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Custom vs Catalog Cams

General engine tech -- Drag Racing to Circle Track

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PRH
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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by PRH » Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:35 pm

Last year one of my customers put together a mild 455 Pontiac street motor.
Bought a house brand “white box special” from a big retailer.

About 50 miles after the cam break in the motor developed a rod bearing issue.
They pulled the motor apart and noticed one lobe looked “iffy”, so he brought it over for me to look at.
There was several thou missing off the nose, and the wear pattern was right down the middle of the lobe........ which was also the case for most of the lobes.
I put it in the lathe and indicated across each lobe.
Some had maybe .0002-.0003 taper....... and a few were as high as .0005.

Inadequate taper......... no lifter rotation..... gets you a flat cam.
Somewhat handy with a die grinder.

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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by SchmidtMotorWorks » Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:07 pm

That $6 to grind the cam is impressive.
For some classes of cams that seems like an economical way to go. That explains why places like speedomotive and edelbrock do it. Then it all comes down to marketing and distribution.
Speedomotive must operate on small margins.

If I remember that is the place in Nebraska with the amazing museum.
http://www.schmidtmotorworks.com Prototypes, Tooling, Molds.

paulzig
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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by paulzig » Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:06 pm

CamKing wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:47 am
paulzig wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:04 am
comp has -8 for the SADI core and -9 for the billet,
But Billet What ?
They buy billet steel cam cores, from multiple manufacturers, made from multiple materials, with multiple heat treat processes.

Material
8620 steel
8650 steel
8660 steel
1050 steel
1055 steel
1060 steel
5150 steel

Process
Carborized
Quench & Tempered
Induction Hardened

Just because it's a billet steel cam core, doesn't mean it's correct for your application
As long as its not the SADI but I will ask for 8620, when I got a cam from cammotion they asked if I wanted 5150,8660 or 8620... Adds another element to going the custom route..

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CamKing
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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by CamKing » Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:03 am

People, please try and keep on topic.
And DV, the topic is not about you promoting your products/services. I gave you your own forum for that,. please take advantage of it..
Mike Jones
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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by swampbuggy » Thu Aug 22, 2019 11:39 am

As Camking has ask of us please try and stay on topic, i went back and reviewed Jon's original post and the questions that were ask of us the readers of this forum know as Speedtalk. One of the things Jon ask was ( what bought you to the conclusion to go with a custom made camshaft over a catalog listed grind?) For me it was because where i have looked (and that has NOT been exhaustive) i am seeing TO MUCH duration and not ENOUGH lobe lift for my build. And may i take this chance to say (" THANK YOU CAMKING" !!! ) for stepping forward and keeping this forum alive. Mark H. :) =D>

digger
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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by digger » Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:42 pm

Custom cam would be when I don't find what I'm looking for off the shelf.

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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by cgarb » Thu Aug 22, 2019 7:05 pm

In my experience with shelf vs custom cams I have found a much better quality cam on the custom side. That is because of the better components. The dealings I had with Reed years ago were very good. I got nicely made cams with USA sourced cores and lifters that made good power. Some of the cheaper shelf cams from the bigger companies are ground overseas and re-boxed from what I've been told. If I am going to buy an overseas made camshaft, then I'll just buy a cheap store brand cam and use it. Why pay extra for the box?

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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by SchmidtMotorWorks » Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:25 pm

With regards to better components, do you specify a core? Or leave it to the grinder?

How do you decide what core is required?
Among billet materials and various heat treatment methods? How do you choose?

In looking at the catalog cams, I rarely found anything about the core mentioned.

In these questions I am not asking about the technically ideal answer, I am more interested to understand how you decide given the compromises of cost, time, quality, durabilty preferred vendors etc.
http://www.schmidtmotorworks.com Prototypes, Tooling, Molds.

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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by FC-Pilot » Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:54 am

A little late to the party but I will give my one cent (as my thoughts are not worth a full two cents).

Most of my builds are very budget based and don’t require or have a specific power target. Most often the 310-350 hp the individual gets exceeds their “butt dyno” expectations. For that a shelf cam fits the budget and power expectation. For my own personal engines where I want to maximize the power potential of the parts I have I call a grinder that I have experience with and he sends me what he feels is right. I have yet to have his cams not exceeded my desired power goals. Maybe I need to expect more. :lol:

For me I know I don’t have the knowledge or experience to spec a top notch cam, so when I am looking to reach the combinations full potential I order a custom. For a basic hot rod boat or car engine a shelf grind is just fine.

