Q:

How do you check the specifications of a camshaft?

A:

Quick Answer

Many camshafts come with cards that define their individual specifications. If that card was misplaced, manufacturers such as Crower offer an online cam card finder. Enter the part number, and click the search button to display the camshaft's specifications.

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Full Answer

Camshaft specifications include lift, duration, lobe separation angle, dual-pattern cams and the type of lifter employed. Lift indicates how far the camshaft opens the vehicle's valves. Since this is the camshaft's main job, it shows how well it is working. Vehicles enhanced for street performance have lifts of 0.450 to 0.550 inches; a normal stock engine can handle a 0.500-inch lift.

Duration is the length of time that the camshaft is able to keep valves open. Duration is calculated in degrees of crankshaft rotation, and higher degrees indicate that valves are open longer. A longer duration increases power but decreases torque. Conversely, lower durations allow the vehicle to idle more efficiently by improving torque but sacrificing power.

The lobe separation angle defines the space between the intake and exhaust lobes. It is expressed in degrees, and a lower degree indicates a longer amount of time that the same cylinder's valves are open. However, lower degree separation angles often perform with midrange power.

Dual-pattern cams indicate that a camshaft has different specifications for both the intake and exhaust. These types of camshafts are useful when an engine's exhaust system is restricted.

The type of lifter can be a non-roller or a roller. Non-rollers are hydraulic and solid, and they are best employed in vehicles that are driven daily. Roller lifters are often found in vehicles dedicated to racing.

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