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Old 03-03-2012, 11:19 PM
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Using Marine Cam in 4.3 L V-6 in Light Car

I am swapping a 4.3L Chevy V-6 into a light car (planning to go to distributor and carb) and find that the cheapest aftermarket roller cams are over $300 and I am tight enough to wonder how the much cheaper (plentiful used) marine roller cams compare to the automotive versions. My objective is 200+ hp and I would prefer a "lumpy" idle. I have 1991 code Z and 1994 code W motors available. There was an article in HRM where they got a relatively easy 300 hp out of this engine with a proper roller cam. Is the marine cam a step in this direction or a totally bad idea?

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Old 03-04-2012, 12:21 AM
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Do you have the specs of the Marine cam? Both engines you have came with the dreaded swirl port heads, these heads are absolutely horrible flow wise and flow is power. If you want to reach 200 horses you'll need a set of 1996 and up Vortec heads plus a intake and since your on a budget that will be out of the price range. Hot Rod had to do some major surgury port work on the swirl port heads to reach 300 horsepower. Plus they had headers and a roller cam with .224 duration @.050. Usually marine cams are made for sustained torque in the mid to high RPM ranges which really don't work real well on the street. However without the specs it's hard to say.
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Old 03-04-2012, 01:13 AM
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Marine cams are usually copies (or very close to) stock cams. They are designed to make low end torque and not make power over 4500 RPM.

And they are specifically designed NOT to make a lumpy idle since that would cause water reversion in wet exhaust systems. I would look elsewhere.
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Old 03-04-2012, 08:50 AM
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I did not know the heads were that bad - Pity. The arguments against the marine cam are compelling.
A second thought would be having the stock cam reground to different specs. Haven't heard much about cam regrinding since the days of flathead Fords, anyone know if it is feasible for roller cams?
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