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Ford Makes House Calls This Weekend

new 5/27/03

Michael Testa, works for IBM, would like more info to make an informed decision. I can understand that.  Charles Cade works for FOMOCO, and would like us to lay out our case here, without  plan or lawyers. We had been hoping to hear from Ford, before we sued them.

What is evident from Ford's strategy is they assume the longer they drag things out the better for them. (I disagree) They also evidently don't have as good a grasp of the total number of cam failures as we do. As of today, their position must be that 80+% owners abuse and neglect their cars. By 2006 or 2007 when we go to trial their position must be 99.8% owners must abuse or neglect their cars.

In the past we always assumed Ford watched V8SHO and lurked on the list. Charles Cade is the first Ford guy we caught red handed.

Michael Testa, is innocent as far as I know. We spoke by phone and I think he is OK now.

And thanks to all the regular cast for both trying to help someone (we always do) and collectively smelling out a rat (good work).  As a group we are not too pleased with Ford tactics or ethics so if anyone used language they regret, all are forgiven.

Can somebody please explain to me the logic behind statements like this:

"Our current reported body count is only 261 but we have reason the think about 16,000 V8SHO have experienced cam failure." - Buford

"...the overall camshaft sprocket failure percentage for this model has been calculated at a mind boggling 80 – 90 % failure rate by the end of this year." - Carter

Obviously somebody has done some statistical modeling but the outcome fails my common sense litmus test. Was this a simple extrapolation from the V8SHO member list, or did somebody have access to nationwide vehicle registration records and failure rate data outside our little community?

Michael Testa, 

<Charles Cade> I too am interested in the data that supports your 80-90 % claim. I have a '97 with 106k miles and am trying to decide if I want to weld my cams. But I need the data that you used to come up with that "mind boggling" number.

I would also like to take a survey of engine mods, driving habits, and the engine oil used in the SHO's that have experienced cam problems. I would also like to hear from those with high mileage that haven't had the problem and haven't had the cam weld.

I'll start the survey with my info:

- '97 with 106k miles and no cam weld and no mods.

- I'm 46 and I don't drive like I did when I was a kid and outran the local police for fun (actually I only stopped because they were able to catch me once - I had a blowout). I don't drive wasteful: i.e. I don't waste my tires burning rubber, I drive the speed limit usually, ...
- I use Valvoline 5w30.

What is adoration? Why can't you give details via forum or private e-mail?

-----Original Message-----
From: wright.timothy [mailto:wright.timothy@insightbb.com]
Sent: Sunday, May 25, 2003 9:25 PM
To: Charles Cade
Subject: Re: Mortality speculation?

I live in IL (CST) - Tonight I go to adoration from 10-11 my time.

Otherwise I ask you to call me, ANYTIME



Weld it or roll the dice. it's your call.

Paul Nimz

I'm looking for more proof that 1) it's as serious as you folks believe and 2) that the cam weld helps. 

So can you please give some data to support the claims? 

On the other hand, anyone want to buy it from me? Then I won't have to bother you guys.  (Charles Cade)

Ah yes, and I'm looking for proof that the Atkins diet really works and is safe in the long run! Good grief man, I wish life was really that black and white. The only question you need to ask yourself is "Do I feel lucky punk, well do I"? I don't mean to be insulting here but if you take a moment to look at the glaring design flaw here it doesn't take a genius to see that for a $500 investment with an experienced cam repair shop you can get mighty close to 100% piece of mind.


No disrespect Charles, but we've been technically hashing through this for almost 2 years (at least). The point is that there is no maintenance issues or driving patterns that causes the cam sprocket failure - it is a design flaw. There's plenty of info / proof to read at www.v8sho.com ... it is a roll of the dice or how lucky you feel without...

What's the latest V8 list count on welded & / or pinned Tim? 85 / 90% of us?

Bill H.

Don't do it, Charles. In fact I forbid, enjoin, and restrain you from performing this preventative maintenance.

You obviously need experiential learning instead.

The nearly 300 documented cam failures that have made it to this site don't do it for you. The articles in the paper don't do it for you. The time that members on this list took to outline the problem and answer all your previous questions didn't do it for you. There is also the info at http://v8sho.com/SHO/MortalityTables.htm  which I am certain you have read but doesn't do it for you.

I agree the mathematical failure model seems high. Isn't going to stop me from fixing something that is to me obviously broken.

No one with a solid cam weld or pin job has spun one. Plenty of folks that haven't done it have.

If you aren't convinced still just drive it until the engine burps up the valve train and then part it out, or put a for sale sign in the window right now. I'd buy it, but I just bought one and you won't like my price. After all, why do I want it if the cams aren't welded? :) That, and I'm starting to see where the bodies are buried with this car so I know what else to adjust the price down for.

FWIW, my '96 is getting welded as soon as I get it back from the previous owner passing smog.


I cannot say for sure if it would be smart to weld the cams to prevent a "possible" (whether that is 1 in 10 or 9 in 10) failure because you do not have the source of the failure analyses, however I can vouch for the fact that a failure will cost you at a minimum of 8 times that off the preventative measure makes you stupid if you do suffer from failure when it was preventable. 

