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Camshaft Sprocket Failure

Thanks to Sheriff Buford T. Justice, Michael T. Ivy and BlueOvalNews.com

Both Vadim at the SHO SHOP and Doug Lewis of FPS are reporting phone calls about V8 SHO camshaft failure. The lobes themselves are not failing but about a dozen owners have experienced chain  sprocket  failing and since the engines are not non-interference engines this results in bent valves and possibly bent connecting  rods and damaged pistons. 

As a group we need to document this as well as possible. Folks are snapping up up the bone-yard engines as this happens but if this is common we need to bust on FOMOCO for a recall. 

Please contact me if you can provide any more details.

Hello, Tim:

From V8sho.com site I read with interest your request for documentation on camshaft/sprocket failures. I have a '96 SHO with about 85,000 miles. It has been a daily driver which gave zero trouble up to that point.

It has never been raced or abused or even loaned out. It has been run in the high plains of New Mexico usually above 6500 ft., but never overheated. Mobil 1 has been used in the crankcase since about 10,000 miles. My SHO is now at Chalmers Ford (Rio Rancho, NM) with a failed camshaft. The break was described to me as being in the metal somewhere between the sprocket and the first lobe. Attributed to interference at failure are also at least four valves, four pistons, and four connecting rods. The economics given to me were: (a) replace entire engine at about $12,000, (b) go out on my own and find a used engine (they offered to install for about $5,000-6,000, but would not guarantee the work for any period of time), (c) find a buyer for the car in its present condition (no greater than $2,000, I take the loss on my loan, and they roll the loss into a new Ford-financed Ford auto purchase). At the time I bought the car from lease, no mention of the potentially high engine replacement price was mentioned.

It seems to me that 85,000 miles is a little early for a major engine failure. I've had old Beetle engines that lasted longer. Many vehicles in this high and dry environment make at least 150,000 miles with reasonable care. What about a recall? Are there other safety issues? My SHO died at idle, but could one be looking at a major explosion and fire at speed? Can Ford be induced to provide at least a partial voucher for repair or replacement?

Any thoughts or repair suggestions you may have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for letting me vent.

Bruce C. Lamartine
610 Meadow Lane
Los Alamos, NM, 87544


We are doing what we can, you you and ourselves, collecting accounts and details. The best advise I can give is to get a lawyer involved ASAP. They can get information about other cases like yours during discovery. Take them to the wood shed for your self and for us.

Thanks for your contribution.


Doug said to put 4 spot welds on each cam sprocket. The cam is hollow so you need someone good. Doug's fee would be ~$400.00. Of course while your there a new tranny, 100k mile valve adjustment, spark plugs......... Shouldn't cost more than $4000.00 or so. :)

Paul Nimz
'97 TR
'93 EG mtx

Do you have any more detailed information about this, or do we need to pester Doug about it? If I were to take this info to a decent mechanic, would they know what to do, or is there a certain precision or tolerance involved?

Sorry to sound dumb about this but I am.

'98 TR

Mike Holhut's cam sprockets are starting to go. He was getting a loud ticking noise in his engine. Doug Lewis listened to it and confirmed it was the sprocket loosening up on the cam. He explained how it is designed...piss poor design....and what the fix is. The sprockets are only swedged onto the camshaft. He said the valve covers need to come off and the sprocket needs to me MIG welded to the cam...all 4 sprockets. MIG weld each sprocket to the cam with 3 welds. He said the cost of having this done is about $400...what he charges. Mike is driving his back to Massachusetts and is going to get it done there. As I remember things of interest from the convention I will post them. I have that CRS thing...can't remember sh_t....old age as I turn 46 tomorrow.

Bob Fijal

I hear a quiet rattling/ticking coming from my engine, but it's hard to hear over the other regular engine sounds. It sounds like it's coming from maybe the intake manifold or something. I never had a chance to hear Holhut's car at Tulsa, but is that the sound his was making?


97 ES 72k: 15.514@90.47
SHO Club Member
Firestone Firehawk SP50s 225/55/R16
Nimzified Intake w/K&N Panel
Coustic 2x200W Amp
2x10" Bostons
Audio Access Panel
26mm Sway Bar
Super Stealth Custom G-Tech
Thrush Turbos/No Res

Kenny I would think you are just hearing the chain clicking in the sprockets and the tensioner. You should have a miss if the sprockets shift. When you are up next to a wall with the windows down and rpms up high you can real hear the high pitched noise the chains make. Sounds great.

Paul Nimz
'97 TR
'93 EG mtx


This is exactly the noise my 96 was making. Had to eventually take to the Ford dealer to fix. They have it now. They say its timing chain and guides.......I go up every day, but have not started yet. Having a hard time getting one of the tensioners in. With the "cam sprocket" thing, I as not going to drive the car until it was fixed. Rather costly.....2000.00. Chain and goodies was only 498.00...the rest....labor. With the high cost of labor on these cars, has anyone tried this repair themselves, and should someone, that is not a professional mechanic, attemp this ?? I think, the next repair...I'm diving in and getting my feet wet on this repair thing. I do have other cars to drive.


