Cam, Carb, & Intake selection ~stock SBC

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Cam, Carb, & Intake selection ~stock SBC

Post by bluemonte87 on Mon Jun 15, 2009 10:08 am

Hey guys, I've got a big ol' '75 El Camino with a near stock 350 (out of mid-late '70s Camaro). Right now there is a Q-jet sitting on top of the thing, with a stock air cleaner. I am fairly certain that the cam is stock. I've got some monster long headers and a new exhaust on the truck also. It's a clean ride, I have to keep cosmetics in mind.

What I'm looking to do, is to get a slightly more aggressive cam, and pair it with an affordable intake and carb combo. So that's where I am. I am looking for some feedback and suggestions to help me make these important decisions. What carb, cam, and intake combos have you guys tried.

Keep in mind, I am a broke college kid (studying to be an Elementary School Teacher), so I need to do this on a strict budget.
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Re: Cam, Carb, & Intake selection ~stock SBC

Post by The Dude on Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:50 pm

First off, keep the quadrajet. Rebuild it if necessary, but keep it. If they can support cars running into the 10s, you shouldn't have any problem with it. Also they get better gas mileage due to their smaller primaries. If you're hellbent on switching carbs, go Edelbrock. They are cheaper, easier to tune, have no power valves to burn out, & get better gas mileage than a Holley. A 600 or 650 cfm will be fine.

For intake choice, most people will tell you to get an Edelbrock Performer. It's a good choice if you find one on Ebay. Also consider a Weiand Action Plus or the new Street Warrior. Don't worry about buying one new, Ebay & Craigslist are your friend here since intakes don't really wear out & can be cleaned up to look new.

OK now for the cam. Keep it mild! Resist any urges to slap in a big camshaft or you will regret it! There are so many choices & brands, but stick with a cam no bigger than probably 210-215* @.50 duration. For the street I like single pattern cams, meaning both the intake & exhaust lobes are identical. Unfortunately everyone is making split patterns anymore.

Here is an example of a single pattern cam:
http://summitracing.com/parts/SUM-K00042/
Guys notice that is the Crane Energizer, no longer produced! Crying or Very sad

Here is a dual pattern cam:
http://summitracing.com/parts/CRN-114132/

Again, split patterns are for race cars. You want low end torque & gas mileage so stick with something single pattern. If you want to step it up larger, get some 1.6 rocker arms on the mild duration cam. If you go with much more cam running low compession, you will lose drivability & (gasp) power! I think you should be at about 290-310 hp & 360 - 375 ft/lbs with a combo like this. You won't get much more on 8.5:1 compression, but you'll still feel a major seat of the pants difference.

One more thing, when you change your cam, ALWAYS check for coil bind & pushrod length. Also use break in oil & follow the break in procedure, never go below 2,000 rpm when breaking in your cam! You should probably buy the recommended spring to match the new cam & lifters, but I've seen old ones reused & work on mild cams.
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Re: Cam, Carb, & Intake selection ~stock SBC

Post by BlackChevelleSS on Mon Jun 15, 2009 3:06 pm

yea what he said, if your looking for Cheap go to

http://www.competitionproducts.com/

They sell ELGIN cams and have a pretty good selection for CHEAP. Elgin cams are also very good and made in the USA. I know we picked up a cam kit for out big block for around $190 and that was cam, lifters, matched springs, and lube.

Make sure to keep the lobe seperation around 110 to keep the cylinder pressures up.

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Re: Cam, Carb, & Intake selection ~stock SBC

Post by jonny o on Mon Jun 15, 2009 3:23 pm

Use whatever lifters your cam manufacturer recommends.
Period.
Without a doubt.
No matter what wingnut tells you how to hold the sandpaper to recondition your old ones.

