Finding the best cam for 350 with Vortec heads is not a simple task.
There are just too many camshafts available in the market nowadays – all with varying levels of performance.
While it is of utmost importance to pick the best money can buy, there are other essential considerations to go over before ultimately deciding your pick.
Navigating through a labyrinth of brands and models that declare they are the perfect choice for your engine is frustrating.
And although it can somehow be an advantage to have a lot to choose from, it could also be the reason why it is difficult to make a final decision.
- A Complete Buying Guide of Top Best Cam For 350 With Vortec Heads 2023
- 01. Comp Cams 12-602-4 Big Mutha’ Thumpr Flat Cam
- 02. Edelbrock 2102 Camshaft and Lifter Kit
- 03. COMP Cams CL12-600-4 Thumpr Flat Cam and Lifter Kit
- 04. COMP Cams K54-412-11 Roller Cam K-Kit for GM LS GEN III/IV
- 05. Lunati 10120102LK Bare Bones Flat Cam/Lifter Kit for 262-400 Chevrolet Small Block
- What Is The Best Cam For 350 With Vortec Heads?
- Why COMP CAMS Is The Best Brand For CAM For 350 With Vortec Heads?
- Things to Consider Before Buying Best Cam For 350 With Vortec Heads
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About The Best Cam For 350 With Vortec Heads
- Q1: Do I really have to replace my camshaft?
- Q2: Which cam is perfect for my car?
- Q3: How much horsepower gain can I get?
- Q4: How do you recognize a bad engine camshaft?
- Q5: Does a camshaft make the car noisy?
- Q6: What damages a camshaft?
- Q7: Can I use old lifters with a new camshaft?
- Q8: What is lobe wear?
- Q9: Should I use a flat tappet or roller camshaft?
A Complete Buying Guide of Top Best Cam For 350 With Vortec Heads 2023
01. Comp Cams 12-602-4 Big Mutha’ Thumpr Flat Cam
- 3 unique grinds designs
- Horsepower and torque gains
- 25+ RWHP gain
- Excellent idle sound
- 2500-6400 RPM range
- Hydraulic Flat Tappet Lifter Type
Coming off at the top of this list as the best cam for 350 with vortec heads is Thumpr Comp Camshaft 12-602-4 Big Mutha’ Thumpr Hydraulic Flat Cam that comes in three uniquely designed grinds that are perfect for all your performance requirements.
It is an all-in-one package that offers top-notch exhaust note quality.
Comp Cams has been a market name for decades, and with the development of their Thumpr camshaft series, it is no wonder why they are the most sought-after brand in the competition.
Truly a head-turner, COMP Thumpr camshafts make use of a combination of long exhaust duration and timely valve opening overlap to create that unique exhaust note many performance enthusiasts look for.
What is even more appealing is you get all these gains in horsepower and torque curves without compromising your cars’ power output and durability, making it the best option even for muscle cars.
This works ideally with 2000+ and aftermarket rear gears and converters. Comp Cams allow greater power and speed range.
02. Edelbrock 2102 Camshaft and Lifter Kit
- Cast Cam/Hydraulic Lifter type
- Optimum Torque Performance
- Smooth idling cams
- 278/288 intake and exhaust duration
- 442/0.42 exhaust and intake valve lift
- 112 degree lobe separation
- Hardened steel lifter material
This performer plus camshaft 2102 from Edelbrock produces maximum torque performance in the low and mid-range tier.
This is specifically designed for 265-400 Chevy V8 engines that allow optimum torque power and capacity that allows smoother and improved throttle response, perfect for daily drivers of trucks, RVs, vans, and 4×4.
The Edelbrock Performer-plus camshaft package includes hardened steel hydraulic lifters, lube for assembly, and full instructions with power gain graphs in the manifolds section.
This cam is especially helpful to increase the torque of low compression engines, and even those with flat top pistons installed.
As advertised, this camshaft’s intake duration is at 278 degrees with a 288-degree counterpart exhaust duration.
Weighing at 14.15 pounds, it is comparatively heavier than the preceding item on this list.
It is a good value for money, for those looking for a mid/low range cam that performs well and gives excellent responsiveness.
