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1968-2013 Full Size Vans Econolines. E150, E250, E350, E450 and E550

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Old 10-26-2010, 12:14 PM
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'87 E150: Distributor doesn't turn when cranking

Timing Gear or camshaft-to-distributor gear on camshaft?

My van was making a ticking sound in unison with rpms for about three days before it finally quit.

- I pulled the distributor cap and cranked the engine and saw that the rotor was not turning.

- I pulled the distributor to make sure the shear pin hadn't broken, the shear pin was intact, and the distributor turned when I turned the gear, even when applying resistance.

- I haven't been able to get the front cover off yet to check if the camshaft gear has failed, I'm waiting on borrowing an impact wrench.

I talked to the owner of a shop today who insisted that it was HIGHLY unlikely that the timing gear failed, and that it was more likely that the gear on the camshaft that turns the distributor has been 'known' to get stripped. He then proceded to qouted me $3500 on an entire engine replacement (mine already has 300,000 miles, so if it was the camshaft gear, I mine as well do the whole engine).

Has anybody heard of the camshaft gear which turns the distributor on an '87 e150 4.9L (300) being 'known' to go bad?

I was also wondering if using the special Ford tool, front cover alignment tool (T68P-6019-A) was absolutely necessary, or what an equivalent would be. It costs ~$160!

Any tips would be great! Thanks.
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Old 10-26-2010, 04:32 PM
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I have a friend with a 95, he had to get his distributor replaced, but all is well, it went around 230,000 miles, it has 350,000 now and still runs, lacks power, but the check engine light is on.
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Old 10-29-2010, 08:47 PM
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Any idea about the gear on the camshaft (to distributor gear) failing? I've been told this probably wouldn't happen since it's most likely fabricated from stronger steel than the distributor gear.

Hopefully it's the camshaft timing gear. I get to borrow an impact wrench tomorrow to get the damn harmonic balancer/front cover off to see.

I'll let ya know how it goes.
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Old 10-30-2010, 01:12 AM
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Smile

i had a couple 300 sixes destroy timing gears. unfortunately they went on there way to junk yard heaven. if the gears went bad you will need a special gear puller to replace them. the front cover alignment tool can be skipped sometimes with extra care and attention when bolting cover back on. on my 351w i used a large socket only as a guide while replacing a failed nylon cam gear on the side of I-5 near Sac. good luck with the project.
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Old 11-05-2010, 08:50 AM
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Thanks 1223. After getting the cover off, I found that it was the nylon camgear. What a piece of crap part. My puller ripped the entire gear apart!

Had to use a Dremel to carve notches in the left over metal ring holding it to the camshaft to fit the puller. Thankfully, that worked. Now to put it all back together.

Thanks for the tip re: the alignment tool. I'll try the socket method.
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Old 11-05-2010, 05:20 PM
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OK, I was warned in diesel college by a teacher who had a Pontiac with the nylon gears, trying to be cool revving it up, it blew them, after replacement, days later it spun the mains, seems pieces of the nylon clogged the oil passages.
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Old 11-05-2010, 05:20 PM
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