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How to Add More Horsepower to Your Camaro

by William Zane; Updated November 07, 2017

Items you will need

  • Socket set and ratchet

  • Specialty automotive tools

Since its introduction in the 1960s, the Chevrolet Camaro has been through multiple redesigns and reconfigurations over the years. Like other Pony Cars like the Mustang, the Camaro is a very popular basis for a modified street car. There are plenty of parts available for them at reasonable prices and Camaros are also usually easy to work on. Whether you want to go wild or mild, there are several different ways to get more power out of your Camaro’s engine.

Upgrade the ignition system. Most Camaro engines, particularly if they are modified, will benefit from a better ignition system. The ignition system determines how much spark the engine is getting, and the more spark the better, especially if the engine is modified to get more air and fuel as well. An electronic ignition replaces the points on older Camaros with an optical trigger and is simple to install in the distributor. There are also more expensive electronic ignitions and electronic distributors.

Install a performance exhaust. This is Tuning 101 when it comes to almost all Camaros. Stock exhausts are smaller than optimal in diameter and stock mufflers are designed primarily for noise reduction and not performance. A larger diameter exhaust will get spent exhaust gasses out of the motor more efficiently and allow it to make more power. Plus, your Camaro will sound the way it was intended to. An exhaust should be installed by a professional who is familiar with the tools and techniques of making and or installing exhausts.

Replace the manifolds with headers. The manifolds are bolted to the Camaro's heads and are the parts that spent exhaust gasses from the engine travel through in their way out of the engine. The better the air can flow out, the more power the engine can potentially make. Stock manifolds are usually cast, which means thicker walls, thinner passages for the air to travel through and rough surfaces, which inhibits airflow. Tubular headers have smooth walls and larger passages, so the motor runs more efficiently and can make more power. Remove the manifolds from the heads and then install the headers in their place.

Install a cold air intake. This is applicable to newer Camaros that utilize fuel injection. The cold air intake consists of large diameter tubing and a large filter. This replaces the air box, which in stock form does not usually flow air to the engine as efficiently as it could. A CAI delivers far more, dense, cold air to the engine and can realize gains of up to 20-hp. To install, remove the air box from where it bolts to the engine bay and where it connects to the intake on the engine. Install the new air intake according to the supplied directions.

About the Author

William Zane has been a freelance writer and photographer for over six years and specializes primarily in automotive-related subject matter among many other topics. He has attended the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, where he studied automotive design, and the University of New Mexico, where he studied journalism.

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