The Camshaft is known as the "brain of the engine." It controls the operation of the intake and exhaust valves.
Choosing a camshaft has a direct impact on Torque, Horsepower, idle quality, and more. Understanding camshaft specifications can help you pick the right one. Some specifications are even easier to understand if you know the parts of a camshaft lobe.
- Follow this link to learn more about the Parts of a Camshaft Lobe.
These specifications are typically listed on a cam card included with the camshaft.
- Follow this link to learn more about Reading a Cam Card.
There are 4 basic types of camshafts, based on the type of lifter they use. You could have a hydraulic flat tappet, a hydraulic roller, a solid flat tappet, or a solid roller. Follow these links below to learn more:
Basic Operating RPM Range
The rpm range is the range where the engine performs best. When selecting a camshaft, choose one with an rpm range that matches the other components of your vehicle and its intended use.
- Follow this link for more about Basic Operating RPM Range.
Lift is the distance that the valve is lifted off its seat. It is usually expressed in thousandths of an inch. It tells you how tall the cam lobes are.
- Follow this link for more about Lift.
Duration is the amount of time the valve is off its seat. It is expressed as degrees of crankshaft rotation. It tells you how wide the cam lobes are. When people talk about a "bigger cam," they are referring to a cam with more duration.
- Follow this link for more about Duration.
Lobe Separation Angle
The Lobe Separation Angle (LSA) is the distance between the centerlines of the intake and exhaust lobes. It is expressed as degrees of camshaft rotation. It tells you where the lobes are placed on the camshaft.
- Follow this link for more about the Lobe Separation Angle.
Other Important Information
When purchasing a new camshaft, it is important to install it properly. Improper installation can lead to damage or loss of power. Follow this link to learn more about Installing a New Camshaft.
Over time, camshafts can wear out or break. Follow this link to learn more about Camshaft Wear.