Performance Tech Questions - Performance Q & A

Kevin McClelland Aug 1, 2009 0 Comment(s)

Can I successfully replace the solid lifters with hydraulic roller lifters, install hydraulic-compatible valvesprings, and tweak the carb to accomplish a drivable tune-up? The car weighs approximately 3,000 pounds and has a TH350 and a 2,800-stall, a 4.88:1 posi, and MT 28x11.5-15 ET Streets. Is this approach practical? Thanks.
Randy Rowland
Via e-mail

A: Nice plan, but tough to execute. The cast iron that your flat-tappet camshaft is made from would be torn up by the hardened hydraulic roller tappets. Mechanical roller camshafts manufactured by Crane are commonly made out of 8620 billet steel and then Carburized, which means heat-treating the camshaft cores in large ovens to 1,650 degrees F over 46 hours in a high-carbon-content atmosphere. Then the camshaft is air-quenched for eight hours. This raises the hardness of the material to a 58-62 Rockwell "C" scale hardness. This makes the lobes very hard, but have you ever noticed there is a copper color between the lobes? This copper coating is on the shaft to protect the core of the cam from the Carburizing, allowing the shaft to flex without breaking.

I know this sound like a lot of work, but have you thought about building a nice 350hp small-block 350 to swap into your Nova during the cruising months? If you think about it, replacing lifters, swapping out springs, and retuning the car for different driving can take a bit of time. If you dress both engines with the components needed to do a quick swap, it could be less time to switch out the engine when needed. This is what we've done with our Malibu Wagon. We have the Stock Eliminator-legal drivetrain (engine and trans), and we have our bracket package (pump-gas small-block and Powerglide). Switching over the drivetrains takes less than a day and keeps the wear and tear to a minimum on the Stocker pieces. That engine combination has a set life expectancy, and the bracket 350 should give us at least 10 years of trouble-free racing.

Initially, having two packages sounds like a lot of money. But over the long haul it will save you time and money on your race engine. Look into it; you may be able to pick up someone's crate 350 lying around for the right price. Just another idea. Good luck.Source:

Missing Something
Q: My '91 RS Camaro needed a trans, so I picked one up from a bud for a buck! It was out of a '91 Caprice. I installed it without realizing the Camaro had an electric speedometer and the Caprice is cable-driven. I don't want to swap out the trans again, so is there an easy fix? Thanks.
Richard Gall
Palatka, FL

A: A buck? I want to know where to find deals like this today. Fixing this is as easy as can be. To install the Caprice trans in your Camaro, you must have swapped out the extension (tailhousing) off your original Camaro transmission. The torque arm that comes from the rearend connects to the transmission at the tailhousing. The Caprice trans wouldn't have had the bolt holes to attach the torque arm mount. The electric speedometer signal generator is installed into the extension housing, and there is a matching 17-tooth Red speedo gear on the output shaft to drive this generator. All you need to do is remove the speedo drive gear from the original Camaro transmission and replace the drive gear on your Caprice trans output shaft. Once you mate up the correct speedo drive gear with the signal generator in the tailhousing, you should be back in business. If you've tossed the original trans and you don't have the drive gear needed, it is sold under PN 1246221.

H2O Pump
Q: I'm building a 383 stroker for my first engine build and looking to make just over 400 hp/torque. What factors dictate whether to use a long or short water pump? I can't find an answer online in my short search. The engine is going into a '82 Camaro. I'm planning to have some fun with the car, but it will also be my daily driver. Thank you.
Perry Evison
Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada


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