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396 cam help info

1753 Views 15 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  68chevyed
Hello all, need some good suggestions from the cam experts please. Am getting ready to finish my car. Want to install the right hydralic cam. What i have is a 66 396 rebuilt with 30 over stock pistons they do have domes the cast number on the block is 3855961 The heads are 3872702 mortec says 98cc. I need to know if you have any idea as to the compression ratio? This is going in my 68, turbo 400 trans, 2000 stall converter, 3:31 gears, 28 inch tires. This is just a weekend cruiser no drag strip would like a little ruppity rupp and low end tourq. This is what i have for now money is tight so i can't change pistons or heads at this time to lower the compression which i'm guessing is going to be high. Thanks for all your help and suggestions.
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do you know if the block had a groove around the rear cam bearing? if it didn't you'll need a grooved cam. if you get this wrong it won't oil the top end, end up with a bunch of burned up stuff up there. You may want to contact the guy who built the shortblock to verify. Unfortunately, many shops don't klnow of this, all the guys who did know have retired.
You'll notice that I didn't ask if it had a grooved bearing. the groove in question is in the block, not in the bearing. many of the cam bearing sets have a shallow groove in the rear bearing, but it is not near sufficient for the need. if there's no groove in the block you need the groove in the cam. Believe me, many 396 topp ends have been burned up the years.
also, if there's no groove in the block the rear cam bearing must be installed perfectly so that the holes in it line up with the holes in the block. Normally, the clocking of the bearing does't matter because the holes in the bearing line up over the groove in the block. if there's no groove in the block the bearing must be installed with the correct clocking or the there won't be any oil to the lifters and top end even if there's a groove in the cam. It pays to know exactly how your stuff is assembled in this case.
no. if the bearing is not installed correctly it won't matter if there's a groove in the cam.

Do this, knock the big freeze plug behind the cam out. take a piece of baling wire, straighten it out and make a tight 90* bend on the end. let the bent end be at least 1/4" long. probe the holes in the cam bearing with it, see if there's holes in the block behind the holes in the bearing. THere's three holes in the bearing, none of them can be blanked off by the block. You might be able to a visual on it, but probe to be sure.

Buy a new plug to put back in.
you can use a piece of broomstick or anything similar to knock out the bearing.

sorry, our posts crossed. my "no." meant you can't play it safe by installing a grooved cam.
actually, you're lucky. a lot of guys have posted here with similar questions but they alread had the engine running in the car before discovering that the top end was dry. A real bummer there.
that's a good price. Engle is a traditionally a quality product. that's also a pretty good cam for your application. See if you can find out anything about the lifters, came from Engle? Old stock? New production? There's been some issues with cheap imported lifters lately. It would be good to verify what these are.
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