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Can You Recommend Me A Cam?

This is a discussion on Can You Recommend Me A Cam? within the Internal Engine forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; Hey everyone. I am sure this is just what you guys love to see, some noob with 2 posts asking ...

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

    Can You Recommend Me A Cam?

    Hey everyone. I am sure this is just what you guys love to see, some noob with 2 posts asking "what cam should I get" I apologize in advanced but I seriously do not know too much about cams, nor do I know too many people who are very knowledgeable about them.

    I'll make this as easy as possible, but first let me just quickly summarize what I am looking for. Then below I'll fill out that "recommended" questionnaire.

    So, ultimately, I am looking for a cam that is going to be compatible with stock heads and stock trans (hopefully this is possible). I understand I may need to do something with the trans, but considering I do not race my truck ever, would this change the importance level of doing work to the trans? I'd also like a bit of a "choppy idle", but nothing too choppy just because it will be a daily driver, not a weekend "fun car" so to speak. Lastly, I would like and hope that there is a cam out there that would fit my needs and produce some decent torque down low in the RPMs.

    I guess that sums it up, lol. If you need more info please ask. Thanks!


    1.What size engine displacement? Stock, stroker?

    All I can tell you is it is a stock 2002 5.3L

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

    Stock heads on a 5.3L

    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.

    I really would like the power down low; I would say from the lowest possible to 3000RPM. I am thinking that is going to sound real low to you guys, but I do have a truck and I do haul a trailer once in a while and it could definitely use some more grunt while pulling it. Also, it is a daily driver and I don't race the thing so I don't ever really go above 2500RPM unless I'm torchin on it once in a while

    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.

    It does have some importance. I don't need the street car thump thump thump but I would like it to be noticeable to some extent at idle; more on the suttle side I guess. And when I get on it, I would hope it really barks then haha.

    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?

    Just daily driving, with occasion towing. Mainly a 2 place enclosed snowmobile trailer, which is only in the winter obviously.

    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, Flowmaster 40 series which is catback - 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.

    It would be ideal to stay around $1,000, but we'll see where the road takes me.

    8. Be realistic with your cam. Just because you found 20 videos of a wild cammed F-body, vette, doesn't always mean that's whats right for you. Impulse buying is bad, and will cost you alot of money. RESEARCH. READ. The cam is the most important piece of your engine. It is essentially the "Brain" of your engine.

    I don't need nothing big, I don't think.

    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".

    Automatic Trans.

  2. #2
    Old Member, New Username BrownsMillsAntz's Avatar
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    1995 Z28 w/ LS1 Swap

    Since no one else replied call a vendor, im sure they can lead you in the right direction.

    Heads/Cam/Intake/Stall.
    404 Rwhp uncorrected @ 6400

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    Member TA98's Avatar
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    Tsp 224r...?

  4. #4
    Junior Member ChevyNick's Avatar
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    2002 Chevy Avalanche Z71

    Somehow my thread was made twice. Please look at the other one I have posted if you don't mind. Thanks.

  5. #5
    dbl clutch'n like i shld WICKEDLS1's Avatar
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    228r would be my suggestion great cam for a DD and i LOVED the power band in my old ss
    2000 ss camaro, forged lq9 370 short block, stage 3 PRC 243 heads, fast 102 w, big mouth throttle body, MS3 cam, 1.7 roller rockers, stage 3 t-56, monster stage 3, pro 5.0, 4.10's with moser axles, bmr tq arm, lca's, phb. SOLD (thankfully)!!!

    New project: 1968 step-side, partial restore, ls/th400 swap. hopefully boosted pics and more info to come!!!


    Having a small cam is like having a small dick, everytime you go to use it you wish it was bigger

  6. #6
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Since it's a heavy truck, and you tow with it, and it's the smaller 5.3 engine, I'd personally stay very mild on the cam. Something right at 220 at .050 would be what I'd be looking at.

    There are cams ground specifically for the trucks from some vendors, and I'm sure some of the cam manufactures would be more than happy to do the same for you directly. I'd call around and see what recommendations you get. Whether or not you want a converter is going to play a roll in the choice too. Since you tow,,,I'd stay away from a loose converter completely. They are no fun at all to tow with,,,been there before

  7. #7
    Senior Member INMY01TA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WICKEDLS1 View Post
    228r would be my suggestion great cam for a DD and i LOVED the power band in my old ss
    Ditto.

  8. #8
    Senior Member tatertot91's Avatar
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    Sunset Orange Metalic
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    228 sounds like what you want

  9. #9
    James Bond Spikito's Avatar
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    2001 3.8 Black - sold
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    ditto on the 228 or a custom grind....and you should prob stay around a 114 LSA to give the chop you want

  10. #10
    dbl clutch'n like i shld WICKEDLS1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spikito View Post
    ditto on the 228 or a custom grind....and you should prob stay around a 114 LSA to give the chop you want
    the chop on a 228r with a 114 lsa will BARELY chop mine was on a 112 and sounded good but didnt give me any issues however it will if you dont have a stall

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