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Honda Gx160 won't accelerate


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07-27-05, 07:47 PM   #1  
Honda Gx160 won't accelerate

Hi:

I have a Honda 5.5 horizontal shaft engine on a pressure washer I was given. Probably about 5 years old, but has seen little use from a homeowner.

Engine starts easily & idles fine, but will not accept any throttle above about 2000 RPM. I have removed the pump in order to troubleshoot the engine problem.

Increasing throttle causes vibration & extreme roughness, and sounds like it is running rich & going to explode. I have cleaned the carbuerator several times thorougly with small wire & fluid, drained gas tank & filled with fresh gas, installed proper spark plug, fine tuned valve clearances(were off about .001 to .0015), and governor rod & springs appear undamaged. The only thing I can say that looks a little out of wack is the carb float. With the carb upside down, the float is not parallel with the carb body-hangs low & it just barely is able to seat the needle with some spring tension. Of course, the float is not adjustable.

So, do you think it could be a float problem, or could this perhaps be a more serious problem, such as camshaft or internal governor.

Would appreciate any input you may have.

Thanks.

 
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07-28-05, 07:01 AM   #2  
Azis
Not really sure what u may have going on. I don't think the float is out of adjustment. With the engine off and the fuel valve on, let it sit and see if you develop a fuel leak from the carb. If so the needle and or seat should be suspect. I have had a couple of these that the carb housing itself in the seat area leaked and could not be repaired.
Here is a link to an owners manual, http://www.honda-engines.com/Engines...uals/gx160.htm choose which engine you have depending on the air cleaner type (round or square) and see if there are any troubleshooting tips that may apply.
I am sure it is not easy to describe and even more difficult to imagine exactly what ur unit is doing....

wish I had more but...

 
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07-28-05, 10:55 AM   #3  
Thanks, Aziz.

The needle must be seating because leaving the gas valve open for several days shows no sign of leakage. If the engine is idling & I push governor lever towards carb, I get the same reaction from the engine, so I would guess it is not the governor. I wonder if the auto-decompression mechanism is faulty, and not allowing engine to develope "normal" compression after it gets started?? Also, have heard that these engines might have plastic camshafts?

Well, I am awaiting my factory service manual I ordered. This has stumped me for the moment. I will dismantle engine for inspection only after I have exhausted all other possibilties.

Any other theories would be appreciated.

 
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08-03-05, 05:10 PM   #4  
Well, I received my factory service manual & have been doing some disassembly and inspection. Checked spark cap resistor, coil resistance, and do find that the primary side of the coil slightly out of spec-allowed .8-1.0 ohms and I read 1.4 ohms. Secondary side is fine. Would this present a problem?

Also, compression seemed low, maybe 60#, so I removed cylinder head & checked for flatness, and is ok (about .0015" out of flat, allowed .004). So I lapped the valves, reassembled with existing springs(measured ok), reset valves and no improvement. Actually, might run a little rougher. I get a compression reading of 70# after the valve lapping-cold.

So, I have removed the crankcase cover to take another look at the camshaft again, and measure the lobes. I have a huge discrepancy between the specs in the manual and the actual measurements. Intake is smaller than spec by .116" and the exhaust is smaller by .183". Either the specs are wrong for this serial number engine, or something is missing. The engine looks super clean & is not of high usage. Metal on lobes is very smooth.

Anyone have any input on the cam? I would appreciate it.

Thanks.

 
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08-04-05, 01:40 AM   #5  
The coil is fine.

The compression should be fine.

The cam...?? When you look at the lobes, do they appear to be worn? Can you still see the grinding marks all the way around the lobes? I doubt that's the problem. Have you tried isolating the engine from the pump to see if it is actually an engine problem rather than a pump problem?


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08-04-05, 03:28 AM   #6  
Thanks, Cheese.

Yes, all of this is being done without the pump attached.

Camshaft lobes look very decent. Machine marks visible on most areas, ramp side of lobes are shiny with some minimal wear lines.

Not many more things to check. Governor gear and weights are in tack, and slide properly to activate governor lever. I think I'll pull the piston just in case there could be a snapped ring, and then reassemble with a new head gasket.

