cam & 3.8n/a


buick fanatic
May 26, 2001
when i rebuilt my motor i stuck a stock cam in.what other choices do i got with a n/a 3.8?
basically what i'm looking for is something that can be street driven but still give me some more performance over stock.
I have a Kenne Bell Mark 1L cam. It's for street driven cars with a performance edge. No machining nessacary, just install and go!

$150.00 and it will get you there.....

:rolleyes: ZZZZZzzzzzzzz
does that include the lifters?also about the valve springs i put in the regular ones.should i put different ones in or are the stock ones good enough.thanks.
i was checking summits catalog and their website and i can't find anything on the kenne bell cams.where did you get yours at.thanks.
Freddie's buick-

Yeah, I've got that cam also ('77 odd-fire). I didn't want to do the machine work at the time. Not a real hot one. However, I'm swapping in 8445 ported heads soon, and am considering the 2x cam, unless anybody's got any better ideas.... This will be with the Kenne Bell intake, Holley 600 (both already on), 8445 heads, headers and dual exhaust, th350 w/kb converter, and 3.73's.... This is in an '77 olds omega.
Hey jdub....

That sounds like a hot set up! :D

Mark, call Kenne Bell and ask for their catalog; (909) 944-4883.

They only deal with Buicks....nothing else!

Oh yeah, If you're going to install a cam, you might as well put in a dble roller timing chain, new lifters and I highly recommend the valve springs. Thats what I did...

:rolleyes: ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzz
Originally posted by Freddie's Buick
Mark, call Kenne Bell and ask for their catalog; (909) 944-4883.

They only deal with Buicks....nothing else!

Actually they used to deal only with Buicks. But after '87, there was nothing left to do with Buick. Now they make whipplecharger kits for Mutangs, Durangos, PT Cruisers and such. Their Buick technology is stagnant. But then so is all non-turbo Buick V6 stuff.

They definitely woke it up, but I can't say as to how much from stock. I put them in, along with the full cam kit (springs, retainers, etc...) when I did a full re-build. I got this thing with 109,000 on it, never had even had the valve covers off-it leaked like a sieve when i got it, and i was able to remove the valve covers by hand :eek: and just had little strings remaining of the past valve covers. It helped _a lot_ when I changed out the 2.56 gears for the 3.73's and changed the converter. I would guess with the carb, intake, and cam in it now, it probably has a whopping 150-160hp. (kb claims closer to 200 with these mods..., but I think they are also basing it on having later heads with bigger valves. the 8445 heads are supposed to be worth about 20hp non-ported over what i have now, mostly due to valve size and the other port changes made in '79 with the high-port design. I don't drive this on the highway though, and would like to see what a bigger cam and these heads do for me. Headers might actually be worth something at that point.......
Well, streetable is a must, as this is also my daily driver :) and i don't want to have anything thats annoying at every light, or requires too much dough in the bottom end..... I checked out your car on prestage, how much did you have to put into your build-up... effort-wise, I mean. Just arp fasteners, or did you have to spend a lot on the bottom end?
Hey Jdub,

So you think the KB Mark 1L is mild? Lot's of guys have posted that Crane Cams has a pretty decent cam for our cars. I wonder if one has to do any machining with it too? All the other KB cams require machining. Thats pretty much why I choose the KB-Mark 1L, no machining. (I get a little scared about getting machine shops to modify O.E.M.)

The minute one starts cutting here and there then other things have to be cut and modified until the engine no longer can accept bolt-on O.E.M parts.

And as for the the Odd-Fire, do they shake as much as it's been writing about them? Also, I have those later aluminum valve covers that came on the front wheel drive Buick V-6's, Crane Cams have roller rockers that look pretty interesting. I don't want to get rid of the valve covers. I'm just wondering if anyone out there knows if I could use the Crane roller rockers with my covers? You know the height issue...But the O.E aluminum covers are pretty tall......:confused:

So far, I do feel this cam is pretty mild, but other than a basic exhaust (stock manifolds), this motor has had no flow improvements other than the carb, intake, cam and a valve job. I plan to put the heads and headers on first to see what it is like before swapping another cam. As far as i remember (KB catalog is at home), if you have the '79 or later heads, you can use most of their cams with no problems. The only problem with the earlier heads is the valve guides (my stock '77 heads also only have seals on the intake valves....) being too tall for a cam with more lift than .420 With 8445 heads, i think up to their 2X cam is no problem without machining anything (assuming you haven't shaved heads or put crazy compression pistons or anything....

