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Technical 401 Nailhead cam advice

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by KustomKreeps, Mar 12, 2017.

  1. KustomKreeps
    Joined: Jan 7, 2016
    Posts: 325


    hey guys.

    So im looking at upgrading my 401s Cam. The engine is fresh built and hasn't been put in the car as yet or broken in. Been reading a bit across the internet. Have asked my builder for advice as well and as he gets back i thought I would ask here and see what you all think.

    So a bit of basic info.
    Car: 1949 Hudson Custom
    Weight: Stock curb side was about 1700kg/3730lbs
    Gears: 3.50
    Tire Size: 28inch
    Trans: 700R4
    Converter: 1650 but realize i may need to upgrade.
    Engine: 1965 Buick 401 or as most affectionately know them by a "Nailhead"
    Usage: Highway & city. I live small town & highway drive to city a few times a week. Also weekend cruiser.

    And the work done by Dual Quad Dave of HAMB reads as:
    • 1965 Buick 401 core
    • Bored .060 over to 413
    • Decked .020 to compensate for modern head gaskets
    • New cast pistons
    • New Hastings moly rings
    • Balanced
    • Rods resized w/ ARP rod bolts
    • Crank turned .010/.010 and polished
    • Oil galley plugs converted to screw in
    • New Melling oil pump
    • New Melling cam/lifters
    • New Melling valve springs
    • Heads rebuilt w/ new valves, new iron guides, cut for Teflon oil seals, milled .010
    • New freeze plugs
    • Updated to modern silicon front/rear oil seals
    • Good used timing cover
    • New timing chain
    • New water pump
    • Included pulleys& alt/ps brackets.
    • Included stock exhaust manifolds
    • Stock Power steering pump.
    • New Powermaster 1wire alt.
    • Stage 1 porting.
    • Polished chambers.
    • cleaned up castings.
    • Adjustable pushrods.
    • Stock 4brl Intake- swapped out to Eelco 2x4
    • Media blast & prime.
    think thats about it. no doubt i missed stuff. Dave who built up the donk was great. Gave lots of performance options and stages. Answered all my questions well and gave options.
    On top i have Eelco 2x4 intake with 2 650s.
    Pertronix ignition.

    Anyway. As i do other work on the car i have been kinda regretting not getting the cam done when i got the darn thing built.
    Better half keeps asking "is it going be loud and lumpy?"
    I had been thinking Thumpr 91-600-5 or TA Performance TA-25

    ideas and suggestions?

    kidcampbell71 and Muffy Bennett like this.
  2. Apologies, can't help with the cam but where you get those valve covers ? Very cool
  3. What's the guy that built it say about a cam? Ask Dave!
    How much will the valve springs handle? Compression ratio ?
  4. 1pickup
    Joined: Feb 20, 2011
    Posts: 995


    I think the stock cams for these were pretty good. Even better than some, or most, of the aftermarket's supposed "speed parts." Look up Russ Martin. He'll have the answer.
    hidez57, zman, and 1 other person like this.

  5. 51ChevPU
    Joined: Jan 27, 2006
    Posts: 1,076

    from Arizona

    I think I've seen Russ Martin indicate that the stock grind is a good one. Check out his web page and the tech info.
    hidez57 and like this.
  6. Them things make all their power and great big gobs of it by 2800 Rpms. They work the way they work because they are what they are. Teaching them something different leads to you learning something.

    What does the builder, Davd suggest?
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
    belair likes this.
  7. slowmotion
    Joined: Nov 21, 2011
    Posts: 3,265


    No help, but just wanna say that's a dang purdy motor ya got there!
  8. RICK R 44
    Joined: Dec 13, 2009
    Posts: 457

    RICK R 44

    Why mess with a good thing??? Your engine will already put out almost 3 times the horsepower of the original Hudson engine. That will be plenty for your intended use. If you want to go to the drag strip every week end, that is a different story. Always believed that racing engines and cruising engines should be kept separate. Have a stock 322 nailhead in my 51 Meteor. lots of power for cruising. Just my 2 cents worth!!!!
  9. Muffy Bennett
    Joined: Nov 26, 2015
    Posts: 40

    Muffy Bennett
    from Arizona

  10. John Eberly
    Joined: May 18, 2010
    Posts: 8

    John Eberly

    Of your two options, I would say investigate TA Performance. Give them a call. Thumper cams always seemed kind of silly to me - all of the pain and none of the gain of a race cam.

