When General Motors rolled out the new LT series of small-block V8 engines a few years ago, they brought a host of sophisticated technologies to the table that offered better performance and increased efficiency. But with the LT1 and supercharged LT4 motors destined for installation in the engine bays of Camaros and Corvettes, it wasn’t long before enthusiasts sought to take the performance of these engines a step further–and that’s where Snow Performance stepped in.
With new technology often comes new challenges. And for those looking to take their powerplant’s capabilities beyond what the factory had envisioned for the car, the LT’s transition to a high pressure direct injection system, from the more traditional sequential multi-port fuel injection setup found on the LS engines, necessitates some innovative solutions in order to work around the limitations of the stock fuel system.
This is of particular interest to those who’ve already supercharged their LT1s, as the resulting power output can begin to push the capability of what the stock fuel pump can deliver. Such is the case with the sixth-generation Camaro SS we have here, which is sporting a P-1SC-1 supercharger kit from ProCharger.
The Snow Performance Stage 2 MAF/MAP water-methanol injection kit includes a 300 PSI high output methanol pump, a three quart reservoir (an oversized tank was used for this particular install), all the tubing needed for the installation, a MAFU progressive controller for use with MAF/MAP sensors, a pig tail harness, two Hyper-Sonic injector nozzles, and all the other requisite hardware you’ll need for installation. Snow Performance also provides vehicle-specific instructions and backs their kit with a one year warranty.
This is where water-methanol injection systems like the Snow Performance Stage-2 Boost Cooler kit can really make a difference, not only by helping to cool the intake charge down and thereby essentially increasing the octane rating of the fuel being used, but also by acting as a secondary fuel source and taking some of the workload off the fuel system by giving it the methanol to burn as well. Here we’ll take a closer look at the features and benefits of the Snow Performance system and walk through the installation of the water-methanol kit on this boosted Camaro.
Chilling The Charge
If you’ve ever worked with a nitrous system on a fuel injected engine, much of the basic principles behind a water-methanol system setup used here will feel familiar. Where the two deviate is that methanol is a fuel source that requires air (but brings its own oxygen along with it), whereas nitrous serves only as an oxidizer.
While water-methanol systems offer benefits in naturally aspirated applications, forced induction builds are particularly ideal for such an implementation. “Boosted applications are limited in power by the octane of the fuel and air charge temperatures,” explains Matt Snow of Snow Performance. “The Boost Cooler is like adding a big intercooler along with race gas, which means more boost and timing can be used safely without experiencing detonation.” The concept behind this form of injection is to progressively increase injection as air flow increases into the engine, making it ideal for small, fast-spooling turbos and positive displacement superchargers that pick up boost very quickly.
“Also, when you are using methanol injecting you are stretching the fuel system,” Snow added. “With a 50/50 mixture of methanol and water this can be up to 8 percent, and even more is possible if a greater methanol concentration is used.”
Snow Performance's 300 PSI UHO (Ultra High-Output) pump boasts the highest volume of any pump on the market. Designed to run cooler and maintain higher pressure for longer amounts of time than the competition's offerings, the pump is fully sealed and potted for added reliability and protection from the elements, meaning no sleeve is required. We used an oversized tank for this installation per the owner's request - the kit normally comes with a three quart tank that will tuck into the corner of the trunk.
Because larger direct injection injectors are so expensive or unavailable, direct injected cars like the new Camaro are fuel limited. Water-methanol injection is a cost-effective way to get more fuel and more power. – Matt Snow, Snow Performance
Made here in the USA, the Stage-2 Boost Cooler comes with everything needed for a straight forward, hassle-free installation, including the throttle body nozzle mounting plate, custom braided line, a gauge-style controller, and step-by-step, vehicle-specific instructions. “Obviously everything is designed to work with methanol – only EPDM O-rings, stainless steel or nickel copper, high temp nylon, and so on,” Snow explained.
“The key components are built under strict ISO-9001 standards in the USA for quality assurance. The heart of the system – the new UHO pump –was designed to be used in commercial trucking with added heat sinks, different wiring, specially designed 300psig cam and dual seals to handle the high pressures and duty cycles in this environment. These factors ensure the customer is getting the most reliable and robust system on the market for safety.”
For a boosted Camaro like the one we have here, the benefits include significantly reduced air charge temperatures (over 80ºF on an intercooled, 16psig setup, Snow tells us) as well as octane increases – when an evenly split mixture of water-methanol is used on top of pump gas, the detonation control can be greater than 116 octane race gas, according to Snow. This in turn allows for more boost and timing to be utilized safely.
All of Snow Performance’s controllers are tested to ISO 9001 standards before being packaged and sent out. This unit not only provides an interface with the water-methanol system, it also serves as a large digital boost indicator, injection quantity readout, and over-under injection indicator. The color of the readout is adjustable too.
“Also, because larger direct injection injectors are so expensive or unavailable, direct injected cars like the new Camaro are fuel limited,” Snow adds. “Water-meth injection is a good, cost-effective way to get more fuel and more power. Also, as the result of EGR and no manifold injection, direct injected vehicles tend to have an issue with carbon collecting in the intake, valves, and pistons – water-methanol injection systems actually clean out these deposits so the engine is spotless.”
