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Old 10-26-2010, 12:56 PM
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Installing a Cam: How To...

Hi All,
Getting into some work I've never done before, which is installing a new cam.
Jim (aka JimsRebel) was awesome in assisting me in getting a great deal on a Comp 260h (can't thank him enough.)

So, I am getting the full kit:

Cam, Metal Timing Gears, New Valve Seals, Lifters, etc.

I figure I'll be removing the valve cover, rocker arms, push rods, lifter cover, etc. to remove the lifters. Then, remove the grill and radiator to allow room to pull the cam out.

After this, I'm not too sure what to do. I imagine I'll have to have the old gears pressed off and then new ones pressed on. Do BOTH need a press? As in, the one on the cam and the one on the crank? If it's just the cam, I'll probably have a shop do it, unless someone knows some good methods.

From there, I've heard about cam timing, but know nothing of it. Anyone have any info?

Other tips, tricks? Thanks for all advice.
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Old 10-26-2010, 06:29 PM
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Hey AB check out this page for some pics of when I did mine.
http://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/95...ml#post8922725

You basically have a good start on it. It isn't to bad once you get into it. For timing the cams they come pre-timed. You just have to have the #1 cylinder at tdc and then line the two dots on the cam and cranck gears up. When I did mine I cranked the motor over and watched the dizzy till it was on the #1 cylinder and then left it alone. While you are doing all that stuff you should pop that head off and port and polish it! But for the crank gear you can get a puller for that. I went to orilley auto parts and rented one. It was a damper puller. It pulled and pushed it back on. Pushing on I had to do alittle riggin on mine. I got pic's in my profile of it. For the cam gear you have to get the old one off and be very very very carfull you don't break the camshaft thrust plate. They are hard to find!! I know the hard way. You will need the I cant think of the name but the keeper that holds it in place also off the old cam gear. I had to take my cam gear and have it pressed on. I thought it was a big deal but all they did was put it on like a little bottle jack press and pushed it on. I've heard of putting the gear in the over at like 400 for 10 minutes or so and it will slide right on but I don't know about that. The lifters are gonna be a pain to get out. I had to use a couple really strong magnets and a pair of channel locks to wiggle them out. Soak the new lifters in oil to get all the air out and pre lube them. All in all its not to hard to do just time consuming. If you have any more questions would be more than happy to help!
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Old 10-26-2010, 06:58 PM
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Hey Coolguy,
Was hoping you'd write, since I knew you did yours recently.

The lifters shouldn't be an issue, since I put new ones in about two years ago. They sure were a pain then though!! (They were all completely collapsed and held in with so much crud, that a magnet wouldn't work. I had to dismantle and gut each one in the engine by removing all the internals. Then, I could get my finger in them and work them out. Took about 6 hours.) Made the mistake, at the time, of putting them in completely dry. I won't do that again.

The timing is what I was interested in, as far as lining it up correctly. I didn't know if there was a trick to it, or if just setting it up to TDC would do the trick. Sounds like TDC is the way to go, so that should be easy.

Hopefully I'll have a pretty easy time with getting the gears off an on. Still thinking I may just bring the cam itself to the shop and have them pull and press the gears. I don't have the tools for that part. Of course, if it turns out that the shop wants more than the proper tools, then tools it is. But from what I've heard, a simple pull and press doesn't cost too much.


Lastly, I really, really wish I could be pulling the head right now and porting it while I was doing this, but that'll have to wait until next summer. I don't have any air tools, so I don't have the means of doing the project myself. Wish I did. I do have the time to do it though.
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coolguy1419 View Post
Hey AB check out this page for some pics of when I did mine.
http://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/95...ml#post8922725