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  11. patterg2003
    Joined: Sep 21, 2014
    Posts: 680


    hidez57 likes this.
  12. KustomKreeps
    Joined: Jan 7, 2016
    Posts: 325


    You can get them from PML or from Russ Martin at

    Still waiting on Dave to get back.
    Thinking i may try to find a way to start it up soon and see how it sounds etc.

    Thanks for the comments guys.
  13. desertdroog
    Joined: Nov 16, 2001
    Posts: 992


    I'm researching this stuff right now for my 401 build.

    I am considering the TA-25 Hydraulic, as I am also doing a dual quad setup, they are in town and easy for me to grab off the shelf as well:

    Of Note, Schneider Racing Cams grinds TA-Performance camshafts for their needs, or so I have been told. They have a bunch to choose from:

    Not to be ignored is the wealth of information that Carmen Faso can offer up.

    Carmen Faso ~ J&C Parts of Tonawanda, NY
    Engines - Headers - Cranks - Heads - Speed Equipment
    zman likes this.
  14. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 6,260


    Kustom, that Nailhead looks almost too nice to put it in a dirty old hot rod.

    Last edited: Mar 30, 2017
  15. AHotRod
    Joined: Jul 27, 2001
    Posts: 11,344


    When I built my 401 Nailhead, I had the guys at Bullet Cams grind one. At the time they asked, Do you want a smooth idle or a somewhat loppy idle? Of course I chose the loppy idle, and loved it.
    Pick up the phone and call them:
    bhemi likes this.
  16. Arominus
    Joined: Feb 2, 2011
    Posts: 394


    I think that TA-25 would work well for you, the thumper isn't bad either, its just won't be quite as good down low to get your Hudson moving. The thumper will wind out better and sound meaner, the TA will get you off the line a bit better but run out up top.

    The converter should be fine either way.

    A cheat sheet for other posters:
    Stock cam: Late 401 factory cam and 66 425
    207 duration @ .050, valve lift .431 and 114 LSA

    TA-25: lift.459/.479 AT .050 218/228 LSA: 112

    Thumpr: LSA: 107 Lift: .465 Dur @ .050: 227/241
  17. desertdroog
    Joined: Nov 16, 2001
    Posts: 992


    There is a good resource for Nailhead and Buick specific questions if you want to research.

    Here is a thread discussing the 091 Super Wildcat Cam, a factory grind option.

    Also, I believe 1959-1961 has a real lopey idle from the factory. The owners of this luxury marque complained, so Buick smoothed it back out so the folks wouldn't offend the country club set while rolling in.

    Sent from my SM-G935V using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  18. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,588

    from Garner, NC

    I'm a big fan of the W-30 cam that Carmen Faso sells. The stock cams have a pretty loopy idle and work decent.
    Russ has some decent ones and understands what the Nail needs. T/A seems to not quite.

    Heres the specs from the W30 cam carmen sells.
    W-30-10 Camshaft.. Caremen Fasco
    Cam doctor analysis-- Buick 57-66 364-401-425

    intake & exhaust
    Lobe center seperation --------------- 109.6 cam degrees
    valve overlap ------------------------------ 13.4 crank degrees

    valve opening ------------------------------ 6.7 btdc
    lobe center ----------------------------------- 109.7 atdc
    Valve closure -------------------------------- 45.7 abdc
    Duration @.050 ----------------------------- 232.4 crank degrees
    max cam lift --------------------------------- .29149
    net valve lift--------------------------------- .46633 inches
    Lobe area ------------------------------------ 24.52 in * deg

    valve opening ------------------------------ 45.9 bbdc
    lobe center -----------------------------------109.4 btdc
    Valve closure -------------------------------- 6.7 atdc
    Duration @.050 ----------------------------- 232.6 crank degrees
    max cam lift --------------------------------- .29094 inches
    net valve lift--------------------------------- .46551 inches
    Lobe area ------------------------------------ 24.47 in *deg
    nailed31 and desertdroog like this.

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