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Old 03-13-2011, 02:31 PM   #1
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VVT Cam .......... or ......... LS3 Conversion

Ok. I know this info is spread out all over the place but I want some opinions with the idea that it will be for me.

I may be doing the install myself.....

(In case anyone hasn't seen it, member robertway did a diy write-up that is second to NONE in scope, and thouroughness with easy to understand vid, text and pics. Fantastic job.)

I want to hear opinions on the pros and cons of a VVT cam and an LS3 conversion.

My relevent mods are catless long tube headers, (Borla, so 1 3/4 primaries) 2.5" exhaust (also Borla), Fastlane cai, Magnuson TVS2300 supercharger, and it's obviously dynotuned. Everything else is stock.

Obviously it's an L99.

I'm hearing conflicting ideas and possibilities. Until yesterday, I thought VERY few people were doing VVT cams.

Now, you'll need to know my goal with this.

This will be my last power mod. With respect to the engine, I won't be doing anything else. No NOS, no blower swap, no underdrive pulley, nothing.

My order of importance is power, then sound. I want as much power as I can get and not be rocking all over the place.

I'll do a stall, and possibly rear end gears later, but this is my last power mod.

So, opinions? Insights? Lessons? Any info I can get will be great. Including wether I should do it myself or not, and where to spend my money at.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-13-2011, 02:35 PM   #2
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VVT cam from MAST
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Old 03-13-2011, 02:44 PM   #3
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i am no expert, but i believe in doing the LS3 conversation, just makes things easier.

team LS3?
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Old 03-13-2011, 02:47 PM   #4
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I'm doing the LS3 converstion. I didn't want to limit my cam options so much and I am happy to put the better lifters in my car. It makes it easier all the way around. I believe the the tune is far more important anyway and I have a great tuner.
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Old 03-13-2011, 02:51 PM   #5
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This will be an interesting thread to watch. About 3 weeks ago I was trying to make this same decision. But I ended up deciding to wait and do a cam at a later date.

At first I was leaning towads a VVT cam setup (Mast Motorsports) or comparable setup.
But then I thought I had a lifter issue and the heads were going to have to come off and the lifters replaced. So at that point I figured I might as well do the LS3 conversion so I would have more options in cams to use and I wouldn't have to worry about the AFM/VVT lifters, etc causing an issue some time in the future.

I know someone just recently had an issue with a VVT Mast Motorsports Cam setup on his supercharged L99.

I see if I can find the thread.

It was actually a broken value spring. Here's the thread. But I really like the stuff Mast Motorsports is putting out.
http://www.camaro5.com/forums/showthread.php?t=132873
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Old 03-13-2011, 02:59 PM   #6
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team LS3?
Nope. It's like a butterfly. Yes, technicaly it's a larvea or whatever when it's in a cacoon, then it becomes a butterfly. BUT, it was always a butterfly. I'm still L99 becasue it was that way at birth.

(and we all know it's really about the tranny, lol)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth_Emma View Post
I'm doing the LS3 converstion. I didn't want to limit my cam options so much and I am happy to put the better lifters in my car. It makes it easier all the way around. I believe the the tune is far more important anyway and I have a great tuner.
If I do the install myself, It'll be easier to not do the conversion. Plus, if I find the right cam in VVT, then the number of cam options won't matter. I can only pick one. Could be I need to find the cam and THEN make the decision?

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VVT cam from MAST
But.... why?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SGOS252382 View Post
This will be an interesting thread to watch. About 3 weeks ago I was trying to make this same decision. But I ended up deciding to wait and do a cam at a later date.

At first I was leaning towads a VVT cam setup (Mast Motorsports) or comparable setup.
But then I thought I had a lifter issue and the heads were going to have to come off and the lifters replaced. So at that point I figured I might as well do the LS3 conversion so I would have more options in cams to use and I wouldn't have to worry about the AFM/VVT lifters, etc causing an issue some time in the future.

I know someone just recently had an issue with a VVT Mast Motorsports Cam setup on his supercharged L99.

I see if I can find the thread.
Yes please. Find the thread.

More options in cams is good, but if my choice were found in a VVT cam anyway, then it woldn't matter. But I haven't really looked yet.

It's the specs that I don;t have a clue what means.

I'm basically mailing down the VVT or Conversion decision before going any further. Could be that I need to approach it from the other end.

