Camshaft And Valvetrain Technology Insight - On The Lobe's Edge

A Look At The Latest Camshaft And Valvetrain Technology Straight From Its Creators

John Nelson Feb 1, 2009 0 Comment(s)
0902chp_22_z Camshaft_and_valvetrain_technology_insight Lunati_camshaft 2/27

As with most other cam companies, Lunati is devoting a lot of effort to creating new LSx cams, especially embracing the viewpoint of those who get out and race the things. The company has developed many more part-numbered LS cams, but beyond that, it has spent a lot of time creating lobe profiles with an eye toward custom cams. Profiles for power-adder applications have been especially popular, we're told.

Last but by no means least, we dialed up out friend James Humphrey at Lunati to get the scoop on this veteran company's latest. To put it bluntly, Lunati is a company on a mission. While the company still sells more than its share of rotating assemblies, Humphrey declared, "We're trying to become more competitive in the cam market." Underlying that, Lunati is also experiencing a major paradigm shift: "Our philosophy is changing back to a racer's company. From competitive prices to superior products, we want to target racers." This shift in viewpoint marks a return to the company's roots, the '60s, when Lunati was the racer's choice. Unlike that racer-centric view of long ago, however, today's development effort is directed at the burgeoning LS market.

"People were tentative about modifying the LS at first," said Humphrey. "Now, 10 years later, they're throwing everything at it. They work it till it breaks, then back off. It's a different thought process, and you find them in everything. We do a lot of custom stuff, so cams are more finely tuned for our customers. With LS cams, we're at the point where if we don't have it, we can react. The custom stuff absolutely is a growth market. We're in the trenches, working, and our philosophy is changing back to a racer's company. From prices to products, we want to target racers.

"Currently we're developing a whole lot more LS-based numbered cams and profiles." Much of this effort is driven by what Humphrey has actually witnessed. "I was at the recent NMCA LSX shootout," he recalls. "There was a larger car count, and it was amazing to see what people were putting LSx motors in. There's so much being done there with power-adders, and so much action in the DOT classes. It's pretty easy to get those huge numbers, especially with all the new things being done with better-flowing heads and aftermarket blocks. It's not that easy to get all the power out of a traditional SBC."

What that lead to, according to Humphrey, was a major need to expand the Voodoo line for LS motors-in fact, Lunati doubled the amount of part-numbered cams available and also created a new series of lobes to work with power-adders, another major growth area in the LS arena. "Turbo's big right now," Humphrey observed. "We've got to have both street and all-out profiles."

As you might expect, Lunati has also been hard at work developing new valvetrain pieces to work with the new array of LS cams. For starters, there's a new Voodoo line of LS adjustable rocker arms, available in 1.7 and 1.8 ratios. Humphrey also pointed out that Lunati has been working on some new valve springs to complement the cams. "They're mostly enhanced versions of what we had. We had good coverage there, but we've added more heat treating for better longevity." That's especially important in turbo apps.

Lunati has also come up with Stock Eliminator valvesprings (it has worked extensively with NMCA racer Robin Lawrence), locks, and LS rockers. And when it comes to solid-roller LS cams, you may not find anything in the catalog, but, Humphrey assures us, "We'll do anything as a custom grind. It's an ongoing process."




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