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Cam Recommendation Please?

This is a discussion on Cam Recommendation Please? within the Internal Engine forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; *For some reason the first time I clicked submit, it didn't work, so lets try this again* Hey guys. I ...

  1. #1
    Junior Member ChevyNick's Avatar
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    Victory Red
    2002 Chevy Avalanche Z71

    Cam Recommendation Please?

    *For some reason the first time I clicked submit, it didn't work, so lets try this again*

    Hey guys. I know you're all probably thinking, oh great, some noob here with 2 posts asking "what cam should I get" I don't really know anybody who is very knowledgeable when it comes to cams. So, besides calling a company, I would also like to get some opinions from you guys first. Before I fill out that "recommended questionnaire", I'll do a super quick summary of what I am looking for.

    Essentially I am looking for a cam that is really good in the lower RPM range, good for daily driving, and has some what of a choppy idle, just to the point where it's noticeable, maybe slightly more. Also, I would prefer to get a cam that doesn't require me getting my heads reworked or whatever.

    1.What size engine displacement? Stock, stroker?
    2002 5.3L, stock.

    2. What heads? Stockers? Aftermarket? Milled? 5.3's? 5.7's? Need to know this.
    Stock 5.3L heads

    3. Where do you REALLY want the power? Even though all these cams claim the same basic power band, does not mean that's where it is. A 228/228 is going to have a greater "power under the curve". When A MS3 is going to want to be spun higher to see the gains that a cam this size should show. There are cams out there that don't mind stock heads. But the MS series really like ported heads and a steep gear. Some may disagree. I'm using these two cams as a reference because they seem very popular around here. They are two completely different animals. Learn where and why. Power is completely different with the two cams listed above. Maybe try and find a happy medium.
    Lower the better. Since it's just a daily driver, I am normally under 2500RPM tops. Occasionally I'll torch on the truck a bit though Also it may be worth mentioning, I am hoping that swapping to a different cam would help with towing? My truck gets a little doggy when hooked up to the snowmobile trailer. I suspect that a cam that can provide some low end torque in the 2000-3000RPM range would definitely help me out there.

    4. How important is that "choppy idle" sound to you? Some people ask about cams a say they really just want a "choppy idle". If this is what your going for, do it. But buying a cam based on what sound its going to make is crazy, and you likely be disappointed.
    I'd like it to be noticeable, but I do not need it to sound like a drag car. So yeah, just to where it's noticeable would be fine with me, maybe slightly more if necessary.

    5. What are you going to be doing with it? That is a very important question. Is this JUST a Daily Driver car? Will it see more strip(1/4, 1/8) then the street, or a mix of the two?
    It is just a daily driver. Never raced, nor will it ever race. Also pull a 2 place enclosed snowmobile trailer in the winter.

    6.What are your other mods? Many, myself included disagree with putting a different cam in with zero exhaust work done. Long Tube headers, x pipe and cat back IMO is required. There are other setups, True duals sound great and flow great. Also a 4" Mufflex exhaust like mine. They all serve the same purpose. Your cam will like you for doing this first. Unless you don't mind choking the crap out of your 1000+ investment of a cam swap.
    I have a K&N CAI, catback Flowmaster 40 Series 1 in 2 out, and a throttle body spacer.

    7. How much are you willing to spend? A cam swap is not cheap by any means. You can figure at least $1000 for the cam swap and component's. Plus a tune. Which, with MOST cams, is a absolute necessity. Your looking at around 1500. Plus labor if your not doing your own work. Then its funny how things add up. Maybe an under drive pulley? Injectors? A steeper gear? Getting rid of that horrible LS1 intake? Things can add up very quickly.
    Somewhere in the $1000 range, but I'll see where the road will take me with price.

    9. What Transmission? If auto, you WILL NEED a high stall converter. See number 7 above If your a M6, plan on saving for a rear end if you want to put any of that new power to the ground. With auto transmission, you want to MATCH the cam choice with the stall. That is VERY important. Again, don't just start buying parts without a good idea of where you want the car to be when its "done".
    Auto Trans

  2. #2
    Veteran 0rion's Avatar
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    I will give you the short answer and then I'm sure others will fill in all the details. The short answer is a 224-228 range cam will pretty much give you what you want but if you get with a manufacturer they will be able to grind up something that fits what you want perfectly. Also....you will want headers and most likely a stall. I always say definitely a stall but in your case being a truck and wanting torque down low on a smaller grind it *might* not be a must have or it will be a smaller stall than what you normally see on here. Your budget of $1000 isn't going to be enough.....not by a long shot if you're paying for the install. $1000 most likely won't get you the cam with an install much less all the stuff that needs or should be done at the same time like the valvetrain.
    Ideally you will want the best heads you can afford to buy but at a bare minimum your stockers will need larger valves. The 5.3 heads with porting can flow decent numbers but the stock valves are small on those heads.

  3. #3
    Junior Member ChevyNick's Avatar
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    Victory Red
    2002 Chevy Avalanche Z71

    Quote Originally Posted by 0rion View Post
    I will give you the short answer and then I'm sure others will fill in all the details. The short answer is a 224-228 range cam will pretty much give you what you want but if you get with a manufacturer they will be able to grind up something that fits what you want perfectly. Also....you will want headers and most likely a stall. I always say definitely a stall but in your case being a truck and wanting torque down low on a smaller grind it *might* not be a must have or it will be a smaller stall than what you normally see on here. Your budget of $1000 isn't going to be enough.....not by a long shot if you're paying for the install. $1000 most likely won't get you the cam with an install much less all the stuff that needs or should be done at the same time like the valvetrain.
    Ideally you will want the best heads you can afford to buy but at a bare minimum your stockers will need larger valves. The 5.3 heads with porting can flow decent numbers but the stock valves are small on those heads.
    So essentially I could get away with stock heads though? I have been expecting to change things such as springs, rods, etc... Would a cam in that range you said "fit" without any porting or whatever? Is there enough clearance? I'll definitely give some companies a call. Are there any names out there that are highly recommended? I've heard of Comp Cams, Texas something, and Lingenfelter.

  4. #4
    Member cowstandmoto's Avatar
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    2002 Trans Am WS6 M6

    I am running a Texas Speed Magic Stick 3 Cam (237/242 .603"/.609", 115 LSA) and PRC Stage 2.5 5.3L heads on mine. It really scoots.

  5. #5
    Senior Member tatertot91's Avatar
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    2001 Camaro SS

    Orion pretty much said it. A 224/224 or 228/228 would work great and fit your needs and give you that slight chop you want. Both are very proven cams and provide great streetability. An MS3 is a top end cam and from the sounds of it that's not what you're looking for, it makes great numbers but like you said you want power under the curve.

  6. #6
    Junior Member ChevyNick's Avatar
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    Victory Red
    2002 Chevy Avalanche Z71

    Can anyone tell me about this cam: P/N: 54-530-11 TRI-POWER XTREME? That was a cam recommended to me. I still need to contact more places to get more opinions.

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