Ordering a custom cam

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Ordering a custom cam

Post  JBR-3 on June 3rd 2016, 1:59 pm

If I confer with a cam grinder and determine what I want
( that is, lobe number, lobe separation, advance, etc. ),
Should I then go through one of the engine builders on here
to place the cam order ?

For example, if the cam costs $500 from company XYZ, and the
same cam costs me $500 if I order it from one the builders
on this forum, I would go thru the builder on here, in case
there was a problem with the cam.

Obviously, the way the engine performs with my "design" cam
is completely on my shoulders, but if the new cam had some
manufacturing defect that was caught before engine assembly,
is that the advantage of ordering thru a builder ?

Next question, which cam grinders seem to be more hip to 460 cams,
or at least easier to deal with when ordering custom ?

I would not be soliciting any engine building advice for free,
just ordering a cam.

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Re: Ordering a custom cam

Post  windsor on June 3rd 2016, 3:13 pm

Yes.


Order from one of them here and it's barely more pricey and they know the 385 Ford!
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Re: Ordering a custom cam

Post  Dave De on June 4th 2016, 8:20 am

From what you're saying you are going to call a cam company and talk to one of their tech people to determine cam basics then take that to a person like Lem or Randy Malik and order.
I say skip the cam grinder and go directly to Lem or Randy. They will put more into your cam specific to your engine than any other.
Calling someone to give you good numbers on a cam that they will not get the sale is not a good idea ever. You get what you pay for so dont waste someones time.
Step 1 Pick your cam expert. This is a commitment.
Step 2 Call them and let them know that you are committed to buying the cam from them. Have all your application data ready. If they want you to fill out a data sheet then do so and send it to them.
Step 3 Be patient and give them time to work out your numbers. Most will want to call you back.
Step 4 Be ready to make a decision on variables if any when they are ready with numbers. There is no need to take the numbers and get opinions from others. Order the cam at that time knowing that they spent time to determine your solution.

Experts on this site will use their vast experience and spend more time to get it right than a phone call to an unknown person at a cam company. The grind selection still has a bit of art with applied science so dont expect everyone to have the same numbers.
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Re: Ordering a custom cam

Post  DaveMcLain on June 4th 2016, 9:58 am

Cam companies will grind you whatever you want as long as it is physically possible. Use a hydraulic lobe on one side and a solid on the other, no problem. Get a lobe catalog from them and pick what you want to use for your application, give it a try. With that said try to avoid, newest, quickest, super, best maximum area etc.

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Re: Ordering a custom cam

Post  Paul Kane on June 4th 2016, 1:12 pm

JBR-3 wrote:If I confer with a cam grinder and determine what I want, should I then go through one of the engine builders on here to place the cam order ?
....
I would not be soliciting any engine building advice for free, just ordering a cam.
In my opinion, the etiquette and proper approach is most often like this:

If you are building an engine yourself and will consult with a cam grinder, then have the courtesy to give that cam grinder your business once he designs a cam profile for your engine.

If you are enlisting a professional engine builder to build your engine, then have the courtesy to allow your engine builder to design the cam profile for your engine.
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Re: Ordering a custom cam

Post  rmcomprandy on June 4th 2016, 1:59 pm

The big mistakes most people make is that ultimate power is the end goal without any thought about what parts it will and will not interface with or how the engine will act when not in high gear at maximum power or visualizing considerations the vehicle itself will be running in where it needs to perform best when not delivering maximum power.

Most cam company phone jockeys have a more descript version of what is already in the catalog for their camshafts and will only vary slightly from that so, it can be considered "custom".

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Re: Ordering a custom cam

Post  jbozzelle on June 4th 2016, 2:37 pm

Pick a guy on here and tell them what you want, or are thinking about if you've picked lobes already. Let them grind it for you and listen to what they suggest...

I recently used Blake for a custom hyd roller. It's smaller than I thought it would be but I left it all up to him to power the package of parts I have. Just gave him the info on how much I wanted to drive it and how high I wanted to spin it. He did the rest and it was only about 30 bucks more than the catalog price... That's the best 30 bucks I've spent on that engine!

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Re: Ordering a custom cam

Post  69F100 on June 5th 2016, 1:31 pm

jbozzelle wrote:Pick a guy on here and tell them what you want, or are thinking about if you've picked lobes already.  Let them grind it for you and listen to what they suggest...

