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Old 02-05-2008, 06:37 AM
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Chevy #3863151 cam. Is it good?

A lot of people praise the Chevy 327/350 HP #3863151 cam and another lot of people badmouth it. I have a brand new #3863151 that maybe I'll use in a 350 engine. Some people say that it has a horrible idle and gas consumption and some people say that it has good torque and excellent power. What do you think?

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Old 02-05-2008, 08:28 AM
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That is a very old grind. Very very slow ramps and not much lift. However, slow ramps live longer and is much easier on the valve train.

I'm sure mpg will not be that good with that cam.

Too reduce the amount of power loss, run more compression. Should be able to run 9.75 to 10:1 cr with 89 octane.

would also do well with a 3.73 gear and a manual transmission or a 2800 rpm stall with an automatic.

How is your car setup (gears, trans, weight, compression, heads, ect) and what are your intentions for the car.
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Old 02-05-2008, 08:37 AM
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It was made for a higher winding engine like the 327, with about 11:1 CR. It is a little lumpy at idle but not outrageous. Lingenfelder liked it for a variety of applications.
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Old 02-05-2008, 01:49 PM
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Thank you guys. It seems that the 3863151 likes to rev and needs some compression. With our gasoline mixed with alcohol octane is not a problem. Maybe a head with big valves (2.04) would be fitting. Probably it's a too big cam for a 283. I was thinking about using it in a 350 with a four speed and 3.70:1 gears, but the ideal engine for this cam is one with a short stroke, like the 327.

Here in Brazil 350s are plentiful but 327s are hard to find.
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Old 02-05-2008, 02:03 PM
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It'll do fine in a 350. I had one in a 383. Just keep your CR up.
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Old 02-05-2008, 03:53 PM
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Yes, a 350 will do just fine. A 350 build the same way as a 327 will always make more power.
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Old 02-05-2008, 07:07 PM
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Now I have a good idea of the specs of the engine that I'll use with this cam. Thanks to all of you. Being able to have advice from American rodders who have V8 engines as a life style is priceless.
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Old 02-07-2008, 09:49 AM
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Found a little write-up in an old small block chevy performance book about the 151 cam (3863151) originally used in RPO L-79 350-hp 327.

They tested it against an aftermarket cam with 0.454/0.480 lift, 274/284 advertised duration, 216/228 duration at 0.050".

The 151 cam has 0.447/0.447" lift, 290/290 advertised, and 222/222 at 0.050".

The results were....

and I quote "at almost every point on the dyno, from 1750 to 5750, the aftermarket cam made produces more torque and horsepower than the Chevrolet high performance cam."

The 151 made 323hp at 5000 rpm and 369 ftlbs at 3500 rpm.
The aftermarket cam made 335hp at 5500 and 383 ftlbs at 3250.

17.5 inhg of vacuum for the aftermarket cam and 16.5 for the 151 cam.

"In this instance, the aftermarket cam delivered more top end horsepower, more low end torque and a smoother idle"

They credit the faster ramps of the new cam grind as the reason for the better results. However, like I said earlier, a slow ramp is easier on the valve train. Too fast of a ramp can cause wear problems.

Also, they didn't say what engine they did the test on and what the compression ratio was. I'm sure the 151 cam could had used another 0.5:1 cr and would have made the results much closer.
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Old 02-07-2008, 10:15 AM
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"In this instance, the aftermarket cam delivered more top end horsepower, more low end torque and a smoother idle"

They credit the faster ramps of the new cam grind as the reason for the better results. However, like I said earlier, a slow ramp is easier on the valve train. Too fast of a ramp can cause wear problems.

It seems that small block Chevys are not very easy on cam lobes. I've read it. What I like about the 151 is its "European" character: not much low end power and lts of it past 2,800 rpm.

Also, they didn't say what engine they did the test on and what the compression ratio was. I'm sure the 151 cam could had used another 0.5:1 cr and would have made the results much closer.

Yes, the test would be more correct if they used equal engines. This 350 with 151 cam will be installed in a '55 Chevy with a Muncie 4-speed and original 3,70:1 gearing.
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Old 02-07-2008, 11:02 AM
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They tested on the same engine.

