the fuel cell from the driver area. You can see what that looks like in one of the photos above. Nick has a start on the new deck lid. He has the basic shape cut out and broke on the edges. It needs some work before it will look good, but it is started. Since all of the glass and plastic has been removed, it is necessary to cover the headlight and taillight areas with sheet metal. Nick has completed the rear light cover and it looks pretty good.
Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 05-21-2009, 10:58 AM   #3
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

Nick bought new rotors, so we installed the 5/8” long wheel studs in them. We had to pound out the stock studs and drill the holes out bigger to accept the larger diameter studs. We got the tires mounted up on some new 15x8” racing wheels with 3” backspacing.
Click the image to open in full size.
We had to remove the rear axles in order to drill them for the larger studs. In order to make sure our holes are dead center on the existing smaller holes, we chucked up a transfer punch that was the same size as the existing holes and then we lined it up and clamped it down:
Click the image to open in full size.
Here is a comparison shot of the old studs and the new larger variety. Sorry about the blurry pic, but you get the idea:
Click the image to open in full size.
For the engine, Nick had a four bolt main 350 that came out of a step side pickup his dad got in a trade. He tore it down, and the thing was actually in pretty good shape. It has .030 over TRW pistons and an Iscanderian cam in it. There was very little wear on the engine, so we decided to throw a set of rings and bearings at it and call it good. It also got a new oil pump, water pump, and a seven quart claimer style oil pan. We got a cast iron 2 bbl intake from the junkyard and also got some exhaust manifolds. We do not yet have the carburetor. We need a Holley 4412 for this class. We also need to grab an early HEI dizzy for it.
Here it is all assembled and ready for mock up:
Click the image to open in full size.
Nick picked up a used Sagina tranny for $50 off of craigslist. Since the car has the clutch pedal assy in it, we want to use the stock style hydraulic clutch system for this race car. In order to avoid fabbing a slave cylinder bracket, we decided to use a metric bellhousing with the bracket on it. The bolt holes on the tranny and bellhousing lined up, but the bearing support / front cover on the tranny was to big to fit in the hole on the bellhousing. I unbolted the bearing housing and chucked it up in the lathe to turn it down so that it fit into the bore on the bellhousing. That seemed to do the trick. Nicks dad bought him a twin stick shifter with funky purple shift rods, so we have some bling to bolt on. Yes, I know we have the shifter handles facing the wrong way in this photo:
Click the image to open in full size.

We still have a lot of work to do. Probably at least 80 hours worth of work needs to be done. That is just to get it on the track. Tuning and setting up the suspension is a whole ‘nother story. We are hoping to have it ready to race in June.

If there are any questions or constructive criticism, I would love to hear it., Otherwise, stay tuned because there will be more to come.
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Old 05-22-2009, 01:00 AM   #4
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

Reminds me of the car sitting in my driveway right now. I'm also reminded of it every time I walk by it entering my house...
It is a mid '80's camaro ('85-'87, not sure what year...) built for street stock. It was dead in the track, not moving, and was rear-ended by a car at WOT, and hasn't been driven since, probably 4-5 years. It was originally built for racing about 15 years ago.
I never drove it, it is my dads car.

The inner fenders, or where the struts mount, was never damaged, just use the stock or stock style upper strut mounts, they need to have lots of give in them to not damage the strut mount.

It has a 4.3v6, powerglide, 9"w/locker/3.73's.

I don't know the gear ratios in a Saginaw tranny... it's going to end up being a major PITA if he has to shift while driving. I believe Powerglides have a 1.7x 1st gear, and it was able to always be in 1st while driving.

Instead of modifying the nose, my dad used a 'bird nose. About 1' was removed off the front end of the car, all in front of the wheels, something to consider...
Unfortunately many 'glass CFI hoods had 1' cut off of the front of them over the years for this car.
What type of manifolds did you get? Not all the factory manifolds are equally crappy. The ramhorn style ones are usually considered to be pretty good.
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Old 05-22-2009, 08:42 AM   #5
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

Quote:
Originally Posted by gregsz-28 View Post
Reminds me of the car sitting in my driveway right now. I'm also reminded of it every time I walk by it entering my house...
It is a mid '80's camaro ('85-'87, not sure what year...) built for street stock. It was dead in the track, not moving, and was rear-ended by a car at WOT, and hasn't been driven since, probably 4-5 years. It was originally built for racing about 15 years ago.
I never drove it, it is my dads car.

The inner fenders, or where the struts mount, was never damaged, just use the stock or stock style upper strut mounts, they need to have lots of give in them to not damage the strut mount.

It has a 4.3v6, powerglide, 9"w/locker/3.73's.

I don't know the gear ratios in a Saginaw tranny... it's going to end up being a major PITA if he has to shift while driving. I believe Powerglides have a 1.7x 1st gear, and it was able to always be in 1st while driving.

