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Offline rowdyrunabout

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how to degree my cam
« on: March 06, 2015, 07:11:03 PM »
My pinto (79 2.3) has not run very good since it was built. The machine shop said try an aftermarket intake, then a new carburetor 4 barrel, then 2 barrel. The car just doesn't have any real acceleration. And it should with what they supposedly did to it. Now I find out (after another wasted $800) that they put an aftermarket cam in it and did not degree the cam. So things look right, but it's not. The tech from erson cams will not call me back to answer my questions. The cam has a 4 degree advance. How should I go about fixing it? Buy an adjustable cam gear and guess or take it apart? Another idea?

Offline pintosopher

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Re: how to degree my cam
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2015, 07:16:38 PM »
Was the head machined on the gasket surface?, if so, you'll need to get a Adjustable Cam sprocket to properly degree the cam. If your car has an automatic, be careful about wrong cam profile , it can make a slow car even slower.
 More details would help diagnose the issue.  :)
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Offline rowdyrunabout

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Re: how to degree my cam
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2015, 07:27:21 PM »
OK thanks. Yes the head was milled. I think he wrote it on the sheet in the garage. I'll have to look for it. I believe he took extra off to try to give me the most compression he could. I have a stock 4 speed. The cam is 274P,  rpm range 1500-4500, lobe sep 110, advance 4, advertised duration 274. OH, my timing at full advance 42! I'm sure that's not good.

Offline amc49

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Re: how to degree my cam
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2015, 02:59:28 AM »


   
   

CAM FORD 4CYL 2.3 274P

Strong street performer. Strong bottom end and mid range. Plus a good top end increase

    Specifications
    Technical Documents

    CC:
        2300
    Make:
        Ford
    Part Name:
        Engine Camshaft
    Advance:
        4
    Application:
        1974-1987 2300CC /2.3 OHC 4CYL
    Brand:
        Erson Cams
    Cam Type:
        HYDRAULIC FLAT TAPPET
    Duration @ .050:
        212/212
    Duration Advertised:
        274/274
    Grind Number:
        274P
    Gross Lift:
        .450/.450
    Lobe Center:
        110
    RPM Range:
        1500-4500
    Valve Lash:
        .000/.000

Cam should not run that bad, it would even work pretty good on an ATX. Might want to run a compression check just to see if motor is rock solid, if not all the part adding in the world won't help you. The valve job alone could easily kill you. The valve springs must have guaranteed clearances with that lift too. Retainer to follower, coil bind, retainer to guide top/seal, the like. The followers have to have clearance at the lifter collapsed too, if not the valve can be slightly held open and kiss all performance gone, gone, gone.......... ........

Offline Wittsend

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Re: how to degree my cam
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2015, 11:17:13 AM »
What you are stating sounds like the cam is retarded.  I just went through this with my daily driver Mazda Protege. In my case the crank balancer bolt had loosened to allow the balancer and lower cam sprocket to bang around and elongate the key slots and even damage the key itself.  This car also has crank triggered ignition so not only the cam, but the the ignition was retarded.  I kept getting frustrated because the car seemed increasingly slower and it wasn't until it got so loose (sounding like a bad rod bearing) that I was able to find the problem.

I doubt this is your problem, but retarded timing is retarded timing. It is possible that the cam timing was incorrect upon installation. On the 2.3 you can compensate the ignition by advancing the distributor.  That takes care of the ignition, but the cam timing would still be off. I would remove the cam covers and see if the timing marks are aligned on the upper and lower sprockets. It has been a while since I did a 2.3, but my recollection is that there is a plastic alignment marker that can be rather ambiguous.

Don't just indiscriminate ly advance the cam timing because "I think so." It may well be correct and you run the risk of bending valves or putting holes in pistons. Lastly, if in fact the cam timing is off, and does get corrected, then you will also have to readjust the ignition timing also.

Offline rowdyrunabout

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Re: how to degree my cam
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2015, 02:56:03 PM »
ok, timing marks are just about perfect. Maybe 1/2 a tooth off or less. compression ... 175 to 180 on all 4.

Offline amc49

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Re: how to degree my cam
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2015, 06:03:07 PM »
Compression is OK. A half tooth error when wanting to degree a cam is a lightyears off error. As well you have no idea of where true TDC is, the damper could be wrong there as well.

Offline Wittsend

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Re: how to degree my cam
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2015, 08:14:12 PM »
When you say the car "has not run very good" can you elaborate.

 Are you saying it ran better stock before you had this work done? Or, are you saying you have an expectation that it perform better than stock - and it has not met that goal?

 Is it an acceleration issue from a standing start, or is it lack of power (falling flat) after the car gets going?

What size tires are you running and what is the rear end ratio?  I've seen people have a sub 3.00 ratio, add 15" or 16" wheels/tires and wonder why the car B-O-G's.

Assuming the cam timing is correct (we don't know, but are assuming) then I might look at an exhaust restriction.

Offline rowdyrunabout

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Re: how to degree my cam
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2015, 09:36:56 PM »
The car had no engine or tranny. Found a 79 2.3 and had it built. I have a speedway 3" header down to 2.5" all the way out. Running original 13s. Stock rear end (76 pinto). At take off the car has nothing. I can tach it up dump the clutch and hardly bark the tire. I think it should burn the tire. It does move from gear to gear, but slowly. When I get on the expressway ramp, I have to floor it to keep a moped off by rear. Yes, It may not fall flat, but it is slow.

