Best Cam for 5.3 Vortec

Cam for 5.3 Vortec
Written by Ken Coul

When it comes to the 5.3L Vortec, there are cams, and there are…cams. This is a quick review of four of the best cam kits for Chevy 5.3L engines. I included three aftermarket products and one OEM item to show you that you don’t always need to pimp up to the most expensive or elaborate kit to get great performance and increases in power.

Top-Rated Cam for 5.3 Vortec List:

PhotoProduct nameFeatureProsMore info
1. Competition Cams 17001-16 High Energy Die Cast Aluminum Roller1. Competition Cams 17001-16 High Energy Die Cast Aluminum RollerTested for density and strength

  • solid die-cast aluminum alloy

  • provides extra heat

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2. Edelbrock 2102 Performer-Plus Camshaft and Lifter Kit2. Edelbrock 2102 Performer-Plus Camshaft and Lifter KitClosely resembles the OEM standard

  • comes with hydraulic lifters

  • provides improvements in throttle response

More Information
3. Lunati 10120702LK Voodoo Cam/Lifter Kit3. Lunati 10120702LK Voodoo Cam/Lifter KitDesigned to set the valve down

  • delivers a faster acceleration

  • creates a greater vacuum

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4. Chevrolet Performance 12638427 Engine Camshaft4. Chevrolet Performance 12638427 Engine CamshaftStandard rolling tappet design

  • compatible with and original production

  • aggressive roller profile

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There is something you will need to know before buying a camshaft kit or parts for a camshaft kit. The camshaft is a precision machined item; it is designed to perform for specific engine types. This means that you must know which engine block you have and can then find the different performance or OEM replacement parts to integrate.

Make sure you understand the difference between the camshaft types since there are essentially four types and each one delivers a different level of performance. If in doubt, confer with a professional and make sure you explain what you are seeing. Also, consider that some aftermarket parts will require other accessories changes to complement their installation and improve overall performance.

Here are the best four items I prefer to install for my clients.

Cam for 5.3 Vortec Reviews:

1. Competition Cams 17001-16 High Energy Die Cast Aluminum Roller

Specifications

  • Rocker Arm Mounting Style: Stud
  • Rocker Arm Material: Aluminum
  • Rocker Arm Body Style: Standard
  • Rocker Arm Finish: Natural
  • Rocker Arm Fasteners Included: Yes
  • Rocker Arm Nut Style: Polylock
  • Rocker Arm Ratio: 1.5
  • Self- Rocker Arm Style: Full roller
  • Stud Size: 3/8”
  • Slot Style: Standard
  • Maximum Spring Diameter: 1.43”

Features

The17001-16 is a High Energy™ Die Cast Aluminum Roller Rocker Arms model kit for use in Chevy V8 265-400 applications.

These parts come with 3/8” stud diameter with a 1:5 ratio and the body us a solid die-cast aluminum alloy tested for density and strength.

The die-cast aluminum alloy body provides extra heat and strength performance at a very reasonable price, and the strength to weight ratio is near to absolute.

This model comes with a needle bearing fulcrum and a roller tip designed to reduce friction and to lower oil temperatures delivering an improved response and horsepower.

These rocker arms can be used with a spring pressure of up to 550 lbs.

The design of these increases valve lift, but maintains a durable resistance to the continuous rigors of moderate race performance requirements.

Q&A

  • What tools do I need to install this kit on a small block 350?

You will need a standard set of small wrenches and a hex wrench.

  • Do I need a new tall valve cover for this kit?

Yes, this kit requires a mandatory tall valve cover.

Conclusions

This is a great Chevy 5.3 cam upgrade kit and will improve your performance and experience in an economical and easy to install the application.
 

 

2. Edelbrock 2102 Performer-Plus Camshaft and Lifter Kit

Specifications

  • Cam Style: Hydraulic flat tappet
  • Basic Operating RPM Range: Idle-5,500
  • Intake Duration at 050” Lift: 204
  • Exhaust Duration at 050” Lift: 214
  • Duration at 050” Lift: 204 int./214 exh.
  • Advertised Intake Duration: 278
  • Advertised Exhaust Duration: 288
  • Advertised Duration: 278 int./288 exh.
  • Intake Valve Lift with Factory Rocker Arm Ratio: 420 in.
  • Exhaust Valve Lift with Factory Rocker Arm Ratio: 0.442 in.
  • Valve Lift with Factory Rocker Arm Ratio: 0.420 int./0.442 exh.
  • Lobe Separation (degrees): 112
  • Lifters Included: Yes
  • Lifter Style: Hydraulic flat tappet

Features

The Edelbrock Performer-Plus Cam and Lifter Kits #2102 is a complete kit designed to deliver optimum torque and acceleration performance.

The cam is a single cast and precision machined part that comes with hydraulic lifters and assembly lube. This cam kit is assembled for integration with an Edelbrock intake.

