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Simple Cam questions

This is a discussion on Simple Cam questions within the Internal Engine forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; I'm new to the whole internal engine upgrades, and my knowledge is very limited. To keep it simple, I'm curious ...

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    Member 02SS35th's Avatar
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    Simple Cam questions

    I'm new to the whole internal engine upgrades, and my knowledge is very limited. To keep it simple, I'm curious about a few things with a Cam. I've done some research, I've seen the differences in Cams and what "you" want to do with them from mild to extreme.

    Being a normal daily driver, might occasionally visit the track for fun, but nothing serious. What would be a good cam to go with to get a good HP gain? Also, what kind of gas mileage am I looking at if I put an aftermarket cam in, better or worse? When you put in an aftermarket cam and the other necessary upgrades, is more maintenance required on your engine in a shorter time span?

    I'm trying to decide if putting a Cam in as a future upgrade is a highly valuable one without ruining my engine just being a daily driver but would like that extra horsepower boost from a great Cam. This is where my lack of knowledge really kicks in with the internals of the LS1 engine. I would like to read some opinions from some of you guys on what you think I should do. This would be one of the last upgrades I would do outside of my headers and exhaust. Supercharging would be getting out of my league. Street fun (being faster than the new 2011 5.0's is a high priority for me since I hate Mustangs) is mainly what I enjoy and just your average driving to places.

    Any other upgrades or suggestions to go along with the Cam would be appreciated as well. Any things that may be overlooked when you put a Cam in.
    2002 Camaro SS 35th Anniversary Edition
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    None Shall Pass Knight's Avatar
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    A cam is a good upgrade to do when looking for more hp. However, most do a heads and cam upgrade as they compliment each other much better than leaving one stock. You're cam choice will really come down to where you want the powerband at. My suggestion would be to contact the manufacturer and tell them your plans and goals. They would be the best to tell you which cam to use - and it may be a custom ground cam. As long as the installation is done properly, and the valve springs and pushrods and such are upgraded as well, no extra maintenance would be needed.

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    Veteran 0rion's Avatar
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    you could retain much of your cars street manners and still get a nice bump in power with something like a 224 or 228 cam. As far as gas mileage I have no idea where you'd be. Always factor in a tune....it'll really make or break how the car acts after the cam.

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    blah '02 WS6's Avatar
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    If you already have headers and exhaust then you're on the right track. If not, then get those first then plan your cam swap.

    I'll try and answer all your questions, but first, is your car an auto or manual? If its an auto another "pre-cam" or same time upgrade would be a stall. If manual then do the cam swap but start saving for an upgraded clutch...just an fyi.

    Ok, to start, for your wants and needs I would recommend Thunder Racing's TR224 cam, and I think people here will agree. You want the power and everything else without the need for driveability loss and more maintenance. With a larger cam you're looking at 30k miles of spring life on average with spring load pressure checks around every 7-10k miles.

    That cam is very easy to tune for which is where driveavility comes into play. The larger cams can be made streetable, but for your application I don't think a cam that makes power up to 7k is suitable for you. The 224 is the perfect street/strip/commuter cam in my opinion.

    Aside from the cam, you're lookin at getting a set of pushrods, which Thunder Racing usually supplies with their cam kit, either 7.425 or stock 7.400 length can't remember what they supply. Also should supply a good set of spring with it too, and all necessary gaskets.

    Optional items you may want to consider is a ported LS6 pil pump, new chain and sprocket, and an Underdrive pulley since all are coming off for cam install anyways. The pump is the most important, and take it from someone who didn't replace theirs @ only 30k miles on motor when I did the swap, only to have stock one fail 20k miles later resulting in a new motor swap. Save yourself a lot by spending $125 now. The pulley will free up some power as well, and you'll need new belts too, but that's no bigge.

    Lastly, and one of the most important things that goes with a cam install, is the tune. Find a good tuner that will take the time to dial in your car. The power will be best with a dyno tune, but your mpg and afr will be optimal with a street tune, although some do both to maximize potential. I've seen cars gain mpg with a cam and proper tune more often than not, considering they were untuned following mods like full exhaust and other bolt ons.