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Re: Cam, Carb, & Intake selection ~stock SBC

Post by novaderrik on Mon Jun 15, 2009 3:29 pm

if going really fast isn't a concern, and mileage is somewhat important, then get the Speed Pro .390/.410 lift cam and match it with an Edelbrock Performer intake under your stock carb. hook up a cold air intake of some kind- clothes dryer hose off the air cleaner to the top of the radiator support will do.
as long as your rings and valves still seal, it will idle silky smooth at 500rpm in gear and get damn good gas mileage- i somehow managed to get 30mpg with that setup in a 76 Monte Carlo with 2.56 gears. but that very same motor/trans/header combo only got 25mpg in an '80 Malibu with unknown gears, and around 20 mpg in a 70 nova with 3.55 gears and a 4 speed.
it wasn't the fastest thing out there in the 4000 pound Monte, but it did a hell of a burnout and kept pace with my cousin's late 70's Datsun 280Z..
you can order pretty much any Speed Pro cam with lifters, timing chain, and engine gasket set for right around $100 from www.northernautoparts.com or maybe a little more if you give your business a local family owned parts store that would appreciate your business. add in another $30 or so for some "Z/28" springs.
and while you've got it apart, maybe hit a junkyard and find a set of 305HO heads to bump up the compression a little bit compared to the craptastic 882's that are on the car now.

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Re: Cam, Carb, & Intake selection ~stock SBC

Post by The Dude on Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:39 pm

novaderrik wrote:.......and while you've got it apart, maybe hit a junkyard and find a set of 305HO heads to bump up the compression a little bit compared to the craptastic 882's that are on the car now.

Good luck. They are out there & I just found some, but the only 305 castings worth anything are 416 & 601 & ONLY if they came from an HO motor. Not to mention they will be over 20 years old & a junkyard will charge almost as much for those as a set of Vortec heads. Vortecs would be the way to go to bump compression & keep the cost down without having to rebuild them. Of course that requires a vortec intake which runs you about $30-$50 more than a traditional intake.
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Re: Cam, Carb, & Intake selection ~stock SBC

Post by IndyG3 on Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:48 pm

Vortecs would be the way to go to bump compression & keep the cost down without having to rebuild them. Of course that requires a vortec intake which runs you about $30-$50 more than a traditional intake.

^^This. Vortec heads are some of the best small block heads that GM has to offer, and they're not that pricey. The only downside is that they require different exhaust manifolds, and they also use a unique intake, so any intake you have now wouldn't work. They make great power though!
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Re: Cam, Carb, & Intake selection ~stock SBC

Post by badbiscayne66 on Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:51 pm

Holley carb 600 cfm
Wetand Int... Generic dual plane
Lunati cam low end torque
good hot HEI I sugest MSD
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Re: Cam, Carb, & Intake selection ~stock SBC

Post by The Dude on Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:18 pm

IndyG3 wrote:
Vortecs would be the way to go to bump compression & keep the cost down without having to rebuild them. Of course that requires a vortec intake which runs you about $30-$50 more than a traditional intake.

^^This. Vortec heads are some of the best small block heads that GM has to offer, and they're not that pricey. The only downside is that they require different exhaust manifolds, and they also use a unique intake, so any intake you have now wouldn't work. They make great power though!

Vortec heads bolt up to traditional small block chevy headers.
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Re: Cam, Carb, & Intake selection ~stock SBC

Post by IndyG3 on Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:25 pm

Really? I coulda sworn they had different exhaust ports...
Eh, it's not the first time I've been wrong. lol!
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Re: Cam, Carb, & Intake selection ~stock SBC

Post by moneypit73 on Mon Jun 15, 2009 10:11 pm

pefect combo for the elky.it s a big car, so top it off with a good 650 DP seccondaries are users choice: vac or mec. i prefer mechanical secondaries.get a torker intake. that thing is a TANK! probly stock 2.73 or poss 3.08s gears. needs torque to get that thing movin. agood comps 268h cam an lifter kit. like 270 lift: not big at all, but much better than stock! get an intake cheep on e-bay, good carb, and PLEZE PLEZE PLEZE put some money back for a little head work. you can have all the cam an carb in the world, even mild, an run like whoa nelly!! heads is where you makeTHE POWER!! period. then gearss an a converter, you movin out!!
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Re: Cam, Carb, & Intake selection ~stock SBC