Don Harrold
96 BS
Joplin, Missouri

Kenny, Mike's were pretty loud at idle, it definitely sounds like something is wrong. Plus the sound went away when he revved it a bit.

Ron Porter
Lake Orion, MI
'99 black 33K

Hi Tim,
I don't know if this helps you any, but the sprocket on my rear camshaft failed at about 78,000 miles, bending 8 valves. It cost about $2,800 to get repaired (Not to mention it took my Ford dealer 11 weeks to correctly diagnose the problem, get the parts and fix it). There was an audible indication of what was about to happen (At the time I didn't know what it was) A loud constant ticking noise coming from the S-Belt side of the engine.

Hope this helps,

Matt Moore (96 SHO)

It seems that Gen 3 SHOs have two major mechanical issues, transmission life and camshaft sprocket failure.  SHOs above 50,000 miles are starting to see this cam sprocket failure at a disturbing rate.  A V8 SHO engine does not have the valve clearance a V6 SHO has, if  a V6 loses a timing belt and a piston comes up on an open valve it can not reach it and the only cost is to get the upper end and lower end back in time and replace the belt.

A V8 SHO is an interference engine, meaning that if a timing chain  or sprocket slips the results will be catastrophic. Valves can bend, cams ruined, pistons cracked.  The cost of repair may exceed the value of the whole car.

Vadim and Doug Lewis are reporting an increasing number of these from all over the country. We have had several long term SHO owners leave the list because they lost an engine.  One IMPORTANT reason to have a FAQ and an organization if to address common problems like this.  Maybe we can convince FOMOCO they have an problem.  Otherwise at $10,000+ a failure as a group we are doomed.

What I recommend is that anyone who has experienced this PLEASE drop me a note. Maybe if we get our ducks in a row we can shift the cost of bad design back to the designers.

Whatever you do, if your SHO develops a engine ticking, don't drive it to failure!!!

If as a group we don't manage this situation professional and competently we will not long survive!


My '97 SHO broke a camshaft sprocket at approximately 60,000 miles. I bought a used engine from engines.com for $2000 (freight included) that has a 6 month unlimited mileage warranty. Robke Ford in Covington, Ky replaced the engine for $2100. I contacted Ford and was turned down by their Consumer Relations people and their Appeals Board. I plan to sell this car next summer, am thinking about selling my '91 and never purchasing another Ford. I even offered to pay labor if they would supply the needed parts.

Lindsey Briggs

Tim, I saw your note on the V8sho.com website re: Cam failures.

Last December, I was driving my car and I heard a ticking sound, and all of a sudden the car went dead. It turned out to be a failure in the camshaft and that threw the entire engine out of time.

Luckily I had an extended warranty and they covered the repair that included a new block and heads. Total cost was $18,000 CDN and over 3 months to repair (parts had to be ordered).

My 96SHO had 84K kilometers on it at the time.

Interestingly enough, after installing the new motor, I noticed absolutely no difference in sound, drivability or performance. This was confirmed when I ran my GTEC Pro on it. Pretty impressive that a five year old motor still ran like new.

Unfortunately, some gremlins have now crept up since the motor replacement. The latest being an intermittent no start situation (lots of cranking but it doesn't engage). My warranty expires next spring so I will sadly trade my SHO in at that time or before.

Best Regards,

Dan Madon.

Major Account Manager
Cisco Systems Canada Co.
Suite 3400, P.O. Box 802
Bay Wellington Tower
BCE Place, 181 Bay Street
Toronto, ON M5J 2T3
email: dmadon@cisco.com

Hello Tim,

I recently purchased a '96 with about 50,000 miles on it, the motor had the ticking noise you described. The noise seems to be coming from the back of the motor near the passenger's side footwell. After speaking to Doug about the problem, I decided to tackle the problem myself. After removing the valve cover, I discovered that it was indeed the intake cam sprocket that was trying to work its way loose. After several tack welds and 3 hours of work the motor sounds great.

Gil Gutierrez
Aurora, IL
'96 silver
'92 black
'89 black
'00 Yamaha V-Star

Hello Tim,

Thanks for getting this information out. I own a black '99 with just under 25,000 miles. I started to hear a slight ticking sound while I was at a drive thru. At first it almost sounded like a rattle. (I think I heard it pretty early on) So, I kept listening and it started getting worse. It was coming from under the valve covers or intake. After a while, it started sounding like a sewing machine. It was running ok, but sounded awful. That's when I started looking for any information about this on V8sho.com. When I read about the camshaft sprocket failure problem, I knew what my problem was. The dealer replaced a camshaft. Thank God it was under warranty. My heart really goes out to the guys who are having this problem out of warranty. I just hope that I don't have to go through this again. My advice to anyone who starts to hear this type of noise is to stop driving the car as soon as possible. If you catch it early enough, you may be able to avoid catastrophic damage. I hope this helps. Thanks again.