I just want to get opinions and info first.
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Old 03-13-2011, 03:05 PM   #7
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You're going to get a ton of different opinions here, but I think with the blower you really have all the power you need. You can go to a smaller pulley and make more boost. Once your cam goes in it will drop your boost anyway so you'll need it.

I went with a Comp VVT cam because I really just wanted the sound. An LS3 conversion is more expensive as well, but if you're doing your own labor you'll save a bunch.

If I hadn't gone with a blower I would've gone with a larger cam and an LS3 conversion.

Just my opinion...since you have the blower already...go with a VVT cam (and a torque converter).
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Old 03-13-2011, 03:09 PM   #8
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Nope. It's like a butterfly. Yes, technicaly it's a larvea or whatever when it's in a cacoon, then it becomes a butterfly. BUT, it was always a butterfly. I'm still L99 becasue it was that way at birth.

(and we all know it's really about the tranny, lol)

If I do the install myself, It'll be easier to not do the conversion. Plus, if I find the right cam in VVT, then the number of cam options won't matter. I can only pick one. Could be I need to find the cam and THEN make the decision?

But.... why?

Yes please. Find the thread.

More options in cams is good, but if my choice were found in a VVT cam anyway, then it woldn't matter. But I haven't really looked yet.

It's the specs that I don;t have a clue what means.

I'm basically mailing down the VVT or Conversion decision before going any further. Could be that I need to approach it from the other end.

I just want to get opinions and info first.


Here's the thread I was talking about. He had a VVT cam setup and the car worked fine. But when he put a supercharger on his car he ran into some issues.

http://www.camaro5.com/forums/showthread.php?t=132873
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Old 03-13-2011, 03:09 PM   #9
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But.... why?
Becuse I said so. And Greg Norris approves this.
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Old 03-13-2011, 03:10 PM   #10
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This thread will be full of win... subscribed...
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Old 03-13-2011, 03:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
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You're going to get a ton of different opinions here, but I think with the blower you really have all the power you need. You can go to a smaller pulley and make more boost. Once your cam goes in it will drop your boost anyway so you'll need it.

I went with a Comp VVT cam because I really just wanted the sound. An LS3 conversion is more expensive as well, but if you're doing your own labor you'll save a bunch.

If I hadn't gone with a blower I would've gone with a larger cam and an LS3 conversion.

Just my opinion...since you have the blower already...go with a VVT cam (and a torque converter).
The TC is definitely something I will be doing down the road.

My car is a bit underpowered considering the mods. Blown with all the components and only 471rwhp. Ya, the wheels don't help, but guys with 22s have had better numbers. I'm not neccesarily chasing a number, because I wouldn't know what number to chase, but I do think I'm underpowered now, considering. Maybe my borla headers with the small primaries is hurting? Nto sure, but If I'm gonna do a cam, I want the max power benefit I can safely get.
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Old 03-13-2011, 03:18 PM   #12
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The TC is definitely something I will be doing down the road.

My car is a bit underpowered considering the mods. Blown with all the components and only 471rwhp..
ya i agree, you only have like 30WHP on me. and you have a supercharger. you need a cam my friend.
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Old 03-13-2011, 03:20 PM   #13
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Is your transmission tuned yet?
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Old 03-13-2011, 03:23 PM   #14
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The TC is definitely something I will be doing down the road.

My car is a bit underpowered considering the mods. Blown with all the components and only 471rwhp. Ya, the wheels don't help, but guys with 22s have had better numbers. I'm not neccesarily chasing a number, because I wouldn't know what number to chase, but I do think I'm underpowered now, considering. Maybe my borla headers with the small primaries is hurting? Nto sure, but If I'm gonna do a cam, I want the max power benefit I can safely get.
Weren't there some issues with your tune? What PSI did you end up at?
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Old 03-13-2011, 03:27 PM   #15
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The TC is definitely something I will be doing down the road.
Do this before you get a cam... should be step #1. Then figure out a cam. It's sorta like all these blowers going on cars w/ 22's and no way to put the power to the ground.
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Old 03-13-2011, 03:31 PM   #16
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PQ:
Read this:
http://www.camaro5.com/forums/showthread.php?t=34774

There will a quiz tomorrow.

If you are really after more power with the cam, you may want more lift than a VVT cam can give. (Do I sound like I know what I'm talking about? Nah...)




