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Camshaft Research and Question

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Old 11-11-2017, 07:32 AM   #1
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For a future build, I am looking into what type of camshaft would be the optimum choice for a daily driver. A camshaft that focuses on low end to mid-range torque production from idle on up to 5000 RPM, a camshaft with a smooth stock idle, a "sleeper" if you will, that can maintain stock emissions and fuel economy. After diving into some very mild camshaft upgrades, I am curious to get your opinions on which of the camshaft choices I am looking at will be a solid choice for the future build I have in mind. The motor I have is a second-generation LT1, but I would like to build it to behave like the L98 with the same focus on low end to mid-range torque production from idle on up to 5000 RPM.

The Camshafts I am looking at are:

TPIS Super L98
220/220 @ .050" Duration
.420/.420 Lift
112 Lobe Seperation

Lloyd Elliot LT1 Custom
212/222 @ .050" Duration
.563/.562 Lift
114 Lobe Seperation

GM ZZ4
Quoting jackson on the Corvette Forum,
GMPP ZZ4 OE roller cam specs 208*/221* @ 0.050", .474"/.510" valve lift w/ 1.5:1 RAR, 112* LSA.

As per the Smokin Vette forum, quoting Bad Karma,

1985-1986:
Duration @ 0.050 202/206 Lift with 1.5 R 403/415 Lobe Seperation 114.5

CAM 87 L98 14093643 Dur In/Exh 294'/294' [email protected]" 202'/206' Lift (w/1.5) .403"/.415" LobSep 114.5'
CAM 88-89 L98 10066049 In/Exh [email protected]" 207'/213' Lift (w/1.5) .415"/.430" LobSep 117'
CAM 90-91 L98 10111773 In/Exh [email protected]" 202'/207' Lift (w/1.5) .413"/.428" LobSep 114.5'

92 LT1 205/207 @ 0.050" .451"/.450" Lift, LSA 117
93-95 LT1 202/207 @ 0.050" .450"/.460" Lift, LSA 116
96 LT1 200/207 @ 0.050" .447"/.459" LSA 117
96 LT4 203/210 @ 0.050" .475"/.479" LSA 115


With all of this information, I notice the GM ZZ4 has damn near the same specs as the LT4. So, pretty much I am clueless as to what camshaft or camshafts would be the ideal choice for the build I have in mind. So, here is where I ask for your wisdom and input to help me make an eventual educated choice. On a last note, the LT1 motor will likely utilize aftermarket heads with emphasis on port velocity performance over flow number alone, it will utilize long tube headers that can equip emissions devices and oxygen sensors and is optimized for low end torque, California catalytic converters must be used, and the exhaust system after the catalytic converters I would like to be a custom true dual Magnaflow set-up linked by an H-pipe.
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Old 11-11-2017, 07:42 AM   #2
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Sound advice can’t be given without knowing exactly what heads will be ran. Some aftermarket heads will want different valve events than others or different valve events versus ported stock heads, etc. I would suggest going with a Lloyd Elliott custom grind once you determine what heads you will run that way the cam can be designed to work optimal given all of the parameters of your setup. Until then, it’s really a crap shoot.
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Old 11-11-2017, 10:22 AM   #3
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215/224 .533 lift on a 112lsa feels like a stroker motor. Great low rpm torque even at 1200-2000rpm. Once i hit 3500-4500rpm i have enough torque to smoke the tires past 50mph.
This was speced by LE for my stock headed full bolt on car.
Take the advise given in prior responses, have lloyd spec the cam to your set up, and needs.
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Old 11-11-2017, 11:03 AM   #4
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Hi, as stated little information

My guess, 216/228 .550"/.524" on a 116 C/L

Lance
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Old 11-11-2017, 09:13 PM   #5
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Thank you guys. I was thinking of using the Dart 180cc Pro 1, since it is supposed to have good port velocity for low end torque and is not over ported when you receive it. Some other advice I have received is that any cam with the low end torque from Idle on up to the mid-range won't work well with my LT1 intake. How true is this? I actually did find a guy who installed a ZZ4 cam on his LT1, but that was on a Chevy Pick-up. I didn't really hear any complaints from him.

