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1973 LS3 conversion - should I swap the cam?

 
Old 11-29-2018, 10:22 AM
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ScottEwine
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Default 1973 LS3 conversion - should I swap the cam?

Good morning all,

I am debating swapping out the cam in the 2014 Camaro LS3 I just got as part of my 1973 LS conversion, here are the pros and cons I have come up with.

I am considering a cam such as this: http://www.cammotion.com/camshafts/t...217-225-114-2/

Pros:
  1. A reason to pull some wrenches, I have worked with small blocks quite a bit through the years, but this is the first LS motor I have worked on and would like to do a bit more piddling with it.
  2. Do it now while he engine is on the stand, rather than when it is in the car and I regret not doing it.
  3. The mild cams seem to give better performance across all RPMs, so I would not (necessarily) be trading low end torque for high end HP.
Cons:
  1. Extra expense - by the time I get the cam and the upgraded valve springs and pushrods to support it I will be at around $750.
  2. Less streetability - I am going to just cruise around with this car, similar to what I do with the other cars, so I want it to be easy to drive for me and the rest of the family.
  3. Louder - I am a believer in "Facta, non verba" - Deeds, not words. (Actions speak louder than words). I want the car to be quick, but it does not have to shout it all over the parking lot, I want to be able to have a pleasant conversion while driving.
  4. Will it cause complications if I use the stock ECM? Would it be better to use a non-OEM ECM that learns if I swap the cam?
Any thoughts or advice are welcome!

Thanks,
Scott
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Old 11-29-2018, 10:29 AM
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JUICED1
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I would do it in a heartbeat. We have cam kits starting around $650 for everything you'll need for the install. We can help you pick out something that suits your build as well. It can be fully streetable in an LS and still make great power. The stock ECM is fine but you will always need it to be tuned for the cam. If you are local to us we handle dyno tuning which would be extra expense but well worth it in the long run.
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ScottEwine (11-30-2018)
Old 11-29-2018, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by ScottEwine View Post
Good morning all,

I am debating swapping out the cam in the 2014 Camaro LS3 I just got as part of my 1973 LS conversion, here are the pros and cons I have come up with.

I am considering a cam such as this: http://www.cammotion.com/camshafts/t...217-225-114-2/

Pros:
  1. A reason to pull some wrenches, I have worked with small blocks quite a bit through the years, but this is the first LS motor I have worked on and would like to do a bit more piddling with it.
  2. Do it now while he engine is on the stand, rather than when it is in the car and I regret not doing it.
  3. The mild cams seem to give better performance across all RPMs, so I would not (necessarily) be trading low end torque for high end HP.
Cons:
  1. Extra expense - by the time I get the cam and the upgraded valve springs and pushrods to support it I will be at around $750.
  2. Less streetability - I am going to just cruise around with this car, similar to what I do with the other cars, so I want it to be easy to drive for me and the rest of the family.
  3. Louder - I am a believer in "Facta, non verba" - Deeds, not words. (Actions speak louder than words). I want the car to be quick, but it does not have to shout it all over the parking lot, I want to be able to have a pleasant conversion while driving.
  4. Will it cause complications if I use the stock ECM? Would it be better to use a non-OEM ECM that learns if I swap the cam?
Any thoughts or advice are welcome!

Thanks,
Scott
Hey Scott,

The factory LS3 camshaft is quite good, but you can pick up about 30-40 HP and about 12-15 ft lbs of torque with a camshaft while still maintaining excellent drivability. A camshaft that would likely be perfect would be 224/234 duration @.050" lobe lift on a 114.5 degree lobe separation angle and a 111 intake centerline with .621"/.604" valve lift. This camshaft will have a mild idle, great drivability and make a really nice power increase. It will require a custom tune. I will make this custom camshaft for you at no extra cost and can have it ready to ship in 5 business days from the time your order. The price is $399.00 The matching premium valve spring kit with micro-polished dual springs and titanium retainers is $299 and the matching hardened chrome-moly pushrods are $94.00.

~Steven
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Last edited by cammotion perf; 11-29-2018 at 06:10 PM.
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Old 11-29-2018, 06:59 PM
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Scott,

One thing to consider ...because you stated you are not going to be driving it like you stole it....and 'just cruising around in it".... so WHERE is the horsepower and torque increase coming in at versus the stock LS3 cam. because as you probably know a cam can be made to have all the power right off idle or on the top end or anywhere in between.

