Pioneer Stage 3 LSA 69 RS SS Camaro by Unit2

By diyauto
( 3 )


This year for the 2011 CES show in Las Vegas Pioneer showcase three 69 Camaro's. Pioneer approached Five Axis to build three identical vehicles. The theme was "modernization of the muscle car". Each vehicle featured modern technology headunits at different price points along with advanced drivetrains in the vehicles.

Stage 1: RS 350 V-8 T400, column shift vehicle, Head unit = DEH-3300UB, Base line vehicle.

Stage 2: RS LS3 E Rod motor 4L60, Heidts front and rear suspension components and Wilwood disc brakes along with a console shift with Hounds tooth interior. Head unit = DEH-P6300UB with custom rear trunk bass and amp enclosures.

Stage 3: RS SS LSA 6.2 motor 4L80, Heidts Pro G front suspension, subframe connectors along with independent rear suspension. Mini Tubs added in the rear to fit the 18" Centerline wheels and BF Goodrich KDW tires. Wilwood disc brakes all round, rears are actually inboard discs, Classis Air, Autometer "Cobalt" gauges surrounded by a unique dash assembly with , custom center console featuring the Top of the line Nav head unit = AVIC-X930BT featuring Pandora interface. The unique seats were fitted from another car and were retrimmed with Alcantara and leather by Turin Models in Santa Ana. Other parts of the interior such as the door panels were replaced with new units from Classic industries, I wanted to keep some of the original look of the vehicle interior, but one thing I did change was upgrading to the pile carpet, I hate the hook and loop. This really steps up the interior of the vehicle. The rear trunk has been trimmed with unique bass and amp enclosures trimmed in leather and carpet.

All three of the vehicles have a similar theme cleaned up bodies with no side markers the side gills have been removed, the front and rear bumpers are tucked tighter to the body for a form fit. The RS grill was also added and painted a unique accent color to match the wheels and the rear tail lamp panel in the rear of the vehicle. Hot Rod TV got involved and a filmed an episode on the builds of the three cars at Five Axis in Huntington Beach and was feature on May 14th on Speed Channel “Triple Threat”. GM Performance, Summit Racing, Monster Transmission, Heidts, Classic Industries, ISIS power, BF Goodrich, Aero automotive, Pioneer all provide support for these vehicles.

The cars were a big hit at the show, it really brought out peoples old memories of these types of vehicles. I talked to a lot of people and all thought the cars were pretty cool. The three cars will be on the Hot Rod Power Tour and can be seen at any of the stops. I will be there on the tour hope you get a chance to come out and see the cars.


The grill portion is painted the color of the wheels and the back portion of the car. We did leave the chrome surround and the healamp covers also chrome. We also fitted the grill to the body opening they usally fit very bad around the sheet metal and it does not look that good if you do not fix this. I'll post some added images of the grill.

Here are some picture from the start of the project. I got the car from Redding Ca. and was an abandon garage project. The car was bought site unseen and when it arrived we were all kind of weary of what could be under the primer. So off to the blaster to see what was underneath. The body did have some issues but I have seen worse so cut out the old, weld in the new. Since there was rust in the seat pan area I got hold of a pair of seats from a Honda CRZ. I fit them to the removed floor pan sheet metal and fabricated new mounts for them. Then the seats were retrimmed with leather and suede and the perforated suede has red in the backing of the perforations. The dash panel uses a Detroit speed metal dash panel but I wanted to do some thing different to improve on the standard cut the holes out and stick the gauges in. I made an additional panel that surround the gauge openings and added the gauge hoods for the speedo and tach (similar to 60’s Mustangs) also created a unique turn light lens and unique vent openings. Another item I changed was the plain old ugly headlamp and wiper switch, I hate these so I used a light switch from a Dodge Dakota (it helps when you know some Chrysler dudes that can aid in making this work) and made a custom knob and switch assembly for the aftermarket switch for the variable wiper motor assembly that needed to be added because the stock unit hits the motor. One of my many discoveries on the build. Classic air provided an electrical switch panel to replace the mechanical levers and this was located on the other side of the lower panel. On to the center console, since Pioneer wanted to showcase a Nav unit I needed to make up a center console that would fit the bill. After a few patterns mocked up in place the design came together and I was able to make up the console. One thing we did on the console was to make it look like a production part. Most consoles I have seen, builders make a console and just cover the entire console, just does not look finished and do not have different levels of details. I worked on cars for the Sultan of Brunei for his private collection and we built many consoles with the same techniques I used on the Camaro. I wanted something clean and looked like it belongs there so no over the top just clean design and execution. Another item added is the finish panel above the glove box. If you look close the Camaro emblem is on the right side, not the left side that it usually is and it has a clean finish with no ribbed surfaces. One more item we did in the interior on the alum parts, we put a tinted matt clear coat on top to give the alum a darker appearance almost anodized looking, the effect is quiet good. That is all I am going to write for now.


