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Ranger roller cam retarded one tooth? WTH? Why?

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Hello everyone! So l'm new to the turbo game, since l totaled my 71 V8 car and am currently building a cruising wagon l ran across a 77 cruising wagon with an 88 T-Bird turbo swap. l decided to buy it to have a Pinto to drive while building my new car. The guy told me he had put a ranger roller cam in it. Well the valve cover gasket was leaking a little bit and it was due for an oil change so l figure this is a good time to make sure it's a roller, otherwise l'm going to have to use racing oil with zinc in it. So it does have a roller, but l also decided to check the cam timing because quite honestly, l think this car it a turtle!  ;D  So l get it on TDC and the cam is retarded 1 tooth! Really? Did he just screw up when he timed it? Well l'm thinking hell yeah no wonder it's a turtle! So l set the cam to 0 and go for a test drive and l swear it didn't seem to make any difference! Maybe slower? Really? l mean l really expected a huge difference! l know, l know, l need to get my G-Meter on it and make some test runs but l'm just totally confused. l really don't know much about the car but he did tell me it has a bigger turbo and a stock tune and a performance tune that is on a toggle switch. l don't feel any difference but again, l haven't made ant test runs, just seat of the pants. To me, the bigger turbo was a mistake because it doesn't build boost until about 3400 rpm and the rev limiter is at 6200. So anyway, back to the main question, is there any reason to run the cam retarded? Or did he just screw up?  :-\


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I find the timing marks to be very vague on that shifting plastic housing. Every time I replace the belt I mark the belt and pully's then transfer to the new belt. If it ran decent before it was assumed correct. The "tune" switch is actually factory. Off is for regular gas and On is for Premium gas and it controls the boost (maybe timing and fuel too???).

As to the Ranger cam, it actually has less lift than the factory slider cam. I believe the results (air flow) come out similar because the roller aspect allows for a "fatter" cam where the duration may be similar but at any given point (for the most part) it is at a higher lift on the ramp. I hope I didn't confuse you. The lift on the roller is lower overall but MOST of the way up the ramp it is higher at a matched duration to the slider cam. That is something the roller allows for that would likely be excessive on a slider cam. At least that is what I have been told.

My '73 wagon has a similar set up as yours. '88 T/C engine (stock otherwise) and a T-5 with 3.40 gears and 205-60-13 tires. Even with the smaller IHI turbo (and it is even smaller than earlier turbos to spool up faster) it is like a N/A engine until the boost comes on. And it only comes on with a heavy foot around 2,500-3,000 RPM. And frankly there isn't much past 4,500-5,000 RPM. From my experience the "fun" (so to speak) with the turbo motor comes from a slow, steady pressing of the throttle after shifting out of the "granny" 1st gear. It seems to respond like a stock N/A engine at the beginning but at some point the boost feels like the car is rapidly gathering speed. Unfortunately by 5,000 RPM the E-Ticket ride is shortly over and you need to shift.

Originally I had 3.00 gears and 215-60-14" tires. Honestly from a performance perspective it was more enjoyable to drive. You stayed in a given gear much longer and you could feel that "gathering speed" aspect for a much longer time between shifts. And the car never felt any slower for it.  However, on the surface streets at posted speed limits the car never seemed to have the right gear. One gear was too low and the next up was too much bog. So, That is why I went to the 3.40 and 205-60-13" tires. Everyday driving is far better now but the performance aspect is as stated above where the car blips in and out of boost for the all too soon shift. It seems you can have one, but not the other.

l agree the factory marks can be off a little bit but for a stock set-up they're close enough. l have a set of cam degree tools from my racing days and no question it was one tooth off. l know about the premium fuel switch and he said that's what they used to switch from stock to performance tune. ln other words they enhanced the premium fuel setting. Anyway it would be nice for the boost to come in at a much lower rpm because it really could use more low end power. To compare (l know, apples and oranges) l have a Fusion with a 2.0 Ecoboost that has a really small turbo and builds boost right away. lt is a fun car to drive and will smoke the Pinto like a cheap cigar. lt's stock other than a cat-back and it runs low 9's in the 1/8th with a best of 9.29.
At any rate l was just wondering if there was some advantage to running late cam timing on a turbo. l wouldn't think so?

I'm just not versed on anything beyond stock. I know there are a few Turbo Pinto people who have been here. 65 Shelby Cobra seems to modify beyond stock. Maybe he can give you more info. That said I only see him post only ever so often.  Maybe NATO or the Ranger Station would be of help.


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