Why Do You Need a Stall Converter with a Cam?

Adding a camshaft to your vehicle’s engine can greatly enhance its performance, but it also brings along a few challenges. One of these challenges is the need for a stall converter. In this article, we will explore why a stall converter is necessary when installing a camshaft and how it improves your vehicle’s overall performance.

1. Understanding Camshafts and Stall Converters

Before we delve into why you need a stall converter with a cam, let’s first understand what a camshaft and a stall converter are.

A camshaft is a rotating shaft responsible for opening and closing intake and exhaust valves in an internal combustion engine. It controls the engine’s air-fuel mixture flow, which directly affects its power output.

A stall converter, on the other hand, is a fluid coupling device located between the engine and the transmission. Its primary function is to allow the engine to run at a higher RPM (revolutions per minute) before transmitting power to the drivetrain.

2. Power Band and Stall Speed

When you install a performance camshaft, it alters the engine’s power band – the range of RPM where the engine produces its maximum power. This change causes the engine to generate more power at higher RPMs.

The stall speed of a converter is the RPM at which the converter allows the engine to transfer power to the drivetrain. If the stall speed is too low, the engine’s power output will not be fully utilized. Therefore, choosing a stall converter with an appropriate stall speed for your camshaft is crucial to ensure optimal performance.

Here’s a scenario: If your camshaft’s power band is between 3,000 and 6,000 RPM and your stall converter engages at 2,500 RPM, you will not be able to take full advantage of your cam’s high RPM power band. A stall converter with a higher stall speed, such as 3,500 RPM in this case, would allow the engine to reach its power band and unleash its full potential.

3. Improved Torque and Launch Control

A stall converter also helps improve torque and launch control. Torque is the rotational force that enables your vehicle to accelerate. With a camshaft, torque is typically increased at higher RPMs.

When launching your vehicle, a higher stall speed allows the engine to rev higher before the converter engages, resulting in increased torque at the wheels. This enhanced torque gives you more power to launch quickly and efficiently, whether on the street or at the drag strip.

A stall converter with the appropriate stall speed ensures that your engine stays within its power band during acceleration, maximizing torque and launching performance.

4. Cooling and Reliability

Installing a high-performance camshaft can cause the engine to generate more heat, potentially leading to overheating issues. A stall converter can help alleviate this problem.

Stall converters utilize a torque converter clutch (TCC) that engages at higher speeds, reducing slippage and generating less heat. This increased efficiency in power transfer helps keep the transmission cooler, improving overall reliability and extending the life of other components.

5. Choosing the Right Stall Converter

When selecting a stall converter for your camshaft, consider factors such as:

  • Camshaft specifications: Take into account the cam’s duration, lift, and power band.
  • Vehicle application: Determine if it’s for street use, drag racing, or towing.
  • Transmission type: Different transmissions require specific stall converter designs.

Researching and consulting with experts can help you determine the ideal stall converter for your specific application.

In conclusion, when installing a performance camshaft, a stall converter is a necessary component to ensure your engine’s power output is optimized. It allows the engine to operate within its power band, enhances torque and launch control, improves cooling, and enhances overall performance and reliability. By understanding how a stall converter works alongside a camshaft, you can make informed choices to unleash the full potential of your vehicle’s engine.