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LS2 cam in stock LS1 worth it?

 
Old 04-11-2018, 12:04 PM
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Scholioso
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Default LS2 cam in stock LS1 worth it?

Hey guys. So as the title says, I'm looking at putting a ls2 cam in my 97 ls1. Now I know some of you are going to say well it's not worth it, etc. But let me explain my thoughts.

I have a 97 (168,000 miles) which has the worst flowing 806 heads. On top of that, I also have the standard ls1 intake manifold. Just to upgrade to used 799 or 243 heads is around $500. Plus a used ls6 intake manifold, that's another $300. So now I'm at $800 just to be closer to a ls6. Now, if I go all out like everyone recommends, a cam kit is around $700. So now I'm at $1500 in parts for a used high mileage engine that may or may not last. And since I believe in preventative maintenance, I would want to do a Melling 10295 oil pump to ensure it lives, well thats another $100. So $1600 now. To put that puppy in, either lift the motor, or drop the cradle. At this point, at $1600 & about another hour of work to just pull the motor, I'd go all out & just buy a ls3 to drop in. That's how I look at it.

Now that I've explained myself, I'm trying to stay as budget friendly as possible. My buddy has a 06 GTO which he cammed, & he said I could have his old cam. So I started to do some research.
LS1: 202/210 .472"/.479" lift on 117 LSA
LS2: 204/211 .525"/.525" lift on 117.5 LSA
It's more aggressive than my stock 97 ls1 cam, but at the same time not aggressive enough that I would worry about longevity/reliability. If I were to do this, I would get the better ls6 valvesprings.

My question is would the cost of some valve springs & gaskets be worth it? Or should I just continue to drive it as is & save up for that LS3? Thanks!
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Old 04-11-2018, 12:10 PM
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Keith Tedford
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I lived the musclecar era with L78, Copo 427 Power along with L34 and L35 powered cars. Our 2005 with the LS2 has them all covered. Great on gas, excellent horsepower, yet docile enough that you aren't going through camshafts, lifters and the rest of the nightmares that come with radical builds. The LS2 cam has excellent street manners. You might not get a huge improvement in performance but it will be reliable. It's all too easy to over cam an engine. Might make big peek horsepower numbers but not have street manners. That gets old really fast.
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Old 04-11-2018, 12:13 PM
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In my opinion No.

If you want to be cheap on springs, I would look at CamMotion Drop in cams. Granted I would still go with a bigger cam and aftermarket springs.

Pulling the heads and intake is relatively easy. Getting the cam out is the more labor intensive job.

Don't under estimate how far a LS1 will go, if it is maintained well the LS1 can do 250k+ miles easily.
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Old 04-11-2018, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Scholioso View Post
Hey guys. So as the title says, I'm looking at putting a ls2 cam in my 97 ls1. Now I know some of you are going to say well it's not worth it, etc. But let me explain my thoughts.

I have a 97 (168,000 miles) which has the worst flowing 806 heads. On top of that, I also have the standard ls1 intake manifold. Just to upgrade to used 799 or 243 heads is around $500. Plus a used ls6 intake manifold, that's another $300. So now I'm at $800 just to be closer to a ls6. Now, if I go all out like everyone recommends, a cam kit is around $700. So now I'm at $1500 in parts for a used high mileage engine that may or may not last. And since I believe in preventative maintenance, I would want to do a Melling 10295 oil pump to ensure it lives, well thats another $100. So $1600 now. To put that puppy in, either lift the motor, or drop the cradle. At this point, at $1600 & about another hour of work to just pull the motor, I'd go all out & just buy a ls3 to drop in. That's how I look at it.

Now that I've explained myself, I'm trying to stay as budget friendly as possible. My buddy has a 06 GTO which he cammed, & he said I could have his old cam. So I started to do some research.
LS1: 202/210 .472"/.479" lift on 117 LSA
LS2: 204/211 .525"/.525" lift on 117.5 LSA
It's more aggressive than my stock 97 ls1 cam, but at the same time not aggressive enough that I would worry about longevity/reliability. If I were to do this, I would get the better ls6 valvesprings.

My question is would the cost of some valve springs & gaskets be worth it? Or should I just continue to drive it as is & save up for that LS3? Thanks!
Just out of curiosity, Is your harmonic balancer orignal OEM? Or did you replace it, if so when (miles replaced) did you go with aftermarket?
I just bought 97 C5 last Nov. 7 2017 75k miles harmonic balancer is wobbly and research says oem is normal to have some wobble but I'm not sure mine is within norm or above wobble. I'm getting chirping noise too that maybe from a/c belt or a/c pulleys. I will check that this weekend.
Thanks in advance
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Old 04-11-2018, 01:38 PM
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An LS2 cam isn't a drop-in/bolt-in replacement for an LS1. To install it, you'll need a new cam gear, front cover, and cam sensor in addition to the new valve springs and gaskets. Example: http://www.nookandtranny.com/mm5/mer...ode=VALVETRAIN

