CAM Gear Woes (2 gear failures 1st 10 miles) - 460 Ford Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-20-2019, 08:35 PM Thread Starter
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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.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-20-2019, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
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Here are a few pics of the cam sync gear,,, the 2nd ruined gear on the distributor looks the same
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File Type: jpg image1.jpg (7.3 KB, 31 views)
File Type: jpg image2.jpg (7.3 KB, 30 views)

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 12:23 AM Thread Starter
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Oh and here are some specs on my engine:
Scat Forged Rotating Assembly 502 Stroker Kit W Flat Tops
Pro-Comp Aluminum heads
Lunati Hydraulic Roller Kit 20340711LK
Eddlebrok Performer RPM Intake W custom welded fuel injector bungs
Megasquirt 3 PRO Ultimate Fuel Injection System
32-1 Trigger Wheel
Cam Sync from Price Motorsports
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 01:11 AM
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Cool

Steel melonized gears?


I've been running a melonized steel gear on my billet roller cam for years with no problems.

I read more carefully. Cast iron gear on a lunati roller core....

PMS sells the sync with 4 different gear options.

Part No. CS-C/M/429-C with cast gear +”Hall Effect” 3 prong electronics $252.00


Part No. CS-C/M/429-B with bronze gear + “Hall Effect” 3 prong electronics $279.00

Part No. CS-C/M/429-S with steel gear + “Hall Effect” 3 prong electronics $312.00

Part No. CS-C/M/429-P with Polymer gear + “Hall Effect” 3 prong electronics $360.00



S

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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 08:36 AM Thread Starter
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Yes ran the cast gear. Maybe I misunderstood the sales rep or mis -heard I’ll call and see if lunati is open on the holiday and buy a recommended cam gear from them. If I Ran the wrong gear do you think I need to swap the cam? visually looking with a flashlight I don’t see any damage to the teeth on the lunati cam, I wish I had burnished the cam with a wire brush before installing but I paid the machine ship to assemble and never thought of it.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by jonygeorge View Post
Yes ran the cast gear. Maybe I misunderstood the sales rep or mis -heard I‚€™ll call and see if lunati is open on the holiday and buy a recommended cam gear from them. If I Ran the wrong gear do you think I need to swap the cam? visually looking with a flashlight I don‚€™t see any damage to the teeth on the lunati cam, I wish I had burnished the cam with a wire brush before installing but I paid the machine ship to assemble and never thought of it.


https://www.summitracing.com/parts/c...IaAqKOEALw_wcB


For .531" shaft.


SJ



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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 05:44 PM
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Another option.........

https://www.tritecmotorsports.com/products/gears

Cheers, Bob
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 09:33 PM
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Distributor Gears | Cam Reseach ? Custom Ford Camshafts

might be worth using some compound to witness the gear meshing, like the rear end gears..I once had seen an issue with cam walk causing an gear issue. hopefully its an easy fix
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-22-2019, 12:30 AM Thread Starter
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I called price motor sports And lunati. Look like I was all backwards and I needed a melonized steel gear. Lunati said it isnít unusual for a steel roller to eat a cast gear in short order and not even scratch the steel roller gears. In Ended up ordering one made by msd that pms recommended and its on its way from summit racing . (Price motor sports has excellent customer service by the way)
Feeling a little better about the situation changed my oil and filter again checked clearances and Iím feeling optimistic I didnít damage anythig.

Thanks for everyoneís help!

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.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-22-2019, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn01754 View Post
Distributor Gears | Cam Reseach ? Custom Ford Camshafts

might be worth using some compound to witness the gear meshing, like the rear end gears..I once had seen an issue with cam walk causing an gear issue. hopefully its an easy fix
I'd also paint the cam gear with Prussian Blue or heavy grease (yellow rear end gear marker) and check the mesh pattern.

Last edited by machoneman; 01-23-2019 at 11:20 AM.
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-22-2019, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by jonygeorge View Post
I called price motor sports And lunati. Look like I was all backwards and I needed a melonized steel gear. Lunati said it isnít unusual for a steel roller to eat a cast gear in short order and not even scratch the steel roller gears. In Ended up ordering one made by msd that pms recommended and its on its way from summit racing . (Price motor sports has excellent customer service by the way)
Feeling a little better about the situation changed my oil and filter again checked clearances and Iím feeling optimistic I didnít damage anythig.

Thanks for everyoneís help!

Bill and Mary at Price are amazing folks.

Double check the distance from collar to gear thrust surface. Best between 4.028 and 4.038" with the shaft pulled away from the dist / phazer body.

It can't hurt to measure from the block to the thrust surface the distributor gear rides on. I've seen some cases where through wear / rust / machining errors that that distance is less than 4.028" or if the thrust surface is worn greater. On the rare occasion we find this we adjust the gear position on the distributor as needed.



SJ

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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-23-2019, 10:36 AM
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Quote:
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Bill and Mary at Price are amazing folks.

Double check the distance from collar to gear thrust surface. Best between 4.028 and 4.038" with the shaft pulled away from the dist / phazer body.

It can't hurt to measure from the block to the thrust surface the distributor gear rides on. I've seen some cases where through wear / rust / machining errors that that distance is less than 4.028" or if the thrust surface is worn greater. On the rare occasion we find this we adjust the gear position on the distributor as needed.



SJ
Agreed!

But I just remembered that long ago some aftermarket oil pump driveshafts were too long. Don't recall if it was shaft length or the pointy end(s) were made a tad too tall. Anyway, the long shafts did mess up the gear engagement as the dizty could not drop down far enough for good engagement. That's why I mentioned checking the mesh closely. If however you have an OEM shaft installed or one to check against a presumed aftermarket shaft, you'll know in a heartbeat.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-26-2019, 12:49 PM Thread Starter
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So I replaced my cam gear with an MSD melonized steel gear and it did the same thing!! I caught it before the gear failed completely so I never lost oil pressure this time but looks like I will be replacing the cam.. Can somebody look at the posted picture of the worn gear and tell me what they think. I don't think the mesh is correct I would think the teeth should be engaging deeper into the cam gear.... Let me know? Thanks
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File Type: jpg worn cam gear.jpg (92.4 KB, 10 views)

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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-26-2019, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
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PS I did check the distance and the thrust surface of the gear rides on the block as it is supposed to and and I can pull up and down on the shaft with play which is in tolerance... no binding. I tried painting the gear and checking mesh but I really could not tell but I think the picture of the worn melonized steel gear tells the story anyway? Also this gear only has 20 miles on it and it ate up the cast gears in 3 miles! It have to think there is a problem with the machining on the cam?? Lunati says that he did not think the previous cast gear would have damaged the steel cam gear. I cant see damage to the cam gear when looking down the distributor hole.
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File Type: jpg gear 2.jpg (92.1 KB, 7 views)

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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-26-2019, 01:00 PM
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So I replaced my cam gear with an MSD melonized steel gear and it did the same thing!! I caught it before the gear failed completely so I never lost oil pressure this time but looks like I will be replacing the cam.. Can somebody look at the posted picture of the worn gear and tell me what they think. I don't think the mesh is correct I would think the teeth should be engaging deeper into the cam gear.... Let me know? Thanks

Which gear did you get? That looks like a 351w gear.

Link to crane gear:

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/crn-52971-1


Distance from gear thrust, shaft extended to collar should be 4.028" to 4.038"
Measure yours it appears that the gear is also not sitting on the thrust surface of the block.

Remove and check the cam's dist drive gear. You might have damaged it as well.


SJ

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Last edited by The Mad Porter; 01-26-2019 at 01:02 PM.
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