Paul
"It's a fine line between clever and stupid." David St. Hubbins

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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by GARY C » Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:10 am

How many people here have ever ordered a cam from one of the "professionals" and realized their specs were way off or ended up buying it to only install it and find it was not what you wanted are needed?

Has anyone on this thread ever tested one of the "professionals" cam against yours are someone else's, with data to show?

Chances are if you call a major cam company you are not getting a professional... you are getting a salesman that is convincing you that one of their shelf grinds is custom made for your application.
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THE ABOVE POST IN NO WAY REFLECTS THE VIEWS OF SPEED TALK OR IT'S MEMBERS AND SHOULD BE VIEWED AS ENTERTAINMENT ONLY...Thanks, The Management!

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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by cgarb » Fri Aug 23, 2019 5:48 am

In my case with Reed, I left it up to them. I figured they knew better than I what was what. Hopefully one day I will get knowledgeable enough to know that information, but I doubt it. It's like every other trade out there I would imagine. Stuff that was around 10 years ago is no longer available, or the same core is now under new ownership and poor quality. That information would only be current with the people who do it day in and day out.

Orr89rocz
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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by Orr89rocz » Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:37 am

GARY C wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:10 am
How many people here have ever ordered a cam from one of the "professionals" and realized their specs were way off or ended up buying it to only install it and find it was not what you wanted are needed?

Has anyone on this thread ever tested one of the "professionals" cam against yours are someone else's, with data to show?
these are good questions. I doubt many simple hobbiests have tried more than 1 cam. We just dont have the budget for it.

I know i once ordered a cam from a custom guy that does not give specs until the cam arrives. When i got the card i was surprised on my 383 sbc na car, wasnt what i thought it would be. But it ran exactly how i wanted it to run, so idk, but i have seen others with shelf grinds also run good or better lol so who knows. On my turbo sbc the cam was pretty close to what i believed would work good.
Another grinder i got a cam for my first sbc turbo combo also came out somewhat close to what I thought would work, and their recommendation for my bbc turbo cam was also in ball park of what i thought. So my confidence was up, and with some cam software and 1d sim, i ended up buying my own cam i spec’d. So we shall see how it goes.

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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by RevTheory » Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:21 am

SchmidtMotorWorks wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:25 pm
With regards to better components, do you specify a core? Or leave it to the grinder?

How do you decide what core is required?
Among billet materials and various heat treatment methods? How do you choose?

In looking at the catalog cams, I rarely found anything about the core mentioned.

In these questions I am not asking about the technically ideal answer, I am more interested to understand how you decide given the compromises of cost, time, quality, durabilty preferred vendors etc.
This is the part that I still have to ask whoever's on the phone as I've never spent any time learning for myself what I actually need for a given application.

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Stan Weiss
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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by Stan Weiss » Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:45 am

How many people get a custom cam because nothing works with their rocker arms? But a catalog cam might have given them what they needed with a rocker arm ratio change.

Stan
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Do you use engine simulation software that uses cylinder head flow files?
We have a package of more than 3025 DFW or FLW Files

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CamKing
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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by CamKing » Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:10 am

cgarb wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 5:48 am
It's like every other trade out there I would imagine. Stuff that was around 10 years ago is no longer available, or the same core is now under new ownership and poor quality. That information would only be current with the people who do it day in and day out.
Great point.
In the late 80's/early 90's, there was a cam core company(WB), that made some great induction hardened cam cores. The heat treat was much deeper then the 8620 cams everyone was buying from Crane. They were great, and most of the cam companies were using them. Unfortunately, they started having quality control issues with their heat treating. Instead of just hardening the lobes, and journals, the areas between the lobes were also being hardened. This caused the cams to break between the last 2 journals. The first one I had break, was in Scott Bloomquist's latemodel, while he was leading a $100k to win race. The WB cores quickly became the cam core to avoid. For me, who only bought them 10 at a time, it was mo big deal to switch, but bigger companies had 100's to 1,000's on the shelf, so they sold them, and hoped for the best.
Mike Jones
Jones Cam Designs

Denver, NC
jonescams@bellsouth.net
http://www.jonescams.com
Jones Cam Designs' HotPass Vendors Forum: viewforum.php?f=44
(704)489-2449

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