Low Cost Camshaft Options - Need Opinions

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Majoraslayer

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For those following my project, I'm comparing some options for a camshaft to go in my TBI 350. Since the LT1 cam I had was bad, I'm weighing options between:

- Factory Vortec cam, as I have the full setup from a spare block
- TBI cam, obviously
- Order a new LT1 cam, looking at about $360
- Melling 2109 cam, listed as an RV cam on my local FB Marketplace for about $60. (Is this the "RV cam" that everyone talks about as a good cheap upgrade for TBI?)

I could use some input on what would be the best option for a mild budget TBI build, targeting about 300hp (I already have dual exhaust). The plan is to pair it with 906 Vortec heads.
 

Majoraslayer

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I think my mind is made up on the Summit 8800 for sure. That brings up a new question though.

When I pulled the LT1 cam I noticed it had a retainer plate on the front of the camshaft. My factory TBI flat tappet cam didn't have any retainer plate, though the block is threaded for one. Is the front shaft retainer plate something specific to roller cams that I'll need to account for when switching from flat tappet to roller? If so, will I need to change my timing set and cover setup to be able to have clearance for it?
 

SNCTMPL

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There are a couple of different bolt spacings on the cam retainer plates, so you’ll want to check that if you order one. You may be able to use the retainer plate and lifter spider from the LT1, or there are kits like this available.
Yes you will need a new timing set, but the standard sbc cover will work.


 
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Schurkey

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As said--the thrust plate is unique to step-nose roller cams such as OEM.

"Retrofit" roller cams have, for decades, used a crappy thrust button which is three times the work and twice the trouble as the OEM-style thrust plate.

OTOH, most big-blocks had provisions for a thrust plate going back to '65. The blocks that didn't have the bolt holes drilled and tapped, still had the bosses that could be machined if a person cared. Some aftermarket blocks strangely omitted those bosses.
 

Majoraslayer

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This is probably going to be a dumb question, but I want to make sure I'm understanding just in case. I got my Summit 8800 camshaft in the block, test fit my thrust retainer plate, and noticed the step on the nose isn't sticking out the front of the block far enough to ride on the lip of the plate. Am I correct in how I'm looking at it, that when the timing gear is bolted onto the front of the camshaft it should "pull" the camshaft forward just a bit where the step nose will ride on the thrust plate lip?

Also, I was going to reuse the thrust plate mounting bolts from my LT1 block, but they seem to be too long. Can someone confirm if these bolts are different between Gen IV blocks and a TBI block? If so, what size (or part number) should I be on the lookout for?
 

Hipster

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After coming across this thread,no offense so don't take it as such, but normally after you list all the parts, labor, etc. adding 30% to the budget for unknowns/incidentals lands you pretty close to actual costs. In your other thread you're completely out of money and still hunting parts in this one. No money to fix the block you're stuffing all these new high dollar parts in or on..
 
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