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Heads and Cam packages?

This is a discussion on Heads and Cam packages? within the Internal Engine forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; Anyone know of any head-cam combos that were engineered to go together for our cars? I have had a ticking ...

  1. #1
    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Heads and Cam packages?

    Anyone know of any head-cam combos that were engineered to go together for our cars? I have had a ticking noise that has been bothering me for quite a while, and I'm really considering doing something about it. I had it diagnosed today, and (not) to my surprise, it's one of those things that is "hard to pinpoint" without removing at lease the valve covers. Since the heads probably have to come off to further diagnose it, might as well upgrade... but if I'm going to swap the heads, might as well get a cam to match, right?

    I'm looking for a daily-driver friendly set up that won't guzzle my fuel up (I'm currently making just over 30mpg highway on cruise control at 80mph). Also planing on an LS6 intake and some long tubes w/catted y-pipe, in case that matters.

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    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    A 228 cam with stock 243 or 5.3 heads will give you what you're looking for.

    Not over the top in cam lift but enough that you'll fell an improvement.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback, sir.

    I've been looking at 243s, having read about them a lot on these forums. Haven't looked into the 5.3s yet, but they're on my list, too.

    As for valve-train components, I'm thinking of having "better" stuff put in there when I make the swap. Push rods are the main thing I'm thinking of, but should I be looking at other stuff, too?

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    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    Here are some items you need to consider while doing a cam/heads swap:

    Oil Pump - 97-98's have a rep for going bad, look at getting a LS6 oil pump.
    New lifters - LS7's are the stock replacement for LS1's. Pretty good lifter.
    Push rods - get chrome moly, Compcams and Manley have some affordable rods.
    MLS gaskets - 98's had graphite gaskets, swith to MLS and save a few $$$ doing so.
    Timing Chain - Most ppl go with a single LS2 timing chain, no need for a double roller unless you plan on getting higher then 500hp
    Valve springs - this varies depending on the cam you get, talk with the ppl you're getting the cam form to see what is recommended to support the cam.
    Comp Cams LSX Rocker Arm Trunion Upgrade - Cost $140, it's a kit that replaces the cageless, loose OEM needle bearings and powdered metal trunion with a premium 8620 steel alloy trunion and caged roller bearings for added durability.



    Ticking noise - This needs to be found what is causing this first. It could be something simple as a exhaust leak or as expensive as a rod bearing going bad. Depending on what it is depends on what you need to do.

    In my case I'm having to pull the motor because I've exhausted all of the top end potential problems and it has gotten worse. So I believe the rod bearing has gone, so I'll see once I pull the block.

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    Moderator 98TransAmWs-6's Avatar
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    Other than above, I would forget the ls2 timing chain and get the katech C5-R timing chain, although it is much more expensive. Also for oil pumps I would suggest either a ported ls6 if you don't want an aftermarket one. That or get the melling or slp (same pump). Another thing I would get the arp crank bolt and a underdrive pulley if you can swing it. Also, I would get a pushrod length checker as well.
    Last edited by 98TransAmWs-6; 03-12-2013 at 05:23 PM.
    1998 Trans Am WS6 - Phantom
    421 CI LQ9, Tick Performance Custom Cam, TFS 255cc LS3 heads, Kooks 2" LT headers, Kooks 3" True Duals w/ high flow cats, FTP 104 lid, Speed Density Tune, 4" silicon tube, LS6 VCT, FAST 102 Intake, NW 102 TB, Oil Catch Can, SLP Bilstein Shocks w/ Vogtland Springs, CTS-V 4-piston Calipers w/C6 Z06 rotors, Stainless Steel Brake Lines, R1 concepts premium rotors, Hawk HP+ brake pads, VFN WSQ Hood, C5-R timing chain, SLP oil pump, E85 tune, Walbro 450 fuel pump, Deatschwerkz 95# injectors, Breathless performance headlights, Frost Tune, !HVAC.
    (Coming Soon) BMR DSL, UMI TQ Arm
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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Naaman View Post
    Anyone know of any head-cam combos that were engineered to go together for our cars? I have had a ticking noise that has been bothering me for quite a while, and I'm really considering doing something about it. I had it diagnosed today, and (not) to my surprise, it's one of those things that is "hard to pinpoint" without removing at lease the valve covers. Since the heads probably have to come off to further diagnose it, might as well upgrade... but if I'm going to swap the heads, might as well get a cam to match, right?

    I'm looking for a daily-driver friendly set up that won't guzzle my fuel up (I'm currently making just over 30mpg highway on cruise control at 80mph). Also planing on an LS6 intake and some long tubes w/catted y-pipe, in case that matters.
    See sig. Its getting dynoed this week. Ill update.

  7. #7
    James Bond Spikito's Avatar
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    check out texas speed....they have decently priced combos

  8. #8
    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SMWS6TA View Post


    Ticking noise - This needs to be found what is causing this first. It could be something simple as a exhaust leak or as expensive as a rod bearing going bad. Depending on what it is depends on what you need to do.