    With all that, depending on year of your car and supporting mods, you should be @ or over 380rwhp so you'll definitely be a handfull for new 5.0s unless they themselves are modded.

    Hope this helps.
    '02 ws6.....mods? nope

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    Moderator 35th-ANV-SS's Avatar
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    All you want to know about camshafts...it is a sticky.

    Camshaft Guide - Information / Write up

    With that said, a lot of people go with a 228 with a 112LSA. You really should upgrade the heads too though, as said already.

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    Member 02SS35th's Avatar
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    Yeah, I read the sticky threads. A lot of it kind of blew over my head till I read the cam install guide that had the Cam stats broken down. I like hearing second opinions, even though I'm sure these questions have been answered a million times. This is probably the most complicated upgrade I've looked at doing, but I certainly won't be doing this myself. Thanks for the input and I'll look into both of those cams and the extra upgrades to prevent something from going out.

    '02 WS6, I've got a 6-speed, 2002, clutch is brand new, but not upgraded.
    Last edited by 02SS35th; 03-16-2011 at 12:48 PM.

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    Senior Member INMY01TA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 35th-ANV-SS View Post
    All you want to know about camshafts...it is a sticky.

    Camshaft Guide - Information / Write up

    With that said, a lot of people go with a 228 with a 112LSA. You really should upgrade the heads too though, as said already.
    I agree with the 228 cam. Just as drivable as the 224 but with a little more power. Heads are a nice compliment but lots of guys like myself have cammed cars with stock heads. Can always do the heads later.

  8. #8
    dbl clutch'n like i shld WICKEDLS1's Avatar
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    just do what im doing to the ss. im putting a 228r Texas Speed cam and using a set of 243 ls6 heads that are ported and polished plus a convertor. it will retain great street manners have awesome power and sound great with little to no maintnence. however you will lose gas mileage but not a significant amount.

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    Member 02SS35th's Avatar
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    Yeah, my goal is to be a solid street car with some track potential if wanted. I've done a little research on heads, and all sorts of stuff. Been thrown off track by seeing other cars with Stage II, Stage III, and so forth. I'm assuming the different stages require a bigger engine block? Seems like anything above Stage II is going extreme for me, not to mention it doesn't seem to match up with the LS3, etc, terminology. I'm just looking for a solid package that would push roughly 400 HP with my headers and exhaust with the TSP 228R.

    Then of course more questions arise, What heads would be good for me? What valve springs do I go with, single or dual? Timing Chain? (Been told to go with single over double) A lot of this stuff just blows over my head, but I'm learning slowly.

    I guess I have a silly question, do I dare try and install this myself? I've seen the how to guide and whatnot... a bit intimidating, but it is straightforward. Always have that fear of messing something up, but I also lack the specific tools to do this install.
    Last edited by 02SS35th; 03-18-2011 at 01:55 AM.

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    blah '02 WS6's Avatar
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    If you go with the 228R the PRC 5.3 Stg 2.5 heads would be perfect for you. They come with .660 lift dual spring installed so that's one problem solved. I'd say single timing chain as well, most people fo to GM dealer and buy an LS2 chain and sprocket and call it good.

    If you're set on a head swap there are other things that come into play.

    New head bolts are a must, either stock torque to yield bolts (one time use) or reusable ARP head bolts. Also will need new head gaskets, which for that combo I would recommend a set of MLS .057 size. Also be a great idea to swap stock lifters for a set of LS7 lifters and a set of LS2 trays. All of these can be had for around $250.

    As for the DIY cam install, using the guide is a pretty straightforward install and can be done between 4-6hrs if you're familiar with the socket sizes needed etc etc. If you don't have the required tools readily accessible you can either rent some from OReilly of wherever or just have a shop do it and immediately tune it afterwards and get 2 birds with one stone.
    Last edited by '02 WS6; 03-18-2011 at 04:48 AM.

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    Member 02SS35th's Avatar
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    So things I'd be looking at:

    TSP 228R Cam
    PRC 5.3 Stage 2.5 heads
    LS2 chain or other Single Timing Chain
    New oil pump?

