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I might have a non-stock cam - how can I tell?

This is a discussion on I might have a non-stock cam - how can I tell? within the Internal Engine forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; I'm not going to hold my breath here, but just in case... I just finished reading all about cam installs. ...

  1. #1
    Junior Member milburnr's Avatar
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    2002 Firebird T/A WS6

    I might have a non-stock cam - how can I tell?

    I'm not going to hold my breath here, but just in case... I just finished reading all about cam installs. Everyone says, once headers and exhaust are done, a new cam is the way to go.

    Well... I've had my WS6 for about two weeks. We bought it because it looked nice, great condition, low miles... way better than the camaro we traded. Since then I've poked around, driven and pushed it a bit, and found:

    - PaceSetter LT headers, ORY and (I think) Hooker exhaust
    - I can get 1st, 2nd, 3rd, AND 4th gear scratch/chirp/whatever you want to call it, with traction control ON (M6)
    - engine runs a little rough, it seems
    - occasionally the engine seems to hesitate a little if I baby it in 1st and 2nd, until I give it more gas and it seems to "catch" - a little like turbo kicking in
    - P0300 SES code (random misfire)
    - I got 163 miles from 13.5 gallons of premium
    - I get occasional pops when shifting especially into 2nd and 3rd
    - from a rolling start (about 30 mph in 2nd) I nearly kept up with an '07 vette with a supposedly stock LS2 - twice. The second time I did better, but didn't have the shifting down very well (into 3rd), otherwise he might not have pulled away as much. at the top of third gear he was only about 2 car lengths ahead. He also races for a hobby... So my car must have a little something to keep up in spite of me

    So after those hints, how likely is it that my cam is already upgraded, and I just need a tune? Is there ANY way to tell without pulling the cam? Would a dyno graph give a hint at what might be there, based on mods I know about?

    thanks
    Last edited by milburnr; 09-08-2010 at 10:06 PM.
    2002 Firebird TransAm WS6
    K&N Filter, PaceSetter LT headers/ORY, Hooker catback exhaust
    CarPC project underway

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    Member Benner's Avatar
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    Well somethings definitely up with that 163 miles to a tank but that's not cam related. You have another problem if you're only pulling that kind of mileage with a manual car. Mine with a decent cam and full supporting mods with 3.73's pulled high 20's with highway and still got low 20's on mixed driving.

  3. #3
    Junior Member milburnr's Avatar
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    2002 Firebird T/A WS6

    Quote Originally Posted by Benner View Post
    Well somethings definitely up with that 163 miles to a tank but that's not cam related. You have another problem if you're only pulling that kind of mileage with a manual car. Mine with a decent cam and full supporting mods with 3.73's pulled high 20's with highway and still got low 20's on mixed driving.
    What about needing to be tuned? I'm pretty certain that's the reason for the misfires and low mpg. Then again, perhaps some of the heavy acceleration might have caused low mpg? lol I did see a post about a really bad tune that caused 8 mpg, and after fixing that, he got around 20. And I've read that changing out the exhaust and cams both tend to require a tune. The car seems to run well, and it's got lots of power (it will break loose a bit in first just by hitting the gas when already rolling, again, with TC on). But I really don't know what 345 hp vs 400 or so feels like. This particular WS6, according to the build sheet we got from a dealership, has an "optional power package" listed in addition to the WS6 package. But keeping up with a vette?

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    Member Benner's Avatar
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    Yeah tune could be an issue may want to check on that. And that power package listed is just a different saying for WS6. If you run any other Ls1, ws6 or not it'll be a drivers race.

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    King 0f n00bz shady milkman's Avatar
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    for sure you need to have a tuner take a look ...he will be able to tell..especially after he hits the ve tables and such to get you in a good afr range

  6. #6
    Junior Member milburnr's Avatar
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    2002 Firebird T/A WS6

    We've got a friend who is supposed to tune it for us around Thanksgiving... I was reading up on cams and thinking "yeah, that would be great, I wanna take that Corvette!" but then, if it has an aftermarket cam in it, and we put a milder one in it... what a disappointment that would be!

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    King 0f n00bz shady milkman's Avatar
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    blacker than wesleysnipes
    98' trans am

    well do you have stock heads ?? look at the casting number on the head..should be a 3 digit number..like 243 etc ...id be very reluctant to just put a different cam in there until you find out wtf you have in there...as springs/pushrods and compression need to be addressed with a cam and you dont know exactly what you are starting with....is there anyway to get ahold of the original owner ?

  8. #8
    Junior Member milburnr's Avatar
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    2002 Firebird T/A WS6

    Quote Originally Posted by shady milkman View Post
    well do you have stock heads ?? look at the casting number on the head..should be a 3 digit number..like 243 etc ...id be very reluctant to just put a different cam in there until you find out wtf you have in there...as springs/pushrods and compression need to be addressed with a cam and you dont know exactly what you are starting with....is there anyway to get ahold of the original owner ?
    Looking into seeing if that's public record to find the original owner.

    Where is the casting number on the head? I know that we have an LS6 intake, number 12573572.

  9. #9
    Junior Member incbed's Avatar
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    2000 Z28 M6 Y3F

    Based on the year of your car you should have number 241 in raised numbers on the front outside corner of the heads.I'm at work and don't have my car with me ,but I want to say you should be able to see it on the passenger side head if I can remember correctly.

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    Senior Member INMY01TA's Avatar
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    2001 Trans Am (sold)

    Pull one of the valve covers. Aftermarket springs=aftermarket cam.

  11. #11
    King 0f n00bz shady milkman's Avatar
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    blacker than wesleysnipes
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    Quote Originally Posted by INMY01TA View Post
    Pull one of the valve covers. Aftermarket springs=aftermarket cam.
    95.2% of the time

  12. #12
    Junior Member milburnr's Avatar
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    2002 Firebird T/A WS6

    Quote Originally Posted by INMY01TA View Post
    Pull one of the valve covers. Aftermarket springs=aftermarket cam.
    Are aftermarket springs easy to tell? I wouldn't have thought that they would look much different from just visual inspection...

    A friend who races a lot had a listen and said it sounds like a stock cam, said it doesn't have that "loping" idle sound. I haven't heard enough of them to know the difference... and we just missed a big F-Body gathering last night

  13. #13
    Auto Painter RyanJM's Avatar
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    I would defiantly have someone with tuning software and have then check it. A wudeband 02 would help also my friend has one at his shop i used and all to dies it attach to the exhaust tip and bring the little box in the car and you can see what the a/f ratio is and have it adjusted. Sound like your car is running super rich to use that much gas. I know after the 1st shop dyno tuned my car it seemed ok but smelt like fuel all the time. My friend hooked up his HP tunes software and it was set way too rich for a.bolt in car. I was getting 150 or so a tank with a A4 and the factory 3.23's. Now he retuned it I act 18 or so miles per gallon with 3.73's and the car was faster, smelt less, and was a noticeable difference as soon as we just changed the fuel settings.
    1998 Trans Am 85k miles.
    Bolt ons, MS3 113LSA cam, Circle D Stall, Tune, Modified WS6 style hood, Full Suspension, 6000k HID's, Clear Side Markers w/ Leds, Led 3rd Brake Light and 18" AR Staggered Killer Wheels w/ BFG KDW NT's.- Weekend Toy/DD
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