If you were talking about an LS6 cam, I'd say "sure, go for it" but needing to buy all this extra stuff just to install the LS2 cam makes not worthwhile in my opinion.
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Old 04-11-2018, 03:38 PM
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The 2001 LS6 cam has similar specs to the LS2 cam, and is a bolt in cam. They are fairly inexpensive used since they are not popular cams.
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Old 04-11-2018, 04:08 PM
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^^^I have one of these in my 5.3. It was $100 a few years ago, probably cheaper now. The higher-lift '02+ LS6 cam is worth the extra $50 to most people, though.
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Old 04-11-2018, 04:36 PM
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Not worth it. With those miles there are just too many "might as well" maintenance parts. I wouldn't reuse the lifters/buckets, or the timing chain. You already mentioned the oil pump. Def do a front main seal. If it's the original harmonic balancer, I'd replace it. Plus radiator hoses, plugs, wires, coolant, etc. It's always going to be more expensive than you estimate. And after all that, only a marginal gain.

And PS: you're not pulling the motor in an hour.

Personally, I'd enjoy it as is. Save your $$ and then, if you really love the car and never plan to sell it, build the motor the right way. (you certainly won't get your money back, esp on a high mileage car). Or enjoy, save your $$, then sell it and buy something else.
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Old 04-11-2018, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by bigmackloud View Post
Not worth it. With those miles there are just too many "might as well" maintenance parts. I wouldn't reuse the lifters/buckets, or the timing chain. You already mentioned the oil pump. Def do a front main seal. If it's the original harmonic balancer, I'd replace it. Plus radiator hoses, plugs, wires, coolant, etc. It's always going to be more expensive than you estimate. And after all that, only a marginal gain.

And PS: you're not pulling the motor in an hour.

Personally, I'd enjoy it as is. Save your $$ and then, if you really love the car and never plan to sell it, build the motor the right way. (you certainly won't get your money back, esp on a high mileage car). Or enjoy, save your $$, then sell it and buy something else.
Oh yeah, of course not. No sorry, I think you misunderstood. I was talking with the amount of hours involved pulling the heads & cam, it would be about another hour to get the block/motor out. That's what I meant.

I did forget about the LS2 needing a different timing gear & front cover. Well, I think for now I'll just drive it as is & slowly build up a LS3. I would love love love to put an LS7 in it. That would be my dream. But the cost is just a little ridiculous.
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Old 04-11-2018, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Scholioso View Post
Oh yeah, of course not. No sorry, I think you misunderstood. I was talking with the amount of hours involved pulling the heads & cam, it would be about another hour to get the block/motor out. That's what I meant.
Yea having the heads and intake etc off def make getting the motor out easier. But just fair warning, you're still a lot more than an hour from having the motor out. Getting the bell housing clear of the inputshaft is difficult. I removed the TT and rear cradle first, and even then still had to lower the front cradle several inches so the oil pan would clear the front cradle... and that was with the heads/intake off already.

I say that only to share my personal experience as someone who just finished an expensive engine build, and did the entire removal/build/install completely by myself in my garage on jack stands. Yes it is doable... but it's going to take way longer, cost way more, and be way more frustrating than you ever anticipate going in.

I would stick with fun weekend bolt on type mods that allow you to enjoy the car and drive it. And then if you decide to dive into the deep end of a major project, really go for it and make it worth your time, effort, and $$ investment.

Best of luck! 👍
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Old 04-11-2018, 10:52 PM
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I've pulled 2 motors out of C5s didn't have to touch the subframe, torque tube still in the car. We unbolted the bellhousing from the motor, leaving the torque tube attached to the bellhousing. You can get to the top bellhousing bolts from the top with the intake off. We pulled the shifter, and supported the torque tube with a jack stand near the top of the tunnel.

You don't have to pull the motor to do a timing chain, oil pump and cam.

If the motor isn't burning oil and gets good #s on a compression test, I wouldn't see doing a mild heads and cam as crazy. A friend is running HPDEs with about the same miles on a '00 with 243s/FAST92/CamMotion Titan 4 (227/232)

If you want a budget set up, the TEA heads for sale here in C5 parts are a good buy and would work well with a BTR stage 2 cam for sale used on LS1tech, add a LS6 intake, and some headers. I'd do some Morel drop in lifters, new lifter trays, cam retainer plate, some house brand (TSP, Tick) pushrods, oil pump and a timing chain set. 425-435rwhp would not surprise me.

Last edited by 93Polo; 04-11-2018 at 11:06 PM.
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Old 04-11-2018, 11:44 PM
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Originally Posted by TastyBacon View Post
An LS2 cam isn't a drop-in/bolt-in replacement for an LS1. To install it, you'll need a new cam gear, front cover, and cam sensor in addition to the new valve springs and gaskets. Example: http://www.nookandtranny.com/mm5/mer...ode=VALVETRAIN

If you were talking about an LS6 cam, I'd say "sure, go for it" but needing to buy all this extra stuff just to install the LS2 cam makes not worthwhile in my opinion.
If I am not mistaken the '05 LS2 is a Gen III engine with the 24X setup, while the '06-07 LS2 was a Gen IV engine with the 58X setup. So the really question is which LS2 camshaft is the OP talking about concerning if it is a direct swap into a Gen III engine. And yes the LS2 camshaft specifications match those of the '01 LS6 camshaft.