    Remember, not trying to go overboard with crazy engine upgrades, just necessary ones to prevent damage, or a stock part that can't handle the upgrades. I've been looking at the TSP packages on their site. Look pretty decent.

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    blah '02 WS6's Avatar
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    The TSP H/C kit would be your best bet as they discount it quite a bit and comes with the springs, pushrods, gaskets (except head gaskets), and of course the heads and cam. You can even mill the heads a bit more free of charge if you so desire, but in your case I'd say they'd be fine as is.

    I would almost demand anyone swapping cams to replace the oil pump. I made the, "Won't happen to my 30k mile pump" assumption, and paid dearly for it.

    The lifter swap is another peace of mind mod for longevity purposes, and is another thing I recommend.

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    Member 02SS35th's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by '02 WS6 View Post
    The TSP H/C kit would be your best bet as they discount it quite a bit and comes with the springs, pushrods, gaskets (except head gaskets), and of course the heads and cam. You can even mill the heads a bit more free of charge if you so desire, but in your case I'd say they'd be fine as is.

    I would almost demand anyone swapping cams to replace the oil pump. I made the, "Won't happen to my 30k mile pump" assumption, and paid dearly for it.

    The lifter swap is another peace of mind mod for longevity purposes, and is another thing I recommend.
    Will definitely take your input on this. I appreciate the help and learning experience this has been.

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    blah '02 WS6's Avatar
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    Also, one last thing. Whether you go cam only or H/C swap, after install you are mandated by the LS1 community to post a vid, soundclip, dyno run and results. Happy building man. Good luck.

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    Member 02SS35th's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by '02 WS6 View Post
    Also, one last thing. Whether you go cam only or H/C swap, after install you are mandated by the LS1 community to post a vid, soundclip, dyno run and results. Happy building man. Good luck.
    Oh you better believe I'll be posting results and a sound clip. As long as I keep these high flow cats on, anything sounds incredible. I'll definitely be interested in the results as well after a dyno tune, well, that or a street tune from Frost.

    If I had more funds, I'd replace my headers with Kooks/ARH stainless and run a GMMG catback for sound/looks, but that's almost $2000 itself just for exhaust! Expensive hobby.
    Last edited by 02SS35th; 03-18-2011 at 05:21 AM.

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    dbl clutch'n like i shld WICKEDLS1's Avatar
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    you have ALOT to learn man i would do all your research and figure out as much as you can about all this stuff before you start modding the car. before you start tearing into it you NEED to have a good ieda of what you are doing and what your trying to accomplish. The 228r cam is more then enough for your car and to be dd'ing it. and yes i know people DD their car with 232/338's and such but the 228 will work great and as far as heads go the 5.3 sII prc are great heads if it were me i would spend the extra money and get a set of AFR 205cc heads they match that cam perfectly. thats just my opinion though its your car.

    sorr if i came off as a dick lol im not meaning to just dont want you to mess up a beautiful car

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    might need a clutch if your going to push almost 400rwhp

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    Member 02SS35th's Avatar
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    No, you aren't being a dick at all. I just need to be realistic with my mechanical skill. I'd rather watch someone do it the first time, or find someone local that's done these swaps before on an LS1 and pay them.

    What type of clutch are we talking about here? Just a minor upgraded one to support the higher horsepower? I figure the stock one probably won't hold up for very long.

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    dbl clutch'n like i shld WICKEDLS1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 02SS35th View Post
    No, you aren't being a dick at all. I just need to be realistic with my mechanical skill. I'd rather watch someone do it the first time, or find someone local that's done these swaps before on an LS1 and pay them.

    What type of clutch are we talking about here? Just a minor upgraded one to support the higher horsepower? I figure the stock one probably won't hold up for very long.
    if it goes out replace it there is no since in doing it now while its still good but when it does or is really close to put a monster clutch or LS7 thats what everyone seems to be doing and its working out fine

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    Member 02SS35th's Avatar
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    This clutch is only a few months old, has maybe 3k miles on it total. I'll look into that as well. Just need to see all angles of this swap to make sure nothing breaks!

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