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Unlock Horsepower: Comp Cam Selection Guide for Optimal Performance

Unlock Horsepower Comp Cam Selection Guide For Optimal Performance

Rev up your engines and get ready for the ultimate ride with the Comp Cam Selection Guide.

Here’s a breakdown to help you navigate the Comp Cam selection process:

1. Understand Cam Types:

  • Hydraulic Roller Cams: Great for street performance and emissions compliance. Smooth operation and low maintenance.
  • Flat Tappet Cams: Offer the most power potential but require higher maintenance and may not pass emissions regulations.
  • Solid Roller Cams: High-performance option for race engines and high-RPM applications. Require frequent valve adjustments.

2. Determine the primary use of your vehicle

street driving, drag racing, autocross, or a combination. Identify your performance goals, such as increased horsepower, torque, or a specific RPM range.

3.  Consider the Basics

Duration: Longer duration cams generally increase high-end power but can reduce low-end torque. Shorter duration cams offer better low-end torque.

Lift: Higher lift cams open the valves more, allowing more air and fuel into the combustion chamber, which can increase power.

4. Engine Type: Gather Engine Information

  • Engine size (displacement)
  • Bore and stroke
  • Compression ratio
  • Intake manifold type
  • Exhaust headers type
  • RPM range you plan to use (idle to redline)
  • Any aftermarket modifications (nitrous oxide, supercharger/turbocharger)
  • Transmission type and rear gear ratio

5.  RPM Range

Choose a camshaft that matches your desired RPM range. A cam designed for low-end torque might not be suitable for high-revving applications.

6.  Valve Train Compatibility

Ensure that the camshaft is compatible with your existing or planned valve train components, such as lifters, springs, and retainers.

7.  Street or Track:

  • For street use, you may want a cam that provides good low and mid-range power without sacrificing too much drivability.
  • For track use, focus on a cam that maximizes top-end power within the engine’s limits.

8.  Fuel Injection or Carbureted:

Different camshafts may be required depending on whether your engine is fuel-injected or carbureted.

9.  Camshaft Series:

Comp Cams offers various series of camshafts, such as Xtreme Energy, Thumpr, Magnum, and more. Each series is designed for specific applications, so choose the one that aligns with your goals.

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What is a Comp Cams?

Comp Cams, officially known as Competition Cams, is a company specializing in aftermarket performance parts for automotive, motorcycle, and kart engines. While they offer a variety of components, they are most renowned for their high-performance camshafts.

Camshafts are crucial engine components that control the opening and closing of valves, ultimately influencing airflow and engine performance. Comp Cams designs and manufactures camshafts specifically for enhanced power, torque, and overall engine performance. They offer a wide range of camshafts catering to various needs and applications, from mild street performance upgrades to full-blown racing engines.

In essence, Comp Cams is a go-to brand for enthusiasts and professionals seeking to unlock the full potential of their engines through performance-enhancing camshafts.

What is a Comp Cams

Camshaft Lift

Camshaft lift, also known as valve lift, refers to the maximum distance the camshaft’s lobes move the lifters (or tappets), which in turn control the movement of the engine’s valves. In simpler terms, it measures how much the valves are lifted off their seats during each cycle of the engine.

Here’s a deeper dive into camshaft lift:

Types of Lift:

  • Gross Lift: This is the total distance the valve opens, measured from the base circle of the camshaft to the highest point of the lobe. It’s the most commonly used value when discussing camshaft specifications.
  • Net Lift: This takes into account the rocker arm ratio. Since rocker arms amplify the camshaft’s movement, the net lift is the actual distance the valve opens at the valve stem.

Impact of Lift:

  • Higher lift allows for more air and fuel flow, which can lead to increased horsepower, particularly at higher RPMs. This increased air and fuel mixture can lead to improved engine performance, especially at higher RPMs. However, it can also come at the expense of low-end torque and drivability.
  • Lower lift promotes better low-end torque and idle quality but may limit peak horsepower potential.

Camshaft Duration

Camshaft duration refers to the total time (measured in crankshaft degrees) that a valve remains open during each engine cycle.

Here’s a closer look:

Understanding Duration:

  • Imagine the crank turning 360 degrees for a complete engine cycle. Camshaft duration specifies the degrees within which a valve stays open.
  • Longer duration allows the valve to remain open for a longer period, enabling more air and fuel intake/exhaust, potentially boosting power at higher RPMs.
  • However, excessively long duration can hurt low-end torque and drivability due to reduced cylinder pressure buildup at lower RPMs.

