This page contains the impressions and opinions of those who have had experience with new cams produced by Specialty Motor Cams (Stipe Machine Co.). If you would like to contribute to this page, please send an email to the Webslave.
MTFCA.com Forum post by JabboTford, Aug. 11, 2005
Stipe 280 cam & the "Z" head were the best single items I bought for the T.
MTFCA.com Forum post by Mike Walker, Aug. 11, 2005
I can testify that aluminum pistons, a high-compression (6 or 6-1/2 : 1) head, and a new Stipe cam all will make a noticeable difference. There have been mixed reviews on reground cams, but the new Stipes are wonderful. Add a good NH carb, either the swayback or straight-thru (Simmons also made these), get your coils rebuilt by someone who knows how and has a hand-crank tester, use one of Frank Fenton's Anco-type timers, and you'll have a good-running, dependable engine. Another thing that is very important is to balance the internal moving parts. My pistons and rods were balanced, but those who know (such as Fred Houston and all the Montana 500 folks) say that it's important to balance everything that moves all the way back thru the transmission. I don't have personal experience with an engine built that way, but I expect that it's worth doing, for both pleasant driving and the longevity of the engine. There is a wealth of information on the Tulsa club's website.
ModelT.org Forum post by Allan Woolf, Aug. 11, 2005
As far as the engine goes the best bang for your buck in my opinion is a Stipe cam. I am running a 250 cam in my car and I hear good things about the 280 cam. Increasing the compression helps a bit also. Shaving a high head or using an aftermarket high compression head are a couple of alternatives available. Having everything balanced is well worth the money spent. And I like the stock ignition with magneto, timer, and coils all properly rebuilt. Keep in mind the closer the car is to stock the easier it will be to maintain and troubleshoot should you have problems out on the road.
MTFCA.com Forum post by Tim, July 8, 2005
Regrinds and a brand new cam are two different animals. You can use stock lifters with the 280 cam, with a reground you need adjustables because it has been ground down smaller. The regrinds I am familiar with vary from lobe to lobe. Maybe they have improved them since the last one I got. I know that the Stipe cams are as close to perfection as you can get. They are pricy, but I won't go back to a stock one or a regrind if I can help it. Check out the Tulsa website if you get a chance, these cams are the end result of a TON of research.
MTFCA.com Forum post by Mike Walker, July 7, 2005
I have the Stipe 250 cam in my '15 Touring, and I love it! The extra torque is quite noticeable when climbing hills.
MTFCA.com Forum post by Bob Jablonski, July 7, 2005
Have the Stipe 280 in the '26. Puts the power back behind those 20 horses. I too, have no connection with Mr. Stipe or his company, but have a few friends at the Tulsa Chapter MTFCA that were the genesis of this project. Thanks again !!
MTFCA.com Forum post by Greg Jones, July 6, 2005
I recently installed a Stipe 280 cam in my 26 Coupe. (Sheesh, it seemed easier to do that kind of thing 20 years ago!) Anyway, I am just flat amazed at the increase in power and smoothness of the engine. For example, when running on the flat, it takes a quarter throttle to get to the same speed that it used to take a half throttle. Even when I get it up to 40 mph (stock rear end ratio, etc.) it feels like there is much more in the engine and I could take it faster. I don't of course because taking a 26 Coupe over 40 mph is a little scary for other reasons.
I recently purchased the 280 camshaft. I installed it in my 1924 fordor. I was after a little more power for pulling hills. It has worked out very nicely. Before, I had problems pulling steep hills in low ruxstell and low trans. The heavy car now can pull same hill in high gear low ruxstell with pretty much ease. I wanted to thank you for your help and will be getting in touch with you soon to order another for my 1925 coupe.
Email from David Liepelt, Jan. 12, 2005
In a business of fighting with repro parts, many with marginal fit and finish, it is a joy to purchase a part that is precisely what it is claimed to be. The machine work on Bills A and T cams is perfect. When you put a degree wheel on the engine, every cam is exactly according to spec. And the engines run flawless. You will never regret the money!
Email from Bob MacNeil, April 4, 2004
Took my Speedster out for a test run this morning - first time since I had Tom C. install the new Stipe 280 Cam. Wow...........I couldn't believe the difference. It has so much low end now that it almost scared me at first. It really takes off like the proverbial 'turpentined cat'....!! Previous to the Stipe I had
a reground Touring Cam from a well know vendor in this car, and it had a hard time pulling anything. I can highly recommend this cam. This Stipe Billet Cam may nip you a bit more in the wallet than a regrind, but the performance I experienced this morning erases the memory of the price right out of your mind......!!
MTFCA Forum post by Larry Smith, July 17, 2002
I installed a 280 cam in my '13 a couple of months ago, and drove it on the Western National Tour. I drove 645 miles, at elevations up to 10,460', and the performance of this cam is nothing short of amazing. I rarely used Ruckstell, and those who have toured with me before said they could not believe how much better my car pulls on hills. I have been driving this car for 40 years, and its the best thing I've ever done to it. Congratulations to Bill Stipe, Larry Young, Fred Houston, and Steve Coniff for a job well done. (I hope I got all the names).
MTFCI Forum post by Larry Murray, April 2, 2002
I have Tillie (21 Touring) running again. I replaced the cam with a Stipe 250 cam. The old cam was worn 40 to 50 thou. The base circle was .200 in. under size. With 10 thou clearance the duration was 240 deg. The bearing surfaces were dead on. The engine only had 800 miles on it since the previous owner rebuilt the engine, replacing everything but the cam. I checked the cam bearing clearances. They were all 2 thou on the new cam.
