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Unlock Power: 6 Best Camshafts for 302 Ford (Buyer’s Guide)

Unlock Power 6 Best Camshafts for 302 Ford (Buyer's Guide)

The camshaft in an engine controls the opening and closing of the valves, regulating the intake and exhaust processes for combustion. 

So if you want to enhance your vehicle’s combustion efficiency you are in the right place. We’ve listed the best camshaft for 302 ford. Lets check it out. 

6 Best Camshaft For 302 Ford 2024

Table of Contents

Here’s a feature comparison table for the mentioned camshaft options for a Ford 302 engine:

FeaturesCOMP Cams 31-238-3 Hydraulic Flat CamEdelbrock 2122 Cam and Lifter KitFord 302 Roller CamshaftFord 302 Roller Cam Kit: Variable Camshaft Timing KitCOMP Cams CL42-228-4 Cam and Lifter KitFord Racing M6253A50 Roller Camshaft Conversion Kit
Cam TypeHydraulic Flat TappetHydraulic Flat TappetHydraulic RollerNAHydraulic Flat TappetHydraulic Roller
Duration at 0.050″ Lift (intake/exhaust)218/224204/214NANANANA
Valve Lift (intake/exhaust)0.493″/0.50″0.448″/0.472″NANANANA
Lobe Separation Angle110 degreesNANANANANA
Operating Range1,300-5,600 RPMNANANA1,200-5,200 RPMNA
Ideal UseImproved performance without sacrificing streetabilityStreet performanceIncreased power and performanceVCT system overhaulPerformance with towingRoller camshaft conversion for engine builders
InstallationEasy, no need for valve lash adjustmentsCompatible with stock componentsEasy with hydraulic liftersRequires advanced mechanical expertiseRelatively simpleCompatibility with production roller cam blocks
Power GainsMid-range, noticeable improvementLow-end and mid-range torqueSignificant gainsPotential improvements throughout RPM rangeThroughout RPM rangeImproved efficiency and reduced wear
DrivabilitySmooth idle and good drivabilityComfortable for daily useImproved accelerationPotential issue resolution and performance improvementComfortable highway performanceEnhanced engine reliability
CostVariesAffordableVariesVariesVariesMore expensive compared to flat tappet conversions
Emissions LegalYesYes (Assumed)NoNoNot specifiedNo
Compatibility with Stock ComponentsYesYesYesNoYesYes (Production roller cam blocks)
Price Check PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price

1. COMP Cams 31-238-3 Hydraulic Flat Cam Compatible Ford 221-302

The COMP Cams 31-238-3 is a hydraulic flat tappet cam designed for Ford 221-302 engines (1963-1995) seeking improved performance without sacrificing streetability.

COMP Cams 31-238-3 Xtreme Energy 218224 Hydraulic Flat Cam for Ford 221-302
COMP Cams 31-238-3 Xtreme Energy 218/224 Hydraulic Flat Cam for Ford 221-302


  • Hydraulic flat tappet design: Works with existing hydraulic lifters for easy installation and eliminates the need for valve lash adjustments.
  • 218/224 duration at .050″ lift: Offers a mild performance boost over stock cams, enhancing mid-range power without sacrificing low-end torque.
  • .493″/.50″ valve lift: Increases airflow into and out of the engine, contributing to additional power gains.
  • 110 lobe separation angle: Creates a smooth idle and good drivability characteristics.
  • Operating range of 1,300-5,600 RPM: Well-suited for everyday driving and occasional spirited acceleration.


  • No need for complex adjustments, making it suitable for enthusiasts of various experience levels.
  • Offers noticeable power gains, particularly in the mid-range, without sacrificing drivability.
  • Delivers a smooth idle and remains comfortable for daily use.
  • Compatible with existing hydraulic lifters and valve springs in most applications.


  • If you’re aiming for maximum power output, more aggressive camshaft options are available.

2. Edelbrock 2122 Cam and Lifter Kit

The Edelbrock 2122 Performer-Plus Cam and Lifter Kit is designed for street performance in small block Ford 289-302 V8 engines. It focuses on delivering increased torque in the low-end to mid-range RPM band, making it ideal for daily drivers, trucks, vans, and 4x4s.

Edelbrock 2122 Performer-Plus Cam and Lifter Kit
Edelbrock 2122 Performer-Plus Cam and Lifter Kit


  • Hydraulic flat tappet camshaft: Offers smooth idling and ease of maintenance compared to aggressive performance cams.
  • Duration at 0.050″ lift: 204° intake, 214° exhaust (advertised 270° intake, 280° exhaust) – Provides a balance between power and drivability.
  • Valve lift with factory rocker arms: 0.448″ intake, 0.472″ exhaust – Delivers moderate lift for improved airflow without sacrificing drivability.
  • Includes: Camshaft, hydraulic lifters, assembly lube, and instructions.


