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I'm getting to the point where I'm ready to step it up with some big mods. I have CAI, exhaust (not cat-back; see sig), and Predator. I'm looking at options and there seem to be a lot of combinations of heads and cams. First off, do I need new heads if I want to do a cam swap? If I do, will the heads give me any benefit without a new cam? What are my options for different brands/levels of aggresiveness/etc? I know this is pretty broad but I tried to do research but I couldn't seem to turn up any clean-cut results. Just a person here or there running this or that set-up, but not necessarily why they were running what they were. Can anyone shed any light for me?
 

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1. You do not NEED new heads when swaping a cam, and Im sure there are members who have done just the cam. IMO though, if you're going to go for it and rip open the motor, might as well do the max.

2. I dont believe that new heads without a cam is even logical. a cam is 400 bucks give or take, the heads 1600+ if you're going to do the heads, get the cam. Most vendors have heads/cam packages.

3. Different vendors call the same thing a different name, and sometimes the same name are 2 different things. like a stage II head might be a bit different from one vendor to the other. What I suggest is seeing what you get for each level that a vendor offers.

4. Why I'm running what I am? a mix of word of mouth, other members results, and past experiences. For example, I run Borlas because I've used Borlas before and love them. I use PPP heads because my installer deals with them and is very happy with them. I chose an Arrignton block because I wanted the largest block without going to a 426...

I can tell you this for sure though: Heads/cam will put a huge smile on your face for a very long time.
 

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1. You do not NEED new heads when swaping a cam, and Im sure there are members who have done just the cam. IMO though, if you're going to go for it and rip open the motor, might as well do the max.

3. Different vendors call the same thing a different name, and sometimes the same name are 2 different things. like a stage II head might be a bit different from one vendor to the other. What I suggest is seeing what you get for each level that a vendor offers.

I can tell you this for sure though: Heads/cam will put a huge smile on your face for a very long time.
1. So, a cam swap is obviously an invasive install. I'm sure doing so will unquestionably void my warranty, correct? Is it something that I can do myself with little knowledge of how cars work (I'm definitely willing to learn, though) on my daily driver, or is it a long, drawn-out process with lots of required know-how that I should just pay someone to do it?

3. What exactly do the specs on the cams mean? What makes a cam mild or aggressive in terms of specs (I know generally speaking just not necessarily how to tell given two sheets of data on two different cams)?

Thanks for the help. Sorry for asking dumb questions but I appreciate you taking the time to go in depth. I'm learning more and more, one piece at a time.:D
 

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As already stated, heads are not required to go with a cam install, and yes heads will improve performance without a cam. But as already stated, why spend the money on heads, when a cam is cheaper for similar gains? I went with my set up because HHP has a great reputation on this forum, and others I frequent, and I spoke with people that have delt with HHP and were very happy. Due to a good vendor that has a name all across the states, and being very local I went with them, and am happy. I spoke with HHP themselves and came up with the package I wanted. If you have an idea of what you want after you do research, you can always talk to the vendors themselves which should help you make your decision. Either way, good luck!
 

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1. So, a cam swap is obviously an invasive install. I'm sure doing so will unquestionably void my warranty, correct? Is it something that I can do myself with little knowledge of how cars work (I'm definitely willing to learn, though) on my daily driver, or is it a long, drawn-out process with lots of required know-how that I should just pay someone to do it?

3. What exactly do the specs on the cams mean? What makes a cam mild or aggressive in terms of specs (I know generally speaking just not necessarily how to tell given two sheets of data on two different cams)?

Thanks for the help. Sorry for asking dumb questions but I appreciate you taking the time to go in depth. I'm learning more and more, one piece at a time.:D
As for the cam specs, I'm not really sure myself so can't help you there, however I can answer your first question. No, you do not want to do a cam swap yourself if you don't know what you're doing.
 

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1. So, a cam swap is obviously an invasive install. I'm sure doing so will unquestionably void my warranty, correct? Is it something that I can do myself with little knowledge of how cars work (I'm definitely willing to learn, though) on my daily driver, or is it a long, drawn-out process with lots of required know-how that I should just pay someone to do it?

