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Varicam, Anyone!, Anyone!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Johnny Sweet, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. Jack Gifford
    Joined: Jan 24, 2012
    Posts: 15

    Jack Gifford
    from Phelps, NY

    The designer was Ollie Morris, and yes, he died just a few years ago. Ollie was an engineer and partner of Fred's in Offenhauser Equipment Company and designed many of their products. For a few years Ollie also had his own company, OMEC, but I only know of the Cam-A-Go being sold through Offenhauser. It employed three-gear cam drive, with the idler gear shuttled transversely to effect cam timing variation. A few years ago I built a copy of it for a Pontiac V8, but with electromechanical servo drive controlled by input from a tach signal, instead of the hydraulic piston that Ollie used. I wound up having a phone conversation with Ollie, to mitigate any possible patent infringement concerns. He was already retired, but still had machine tools in his basement to "play" with ideas, and we had a very interesting talk. Although I built the system and used it to test-run the engine, I've put it back into storage for now. The whine of the straight-cut gears was louder than I want for a street machine- someday I hope to investigate whether helical gears can be used- the small diameter of the idler might rule that out. The extra nine degrees of cam advance at idle sounded very promising- the hydraulic roller grind was less "lumpy" and throttle response was better. Someday, after wrapping up other projects, I'll get back to it.

    Attached Files:

  2. dmarv
    Joined: Oct 10, 2005
    Posts: 968

    Alliance Vendor
    from Exeter, CA

    The inherent problem of the varicam was the spring. It would cause an oscillation at higher RPM and could not "hold" its timing. The Cam-A-Go did not have the same problems as varicam. The Cam-A-Go could retard or advance timing up to 10 degrees each direction. The Cam-A-Go could also be operated "on the fly" at any RPM desired.

    Dan Marvin, Owner
    Exeter Auto Supply
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2012
  3. jalamon
    Joined: Oct 29, 2011
    Posts: 2


    I used a Vari-Cam model 101 on my '62 409. Never could get it to work right because of the oscillation. Ignition timing would bounce around when I'd check it with a timing light and increase the revs. Obviously that's what the cam was doing, so it wouldn't consistently hold the initial cam advance at one spot. Never got an improvement in my times at the drag strip, so eventually I took the spring out and just used the heavy brass gear to manually set the cam timing.

    Still have the Vari-Cam in its original box saved in the garage as a relic from the old days.

  4. I had all but forgot about this thread, this is a good example of how CutawayAl,a tramp will come out to play. I should have also mentioned that I changed propellers and ran one with 1/2" less diameter and by doing so allowed me to get the 200 extra RPM's. I didn't and this fucker had to show what being a prick is all about. His synopsis is correct with what he was given, but it's the way he had to present himself. Over the years when I headed up Engineering teams I would get a few like him from time to time. We just called them "Dick Draggers", they thought they were smarter than everyone else on the team. Smart guy's, but with personality's that showed they were true classless acts.
    We all enjoy the HAMB, but some can't help themselves and can never play nice. In the old day's when we were racing I would kick his kind around a bit and then just knock em out and then get on with my buisness.
    In some later post I noticed that some of you mentioned about the Varicam having a problem with the spring and fluctuating RPM. I remember having such a problem, but for the best of me can't remember what changes we made to rectify it.

    After this thread was posted some months ago I received a PM from some guy wanting me to give the Varicam to him because I wasn't using it. This is just another example of the thinking climate in our country today.
    The other varable cam devices look interesting, O, well that was then and this is another time.
    Thanks for reading,
    Johnny Sweet
  5. David Chandler
    Joined: Jan 27, 2007
    Posts: 1,101

    David Chandler

    I can remember them being advertised but I don't know of anyone ever using one. But my uncle raced hydroplanes in the 50's, with outboards not v8s. And from what little he told me about it, you needed to have balls to go out there. He recalled a guy getting nearly cut in half when he ended up in the water and was hit by another boat. I think that's what made him get out of it. So thanks for sharing this bit of history with us.
  6. CutawayAl
    Joined: Aug 3, 2009
    Posts: 2,144

    from MI

    What actually happened here is that you posted some comments that were incorrect, I pointed it out, you didn't like that. Sorry, but it's an open discussion.

    I documented my comments with explanation and fact. You have posted misconception, insults and macho BS, none of which is helpful to anyone reading this. Although my attitude has absolutely nothing to do with the facts I posted, I wasn't trying to offend you. You called me a tramp, fucker, prick, dick dragger, and classless. You would need to be even smarter than you think you are to make those judgements about someone you know nothing about. Concerning this comment: "kick his kind around a bit and then just knock em out and then get on with my business"(I corrected the spelling of "business" for you)), as I mentioned, you don't know me. That being the case I'll just say, I suggest you abandon that option.

    I don't blame you for not giving away the part. I think you should keep it. I even have an idea what you could do with it. Based on what you posted in this exchange I think it would fit.:p

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