This is why I am researching this early on because what I plan to do is going to give me headaches with the all problems it poses.
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Old 11-12-2017, 08:33 AM   #6
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Phoenix, With your desire for "up to 5000 rpm" performance and concern for CA-type emissions compliance, you're on the right track with the cam sizes being considered.
Of your initial list, the LE custom and the ZZ4 are the only ones I would consider. Add to that the LE cam that 350groundpounder mentioned. Discount the others.
None of the production GM cams you listed will be any significant upgrade over your stock LT1 cam. The ZZ4 is a lot better than the LT4 cam. The LT4 is spec'd with 1.6 rockers and gives up a lot of torque by virtue of its conservative lobes on that wide 115 LSA.
It's tough to filter the bs from the valid advice on forums. As was already said above, the sure-fire road to success is to go with LE's recommended cam based on your cylinder head characteristics and static CR.
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Old 11-12-2017, 11:19 AM   #7
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it will utilize long tube headers that can equip emissions devices and oxygen sensors and is optimized for low end torque, California catalytic converters must be used....
You can't do that in smog counties in CA, if that's where you are. The cats cannot move from the factory location to remain compliant.
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Old 11-12-2017, 12:08 PM   #8
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Phoenix, With your desire for "up to 5000 rpm" performance and concern for CA-type emissions compliance, you're on the right track with the cam sizes being considered.
Of your initial list, the LE custom and the ZZ4 are the only ones I would consider. Add to that the LE cam that 350groundpounder mentioned. Discount the others.
None of the production GM cams you listed will be any significant upgrade over your stock LT1 cam. The ZZ4 is a lot better than the LT4 cam. The LT4 is spec'd with 1.6 rockers and gives up a lot of torque by virtue of its conservative lobes on that wide 115 LSA.
It's tough to filter the bs from the valid advice on forums. As was already said above, the sure-fire road to success is to go with LE's recommended cam based on your cylinder head characteristics and static CR.
Yeah, I am thinking the LE cam may be what I am looking for, a noticeable improvement over stock, adding to the street driving "fun" of my motor, yet tame enough to pass for a stock cam.
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Old 11-12-2017, 12:13 PM   #9
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You can't do that in smog counties in CA, if that's where you are. The cats cannot move from the factory location to remain compliant.
I live in New York, but even then what I want to do is still technically illegal even if the car will pass emissions through-and-through as if it still used the factory y-pipe and short exhaust manifold.

This is where I intend to petition my state representatives on this issue. If a person can equip their motor vehicle with currently "illegal" long tube headers BUT such aftermarket headers can equip the factory emissions devices, oxygen sensors, AND use California grade catalytic converters, can it THEN be declared legal for use in compliance with emissions standards and federal and state mandates?

It doesn't hurt to try when my goals emphasize making my LT1 more fuel efficient by optimizing my motor for lower end power for daily driving!
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Old 11-12-2017, 01:08 PM   #10
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1. decide on what heads you want
2. Contact LE about your goals and heads you select
3. Listen to LE on "if" you go with Dart and take his advice on what he would do with the Dart...or use something else. Lloyd will provide a custom cam to suit your goals

On the emission thing (IDK what NY has) but climbing that mountain of the Govt crap IMHO is a no win deal
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Old 11-12-2017, 05:18 PM   #11
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1. decide on what heads you want
2. Contact LE about your goals and heads you select
3. Listen to LE on "if" you go with Dart and take his advice on what he would do with the Dart...or use something else. Lloyd will provide a custom cam to suit your goals

On the emission thing (IDK what NY has) but climbing that mountain of the Govt crap IMHO is a no win deal
It seems like I will have to go this route in order to get my stock intake to work correctly with this kind of set-up emphasising lower end torque.

With regards to the government appeal, it is worth a shot. In New York, they don't require a visual inspection but they have adopted California emissions standards. I don't require a California catalytic converter on my car due to it's age and before the recent emissions standard was passed, but the car still has to pass emissions. Yes, the very mild camshaft should not require a California catalytic converter but I am volunteering to do it since I do care about emissions. So it is a another thing to factor in with this build.
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Old 11-12-2017, 06:12 PM   #12
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Lt1 stock intake supports plenty of trq/hp. Lloyd can also port match the intake to your heads.
i too was concerned about low end trq as my tiny 215/224 cam shows but i really fell in love with mid range torque now. That hard hit from 3000-4500rpm is way funner than any torque below 2500rpm.
Only regret i have is keeping my heads stock "3 angle valve job" instead of going with his LE1 heads.
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Old 11-12-2017, 06:21 PM   #13
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This is where I intend to petition my state representatives on this issue.
Yea, good luck with that. Your vehicle was already "optimized" for fuel efficiency and emissions by engineers and built that way by the factory, as far as CARB is concerned.
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Old 11-12-2017, 08:20 PM   #14
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my vote is lpe 211/219 cam. good ported heads, long tubes and supporting bolt ons should net you around 350rwhp with stock exhaust which basically starts from idle to your target rpm. torque and power curves behave basically like stock only higher. also LE is not the only game in town. talk to AI as well as gallant technical performance.
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Old 11-13-2017, 09:37 AM   #15
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my vote is lpe 211/219 cam. good ported heads, long tubes and supporting bolt ons should net you around 350rwhp with stock exhaust which basically starts from idle to your target rpm. torque and power curves behave basically like stock only higher. also LE is not the only game in town. talk to AI as well as gallant technical performance.
Thank you for the additional referrals. I do need to do my homework on this one to make sure all the supporting mods will compliment the other.