Here the dates and locations for the power tour. All three Camaros are on the tour.

June 4 - Port Canaveral, Highway A1A, Cocoa Beach, FL (start) 32920
June 5 - Georgia Motorsports Park, 2521 Hwy 41 North, Adel, GA (297 mi) 31620
June 6 - Motorsports Park, 2600 N. Belt Dr, Montgomery, AL (238 mi) 36110
June 7 - LP Field (Coliseum), 1 Titans Way, Nashville, TN (285 mi) 37213
June 8 - Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Georgetown Rd, Speedway, IN (292 mi) 46222
June 9 - 'downtown', Shoreline Drive, Muskegon, MI (299 mi) 49441
June 10 - Metropolitan Beach, 31300 Metro Pkwy, Mt. Clemens, MI (205 mi) 48045
Saturday June 11 - Long Haul awards location TBA (1616 miles) 2011 Directions

See you then

Here is a few images of the center console construction. I thought I had more images. I used lite weight MDF and made a router template to make both sides. A round over bit was used on the side to get the edge detail and then trimmed with leather. The center pc are are made of acrylic and painted. One thing that you encounter on building a pc like this is the stack up of the carpet and the leather material. I should have trimmed just a bit to compensate for the carpet. Not a big issue but something you need to consider when building a part like this. I am going to add a charging pad behind the shifter for my phone.


I saw your cars on your site and they are very impressive. I dig the finishes on the small block turbo, it looks very modern mechanical, industrial tech. I prefer this type of look for engines. I also noticed the cool set up on the intercoolers that is sick   I noticed that you had all the suspension powder coated and or painted, just fyi for future builds I used a paint from DEFT they make a single stage urethane that is pretty tough and it comes on some very cool finishes, I used this on all the suspension and frame parts of the vehicle. We used two colors a lighter titanium color for parts that moved, control arms etc and a granite gunmetal gray for the engine compartment and frame rails. It is worth checking out and can be bought at most auto refinishers. Very nice work hope to see the car inperson some day Nev


Just got back to sunny Calif . We had a great time on the tour. We started in Cocoa Beach FL and drove 1500 miles to end in Metro Beach MI. we went from Hot to hotter and thento downpours that cooled things off. All were great locations but Indy was on of the highlight. Got to drive around the track at the end of the day!. Muskegon was also a great venue the down town was coverd with custom cars with perfect weather. The last day was alittle wet but nothing we could not handle. Hi to all that I met on the tour it was a fun meeting you all.


Some additional images from the Hot Rod Power Tour road trip. If you want the larger file size let me know and I will email it to you.


Here is some install photos, I need to find the ones of the Stage 2 car. I will post them for you.


