Friday, January 27, 2012

Explorer Engine Swap - Getting The Shaft - Putting The Cam In

Up to this point we have discussed preparing your engine for all of this work.  We have also discussed how to change the valve springs, now it is time to move on to the camshaft.

A pre-requisite is that you have at least performed the tasks prior to this to change the valve springs.  There are a couple of prep pieces that we will need to do in order to get the cam in place, but we will cover that here.  Also, it is very typical that you use the camshaft from your Mustang when doing this.  I had the advantage of having a friend donate one to me from an upgrade he did earlier.

Since we have stripped down this engine in our previous steps, we are now ready to start removing the pieces necessary for the cam shaft replacement.

If you were unaware, the camshaft is located behind the water pump and timing cover.  But in order to replace it, we also have to remove some pieces in the top of the engine.

The first thing that we will want to remove is the tensioner plate  There should be 2 small bolts holding this on. Once you remove this you will want to place it back by your push rods and rocker arms.

Next you will want to remove your lifters.  There is a plate that holds them in place to prevent them from spinning.  This just pulls up.  You can then gently pull up your lifters out of the holes.  As you get them close to the top you will need to tilt them slightly so that you can get them out.  Make sure you track these lifters as you did with the rocker arms and push rods.  They need to go back in the same holes as they came out of.  This is very important as they have been mated with the pushrod and rocker arm since they were all used together for so long.

Once all of these pieces have been removed it is time to start on the front disassembly of the engine.

You can start with removal of the water pump.  This is pretty straight forward just remove all of the bolts. You will want to keep note of where the bolts are that have the studs sticking out of them so that you can mount your brackets the same way they came off.  Remember you want to note how they are on the Mustang, not the Explorer because you need to use the mustang brackets.

Something to note.  These bolts should come out pretty easily.  If it feels like you have to use some force to turn these bolts you need to stop and get a torch and heat up the cover and block where the bolt goes in.  Sometimes these get corroded from the coolant or just the typical reaction between aluminum and steel.  If you force them without heat, they may break and then you will have an even bigger problem on your hands.  Take the time to do it right.

You should be replacing the water pump with a new one so you will want to put this in your "can sell" or recycle pile since it is made out of aluminum.

At this point you will want to remove your harmonic balancer.  Please note that you are not going to be using this on reassembly because it is a different part than you need.  You can put this in your "can sell" pile.  Each part that you can sell is less money that you will have in the project.

There is a special puller that you will either need to purchase or use a "loan a tool" program for.  It has 4 loop style holes on it with a threaded rod that goes thru the center.  3 bolts will screw into the harmonic balancer thru those holes and as you turn the threaded rod into the crank shaft, it will slide the balancer off.  (You have to remove the center bolt first, but I thought that was a given)

Once the harmonic balancer is off, you can remove the remaining bolts from the timing cover.

Something to note is that the front of the oil pan is bolted to your timing cover.  Eventually we will be removing the entire oil pan, but you don't have to at this time.

You will probably need to pry the timing cover a bit to get it off.  Be careful not to damage this cover.

Once the timing cover is off, you will be able to see the timing chain.  Something you will want to notice.  Before removing the timing chain, wiggle the chain that is there.  Notice how loose it is.  This happens over time.  That is why I recommend that you replace this since you will have it off.

Take the bolt out of the cam shaft.  You will want to keep this bolt close by.  Once the bolt is removed, you can wiggle the timing chain off of the crank shaft and cam shaft.

Next you will want to remove the part known as the thrust plate.  This is held on by two bolts behind the timing chain.

Take your bolt that you had removed from the timing chain and screw it into the camshaft.  This next part is a bit tricky so you will want to use a lot of care.  Take a pair of vise grip style pliars and secure them to the head of the bolt with the handle sticking out so you can hold onto it.  Slowly slide the cam shaft out ensuring that it does not drop down after the front bearing is cleared.  There is a gear there that is used by the distributor and if it falls down you will scar your bearing.  So be very very careful when pulling this out.

Continue this process slowly raising each bearing area passed the next trying not to damage any bearings.  Keep in mind that the bearing holes get bigger the further you move out of the engine so it will be easier to pull out.

Put this cam in a safe place.  It will be able to be sold or brought in for scrap.  You don't want to damage it if you don't have to.  Make sure it is nowhere near your cam you are going to put back in the car because you don't want to get them confused.

At this point you want to inspect your cam that you are going to put in the car.  Make sure there is not any excessive wear on the camshaft lobes or bearings.  With your shop rag, you will want to wipe all old engine oil off of the cam.  Take some installation lube and put it around the bearing areas so they will be lubricated a bit while you are putting the engine back together.  Now we will put the timing chain bolt in the Mustang cam and attach the vise grip pliars to it so we can put it back in.

Remember how you removed the cam, you want to be just as careful putting it back in.  Try not to hit the bearings if at all possible.  Remember the holes are getting smaller the more you put the cam in the engine.  The last bearing line up may be a bit harder than the rest, but it isn't real difficult.

Put some installation lube on the front of your camshaft and install the thrust plate back on.  This plate is set at a specific torque setting, make sure you look it up.

By now, I am guessing you have spent a minimum of 2 hours on this part of the project.  In the next post I will discuss the oil pump and assembly of the timing chain.

Good Luck!

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