AMC 401 cam recommendation

City
Marshfield
State
Ma
#1
Anyone running a cammed 401 looking for real world input I’m running 9.7 .1 compression bored 30 over forged pistons 35” rubber 3:54 gears??
 

Jeeper_4_Life

Scrambler Rookie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
SOA Member
City
Kingman
State
Ks
#2
https://www.pirate4x4.com/threads/amc-401-build-up-qs.245386/

I have read through that thread on pirate 4x4 at least 5 times in the past trying to make the same decision as you to build a 401. For Jeep or FSJ it is best info I have found. Because of it, I listed some of the Cams out of that thread and others to look at. I think it depends on how you drive and where you want the power to run. The Crane 272 is the one I had been considering, but that was based on that Pirate thread. Finding other info besides that, that isn't in a car, is hard to come across.

From reading lots of different posts in other forums, it seems like due to lifter diameter size, higher compression and displacement, people say you can run a more performance cam in a 401 and not lose much on the bottom. Stock 401 info came from Jeep Jedi page I think. I can't verify it is correct numbers. Dur @ 0.050" seems to be the important info vs advertised duration. I really need to learn more what the numbers mean and how it impacts things.

1589975205923.png
 

7jeeps7kings

Legacy Registered User
City
right near the lake
State
OH
#3
Its been awhile since I've built my 360. I smoked through a couple summit cams and wiped lobes because of quality... Im currently running
the crane cam I believe the H-260-2. Its great in my 360. I have a 401 sitting in my shop waiting for me to build. I have no plans of replacing the factory cam unless it is damage or in need of repair. It is a beast. I pulled it out of a cj5 running a 4 barrel holley double pumper with no problems. My plans (when I get to it): pull everything apart and make sure everything is with in spec, EB torque intake, maybe EB aluminum heads, and bolt on injection, with O2 sensors and go. I've seen a lot of AMC V8 builders throw one hell of a cam in the motor to pull power... And as mentioned for a street car or show jeep no problem. For a "jeep" I want my RPM range low with power and don't really care about top end power. especially running t-18, 488 axle ratio, and 40" tires. that's me though. the only thing that would trump all this is if i sell my 360, and 401 and drop a ls3 like everyone else... not that there is anything wrong with that...
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#4
Im currently running the crane cam I believe the H-260-2.
I have this cam sitting in the garage waiting to go in the '77 401 I'm putting in my '77 Cherokee. (The part number is 863901, H-260-2 is the grind). That Jeep is just a daily driver with fairly light towing duties and won't be offroad.
Crane 863901 cam specs.jpg
I asked around on recommendations based on the general usage this Jeep will see and I leaned on two things that my friend who drag races a built 401 in a Dart said. He rebuilds AMC motors himself but he also asked the guy who does his machine work who is big into all kinds of AMC builds, the Crane H-260-2 was that guy's recommendation for the best all-around cam.

This friend also warned me off of COMP stuff, which seemed like one of the other most popular options. He's personally wiped out two of them recently, has seen questionable quality control himself and has heard similar things from his AMC racing friends. Sam Sullivan on here is building a 4.7L stroker and just got a COMP cam that had questionable bearing surfaces that he thought QA should have caught.

Here's another table similar to @Jeeper_4_Life's that I thought was helpful:

AMC V8 cam specs.JPG

Good luck with your decision! I can't wait to get my 401 up and running.
 

Jeeper_4_Life

Scrambler Rookie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
SOA Member
City
Kingman
State
Ks
#5
Its been awhile since I've built my 360. I smoked through a couple summit cams and wiped lobes because of quality... Im currently running
the crane cam I believe the H-260-2. Its great in my 360. I have a 401 sitting in my shop waiting for me to build. I have no plans of replacing the factory cam unless it is damage or in need of repair. It is a beast. I pulled it out of a cj5 running a 4 barrel holley double pumper with no problems. My plans (when I get to it): pull everything apart and make sure everything is with in spec, EB torque intake, maybe EB aluminum heads, and bolt on injection, with O2 sensors and go. I've seen a lot of AMC V8 builders throw one hell of a cam in the motor to pull power... And as mentioned for a street car or show jeep no problem. For a "jeep" I want my RPM range low with power and don't really care about top end power. especially running t-18, 488 axle ratio, and 40" tires. that's me though. the only thing that would trump all this is if i sell my 360, and 401 and drop a ls3 like everyone else... not that there is anything wrong with that...

