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I built a 351 windsor (yes a Ford!) for my next door neighbor and during cam break-in, I lost 2 lobes on the cam. I built this engine like I have been doing for 25 years and have never had this problem. I done a lot of reading and talked with some engine builders since then and I am amazed at the huge increase in hydraulic cam lobe failures in the last couple of years. It seems as though the oil companies are not putting zinc and other anti-wear additives in the oils like they use to. Comp Cams says that is why their cams are failing. Have any of you guys had this problem? Is Lunati and Crane experiancing the same failures? Not everyone can afford the triple cost of putting roller cams in their engines. I wonder if putting a bottle of GM E.O.S. in every time you change oil would help. Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.
 

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I had an edelbrock cam that wore a lobe off around 3,000 miles which in turn put metal all in my engine and ruined the bearings and had to rebuild. The cam was hyd with 488/510 lift,It was the "Performer RPM" cam.
 

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my boss fails 50 percent of the cams he installs...(he`s a glazier)lmao...thats 1 reason he has me do them...but yes, todays oils have a much higher lubricity factor than old oils...i believe even rotella is going to low zinc...lots of guys say to use rotella, and eos...you could also get a custom grind, or regrind, i was told my my mechine shop that regrinds and costom grinds are of existing and pre hardened, or tempered camshafts...
 

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A friend of mine recently built up his 351 C and had the cam go flat in it. He changed it out (and all the bearings, lifter, rockers and pushrods, ect.) After about 2,000 miles he lost oil pressure and has since torn the engine down only to discover that his NEW cam was also failing! His machinist told him the same story about the modern oils not having enough zinc for our older engines. He is going to a full roller set up to, hopefully, have an engine that will last. Is there any oil out there that still contains the zinc? Is this even true?
 

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Todays oils are not verry good. There have been several articals in the mags about this lately. This is because of EPA regulations. sulpher and Zinc are leaving the oils. Too much valve spring pressure will kill a cam also.
 

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If a cam is going to fail, all the damage will be in the 1st 20 to 60 sec of fire up. Assuming the cam has be ground correct
One can still get hi Zn oils... these are for track application only...we use Zn oil for the 1st firing bedding in, then drained and std oils used.
We also use the cam manufacturors lube grease, and in the case of a custom billet cam...not down the workshop now, but it is a Black tube.

We have had instances where a chevy cam has been ground with the lobe taper as a ford...Fords the taper is alternative to stop the cam wandering, the chevy the tapers are all the same way to push the cam to the back of the engine as the lifters spin.
If the tapers are the wrong angle, the lobes will wear.
Mention is made of hi lift and hydrolic lifters...this combo needs slower ramps, again if fast lift the lobes are prone to fail...So choose your cam carefully.
If going for hi lift and going to pull higher rpms, dont use hydrolic.
Another common cause is incorrect valve springs...hence why many manufactures will sell cam/spring combos now.
 

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Steptoe is correct,..the vast majority of cams are lost in the first few minutes of start-up.

I've made my position clear on this matter on previous posts. I believe the blame is misplaced here. The cam companies have succussfully blamed today's oils but I say bull. I say the ramps are too aggressive. This all started with Comp's XE line which broke the rules of lift and duration for flat-tap cams. Other cams co's followed with even more aggressive ramps and here we are. XE cams that do survive are reported to be noisy...(do a search "noisy XE cam" and you'll get 105 hits in this site). I contend these newer aggressive grinds are bad designs with high failure rates. I'm in the minority though.

But if zinc and phosphoperous were the answer, why aren't the cam co's supplying a bottle of the necessary additives with the sale of each cam?

Why isn't their pre-lube more effective?

Why were the cam companies caught off-guard by all this? If a lobe(s) is wiped, the cam co. is only out a cam at cost (if they're in the mood), but you or I have to baically rebuild an engine. I think we're too easy on Comp and others.

My opinion, worth what you paid.
 