OH yeah, I was also given the suggestion to use a Vortec L31 camshaft on my LT1, with supporting mods, to give me my desired performance, in addition to sticking with my stock intake manifold. I take it the LPE would still be the better choice?
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Old 11-13-2017, 09:57 AM   #16
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Whoever gave you the suggestion to use an L31 cam,....stop getting advice from them!
Seriously, it would be a step backward from the stock cam. 191/195 duration and it's done long before 5000 rpm.
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Old 11-13-2017, 10:20 AM   #17
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Whoever gave you the suggestion to use an L31 cam,....stop getting advice from them!
Seriously, it would be a step backward from the stock cam. 191/195 duration and it's done long before 5000 rpm.
It goes to show not all advice is good advice, especially with what I am trying to do with my LT1, consider it a joke or not. Thank you!
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Old 11-13-2017, 10:35 AM   #18
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I don’t want to change the subject to gears but I can’t help to think that a set of 3.90s or 4.10s along with an stump puller grind such as the Crane 227, LPE 211/219, or equivalent would make for one hell of a fun DD. I think it would satisfy your torque needs quite well. If it were me I’d do the above and save the coin by keeping your stock heads on there. Pulling heads can be a PITA but you could take it a step further if you wanted to and pop on some Impala SS .028” thickness head gaskets or Victor Reinz .026” gaskets to lower the quench distance which will increase compression and decrease detonation. Increased compression will deliver sharper throttle response and increased torque. Could also mill the heads for additional compression gains. Just my .02
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Old 11-13-2017, 10:51 AM   #19
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I take it the LPE would still be the better choice?
Very much so. Your stock intake will do fine. Many have used a stock intake on much more aggressive setups with great results. After reading my last comment I was not very clear on the power numbers.
With stock CID, I had LPE ported heads and intake with the 211/219 cam and shorty headers going through a stock y-pipe. The car made 350 rwhp and rwtq. Car did a best of 12.55 @ 110mph in good air with a 3750 race weight. I then went with Hooker LT's with an off-road y-pipe and made 370rwhp and 355rwtq. Car did a best of 12.09 @ 115.5mph in good air of course with the same race weight. Power peaked at 5800rpm. Best shift points were 6200rpm.
Total sleeper for its time.
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I don’t want to change the subject to gears but I can’t help to think that a set of 3.90s or 4.10s along with an stump puller grind such as the Crane 227, LPE 211/219,
Gears should never be overlooked when influencing the power and torque curves. With the low profile cams on a manual car one should probably stick with a 3.73 gear and a 3.42 for auto. I had 4.10's on my LPE setup and found out they were slowing me down in the 1/4. Changed to 3.73's and it gained over 1mph and shaved ~.10th through the traps all the while producing the same 60' times.
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Old 11-13-2017, 11:01 AM   #20
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It will do fine. Many have used a stock intake on much more aggressive setups with great results. After reading my last comment I was not very clear on the power numbers.
With stock CID, I had LPE ported heads and intake with the 211/219 cam and shorty headers going through a stock y-pipe. The car made 350 rwhp and rwtq. Car did a best of 12.55 @ 110mph in good air with a 3750 race weight. I then went with Hooker LT's with an off-road y-pipe and made 370rwhp and 355rwtq. Car did a best of 12.09 @ 115.5mph in good air of course with the same race weight. Power peaked at 5800rpm. Best shift points were 6200rpm.
Total sleeper for its time.

Gears should never be overlooked when influencing the power and torque curves. With the low profile cams on a manual car one should probably stick with a 3.73 gear and a 3.42 for auto. I had 4.10's on my LPE setup and found out they were slowing me down in the 1/4. Changed to 3.73's and it gained over 1mph and shaved ~.10th through the traps all the while producing the same 60' times.
It seems very, very promising and would satisfy my performance goal while allowing me to keep my stock intake. I admit, I had it all wrong with looking at the intake but so long as I can achieve those kinds of numbers and have my LT1 behave like an TPI L98, I will be happy.

I am sure 350 on up to 370 RWHP down low on the RPM band should make me more than happy and if it will pull hard up until where it peaks for when I have my fun from a green light once in awhile.
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