03. COMP Cams CL12-600-4 Thumpr Flat Cam and Lifter Kit
- 2,000-5,800 RPM range
- 107 degree lobe separation
- 479 inches and 0.465 inches Valve Lift
- 227/241 duration/ at 0.050 inch
- Powerful exhaust note and excellent idle
- Most suitable for street rods and muscle cars
- Ideal for GEN 1 small blocks Chevrolet
COMP Cam proves to be a very reliable brand when it comes to aftermarket camshafts with this another entry.
The CL12-600-4 camshaft is a great choice to increase and improve the performance of your Chevy 350.
This cam provides the highest horsepower in relation to its price that is highly cost-effective.
This high RPM overlap operation of 2000 to 5800 works best for 2000+ converters and gears.
This, however, does not mean less compatibility with street stock converters of higher performance levels.
This is a huge advantage for those looking for high-quality performance without being picky about purchasing only the more expensive premium parts.
This camshaft is a complete package itself, as it comes with the full manual instruction, a lubricant for easy assembly, and of course, a full set of lifters.
With a feature like this, there is no need to buy any additional gears even for installation. It is definitely a money-saving quality, on top of everything performance-related you are getting.
Another reason that makes the COMP cam CL12-600-4 such a great choice is its wide range of compatibility for various 1st gen Chevy 350.
This includes the 262, 265, 267, 283, 302, 305, 307, 350, and 400. It also comes with three various camshafts namely the Thumpr, the Mutha’ Thumpr, and the Big Mutha’ Thumpr.
Each has a different horsepower capacity to offer – perfect for 350 owners looking for variations.
04. COMP Cams K54-412-11 Roller Cam K-Kit for GM LS GEN III/IV
- 1,200 – 6,000 RPM operating Range
- High-performance cam
- 114 Lobe Separation Angle
- 212/2198 at 0.50 inches Duration
- 59 inches/0.522 inches valve lift
- Xtreme energy technology design
- Great mid-range torque and power
Another Comp Camshaft for competitive torque performance and very powerful mid-range capacity, the COMP Cam K54-412-11 Roller Cam K-KIT comes with an 850-16 OE-style Hydraulic Roller Lifter Set that goes perfectly well with LT/LS Engines and the ‘87 OE Roller SBC.
It has a powerful 1,200 to 6,000 RPM operating range.
This COMP Cam has an installed height of 1.800 inches and 1.290 inches OD Beehive Spring.
Another sellable feature of this camshaft is the machined steel set between 16 to 7 degrees and its 8mm single groove race locks.
The Xtreme energy technology property allows greater power capacity and works very well with the enhanced cylindrical design for the LS engine head.
The K-Kit usually contains different items, but most often includes a set of lifters, valve springs, locks, timing set, retainers, decals, the camshaft, and finally the instruction manual.
With many inclusions that come along with the camshaft itself, there is no need for buying additional installation equipment. It is a great and capable kit, overall.
05. Lunati 10120102LK Bare Bones Flat Cam/Lifter Kit for 262-400 Chevrolet Small Block
- 2000 – 6000 RPM Operating range
- 224/234 Duration at 0.50 inches
- 112 degree lobe angle separation
- Ideal for street performance/mild bracket racing
- Great throttle response and acceleration
- Fits Chevrolet Gen 1 Small Blocks
This budget-friendly camshaft by Lunati is preferable by budget-conscious enthusiasts and packs serious horsepower capacity.
This Bare Bones camshaft series substantially improves acceleration and throttle response, owing to its asymmetrical lobe design.
This feature also allows for noticeable idle and mid to upper RPM power.
The Lunati Cam and Lifter Kit comes with a camshaft, assembly lubricant, a set of lifters, and a manual.
This camshaft fits a lot of models of Chevrolet Gen 1 Small Blocks consisting of the 262, 265, 267, 283, 302, 305, 307, 327, 350, and the 400.
This, however, does not fit the LT1 and LT4 models from 1985 and newer.
The Lunati 10120102LK Bare Bones Flat Cam with a lifter kit is desirable for street performance and mid-range racing.
Though it is not a stock replacement, it is still a quality aftermarket choice. It allows top-notch torque for superior performance.
What Is The Best Cam For 350 With Vortec Heads?
COMP Camshafts is the leading and top brand for 350 with Vortec heads. Definitely, COMP cam is the best brand for 350 Vortec.
Why COMP CAMS Is The Best Brand For CAM For 350 With Vortec Heads?
COMP Cams is popular for several reasons but mostly because of their established name in the market, they gather a lot of patrons.
