3800 Camaro Build

So the day had finally come that the 3.8L Camaro needed to be retired. I’m not entirely out of the game, I’ve picked up a 2002 LS1 Camaro that I am currently building to take the fastest Canadian N/A all motor record for bolt on LS1 F-bodies. I’m applying all that I have learned from working on the v6 over the years. I have to say, I dearly miss this car, and I will definitely one day get back into the 3800 game- that is a promise. This 1996 3.8L Camaro goes down in the history books as the fastest all motor N/A v6 F-body in Canada. She had just shy of 300,000km on her (187,000 miles). The car had run a 13.7 N/A  in the 1/4 mile cam only with a much smaller cam than what was installed during the motor rebuild when she ran a best of 13.4@100.77 mph (videos here)

After I repaired the key marks

After I repaired the key marks

The end goal was a 12 second N/A car. I’m still confident she could of run it considering the run of 13.4 was done when completely lean in 3rd gear (13.9 AFR) as I had maxed the injectors out and the DA for the night had dropped down far enough that the computer couldn’t compensate (and of course my laptop was dead). On top of that, my drag radials had cracks in the sidewall, which forced me to use a buddies radials on corvette rims (almost twice the weight). I never got the opportunity to take advantage of the electric waterpump by pulling the drive belt either. So I am very, very confident 12.99 was not a long stretch by any means. This is how the Camaro sat when she set the 13.4 record. Bolt ons:

  • Short ram intake
  • Headers
  • High flow cat, exhaust dumped at the rear axle
  • Meizere electric water pump

Hardcore Engine Mods: The motor blew at roughly 280,000km ( 175,000 miles). It was replaced with a 2005 Buick Lucerne 3.8L series II motor (exact same block that was in the Camaro to begin with) Pictures Here

  • Heads fully port and polished
  • 1.9 Manley intake valves/1.57 manley exhaust valves
  • 130# valvesprings with Manley retainers
  • Heads were decked 0.015
  • .045 MLS gaskets (compression on the car is roughly 9:9:1)
  • custom ground cam (230/240 .512/.512 113LSA)
  • 7.00″ pushrods
  • Rollmaster double roller timing chain, with a Cloyes chain
  • Stock lifters


  • PA racing lightweight K frame (mild steel)
  • PA racing lower A arms
  • QA1 coil overs with 300# springs up front
  • QA1 shocks out back with stock Moog replacement springs
  • Sphon tunnel mount adjustable torque arm
  • Poly motor mounts
  • double adjustable aluminum Panhard rod
  • J&M Lower Control Arms

Drivetrain: (pictures here)

  • Aluminum Driveshaft
  • Custom built Ford 8.8 rear end
  • 4.10 ford racing gears
  • 31 spline Track Lok posi
  • 31 spline custom Moser axles


  • Stock Camaro 4l60e transmission with trans-go HD2 shift kit
  • corvette servo
  • 3200 TCI Stall
  • B&M transmission Cooler


  • Stock Camaro brakes
  • upgraded to rear disc brakes
  • proportioning valve
  • line lock

Weight Reduction: (pictures here) Additional aside from the lighter weight suspension/mod parts already installed on the Camaro above the following was removed

  • AC
  • ABS
  • EGR
  • Spare tire and jack
  • Insulation under carpet
  • Insulation behind doors
  • Motor lift mounts
  • Front swaybar/mounts
  • Insulation on hood
  • Part of rubber insulation on lower part of firewall
  • Most heatshields
  • Miscellaneous  screws


  • Hp tuners (tuned by me)
  • Tiny tuner (minor tweaks I couldn’t touch on hp tuners)
  • AEM wideband
  • Aeroforce gauge (mainly for monitoring KR)


  • Swapped leather seats

Future Mods (that I wanted to do):

  • Holden lower intake manifold
  • Custom built upper intake manifold for the Holden
  • Further weight reduction via Lexan rear glass, lightweight carpet, carbon fibre hood (painted black to match the car), swiss cheese parts
  • upgrade to 42lb injectors (the 36lb injectors are currently maxed out at 90% duty)
  • Subframe connectors
  • lightweight seats (thinking about Kirkey’s, but I dunno about them in a daily driver)
  • Meth, my Camaro hates heat

4 comments for “3800 Camaro Build

  1. Cam Phillips
    April 4, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    I’m currently rebuilding my 96 3.8L Camaro with a Comp Cams stage 1 camshaft, valves, pushrods, pace setter headers, Magnaflow hi-flow cat, Flow master 44 series muffler, and 28 lbs per hour injectors.

    My question is: where can I take my PCM to get “flashed” to run the engine properly with the mods I’m introducing to it??

    Or would a standalone PCM be a better route to go with? And if so, any advice on where I can find one?

    • Tech
      September 7, 2016 at 10:29 am

      I used PCM4less myself before I bought hp tuners. I personally would buy hp tuners and learn to tune yourself the moment you put any real power adders in there like a cam / heads / supercharger / turbocharger – once any of those are done, I feel you are far past the limits of a simple flash.

  2. Joseph
    March 3, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    You give me hope in my 99 Camaro v6 I hated how slow it is but now I feel like I can make my car faster it has 105,000 miles on it so I feel like I have plenty of room to give it power thanks brother keep up the good work

  3. James
    September 8, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    i bought a Camaro from a co worker for 500. he spun the lower bearings. any ideas on a kit for rebuilding the engine and getting everything new and set up to roll

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