4 of 3 Camaro Mods Completed: Lessons Learned
In an earlier post I created about my first Camaro Mods I outlined some of the things I would be doing to the car, including all weather mats, rock guards, and a catch can. Well I ended up picking up one other mod, a skip-shift eliminator. The shipping gods were kind to me and everything arrived today and I had the day off so I figured why not get it all done?
First I put the floormats in, easy peasy. They seem to be well made, certainly no worse than WeatherTechs, and coverage is good. They have these metal logos that say "3D" on them that I promptly took off. Overall, no complaints and I'm happy for the $120 I spent.
Then I put the rock guards on - these are basically just hunks of plastic cut out by RPI. They send some extra hardware, but it wasn't enough. The front fender/rear bumper cover extend into the wheel well area by about 5/8", meaning the rock guards don't lay on flat. Luckily I had some scraps of PVC lumber laying around, so I cut some 5/8" blocks and drilled them to make spacers. Still not perfect but better than the nothing that RPI gave me. At least they included longer screws.
Next I installed a skip shift eliminator that I also got from RPI. Skip-shift is a prominent feature on many late model V8 muscle cars. It's basically a solenoid in the transmission that the ECU commands to engage at certain conditions and it prevents a 1-2 shift and instead forces the shifter to go to 4th gear. It only exists to game the EPA fuel economy tests, and it's why my Camaro is rated at 16/25 and isn't subject to a "gas guzzler" tax. It's also annoying as hell and is very easy to defeat.
The eliminator is basically 2 WeatherPak connectors - you unplug the wiring harness from the solenoid and plug one weather pack into the transmission plug and one into the wiring harness. The one on the transmission just acts as a cover to protect the pins, should the harness ever need to be reattached. The one you plug into the harness has a resistor shrink wrapped to it that soaks up some current when the computer sends the skip-shift command, fooling the ECM into thinking the solenoid has engaged.
First lesson learned: I did this on my ramps. My ramps are barely wide enough to accommodate my 285 series front tires. The Camaro is also pretty low, meaning I had very little clearance. Couple that with the transmission being tight in the tunnel, and I spent a good 20 minutes squirming and cussing under the car with a warm catalytic converter 2" from my face to literally unplug a connecter and plug 2 back in. What I learned is, I need a lift. I'm seriously thinking about buying a QuickJack and am mad I didn't jump on the Costco deal for $1150 with the lift puck kit and wall hangers.
After this I thought about calling it a night, but decided to power through and get the last mod done, the Mishimoto catch can. It looked super easy and a lot of their instructions are unnecessary - I was able to easily remove the PCV hose without even loosening the engine cover. That saved a lot of steps and time. But what set me back was the GMPP strut tower brace that came on the car. I had to remove that to get to the cowl braces - little diagonal bars that also go from the strut tower to the cowl under the windshield. You have to loosen the drivers side bar by loosening a 10mm bolt on the cowl overhang flange and removing the two 13mm bolts on the strut tower. Then you slip the catch can bracket under the 13mm bolts, reinstall them, then tighten everything back up.
I do all these things, everything is good, and I go to tighten up that 10mm bolt. I only loosened it about 2 or 3 turns., and it didn't feel tight then. So I give it a few more. I start to wonder if maybe the dealership had to loosen these cowl braces up to get the GMPP strut tower brace on and forgot to tighten them. As I'm pondering this, POP, the bolt head snaps off. F%$@&. It's not a huge deal but I still need to replace it, which means extracting the broken bolt.
Second lesson learned: I don't even know. Maybe I'm a hulk and ham fisted it? A 10mm grade 10.9 has a max torque of 55 ft-lbs, and I don't think I put anywhere near that kind of force on it (6" ratchet means I'd have put 100lbs of pull on it). I guess future Snuze will have to deal with this. Ugh.
Exage03040 last edited by
At least extracting bolt(s) on new equipment is usually easy, rather than something with a few more decades on it. Although I depends on the access.
VincentMalamute last edited by VincentMalamute
Lessons? I always assume any project will take 3-4 times longer than I expect and there will be complications and issues. And anything aftermarket won't fit.
Maybe they installed the wrong bolts and they weren't grade 10.9. It seems weird they'd use a high strength bolt for that brace. I'd expect those on suspension parts.
Lifts are great. Would your car clear a Quickjack? I lowered my Audi to the point it couldn't go up the ramps of the 4-post I had in my old house.
ItalianJobR53 last edited by
@snuze welcome to GM quality control /s
davesaddiction last edited by
@snuze The guy I bought my SS from bought the skip shift eliminator but never installed it. I've got it, but must rev out in 1st enough that I've only hit it a couple of times, so it hasn't become a necessity, but I do need to get under and put it in.
I've also bought a replacement clutch return spring that's less aggressive - currently, the clutch "pops" a bit on initial release.
What vendor did you buy the mats from?
I like my red, but I'm jealous of your blue!
@VincentMalamute The passenger side bolt says 10.9 on the head, I'm assuming the one on the drivers side I had to tighten up was the same. Curiously, I found a few people on forums talking about breaking some of the other bolts when installing the strut braces. I wonder if GM got a bad batch or something. I was actually shocked the Camaro got up on the ramps. It should clear a quick jack no problem. And with the 1LE suspension with magride, I don't think I'm ever going to lower it.
@ItalianJobR53 Why do I keep doing this to myself?
@davesaddiction It's super easy to do... IF you can get to the plug. The tunnel is just really tight on the Camaro, hopefully there's a bit more room on your SS. Modifying the clutch return is actually next on my to-do list, it has that same "pop". It's a twin disc clutch, and I'm wondering if that's part of the reason it has that feel?
My mats are made by 3D Mats USA. The Camaro6 forum guys all love them - the WeatherTechs are generally crap on this car - they don't actually cover a lot of the floor.
And thank you. I like your red, but I've always wanted a blue Camaro. Though the dealer I got it from also had a beautiful "Wild Cherry" red one, which is actually like a slightly darker, metallic red.
Jordan last edited by
Look into wooden cradles. You can make them yourself, and they are incredibly sturdy. Takes a little more time than quick jacks, but if you don't need the wheels off, it's a perfectly safe $1100 cheaper solution.
MM54 last edited by
@mm54 I'd say possible, and even likely. In any event I ordered another proper bolt today, should get it in a few days.