This kit will deliver optimum torque from the low-end to the mid-range, and match seamlessly with performer manifolds for off-idle to 5500 rpm vehicles.

This kit provides great improvements in throttle response and increases in torque and provides a smooth idle cam daily driver.

This is a hydraulic flat tappet which is used for the mild street to mild race performance. This closely resembles the OEM standard, and the maintenance requirements of this part are low. Take into account that while it is low maintenance, once it is worn you will need to replace it, as all flat tappets have this issue.

Q&A

  • Does this can work with stock timing chain?

Yes, but you must buy and attach an Edelbrock #7800 timing chain for this application.

  • Will this cam generate an efficient vacuum for the brake booster?

Yes, this kit is designed to generate around 14-16″ HG Vacuum at idle.

Conclusions

This is kit one of the great Chevy 5.3 cam and lifters kits around. You should have an expert install it, otherwise, make sure you know exactly how to install a cam and all the appropriate supporting parts.
 

 

3. Lunati 10120702LK Voodoo Cam/Lifter Kit

Specifications

  • Cam Style: Hydraulic flat tappet
  • Lifter Style: Hydraulic flat tappet
  • Basic Operating RPM Range: 1,400-5,700
  • Intake Duration at 050” Lift: 219
  • Exhaust Duration at 050” Lift: 227
  • Duration at 050” Lift: 219 int./227 exh.
  • Advertised Intake Duration: 262
  • Advertised Exhaust Duration: 268
  • Advertised Duration: 262 int./268 exh.
  • Intake Valve Lift with Factory Rocker Arm Ratio: 0.468 in.
  • Exhaust Valve Lift with Factory Rocker Arm Ratio: 0.489 in.
  • Valve Lift with Factory Rocker Arm Ratio: 0.468 int./0.489 exh.
  • Lobe Separation (degrees): 112

Features

The Voodoo Hydraulic Flat Tappet Cam & Lifter Kit is designed for Chevrolet Small Block 262/268 engines and works exceptionally well with stock type exhaust manifolds and dual plane intake with mild 4 bbl carb.

What is special about this kit is that the Lunati witchdoctors engineered the cams to deliver more area under the curve which provides more throttle response, delivers a faster acceleration and creates a greater vacuum.

The asymmetrical lobe is designed to set the valve down through slower closing sides that reduces engine noise and removes premature failure of the valvetrain. This is an expert cam for an expert application.

Q&A

  • Can I apply this cam to 1970 4 bolt main with stock heads

Yes, this is a low to mid-range cam type. This part does not need a carb bigger than 600 cfm. The stock heads have enough flow for optimum performance.

  • I am looking for a rough idle, will this cam deliver?

No, the Voodoo doesn’t have a rough idle

Conclusions

This is perhaps the best cam for 5.3 LM7 and will greatly improve all performance features. This is also considered to be one of the most unique 5.3 LM7 cam kits around.
 

 

4. Chevrolet Performance 12638427 Engine Camshaft

Specifications

  • Cam Style: Hydraulic roller tappet
  • Basic Operating RPM Range: Stock
  • Intake Duration at 050” Lift: 211
  • Exhaust Duration at 050” Lift: 230
  • Duration at 050“ Lift: 211 int./230 exh.
  • Intake Valve Lift with Factory Rocker Arm Ratio: 562 in.
  • Exhaust Valve Lift with Factory Rocker Arm Ratio: 0.562 in.
  • Valve Lift with Factory Rocker Arm Ratio: 0.562 int./0.562 exh.
  • Lobe Separation (degrees): 122.5
  • Camshaft Gear Attachment: 3-bolt
  • Computer-Controlled Compatible: Yes
  • Valve Springs Required: No

Features

Some drivers don’t want aftermarket performance parts, they are satisfied with OEM stock items, and rightly so. Not every vehicle needs to be pushed to its limits and for a safe and secure ride, buying a stock item is the best bet.

The Chevrolet Performance LS Series Camshafts 12638427 is such a part.

All the LS camshafts are compatible with and original production-style LSX and C5R blocks. There is not much to add to this review since it’s an OEM part, and as such, is a straightforward replacement part for any application.

Since this is an OEM replacement, it is a standard rolling tappet design, and gives you an aggressive roller profile that reduces friction, and requires low maintenance. It also reduces valve train noise and delivers more power than a standard hydraulic flat tappet camshaft.

 

 

Q&A

  • Will this fit a 00 Chevy Silverado v8 5.3?

Yes, this is the correct application for this part.

  • Will this cam work with a 4.8 with 862 heads and/or 317 heads?

Yes, this part performs exceptionally well with a boosted 4.8.

Conclusions

This is a great OEM 5.3 Vortec cam kit that is also great as a Silverado 5.3 cam kit too. Whatever you decide to apply this one for, just know nothing really beats an OEM item for daily performance driving.