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Engine experts - Best roller cam for TBI 350?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by BadDog, May 14, 2005.

  1. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    I just got the engine torn down that my son threw a rod in. The heads are ok, didn't even bend a valve, but the cam got "brushed" by the flailing rod. Not too bad, I would almost be tempted to grab the emery paper and "polish it out". Yeah, I'm cheap, but I know better.

    So, the old engine had HT 9:1 pistons with a hydraulic roller cam, roller rockers and S/R Torquer heads. This is fed by a stock TBI with AirAid spacer (snake oil IMO, but it was there so I left it rather than scout up replacement bolts). I was told the cam was an "LT1" but it has "Engle G-HR 212/218 211 Hyd" is engraved on the but end. <shrug>

    I have another block with stock (8.5:1 ?) pistons that I plan to use with the S/R heads. Don't really feel like fooling with the pistons frankly. I still have 6 good 9:1 pistons but would need 2 new pistons, rods, inserts, balancing and a block hone to swap and I just don't think it's worth it, especially running regular unleaded. Anyone think that's nuts?

    Anyway, many of you young guys know MUCH more about these "modern motors" (In my racing days it was all carbed). With that combination of parts, what do you guys think the best cam would be for good low end torque and over all driveability around town with emphasis on "fun to drive" with a nod to "better gas mileage" and no ECM changes? I have no interest in drag racing or burn outs but I hate driving a "slug"…

    Other relevant data: Full bodied K5 (so 5500 lbs+) 4.56:1 gearing with 35" tires and 700R4 for OD so rpms don't get out of hand.

    Thanks for any help...
     
  2. big pappa b

    big pappa b 3/4 ton status

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    I called Comp Cams and the tech guy told me to use This One (not necessarily from this place..just had the specs). This would be for the same motor you are talking about(350 Vortec) but it's in my burb for towing.


    Edit: I just looked up the Engle cam specs for the one you have and it is very similar to the one Comp Cams told me to get.
     
  3. sled_dog

    sled_dog 1 ton status

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    I say a great cam is the LT1 or LT4.

    www.sdpc2000.com

    check it out. $50 cheaper than a similar Comp Cam. I am running the LT4 camshaft in my TPI 383(still building).
     
  4. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Thanks guys. I've been told by 2 people so far that I should just polish this one out with emery and run it since it's a roller. Not too comfortable with it, but I may give it a try anyway since I don't want to wait to put it back together. The "damage" is very minor and you can just BARELY feel it with a finger nail, so it should be no problem after a little fine emery. Anyone think I'm nuts for considering that? Frankly I've reused hydro cams before that looked worse than this from wear, but it was in beaters that I pulled down just to fix a burned valve or the like, never on something like this...
     
  5. zcarczar

    zcarczar 1/2 ton status

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    Replace the cam, it will make noise. Then late model small blocks occasionally have cams that go bad and they make soooooo much racket, but it doesnt seem to hurt the performance, but I dont know about the longevity of them and affects on the roller tips on the lifter.
     
  6. sled_dog

    sled_dog 1 ton status

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    I wouldn't reuse it. I'm a fan of spending a few extra dollars and doing things "right". It adds up and costs me but its the way I like to do things. My 383 won't have any stock fasteners, all ARP.
     
  7. 4X4HIGH

    4X4HIGH 1 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    If it only left a small nick i would polish it up and run it again. Especially being a roller makes it easier than if it were a hydraulic flat tappet. :thumb:
     
  8. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Well, I thought I would go ahead and try to clean it up just to see how well it would clean up. I've decided that the damage was worse than I realized. Emery paper cleaned it up some, but there is still a visible "spot" in 2 places. Looks kinda like a circular crack about 1/8" in diameter if that makes sense. I can still see the "smear" as well. If it had cleaned up better, I might have taken my chances since it's not a "race" motor nor something that sees lots of miles. But not like this, the cam is just too much trouble to get to on these EFI motors.

    As for "doing it right", I'm all for that within reason and based on priorities. But at the same time, I'm also cheap and well shy of "rich" so I avoid spending money where possible, particularly things that are likely to be unnoticeable for my purposes. If I were racing it, or my daily driver expecting 50k+ miles out of it, I would never consider reusing the cam.

    Oh well, might as well do it right. Then, when it comes out for the diesel conversion I might just slide it into the truggy. Don't need any more power than it has, but nobody wants to pay for a mild "built" motor, so no sense in wasting it...

    Thanks guys. Any more suggestions on cams?
     
  9. sled_dog

    sled_dog 1 ton status

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    Yeah my mild 355 is on the shelf at home. No reason to try and sell it.

    Your reasons make sense, reading that I could see using it(if it came up better). I wish I had experience with the LT4 camshaft. Derf00 recommended the LT1 cam to me, I just stepped one passed that.
     
  10. bigred81

    bigred81 1/2 ton status

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    The LT 4 cam works great with a vortec motor with the 1.6 roller rockers so it should work pretty good in a TBI motor. I have one in 1985 monte carlo SS that I put a vortec 350 with LT-4 hot cam and roller rocker and the factory fuel system. It runs really good and makes good fuel economy about 15 in town and 26 out on the highway but that is in a car. You could use the cam out of 1992 police caprice with a 350 and it is a TBI motor so it should work with the factory computer. Hope this helps some.

    Bigred81
     
  11. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    I'd say look on ebay and thirdgen.org (plus any of the Lx1 sites that have classifieds) and look for another used cam.

    They should be cheap, and since roller cams don't need to be matched with the lifters, I say a used cam will save you some good money, and be very easy to find. Especially if a stock grind is going to work for you.
     

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