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Camshaft Installation - Camshaft Swap

Raising The Powerband With An Aftermarket Cam

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When modifying any diesel vehicle, there's always the question of "what's next?" In Colton Ahlberg's case, he had already modified his truck with larger injectors, a bigger turbo, modified injection pump, and a ported and O-ringed cylinder head. Since Colton was set on turning his driver into a competitive sled puller, he wanted all the power he could get, so he turned his attention to the camshaft.

An aftermarket cam, when installed in a modified engine, has many advantages. The camshaft is the "brain" of the engine, telling it where its power peak should occur. With a ported head and larger turbocharger, an aftermarket cam with more lift and duration will keep the valves open for a longer period of time. This allows the engine to become more efficient at higher speeds, effectively increasing the engine's usable powerband.

In addition to moving the powerband further up in the rpm range, a larger cam can lead to lower exhaust gas temperatures, better fuel economy, and can even help larger turbochargers spool up quicker. A turbo that starts making boost sooner will also increase the engine's peak torque.

Again, an aftermarket cam isn't for everyone, but in the case of heavily modified diesels, it can be a big advantage over your competition. We followed along on Ahlberg's camshaft swap to give you an idea of what it takes to install a new cam in a 5.9L Cummins. DP

What Does It Cost?
Not only are cam swaps time consuming, they're also a little pricey. Between the camshaft, lifters, installation kit, valvesprings, and assembly lube, your total cost in parts could exceed $1,000. Keep in mind that if a shop does the swap, you won't have to buy the cam installation kit (which is about $300), but it will be about $600-$1,000 in labor, depending on the shop's labor rate. Because of this expense, people most often upgrade their camshaft when their engine is apart for other reasons, so that the swap is less labor intensive.

SOURCES
Big Power Diesel
www.bigpowerdiesel.com
Scheid Diesel
217-536-5200
www.scheiddiesel.com
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