Instead of modifying the nose, my dad used a 'bird nose. About 1' was removed off the front end of the car, all in front of the wheels, something to consider...
Unfortunately many 'glass CFI hoods had 1' cut off of the front of them over the years for this car.
What type of manifolds did you get? Not all the factory manifolds are equally crappy. The ramhorn style ones are usually considered to be pretty good.
BUmmer about that car getting crunched while dead in the water. I've seen it happen before. I've seen guys fight in the pits over stuff like that too!

As far as the strut mounts go, we are integrating them into the front hoops, and getting rid of the inner fenders. In the following pic, you can see how we are going about it. keep in mind that what you see in the photos is not the finished product. It still needs some bracing and whatnot:

Click the image to open in full size.

You are right, it will be a major PITA if he has to shift gears. From what I can tell, the 3 speed Saginas were made with two different ratios. I have not taken the time to figure out which one we have. Regardless, we are working on a shoestring budget here, so we will probably run what we have for now. The list of things we want to do when we have more time and money is getting a bit long, but it will certainly include a new trans if he can't run around the track in second gear without having to shift.

We have a set of manifolds, but they aren't what we want. We are keeping our eyes open for a set of the ramshorn style manifolds, but haven't found any that we can afford at this point in time. The junkyard that sponsores us has like 3 or 4 of this style manifold, but they are all for the left side. We will keep looking. One guy has a set on craigslist, but he thinks that they are worth $300, so we will just have to keep looking.

Thanks for the interest! If you have the time and don't mind, we would love to see a pic or two of the car sitting at your house...
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Old 05-22-2009, 10:29 AM   #6
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

Nice Job, going SCCA here with the cage mods. Did you put a sub frame in the car also? AND I really like the rear sheetmetal that was done I need to do that myself. Also do you think that the shock tower in the front is going to be string enough with just the plate sticking out unsupported like that? I understand that the major weight is on the spring, but that is a little different....
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Old 05-22-2009, 12:01 PM   #7
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

Quote:
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Nice Job, going SCCA here with the cage mods. Did you put a sub frame in the car also? AND I really like the rear sheetmetal that was done I need to do that myself. Also do you think that the shock tower in the front is going to be string enough with just the plate sticking out unsupported like that? I understand that the major weight is on the spring, but that is a little different....
Holy tube clusters Batman! That cage looks stout! Awesome work!

We have not done SFC on this car. I have been lobbying for them, but it's not my car, so it is really up to Nick. Thanks for the kudos on the rear sheet metal. Nick did all of that. The deck lid is next to be finished. We are hoping it turns out as well as the light covers.

The pic of the strut tower was taken before it was complete. It has some more tube for support / reinforcement. I'll get some more pics and post them up in the next few days.

I have a question about how the halo on your cage is attached to the main hoop. I have seen it done that way before and was just wondering if there is an advantage to attaching it to the gusset looking thing instead of just fish mouthing the tube and welding it straight to the main hoop?

Thanks for posting.

Last edited by zlathim; 05-22-2009 at 01:53 PM.
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Old 05-22-2009, 12:09 PM   #8
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

Great job so far guys.

What steering box are you going to run? Maybe a manual s-10 box?
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Old 05-22-2009, 12:14 PM   #9
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

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Great job so far guys.

What steering box are you going to run? Maybe a manual s-10 box?
Actually, we are planning on using the stock power steering set-up. Is there a reason why we shouldn't use the stock steering box?
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Old 05-22-2009, 12:22 PM   #10
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

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Actually, we are planning on using the stock power steering set-up. Is there a reason why we shouldn't use the stock steering box?
I didnt know if you were keeping the power steering or not. Im not familiar with the rules for the setup.

No reason I could think of not to us the PS.
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Old 05-22-2009, 01:00 PM   #11
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

Quote:
Originally Posted by zlathim View Post
Actually, we are planning on using the stock power steering set-up. Is there a reason why we shouldn't use the stock steering box?
The steering box is fine, it's what it's bolted to that is the problem. Earlier model s, at least 82-84 (maybe up to 86), had a tendency to develop stress cracks around or behind the box. Eventually the the box slowly starts to tear itself from the frame rail. Later year cars had added (bolt on) bracing to help deal with this problem.

It's a horrible feeling when you hit that one bump the deals it the final blow and you lose the ability to (safely) steer the car.

It's not super common but, it does happen. You may want to look into beefing up the metal around the box or add bracing to it. Especially if you know it's going to be abused. Just ones opinion though...
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Old 05-22-2009, 01:20 PM   #12
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluegrassz View Post
I didnt know if you were keeping the power steering or not. Im not familiar with the rules for the setup.

No reason I could think of not to us the PS.
Cool, I was afraid we were missing something...

Quote:
Originally Posted by deadbird View Post
The steering box is fine, it's what it's bolted to that is the problem. Earlier model s, at least 82-84 (maybe up to 86), had a tendency to develop stress cracks around or behind the box. Eventually the the box slowly starts to tear itself from the frame rail. Later year cars had added (bolt on) bracing to help deal with this problem.

It's a horrible feeling when you hit that one bump the deals it the final blow and you lose the ability to (safely) steer the car.

