LS1 Engine Cam Test - LS1 Camshaft Roundup, Part 3

Lunati brings big power and torque with two interesting camshaft grinds

Justin Cesler Aug 1, 2011 0 Comment(s)
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So far, our LS1 Camshaft Roundup has been exciting and informative, with a slew of ever growing camshafts and go-fast parts finding their way onto an otherwise stock LS1 on the engine dyno at RaceKrafters in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. If you have been following along, we have seen camshafts of varying designs and have been surprised by a number of combinations that applied power in different ways, all for different applications. While our initial goal was to find out what camshaft would make the maximum power on our test stand LS1--drivability be damned--we ended up finding that, as always, a number of different variables can all work together (or against each other) to create a variety of positive outcomes. Some camshafts in our test did exactly what we expected them to do while others went slightly against the grain and shocked the crowd with impressive power under the curve, insane peak power, or a combination of both, depending on the setup.

Ghtp 1108 03 LS1 Engine Cam Test 2/10

For this, the final part of our LS1 Camshaft Roundup, we reached out to the master cam grinders at Lunati and had them send two camshafts, one custom and one off the shelf, that they felt best represented their max effort grinds. After a quick phone conversation with Billy Carroll and Jeff Sams, Lunati put the machines to work and ground two interesting camshafts, both of which fit ever so slightly outside of the usual camshaft train of thought, for one reason or another. However, even with relatively small lift and conservative duration, what we found were two killer bumpsticks for two wildly different applications, one of which ended up being the most powerful camshaft in our entire test, although it should be noted that the engine configuration has changed with each part of our series, growing from a stock "241" casting, stock LS6 manifold LS1 to a much more robust engine featuring a pair of Patriot Predator cylinder heads and a FAST LSXR 102mm intake manifold.

All said and done, what we left Racekrafters with was an engine that could run extremely well in a variety of applications and do so on a modest budget. If you're thinking about putting together a 500-plus horsepower, stock bottom end LS1 with a set of budget conscious heads, a slew of typical bolt-on parts and an aggressive camshaft, we've proved that there are a variety of quality camshafts out there that can do the job and do it well. Heck, even looking back on our stock cylinder head testing, several camshafts made over, or extremely close to, 500 hp and could help propel any well appointed chassis to a couple of round wins at any event in the country. That said, follow along with us as we jump head first into the last two Lunati camshafts and see what they can do on the engine dyno at RaceKrafters.

Testing Procedure and Camshaft Guidelines
One last time, it is important to review our testing procedure and guidelines before beginning to interpret the data. As with any test, it is imperative to maintain strict guidelines to ensure valid results. Below, you will find our procedures for testing, along with our camshaft specification guidelines. While the former was very specific, the latter was left wide open, allowing manufactures and builders to spec camshafts to their liking.

Ghtp 1108 05 LS1 Engine Cam Test 3/10

Testing
&bull Install camshaft and related valvetrain components
&bull Degree the camshaft, install to correct specs, +/- .5-degree
&bull Establish a solid idle, check base timing, set 27-degrees of total timing
&bull Oil temperature -- 130-degrees F +/- 10
&bull Water Temperature -- 155-degrees F, +/- 10
&bull Power pull, maintain solid AFR and timing, validate data
&bull Two additional power pulls, extract best run and record
&bull Rinse and repeat, allowing ample time for cool-down

Camshaft Specs
&bull If it fits in a stock LS1, it's in the test
&bull Must be an off the shelf grind, no custom camshafts
&bull No fly cutting, no head gasket spacing, no tricks
&bull Comp Cams springs, retainers, pushrods and timing set
&bull Everything else goes!

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