When you build your motor for your car or truck, more often than not you’ll want that nice “cammed out” sound. Almost everybody is familiar with it. Some of us even like our motors with a cam so big it sounds like the engine is about to stall out and die. But when it comes time to buy that COMP cam that you’ve been wanting, do you know how to read all the specs? Do you understand how to accurately determine which camshaft you need to fit your needs based on just the information in the catalogs? It almost seems as if the terminology and numbers are enough to make your head spin.

Valve lash. Lobe separation. Gross valve lift. For those who aren’t too familiar with camshafts and how they work, these terms sound about as confusing as advanced calculus. Even if you are familiar with cams, you might not be fluent on the terminology such as ‘base circle’ or ‘lobe separation angle’. Often times these terms can get easily confused or difficult to understand. So what does all this mean, anyways?

COMP Cams, the world leader in stock and custom camshafts, have been kind enough to take us deep into the science and terminology of the camshaft and its operations in this great video. Thoroughly explained with excellent animations, this video will walk you through the ins and outs of the camshaft and what each of these terms mean in precise detail in regards to the cam operation inside your engine.