It's not super common but, it does happen. You may want to look into beefing up the metal around the box or add bracing to it. Especially if you know it's going to be abused. Just ones opinion though...
Excellent advice! I really appreciate your input. We might not get it done right away, but we will add some beef to the mount area for sure. We are in a time crunch at the moment. We want to get this thing on the track this season, so some things may have to wait until we get a lull in the action, or possibly until the off season. Ultimately, Nick will have to make the call on what gets done prior to our first race.
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Old 05-22-2009, 01:29 PM   #13
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

I saved this pic awhile back. Might give you some ideas/help with your front strut mounts & tubing.

Click the image to open in full size.

This whole thread might even help.
http://www.thirdgen.org/techboard/bo...***-front.html (1 piece fiberglass front end kits)
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Old 05-22-2009, 01:49 PM   #14
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

Stephen- Thanks for the info! It does help. I certainly appreciate the feedback! Thanks for posting that picture. We are pretty much committed to our current set-up, but it is cool to see what others have done. If we crinkle this thing up and have to start over we will have much more info because of the stuff that has been posted here.

I am really liking this forum. I posted all this on a couple of other forums and all I got for responses were along the lines of "looks bitchin!", which is cool and all, but the tech here just seems to be better.

We appreciate any and all feedback! Even if you say we are stupid and the car looks like someone will die in it, we appreciate the feedback. We don't pretend to know all there is to know about this stuff, so the tech advice is great.

Thanks again to all who have taken the time to post up!
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Old 05-22-2009, 02:00 PM   #15
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

You may want to reinforce the DS door bars to the rockers, or put in some perimeter type subframe connectors and reinforce the door bars to those. I've seen how often door bars get smashed in.
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Old 05-22-2009, 02:04 PM   #16
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

Thanks, yes it is built like a tank. The one thing that I have learned is make the foundation strong and the rest will last. I purchased my cage complete from CSC Racing in Canada GREAT PRICE and it was sent to be assembled the way you see it there. Yes I agree with the steering box, I think I am going to take some 1/8" sheet and beef up that area...

Roadracing is very hard on the chassis and most of the bars are to make sure that my suspension is the only thing moving in the corner.. Did you like the 3-link set-up which is suspended in the middle of the cage? It goes directly to the front via the center bar and the torque is sent directly to the front shock towers. I plan on running Speedway Engineering sway bars and a 3-link spring set-up. A Lot of engineering went into this chassis and the car should handle fine. My friend said that I put in more weight than I took out, but I disagree, he did not help me remove the seats The Camaro will do just fine on the track. I also am using a Tilton pedal assy because the car was originally an automatic. I just finished putting 2004 C5 Z06 13" brakes on the car, I need to take some pictures....

In our class we need to retain the stock suspension points BUT we can modify the rear for a 3-link. I took pretty good liberty with the rule book as it is not specific and I am a driving instructor for NASA, so I have friends in low places.....
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Last edited by BPWilliams; 05-22-2009 at 02:12 PM.
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Old 05-22-2009, 02:29 PM   #17
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

some pics
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Old 05-22-2009, 02:37 PM   #18
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

more pics
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Old 05-22-2009, 02:42 PM   #19
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

and finally...
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Old 05-22-2009, 02:48 PM   #20
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

Sure would like to see some pics of the frame inside the car and also under it on the sides... Looks like we are close but he angled his center bar where I am going with a 3 link. IT SURE IS NICE KNOWING THAT PEOPLE TURN RIGHT AND LEFT ON THIS SITE! Thanks for the pics, I also have a TON of work to do. I am trying to get the roof welded back on this weekend and the Block over to the machine shop next week.
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Old 05-22-2009, 02:58 PM   #21
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

Greg- Thanks for posting the pictures and the advice. I am really going to try to get the sub frame connectors worked into this thing.

BP- Your car is very cool. I was wondering what the heim joint hanging from the cage was for, thanks for clearing that up. Your SFCs look awesome as well!

Thanks a million for posting guys...This site Rocks!
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Old 05-22-2009, 05:00 PM   #22
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

Sick looking cars guys! I got one horribly retarded/stupid question for you though lol. Are these cars for asphault figure 8 racing or what?
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Old 05-22-2009, 05:15 PM   #23
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

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Sick looking cars guys! I got one horribly retarded/stupid question for you though lol. Are these cars for asphault figure 8 racing or what?
Ours is for circle track racing. Go straight, turn left, repeat until you see a checkered flag!
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Old 05-22-2009, 06:06 PM   #24
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

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Ours is for circle track racing. Go straight, turn left, repeat until you see a checkered flag!
Same thing for the one I posted pics of
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Old 05-23-2009, 02:03 AM   #25
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

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Ours is for circle track racing. Go straight, turn left, repeat until you see a checkered flag!
Well a little more complex for my car......

Turn right, gas, brake, turn right, then a fast left (tap the brakes in-between) Full gas, brake hard, turn left, sweeper right (did I mention to shift also?) Short shoot, brake hard, turn left decreasing radius up to 15 degrees banking NASCAR turn 3 and 4 full gas......

