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Welding, Pinning & Gluing, a False Alarm

New 5/18/05, 7/25/05

Scott Lavine
Walled Lake, Mi 48390
96' Silver Frost (welded)
Cam Failure $ 274 &275 (89,600)
110,500k miles

After having my cams welded two years and almost 21K ago... I have the "ticking of death" once again. I and Rays Auto Repair and Performance in Warren Michigan weld them. Much to my dismay Rays has since closed it's doors for good. I'm stuck and no cam welders near-by. If any one has any suggestions I'd be much appreciative. Has anyone else had a failure after a welding? The situation is frustrating to say the least, especially for a 19 yr old college student with a car payment on a car that is about to self-destruct.

-Scott Lavine

I take it you are in MI?? If so, don't start the damn car. Are you sure it's the cams. His welder was supposed to be fairly good. I'm forwarding this to my friend Ryan who has and EXTREMELY competent mechanic/welder in the Detroit Area. Contact Ryan directly for guidance. Let me know if his guy qualifies the car as a failure   - Larry

BY the way? What do I need to do to get my name in on the class action suit?

-Scott Lavine


Would you like to call me, I am concerned that Ray's work did not hold up,

You may also want to contact Eric in Chicago to fix your car.


I contacted Ryan Dudek in Lake Orion and I got a hold of a mechanic/welder in the Detroit area who's fixed a couple of weld jobs from Rays. The information was more for the records of failures. I'm already 274 & 275 but I now have a third failure to my name I suppose. I'll confirm details after I have it worked on tomorrow.

-Scott Lavine

It is upsetting in the extreme to have the work of someone we recommended come apart. If as you indicated this is not the first problem with Ray's work than other V8SHO owners with car that Ray worked on should take steps to insure that they do not have the same problem.


I referred Scott over to my welder and they're taking a look at it tonight. I may be able to make it out there and take pictures or report back or something.

FWIW, Rick has opened up 3 different cars on different occasions that were previously welded, but had cracked their welds and were again making noises. Two were local and another was an east coast car.


What about this one?


Could just be a bad diagnosis, but it gives me the same uneasy feeling.

Dan Carman 

Back in the day, many a machinist said that the best way to fix the issue would be to pin the cams, however, it is FAR less practical. In fact, I seem to recall some testing that was done on untreated cams, welded cams and pinned cams, with the pinned cams being the strongest (maybe the tech session @ the MD convention?). Welding is easier, less expensive and far less labor intensive than pinning would be, however, the margin for error with a weld isn't nearly as great, as the same forces that work to move the sprocket around in the original problem can and will act upon the weld. If the weld isn't done properly it is no surprise that they are failing. This goes back to my original issue with the shops that started welding the cars. I never wanted a mechanic with a welder inside my motor. I wanted a welder with mechanical skills. Just because someone is able to tack weld exhaust doesn't mean that they know how to weld.


Can I get an"AMEN ! ! " for Ryan Please ! ! !

Just to suggest another option - Could this engine have spit out a valve shim? I HAVE seen it on a couple of 150k + Mile SHO's with rough maintenance histories. Makes a VERY troubling racket but the motor still runs well. Rod Bearings would be my next guess. Weld failure would be the 3rd possibility IMO.

EEKS ! ! ! Eric Lehmann

On 7/18/05, Ryan Dudek <rmdudek@gmail.com> wrote:

Just because someone is able to tack weld > exhaust doesn't mean that they know how to weld. > > Ryan

When I did mine I did the wrenching, and had a SERIOUS mobile welder come out. I spent more on his travel time each way than I ever did on his welding time.


This is what I think I know. Back when TKY helped us reportedly Ford did some destructive tests on various "fixes".

Ford reportedly did Cologne engine tests with several "solutions", the same tests engine development Ford normaly does, and perhaps neglected to do during V8SHO engine development. The engines are run for WOT for weeks on end, pausing only for PM until failure.

The results are not in miles but in "Engine Hours" and not Engine Hours of severe service. (WOT - full load)

Assuming mean time to failure for any one V8 SHO is about 70,000 miles the results (of a small sample of one example each) one might try to normalize the results for "no fix" ~ 70,000 miles of normal use.