For the cam gear you have to get the old one off and be very very very carfull you don't break the camshaft thrust plate. They are hard to find!! I know the hard way. You will need the I cant think of the name but the keeper that holds it in place also off the old cam gear. I had to take my cam gear and have it pressed on.!
If you could buy the camshaft thrust plate and keeper new you could have the cam pre-assembled and ready to install.
Jim
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Old 10-26-2010, 09:15 PM
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If you got a oreillys or an autozone you can rent that puller and press. It was pretty simple pulling and pressing that crank gear on. Another thing I did is mark the dizzy and on the block how it goes back in so you know you are close of the timing when you first go to fire it up and break the cam in. I had a heck of a time getting the old fiber gear off. Thats how I broke my thrust plate. Everytime I went to pull it it would just pull apart. While you have the timing cover off I would change the seal on it. I can't think of anything else right now. I know you will definatley like the results though.
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Old 10-26-2010, 11:29 PM
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AB! So you're going for it. Be sure the grill is well out of the way. And if you're getting the cam kit, doesn't it come with springs? The cam co.'s will recommend lbs on the valve seat for their cams. It might be a good idea to ask about soaking the lifters too. Somewhere I read not to do that, but I could be wrong. I don't want to offend anyone. And if you need to change the springs, it can be done with compressed air w/o removing the head, but I'm also hoping you port it. $50 for a die grinder at Harbor Freight.

I used a press to remove and reinstall new gear, but heated it up in oven first. If you local Jr. college has an auto shop, you might see about them doing a port job for you.

I would also add, the for a small price you could rent a cam bearing installer and put in new bearings. It's easy, just mark the oil holes with a sharpie, and install. I don't know how many miles your engine has, but you can always roll in new rod and mains from underneath, but you'll never have a better chance to r&r the cam b's! Penny wise? Also, with the rad. out, I would think long and hard about the oil pump.

I know you'll like the 260. It is a great cam. Once you run it, try side gapping your plugs, and you'll swear that alone gave you nitrous boost!

Lube the heck out of the cam, and have another person reach in through the lifter panel, and gently guide the cam through each journal. Use loctite on the cam thrust bolts. Keep you p. rods in order!
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Old 10-26-2010, 11:42 PM
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If you have the fiber gear now, the AZ press will have a hard time removing it.
A good automotive machine shop should have the thrust plate, I bought one about eight years ago for I think just under $5.
If you do change the springs, feeding a length of rope into the combustion chamber works much better than air.
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Old 10-27-2010, 02:04 AM
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Installing the cam gear is easy. Turn on the oven to 300 degrees and put the gear in for a half hour or so.
When it's good and hot, put the thrust plate on and have an assistant hold the lubed cam (lubed on the spot where the gear goes) on end. Borrow your wife's nicest set of oven gloves and take the gear out of the oven-make sure it's right side up-and slip it onto the cam until it seats. Let it cool and you're done.
We've used this method many, many times for installing cam gears on Cummins C series and a couple 300-six engines, sometimes in situ.

Are you replacing the cam bearings? Do they need it?
I assume you know about running the engine at 2000-2500 rpm for 20-30 minutes to break in the cam, and using high zinc oil for cam break-in. Use lots of moly disulfide grease or whatever the cam manuf. recommends for install grease/oil.
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Old 10-27-2010, 01:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimsRebel View Post
If you could buy the camshaft thrust plate and keeper new you could have the cam pre-assembled and ready to install.
Jim
Good point. Are these parts readily available at autoparts stores?

Quote:
Originally Posted by coolguy1419
If you got a oreillys or an autozone you can rent that puller and press. It was pretty simple pulling and pressing that crank gear on. Another thing I did is mark the dizzy and on the block how it goes back in so you know you are close of the timing when you first go to fire it up and break the cam in. I had a heck of a time getting the old fiber gear off. Thats how I broke my thrust plate. Everytime I went to pull it it would just pull apart. While you have the timing cover off I would change the seal on it. I can't think of anything else right now. I know you will definatley like the results though.
Yeah, they have quite an impressive selection of tools you can rent at the local O'Reillys. I'm curious if I have a fiber or a metal gear. I hear conflicting stories about when they switched over from around the late seventies to the early eighties. Guess we'll see.
Not too worried about the distributor. I have a lot of practice resetting them to base 0 / TDC. My engine's pretty easy since it turns so freely I can rotate the crank by turning the fan by hand.

Quote:
Originally Posted by F-250 restorer
AB! So you're going for it. Be sure the grill is well out of the way. And if you're getting the cam kit, doesn't it come with springs? The cam co.'s will recommend lbs on the valve seat for their cams. It might be a good idea to ask about soaking the lifters too. Somewhere I read not to do that, but I could be wrong. I don't want to offend anyone. And if you need to change the springs, it can be done with compressed air w/o removing the head, but I'm also hoping you port it. $50 for a die grinder at Harbor Freight.