3. What exactly do the specs on the cams mean? What makes a cam mild or aggressive in terms of specs (I know generally speaking just not necessarily how to tell given two sheets of data on two different cams)?

Thanks for the help. Sorry for asking dumb questions but I appreciate you taking the time to go in depth. I'm learning more and more, one piece at a time.:D
If your asking if you can do the Cam/heads install then you cant. No offense

Subscribed i am about to go this route also.
 

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If your asking if you can do the Cam/heads install then you cant. No offense

Subscribed i am about to go this route also.
Heh, makes me wonder how one learns how to do it in the first place. My friend has been through 3 engines (and 2 cams in the current engine) in his Z28. Maybe I could get his help on it for a small price and a good meal. :p

I'm in the Houston area so I'm thinking any local vendor would be the way to go. I've seen Frank Racing is right down the street (or freeway in this case). Anyone know anything about them?
 

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Heh, makes me wonder how one learns how to do it in the first place. My friend has been through 3 engines (and 2 cams in the current engine) in his Z28. Maybe I could get his help on it for a small price and a good meal. :p

I'm in the Houston area so I'm thinking any local vendor would be the way to go. I've seen Frank Racing is right down the street (or freeway in this case). Anyone know anything about them?
It's just a very extensive process. I am not saying you don't have the knowledge but if you have never done one i would watch and learn from someone that has
 

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I bought all my performance mods from Frank Racing and they installed the cats and exhaust. I've been happy with the small stuff. Most their work is bigger. :thumbsup:
 

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Heh, makes me wonder how one learns how to do it in the first place. My friend has been through 3 engines (and 2 cams in the current engine) in his Z28. Maybe I could get his help on it for a small price and a good meal. :p

I'm in the Houston area so I'm thinking any local vendor would be the way to go. I've seen Frank Racing is right down the street (or freeway in this case). Anyone know anything about them?
If you are down the freeway from Frank racing that is your answer.
All Cam/Heads are very close to each other.
Go with someone local.
A lot of fastest R/T have their stuff and great customer service.

You can find more info on them here : http://www.lxforums.com/board/forumdisplay.php?f=171


Good luck.
 

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I went the mopar route with my heads. So if anything goes wrong with them I am still under warranty. I also got the mopar crank. I wanted the mopar pistons and cam of course it's mopar so they said the cam would take at least three months to get because they were having problems. So I went with the comp cam route. With my wideband I can do some pretty good tuning to get right at the 400rwhp. I have no complaints.
 

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im a well known Frank Racing supporter myself, not going to try and hide it.
i can quote off reasons why i personally think they are better than the competition, but rather than start aa "my vendor is better than your vendor thread", i will leave it at that.
feel free to PM me if you would like more information on my personal opinion with facts to support it.

anyways, lets get to your questions

the cam is the heart of the motor, it controls the timing and duration of the valves in the heads. a GOOD wrench can swap the cam in about 8 hours of work with a few breaks. if youve never wrenched before, this is definately not something i would want to learn on because there are little nuances that you HAVE to get EXACTLY perfect, or you will hav SERiOUS problems.

heads are not required to do a cam, but they do limit what cam selection you can go with. so do other supporting mods like a torque converter.

without heads i would not go past a medium sized cam
and without a torque converter i wouldnt go with a super aggressive cam.

in Frank racing terms there are the follow cam grinds
Sidewinder - entry level cam. retains MDS, tons of low end torque, less peak horsepower
Sparrow - medium level cam, loses MDS, great low end torque and picks up mor epeak horsepower.
Scud - sacrfices a little torque in the lowest rpm rang to really peak out up to.

Franks grinds all of their cams to have power "under the curve" which means that none are crazy aggressive where you lose a broad power band to make huge peak torque.

an aggressive cam typically has more Lope to it, however, it doesnt HAVE to have mroe lope, it all depends on the "specs".. or Specifications

more aggressive cams lift the valve further out of the head to allow for more flow. this is referred to as Lift
more aggressive cams keep the valve open longer, this is reffered to as Duration
LSA or Lobe separation angle is the angle between the intake lobe (which opens the intake valve) and the exhaust lobe.

a narrower or tighter LSA (a lower number) will make the cam sound more agressive and give it more lope because the valves are open together. for a longer time.

this creates less compression at lower rpms, but more peak power.

id keep rambling to help fill you in by my girl just walked in and its time for us to go out,

please feel free to shoot me a PM with any questions, and i will also get back to this thread and elaborate some more

good evening!
miles
 

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^^^..Dude, well said.
 