I recently used Blake for a custom hyd roller.  It's smaller than I thought it would be but I left it all up to him to power the package of parts I have.  Just gave him the info on how much I wanted to drive it and how high I wanted to spin it.  He did the rest and it was only about 30 bucks more than the catalog price...  That's the best 30 bucks I've spent on that engine!

X2 when I had Randy to make the custom cam for my old 460 I got the cam and lifters from him for only about $30 over the xe274h comp cam and lifters I had in it.
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Re: Ordering a custom cam

Post  jasonf on June 6th 2016, 12:47 pm

I had Blake order me a cam for my sbf and it was night and day different from what I had. I would never order an off the shelf cam again.

There is more to a cam than some specs in a catalog. The whole reason you want to buy from someone on a board like this is because they have EXPERIENCE. The have built tons and tons of BB Fords, not just a bunch of bowtie babies that think all engines are the same. It is the EXPERIENCE with 385 engines that sets them apart from most other people. I am a firm believer in buy where you get your tech from or one day they won't be around and you will be left with the Summit Tech line... Shocked
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Re: Ordering a custom cam

Post  gt350hr on June 6th 2016, 3:00 pm

Guys here that actually race and develop the engine combinations are FAR better ( 99% of the time) than a tech at a cam company. Unless you happen on one who has hands on experience with a 460 based engine , you often get what the "book" says works. Patronizing people on the forum keeps them going too.

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Re: Ordering a custom cam

Post  JBR-3 on June 7th 2016, 1:01 pm

I want to try something, that's why I don't seek any cam advice on this one.

Sometimes a builder will get a jobber price of some sort from the cammaker, or the builder gets brownie points
for increasing his sales volume with the manufacturer. If the cammaker charges me $500 direct, or he charges
the builder $250 and the builder then charges me $500, that's just fine with me, if it's fine with everybody else involved.
Am I spreading the wealth when I shouldn't be ?

Also, If I go through a builder, I presume I get some level of protection. For example, Mopar guys who use Indy Cylinder Head
products ALWAYS advise you to buy from an Indy distributor, NEVER deal directly with Indy !

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Re: Ordering a custom cam

Post  IDT-572 on June 7th 2016, 3:50 pm

jbozzelle wrote:Pick a guy on here and tell them what you want, or are thinking about if you've picked lobes already.  Let them grind it for you and listen to what they suggest...

I recently used Blake for a custom hyd roller.  It's smaller than I thought it would be but I left it all up to him to power the package of parts I have.  Just gave him the info on how much I wanted to drive it and how high I wanted to spin it.  He did the rest and it was only about 30 bucks more than the catalog price...  That's the best 30 bucks I've spent on that engine!

Glad you liked it............

Thank you,
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Re: Ordering a custom cam

Post  IDT-572 on June 7th 2016, 3:51 pm

jasonf wrote:I had Blake order me a cam for my sbf and it was night and day different from what I had. I would never order an off the shelf cam again.

There is more to a cam than some specs in a catalog. The whole reason you want to buy from someone on a board like this is because they have EXPERIENCE. The have built tons and tons of BB Fords, not just a bunch of bowtie babies that think all engines are the same. It is the EXPERIENCE with 385 engines that sets them apart from most other people. I am a firm believer in buy where you get your tech from or one day they won't be around and you will be left with the Summit Tech line... Shocked

Thank you Jason..........
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Re: Ordering a custom cam

Post  IDT-572 on June 7th 2016, 4:02 pm

rmcomprandy wrote:The big mistakes most people make is that ultimate power is the end goal without any thought about what parts it will and will not interface with or how the engine will act when not in high gear at maximum power or visualizing considerations the vehicle itself will be running in where it needs to perform best when not delivering maximum power.

Most cam company phone jockeys have a more descript version of what is already in the catalog for their camshafts and will only vary slightly from that so, it can be considered "custom".

Randy is correct...........

Grinding a cam that looks good at peak on the dyno, VS getting one that is down 25 hp at peak but anytime you step on the pedal things start to happen, is what its all about. Area under the curve.

And when the heads are the correct cross section for the cubic inch and rpm, with special attention spent on all the most average flow you can get up to your max lift for the application.