  • Enhances everyday driving experience by providing better low-end and mid-range pull.
  • Maintains comfortable operation for daily use.
  • Compatible with stock components and requires minimal modifications.
  • Offers a cost-effective way to improve performance without breaking the bank.


  • Not intended for high-performance applications. May not be suitable for those seeking significant horsepower increases.

3. Ford 302 Roller Camshaft: V-8 Hydraulic Roller Camshafts

Ford Racing’s hydraulic roller tappet camshafts are designed to deliver increased power and performance for your small block V-8 engine. These performance cams offer a compelling option for enthusiasts looking to upgrade their engine’s capabilities without venturing into more aggressive camshaft territory.

Ford Racing Small Block V-8 Hydraulic Roller Tappet Camshafts
Ford Racing Small Block V-8 Hydraulic Roller Tappet Camshafts


  • Utilizes internal hydraulic lifters for simplified installation and quieter operation compared to solid roller cams.
  • Delivers noticeable power gains throughout the RPM range, enhancing acceleration and overall performance.
  • Provides a characteristic “lopey” idle sound, adding a touch of performance character to your engine.
  • Designed for compatibility with manual transmissions and works well with carburetors or mass air fuel injection systems, ensuring good street manners.
  • Available in various profiles to cater to specific engine configurations and desired power characteristics.


  • Easy to install: Hydraulic tappet design eliminates the need for valve lash adjustment, simplifying installation compared to solid roller cams.
  • Improved performance: Offers significant power gains without sacrificing drivability, making it suitable for both street and occasional track use.
  • Enhanced sound: Lumpy idle adds a desirable performance note to your engine’s sound.
  • Compatibility: Works with various intake and fuel delivery systems, offering flexibility for different engine setups.


  • Not emissions legal

4. Ford 302 Roller Cam Kit: Variable Camshaft Timing Kit

This comprehensive kit provides all the necessary components to replace the Variable Camshaft Timing (VCT) system in Ford and Lincoln vehicles equipped with the 5.4L 24-valve Triton engine.

Variable Camshaft Timing Kit - Compatible with Ford & Lincoln Vehicles
Variable Camshaft Timing Kit – Compatible with Ford & Lincoln Vehicles


  • Compatibility: Fits various Ford and Lincoln models with the 5.4L 3-valve engine (2004-2013).
  • Complete solution: Includes all essential components for a comprehensive VCT system overhaul.
  • Potential performance improvements: May address issues like rough idling, poor fuel economy, and check engine lights related to VCT malfunctions.
  • Camshaft phasers: These adjust camshaft timing for optimal engine performance and fuel efficiency.
  • Timing chain: Transfers crankshaft rotation to the camshafts, ensuring proper valve timing.
  • Chain guides: Maintain the chain’s position and prevent wear.
  • Tensioners: Keep the chain taut for precise timing.


  • Replaces multiple worn-out VCT components at once, potentially saving money compared to buying parts individually.
  • Offers a single package for all necessary parts, streamlining the repair process.
  • Can resolve VCT-related issues and improve engine operation.


  • Requires advanced mechanical expertise:

5. The Biggest Cam For Stock 302: COMP Cams CL42-228-4 Cam and Lifter Kit 

The COMP Cams CL42-228-4 is a High Energy Hydraulic Flat Cam designed specifically for Oldsmobile 260-455 engines (1967-1990). This camshaft upgrade aims to improve performance while maintaining streetability.

COMP Cams CL42-228-4 High Energy 212212 Hydraulic Flat Cam and Lifter Kit for Oldsmobile 260-455
COMP Cams CL42-228-4 High Energy 212/212 Hydraulic Flat Cam and Lifter Kit for Oldsmobile 260-455


  • Increased power: Offers noticeable performance gains throughout the RPM range, particularly in the 1,200-5,200 RPM sweet spot.
  • Improved towing: Delivers excellent torque for hauling trailers or heavy loads.
  • Smooth idle and highway performance: Maintains a comfortable cruising experience despite the performance boost.
  • Compatibility: Works well with mostly stock components like rockers, manifolds, heads, and transmissions.
  • Complete kit: Includes the camshaft, lifters, instructions, and assembly lubricant for a convenient installation process.