The Thumpr Cam series by COMP Cams provides the greatest performance among modern camshaft technology as a result of more than 30 years of engineering experience.
This decade of expertise sets them apart from their aftermarket counterparts.
COMP Cams deliver precise performance for mid-range and even top-end power gains.
They utilize a perfect combination of early intake valve opening and long exhaust duration to bring about the perfect overlap that creates the distinctive hard-hitting exhaust note that many enthusiasts like.
Many camshafts by COMP are identified apart from their competitors because of the efficiency in design and value for money.
The technical specifications of each camshaft are quintessential for every 350 Vortec heads owners.
They also have a fit for every model and are especially an excellent pick for older models. Additionally, they are a huge improvement overstock.
Things to Consider Before Buying Best Cam For 350 With Vortec Heads
- Source: youtube.com
As you already know, the camshaft is the engine’s “brain” and it is responsible for controlling the operation of a car’s intake and exhaust valves.
Needless to say, choosing the perfect camshaft for your model and engine directly impacts horsepower, torque, and idle quality, among others.
Also, if you are looking to build a capable and powerful engine there is a need to be familiar with the hierarchy of parts involved.
However, no matter your choice of these parts, whether they be top of the line, they would be rendered useless and inoperable if your choice of the cam is incorrect.
The camshaft, as a brain, orchestrates proper connection among various other parts of the engine.
While it is true that a good choice of cylinder head determines your engine’s maximum power potential, the camshaft would still determine if it will go along with your well-synchronized engine.
Camshafts also happen to be a very complicated subject that borders closely on equally tricky Physics, should you want to really understand the science behind it.
Regardless, the very first step before actually choosing a new cam is to understand the different camshaft lobe components.
This may sound like hard work but it will significantly make the process of selecting faster and easier to comprehend, thus helping you make a very sound decision in the end.
Understanding the basics and their applications is fundamental in choosing your next camshaft.
It’s important to consider the engine type before buying a cam for that vehicle. Here are some of the most common engine types and their associated cams:
Vortec heads – This is the most common type of head on a 350-powered car.
Vortec heads use tech valves and provides good performance and fuel economy. They require premium fuel, so be sure to choose one that offers the best performance with your engine type.
This is the most common type of head-on a 350-powered car. Vortec heads use tech valves and provides good performance and fuel economy. They require premium fuel, so be sure to choose one that offers the best performance with your engine type.
Regular heads – These heads also use tech valves, but they don’t offer as good of a performance as Vortec heads. They’re typically used on older cars or those that aren’t driven much.
This may seem like a very basic question considering you are already in the process of buying a new camshaft but you have to ask yourself next: What really is this engine for?
You can say it is for better performance but a lot of car owners do not really have an idea what this upgrade is specifically for and this almost always results in dissatisfaction on the customer’s end.
Knowing exactly what you want and what you are doing it for, lays down the most specific and most important factor: What will the car be used for most of the time?
One expert says the worst thing to happen to your engine is to over-cam it.
Make sure that the lift, lobe separation angle, and duration are in sync with each other to make sure your engine works to its full potential.
Additionally, this consideration will also make sure that the engine will work properly with the car itself.
Like everything else, all parts must work together in harmony. Before getting any work done, someone who is considering this upgrade should be realistic with his/her expectations.
Camshafts should be your final consideration
- Source: youtube.com
In order to make sure you are getting the optimal results, your choice of camshaft should be made last, and not the other way around.
This is a common mistake. It is preferable to build a cam around the engine and not vice versa. The reason is quite simple.
The internal combustion engine is technically just an explosion of the air pump brought about by the opening of the valves.
And these valves’ capacity to remain open is dependent on the airflow potential of the engine.
Types of Camshaft
Each specification is usually found in the cam card which is included in the camshaft package. Below is the overview of each camshaft spec.
Basic RPM Range
- This is the scope or the engines’ peak performance. Upon choosing a camshaft, try to find one with an RPM range that perfectly matches the other parts of your car and its usage purpose.
- This refers to the distance of the valve from the cylinder and is measured in inches. It basically implies how tall are the cam lobes.
- Measured in degrees by the rotation of the crankshaft, the duration is the amount of time the valve remains open. It informs the width of the cam lobes. In layman’s terms, a “bigger cam” means a cam with more duration.
