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Senior Privileged Member
4,101 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I spent about 20 minutes on the phone with a senior guy at Vararam today.

He told me that the release of the SSR kit is again delayed, at least a month it appears, because an informal focus group of local rodders pronounced it not aesthertically ready for prime time, and inconsistent with the retro stlying of the vehicle. Vararam does not want to get the negative reaction the aesthetics of the K&N Aircharger have gotten, and so is back to the drawing board, but ONLY for the mounting system.

He said all the testing on the unit is complete, but was unwilling to send me a dyno curve or even give me specific rpm points on it over the phone. He said this was because they want to ensure that they go very conservative in their advertising.

However, he told me verbally that on an 03 and 04 SSR, otherwise bone stock, the kit will (brace yourselves) increase power by 18 to 22 hp, and torque by 17 to 22 ft lb. He states a quarter mile time reduction of 3/10ths.

However, my modeling software, which has a fairly good record on accuracy so far on the SSR, says that a 20 hp (about 7 .5% to 8%) increase over stock will get you more like 1/2 second off (with stock gearing), so either he is being conservative on the 1/4 mile time, or the actual increase is more like 13 hp or thereabouts, which is 5%.

K&N has not yet managed to get me their dyno curve (which they promised me about 2 weeks ago, but still say they are working on it). So, I have no point of comparison. However, the K&N rep told me verbally that K&N won't release an aircharger type product unless it makes at least 5% more power. Hm. Sounds consistent doesn't it?

IF the Vararam delivers either the 13hp (5%) or the 20 hp (7.5 to 8%), it would indeed be impressive, since the well regarded Dynatech Supermaxx headers apaprently deliver about 16 hp on an 03/04 and 32 hp or so on an 05. These numbers are from 2 of our own members, so I tend to regard them as reliable, assuming their dyno operators did things correctly.

This kind of pwoer from a cold air intake is, pardon the pun, breathtaking.

The Vararam rep told me that the reason for this big increase is that the stock intake on the SSR is "very restrictive". He told me that despite the apparent large size of the stock filter and filter airbox, the engine actually draws air in through only about a 5 inch diameter portion of the filter, because of bad geometry. In other words, the stock system is the reason the Vararam looks so good.

I do find this hard to believe, but I am willing to do some experimentation, just as I have done with other mods on this board.

Two things make me at least have the POTENTIAL to believe big gains from a cold air/filter setup on our SSRs:

1. A really interesting hi-po book I am reading states that the Chevy Vortec heads are an absolute perfromance m\bargain, as they are very good for very little money. In fact, they recommend them as a hop up part for a bult engine that needs to meet a budget. They managed to get over 400hp out of cast piston, crate engine, at under 6000 rpm, with only Hooker headers, that intake, a decent cam, and not much else as I recall.

2. Our intake manifolds are apparently made of a smooooth composite material, that really flows air.

3. My own SSR seems to prefer shifting at 6000 rather than at the factory preset of 5600. (3/10th sec better 0 to 60 using the 6000 rpm shift point)

It is within the realm of possibility that the air intake on the SSR is the major "stopper" in the system, and if so, relieving it might indeed make big gains.

Pricing is not yet announced, but the K&N Aircharger lists for about $450.

Vararam has a signup list for this kit, and the rep confirmed today that I am number one on it.

My wallet is still recovering from another big SSR hole blasted into it this week . . .

Jim G

Premium Member
9,498 Posts
Hey, Marc and Buffy

Can we get Jim on retainer????? Don't want to lose his insight into performance issues with the SSR.

Great job providing us with accurate and reliable information - much appreciated.


Ray :seeya

1,354 Posts
Second the Motion

Hey Jim,
I have been following your evaluations on aftermarket equipment. I also have been trying to evaluate possible mods that will not cause permanant flaws to our vehicles. I will be traveling to Kansas in June for meeting with some very experienced chip mod guroos! Hopefully we will accomplish the answers we are looking for.

Thanks for all your efforts.

Drive On! :)


Being in the aftermarket business, I've come to learn that being "delayed a month" usually means 4-6 months ;)

Growing Older but Not Up
1,350 Posts
Link to List?

Is there a link to the VaraRam sign up list?
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