 
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08-04-05, 02:46 PM   #7  
OK, rings look fine, so reassembled with new head gasket. Compression reads the same, 68#. Started up 1st pull as usual, but give it some throttle and it just hogs down and vibrates the same, seemingly running rich, won't accept the gas. So, I have to believe (since I've looked at all the components) there has to be something going on with the carburator, even though I've cleaned it several times. I did undo the limit cap on the adjustable pilot to see if it had any effect, and it did seem to react a little. Could there be another air bleed or air passage that I am missing (this is an externally vented carb 65BE). I hate to buy a new carb & find it is not the solution.

It's either something very simple, or very major wrong.

Stumped.

 
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08-06-05, 12:36 AM   #8  
Try removing the kill wire from the coil and see how it behaves. Before that even, try a new plug if you haven't yet. If you still get nowhere, try removing the muffler and cover your ears and try again.


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08-06-05, 09:04 AM   #9  
Thanks again for your input.

Spark plug had been changed. Running with black ground wire produced no change. Running with the muffler removed had no change, but produced blueish w/yellow puffs, "explosions"?

I am thinking I have a warped cylinder head or exhaust valve. After relapping the exhaust valve again, I reinstall the head and now get a little lower reading on the compression gauge of about 60#-manual gives spec at 85-125. Not sure this valve is seating properly.

I also have some new input from the previous owner as to how & when this engine started running poorly. Apparently, he had used the pressure washer for an hour or so, then shut it down and broke for lunch. When he restarted it is when it displayed the problems of running very rough and having no power to run the pump. I think the engine overheated after shutting it down abruptly, since it didn't have any air flow around the cylinder head, warping the valve. Debating whether to just try a new exhaust valve, or to buy a complete new head assy. for $90. from Water Cannon Co. When I lay the cyliner head on a flat surface (my Rockwell table saw) it rocks a little and I would say it is out of flat about .002" more or less.

I think the compression should be higher that I'm getting.

Sorry for the long post.

 
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08-07-05, 12:23 AM   #10  
I would remove the valves and then install them back in the head without the springs and feel how they move in the head back and forth and when you twist them. If they don't move freely (free enough to fall out if you turn the head over), then you may have an issue with warping. If they don't move around so easily, they may be sticking a bit. Also, when you lap the valves, are you checking the valve face and the seat surface? Is the valve only contacting part of the seat, or is the lapping removing metal from the entire sealing surfaces of the valve and seat? Inspect the seat well...does it look like it could be loose in the head? How exactly are you lapping the vlaves?

I'm no so sure I'd jump on a new head just yet.


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09-05-05, 06:42 AM   #11  
I think the valves are moving freely enough.

I just rechecked compression with the exhaust valve rocker turned aside(no contact with valve) and I am getting 110# with three or four pulls. So the exhaust valve is apparently seating. Again, the engine idles perfectly and starts to hog down & load up rich when getting to about 1500 rpm on up.

Is there a way I can bypass the autodecompression to see if this could be the cause? Do these ever malfunction on occasion? Spring and mechanism looked ok when I had it apart last month. Can I just remove the spring, or should I try a new spring.

Thanks.

 
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09-06-05, 12:26 AM   #12  
They do occasionally fail, but I can't say I've ever seen one fail on a honda. I suppose that could be the problem. It's hard to diagnose this type of thing without actually being able to hear it run. Inspection of the compression release mechanism would be the only sure fire way to tell. It sounds like your compression is ok though.

Have you tried running this thing with the air filter off?


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08-17-06, 04:40 PM   #13  
sorry to resurface such an old thread, but my GX160 is exhibiting the exactly same problem. It idles fine, but begins running roughly at higher RPM. It also has low compression 30~40 psi even though the valves and seats look like they are in excellent shape. The engine has seen limited use and the cam looks like it has little to no wear. I suspect that it could be the compression release mechanism.... I noticed some slight wear on the compression release mechanism (the part that rests on the cam lobe) is this normal? is there any way to check this part? It appears to operate smoothly by hand.
Also, I noticed that there seems to be pulsing out of air inlet to the carburetor, could this be related?

rjm105,
did you ever find the root cause of your engines malfunction? I noticed

thanks
-dave

 
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08-17-06, 05:17 PM   #14  
Hi davef:

No, I never did solve the problem, put the project aside for a while. I did buy a brand new aftermarket carbuerator which had no effect. The engine idles like a rolex, but start giving it some throttle, and she just shudders, has no power, and the machine will just about dance across the floor. Sounds like it's choking.

Can't bring myself to junk this engine, it's like brand new!

Good luck with your's. I'll keep tuned.

