What are Camshafts?

Knowing your car inside and out is one of the best ways of keeping it to its top shape. And you could also save a lot of money on repairs and maintenance if you’re able to fix your car by yourself right? And the important part of the car is its engine.

The engine has a lot of smaller parts and one of which is the camshaft. The camshaft operates the poppet valves. It controls the inlet and outlet ports. Cams or lobes also helps create more power in the rev ranges. It is composed of cylindrical rod with a length of its cylinder bank w/ a number of oblong or more of a pear shaped lobes or cams sticking out from it. There is one lobe for each valve. The lobes or cams compel the valves to open as it rotates and creates a lifting motion to the valve. The camshaft is connected with the crankshaft of the engine and the timing of the two rotating parts is very critical to the engines performance. Because the camshafts control the valves movement and the valves controls the fuel intake and exhaust so it must be opened & closed at the right timing during the stroking of the piston. So the camshaft is directly connected to its crankshaft via a gear mechanism or also indirectly with a timing belt or a timing chain. The proper rotation must be two full rotations of a crankshaft for each rotation of a camshaft. But there is a different timing need for each specific kind of engine. The camshaft position depends on its location. In a direct operation the camshafts must be positioned at the top of the cylinders. But in a more modern engine the use one camshaft each for the intake and exhaust valves.

The development of camshafts has really come a long way. From the design of Rover which devised a VVC cam where the cam rotates within a rotating holder. The cam durations and lift can be adjusted to match the engine’s speed. And then there’s the Honda’s VTEC valve timing system which is I think the most in demand type of camshafts. This provides two stages of valve timing. There are two cam profiles to each valve and the lifter is made rigid to pick faster cam at a rev range. This would give the driver an explosive power and its like getting two cars with this kind of camshafts.

Maintaining the camshaft is very important for it is one of the most important parts of an engine. Most auto engine has hydraulic lifters to eliminate the need to fine-tune the valve lash at standard intervals as the valve train wears. There are modern lubricant motor oils which contains additives that reduce the sliding friction which is one important factor to avoid. This causes the cam or lobe to wear faster than the followers or vice versa which is not good for your car’s engine.

Now its up to you on how you use this information and hope this help you taking good care of your vehicle.

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