Post by The Dude on Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:14 pm

moneypit73 wrote:pefect combo for the elky.it s a big car, so top it off with a good 650 DP seccondaries are users choice: vac or mec. i prefer mechanical secondaries.get a torker intake. that thing is a TANK! probly stock 2.73 or poss 3.08s gears. needs torque to get that thing movin. agood comps 268h cam an lifter kit. like 270 lift: not big at all, but much better than stock! get an intake cheep on e-bay, good carb, and PLEZE PLEZE PLEZE put some money back for a little head work. you can have all the cam an carb in the world, even mild, an run like whoa nelly!! heads is where you makeTHE POWER!! period. then gearss an a converter, you movin out!!

I thought Double Pumpers were mechanical secondaries only, which is more suited for manual trannies. Torquer intakes are single planes with tiny ports. My brother is running one on his trucK, he traded it for his old performer to gain some power & it lost a lot of bottom end. The Comp 268 High Energy is about as large as I would go with low compression, but it will work if you want more high end power.
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Re: Cam, Carb, & Intake selection ~stock SBC

Post by bluemonte87 on Wed Jun 17, 2009 2:22 pm

Thanks guys, I've been mulling it over all day now. (My summer job is in security at SC Johnson, and I'm sitting behind a computer all day today)

I really like the idea of dropping some Vortec heads on there, but it seems like there are large price discrepancies when I look for parts on ebay. I get the feeling that I shouldn't trust buying any heads if they are used. It looks like you can pick up a bare set of heads for around $250. That sounds pretty reasonable, almost too reasonable. How much will I spend in-between bare heads, and functional heads (running)? And will the Vortec heads bolt right up to my ol' '70s block?

I am wondering if much of the difference between assembled and bare is in the labor. I sure am hoping so, because I would love to spend some hours plugging away, as opposed to paying more for finished products. I'm just as into the process, the greasy working in the garage experience, as I am into eventually having something fast and fun. I love my truck, and I'm going to love working hard to make it better.

Moving on; I was really happy to hear that my Q-Jet will suffice for whatever mild performance needs I might have. I was under the impression that the Q-Jet, or "Quadra-Junk" as I've heard it called, was not worth keeping around, and that it was more of a detriment to my performance needs than it was worth. If I don't replace the carb, should I still replace the intake manifold? And if I replace the intake manifold, will the Q-Jet bolt up to most intakes?

Oh, and about ignition, should I be concerned with upgrading my ignition at this point? (from a performance need standpoint)


Thanks for mulling this over with me guys, I really appreciate it.
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Re: Cam, Carb, & Intake selection ~stock SBC

Post by Limey SE on Wed Jun 17, 2009 3:01 pm

if you are in kenosha area my buddy here in byron has a complete vortec head and manifold set up for $500.00 bolt on and go....and this is for a carb set up not Fuel Injection

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Re: Cam, Carb, & Intake selection ~stock SBC

Post by The Dude on Wed Jun 17, 2009 3:40 pm

OK if you're really considering Vortec heads, your compression will be bumped up quite a bit. I'm guessing somewhere between 9-9.5:1. This opens up more camshaft options! Yes they will bolt up to your block with no mods & if you know how to rebuild heads, go for the bare castings. The Vortec's Achilles heel is it is limited to .450 lift. With bare heads you can install some Comp Cams Beehive springs that will fix that problem. They are more expensive than regular valve springs, but don't require machining like other valve springs. Vortec heads WILL require a different intake! There are several Vortec intakes that will bolt up to a Q-jet, here is what I found in 5 minutes just going to Summit. Used ones should run about half of these prices:

http://www.summitracing.com/parts/EDL-2116/
http://www.summitracing.com/parts/NAL-12496820/
http://www.summitracing.com/parts/PFS-52007/

The Q-jet got a bad rep from people that don't know how to work on them. If they are tuned properly, they will hold up to any plans you have at the moment.

