CAM Gear Woes (2 gear failures 1st 10 miles)
I just put together an new engine with a Lunati Voodoo Hyraulic roller cam and 10 minutes into initial break in I lost oil pressure, I had taken it on the highway to do some pulls under load to seat the piston rings when the gear went kaput and I lost pressure. I noticed it I believe to be immediately and shut the engine down hopefully before any real oil related damage was done. (This was the first 3 miles on this engine aside from some parked running at the shop to check for leaks etc.) I pulled over and discovered my distributor gear was trashed.. (I am running megasquirt fuel injection with a cam sync and trigger wheel instead of an actual distributor so in my case cam sync gear was trashed) Took the cam sync out and my gears were filed sharp and a few missing. (they are worn to knife edges I will try and post a picture)
I hooked a drill up to my oil pump shaft and was somewhat relieved to see my pump was not bound up and was working perfect oil pressure was good pump runs as smooth as I have felt on the last three 460's I have installed in this vehicle. So I towed the car back to the shop changed the oil and filter put a distributor in I had in from another engine that had run 20,000 plus miles on the other engine with no out of spec gear wear and known to be measured correctly and drove it a again.. After 5 minutes to be safe I pulled the distributor looked over the distributor gear teeth and they looked good so I went on breaking the engine in (granted these five minutes were low load) ... 5 minutes into running it hard to seat the rings same thing happened again...ÖÖ I am very frustrated to say the least just spent 8K plus putting this one together after my last engine got ruined after the last cat iron flat tappet cam broke in half for no explained reason during the first 1200 miles and ruined my engine. I paid a machine shop to assemble the long block on this one for me because I didn't want to blame myself if something went wrong. Before using the cast iron cam gears I asked the sales rep from lunati that I bought the cam from and he said that with this particular cam it is built to be able to use a cast iron gear no brass or steel gear necessary..I know I should have used a new gear but I don't think that could explain it only lasting 3 miles. I guess the Voodoo hydraulic rollers have a pressed on iron gear for retrofitting and it is supposed to be compatible unless he gave me bad information. I have a brass gear from summit on its way but my fear is the brass one probably will go out just as fast or faster if my theory is correct that this is an alignment or badly cut cam teeth issue.
I have been reading other forms and found a lengthy post on (ford muscle forms labled "Distributor gear nightmare") where a guy had a story very similar and he came to the conclusion the cam gears cut into the cam were not machined properly and they left the what should have been rounded bevels sharp and it basically milled his teeth away very quickly just like mine due to the sharp edges instead of nice bevels on the cam teeth themselves. I couldn't find any follow up posts to see if his third cam swap came out ok and if his conclusions were confirmed.
Here are my thoughts and I would like some feedback.
- This block was purchased as a used core from the machine shop that they cleaned and bored .030 over to use with my new rotating assembly. How likely is it something is out of tolerance in the block causing this?
- A lot of people blame cam failure on a high pressure oil pump? I'm inclined to think this cant be it I have run high pressure oil pumps for years no issue, and it seams like reliable sources say this is just CAM companies passing the liability and blame on to somebody other than themselves. Although my gauge does read high pressure if it accurate, I have this engine in a jeep wagoneer and it showed high pressure on the last engine too though and aren't the pumps designed with a bypass spring that wouldn't allow oil pressure issues? The pump was a ford motorsports should be good quality.
- Anyone have experience with a lunati hydraulic roller? How likely is it they screwed up on machining the CAM teeth? or gave me bad info on gear cast gear compatibility. I would think that even if I should have been using brass or steel it shouldn't have failed so quickly!??? What should my first order of business be?
- Any advice????
- Can I get away with changing my oil and filter a few times in short order if I get this CAM situation figured out or am running a huge gamble?? DO I absolutely have to do a complete tear down due to metal gear fragments? Anyone blow out a gear and not do a tear down and have their engine last??
I spent so much time installing this engine that I hate to disassemble it and start over. It is a swap in a jeep and it is a nightmare to work on as I had to fabricate about every part to make things fit, I think my marriage would end if spent another 80 hours and all the $$ starting over again. What are your thoghts?
Help is appreciated. !!
1989 Wagoneer, Custom 460 Install, Fuel Injection Conversion, 4 Barrel EFI Intake, CNG Conversion, NV4500 5 Speed Manual, NP205 Trasfer Case, Mustang A9L computer, Work in progress.