Now there is an ambiance about the words “Twin Cam”. We’re mesmerized with all these moving parts working in symphony. Single cam just seems so old tech and out of touch.
So, why In the world does Single Cam still exist in this world of hi-tech? My answer is well “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”.
Seriously, Single Cam does have its advantages.
• Simplicity. Think about it. There are a lot less parts in a Single Cam engine. For example take your standard V-8 application. In a Chevy small block you have one cam working all the valves. However in a Ford mod motor you’ll find 4 cams. That’s right even though we are talking about Twin Cams there are actually Twin Cams per left and right bank, totaling four cams.
• Tuning. OMG you drop in your Single Cam and set your Timing with your crank.That's it. (and let’s be honest your engine builder will most likely do this step for you) Your grind on your cam is set from the manufacture and that’s that!
• Cost. It’s a lot cheaper to buy one cam the four or two for that matter. So, you do the math.
Now why have most manufactures moved to Twin Cam.
• A Twin Cam design will allow room for more valves in the combustion chamber. Thus increasing the area used and maximize the airflow into the engine.
• Eliminate the push rods. This may be the weakest link in a Single Cam.
• Eliminate the rockers. That’s right some manufactures have even eliminated the rockers to reduce the mass of the valve train. This helps to open and close the valves at a faster rate and to minimize valve float. As a result the engine will be free to rev to much higher rpm’s giving you a much broader power band.
• Utilizing Twin Cam to adjust the timing of the intake and exhaust cams independently have resulted in power gains. Especially on forced induction. Example: Turbo and Supercharged.
• In Twin Cam applications, the valve angle can be optimized from the manufactures engineers for the best airflow into the cylinder.
• Variable Valve Timing. With modern Twin Cam engines the addition of VVT can increase gas mileage and horse power at the same time.
So, in conclusion I think both engine designs have their advantages. If its simplicity, ease of installation, and reliability you desire, your choice will be the Single Cam.
If its technology, extracting the most power for a given liter, while maintaining drivability, then your choice will be the Twin Cam.
Which is it for you?
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