G Blizman <GBLIZMAN@peoplepc.com>

After putting some thought to it, I'd have to disagree with Doug's solution as a long term fix. Isn't a cam a precisely balanced piece? Wouldn't lobbing on a few tack welds cause the cam to spin further out of balance or wear the shims faster?

I was reminded by the service tech that these motors have zero clearance. If the camshaft has a walking sprocket and the motor is chattering, then chances are that the damage is already done. If the cam has moved the slightest bit, then the valves have probably bottomed out on the pistons. Worst case scenario is that the rods might also be damaged, and something on the lower end has gone south.

So, their line of thinking is that once they spend all that time to take the motor apart, and find out what damage the sprocket has caused, it would be cheaper to just have swapped in a new motor. This dealership did a cam job a Gen III last year. It took 5 months to get the parts from Ford. I cant wait that long. I just love the fact that it takes this long to get motor parts on an engine that is only 2 years out of production!

The part of this that I can't figure out, is that the car still screams! I picked up the engine tick on the way to Tulsa and I still beat the snot out of it at Hallett. The engine tick goes away with increase of rpm's, so I'm wondering if it IS the sprocket at all, and not the timing chain/tensioners. If the sprocket did cause some collateral damage, then wouldn't I notice at least a small loss in performance? Before I make a final decision on a motor swap, I will have them take the car for a real test drive and check the timing chain setup.

And some information for the rest of the V8 crowd (Ron, myself, and a few others have already heard this from Doug Lewis:) Our cams are not solid units; they're hollow. The process goes something like this: The V8 cam is basically a hollow tube which is inserted into a jig that aligns all the cam lobes and the sprockets. When everything is aligned, a bearing is run through the tube, pressing it outwards and forcing the lobes and sprockets onto the hollow cam. In my opinion, this design is meant to fail. I think some of you might find that interesting.

Mike Holhut
'96 ES (for now)

I would have them check the timing chain and tensioners as well. With that much chain it is bound to have picked up some stretch. As the crank rotates (and drives the timing chain) it does not do so in a truly smooth fashion. It pulsates with the "on and off" action of the firing if the pistons. At some point out chains will stretch and that may be the reason that the cam sprocket fails in the first place. With the stretch in the chain the cam will be allowed more "slack" in alignment with the crank (especially at low RPMs), and with the pulsating nature of the drive system may indeed cause impact in an interference motor. Then as the valves get driven up by the piston face the cam is mechanically rotated inside of the cam.

As far as "meant to fail" I don't know that I disagree. In theory this technology reduces rotating mass and should help with HP. But a cam that is not connected to it's lobes by cohesion is just asking for trouble at 6,000+ RPMs. Man it's time to go back to low tech tractor motored big blocks that run for 250,000 miles.

Mike Ivy

I think it's mostly failure of the main drive cams, not the slave cams. The main cams are doing double duty. I think Ford goofed when they designed these. If you look at the 2.5L engine, which these are derived from, you'll see that it has a different set up. One chain running one bank and another chain running the other bank. No slave chain.

Glen Murdock
Port Lavaca,TX
97 PG 66k
89 CR 127k

The hollow tube cams are a Ford design. All new OHC Ford engines use the hollow cam design. 4.6's and such have a cam gear that bolts to the camshaft. 2.5 and 3.0 have the gear swedged like ours. And Ford had to give final approval of the design.

Glen Murdock
Port Lavaca,TX
97 PG 66k
89 CR 127k


The Ford dealer in my area has my 96 now doing the timing chain and tensioners thing. Finally got all parts in yesterday, (12 in total). Torrie helped find the last seal (can you believe, our Ford dealer could not find). Car to be done on Tuesday. I will let you know what the cost is, but somewhere around 2000.00

Don H

(see below for repair bill)

Mike H. mentioned that he was concerned with spot welding the sprockets (and I assume that means the slave sprockets on the four cams) causing an out of balance state. I don't think with 5 bearing caps it would be a problem especially since the sprockets are very close to the farthest cap towards the passenger side.

Mike Ivy

While we were on the subject I got to thinking about which cam fails the most. So does anyone know which cam it is? The rear bank intake cam has 2 sprockets, one for he drive chain and one for the slave chain that drives the rear exhaust cam. The front exhaust cam also has 2 sprockets just like the rear intake. Is it the failure of one of the slave drive sprockets on the 4 cams or one of the big driven sprockets that are bolted onto the front of the front E. cam and rear I. cam?

Inquiring minds want to know,

Mike Ivy

Ok, I'll give you the solid cam is heavier...but at least the could have ground cams out of billet stock then gun-drilled them to make them lighter. With the swedged production process the lobes and sprockets are not once piece and therefore are inherently weaker than a solid cam.

Mike Ivy

I don't buy their argument at all. You could probably jump a whole tooth on the chain and not have things hit, but the car would run like shit.

Valves hitting the pistons are a binary thing. They do or they don't.....and when they do, you ain't movin' from that spot. There is no "slightly touching". I would call the top of the piston the weakest piece in that situation, I don't see the piston holding up and messing up the rods or the crank.

