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Is a cam worth it?

This is a discussion on Is a cam worth it? within the Internal Engine forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; So I have a trans am with full exhaust and intake and I have been debaiting over a cam. I ...

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    Is a cam worth it?

    So I have a trans am with full exhaust and intake and I have been debaiting over a cam. I dont go the track a whole lot, and its really just my weekend car so I am wondering if $1500 dollars for the cam, springs, tune and other misc parts is worth it. How much difference does it really make and will it be very noticeable when driving? If I were to get a cam it would probably be something like a TSP 228, so the gain would be decent.

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    Member BlackSS1's Avatar
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    Yes it is worth it to me, but this is a very subjective question!

    I have a 228 cam and gained 35 rwhp on my street car, yes it is noticeable. Perhaps more noticeable than the HP is the change in powerband. Your HP/TQ peaks higher, so I now shift at 6000+ RPM. The idle is now rough and sounds sweet. The bigger your cam, the more you will want a steeper rear end gear to get into the peakier powerband.

    A cam changes the entire "personality" of your car. If you have a chance to ride in some cammed cars before you choose yours, this would help you decide.

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    Are you an A4 or M6? If A4 I'd do a high stall torque converter before a cam. Best bang for the buck there is for an A4.

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    cam/springs/push rods $590 at TSP .$200 for timing chain and gaskets.new injectors $330,tune by FROST $150.

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    Member squirlnutz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garygnu65 View Post
    cam/springs/push rods $590 at TSP .$200 for timing chain and gaskets.new injectors $330,tune by FROST $150.
    Hell yes its worth it

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    my car is an m6 and not an auto. the reason I am asking this question is that after I put the intake and exhaust on, there was a little difference in performance but not a whole lot. I just want to be sure that a cam will provide a significant difference in how hard the car pulls.

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garygnu65 View Post
    cam/springs/push rods $590 at TSP .$200 for timing chain and gaskets.new injectors $330,tune by FROST $150.
    You can do it even cheaper.

    Depending on mileage, the timing chain is certainly optional, but not a necessity. These cars don't use the old nylon gears the factory used in the 60's and 70's, so chain failure isn't a worry anymore.

    Some like to do oil pumps, but again, it's not a necessity. Leaving the chain and oil pump in place actually make the cam swap that much easier. When my wifes car had the cam swap done at 40,000, the chain and oil pump were left alone. Just wasn't necessary.

    As far as injectors, that would only be needed if you reached a high duty cycle on the stockers. Most cam only cars won't do that unless you go with something rather large and spin alot of rpm.
    The smallish 228 cam the original poster is thinking probably won't be an issue.
    I definately wouldn't worry about changing injectors so soon, until the car is tuned and then scanned for duty cycle. They can always be changed at a later date if need be.

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    cutting and welding mark21742's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nurmikko22 View Post
    my car is an m6 and not an auto. the reason I am asking this question is that after I put the intake and exhaust on, there was a little difference in performance but not a whole lot. I just want to be sure that a cam will provide a significant difference in how hard the car pulls.
    The upgraded intake and exhaust you've put on the car may not have made that big of a difference, but will allow a new cam to make more power by letting the engine breathe better, then a good tune will give you another bump in power and fuel mileage.

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    cutting and welding mark21742's Avatar
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    I agree with Firebirdjones. I'd have the money ready to buy the injectors, but do the cam swap and when tuning have the injector duty cycle checked...if they are still under 85% at WOT you can stay with your stock ones

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    it is worth addressing that while i understand cam only cars and such..i would highly recommend to do heads along with a cam..remember..the heads are vital ..they get the air in, and out ..to have heads that cant take advantage of a nice cam is most certainly a waste. so imho i say go heads and cam...wait on the chain if you want, and the injectors..but for peace of mind..i would change your oil pump..you are right there..and i know for at least the 98s (mine) the oil pumps are known to just fail.

