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Camshafts… which one to choose?

Choosing the right camshaft can be both daunting and exciting, and is really the centrepiece of a performance built engine, so making an informed decision on the right camshaft the first time will stop the headaches later on.

We could go into detail on the ins and outs of camshaft design and how they work, but for most it just adds to the confusion of choosing a camshaft and really we’ve done the hard work with figuring out the finer details and specs so you don’t have to.

In saying that a very basic understanding of camshaft can help. A camshaft is nothing more than a billet shaft with a series of lobes strategically placed to open and close the valves by moving the lifters, pushrods, rocker arms and then the valves. The size, shape and placement of the lobes determines when all this happens and has a direct effect on the engines breathing characteristics and in turn determines the engines performance potential and the RPM range where the engine will make the most power and torque.

Really the secret to choosing the right camshaft that will deliver the kind of performance you want is to figure out the RPM range where the engine should make the most power and torque. The biggest mistake many people make is to over-cam an engine. Using a cam too big can have consequences. Everybody likes big numbers, but if the camshaft doesn’t really match the purpose you’re realistically will be using it for, you’ll end up with an engine that under performs where you want it too and completely fail to meet your expectations.

If you’re building a stroker engine with big cubes worked heads and you’re going to just be drag racing or burnouts, then obviously an engine like this will need a big cam with big duration, high lift and low Lobe Separation Angle. On the other hand, if you have an LS for a daily with an auto sitting behind it and stock diff gears, you’ll want a camshaft that has great drive ability with bucket loads of power and torque through the low- to mid-range which all comes from a smaller style camshaft.


In most cases, we have people looking for the biggest camshaft that has a really old choppy idle sound, which really is achieved with almost all of VCM Performances range of camshafts and can be further enhanced within the tune. So selecting a camshaft should be based on what will work for you and the setup you are wanting, with this the chop will come with it.

If you are still unsure use our LS Camshaft Selection Help Portal on our website and we can help point you in the right direction.