For those that want to turn their oh hum trunk into a finished compartment with added stereo components here is the set up that we did for the stage 2 car. A little more simple but easily made in ones garage with some wood working tools, table saw, router, jigsaw and a disc hand grinder. Also going to need some speaker carpet, super glue, mdf lite or regular board, spray glue or some sort of fabric adhesive, duraglass or polyester putty,and fiberglass which is optional. You have to source the materials your selves

We start off making the side speaker housings, you are going to lose some truck space but this is the best way to orientate the speakers for the best sound. Some people will say to do it different and that is their opinion. We ended up using the 10 in dia, the 12 did not fit and required more volume. Make sure you build the recommended box size for the woofer. We first build the all sides minus the speaker location. Once the box has been fitted the speaker can be positioned. We first bond in a wood ring to hold the woofer and allows to put it at and angle. We close out the rest of the face of the box and then build the next panel that goes further into the trunk. We use the MDF for all the panels. Cut, fit and tweak the panel in place, this is where you use the polyester material to fill any voids or openings that need a tighter gap. Bracket panel in place.
Next build the rear panel that will cover the latch area. We cut some boards with a slight angle on the edge, this allowed the panel to curve. Once we had the basic shape we fiberglass the back with one layer of 10 oz glass. On the outer surface we used the polyester putty to smooth out the panel.
Fit into trunk and bracket in place. You can add to the woofer and to the back panel to create a smooth contoured transition between the panels, don’t glue them together, and also make sure you compensate for the speaker carpet thickness. If you have amps we hide these under the main panel , first mount amps in location then build new floor panel to fit on top as the images show. Once all the panel have been made we cover with good old speaker carpet. The final look is a finished trunk that still has room for baggage.
I know I overview the complete build but you have to have some skill level to take on a task such as this but it can be done by DIU. If you have any questions let me know and I will be glad to answer them.

Here some added pitures of the SS hood. I took out the orginal grill material and added a speaker grill mesh.


One of the items I had to change was the original dash panel. 67 and 68 have a much better design but the 69 to me is a complete disater. Not sure who was driving that design but I had to do something with it. I have had some emails asking if the dash panel was available for sale. This is a one off build and here are some images on how it was built. I used a detroit speed dash panel from Classic industreis PND104012 along with Autometer cobalt gauges. I like the look of these because of the blue backlighting which gives it a modern feel opposed to the standard warm white or green. I wanted to create a different look instead of just cutting holes and inserting the gauges into the panel, to me this looks unfinished so i did dome research on other cars and was inspired by the mustangs. They did a better job on their dash design. To creat a similar look i have to build a panel that fits around the gauges to have them appear that they are recessed into the panel. The panel is made from Model board, but you could use MDF, ABS Acrylic or other solid material. Model board is widely used in mold making or pattern making it comes in different densities and thickness. Easily cut, milled and painted. I moved the AC controls to the lower part of the panel which gave me enough room to place all the gauges and have air outlets. Since it did not need to adjust the outlets they are fixed openings. Another item i needed to change was the turn signals instead of just mounting a light i placed the LED in the back of the sheet metal and drilled holes of the surround to hold pc of Acrylic rod that was frosted. The main gauge "hoods or brows" came from an old alfa part that i cut up and fitted, but you could make them from PVC pipe or alum tube. Once all the parts we fitted the panel was painted and ready for final assembly. I item i used to secure the LED in place was a glue called Goop, if you have never heard of it, well now you have. You can get it at Home Depot in the paint section, near adhesives. Just get the plumbing type it is the same as the household but comes with the applicator. This is one of the best adhesives that you can get which holds like mad but is removeable. It has many uses. There is more detail but I will add that in the next post.


I have had some people ask me about the exhaust tips and here is the stroy behind the exhaust tips. We built this car a few years ago and made some custom billet exhaust tips. Funny thing I was one that milled them on the Fadal. So we find out that the car is going to be scrapped and is brought down to the shop to be stripped of any useable items. I removed the tips and started to think what they could be used for it would be a shame for these to end up in a box in the shop collecting dirt. I walked over to the Camaro which was being surfaced and held up the tips, Andrew saw what I was doing and said I should make some custom openings in the rear valance panel, as I thought about it I said what the heck lets go for it, the next day I was in the shop cutting away the sheet metal. I used a lazer to sight a straight line and made a quick template to use to cut the opening. Once I had it all cut out I fabed some brackets to hold then in place then increased the opening to allow for a gap between the sheet metal and the tips. Once that was done Andrew convinced me to fab up a metal surround to finish it off. I used some 1/2 x 1/8 tk strap stock and formed the pc in place to fit around the opening. I used three pc to make them, top and two sides this made it easier to create the surround. Once completed then I welded them in place and them added a little filler to smooth them out for a factory look  i have seen some other cars that tried to do this but turned out only fair. Key is to find a tip that matches the sweep of the rear fender panels luckey for me I had a set that was the right part for the job.