As others have said, cam "balance" is not an issue. They spin slower, have more bearings, and centrifugal force is not an issue, nor are they subject to the forces that a crank is subject to. The shims are supposed to wear out, it's their role.

Nothing wrong with the hollow cam design Ford isn't the only one to use it.

I would go with Doug's advice. Sounds like your guys don't trust/believe it. Doug knows his stuff, I would trust him first.

FWIW, if I were to want to keep my car beyond the warranty, I would plan a trip to Doug's shop to:

1. Have the tranny rebuilt with the Trans-Go

2. Have the cam sprockets welded

This would be done as preventative maintenance BEFORE anything went wrong. If you can't find someone to follow Doug's advice, get an appointment with him, and get a cheap round-trip airfare originating in Atlanta. Let him take care of it and quit worrying about it.

Ron Porter
Lake Orion, MI
'99 black 34K

I own a 98 SHO a 2000 F-150 Lightning and a 92 Saleen Mustang! I visit your site a lot and find it disturbing to see the camshaft sprocket failure! My SHO has only 33,000 miles on it and has been a great car but now it is apparent that something must be done! I will be contacting Ford and the NHTSB and also the media! It seems you all should do the same. Maybe if we all do this Ford will do something about this! I'm sue that after the Firestone and the Recall in Cali and not to mention the head gasket recalls something will get done! Please everyone stay together and hopefully people will listen!!!

Thomas Grandstaff
 Tucson AZ

Note from the Editor.

I the technical issues I agree with Ron Porter. 

A camshaft is turns 1/2 crankshaft speed, is far less eccentric and balance changes caused by a few small welds should not be an issue. I'll try to find someone I can trust to do this job, because I can't afford to lose an engine or a car.

For me what is the central  issue is FOMOCO behavior, and trust. Those who have listened to me bust on GM know that in 1981 I purchased a 305 CID GMC Jimmy and they were known for premature cam wear.  I counted (and still count) the owner of the local GMC dealership as a close personal friend. The zone rep made me a crappy offer, tried to blame it on me. I produced records of oil changes and oil analysis every 3000 miles  and  still he would not budge.  I told him I don't plan to purchase another GM car EVER again and that was 20 years ago and my SHO is the first domestic in 20 years. We hear how far domestic car companies have come in terms of quality since when ever.  Some other things need to change too to meet my standards of generally acceptable business standards. Ford Service has always been spotty and Ford has been unable or unwilling to listen to valid consumer complaints on a wide range of issues. Abuse me just once and I am not coming back with my money, EVER. My car is fine now. But I will watch how FOMCO manages this situation to help me decide if I can trust them well enough to do business with. 

Anyone can (and every one will) screw up some times in their lives. It is how we handle those errors that is the measure of our integrity and character. If Ford mismanages this V8SHO Camshaft situation my interest in domestic cars in general and the Ford Marauder in particular will die. I was a GM guy for 20 years but going back to GM would be like living with an X wife, If I wanted to, it still would never work out. Last I heard Infinity, Acura and Lexes still manufacture and sell fine cars. So do Audi & BMW. 

A note of thanks to all who have contributed to this site and this especially page. As Thomas Paine said "If we don't hang together we will surely hang apart."

Hello Tim:

In re documentation of camshaft failures, I have placed my complaint with NHTSA and suggest others do the same. If I remember correctly, these are the folks who forced the Ford/Firestone tire recall. You will be required to provide your VIN # and dealer info. You can identify up to 6 component type failures in one report. NHTSA does not give the cutoff number of reports for a given failure before action is taken, but clearly no report means no action. Be sure to identify "Taurus", "SHO", and "camshaft" in your report. Web site is http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov. Thanks to all for your comments at V8sho.com.

Bruce Lamartine,

Good idea Bruce.  

I hope everyone with this problem takes this step.  & I hope Ford & the NHTSA listens.


Hey this is Matt Hurlburt

Remember me?...96 SHO with nitrous...

The article you made up on v8sho.com is exactly what happened to me!!!!....it bent the rods and even screwed up the head....I remember telling the list this and unfortunately being one of the first this happened too......I knew it was a flaw from the factory.....it probably came out on me first because every day I'd rev that lil SHO motor to friggin 7200 like 5-10 times daily and I had nitrous on it and I ran about 20 bottles through it total before I was forced to sell it to cover the cost of repairing it....ouch... it costs me a total of 3200 to get it fixed.....

On a good note my 90 Saleen is breaking into 12's at the end of this month!

Matt Hurlburt
Former 96 "SuperHO"
90 Saleen (SHOMAN plates)

Well, she just told me they confirmed that it was a cam sprocket failure. Her mechanic up here (downriver Detroit) said he's seen a few do the same thing. He found a junkyard engine with 42k for them. The repair bill is hefty, after engine, misc. parts, labor and shipping to get the car up here from Ft. Wayne. Now they know to shut the engine off next time they hear a ticking noise, and hearing their repair costs, I'd advise anyone else to do the same. The way things are going, it sounds like a certainty that every V8 SHO engine will do this. She said the last guy that was in this shop with the same problem spent $600 because they caught it before self destruct stage.