Types of Duration:

  • Advertised Duration: This is the total duration measured at a specific valve lift (often 0.050″ for camshaft comparison), but it doesn’t tell the whole story.
  • Intake Duration at .050″: This is the standard measurement for comparing cams across different manufacturers, indicating the duration at the pre-defined 0.050″ lift point.
  • Exhaust Duration at .050″: Similar to intake duration, this specifies the exhaust valve open time at the 0.050″ lift point.

Impact of Duration:

  • Increased Intake Duration: Leads to more air intake, potentially boosting high-RPM power but sacrificing low-end torque.
  • Increased Exhaust Duration: Improves exhaust scavenging, enhancing high-RPM power but affecting idle quality and low-RPM performance.

 The intake duration is how long the intake valve is open, and the exhaust duration is for the exhaust valve. If it’s longer, you get more power at high RPMs, but you might sacrifice some low-end torque. Finding the right duration is like tuning your engine’s personality for the way you want to drive.

Camshaft Lobe Separation

Camshaft lobe separation angle (LSA) is another key factor in tuning an engine’s performance and drivability. It plays a crucial role in determining how the intake and exhaust valve events overlap, ultimately influencing power output, idle quality, and emissions.

Camshaft Lobe Separation

Here’s a breakdown of LSA and its effects:

Understanding LSA:

  • LSA is measured in degrees of crankshaft rotation and represents the angle between the centerlines of the intake and exhaust lobes on the camshaft.
  • A lower LSA (narrower angle) translates to more valve overlap, where both intake and exhaust valves are open simultaneously for a longer period.
  • A higher LSA (wider angle) results in less valve overlap, meaning less time when both valves are open together.

Impact of LSA:

  • Lower LSA:
    • Increased high-RPM power: More overlap improves high-rpm scavenging and exhaust flow.
    • Rougher idle and lower emissions: Overlap reduces cylinder pressure at low RPM, affecting idle quality and potentially failing emissions tests.
    • Improved throttle response: Increased vacuum signal can lead to sharper throttle response.
  • Higher LSA:
    • Improved low-end torque and drivability: Less overlap promotes better cylinder pressure buildup at lower RPMs, boosting low-end torque and smoother operation.
    • Reduced high-RPM power: Less overlap limits exhaust scavenging, potentially decreasing peak power output.
    • Smoother idle and higher emissions: Reduced overlap improves idle quality and potentially passes emissions tests.

Camshaft lobe separation is how far apart the intake and exhaust lobes are on the camshaft. It affects engine performance and sound. Wider separation can give more low-end power and a lumpy idle, while a narrower gap might boost high-end performance. It’s like tuning the heartbeat of your engine.

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Comp Cam Selection Guide: Attention To Details

When it comes to enhancing your engine’s performance, Comp Cams stands out as a trusted brand offering high-quality camshafts. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you make an informed purchase:

Comp Cam Selection Guide Attention To Details

1. Determine Your Goals

Define your engine performance goals. Whether it’s street driving, racing, or a balance of both, understanding your objectives is crucial.

2. Research Comp Cams Products

Explore Comp Cams’ range of camshafts. Visit their official website or catalog to understand the specifications and applications of each product.

3. Understand Camshaft Basics

Familiarize yourself with camshaft terminology – lift, duration, lobe separation angle. This knowledge is essential for selecting the right cam for your needs.

4. Use Comp Cams’ Online Tools

Utilize Comp Cams’ online resources, including the camshaft selection guide and serial number lookup tool. These tools provide detailed information about camshaft specifications and compatibility.

5. Consider Your Engine Type

Different engines may require different camshafts. Consider the specifics of your engine, such as size, type, and existing modifications.

6. Choose the Right Type of Camshaft

Comp Cams offers various camshaft types, including hydraulic, solid, and roller. Select the type that best suits your engine and performance goals.

7. Consider Your Budget

Camshaft prices vary. Establish a budget and choose a Comp Cam that meets your performance requirements without exceeding your financial limits.

8. Installation and Tuning

Consider the installation and tuning aspects. Some camshafts may require additional modifications or adjustments for optimal performance.

Comp Cam Spec Chart

What Is A Good Cam Duration?

Selecting the best cam duration is subjective and depends on your engine and driving preferences. For a balanced performance, a common range is 200-50 degrees for street use. High-performance or racing setups may go beyond 250 degrees.

Comp Cam Serial Number Lookup

Comp Cams’ online tool simplifies camshaft verification by allowing users to enter the serial number and quickly access detailed specifications. This feature proves invaluable for engine builders and enthusiasts ensuring precise alignment with their engine requirements.