One thing you need to know is that I have friends at Chrysler that helped me with the switch. My friend was able to provide me with the connector that plugs into the back along with a wiring diagram. But you do not need the connector to make one work, you can add individual blade connectors in the back on the pins you need and seal them up with epoxy and add a molec connector from there. One thing you also need to know is that this switch was intented to work with a computer so it relies on the inputs (low voltage)from the switch to make things operate. Since we do not have a computer to tell what to do in our application you need to add diods and cross wire some of the switch functions to make it work. Since at the time i was in a time crunch to get the vehicle finished I ended with the following.

The parking lamp function is the main beam and then the fog lamp switch turns on the running lamps, and when you rotate to the main beam position the high beam turn on this works with no diods added, the reason why I did this was to be able to have high and low while the running lamps were on, the switch is set up in a way that only allows the running lamp position to stay on but once you rotate it they would turn off so i used the fog lamp ( pull out) which works with all the positions of the switch for the running lamps. This worked out perfect for me since I did not have a fog lamps. Now you may want to set up differently but this is what I did.

I can pull my wiring diagram out and get the info and I can send this to you if you need it.

Let me know


Here is the the way i wired as described in the previous thread. rotate once and the main beam comes on, pull out for parking lamp and the rotate once more and that is high beam, fog lamp position is still pulled out for parking lamps. Then as you rotate off all the positions cancel and the fog lamp switch closes. One thing I need to mention is that I am using a ISIS power master cell and this allows for this type of low voltage switch to make the lights work.

The second diagram is the circuit for the Dodge Dakota. I can email you larger files this site does not allow larger images, if needed send email and forward them over to you. I am sure you will figure it out.

PS Do you happen to need a 14 in rearbig brake kit for your camaro? Check out my listing on Parts for Sale. Wilwood Ford Big brake kit


If you know anyone these are a very good deal, complete set with internal parking brake, rotors, pads calipes and ebrake cables, everything is brand new


Well after driving the car at night I was not impressed with the standard headlamps. In fact it was rather sad I could barely tell if the lamps were on. I had a set of Xenon lamps but they had a convex lens which hit the RS doors so they never made it on the final build of the car. So I put them up for sale and Devil Dog picked them up and he got a good deal. I decided to install a set of HID, I looked at some of the ebay stuff lamp assembles and they seemed to be cheap so I decided to go with a tried and ture Hella lamp assemblies $70 for the pair. You need to buy the bulb separately. This allowed me to go after a H4 HID bulb assembly $40. I just got the parts this week in the mail ( and installed them this weekend. The result was well worth the effort I went from the dark side of the moon to the blistering white light of the HID 6000k. If you’re thinking about doing this it is well worth it.


Well after months of looking at the air intake that I put in just to get the car running I finally made a move to redue the intake. Since I just changed out the headlamps with the HID units I took the opportunity while the car was taken apart to get this done. With some help from Guy over at SPECTRA I was able to get most of the components. But there was still one issue. If you are planning on putting a LSA in your vehicle get a radiator with the return on the passenger side. The offset intake forces the air tube to be on the driver’s side. At the time of the build this is one item we overlooked and the return of the radiator is on the driver’s side so this makes for a tight fit for the air intake tube to be routed to the motor. So with a little ingenuity I made up this mockup pc out of Styrofoam and I am going to make a carbon fiber tube that will fit around the radiator and meet up with the other components. If your building mock ups with styrofoam you need to use epoxy or white glue to glue material together, styrene based glues eat the foam! One cool feature is that I can lay-up the epoxy resin over the styrofoam and once it is cured then I can melt the foam out with lacquer thinner, similar process to investment casting. Here is a picutre on the way it was and the mockup air intake pipe.


