To improve the overall performance of your vehicle, replacing the camshaft is a great upgrade. Besides ensuring better performance, aftermarket camshafts often offer better durability. Also, you may want to change the OE camshaft if it is damaged somehow.
But changing camshafts is not easy. To install a better camshaft, you may need to change the converter and other components around it. This process needs a huge amount. Getting one that matches the stock converter is a good option.
I guess you have a 5.3 Vortec engine and are looking to replace the camshaft at a low cost. Here are some of the best cam for 5.3 with stock converter that won’t need any change in the converter to work properly. Picking one of these would help you improve performance without spending a huge amount on changing other components.
The cams are selected through thorough research on the available products, user reviews, and expert opinions. Among all the cams researched, these four are picked for the performance they offer. Buying one of them won’t disappoint you.
Let’s start talking about them.
4 Best Cam for 5.3 with Stock Converter: Cams You Should Try
1. Texas Speed TSP Stage 2 Low Lift Truck Camshaft
If you’re looking for an efficient camshaft for 5.3L Vortec for low-lift trucks, you must check it out. It is one of the most perfect camshafts designed for this engine. Let’s know more about it.
This small, strong cam is a perfect choice for people who want a stock-like performance with increased power. It matches the factory torque converter and other components to ensure you don’t need to replace any mechanisms.
Coming with an operating range of 1200-5800 RPM, it is compatible with all 4.8, 5.3, and 6.0 engines. So, you’ll enjoy a smooth performance from it.
As it is made with high-quality material following an uncompromised manufacturing process, you can expect it to survive the impact of high-performance driving.
It comes with several options. You can buy the cam only or go for additional accessories and equipment like springs, seals, pushrods, gaskets, etc. This cam comes in four different packages. Pick one according to your requirements.
It is backed by a lifetime warranty. However, before picking it up, talk to the seller about the warranty policy. It may vary based on the sellers.
- Perfect replacement for stock cam
- Built with top-quality materials
- Available in many packages
- Can withstand high-performance driving
2. Brian Tooley Racing BTR Vortec Truck Stage 2 Cam and Spring Kit
This is another perfect camshaft package for 5.3 engines you can try. Coming with Michigan Motorsports seals and Beehive springs, this cam works fine with 4.8, 5.3, and 6.0 Vortec engines.
It can be used in low-lift trucks with GM LS2, LS3, and LS6 springs and pushrods. The three-bolt cam gear functions really well when it comes to performance. With more average torque production, it improves fuel mileage and overall performance. Besides, it’ll help your car have an aggressive engine roar.
With your stock converter, it works just fine. It is also compatible with other stock components. So, you don’t have to make any changes to anything. Just install the package and enjoy smooth rides.
Installation is not that complex, but doing it by an experienced mechanic is recommended. It may require some small modifications. So, the experience will be needed.
Overall, this is a good pick if you’re looking for alternatives to your stock camshaft. I don’t guarantee it’ll give you a huge performance improvement, but there’ll be a significant lift to satisfy your expectations.
- Large and compatible with stock kits
- Strong cam made with high-quality material
- Improved the roar of the engine
- Comes in a relatively low price range
- A bit of modification is required sometimes
3. Brian Tooley Racing BTR Truck Stage 3
Here is another Brian Tooley camshaft package perfect for Vortec 4.8, 5.3, 6.0, and 6.2 engines. The package comes with a stage 3 camshaft, beehive springs, Chromoly pushrods, and Michigan Motorsports seals.
The camshaft offers a high RPM but an OE-like performance. So, this might not be your pick if you’re looking for a significant performance upgrade. While performing like the OE cam, it improves some towing efficiency. However, you should look for another cam to carry heavy loads daily.
It is designed specially to offer a wider torque range. Thus, it can fit in a comparatively heavier vehicle compared to its specifications.
When it comes to working with the stock converter, this is a good one. It performs well having the stock converter installed, but you can get more from it by replacing the OE converter with a 2800-3000 converter.
It also enhances the engine sound, just like the other cam from BTR. This can be an added advantage if you’re a fan of improving the roar.
Installation is not a huge issue. An experienced mechanic can easily install it.
Overall, this is another good cam for OE or better than OE performance and irregular towing. Try it.
- Perfect cam for a 5.3 Vortec engine
- Improves the overall engine haul
- Comes as a complete package
- Provides a wider torque range
- Can’t support regular towing
4. COMP Cams 54-424-11 XFI RPM HI-LIFT 212/218 Hydraulic Roller Cam
This cam from Comp Cams might be the last on the list, but you can’t avoid it. Being made for daily driving, it improves the overall driving experience and handling comfort. Also, you can’t deny the stability it ensures.
This made-in-USA camshaft is a perfect example of a good one. I won’t say it’s the best, or you must buy it, but trying it would change your mind. It is made with quality materials to ensure stability and durability.
For your everyday street use, it offers optimum performance. You’ll see the change after getting it installed.
