Before getting down to the meat and potatoes of the finale of this engine build, let me tell ya; you guys that live in states where emission laws are not as strict as California’s have it made. Third-generation Camaros are among the most affordable on the market and have great potential for street or track build-ups. These are the salad days for the ’82-92 F-bodies, as salvage yards have no shortage of these cars laying around full of nice parts for the taking.

Like many 3rd-generation Camaro owners, my ’88 IROC-Z is used as a daily-commuting-back-and-forth-to-work grocery getter.

The 305ci throttle body small-block is about as worn as a pair of Wal-Mart underwear, so it has to go. My idea was to replace the 305 with a 383 that can roast the fruity Deutschland road vehicles and the sideways-wearing ball cap owners that drive ’em.

Once the engine was at the dyno facility, Westech Performance in Mira Loma, California, our dyno technicians, Ernie Mena and Steve Brule, went through the paces of hooking up the Accel harness, Accel DFI Thruster EFI engine management system, and Accel dual sync distributor. Even though EFI and engine tuning are new to me, Mena made it look easy. The Accel DFI Thruster program is designed for the entry-level and advanced tuner. The Thruster program differs from some of the previous Accel systems by simplifying the tuning process and eliminating many of the unnecessary screens and maps. This should help prevent a novice tuner like me from continually screwing things up.

I had boldly speculated this engine would produce around 400 horses at the flywheel. In no uncertain terms…I was wrong.  After tuning the engine and a few dyno pulls, the horsepower peaked at 340 @ 4700 rpm and the torque topped out at 462 @ 3,400 rpm. While I was very happy with the torque output, my disappointment over the peak horsepower numbers was hard to deal with. That was until Brule and Mena set me straight. “This engine behaved exactly the way it was supposed too,” said Brule. In order to keep the engine smog-compliant and play by the stringent California smog laws, a C.A.R.B.-approved cam, heads, and intake had to be used.  

The Crane Cams bumpstick (Part# 104224, grind 2032), has a duration, at .050-inch lift, of 214/220 with lift of 452/465 and lobe separation of 112-degrees. This was just about as big as we could go and remain smog-legal. Along with the cam, the Edelbrock Performer cylinder heads were the next step in keeping with the smog laws. After looking at these two factors, my view of the engine changed and I was no longer disappointed. At 2,500 rpm the engine torque is already at 430 ft-lbs. This will ensure snappy throttle response and no problems roasting the hydes, should one desire to do so.

Features include:

- It will run 11 different ignition configurations.
- Configurable to narrow or wide-band O2 sensor operation.
- Offers built-in self diagnostics.
- Will operate the fuel injectors in sequential or batch fire mode.
- Has built-in data-acquisition.
- Individual cylinder fuel control.  
- Will support up to 41 psi of boost.
- Will operate high or low impedance injectors in batch or sequential mode.
- 2 high rpm over rev limiters (ignition & fuel)
- Built-in 2-step rev limiter.
- Controls torque converter, A C clutch, radiator fans and knock.
- Has shift light output.
- Laptop-programmable
- Can be upgraded to a PRO version.
- Real time programming. All changes made on laptop happen instantly, no re-flashing needed.
- Data Acquisition feature can record up to 6 channels through the ECM and laptop, or up to 16 total
    channels when using the DATAMAP part of the wide-band O2.

In this photo Ernie is setting up (phasing) the Accel (part # 77100T) dual-sync distributor (one signal from the cam and the other from the crank). In order to fire the engine in sequential mode, a dual sync distributor is a must.

RPM    TORQUE    Horsepower
2500    430.5    205
2600    430.1    213
2700    433.4    223
2800    439.4    234
2900    442.5    244
3000    446.4    255
3100    449.2    265
3200    453.5    276
3300    459.0    288
3400    462.3    299
3500    460.8    307
3600    457.2    313
3700    454.2    320
3800    449.4    325
3900    444.3    330
4000    437.4    333
4100    428.5    335
4200    420.6    336
4300    411.1    337
4400    402.4    337
4500    393.5    337
4600    286.2    338
4700    379.9    340
4800    371.5    340
4900    357.3    333
5000    343.5    327
5100    334.5    325
5200    321.3    318
5300    307.1    310
5400    296.0    304
5500    282.4    296
5600    367.5    285

Crane Cams
1830 Holsonback Drive
Daytona Beach
FL  32117
Accel Ignition
10601 Memphis Ave.
OH  44144
Westech Performance Group
Mira Loma
Edelbrock (Carbs)
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