What is a Ghost Cam Tune? [Definition and Explanation]

What is a ghost cam tune?

A ghost cam is a camshaft and/or cam profile that is used in high-performance, racing applications and is characterized by minimal valve overlap and a sharp throttle response. It is also commonly referred to as a “cam-in-the-can”.

A ghost cam tune gives your Mustang a performance-tuned sound and feel while improving the engine efficiency. The tunes are available in both automatic and manual transmission varieties.

The term “ghost cam” comes from the cam profiles used in racing engines. The engine builders would load the engine on the dyno and when the engine was at idle, they would see (through their NVH specialists) that there was a small amount of noise that occurred during overlap.

To eliminate this noise, they would tune their cams to have less overlap time. This brought up the torque curve, which increased power. These cams were called ghost cams because this overlap period was so short, that it was as if it “disappeared”.

In order to achieve a Ghost Cam effect, one must properly install the appropriate camshafts with the correct intake and exhaust ramps. The Mustang’s TiVCT feature can be utilized through PCM tuning to accomplish this effect.

The following vehicles are eligible for Roush’s Ghost Cam Tuning:

What is a ghost cam tune Camaro V6
  • 2015-2017 Mustang GT (manual transmission only, includes select manual transmission equipped V6 models)
  • 2015-2016 Shelby GT350 (manual transmission only)
  • 2016-2017 Mustang EcoBoost (automatic transmission only)

In order for a Mustang to produce the distinctive Ghost Cam sound, the following conditions must be met:

mustang gt ghost cam tune

The Ghost Cam tune is designed to be used as an addition to the exhaust system. Bama Performance offers Off-Road and Catted exhaust systems for the 2011-2014 V6 and GT platforms.

Off-Road: The Off-Road Calibration produces a moderate sound, with a deep tone under acceleration, and a light exhaust note at cruising speeds. This tune is perfect for the everyday driver who enjoys a spirited drive through winding roads, but still wants good fuel economy.

Catted: The Catted Calibration is the perfect choice for those looking for an aggressive exhaust note. A race-like tone can be heard at all RPMs and throttle positions, making this tune perfect for spirited drives through winding roads or drag racing.

The BAMA Performance Ghost Cam Calibration will make your Mustang sound and perform like a race car. By utilizing the Mustang’s Twin Independent Variable Cam Timing (TiVCT), BAMA Performance has created a calibration that removes the cylinder deactivation feature of the 5.0L Coyote Engine.

 This results in a true 8 cylinder performance engine that does not sacrifice fuel economy or drivability.

With this unique tuning technique, the TiVCT system is able to advance and retard cam timing independently or together, depending on vehicle demands.

 Each cylinder is allowed to breathe more freely with less restrictive exhaust flows for maximum power and performance across the entire rev band.

Where did the term “Ghost Cam” come from?

What is a ghost cam on a car

BAMA Performance, the originators of the Ghost Cam Calibration, have been perfecting their calibrations for over a decade. When they introduced the first Ghost Cam tune to all 5.0L Mustangs in 2006, it was widely popular and quickly gained notoriety for its race-inspired sound.

There is some debate about how the name came to be but there is no doubt that BAMA’s goal was to make Mustangs sound like a Cobra.

How does a ghost cam tune work?

mustang ghost cam tune

When you drive by a Mustang on a country road with a BAMA Tuning package installed and your windows are rolled down, you’ll hear it coming.

The unmistakable growl of a performance ignition system that is modified to produce an even more intense sound than stock. This is what BAMA means by “Ghost Cam.”

It’s not quite as loud as the high-strung GT500 or a V8 Supercar, but it’s guaranteed to attract attention wherever it goes.

This tune increases the power output of your 5.0L V8 from approximately 412hp and 390tq to over 440hp and 385tq while maintaining excellent driveability.

-Increases overall horsepower by 26hp & 27tq

In Mustang there are three conditions to enable the Ghost Cam idle

ghost cam tune problems

The cam-idle system is an energy-conserving feature that helps improve fuel economy by reducing the engine’s idle speed whenever the vehicle is waiting at a stoplight or in traffic.

The cam-idle system is designed to enable the engine to warm up faster and maintain a stable idle after it has been started, such as when you are driving away from an intersection.

When the engine coolant reaches 170 °F (77 °C), the cam-idle will be enabled and the ignition timing will be retarded approximately 10 degrees. This change in ignition timing causes the engine to idle at approximately 750 RPM with no throttle input.

 When the vehicle comes out of cam-idle mode, the ignition timing will return to its normal setting, which will result in a higher idle speed until a normal steady state is reached.

In addition to saving fuel, this idle reduction may help reduce emissions during cold weather when starting a vehicle equipped with E85 flex fuel capability.


The tune was designed to work with BAMA’s Off-Road and Catted exhaust systems. The stock exhaust’s restriction is greater than the aftermarket equivalent, so the tune has been calibrated to work with an Off-Road or Catted system.

BAMA’s Off-Road and Catted exhausts are specifically tuned to provide optimal performance without raising the noise level by utilizing a straight-through design.

The tuning process takes into account many variables that affect the Mustang’s operation. These variables include but are not limited to: engine load, spark timing, fuel pressure, cam timing, and more.*

On 2011-2013 GT models, the tune will allow you to adjust your shift points in preparation for installing a manual transmission swap.

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