Its operating range is 1,800-6,000 RPM. So, there’s a huge chance it’ll fit your engine well. This high RPM potential allows it to do its duty better.
Installation won’t be a big issue as it works well with the stock converter. However, professional help is recommended. After installation, tune it to enjoy a smooth driving experience.
Overall, this is a good camshaft for 5.3 engines. You won’t get the best output, but it won’t disappoint you if you want to improve the overall driving experience.
- Available alone or with some kits
- Outperforms stock camshaft till the last day
- Installation is easy
- Best for daily drivers
- You need to stay a bit careful to ensure fitment
Buying Guide for Best Cam for 5.3 Engine
First, you need to determine the purpose of buying the aftermarket cam. Some cams help you with performance improvement, whereas others ensure fuel economy. Some want a new cam to replace the stock. So, determine your requirement first.
This will help you to pick the right one.
Then you should keep an eye on the compatibility of a camshaft. Not all the cams out there will be compatible with your engine and related components, for example- the converter. So, look for cams matching your engine.
Also, you should focus on the modifications you’ve made. If you modify any part related to the camshaft, you must pick a cam that matches the modification. Otherwise, it won’t work efficiently.
The operating range is an RPM range determined by the manufacturer of the cam that shows its operating RPM. It says that the cam performs smoothly within this range. Your vehicle’s RPM should match this range if you want a seamless performance. So, don’t overlook it.
As camshafts are expensive upgrades, you should keep the price in mind and set your budget according to that. I strongly suggest having a proper budget so you don’t have to choose cheap options.
Price should be a priority, but don’t go for too cheap products without enough evidence of performance.
Some cams come alone, whereas some come with a few essential parts. I’d suggest choosing a cam coming with essential parts as well as user instructions. The essential parts coming with the cam allow you to install it properly as they’re made to fit the cam.
Try to pick a complete package. However, don’t compromise performance for that.
Ease of Installing
An easy-to-install cam can save some bucks from the mechanic’s fee. If you install it by yourself, picking one that’s easy to install would help you stay away from hazards. So, keep an eye on it.
Types of Camshafts
You’ll find two major types of camshafts available in the market- flat tappet cam and roller cam.
In flat tappet camshafts, the lifters come with a flat head and a crown. It is a commonly used design and affordable compared to roller cams. They perform really well.
On the other hand, roller cams come with a roller and axle setup. This design minimizes friction and ensures more power. Also, less friction means less wear. Thus, you can use them for a long time. However, they’re a bit costly compared to the flat tappet ones.
How to Take Care of Camshaft
Your vehicle’s camshaft requires special care if you want it to serve you long. Effective maintenance also ensures smooth performance. So, you should try the things below.
Checking the camshaft regularly for issues is what you must do. It helps to spot problems like- scorings on bearing shells, damaged surfaces, etc. The sooner you spot and fix the problems, the longer your camshaft will last.
So, check your camshaft and other parts once in two months. If you can do it more often, do.
Cleaning the Camshaft
Cleaning is an important part of maintenance. Carefully clean the camshaft separately if you find any corrosion or dirt. Use steel wool for this. Avoid using harsh solvents when cleaning it. Harsh liquids don’t allow it to last long.
Lubrication after Cleaning
Don’t install a wet camshaft after cleaning. Allow it to dry properly. Then apply enough lubricant to it. Lubrication allows it to function properly. Also, it protects the cam from rust and corrosion.
Clean and lubricate the camshaft once in 4-5 months. You can leave it there if you find it clean and lubricated. This will be enough to make it last longer.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Does installing a new cam worth the money?
Camshafts are proven to improve your vehicle’s performance. Also, it depends on what you’ve picked and how you’re using it. If you get a camshaft compatible with your engine and components, you’ll see an improvement in the overall performance. So, yes, installing a new cam is usually worth the money.
What if I don’t replace my cam?
If your cam is working fine, replacing it is not necessary. You can get a new cam if you want some performance improvement.
You must replace your cam if it is facing some issues. Otherwise, the engine won’t work well.
Which materials are used to build a camshaft?
Most camshafts out there are built of cast iron. It ensures strength and lower production costs. It sometimes goes through a chilling process that hardens it and protects it from rust. Sometimes, other metals are mixed with iron.
For a better quality camshaft, some manufacturers use billet metal. But that costs more than cams made of iron. So, the price is high too.
So, what do you think?
In this article about the best cam for 5.3 with stock converter, I’ve suggested some of the bests available in the market and online. Now it’s time to pick one. Which one you’d pick?
Follow the buying guide attached to the article to select the best cam for you. My choice is the one from Texas Speed. It is designed for better performance and a louder roar. I don’t need anything more from a camshaft. Also, it comes with a reasonable price tag.
But the rests are some good picks too. So, take your time to decide and pick carefully. Select the cmashaft that fits best with your vehicle and engine.