Home | Mailing List | Specifications | Care and Feeding | Modifications | Vendors | Literature


Don Mason - Cam Failure #450, 451, 452

New 9/29/04


My name is Don Mason and I live in Tualatin, a suburb of Portland, Oregon. Back in 1997 I needed a new car and decided to purchase my 1996 Ford SHO on May 24, 1997. It was the last one on the lot and for several years, I had been researching the "best value" or in my words, a poor man's BMW. The SHO seemed to be the best option.

In the first 60 says, I had my car for only 15. I had lots of minor electrical problems with the car at the beginning as the salesperson oversold their capabilities to fix a problem with the sunroof which then turned into a faulty ground that had to be traced.

Off and on I had small problems, but as I purchased an extended warranty everything was covered. On the last weekend before the extended warranty expired (5/24/02), I experienced a cam shaft failure. Of course, I'm not a car guy so all I heard was an engine that sounded like a diesel. I took the car in and they replaced the bad camshaft under warranty. Not knowing what I do now (all from your website) or that there were 4 camshafts which could all fail, I assumed everything was fine. I was very pleased I had purchased the extended warranty since the bill was for about $2,500 -- more than I paid for the warranty. The dealer never mentioned any problems with the cams which they should have been aware of at this time according to your website

The car ran fine for several years with the only remaining problem being a failure to start about 2 or 3 times a year. If the battery was disconnected from the car for a minute, it would start. In July 2003 the engine wouldn't start in a parking lot. I had the car towed to the Ford dealership. There were several problems with the car and it cost me about $250 to get it working again. The gist of it was they replaced the cam position or the crankshaft sensor.

The following month, I had a persistent oil leak which the dealership inspected on several occasions. They replaced the fuel filter and swapped out all the fluid for $177. On a trip to Mount Hood, the leak developed into a gush of oil. I had to replace all of the oil as the engine was almost dry at a dealership in Sandy that was kind enough to refill the oil for free -- they couldn't work on the car since it was late afternoon on a Sunday. The next day I took the car to my normal dealership and they discovered a bad torque converter costing $1,030 to fix.

This week (9/25/04) my daughter who is driving the car now mentioned the engine sounded like a diesel. We took the car into the same dealership and were told that at least 2 of the camshafts needed to be replaced but that we should replace all 4. He quoted me $2,500 for the work and I asked him about the previous work not knowing that there were 4 camshafts and that they only replaced 1 of them under warranty in May 2002. He played dumb about the previous work but I asked him to look up my maintenance records. He then told me that only 1 of the camshafts was replaced previously and that there are 4 of them. I asked why the cams failed again and shouldn't the dealership assume some responsibility. He said he needed to talk it over with the sales manager the following day as he was on the night shift.

The following day, he called me and said there was nothing they could do. The car was out of warranty and the parts were only warranted for 12 months. He did, however, offer a 10% discount. I told him I would think about it. My wife was upset with Ford and searched the Internet last night for any info on this problem and found your website. Needless to say, I will be visiting the dealership in the next few days to discuss all this new information and demand a better solution to the problem.

What happened with the complaint that was filed and what is the current thinking on this problem and how to get some relief from Ford? Any other information or resources you can point me to would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Don Mason

Contact Information