There is a myth that an earlier opening of the intake valve even by 2 or 3 degrees causes the phenomenon known as reversion. This misconception is false from which other incorrect conclusions are made. When you focus on overlap you are on the wrong end of the cam-timing event.
Reversion or the effect of the backing up of the intake fuel air mixture is normally associated with longer duration high-performance camshafts, is actually caused by the intake valve closing later. The answer is in the basic principles of physics. just as with trigonometry and geometry the truth does not change because a person chooses to ignore it.
When the intake valve opens some 40 or more degrees before T.D.C. at the end of the exhaust stroke, very little exhaust gases remain in the cylinder. The piston is close T.D.C and no threat is posed to the incoming intake charge.
A false reversion theory when taken to an extreme would lead to a false conclusion that any overlapping of the intake and exhaust valves is totally undesirable. Engineers of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s used to think this way and they feared of overlap so much so they actually employed negative overlap of – 5 or -10 degrees to be sure none would occur.
The results were that these engines were severely limited to low speeds and marginal output. Engineers in the early 1920’s performed experiments with longer duration cams and proved that camshaft overlap fears are false, as both power, RPM and performance were actually improved. These engineers demonstrated that overlap did not cause engines to lock or backfire.
To further prove that reversion is not caused by earlier intake opening and the resulting extension of valve overlap, look what happens when you advance any camshaft, the intake and the exhaust valves open earlier, this advancement of the cam does not cause more reversion, yet throttle response and torque are improved.
If this myth were correct an engine would run poorly especially at lower RPM. By investigating what is occurring on the other end of the valve timing event will give you the explanation.
When a camshaft is advanced, not only do both valves open earlier but they also close earlier and there is the answer to reducing intake reversion. Closing the intake valve earlier and the reversion of the intake charge as the piston rises on the compression stroke will be reduced. It is not a mystery it is just the truth.