What Does a Camshaft Do?

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This is what a Camshaft does:

The camshaft is critical to the fundamental function of an engine. Comprised of two distinct parts, the cams, and also the shaft, the camshaft is that the element that allows valves to open. Because the shaft rotates, the egg-shaped cams (or “lobes”) push the valves open in sync with the crankshaft gear.

In modern overhead-cam (OHC) engines, the camshaft is found within the cylinder head. Single OHC (SOHC) engines have one cam per bank, usually mounted between the valve stems. Rocker arms transmit SOHC movement to the valves. Dual OHC (DOHC) engines have two cams per bank, usually directly over the valve stems, one for intake valves and one for exhaust valves. Force is transmitted on to the valve.

An i4 (four-cylinder) SOHC engine has one camshaft, while a V6 or V8 SOHC engine has two. An i4 DOHC engine has two camshafts, while a V6 or V8 DOHC engine has four camshafts. Overhead-cam engines have three to 5 valves per cylinder, but usually two intake valves and two exhaust valves.

Older engines and some newer “pushrod” engines have one camshaft within the engine block. Long metal pushrods transmit camshaft movement to the rocker arms, which transmit that movement to the valves. Pushrod engines usually have two or three valves per cylinder, usually one valve and one valve.

The typical camshaft is milled from a rough-formed cast steel blank. Some performance and custom camshafts are also milled from a solid steel block.

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