Cam and Manifold Install

May 1998

    I had decided that I wanted to build up the motor some, without spending a lot of money. After some consideration, I bought a Edelbrock Performer RPM intake, with the matching cam and valve springs. To go along with this, I also bought Crane iron adjustable rockers and the correct pushrods. I thought this combination, along with the 800 Holley double pumper would be good for 12.80's. Luckily, my friend Alex was able to help me out.

cam5t.jpg (22664 bytes)We pulled the motor to do this job because there were some other oil leaks that I wanted to fix. Since I have quit wrenching, I sure do miss having access to a rack! Alex and I were able to do this swap over a weekend.

Like I said before, I sure do miss having access to a rack! See!

cam13t.jpg (37371 bytes) Look at that the engine is already out!

cam11t.jpg (23703 bytes) I guess we didn't get too many pictures of the actual camshaft installation. We did spend the time to degree in the cam, luckily it was off only 1/2 of a degree, not worth messing with. I also pulled the heads off and put in Fel-Pro race head gaskets. I am glad I did because I found out that one of the exhaust valve seats had not been ground correctly. You could see daylight between the valve and the seat. It looked like the machinist had put in the hardened seat and forgot about grinding in the angles. I was really pissed off because that could have burned the exhaust valve. Luckily I was able to have Napa grind the seat for me and things were ok again!

cam7t.jpg (35835 bytes)After I brought the head back from the machine shop, we dummied up the engine and checked for piston to valve clearance. It was right about .120 on the intake and .160 on the exhaust. Since I had 1.88 exhaust valves put in, I decided to check the valve to cylinder block clearance, it was .168, not much room for error if the guides start going away. So I marked the section of the cylinder using the head gasket as a template then ground a chamfer into the exhaust side of the cylinders, now there was .250 clearance, much better! Plus that might help with exhaust flow around the valve.

cam6t.jpg (39509 bytes)We had no problems breaking in the cam. There was quite a bit more throttle response than before, maybe because it was firing on 8 cylinders(!)

cam9t.jpg (32903 bytes)The idle was not as smooth, which I had expected, so I knew that the next project would be a different torque converter

cam2t.jpg (32130 bytes)Overall, I am very happy with this combination. It has good drivability at low speeds, and pulls all the way to 6200 and maybe more, but I don't want to push the envelope too much (cast pistons still) And with the TCI 2800 converter that I installed later it ran 12.68 @ 110mph, with a 1.87 60 foot time. And it did it on regular old Radial T/A's!

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