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Jonathan Case - Cam Failures #169 & #170

new 12/30/02, updated 1/7/03

Gentlemen and Ladies:

I am delighted and thrilled to find this mailing list on the Internet.  I have just yesterday experienced my second camshaft failure in a 1996 SHO.  The odometer has approximately 145,000 miles, and with a cough, sputter and silence my engine failed yesterday just as it did some 72,000 miles ago.  The subsequent inability of the engine to fire, and the familiar shuddering of the engine told me without opening the hood that the camshaft had once again bitten the dust.  After a few hours in the shop for initial diagnostic analysis, I have been told by the dealer there is a 'compression problem', and I must fork over at least $400 just to see how bad things are.

My first failure took place in 2000, cost me something over $3,500 (after my local Ford dealer split part of the costs with me and provided me a loaner car while the camshaft took eighteen weeks to replace).  I now am awaiting the different dealer (now that I'm working in a different part of the country) to tell me that I'm going to be forced to invest another $4,000 in the engine (at best) to fix the problem yet again.

I am eager to contribute to this group in whatever way I can.  I have already contacted the attorneys who are handling the class-action lawsuit and hope to hear back from them in due course.

Looking forward to every tidbit that comes from the mailing list. 

Jonathan Case
Naval Air Systems Team

At the time of the first failure, the widespread scope of the camshaft problem wasn't known (at least to me), nor was it being publicly talked about via the Internet. Back in 2000, at the point of my first failure, the small-town dealer in Abingdon, VA didn't even have a trained SHO technician. Ironically, they were sending a tech to SHO engine analysis training at the time my failure occurred. The dealer took almost 5 weeks before he fully diagnosed the problem as the camshaft. They couldn't even get a good engine analysis for the better part of 3 weeks. Once they got it done, they started out thinking it was the internal throttle plates causing the problem. Clearly, they were working behind the 8-ball when it came to working knowledge of the SHO.

The first-failure dealer was very cooperative with me at first, including the provision of a loaner car. I don't think the dealer had any idea how long the loaner car would be required, since it took some 16 weeks to get the camshaft from Ford. After the first two weeks of uncertainty, when the technician was attending class and I was uncomfortable with the lack of information coming out of the dealer, I opened a customer-service ticket with Ford. The customer service desk did little but check with me every four weeks to see what was going on. All the key decisions involving the repair and Ford's contribution to the cost came from the Zone Representative. The dealer may not have known he was being lied to, but he was told that Ford wanted the failed camshaft returned to them for analysis, and Ford claimed "no other failures of this nature were being experienced in the SHO." Obviously, this was a smokescreen at the end of the day, as proven by the number of failures documented on the website. To my knowledge, the Ford engineers never followed up on their request to get the parts returned for analysis. 

I don't know whether Ford was being 100% honest, but I was told there were NO spare camshafts available in the entire United States when my first failure occurred. The dealer was told that 1) Ford would be required to pull an entire engine off the shelf, remove the camshaft and scrap the rest of the engine, or 2) they would approach the original OEM of the camshaft and see if they could get one made. The camshaft finally arrived, the repairs were done, and the 'weld fix' wasn't known to me or the dealer. 

The easy answer to your question, "NO, I didn't have my cams welded after the first failure ergo, almost exactly at the same mileage as the first, I now have my second failure." I wound up paying some $3,600 out-of-pocket for the repair, and that included the 16- or 18-week use of a loaner car. (I can't remember the duration exactly, senility is hell!) Still waiting to hear back from the repairing dealer for the second failure to see what Ford's response is going to be. Wish I had known the V8SHO.COM website existed back then, I would have approached it far differently.

As a side note, another SHO in Abingdon (small town, hardly any SHOs there later than 1995) failed during the time mine was in the shop for the first failure. The service manager stated that it looked like the same type of failure mine had. At the time mine was repaired, the owner of the other SHO was not even sure he was going to repair his engine. I'm going to see if I can find out the name of that SHO owner, and make contact with him to see what happened.

What a great learning experience, eh?

Jonathan Case 

Chapter Three:

What a surprise? Ford Motor Company's zone representative has nixed any further financial contribution to the second repair of my engine due to the camshaft failure. My options are to keep the car unrepaired and salvage it for parts, pay the $6,000 plus to get a car worth $4,000 on the open market and subject to failure again at some point in the future, pickup a Jasper engine and have it installed (cost estimate unknown), or buy another used car that isn't a SHO or Ford-related brand of any kind.

My gut instinct tells me to forget the repair of the SHO, as I cannot afford to sink that kind of money into a repair. If there are any lower-cost options that anyone wants to suggest, I'm all ears. Otherwise, I must withdraw myself from the fine family of Ford owners, never to return again, and pray for success in the class-action lawsuit effort.

Suggestions anyone?

Jonathan Case
Building 405, Room 100B
Patuxent River Naval Air Station

My condolences.

Tow your SHO outside the local dealer with a large LEMON sign on it. Add the words CORPORATE FRAUD.. Wait for results. I believe the LEMON-AIDE books got started this way. I would do this myself, out of anger.

Al Smith

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