Where is Spike anyway? Oh, Spike!
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Old 03-13-2011, 03:42 PM   #17
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I would be worried about the DOD lifters.
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Old 03-13-2011, 03:57 PM   #18
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PQ,

Just a couple of things.

A VVT cam requires a skilled tuner to make it fly....given that the fact you couldn't find a local guy good enough to tune just your blower, this could be a big factor in your final choice.

VVT cams are going to run on the smaller side due to the lifters, so you're going to take a hit on power. However, the smaller cam would ding you less on the boost hit.

LS3 conversion costs more, but has less headaches and is simplier to work with/tune.

Also....match your cam choice to your stall..HAVE A PLAN! This is very important in the big picture. Smaller VVT cams could very well fly without a stall, larger cams will without question require a stall to be driveable. Don't do one without the other.

Last, but for sure not least ( and this one will sound crazy, but hear me out ) You're sitting at 470 RWHP right now and can't put it down, but yet you're chasing even more HP. Here's what I suggest....work on your suspension set up including a nice sticky tire. If you can put down what you're using, you just may find that you already have all the power you need.

I'm only throwing that last bit of advice out there, because that's exactly what I'm doing right now. I'm sitting at 470 RWHP and wanted to slap a blower on top....but after I thought more about it, adding more power would just compound the launching problems I already have. I went out and bought bushings/trailing arms, etc and as soon as I can I'm getting set of drag radials then heading back out to the strip.

Just some things to think about as you make your next move brother!
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Old 03-13-2011, 04:59 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlee View Post
Is your transmission tuned yet?
Not yet. I still have to get Ted a Datalog plus I gotta get Doc in J-Ville to put my tune on my SCT tuner. Then send the file to Ted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dangeruss View Post
Weren't there some issues with your tune? What PSI did you end up at?
The tune is fine. I suspect I have a small vacuum leak still. I ordered the hoses from Magnuson. Should take care of it.

Ended up with 7.3psi boost.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlee View Post
Do this before you get a cam... should be step #1. Then figure out a cam. It's sorta like all these blowers going on cars w/ 22's and no way to put the power to the ground.
Right.

I'm fine on the street. I have no real reason to try and launch from a dead stop. I do have occasion to punch it from 55 or 65 mph. lol

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth_Emma View Post
Where is Spike anyway? Oh, Spike!
I better call him before he disowns me. This is right in his wheelhouse. lol

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Originally Posted by acowherd View Post
I would be worried about the DOD lifters.
Nah..... I tuned it out. It never activates. Flow is never changed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Huggerorange73 View Post
PQ,

Just a couple of things.

A VVT cam requires a skilled tuner to make it fly....given that the fact you couldn't find a local guy good enough to tune just your blower, this could be a big factor in your final choice.

VVT cams are going to run on the smaller side due to the lifters, so you're going to take a hit on power. However, the smaller cam would ding you less on the boost hit.

LS3 conversion costs more, but has less headaches and is simplier to work with/tune.

Also....match your cam choice to your stall..HAVE A PLAN! This is very important in the big picture. Smaller VVT cams could very well fly without a stall, larger cams will without question require a stall to be driveable. Don't do one without the other.

Last, but for sure not least ( and this one will sound crazy, but hear me out ) You're sitting at 470 RWHP right now and can't put it down, but yet you're chasing even more HP. Here's what I suggest....work on your suspension set up including a nice sticky tire. If you can put down what you're using, you just may find that you already have all the power you need.

I'm only throwing that last bit of advice out there, because that's exactly what I'm doing right now. I'm sitting at 470 RWHP and wanted to slap a blower on top....but after I thought more about it, adding more power would just compound the launching problems I already have. I went out and bought bushings/trailing arms, etc and as soon as I can I'm getting set of drag radials then heading back out to the strip.

Just some things to think about as you make your next move brother!
Good stuff.

Ya, I plan on getting some 18s and DRs later. Not for the fest though. Of course the cam will be after the fest as well.
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Old 03-13-2011, 05:33 PM   #20
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PQ,

Just a couple of things.

A VVT cam requires a skilled tuner to make it fly....given that the fact you couldn't find a local guy good enough to tune just your blower, this could be a big factor in your final choice.

VVT cams are going to run on the smaller side due to the lifters, so you're going to take a hit on power. However, the smaller cam would ding you less on the boost hit.