I counted one time and I shift 22 times per lap... crazy! our max speed was 170mph in my Cobra that was retired last year. I wanted a full time track car not a hypo street car on the track.
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Old 05-23-2009, 10:19 PM   #26
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

Cool thread, I'm really enjoying this! There is some good fabrication and nice looking work here. I'm an old circle track guy. I had a 5th design Ed Howe offset (high left percentage or straight right frame rail) tube chassis. But our track rules required a stock front frame clip, mine was a 2nd generation, stock hubs and stock brakes and stock type steering. So I can relate a lot to what you guys re doing.
It looks like you are doing some nice fab work there. I'd DEFINATELY tie in sfc's! And your track rules will tell you how much tubing you can run forward and aft of the driver's compartment on a street stock. Back when I was racing, the street stock class was very restricted about stuff like that. But over the years some street stocks have morphed into pretty stout racecars!

Several thoughts- You have to be able to adjust the camber on your front wheels on both sides pretty far past stock specs or what a stock mount would handle. It looks like you've got a pretty good system started there. I'd even consider grafting a second gen front frame clip on if I thought I could get away with it.

If the rules allow, you need weight jacks and jackbolts on all four corners. If the rules won't allow it run the non- adjustable (while on the car) "cheater" type on the front springs.

For circle track you almost have to have a manual transmission, you don't want to be shifting. And an automatic will "break loose" when you let off for the corner (in drive) and you won't get the engine braking affect that helps you stay on the gas for as long as possible before entering the corner.
You need to figure out what final drive ratio you need for your track so that the engine's peak RPM are reached just before you need to back off for the next corner. If you trust your competitors, you can ask what final they are running. But expect to have to find out on you own through experience. This could change as you change engine or chassis combos or go to a different track.

Count out the ratios in each gear of any manual transmission you will be using, and then multiply that by your rear end ratio for the final drive number. In an entry level class like street stock, it is not unusual to run 2nd or 3rd gear even in a 4 speed in order to get the final ratio you need. I used to hunt all of my area junkyards for close- ratio Muncies back in the day. I'd be out there counting them out in the mud and junk in the middle of the yard, ugghhh! When I visited a different track I would have to change trannys sometimes to get the final number that I needed for that track, like maybe go to a wide ratio Muncy in 3rd gear or a three- speed in 2nd gear. That really makes you appreciate the more expensive quick- change rear ends that they are allowed to use in the higher classes!

I've seen people run 1st gear in a manual tranny or hold an automatic in a lower gear where they would have engine braking and deliver a better final drive ratio. But that kills the trannys. And in th case of the auto, it is heavy and inefficient and gets real hot too.
If the wallet, final drive numbers and the rulebook allow it, people build heavily modified powerglides with no torque converters, big coolers and 1/4 turn hydraulic by- pass valves for clutch action, that have no flywheel affect and let the engine rev like lightning, hold the car back when you chop the throttle, and have less flywheel inirtia to push the car too fast into the corner as well.

I'd be real suprised if your track rules let you run an aluminum bellhousing and not a good steel blow- proof bellhousing and block plate. If you don't want to get hurt, get a blow- proof bellhousing! Even people in the grandstands have been badly injured by flying, blown up clutch parts.

And one of the big stumbling blocks in a third gen is the rear end with the torque arm and weak r&p. A 9" ford is probably the best setup, but the torque arm mounting is tricky. I'm really interested in seeing how you guys are doing the upper link on the third link conversions. How long are you making the top links, and at what angle are you running them?
I want to put a 9" ford in my street third gen playtoy and I've been thinking back and forth about fabbing a top link and mount or making a torque arm work on the 9" housing. Any pictures that you guys have of this conversion are eagerly awaited!
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Old 05-23-2009, 11:01 PM   #27
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

I'll try to remember to take pics of the torque arm mount on the 9" in the car in my driveway, one of these days.
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Old 05-27-2009, 03:45 AM   #28
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

Zlathim, I have some rams horn manifolds from a '66 chevy if you are interested. $30 +s&H

I know its too late for you but here is how I'm doing my shock tower supports for my car:
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.

I'm building the car for NASA American Iron so I have to keep the shock tower intact but I'm allowed to support it.
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Old 05-27-2009, 08:37 AM   #29
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

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Originally Posted by basiccamaro View Post
Cool thread, I'm really enjoying this! There is some good fabrication and nice looking work here. I'm an old circle track guy. I had a 5th design Ed Howe offset (high left percentage or straight right frame rail) tube chassis. But our track rules required a stock front frame clip, mine was a 2nd generation, stock hubs and stock brakes and stock type steering. So I can relate a lot to what you guys re doing.
It looks like you are doing some nice fab work there. I'd DEFINATELY tie in sfc's! And your track rules will tell you how much tubing you can run forward and aft of the driver's compartment on a street stock. Back when I was racing, the street stock class was very restricted about stuff like that. But over the years some street stocks have morphed into pretty stout racecars!

