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67 Camaro L78 M20 Convertible
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I want to share my engine swap project with you all:

I am Harold (Harris is my nickname) from germany, mechanical engineer and last year i fulfilled my dream: A camaro convertible big block with manual transmission.
You can see the car in my garage or my car account on instagram (see my signature)

Everything was going fine, until a valve dropped in april, destroying chamber and cylinder.
Still not 100% sure whats caused this. I will dedicate an extra post in this thread regarding this matter including horros show pictures.

+++Update: The Exhaust valves all have extremely lot of play. Some can move up to 1/16 inch or about 2mm. I guess this has something to do with it? Compression showed good values with almost no variation. But this of course only takes into account how good the valve seal in the seats. Not how much play is between stem and guide. I didnt check the valve to guide play/clearance additionally. Maybe that was the mistake. If someone has another idea, please share with me+++

So engine gone or rather not really worth to sleeve it and recondition the heads.
So a crate engine solution seemed as the best way to go.

--- A big shout out to Chris Straub at this point. I talked to him with probably 20 to 30 emails, asking like 100 questions and he always answered every single one of them - thats service. He would have supplied me with the perfect Valvetrain for a Shortblock/Head Combo, but since the heads were not usable anymore as well, i decided for a complete solution ---

I searched a lot, but over here there were only engines to find that meant a lot of compromises, never the real deal.
I estimate the amount of money involved in this engine project to be around 10k €, give or take,
Could do it for half of that, but that would leave me at the same performance level like before.
Main problem is: Over here everything is basically 1.5x times the price than in USA. Everything.

So while looking for solutions you guys over here do in those situations i stumbled across Mark Jones from Vortecpro and had a few conversations with him.
And even if i have to pay ocean shipping and taxes and customs that would multiply whatever engine from whatever source i import from USA by the factor 1.3, he STILL is one of the top choices bang for buck wise - even from here - across the ocean.

But thats only money (its my hobby, so rather forget that ^^), what actually only counts is the quality.

And with him, after talking to him several times as well as several of his customers (even a guy in italy) watching how he works in his videos, how he explains the ways he chooses to do things and last but not least, how those engines just deliver, i knew i came to the right guy.

He is just as into engines and sound and performance and everything around it like me.

So lets wrap up that story: I am here to include the petrol heads amongst you into my engine swap story, with lots of pictures and updates.

I asked Mark to take a picture every once in a while. I will upload them here to share.

Here you can see my car in its current state, more or less:
 

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Wilkommen, Harris! You've got a BB Camaro AND live in Germany. I went there on vacation in '90. Absolutely loved that country. I grew up outside a little town called Oldenburg, In. You can go to Google Maps Street View and take a virtual tour. Obvious German heritage in that town, and plenty of bier consumed by the locals.
 

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67 Camaro L78 M20 Convertible
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Discussion Starter #7
@buenymayor Hi! Yeah so we basically are/were in the same state. I am from hannover, born and raised here in the north.. and yes over here beer consumption is on big block level ^^
 

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Waiting on an engine to be built is like waiting for your child to be born. How's the rest of the engine coming along?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Waiting on an engine to be built is like waiting for your child to be born. How's the rest of the engine coming along?
Now he is working on the block.. cant wait for the dyno session!!

If thats what it feels like to wait for offspring to arrive then i am looking forward to it and also not 🤣
 

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Heard a lot of good things about Mark....hope motor lives up to the hype ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I am so happy, i cant wait to feel the power shaking my car..