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Just from my experiences:

Ive broken in two XE cams. Both with "regular" oil. No problems with break in, no noise from either.

Last one I did was a high compression, solid lifter 302 with the 140 cam, did not remove the inner valve springs. Used the Rotella + EOS. No issues.

There obviously seems to be an issue in the last couple of years with wiping out cams. Whether its the oil or the cams themselves, I dont know.
 

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If I remember right CC has said that anything past a magnum lobe was really for the track b/c of being so aggressive which equate's to shorter cam life regardless vs stock.

This is why I'm always mouthing off about the old-school cams b/c they flat last a long time imho.

Cams like the old Duntov, the -151, -962 , -178 and 30-30 too!! They had to b/c they were under warrantee by GM back then!!

And fwiw, the old aftermarket cams I ALWAYS bring up for the about 10 to 1 CR. engines fall in here too!!

CC's 268HE and 270 Magnum;

Isky's 270 Mega: and

Crane Cam Dynamics old 272/272 Energizer and 274H06..
All fall in here too, imho.

I always smear each lobe and lifter foot up w/ moly-lube as well as the rocker balls and all the p/r tips to keep start-up wear to an absolute min. Then I also add a bottle of GM's EOS on top of a 30wt straight run oil.

Then start her fast and bring her up to 2,500 and blipping to 3,000 or so rpm FAST so tha the cam lobes can get splashed lubed from the oil being slung off the rods!!

Never lost one yet but I haven't really built that many engines in my lifetime either.

pdq67

PS., plus finger lube each lifter's bore and also make darn sure each lifter hand spins!!
 

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Very good write up on the above post concerning "new oils vs. old". This brings me back memories of what we used to do when I was young and behind the parts counter. For new motors as well as new cam installations, not only did we recommend the GM EOS, but Pennzoil HD Black Label 30 wt oil. I dont think you can find it today as well as the equal Amalie oils. This was an oil with no detergents. Its basically lawn mower oil as well as diesel motor oil.
In the older days it was unheard of to use diesel oil as everyone wanted to keep motors clean so it was Pennzoil with Z-7. It was unheard of to have cam fails back then. Delo and Rotella were always considered as diesel oils, you always see gallon jugs at the truck stops.
On second thought, maybe this new oil is a ploy to the clunker laws?
 

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I always smear each lobe and lifter foot up w/ moly-lube as well as the rocker balls and all the p/r tips to keep start-up wear to an absolute min. Then I also add a bottle of GM's EOS on top of a 30wt straight run oil.

Then start her fast and bring her up to 2,500 and blipping to 3,000 or so rpm FAST so tha the cam lobes can get splashed lubed from the oil being slung off the rods!!

PS., plus finger lube each lifter's bore and also make darn sure each lifter hand spins!!
While the points about aggressive lobes and "bad" oil are certainly valid, Paul's points above, plus doing a "correct" (and correct to me means err on the side of "loose") initial rocker adjustment are the things we can control.

I bet if we could do a "double poll" we would find a direct relationship between those engines that fired, ran, and completed the breakin period immediately AND those cams that did NOT go flat.

Not saying there's not ever a problem with the cam or the oil, just saying the "ripe candidates" for a flat lobe are those engines that take hours of cursing over days to get fired properly.
 

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I'm sure most new XE cams survive break-in. By "high-failure rate" I'm probably talking 10%, which in my small mind is unacceptable. And a 10% FR at GM would have put GM out of business which is where I think the XE cam should be. Comp could better tell you a more exact failure rate, but they'll never report it.

Again, Comp is out very little if a lobe is wiped. It's the consumer who pays a heavy price.

And I violently agree wit PDQ above,..we hear very few reports of wiped lobes with older tried-and-true grinds with less aggressive ramps.
 

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I bet if we could do a "double poll" we would find a direct relationship between those engines that fired, ran, and completed the breakin period immediately AND those cams that did NOT go flat.
I agree...
On an engine that doesnt fire straight up, Zn oils could then come into play.
 
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