Need Help with Cam choice for my 455.

Discussion in 'Street/strip 400/430/455' started by avmechanic, May 18, 2021.

  1. avmechanic

    avmechanic Well-Known Member

    Hi Guys.
    I am putting together another 455 to go into my 66' Skylark. 25 years ago I put together a 70' SF code 455 and installed it in my Car. I had just finished my apprenticeship and was on a budget back then. ( I am an aircraft mechanic by trade but started in Automotive) All I did at the time was throw some fresh bearings in it, HV Oil Pump and some (But Not all) oiling mods, and a fresh GM Stage 1 cam for the bottom end. It did not even get rings. Later on I installed Poston Headers and S-Divider intake. It runs an Edelbrock version of a Quadrajet, the Performer RPM 850, that I tuned with some help and parts from Cliff Ruggle. I have a MSD distributor. Current transmission is a TH400 with shift kit and 2300 Stall. Rear is a 12 Bolt with Eaton Posi and 3:42 gears. It has run very well all these years and has served as a good car for car shows and cruises as well as a few trips to the Drag strip. Lays plenty of rubber to have fun with the kids on cruise night. I have managed to run a 13.4 in the quarter but more often than not 13.5 or 13.6 at about 101mph. It would be nice to pick it up to mid to low 12s though. Engine still runs ok but it is getting old and I of course would like some more power. I have a TH200-4R to go in likely over this summer with some CK tuning and a 2600/2800 Stall convertor.
    Here is where I am at. I have another 70' SF code 455 out of a Riviera that I have pulled down and it looks to be in similar shape as when I built the last. Clean low mile engine with pretty much minimal bearing wear, good Pistons and Cylinders. I make more money these days but have other cars to build and a family to feed so I am going to do another low budget build on the bottom end. I plan to do all the normal oiling mods with a fresh oil pump. I will do new rod and main bearings as well as TA cam bearings. Pistons have been cleaned up and I will install new rings and do a quick cylinder hone. I am using the 70' heads and they are getting Stage 1 Valves and some basic home porting. I have some TA 1125 Dual Valve Springs to use. The heads will get whatever work needs to be done. I am generally planning to keep it under 6000 RPM. I will likely buy a new Aluminum Intake (Probably an Edelbrock B4B but consider a SP1) I will reuse the carb. I need to pick a cam. Looking for something more aggressive than the Stage 1 I have in the current engine. Noticeable idle lope would be nice. Must have vacuum for brakes. I will run fresh stock rocker arms. I will using the car the same as I have been. I need to be able to take it out on the highway to go to car shows and visit buddies in nearby cities. I have come up with a list of considerations. Some may not be available too quickly. There are a couple here that I like the look of better than others. The T/A 290-94H seems like a good choice out of these. I certainly will consider others. Does anyone have experience with any of these cams? Are there any outside this list I should consider? Any advice is appreciated. Keep in mind there are not unlimited funds here.

    Crower 52241 284 HDP, 1800-4500, 230/236, 284/290, 112 Separation, 0.325/0.326 lobe lift, 0.52/0.522 Valve lift.
    Lunati 33302 2000-5000, 224/234, 290/296, 112 Separation, 0.309/0.324 Lobe Lift, 0.494/0.518 Valve Lift
    Lunati 68002
    Voodoo 1600-5800, 227/233, 268/276,110 Separation, 0.326 0.336 Lobe Lift, 0.522/0.538 Valve Lift.
    TA 284-88H 2000-5000, 223/230, 284/288, 110 Separation, 0.296/0.296 Lobe lift, 0.475/0.475 Valve lift.
    TA 290-94H
    2200-5200, 226/235, 290/294, 112 Separation, 0.306/0.314 Lobe Lift, 0.491/0.502 Valve Lift
    Howards 558021-09
    Rattler 1800-5600, 227/235, 281/289, 109 Separation, 0.313/0.313 Lobe Lift, 0.501 0.501 Valve Lift.
    Howards 550241-10 1500-5500, 225/231, 279/285, 110 Separation, 0.31/0.313 Lobe Lift, 0.496/0.501 Valve Lift.
    Erson TQ50H
    2500-6000, 228/235, 296/306, 110 Separation, 0.315/0.315 Lobe Lift, 0.504/0.504 Valve Lift.
    Schneider 284-94H
    2500-6500, 224/230, 284/294, 112 Separation, 0.3/0.3 Lobe Lift, 0.48/0.48 Valve Lift.
    Schneider 290-10H
    2850-6850, 230/244, 290/310, 114 Separation, 0.31/0.31 Lobe Lift, 0.496/0.496 Valve Lift.
    Screen Shot 2021-05-18 at 4.04.00 PM.png
    Last edited: May 18, 2021
  2. avmechanic

    avmechanic Well-Known Member

    Here is the car that the engine will go in. I have had it since 1987.
    IMG_6653 2.JPG IMG_7309.jpg
    TimR, docgsx, johnriv67 and 1 other person like this.
  3. LARRY70GS

    LARRY70GS a.k.a. "THE WIZARD" Staff Member

    Read this,

    The reason you see a static compression requirement in a cam description is so that the Dynamic Compression is in the best range for maximum power with pump gasoline. Over camming an engine is the most common mistake made I think. Bigger cams need higher static compression to be all they can be. While you have everything apart, measure the ACTUAL static compression you will have.

