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LS Engine Cam Test Comparison - Ultimate LS Cam Test

Hands On

By Richard Holdener, Photography by Richard Holdener

LSA vs. LM7

Designed for the supercharged Cadillac CTS-V and Camaro ZL-1, the LSA cam offered plenty of power on the normally aspirated 5.3L. The peak numbers jumped from 353 hp and 384 lb-ft to 389 hp and 394 lb-ft. The mild intake duration of just 198 degrees limited power production higher in the rev range, but the extra exhaust duration allowed the power to carry much better than the LM7. The 33hp difference between the LSA and LS9 cams is a clear indication as to why the LS9 cam is such an attractive upgrade for ZL-1 and CTS-V owners.

Engine Designation: LSA

Displacement 6.2L
Lift 0.480/0.480
Duration 198/216 degrees
LSA 122.5 degrees
Idle vacuum 21.8 in-Hg
Cranking compression 184 psi
Peak power 389 at 5,600 rpm
Peak torque 394 at 4,800 rpm
Average HP 300
Average TQ 365
HP/TQ gains (over LM7 cam) at 2,500 -27 lb-ft
3,500 -3 lb-ft
4,500 +8 lb-ft
5,500 +37 lb-ft (38 hp)
6,500 +54 lb-ft (68 hp)

Crane Cam Trio vs. LM7

To finish up the Ultimate LS cam test, we decided to test a trio of LS grinds offered by Crane Cams. The cams range from a mild Direct-Fit cam, designed to drop right into a 5.3L truck or other LS application without need to swap springs, to a healthy (but still streetable) performance grind that offered up 130 hp over the factory LM7. The first cam from Crane offered 0.502-inch lift, 200 degrees of duration, and a 113-degree LSA. This Direct-Fit cam offered substantial torque gains, besting all of the factory offerings for peak torque production—impressive given the mild specs (smaller than most of the factory offerings). The Direct-Fit line is perfect for LS owners looking to swap cams without the need to change springs. Cam number two sported 0.551 lift, a 210/218 duration split and 116-degree LSA (think LS6 with slightly more intake duration). This cam offered 411 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque, bettering the LM7 from 2,800 rpm through 6,500 rpm while besting the LS2, LS3 and LS6 grinds. The final cam was the high-horsepower and torque champ of the test, with 0.590 lift, a 224/232 duration split and 115-degree LSA. This cam shared the exhaust specs with the LS7 and LS9 and lift specs with the LS7 (with 1.8 rockers). The 224 cam from Crane increased the power output of the 5.3L to an impressive 442 hp and 412 lb-ft of torque while offering less of a trade off in low-speed torque than the LS6, LS7, or LS9 grinds. In fact, the 224 cam was consistently up by 25 lb-ft over the LS7 and LS9 cams and equaled or bettered the LM7 cam from 2,900 rpm to 6,500 rpm.

Crane Cam Trio: 200, 210, 224 Engine Designation: LS

Crane Came Trio 200 210 224
Displacement 4.8L–6.2L
Lift 0.502/0.502 0.551 0.590
Duration 200/200 degrees 210/218 degrees 224/232 degrees
LSA 113 degrees 116 degrees 115 degrees
Idle vacuum 22.6 in-Hg 20.3 in-Hg 17.8 in-Hg
Cranking compression 188 psi 182 psi 176 psi
Peak power 380 at 5,400 rpm 411 at 6,000 rpm 442 at 6,200 rpm
Peak torque 401 at 4,700 rpm 406 at 4,700 rpm 412 at 5,000 rpm
Average HP 302 311 315
Average TQ 371 378 380
TQ gains (over LM7 cam) at 2,500 0 lb-ft -10 lb-ft -25 lb-ft
3,500 +14 lb-ft -9 lb-ft -8 lb-ft
4,500 +15 lb-ft +15 lb-ft +16 lb-ft
5,500 +29 lb-ft (30 hp) +55 lb-ft (57 hp) +69 lb-ft (72 hp)
6,500 +32 lb-ft (40 hp) +80 lb-ft (99 hp) +105 lb-ft (130 hp)

7805 Barton Street
KS  66214
Gandrud Chevrolet
3400 Democrat Road
TN  38118
By Richard Holdener
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I know this is an old article but the data you have for LS6 is wrong. That whole table is a copy of the LQ9 table, and is very low in cam specs and I predict its also low for the power output based on previous research. 

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