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I am thinking about installing a new cam into the 355 in my 65 El Camino since I am a little unhappy with its current performance. Its a daily Driver. No track use.
The Drivetrain has the following components:

Edelbrock 600 cfm carb
Performer manifold (2101)
Performer cam (2102)
Mallory distributor
882 heads
bout 9.5:1 compression
no headers
2 1/4" flowmaster dual exhaust with H pipe
TH350 with stock converter

I just want to know what kind of job I am getting myself into (i.e. Installing the cam with the engine still in the car)?

Does anyone have any advice on installing a new cam with engine in car?

Should i go with the CompCams 268H(.454 lift) or 280H(.480 lift) or 292H(.501 lift)?

Also do the comp cams come with lifters or do i need to buy a seperate set?

Do I need to remove the grille to get the cam in?

Can I get the swap done in a day or weekend?

And one last thing, Is there anything else I should do to the engine while I am doing the cam swap?

Thanks,
Tim



[This message has been edited by TimG (edited 05-17-99).]
 

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Tim, you might find it less of a hassle to switch to headers first. They're much better than stock exhaust manis but a little louder. When you start looking for a new cam I think you'll see headers under almost all the recommended engine mods provided by the cam manufactuer. Further, if you go to a bigger cam, then you'l really notice the stock manifold restriction. It seems your setup needs a little more freeflow. Swapping a cam is not a real big deal, but putting headers in might solve part of your problem.
 

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I had a comp. 280 in a .030 over 350. I wouldnt go over that with a stock converter, you can get by without one with the 280, but you`ll be standing on the brake at a stop light. Mine was stock (almost) with a qjet and would scream. If you go with a 292, It`s gonna rock-n-roll.
 

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Hi Tim! Changing the cam while still in the car is possible, however if you have A/C, you will have to open up your system and recharge it when you remove the (radiator looking thigy-can't remember name) -that's expensive.
Not sure if lifters come with that set. Definitely get them and a new timing chain & gear while ur at it-cheap insurance.
I'd recommend you check out their web site for applications-you don't want to go too radical without good flow: In and out, and remember-higher duration cams need more compression or they are really mushy on the lower end of the rev range, and that kills daily driving.
Probablly a 1 day job-don't forget to drop the fuel pump rod when pulling the cam. Don't think you need to pull grill, however not positive.
I'd recommend trying to dial in your carb and working on freeing up your exhaust flow before changing cams. Good luck and keep us posted.
 

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You might consider 1.6:1 rockers. This will give you approximently .030" more lift and around 2 degrees more duration. Much easier than changing cams. Also, unless you have pop-up pistons or heavly milled heads, you probably have around 8.5:1 compression. It's not easy to get 9.5:1 with 882 heads.
 

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I gotta agree with the others, get the headers. The performer intakes and cams really work well on stock motors. You should have lots of torque. Where this combo is weak is on the top end. I ran the performer set on a 402BB with headers and the 750 cfm carb. The car was fun to drive, but alas speed is a killer drug, its history. The comp cams 280 is a nice piece. You will need headers and a 2500 rpm stall to get the most out of it, gears should be 3.73's.
I would do as the other suggest, get the headers (1 5/8 diameter will work good), spring for a TCI Saturday night special stall converter, get your carb dialed in and have some fun!

Brian
 

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Cam change with the engine in the car is possible and done often. Something to consider though...do you plan to change your springs? If you are looking at either the 280h or 292h, you really should change the springs. Can you access all your pan bolts with the engine in the car? Sometimes, it is difficult to get mating surfaces clean (pan to block and timing cover to block) with the engine in the car. Radiator and grill, they come out to get the job done.
 

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I went with the Comp Cam 268H and am very satisfied with it, but you should add headers to get the full performance. It has a mild "lope" and works well with the stock converter. And if you go with the 268H, get the kit from Summit that comes with the springs, timing chain, gears. I got new push rods and roller rockers as well (separate). Be careful when changing the timing cover as it's easy to get oil leaks at the junction of the cover and oil pan. I did mine with the engine out as I was building a new one anyway.
 

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When you install a cam, do you need to use one of those degree kits? How hard is it to line the cam up? Can you just plug it in? And when you change the valve springs do you need to do anything tricky with those? Are there any special tools I will need? Never done this and am considering it as well.
 

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I would just go with the 268 the other are to large. And you should check for valve springs binding up. Remember to lube the cam well and keep the rpm up around 1800-2000 for 20 minutes after startup. With compcams usually the lifters are seperate you'll just have to ask who ever you'll be buying it from. And plan on a good day or two of work if you havent done this before, don't rush or you'll screw something up. Also when pulling the old cam and slipping the new one in be care full not to damage a cam bearing.

------------------
JT
71 SS 350 soon to be Vortec 355 then a 454
www.angelfire.com/co/KellyMotorsports




[This message has been edited by L6571SS (edited 05-23-99).]
 

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Have you looked into the Comp Cams 262XE? This has 218 deg int/224 exh. might perform a little better than the 268.
 

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Your compression ratio is only 8.5 unless you
milled the heads .030 then you might have 8.75 compression ratio. I would go with the 268 comp cam or the new extreme energy cam by comp cams in the same range of duration.
 

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Noticed your question about degreeing the cam. Most aftermarket cams are designed to operate at a certain RPM range best. Degreeing a cam usually raises or lowers the cam's peak power output range and is not really necessary with these cams. Is done to verify the accuracy of the cam timing, but usually no changes are needed, at least not in the range of most timing sets. tom
 
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