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Old 12-30-2020, 07:08 PM   #1
SpicedIcePirate
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1972 307 cam selection... HELP!

Hey all,

I have a 1972 C10 longbed with a 307 in it.
I used to daily drive this truck, then it sat for two years, and now I'm wanting to keep the original engine but make bit more power from it.

Current specs are:
307, newer 4bbl intake from a junkyard and a 4bbl Rochester Quadra-jet I got for free off a 350 and rebuilt. HEI distributor. Full 2 1/4 inch true dual exhaust with (now burnt out) glasspacks.

This is backed by a rebuilt 700r4 trans running a stock converter. 3.07 rear gear, open diff.

255/70/15 tires.

I've helped plenty of people move using this truck, and hauled many things. It'll cruise at 60-75 all day depending on how many hills and how steep they are. I like the reliability of this setup, but I'd like a bit (or a lot) more pep at cruising speed and low/mid rpms. I know the 307 will never love winding to the moon and will never be a race truck. Though I hasve beat on it and suprised a few people at redlights when it was a daily.
I would consider changing to a 3.73 gear when I have the rear end rebuilt to be a posi. So consider that in the response.

I have access to some good heads that are casting number 3998991 that came off a pretty strong pulling mild 327 a guy had changed out for a 350.
These heads are free and I can use them if they'd be better than the stock 72 307 heads.

I know I'll likely need to get headers and potentially step up my exhaust size to 2 1/2 inch to take advantage of a more aggressive cam.

This is not currently my daily driver, so I do not care about MPG beyond interstate cruising. It'd be nice to get more than 14 running 75mph through a full tank though. That's my current with the 700r4. I feel more low/mid rpm power would make this happen just because it wouldn't find the need to downshift as often on longer hills.

So, with these current options, what would the best combination be for low/mid range power, redlight to redlight fun and cruising. I feel like I've fallen victim to the 'soft cam' issue of the era.
Otherwise I'd rush in with the 5.3 I have sitting in the corner of the shop, but I'm trying to convince myself to put that in an 84 S10 I got as a bonus when I bought my house.

Thank you all in advance, I've done a lot of reading online, but most people are all "I wanna make my 307 as fast as a 350 with the same mods".

tldr; With my current setup, what cam/lifter kit would I gain the most benefits from in a usable power range. With the addition of other potential bolt-ons (eg. exhaust).
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Old 12-30-2020, 07:56 PM   #2
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Re: 1972 307 cam selection... HELP!

I'd go with what is known as an RV cam. You want torque down low. The rest comes easy
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Old 12-30-2020, 09:19 PM   #3
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Re: 1972 307 cam selection... HELP!

I was averaging about 10.5-12 mpg with my 402 when i drove it almost daily a couple years ago with a TH400 and 3.73 gears on 255/70-15 tires. It had a mild cam, stock intake, Edelbrock carb, and manifolds with turbo mufflers, no tail pipes. I didn’t beat it though, drove it pretty mildly. I would agree with RV type cam for low and midrange power. And definitely headers and a 2.5” exhaust system.
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Old 12-30-2020, 10:08 PM   #4
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Re: 1972 307 cam selection... HELP!

I have a set of 3998991 heads on my 350, and from what I have read and experienced, these heads are not performance oriented at all. They are low compression and they have small valves. They do, however, seem to make decent low end torque. My plan is to install some Vortec heads I pulled off a 98 GMC at a wrecking yard last weekend. I know you already mentioned the rear end, but I think switching to a 3.73 would be my top priority in your situation. A 3.07 is a pretty extreme highway ratio to have with a 700R4. Switching the gear ratio could really transform the way your truck drives.
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Old 12-31-2020, 02:57 AM   #5
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Re: 1972 307 cam selection... HELP!

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Originally Posted by pjmoreland View Post
.... I know you already mentioned the rear end, but I think switching to a 3.73 would be my top priority in your situation. A 3.07 is a pretty extreme highway ratio to have with a 700R4. Switching the gear ratio could really transform the way your truck drives.
If you find that your truck is lazy or doesn't want to cruise comfortably in O.D. you might pull the shifter down 1 bump and run third gear. 3rd gear on the 700r4 is 1.00.... just like a 350 turbo in top gear. The 700r4 has a good low first gear(3.06) to get your truck rolling.
I have a 700r4 w/3.08 rear in my '71 GMC and a mild 350 engine & it's responsive enough. It really drives better & gives better mileage if I don't let it go into OD unless I'm running 70+mph. on the Interstate. It's on275/60/15's. Yeah, I'd like to have a 3.73 posi in the GMC & the Blazer both but can't justify spending the $$$$.
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Old 12-31-2020, 06:58 AM   #6
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Re: 1972 307 cam selection... HELP!

hi, summit 1102 is pretty close to what your looking for. good low and midrange power. good luck, BROWN 70
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Old 12-31-2020, 08:34 AM   #7
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Re: 1972 307 cam selection... HELP!