Ron, they have now paid for the car what I paid when I bought it with 32k on it, and they'll have 42k on the engine.

Randy - thanking God I couldn't afford to keep the car last year

Hello, Tim:

From V8sho.com site I read with interest your request for documentation on camshaft/sprocket failures. I have a '96 SHO with about 85,000 miles. It has been a daily driver which gave zero trouble up to that point. It has never been raced or abused or even loaned out. It has been run in the high plains of New Mexico usually above 6500 ft., but never overheated. Mobil 1 has been used in the crankcase since about 10,000 miles. My SHO is now at Chalmers Ford (Rio Rancho, NM) with a failed camshaft. The break was described to me as being in the metal somewhere between the sprocket and the first lobe. Attributed to interference at failure are also at least four valves, four pistons, and four connecting rods. The economics given to me were: (a) replace entire engine at about $12,000, (b) go out on my own and find a used engine (they offered to install for about $5,000-6,000, but would not guarantee the work for any period of time), (c) find a buyer for the car in its present condition (no greater than $2,000, I take the loss on my loan, and they roll the loss into a new Ford-financed Ford auto purchase). At the time I bought the car from lease, no mention of the potentially high engine replacement price was mentioned.

It seems to me that 85,000 miles is a little early for a major engine failure. I've had old Beetle engines that lasted longer. Many vehicles in this high and dry environment make at least 150,000 miles with reasonable care. What about a recall? Are there other safety issues? My SHO died at idle, but could one be looking at a major explosion and fire at speed? Can Ford be induced to provide at least a partial voucher for repair or replacement?

Any thoughts or repair suggestions you may have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for letting me vent.

Bruce C. Lamartine
610 Meadow Lane
Los Alamos, NM, 87544

I spoke with Vadim at the SHO Shop about the cam sprockets. He said the he had spoken with Yamaha about the problem and said that apparently there was a bad batch of engines with the sprocket problem. He says that he has not seen to many of them.

On another note they have the blower for our SHO's and are installing it as we speak and will be testing it for the next several weeks to see how it does.

Jeff Haddock

Hello all. My Dad and I went to Sarasota Ford this afternoon to see if they knew anything about the whole cam thingy goin' round and to "gawk" at a Mustang "Bullitt". Turns out, ironically, they had done one just a couple of days ago w/the cam sprocket. Also another ironic thing, the guy there who only works on Fords "Special Vehicles" (SVT/SHO), visits v8sho.com quite frequently, and owns one himself. I found out one outrageous fact though....the cam of question is $1000 just for the cam...not including labor. got to look at one because the guy happened to have one in the shop...nice piece. But to put the cost in the "big picture", my dad was rebuilding the 454 Chevy in our 24' Formula and a cam for that was only $110...go figure...lol


It sure would be nice to know what the bad engines are. Somebody knows something and they don't want to take responsibility. Ultimately it will be F but they can go back on Yamaha.

Paul Nimz
'97 TR
'93 EG mtx

He "has not seen too many of them"?? ONE is too many!! I think he's just repeating rumors he's heard. If he isn't welding them like Doug, I'll bet he hasn't worked on any.

Just on this list, with maybe 200 V8 folks, we have heard of anywhere from 10-20 of them within the last year. That is a higher rate than tranny failures, and we kind of expect the trannies to give out. This is a serious problem, and with most of them going out after the warranty, I don't think Ford is seeing enough of them to be concerned.

I'm not sure I buy that "bad batch of engines" stuff, I heard it over on SHOtimes, too. The design appears to be poor. It doesn't seem to be a solid design failing with some bad production parts, the basic design doesn't seem too solid.

If there truly was a "bad batch" that Yamaha would admit to (which I find VERY unlikely), where's the TSB/recall/owner notification?? Ford would be all over them like flies on....well.....you know! Ford is not now in a position to let a supplier screw up.

Ron Porter

Lake Orion, MI

'99 black 35K

So, let's try to gather info on what cars this is happening to. This one was probably mid production of 97, as it was a May issue. I think Matt (the first one from Utah?) had a 96, maybe a 97 though. Granted it's hard to know, as in general it seems to be a 60k mile plus failure. Although there is one on the FAQ that was a low mileage 99, I think. So maybe there is no rhyme or reason, but let's try to find out if there might be anything to this "bad batch" idea.

94 Moonlight Blue MTX

Yeah, it was a bad batch alright..........Batch of every single V8 SHO engines. This is without a doubt a scary problem, I was prepared for a new tranny eventually and because of that bought an ESP, but the possibility of FUBAR ing the engine never crossed my mind.

Lets get the word out on this problem. If this was happening to the SLO population in the same ratio it is happening to the SHO's we would be hearing about it on the news. Would Blue Oval News have an interest in assisting us?

Chris P. Andretta passport@optonline.net

I have sent the following message to the owner and staff of BON...