My bet that the data was incorrect and it "couldn't happen to me" cost me $7,824.55

Cam sprocket failed at 94,000

Only mods were Flowmasters and K&N at time of failure.

Mobil 1 5-20 since I bought it.

Inside of the motor looked brand new at the teardown other then the damaged sustained from the sprocket failure.

45 years of age, father of 7 who drives responsibly

What's speed limit got to do with anything? My grandfather drives the speed limit or less and tears a cars engine up in less then 2 years.

Carter Fuji 
45 years of age, father of 7 who drives responsibly

[Charles Cade] You have a video (SHO_BurnOut1SHORTER.avi) on your wesite that leads me to believe otherwise!

I am not being cynical here but I tell you what you do to verify the data. Ford is the only supplier of the camshaft. Call them and have them give you the number of camshafts they ordered from the manufacture. This exercise will tell you with 100% confidence how many of these have been repaired after they failed after excluding the number of motors that wore completely replaced (mine was replaced with a crate motor). It will not however tell you how many failed that the owners could not afford the drop the $4,000 minimum to get it repaired. To the best of my knowledge I have never heard of a camshaft having to been replaced even in a motor that locked up due to oil starvation therefore the purchase order from Ford would be an accurate figure.

Carter Fuji 

First off, the car in the video was a year older then the one that failed, the video is of the Supercharger Test and of course I was driving responsible as I wasn't on the street. 

Carter Fuji 

One thing I haven't seen mentioned as of yet in this discussion is the RHD Ford Demo car in the UK which apparently had its camshft sprockets welded .....BY FORD!


Pardon my insolence, but why don't you just go away and if by chance you happen explode your car, I will be the first with a told you so card. Have a nice day - Larry

I have a problem with the Mortality tables figures, but the fact remains, whether the failure rate is 30%, 50% or 90%, it is enough that doing nothing is a lot worse than doing something.

Bottom line for me is the number of people that call SHO Club every week with questions about "should I get my cams welded or pinned?" Then an almost equal number of people that call up and say: "I decided to hold off on the fix and now have a $____ (Put in any number from $5000 to $15,000) repair and I can't afford it!"

I don't go along with the logic of claiming that 90+% of SHO V8 engines will have a failure by the end of this year. Any math used is pure speculation at best, because frankly we just do NOT know the true numbers, and may never. Even if the lawsuit gets us every bit of information Ford has, there are still going to be a pretty big % of cars that fail and never get reported to Ford, because they are out of warranty and owners just don't report them.

The failures among club members and list members just don't give us a total picture, but it is a big enough picture to know that it is a huge problem.

My best guess has been and still is that between 40 and 70% of cars (yes I am fudging, but that is what guessing is about) will fail. Even taking the low number, that is more than enough to warrant an owner making a pre-emptive repair to save a possible huge failure/expense.

Don Mallinson

don't go away because I am concerned. I have NO DOUBT that you guys believe what you say. But I see no evidence to back up some of the claims. That's why I'm skeptical and am asking for more information. Sorry if I've insulted anyone. 

I've just about decided to get rid of the hunk of junk and buy a Toyota. Anyone interested in buying it? (Charles Cade)

I've been quiet watching these recent responses... Here I go, I've lost my restraint on the issue.

We bought our '99 SHO a year ago and the cam issue was just becoming known but there were only about 75 cam failures reported to the list.. Here we are a year later and there are almost 4 times as many failures reported to a "rinky dinky" (no offense intended for all your hard work Tim et al) web site that only enthusiasts really know about in the last 14 months or so. Reality is that even if the failure rate is 5% that these motors are INCREDIBLY rare and getting rarer with every additional failure as many mechanics don't want to rebuild them for possibly their first time ever. Other than the faltering Cam design this motor is VERY solid... The block is a Cosworth Casting among other special items about it.

Did I really want to throw $500 or more at a preventive fix that I did not know would happen to me.. Certainly not... But I was not about to wonder every day the wife left with the car to go wherever if she would come back with the click of death or with an already dead motor. so I invested the time myself (my father helped like a dental assistant would by catching nuts / bolts, and handing me tools - and he cleaned the intake while it was off). Then I carted the torn apart car to a welder that I know and trusted. For $100 total (I bought 8 plugs for the car while I was in there) we had it put back together and running. Now I can let my wife drive the car with a great sense of ease (and my wife can break anything - trust me it is just a knack she has). Sure I spend more in Preventive MX on her car than my truck gets, but it is worth it to me if it reduces the number of telephone calls I get from here while she is out on the road.

After I had welded the cams this cam failure was posted on V8SHO, it hit particularly close to home geographically as my stomping grounds were in the Waterville area which is a VERY small town... http://v8sho.com/SHO/ClaireBerseeCamFailure226.htm

Your call, but if you want to sell this car be prepared to take a hit. I would recommend investing the 500 and consider it as money well spent - you will thank yourself for keeping the car down the road most probably. There is not a more unique sedan from the Big 3 out there for sure. Add foreign makes to the mix, and it is still is a very special device.

I just volleyed the ball back to your end of the court. If you watch it go bye is up to you, I certainly don't think my return will be out of bounds. Smash it back at me if you wish - I'm game, we can do this some more...

