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Camshaft issues... Pics included.

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  • Camshaft issues... Pics included.

    OK, I took apart the front of my car again, to put on my replacement timing belt that finally came in the mail along with my CHTS sub-harness. Anyways, I was having trouble getting the belt on myself, and I remembered reading about taking the drivers side cam gear off to make it easier to put the timing belt back on. Anyways, I'm not sure if I'm glad that I did this or not (I guess I am, but it was working fine as it was), but when I took it off, a lot of broken metal pieces fell down.

    Basically, that clicking that I was hearing a few weeks ago that was a result of the timing gear not being tight enough (causing excessive play in the gear and it tilting back and forth as it rotated, causing a ticking), ended up destroying the end of my cam. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves, and then continue on below.

    Pictures of my Drivers Side Cam (the broken one):

    Pictures of Passenger Side Cam (for comparison):

    Anyways, as you can see, the end is completely shattered, and my cam gear has a TON of play. Obviously the cam has to be replaced (right?), and I definitly got the cam that has all the crap in front of the valve cover. Anyways, Haynes says absolutely nothing about taking out cams. It tells me how to inspect them, but not replace them. How hard of a job is this? I know Jason's taken out his cams before so I figured I'd give it a post here. I leave for college next Thursday, so this needs to be fixed by then. How should I go about this? According to Jason's s site any engine made before 7/87 should have the cams that match my 5/87 turbo. Right? Anyways, should I do anything else while I'm in there? I'm not gonna send my heads away for a valve grind or anything, but if there is anything cheap and easy in there that I need to replace/mess with I'd like to get it out of the way. Anyways, again, Haynes doesn't say anything about removing the cams. Perhaps the FSM does? Where should I go from here? Would it be maybe easier to replace the whole head? Are junk yard cams/heads safe? Any info/input is appreciated. Thanks!

  • #2
    I've got a pair of cams that I was going to send in to have upgraded, but I ended up not having enough cash. If you're interested $40 + ship.
    It may not be a Z, but it's still got a turbo...


    • #3
      Replacing the cams with the engine in the car is not really that bad, provided you don't screw anything up...plan 2 - 3 days though in order to figure out how to work around took Jason and I about 2 full days to finish my cam swap, and we were only planning on 1 day. The haynes tells you to lift the engine to get the cams to clear the upper crossmember, but we found it easier to remove the mounts completely and lower the engine so the cams slide under the crossmember, (much easier with Jason's poly engine Isolators...I suggest buying some if you don't have them. They are well worth it for engine lifting alone!)

      1987 Nissan 300ZX Turbo (Budget Supercar)
      1987 Nissan 200SX SE (Old School FR)
      1994 Nissan Sentra SE-R (Balls To The Wall Track Car)
      2000 Nissan Maxima SE (Daily Driver)
      2006 Scion tC (Wife Whip)

      In an ideal world I would have all ten fingers on my left hand, so my right hand could just be a fist for punching.


      • #4
        that's pretty good, I managed 5 hours to tear the top of the engine down and have the cams out

        this particular engine was out of the car, only has 100k miles and just a very little crusted oil in the valleys....

        I peeked in my turbo motor with ~139k miles and it's beautiful.... the inside was spotless, but all the external stuff corroding - like the filler neck is beyond help.... gonna yank the lower intake as well, think it still has paper gaskets


        • #5
          Taris Blue wrote: ...plan 2 - 3 days though in order to figure out how to work around took Jason and I about 2 full days to finish my cam swap, and we were only planning on 1 day.
          I also was not planning on things like breaking off allen wrenches and having to drill out plenum bolts!

          Didn't I tell you to check the cam gear bolt torque when you posted before!?!?!? You probably came close to having bent valves there bud.

          Yeah, plan to do it over a weekend in case you mess something up. Swapping only one cam should take a lot less time, but still.

          You will need to resurface the lifters when installing the new camshaft. 1000 grit and a very flat smooth surface... rotate as you move them back and forth.


          • #6
            Yea, I guess you did. I think that I had forgotten to tighten it period. It probably was only finger tightened, and then I got distracted >.< but at this point I have no idea what happened. I actually didn't even have a torque wrench at the time. Since then I've ordered an "ok" one from harbor freight, which seems nice enough. Anyways, I've actually started to enjoy working on my car (except for doing crap like trying to get the timing gear off of the crank shaft. There is always plenty of that though :-P). Anyways, I see no information on how to remove the cam anywhere. Haynes gives me nothing, and I just ran through the FSM. I imagine, that I could figure it out, but I don't like the idea of that very much. I guess I'll have a nice practice run or 2 at the junk yard tomorrow beforehand though. Thanks!


