351M Cam Questions
I am working on an engine for my dad and need some information. The engine is a 351/400 (not sure which) from a 78 Ford truck. He is having a hard time with it loading up at idle in the pasture and thinks the previous owner might have put a cam that was on the big side in it. We have the engine out to replace the clutch and some gaskets. Is there a way to determine what the cam is without completely disassembling the motor? I pulled the timing cover and cam gear but there are no numbers or manufacturer on the front of the cam.
On the same subject, is it true that a bigger than stock cam can't be used without changing valve springs and retainers? My only thought was to measure the valve lift at the valve with a pair of calipers and see if it is bigger than stock.
If it has a bigger cam, he wants to go back to a smooth idle cam. To me it doesn't sound that big but it might have a slight lope to it.
In doing my research on this engine it is my understanding that the timing set has the cam retarded from the factory. Is this worth trying to defeat? It needs a timing set anyway. If defeating the cam retard is a good thing, does any parts store timing set do this or only certain ones? I know a double roller for a SBC from Cloyes can be as cheap as $25 to well over $100 and I'm not sure why.
Thanks for any help and education you can give me. I did a search but couldn't find these things covered.