Even if you’ve improved your engine’s breathing capability with an intake, cylinder heads, headers, and performance exhaust system, you still won’t be getting the full benefit of these mods if the valves don’t open and close at the right time, or don’t open long enough or far enough to allow the optimal quantity of gases to flow. The camshaft controls valve operation, and few other components have as much impact on engine performance.

Featured Products



Featured Brands

OE camshafts are designed for the vehicle’s factory configuration, and if you’ve modified your vehicle and/or have specific performance goals, your engine can produce much more power with an aftermarket performance camshaft. From increased mileage to towing, better street performance and a “lumpy” idle, to all out racing, we have the right grind for every application including hydraulic and solid, flat tappet and roller lifters.

Along with the mods listed above, compression ratio, transmission type, differential gearing, and vehicle weight must be factored in when choosing a cam. Specs will vary, but in general performance camshafts have higher lift to open the valves further, increasing airflow and power. Performance camshafts also typically have longer duration – the valves are open longer, which increases high RPM power. Longer duration is typically accompanied by increased overlap (when both intake and exhaust valves are open), which can enhance cylinder filling at high RPM, but can also result in less vacuum for power accessories at low RPM.

Lobe Separation Angle (LSA), the number of camshaft degrees between the centerlines of the intake and exhaust lobes, is another spec you’ll encounter. In general, a camshaft with a tighter (smaller) LSA makes more torque at lower RPM and increases cylinder pressure; valve overlap is increased, with less idle vacuum and a rougher idle. A wider (larger) LSA reduces maximum torque but the power band is widened and peak torque occurs at a higher RPM. There is more vacuum at idle and idle quality is improved. A cam can also be advanced or retarded during installation to alter the RPM where peak power is delivered.

There are flat tappet and roller performance cams and the proper lifters much be used with each kind. Roller cams have much more aggressive ramp rates that would cause a flat tappet lifter to dig into the ramp. These ramp rates allow the valves to open faster and remain at high lift for most of the opening duration, which increases power. Roller cam and lifter kits are available to convert older flat tappet engines. Flat tappet cams should always be purchased in a kit that includes new lifters. As a rule, the entire valvetrain should be upgraded when a performance camshaft is installed, especially the valve springs.

Related Categories

Guides & Articles

  • Replacement Engine Parts
    Timing Gears, Chains And Belts Keep Your Camshaft Correctly Timed!
    Does your ride have timing gears, a timing belt, or a timing chain? Is one better than the other? And perhaps most importantly, do I need to be concerned about the recommendation to replace the timing belt at a certain mileage interval? Welcome to our discussion of "engine timing".
  • Replacement Engine Parts
    Glossary of Engine Internal Parts
    Internal combustion engines are extremely complex and feature a wide array of components that rotate, move up and down, pump, seal, or remain stationary. When repairing or rebuilding your engine, you will come across many different terms when referencing repair manuals and ordering parts. We know it can be confusing, especially when the repair is complex. Even if you are paying a professional to do the work, it’s good to be conversant with the topic. In order to help you understand the terminology of engine components, we’ve created the following glossary, listed in alphabetical order.

Browse by Vehicle

Performance Camshafts & Components Reviews

Average rating:  5  4.9 - 6 reviews
Read All Camshaft Reviews
5 of 5
Camshaft Solenoid Adjuster
Order, received & installed. All fast and easy.
JPosted by Jose M (Miami Beach, FL) /
2008 Audi TT
Was this review helpful for you? Yes
View More
SECURE SHOPPING

All manufacturer names, symbols, and descriptions, used in our images and text are used solely for identification purposes only.
It is neither inferred nor implied that any item sold by CARiD.com, is a product authorized by or in any way connected with any vehicle manufacturers displayed on this page.