Several thoughts- You have to be able to adjust the camber on your front wheels on both sides pretty far past stock specs or what a stock mount would handle. It looks like you've got a pretty good system started there. I'd even consider grafting a second gen front frame clip on if I thought I could get away with it.

If the rules allow, you need weight jacks and jackbolts on all four corners. If the rules won't allow it run the non- adjustable (while on the car) "cheater" type on the front springs.

For circle track you almost have to have a manual transmission, you don't want to be shifting. And an automatic will "break loose" when you let off for the corner (in drive) and you won't get the engine braking affect that helps you stay on the gas for as long as possible before entering the corner.
You need to figure out what final drive ratio you need for your track so that the engine's peak RPM are reached just before you need to back off for the next corner. If you trust your competitors, you can ask what final they are running. But expect to have to find out on you own through experience. This could change as you change engine or chassis combos or go to a different track.

Count out the ratios in each gear of any manual transmission you will be using, and then multiply that by your rear end ratio for the final drive number. In an entry level class like street stock, it is not unusual to run 2nd or 3rd gear even in a 4 speed in order to get the final ratio you need. I used to hunt all of my area junkyards for close- ratio Muncies back in the day. I'd be out there counting them out in the mud and junk in the middle of the yard, ugghhh! When I visited a different track I would have to change trannys sometimes to get the final number that I needed for that track, like maybe go to a wide ratio Muncy in 3rd gear or a three- speed in 2nd gear. That really makes you appreciate the more expensive quick- change rear ends that they are allowed to use in the higher classes!

I've seen people run 1st gear in a manual tranny or hold an automatic in a lower gear where they would have engine braking and deliver a better final drive ratio. But that kills the trannys. And in th case of the auto, it is heavy and inefficient and gets real hot too.
If the wallet, final drive numbers and the rulebook allow it, people build heavily modified powerglides with no torque converters, big coolers and 1/4 turn hydraulic by- pass valves for clutch action, that have no flywheel affect and let the engine rev like lightning, hold the car back when you chop the throttle, and have less flywheel inirtia to push the car too fast into the corner as well.

I'd be real suprised if your track rules let you run an aluminum bellhousing and not a good steel blow- proof bellhousing and block plate. If you don't want to get hurt, get a blow- proof bellhousing! Even people in the grandstands have been badly injured by flying, blown up clutch parts.

And one of the big stumbling blocks in a third gen is the rear end with the torque arm and weak r&p. A 9" ford is probably the best setup, but the torque arm mounting is tricky. I'm really interested in seeing how you guys are doing the upper link on the third link conversions. How long are you making the top links, and at what angle are you running them?
I want to put a 9" ford in my street third gen playtoy and I've been thinking back and forth about fabbing a top link and mount or making a torque arm work on the 9" housing. Any pictures that you guys have of this conversion are eagerly awaited!
Thanks for the input basiccamaro. You definately have a lot of knowledge to share and we appreciate it!

You are right, street stock rules are somewhat restrictive in regard to number of cage tie in, etc. After spending some time in the pits at our local track, we are finding out that the tech inspectors are not enforcing the letter of the rule, but we are trying to keep it as legal as possible.

I think we will have enough camber adjustment on our strut tower plates, but we don't have the weight of the engine and trans on the suspension yet, so we cannot measure it yet. I know we have a lot more camber adjustment than was possible with the stock set-up. I'll post some pics of the front strut towers that are finished later today.

The rules don't allow for weight jackers of any sort. Our budget will dictate what springs we run, but we will do the best we can. This is definately a budget build, so we are mainly focused on getting it to the track at this point. We have missed two street stock races already, and will probably miss at least one more. We want to race this thing, so we will find out the hard way if the craigslist tranny will work for us or not. I have been advocating bellhousing protection throughout the build and I think we are going to end up welding some steel to the tranny hump and floor.

We were able to get some good work done over the weekend. I'll post up some pictures later.

Thanks for posting

Zane
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Old 05-27-2009, 08:52 AM   #30
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

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Zlathim, I have some rams horn manifolds from a '66 chevy if you are interested. $30 +s&H

I know its too late for you but here is how I'm doing my shock tower supports for my car:



I'm building the car for NASA American Iron so I have to keep the shock tower intact but I'm allowed to support it.
BIG MODS- Nick may be interested in the manifolds, I'll find out and let you know.

Thanks for posting the pics! You are doing an awesome job on the car. It looks a lot cleaner than what we are working with. It almost makes me too ashamed to post more pictures!

I checked out that NASA American Iron website. Very cool stuff! Those cars (and presumably yours when it is done) look awesome.

Thanks for posting
Zane

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Old 05-27-2009, 09:06 AM   #31
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

Well, we got some more stuff done to the car over the weekend.