Offline Wittsend

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Re: how to degree my cam
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2015, 10:26:41 PM »
Well, as I said it is very similar to my retarded came timing experience. One thing that was noticeable for me was about 4,500 RPM there was a definitive increase in power - but that is characteristic of retarded timing - more power on the top end.

  Ideally you would find TDC with a dial indicator on the piston and check that with the mark on the pulley/balancer.  I guess if you used a piston stop you might be able to eyeball it with veneer calipers.  Frankly I do not have a answer for dealing with the hydraulic lifters as they are oriented in the 2.3 regarding cam lift. I've done it with a V-8 and just used the edge of the lifter. But in these OHC engines the lifter is a fulcrum point and any pressure will bleed the lifter unless you use one of those super soft "checking" springs.

I'll just keep throwing things out there..., A Holley with a defective power valve?

Offline HOSS429

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Re: how to degree my cam
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2015, 09:17:11 AM »
i dont think you need to worry about degreeing your cam as much as you need to simply make sure it is set on the correct tooth .. your car will run to some extent with the belt being off a tooth or two in either direction .. if you know how to remove the belt then do so and without turning the engine rotate the cam sprocket one tooth in either direction and see what the results are ..if it get worse then go  two teeth in the other direction .. you will have to advance or retard the distributor accordingly ..  degreeing a cam is a simple hop up process for an already top performing engine ..

Offline 78_starsky

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Re: how to degree my cam
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2015, 11:38:40 AM »
hi,   I don't know a thing about a 2.3, except that ive junked one once. 

Been following this thread though, and started to think in a different direction. was this car sitting for a long time before you put an engine in it? what is the back story? have you drove the car prior to the engine going in?

I am wondering if you have sticking back & front brake calipers? sticking parking brake?

did a shop build the motor, or did you?   if a shop did can't they make good for the work and be accountable for the service?  i am guessing a shop did, by you saying they put performance cam.  at the moment you running the 2 barrel stuff  or the 4?  and you have checked everywhere for vacuum leaks?

Wouldn't a 2.3 being off the cam (timing) ping, bog and back fire giving you a noticeable problem?   

Lastly, (as i said i never drove a 2.3 before) but what was your or is your comparison of the performance to?  are you going from a charger to a pinto? I am not sure how your car should perform from a standing acceleration, and is it as it should be?

cheers

Offline 82expghost

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Re: how to degree my cam
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2015, 12:25:13 AM »
for a reference,
a 77 with everything in tip top shape, with all stock parts should light the rear untill only one is spinning and when rolling, chirp into second, and thats even with the 2.72 rear gear, or 2.92 cant remember

find out how much the head was milled, the shop near me removes almost 1/2 an inch, thats more than a degree or two on the cam wheel, i would watch the lobes when cranking by hand to figure out if your in the ball park, also it will let you know if you have gone too far because you will feel by hand if you start tapping a valve.

as for carbs, four barrels are too much unless you substain 4000+ all day long and dont need to stop and go, a 350 2bbl is almost still to much, i personaly found the autolite carbs on stock ford 60s 289 or 302 are the best, and the jets are super easy to change without spilling gas or taking the carb off the car
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Offline amc49

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Re: how to degree my cam
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2015, 02:43:36 AM »
Nobody, and I mean NOBODY removes 1/2" off a head, 1/8" is a large amount.

He is correct as to the power reference there.

When degreeing one of these gut a hydro lifter and fill the operating metering space with a washer to make a simple solid lifter. Read off the valve retainer top and take rocker arm ratio into account for cam lift but backwards the numbers.

This sounds like one of those examples that is going to be real hard to account for the problem, there are just so many different things and possibly combo of several to make problems. I used to see it in cars that came into our shop all the time. You could find so many things you couldn't count but all appeared to be minor but with a new engine they were all gone and car ran like a totally different animal. Even if the owner seemed to know what he was talking about and doing. No insult intended there of course, it's just that reality can be hard to put logic to.

Offline dick1172762

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Re: how to degree my cam
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2015, 08:13:44 AM »
At around .130 off a 2.3L head you will start to get into the intake mounting bolts and have to stop cutting. Heads are plenty strong to do this. Racer Walsh said that for ever .040 removed, it would raise the compression ratio one point. Cheap HP but only with cam / intake / exhaust mods. Do it by its self with a 100% stock motor will not help and will just blow head gaskets due to the stock cams lack of over lap to bleed off the pressure in the cylinders.
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Offline Wittsend

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Re: how to degree my cam
« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2015, 07:52:25 PM »
Are you sure it wasn't .050 (fifty thousandths)? .500 would be half an inch. I'd think head bolts would bottom out, water jackets would open and if it ever sealed the compression would be so high (well, before the valves bent or went through the pistons) that the car wouldn't even crank over.

On level ground or slightly down hill how does the car perform?  My "retarded" Mazda engine seemed close to normal, but the slightest inclination would just bog the car. Then as I stated above at around 4,500 RPM it noticeably improved - at least back towards "normal."  I'm still thinking timing is the issue.

Question of the day: Are you sure the throttle blades are opening up properly? Just throwing things out there that are simple, but often overlooked.

Offline 82expghost

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Re: how to degree my cam
« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2015, 11:00:40 PM »
my half inch statement was more or less an exaderation, but the head that iv seen milled, the machininst had to redrill the intake and exhaust bolt holes and move them up. and the valves where almost flush with bottom of head, when he does mine for a N/A project, i will post pics, but thats miles down the roads.
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