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Miles explained it well. I do want to reiterate one point. SOME cams you can do without heads and SOME cams you have to upgrade your heads so you get the full effect of the cam and everything flows well. My mods are in my sig and am very happy with.

Gary
 

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Just make sure you actually talk to someone when ordering. Like Sublime said, some cams do require extra parts to work. These include new springs and pushrods at the very least. The vendor should know what you need and can usually recommend stuff that you might not know you need.
 

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You absolutly CAN do the install yourself, without any experience.There is a wealth of info in these forums, everything you need to DIY.
 

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Just make sure you actually talk to someone when ordering. Like Sublime said, some cams do require extra parts to work. These include new springs and pushrods at the very least. The vendor should know what you need and can usually recommend stuff that you might not know you need.

Great point Steel. I actually talked to three vendors about their combinations and what they had to offer. Their first question will most likely be, "What are your intentions with the car?". Will you be going to the track or do you just want a strong street car. Other mods come into play also such as a converter etc. Customer service is a huge plus also. Some do better then others. If you have any questions, feel free to pm me and I can let you know about my experiences as this is not the post for it.



You absolutly CAN do the install yourself, without any experience.There is a wealth of info in these forums, everything you need to DIY.

Ummm, maybe he can, but it is an extremely in-depth job for a first timer. Plus the fact that it is key to have all the RIGHT tools for the job. There are a handful of excellent installers on these boards that do the job for a very decent price. Feel free to pm me steel and I can shed some light on a few things.

Gary
 

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I thought the install would be very hard to do but it wasn't. I've never done a head/cam swap before and did mine in 8 hours with the help of a buddy who does this stuff. If you can take something off and remember how it came off, well then you can install the new stuff. It's really that simple. There aren't any real tools that I could think of that were special. We mainly used a few extensions, ratchets and only a hand full of sockets. I think you could do the install with one of the cheap Pepboys ratchet sets alone with a few extensions and deep sockets. The pulley tool can be rented for free at some stores. The o2 plugs can be removed using a 22mm wrench. The 8 hours also included 2 meal breaks and plenty of water breaks. I'm a newb at this stuff and found the install fun and easy.
 

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I thought the install would be very hard to do but it wasn't. I've never done a head/cam swap before and did mine in 8 hours with the help of a buddy who does this stuff. If you can take something off and remember how it came off, well then you can install the new stuff. It's really that simple. There aren't any real tools that I could think of that were special. We mainly used a few extensions, ratchets and only a hand full of sockets. I think you could do the install with one of the cheap Pepboys ratchet sets alone with a few extensions and deep sockets. The pulley tool can be rented for free at some stores. The o2 plugs can be removed using a 22mm wrench. The 8 hours also included 2 meal breaks and plenty of water breaks. I'm a newb at this stuff and found the install fun and easy.
Remember, he may not have that buddy! If doing it alone and no experienced buddy is the method here, I would advise either paying for it or aquiring said "buddy". Where are you located? I wouldn't mind giving a hand if you are close by. Let me know.:beerchug:
 

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Remember, he may not have that buddy! If doing it alone and no experienced buddy is the method here, I would advise either paying for it or aquiring said "buddy". Where are you located? I wouldn't mind giving a hand if you are close by. Let me know.:beerchug:
I actually do have a friend that's been through 3 engines (and 2 cams in the current one) in his Z28 in 2 years. He knows what he's doing installation-wise, but I'd definitely get a CMR tune after that to make sure everything is exactly like it should be. He replaced his stuck LS1 with a completely forged 5.7, which he then spun a main bearing on. Now he's onto a 6.0 from his old truck; currently putting out 450 to the wheels. He can't hook well at all so he's running low 12s. :/

Anyway, point was that he knows his head from a hole in the ground when it comes to engines and for some good food would probably help me out. Thank you for the offer, though.
 
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