The term “cam only” is popular in the LSX platform for good reason. Dollar for dollar it is the least expensive and simplest way to gain horsepower while retaining reliability. It also goes without saying another benefit of an aftermarket camshaft is making your car sound awesome. (But no one does a cam for just sound right? Right…..) In the world of car modification the general saying is $100 = one horse power gain. Therefore, with a parts cost of around $1,500 and average horse power gain of 60 horse power at the rear wheels (even higher gains on LS3, LS9, LSA) you can see why this is such a popular modification.
So you have decided you want to do a camshaft, now it’s time to make a list of parts you’ll need. There are quite a bit of parts on our recommended list that are “optional” however, everything listed in this article is highly recommended to replace when doing the installation.
We replace these parts during installation because with an upgraded camshaft your valve train will be experiencing more stress. Also, the oil pump and timing chain are replaced for cheap insurance in terms of protecting your engine. Stock head bolts are “torque to yield” which means they are a one-time use, replacement ARP hardware is reusable. Trunnion upgrade is replacement needle style bearings for the rockers because stock bearings have been known to fail with aftermarket camshafts. A wideband gauge is highly recommended because the car will need to be tuned after the install, without an AFR reading you will be tuning blind.
Essential Parts List:
3 bolt cam gear (Depending on year)
The standard pushrods size for LS engines (excluding LS7) is 7.400 however, you should always measure length with a pushrod checker. Our article on pushrods can be seen here. Camshaft selection is also an area that requires careful planning, camshaft article can be seen here. We hope this article has been useful, please share and email us with any questions!