My cam gear is toast - FFCars.com : Factory Five Racing Discussion Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-09-2018, 11:15 PM Thread Starter
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My cam gear is toast

I have a Blue Print 347 with just over 4,000 miles on it. It quit running with a timing issue, it back fired out the side pipes and carb then would not start. I pulled the distributor, gear looked new, new cap and rotor, put it back in. Tried to start, same thing. I pulled the distributor again and looked down the hole at the cam gear and found it was destroyed. The teeth on the gear were worn almost completely though all the way around and them three teeth striped off. I've had the engine for almost 4 years so it is well out of warranty but I called Blue Print anyway. They replaced all the parts I needed which they didn't have to do and they want to have the cam back to see what has happened here.

Here is my problem, it's a cast steel cam, hydraulic roller, and a steel dist. gear. Blue Print and Pertronics say that is the correct combination. I've been told by others that I should change the distributor gear to an OEM gear. What is that? Iron?

This engine does not have a high volume oil pump.

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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-09-2018, 11:55 PM
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The real question is: who made the cam? What does the cam manufacturer recommend? Frankly, I don't much care for what Blue Print or Pertronix has to say, they didn't make the cam and that isn't their specialty. There are a number of articles on this subject available on-line, the bottom line is that some combinations of cams and distributor gears don't play well together. Based on what you stated, it sounds like you had a material mis-match from the get-go, and your distributor gear ripped the cam gear to shreds.

Find out the cam manufacturer and use what they recommend.

HTH,

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-10-2018, 12:08 AM Thread Starter
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Blue Print buys the blank cams from Crane with the gears already cut.

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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-10-2018, 12:21 AM
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Agreed

I agree with Video, you need to find out what cam BluePrint used four years ago in their builds.

Factory SBF's w/ roller cams use a steel gear with their steel cam - if Blueprint changed the cam and did NOT use one of FORD's "letter" cams, you're in for a research adventure. Once you replace the cam, with the manufacturer of your choice, get the proper gear for your dizzy from their recommendation.

Unfortunately, your engine is probably not in great shape after having all that metal floating around in it for some time - this didn't happen overnight.
You're looking at a complete engine tear-down and more-than-likely bearings at mains and rods, oil pump too as a minimum. Either way, a complete tear-down is called for here.

Only other possibility is the oil pump sucked up something into it and ground to a stop, but that usually shears the dizzy gear pin or snaps the pump drive shaft, won't grind a cam gear down - that's a metal mis-match issue.

Good Luck . . .

Doc
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-10-2018, 12:28 AM
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Here's one of the articles I found on the subject, including some comments from Crane:

Selecting The Correct Distributor Gear - It's All About The Details - StangTV

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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-10-2018, 03:45 AM
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John, sorry to read about your cam gear issues.

Recently I've been researching Blueprint engines and one of my primary questions has been the correct distributor gear to use on their roller cam 347s. In fact I PMed Yama-Bro (Frank) on the other forum last month regarding this issue and here's what he had to say. (He's building a Factory Five Roadster and works for Blueprint.)

Quote:
We recommend a standard melonized iron gear with our camshafts. Our camshafts are composed of SADI material (Special Austempered Ductile Iron) which work great in conjunction with a melonized iron gear.

We would recommend the use of an MSD Iron gear in our engines since the camshaft is composed of different material than the Ford steel camshaft. More specifically, MSD gear part number 85832 depending on the exact MSD distributor you have.

Thanks,

Frank
As a follow-up, I contacted Johnny at Blueprint and requested info on the distributors they use in their complete engine packages. He provided the part number for the MSD distributors they use and it's got an iron gear. Note that the two gears MSD uses on their Ford distributors, both the steel and the iron, are "melonized".

From what I've gathered, use the steel gear only when using a Ford alphabet cam or an aftermarket cam ground from a steel billet; all other applications probably require an iron gear.

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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-10-2018, 12:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadscholar View Post
Here is my problem, it's a cast steel cam, hydraulic roller, and a steel dist. gear. Blue Print and Pertronics say that is the correct combination. I've been told by others that I should change the distributor gear to an OEM gear. What is that? Iron?

This engine does not have a high volume oil pump.

John
Those two will not work together. Like Jim states, needed an iron gear for that cam.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-10-2018, 12:54 PM
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First thing I would do is cut the oil filter in half and drop the oil pan for inspection.

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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-10-2018, 04:17 PM
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When I upgraded my cam Comp recommended I use a composite gear because it is universal. It costs me $115.00. Is this true?

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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-10-2018, 04:25 PM
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Joe, when I called Comp about what gear to use they told me the same thing. Then I asked if I could use a melonized steel gear with their billet cam and they said yes. I think their standard answer is to use the composite. It's safe for all cams. But in my research they are more prone to fail.

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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-10-2018, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony_G View Post
But in my research they are more prone to fail.
Not what I wanted to hear. I guess I will need to add to my growing race maintenance, pull dist and inspect gears occasionally.

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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-10-2018, 06:01 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone.

