"Streetability" be damned-this is an all out, big boy camshaft test for the diehard LS1 crowd. Our rules were simple: If it fits in a stock LS1 and you keep it on the shelf, we want to test it. Can it idle in gear with the A/C on? Who cares! This is a test for people looking for maximum power, torque, and brute force, without any compromises. Whether you're a hardcore drag racer or an internet chest thumper, the question of "what would happen if . . . " has probably crossed your mind, and we're here to try and figure it all out. Granted, testing camshafts for the average daily driver, like many of us, has its place, and we love doing in-depth testing on camshafts for those situations ("Battle of the Bumpsticks," Nov. '09 issue), but for the next couple of issues, our concern will be maximum power on a stock LS1 bottom end. Are these for everyone? No. Are they even a good idea on most streetcars? Maybe, maybe not, but that isn't our current concern.
After weeks of phone calls, meetings, and bench racing sessions, we contacted several companies about our test. For some, our all or nothing approach seemed a little strange, but to others, like Comp Cams and Vengeance Racing, the camshafts couldn't ship fast enough. We also decided to team up with Bob Wise and the crew at RaceKrafters in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to make sure our testing was accurate, repeatable, and consistent. It didn't hurt that Bob was an old racer with a serious passion for quality testing, and once we got going, Bob was able to interject some excellent "side tests," which we will also feature as we go along. On the following pages, you will find the results of each camshaft versus the stock LS1 and notes on each test. If you're thinking about a cam swap or you're already running a large camshaft, most of the data here should be of interest to you. For those advanced readers, we have found some interesting nuances with lift, LSA, and header design, which should help tweak your combinations. For now, here's what Comp Cams and Vengeance Racing had to offer and the results should speak for themselves. Without further ado, we present the first part of our multi-issue test and we look forward to hearing from you if you have any questions, concerns, or ideas for future camshaft testing.
Testing Procedure and Camshaft Guidelines
As with any test, it's imperative to maintain strict guidelines to ensure valid results. Below, you will find our procedures for testing, along with our camshaft specification guidelines. While the former was very specific, the latter was left wide open, allowing manufacturers and builders to spec camshafts to their liking.
Install camshaft and related valvetrain components
Degree the camshaft, install to correct specs, +/- .5 degree
Establish solid idle, check base timing, set 27 degrees of total timing
Oil temperature: 130° F, +/- 10
Water temperature: 155° F, +/- 10
Power pull, maintain solid AFR and timing, validate data
Two additional power pulls, extract best run and record
Rinse and repeat, allowing ample time for cool down
If it fits in a stock LS1, it's in the test
Must be an off-the-shelf grind, no custom camshafts
No fly cutting, no head gasket spacing, no tricks
Comp Cams springs, retainers, pushrods, and timing set
Everything else goes!