Camshaft replacement procedures are relatively easy, but require extensive engine knowledge to properly accomplish. The camshaft is responsible for opening and closing the valves for proper intake and exhaust of fuel and air mixture. Before replacing your camshafts, it would be best to determine the reason for such replacement. If your engine experienced camshaft failure and is the primary reason for replacement it would be best to diagnose and fix the primary problem first before installing a new camshaft. Distributor gear failure is the primary reason for the camshafts to fail and it would be recommended to thoroughly inspect the distributor gear for uneven wear and have it reconditioned before installing a new camshaft. A better set of gears would be best for the performance minded enthusiast.
Here are a few tips to consider when replacing your engine's camshaft:
1. Cleanliness Is Next to Godliness
Once the engine is disassembled it is crucial to thoroughly clean all the exposed parts of the engine before installing a new part. Most newbie mechanics fail to recognize the importance of such an exercise before undergoing modification or installation. All the dirt and debris cannot be eliminated completely with a single engine oil flush, as foreign particles may lodge themselves on certain nooks and crannies in the engine. Remember that a modern engine works on pretty tight tolerances and even a speck of dirt or any foreign matter could spell the difference between failure and success once installation has been completed. Better to be safe than sorry.
2. Thoroughly Inspect the Surroundings
The lifter bores could show signs of imminent damage or abnormal wear and should be properly inspected before installing a new camshaft. Check the valve springs and replace accordingly when any sign of wear presents itself. The cam bearings should also be inspected for proper size and alignment. Mechanics are quick to recommend replacing the cam bearings and valve lifters every time the camshaft is replaced regardless of condition, as this would contribute significantly to better camshaft performance.
3. Do Not Skimp on the Lube
Proper lubrication is the lifeblood of an engine and premature camshaft failure during initial start up is caused by lack of lubrication during assembly. The first few moments after start up are critical, as an improper amount of oil in your valve train components would lead to permanent damage. It is of grave importance to use a high quality break-in lube during the assembly process to protect your new camshaft and valve train components after camshaft replacement has been undertaken.
4. Install Carefully and Proper Reassembly
After coating the distributor drive gear, camshaft lobes and bearing journals with a high quality break-in lube, carefully place the new camshaft in the engine while paying close attention not to damage the cam bearing surface.
After all the necessary preparations have been undertaken and every component is properly lubed, it is important to follow OEM procedures during reassembly. Remember to use high quality gaskets and follow torque specifications when installing bolts during the reassembly process. Properly check engine timing and valve adjustment before initiating start up.
Use high quality engine oil according to manufacturer's specifications. Break-in period is critical and a high quality engine oil will help protect your entire engine from premature wear and damage during the break-in period.