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Custom vs Catalog Cams

General engine tech -- Drag Racing to Circle Track

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Walter R. Malik
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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by Walter R. Malik » Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:25 am

Back in the 80's when Comp Cams catalog was about 4 pages, we were using all General Kinetics stuff. Good valve springs were hard to come by back then so, Evars would get their designers to design for us a lot of grinds that we would run across the dyno just to test their power level and manners. A lot of those grinds ended up being listed in the later catalog but, the characteristics of all of them were most important for them to know.

How things in this world have changed a bunch. Some Kinetics profiles, we simply couldn't use and just needed today's better valve springs.
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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by swampbuggy » Sat Aug 17, 2019 11:30 am

Walter, i remember the General Kinetics brand cams in the late 1970's. My good friend had a 1968 Camaro with a 427 B.B.C., Rect. port heads, GM alum dual plane, 850 Holley, headers, G.K. solid cam, 4 speed Rock Crusher, 3.73 gear. It would carry the mail quite well. Back then it was pretty bad azz. Mark H.

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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by swampbuggy » Sat Aug 17, 2019 11:34 am

Add on to the above post----that 427 had the 12.5 static C.R. so finding pump gas good enough got to be a PITA. Mark H.

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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by GARY C » Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:22 pm

CamKing wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:56 am
GARY C wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:28 am
SchmidtMotorWorks wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:02 pm
Speaking of Herbert, I wonder if Ruben is still grinding cams.

All of those cams were ground with 1940's methods, tracing, offsetting and blending.

No computation involved, not even pencil and paper.
1940's .440+ cam lobes?
Don was the grinder I dealt with in the late 90's/2000's, lobe vs rocker ratio was exact, not sure if 7700+ rpm was 40's tec?

How many of Herbert's cams have you actually tested Jon? do you have any dyno or track data to back your claims?
Ruben has been grinding all of Herbert's cams, since the 90's.
It's common knowledge.
It was Don Johanson (spelling) that they had me deal with directly. Rumor has it he got rich and disappeared... :)
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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by CamKing » Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:27 pm

GARY C wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:22 pm
It was Don Johanson (spelling) that they had me deal with directly. Rumor has it he got rich and disappeared... :)
That was Howards Cams, not Herbert.
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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by GARY C » Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:40 pm

CamKing wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:27 pm
GARY C wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:22 pm
It was Don Johanson (spelling) that they had me deal with directly. Rumor has it he got rich and disappeared... :)
That was Howards Cams, not Herbert.
No it was Chet Herberts, I bought several of them and Larry at Chet's had me call Don directly on his cell phone.
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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by CamKing » Sat Aug 17, 2019 1:11 pm

GARY C wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:40 pm
CamKing wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:27 pm
GARY C wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:22 pm
It was Don Johanson (spelling) that they had me deal with directly. Rumor has it he got rich and disappeared... :)
That was Howards Cams, not Herbert.
No it was Chet Herberts, I bought several of them and Larry at Chet's had me call Don directly on his cell phone.
Don Johanssen was Howard Johanssen's brother, who started Howards cams.
Chet Herbert sold off all his equipment and masters to Ruben Racing Cams, in Anaheim CA, and Ruben has been making the cams for him, since the 90's.
Don Johanssen had a shop, out in the hills. He hobbed some cam gears for me, back in the 90's. Last I heard, he was working for Contreras Camshafts in Anaheim, but that was a long time ago.

From this post, it looks like Don moved his cam grinder into Chet's shop for about 2 years, and ground some cams for Chet, but by this time, Chet had already sold his masters to Ruben. viewtopic.php?t=15548
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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by GARY C » Sat Aug 17, 2019 1:17 pm

CamKing wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 1:11 pm
GARY C wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:40 pm
CamKing wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:27 pm

That was Howards Cams, not Herbert.
No it was Chet Herberts, I bought several of them and Larry at Chet's had me call Don directly on his cell phone.
Don Johanssen was Howard Johanssen's brother, who started Howards cams.
Chet Herbert sold off all his equipment and masters to Ruben Racing Cams, in Anaheim CA, and Ruben has been making the cams for him, since the 90's.
Don Johanssen had a shop, out in the hills. He hobbed some cam gears for me, back in the 90's. Last I heard, he was working for Contreras Camshafts in Anaheim, but that was a long time ago.

From this post, it looks like Don moved his cam grinder into Chet's shop for about 2 years, and ground some cams for Chet, but by this time, Chet had already sold his masters to Ruben. viewtopic.php?t=15548
Yes I have read that before, another one says he got a bunch of money and sold all his equipment, I do know last time I tried his cell # it was disconnected... That was years ago.
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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by PRH » Sat Aug 17, 2019 1:53 pm

I always enjoyed Big Joes posts...... no BS.

Talking about the Herbert cams:
Here are some facts--- I got three cams from Herbert that were supposed to be the same part number--- All three were differant( up to 6 or 7 degrees ) from one another-- Just the facts
Somewhat handy with a die grinder.

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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by David Redszus » Sat Aug 17, 2019 2:03 pm

When we discuss camshaft characteristics, namely the lift curve, do we use lift measured at the cam lobe or at the valve?

If at the lobe, what is the measuring procedure?

