New Member
Sep 1, 2012
How are you not worried about smog certification considering your car requires a physical sensor in the tailpipe check every two years?
Also has to pass visual inspection as well. On the other hand asked a guy who had a 2017 import that was all modded out engine wise. Asked how he was going to get past the smog issue. Told me they’re places that will do it magically. I guess where there’s a will there’s a way if you pay someone enough.


Veteran Member
Apr 22, 2015
Have you looked at all the cam break in horror stories around here? I haven't changed a cam in 8-10 years but I would be nervous about it now in 2023.

73Z L92

Veteran Member
Jan 25, 2011
Carlos, MN
Time wise I would guess 6 hours of labor at least. Drain radiator. Might have remove radiator to have room to slide the cam out. Remove fan and water pump. Remove timing cover and cam gear/chain. Remove intake/distributor and valve covers. Loosen up rockers. Remove push rods and old lifters. Slide new cam in. Clean up gaskets. New crank seal. After all reassembly fill radiator. Set timing. Run in cam.
It's been years since I worked on a SBC so I'm sure I'm missing something.


Veteran Member
Oct 9, 2020
regardless if you can obtain a illegitimate smog cert, suggest pay attention to RickM's p#6---
'81 was born with low compression dished aka sump head pistons & shizzel crack-prone large chamber low compression heads & an HEI dist that's missing a vac advance & its ECM is both ignorant and downright intransigent --- all that seriously chills any success you might hope to gain with a cam swap. Perhaps choose another motor & begin with that as a better foundation?

OR get a different carb & dist & true dual exhaust --- then consider a mild cam --- but only if you can get a cheated-up smog cert.

reliable OE specs here:


Veteran Member
Aug 1, 1999
I think what I'd do with that machine is to visit a local exhaust shop. Have them make up an exhaust system from the cat. converter back with no muffler. Run 2 1/2 or bigger (bigger is better here) pipe split into duals out the back. Truck guys do this a lot, converter smooths out the sound a bit while leaving it pretty loud. You'll like it! Forget the engine work, need some serious wrenching to get there.
Jan 28, 2023
So what exhaust should i run? I want a straight muscle car growl…. Tips advice? Please getting done in a week need to lock this down. Its an 81 camaro z28 stock 350

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