Game point,
Scott Krietemeyer

LOL! If one of those sprockets lets go, it will be at least at least as serious as we claim. If it's been a good car so far, just get it welded. If you keep the car, you get the benefit. If you decide to sell, you might just get the money back if you can prove it's been welded.

Today, $500 or $600 +/- on a down payment toward a new car purchase gets you no appreciable discount on either purchase price or finance charges. And if you've paid for any car repairs lately, you know fuel pumps can cost $300, AC easily $500 - $1000, sway bar endlinks + 4whl alignment $270, etc. So $500 may be a lot of money to you, but it's not in the car business.

Also, none of those classic cars would be around today if somebody hadn't lost a little money on them somewhere along the line.

Amy Sheetz

I have 140K miles on my SHO. I bought it at 18K, as a former FOMOCO company car. While I am an enthusiast and long time club member of NESHOC, the former SHO National club and the current National SHO club, I have not in my opinion abused my car. However, I have attended various driving schools and an autocross or dozen. Burnouts, I don't do, and the majority of the mileage was put on by the spouse. 

I had my cams welded at 135K and found evidence that not one, but two of my cams were beginning to walk. I have had very few negative remarks to make about this car, and few issues of any kind until recently. But I have to tell you, it just BURNS MY ASS when I hear the FOMOCO says they have no records. That is pure unadulterated Bovine Fecal Residue!!. They have at least two phone calls from me, as well as a letter, and I know I'm not the only one here that put that much effort into it. If Ford doesn't have records then they need to look into their own house to find out why. 

I would point out that just because we can only document a couple hundred cases of camshaft failure, it doesn't mean we don't know of others for which we cannot get documentation. I'm sorry. but a camshaft may WEAR out. Its expected and a wearing part. but a camshaft should never COME APART. that's just poor manufacturing. Even for FORD. I only have to document one failure. My own. If mine had gone bad, that's 100% of the cams I care about. 

This is just another reason why when I went to buy another car.. I didn't even look on the ford lots. You figure it out. 

Al Primm

Dude, all the data is posted on V8SHO.com. Check it out. Go and read all the sob stories about how people are making car payments for a car that is parked. Read about how much financial ruin it has caused people. There's a pile of them there. Do that and ask yourself this question "Do I feel luck today, punk?"

So do you feel lucky?
Ian Macomb

Please do not take my responses as a flame or slam. I am just one of the ones that previously doubted that the numbers could be true. 

I do have a question though, can you prove to me that it won't happen to your car? Before you answer that though you might be interested in knowing that when I called Ford customer service asking them the same question they said "no, they could not guarantee it would NOT happen, even if I replaced all 4 cams". I did not weld them and they failed less then one month after my initial phone call. I had all four of my cams in my crate motor welded and after 26,000 miles they have not given me any trouble.

Again, I base my evidence from the fact that the design is flawed. It is not a matter of will it, but rather when.

Sorry you have gotten the opinion that this otherwise fine car is a POS, I as many others on this list (but not all) do not share your opinion. I think the Toyota makes a fine machine, just not as unique (excluding the twin Turbo Supra, but then it doesn't have 4 doors either). 

Carter Fuji 

What do you consider a mind boggling number for a catastrophic failure if 80% - 90% doesn't qualify?

Carter Fuji 

[Charles Cade] I see no data that supports that claim! The website has someones flawed analysis that claims that the average cam failure is around 70K miles. This is only true for the SHOs that have the problem and doesn't take into account those that haven't. 

I see that there has been documented around 300 failures out of around 20000 SHOs. If the 300 failures were driven the way you did in your video, then no wonder they have problems. 

300 SHO's out of 500, not out of 20,000.

All numbers are flawed until Ford provides you with the information.

You would lead us to believe that only the 300 that have failed are ALL on V8SHO?

As I stated previously, 9 here in my town failed, only one of them is reported. The others do not have internet access or care to take the time to report it.

Carter Fuji 

You would lead us to believe that only the 300 that have failed are ALL on V8SHO?

[Charles Cade] No, I'm simply saying what is on the website. The website says that it has around 300 cases documented. But it also claims that 80-90% will have the failure. But it gives no data to back up that claim. That data is what I'm asking for. 

Data is based on design flaw. Do you understand the design and the dynamics in relation to that failure?

Carter Fuji 

My first reaction to this guy weeks back is still apropos. Maybe he's right. He should just drive the car and not even worry. However, I would ask that he advise us when it hits the wall! This would add to the meager body of evidence already in existence.

Jim Bledsoe 

It is unscientific I know, but today I do not see any Gen III's in the Dayton, Ohio area anymore. I sort of live in yuppieville and I was seeing several a day

Ford Used car lots used to have one most of the time for sale. Not anymore. 

Funny thing. I too am an engineer as well. I worked in maintenance most of my career. I made decisions like this for a living. After reading all the stuff on this website I was convinced, I stopped driving my car and towed it 500 miles to Douglasville Georgia (was showing no signs). 

This fellow is in Knoxville, not that far from FPS. They did my 100,000 mile service at 80,000 miles. I think the charge for the welds was $100-150 at that time and my car is running better. We in the maintenance business call that cheap insurance. 

