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396 cam help info

1761 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.
Yes it does have the grooved rear cam bearing. Was under the impression that i still needed the groove in the cam also?
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.
Thanks for the reply Tom. The engine is all together cept for the intake, cam,timing gears. How would i be able to see if the block is grooved? Have no way of contacting the builder. can i just play it safe and go with the grooved camshaft?
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.
Just saw this post Tom Can the rear cam plug be romoved to tell this ?
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.
Thanks Tom I'll look at it tomorrow and will post back my results thanks again for your help
Am still looking for suggestions for a cam for this setup Thanks
Hey Tom got the plug out and all is well all three holes line up used an allen wrench worked great thanks for the heads up :yes: Now am still trying to get ideas on this set up as far as a cam goes? I have a guy who is willing to sell me an Engle Racing Cams brand new with matching lifters and springs for my 66 block so the cam will have the groove for $150.00 here are the numbers he gave me. RV 72H 500 valve lift, 272 advertised dur, 295 camlift, 225 dur at .050, 112 lobe cntr. will this be a good cam to get started at ? He says it won't have much of a lope at idle but will have good low end torqe. It is a good price if it is good for my setup.
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.
Thanks for the reply Tom He said he has had this cam set up for about 10yrs just sitting in his basement. So i'm guessing old stock. So from the numbers he gave and the description does it all sound right? will it have a smooth idle but should be able spin the tires easy? He also stated it would work good with my converter but 3;31 may not be enough.
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