cam and tappet wear/damage - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-29-2019, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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cam and tappet wear/damage

Hi all, I went to help a fellow Alfisti/friend check his 87's valves.
He's had the car years and its always driven fine and sounded fine, although he doesn't drive it much.
So why bother? Why not!

The measurable clearances were all tight - between 0.008" and about 0.015". Clearly we were unable to measure 2, and upon its discovery pulled the camshaft before checking 1.

To our unfortunate surprise we find this! 3 of 4 exhaust tappets have wear. 2 is destroyed and the camshaft lobe has mating wear.
Additionally the spring tension feels to only be half of the others. 1 is a little lighter tension too, but not as bad as 2.
1 and 2 spring caps are sooty.
Valve 2 can fairly easily be wobbled around. 1 is a little wobbly.

A head rebuild and new exhaust cam is in order. But the question is what likely caused this, other than the obvious not occasionally checking the clearances?
Its clear the guide is worn, the spring fatigued and the tappet/cam wore. But what was the root cause that started the ball rolling? Failed spring? Failed guide? Clearance issue?

Edit - no wear on the intake tappets.


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Mike

'87 Quadrifoglio

Last edited by mcola; 07-29-2019 at 03:45 PM.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-29-2019, 07:51 PM
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Wow, I don't ever recall seeing that. And of course if I had seen it i'd remember. I'm replying to create interest in this question, sorry no answer to the query.
Hope some one with proper knowledge chimes in.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-30-2019, 03:41 AM
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I too never saw tappet wear like that. And I've rebuilt dozens and dozens of Nord heads! The exhaust side (obviously) runs hotter than the intake side. This looks to me like a lubrication issue. Not maintaining proper valve lash may have been an issue as well. Has the engine been getting quality 20W-50 engine oil, changed regularly? I've seen folks going to Jiffy Lube style oil change stores where everything gets 5W-30 piss oil. With that valve train wear, how could the engine have "sounded fine"? 1-2-and 3 tappets are destroyed. Might be time for a complete engine rebuild.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-30-2019, 08:48 AM
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I to have a lot of valve adjustments and valve jobs under my proverbial belt. Never have I seen cam followers that bad ever. That is just poor maintenance both in terms of oil and valve adjustments. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" syndrome.

If one of the cam followers rocks in the hole, the head may be beyond limits unless you can find a source for oversize.

Pull the head and send it out to a reputable rebuilder and see if the head can be saved.

Obviously get a replacement set of cams, springs, and followers.

Part of what we are seeing here is what has happened since the oils have been reformulated and some metals taken out of the oil (ZDDP to be specific). The metals in oil helps prevent cam/cam follower wear, but it is supposedly a contributor to pollution. Using synthetic helps as the long molecule chains don't break down so easily, preventing wear patterns. The other option is to add cam lube that has a high ZDDP additive but some say that it is not good for the catalytic.

Keep us in the loop as to the outcome of this.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-30-2019, 09:03 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velocedoc View Post
If one of the cam followers rocks in the hole, the head may be beyond limits unless you can find a source for oversize.


Part of what we are seeing here is what has happened since the oils have been reformulated and some metals taken out of the oil (ZDDP to be specific). The metals in oil helps prevent cam/cam follower wear, but it is supposedly a contributor to pollution. Using synthetic helps as the long molecule chains don't break down so easily, preventing wear patterns. The other option is to add cam lube that has a high ZDDP additive but some say that it is not good for the catalytic.

Fortunately its not the follower that rocks, just the valve and the guide(s) have been verified as worn.
Regarding oil, he has been using Rotella 15w40 with supposed higher levels of zinc.
What oil and condition the engine was in up to the time of purchase???

But definitely should have periodically checked thing out - cheap insurance.

Mike

'87 Quadrifoglio
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-30-2019, 09:19 AM
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Quote:
Fortunately its not the follower that rocks, just the valve and the guide(s) have been verified as worn.
Regarding oil, he has been using Rotella 15w40 with supposed higher levels of zinc.
What oil and condition the engine was in up to the time of purchase???
There is a long and hallowed zddp versus no zddp discussion here on the bb that I won't get into . . . Nonetheless, Rotella apparently has reformulated its mix and is no longer a good choice for high zddp oil (and please note I did say "apparently"). I've never used Rotella and instead use Valvolene VR1 20-50 which does have high zddp. There are other good high zddp choices available. If you are using a modern low-zddp oil, you can also add a can of Rislone zddp additive which is not only cheap but commonly available.

Good luck on your rebuild. Be sure to use first quality cam followers (there is a difference nowadays) and high zddp content oil and you'll be good to go.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-30-2019, 09:32 AM
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when I saw this old thread some years back, I thought heck, those cam follows look shot
https://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/984866-post4.html

But these in post 1, especially cyl#2 are just plain scary...that engine must have sounded like Bojangles!
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-30-2019, 09:37 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by spiderserie4 View Post
when I saw this old thread some years back, I thought heck, those cam follows look shot
https://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/984866-post4.html

But these in post 1 are just plain scary...surely that engine must have sounded like a bag of bolts?


Interesting post!
Surprisingly it sounded nothing like you'd expect after seeing what we uncovered.
But then again, what Alfa engine sounds quite like a Honda or Toyota?

Mike

'87 Quadrifoglio
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-30-2019, 10:19 AM
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appears to be bottoming out on the perimeter of the follower. When the cam turns thru, the perimeter is held up, and the center is deformed. What would hold up the perimeter (ie tappet pocket too shallow/ tappet too long). As earlier stated, the head has to come off (obviously) and some metrology done. I cant imagine what that must have sounded like.....

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-30-2019, 10:19 AM
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It reminds me of a soft Chevy V8 cam. Like it wasn't hardened properly.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-30-2019, 10:31 AM Thread Starter
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I really wish we thought to video the engine running before we went in.
Like I keep saying, there wasn't an alarming sound, as crazy as that sounds!
I too thought the tappet deformed, but my friend is insistent its actually wore down based on his measurements which I didn't verify.

Mike

'87 Quadrifoglio
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