With kids in college I could not afford the gamble. $13,000 to $100. Besides I like the car almost as much as my 63 MGB. 

Larry Baygents

I am starting to think this guy is a Ford legal snoop... 

Amy Sheetz

I think you could be correct,

I asked him to call me, he has not.


LOL. The jig is up. 

No, I own a '97 SHO and trying to get facts rather than emotional statements. If it weren't for the incredibly high failure rate (80-90%) claimed, I may not be so skeptical. I have no doubt that folks have had the failure; but, I do doubt the high rate. And thus far have been given no data to support that claim. 

I also wonder if the ones with the failure were driven like the video on Carter's website. [Charles Cade]

PS I have received several personal replies from folks (no I won't divulge names) who want me to keep it up and try to get the facts that support the claims. They are just as skeptical as I am - just not as vocal. [Charles Cade]

<<I am starting to think this guy is a Ford legal snoop>>

The thought entered my mind, too. Be careful.

98 TR

My wife drives our SHO and @ 68k we had the Cam problem. I worked at a Ford dealer and all my service was done at the dealership where I worked. If I had known the signs before it actually go's we would have never had as big of repair bill. We ad the car in the shop 2 weeks before the cam went. I the dealership had known the signs to look for when they replaced the butterfies and the car still ran like sh*t. They might have checked the cams.

James Morris

Mr Charles Cade is a Ford employee, we just spoke by phone. 

Mr Charles Cade would like us to lay out our evidence today on the list for him, try the case without benefit of our side having lawyers or a plan. 

I would like to thank all those who had Charles Cade best interests at heart, I don't even know that he owns a SHO. 

And he can take that LOL, grease it & ........ 

Mr Charles Cade, drop trow & bark like a dawg, this is going to hurt you a lot worse than it is going to hurt us. 

I would ask List members to just ignore him in the future. 


 [Charles Cade] No, I am not a Ford employee. I did work at a dealership (Howard Thornton Ford in Frisco, Tx) about 20 years ago - just like I told you. I spoke to Mr. Wright and he still refuses to support his what seems to me to be a fantastic claim. 

I also ust got off the phone with Ford Customer Service and was told that they have no record of a camshaft problem (I know that's a story you've heard before). 

I only want evidence to support your claims so I can decide what to do with my SHO. And there are others like me - I keep getting e-mail from folks wanting me to persue this more. 

Now that you've lowered yourself to name calling, it just makes me even more skeptical. 

Keep on burning rubber and expecting to get reimbursed for your abuse.

Hmm, Ford must be getting worried if they are sending in the tunnel rats...... 

FWIW he was already on my feces list. 

Paul Nimz
'97 TR
'93 EG mtx

Remember to bring this up in court though. This guy asked questions regarding cam shaft information. I think your attorney will tell you that a judge will be plenty pissed that a Ford employee was asking such pointed questions directly to people who filed a lawsuit against Ford. I'd bring this up to the attorneys immediately. It may help you move the case forward. They are tampering with witnesses. Hey, you are gathering a group of people for witnesses right? Remember I have all my receipts, and faulty parts! Am I on it? I'd like to know so that I don't go saying anything that potentially becomes an issue. 

Jim Merriman

Hey can we just end this, Mr. Cade and other lurkers are not convinced so don't get your Cams welded. End of discussion, What we need to discuss is how in the hell I can get my driver seat to move up so I can get to the rear bolts or a painless why to reduce the length of my legs four inches so I can drive comfortably in it's present position. 

Charles Cooper

I know, what your saying is" it is rare and most cases are take care of under warranty, "


Charles, please leave our list, now, and do not return 

This is a private list, not for the use of FOMOCO. 

Timothy Wright 
List moderator


I was #71 (IIRC) on the list back when we were just a group of people who replied to emails with everyone's address in the cc box. 

Take everything else you have heard, and just forget about the 80-90% failures by the end of the year. (If it is your right hand that makes you sin...) 

I can tell you that the first failure or two that we heard about, we attributed to owner neglect, etc. We had one guy who was running nitrous, and there was a motor that someone was rebuilding for a project car, and we figured someone did something to it to make it fail. (The rebuild may not have been a camshaft, and if so, I bet the guy doing it will let me know, and I will let you know.) I bet they were both cam sprocket failures, but we did not know enough about it at the time to even ask about that. The engine being torn down was the first chance most of us had to even see pictures of the insides of the engine. Most everyone was still under factory warranty, and did not want to do anything to void that. With an advertised 100,000 mile tune-up, we had little reason to pull a valve cover. 

Then we had more failures in our small group of about 200. The people it happened to ranged all over the board in driving styles. I believe most everyone here provides at least the recommended maintenance to their vehicles, if not better. As the failures continued to come in, we realized that it was not owners abuse, lack of maintenance, etc. It happened without regard to vehicle treatment, as far as we could tell. The impressions of those already in our group were pretty well made before the first cam failure we knew of. 