Here are some more pics.. ait she a beauty, inside and outside?
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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Since this is a build-project, i want to introduce you guys to a list of things that are on my mind when swapping this engine, since i want the install to go smooth without showstoppers:

  • Carb size & tuning
  • Exhaust system size
  • Cooling system
  • Oil
  • Fuel system size
  • clearance issues
  • accessory issus
  • Distributor system setup
Regarding carb size & tuning:
I got a 750 Edelbrock, test was done on a 850 Holley.
For now i stay with the 750, but i milled down all the blade screws, the casting flash and sharp edges. That should help a little in combo with the stubstack.
I dissassebled it several times, cleaned everything, set float level, float drop, rejetted, reroded, respringed the first and second stage to make it richer, since i knew from before how badly lean it was (14:1 at WOT).
Additionally i installed a stronger accelarator pump spring and readjusted the pump shot linkage to give a bigger stroke.
For the start i am for a secure 12-12.5:1 WOT Ratio, 13-13.5 cruise ratio, 14-14.5 idle ratio. (Got a dual AFR gauge).
One day i will step up to the 850 AED Annular Carb, which will probably unlock 15-25hp hp compared to now.
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Regarding exhaust size:
Currently i got a 2" into 3.5" Hooker header with true dual 2.5 Dynomax Straight through mufflers.
2.5 is too small for 670hp, 3" is on the edge. Dynomax recommends 3.5 dual system.
I will leave it as is for now, but will step up to 3.5 exhaust cutouts from QTP one day.
For that drag strip feeling.. and by this unlock the full hp potential.
I guess around 20-40hp is the benefit in that case.
Attatched to this i will keep the 2.5 dual system for more quiet (lets say: "less loud") crusing..

Regarding cooling system:
I asked Mark and he said 160 thermostat should do it. I got a big 4 core aluminum radiator with clutch fan already.
So i went for a Stewart EMP-300. Here its in comparison to the old 180.
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Regarding oil:
Mark uses a 10w-40, i asked him if 0w-40 was ok since i made the best experiences with it in my engines.
Going for Mobil 1 0w-40. Mobil 1 is the official nascar equipper.. didnt know that.

Regarding fuel_system size:
According to "some people of the internet" the stock BBC fuel pump was also used for ZL1 and L88 engines, that were up to 600 honest hp.
Since i dont want to lean out at WOT and high rmp i went for a Edelbrock Victor 130 gph pump.
Also a 125 gph free flow (@4.1psi) 100 micron filter from Earl performance before pump and a Holley Billet 175 gph 10 micron fuel filter after pump.
Also a Holley billet fuel pressure regulator.
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Regarding clearance isses:
I identified one thing: roller-rocker valve covers need slightly higher valve covers.
The new valve covers are maybe 3/8 higher than stock.
This is already causing problems in 67 Big blocks. Why only 67? Cause of wiper motor.
In 67 the motor is very low on the firewall, hanging 1" across the valve cover with only 3/8" distance between cover and motor.
In 68 they changed position of the wiper motor. They probably realised what they did there.
So i went for a Newport 2-Speed Wiper Motor Newport NE6700CF Unit that will give clearance and look nice.
Brake booster should clear, no need for Corvette style "slant" covers..
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Regarding accessory issures:
I identified 3 things: PCV/CCV system (´cause new valve covers), oil pressure sending unit (hole above oil filter is nwo 3/8 instead of 3/4) and dip stick.
So i ordered 2 grommets to fit the stock style valve covers.
One for the OEM BBC valve cover elbow (1" diameter). One for an AC-Delco PCV valve 90°.
I ordered some 3/8 and 1" tubing for that two breathers, too.
For the sending unit i just ordered a 3/8 NPT to 1/8 NPT brass fitting adapter as well as a new 1/8 NPT tubing line (the old one broke when dissassembling).
The new oil pan has a screw in dip stick, so i oredered morosos stock style screw in dip stick. Problem solved.

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Regarding distributor setup:
I asked mark, with good fuel (min. 93 premium, but i have 96 here) i can go for 36° total. Also minimum of 18° static initial, better is 24+ he said.
I set up the dizzy with the smallest black bushing (18°) and one heavy + one light silver spring.
Resulting in 18 static initial + 18 mechanical all in at 3000rpm.
Vacuum i (will) setup @ full manifold vacuum with crane adj. advance and custom limiter giving 10-12° at 2" below idle vacuum.
Resulting in 28-30 idle timing and 46-48° when cruising in low load.
Idle timing is lot, but i will see how the engine accepts it.
If it doesnt respond with more vaccum after 26° i will probably limit vac. advance down to 8°.


These are my main concerns i think about all the time right now..
 
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