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Parts of a Camshaft

by Ekaete Bailey

The camshaft makes up an integral part of a vehicle. Three main parts make up a camshaft: the main journals, the lobes and the ends. Cam bearings are another important part of a camshaft. A valuable part of the engine, a camshaft helps the engine rotate. Modifying the camshaft can improve gas mileage, efficiency and overall performance while helping the vehicle to produce more peak torque and horsepower.

Main Journals

The power created by the camshaft comes from constant rotation. The main journals keep the camshaft in place as it spins around in the engine bay.


While the camshaft spins, the lobes work in time with the motion of the piston. They open and close the intake and exhaust valves, and the pace in which they open and close the valves reflects on the vehicle's engine performance. The cam lobes change speeds when an engine changes speeds.


The front end of the cam secures the vehicle's timing belt and keeps it in time with the crankshaft.The rear end of the cam turns the distributor of the engine with a special gear. This part keeps the ignition timing in tune with the rest of the engine.


Cam bearings are added parts used in conjunction with the main journals. The bearings help prevent the camshaft from damaging the engine block in the case of a malfunction in the engine. The bearings keep the camshaft in seamless rotation.

About the Author

Ekaete Bailey began writing professionally in 2005. She has experience in journalism, copyediting, Web content, marketing, creative writing and public relations/communications, with an emphasis in travel writing. Bailey writes for a variety of print and online publications. She earned a Master of Science in public-relations management from State University of New York College at Buffalo.

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