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Lance & Bernie Puett - Cam Failure #217

new 2/16/03


My wife and I own a 1996 V8 SHO, Silver, and we live in Parker, Colorado. We bought the car used, with 59K miles from Burt Arapahoe Ford in Englewood, CO, in March of 1999.

The car had some problems three months later at 63K that were not fully covered by the extended service contract we purchased. The car ran rough, hard to start, kept dying when going slow and turning the steering wheel, and check engine light kept coming on. Parts replaced:

Fuel pump
Fuel filter
Fuel Injector (1)
Fuel pressure regulator
Acuator (?)
Valve Deactivator
Bracket - Intake Manifold

Total charge - $1398
Maint. Covered - $1025
My fee - $400 (Difference + taxes)

I had brakes replaced at 81K and they started squealing bad...Burt Ford said that is normal with new brakes. At 114K, they still squeak, but I will not take my car back to them.

At 101K miles, the car started ticking...I called the dealer (Burt Ford) they said drive the car on in, probably just needs a valve adjustment. When I was taking the car to the dealer, I was going around a corner (10-15 miles an hour) and it died hard. IO towed it back to my house and later had the car towed to Burt Ford.

It cost me $5200. The problem was the cam gear came off of the cam, destroyed a few items:

New cam $1068
4 Exhaust valves, cyl. #1 and #4 $20 each. (made no sense as #1 and #4 are on opposite sides of the engine, but I only lost one cam, which was the back exhaust cam and they still can't explain exactly why)
A lot of gaskets, il, power steering fluid, oil filter.

Total labor was $3125

Needless to say the extended warranty was expired, but I did not receive any notice or extension offer from them.

When I asked why the cam would break, the service advisor said, "you know, metal wears out as it gets old"

So we got the car back and then it ran rough, dying again when turning the steering wheel. About two months of Burt Ford having the car, they said there was a variable timing gear that was loose on the crankshaft. It used used to "feel" load on the engine, then adjust timing, engine speed, etc. to compensate. The extra load was caused by the steering wheel, thus the timing was not being adjusted, causing the car to die. They actually said they flew out one of the Ford SHO design engineers to help. They fixed this problem for free and even gave us a rental for the two months they had the car.

At 111K mile, the car ran rough again, and Burt Ford did diags for $94. Code P0304, dead coil on cyl. #4.

I took it to another shop and he replaced the coil and all the plugs for $140. He said the plugs should be changed every 100K, but is not necessary, but since they were only $75 for the set, it wouldn't hurt.

Anyway, the car runs great, but I'm afraid of losing one of the other three cams in the near future, or another coil, or anything else.

I will never buy another Ford vehicle again, (I have a 95 Ford Aspire, but when it's dead, no more Fords). I have a 1967 Camaro, that has many more miles than the SHO, but the metal never wore out like the metal in the Ford.

Add us to the list of people who have experienced the cam failure.


Lance and Bernie Puett

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