Now for the performance report. The idle is fantastic, very little vibration. Engine vibration at all speeds is reduced. Some of the resonance speeds have been eliminated completely. She idles as low as 350 RPM! Low end torque is significantly increased. I can now accelerate up some hills in high gear. I have not taken her on a road where I could figure top speed but I don't think she will go any faster than before, 50 MPH. The engine does not rev as easily above 1600 RPM. Must have been the increased overlap of the old cam that made her breath better at high RPM.
MTFCI Forum post by Mark Cameron, December 18, 2001
The cam I had in the car was a regrind from one of the well-known wholesalers of pistons, cams and general engine parts. The interesting thing about this cam was that I could not get the cam to "dial-in" with the degree wheel without clearances exceeding 50 thousandths! Since Ford actually used many different cam configurations during the model T era I was suspicious that the cam had been ground incorrectly.
At this point I decided to install a newly manufactured cam made by Specialty Motor Cams in Wisconsin. They offer three basic varieties: an improved standard grind (250 lift), a higher performance 280 and a roof-laurel grind. I installed the 280 version in my 15 touring and I found that the cam dialed-in easily at 10 thousandths lash just as the makers had advertised. When I drove the car I was amazed at the increased smoothness of the engine at higher speeds. I have rebuilt more than a few motors and I have never found one part that improved the performance of my engine more than this cam has. I expected a little more pulling power and I got it. However the top-end smoothness was a very pleasant surprise. The moral, beware of reground cams, they might not give you what you are expecting from them.
MTFCA.com Forum post by Reid Welch, November 21, 2001
The tall 1922 coupe reached 57 indicated mph, which is 5mph better than ever before. Now I know that 57 mph isn't particularly fast compared to many other sorts of Ts especially open roadsters and speedsters with far less wind resistance. I just offer it up as anecdotal testament to the fine running Stipe 250 stock grind cam. A two-way run might've yielded a tiny difference in top speed. The road of course is dead level. Last times I tried high speed test runs the car wouldn't go over 52mph. Only changes since are the Wilmo manifold (no help there), Stipe cam installed and the hogshead was off to re-pin the ball cap.
MTFCA.com Forum, "Sewing Machine (camshaft)" by Reid Welch, October 20, 2001
Just ran engine first time with it's new 250 "improved stock" camshaft. Don't even have the radiator on yet so this was a couple minutes run time. Dang, this engine runs as silently as a sewing machine. No more tappet clicks and clacks. The idle smooth as silk. 17 prior years of clackety clack clack from three prior camshafts. A new era. The T engine doesn't have to sound like it's playing the spoons. May have to re-name Velveeta. May call it "Singer" after the sewing machine.
Thanks to the hard working, quality oriented folks who made the cam project bear fruit. Folks such as Larry, Fred, Steve. Most particularly, thanks to the craftsman/genius who builds these beautiful camshafts. His name is Bill Stipe.
The camshaft means a great deal to me. You and your crew deserve much praise. So you have my gratitude; more than words can convey.
MTFCA.com Forum post by Al Spencer, October 17, 2001
I bought a new .280 cam and installed it in my 1916 Roadster pickup. I had pretty good performance with my engine prior to installing the new cam. My problem was with low end power. After I removed the old cam, I could see why I had this problem. This cam had been reground and the dwell to lift relationship was very bad. This apparently was one of the "high performance" cams you see advertised in supplier catalogs.
As it turned out I was going on the Talimena Tour and then on to the Texas T Party so I could get to check quickly on the performance of the new cam. My low end power was greatly improved. As I have been on the Talimena Tour in the same car I knew how it did on the same hills. I can now go up hills without shifting that I could not go up before. One of the biggest improvements I noticed was using my engine to help come down hills. In the past the engine didn't hold back very well. Now I could cut back the gas and the engine did an excellent job helping me get down without use of my brakes.
All in all I would say I have seen a very great improvement in car performance with the new cam and I would highly recommend it on engine rebuilds.
Email from Guy Zaninovich of Ford Motor Co. on September 20, 2001
As a Model T owner/driver for many years, your product is a much-needed item with superb workmanship throughout. We, at Ford, are extremely happy to be using them in our cars. Best wishes on your endeavor and thank you for providing this service to the Model T hobby as well as Ford Motor Co.
MTFCA.com Forum post by Larry Young on September 17, 2001
About 1989 I attended the Chandler Park Hill Climb where I met Fred Houston for the first time. Fred told me that any good running Model T should be able to climb the hill in high gear (later he told me a sedan needs a 10 tooth pinion). I knew the hill well and had gone up it on a bike with some very low gears. I didn't believe a T could do this, but sure enough, Fred, my two boys and I climbed into his '23 roadster and went up the hill in high. When I got my Tudor running, I tried the hill and barely made it up it in low. After rebuilding the motor, it still wasn't even close. After adding the Z head and NOS cam, it still couldn't do it. Well folks, today I went up the Chandler Park hill in high gear with standard gears, Z head and 280 Super-Power cam!
From "Show-Me T’s Chapter Showed ‘Em!", Vintage Ford July/Aug 2001 by Becky Bell, et al.
Fred Houston made a fervent presentation about the new Model T cams that are now available. "These are precision-ground cams of the highest quality," he proclaimed. Proof of their performance was obvious when Tulsan Larry Young’s car, the heaviest car on the tour, left others in its smoke on the steep hills.
MTFCA.com Forum post by Guy Zaninovich of Ford Motor Co. on May 23, 2001 about cams used in T-100 project
We did not use regrinds because our object was to build an entirely new Model T. …… We did supply his manufacturer (Specialty Motor Cams) with the parts drawings dated 1914 and we specifically requested that the grind be original and not "improved." By the way, the quality of these camshafts were absolutely wonderful and all of the engineers at Ford were impressed with the product.