Many of you may already know the function of a camshaft. It is the part responsible for controlling the fuel intake and the exhaust output of the engine. The stock camshaft on the 5.3 Vortec engine is not too good.
It barely passes all the required tests. A poorly designed camshaft could lead to the engine not utilizing its full potential if you did not know. That is where this article steps in.
After searching the internet, I can finally say that this list contains the best cam for 5.3 Vortec. You will be surprised by my findings. You know what, I cannot delay this any further.
1. Comp Cams Hydraulic Roller Cam
There is nothing better than starting an article with a bang. Well, delivering that bang is the company called Comp Cams. The manufacturer has been stealing the first spot on many of my articles.
Its products are outstanding and sometimes closer to being perfect like nothing ever can be. Well, this Hydraulic Roller Cam continues on the company’s promise to deliver products that are incomparable with the competition.
Comp Cam always makes sure to offer its camshafts in different variations. This way it will be suitable for more people. They offer three variations for when you have to choose what you want in the box. You can get a camshaft only, a cam and lifter kit, and even a whole K-Kit.
The last option has everything you will need. They have the lifters, the camshaft itself, valve springs, valve seals, decals, and more. The contents of a K-Kit may vary, but this is the bare minimum of what you will get from one.
This camshaft is perfect for use at high RPMs. It is rated to cross the 7000 limits, so you don’t have to worry about that. The company has implemented its Xtreme Energy technology with this engine. It will provide you with power that you have never experienced before. This camshaft is made in the USA.
So, you don’t have to worry about quality control or anything. This is perhaps one of the major reasons for Comp Cams being the top camshaft company in the world. You can expect everything on its lineup to be rock solid and relatively fault-free.
- Available in different variations
- Made in the USA
- Rated for the 7000 RPM limit
- Uses Xtreme Energy technology
So, you can go ahead and buy this camshaft right now as it is the best one money can buy for your Vortec engine. With a company like this one, you can close your eyes and trust its offerings blindly. This has been the case with every single offering of the manufacturer that I have checked out.
2. Comp Cams 54-444-11 Hydraulic Roller Cam
Taking up the second spot is another product from the company Comp Cams!
The fact that the manufacturer was able to earn two spots on this article, with both of them being the first and second one, tells you about the quality of their products. This 54-444-11 Hydraulic Roller Cam has been designed for usage at high RPMs.
So, if you are one of those people who have a performance addiction, then there is nothing better suited for you than this roller cam.
Unlike the previous camshaft, whose sweet spot started from 800 RPM, this one starts from 2000 and goes up to 7200. And if you were wondering, yes, this cam is also offered in the three variations I mentioned before.
You can get the camshaft only or get lifters with it or a whole set containing even the valve springs. If you choose the last option, the engine performance gain will be phenomenal. The manufacturer promises that this camshaft is better than their Xtreme Series.
Although I agree with that, without any doubt, it has been designed for power users only. It is not suitable for people who use their vehicles for light usage.
The manufacturer claims that this camshaft has an area under the curve greater than any other camshaft on the market. If this is true, then it means no other small block camshaft can be compared to it.
Plus, just like the previous one, this camshaft is made in the USA. So, the quality control and shipping will be top-notch. There is a close to zero chance of you receiving a faulty camshaft.
- More area under the curve than any other competitor
- Made in the USA
- Huge performance gain
- Top of the line quality control
If you use your vehicle, with the Vortec engine under the hood, for purposes such as drag racing, then you should get this product without any second thought. It will give your engine the performance you never imagined was possible with it.
3. Brian Tooley Racing BTR Truck Stage 3 Cam
There may be some of you who like to live your life on the edge. Well, I have got some good news for you!
If you are itching to try something from a brand that fewer people know about, then you are going to love this Brian Tooley Racing BTR Truck Stage 3 Cam. I will be honest with you. I have never heard of this company before.
But when I took a look at its offering, it shook me. Let me tell you exactly what this camshaft can do for your Vortec engine.