 
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08-17-06, 05:51 PM   #15  
I know what you mean about it vibrating acrosss the floor. When it starts to studder I have to hold it down (it mounted in a generator). I'll try to post pictures of the cam and compression release mechanism. maybe you can compare it to the one you have.
thanks for your input
-dave

 
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08-17-06, 06:47 PM   #16  
Honda Wont Rev Right

Posted By: rjm105 Hi davef:

No, I never did solve the problem, put the project aside for a while. I did buy a brand new aftermarket carbuerator which had no effect. The engine idles like a rolex, but start giving it some throttle, and she just shudders, has no power, and the machine will just about dance across the floor. Sounds like it's choking.

Can't bring myself to junk this engine, it's like brand new!

Good luck with your's. I'll keep tuned.
Until I read your last comment about replacing carb with after market carb I was going to tell you to check idle air bleed on carb,as this can allow an engine to run reasonably smooth at idle if it has only partial restriction but will cause too rich a mixture as speed increases,so my my next check would be to check fly wheel key to see if it is damaged causing improper ingnition timing. have a nice day men.

 
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08-17-06, 10:28 PM   #17  
The flywheel key is a good place to look, but I don't know how it could have been damaged in a pressure washer or generator. Still worth a look I guess. It does sound like it could be related to the compression release or valve train, but if visual inspection of the compression release mechanism shows no signs of problems, I don't see how it could be the problem. When the flywheight on the comp release swings out, there is nothing sticking above the cam lobe from the release, right? Strange problem. I run one of these engines on my compressor on my service truck and have never had a similar problem. It gets worked hard and abused, and sits out in the weather year after year.

One thing both of your engines have in common: They are both on equipment that runs at constant throttle for long periods of time, and then suddenly gets switched off. The heat issue may be worth considering here. Are the valves free enough in the head that they will fall out if you turn it upside down?


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08-18-06, 03:02 AM   #18  
The valves move freely in the head; there is a nice light drag from the oil film. I plan on lapping the seats before reassembly but the seats look to be in good condition too The engine operates very smoothly at lower speeds, even though it has compression values around 30 psi. Should there be any wear on the compression release? I assume it should only be engaged once every start (this gen-set has only been started a couple of times a year), but it did look like it has some wear. I'll try to get a picture posted soon
-dave

 
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08-18-06, 05:36 PM   #19  
Posted By: dave_f I know what you mean about it vibrating acrosss the floor. When it starts to studder I have to hold it down (it mounted in a generator). I'll try to post pictures of the cam and compression release mechanism. maybe you can compare it to the one you have.
thanks for your input
-dave
dave f: I am looking forward to see what your troubleshooting turns up. I haven't had my camshaft out for quite a while to know how it compares to yours, once you post pics. I have been tempted to remove the entire decompression mechanism to see if it solves the problem. But it isn't a very complicated mechanism, and seemed to operate freely by hand. I am wondering now if heat buildup could have affected the spring?

Flywheel key is fine.

Best of luck, and keep us posted.

 
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08-18-06, 11:39 PM   #20  
Try rotating the engine backwards to check compression. The low reading may possibly be because of the comp release, which should disengage as soon as the engine reaches running speed. The fact that it idles and runs fine through the lower 1/2 or 2/3 of the throttle range makes me think the compression release is disengaging as it should.

I'm leaning hard toward a valve problem still. The air pulsing out the carb inlet is telltale of either incorrect valve timing or an intake valve not seating well. Inspect the valve seat well. Is the contact area shiny the whole way around? Is there a dull or dark spot anywhere along the contact area of the seat? Same with the contact area on the valves?

I'd like to see this solved...it's a strange problem and I want to know what's causing it, lol.

There's a possibility of it being the coil, but I have only seen a coil fail in this way once or twice in the 16 or 17 years I've been working on small engines. I think what happens is the transistor in the electronic control gets weak and can't switch as fast as it needs to to keep up with engine rpm. I wonder??


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08-20-06, 07:21 AM   #21  
This may seem too crazy, but have either of you tried these engines without an air filter, or a new one?? I've run into several Honda's where the air filters look good, but wont run right 'till the filter is replaced. Almost like the filter is too fine to allow enough air @ high speed??

