Cam thoughts inside please!

joemomma

Active Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2020
Messages
335
Reaction score
143
OK gents, thinking it's time to add a cam to the pile o' parts I'm collecting. Before anyone says "custom cam" hear me out. Keep in mind, this is a "budget" build (see note on heads), and at present I'm just collecting parts. I don't want to tear into the top end more than once if I don't have to. I'm planning to do H/C/I all at once, when I get everything collected.

Plans as of now:
- Explorer non-EGR upper/lower (sitting in the garage on a shelf)
- Aluminum heads probably no larger than the 185cc range - these should be plenty for what I'm doing. I'm leaning Skip White NKB (which I think are actually 190cc). This will allow me some growth potential should I need it down the road. Leaning this way for a couple of reasons - they're priced well, built with good components, and they're just like an hour up the road from me. I like to support local when I can. These aren't specifically "budget" like a set of GT40s, but by the time I get some GT40s, have them machined/upgraded, I'm nearly at the price of these.
- Obviously supporting mods (new lifters, timing set) and possibly bigger injectors/fuel pump. I'd go 30# just to have a little room should I need it and a 190lph pump.
- Ted Jenkins tune

Here's the meat of the question: cam choice. I'm leaning Comp, probably the XE266HR or XE274HR. I know they both perform well, with the 274 being a bit more aggressive. It sounds better at idle. Anyone have any thoughts on either? I don't want to "overcam" - my dad has scared me to death of having too much cam on a street car. This car is 99% street. It might see the 1/8th once or twice, but won't be a regular there, just a fun street cruiser/weekend or nice day car. The car currently has 3.73 (possibly 3.90s. PO wasn't sure and I haven't done any math to verify), stock T5, shorty headers.
 

Burninrock24

Active Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2013
Messages
644
Reaction score
70
Location
Minneapolis, MN
Is the "overcam" concern over reliability or drivability? A higher lift cam is going to obviously going to create more friction and higher peak forces on your valvetrain more than a lower lift cam, but will increase airflow. Duration is going to shift your powerband. Generally longer duration = more power up top.

The slight problem with some off-the-shelf cams is that when you "stage-up" from 1 to 2 to 3 to 4, is that usually lift and duration go hand in hand.

So if you want a lower lift cam with longer duration you really have to read some spec cards or get something custom ground.

That said, neither of the cams you listed are what I would consider too extreme for a street car.
 

joemomma

Active Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2020
Messages
335
Reaction score
143
It's more of a drivability issue in his mind, but from everything I've been able to read, neither of the ones I listed present serious drivability concerns, especially with gears in the picture. Reliability isn't really a top priority. Obviously I don't want it to wet itself within a couple thousand miles, but it's got 156k on it now. When something does decide to let go, I'd go ahead and stroke it on the rebuild. At present, it seems plenty healthy. I've not done a compression check, but it doesn't smoke, and doesn't use any oil.
 

joe65

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 4, 2020
Messages
1,189
Reaction score
1,075
OK gents, thinking it's time to add a cam to the pile o' parts I'm collecting. Before anyone says "custom cam" hear me out. Keep in mind, this is a "budget" build (see note on heads), and at present I'm just collecting parts. I don't want to tear into the top end more than once if I don't have to. I'm planning to do H/C/I all at once, when I get everything collected.

Plans as of now:
- Explorer non-EGR upper/lower (sitting in the garage on a shelf)
- Aluminum heads probably no larger than the 185cc range - these should be plenty for what I'm doing. I'm leaning Skip White NKB (which I think are actually 190cc). This will allow me some growth potential should I need it down the road. Leaning this way for a couple of reasons - they're priced well, built with good components, and they're just like an hour up the road from me. I like to support local when I can. These aren't specifically "budget" like a set of GT40s, but by the time I get some GT40s, have them machined/upgraded, I'm nearly at the price of these.
- Obviously supporting mods (new lifters, timing set) and possibly bigger injectors/fuel pump. I'd go 30# just to have a little room should I need it and a 190lph pump.
- Ted Jenkins tune

