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Old 11-04-2012, 01:02 AM   #1
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Whats normal vacuum w/E303 cam?

So whats going on is some weird issues with bucking/jerking at low RPM, (minor) and more importantly, very little braking power. I'm only measureing 10 HG inches of mercury at idle (850 rpm) and about 15 at 3000rpm. 10 HG seems awfully low and I'm thinking it may be the cause of my problem. From the threads I've read, everyone gets extremelly varied vacuum readings with E, B, and F cams. My engine combo is mostly stock, with E-303 cam, 1.6 FMS roller rockers, BBK equeal length headers. If theres anyone else running a mostly stock combo with an E cam, please let me know what kind of vacuum your pulling so if I know mine is out of the ordinary, then I can start looking for a vacuum leak. Also, does anyone know if elevation can effect vacuum? I'm at 5300 ft in Denver. Thanks!
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Old 11-04-2012, 02:43 PM   #2
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You are up here at altitude like I am in Denver metro. We are at a large handicap with the thin air. You lose between 15%-18% of your hp at this altitude compared to the same combo near sea level and this will also apply to the amount of vacuum you can pull on a motor because your compression is 15%-18% less here.

I ran an e cam in a stock shortblock with edelbrock performer heads, good exhaust, rpm performer carb intake, 3.70 gears and 2500 convertor with an aod. It was a pig here in the altitude.

9 or 10 inches of vacuum on a stock compression shortblock is about right here, down at sea level it will pull 12-14.

The e cam is a poor choice for a cam here in Denver, you would be much better off with a comp xe 258hr or a comp xe 266hr. With the shorter duration, higher lift , and aggressive ramps they will pull good vacuum and make significantly more power everywhere in the power band than that e cam.
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Old 11-04-2012, 04:07 PM   #3
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Yeah, I was afraid that might be the case. The problem though....is I have to pass emissions. The E-cam is CARB certified. Now, they dont need to know whats in the engine, but obviously they will be able to measure whats coming out.....How will that cam perform emissions wise?
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Old 11-04-2012, 04:13 PM   #4
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I had the E in a stock block with Y heads, Explorer intake, shorties and a 3" single exhaust a decade ago. Similar issues to you - I squeezed 11" of vacuum out of it if I idled it up to 1000-1100 rpm. At 850 it was about 9". Poor drivability below 2000 rpm. Poor around town fuel mileage. Didn't wake up much at all until 3000 rpm.

Your situation may be worse due to your stock intake and heads - Crane recommended heads/intake/exhaust and no automatic with the E (same as Crane's then PowerMax 2040). That cam would like more head, more intake, more rear gear (than stock), and more static compression ratio (10.5-11:1). I'd suggest another cam. There are plenty out there that will out perform that cam in your combo and idle mild enough that the inspector will think it's stock. And with less overlap than the E, I think they'll be cleaner from an emissions perspective. Take a look at the CompCam XE258 or XE264.

I went with a custom from Buddy Rawls. Events a bit close to the XE258. 18-20" at 800 rpm; wall of torque from idle to 5000 rpm; pulls without hesitation in 5th gear from 1100 rpm. 18-19 mpg around town, 25-27 on the highway; a LOT more pleasant to drive from idle to 5500 rpm. Have since changed heads and intake - it just keeps getting better.

I'm convinced there's just one E cam out there that people keep trying and then selling to someone else. You must have it now....
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Last edited by Michael Yount; 11-04-2012 at 04:16 PM.
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Old 11-04-2012, 04:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Yount View Post
I'm convinced there's just one E cam out there that people keep trying and then selling to someone else. You must have it now....
Quoted for truth!!
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:56 AM   #6
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So could the cause of my VERY poor braking actually be not enough vacuum to operate the brake booster? Or is 10-12 plenty to run the booster?
My other thread with the braking issue is located here:

1987 master cylinder WON'T Bleed! Help
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:06 AM   #7
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I run about 7" vacuum with my cam which is much larger than an E. my power brakes work fine. I do have a SN95 booster and M2300-k brakes.
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Old 11-05-2012, 08:18 AM   #8
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My e cam was in a carbed combo in a 65 stang. It was back in 99 and all cars newer than 1959 had to be ran through the sniffer one time to get classic plates here in Colorado. Once you passed you got the 5 year tags and never had to emission it again as long as you owned it. Since then (about 3-4 years ago) no vehicle older than 1974 has to emission at all if you are getting classic plates for it.

I did not pass emission the first time I had the car tested, it was super clean at the 2500rpm test but ran too rich at idle (too much overlap lope and poor vacuum from e cam). I took out a couple of degrees of timing, added a bottle of emission pass to a half tank of gas and cranked the idle up 100rpm to 850 and on the second try it barely passed.