The front hoops and strut towers are finished. The plates are 1/2" cold rolled. We measured the location and angles of the existing towers, then built our towers to locate in the same place, adjusted slightly for the suspension geometry we plan to run. We will have to wait until the engine and trans are installed before we can measure and see how bad we screwed them up. Nick also finished welding in a few more bars in the cage. He installed a tire bar in the window and a long diagonal bar from the angled hoop support down to the pass side front cage tie-in. Unfortunately, he hasn't uploaded all of the pictures I took of the cage interior, but here is one that shows the tire bar, and if you look real close you can see the diagonal bar:

Click the image to open in full size.

It was nice being able to get rid of these things:

Click the image to open in full size.

We clearanced this plate for the master cylinder, but it actually ended up being located far enough away as to not matter. Another 15 minutes of our time we won't get back. You can see a kind of a tab area off to the side of the slot in this picture. Both sides are like that. We plan to run a removable cross bar between these two points to stiffen it up.

Click the image to open in full size.


Nick TIG welded the quick release hub to the steering shaft:

Click the image to open in full size.

(continued...)

Last edited by zlathim; 05-27-2009 at 09:10 AM.
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Old 05-27-2009, 09:29 AM   #32
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

The rules allow nerf bars, so we plan to run some. Nick wanted to make them easy to repair or replace, so he made them removable. There are stubs welded to the cage, and the nerf bars have corresponding tubes welded to them so they slip in. They will be drilled and bolted securely on. They are just schedule 40 black pipe, so fitment of the OD and ID of the pipe was not the greatest. I ended up turning the inner pipe down a tad on the lathe:

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Here is a shot that shows how the front bumper is mounted. Apparently, we still need to install a few bolts in it:

Click the image to open in full size.

Other than that we finished up a bunch of little odds and ends, installed the flywheel and clutch, and bolted the engine to the tranny for mock-up hopefully this weekend. We are finished welding on the inside of the car, so Nick is going to spray the interior and underhood flat black this week. I did take a few more pictures, but the e-mail Nick sent me didn't make it through. I'll get those up as soon as possible.

Thanks for looking

Zane

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Old 05-27-2009, 09:43 AM   #33
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

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Click the image to open in full size.
Will those give enough support, considering the coil spring is pushing straight up on the vertical tube AND having to control strut deflection left/right.

I may overestimating the needs, but I'd like to see a couple of more support bars. At least 1 forward, 1 rearward, at angles.
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:09 AM   #34
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

Good question! My initial impression was to add a couple more support bars as well.

That being said- All of the fabrication work is being done at a shop called Falcon Fabrication in Caldwell, ID. Mark Collins owns the shop and does a ton of fab work out of it. Mark is a master at all things metal, and he has probably worked on more race cars than I will ever see. He is the most experienced and talented fabricator I have had the pleasure of meeting. He has been kind enough to let us use his facilities and provide knowledge support and fabricating tips as we work on this thing. All of the fab work we have done has been under his watchfull eye. He was instrumental in getting these plates built and welded together in the right spot. He thinks it is strong enough the way it is, and Nick and I trust his judgement completely. We do plan on installing a removable cross bar between the two plates, so that will help as well.

But you are right, it does look a little "naked"!
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Old 05-27-2009, 11:12 AM   #35
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

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BIG MODS- Nick may be interested in the manifolds, I'll find out and let you know.

Thanks for posting the pics! You are doing an awesome job on the car. It looks a lot cleaner than what we are working with. It almost makes me too ashamed to post more pictures!

I checked out that NASA American Iron website. Very cool stuff! Those cars (and presumably yours when it is done) look awesome.

Thanks for posting
Zane
Don't be ashamed, the car looks great esp for a dirt track car! I'm sure you'll have one of the cleanest cars out there.

You might want to re-think your choice of flat black for the interior. The flat won't clean like a semi-gloss or gloss will, and the black will show dirt easy. But then again I haven't seen many dirt track cars so maybe flat black is prefered? I'd think semigloss battleship grey for a dirt track car. You don't want gloss because it will show all the defects in the sheet metal.
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Old 05-27-2009, 11:14 AM   #36
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

Well worked on the car a little over the weekend and got the roof welded on, also got the window net installed. Our rules are pretty specific and no corner weight jackers are allowed unless I go up a class. I am making the car very flexable and if I need to I can jump classes by adding mo stuff! I will be running NASA / SCCA American Iron and need to meet the rules.

As far as the third link it is mounted to my cage bird nest and will mount on the top of the 3rd member via bisket and rod ends. I will run a spring that takes the shock out of using the gas pedal too much. Circle track guy's use them a lot in thier set-up's.
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Old 05-27-2009, 11:25 AM   #37
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

I am going to paint the inside gloss white! I want it to be able to be cleaned with a hose... wash and dry...

Here are some pics of the bird cage for the 3-link.... and others...
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Old 05-27-2009, 11:52 AM   #38
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

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Don't be ashamed, the car looks great esp for a dirt track car! I'm sure you'll have one of the cleanest cars out there.