    Head flow is where the power is. You'll need better than stock head flow to get into the 12's.
  4. Bens99gtp

    Bens99gtp Well-Known Member

    I ran the next size up lunati cam 33303. The bottom end was a stk 70 455, same style budget rebuild........ported heads with stage 1 valves, sp1 intake, holley 850, 2500 10" converter, 4.10 gears went 12.0s......not sure it had enough vacuum to run pb.

    I would get your heads done, get the flow numbers and get a custom Scott Brown cam to match your combo
    docgsx likes this.
  5. FJM568

    FJM568 Well-Known Member

    Nice car!

    I just ran a best of 13.035 @ 101 (1.81 60') in BG this year with the TA 288-94 cam, stock 71 unported heads, stock exh manifolds, 2.5" dual exh with x-pipe, TH350, 2700-3000 stall conv., 71 455 block, TA 1607 stock bore 10:1 cast pistons, B4B, carmantx built QJet, steel shim head gaskets, 71 8.5 3.08 posi rear end, MT drag radials w/16# air in my 1966 Skylark.
    My compression calculated out to be about 9.5:1

    You will have hood clearance issues with any intake but the stock or Edelbrock intakes.

    Last edited: May 18, 2021
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  6. Gary Bohannon

    Gary Bohannon Well-Known Member

    The TA 288-94 is a good cam with plenty of vacuum. Aluminum heads could reach 500hp and still have great idle-- for future plans.
    If it isn't the best, it is among the best.
    CSC5150 and ranger like this.
  7. avmechanic

    avmechanic Well-Known Member

    Thanks. I am aware of static and Dynamic compression ratios. While I know this engine would have been factory rated at 10:1 compression 10.5 with Stage 1 Valves, with the Pistons below the deck and other variables it will likely be more like 9.5 or maybe slightly less. I will not be able to calculate this for a little while. I am working on the heads myself and I still have to get the valves fitted. Eventually I will be able to CC the chambers. I need to get the pistons back into the block to check how far they are in the hole. I will not be milling the deck. The heads will have a little milling for cleanup though. At the moment I have to work with assumptions for planning purposes. The parts orders will be spread out to avoid any huge bills alerting the spouse of what these things cost. I would like to narrow down the cam choices so I can get some valve springs and get the heads assembled. I can possibly use some TA 1125 Dual springs for a reasonable cost from someone that already has a set kicking around. I would like to know if I can make those work.
  8. avmechanic

    avmechanic Well-Known Member

    That sounds promising. I was actually just doing some research on other intakes such as the SP1. Pretty tough to get that under the hood of my 66' so B4B will likely be the intake of choice. Thanks for the response.
  9. avmechanic

    avmechanic Well-Known Member

    That cam looks really good too. I had it on my list as well as a couple others with some similar numbers. Earlier I focused right in on that one and those others but in the back of my mind I was reminded of some words of wisdom from my dad and his hot rod buddies. They said to pick your cam with your heart and what you would want then back down the page by at least one grind. LOL. It is pretty easy to over cam the engine. I made that mistake on a 350 chevy I did back when I was 17. The cams I picked here around that concept of backing off a bit from what I might have wanted.
  10. Super Bald Menace

    Super Bald Menace Frame off oil changes

    I just ordered a custom cam from Scott Brown. He took all my combination info and my goals and came up with a cam designed to meet those expectations. Cam, lifters and shipping was $350. That's a great deal and I didn't have to make any sacrifices.
  11. Bens99gtp

    Bens99gtp Well-Known Member

    Times have changed, we now can get cams tweeked to help what might thr short comings in a build, or use the strong points and make them shine. For what's basicly only a few bucks more why limit yourself to just a few choices and maybe giving up here to get something there because of fit them many grinds......get a custom stick tarred to your engine and love it.