Yes replace the intake, especially if you have a cast iron one! Factory intakes don't flow well & are a restriction on stock motors. The only factory small block carb'd intakes worth having came on DZ302s & 70-71 LT-1s as far as I know. Any old timers want to chime in here?

I always update my ignition. I haven't ever needed to run a box or anything like that, but every car or truck I own usually gets a good Accel or comparable cap & rotor. I'm thinking Pertronix for my next build. I also like running Taylor wires. The Spiro-Pro series should suit your needs. Plugs are one area that you should stick to the basics. Spark is spark & I've ran most of them to find that out. I've had Splitfire, Bosch Platinum +2 & +4, & iridium plugs, but none of them made a performance difference compared to a good old Champion or AC Delco. Iridiums do last somewhat longer, but I can't say I justify the price increase. You could also run an adjustable vacuum advance & play around with different mechanical advance springs. Both are easy to figure out & shouldn't take 15 minutes for a first timer.

Once you figure out your head, intake, & carb combo, we can probably suggest a cam better. Also how much power are you wanting & is this your daily driver?
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Re: Cam, Carb, & Intake selection ~stock SBC

Post by bluemonte87 on Wed Jun 17, 2009 5:08 pm

This is NOT my daily driver. I take her out once or twice a week in the summer, and she sits in the fall, winter, and spring. I am in school and will be planning a wedding soon, so I cannot invest what I would like to just yet. I am now starting my planning though, and I would like to get my plan together before I start any modifications. That way I don't buy 3 carbs, 2 intakes, and 500 gasket kits... you know.

So, this is where I am...

I'm thinking Vortec Heads. A Vortec intake. Keep the ol' Q-Jet around and spend the money elsewhere. I'll then pick up a cam.

I'll start looking here and there for pieces of this puzzle, picking things up as I find good deals. I'm going to rebuild the carb and transmission this summer, hopefully both will be learning experiences. I'm going to track down a professional, who also happens to be a close family friend, to show me how to do these things. I'm mechanically inclined, and planned to go to school for engineering. My Dad is also a bigtime car guy. He's got a '73 S3, numbers matching 454, factory opions galore... I mean, I challenge another person to find an S3 with the factory sunroof in the condition my dad's car is in. The thing is frame up, beautiful.

Whats got me so sparked and tickled to get my truck performig better is... the other day my brother was giving me hell, because he's got a '73 S3 like Dad. His car isn't nearly as clean and polished as mine, but he was giving me gruff and talking smack. He tried to race me, but our cars are too wide for 2 lane city streets, and I love my truck too much to blow it up, so I declined. But as we headed back to the house, we hit a 6 lane road. He was ahead of me turning right, and he stomped it, so I gave the ol' girl some gas right behind him. I blew right by. The look on his face was priceless. We got back, and bragging rights were mine. It was great. Then he started telling me all these upgrades he plans on putting in the car, and it got me fired up to at least get a start on my ride.
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Re: Cam, Carb, & Intake selection ~stock SBC

Post by IndyG3 on Wed Jun 17, 2009 5:19 pm

Sounds like a plan, man! Here's to you beating your brother any time he challenges you to a race! cheers
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Re: Cam, Carb, & Intake selection ~stock SBC

Post by bluemonte87 on Thu Jul 23, 2009 2:31 pm

Went to the track Tuesday night and whooped on my brother's '74 S3 350... I was runnin low to mid 16s in my '75 Elky Classic, he ran over 18 the first pass. I gotta help him rebuild his carb... it's boggin. If my transmission wasn't so soft, I would be passin in the 15s no problem... I blew a brand new Mustang off the line and beat him to the first several checks, but when my transmission went to shift to 2nd it loses so much power durring the shift. I need to get that thing shifting quicker and more tightly... going to run check my rear end numbers after work, see what I got so I can start planning a tranny rebuild/overhaul or replacement...
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Re: Cam, Carb, & Intake selection ~stock SBC

Post by The Dude on Thu Jul 23, 2009 3:28 pm

You'd be surprised at what a difference just a filter change will do for your shifting.
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