Chevy Nova Forum banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
903 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I built/am building (are we ever done), a 63 Nova for my wife. Tried to find a sweet spot between performance and driveability, using as much of what I got with the car. I did the body work/paint, wanting to redo interior, but priority right now is driveability. It's fine for me, but several things are needed to make it more comfortable and easy to drive for the wife.

Here's where Im at right now.

CBR R&P Power steering
CBR lower control arms/stock uppers (for now)
Chevy 350 (came with car, came out of a 72 truck), with the following
Comp Cams Camshaft with .480 gross lift/ 230 duration @ 0.50, fairly aggressive cam.
Aftermarket rockers, springs (Im sure) and probably pushrods setupfor cam.
40x Heads (older racing heads, my understanding)
FiTECH EFI, Edelbrock Performer RPM intake
Full length headers
2.5 inch exhaust

Manual front disc brakes (Scarebird setup.. going to change that)

700-R4 trans, 2500 stall converter, seems like it has a shift kit. Not really happy with the trans. Paid $100 bucks for it, and replaced the 5sp manual that car came with

4.11 rear end.

I need to come up with a reasonable game plan. Here's my thoughts

1) Replace cam with something closer to stock. I assume I will need to replace springs, lifters, pushrods, and maybe rockers? They are roller rockers.

2) Need to go power brakes. That's another reason to replace cam. When I checked vacuum I was at 6Hg if I recall. So, either new cam or booster canister and vacuum pump.

3) Considering changing rear gears from 4.11 to 3.73(or so).

Here's my questions

1) With the cam swap, am I correct in assuming I will have to replace springs, pushrods and lifters? Roller rockers should be fine? Any recommendations on a cam that is closer to stock that will generate sufficient vacuum? Should I look for cam with duration of 200-215(ish)? Or can I be a little more aggressive, and still generate sufficient vacuum?

2) With cam swap, should I put stock torque converter in trans?

3) Do I need to replace the 40x heads? When I got the car, the owner said it was a recent rebuild (I know they all say that). As I was working on the car, I popped a head off. Still had hone hash marks in cylinder. Everything looked "fresh". Not valve issues that I can tell. If I go stockish cam, will these heads create performance problems without a cam to take advantage of any improvement over stock heads? I know the 40x heads are older style racing heads, and probably not worth anything in comparison to newer technology. Will probably just keep them for now and see.

Any other things I should consider?

Thanks for any thoughts on my plans or ideas on how to make it better and more driveable for the wife.

Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
903 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I thought about that too.. Have the Vintage air unit, ready to install.

One thing she doesn't like, that I thought a milder cam would resolve, is sitting at the light the car wants to "lurch" (lack of a better word) forward. Putting it in neutral at the light solves that. She feels like she has to put too much brake pressure on, and her leg gets tired. Im thinking the power brakes could help solve that, but it will still probably "lurch" (again, lack of better word).

Mike
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,882 Posts
I thought about that too.. Have the Vintage air unit, ready to install.

One thing she doesn't like, that I thought a milder cam would resolve, is sitting at the light the car wants to "lurch" (lack of a better word) forward. Putting it in neutral at the light solves that. She feels like she has to put too much brake pressure on, and her leg gets tired. Im thinking the power brakes could help solve that, but it will still probably "lurch" (again, lack of better word).

Mike
I would think power brakes, ac, radio, driver and passenger side mirrors, light window tint, shoulder seat belt, quiet mufflers and maybe dynomat might make it fit for a queen.
Oh yeah...
Cup holder too lol!
 

·
Premium Member
1967 Chevy II nova Hardtop
Joined
·
3,903 Posts
I thought about that too.. Have the Vintage air unit, ready to install.

One thing she doesn't like, that I thought a milder cam would resolve, is sitting at the light the car wants to "lurch" (lack of a better word) forward. Putting it in neutral at the light solves that. She feels like she has to put too much brake pressure on, and her leg gets tired. Im thinking the power brakes could help solve that, but it will still probably "lurch" (again, lack of better word).

Mike
Mine lurched before I added power brakes.:rolleyes:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
903 Posts
Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Radio and A/C covered. In fact, Im a wimp that way too. Just need to install the AC.

She likes the aggressive rumble currently with headers, 2.5 inch dual x-pipe exhaust and Magnaflows.

Not looking for a new car equivalent in terms of comfort and driveability, but she has knee problems, so clutch is out (to her dismay, because she would prefer manual).