Unlike other camshafts that come with lifters only, the manufacturer has included many things you may need for the upgrade. They have added, in the box, the cam, brand-new valve springs, hat seals, and high-quality pushrods.
You may be wondering what the meaning of a Stage 3 camshaft is. Let me explain. A stage 3 cam sacrifices a bit of low-end torque, but in turn, you are getting massive performance improvements. When the engine reaches a higher RPM, you will notice significantly more power. That’s not all.
Some aftermarket camshafts are not towing-friendly at all. They give up in those scenarios. Brian Tooley promises that this will not be the case with its camshaft. It is tow-friendly, so you will get the performance you deserve without sacrificing a lot.
Although the company recommends getting a brand-new converter that will manage higher RPMs, the company assures users that most vehicles will work flawlessly without any change. This will save you some money, and there is very little chance of you running into any problems.
- Huge performance improvement
- Will work with most stock converters
- Tow-friendly design
- It comes with new valve-springs
- May get incomplete parts
The fact that there was only one user who complained about the issue means that there is nothing to worry about. The chances of something similar happening to you are close to none. So you should definitely not take this as the deciding factor of whether this cam should be bought or not.
4. General Motors Engine Camshaft
I think we all agree that OEM products are superior to almost all other products on the market. When I say almost, in this scenario, I am referring to the three camshafts that are better than this one.
This does not mean that the General Motore Engine Camshaft is bad. It is pretty similar when it comes to performance. So, let’s see what it has to offer.
One problem with the Vortec engine is that it does not have the low growl that many people love. You have to rev up the engine to get the sound that everybody loves.
Well, that is where this camshaft steps in. Allowing you to gain the low-end growl whenever you start your engine, it will be accompanied by the sound we all know and love.
Unlike other cams, which guarantee performance improvements, this stock cam is a direct replacement for your worn-out one. The company does not promise any performance upgrades. It is the same exact part number that is already installed in your engine.
So, what’s the point of getting this one, then? That, there, is a good question. The thing is, a camshaft is one of those parts that is continuously exposed to wear and tear.
After a few thousand miles, there is a definite performance decrease. A new camshaft with unworn parts will definitely help you get back the power and performance that you lost over the years.
You will not run into any performance or compatibility issues. The installation will be straightforward and will not require any additional modifications.
This is great news for many of you guys. You won’t have to worry about paying extra for labor. So, if you really want to cut down costs, then this is the camshaft to get.
- OEM part
- No additional modifications required
- Allows you to gain low-end growl
- Poor packaging
If the company fixes its shipping issues, then you won’t have to worry about anything. The product is great and perfect for people who are looking to only get the stock performance of their engine back.
5. Lunati Voodoo Hydraulic Flat Cam
We have already reached the end of the line, but still, the listings have no indication of reducing the competition. Take this Lunati Voodoo Hydraulic Flat Cams, for example.
As part of its infamous Voodoo series, the company has made a pretty awesome product. Lunati, just like Comp Cams, has been able to earn one or more spots in all articles I have written regarding camshafts.
Their offerings are solid, and users love them. I don’t expect you to take me at my word. You should check out what this camshaft can do and decide for yourself. The 5.3 Vortec engine can produce a respectable 300 HP. It does not blow anyone out of the water but is enough for most users.
After installing this camshaft, the number will jump to a very impressive 350. This is a massive improvement, and it will be reflected when you drive with this bad boy under the hood.
It does not end there. The improved performance will also come with improved throttle response and reduced acceleration delay.
So, if you are a racer or like to travel at high speeds, you will certainly appreciate the difference in acceleration. The camshaft, unlike many others on the market, will also not affect the vacuum by too much. This means that the efficiency of the engine will be retained.
The manufacturer did not forget to mention that all of its camshafts are designed and manufactured in the USA. So, there will be no worry about getting a product made of subpar materials.
Plus, the quality control is quite strict, which makes sure that 99% of the cams that leave the assembly line are as perfect as they can be.