If you have fresh plugs, fresh oil, and properly working efi, you should pass with the e cam. As I mentioned and Michael also suggested a comp xe 258hr, xe 264hr, or xe 266hr cam with matching springs will outperform the e cam everywhere in the power band and get rid of your low vacuum and emission problems..... or you could move to the mountains or elbert county out east where there are no emissions required on any vehicle!
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Old 11-05-2012, 08:27 AM   #9
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The braking issue probably is related to the low vacuum not supplying the brake booster enough. You can buy vacuum cannisters that hold extra vacuum for people with lopey cams and vacuum assited brakes. Better solution is the cam change.
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Old 11-05-2012, 08:34 AM   #10
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Michael mentioned Buddy Rawls. If you don't know he is a well respected ford custom cam designer. I remember a thread from him about the e cam. In testing and through his cam software it was determined that the e cam with 220 @ .050, lazy ramp rates and 110 lsa would work well only in motors with a minumum of 10.5 static compression. And this is at sea level. Again a comp xe 258hr is your friend here in Denver.
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Old 11-05-2012, 09:52 AM   #11
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All spoken here is good advice, I agree with everyone, and I also am in the mountains. E cams are for the classifieds, not for a 5.0L. Make sure you have good springs before you attempt to just replace it with an XE cam.
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Old 11-05-2012, 12:56 PM   #12
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X2 - the ramp rates on the XE cams will require the proper springs to control things. The irony is with stock E7 heads/springs, it's likely the OP's car won't rev high enough due to valve float to even get to a part of the power band where the E can be an improvement over stock.
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:37 PM   #13
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But given compresion and a good pair of heads, what does that do for the e-cam?
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:34 PM   #14
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I ran into the same problem with the 340 hp crate engine with e-cam in a 90 LX. Brakes went to crap and never could get it to idle good. Called SVT and was told to set the idle to something like 850 and timing to 14*, also said I should be pulling 14 inches of vacuum. In addition I had a small vacuum leak on the intake to head gasket. I got all of that accomplished and did have some improvements. I also had a higher stall converter. I would imagine the 5 sp would be more forgiving.
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:41 PM   #15
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Way back when I was still NA and ran an E cam with TFS heads, intake etc...I never had a problem passing CA emissions. It's not the best cam in the world but I made good power with it.

As long as your tune is good there should be no problem passing emissions.
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Old 11-05-2012, 05:42 PM   #16
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I had a rich condition at idle with E303 cam, motor is 306 10.0:1, AFR 165s and ported explorer intake. I was seeing about 9" at 850 rpm but my brakes worked fine. Car would barely run and bucked at low rpm so I picked up Quarterhorse. I advanced my idle timing and got the idle air/fuel good. Runs pretty good now and I see about 13" at 750rpm. Just passed California smog with flying colors. It still has a slight buck at around 1400rpm, so I still have a little work to do. I'm still thinking of swaping out the cam though with something with a little better street manners. I had a TFS stg 1 cam in another car and never had any issues.
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:58 AM   #17
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I have the combo in sig and +4cc pistons. Not sure where that puts my compression?

11In.Hg at 900rpm idle
12-17In.Hg cruising in various gears/rpms

Car feels awesome. Brakes work great unless it's 100+ out and the engine is at 230ish, then I have to do a slight double pump to get full pressure. It bucked a little around 1700rpm before the latest tune. Now it drives like my last stock cammed car.

Michael Yount - Did you have the E cam in before you went custom? Do you have before and after dynos? What's the benefit of 18-20" at low rpm? Do you attribute your gas mileage to the custom cam?
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Old 11-07-2012, 12:43 PM   #18
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I had 15" on a new motor with a weiand stealth and carb. 10-11" seems low to me IMHO.
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Old 11-07-2012, 01:21 PM   #19
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Thats is really low I pull 15-17 " @ 950 ,
But I have stand-alone engine management ...???
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Old 11-08-2012, 12:59 AM   #20
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11-12" according to my datalogs, @ 800 rpm. elevation ~2400 here in vegas
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Old 11-08-2012, 01:07 AM   #21
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OK, so 11-17 seems to be the norm. But, pretty much everyones consensus has been...that even at 10-11 HG, the lower vacuum really hasnt affected their brakes much. That leads me to believe my Vacuum Brake Booster probably IS shot. A remaned one is only $80.00 but such a PITA to replace. I just bled the brakes (again), but its still on jackstands while I take care of some suspension issues and waiting for the brown truck to arrive with my parts. So, I'm going to assume that the relatively low vacuum is nto the cause of my issue. If the latest bleeding didnt solve the issue, then I will go with a new booster....if that dosnt do it, I will go on a mad hunt for a vacuum leak replacing every top end gasket in the engine.
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Old 11-08-2012, 01:09 AM   #22
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Thanks for all the input everybody....will let you know what I find out in the near future.
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