I used a press to remove and reinstall new gear, but heated it up in oven first. If you local Jr. college has an auto shop, you might see about them doing a port job for you.

I would also add, the for a small price you could rent a cam bearing installer and put in new bearings. It's easy, just mark the oil holes with a sharpie, and install. I don't know how many miles your engine has, but you can always roll in new rod and mains from underneath, but you'll never have a better chance to r&r the cam b's! Penny wise? Also, with the rad. out, I would think long and hard about the oil pump.

I know you'll like the 260. It is a great cam. Once you run it, try side gapping your plugs, and you'll swear that alone gave you nitrous boost!

Lube the heck out of the cam, and have another person reach in through the lifter panel, and gently guide the cam through each journal. Use loctite on the cam thrust bolts. Keep you p. rods in order!
Yup, just ordered the rest of the parts for the install today. (And yes, it does include new springs). Budget's tight so I may have to wait a few weeks to actually do the swap itself, since I'll need to rent equipment, get antifreeze, gaskets, etc. I'm looking forward to it though. For one, to get a new cam in there, but for two, I just like pulling stuff apart.

Speaking of springs, do I need to remove the intake/exhaust and use a spring compressor? I've seen some that are just a clamp style. Also, do I need to worry about the valves falling into the head? I'll most likely need to remove all that stuff anyway since it has new valve locks and umbrella seals.

I agree that now would be an awesome time to port and polish it, but it's going to take me a bit more than $50 for the grinders to do it since I don't have anything to put the grinders into. Air compressor with tools is still on the "to get" list. Hadn't thought about having a local automotive school do the port work. May be something to look into.

I hadn't even *thought* about cam bearings. Since you mentioned it, I've been doing searches on line but have come up empty handed. Is there a different name for them? (Or does someone know where to source some?) Definitely a good time to change those out since I don't know when the next time I'll have the cam out. Your guess is as good as mine on how many miles the engine has. It's an '81 that I highly doubt has ever been rebuilt. Compression's great (about 150ish). But it only had a 5 digit odometer, so it could be 175k, 275k, or 375k.

Oil pump sounds like a great idea too, but I think (unless some miracle happens, and I can do it now) that next summer when I do the P&P, I'll pull the whole engine out and deal with a few other things, like an oil pan removal, oil pump, 1 piece gasket. Cleaning it, checking the rear main, etc. Probably just do it then.

You'll have to educate me a touch more in side gapping the plugs when it's all said and done. I skimmed over your description a while back, but it sounds like something fun to look in to.

I hadn't thought of someone guiding the cam through the lifter panel. That sounds like a great idea. Which bolts are the "thrust" bolts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ford_six
If you have the fiber gear now, the AZ press will have a hard time removing it.
A good automotive machine shop should have the thrust plate, I bought one about eight years ago for I think just under $5.
If you do change the springs, feeding a length of rope into the combustion chamber works much better than air.
I've heard the fiber gear can be a pain to remove (coolguy1419). Again, a small glimmer of hope I don't have one, but not counting on it. If I have issues, I may have someone else pull it. In the pictures Coolguy supplied, which is the thrust plate?
Also, can you explain the technique with the rope? It would be a something I have more access to than compressed air.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wyowanderer
Installing the cam gear is easy. Turn on the oven to 300 degrees and put the gear in for a half hour or so.
When it's good and hot, put the thrust plate on and have an assistant hold the lubed cam (lubed on the spot where the gear goes) on end. Borrow your wife's nicest set of oven gloves and take the gear out of the oven-make sure it's right side up-and slip it onto the cam until it seats. Let it cool and you're done.
We've used this method many, many times for installing cam gears on Cummins C series and a couple 300-six engines, sometimes in situ.

Are you replacing the cam bearings? Do they need it?
I assume you know about running the engine at 2000-2500 rpm for 20-30 minutes to break in the cam, and using high zinc oil for cam break-in. Use lots of moly disulfide grease or whatever the cam manuf. recommends for install grease/oil.
So far, it's sounding like putting the cam gear in the oven to heat it is the way to go! (Fortunately, my wife's as excited as I am to get a cam in there, so hopefully she won't mind me using her oven gloves. )

I haven't heard the technique for running the engine at high RPM for that long to break in the cam. I wrote Comp this morning and asked for their recommended break in oil/lube, etc. Would this also be one of those things where it's recommended to change the oil after a certain amount of miles after installing the cam? Like, say, 200 miles or something?