Here's the meat of the question: cam choice. I'm leaning Comp, probably the XE266HR or XE274HR. I know they both perform well, with the 274 being a bit more aggressive. It sounds better at idle. Anyone have any thoughts on either? I don't want to "overcam" - my dad has scared me to death of having too much cam on a street car. This car is 99% street. It might see the 1/8th once or twice, but won't be a regular there, just a fun street cruiser/weekend or nice day car. The car currently has 3.73 (possibly 3.90s. PO wasn't sure and I haven't done any math to verify), stock T5, shorty headers.
So my advice is to have a custom cam done for it. If you're up for it at all there's a guy on Facebook by the name of Todd Warren. He's basically one of the best cam designers you can find now. He did a set for me for my 2v motor and i'm stupid and changed my build and didn't use them. but he talked through all the options with me do decide how the cam should be ground for best efficiency. Look him up, really good guy.
 

joemomma

Active Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2020
Messages
335
Reaction score
143
Looks like Todd is primarily a mod motor guy or does he do pushrods too? I couldn't find any specifics.
 

RAU03MACH

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2019
Messages
3,071
Reaction score
2,502
Location
NEW MEXICO
I have the B303 cam
You don't have to do much maby a tune
I did some ford race heads with mine and a gt 40 tube intake
And it performs very well
 

sluggish94

Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2020
Messages
128
Reaction score
126
Location
805
We have the CompXE264 in my dad's 306, its the perfect cam for that setup, a cruise/street build.

TrickFlow Stage 1 Cam is a good choice for a street/cruiser setup as well.

Don't want to knock RAU03MACH recommendation of the B303, but both the Comp & TrickFlow have much more modern valve events that make them better all around.

Nowadays choosing a B303 is very much like choosing GT40 heads.
Will they perform better than stock? Yes.
But are there better options currently available? Also yes.
 

joemomma

Active Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2020
Messages
335
Reaction score
143
The TrickFlow Stage 1 is also on the short list...
 

tvsn95

New Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2020
Messages
72
Reaction score
21
I agree with Sluggish94
the intake is going to be your limiting factor once you get better heads and cam, and it will be more so with a future stroker,
The old B303 sounds good with a retune ( the old F303 is another option, check for valve clearance) and you may find it cheap. But I would pick something modern. remember more cam means that you are planning to turn up more rpm's in most cases,,,make that part of your consideration.
If you are giong for a tune go ahead and use 40-42 lb inj, and run a 255lph intank pump.
DO THE T Moss mods to the intake.
 

joemomma

Active Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2020
Messages
335
Reaction score
143
I agree with Sluggish94
the intake is going to be your limiting factor once you get better heads and cam, and it will be more so with a future stroker,
The old B303 sounds good with a retune ( the old F303 is another option, check for valve clearance) and you may find it cheap. But I would pick something modern. remember more cam means that you are planning to turn up more rpm's in most cases,,,make that part of your consideration.
If you are giong for a tune go ahead and use 40-42 lb inj, and run a 255lph intank pump.
DO THE T Moss mods to the intake.

Good deal, thanks for the info. I'm going to stay away from any "used" cams. From what I've seen, they're generally $100 cheaper than new, and I don't want to run into any issues, even on a low-mileage unit. If/when I go bigger down the road, I can look at a better intake at that time. For right now, I've got $300 in the Exploder intake - less than half of what a new name-brand would be. I've seen a few used intakes in the $450 range, but I found this and got it when I had the opportunity. I'll look in to the TMoss porting. Going up to 42# injectors seems smart - the tuner can compensate for them in the tune. That will give me more room to grow down the road.
 

96blak54

Legend
Joined
Feb 21, 2011
Messages
7,949
Reaction score
1,250
Location
Ky
So my advice is to have a custom cam done for it. If you're up for it at all there's a guy on Facebook by the name of Todd Warren. He's basically one of the best cam designers you can find now. He did a set for me for my 2v motor and i'm stupid and changed my build and didn't use them. but he talked through all the options with me do decide how the cam should be ground for best efficiency. Look him up, really good guy.
You should invite Todd here. I think that would be fun!
 

96blak54

Legend
Joined
Feb 21, 2011
Messages
7,949
Reaction score
1,250
Location
Ky
OK gents, thinking it's time to add a cam to the pile o' parts I'm collecting. Before anyone says "custom cam" hear me out. Keep in mind, this is a "budget" build (see note on heads), and at present I'm just collecting parts. I don't want to tear into the top end more than once if I don't have to. I'm planning to do H/C/I all at once, when I get everything collected.

