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Cam swap in a 5.3


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I am looking for a weekend project to get a little more power out of my 2004 5.3. Right now I have a black bear tune, cai, flowmaster exhaust and stock 3.73 gears. I am thinking cam. I have not done a cam swap in about 10 years since I build my lt1 motor. I am looking for recommendations on a good cam that alot of people have seen good results with. Keep in mind this is a daily driver and I do not want to go crazy with heads, injectors and so on. Also, can this be done without pulling the motor? Anything else I should look out for while doing this? Also, does anyone know what the stock cam profile is for comparisson?

 

Thanks

Scott

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I've done a few of these.... as stated above definitely nothing bigger than a 220/220 on a 112LSA, but smaller would actually be more of the target for what you are describing. Springs and pushrods are highly recommended because almost every cam profile worth having is a fast ramp rate with higher lift than what stock springs will handle.

You will need a re-tune for a cam that size for sure, and a re-tune will be needed regardless to optimize results.

 

no, your motor won't have to come out to do this.

It can be accomplished in under a day by yourself, but you will want help for some of the steps.

I've always done the "suicide method", spin the cam and yank it out, let the lifters sit in the lifter cups. They do make a special tool to hold them up, I've never used them. (On an LSx motor the lifters are not accessible without removing the heads)

 

stock heads and injectors can get you through pretty much any mild cam with no issue.

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Thanks for the advice everyone. I will do a little more homework and come up with a list of stuff I will need to do this. Any recommendations on an online vender to purchase stuff through? Or a place that has a kit packaged with everything needed to do this. I may also pull the heads and do lifters while it is apart. The motor just hit 100K and could use a little going over on the top end.

 

Thanks

Scott

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Hey, I am looking at thunder racing now and see the different cam packages. When I built my lt1, I did new roller rockers and went from stock 1.5 to comp roller 1.6. what is in our trucks and are people running stock with a new cam or are they switching?

Thanks

Scott

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if you notice on Thunder Racing's website none of their cams recommend that you use higher ratio rockers. The ramp rate is too aggressive, they have all the lift you need built in to the cam. I'm partial to Thunder Racing because they are only about 4 miles from my house...

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Ok, so I am set on the TR220/112 from Thunderracing.com. I know I will need to do new push rods, springs and a tune. My question now is, how far should I go? I have 100k on the clock. Should I consider doing lifters, timing chain and gears, have the heads pulled off and checked out? Not sure on these motors as far as wear compared to the old ones. I know an old motor, I would just pull and do a full overhaul at this point but am really not looking to do all that right now if I can avoid it.

 

Thanks

Scott

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I've opened up a couple 5.3L motors with over 100,000 miles (after a rod failed on both), the cylinders still had the cross hatching from the factory hone - I wouldn't mess with pulling the heads or worry about the lifters unless one fails.

 

I would consider a little higher stall torque converter and possible a larger transmission cooler (depending on torque converter selected). You can get some converters that are tight like a stock converter but ramp up stall speed when you lay in to it which would be preferable with a daily driver (personally I find "loose" converters annoying on the street).

 

If you tow with your truck and want as close to stock as possible but with just a little more stall speed look hard at a stock converter for a Chevy Trailblazer inline 6. It will bolt right in and give stall speeds of approx. 2400 rpms behind a 5.3L.

Circle D came in to the game right as I quit messing with this stuff, but they seem to be overwhelmingly popular.

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