Lobe Separation Angle (LSA)
- This is the distance of the centerline point of intake and exhaust lobes which is also measured in degrees of camshaft rotation. The lobe separation angle works out how the lobes are related to each other on the cylinder.
After all, these factors are considered and one has already decided what camshaft to purchase, properly installing it is the next crucial step.
Proper installation is directly relevant to the engine’s top performance. Poor installation could lead to power loss and even damage, in extreme cases.
Camshafts are a vital part of your engine and require regular maintenance in order to keep them running smoothly. Here are some tips on how to keep your camshafts performing optimally:
1. Keep Cam Gears Clean:
Cam gears can become clogged with debris over time, which will cause the camshafts to operate erratically. Clean them using a liquid solvent or a brush to remove all the debris.
2. Check Valve Lash:
The valve lash is the distance between the valve stem and the cam lobe. It should be adjusted every time you service your engine because it can affect performance. If it’s too tight, the valve will close prematurely, causing noise and decreased fuel economy. If it’s too loose, the valve will open too early, causing smoke and poor fuel economy.
3. Replace Cams When Necessary:
Over time, cams can become worn out or damaged, which can affect the engine performance. Replace them when they start showing signs of wear or when they begin making abnormal noises.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About The Best Cam For 350 With Vortec Heads
Q1: Do I really have to replace my camshaft?
A: It makes sense to find a replacement for a camshaft especially if the one that you have is worn out and obsolete.
Damaged camshafts also need to be replaced in order to make sure your engine and car stay at the top of their game.
Camshafts should improve your engines’ performance and not power them down. It is important to do your research before even considering a change.
Q2: Which cam is perfect for my car?
A: This is ultimately decided based on your car’s capacity to take air in and out because this is what camshafts are all about.
It is necessary to look around and gather information before jumping the gun. All engines are created differently and so are people’s opinions.
It would be an advantage to research the different effects of various cams before finalizing a decision.
Q3: How much horsepower gain can I get?
A: There is no exact way to know this and give an accurate number.
There are just many engine components to take into account such as the exhaust system, the ratio of compression, porting, carb size, etc.
The safe guess involving a stock engine would be around 10% percent.
Q4: How do you recognize a bad engine camshaft?
- Source: youtube.com
A: There are several ways to do this. The first one is by revving up the engine and listening for a rhythmic ‘pop’ sound or any other bad noise.
Another way is to completely remove the cover of the valve and observe the cam movement. Visually checking the camshaft for wear and tear also works.
Q5: Does a camshaft make the car noisy?
A: If it makes an unpleasant noise then it is high time to check if everything still works well.
Camshafts are movable components of the engine and they may cause noise for a number of reasons.
If it runs out of oil and gets overheated, it may make clunking sounds. The noise could also be caused by loose parts banging against each other.
It is best to have your car checked in case this happens.
Q6: What damages a camshaft?
A: Most of the time, this is caused by some parts becoming loose and hitting it like the connecting rod.
Sometimes the damage is caused by a crack or fractures even only after a short time of use and installation.
This would likely be caused by poor shipping handling or improper installation.
Q7: Can I use old lifters with a new camshaft?
A: An old lifter and a new cam should never be paired. It is possible to use new lifters on new camshafts though.
Lifters have specific ‘partner’ lobes and this cannot be changed. It is better to discard used lifters and buy new sets, then do the cam break-in once again.
Q8: What is lobe wear?
A: This usually happens because of inappropriate lubrication during the installation process.
The rule of thumb is to use manufacturer lubricants (which are often included in the camshaft package).
The correct and proper way of applying the lubricant is on every surface of the cam lobe and the bottom of every tappet cam.
Q9: Should I use a flat tappet or roller camshaft?
A: This would depend on what kind of engine you are looking to build.
If you are going for a high-revving engine, then a flat tappet camshaft with solid lifters will provide you with the best RPM rates.
On the downside, the solid lifters can cause noise and thus require adjustments from time to time.
For an engine with the best torque power, a combination of roller cams and hydraulic lifters is preferable. It is the most ideal choice for street performance and low RPM.
All in all, there are a number of criteria to determine a camshaft replacement.
A proper understanding of the camshaft system is also imperative in order to make a good choice of the camshaft.
It may not be easy to understand all the cam components at first but the knowledge you get about it will prove to be useful in choosing the best cam for your engine.