My Cam Swap Saga

ksurfer2

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I thought I would create of post of the saga of the cam swap in my 512. I am, by no means, an expert mechanic. This was the first time I have ever completed a cam swap. So for all you other beginner wrenches out there...this is how I did it.

First, I watched the complete series on You Tube of Pete's Garage build of a 440. He goes into great detail on every step and explains things in a manner that is easily understandable.
Second, I had no deadline....I was going to take as long as I needed to get it done. All in all, it took about 5 weekends. I would only work on it a couple hours each day. This may seem like a loooong time to those with lots of experience, but I was very careful and methodical the whole time.

Prior to getting started, I cleaned my shop, the work bench was clear of everything, and I organized my took box and other tools I thought I would need.

After spending about an hour and a half with tech support from Comp Cams, an order was placed for a new cam, lifters (solid roller), timing chain, springs, and retainers. Parts came in surprisingly quick and disassembly began. To stay ahead, I ordered a new valley pan, oil pump priming tool, spring compressor, gaskets for the water pump and timing chain, push rod measuring tool, and balancer puller.

I wasn't until after I ordered the valley pan that I realized a normal 440 valley pan wouldn't work with my Edelbrock Victor Max Wedge port heads. To avoid removing the heads, I ordered this pan....https://www.manciniracing.com/hubvapl2pimo.html It is a nice piece and install was a breeze.

One thing I would do different is find a better spring compressor. I ordered this one from Summit...https://www.summitracing.com/parts/cca-5324 It did the job, but was A LOT of work. It also required removing the master cylinder to get the springs off of #7. My wife was a huge help here as she removed and installed the keepers on each spring as I wrestled with the spring compressor. It was really tough going, but by the time we were done with all 16, we had it down pretty good.

Once disassembled, a lot of time was spend scraping gaskets and old RTV. Lots of patience and frequent breaks during this phase.

Prior to re-assembly, I would watch the Pete's Garage episode that pertained to whatever task would be taking place that day. This was a HUGE help!!!!

A key to my sanity through this was staying organized, and keeping everything clean....Every time I would finish with a tool, it went right back to its proper spot in the tool box. There was no searching for that 1/2" socket or whatever tool I was using earlier. Everything stayed in its place. Several times each day I would sweep up the floor, throw out used paper towels, get fresh rags, etc.

Assembly went very smooth, one key here was EVERY bolt (no matter how obvious) was bagged and tagged when removed. All the bags were kept together and everything was easy to find when the time came. When I measured the push rods to get new ones, it turned out the required pushrods were the same length as the ones I already had...so I was able to save a bit of money.

So here are the two things that went wrong.

1. when I was lashing valves, I missed one. After initial start up, there was a lot of valve train noise. Shut off immediately and found the culprit.
2. When I went to spin the motor for the first time after buttoning everything up, all I got was "Click". At some point during the process, a ghost (I can only imagine) got in the car, crawled up under the dash and disconnected a wire from the starter solenoid (wire pulled out of connector). I cannot think of another logical explanation about how this happened...the car ran fine when I parked it and I wasn't in the car at all during the process. This was a cause of about an hours worth of swearing and frustration...a while back, I moved my starter solenoid to the firewall under the dash to clean up the engine bay a bit.

Since I took pictures of EVERYTHING during disassembly, I was able to get the distributor back in almost exactly where it came out. Only a minor adjustment to timing was necessary.

She is purring like a kitten now. I still need to bleed the brakes, and then out for a test drive. If weather permits, maybe the track on Saturday night. Hopefully, my current best time of 10.74 will be bested!
 

diesel_lv

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Did you remove grill and radiator or did you tilt engine nose up to remove/install cam?
 

Don Frelier

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A couple things I like to do after a "larger" project like this:
1. Leave the hood off for a bit so much easier to check for leaks and double check things are tight.
2. Drive it like 5 minutes, check for leaks.
3. Drive it like 10 minutes, check for leaks.
Short trips until you've got some run time.

Sounds like you did a nice job.
Pictures????
 
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Kern Dog

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I’m looking at a can swap because my flat tappet solid went bad. I’m looking at a solid roller as an option.
What specs did you go with ?
 

ksurfer2

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I’m looking at a can swap because my flat tappet solid went bad. I’m looking at a solid roller as an option.
What specs did you go with ?
Here is the cam card. This is predominately a NSS race car that sees some, but limited street use. Note....there is a 4-7 firing order swap. I still need to clean up the plug wires as they are a bit of a mess now.

Cam card.jpg
 

Kern Dog

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I don’t know roller cam specs well but that is a LOT of lift for the duration. Also... the intake lash is more than exhaust? That is strange.
Roller cams must have some different needs than flat tappet styles.
 

ksurfer2

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I don’t know roller cam specs well but that is a LOT of lift for the duration. Also... the intake lash is more than exhaust? That is strange.
Roller cams must have some different needs than flat tappet styles.
From my conversation with Comp tech (and advice from this forum), a shorter duration cam would be beneficial for my application since I am only running 10.5:1 compression. I am guessing the high lift with short duration is one of the benefits of a roller. My cranking pressure went from 118psi with my old cam (276 duration for both intake and exhaust and .600 lift) to 150psi with this cam.
 