The issue is very emotional, and we are doing the best we can to find out what when can with any certainty we can. I do not have the basics of the statistics that were used to produce the 80-90% claim. I can tell you that just from my own personal observation it may not be very far off, though. I used to see many Gen III's in my town. Several at the dealerships, and several that would be in parking lots around me. I have seen only two others this year in my town. I put a notice on one to see the website, and the other was riced out, two blocks from where I used to see one of the same color parked. It could be that there are a lot of still running cars that are just not being driven, though. I have certainly seen a decrease of greater than 80% of SHO's on the road. My gf concurs. It used to be every week I would point out a few SHO's. In all of our driving around the state, I have seen only four this year. (didn't count yours Holly, that was in OK, and I drove there specifically for SHO service...) 

I can tell you that there is a point in time where vehicles fail, and you stop seeing them on the road. I saw it with my 75 gran prix and my 88 le baron convertible. They were all over the place until they were very few and far between. It might be that there is a certain decrease in level that is easily perceived. I can tell you that what ever level that is, the V8SHO has met it in my area. 

The engine damage resulting from a camshaft failure is real and really expensive. Don't sweat the details when it comes time for you to decide what the best course is. Disregarding all this info based on worrying about the veracity of the 80-90% failure rate would be like disregarding a tornado warning because you were worried about someone saying that a tornado can pop up an in ground swimming pool. (BTW, I believe you, Carter, it was just the best analogy I can figure right now. :<) ) To make the analogy more extreme, since you have such a disbelief of the 80-90% claim, it might be like disregarding a tornado warning because someone said that a tornado could suck the core out of the earth and send it to the moon. 

We don't hold any disdain for you, but from my perspective, it really looks like you have enough information to know what to do. The dispassionate don't care whether you believe or not. You may have to understand that those who are passionate enough to give information have a little emotion about the matter. 

If someone had run a marathon to warn you of a pending invasion, would you disregard him because he was short of breath? 

Best Regards,

Maybe I should tell Mr. Cade about my son's Focus SVT with a failed clutch release bearing and only 7,000 miles on it. The dealer will not honor (Can I use honor in a paragraph discussing Ford?) the warranty saying that my son must have raced it. I just talked to a friend whose son is a mechanic at another dealer. They have 8 SVT Focus' sitting behind their bays waiting for warranty parts. My friend guessed they said he was racing as a grounds to void the warranty before I mentioned it. Mr. Cade, if your listening, I can forward you the letters of complaint I've sent to the Department of Consumer Affairs, Better Business Bureau, Ford and attorney Ed Masry. Sorry about the duplicate posts but I want to make sure everyone possible hears the latest Ford fiasco. I will never buy another new Ford. That’s too bad because I have the hots for a 2004 Cobra. Hurry up GTO. Sorry again for the rant. I do still like my SHO's. 

Gordon Gregg

Ok so you just got off the phone with Ford and they said they have no record of camshaft problems. do yourself, the list and everyone else a favor and read http://www.v8sho.com/SHO/PAAttorneyGeneralonOurSide.htm  If you click on the the letters at the bottom of the page you will see one with Ford letterhead read it. They do know they have a camshaft problem, as evident by their SMALL offer to make my claim right after the Pa Attorney General got on their butts. I'm not much for statistics but I do no facts. 


Bradley DeGroft

Shw Sir Charles... 

How do you explain the package I hand delivered to Ford oakville and had a 2 hr meeting with a Ford Engineer. took a cam and showed the failure. They have all the info from the website. Mine are welded by myself, and how do you explain the failures of all the lady driven cars, or the 55+ crowd. 

I think if you just look at the list traffic and the documented failures pretty easy to figure out the math from there to guesstimate what the final tally will be.. 

And just so you do not question who I am, VP of Claims for an Aftermarket Warranty company and a B. Sc. in Motive Power Technology {automotive} and a Inter-Provincial Licensed Technician with Diesel and Propane Qualifications. 

Who wanna talk shop call me 
or just go away and leave the list alone. 
Enough fools and shit disturbers on here. 
Clare Allenby

No, my car is not driven like that in the video on a daily basis, are you some kind of idiot? My Supercharged car is not the engine that failed with a camshaft sprocket. The Supercharger was a project that many had requested and I happened to be in the right place at the right time. The video shows one test of a "WOT from a standing start". You do realize that your car has also had this test performed on it with like ZERO miles on it? 

No, most of the failures are as mine was on cars driven CONSERVATIVELY. Do I need to prove that 55 year old female grade school teacher does not drive as aggressively as you do?

Yes, I am starting to get pissed off. 

I am a chemical engineer with a specialty in physics. I was a project manager for 9 years and I understand automotive sciences with respect to metallurgical stresses (but not nearly as well well as John Hamilton). I firmly believe in data to back up the hypothesis but one only has to be hit on the head with a hammer ONCE to understand the net result. 

Carter Fuji 

Seriously? I cannot believe that Ford would stoop to such a level.

Carter Fuji 

I say soak him in buck lure and throw him in the bison exhibit.


So... I dropped a quick line on Sunday morning hoping to get some background on the shocking failure rate estimates that have been floating around this list. I return the following day to find I had inadvertently lobbed a virtual grenade into the forum. My apologies to all of you whose ears are still ringing. Given my complicity in starting this brouhaha I suppose I ought to throw in my 2 cents.