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shady milkman View Post
    it is worth addressing that while i understand cam only cars and such..i would highly recommend to do heads along with a cam..remember..the heads are vital ..they get the air in, and out ..to have heads that cant take advantage of a nice cam is most certainly a waste. so imho i say go heads and cam...wait on the chain if you want, and the injectors..but for peace of mind..i would change your oil pump..you are right there..and i know for at least the 98s (mine) the oil pumps are known to just fail.
    Ya, if you really want to do an oil pump, may as well throw a chain in there then. Since the pump has to come off for that. I'm gearing up for a cam swap in our other 4th gen, and I plan to just leave the pump and chain alone, just as was done in my wifes car. Pressure is great anyway, they both peg the gauge as it is. And I won't have to deal with the dreaded o-ring issues people have that way. Makes the swap easy.

    I'm not bothering with heads, really up to what your goals are. I'm not looking to set the world on fire. Plenty of cam only LS1's in the 11's with stock heads and bottom ends. Plenty for what I want to do, mainly a daily driver anyway.

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    His car is a 2002 & the stock heads will flow fine for a 228 cam! .......but I would suggest just doin a 100 shot of nitrous!! If you realy want 2 feel the power gain!
    & a gear change would be a good seat of the pants mod 4 less money than cam change!

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    King 0f n00bz shady milkman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firebirdjones View Post
    Ya, if you really want to do an oil pump, may as well throw a chain in there then. Since the pump has to come off for that. I'm gearing up for a cam swap in our other 4th gen, and I plan to just leave the pump and chain alone, just as was done in my wifes car. Pressure is great anyway, they both peg the gauge as it is. And I won't have to deal with the dreaded o-ring issues people have that way. Makes the swap easy.

    I'm not bothering with heads, really up to what your goals are. I'm not looking to set the world on fire. Plenty of cam only LS1's in the 11's with stock heads and bottom ends. Plenty for what I want to do, mainly a daily driver anyway.
    Quote Originally Posted by TRANS-DAD View Post
    His car is a 2002 & the stock heads will flow fine for a 228 cam! .......but I would suggest just doin a 100 shot of nitrous!! If you realy want 2 feel the power gain!
    & a gear change would be a good seat of the pants mod 4 less money than cam change!
    i agree..but usually people will upgrade their cam..especially when they get used to a mild cam like a 228..so why not just cover all bases ya know ?

    to firebirdjones..i understand your rational and that is fine.

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    yes a cam is worth it, as long as you have parts that compliment each other as a complete package, and not parts that compensate for the shortcomings of other parts.

    you've stated your car is M6 and you prefer more of a weekend car. you have not stated that the with the mods done so far if you have gotten a tune to bring the aftermarket mods to their potiental. all you have said was, you have not noticed a seat of the pants difference. a tune could help in that regards. you would need one anyways after doing a cam swap.

    cam wise, i would suggest you consider going a custom grind cam setup around the 230 range. i mean if you plan to spend the money, and know down the road you plan to add brand "X" heads, etc., go ahead and do it right the first time. you will need supporting valvetrain upgrades when doing a cam swap anyways, (ls6 oil pump, timing chain, pushrods, springs, valve seats, bases, retainers, etc.) to reduce the potiental for problems when doing a cam swap. as for injectors, i ran the stockers with my h/c/i/e car for quite sometime running close to 90% duty cycle with no issues. i finally decided to upgrade injectors, when i installed an EWP and UD pulley, so injectors while not necessary, are not a need to get/make or break necessity for just a cam swap. more for peace of mind, imo.

    figure out what your overall goal with your build is before you just start buying parts and installing them. it will save you time, money and headache down the road.

    so keep doing what youre doing now by asking questions, getting opinions and doing your own research. its worth it, and youll be happy with the final product.
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    member since may 2000 nhraformula's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nurmikko22 View Post
    my car is an m6 and not an auto. the reason I am asking this question is that after I put the intake and exhaust on, there was a little difference in performance but not a whole lot. I just want to be sure that a cam will provide a significant difference in how hard the car pulls.
    Oh yes, you will feel the performance difference. The car will have a totally different feel.
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