Spending money on a something you are not going to use is kind of a waste of money if you ask me. but it is your money.

DUB
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Old 11-30-2018, 05:54 AM
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That cam is mild and will work fine in the ls3 after a tune. You will need a tune to get it to idle correctly and optimize performance. Will pull from idle to 6000 rpm with no issues.
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Old 11-30-2018, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by DUB View Post
Scott,

One thing to consider ...because you stated you are not going to be driving it like you stole it....and 'just cruising around in it".... so WHERE is the horsepower and torque increase coming in at versus the stock LS3 cam. because as you probably know a cam can be made to have all the power right off idle or on the top end or anywhere in between.

Spending money on a something you are not going to use is kind of a waste of money if you ask me. but it is your money.
DUB
DUB,

Thanks for the feedback. I understand that it is possible to spend money here and end up with something that I like less. From what I have seen the stock LS3 cam seems to 'leave some HP/Torque on the table', in that you get improvements all across the RPM range with very little downside with a stage 1 cam. I doubt the car will go over 4000 rpm very often so high end HP is not what I am looking for.

Scott
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Old 11-30-2018, 10:16 AM
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I have no doubt that the cam would perform. But as I have seen and in my situation oftentimes my customers are 'numbers' people and if they buy cam or whatever that advertises it can provide 'X' amount of HP and torque...they want to see it....or an improvement for the money spent.

So..in my case it can be a CATCH 22. If the owner is worried about numbers. I have to get the car to my dyno-tuner guy and tune it. Not knowing what the engine is doing is pointless so by having the car on a chassis dyno and tune the LS3 and see what it is doing to will not give us the baseline Often times the improvement the tuner did to the engine makes the person not want to change out whatever they were thinking due to they can see the increase from the first run on the dyno to the last one. And when they drive it they can tell it helped out.

Then if they still want more they install whatever it is they wanted to install initially. And then dyno it again.

DUB
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Old 11-30-2018, 11:03 AM
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That's a very mild cam in my eyes for a LS3. I used a 220/226 .564/.570 114LSA on a Supercharged LS1 "Smaller Displacement" because I had to pass California SMOG.

The stock ECM is fine you will just need to use HP Tuners to get or tune it yourself. Very much worth it with your automatic even if you don't change the cam.

Any cam is not going to make it loader, the mufflers handle that and the modern corvettes come with a muffler bypass for that reason.

Now I know you not going to race this car, I don't race mine either. But picture this.
Arrive at a car show with a nice idle lope that hints of something more under the hood. Then when the hood is opened a beautiful LS3 sits between the fenders.

The beauty with the LSx is you can get pretty agressive and still get driveability.
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Old 12-12-2018, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by cammotion perf View Post
Hey Scott,

The factory LS3 camshaft is quite good, but you can pick up about 30-40 HP and about 12-15 ft lbs of torque with a camshaft while still maintaining excellent drivability. A camshaft that would likely be perfect would be 224/234 duration @.050" lobe lift on a 114.5 degree lobe separation angle and a 111 intake centerline with .621"/.604" valve lift. This camshaft will have a mild idle, great drivability and make a really nice power increase. It will require a custom tune. I will make this custom camshaft for you at no extra cost and can have it ready to ship in 5 business days from the time your order. The price is $399.00 The matching premium valve spring kit with micro-polished dual springs and titanium retainers is $299 and the matching hardened chrome-moly pushrods are $94.00.

~Steven
Steven,

Thanks, I will give you a call tomorrow to discuss.

Scott
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Old 12-13-2018, 06:52 AM
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Yes do it. Not a big deal to do it now on the stand. I upgraded the cam to a little bit more than the stock LS3 cam. I figure with this cam and headers and a good tune 500 HP is an number. For a nLS motor it will be totally streetable throughout the rpms. I upgraded the springs and the rocker arm trunnions. My motor was a very low mile motor so Used the lifters that were in there. You will regret it if you don’t do it. The LS motors are different then the Gen 1 and respond well to a cam change without losing low end torque as long as you don’t go wild on cam duration.
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Old 12-13-2018, 07:10 AM
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You will never know how the stock LS3 would have performed if you replace the cam ahead of time. Put the engine in the car and drive it. Then if you want more there are injector-ecm-tune options. THEN you can consider building the engine. But I think you will be happy with it as-is. Boat guys are impressed with that motor in stock trim. And they spend all day well above 50% throttle.

Last edited by derekderek; 12-13-2018 at 07:10 AM.
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