Comp Cam Sounds

Comp Cams, a leader in the industry, crafts camshafts with distinctive sounds influenced by factors like lobe design and duration. Listening to Comp Cams provides enthusiasts with a sensory preview of their engine’s performance characteristics.

Camshaft Calculation Formula

The camshaft calculation formula, Camshaft Duration = (Opening Point + Closing Point) / 2, is essential for understanding a camshaft’s performance characteristics.

 This calculation aids engine builders and enthusiasts in selecting the most suitable camshaft for their specific needs.

Camshaft Calculator

Comp Cams’ online camshaft calculator streamlines the selection process. Users input engine details, performance goals, and preferences, receiving suggestions for camshaft specifications that align with their unique requirements.

Does A Cam Improve Performance?

Yes, a camshaft can significantly improve engine performance. By optimizing the timing of the opening and closing of the engine’s valves, a well-selected camshaft can enhance horsepower, torque, and overall efficiency. It’s a key component for achieving specific performance goals and tailoring the engine’s characteristics to the desired application, whether it’s street driving or racing.

Does A Cam Improve Performance

Read Also 4 Best Hydraulic Flat Tappet Lifters For Enhanced Engine Performance

Is Comp Cam A Good Brand?

Yes, Comp Cams is widely regarded as a reputable and high-quality brand in the automotive aftermarket industry. Known for innovative camshaft designs and top-notch engineering, Comp Cams products are often trusted by enthusiasts, engine builders, and racers alike. The brand has built a solid reputation for delivering performance-enhancing components.

Does A Cam Make A Difference?

Absolutely, a camshaft can make a substantial difference in an engine’s performance. The camshaft determines the timing and duration of valve openings, directly impacting airflow and combustion. A well-matched camshaft can improve horsepower, torque, throttle response, and overall drivability. The choice of a camshaft is a crucial factor in optimizing an engine for specific needs and preferences.

How Much Is A Good Camshaft?

The cost of a good camshaft can vary based on factors such as brand, material, and intended use. In general, prices can range from around $100 to $500 or more. High-performance or racing camshafts tend to be at the higher end of the spectrum.

It’s essential to consider the specific requirements of your engine and the goals you want to achieve when selecting a camshaft, ensuring that it is a good fit for your application.


How Do I Know What Comp Cam I Have?

Visit Comp Cams’ website and use their serial number lookup tool for detailed specifications.

How Do I Choose A Cam Duration?

Consider your engine’s use – longer duration for high-end power, shorter for better low-end torque.

How Do I Choose A High-Performance Camshaft?

Define your performance goals, consult experts, and select a camshaft that matches your engine’s needs.

What Is A Comp Cam Used For?

Comp Cams are used to optimize engine performance by controlling valve timing and lift.

How Do You Measure A Camshaft?

Measure camshaft specs using a degree wheel, dial indicator, and a basic understanding of the engine’s rotation.

Where Is A Cam Used?

Camshafts are commonly used in internal combustion engines to control valve movement.

How Do You Determine the Right Camshaft?

Consider factors like engine type, use, and preferences. Consult with experts for personalized advice.

How to Pick a Camshaft SBC?

For a Small Block Chevy (SBC), consider engine specs, intended use, and desired performance characteristics.

What Are the Common Cam Types?

Common cam types include hydraulic, solid, and roller camshafts, each with specific applications.

What Are Cam Numbers?

Cam numbers typically refer to part or serial numbers used to identify specific camshaft specifications.

How Do You Measure Cam Specs?

Cam specs include lift, duration, and lobe separation angle, measured using specialized tools.

How Do You Match Cam and Head?

Ensure compatibility between cam and cylinder head specifications for optimal performance.

What Is A Good Cam Pressure Angle?

A good cam pressure angle is typically around 50-54 degrees for effective valve control.

What Is the RPM Range of a Cam?

The RPM range of a camshaft depends on its design, with some optimized for low-end torque and others for high-end power.


The Comp Cam Selection Guide is your key to unlocking peak performance. Comp Cams, a high-performance camshaft expert, ensures your engine roars with innovation and quality. From understanding lift, duration, and lobe separation to using online tools for precise selection, the guide simplifies the process.

Whether you’re a pro or a novice, Comp Cams caters to your needs. Their diverse camshaft range, backed by a trusted brand, promises to elevate your driving experience. So, rev up and hit the road with Comp Cams – your engine’s journey to greatness begins now!

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