Last edited by JHrinsin; 04-11-2018 at 11:45 PM.
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Old 04-12-2018, 10:38 AM
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The 05 LS2 cam position sensor is the same signal but it moved from the back of the camshaft to the front on the cam gear.

https://www.lingenfelter.com/PDFdown...L460065397.pdf

The move from 24x to 58x varied by platform LPE did a good job of documenting the move.

Last edited by 93Polo; 04-12-2018 at 10:39 AM.
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Old 04-12-2018, 01:01 PM
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I'd look at making the motor more efficient rather than swapping parts. Cold air intake, headers, exhaust will net you way more than such a small cam change. What I would do in your case would be to upgrade the valve train. Hardened pushrods (the stockers can flex), springs, and either aftermarket 1.8 rockers to increase lift, or at least putting a trunnion kit in your stockers. And new lifters probably wouldn't hurt, either.
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Old 04-12-2018, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by sstonebreaker View Post
I'd look at making the motor more efficient rather than swapping parts. Cold air intake, headers, exhaust will net you way more than such a small cam change. What I would do in your case would be to upgrade the valve train. Hardened pushrods (the stockers can flex), springs, and either aftermarket 1.8 rockers to increase lift, or at least putting a trunnion kit in your stockers. And new lifters probably wouldn't hurt, either.
I do have a Vararam VrB2 intake with LG 1 3/4 LG Super Pro high flow catted x pipe, no mufflers. Not tuned though, would that make a big difference?
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Old 04-12-2018, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Scholioso View Post
Hey guys. So as the title says, I'm looking at putting a ls2 cam in my 97 ls1. Now I know some of you are going to say well it's not worth it, etc. But let me explain my thoughts.

I have a 97 (168,000 miles) which has the worst flowing 806 heads. On top of that, I also have the standard ls1 intake manifold. Just to upgrade to used 799 or 243 heads is around $500. Plus a used ls6 intake manifold, that's another $300. So now I'm at $800 just to be closer to a ls6. Now, if I go all out like everyone recommends, a cam kit is around $700. So now I'm at $1500 in parts for a used high mileage engine that may or may not last. And since I believe in preventative maintenance, I would want to do a Melling 10295 oil pump to ensure it lives, well thats another $100. So $1600 now. To put that puppy in, either lift the motor, or drop the cradle. At this point, at $1600 & about another hour of work to just pull the motor, I'd go all out & just buy a ls3 to drop in. That's how I look at it.

Now that I've explained myself, I'm trying to stay as budget friendly as possible. My buddy has a 06 GTO which he cammed, & he said I could have his old cam. So I started to do some research.
LS1: 202/210 .472"/.479" lift on 117 LSA
LS2: 204/211 .525"/.525" lift on 117.5 LSA
It's more aggressive than my stock 97 ls1 cam, but at the same time not aggressive enough that I would worry about longevity/reliability. If I were to do this, I would get the better ls6 valvesprings.

My question is would the cost of some valve springs & gaskets be worth it? Or should I just continue to drive it as is & save up for that LS3? Thanks!
Richard Holdener tested those cams against one another. The LS2 cam made 20 more HP than the LS1 camshaft and extended the RPM range about 600 RPM.
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Old 04-12-2018, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Scholioso View Post
I do have a Vararam VrB2 intake with LG 1 3/4 LG Super Pro high flow catted x pipe, no mufflers. Not tuned though, would that make a big difference?
No till you add headers. Intake and exhaust will give you 10-15 hp, headers can give you another 20-30. Add 1.8 rockers and you will pick up 10-15 more. That's 50 hp without doing the cam.
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Old 04-12-2018, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by cammotion perf View Post
Richard Holdener tested those cams against one another. The LS2 cam made 20 more HP than the LS1 camshaft and extended the RPM range about 600 RPM.
Dang, that's a lot more than I was expecting. Must be mostly added lift.
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Old 04-12-2018, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by sstonebreaker View Post
No till you add headers. Intake and exhaust will give you 10-15 hp, headers can give you another 20-30. Add 1.8 rockers and you will pick up 10-15 more. That's 50 hp without doing the cam.
The duration #s are very close between the 2 cams, 1.8 rockers puts the lift at .507, 1.85 would be .521265 if my math is correct. If I remember correctly stock rockers are 1.7s. You should be fine on LS6 springs.

Last edited by 93Polo; 04-12-2018 at 04:53 PM.
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Old 04-13-2018, 01:08 AM
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Originally Posted by 93Polo View Post
The duration #s are very close between the 2 cams, 1.8 rockers puts the lift at .507, 1.85 would be .521265 if my math is correct. If I remember correctly stock rockers are 1.7s. You should be fine on LS6 springs.
So you are suggesting to put ls6 springs & 1.8 rockers in the ls1 without doing a cam swap & then tune it, correct? That will pick up around 50hp alone?
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