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Tech 101: What to Consider When Selecting a High-Performance Camshaft

Posted December 07, 2022 5:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: camshafts car culture

The unmistakable and beautiful sound of a V8 with a lopey idle is something many a muscle car enthusiast has dreamed about. And while many stock performance engines have that rhythmic “rumpidy rump,” it just doesn’t compare to one with a “big” camshaft. Installing a big (or should we say, bigger-than-stock) camshaft is one of many common tricks to gaining power, but it’s critical that you select the right grind for your combination and driving style.

Engine builders and weekend tinkerers alike spend countless hours theorizing about camshafts whether they are looking to upgrade an existing engine or build one from scratch. Finding maximum power when doing so requires a camshaft that opens and closes valves at just the right time to improve volumetric efficiency (VE).

In the most basic terms, the camshaft controls valve lift during the opening and closing phases. Thus, the lobe design dictates exactly when — and for how long — the valves are lifted off the seats. Camshafts used as original equipment will always be a compromise. That’s because Ford, GM, Chrysler and every other manufacturer is concerned with mileage, emissions, idle quality, tip-in engine response, drivability, and of course, max output.

In contrast, racing camshafts can be designed for all-out power without compromise and street/strip cams fall somewhere in the middle. Within the camshaft spectrum, you’ll also find camshafts designed for towing and other special purposes including off-road use and truck pulling.

Keep reading to find out more:

What is valve lift?

What is camshaft duration?

What type of lifter should I get?

Why is lobe separation angle important?

Do I need to degree my camshaft?

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Re: Tech 101: What to Consider When Selecting a High-Performance Camshaft

12/07/2022 12:54 PM

Nice article. Thanks !

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