More Than Cams

Words and Photos: Richard Holdener

By now, everyone should realize that COMP Cams offers an impressive array of cam grinds for most performance applications. You would be hard-pressed to find an application where they didn’t offer an off-the-shelf cam grind to suit your needs, but they also offer custom grinds for those wanting something special. After the factory adopted them, hydraulic-roller cams seem to be all the rage right now, but COMP also offers a wide variety of hydraulic and solid flat-tappet cams, as well as race-oriented, solid-roller grinds. The point here is, if you are looking for a performance cam profile, whether it’s mild or wild, COMP Cams has you covered. While most enthusiasts understand that COMP offers a plethora of performance cam profiles, what many don’t know is that COMP also offers a number of other associated products. In addition to that, other companies in the COMP Performance Group offer things like cylinder heads (RHS), nitrous oxide (ZEX) and even performance transmissions (TCI).

What better way to illustrate some of the performance components offered by COMP Cams and the other CPG companies than with a build series? Though COMP also offers parts for Chevy and Dodge, we elected to start this series with a 5.0L Ford. This back to basics theme started with a rebuilt, late-model 302 long block. Being a long block, the test motor lacked an oil pan and pick up, a front cover, valve covers, induction system and ignition. It did feature a cast crank, rods and pistons, along with a set of iron E7TE cylinder heads. Included in the rebuild was a stock 5.0L hydraulic roller cam, lifters and spyder hold down assembly, though COMP Cams offers these components as well. The rebuilder included a gasket set and oil pump, but we had to come up with the remainder of the components. Wanting to start stock, we chose used components from a local LKQ pic-a-part wrecking yard that came courtesy of our good buddy Mark Sanchez. He supplied the front cover, valve covers, damper bolt and oil pan (and pick up). We also secured a dual-plane intake and 50-oz damper from our friends at Speedmaster.

The idea behind the stock 5.0L build was to use it as a starting point for future build-ups. We could also showcase some of the parts that COMP Cams (and associated CPG companies) had to offer besides camshafts, though cams were certainly part of the program. By starting stock, we had the opportunity to test a variety of mild-to-wild cam profiles, cylinder heads and intake manifolds. Of course, the testing would also include things like supercharging and nitrous oxide, both in stock and modified trim. Along the way, we had the opportunity to throw in some of the smaller parts offered by COMP Cams like double-roller timing chains, aluminum roller rockers and hardened pushrods. We would also employ some of the tools offered by COMP Cams, like valve-spring installed height tools, oil priming systems and balancer removal tools. We have never been so excited to run a stock motor that made so little power, but we knew this 5.0L Ford was the start of something good! So after the break-in and tune with a four-barrel and headers, the 302 Ford produced 258 hp and 328 lb-ft of torque, but even more importantly, was primed and ready to make even more!

Graph: 302 Ford-The Beginning

Every build up (or series in this case) has a beginning, and this 302 Ford was no exception. To help illustrate the many performance components offered by COMP Cams (in addition to camshafts), we decided to start fresh with a rebuilt 5.0L (302). To coax 258 hp and 328 lb-ft of torque from the little 5.0L, we equipped with a dual-plane intake, four-barrel carb and a set of headers. What this represented was a starting point for all manner of upgrades, including camshafts, rockers, and cylinder heads. Along the way, we plan to include other performance products, like hardened pushrods, double-roller timing chains and aluminum roller rockers. Naturally, boost and nitrous are also on the to-do list!