5 Tips for Choosing the Right Camshaft

Selecting a specific type of camshaft and its location are critical choices for engine construction that must be taken before any other parts are developed or sourced. Here are some tips for choosing the right camshaft for your engine, which will determine the camshaft manufacturing company you may work with, whether it be in India or anywhere else in the world:

  • Basic Operating RPM Range

The RPM range is the range in which the engine runs optimally. Choose a camshaft design having an RPM range that corresponds to the other components of your vehicle and its planned use.

  • Lobe Separation Angle

The distance between the centerlines of the intake and exhaust lobes is measured as the Lobe Separation Angle (LSA). It’s measured in degrees of camshaft rotation. It indicates where the peaks of the lobes are located on the camshaft.

LSA influences cam behavior; given lift and duration statistics, changing the LSA yields cams with dramatically varied timing profiles. In general, a cam with a broader LSA has less overlap between the opening and closing events of the intake and exhaust valves. This results in a more comprehensive RPM range, improved idle quality, and higher engine vacuum, but at the expense of decreased torque at low and medium RPMs.

  • Lift and Duration

The key parameters that determine a cam’s profile are lift and duration of the valve opening position. Lift is measured in fractions of an inch and represents the amount a cam lobe moves a valve away from its seat. The amount of time a cam keeps a valve open, measured in degrees of crank rotation, is known as duration.

Total open valve area is determined by combining lift and duration—the space available for air and fuel to move into and out of the combustion chamber. The greater the valve area that is open to flow, the more power an engine may potentially produce. 

  • Overhead Cam Considerations

Overhead cam engines use the same cam selection principles as non-overhead cam engines. The key distinction is how valve lift is calculated. Because overhead cam engines do not employ rocker arms, no lever effect may be used to enhance valve lift. As a result, the cam lift and valve lift are identical.

With an overhead cam, the only option to enhance lift is to lower the diameter of its base circle. Increasing the base circle also increases valve lash, necessitating higher lash caps on the valve stems to ensure adequate valve lash. This is a rather complicated operation, which is why you will find many street cams for overhead cam engines with different duration values but the same lift number.

  • Installed Centerline Angle (ICA)

The installed centerline measures the cam timing’s position about the crankshaft position of the engine. The crank degrees from TDC where the cam’s intake lobe reaches maximum lift is used to calculate this measurement. When a cam is installed straight up, its ICA equals the LSA. However, the cam’s ICA may be advanced or delayed relative to the crankshaft timing to get the required engine performance. 

Nonetheless, it varies greatly depending on the cam specifications and engine family. An experienced builder with a degree wheel is quite helpful in this situation. If you need to advance or retard a cam more than 2 degrees from what is advised, you most likely have the incorrect cam to begin with.

How can you ensure that you acquire a camshaft with the correct specifications for your engine now that you are aware of expected cam specs? You must find camshaft manufacturing companies in India with accurate vehicle information and the technology to manufacture camshafts according to your specifications.

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