 
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08-20-06, 07:54 AM   #22  
i have run it with and without the filter whithout improvement. with the filter off I noticed that air was puffing out of the carb at higher speeds... but when i restricted it slightly with my hand it began to draw only vaccuum.
-dave

 
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08-28-06, 06:58 PM   #23  
here is an update, unfortunately I didn't get an opportunity to snap any pictures.
I inspected and lapped the valve seats, the compression fell right into the high side of the spec when the compression release mechanism is disabled.
I reassembled the engine and set the valve clearances to the factory settings .006" on the intake and 0.008" on the exhaust (while cold) I checked the resistance of the primary and secondary side of the coil and double checked the air-gap. The engine started right up on the first pull, but still runs irregularly at higher speeds.
I am still baffled as to what is causing this problem, the engine internals look practically new! The one thing that I thought was peculiar (maybe one of you guys can shed some light on this) was the large difference between the lobes on the intake and exhaust cams. The intake had a very high pronounced lobe, and the exhaust looked almost round. both cams looked to be in very good shape with very little wear on the lobe surface and cam followers. While the engine was running I noticed that the motion of the intake rocker was much larger than the exhaust... the exhaust valve hardly looked like it was moving at all! I got my indicator out an measured the lift of the valves directly off the spring retainers; here's what I got:
intake valve max valve opening 0.228"
exhaust max valve opening 0.062"
can anyone comment on these numbers? It seems like the exhaust valve isn't opening very much when compared to the intake. Unfortunate I didn't measure the cam lobes directly before reassembling the engine.
On a hunch (and out of frustration) I reduced the lash of the exhaust valve while the engine was running. I noticed a drastic improvement in the engines high speed running (it seemed to be back to normal), but the engine would not idle and start very well. Afterwards when I measured the amount of lash on the exhaust, it was actually a slight interference, which would mean that the exhaust valve was not fully seated when on the cam base circle, this resulted in good high speed operation.
I am sorry for the long post, but I feel that I could be closing in on the problem, perhaps its centered around the exhaust cam... RJM105 mentioned he had a discrepancy on the cam specs when compared to the service manual... does anyone have a feel for how much the exhaust rocker/valve should move when compared to the intake?
thanks
-dave

 
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08-28-06, 08:16 PM   #24  
I don't know the exact specs on lift and duration, but I'm pretty sure .062" is not enough. I think you've found the problem. Time for a cam I suppose. I wonder what wore it down. Is the lifter worn?


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08-29-06, 03:12 AM   #25  
I will need to take it apart again to measure the cam dimensions directly... the puzzling thing is that there appears to be little to no wear.
The service manual states that the cam specs are supposed to be:
1.081" IN
1.083" EX

I don't see how this could result in 0.063 lift for the exhaust. I will dig deeper and keep you posted. can anyone else who owns a gx160 describe what the exhaust cam lobe is supposed to look like or how much the exhaust rocker moves during normal operating condition?
thanks

 
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09-07-06, 02:47 PM   #26  
I havent had a chance to dismantle the engine again, but I did find an interesting link...

http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/lmower/msg0501032625073.html

...another engine owner susspecting soft cam lobe on a gx160

-dave

 
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09-09-06, 05:50 AM   #27  
Update

After reading davef's post about actually measuring valve movement at the rocker arms, I decided to check my engine as well. Intake valve movement is about .098", Exhaust is about .040". Apparently the discrepancies in the camshaft measurements I had noted in my earlier posts are of major concern, and must be the cause of these engines operating poorly. Can't for the life of me understand how the cam could have worn down to this extent, since the engine has had limited use, maybe 25-30 hours. Perhaps there were some inferior cams produced. I'll check with my local dealer to see if he has any bulletins on this apparently rare problem. I really don't need this engine for anything, but I may invest in a new cam just to solve the problem.

If anyone remembers seeing any service bulletins on this, please advise. GX160 QX2X Serial #GC-02 4238736

Edit: I just realized that the low reading on the exhaust is due to the decompression lever being engaged. None the less, the cam lobe measurements are way out of spec.

Thanks.


Last edited by rjm105; 09-10-06 at 12:45 PM.
 
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09-22-06, 06:42 PM   #28  
Finally-Problem solved!

Well, I installed a new camshaft & engine now throttles right up, and runs very smoothly. Thanks to all who have endured this saga. When comparing my cam to the new one, it was obvious that the high points on the lobes were almost non-existent. Originally, this was the only item on the engine that appeared not to meet specification, and I should have believed it. It's very clear to me in hindsight that the engine just couldn't breath, and therefore accept any more throttle. Hopefully this might help others who may have a similiar problem.

Thanks again Cheese, Puey, & all.

