I have a Chevy 350 stock engine.
I am putting this engine together to put in my 4x4 full-size Pick Up.
I wanted to know what would be a good camshaft that will have a little "lick to it".
I have an aluminum intake with a 650 Holley carburetor. I plan on installing headers on it, also has Z-28 heads going on it. Everything else is stock; please tell me what would be a good camshaft at a reasonable price?
I contacted Mark Sarlo who is the Principal engineer for lubrication and combustion for Southwestern Research and Development in San Antonio Texas. I explained what you were interested in doing to your truck. You would think this would be a simple question!
Never ask an engineer a question and think he has a quick answer!
Years ago I would have suggested a RV type camshaft that would give you low end power and fairly decent fuel economy. When you ask an engineer whose sole mission is life is to understand all the variables. You end up walking away with more questions than you thought you needed to know!
Listed below are the questions you will need to answer in order to make an intelligent decision.
1) I'll need to know what you think is the compression ratio?
2) What size are the valves in the Z-28 heads?
3) Automatic or standard transmission (overdrive or not)?
4) Size of tires on the truck?
5) Differential ratio?
6) Where do you want power? At the lower end for more torque and pulling, or at the higher end for more speed?
7) Do you have an idea what you want to limit your RPM's to? (Often based on where the transmission shift points are).
8) Does the stock 350 have slider/tappet type with hydraulic lifters or a roller type valve train?
9) Do you want to run timing gears or a timing chain?
10) Do you plan to use roller fulcrum and roller tip rockers?
11) What ratio of rockers do you want to use (stock or better?)
12) Do you want to spend $100, $250, or about $600?
All of these questions are necessary to choose the PROPER designed cam for your trucks needs!
I know you thought it would be just a simple question and answer. In high performance there are no simple answers! The manufacture has spent millions of dollars designing these camshafts for every engine design and application out there.
All these variables effect how much lift and duration you will need for the correct camshaft for your truck.
Write back with the answers to the questions above. I will post them to next week’s article along with the “right” camshaft for your truck within your price range.
Return to frequently asked questions