1. Always use new lifters when installing a new camshaft. The bottoms of the lifters are spherically convex ground, and the cam lobes are ground with taper. The mating of these two surfaces ensures that the lifter will rotate, thus reducing the chance of premature wear. If you install used lifters on a new or reground camshaft, early failure is almost certain.
2. Check piston to valve clearance. Insufficient clearance will cause valve to piston contact. This is a very expensive mistake. A minimum clearance of .100" on the intake valve and .125" on the exhaust must be maintained. Keep in mind that when you advance or retard the cam; it dramatically changes the clearance. Always check the clearance with the cam degreed in the correct position.
3. Be sure to use the recommended valve springs for the camshaft being installed. Either incorrect pressure or incorrect spring application will almost certainly lead to premature camshaft failure. Most aftermarket cams have higher lift than a stock profile. Therefore, stock valve springs will "coil bind" or "stack" before the cam reaches its full lift, causing the cam to fail immediately. This happens because there is not enough installed height with the stock springs. When a new cam is installed, always check the springs for "coil bind." With the valve at full lift, check the clearance between the coils. You need to maintain a minimum of .060" between the coils at this point. Even if the stock springs are not "binding," they are rated only for stock lift, when above stock lift is present, the "open" spring pressure is extremely increased. When excessive spring pressure causes cam failure, it can be the result of incorrect springs, as well as short valves, improper retainers, and many other factors unrelated to the camshaft or valve springs. The only way to ensure the correct pressure is to actually check the installed height .
4. Be sure to lubricate the camshaft prior to break-in. The first few minutes are the most critical period in the life of a camshaft. Apply a generous amount of cam lube on the lobes and fuel pump lobe. Apply lube also to the bottom of each lifter. To ensure that the engine is primed with oil correctly, use a priming tool and a drill before initial start-up.