We started off by getting baseline numbers for the Camaro on a Dynojet at House of Boost, where it made 507.1 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 485.3 pound-feet of torque at 4,700 rpm using “winter blend” 91 octane and a standard ProCharger tune. Respectable numbers to be sure, but we know there’s still some significant gains to be had from this water-methanol kit.
Before adding the Snow Performance kit we strapped the supercharged Camaro to the Dynojet at House of Boost to get some baseline numbers, where it made 507.1 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 485.3 pound-feet of torque at 4,700 rpm on 91-octane pump gas.
“Most new non-water-methanol injected Camaros are limited to about 9psig,” Snow points out. “At this level, even if intercooled, IATs drop about 40ºF with the addition of a water-methanol injection system.” The Snow Performance kit should comprehensively address the winter fuel quality issue, too.
Work began in the trunk, where we installed the oversized tank that House of Boost opted to use for this application. The system is powered by the main fuse system, and the “key on” power wire is found on the fuse box located in the floor section of the trunk.
The system draws power from the "key on" power wire from main fuse system in the trunk (upper left, upper right). The driver's side of the trunk offers a good spot to mount the system relay (lower left), while just below that we've mounted the methanol pump to the floor of the trunk (lower right).
The driver’s side of the trunk offers a space to mount the relay, while a spot on the floor just below it offers space to mount the methanol pump.
From here we moved to the engine bay to install the methanol injector components.
The next step is to mount the methanol bungs for the twin nozzles. Normally only one nozzle is required at this power level, but two were installed so the owner has additional headroom as they continue to add power. House of Boost uses custom bungs to install the nozzles into the silicon hose that ProCharger supplies with the kit. This silicone is a great insulator for heat and won't degrade with usage of methanol. In the image on the right you can see the twin nozzles located into the main hose.
With everything squared away in the trunk and under the hood, installation then moved into the interior of the Camaro, where we started by removing the driver’s side A-pillar cover to allow room to work while installing the gauge unit that powers and controls the system.
House of Boost uses a custom gauge mount to give the system a factory look, but the location of the gauge’s installation is largely user preference, and can be mounted elsewhere if one chooses to do so.
For this installation, we opted to install the controller on the driver's side A-pillar, though where it's installed is ultimately user preference. This requires removing the A-pillar cover to mount the unit and run the wiring. The driver's side panel behind the door will also need to be partially unhooked in order to route the wiring back to the methanol pump in the trunk.
The rear driver’s side interior panel also needs to be partially unhooked from the body in order to route the wiring from the interior back to the methanol pump in the trunk. The methanol lines are routed under the car, adjacent to the factory fuel lines.
A hole saw is used to create spaces for the level sensor and pick up placement. On the right you can see what the low level sensor looks like prior to install - this float switch will indicate when it's time to refill the system.
Next up, the tank gets mounted in the trunk. Since this is an oversized unit, we installed it in the center of the trunk due to its dimensions, but the typical washer fluid-sized tanks are small enough to be tucked into the corner of the trunk to minimize the impact on cargo space.
Due to the dimensions of the larger tank, we've mounted it in the center of the trunk rather than in a corner where a smaller one would normally reside. On the right you can see that we've got the controller powered up and ready to go. It doubles as a pretty cool looking boost gauge, too.
With everything buttoned up, we strapped the Camaro back onto the dyno to see what kind of numbers it would post with the Snow Performance water-methanol injection system added to the mix.
After finishing the installation we headed back to the dyno to see how much performance was gained from the water-methanol kit. The folks at House of Boost ensured that the ProCharger gets plenty of airflow during their tuning and testing sessions, and ProCharger's Erik Radzins was on hand to look over the data log and make sure everything was running smoothly with the engine's ECU.
The bump in performance is two fold when it comes to getting the car dial in with the Boost Cooler. First, the cooler air charge is denser and brings more oxygen molecules to the party, which allowed us to inject more fuel as well, which obviously means more power. Also, due to the cooler intake charge, and the inherent stability that cooler cylinder temperatures provide, our tuner Erik Radzins was able to throw a couple of degrees more timing at the LT1, again equalling considerable increases in power.
The performance bump was substantial, particularly for the horsepower numbers, resulting in 596.2 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and a peak torque figure of 518.5 pound-feet at roughly 5,200 rpm, gains of 89.1 hp and 33.2 lb-ft respectively. That’s undoubtedly a noticeable performance increase, both out on the street and on time slips.
With the Snow Performance water-methanol injection kit installed, the Camaro saw a sizable jump in output, posting 596.2 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 518.5 pound-feet of torque at about 5,200 rpm, gains of 89.1 hp and 33.2 lb-ft. You’d be hard pressed to find many alternative methods of modification that would offer a similar performance for this kind of money, especially when considering the limitations of the stock LT1 fuel system.
Considering the cost of the system it’s a pretty solid horsepower-per-dollar proposition, too, especially for folks who’ve reached the limitations of their stock direct-injected fuel systems. Looking to add a water-methanol injection system to your performance equation? Hit up the folks at Snow Performance to find out how you can take your project’s capabilities to the next level.