Two weeks later and here is the finished product. It took about 30 min to install and I was on the road. The tubes were painted with Deft " Mat Ray Silver" to match the suspension parts and makes a nice contrast to the Dark Axis Mettalic. All the parts came to gether pretty well and tuck inside the fender well. The only issue I had was the bracket did not work in the original position but ended up working in the opposite location, I plan on painting the bracket the Dark Axis mettalic later on to match the fender inners. Not bad for a custom intake tube that was built in the garage. Check out the previous thread for the start of the project. Here are some build pictures of the parts in process.


This weekend Barrett Jackson held a Pre carshow at Connell Chevrolet in Costa Mesa. Out of a batch of vehicles the People's Choice Award for 1969 and older went to the Pioneer Stage 3 Camaro.  Thank you to those that attended and voted for me.


The annual SPOCOM "Sports compact " show was held this weekend in Anaheim across the street from Disneyland. This show is geared towards the import scene but the entry list had a entry for "Best Camaro" and "Best Mustang" usally reserved for the newer models. Five Axis showcase the 5AD prodcut line for the Scion FRS and we showed the Pinoeer Stage 3 build in the booth. Since this was the only muscle car in the building "200 cars" it took the show and came away with the trophy! Alot of people came buy and were stoked to see an older muscle car in the show and actually liked this car the best! Maybe it was not fair to go in and compete but the results speak for themselves maybe this will be a trend to start including these vehicle in the show.


When you are ahead of the croud you tend to run to problems that most people have not experienced. In my case using the LSA motor with the Heidts ProG subframe. This was done in 2010 when the motor was first introduced as a crate motor. The clock was against us and all the sources for other pans did not work for the application, you need a very shallow pan in the very front to clear the steering rack and still fit under the stock SS hood. When we put the motor in we had to modify the oil pan to fit the subframe. The modifcation went well but the oil pan still hung well past the subframe. I was able to run the car for over 1.5 years but always worried about the pan because the ride height of the vehicle is low. When you see the images you will know why. As time marched I knew it was only a matter of time when i was going so scrape this on the road and when i did the pan started to weep oil out, not a flow but a slow drip and was making a mess. I was talking with a friend of mine and he told me about the MAST oil pan. One look at this and I was all over it. I made a quick profile mockup based on the side view image and checked the fit. It cleared with miles of space. I ordered up the pan which comes with the pick up and added the widage tray. You have to source the new dip stick and tube from the dealership and I also got a new gasket yea i could have reused the stock one but for 30 bucks it is well spent money. ( LSA gasket) The one big issue was how to change out the pan? Well it comes down to pulling the motor in a finished vehicle, not fun but easily done. I planned out a weekend and went to town we pulled the motor in about 4 hours and changed out the pan. Pretty straight forward do a prefit before final install. I had to source two additional bolts for the rear of the pan. The kit did not include those particular bolts 6mm x 25 mm flange bolt. Another item that came up you need to use the spec oil fliter that MAST specifies PF46, I had picked up a PF48 which is the LSA oil filter which will not work. I also taped into the left oil plug near the filter for my oil perssure pick up (1/8 pipe tap) The motor went back in with little effort and here is the new pan in place. I also had a chance to do some other mods which i did since the motor was out. The motor started up with no issues and i am back on the road, when i tell people i pulled the motor they look at me like I am crazy  but i just tell them no big deal just do it!

Here is the link for the pan Pans&id=160


Here is the windage tray and new pick up tube, you need to make sure you put the oil ring on the pick up tube to ensure oil pressure.