Comp cam XE262

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWyjDNk8dfo

Don't get the 991 heads, they will drop compression as they have 76cc chambers and your heads (should) have 68-70cc. A set of GM vortec heads would be great for this motor, but you need the Vortec specific intake for it as well.

Double hump heads can do it as well, check the valve size and cc of the chambers. You would want them 60-66cc imo.
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Old 01-06-2021, 12:34 PM   #8
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Re: 1972 307 cam selection... HELP!

Quote:
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If you find that your truck is lazy or doesn't want to cruise comfortably in O.D. you might pull the shifter down 1 bump and run third gear. 3rd gear on the 700r4 is 1.00.... just like a 350 turbo in top gear. The 700r4 has a good low first gear(3.06) to get your truck rolling.
I have a 700r4 w/3.08 rear in my '71 GMC and a mild 350 engine & it's responsive enough. It really drives better & gives better mileage if I don't let it go into OD unless I'm running 70+mph. on the Interstate. It's on275/60/15's. Yeah, I'd like to have a 3.73 posi in the GMC & the Blazer both but can't justify spending the $$$$.
I will do that if it wants to down shift a bit m,uch, or if I'm trying to pull a trailer or something of that nature.

It'll do 65-70mph without begging to downshift most of the time. But 75 is the sweet spot for flat land.
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Old 01-06-2021, 12:36 PM   #9
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Re: 1972 307 cam selection... HELP!

Hey guys, thanks for all the good replies, RV cam type is what I was thinking. I'll check out some of these suggestions and let you all know what I end up with.

I've got a 1984 S10 and a 1988 F350 keeping my attention, that and looking at a house to possibly buy will keep me tied up for the next month or two depending on how it all goes.
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Old 01-06-2021, 04:42 PM   #10
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Re: 1972 307 cam selection... HELP!

Keep in mind that different sized motors act differently with a cam swap. A 268H from comp cams would be near perfect if you were running a 350. I have had a bunch of those and they always are good. BUT that 268 in a 350 may seem more like a 278 [or so just for conversation] in your 307. I would back up two ranges like a 250 ish I dont remember the size of the 250 comp cam but it is also known as the rv type cam. You could add that cam without the headers but if you want the benefits get some cause they will pep you up.
I want to top the post by saying I used to have a small big block in my Chevelle car and it had a cam that made it sound like a pro mod. I changed it out for a couple sizes smaller and added a different carb and it picked up half a second at the track. That is a lot going from a 8.25 to 7.75 in the eighth. So just think bigger is not always better. On the other hand if you had a 400 small block the same 268H cam would seem like an RV cam to the 400. Does that make sense? Jim
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Old 01-11-2021, 06:02 PM   #11
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Re: 1972 307 cam selection... HELP!

A bigger cam will reduce torque at low RPMs. Exactly what you don't want! Bigger cams need better heads and higher compression, and even then, all you're gonna do is make more power at higher RPMs.

Your best path to more torque in 4th gear would be a 3.42 or 3.73 axle. Of course you could skip that and install a near-stock 350, which would get you lots more torque at all RPMs, with little to no decrease in gas mileage.
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Old 01-11-2021, 10:48 PM   #12
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Re: 1972 307 cam selection... HELP!

Some 305s had 58 cc heads with 1.84 intake and 1.5 exhaust that would give you around 9.1 compression ratio. the 76 cc heads would give 7.6 compression ratio which would make it a slug. Some 305s heads had 60cc but had 1.72 intake valves. They changed the center intake bolt angle in the later 305s but do not know the year they made the change.
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Old 01-12-2021, 12:44 AM   #13
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Re: 1972 307 cam selection... HELP!

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Some 305s had 58 cc heads with 1.84 intake and 1.5 exhaust that would give you around 9.1 compression ratio. the 76 cc heads would give 7.6 compression ratio which would make it a slug. Some 305s heads had 60cc but had 1.72 intake valves. They changed the center intake bolt angle in the later 305s but do not know the year they made the change.
Yup. Find a set of 305 heads from a cease fire 82 305 powered vet, or 305 monte carlo SS.
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Old 01-12-2021, 09:42 AM   #14
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Re: 1972 307 cam selection... HELP!