However, they should had increased the compression when using the 151 cam because it can handle more compression on the same fuel. So, it wasn't a totally fair test because they used the same engine setup.
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Old 02-07-2008, 11:52 AM
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They tested on the same engine.

However, they should had increased the compression when using the 151 cam because it can handle more compression on the same fuel. So, it wasn't a totally fair test because they used the same engine setup.

It seems that the magazine or cam grinder who performed the test was not willing to give any fair advantage to the 151. Know something? I'm starting to fall in love with that cam. It has a historic background that is traced up to the Corvette. Mine was brought to Brazil by my aunt, a Brazilian who married an American just after the 2nd World War. It's still in its original tube and it was bought at a Chevy dealer called Crest Chevrolet in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania.
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Old 02-07-2008, 08:39 PM
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I have the 350hp-350 cam (pn3896962) in a 350, and the specs are almost identical to the -151 cam that you have. It idles almost as smooth as a stocker, not lumpy at all, just slightly irregular. Gas mileage is pretty decent, capable of a bit over 20mpg on the highway in a Nova with 3.08 gears.

I read somewhere that the -151 has 4* more advance ground into it than the -962, but I can't remember the source.
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Old 02-08-2008, 05:19 AM
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I have the 350hp-350 cam (pn3896962) in a 350, and the specs are almost identical to the -151 cam that you have. It idles almost as smooth as a stocker, not lumpy at all, just slightly irregular. Gas mileage is pretty decent, capable of a bit over 20mpg on the highway in a Nova with 3.08 gears.

It seems that the #3896962 is a bit tamer than the 151. A Nova is lighter than a 55 Chevy 2-door sedan but not much, so I can use your info as a reference. Your good mpg is probably due to the gears

I read somewhere that the -151 has 4* more advance ground into it than the -962, but I can't remember the source.

I'll do some research on the 962. Thanks for your useful information.
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Old 02-07-2011, 07:56 AM
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One more comment....

Just ran across this thread and though it's a bit old, thought I would share this in case someone else is looking for feedback on this cam.

I put one of these in a '69 Camero 350 4sd with 3.25 gears back in '74. I chose this cam over aftermarket because of price (college student at the time). With otherwise stock internals, even original lifters (car only had about 50,000 on it), and a few bolt on's (Accel Super Coil, wires & cap, Flexilite fan, Holley spreadbore carb, Hedman headers), the car ran very well, sounded good and got 21 mpg on road trips. Didn't track mileage around town 'cause I couldn't keep my foot out of it.

Never took it to the strip, but one nite in '74 I ran a drag race against a '64 Chevelle (327/M22/Isky Roller/4:10's) on an un-opened stretch of interstate. We kicked at 20 & ran 1/4 mile. The Chevelle pulled me a fender on the takeoff and that's how we finished. The Chevelle was built and tuned by a mechanic at the local Chevy dealership. He said he gained a lot of respect for hydraulic cams that nite. Still cost me $20, though.
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Old 03-17-2011, 02:40 PM
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I used this cam, in late '71 and through '72 in a 283 that was bored .060 (292 CI). It idled almost smooth, with only a slight lope when it felt like it. The engine had the "open chamber" 2bbl heads (read: cheap) that I port-matched and installed screw-in studs and guide plates on. It had TRW 11:1 pistons, so with the big chambers, it was probably more like 9:1. I used an iron 275HP/327 "Holley" intake with a 715 CFM (list 4239) Holley vacuum secondary carb. It was a rather "cammy" engine, being soft in the low end. But, at about 3000, it came alive. I never had a tach, but, if it would rev to 6000, I'm sure I did that on numerous occasions. It was in a '61 Biscayne 2dr with an M21 four speed and either 3.08 or 3.36 rear (I never even looked). Best I ran with it in '72 was 14.91, still in 3rd gear at the lights.

It would be a little milder in a 327, and milder than that in a 350, but still a pretty good cam overall. It sure woke the 283 up.
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