Hello and good day,

I am contacting you so that you may be aware of an unsettling problem that is plaguing the V8SHO community. It seems that there is a high mortality rate of camshafts in the 3.4l V8 SHO motor. In fact members of our online community, approximately 240, have reported nearly 25 cases of the pressed
on slave sprocket spinning on one of the cams. This is extremely harmful to an interference motor such as our, for as soon as the camshaft is out of phase two of the four valves meet the pistons and cause certain destruction to the head, cam and pistons on that bank of the motor. This may also result in the need to replace all the rods in the motor as they are of the "fractured" cap design and non-machinable and or none re-usable.

If you could please help us make this issue more public and or dig for inside information on our quest to resolve this issue with Ford our entire community would be ever grateful.

Thank you.


Michael T. Ivy
Webmaster V8SHO.com

We'll see what happens.

So what do we do if we hear the ticking? Stop the car, go to the dealer, and politely ask them to take apart our engine under warranty because we think we heard a noise?


97 ES 72k: 15.514@90.47
SHO Club Member

Look I understand that being cautious is a good thing. I believe its like a tranny failure thing. Someone said 25 out of 250 online reported the problem. Now I am not saying there isnít one...... (by no means), but it appears everyone is panicking. Look How many of you have high mileage SHO and really beat the hell out of them...... any problems with on them cams. Mikes vehicle I believe had high mileage, anyone confirm that that was the problem yet. Unfortunately the only way to know is blow it up or tear it down. I figure if it happens to me well I work that issue when it does...( I'll be walking I guess). As for FORD doing something... how many happened under 100k window as for those over 100k well you know what i mean. My Opinion......

I am know going to take a stethoscope to my valve covers :)

(shhh dont tell my ride)


I would tell the dealer what you know about the cam sprocket problem at that time so you can go on record as having this problem while still under warranty. When and if it does go, you might have a case for the arbitrator.

Chuck Hernandez chernandez@gchd.org

I'd say a 10% failure rate (not a good sample even, as most of the 250 on the list probably aren't in the 60-100k range where this seems to be more common) is enough to warrant a good deal of concern when the repair bill is $4000 give or take for an engine rebuild or swap including labor. Especially when you conside around $500 to take care of the problem on your terms as preventative maintenance and have peice of mind. As for high mileage, I don't consider 100k to be high milage. You can expect things to break at that mileage, but as for needing a complete engine rebuild on 10% of the engines before 100k, that should at least warrant owner notification of some sort. As someone else said, what about the 19,500 people driving these that aren't on this list or haven't seen the web page? One day they hear a ticking noise. Mind you I understand this is a substantial noise, you can hear it from inside the car. Hmm, wonder what that is. Next day, they're out $4000. Oh, and even after spending that 4k, you don't have a fool-proofed engine, gotta spend that $500 still to get the sprockets welded, if they know that there is a solution. If they knew about the problem before hand, you hear the ticking noise, you pull over and call for a tow. If the dealer gives you trouble (assuming you've got some warranty left) send them to the web page and tell them you're trying to save them some money.

The person fixing the car I know about apparently caught one before it became expensive and the bill came to $600 to put cotter pins or some such thing in to fix the problem. As for the comparison with the tranny, there still haven't been more than a couple tranny problems (I can't remember anyone that wasn't running 100+ hp of giggle gas), but that is expected by many people, both on and off this list I'm sure. And if the tranny goes, a lot of its parts are shared and I'd expect the bill would stay below $2000. That's quite a difference.

I'm not trying to start anything here, I'm just telling it like I see it, watching a couple at work trying to figure out where they are going to pay for this repair. I hope it doesn't happen to more people, but look at the pattern, it doesn't look good. I wish I would have mentioned the ticking noise to them the first time I heard about it, as he heard it and wondered what it was, but didn't think it was a big concern.


I feel this this IS worth panicking about. This is a serious failure of something that ought to last the life of the car.

In the SHO world, these are not "high mileage" cars, a 100K miles in a V6 means it's just getting broken in, I don't feel a SHO is "high mileage" until at least a 175-200K or so.

That percentage of failure rate is extreme. Look at the percentage of people who had Firestones blow up, it was miniscule. Anything over 1% failure is really high, especially on something that has safety issues (do you want your engine blowing while you drive in 70 mph traffic?)

Ron Porter
Lake Orion, MI
'99 black 35K

Since it doesn't appear that the dealers have a "heads up" on this, you can always go in and tell them about the ticking. You can't ask them to do anything.....they will take the course of action they want, anyway. If they tell you it's "normal", or some crap like that, make sure it's on the service sheet you get.

Then keep your AAA towing coverage up-to-date.

Of course, if you have no ESP or other warranty, you are FUBARed. I would then get the MIG weld job done ASAP.

Ron Porter
Lake Orion, MI
'99 black 35K

Like I said, I not saying there isnít a problem. But still 10 % still can be considered intermitting. This is just a discussion, I figure its to late for my I am stuck with my beast so I figure I fix as she brakes. IMHO any motor over 100k is great but things still will get worn out (I am old school). Timing chains, bearings and so on.

