Chevy LS3 Engine Camshaft Comparison - Battle Of The Bumpsticks

The Most Extensive LS3 Cam Test And Comparison Ever

Caleb Newman Nov 1, 2009 0 Comment(s)
0911gmhtp_16_z Chevy_ls3_engine_camshaft_comparison Mast_motorsports 2/17

"Our philosophy for a cam like this is to use wide lobe centerlines to maintain smooth idle and emissions combined with high accelerations and lift to flow more air," says Jason Haines of Lingenfelter. LPE's cam in this test has some of the smallest durations, the largest LSA (virtually identical to the LS3 production cam), but also the highest lifts for intake and exhaust. Despite short durations and wide LSA, it is above average in performance for the group.

More than half the field submitted cams that were ground by Comp Cams to the supplier's specs. Comp submitted its own spec, and you might say they know a thing or two about cams. Comp's in-house expert, Billy Godbold, recently finished a new family of LS-R camshafts. "In my 'black book,' they have three peppers on a scale of 1-5. I like spicy food and took that idea from a local Thai restaurant," says Godbold. He feels, "to design a good camshaft you have to flip everything around in your mind and try to think like the air going in and out of the combustion chamber. A good designer considers the valve motion that best suits the application and works backwards to the camshaft." And then test, test, test.

Alan Futral says of Futral Motorsports' strategy, "we design and pick our lobes based upon the application to achieve the quickest lobe and valve acceleration without being hard on the valve and springs, and maintain upper rpm stability. Our factors for a good street cam mostly is idle quality versus best under-the-curve torque to meet a customer's requests and goals." Futral's cam did offer good performance with mid-pack MAP values.

The highest performing cams were accompanied by higher MAP values and Livernois' Dan Millen says, "this is the largest cam I would use in a LS3-style engine before needing a stall converter or gear swap." Robin did detect more hunting at idle and off power with the bigger cams, and they likely land on the wilder side of street manners in some people's book.

The summary of all this is that bigger cams tend to make for reduced driving manners, but usually perform better. However, overlap is the actual key to look for. A high-lift, large-duration cam doesn't necessarily have to have poor driving manners if the overlap is kept in check. Hopefully this gives you a cross-reference to find where your "driveability desires" fall in a very subjective range.


Comp Cams
Memphis, TN 38118
Chevrolet Performance Parts
Detroit, MI 48232
Dart Machinery
Troy, MI 48084
Livernois Motorsports
Dearborn Heights, MI 48125
Mast Motorsports
Nagodoches, TX 75964
Lingenfelter Performance Engineering
Decatur, IN
Abaco Performance
None, AK
Futral Motorsports
West Racing Heads
Geneseo, IL 61254
Katech Performance
Clinton Twp., MI 48035
Thunder Racing, Inc.
Baton Rouge, LA 70809


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