66Satellite47

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Great job. Your methods sure seem excellent. Taking pictures is a great idea which I have seldom used. I have used the old DC cam decal when setting the valve lash for over 40 years on many camshafts. It is a bit tedious, but it's worked for me on cams from 565 lift to 720. It's a one by one step. Hope you do better than 10.74, but that is still impressive. What cam did upgrade to?
 

PRHeads

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Doesn’t really sound like much of a “saga” to me.
Seems like you methodically worked through it and got it done.

I’ll be looking forward to the track report.:thumbsup:
 

66Satellite47

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Surfer, I see your cam selection. Should be pretty good. The modern shorter duration at that lift should be a good combination.
 

Geoff 2

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The lobe #s look like Comp. The int lobe looks to be is a different series than the exh, could explain the lash difference.
 

dvw

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I'm curious did you measure the installed heights of the springs? Looking forward to the results.
Doug
 

oldbee

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I thought I would create of post of the saga of the cam swap in my 512. I am, by no means, an expert mechanic. This was the first time I have ever completed a cam swap. So for all you other beginner wrenches out there...this is how I did it.

First, I watched the complete series on You Tube of Pete's Garage build of a 440. He goes into great detail on every step and explains things in a manner that is easily understandable.
Second, I had no deadline....I was going to take as long as I needed to get it done. All in all, it took about 5 weekends. I would only work on it a couple hours each day. This may seem like a loooong time to those with lots of experience, but I was very careful and methodical the whole time.

Prior to getting started, I cleaned my shop, the work bench was clear of everything, and I organized my took box and other tools I thought I would need.

After spending about an hour and a half with tech support from Comp Cams, an order was placed for a new cam, lifters (solid roller), timing chain, springs, and retainers. Parts came in surprisingly quick and disassembly began. To stay ahead, I ordered a new valley pan, oil pump priming tool, spring compressor, gaskets for the water pump and timing chain, push rod measuring tool, and balancer puller.

I wasn't until after I ordered the valley pan that I realized a normal 440 valley pan wouldn't work with my Edelbrock Victor Max Wedge port heads. To avoid removing the heads, I ordered this pan....Hughes Engines Valley Plate It is a nice piece and install was a breeze.

One thing I would do different is find a better spring compressor. I ordered this one from Summit...COMP Cams 5324 COMP Cams Shaft Mount Valve Spring Compressors | Summit Racing It did the job, but was A LOT of work. It also required removing the master cylinder to get the springs off of #7. My wife was a huge help here as she removed and installed the keepers on each spring as I wrestled with the spring compressor. It was really tough going, but by the time we were done with all 16, we had it down pretty good.

Once disassembled, a lot of time was spend scraping gaskets and old RTV. Lots of patience and frequent breaks during this phase.

Prior to re-assembly, I would watch the Pete's Garage episode that pertained to whatever task would be taking place that day. This was a HUGE help!!!!

A key to my sanity through this was staying organized, and keeping everything clean....Every time I would finish with a tool, it went right back to its proper spot in the tool box. There was no searching for that 1/2" socket or whatever tool I was using earlier. Everything stayed in its place. Several times each day I would sweep up the floor, throw out used paper towels, get fresh rags, etc.

Assembly went very smooth, one key here was EVERY bolt (no matter how obvious) was bagged and tagged when removed. All the bags were kept together and everything was easy to find when the time came. When I measured the push rods to get new ones, it turned out the required pushrods were the same length as the ones I already had...so I was able to save a bit of money.

So here are the two things that went wrong.

1. when I was lashing valves, I missed one. After initial start up, there was a lot of valve train noise. Shut off immediately and found the culprit.
2. When I went to spin the motor for the first time after buttoning everything up, all I got was "Click". At some point during the process, a ghost (I can only imagine) got in the car, crawled up under the dash and disconnected a wire from the starter solenoid (wire pulled out of connector). I cannot think of another logical explanation about how this happened...the car ran fine when I parked it and I wasn't in the car at all during the process. This was a cause of about an hours worth of swearing and frustration...a while back, I moved my starter solenoid to the firewall under the dash to clean up the engine bay a bit.

Since I took pictures of EVERYTHING during disassembly, I was able to get the distributor back in almost exactly where it came out. Only a minor adjustment to timing was necessary.

She is purring like a kitten now. I still need to bleed the brakes, and then out for a test drive. If weather permits, maybe the track on Saturday night. Hopefully, my current best time of 10.74 will be bested!
Yup, “ghosts” do come out at times! Happens to all of us.
 
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