What I am saying is FORD probably will not do anything to help us. This fix we talk about has anyone on list had it done yet??? Other than Mike I havenít heard anything yet. Lets look at it from this stand point this motor is an 100k before first tune up. (What most of the population think when they here that). I met some individual who believe this applies to the oil (not kidding). So my question is was the motor taken car of. Take that individual that had the problem was making noise and dealer ship didnít check it out next thing you now the motors gone. This still may just be an anomaly in the engine. (I doubt it). SO there are several factor to be considered... Unlike you or me if we heard that we would investigate and save us money in the long run. I not knock dealer ships service Dept , but most really donít know how to diagnose things correctly and really donít care. (there are exception)



I have to agree with Ron. As a college student, if my engine were to blow up like that because of a poor design, I wouldn't know what to do. I seriously hope that this is a "bad batch" of engines like Vadim claims, because if so, maybe we can isolate which ones are blowing up. So far, it's been 96-97's that have been blowing engines, so I guess only the test of time will tell as the 98-99 guys start racking up more miles. Does anyone have a sound clip of what this ticking sounds like? I saw a 96 v8sho while I was at work yesterday, and the engine was making a weird ticking noise like from oil starvation. It was apparently being driven by some soccer mom type person who probably never checks their oil in between oil changes anyway, but just curious. I'm actually kind of glad that I am in a MTX V6 SHO that has a solid proven motor. I hope that Ford/Yamaha will do the right thing about this issue.

June H Han

95 MTX, no ticking, 88k miles

I highly doubt it's a "bad batch", because between this list, and what the "techie" told me the yesterday at the Dealer, there've been cases of this with '96-98's..not JUST 96 or JUST 97, etc. He also mentioned that w/the way that this is, it doesn't matter if you drive w/a 10lb slab of lead in your shoe, or drive it like a hurse, if it's going to happen, it'll happen. Regardless of your driving style...(ouch)

(Parent's '97ES)

The question I have, is this failure a matter of poor design or material failure?

Chuck Hernandez <chernandez@gchd.org>

Here are the part numbers and prices for the repair of my timing chain and cam sprocket. This is a breakdown of the bill I just paid at Joplin Ford. I wonder about a few things on this list. Maybe Torie or Lewis would do a quick price check and part verification. As our cars get older and out of warranty, and you decide to keep you SHO, then you all will experience the same thing.

Part no  Description Qty   Unit price
F6DZ 6268 AA  CHAIN TIM  1  154.63
F6DZ 6268 BB  CHAIN TIM  154.63
F6DZ 6K297AA   GUIDE TIM  1  33.37
F6DZ 6K297 BA  GUIDE TIM  1 33.37
F6DZ 6K297 DA  GUIDE TIM  1  33.37
F6DZ 6L253 AA  ARM TIM 26.43
F6DZ 6584 CA  GASKET VA 27.58
F6DZ 6584 BA GASKET VA   1  29.52
F6DZ 6020 AA GASKET CY  1   11.51
F6DZ 6020 CA  GASKET CY 1   11.51
F6DZ 6700 AA  SEAL OIL  1  6.88
F5AZ 6700 A SEAL CRAN   1  7.30
F6DZ 6K261 BA  TENSIONER  2  78.70
F6DZ 6K261 AA  TENSIONER 1  70.28
F8DZ 6250 BA  CAMSHAFT  850.00
AWSF 32F  SPARK PLUG  8  5.71
FL 400  FILTER  1  4.95
MC5W30 OIL   1.21

PARTS TOTAL                                                  1671.01

22.7     HOURS LABOR                                             1442.00

Believe me, I am not trying to give anyone heart failure. Just some knowledge of our car.

Don Harrold

96es (SHO me the money)

(thanks to Bob Fijal)

Here is an old post forwarded by Brent Savage back in June, 2000 concerning the cam sprockets. Only 60K on this car when it went.

-----Original Message-----
From: International Automotive Technicians' Network
[mailto:IATN-FORD1@PEACH.EASE.LSOFT.COM]On Behalf Of Edward Schaeffer
Sent: Wednesday, May 31, 2000 7:30 PM
Subject: Ford-Drive-OBD2: FIX 97 Ford Taurus SHO,

Sponsoring members may rate this FIX post
or add/view comments directly from this link:

1997 Ford Taurus SHO 3.4 L
Trans: Automatic
Mileage: 67,542 mi
VIN: 1FALP54N3VA275140
Fuel: SEFI
Ignition: DI...Coil on plug
Emissions: OBD-II Compliant

Symptoms: No Start, Poor Idle Quality, Hesitation, Surge, Cuts out,
Stall, Misfire, Poor Fuel Economy, MIL Lamp on
Occurs: Always