As for the shake, I really don't have any issues with it. Then again, my other ride is a v-twin bike, so maybe im just used to it.....:D
Hey jdub,

I admit I don't know too much about the science of cams, lift, lobe and all that good stuff. I did notice the KB catalog notation for their hotter Mark 1XB and 1TXB cam that '84-87 heads don't need machining.

I personally don't know what the lift was on my stock '81 cam. The cam card for the cam I bought from KB notes that theirs is .420. And I don't understand how to read the Buick Service manual specifications for the stock valves/cam and how it relates to cam lift. If someone can give me the formula for figuring it out, then I'll do the math with the data the service manual provides and figure out the stock lift.

The heads on my '81 I assume are of the high port design because of the size of the intake valves. They are stock 1.71" versus that of the earlier designs which were 1.5". Even so, these heads can stand to gain more potential by having the larger stainless steel intake valves sold by Poston's or Kenne Bell which are 1.77". Machining would definatly be needed in this case. The intake port diameter would have to be increased. Also, porting and polishing out the intake flow chamber in this head design yields incredible gains according to some sources I've read. This is due to the benefits provided from stock. The exhaust ports and its chamber needs no grinding. (Maybe just polishing and a three angle seat cut). So I might change my mind about port-flowing if I can find a reputable machine shop. I don't have the casting # for these heads, but they're probably the same ones you're going to install in your future beast since mine are stock 81's. :D

(Hope you're reading this mark!):D
So, anyone have any idea on what size valves are on my 83's heads?:confused:

Or what is the biggest int./exh. cam we can run w/out machining (for dual valve spring I'd guess?):confused:

If those valve covers fit, those rollers rockers might fit. I have a FWD 87 engine and did that. Had to make my own guideplates and used hardened pushrods. I had to grind just slightly on the rocker bases for clearance between them. For the valve covers to work, I got some 3/8" fine thread bolts that screw in to the top of the rocker pedestal where the set screws are. I found some washers at home depot that have rubber on one side and fit snugly around the bolt, so along with the stock big washer and rubber gasket, it shouldn't leak. I drilled the heads of the bolts in case they need to be safety wired to stay put. I haven't got this concoction into a car yet though.

Here are some old pics:

Hey thanks FastwClass for the 'heads up',

I looked at Crane Cams applications chart and not once did it mention Buick. I'm I missing something here? :confused: Did you use Chevy rockers? :confused: Any suggestions?

Both Postons and Kenne Bell sell the entire assemblies rather than individual components. (Way too expensive). Kenne Bell does sell rocker 'stops' that seem pretty useful if one chooses to use some other after-market roller rocker.

My idea is to use the stock shaft, a decent roller rocker, and KB's rocker 'stops' with the later aluminum covers I have. Anybody have any suggestions?
Yeah, I used SBC crane 1.6:1 energizer roller rockers. I got them off ebay for < $150. My heads did not have a shaft setup. They had individual, self aligning rockers. I guess like on a TTA. I tried to use guideplates from a 3.0 FWD motor, but the rocker stud and pushrod holes didn't quite match my heads.

I don't know how about rollers for a shaft rocker setup. Be prepared to do some messing around. I had to buy some hardened studs that were 3/8" course on the bottom and 3/8" fine on top, then grind down and drill some jam nuts for safety wire, because there are no engines made that use standard rocker studs this size where the jam nut is made onto the shoulder (they are all like 7/16" on the bottom).

You might want to make sure the holes in the rocker covers line up with three of the rocker studs in your heads before you go too far. :eek:

Have fun! :)