 
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09-23-06, 12:31 AM   #29  
Believe it or not, I just ran into this same exact problem on a briggs 17.5 ohv single cylinder engine 2 days ago. I've never seen it happen on a small engine until now. The exhaust lobe was worn down badly. It ran fine up to about 1/3 to 1/2 throttle, then went to popping anywhere above that. Odd.

Thanks for the update, and glad you found the problem!


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09-23-06, 08:06 AM   #30  
I am ordering my new camshaft today!
-dave

 
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02-17-07, 06:46 AM   #31  
Working on a gx160 in the DR Congo on a generator. No manual. Can anyone tell me the procedure for aligning the camshaft?

 
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02-18-07, 07:08 PM   #32  
Reassembly

Posted By: CongoJames Working on a gx160 in the DR Congo on a generator. No manual. Can anyone tell me the procedure for aligning the camshaft?
CongoJames:

What you need to do is align the punch mark on the camshaft with the punch mark or faint line(timing mark) on the crank cam gear. Also, when setting the valves, align crankshaft keyway with piston on compression stroke, or align triangular mark on starter pulley with top hole in the fan cover. Intake= .006" =/- .001" Exhaust= .008" =/- .001". Hope this helps.

Moderator might want to move this topic as a new thread as it doesn't really pertain to original thread which is quite old.

 
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02-18-07, 07:21 PM   #33  
in an effort to close out the original topic... my gx160 ran perfectly after cam swap.
-dave

 
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02-19-07, 07:13 AM   #34  
Azis
I have always wandered about this since I have never seen or heard mention of "Break in" for small engines.
Aircraft and Automotive engines are ran for specific time and conditions at New or Rebuild/Overhaul with one main reason being for Cam break in.
Have I just been blinded or is this not common for small engines?
I find it hard to believe that its any less important...?

 
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02-19-07, 07:51 AM   #35  
I didn't read everything on the thread, but I'm betting the original engine was either run without oil for a period of time - does this one have low oil shutdown? - or it was a poor heat treat on the original camshaft.

Obviously one is operator error and the other is manufacturer error. I'm betting it's the low oil problem - possibly somebody started the engine straight out of the box without putting oil in it. I could see this happening at the retailer even before the customer owned it...

One thing is that RMJ has much more patience on a 5 hp engine than I ever would have. I would have replaced it with one of those $169 chinese honda copies after about 2 hours of messing with it.

 
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02-19-07, 08:10 PM   #36  
This engine has low-oil safety, which pretty much rules out the operator negligence. I believe this engine had a defective camshaft for whatever reason.

Thanks for the update Dave! Glad it's fixed.

Azis, I break in my rebuilds on the occasion that I do actually rebuild one. I don't know of any "procedure for break-in" for small engines. I usually crank mine up and let run at around 1/2 to 3/4 throttle for 20 to 30 minutes. Then I let idle and listen closely...then rev up and listen, than I put a load on it and work it lightly for a while. That's about the extent of it. Never had a problem due to improper break-in procedure this way. Not sure if it makes much difference, but I feel like it should be done.


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02-20-07, 05:34 AM   #37  
I thought all the GX's had the low oil switch. Probably just a bad heat treat on the camshaft - very unusual on a Honda engine.

 
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02-20-07, 05:44 AM   #38  
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Cheese that sounds to me like a normal procedure for reciprocating engines. It has been some time but I do recall to run above a certain RPM for 15 minutes to allow the cam and lifters to wear in. Followed by a run time where the throttle does not remain constant, and of course monitoring fluids temps and vitals...
Personally I do a shortened version even after replacing rings.

I still wonder about where when and how these engines get started and ran for the very first time. I find it hard to believe that the manufactures would incur the expense.

 
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04-11-07, 01:42 PM   #39  
cam shaft

Honda gx160

ive had this problem for a long time now and have had many people look at the engine nobody could figure this problem out... I recently pulled the engine apart to find it in very good condition. i really do not know where i can get a cam shaft for this engine and have no clue what it would cost... if anyone could give me some information it would be greatly apreciated...
thanks,
matt

 
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04-11-07, 05:11 PM   #40  
Hillbilly Deluxe:

Have you measured your cam lobes to be sure it is the cam? I'm sure I posted the specs somewhere within this thread. A new cam can be ordered at a dealer for about $90.00. Make sure you have the serial number of the engine so you get the proper cam. You can also find them on ebay if you are persistent, usually used but sometimes brand new, such as I did.

Hope this helps,

Bob

 
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