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Yup. Find a set of 305 heads from a cease fire 82 305 powered vet, or 305 monte carlo SS.
I agree with the recommendations for the 305 heads to boost compression. A 250/256 Voodoo cam would be a nice upgrade. May even boost your MPG a bit. It will work with some fresh Z28 springs.

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/lun-10120700lk
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Old 01-12-2021, 11:10 AM   #15
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Re: 1972 307 cam selection... HELP!

-
I agree with the 3.73 swap. If you do that you won't have to touch your engine. I had a 3.07 rear in my '69 Suburban with a crate 350 and 2004r OD trans and the high rear gear made the transmission overheat when it was locked up. Swapping in the 3.73 made a world of difference. Swapping that rear to 3.73 would be top priority for me....

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Old 01-12-2021, 11:22 AM   #16
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Re: 1972 307 cam selection... HELP!

IMHO-headers and big exhaust are a waste on a 307 (and even stockish 350s).

I might suggest a different route. If you are open to fuel injection, put Tuned Port on top of your stock 307. Lots of low end torque. Simple, reliable. Works great with stock cam. TPI units are cheap now. Lets say $200 unit with distributor, $150 Injectors, $30 ECM, $100 PROM, $200 wiring (or make your own from a 3.1 Cavalier or Corsica-or F-body or Corvette), and $100 fuel pump. So $800ish swap (maybe much cheaper if you find someone removing a TPI engine to go LS) and leave the drivetrain alone. Just a thought.
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Old 01-12-2021, 11:44 AM   #17
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Re: 1972 307 cam selection... HELP!

I went with this on my 72 daily driver. It is the equivalent of the RV cam as is designed for low end torque and excellent cruise speed power... ALWAYS replace lifters with the cam...I also agree with the 3:73 gear swap...Helps take the load off that SB but your mileage and wallet will suffer a bit... https://www.lunatipower.com/voodoo-h...k-256-262.html
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Old 01-12-2021, 11:46 AM   #18
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Re: 1972 307 cam selection... HELP!

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IMHO-headers and big exhaust are a waste on a 307 (and even stockish 350s).

I might suggest a different route. If you are open to fuel injection, put Tuned Port on top of your stock 307.
I have always thought the TPI system looked nice and performed well. Don't know what it will do for a 307, but the 350 TPI in a Corvette was a torque monster for sure!

What would that setup require for tank, fuel pump, and return line?
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Old 01-13-2021, 10:18 AM   #19
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Re: 1972 307 cam selection... HELP!

Several years ago, Car Craft magazine did a 307 build that always peaked my interest, and I've wanted to build a similar setup. I'll try to find the article, but for now, here's a the basic recipe.

307
Vortec heads
250ish advertised duration cam(RV style or one step higher)
aluminum intake(vortec specific)
600 cfm carb(the Q-jet will be great also)

The combo made 315hp and can't remember torque numbers, but it wasn't shabby.

Keep in mind the 307 is a short stroke engine. Basically a 283(3.875 bore) block with 327(3.25 stroke) crank. This means it needs to spin a bit higher to reach max torque. Also, the 307 was an "economy" engine that was literally only intended to be put in base model cars/trucks. They have terrible heads with large combustion chambers, and poor flow characteristics! In fact, that's what gave the 307s a bad reputation as gutless turds.

Now, because of the shorter stroke, an RV cam or slightly bigger, will still have a decent lope at idle(enough that experienced ears will know it's not stock) and still keep the optimal torque range where it's useful.

Combine all this with the proper gearing(3.73 would be perfect) and you'll have a fun little cruiser that will impress even the hard core 350 guys.
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Old 01-13-2021, 10:48 AM   #20
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Re: 1972 307 cam selection... HELP!

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I have always thought the TPI system looked nice and performed well. Don't know what it will do for a 307, but the 350 TPI in a Corvette was a torque monster for sure!

What would that setup require for tank, fuel pump, and return line?
TPI was actually designed for a 305 so it should be great for a 307. Runners are small so they limit flow at higher RPM, but low end is outstanding. Not sure why GM never used it in an "SS350" type truck? Stock cam with good vacuum is ideal for TPI.