    The more info you have the better a designer can taylor the needs. So have true numbers and cfm
  12. Super Bald Menace

    Super Bald Menace Frame off oil changes

    Actually the custom Cam was less expensive.
  13. avmechanic

    avmechanic Well-Known Member

    I might just do that. Big thing right now is shipping to Canada. I live right on the border and usually use a border receiving depot to pickup all the car parts and whatnot that I buy then bring it across. I sure hope the border opens soon. Only a few companies broker their own products coming into Canada. When they use UPS or FedEx we get shafted by another 20% for brokerage fees plus taxes and the dollar difference. It just begins to be too much. I can do RockAuto and Summit as they broker themselves or contract to a business that has good rates. When I can pick up stuff myself I can order through most anyone and have it shipped. I have a small pickup fee and often no taxes at the border. I have to factor this all in when I consider my options. I do appreciate the advice though.
  14. avmechanic

    avmechanic Well-Known Member

    I took the advice and have contacted Scott Brown. He emailed me back pretty promptly. He says he has a grind on the shelf that should work great with what I have. The specs have more duration than what I was expecting to use but since he has my info and is highly recommended I plan to go for it. Here are the specs he has recommended 233/249@.050, 112 Lobe separation, and a 108 intake lobe centerline 0.496/0.495" valve lift with my stock 1.55 rocker arms. I would order it right away but there is talk of the Canada/USA border opening up again fairly soon so I will standby for a bit so I can maybe pick the parts up myself In WA. State. One of the main things I wanted to sort out was whether the TA1125 valve springs I was planning to buy from somebody in Canada that had them leftover from a build would work with my cam choice. Scott said they will work perfect so I am going to get them. I have not put an engine together in a while. I am getting excited. I love putting engines together.
  15. Bens99gtp

    Bens99gtp Well-Known Member

    If Scott says it will work you can almost bet on it in Vegas. Don't compare his numbers to other grinds, he does some things that many say will look odd......but they will work beyond expectations
  16. BrianTrick

    BrianTrick Brian Trick

    It will be better than ANY older grind or off the shelf cam.
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  17. No Lift

    No Lift Platinum Level Contributor

    I don't care how good people say Scott's cams are, that big difference in I/E is too old school.(Disclaimer: I have run SB cams in the past and they had no where near that duration difference and I thought they worked great like that.) About the only reason I can even think that he's recommending that big of a difference is because of the minimal head work. If you want the most lope and midrange punch go with the Howard's Rattler with the 109* LSA(they have Buick valvetrain friendly lobes) or the Erson TQ50H next. The TA 290-94 is pretty much the same as one of the SB cams I had before TA was making that grind and is a good cam. Not saying any of the others are particularly bad but I think that one of those would be the best choice. I've run cams from all those manufacturers except the Schneiders and they look pretty good too. Haven't heard too much good on the Lunati Buick Voodoo. You need to eliminate any of the cams with noteworthy lift above .500" because of piston interference. Ignore the power ranges given. All those cams will make peak power between 5200-5500 rpm.

    The 1125's will work with just about any cam you are talking about using. Don't forget they need the spring seat machined to fit the dual springs and you need the smaller valve seals to fit the guide after it is machined. Headwork is the key and opening up the area under the valve is the place to get you most bang for the buck. Since you're a machinist put in some sweat equity and get in there with some cutters and open the area up. You almost can't hurt the flow in that area unless you screw up a seat. Until that area is opened up any port matching is just for show. Do the grinding before the valve seat is taken care of. Have them backcut the valves and do a 3 angle/performance valve job. Have the heads milled .030" to bump up the compression a bit and run standard Fel-Pro blue or something like that gaskets.

    With the cast pistons keep the rpm to 5500-5700. Because of that go with the Edelbrock with possibly a 1" open spacer. Definitely get rid of the Poston intake. By the rpm that the SP1 is finally outshining the B4B you will need to shift. Good carb that Edelbrock Q-Jet. Good looking car too.
  18. avmechanic

    avmechanic Well-Known Member

    I thought that was a pretty big spread on the durations as well. I will keep that advice in mind. I do plan to machine the heads for the springs and to go with the small guide seals. I was going to mill the heads down but had not considered the amount yet. I currently have my rev limiter set to 5800 and will keep it there. I am working on the heads and doing bulk of it before the work of opening up the valve seat openings for the Stage 1 valves. I will have the valves back cut 3 angle seats. I am pretty sure I will be going for the B4B for the intake as the SP1 is going to be an issue with hood clearance. Despite the Poston intake being known to be shitty my old engine still performs very well for what it is. I would not buy one again but 25 years ago without internet and much info around for 24 year old me it was just a poorly informed mistake. Overall I have been very impressed with my old engine. I want to leave the old engine running and assembled in case another candidate come up. If I fall upon some more cash I will do a full build on that engine for some serious power. Thanks for adding to the conversation.
  19. Bens99gtp

    Bens99gtp Well-Known Member

    Its really not that uncommon to see that type of spread, sometimes if a port doesn't flow the best numbers to get enough air in/out.....especially with limited valve lift you need to have that.

    The cam Scott did for the last motor i put together had 17 or 20* split, it idle smooth at 700 and pulled more than enough vacuum for pb

    But there are many different trains of thought on cams and more than 1 way to accomplish a goal
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  20. BrianTrick

    BrianTrick Brian Trick

    I just have a custom cam ground for each engine I build,whether it’s a daily cruiser,or race engine. I had the experience of knowing the late Harold Brookshire of UlyraDyne. He knew how to get the most out of everything. Very knowledge guy that was real down to earth.

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