Camshafts and Their Personalities
The Design Challenge
Recently I was put to the test to come up with a camshaft that flat out works with the majority of our race ports on our blowers. Honestly, this isn't easy. So you want me to design a cam that works for everyone who buys a supercharger port from us, and works perfect every time around, no pressure right?
I've been designing camshafts for a very long time. Yes I know, maybe you have not heard of me, maybe my stuff doesn't come across for you when you google search, I fully get it. I never set out to do that actually, meaning, I never set out to sit at my office and design cams for everyone on a daily basis. Heck, I have great friends of mine who I either use or send customers to for that.
What I do is unique. What I do stems from a long background of listening and learning. It’s easy to design something for everyone, which I do all the time and that is normal. But, there can be much more if you want it to be. Camshafts can define how your car shows itself to others. It can define and respond in a way that you want to be heard. Sometimes we joke around as we listen to an engine with its valve train clatter, and we say, isn’t that the heart beat? LOL, yes, it is.
When you are faced with designing a camshaft for someone, you are faced with a dozen possible questions. What do you want to do with the car, what kind of gas are you running, what is your power goals, etc. The list goes on. Then we have this whole thing of calling them stages. OMG, if this could not be more confusing in what we do, I don't even know what else to call it. To call a part of your engine a stage, in some way like its own ability, is just weird. What if that stage 1 camshaft worked really well with your so-called, stage 4 cylinder heads? Did you ever sit and ask yourself, it didn't matter? I've wrestled with this a lot. Yes, I have a couple cams in which we name them stage X, but only because it’s the only way I can tell a customer it belongs in the same place as the cam you are thinking about. I almost feel like I need to create a wheel chart of duration equals stages just to define all of this. It’s nuts.
When I design a cam, I ask myself, as a builder and tuner of course, how do I want this to perform. I want all of it actually. You ever think that maybe I am the picky guy and the customer is not? Well, hell yeah I am picky. I want this setup to run hard, drive amazing, idle like it should, not piss me off while driving, type of characteristic. All of a sudden, I want it all. Which is funny, because guess what, so does every person building their car. Jokes on us all at that point.
Camshafts Offered By Synergy
As of now, I have defined a few cam profiles that seem to work with most of the work that we have done, and they seem to work well. But when I open my cam profile folder and realize I have literally hundreds of names and profiles in there, I really get to see the bigger picture of what I was trying to achieve or learn. Without all of that, there is no way I could design something that is a good meet you halfway, and let's party type of profile.
To touch on one last thing: The thought that a camshaft’s specs seem so close to your specs, but performs so differently can be a very humbling thing. Sometimes, you may just find that what you think when you read it on paper sounds the same, but really leaves you asking yourself, “How in the heck did ‘the same’ pick up that much more power??”