Thanks again everyone. Want to be sure this is smooth and painless.
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Old 10-27-2010, 02:47 PM
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Crossing my fingers this opperation will go smoothly and without problems.

I am more than excited to hear what you think of the new cam!!
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Old 10-27-2010, 06:24 PM
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Hey AB heres a pic of that thrust plate behind the center part of the old fiber gear. As you can see there is a crack in the plate I broke it of course! $24 and 70 miles away I got a new one!

Click the image to open in full size.

As for running the engine at or above 2000rpms to break in the cam, if you go to comp cams website and look at the install instructions they have it says to run it at or above 2000rpms for a minimum of 20 minutes varying the throttle periodically but staying at or above 2000rpms throughout the break in. You should use a break in oil for the cam such as COMP Cams 159 - COMP Cams Engine Break-In Oil Additive - Overview - SummitRacing.com
The break in is the most critical part of installing the cam. I ran about 200 miles and then changed the oil. Im not really sure if you should change right after the break in or within so many miles. I just did the 200 to be safe.
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Old 10-27-2010, 06:41 PM
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Heh, I remember that picture. Okay, so that's the thrust plate behind it.

Is this the same thing?
NEW FORD CAMSHAFT THRUST PLATE PF-120 1965-1991 240,300: eBay Motors (item 270616648925 end time Oct-31-10 10:30:30 PDT)

That's not too bad. About $16 shipped. What's the "keeper" piece Jim mentioned that would allow me to have my cam all assembled and ready before I even take the old one out? I like that idea. =P

So there's break-in oil additive and break-in lube?

So, cover the cam and all moving parts with break in lube.
Put break in additive in the oil.
Run the engine from 2000 - 2400 RPMs for 20 minutes (varying RPMs)
Then change the oil after about 200 miles.
Is there a "break in" period for the cam itself? Like, go easy on it, or anything? Or is it okay to install it, break it in for 20 minutes, and then go stomp on the gas and feel the new found fun?
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Old 10-27-2010, 07:12 PM
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Hey that would be the thrust plate! Pretty good price to. The old ones are cast iron the replacement ones are just plain steel. The keeper he is refering to and I couldn't think of is jus the little keeper key that goes in the key way to hold the gear in place. You can kind of see it in the pic its on the left side of the of the center of the cam. I couldn't think of what is was the other day! I think you got all the break in stuff right. Just use like assembly lube for lubing the pushrods and rocker arms. You will want to have them adjusted correctly before you fire otherwise it will sound like its gonna fly apart! There is the cam lube itself that you put all over the cam COMP Cams 103 - COMP Cams Pro Cam Lube - Overview - SummitRacing.com. It normally come with the cam itself. As for the a break in period after you intially break it in I am not sure on that. I did the initiall break in and then drove around about 10 miles and couldn't take it any more had to see what it had .
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Old 10-27-2010, 08:15 PM
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After the first oil change, run something like ZDDPlus or another Zinc additive since modern oils do not have the zinc a flat tappet cam needs. I am running mine on 10w30 plus zinc, I'll probably go down to 5w30 with zinc in the next couple weeks since it's getting cold.
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Old 10-27-2010, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by AbandonedBronco View Post
Heh, I remember that picture. Okay, so that's the thrust plate behind it.

Is this the same thing?
NEW FORD CAMSHAFT THRUST PLATE PF-120 1965-1991 240,300: eBay Motors (item 270616648925 end time Oct-31-10 10:30:30 PDT)

That's not too bad. About $16 shipped. What's the "keeper" piece Jim mentioned that would allow me to have my cam all assembled and ready before I even take the old one out? I like that idea. =P
In Coolguy pix, post 11, look at the end of the cam at the 9:00 point.
I think it looks like this...
Mercedes 280SEL/280SL Camshaft Gear Woodruff Key 68-73: eBay Motors (item 390249482068 end time Nov-06-10 07:05:30 PDT)

Jim
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1980, 351m, 6a, bronco, cam, endine, engine, ford, install, installing, lifters, msd, oil, put, soaking

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