First of all, I'm not Ford employee or agent. I'm not even a very good Ford customer, judging by the red "uncooperative a**hole" flags which surely appear next to my name in the Ford service dept. database. I also don't know who Charles Cade is, and I don't share his doubts about whether a problem actually exists.

I am a longtime SHO owner (Tim has my VIN & contact info for the class action), having traded my '89 after 142k trouble-free miles for a '97 which at 97.5k has also been nearly trouble-free. Prior to the advent of the SHO I drove a Buick GN, so I'm no stranger to limited-production variants. I don't drag race or autocross my cars but both of my SHOs have seen triple-digit velocities almost every day during my lengthy commute. I also frequently enjoy riding tail on unsuspecting M3, Lotus, and Carrera drivers on local mountain roads. Cornering skills and adept two-foot driving can easily make up for minor hardware disadvantages, and the look on their faces is priceless when they realize their inability to shake what appears to be a rental car in their rear view mirrors. Bona fides? I've got em.

One more thing that I am NOT: I'm not the least bit skeptical of the need to get my cams welded or pinned. As a former welder, machinist, and off-road racer I am appalled by the camshaft design on our cars and I wholeheartedly agree that the risk of cam failure FAR outweighs the small price of the welding fix. In project management class we were taught that risk is quantified by multiplying the impact (cost) of an event by its probability of occurrence. Since the impact is at least $10,000 and the cost of welding is $700 (California rates) I only need to believe that the probability of failure is higher than 7% in order to justify the expenditure, and a 7% failure rate is an easy sell to me. The only reason my cams are still unwelded is that until a month ago I thought I'd have to get the car from California to Atlanta (or maybe OK) to get it done. Chris K. is now helping me arrange a welding appointment locally, so I should be welded up tight by summer.

As far as the class action goes not only am I behind it 100%, but some of you may recall that I actually suggested it in this forum last July 16th. At that time I received a flurry of unreceptive replies to the effect of "no need to enrage the beast," "catch more flies with honey...," and so on. I'm glad to see that we're now willing to send a snake (lawyers) to catch a snake (FoMoCo). Now that we've started down this road, our chances of prevailing depend on our arguments and our spokespeople having sufficient credibility to scare Ford into settling, or failing that, sufficient credibility to win over a jury. My original "Mortality Speculation?" post was motivated by my concern that certain "outrageous claims" make us seem LESS credible in the eyes of our adversary, the press, and the jury pool.
In particular, the 80-90% failure rate and the claim that driving habits have no bearing on cam failure are harmful to our case. (At least we're not claiming to have invented the question mark, if you'll pardon the gratuitous Austin Powers reference.)

Claiming to have analytically proven that 80-90% of our cars will suffer this failure by the end of 2003 SOUNDS to an uninvolved observer like the exaggerated ranting of a biased crackpot. Furthermore, it's impossibly easy to disprove if Ford can show that more than 4,000 SHOs are still currently registered a year from now. As an engineer with graduate-level training in statistics, I happen to know that a forensic statistician CAN draw reliable forward-looking conclusions, and even make such predictions stand up in court, however I'm sure most of the public will understandably these findings. I was simply trying to determine the level of sophistication of the analysis that produced this "mind-boggling" conclusion. But IMHO even if the analysis is sound and will pass the inevitable peer review, it's still going to sound unbelievable to most people and will harm the PR campaign which needs to be won if Ford is to be persuaded to settle. It's best to keep that claim in our back pocket until our case moves to discovery. If those numbers turn out to be real and 80% actually have died by the end of this year, Ford will have no defense and will have to settle.

As for driving habits, let me first state unambiguously that every SHO owner who has suffered or will suffer a cam failure is a victim of faulty engineering, deliberate fraud, and antagonistic customer service practices by a self-serving group of ethically bankrupt business executives who are busy lining their pockets while negligently destroying the hard earned reputation of one of America's greatest industrial success stories. This criminal malfeasance does more than hurt the future of FoMoCo. It harms the reputation, marketability, and value of every product made in this country. That said, it's not helping our campaign to run around claiming that driving a SHO hard doesn't make the cams more likely to fail than driving it sedately. I fully believe the evidence which shows that there is no strong statistical correlation between mileage and failure rate. Nevertheless, common sense will cause the average lay person to fault an owner who is perceived to have abused his car.

As a matter of simple physics, the stress on a given cam sprocket is related to lobe impacts. In the case of our cars, there are four lobe impact impulses exerting torque on the camshaft (and thus the sprocket) for each cam revolution. Cumulative stress on the sprocket/shaft interface thus increases linearly with total engine revolutions (and thus cam revolutions at 1:2), not odometer miles. Any single camshaft has a failure point; a finite number of revolutions it can sustain prior to failure. An owner who drives 50K miles at an average RPM of 3600 subjects his camshafts to twice as much cumulative stress as an owner who drives the same 50K miles at an average of 1800 RPM. Drivers who accelerate rapidly or downshift frequently increase inertial stresses as well. Ford's lawyers will undoubtedly use some simplified version of this explanation to try to explain away the low-mileage failures and paint us SHO victims as unrepentant lead-foots who caused our own problems. OBDII may be our worst enemy if Ford is capturing records of avg. RPM each time a dealer scans for codes. Our best bet is to keep the driving habits issue off the table until Ford brings it up, and then challenge them to produce evidence that most (or ANY, for that matter) cam failure victims knowingly operated their vehicles outside manufacturer's recommended operating parameters. The incidence of low-mileage failures bears plentiful evidence of a design flaw. The RHD '96 show car with the welded cams is all the evidence we need that Ford knew of the flaw long before most of our cars ever hit the showroom floor.