I have put TPI on a '72 SWB for a customer ('88 Impala 350 longblock and TH400). Used a '85ish 2.8 TBI S10 Blazer fuel tank and lines but had to cut rails a little right at the end to make it fit and for the filler. Swapped the pump for an '89 IROC pump. Stock tank is probably fine with an inline pump ('88 F150 rail mounted, not in-tank) if you have one with a return line. If not, I believe you can change the sending unit and add a line. Swap all rubber hose for fuel injection hose and fuel injection clamps. Add an O2 sensor to the exhaust pipe, just have a bung welded in (or cut off a spark plug anti-fouler and use that as a bung). OP would need a Corvette or early F-body TPI bottom intake to have the correct angle on the middle intake bolts. Corvette fuel rail is also better for a conversion since they come out on passenger side. F-body works but comes out on drivers side so lines are harder to run. I would put it in as Speed Density ('90 up) and not use a mass-air sensor. Doesn't matter what year TPI unit you get, all can work as Speed Density by adding a MAP sensor. '89 up is preferable to get improved throttle body linkage and self adjusting throttle position sensor, but that is just icing and not required. Throw away the stock injectors-none really do well with ethanol fuels. I get Bosch II remans from Fuel Injection Connection. I used a 1227730 ECM inside the cab above the glove box but with a/c you really lose space. If I did another '67-'72 I would do a Corvette style weatherproof 1227727 PCM in the engine compartment-also used in W-body 3.1 cars. The wiring harness is different but the PROM is the same. Other than that it is pretty much plug-and-play.

I know there are many here that are anti-modern and say carbs forever-and that is fine. For me, I like old stuff with modern drivelines and fuel injection. LS is great, but if you have a good small-block already, TPI is ideal. The looks are IMHO the best looking small-block ever made. In my K20 I went from about 14/17 mpg to more like 17/20 with only an engine change to a '91 Corvette engine. Same exhaust manifolds and system, same (700R4) transmission, same (3.42) gears. It starts even in coldest weather in a couple revolutions or less. I can buy parts for it at any parts store.
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Old 01-13-2021, 12:37 PM   #21
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Re: 1972 307 cam selection... HELP!

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TPI is ideal. The looks are IMHO the best looking small-block ever made.
One of the best for sure. Right up there with 60-70s solid lifter 302, 327, and 350 engines with aluminum intakes and valve covers.

I'll be getting a 69 C10 this spring. It's one I bought in 1989 and gave to my son around 2012. He spent a ton of money on paint and body, so now it's absolutely pristine. Now he wants me to have it back for a while.

Anyway, it has a mild 355 I built many years ago that still runs great, but I had planned to convert it to EFI, such as FiTech or Holley Sniper. But I think I'll do some research on TPI.
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Old 01-13-2021, 12:46 PM   #22
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Re: 1972 307 cam selection... HELP!

I looked into a tpi years ago.
These guys might be your best bet

https://firstfuelinjection.com/
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Old 01-13-2021, 09:43 PM   #23
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Re: 1972 307 cam selection... HELP!

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I looked into a tpi years ago.
These guys might be your best bet

https://firstfuelinjection.com/
Interesting. If I had a hi-po 350 I might consider. But like $2400 for unit and harness. I can do the whole thing for $800-1000. On a stock 307 for the OP I think stock GM TPI will be more than adequate-and parts are available anywhere. The biggest obstacle with stock TPI is high rpm breathing. You improve runners and need a ported plenum then the lower intake is too small. But these problems are 400 or 383 or high revving 350. Nobody runs out of air on a 305 TPI.

If I were to buy a harness today I would probably buy from Howell. You can get them cheaper but Howell is a very high quality piece.

Haven't heard from OP so don't know what he intends.
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Old 01-13-2021, 09:48 PM   #24
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Re: 1972 307 cam selection... HELP!

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One of the best for sure. Right up there with 60-70s solid lifter 302, 327, and 350 engines with aluminum intakes and valve covers.

I'll be getting a 69 C10 this spring. It's one I bought in 1989 and gave to my son around 2012. He spent a ton of money on paint and body, so now it's absolutely pristine. Now he wants me to have it back for a while.

Anyway, it has a mild 355 I built many years ago that still runs great, but I had planned to convert it to EFI, such as FiTech or Holley Sniper. But I think I'll do some research on TPI.
I have 2 running conversions and have done or helped on about 10. If you have any questions, PM me and I will be happy to help. Just before the pandemic I put TPI on a 305 in an '85 Sliverado for a guy at work. He loves it. Says it's a completely different truck now.
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Old 01-13-2021, 11:36 PM   #25
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Re: 1972 307 cam selection... HELP!

Doesn't any body that grew up in the sixties remember what we called the 305 cid engines. Unless I was doing a restoration I would never put a dime into a 305. For the money you are talking about putting into your engine you could get a really good 350.
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