New Top End

I’m looking at throwing a top end kit on my 68. Currently has a stock 302.
The kit is aluminum heads, intake, cam, lifters, timing chain and all the gaskets and Bolts.

My question is, would it be possible to install all of this without removing the motor? I figure the cam would be the only big hurdle for that. But if i remove the radiator and ac condenser I’m thinking I’ll have enough room.

Has anyone swapped a cam without pulling the motor?

Yes it’s possible. But, at the point when you have all the parts removed to do the work with the engine in the vehicle. It’s not that much more work to just remove the engine if you have the necessary tools. Lot easier to install the parts, paint the motor etc on an engine stand then bending over into an engine bay. You most likely will find other issues that need address with the engine out.

It will be so much easier to pull the engine. It will save you many hours in labor. But the most important thing is that you really should freshen up the bottom end while you are at it. At least do an old school overhaul. Cut the ridge out, hone the cylinders, replace the rings that are filled to fit possibly over sized, replace rod and main bearings. This all comes with the caveat that any serious wear calls for a real rebuild.

Might as well go all the way to Muncie.

Pull the engine, especially if you like the paint on your car and hate wavy fender tops. This is a great time to upgrade the bottom end a little. At a minimum you should upgrade rod bolts to ARP with a standard ring and bearing renew depending on cylinder condition of course. If you adding a complete top end kit, then a power adder may not be too far behind. Always prepare for future mods. Think your entire project lifecycle thru. I’m telling you this as someone who has not done this several times and costs themselves many redos.

I always feel like its a no brainer to yank the engines out of these cars being they are pretty easy and straight forward to do so. You can acquire a stand and engine hoist from harbor freight for pretty cheap. Or even check your local classifieds for people selling a used one. Many purchase them for their project and then sell it so they dont have to store them.

Thanks for all the info fellas. Decided to yank it out. Also going to have the bottom end redone as well based on your advice. Gives me a chance to clean up the engine bay anyway.
Wish me luck!


I love it, great way to put it out there.