Friday, May 1, 2009

Cam Shaft Upgrade - Part I

For a while now I have been wanting a cam-shaft upgrade. Several other people who have gone this route have managed to get low to mid 400 HP/TQ numbers and that is just VERY appealing! The big factor was though: Do I keep DOD (Displacement on Demand - where the engine can run in 4 cylinder mode to save fuel) or do I get rid of it? The consensus seems to be that DOD is possibly more hassle than it's worth, and having noticed that it barely came on for me anyway (must be the way I drive ;) ) I decided to go with a Non-DOD cam upgrade.

As far as which vendor to go with it there were several big-name choices:

  • New-Era is the King when it comes to DOD Cams and they have a Non-DOD cam package as well. I had seen videos of ManOfSteel69's car with their Non-DOD cam and while it was 'cool' it just wasn't for me for some reason; it's NOT that one is better than the other or anything like that, but it's like car colors - sometimes you click and sometimes you don't.
  • Livernois seems to be a very popular choice for people. They upgrade the valve-springs to some type of dual-spring with new retainers etc. They also offer Valve-Jobs etc.
  • Vector Motorsports is another popular choice offering an optional Hollow-Stem LS3 Valve upgrade and they do valve-jobs too. Big Difference is also they use a beehive type valve spring vs the double type. Since they already did my tune and I have my powerflash coming from them I decided to just go through them for this upgrade.
As far as the parts go this is what I received:

  • 1x 12599296 - GM Valley Cover

  • 4x 12595365 - GM Lifter Tray

  • 1x 12557840 - GM Pulley Bolt (I have an ARP Bolt already though I can re-use)

  • 1x 12586481 - GM Camshaft Sprocket (+ 3x bolts 12556127)

  • 1x 12626407 - GM Timing Chain Tensioner

  • 16 PSI Valve Springs - Part# PSI-LS 1511ML

  • 16x AC Delco Lifters - Part# HL124/GM# 17122490

  • 1x ARP Bolt Head Kit - Part # 134-3610

  • 16x CompCams Pushrods - Part# 7795-16

  • 1x CompCams CamShaft - 228/228 115 LSA

  • Missing were a pair of Head Gaskets but Kirk@Vector got right on that.

If you have looked at other cams you'll notice that the 228/228 is lower than most other people's numbers. This is because I asked Kirk to give me a 'Supercharger Friendly' cam instead of a 'all-round' cam. This will mean that I'll probably end up with lower HP/TQ numbers than other people, but when I do get around to slapping on that supercharger things will work together better.

Since the stock timing-chain tensioner seems prone to breaking Charlie recommended I not use part 12626407 and instead get the LS2 Type Chain Dampener and a few other items which were:

1x 12579145 - LS2 PCV Outlet Plug
1x 12588670 - LS2 Timing Chain Dampener
2x 12617944 - Exhaust Manifold Gaskets
1x 12612350 - Oil Pan Gasket
1x 12574294 - Engine Front Cover Gasket
2x 12610311 - Coolant Pump Gasket
8x 12569427 - LS3 Hollow Stem Valves

Now some kits come with part 12594779 - which is a little bit of PCV Hose that runs from the LS2 valley cover to the side of the intake manifold. However since I'll be installing a catch-can at the same time that will sit right in the path of that hose I didn't order that part. You can see picture of the hose and how the catch-can takes it's place over at the Norris Motorsports catch can page.

Overall based on Crazy Paul's post on the forum it seems like I should have everything I need to get underway with the cam-Install except for a place to install it!

I've Contacted Norpac who did my Pedders install about doing this so hopefully they can; otherwise I may have to follow in the footsteps of BobTheMonkee and have a go at this myself in the garage!