She would be fine with the cam and driveability as it is, if power brakes will resolve her idling in drive issues. So, maybe hydroboost or a vacuum pump and canister would work. Hydroboost is fairly expensive what little research I've done.

Dynomat already done. Console in future, with cupholders... not just for the queen (grin).

Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,828 Posts
Manual brakes are going to require more effort from the driver.. I would be reluctant to pull the engine apart if it is in good working order just to gain vacuum pressure for power brakes.. As already mentioned, hydro boost is an option and there are also auxiliary vacuum pumps available to assist with generating enough vacuum to run power brakes..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,828 Posts
Radio and A/C covered. In fact, Im a wimp that way too. Just need to install the AC.

She likes the aggressive rumble currently with headers, 2.5 inch dual x-pipe exhaust and Magnaflows.

Not looking for a new car equivalent in terms of comfort and driveability, but she has knee problems, so clutch is out (to her dismay, because she would prefer manual).

She would be fine with the cam and driveability as it is, if power brakes will resolve her idling in drive issues. So, maybe hydroboost or a vacuum pump and canister would work. Hydroboost is fairly expensive what little research I've done.

Dynomat already done. Console in future, with cupholders... not just for the queen (grin).

Mike
Older motor homes and heavier duty 3/4 - 1 ton trucks and vans are equipped with hydro boost brake systems.. I suspect you could scavenge the bits from a donor vehicle which should be less costly..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,131 Posts
I replaced my COMP XE268 with a Howards CL112571 for other reasons than streetability but found the milder Howards is quite easy to drive now compared to the XE COMP cam. Low end torque about the same but does lose about 10 HP at higher RPM. Plenty of vacuum for power brakes.

This Howards might be just what you are looking for. Below are links for cam and desk dyno comparisons (post 716).

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/hrs-cl112571-12s

https://www.stevesnovasite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=192016&page=48
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,102 Posts
What's your idle speed at in drive? Sounds like it may be too high for the convertor.

Also, a lot of newer cars use electric vacuum pumps for the brakes. You could use one of them and find somewhere to hide it. Hydroboost works good but is not the best looking setup.

If you do decide to do a cam swap, a decent driver cam if you want a stockish cam is the old 327/350hp grind. It's not a powerhouse cam, but it runs good in a 350. All you would need is cam and lifters. Going from one hydraulic to another the pushrod length more than likely won't need changed. As for the heads, even a tiny cam will run better with decent heads. Worked over heads are never a bad thing on any engine. Have you checked what your compression ratio is yet? That will have more to do with cam selection and how the engine runs/lasts than anything in a daily driver.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
903 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Thanks Kim.

Mine is a Comp Cam Magnum 280H.

Im not real knowledgeable on cams, and this one came with the Nova.

I pulled it to get the part number because I wanted to know for sure what I had.

The Howard cam sounds like it's more what I might need. It's not a huge deal to me to swap cams, as long as Im only doing it once. Want to make sure I buy the right one.

Do you think I'd have to swap springs and push rods?

Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,131 Posts
Do you think I'd have to swap springs and push rods?

Mike
I would guess you would not need to change spring. When I switched to the Howards, I first spoke with their tech guy who gave me good input about whether I needed to change my springs. I didn't need to but would recommend calling them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
869 Posts
The converter should keep the car from trying to "lurch" when stopped. I have a fairly large Hyd. roller with manual brakes and a FTI street brawler converter and it is very well mannered and very streetable. I try to keep my idle speed down a little and so far I haven't had any problems with the car trying to push. I really like my 700r4 transmission. I did go ahead and put a constant pressure valve body in along with a few other parts to make it live with the added HP.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
903 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
71SS..... I'll have to check the idle speed in drive again. Been awhile since I checked it.

g2072 - Converter could easily be an issue. It was a no name converter off evil-bay, that I tossed in to the $100 700-R4. "seems to work" fine except in drive idle.

I checked the pressures on the tranny and all were within spec in all gears. Shifts well (sharply, which is fine), so Im confident the TV cable is setup properly.

Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
869 Posts
g2072 - Converter could easily be an issue. It was a no name converter off evil-bay, that I tossed in to the $100 700-R4. "seems to work" fine except in drive idle.

Mike
I was really impressed with the FTI converter. They have went up a good bit since I bought two for my car and a friends build. All my friends told me I was crazy to put manual brakes on my car but they have all since seen how it stops. When I pull up to a light I just rest my foot on the brake pedal until the light turns. I was very pleased that the car didn't require more pedal pressure when sitting in gear at idle.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top