RobBaker, I have changed my oil twice on this car and that is what I do with the filter. On the first filter I found nothing, on the second filter from last week I didn't find any thing in the element it self however there was sparkely stuff in the bottom of can (I have the filter located on the front X member in a vertical position) . In the pan I found a few chards of the gear. The pan gasket is now leaking so this oil change and re-inspection will be very soon.

On a side note, my wife doesn't want the can opener back. She is going to buy a new one. I told her I would wash it.

John
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-10-2018, 11:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony_G View Post
Joe, when I called Comp about what gear to use they told me the same thing. Then I asked if I could use a melonized steel gear with their billet cam and they said yes. I think their standard answer is to use the composite. It's safe for all cams. But in my research they are more prone to fail.
Tony, you better do more research. I'm not sure the "melodized" gear is as hard as a steel gear. A billet cam must run a steel gear.
When I put together my engine, I called MSD to find out the part # for a steel gear replacement on the distributer. I was told that "no one makes a steel billet cam" and that " the cast gear was the correct one to use". To which I replied, " really, the tag on my cam, 'a Trick Flow stage II' says its a billet cam that MUST use a steel gear". So I hung up and found a different source fo the correct gear.
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-11-2018, 12:09 AM
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Tony, you better do more research. I'm not sure the "melodized" gear is as hard as a steel gear. A billet cam must run a steel gear.
When I put together my engine, I called MSD to find out the part # for a steel gear replacement on the distributer. I was told that "no one makes a steel billet cam" and that " the cast gear was the correct one to use". To which I replied, " really, the tag on my cam, 'a Trick Flow stage II' says its a billet cam that MUST use a steel gear". So I hung up and found a different source fo the correct gear.
Rich, it's a steel gear that is melodized. Not an iron/cast gear. I gave Comp my cam number and they gave me the part number for a Comp gear. That's what I have on it. From what I understand, melodizing is a hardening process/coating.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-11-2018, 04:56 PM
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I have a Roush 427 sitting on a stand at home that came out of a Superformance car. I picked it up for a steal because it ate the cam gear with about 1500 miles on it. The cam in it is a Trickflow stage 3. The story I got from the shop doing the engine replacement chalked it up to a defective "heat treat" on the cam; i.e. the "sadi" process.
The point being that it could be a defective part. It used to be that all roller cams were steel billet, but now days I think most off the shelf roller cams are in fact cast iron (sadi) which really adds to the confusion, especially when you have the of possibility of defective processes.
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post #16 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-11-2018, 10:22 PM
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No D in Melonize :)

Engineering
Melonizing®
During MELONIZING® a nitrocarburized layer is formed consisting of the outer compound layer (ε-iron nitride) and the diffusion layer thereunder. The formation, microstructure and properties of the compound layer are determined by the base material. The compound layer consists of compounds of iron, nitrogen, carbon and oxygen. Due to its microstructure, the compound layer does not possess metallic properties. It is particularly resistant to wear, seizure and corrosion, as well as being stable almost to the temperature at which it was formed. Compared with plasma or gas nitro-carburizing, compound layers with the highest nitrogen content can be obtained by MELONIZING®. Layers with a high nitrogen content give better protection against wear, and in particular corrosion, than those with a low content.
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post #17 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-11-2018, 10:39 PM
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I still have trouble believing that in this era that this cam gear and cam mating is so confusing. These are the comments from Summit Racing with respect to my MSD dist with a "steel" gear. Does this mean I could have left the gear on dist and used it with my new Comp cam XE276HR???

Is the steel gear that comes with this distributor compatible with a Trick Flow Hydraulic Roller cam?
Cam part number TFS-51403001

A:
Thanks for your question. The MSD Ignition 8598 will fit the roller cam Trick Flow Specialties TFS-51403001.

Summit RacingSummit Racing Answer - January 26, 2017


Q:
Many austempered ductile iron camshafts call for the use of a Melonized steel or iron distributor gear. MSD generalizes the compatibility of the gear in distributor 8598 gear. It is imperative to know whether its gear is indeed melonized. Can someone confirm this?
Asked by ABEL on February 01, 2017

A:
Yes it is. I had the very same concern and contacted MSD to verify that it did indeed come with the melonized gear as my CompCams XE called for it. If still in doubt just contact MSD and ask. Or contact Summit Tech they're fantastic! BTW I Love this distributor in my 347 Stroker

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post #18 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-12-2018, 12:07 AM
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Right? What are you supposed to do when the MSD tech tells you, "no one makes billet steel cams, use the iron gear thats on the distributer"?
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post #19 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-12-2018, 04:40 PM
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I used a Comp Cams composite dist gear with a 351w and it lasted 1200 miles before literally falling apart. Needless to say, I wasn't impressed, they refused to refund my hundred bucks.

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post #20 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-12-2018, 05:53 PM
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Component compatibility is probably the most difficult part of any of our builds. It is why I picked a complete crate engine. Blueprint stood behind their engine long after the warranty was done. Thanks Mark for the explanation of that treatment process. We have a great group of vendors here.

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post #21 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-12-2018, 09:55 PM
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First time I've ever had a distributor gear problem with a sbf. I outsmarted myself by thinking the composite was somehow more reliable. So much for that theory!

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