Best Cam for 350 with Vortec Heads + FAQs and Buying Guide

If you’re rebuilding a 350 on your own, or just looking to get better camshafts for your engine, you’ve come to the right place. It’s difficult choosing the best cam for 350 with Vortec heads, especially when it depends so strongly on your vehicle model and the parts you’ve installed.

Getting the right camshaft can make a big difference to your vehicle. It can greatly increase the overall performance and horsepower of your vehicle since a camshaft improves the engine’s functioning. The 350 engine is an internal combustion engine and naturally has pistons that require a camshaft kit.

Top 3 Best Cam for 350 with Vortec Heads

The camshaft is used on the poppet valves. Even if you don’t fully understand how camshafts can improve the performance of your vehicle, it’s important to know how the right one can boost your performance while the wrong or incompatible one can actually cause more problems. 

We’ve done the homework of searching the internet for the top 3 camshafts that are tried and tested and have been delivering great performance for a long time. We’ve made sure that all of the products we’ve mentioned are compatible with your 350 engine, yes, even with Vortec heads. 

Don’t forget to check out the FAQs and Buying Guide that we’ve included at the end of the article to help you make your decision. 

#1- COMP Cams CL12-600-4 Thumpr Camshaft

Competition Cams Competition Cams 12-600-4 Camshaft Only Thumpr 227/241 Hydraulic Flat Cam for Chevrolet Small Block

We’ve selected the COMP Cam CL 12-600-4 as our top pick because of its incredible performance. COMP also happens to be one of the best and most reputed brands for aftermarket camshafts. 

This camshaft is perfect for someone looking to install the camshaft themselves while rebuilding a 350 engine. That’s because it comes with plenty of attachments and an instruction manual on how to do the installation. You’ll find filters and even assembly lubricant in these attachments. 

The camshaft itself is made out of top-notch materials and provides a really high range of RPM operation: that provides the perfect blend of power to your engine while also smoothness when you’re idling. 

Specifications: 

  • Operating Range: 2000-5800 RPM
  • Duration: 227/241at 0.050-inch
  • Lobe separation: 107-degree
  • Brand: ‎Comp Cams
  • Weight: 8.65 pounds
  • Dimensions: ‎23.62 x 2.91 x 2.59 inches
  • Model: ‎12-600-4

Pros

  • High RPM operating range
  • Mind-range price
  • Reputed brand
  • Full assembly kit
  • Instruction manual

Cons

  • Might require a torque converter

#2- Edelbrock 2102 Performer-Plus Camshaft and Lifter Kit

Edelbrock 2102 Performer-Plus Camshaft and Lifter Kit

The Edelbrock camshaft gave our top pick some worthy competition. This camshaft and lifter kit really boosts your 350 engine’s performance. This is a hydraulic lifter type of camshaft and produces the exact optimum range of torque for your vehicle. 

The specialty of this camshaft is the remarkably smooth idling that your engine is capable of after installing it. This is due to the balance of camshaft lift and duration. This model has flat tappers instead of rollers, so it may not be up for the challenge for more powerful cars. 

You get a great improvement in the throttle response and all the attachments necessary for installation. 

Specifications: 

  • Duration: 204-degree 
  • Lift:  0.050-inch
  • Lobe Separation: 112-degree
  • Brand: ‎Edelbrock
  • Model: ‎2102
  • Weight: 14.15 pounds
  • Dimensions: 25.5 x 8 x 3.8 inches

Pros

  • Maximum performance at mid-range
  • Optimum torque
  • Improved throttle
  • Comes with necessary attachments

Cons

  • Might be out of budget for some
  • Flat tappers

#3- Elgin E-1840-P Camshaft

Elgin E-1840-P Camshaft (Performance)

Once you’ve understood the vital role that camshafts play in engine power and performance, you’ll no doubt want to get the best camshaft in the market. If you’re okay to allocate a slightly higher budget to the best camshaft, then the Elgin is your go-to. 

This hydraulic camshaft has rollers instead of flat tappers and also boasts incredible RPM. You can expect revolutions per minute to be anywhere between 2200 to 5400. That might just be the best range that a camshaft can offer. 

This is one of the most powerful camshafts that you can opt for and doesn’t take a big toll on the smoothness of idling. 

Specifications: 

  • Lobe separation: 112-degree
  • Intake centerline: 108-degree
  • Valve lift: 0.585-inch
  • RPM range: 2200 to 5400
  • Duration: 283/286
  • Weight: ‎9.16 pounds
  • Dimensions: 25 x 2.5 x 2.5 inches
  • Model: ‎E-1840-P

Pros

  • High RPM range
  • Gear attachment has 3-bolt cams
  • Hydraulic camshaft
  • Rollers

Cons

  • Not affordable for all

Check our recommendation article on Best Cam For 5.3 Vortec.

Buying Guide: Which Camshaft should I buy for my 350 with Vortec heads? 

If you read through our article and only had one thought: They all seem great, we don’t blame you! We did select the best camshafts in the market that are compatible with your vehicle so it may seem like all of them are a great fit for your vehicle. And yes, this is true: you could blindly choose any of the cams we’ve recommended in our article. 

Having said that, if you would like to make sure you’ve chosen the right camshaft for your specific needs and your vehicle’s requirements: then it’s good to have a basic understanding of the features of a camshaft. This will help you know which features are actually useful for you, and which are great but not for you!