My point is we don't need either of those arguments in order to prevail with this lawsuit, and repeating them so frequently is probably detrimental to our collective campaign to build sympathy with the public and create uncertainty amongst our foes.

As for convincing fellow SHO owners to weld or pin their cams I would think that between the 264 cam failure anecdotes on the web site and the modest 7% risk acceptance level calculated above, the only owners left with unwelded cams should be the independently wealthy, the compulsive gamblers, and the unfortunate folks who don't have a qualified cam weld shop within driving distance.

OK, that was more like $2.00 than 2 cents. Thanks for listening.

Michael Testa,

I most certainly applaud your response and wisdom on the subject. In fact I am grateful you responded as you did with the special insight you have, thank you.

I would have to point out though of course the 80 to 90% failure rate is a model based on cars that does not exclude cars that have been welded/pinned but presumably can no longer fail and of course cars that have been removed by attrition. Just because they fail does not mean they are no longer registered and operating today. 

The model is not based on the statistical analyses from known failures but rather the design failure and miles or as you so well put it lobe/sprocket stress. Average miles/number of vehicles obtaining that mileage over time.

And lastly, I cannot argue the "the exaggerated ranting of a biased crackpot." I do however stand by the belief that it is not a matter of "if", but rather "when" the sprocket will fail.

$7,824.55 smarter. 

And for the record, my car was NEVER abused. I have never had to rebuild a motor on any of my previous 20+ automobiles prior to 200,000 miles being logged. You cannot make it to that kind of mileage "abusing" any car. "

Carter Fuji 

I'm sorry you guys think I'm an employee of Ford (you can believe it if you want - I don't really care). I'm just trying to get some FACTS in order to make an educated decision on MY SHO. And I'm still getting private messages from folks who agree with my position. Just as Michael Testa has stated, if it wasn't for that 80-90% failure rate you guys claim with no support, I probably wouldn't have so many doubts (and my discussion with Mr. Wright just led me to more doubts - I won't get into the details but he should know what I'm talking about).

Mr Charles Cade,

You may have missed or chose to ignore my message yesterday, 

So I will repeat it.

I am list moderator and owner of V8SHO. 

I am asking you leave immediately, and not return.

Not in a informal way but as an issue of criminal trespass.

You are not welcome here.

Timothy Wright
List owner

bcc Cam team


I doubt you are getting any real support for your position on the cams from this group. I also don't care who you work for. Makes no difference to me.

The proof is there. Forget the 90% thing, look at the facts that ARE known, and you already have them.

You don't want to believe, then fine, let it be, because you will never change the opinion of the 99% of the people on this list that have SEEN the results of disbelief, and have known and talked with reputable mechanics that do the repairs, and talked with reputable engineers about it.

I handed a bad cam to a Ford engineer in person, he has now been shut up by the company because he was trying to find a solution. Other employees of the company have been similarly told to stay out of the SHO cam situation. people have been fired.

Finally a very good friend of mine, and influential GM dealer made some discrete inquiries on my behalf about the cam situation and to put it mildly, he was told (in stronger terms) to "keep out of it!" This isn't a person that shys from a fight........ and he dropped it like a hot potato.

So to put your words on the other side, the bulk of us have tried to help you and if you still don't believe, then you aren't in search of the truth or knowledge, just trying to start a fight. So we "Don't really care" if you believe or not.

If you really do own a V8 SHO, just keep on doing nothing. You could be one of the lucky ones that never has a failure. If your engine does go belly up, don't come to the SHO community for help though, go to Ford and see how much help they give you.

Don Mallinson
SHO Club

BTW, when talking about the dealer I talked with, he is also a Ford dealer, that means more than the GM stores he owns. Mistype on my part.

Don Mallinson
SHO Club

Man, Charles, if you only knew how hard it is to get Don this upset, he is very even tempered, does not get upset, I tip my hat to you for accomplishing a task that is not easily done, Good Show Old Boy,

John Stout

For what it's worth, my phone conversation with Tim convinced me that the failure rate numbers being discussed here DO in fact have merit.

As for my cams, welding them has never been in doubt. I'm firmly in the "ounce of prevention" camp. I've been looking for someone to weld them locally since last summer and I've finally struck pay dirt.

Michael Testa, 

Some facts may not be totally available. We don't know how many SHO's have had engines replaced, we don't know how many have been run through shredders and turned into reinforcing steel, we don't know how many are sitting in garages/yards/driveways with spun sprockets. What we do know is that 260+ people have contacted v8sho.com with their stories. Lots of people don't have internet access, don't know about v8sho.com, don't care, etc. I did a little summary of the known failures last fall. It has since been updated by someone else. My summary of the known data said that failures could occur at any time from 20k miles to over 100k miles. We have extrapolated (guessed) that at least 1 out of 10 engines has already failed, and with people putting more miles on their cars every day, the final tally would be 1 out of 5 or worse. So it is a gamble- do you want to take a chance with odds of perhaps 4 out of 5 in your favor that saving $600 will work out for you? Maybe it will, maybe it won't, but the consequences of an engine failure are very severe.