If at the valve, how do we account for various rocker configurations? Would not the valve lift curve be dependent
upon the rocker configuration not just ratio? For a given cam, would not a change in rockers affect the valve lift curve?

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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by GARY C » Sat Aug 17, 2019 2:24 pm

David Redszus wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 2:03 pm
When we discuss camshaft characteristics, namely the lift curve, do we use lift measured at the cam lobe or at the valve?

If at the lobe, what is the measuring procedure?

If at the valve, how do we account for various rocker configurations? Would not the valve lift curve be dependent
upon the rocker configuration not just ratio? For a given cam, would not a change in rockers affect the valve lift curve?
For me lift would be measured at the valve, if the lobe and rocker together don't provide the lift they should then one or the other is incorrect.
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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by SchmidtMotorWorks » Sat Aug 17, 2019 3:20 pm

CamKing wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 1:11 pm
Chet Herbert sold off all his equipment and masters to Ruben Racing Cams, in Anaheim CA, and Ruben has been making the cams for him, since the 90's.
Don Johanssen had a shop, out in the hills. He hobbed some cam gears for me, back in the 90's. Last I heard, he was working for Contreras Camshafts in Anaheim, but that was a long time ago.

From this post, it looks like Don moved his cam grinder into Chet's shop for about 2 years, and ground some cams for Chet, but by this time, Chet had already sold his masters to Ruben. viewtopic.php?t=15548
This is correct^^^^

Ruben makes masters by tracing multiple existing masters with differing sized follower wheels and other techniques then smoothing the masters out by hand.

The only computer in is shop is one connected to a cam measuring system that is rarely used.

Ruben is a good guy, but he is working with 1940s methods (actually there were better methods in the 1940's but very few people could implement them as they relied on hand calculation of thousands of formula for a single attempt and at least 10 attempts were required to get a good design, so the computations could run into the millions.
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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by SchmidtMotorWorks » Sat Aug 17, 2019 3:29 pm

GARY C wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:28 am
SchmidtMotorWorks wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:02 pm
Speaking of Herbert, I wonder if Ruben is still grinding cams.

All of those cams were ground with 1940's methods, tracing, offsetting and blending.

No computation involved, not even pencil and paper.
1940's .440+ cam lobes?
Don was the grinder I dealt with in the late 90's/2000's, lobe vs rocker ratio was exact, not sure if 7700+ rpm was 40's tec?

How many of Herbert's cams have you actually tested Jon? do you have any dyno or track data to back your claims?
That was a short-lived deal.
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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by PRH » Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:05 pm

Here’s another cam anomaly story........

Early 90’s, my friend decides he wants to go NHRA Stocker Racing.
Is tired of the straight up bracket racing.
So, we get another set of head castings, stock manifold and carb, put all that on his old street motor and see what it does.
At that time, it seemed like getting cheater cam lobe data was like pulling teeth.
I was primary using UD at the time, and they didn’t do any of that.
The guy I dealt with there gave me the name of someone at Lunati to talk to.
We had no idea where to even start, so we just left it up to him to set us up.
Put it all together, go to the dyno...... we don’t know what’s good or bad, tune what we have and put it in the car.
It’s a 68 GTO, and at the time it was an E car.
Go to the track...... won’t run the index.
Send the converter back, blah, blah....... no better...... need more power.
Well, the cam had what I thought was quite a lot of duration...... and I felt like if it was 6-8* less it would be better.
I get a copy of some Crane lift rule masters..... pick out a couple lobes, they grind it up.
Back to the dyno with the new cam...... power is up everywhere.
Put motor in car....... 3 tenths quicker!!
But...... keeps putting pushrods through rockers.
That wasn’t an issue with the Lunati.
So, we call Lunati ask if they have anything smaller than the first cam.
They do, so we order it.
My friend puts it in and plots it out.
Lift and .050 numbers on the intake are correct, but the .006 number is like 375*.
Ex lobe if fine...... maybe 300@.006.
Call them up..... phone tech asks us how that’s possible since there only 360* in a circle.
We remind him there’s 720* available, since the cam runs 1/2 speed.
They need to confer about it, then tell us to send it back and they’ll measure it.
Cam goes back, we get a call telling us that there’s nothing wrong with it, the duration @.050 is right on.
We tell them that’s not what we’re concerned with, it’s the 375@.006 we didn’t like.
Never any confirmation about that from them, but they’ll grind us another one.
I ask to have the lsa changed 1* to insure they don’t just resend the same one back to us.
New cam shows up....... same exact problem.
I talk to my guy at UD, he said that more than likely what happened was the wheel wasn’t removing any material off the base circle during the final finishing.

Mike can probably elaborate on that.

Needless to say we sent it back as well, and went on to try a few different offerenings from Comp and Lazer....... back to Lunati...... then back to Comp again.
Yeh...... we tried a few cams in that thing.
Somewhat handy with a die grinder.

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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by SchmidtMotorWorks » Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:24 pm

I talk to my guy at UD, he said that more than likely what happened was the wheel wasn’t removing any material off the base circle during the final finishing.
That could be if they started the process with a cam that was ground for a higher lift and just ground-off the lobe until it was the desired lift.
As you mentioned, it might have never ground down to the base circle and some distance above it.

That is a lot of trouble to sort out if you don't have an easy way to measure the cam.
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