It’s important to have a clear understanding of your budget. Of course, we would recommend that you try to invest a decent amount to get a high-quality camshaft for your vehicle, but everyone’s priorities are different! Maybe rebuilding the 350 engine is already taking up a lot of your coin, and you’ll be happy to save a bit extra with the camshaft. There’s no need to worry because even the budget camshaft we’ve mentioned in our list is a great performer. 

Type of camshaft: Flat Tappet or Roller? 

This is the biggest question on everyone’s mind: which kind of camshaft is most useful? You’ll find camshafts come in two varieties: the flat tappet and the roller camshaft. 

Both of these types have their own pros and cons. The flat tapper has its own lifter and you’ll find that the bottom of it is slightly curved. The roller, on the other hand, doesn’t use lifters but a wheel to get the job done. 

So what’s the difference? The flat tappet and roller have differences in functionality from each other. The roller camshaft is capable of producing more power than the flat tappet, which is why the roller camshaft is more prominently used. We also recommend that you opt for the roller camshaft if you’re given the choice. 

Camshaft Lift: 

You would have definitely come across the camshaft lift being spoken about in the reviews. The lift of your camshaft is definitely a really important factor. What does this mean? The camshaft actually moves the lobe from its original position in the valve seat: and this movement is calculated in inches. 

A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that they should search for a camshaft with the highest lift score possible. However, it isn’t that simple. Even though a higher lift rating will give your engine more RPMs, it doesn’t affect the functionality so simply. A camshaft lift that’s too high will start interfering with the airflow in the combustion system. Your vehicle can have lesser airflow than it’s supposed to, as well as more turbulence as the lift is so far away from the surface of the valve. 

That’s why there’s a camshaft upper limit on the lift: it’s meant to be approximately 12% of the total diameter of the cylinder itself. Clearly, too much lift is not ideal. 

Too little lift isn’t what we’re going for either: and you could suffer from low RPMs. 

Duration

What is the duration of a camshaft? Is it how long it can last in your car without giving way? 

That’s actually not the meaning of the word. You already know that the camshaft lifts from the surface of the valve, and then comes back down. The duration is how long the camshaft lifts away from the seat, and this is calculated and represented by crank rotation in degrees. 

You’ll generally come across camshafts with a duration of 220 degrees and goes up to 280 degrees or even more. As you might have guessed, it’s definitely good to have a high duration on your crankshaft, as this opens up your vehicle’s capabilities to much more power. 

However, try to keep in mind that more power also comes at the cost of your ride’s smoothness. You might experience a very rough idle which can seriously impact your overall driving experience. A great balance between power and smoothness is ideal. 

FAQs: Most Frequently Asked Questions about the Best Camshaft for 350 with Vortec Heads

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions by people who are looking to buy a camshaft for their 350 with Vortec heads — just like you! We hope that these question-and-answers provide value and help you make a better buying decision. 

Can a bigger cam give me more power? 

Yes, one of the best things a bigger camshaft can do is give your vehicle more horsepower and better performance. A bigger camshaft is directly related to the power that can be delivered. 

However, you shouldn’t go by size alone. Simply opting for the biggest cam out there may not help you, if you’re looking for the maximum power delivery. You should also pay close attention to the lobes (also called the cams!) on your camshaft. We spoke about the type of camshaft as well as the lift and duration in our buying guide so that you can have a better understanding of how these affect your vehicle. You should definitely try to find a sweet spot between great size and RPM rate. 

Other factors to keep in mind that can affect your vehicle’s performance are breathability, valve timing, and compression. 

If this answer confused you, let this be your takeaway: look for a camshaft that’s bigger than the stock camshaft you originally had in your vehicle for a significant improvement. But don’t make it a point to own the biggest camshaft to exist in human history!

What does a camshaft do? 

This is an extremely important question, because if you don’t fully understand the role of your camshaft: you cannot be expected to find the best one for your vehicle. 

Essentially, the camshaft is a part of the engine and performs a couple of responsibilities that ensure the smooth functioning and operation of the engine and the entire vehicle. One of the most important functions of the camshaft is to convert the rotational motion into linear motion with its shaft. Then, the camshaft opens and closes the valves in connection to the timing of the pistons. It’s crucial that the timing is synchronized and that’s why you’ll often find a timing belt in most vehicles. 

That’s why it’s necessary to have different camshafts that work with different engines. Every engine has a different number of pistons and differs in cylinder arrangement, so simply any camshaft cannot do the job. 

What’s the difference between a camshaft and a crankshaft? 

You’re right in supposing that they aren’t the same thing — because they have quite a few differences and serve separate purposes. You could even consider them exact opposites of each other in terms of their location and duty. 

Camshafts are located on the top of your engine and convert rotational motion to vertical motion. They control the valves that are responsible for air-fuel entry into the combustion chamber. This directly impacts your engine functionality and fuel efficiency. 

Crankshafts, on the other hand, are found at the bottom of the engine. They do the opposite job: turn vertical motion into rotational motion. Crankshafts are directly responsible for the power of the engine and are controlled by two factors: valve timing as well as ignition. 

Conclusion

Buying the right camshaft is just as important as investing in the right engine since it is an important component of the engine itself. The camshaft, along with the crankshaft power up the engine and get it to work optimally. 

We’re sure that you’ll be able to find a high-power camshaft within your budget, whether you’re replacing an old camshaft or rebuilding a 350 engine with Vortec heads on your own. Good luck!

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