Mailbag: An Easy Way to Make 500HP in an LS1-Powered 2002 Camaro Z28

2002 z28 camaro

(Image/True Street Cars)

Q: I want to get 450-500 horsepower out of my 2002 Chevy Camaro Z28.

My car already has an 80mm BBK throttle body, a Granatelli mass airflow sensor, an SLP LS1 airbox with K&N filter, and a Flowmaster American Thunder exhaust system. I’ve thought about installing a new camshaft, cylinder heads, intake manifold, and a nitrous system.

What combination of parts will give me the power output I want and still keep it a daily driver?

A: You definitely picked a good ride for adding performance accessories. There are a ton of power-building components to choose from for the LS1 engine. To get the biggest bang for you buck, I’d suggest a Trick Flow GenX Top-End Engine Kit—it includes a pair of GenX Street/Strip cylinder heads, a matched Trick Flow camshaft, Trick Flow heat-treated chromoly pushrods, and Harland Sharp roller rocker arms, plus GM Performance Parts gaskets and bolts. It has everything you need to transform your LS1 Camaro into a 500-hp street machine!

Make sure you also pick up a computer programmer or performance chip so that your Camaro’s ECM can compensate for the massive power gains generated by the Trick Flow kit.

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  1. Colby Zethraeus says:

    My exact same Camaro had a Vortech supercharger and long tube headers. Stock bottom end stock intake and throttle body. Escalade 6.0 heads. Ls6 intake ports with less compression also bigger injectors. Drove like a stock car and put 545rwhp. Just sold it for $12k

  2. Michael nagengast says:

    What do you suggest for a 3.4 1994 camaro lol

    • I think you mean the 3.8l? And you can use the superchargers from the gran prix, monte, impala,etc. Use a smaller than stock pulley and minor upgrades for well over 300 hp and 300 ftlbs of tq.

      • The 3.8 wasn’t used in the Camaro until 1996 I think. In 1994 Chevy was still using the 2.8 from the 80’s. It was bored and stroked to a 3.4. there really isn’t much you can do to get power from the 3.4. Definitely not any bolt on mods that I know of. GM kept making the motor and I think they eventually turned it into a dual overhead cam 4.3 for minivans, but it was all front wheel drive setups. The 3.4 was the last rwd setup for the motor. So, basically nothing works for the Camaro. The bellbolt pattern is different on the block and the heads and intake are backwards and Do’nt have a distributor cutout. If you have a Camaro with a 3.4 the best option is to pull the motor and swap it with something else. That honestly is the best option.

  3. Chad Sanders says:

    2 more cylinders

  4. Got a 2015 5.3 what kind of hp can you get out of that going to put it in a 57 Chevy hard top auto behind 480e

    • Hey Tony, first things first–do you know what type of 5.3L engine you have? There are several different branches of the LS Engine Family Tree, so knowing the exact GM RPO code is essential. You can use Part One or Part Two of our Spotter’s Guides, or this interactive LS ID Guide to help figure that out.
      Once you know exactly what engine you have, we’ve probably got an Upgrade Guide for it. Simply search our site by the RPO code and you should be able to find it.
      Good luck with the build!

  5. Lawrence Basco says:

    I have a 2004 GTO…..is there a similar setup for it….

  6. Walter peer says:

    Was does my lt1 send check engine light and turns on the cooling fans when it’s not hot

    • Hey Walter, there could be several factors at play. Do you know if your LT-1 is OBD-1 or OBD-2? A scan tool might help clear-up the check engine light.
      The two issues may be related, but there’s not much to go on here. What’s the car’s year/make/model?

  7. A computer chip or programmer? Lol what kind of page is this?

  8. I mean could just piece together a turbo kit and make more power for less? Or am I just crazy?

  9. Derek Recore says:

    Cnc port 243 heads, ported fast 92 and Nick williams tb. Have a vrx-5 cam. I’m working on building a lq4 block. Not sure if I want to stroke it to 408 and maybe a MS4 cam.

  10. Derek Recore says:

    Picked up the heads off a 2008 trail blazer ss. Piston ring broke and left a few marks. Paid 200 bucks for them and sent to a race shop and welded the marks up and sent lingerfilter performance to cnc port them. Valve job and .600 lift springs. $1,200 invested. Fast 92 ported from vengeance racing $840 (thanksgiving sale free port job) Nick williams tb was $416 after tax and shipping. A good cam and intake with exhaust and tuned you will hit 400whp easy. I’m at 380.7whp with vrx-5 cam and exhaust and tune. That’s it.

  11. I remember when my 02 camaro SS 402ci had 492HP @ 6400rpm with ported Z06 heads,78mm throttle body,fast intake manifold,80lb/hr injectors,cam profile 245/.600/114 with 110 intake centerline,springs 130 seat 320 open,forged diamond pistons,total seal piston rings,exhaust headers and HP Tuners softwere. Oh yea those were the good old days but now the old camaro has a tubo with 780HP that`s all

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