I put a lot of effort trying to find a good choice like OP is, still trying to figure it out so I can build a motor. I need instant off idle power for climbing rocks/ledges, but I also play in the sand and need it to wind out, still <5k, and hold power on the upper RPM as well. Since I too run a manual you don't have the luxury of slamming down another gear on a dune. You get one shot and have to wind it out from bottom to top. The 304 I have runs out of go depending.
 

AK-RWC

Legacy Registered User
SOA Member
City
south central
State
AK
#6
I can't remember part numbers, so I'm probably not much help. I ran a Crower for my first build that was definitely a low-end cam. It ran the engine like a sewing machine, but absolutely fell on its face above 4000 RPM. It had low-end torque for days, but with the 35"s and 4.10 gears, I really needed to run above 4000 RPM for passing and just general acceleration. (Also, my driving style.) I'm thinking maybe it really fell of before even hitting 4000. It was ultimately a disappointing cam for what I needed. But off-idle, it was impressive.

I went with the bigger Summit cam (I think it was the 8601?) and liked its power band, but I also think it lacked quality control, as I went through lifters and ended up doing two of those cams before ditching it.

Then, after some research, I settled on the Comp Cams XE262H, and went with it again for my most recent rebuilt in 2011. It pulls all the way past 5000 RPM, and I have my rev limiter set at 5500 I think, but we didn't do much dyno tuning above 5000. It also has plenty of low-end, I think in large part simply because it's a 401. I can idle through most things, but when I need power, it's on tap, and passing people or accelerating onto the highway is fun.

I should note the rest of my build is 9.5:1 compression to be happy on the crappy gasoline we get here, Indy 401-SR heads, Crane 1.6 roller-rockers, Edelbrock Performer intake, 700 cfm Holley Pro-Section 4Di, Performance Distributors DUI with 7-pin ignition module for digital timing control, Doug Thorley Tri-Ys into dual FlowMaster 50s.

(I went through a lot of lifters when dealing with the cam/distributor gear issue, that led to two full rebuilds when bearings so dictated, but gave me the "opportunity" to try a variety of cams.)
 
Last edited:

7jeeps7kings

Legacy Registered User
City
right near the lake
State
OH
#7
This friend also warned me off of COMP stuff, which seemed like one of the other most popular options. He's personally wiped out two of them recently, has seen questionable quality control himself and has heard similar things from his AMC racing friends. Sam Sullivan on here is building a 4.7L stroker and just got a COMP cam that had questionable bearing surfaces that he thought QA should have caught.
I heard the same thing about comp when I went through two junk summit cams. So I sent with crane.
 

mysunnshine

Legacy Registered User
City
Phoenix
State
AZ
#9
It's not the cams that have manufacturing issues. The lack of zinc additive in the oil, improper break in procedures, or poor initial start up kill the lobes. We start up a new engine about 1 a week without issues.
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#11
It's not the cams that have manufacturing issues. The lack of zinc additive in the oil, improper break in procedures, or poor initial start up kill the lobes. We start up a new engine about 1 a week without issues.
The friend I referenced builds all of his own AMC engines as well as for others as a side gig, for what it’s worth. Doesn’t mean the other reports he heard weren’t from other issues but he knows what he’s doing with AMCs.

Sam Sullivan’s cam issue on the bearing surface that I referenced was right out of the box :shrug:

Obviously they’re not all going to be bad just like there will be problems with other brands too.
 
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