Camshaft Installation


Consider this more of a resource page for TBSS camshaft installations and not a complete how-to. There are tons of good LSx camshaft guides online and Mike (MKEngineer) already did a great write up back in 2007 specific to the TBSS.

I just decided to add a few pictures and comments from my recent camshaft installation using the PCM of NC "attitude".

I highly suggest you read both of the following:

In addition to the Attitude Cam from PCM of NC I added the following because the attitude has more lift than the stock springs will allow.

  • PSI-LS1511ML "Maxlife" Beehive Valve Springs
  • Comp Hi-Performance 7* Machined Locks
  • CV-Products 511 Titanium Retainers
  • Trend 5/16" Hardened Pushrods

As Mike outlined in his write up, there are several things that do not need to be removed contrary to popular belief. Headlights and AC condenser are two things that come to mind. I chose to remove the headlights as well just so I could see what was going on. And as us guys that remove the right headlight at the track know it doesn't take long to remove headlights :)

After removing the grill, headlights, fan, radiator, intake, washer tank, water pump, etc. I decided to do the spring installation. This takes about as long as installing the actual cam if not longer.

Spring removal was done by removing the rocker arms, pressurizing the cylinder with air and using a home made spring compressor. see figure 2. It took longer to screw the air hose into the spark plug opening than to replace both intake and exhaust springs. I can't imagine an easier method.

Once the springs were replaced I removed pulley, timing chain cover, timing chain and then camshaft. As Mike outlined in his write up there are two common methods to hold lifters up when removing the cam. The dowel rod method and the pen magnet method. He used both and I used......neither.

Tip: Pay attention. Things were going along so well I got in a hurry and pulled out the stock cam, went down to basement and got new Attitude cam, cleaned new cam, lubed it and installed it and as I stood there thinking darn that was easy, I realized I forgot to install the dowel rods I bought ! Apparently my lifters just stayed up 8)

After installing the cam halfway into the motor and finding a spot where it rested on cam bearings I screwed three water pump bolts in to cam to act as a handle to finish the installation.

Before installing the cam sprocket or cam retainer I decided to thoroughly clean the threads in cam (again). As others have found out you can destroy a motor in short order when cam bolts work loose. Now that the threads and bolts were clean and dry I installed the cam sprocket with locite and torqued to GM specs.

Finding the dot on the crank sprocket is about impossible. I found it easiest to stick a wood dowel in #1 spark plug hole and spin motor over using the crank bolt. Once I felt the piston at the top of bore I could finally see the dot on the crank sprocket. This dot lined up with a machined line on sprocket hub which made it easier to see and line up cam sprocket. You can see mark on cam sprocket in Figure 5. Crank sprocket mark is not visible.

Figure 6 shows the only place gasket sealer is required. All other gaskets and O-rings are normally reusable.

Reassemble engine and refill with coolant and bleed system. Tips on bleeding here

Its highly recommended that you change oil within first 100 miles of operation after a motor is opened up.