Also you will have to source 2 additional bolts for the back of the pan which did not come with the hardware kit from MAST as stated in the previous post


One of the last items that the car needed was a proper license plate frame. A chrome or a carbon fiber ones are so cliche' so I waited. Then out of the blue a guy walks into the shop advertising custom license plate frame. We took a look at what he was offering and the prodcut is very nice quality brushed stainless or polished stainless. We talked about what it would cost to do a run of parts so I decided to do a custom plate for all the LSA owners out there. I am looking for 100 people that want this plate for their ride. The cost would be $25 a plate plus shipping with the logo pictured. The logo is laser etched into the stainless and will not come off. Right now I am only offering the brushed stainless, I think it looks the best. So anyone interested let me know and hopefully I can get 100 memebers interested.  


While at SEMA this year I always visit the "Showcase of products" area, this is one of the best places to see what is new at the show in a small area. If you have never visited it is well worth it. Anyways this year I noticed multiple companies offering up a OBD2 interface to operate the gauges in the vehicle. The issue I have been having is the GM performace ECU would not provide a proper signal for the Tack to work. I have tried all the suggestions out there and nothing worked especially the MSD pickup that was not worth the money I ended up throwing it away. I just happened to visit the Dakota Digital booth and saw my friend Scott Johnson and we started talking and i mentioned the OBD interface and he informed that they have a similar unit. I obtained a unit the following week and installed it this weekend. It worked right out of the box and made my day. I have been trying to get this going for over a year and finally have the resolution. So anyone that has an LS motor and is having a similar issue try this out it worked for me!  now i can do a burnouts and see the RPMS

The Dakota Digital STA-1000: Late-Model Drivetrain integration has never been simpler! The STA-1000 plugs directly into the OBDII diagnostic connector, providing a user-adjustable traditional Speedometer, Tachometer and Check-Engine output for your choice of aftermarket instruments.


Fully compatible with common aftermarket electronic speedometers
User selectable output of: 4k, 8k, 16k PPM signals, Sine or Square wave options
/-35% sed signal correction, compensating for tire size or gearing changes
Adjustable 4, 6 or 8 cylinder tachometer signal output
Check Engine light output provides a grounded (-) output to activate a check engine light of your choice
Automatically calibrated output for an aftermarket cruise control can be activated by making connection to the higher-resolution fixed VSS sensor
Small footprint measures 4-3/4"x 3"x 1" making it easy to hide


To those looking for a little bit of dress up for you LS motor I found this billet oil cap for 13 bucks on ebay with free shipping! Plus the anodized finish is unique.  The same guy offers the same cap with different emblems for up to 30 bucks, not necessary the center emblem comes unattached and can be changed out. At least for me that is what I wanted so I can make by own custom emblem. Check it


For anyone out there with the Hedits IRS here is an upgrade for the rear support plate that comes with the kit. My car was at a certain location and they decided to jack up the rear well they bent the cross brace for me and I was not very happy about it. So I decided to design and make a new pc that allows for a floor jack to pass under and lift the car on the third member. Part is CNC and has a anodized finish.


I just happen to messing around with the car and was wondering if i had enough parts to modify the intake tube since i converted to the new rad set up that puts the inlet and outlet on the pass side of the car. Stay tuned for picture on the next build thread just wanted to get the thread going again after along hiatus.


It has a Be Cool unit. When installing an LSA motor in the car the throttle body curves to the drivers side so the radiator inlet on the top needs to be ordered so it is on the passenger side of the vehicle. The first unit I had was on the drivers side and interfered with the intake tube. There was a small leak and i was talking with the Be Cool guys and they said I could order the inlet on the other side. So both the inlet and outlet are on the same side (passenger side) . This makes it easier to locate the hoses that come from a production part, of course they need to be trimmed to fit. Also when mounting a aluminum radiator NEVER hard mount it to the core support! They will crack! You must use rubber isolators and make sure the unit and move at least 1/16 an inch. I was able to located the rubber bushings at ACE hardware and used 3 bushings on each mounting location. This ensured adequate movement. Bushing on front side of core support then another bushing between core support and radiator flange and then another bushing on the other side of the flange with the fastener. I used fender washers between the nut head and lock nut. The nylock nut to secure everything in place and allows for movement. The Be cool unit has worked so far but if I was to do it again I would have the Fan man make me a unit since I have come to know him.