You end up with a very happy customer.

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Re: Ordering a custom cam

Post  Straubtech on June 7th 2016, 6:29 pm

Most important is you have to feel comfortable with who you are working with and give them correct info. If a customer has a set of ported heads and he is looking to run a number and has no flow figures. I will not do the camshaft.

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Re: Ordering a custom cam

Post  Super Snake Steve on June 7th 2016, 6:55 pm

IDT-572 wrote:
rmcomprandy wrote:The big mistakes most people make is that ultimate power is the end goal without any thought about what parts it will and will not interface with or how the engine will act when not in high gear at maximum power or visualizing considerations the vehicle itself will be running in where it needs to perform best when not delivering maximum power.

Most cam company phone jockeys have a more descript version of what is already in the catalog for their camshafts and will only vary slightly from that so, it can be considered "custom".

Randy is correct...........

     Grinding a cam that looks good at peak on the dyno, VS getting one that is down 25 hp at peak but anytime you step on the pedal things start to happen, is what its all about. Area under the curve.

And when the heads are the correct cross section for the cubic inch and rpm, with special attention spent on all the most average flow you can get up to your max lift for the application.


You end up with a very happy customer.


I understand about half of all that that's why I just told the vender on here what I have and what I'm doing and the fact that he's been doing 385 series BBF's for over 25 years he know what I have more than I do so I got the cam,converter & distributor from him never been happier it all hooks up

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Re: Ordering a custom cam

Post  rmcomprandy on June 7th 2016, 10:53 pm

Customer says I want a custom  "Drag Race" camshaft for my mid 400-something dual quad engine...
Then proceeds to go forward telling this is a 3,400 pound vehicle with a 4 speed standard transmission, 3.70/1 rear gear with 28" rear tires and he wants it to be totally street driveable and act OK at traffic lights.

Does "Drag Race" itself mean the cam should be BIG...?

NEVER again will I get myself into that trap.

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Re: Ordering a custom cam

Post  Straubtech on June 8th 2016, 9:13 am

rmcomprandy wrote:Customer says I want a custom  "Drag Race" camshaft for my mid 400-something dual quad engine...
Then proceeds to go forward telling this is a 3,400 pound vehicle with a 4 speed standard transmission, 3.70/1 rear gear with 28" rear tires and he wants it to be totally street driveable and act OK at traffic lights.

Does "Drag Race" itself mean the cam should be BIG...?

NEVER again will I get myself into that trap.

I've never had a camshaft that could talk and tell me what it was. I do know a cam makes power in a given rpm range. That range may fit circle track drag racing, truck pulling.

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Re: Ordering a custom cam

Post  rmcomprandy on June 8th 2016, 10:52 am

Straubtech wrote:
rmcomprandy wrote:Customer says I want a custom  "Drag Race" camshaft for my mid 400-something dual quad engine...
Then proceeds to go forward telling this is a 3,400 pound vehicle with a 4 speed standard transmission, 3.70/1 rear gear with 28" rear tires and he wants it to be totally street driveable and act OK at traffic lights.

Does "Drag Race" itself mean the cam should be BIG...?

NEVER again will I get myself into that trap.

I've never had a camshaft that could talk and tell me what it was.  I do know a cam makes power in a given rpm range.  That range may fit circle track drag racing, truck pulling.

YEP ... I totally agree but, the customer of mine did not agree, as he was under the impression that a "Drag Race" camshaft was supposed to have big duration and big lift.
He never even installed it it in the car because it was just not big enough and instead, just went on the internet bad mouthing me wherever he could.

I found out through a third party because he didn't say or write anything directly to me

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Re: Ordering a custom cam

Post  Straubtech on June 8th 2016, 10:58 am



He never even installed it it in the car because it was just not big enough and instead, just went on the internet bad mouthing me wherever he could.

I found out through a third party because he didn't say or write anything directly to me[/quote]

I have actually found over the years the ones that bad mouth me are my best advertisers.

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Re: Ordering a custom cam

Post  rmcomprandy on June 8th 2016, 11:01 am

Straubtech wrote:

I have actually found over the years the ones that bad mouth me are my best advertisers.

Well, that could be.
I just will now always decline dealing with anyone who wants to placate all these contrasting scenarios.

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