I bought my 97 without knowing much about the cam issue. I started doing research and decided within a month to weld my cams and did the procedure myself. It is literally sickening to me to read the stories of people who in good faith bought their cars for transportation, had their cars fail, were told it was their "tough luck", and now have to make payments on a car that they can't drive.

Dean James

One more thing I just thought of... If the decision is truly so you can decide what to do with your own car. You don't believe that the 80 - 90% number has been proven - I can understand your view of being skeptical there. I don't trust anyone's math but my own, these numbers could be accurate however I just don't know.

But if the real reason is you want to decide what to do to your car. Call up Jasper Engines and transmissions (jasperengines.com) they deal a lot in the rebuilt factory motor business. Guess what - every SHO V8 they sell (for at least the last 8 months or more) they pin the cam sprockets.. Pinning is more costly than welding for us. They have the motor in a million pieces for the full rebuild anyway but they take the trouble to machine and insert the pin in the shaft... The fact that they are doing something to address this speaks VOLUMES. The fact that they do anything is the point, this is NOT to turn into a pinning V. Welding argument now both have their advantages - 'nuff said about that topic.

Please quit focusing only at the numbers that have been presented, I was not involved in their calculation and regardless of how they were calculated it is a moot point. If your camshafts still spin properly, there are no promises that the factory design will continue to function properly, (270 known failures to date backs that up) nor are there any promises that one of them will quit; your poker hand - your bet.

Can we please stop arguing about the 80 - 90% number. The real numbers will be known as time progresses, of course as more cars get welded the numbers look better in general as some failures have certainly been prevented.


Scott Krietemeyer

Facts: The camsprocket has failed on more then one or two V8SHO motors.

Facts: It WILL damage valves, possibly pistons, valve seats and bearing integrity when it does happen.

Facts: It is very expensive and time consuming to repair.

Facts: Not to many dealers have ever been under the hood of one much less inside the motor itself.

Facts: Ford will not help you unless you show up with at least $6,000 first.

Facts: At least 300 people here can tell you what happens when you do not weld the sprocket

Facts: We are passionate about our cars here regardless what Ford has done to us regarding this issue.

Facts: We will feel bad for those who have the sprocket fail but were unable to afford the preventative measure.

Facts: None of will shed a tear for those who could afford the welds but thought it couldn't happen to them or thought the "small" percentage justified the work.

What is so hard to believe about the 80 - 90%? GM imported a high end Opel (badged as a Cadillac Cetera) that had an outrageous% failure rate in the first 4 years. This number according to consumer guide was based on the design and the time it took for the vehicles to reach the average mileage it failed. It was not advertised though and for the most part Cadillac backed the car up when they started dropping like flies. Many of them that were not bought back by GM are still on the road today even with that kind of failure rate. Owners did not to my knowledge have to go to court to get the truth from the manufacture. It did kill the model here though.

Back to the SHO percentages, I would guess that at least 50 - 75 % of those on this list have welded their sprockets already. Since this preventative measure has been performed, it is obvious that 80 -90% of the overall produced SHO's cannot fail. We are constantly changing the percentage that will fail by welding/pinning and attrition. No, 80 to 90% may not apply over 20,000 now, the percentage will be greater as you exclude those from the overall pool that have been welded or totaled in accidents or as a result of the engine damaged sustained as a result of the of unwelded cams failing.

Mileage or rather accumulated total RPMs of the camshaft for the most part determines the failure as Michael so eloquently put it. One would have to also consider that there was less then a precise method of manufacture since there are 4 camshafts in these engines and in most cases they only fail 1 at a time, not all four at the same time. In any case this also supports the case that abuse is not to blame as not just one position is attributed to the  failure, presumably based on the weakest link scenario. Generally utilizing the accepted average miles placed on these cars over 80% of all the operating production vehicles will obtain that number by the end of the year.

I for one sincerely hope still that the number calculated by a PhD in physics is incorrect, but this is not likely as he makes a living in providing models with an accuracy I cannot fathom in statistical analyses.

Can you at this point acknowledge that the camsprocket to camshaft is a poor design? If it is not in your expert opinion, then please reason to us why even though this is the ONLY engine in mass production that has a camshaft to sprocket failure. Seriously, look at the design and get independent opinions of the design from automotive experts making sure they are aware that the car is capable of 7,000 RPM's from the factory.

Interesting to also note that even race or other high performance engines do not break this component. Race or abused engines loose connecting rods, bearings, crankshafts, camchains, primary drives and even valves but never rip a sprocket from the middle of the camshaft.

On a personal note, it has been my experience that abused cars tend to look abused. My SHO has won 1st place trophies with 120,000+ miles on the clock at regional car shows.

My last comment to you is that I should have had mine welded when I was first informed rather then thinking it certainly couldn't happen to me since I had only heard of the first one 3 months prior to mine failing and besides, I had surpassed the mileage of the other vehicles by quite a bit and pampered my car.

Carter Fuji 

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