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Are Comp Cams really as bad as they sound?


Well-Known Member
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2:16 PM
Dec 24, 2020
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I head endless stories of Comp Cams with wiped cam lobes and lifters. Is there a problem with these cams or are the stories overblown? Are they just part of an overall trend of junk and crap that's produced these days?
The real story is.......Every company has a failure rate even if that rate is just 1 %.
Comp Cams holds well over HALF the market for camshafts and valvetrain components so they will have more failures in numbers even if their overall rate is lower or higher.
It has been reported that no matter where you buy your lifters, the overwhelming majority of them are made by one company yet are often REbranded and sold under different names. Your "Hughes brand" may fit into that category for all that I know.
I have had mixed luck with Comp Cams. I had two cams that ate lobes and I had one that had defects in machining. I've ran 3 Mopar Performance cams and the only one that survived was a 292/509 that got strict treatment regarding oiling.
From what I have read from many sources, it comes down to a few things:
Lifter crown and rotation in the bores.
Proper valve spring pressures.
NON detergent oil with adequate zinc.
An aside to this:
I have a 75 Power Wagon 440, a 67 Dart with a 360 and have had other mild builds that show zeeeeero problems with regular oil.
3k miles on both Comp cam & lifters and no problems so far.
My philosophy is if it ain't broke, it don't need no fixin. I don't get all the horsepower nonsense for the street, either.
I have zero problems originating from the Camshaft itself.
BUT the lifter are JUNK and cam Eaters. The Techs do not have
the Brains == God gave a Chicken~!!

Be sure that the lifters are rotating immediate after starting up when
Breaking in and Pray!
Far more knowledgeable experts on the subject than you'll find here have reported, written and opined
on the subject of inferior quality valvetrain components that have infiltrated the aftermarket.
Yes, Comp has dominated such reporting of course - but they're not alone in this topic.

We can all offer our personal anecdotes on the subject (I watched one of their creations wipe itself right
before my own eyes, for example) but bottom line is it's no longer a topic of debate - the Chinese outsourcing
of various components by these manufacturers has definitely riddled the market with lesser quality stuff,
seemingly with no relief in sight being offered by any of them.
Lifters that lack proper finish machining/crowning or hardening of their bases, cams that used to get nitrided
but don't anymore - there's all sorts of corners being cut.

If you're like me, you're looking more at new old stock of components - or to the usual conversion to a roller
setup of some sort. It's all we're left with, really - the manufacturers refuse to admit there's even a problem.
I had a new Comp cam fail. Bad lifters? Not sure what went wrong. Can't blame it on the cam when 5 lifters also took a hike. So either or could have been the culprit. I probably posted that it was the cam and that's pretty much wrong of me to blame the cam alone. 50/50 could have been either one.



I see this stuff a lot and I don't know what to think of it.

The hot-roddy stuff I've read/heard with Comp is a mixed bag among Mopars, Fords, and Chevies. Hydraulic rollers collapsing, flat tappets mulching themselves, bad rockers. Then I hear/see engine builders blaming customers, customers blaming engine builders, DIY guys afraid to ask for help, improper break-in, etc.

My last recent build I did with Comp was a hydraulic flat tappet Chevy. I heard all of the horror stories before I got started on it.

I wanted no excuses if there was a failure - I used all their stuff. Cam, lifters, pushrods, rockers, assembly lube, and even their own branded break in oil. Mind you this was all low duration, low lift (.480"), light spring stuff. It has over 30,000 miles on it now. No exotic oil or secrets. Quadruple checking the initial setup and using the best valvetrain components I could reasonably afford at the time, even though some of it was overkill for the application.

I may have gotten lucky more than once. I still don't know. I feel bad when I see these catastrophic failures because this can be a mighty expensive hobby.
Lifter failure. I do not know how to link it, so...

Go to the SpeedTalk. com website. Read the lifter thread, dated June 29. It is a few pages. Read the comments of Mike Jones, who owns the site & has been grinding cams for 40 yrs.
I started a thread about a flat lobe Comp in a friend's 440. It was built by a reputable shop that specializes in Mopars and was broken in on the dyno. Who knows if it was a bad cam, lifters, not enough taper on the lobe or crown on the lifter to make it spin, or any of the dozens of other causes for a flat lobe. I know they sell hundreds of thousands of cams but it sure seems like they have more than their share of issues.
Well, I'm terrified of using new cam parts in anything because of the obvious lack of
quality control that the manufacturers have. The above post by BeepBeepRR shows
what can happen with soft lifters and then there's the problem with all of that crap
being slung throughout the engine. If that were my cam and lifters, I would take
them to a machine shop that can measure Rockwell hardness and have all of the parts
checked. Then I would call the manufacturer and ask what their spec's were. If they
differ any great amount, you should be able to use their own info to hang them!
Shipping junk parts to customers is totally unacceptable! Metallurgy is NOT rocket
what you never find out is the story behind the story on a lot of these installs. No fuel, no spark, distributor 180 out and the cam and lifters get cranked for weeks straight before it ever fires... let’s not even mention leaving the inner springs in, having the wrong spring on it, coil bind and all the other cam/lifter failure causes that never get admitted to. I used Comp Cams for a decade and a half nearly exclusively with fantastic success. Given the current supply chain, quality control, labor issues combined with the entitlement generations “it’s always someone else’s fault” mentality, I’m glad to be out of that world...
I head endless stories of Comp Cams with wiped cam lobes and lifters. Is there a problem with these cams or are the stories overblown? Are they just part of an overall trend of junk and crap that's produced these days?
never had a problem.

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