LS3 conversion costs more, but has less headaches and is simplier to work with/tune.

Also....match your cam choice to your stall..HAVE A PLAN! This is very important in the big picture. Smaller VVT cams could very well fly without a stall, larger cams will without question require a stall to be driveable. Don't do one without the other.

Last, but for sure not least ( and this one will sound crazy, but hear me out ) You're sitting at 470 RWHP right now and can't put it down, but yet you're chasing even more HP. Here's what I suggest....work on your suspension set up including a nice sticky tire. If you can put down what you're using, you just may find that you already have all the power you need.

I'm only throwing that last bit of advice out there, because that's exactly what I'm doing right now. I'm sitting at 470 RWHP and wanted to slap a blower on top....but after I thought more about it, adding more power would just compound the launching problems I already have. I went out and bought bushings/trailing arms, etc and as soon as I can I'm getting set of drag radials then heading back out to the strip.

Just some things to think about as you make your next move brother!
Nailed it right on the head... PQ read this over 3 more times please...

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Right.

I'm fine on the street. I have no real reason to try and launch from a dead stop. I do have occasion to punch it from 55 or 65 mph. lol
I think what I meant, didn't come across in what I wrote. You can't have a decent size cam without a TC, but you can install a TC separate from the cam, so do it as the first step and get that part out of the way
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Old 03-13-2011, 05:42 PM   #21
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Mine is in this week for a TC and blower cam via LS3 conversion. VVT will not allow you all of the options a conversion would with cam selection as of now; in the future I am sure more and more will become available. The weak point that most will sway you to a conversion with is the lifters. If you want to be cost effective go VVT and if you want a full selection of options and stronger lifters go LS3 conversion. As is always true you get what you pay for. Also do know there is a VVT cam with and without afm so you can still get a VVT cam and retain AFM through some cams from Texasspeed but there is more power to be had without AFM. Also you will limit yourself even further without a stall as you will have cam surge with larger cams that gain 30rwhp or more and that is a bad feeling so you may want to stay with a smaller cam or get ready real quick to get a TC.
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Old 03-13-2011, 05:56 PM   #22
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Nah..... I tuned it out. It never activates. Flow is never changed.

I was talking about the lifters themselves...During the LS3 conversion you can put in better lifters.
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Old 03-13-2011, 05:57 PM   #23
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Nailed it right on the head... PQ read this over 3 more times please...

I think what I meant, didn't come across in what I wrote. You can't have a decent size cam without a TC, but you can install a TC separate from the cam, so do it as the first step and get that part out of the way
Fair enough. But what if I want the cam before the stall?

Is there a decision in that it's self? Or just a mild cam either way. I'd rather do the stall later. But I don't want to do anything stupid.

Quote:
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Mine is in this week for a TC and blower cam via LS3 conversion. VVT will not allow you all of the options a conversion would with cam selection as of now; in the future I am sure more and more will become available. The weak point that most will sway you to a conversion with is the lifters. If you want to be cost effective go VVT and if you want a full selection of options and stronger lifters go LS3 conversion. As is always true you get what you pay for. Also do know there is a VVT cam with and without afm so you can still get a VVT cam and retain AFM through some cams from Texasspeed but there is more power to be had without AFM. Also you will limit yourself even further without a stall as you will have cam surge with larger cams that gain 30rwhp or more and that is a bad feeling so you may want to stay with a smaller cam or get ready real quick to get a TC.
I'm leaning conversion but I'd sure like to get the same power, reliability, and total benefit from a VVT since it would be easier.
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Old 03-13-2011, 05:58 PM   #24
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I was talking about the lifters themselves...During the LS3 conversion you can put in better lifters.
Ah. Right. Yup, I'm leaning that way but I need more info. I still have to get cost and parts lists.
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Old 03-13-2011, 06:02 PM   #25
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Fair enough. But what if I want the cam before the stall?

Is there a decision in that it's self? Or just a mild cam either way. I'd rather do the stall later. But I don't want to do anything stupid.

I'm leaning conversion but I'd sure like to get the same power, reliability, and total benefit from a VVT since it would be easier.
PQ, to do it the right way the cam and stall choice need to be married to each other.

Big cam will without a doubt require a stall.....don't half ass it. If you need to hold off till you can swing both, do that.
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