___________________________ FIX: ___________________________
Kudo's to those of you who suggested checking cam timing! The DOHC 3.4L V-8 SHO uses one chain that drives the intake cams. The exhaust cams are each driven by a small chain from a separate sprocket on the intake cam. The cam is tubular and the lobes and sprockets are pressed on the shaft. To make a long story short, the sprocket now spins freely on the intake cam and the rear exhaust cam no longer turns and we have bent valves. We had avoided the compression test on the rear bank because of the 3 hours it takes to get to the rear plugs, plus we had 200lbs on the front cylinders and a fairly low mileage engine...60K! Thanks to all who took the time from their holiday weekend to respond! Regards,

____________________ ORIGINAL MESSAGE: _____________________
Customer states that vehicle stalled on decel and now will barely run. Vehicle starts and stalls...must keep about half throttle to keep running at all. Feels like it's running on about half the cylinders. It's rich @ idle. O2's are sluggish, but I wouldn't think that they would be the problem from a cold start. Replaced front bank of plugs...made no difference.....rears are 2 more hours work. Scoped ignition coils on front banks...all appear OK Front cat on front bank glows. Scan data and codes give us no more clues! Found TSB 97-6-7 which calls for replacement of the fuel manifold for a similar symptom. It says the fuel manifold has an obstruction?!?!?! Has anybody run across a similar problem on a V-8 SHO? Does anybody have any experience with this TSB? Should I give up before I go bald(er)? Any help would be appreciated. Have a great holiday weekend!

Edward Schaeffer
Northtown Auto Clinic, Inc.
North Kansas City, Missouri, USA

iATN Business Sponsor

___________________ TEST AND REPAIR DATA ___________________
CO = .95%
HC = 38 ppm
CO2 = 14.9%
O2 = 0.39%

p0300- random misfire
fuel pressure - 38psi
cam sensor - OK

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Somewhere along the way I read that there was a list being compiled about the camshaft sprocket failure. They wanted VIN#, build date and in service dates. I do not own a V8 SHO, but I just finished fixing one at work. Rear intake cam sprocket failed, causing rear exhaust cam to stop. Bent all exhaust valves. We replaced the engine as the used car warranty paid for the repairs. At first I thought the exhaust cam locked up, stripping the splines on the intake cam. But I could find no reason for the cam to lock up. Engine oil looked clean, no sludge in the bottom of the oil pan, camshaft bearings looked OK. Here is the information on the vehicle I repaired

1996 Ford Taurus SHO
build date 04/24/1996
in-service date 04/29/1997
mileage at repair 57,288

Hope this helps you out. Ford should come up with a replacement camshaft that
is better built, in my opinion.

John H.
89 SHO

We need to know if it is always the same camshaft. (rear intake?) Any one who have photos and all who reported a failure tell us specify WHICH cam failed in their case?


Timothy Wright

Thanks Dennis

I'll put your report on FAQ, your not alone. Have you called Ford Customer Service. unless you do as Ford thinks it never happened. We need anyone with any problem to call them to kick in their stat programs. See phone # below.



The number is (800) 392 - 3673 I initially E mailed them from the Ford site and they E mailed me back saying they had trouble contacting me by phone ( I wasn't home). They gave me this number to call back. It is a direct line to Customer Relationship Center. I called in the morning right away and after the usual automated directory I got right through. The hours are 8:00am - 11:00 pm EST. I hope everyone takes the time and effort to alert FORD. I am going to check the site and see if pics could also be sent to them through there E mail site.

Randy Machkovitz 97 SHO


----- Original Message ----- From: dennis rodkey To: timwright@msn.com Sent: Monday, September 03, 2001 10:39 AM Subject: camshaftsprocketfailure

I am responding to your article because i own a1996 ford Taurus SHO with 45,000 miles and have this ticking noise that sounds like a sewing machine the ford dealership which is c&c ford in Horsham pa told me that i need a new motor at a cost about $7,000 so i went onto Ford Taurus web site and found you guys and discovered that i was not the only one with this problem so i contacted channel 10 news and e mailed them everything thanks a lot guys for the info

Dennis Rodkey

PS: my vin # 1falp54n7ta254577


My '96 SHO just broke the exhaust camshaft as well. The repair bill stands at $5374.28, and could go up depending on what they find today on further examination. I am extremely upset about this as you can imagine. I do have an extended warranty but it doesn't cover everything! Please advise me of any possible help Ford might be able to give. Also if you have any telephone #s to contact Ford about this they would be helpful. I'll attach the current bill as well or if you can't open it up I can fax it to you later, its a Delrina WinFax Pro software.


Jim Merriman
10 Panthorn Trail
Southington, CT

Cam repair.gif (52403 bytes)

By the way, you may already have my information, as back in December I wrote to the V8SHO mailing list about this occurrence. Yes we need to document this. Up until the time that this had happened I had no major problems with my car. I purchase my SHO in September 98 with approximately 21K on it. Since I bought it directly from the dealership where my husband worked, they printed out the maintenance history for me. I put more than 60K highway driving in a little over two years and had it at the dealership every time I thought that something wasn't right. You know how you hear things that no one else does because you drive the car all the time. I was heart broken and told a Ford Customer Service Rep that I did everything that Ford recommends plus, explain to me why I should only get 85K out of this engine.

'96 SHO Black Metallic

I Hairston


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