If my memory is OK, this is roughly what I came up with after normalizing the results.

No Fix ~ engine failure at 70,000 miles
new design ~ engine failure at 150,000 miles - based on 4.6L DOHC design
(2 tests) welding ~ engine failure at 1,000,000-1,500,000 miles
(2 tests) Pinning ~ engine failure at 4,000,000-4,500,000 miles

If they had both used a hard pin and welded it in place the engine might still be running?

The problem with pinning is the cost and skill of the machinist. SHOSHOP was pinning on and exchange basis and returned wrong sets ( i.e. 3 exhaust cams, 1 Intake cam) to a few customers and that was a big problem.

As Eric noted the problem with welding the cams is the balance between good penetration and excess heat which ruins the cams. We have several owners learn how to weld on their own cams (not recommended) and badly botch the job.

Ray's has been off the recommended list for some time now, and is out of business.

If a cam weld job is done well, it should increase the expected life of a SHO engine from 70k to 1,500k for 1/3 of the cost of pinning.

That is what I think I know,

Timothy Wright

Therefore, the results of this testing lead Ford to recommend Loktite? I am beginning to wonder if chemical adhesion-given the potential of welding heat ruining the cams- isn't such a terrible solution? If the bond is strong enough, and the risk of cam damage or from the process (heat or defective welds) is negated, the tsb might be a more correct solution. No data to look at as far as I've seen on this repair method though.

Louis Grande

Instead of loctite why not just use kleenex and spit? The end result is about the same.

ka-chunk, ka-chunk, ka-chunk...


Glue is NOT metal. It has a Finite service life.


Nobody likes the Loktite solution and I've never read the TSB or really cared which Loktite was recommended by Ford, but there are some industrial use Loktite types which require an amazing amount of work to break. I know that in the mechanized automation industry (assembly lines), my father uses some Loktite type that must be heated to a nice glow and struck with a V-V-V-V-BFH to break. Far more heat and abuse than the cams in the motor would be subjected to. Practical for cars? Probably not, but if used at the time of cam assembly, the cam problem wouldn't likely exist.


>Therefore, the results of this testing lead Ford to recommend Loktite?

One of Ford's better crack pipe moments,

My best understanding is that loctite may buy a cam owner about 10% more theoretical life if applied before any noise or movement occurs.

Since it's a defective design, if you have a 90k cam loctite should help an additional 9,000 miles. But if your get the 30k cam; loctite would, in theory, get you only an additional 3,000 miles.

I don't think Loctite is worth the labor and trouble to apply, and I don't think Ford does either.


At the time of cam assembly is also a great point. I was thinking if there were no damage at the mating area that perhaps an industrial strength adhesive might be a viable fix. Wouldn't one have thought that something like this would have been involved during manufacture to begin with? I can't imagine that only compression fitting was engineered to hold this stuff together with the amount of rotation a camshaft has to live through. hmmm...

Louis Grande


After careful analysis by Ryan's guy it seems I was simply being gun-shy. I heard the fuel injectors and got paranoid. Rays welds did in fact hold up this time. Just the same, thanks for your help. However I am sad to hear that some people's welds have in fact fallen apart.

-Scott Lavine

An update for those concerned. Scott trailered the car over to Rick's house last night. Unloaded the car and pushed it into the garage to start work. Showed Scott and his friend who trailered the car a decent place to eat, headed back to Ricks to start work. Tore down motor, checked welds and all was fine. Scott came back, showed him what Rick found (nothing), put the car back together and listened. Sounded pretty normal to me. Little noise at startup, but once everything calmed down the car purred like normal. Explained to Scott that the light clicking that he hears is his injectors pulsating, closed the hood, stared at Rick's Impala for a while and Scott was on his way. Sucks that Rick pulled the motor apart only to find that all welds were good, but we certainly weren't going to start the car in light of the facts that it came in as a reported failing motor on a trailer. Oh well, win some, lose some. Seen a bad weld or two come into his garage in the past, but these were just fine. So, those who have had their cams welded at Ray's back in the day need not necessarily worry, just be somewhat attentive as always.






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