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Speed Secrets: Is A Bigger Cam Always Better?

Today, we’re going to take a look back at test the team at Speed Secrets did some time ago, but it still applies, and sometimes needs to be revisited. Essentially, the team is setting out to show how using a more and more aggressive cam comes with its trade offs. Specifically, the more and more top end power you gain from a high lift, aggressive cam grind, the more you lose down low in low speed torque. While everyone wants both, there’s usually a point where you have to compromise. So let’s see how the team’s test engine performed putting this theory to the test. 

A 5.7-liter LS1 up on the dyno ready to be put to work, and it already got a set of long tube headers, beehive springs, and XFi management. The first cam to put to the test is the .558/.583 lift XR265HR cam. This cam is a nice choice for a good balance of horsepower and torque. 

Moving onto the bigger cam option, the XR275HR. This cam has a .566/.566 lift split. Now we start seeing some major power, but we also see the costs down low. 

Now let’s go really big with the XER281HR. This potent cam has a .595/.598 lift and really bumps up the power. Now the engine is pushing out over 500 horsepower, but the torque drops off even more at this point. 

The bottom line: When you’re looking at a camshaft, look at more than just the peak power!

Get more industry insight on horsepower here:

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