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Custom vs Catalog Cams

General engine tech -- Drag Racing to Circle Track

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CamKing
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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by CamKing » Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:11 am

Stan Weiss wrote:
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.
I don't think I've ever had someone call me for a cam, because they couldn't find something to work with their rocker ratio.
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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by Orr89rocz » Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:06 am

Stan Weiss wrote:
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
I have considered it in design since i was throwing a setup together and had found a deal on a good bbc head with jesel rockers as a package. Rockers were 1.8/1.7 so i did consider that in the cam lobe lift, but then again there reallly isnt alot of shelf solid rollers for turbo stuff for bbc/sbc anyway. Almost has to be custom

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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by GARY C » Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:17 pm

Orr89rocz wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:06 am
Stan Weiss wrote:
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
I have considered it in design since i was throwing a setup together and had found a deal on a good bbc head with jesel rockers as a package. Rockers were 1.8/1.7 so i did consider that in the cam lobe lift, but then again there reallly isnt alot of shelf solid rollers for turbo stuff for bbc/sbc anyway. Almost has to be custom
I factor in rocker for both area and lift but I am not sure the butt dyno would ever know the difference. :)
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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by GARY C » Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:33 pm

Orr89rocz wrote:
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.
I did what I could to test some at the track but I am not sure there was enough of a difference to justify the cost, at least not at my level but the recommendations varied so widely that I figured I could get close enough on my own and then I could only blame my self.

Playing around with some cam programs looks like I was not to far off and for street sbc nitrous there are several shelf cams that would work fine but I wouldn't even know where to start for turbo.
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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by n2xlr8n » Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:30 pm

Stan Weiss wrote:
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
Interesting that you'd say that- my 1991-92 era custom cam I had Jones grind hated the HS rockers, and I hated them back. I replaced them with the comp pro magnums- voila! Quiet valvetrain, it was crisp and responsive and I was adjusting lash far less.
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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by travis » Fri Aug 23, 2019 4:47 pm

FC-Pilot wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:54 am

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
That’s exactly where I am at on probably 90% of what I build. Low budget non-race stuff that I have built many times over I can hit the cam “close enough” that the customer is more than happy with it. The few that I have ended up changing out because the end user wasn’t happy was either because the cam was noisy (comp XE lobes), or because the idle quality wasn’t rough enough :roll: On stuff that I have little to no experience with, or more “bucks up” builds, I will contact several cam companies for their recommendations.

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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by smeg » Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:19 pm

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?

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.
I wanted a camshaft that was a little bigger in lift and duration than what was in my cam companies catalog from Melbourne Part No xx. I found one from a cam company in Sydney that was just right. I ordered that cam and when i checked it out it had the same part No. xx stamped on the rear as the cam from Melbourne's catalog. It was the same cam resold to me. I have never bought from the Sydney company again. Why do they do this crap?

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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by GARY C » Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:17 pm

smeg wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:19 pm
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?

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.
I wanted a camshaft that was a little bigger in lift and duration than what was in my cam companies catalog from Melbourne Part No xx. I found one from a cam company in Sydney that was just right. I ordered that cam and when i checked it out it had the same part No. xx stamped on the rear as the cam from Melbourne's catalog. It was the same cam resold to me. I have never bought from the Sydney company again. Why do they do this crap?
I have heard that some of the "turbo shops" are selling shelf 112 and 114 lsa cams as custom turbo cams, I am always skeptical when a company names their custom grinds, Stage 1, Stage 2...and so on.

If you look at some of the Comp shelf cams they don't match any of the lobes in their lobe catalog... really close but not the same my guess is the fudge where and or how they measure them.
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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by Orr89rocz » Sun Aug 25, 2019 12:40 pm

If you look at some of the Comp shelf cams they don't match any of the lobes in their lobe catalog... really close but not the same my guess is the fudge where and or how they measure them.
There are a few hyd roller shelf lobes that match like the xfi and xe shelf series, but depending on the lobe family, they can grow or shrink some depending on the core used.
I once ordered a .440” 266 deg lobe that when ground, actually spec’d to be .442” 267 deg. So that can happen.

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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by PRH » Tue Aug 27, 2019 1:19 pm

The last customs I was involved with where I didn’t specify the lobes myself were those Stocker grinds........ and none of those worked out very well.
When some lobe data became available, and I was able to get what I wanted, the car ran much better.

So, my experience of having some cam experts pick out the lobes was not at all the best we could do.

Obviously, there are people who are better at it than others...... but I feel it’s a part of the overall combination....... and since many times I’m involved with the rest of the combo, I like being involved in the cam selection as well.

Also, keeping in mind that probably 90+% of the time....... making the most power possible may not even be in the top 10 of the factors being considered for exactly what lobes will be selected.
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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by Walter R. Malik » Tue Aug 27, 2019 3:24 pm

What I see happening a lot of times is that someone will spec a cam for a certain engine combination considering all the parts in the engine without any knowledge of the application ... and that can be disastrous.

An engine with a lot of good quality race type parts but, it will be installed into a 4,500 pound, 4 wheel drive pick-up with 35 inch tires and only 4.11/1 gears with a low stall speed torque converter to be used for mostly street driving; with a camshaft spec'ed 265@.050" or even more.
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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by tjs44 » Tue Aug 27, 2019 4:03 pm

my experience has been similar,seems like max HP is always the goal and not much conversation on the use of the engine.Tom

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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by PRH » Tue Aug 27, 2019 4:10 pm

One other thing I find is that many times someone is calling about a cam when many aspects of the overall combo are still in limbo.
I feel that while the engine builder should have a “picture” of what the finished project will be like....... the final cam selection doesn’t need to be made until a lot of the other items are nailed down....... or at the least, an actual “plan” is firmly in place.

I don’t like to build a car around a camshaft.
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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by Outlaw383 » Tue Aug 27, 2019 4:25 pm

In certain applications such as a motor for a street rod / weekend toy a shelf cam that's close enough can usually be found. When it comes to a race motor in something like a circle track car where you need to make enough power to run up front and you also have issues such as limited traction, valve train stability , the rpm you need the power to peak etc. I think it's almost always better to use a custom cam in that situation.

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Re: Custom vs Catalog Cams

Post by travis » Tue Aug 27, 2019 5:10 pm

Walter R. Malik wrote:
Tue Aug 27, 2019 3:24 pm
What I see happening a lot of times is that someone will spec a cam for a certain engine combination considering all the parts in the engine without any knowledge of the application ... and that can be disastrous.

An engine with a lot of good quality race type parts but, it will be installed into a 4,500 pound, 4 wheel drive pick-up with 35 inch tires and only 4.11/1 gears with a low stall speed torque converter to be used for mostly street driving; with a camshaft spec'ed 265@.050" or even more.
That’s why I ended up using a number of Isky cams years ago. Every time I called them it would always end up being a 20-30 minute phone call with them asking a LOT of questions, whether it was for a really mild farm truck/towing build or a fairly serious hot street build. It’s a shame that so much of their stuff is so outdated because their customer service was awesome.

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