You might want to re-think your choice of flat black for the interior. The flat won't clean like a semi-gloss or gloss will, and the black will show dirt easy. But then again I haven't seen many dirt track cars so maybe flat black is prefered? I'd think semigloss battleship grey for a dirt track car. You don't want gloss because it will show all the defects in the sheet metal.
It is actually an asphalt car. Just by going off of what we have seen on other street stocks here, flat black is working for many of the guys. We were going to paint the interior silver, but it came down to getting some flat black for free or buying the silver paint. We chose the FREE option! We are poor and not very smart, please bear with us!

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I am going to paint the inside golss white! I want it to be able to be cleaned with a hose... wash and dry...

Here are some pics of the bird cage for the 3-link.... and others...
Dude, your cage is awesome. If I remember correctly, you wanted to see some more pics of our cage. I took some, but they must still be on Nick's camera, because he didn't send them to me with the others. I'll get them and post them up, but they don't show as well as yours with the roof removed.

I like the idea of a lighter colored interior. Yours will look nice painted white.
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Old 05-27-2009, 12:27 PM   #39
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

All this makes me want to go out and buy a sport coupe or berlinetta for a 100 bucks and do this lol. we got Arlington Raceway 15min. down the road from me that my cousins race at. Looks like a tar track would be funner though!
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:52 PM   #40
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

Big mods, not thinking of running the tubes past the towers and then attaching the towers to the enging cage? I think that I am streatching the rules with this one but it will fly, no prob. What group are you currently running with in NASA? This is our down time in AZ and I am trying to get the car done for this winter... I did not drive last year trying to force myself to get the car done but I did instruct at most all of the events.

Zlat, Thanks for the complements, your car is awsome also, nice work. There is a lot of work to make a camaro look like this and I do not think that people understand how many hours it takes just to gut the car. I am getting my motor to the shop this week for the machine work, 355 with forged crank, H beam rods, JE pistons and a Crower cam.. Solid flat with roller rockers and a gear drive... 13:1 compression should rock pretty good... I will be out of my HP to weight ratio for sure and will need to de-tune the motor which is good I can make it last that way...
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Old 05-28-2009, 12:31 AM   #41
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

zlathim, your stuff looks good! 'Fit were me, I'd find a way to move the top of the struts back and forth as well as in and out, maybe with toothed plates, or something? How you tilt the spindle (you'll have to do it with the top of the strut rod) means everything for handling. Having the spindle angled correctly (caster- wise) and angling as it steers can give you camber gain (and camber loss on the other side) when and where you need it.

On my old car, I used 1/4" flat bar bolted to the outside of the front frame rail horns, welded at the front edge to a piece of vertical tubing that fit inside my bumper and had a bolt running down from the top of the bumper through the tubing and coming out the bottom. This was on a second gen aluminum bumper with the end bend- arounds cut off, and a plastic racing nose piece and spoiler over it.
That way when I hit something a little too hard, the 1/4" flat bar would just bend over to the side a little bit, everything would pivot on the bolts, and not too much would break. It was easy to pull the flat bar pieces off and hammer them back straight, reinstall, and have at it again the next week! You didn't even have to take the nose piece off to straighten the mount plates.
And I would run a piece of 3/4" square tubing down the side of the doors, sandwiching the door panel between the small square tubing and the roll cage door bar, with the front and rear edges beveled off and welded closed. You'd be suprised at how much damage that deflects and how many scrapes you can drive through that way. And, have you layered and overlapped the fenders and doors on the car so that when you scrape down the side of another car, or the wall, it just folds the sheetmetal down against itself, rather than catching an edge and ripping things open like a can opener?
And, the new NASCAR Car of Tomorrow that they run now has a piece of moderately thin sheet plate outside of the left side door bars, inside the door skin, that covers the entire side of the driver's area of the roll cage for greater safety. I think that's an outstanding idea!

I'd put at least one diagonal bar from the front frame up to the roll bar close to where the top stut mount is welded to the tubing at the top. And you could cut an upside down half- moon out of the front frame just outside of the coil spring. The strut is running pretty close to the bulge in this area, and cutting some of that out won't weaken things much at all. And you can change springs much more easily that way too.

If you can't run weight jacks, put a spring spacer up under the top of the right front spring to give you a little wedge across the car. Every car is different, but I used to put a 3/4" socket on a jack and center it under the rear end center section. When I jacked the car up, I was looking for the right rear tire to come off the ground about 1 1/2" before the left one did. This was just a crude starting point before going to the setup sheet.
The object is to preload the left rear tire so that when you nail the throttle on corner exit, and the momentum and weight transfer roll everything over to the right side of the car, both of the rear wheels will have the same amount of weight on them, or as close as you can get it. Having the right side tires being larger in circumference and holding a bit more air also helps turn the car.
Too much or too little of these effects can make the car either push the front end to the wall, or loosen up the rearend of the car and make it try to spin out. And swaybar preload adjustment means a lot too.
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Old 05-28-2009, 09:51 AM   #42
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