Plans as of now:
- Explorer non-EGR upper/lower (sitting in the garage on a shelf)
- Aluminum heads probably no larger than the 185cc range - these should be plenty for what I'm doing. I'm leaning Skip White NKB (which I think are actually 190cc). This will allow me some growth potential should I need it down the road. Leaning this way for a couple of reasons - they're priced well, built with good components, and they're just like an hour up the road from me. I like to support local when I can. These aren't specifically "budget" like a set of GT40s, but by the time I get some GT40s, have them machined/upgraded, I'm nearly at the price of these.
- Obviously supporting mods (new lifters, timing set) and possibly bigger injectors/fuel pump. I'd go 30# just to have a little room should I need it and a 190lph pump.
- Ted Jenkins tune

Here's the meat of the question: cam choice. I'm leaning Comp, probably the XE266HR or XE274HR. I know they both perform well, with the 274 being a bit more aggressive. It sounds better at idle. Anyone have any thoughts on either? I don't want to "overcam" - my dad has scared me to death of having too much cam on a street car. This car is 99% street. It might see the 1/8th once or twice, but won't be a regular there, just a fun street cruiser/weekend or nice day car. The car currently has 3.73 (possibly 3.90s. PO wasn't sure and I haven't done any math to verify), stock T5, shorty headers.
Here is my take based on this info.

When it comes to a street cruiser, performance really doesnt matter and i state it like this because the car is more of show and tell than it is providing its potential. So if driving around with the engine thumping and the exhaust note turning heads and just feeling good about your ride, what cam you choose really doesnt matter. This also goes for your head choice and the money spent. Ask yourself does the money spent net the results of the cars purpose? Cause a nasty thumping 302 can be had with stock heads, components, and itll run good too.

You also mention the purchase of new aluminum heads compared to the costs of machined redone stock iron heads. My take is and i cant stress this enough, have the aluminum heads checked out by a machine shop. Many many times ive seen fresh machined brand new heads have problems all because the machining process details were over looked or was acceptable by the company's standards.

I hope this helps
 

joemomma

Active Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2020
Messages
335
Reaction score
143
Appreciate all the info coming in! I guess I should expand - this won't be a track warrior and will primarily just be a street cruiser. Now, with that being said, I would still want it to be able to handle itself should a situation arise where it's performance comes in to question. I'm not expecting it to be "fast" by today's standards, but respectable against a new mini-van or Civic should junior decide to see what's really under the hood.

EDIT: There's also a bit of a rivalry with my sister and brother-in-law lol. They're big Chevy people and have a nice Chevelle and a C-10. They're more show than go I think, honestly I have no idea how either runs. She's challenged me to run her in the Chevelle, but I told her I wasn't ready yet lol. So, if I could show them the horizontal tails, that would be sweet.
 
Last edited:

joemomma

Active Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2020
Messages
335
Reaction score
143
Update: it seems the boss has given me permission to get some nice aluminum heads (don't ask what I did to deserve such a wonderful wife). I'm leaning towards the Skip White NKB. Outside of a timing set, lifters, and rockers, what else am I going to need? Pushrods and guide plates? Recommendations? Keep it simple, I'm a real novice.
 

96blak54

Legend
Joined
Feb 21, 2011
Messages
7,949
Reaction score
1,250
Location
Ky
Oh its a trap alright! For men In a marriage you will pay it forward and pay afterwards....everytime!
 

96blak54

Legend
Joined
Feb 21, 2011
Messages
7,949
Reaction score
1,250
Location
Ky
Update: it seems the boss has given me permission to get some nice aluminum heads (don't ask what I did to deserve such a wonderful wife). I'm leaning towards the Skip White NKB. Outside of a timing set, lifters, and rockers, what else am I going to need? Pushrods and guide plates? Recommendations? Keep it simple, I'm a real novice.
In my opinion, keeping it simple is key. I strongly suggest sending the new heads to a machine shop for an overview or at least do a simple at home valve lapping to check valve seal, which is a strong indication of machine work quality.
 

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Threads
74,871
Messages
1,452,371
Members
13,557
Latest member
afield00

Members online

Top