  • Offers a relatively simple way to enhance engine performance without requiring extensive modifications.
  • Suitable for various driving applications, from daily commutes to occasional spirited driving.
  • Made in the USA with high-quality materials for long-lasting performance.
  • Provides a good balance between performance gains and affordability compared to more aggressive camshafts.


  • May require tuning

6. Ford 302 Camshaft Upgrade: Ford Racing M6253A50 Roller Camshaft 

The Ford Racing M6253A50 Roller Camshaft Conversion Kit is designed to help engine builders complete engines utilizing Ford’s short blocks. It’s specifically compatible with:

  • 1985-2001 302 engines
  • 1994-1997 351W engines
Ford Racing M6253A50 Roller Camshaft Conversion Kit
Ford Racing M6253A50 Roller Camshaft Conversion Kit


  • Hydraulic roller lifters: These lifters reduce friction and wear compared to flat tappet lifters, leading to improved performance and longevity.
  • Powdered metal tie bars: Enhance lifter stability and minimize deflection at high RPMs.
  • Retainer plate and bolts: Secure the lifters in place for reliable operation.


  • Roller cams offer superior valve timing and lift compared to flat tappet cams.
  • Hydraulic roller lifters minimize friction, leading to improved engine efficiency and reduced wear on cam lobes and lifters.
  • The robust construction and design of the kit contribute to enhanced engine reliability.
  • Compatibility with production roller cam blocks: Ensures easy installation without requiring extensive modifications.


  • Compared to flat tappet camshaft conversions, this kit is more expensive.

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Best Camshaft For 302 Ford Mustang

Installing a performance camshaft in your Mustang is a popular way to increase horsepower and get a distinct “loping” sound. 

Camshafts vary in aggressiveness, affecting the power gains and required additional mods like valve springs, lifters, and tunes. 

Consider your engine type (pushrod or OHC) and cam aggressiveness when choosing mods.

Here are the most recommended complementary mods for performance camshafts, often included in camshaft kits.

Mustang camshaft recommendation: 

Mustang 289 & 302 (1964 to 1985)

1. COMP Cams XE250H

The COMP Cams Xtreme Energy XE250H Camshaft Set is designed for Ford 289 and 302 engines from 1963-1995, aiming to enhance performance in street applications. 

This hydraulic flat tappet camshaft offers a powerband ranging from 600 to 4800 RPM, delivering increased responsiveness and improved power potential. 

COMP Cams Camshaft Set Xtreme Energy XE250H Hydraulic Flat Tappet 600-4800 RPM 289302

2. COMP Cams 268H

It offers increased mid-range power and is suitable for daily driven performance vehicles with slightly lower gears. This camshaft produces a mild lope at idle and operates within a 1500-5500 RPM range.

COMP Cams Camshaft Set High Energy 268H Hydraulic Flat Tappet 1500-5500 RPM 289302

3. Edelbrock Camshaft and Lifters – Torker-Plus 289/302

Edelbrock’s Torker-Plus camshaft and lifter kit boosts performance in 289/302 Ford engines for street, drag, or marine applications. It delivers power gains from 2500 to 6500 RPM and includes hydraulic flat tappet lifters for smooth operation.

Edelbrock Camshaft And Lifter Kit Torker-Plus 289302

Windsor 351 Camshafts (1968 to 1970)

1. COMP Cams XE262H

Upgrade your 351W engine with the COMP Cams Xtreme Energy XE262H camshaft set. This hydraulic flat tappet cam delivers increased power and responsiveness for street performance, with an operating range of 1300-5600 RPM.

2. COMP Cams Thumper 283THR7

Upgrade your 1969-1995 351W Ford engine with the COMP Cams Thumpr 283THR7 camshaft set. This retro-fit hydraulic roller cam delivers increased power and performance with a 1900-5600 RPM operating range and aggressive idle sound. 

5.0 Mustang Camshafts (1985-1995)

4.6 Mustang Camshafts (1996 to 2010)

5.0 Coyote Mustang Camshafts (2011-2020+)

What Is The Lift On A Stock 302 Cam?

The lift on a stock 302 cam for a Ford engine is typically around 0.444 inches for both the intake and exhaust valves, though it can vary depending on the specific model and year.

What Is The Firing Order For A Comp Cam Ford 302?

There are two main possibilities:

  • Early 221-302 and early 5.0 engines: These engines typically use a firing order of 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8. This applies to most COMP Cams with a prefix “31”.
  • Later 5.0 engines and all 351 engines: These engines use a firing order of 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8. This applies to most COMP Cams with a prefix “35”.

Which Cylinder Is Number 1 On A Ford 302?