basiccamaro- Thanks for all of the info and advice! You are a great resource for this kind of stuff. This is exactly the kind of info I was hoping to get by posting this build. I like a lot of the ideas, and they all make sense, but I'm not sure how much we will be able to incorporate for this year. We have missed two races so far, and will almost certainly miss one more. We want to get it on the track, but I'm sure we will have to iron out some details in between races. Some stuff will just have to wait until the off season.
The way it is, the caster is fixed, although adjustability would certainly be an advantage. We just don't have the time right now to mess with it. Maybe in the offseason we can come up with something different if this car does not handle well. I will say that Mark helped us get it set up, and he is no stranger to race cars. We are optimistic that it will handle well.
Our fenders and doors are not overlapped, and yes they might get ripped off. They are mounted with tabs and bolts on all four corners, but the edges are exposed. The nerf bars will give some relief though. Most of the cars in our class are beat up from the street up, so we will need a bunch of body damage just to fit in!
We have discussed cutting the bulge in the frame out. We are going to get the weight of the engine and trans on the car before we do anything drastic though. It looks as if the strut will be a little further away from the frame when the springs are loaded.
The last two paragraphs that you wrote help me out considerably, because like I said before- my race car knowledge is limited. Nick has a pretty good idea what is going on, but he thinks too much sometimes. The way you laid it all out makes sense to me. Thanks for posting it, it helps a bunch!

Zane
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Old 05-28-2009, 09:55 AM   #43
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

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All this makes me want to go out and buy a sport coupe or berlinetta for a 100 bucks and do this lol. we got Arlington Raceway 15min. down the road from me that my cousins race at. Looks like a tar track would be funner though!
Are you married? Do you want to be in the future? Ha ha, just kidding!
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Old 05-28-2009, 10:09 AM   #44
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

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Zlat, Thanks for the complements, your car is awsome also, nice work. There is a lot of work to make a camaro look like this and I do not think that people understand how many hours it takes just to gut the car. I am getting my motor to the shop this week for the machine work, 355 with forged crank, H beam rods, JE pistons and a Crower cam.. Solid flat with roller rockers and a gear drive... 13:1 compression should rock pretty good... I will be out of my HP to weight ratio for sure and will need to de-tune the motor which is good I can make it last that way...
You are right. It has taken much more time than we initially thought it would. It's all in the little details that have to be done. Lots of stuff seem like easy little tasks, but in reality take much longer than anticipated. You add a few of those "easy little tasks" together, and all the sudden you have a full weekends worth of work to do! Making a list of items to do has helped us budget our time better, as well as provide a feeling of accomplishment when you get to check something off the list!

It sounds like you are putting together a pretty strong engine. What kind of top speed are you hoping to run with it? I know you said that your last car would run as fast as 170 mph! To me, that is beyond FAST! Our car might hit 70 or so in the straights.
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Old 05-28-2009, 12:16 PM   #45
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

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Are you married? Do you want to be in the future? Ha ha, just kidding!
No im not married lol. Working on these cars is hella fun though! I'll have my iroc forever...because i wont get 10% back on what i spent LMAO
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Old 05-28-2009, 06:13 PM   #46
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

Zlat, Our top speed in the Camaro is going to be 160mph and that is it. We run long tracks 1.6 miles with a long straight and can get up to those speeds before we shut down and turn left. I have brakes that will only last 5 sessions before the rotors are toast and need to be replaced. The Cobra is awsome but it is my show car and I was to the point where I was having dreams about taking the torch to it to free up the rear end... CRAZY dreams on my $60K car... them my wife said "get the cobra off the track and make a race car" she was afraid I was going to wreck it... I know this project has taken twice as long and cost me twice as much as I had planned for... but for $8K and a lot of bargin shopping I will have a stout race car for many years to come...
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Old 05-28-2009, 08:26 PM   #47
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

I wish I had some pic's of how we built ours. I will try to get some pic's of it finished. Its got a few seasons on it so its not that good looking, but not bad. We cut out the floor pan and gutted the rocker panels. We used 2x3 square tubing to make a center frame sectoin to weld the cage to. fun part was welding the stock floor pan back in. I like the way you did the struts.I hope it works well and if it does, let us know may end up doing it to our car. Your car looks good this far.
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Old 05-28-2009, 08:58 PM   #48
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

i dont know if anybody has said this or not but performancebodies.com has plastic 3rd gen camaro noses for racecars. I used there monte bumber on my old mini-stock car.
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Old 05-28-2009, 10:46 PM   #49
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

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Big mods, not thinking of running the tubes past the towers and then attaching the towers to the enging cage?
I thought about it, but I don't think there is much value in doing so. Maybe there would be if I didn't have that lower support bar.

My basic goal is make the car stiff from front shocks to rear shocks. Putting metal infront of the front shocks or behind the rear shocks isn't the most effective way of doing that, IMO.

It is very popular to see those bars running to the front, however. Dending on how your front end is arranged it can be necessary.
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Old 05-28-2009, 10:49 PM   #50
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Re: 3rd Gen Camaro Street Stock Build

You roundy round guys should check out www.frrax.com (F-body Road Race and AutoX). We're not dedicated to circle track, but there is a lot of good tech on there from real racers.
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