            • #7
              Also, excuse me Jason, as I am a bit dense as far as some of this stuff goes, but your chart reference here basically says that I can NOT use a head from something before 4/87 on my 5/87 Turbo, however your cam info page states that I need a cam from before 7/87, on a Turbo or a n/a car. Which basically limits me to getting a head off of a 4/87 - 7/87 (2 month time span).

              Basically grabbing a junk yard cam from before 7/87 and swapping it in is my only choice unless I am extremely lucky. Correct? Do I even want to swap heads, or would cams be easier to do anyways? I don't have the ability to pull the engine out of the car.

              By the way, I really appreciate you taking the time to find all this info out, and post it on the internet.



              • #8
                Hmm, I thought for sure it was in haynes.

                Anyway, once the rocker shafts and lifters are off you just remove the 3 small 10mm bolts holding the rear cover on and remove the cam retaining bolt by gripping the cam on the appropriate location with vise grips (be VERY careful not to mar the journal).

                Remove the front seal and as you slide the cam forward wiggle it slightly so each journal will be able to align and slide through.

                utjon is selling some schneider cams, maybe you should just "upgrade" and buy those instead of stock ones. If you do get stock ones you don't have to worry about the year. That difference in degreeing on the later years is absolutely minimal and not worth concerning yourself over.


                • #9
                  The best way to prevent from damaging a cam when installing/removing it is to put a piece of clean wood under the lobe and let it wedge between the lobe and the head while turning. Soft enough to prevent damage, also strong enough to hold up to the job.
                  KILL HADJI


                  • #10
                    There are instructions to inspect the camshaft in the haynes, but I saw nothing as far as removing it. I'll double check everything, and try looking beyond the index. But just in case it is not included, Where do I grip it with the vice grips? Is it going to be obvious? What the heck is a journal? And so It comes through the front where the cam seal goes? Thats how it comes out? How much is utjon selling the cams for (just out of curiosity. Time isn't on my side). Bleh, I guess we will see how far common sense can take me, and I'll tripple check the haynes. Thanks for the advice. I'll be extra carful. I guess I also have the chance to practice it at the junk yard, and I'll take full advantage of that.

                    Also, slicktop on mentioned maxima engines to me. Do they have the water passages as my 5/87 T? Did they swap the w-series engine and what not?


                    • #11
                      wedge a flathead screwdriver through the cam gear in between any crack of the timing belt rear cover and head, the camgear has to be on the shaft for this to work but the bolt doesn't have to be tight, then use a 19mm? socket to undo the rear bolt of the shaft....

                      the front cam seal comes out easy with a flathead, jab it in the groove 1/4" then pry sideways, so you're not using it like a shovel

                      the whole thing should slip out after


                      • #12
                        es3 wrote: Also, slicktop on mentioned maxima engines to me. Do they have the water passages as my 5/87 T? Did they swap the w-series engine and what not?
                        All VG's made past 4/87 should be the w series "modified" engines, regardless of which vehicle they were installed in. 200sx, maxima, truck, pathfinder, quest, villager, M30, etc etc.


                        • #13
                          Did you re-use your original cam seals when you did the T-Belt job? I see high temp used, which isn't normal nor recomended. Those seals just need to be replaced with new ones (they're cheap!) and very carefully packed with a little extra vaseline(my personal practice to prevent early wear), then tapped into place until flush with the head.
                          *Seeing this, I would begin to have self doubt about alot of the steps you took when you did all of this to your car.
                          I am here to help...


                          • #14
                            Dan-TSS wrote: packed with a little extra vaseline(my personal practice to prevent early wear)
                            Vaseline? I always use moly grease.

                            I see a lot of cam/main seals replaced with RTV around the outside diameter, especially on chrysler products for some reason. I don't know why, because I've never had a new one leak.


                            • #15
                              oh really? High temp silicone around the outside was recomended to me by Engloid. No, I didn't re-use any seals. Should I go ahead and replace the 2 cam seals again along with the crank seal using only wheel greese?

                              No, cam removal is not in the haynes, meaning I have no clue what the torque specs are. Can anyone tell me these, or do they not matter?

                              Also, to remove the camshaft, I have to have the rocker shaft off right? Also, does the engine have to be tilted upwards to remove the cam? What is the best way to do this, especially since my only tool for this is my jack.