The firing order for a Ford 302 can be either 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8 or 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8 depending on the specific engine year and camshaft used.

What Is A 302 Ho Engine?

The 302 HO engine is a high-performance version of Ford’s classic 5.0L V8. It offered increased power and featured unique components like higher-nickel content block, special cylinder heads, and a different camshaft compared to the standard 302. It was primarily found in Mustangs and select other Ford vehicles from 1969 to 1995.

How Much Hp Does A Cam Add To A Mustang?

Milder cams might only offer 10-20 horsepower gains, while aggressive cams with complementary mods can easily add over 100 horsepower.

How Much Does It Cost To Cam My Mustang?

Labor costs: Installation labor by a mechanic can range from $500 to $1500+.

Tuning: A professional engine tune after the camshaft installation is essential and typically costs $200 to $500+.

Therefore, the total cost of camming your Mustang can range from $1200 to $5000+, or even higher for extensive modifications.

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Best Camshaft For 302 Ford F150

COMP Cams XE262H: This camshaft offers a good balance of power and drivability, with a streetable idle and power gains throughout the RPM range.

The Best Cam For Carbureted 302

Lunati Voodoo 60103: This aggressive cam prioritizes high-performance applications, providing significant power gains at higher RPMs. It’s suitable for those aiming for maximum power output on the track or during spirited driving.

How To Modify Ford Sohc Engines

1. Intake System

Upgrading the air intake system with a higher-flow air filter, cold air intake, or performance intake manifold can improve airflow and potentially increase power.

2. Exhaust System

Replacing the stock exhaust system with a less restrictive aftermarket exhaust (headers, cat-back exhaust) can improve exhaust flow and potentially enhance power.

3. Camshaft and Valve Train

Installing a performance camshaft with upgraded valve springs and retainers can alter valve timing and lift, leading to increased power potential. However, this modification requires significant expertise and is not recommended for beginners.

4. Fuel System

Upgrading fuel injectors or the fuel pump might be necessary to support increased power demands from other modifications.

How To Install A Camshaft In A Ford 302

Here’s a general overview of the process:

Step 1: Set engine to TDC

Rotate the crankshaft until the number 1 piston is at Top Dead Center (TDC) on the compression stroke.

Step 2: Install camshaft timing chain

Align the timing marks on the crankshaft sprocket, camshaft gear, and intermediate shaft gear as per your specific engine’s timing specifications.

Step 3: Install camshaft

Carefully slide the camshaft into position, ensuring proper alignment with the timing chain and distributor gear.

Step 4: Install valve springs and retainers

Use a valve spring compressor to compress the valve springs and install the new retainers on the valves.

Step 5: Torque camshaft bolts

Tighten the camshaft bolts to the specified torque following the recommended sequence in your service manual.

Step 6: Double-check timing

Re-verify all timing marks to ensure proper camshaft and valve timing.

Is The 5.0 302 A Good Engine?

Yes, the 5.0 302 is a well-regarded engine known for its reliability, durability, performance potential, and widespread aftermarket support, making it a popular choice for enthusiasts and various applications.

Can You Put A 351 Crank In A 302?

No, you cannot directly put a 351 crank in a 302 block due to different main bearing sizes and potential clearance issues. However, with extensive modifications and custom parts, it might be possible, but not recommended due to complexity and cost.

Ford 302 B Cam Specs

 Here are its key specifications:

  • Advertised Duration: 284° intake / 284° exhaust
  • Duration @ .050″: 224° intake / 224° exhaust
  • Lobe Lift: .480″ intake / .480″ exhaust
  • Valve Lash: Hydraulic
  • RPM Range: 3,000-6,000 RPM

Why Did Ford Change The Firing Order On The 302?

  • Standard 302 (1968-1995): Firing order 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8
  • 5.0L HO (1985-1995): Firing order 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8 (same as 351W)

The reason for the different firing order in the 5.0L HO is believed to be related to intake manifold sound tuning. This specific firing order, in conjunction with the unique intake manifold design of the HO engine, is thought to contribute to its distinct and desirable exhaust note.

What Is The Firing Order On A 5.0 Ford Engine?

The firing order on a 5.0 Ford engine depends on the specific engine variant:

  • Standard 302 (1968-1995): 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8
  • 5.0L High Output (HO) (1985-1995) and 351W engines: 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8

What Does 1342 Firing Order Mean?

When someone mentions a “1342 firing order,” it translates to the following:

  • Cylinder number 1 fires first.
  • Cylinder number 3 fires second.
  • Cylinder number 4 fires third.
  • Cylinder number 2 fires last.

