Custom Grind or Off the Shelf

Engine, Trans & Driveline

  1. LowDeck451

    LowDeck451 Active Member

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    General question... If a guy has a street car (3.55 gear, hp exhaust manifolds) that he wants to run at the track pretty often, would the ‘right’ custom ground cam for a less than perfect combo like this be a better choice than an off the shelf grind? In other words, would you have a better chance of getting the ‘right’ off the shelf cam if you had a better combo, let’s say 4.30 gears, light car, high stall, headers etc.? Hope this makes sense! Thanks.
     
  2. BSB67

    BSB67 FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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    The details of the build, and the goal for the car will influence the answer. But, there is always a better cam. But how do you know it's better? If you call 5 custom cam grinders, give them all your information, three will be close to one another but still a little different, and the other two will be a lot difference. This is a generalization based on my observations, but I bet I'm close.

    So, how do you know if a custom cam will be better than an off the shelf cam?

    Some people believe that the MP 528 is the best cam, while other would not go so far to say that. Most would agree that it is pretty good for many exhaust manifold applications.
     
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    • LowDeck451

      LowDeck451 Active Member

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      Thanks BSB. My thinking is that the cam companies have to make more compromises in their street/strip cams for all the possible combinations of the public, whereas a custom grinder with the specifics of one customer’s car could nail it down better. Also, I think you might have mentioned in another thread that once you get close to the best cam, there’s probably not much of a difference in the top three cams anyway, or something to that effect. I also realize that in a ‘street/strip’ car, a 10 or 15 horsepower difference between cams would probably be lost in the chassis anyway lol. Interesting subject to me though.
       
      Last edited: May 22, 2020
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      • BSB67

        BSB67 FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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        That sounds like something I'd say. Not sure many people would agree so you might not want to hang a lantern on it. :D
         
      • Curiousyellow71

        Curiousyellow71 Well-Known Member

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        A few things that usually steer us towards a custom cam are when we are pushing the compression on pump gas, trying to run the vacuum brakes, exhaust manifolds builds, stroker cranks, valve clearance issues and trying to get that last 10hp. LOL
        It's good to have what you are looking for at least narrowed down before you call and talk to a custom cam company. I always mention Tim Goolsby at Bullet and their mopar only grinds when custom is mentioned. Back when we did a custom grind from comp cams it went ok, but as I've mentioned before it took longer to give them the credit card info then the cam specs....we were pretty much on our own.
         
      • LowDeck451

        LowDeck451 Active Member

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        Are those Bullet lobes fast or max rate? If so, I don’t think I need or want that for the mostly street driving part of street/strip in my case.
         
      • Curiousyellow71

        Curiousyellow71 Well-Known Member

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        We like the UD profiles, we have had .842 and .904 UD profiles ground also have cams ground off bullets master list and occasionally a lobe gets recommended that is new not on the list.
        You do not have to get a cam ground for a .904 lifter you can get a profile for .875 ford or .842gm and have it ground on to a bb mopar. IMHO doing a .842 chevy on a mopar makes very little sense when doing a custom.. Bullet has so many options, I can't really say what's is fast rate or not, There is 3 letters in there cam lobes that designate the cam style. The UDs are pretty quick but great cams. I think a lot of the comp cams have given the "fast rate" term a bad name by dropping the valve like a falling rock, making noise and going bad from quality issues. I have no idea really what your engine is, but if I am headed to a track my plan is not to go slow! You certainly can screw up the cam choice and go slower!

        There may be a off the shelf cam that works well. A custom grind will run maybe 50-75 bucks more from bullet vs. a "name brand` shelf cam from summit..

        Heard good things about Jones cams as well.

        Usually the first street/strip cam compromise is vacuum to run the brakes. 108 lsa cams are not good vacuum builders, also narrow LSA street/strip grinds are not necessarily great for pump gas.
         
        Last edited: May 23, 2020
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        • wyrmrider

          wyrmrider Well-Known Member

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          Agree with Curious I'd rather have a mild mopar lobe than a radical chevy lobe with the same specs- lot of FUD and BS on this topic
          Bullet has slow and fast rate cams do talk with Tim Directly or you have pot luck (true of any grinder) and do not forget Racer Brown and Engle- both have long Mopar
          Experience --
          Engle has mild, moderate and max strip only lobes

          Agree on Comp and fast close being hard on parts
          do not go for a max rate for any given duration on the street
          CamCraft has some interesting mopar lobes
          Howards seem to go for the Max but are fairly modern, later than the UD Harold profiles Howard has the latest UD Harold did AFIK
          AFIK Jones has excellent SFT lobes and absolutely the best HR and SR lobes His Motorhome HFT is best in the low compression class better than Howard and Lunati
           
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          • beanhead

            beanhead Well-Known Member

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            No reason NOT to go with something custom spec'd anymore, in my opinion, unless you really understand all the things that go with it. Parts durability, manners, efficiency with the compression ratio etc and how the valve events affect everything. I've been told by people much more experienced that the difference between a handful of cams in a range of maybe two-three sizes may not be more than 10 or 15 hp, so unless you're building for a dyno challenge why not get the cam that best fits all the other criteria. It's not like it costs a bunch more dough and then you get a cam that's actually matched up to your combo and intended usage. All it takes is a phone call (or three!)
             
            Last edited: May 24, 2020
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            • LowDeck451

              LowDeck451 Active Member

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              Thanks all you guys, appreciate your experience. That’s what I was thinking, hoping to hear. Not a lot of extra cost for such an important part.
               
            • 383man

              383man Well-Known Member

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              I run a Dwayne Porter custom grind solid flat tappet cam in my 63 and I love it. Ron
               
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