- Up to 50 HP gain
- Made in the USA
- Reduced acceleration delay
- Improved throttle response
- Fewer ratings
If you want to buy from Lunati, then this is the product you should get. Their products have never disappointed, and this one will continue on that tradition too.
6. Edelbrock 2012 Performer Plus Camshaft Kit
We have finally arrived at the last product of this article. Edelbrock is a manufacturer that has occasionally earned a spot on my articles. They make decent products.
I must clarify that although the company earned the last spot on this article, it is definitely not the least. It must not be forgotten that these six listings were chosen from dozens of available options.
Just like most of the camshafts of this article, this Edelbrock 2012 Performer Plus Camshaft Kit is another flat hydraulic one. Although I would prefer a roller one, there is nothing wrong with a flat one too. This camshaft comes with lifters in the box. So, you will not need to buy separate ones.
Unlike other cams that are focused more on making the idles as choppy and rough as possible, the company has designed this cam to make the idles smooth. This is perfect for people who are looking for a decent performance upgrade while not making their vehicles overly loud.
Let’s talk about the camshaft’s performance as it is the thing that most of you are interested in. Well, you can expect major improvements in all regards. From throttle response to acceleration, the engine will feel more solid like never before.
Yes, that’s right! If you want to know about HP, then the engine will be able to output 320 HP after the install of this camshaft. This is quite a decent improvement.
It translates to better fuel efficiency and an overall better driving experience. The company also includes an instruction manual in the box. Although most of us will not be using it, it is still nice of the company to add it.
- Up to 20 HP boost
- Better fuel efficiency
- Smooth idle
- Performance improvement is not massive
Edelbrock makes decent camshafts. The quality and performance of the products is enough to satisfy the needs of most people.
How Much HP Does A 5.3 Vortec Make With A New Camshaft?
Oh, so you are looking for a definitive answer. I have got you covered. You can expect the engine to output around 320 HP after installing a brand-new camshaft. With the stock one outputting around 300, this is a quite decent improvement. I did mention that users were able to get to the 350 HP mark.
This is not possible with only a camshaft replacement. If you get a new intake, headers, and make other performance-oriented adjustments and tweaks, that is the only way you can get to that mark.
I don’t think it is worth it to spend this much money just to get a performance increase. Personally, I would be more than happy with the 20 HP gain that comes with installing a new camshaft.
How Much Does It Cost To Install A Camshaft On The 5.3 Vortec Engine?
Installing a camshaft is a costly procedure. The reason for this is that you need to dig through the engine to get to the required place. You need to remove many internal parts of the engine in order to access the camshaft. Then comes the replacement part.
It must be made sure that the replacement is done properly so that the fuel injector and the exhaust control can work properly. The final and the most time-consuming step is the assembly of all the components.
The work is done by a mechanic, and the labor fees can quickly add up. You can expect to pay around $1000 for the job. This is a lot more than the price of the actual camshaft.
Can I Install The Camshaft By Myself?
The procedure, on its own, is quite complicated. For small block engines like the 5.3 Vortec, the difficulty level goes through the roof. It is advised not to try to install a camshaft by yourself.
Many have tried and failed. It would be better to let a mechanic handle it for you. Even if you disassemble and install the camshaft, putting everything back together is something not everyone can do. So, you should not risk it.
Is It Illegal To Get A New Cam For My Vortec Engine?
There have been some instances in which users got into trouble with the authorities due to them using cammed vehicles. I searched and finally figured out the reason. If the camshaft that you have installed does not have a CARB certification number, you are on the wrong side of the law.
You will not only be charged with a hefty fine, but you will also be forced to remove the camshaft. So, before you get one installed, you should check out the local rules and regulations.
If you managed to read through the entire article, then I must say that I am impressed. Choosing the correct camshaft for the 5.3 Vortec engine is not an easy task. You need to make sure it is CARB compliant and does not break other laws.
I can assure you that you won’t have to worry about anything like that with the cams I listed above. Out of all the above options, I think it is clear that the best cam for 5.3 Vortec is the Comp Cams Hydraulic Roller Cam. With no drawbacks or flaws, you should not even look at other options.