What Is The Firing Order Of A 2.8 Liter Engine?

 Here are two common possibilities:

  1. Nissan 2.8L (172 cu in): This engine, used in various Nissan models from the 1970s to 2002, has a firing order of 1-5-3-6-2-4.
  2. General Motors 2.8L V6: This engine, used in various GM vehicles from the 1970s to the 1990s, has a firing order of 1-6-5-4-3-2.

How Do I Check My Firing Order?

Here are several ways to check the firing order of your engine:

1. Consult the Manual:

The most reliable source for information about your vehicle’s firing order is the owner’s manual or repair manual.

2. Identify Cylinder Numbers

Familiarize yourself with the cylinder numbering on your engine. Most engines follow a specific numbering pattern, often starting from the front of the engine. Cylinder 1 is usually the one closest to the front.

3. Locate the Distributor Cap

If your vehicle has a distributor, locate it. The distributor cap will have terminals for each spark plug wire, and they should be numbered. The numbers on the cap correspond to the cylinder numbers.

4. Follow the Wiring

Trace the spark plug wires from the distributor to the spark plugs. Make sure each wire is connected to the correct spark plug.

5. Check the Diagram

If there’s a firing order diagram on the distributor cap or in the manual, compare it with the actual arrangement of the wires. The firing order is the sequence in which the spark plugs fire.

6. Verify Against Engine Markings

Some engines have the firing order marked directly on the engine block. Look for any markings or labels that indicate the firing order.

7. Use Online Resources

If you don’t have access to the manual or markings, you can search online for the firing order specific to your vehicle’s make, model, and engine.

What Is The Correct Firing Order?

Straight-four: 1-3-4-2 or 1-2-4-3 (British). Flat-four: R1-R2-L1-L2. Straight-five: 1-2-4-5-3 to minimize rocking couple vibration.

What Does 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2 Mean?

The sequence “1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2” represents the firing order for a specific engine. This order dictates the sequence in which the cylinders ignite the air-fuel mixture and generate power within the engine.

Ignition sequence:

  • Cylinder 1 fires first.
  • Cylinder 8 fires second.
  • Cylinder 4 fires third.
  • Cylinder 3 fires fourth.
  • Cylinder 6 fires fifth.
  • Cylinder 5 fires sixth.
  • Cylinder 7 fires seventh.
  • Cylinder 2 fires last.

Buying Guide: Ford 302 Camshaft Selection

Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the selection process:

1. Type of Camshaft

  • Hydraulic Flat Tappet: Suitable for street performance, generally easy to install and maintain.
  • Hydraulic Roller: Offers improved performance over flat tappet cams, smoother idle, and better high-RPM power.
  • Solid Flat Tappet: Common in high-performance applications, requires regular maintenance and valve lash adjustments.
  • Solid Roller: Offers excellent performance, high RPM capability, and is suitable for racing applications.

2. Duration and Lift

Longer duration generally increases high-end power but can sacrifice low-end torque. Higher lift allows more air and fuel into the combustion chamber, improving overall performance. 

3. Lobe Separation Angle (LSA)

LSA affects the overlap between the intake and exhaust valves. Wider LSA (lower numbers) can provide better low-end torque and a smoother idle, while narrower LSA (higher numbers) can enhance high-end power.

4. Compatibility

Ensure that the selected camshaft is compatible with your Ford 302 engine and other components, such as the intake manifold, cylinder heads, and exhaust system.

5. Valve Springs and Retainers

Upgrading valve springs and retainers may be necessary to handle the increased lift and duration of the new camshaft. Check manufacturer recommendations for compatible components.

6. Budget

Camshaft prices can vary, so set a budget and try to find the best balance between cost and performance that aligns with your goals.


What is the lift on a stock 302 cam?

The lift on a stock 302 cam varies depending on the year and model, but typically ranges from 0.240″ to 0.278″ at the cam lobe. However, the actual valve lift is higher due to the rocker arm ratio, usually around 0.384″ to 0.444″.

How much HP can a stock 302 hold?

A stock Ford 302 can handle 400-550 horsepower with proper tuning, but exceeding these limits risks engine damage. Consider upgrading components for higher power goals.

Are 302 and 351 camshafts the same?

While both fit small-block Ford V8s, 302 and 351 camshafts differ due to varying displacement and potential firing order differences. Consult your specific engine details for compatibility.


It’s crucial to consider your entire setup, including your cylinder heads, intake manifold, exhaust system, and rear-end gearing, when selecting a camshaft. Comp Camps, Edelbrock, Ford are some of the best camshaft for 302 ford. 

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