    In my case I'm having to pull the motor because I've exhausted all of the top end potential problems and it has gotten worse. So I believe the rod bearing has gone, so I'll see once I pull the block.
    Yeah, I agree that the ticking noise needs to be isolated, but I would have to start taking things apart in order to find it... if I have to pay for the cost to rip into the engine, might as well fork out an extra few hundred bucks for some better heads, I figure.

    I may have found a good set of 243s which do not seem to include the valve train components, but do have some basic work performed on them (three angle valve job, back cutting, etc).

    Looking at the Oil pump, there seems to be offerings from Melling for around $100-130. Is there a particular brand name that comes recommended?

    The heads I've found seem to come with springs. My power goals are simply more than 400 bhp (but less than 500). Also, I'm looking to stay with stock internals, so I'm not really interested in pushing the rpm up any higher. Should I worry about different springs in this case? I'm looking at mild/street cams, FWIW.

    Thanks, everyone, for all the details.

  9. #9
    Moderator 98TransAmWs-6's Avatar
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    I have the SLP melling oil pump and I really like the quality of it. My car hasn't been started since I installed it so I can't really comment on the performance but I have heard good things.

  10. #10
    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    you'll need new springs no matter what cam you get. It's just one of those things. Even a mild cam like the LS6 requires different springs.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    ??? I thouht the 243s WERE LS6?

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    Moderator 98TransAmWs-6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Naaman View Post
    ??? I thouht the 243s WERE LS6?
    243s came on a variety of vehicles and not all had the ls6 cam, which required the ls6 blue or yellow springs. I have 243 heads off of a truck that have the same springs my ls1 does or at least look like it. They came on trucks, gtos, vettes, and cts-vs.

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    Don't forget...since you're a '98, you have perimeter bolt heads/valve covers. If you upgrade heads, you'll be getting center bolt heads. his means you'll need to find a solution for your coil packs. Either get some stock valve covers and coil pack brackets or go with some aftermarket covers and some sort of coil relocation kit.

  14. #14
    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Naaman View Post
    ??? I thouht the 243s WERE LS6?
    They were and as Will points out they also came on several other vehicles as wheel.

    Quote Originally Posted by 98TransAmWs-6 View Post
    243s came on a variety of vehicles and not all had the ls6 cam, which required the ls6 blue or yellow springs. I have 243 heads off of a truck that have the same springs my ls1 does or at least look like it. They came on trucks, gtos, vettes, and cts-vs.
    243 heads can be found on the following vehicles:

    LS6's
    20012004 Chevrolet Corvette C5 Z06
    20042005 Cadillac CTS V-Series

    LS2's
    20052006 Pontiac GTO
    20052006 Chevrolet SSR
    20052007 Chevrolet Corvette
    20062007 Cadillac CTS V-Series
    20062009 Chevrolet TrailBlazer SS

    4.8/5.3/LQ4/LQ9 truck engines

    05 to 07 depending on which block started using LS6 heads.

    Also 799 heads are the same as 243's but do not come with the sodium valves.

    317 heads also = the flow of 243/799 heads except the valves are larger. If you are looking at a future turbo/supercharger build 317's are a very popular choice.


    Quote Originally Posted by ls1camino View Post
    Don't forget...since you're a '98, you have perimeter bolt heads/valve covers. If you upgrade heads, you'll be getting center bolt heads. his means you'll need to find a solution for your coil packs. Either get some stock valve covers and coil pack brackets or go with some aftermarket covers and some sort of coil relocation kit.

    Correct 97-98 ls1's have that PITA valve cover bolt pattern. swapping over to 99< heads means new valve covers and coil bracket too. (cost about $30)

    There are some great deals on covers, just need to keep an eye out for them. I pick up a pair just recently for $70
    Last edited by SMWS6TA; 03-18-2013 at 02:20 PM.

  15. #15
    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    One more thing.....


    This is the beauty of the GEN III thru IV blocks. It all shares the same bolt patterns for heads, intakes, and transmissions. Meaning it's all can be swap over. Before with the SBC & LBC blocks you were restricted on just how much you could do with a motor. With today's stuff I can take a GEN III LQ4 and have a choice of either staying with a cathedral style head and intake like the LS6 & 243 heads or go with a rectangular style head and intake like the LS3.

    Now not all head will perform as well on all blocks meaning you wouldn't do well putting on a L92/LS3 head on a LS1 block. Just wouldn't perform right because they need at least a 4" piston.

    This all works great for now but with the new GEN V LT1 coming out I think nothing will be compatible with GEN III & IV's

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    You will also need the 99+ valve cover gaskets and bolt grommets as well with 243 heads.

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    Member devildogws6's Avatar
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    whats your budget

  18. #18
    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Budget is "lowest possible price for reliable quality." Reliability is priority 1.

  19. #19
    Moderator 98TransAmWs-6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Naaman View Post
    Budget is "lowest possible price for reliable quality." Reliability is priority 1.
    I would get some stock 243s with a cam then. The 243s will net you some hp but won't break the bank like trickflows or AFRs will.

  20. #20
    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SMWS6TA View Post
    A 228 cam with stock 243 or 5.3 heads will give you what you're looking for.

    Not over the top in cam lift but enough that you'll fell an improvement.
    ^^
    Well to answer your question I still feel this would do you will for what you are looking for.

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