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Keane165's 1970 LeMans

2022 June
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Cam swap on 71 350


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I’ve got a 1971 Pontiac 350 with an Edelbrock performer intake (part number 2156) and a 650cfm Edelbrock AVS2 (part number 1906) and I’m in need of a cam swap. What cam/ cam specs should I get? If possible I’d like the install some roller lifters/rockers but I’m no expert on this sort of thing so I’m looking for any advice. Also while it’s a long way off what heads should I look at getting? I plan on having them ported for the 650. (I don’t know the head code on the 350 now off hand so I don’t if if I can use those or not) I also possibly have access to a pair of 1959 389 heads but I don’t know those codes off hand either. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Hi Joe, welcome to FP.

The nice thing about Pontiac engines is that the fact is they are so interchangeable. For heads, I recommend trying to find a head with 2.11 intake, 1.77 exhaust valves. These are the biggest factory valve heads Pontiac made. Add some port and polishing and these will do your 350 nicely. Those heads are listed below. You can find them online and at swap meets, you just have to pay attention to casting numbers. Forget about the RA V heads, they are super rare (and expensive). The other RA (Ram Air), HO, and Super Duty heads will also be expensive but you can find them but you have to be patient and your wallet has to cooperate. That said, all the other heads can usually be had for less money.

 

image.thumb.png.679786fd1e801f974eb7db55aee345ef.png

 

As for cam specs, that sort of depends on what you plan to do with the car. Is this a street car, street/strip or race car?

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1 hour ago, Frosty said:

Hi Joe, welcome to FP.

The nice thing about Pontiac engines is that the fact is they are so interchangeable. For heads, I recommend trying to find a head with 2.11 intake, 1.77 exhaust valves. These are the biggest factory valve heads Pontiac made. Add some port and polishing and these will do your 350 nicely. Those heads are listed below. You can find them online and at swap meets, you just have to pay attention to casting numbers. Forget about the RA V heads, they are super rare (and expensive). The other RA (Ram Air), HO, and Super Duty heads will also be expensive but you can find them but you have to be patient and your wallet has to cooperate. That said, all the other heads can usually be had for less money.

 

image.thumb.png.679786fd1e801f974eb7db55aee345ef.png

 

As for cam specs, that sort of depends on what you plan to do with the car. Is this a street car, street/strip or race car?

I’m looking nice street ride, but I don’t mind a bit of rumble. 

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The table below are the standard Pontiac cam specs for most of Pontiacs performance 350-400-455 engines. I left out the 326-389-421-428 engines since they are simply older engines otherwise there is nothing wrong with their cam specs either. The three yellow highlighted cam specs are for 2-barrel carb applications, the rest are for 4-barrel. You can go to virtually any cam manufacturers and get a factory equivalent cam grind. Personally, I would use one of the Ram Air, HO, or Super Duty grinds. Best advice I can give you is to call your favorite cam manufacturer or engine builder about your application and see what they recommend for your particular combination.

image.png.d3182608e992e575b1faabce8ee50000.pngIn

Edited by Frosty
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Thanks for the help frosty! I’ll be sure to look into this more 

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Happy to help. Once you've decided on a cam, please come back and let us know what you decided on and why.

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I think I’m going to go with either the 65-72 HO (9779068) or the 66-69 Ram Air (9785744). I think paired with a pair of the large valve heads that cam would flow nicely, and hopefully will continue to operate ok with stock heads until I can get a set of the large valve heads. That and I’ve found some cheap “stock replacement” models of those very cams. Any other advice in terms of installation or tuning with one of those camshafts?

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Headers or a set of factory RA/HO exhaust manifolds from Ram Air Restoration will help it breath better, along with a mandrel bent dual exhaust. These will flow better than the stock log style manifolds. The RA/HO manifolds are exact replicas of the factory performance manifolds. I have a set on my '72 Lemans.

If you a replacing the camshaft, at least inspect, and consider replacing the timing chain and gears with a new set. I also run stamped steel roller tipped 1.5 rockers for longevity. Most of my cam/springs/lifters are from Melling.

You might also want to do away with the points in your distributor. A Pertronix III Igniter kit will do that for you and leave your stock distributor in place minus the points and condensor.

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Hey Joe, not sure if you would be interested or not but I do have my orignal cam and rockers and probably a couple of other parts floating around. The cam is out of a 1968 Pontiac 428 with 68k miles. I looked at it when I pulled it out. It looked good. I can inspect it and send pics if you want. It was greased and wrapped in plastic wrap before storing it.  Im not sure how she will act in your 350 but it should fit. If you are interested let me know and we can work something out bud.

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