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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm going through the process of changing head gaskets on the Zetec

I believe the intake gear was replaced by the original builder with a WebCamshaft gear.

However I didn't expect them to be out of alignment with each other. Tuning note says both exhaust (stock) and intake were advanced 5 degrees back in the day.

Any explanation as to why they would be out of alignment with each other?

When I change the timing belt I'll have to have them match each other with the notches and then re-advance the intake cam to this angle?

Highly unlikely that the car jumped timing. Only a few thousand miles on the motor, timing belt looks fine and ran pretty well other than overheating.

310732
 

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Do you have the engine exactly at TDC? Exhaust is either retarded or intake advanced there, you have to be at TDC to know which. Yes, you will have to reproduce that after using the cam tool to set them dead flat if sprockets are loosened. If the intake is off flat then maybe the sprocket is adjustable to have marks showing where it now is. You may not want to loosen the sprockets because you lose that setting when you do. In that sort of case it's best to use a sprocket locking timing tool that locks both sprockets to each other at TDC to preserve whatever custom setting is there. Then you just change the belt and use noithing in the back slots at all, the sprockets locked together at TDC do the same thing but in a non-OEM custom spot.
 

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If both cams were truly advanced they would both be out of flat in the same direction not just one. Pic shows exhaust (left cam in pic) retarded if at TDC, if not, rolling engine till exhaust is dead straight then would show intake (cam on the right in pic) as advanced. Belt must be on sprockets of course.
 

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It doesnt matter either way , set the gears to 0 , install the tool and just put it together , you cannot go off what the gears were set to before for many reasons , You will have to go to a Dyno and adj the Cam Gears for Optimal Performance there is no other way

Tom
 

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We need some more info on this one. That's a Contour motor with VCT, correct? I see the VCT solenoid, real temp sensor in the thermostat, and the additional teeth on the exhaust cam for the cam position sensor.

You need to get all the oil pressure out of the VCT gear and set motor at TDC.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I believe original source was the Contour or the Mercury Mistique that also would have had the VCT.

DCT has been disabled by original builder at least the cam gear unit was replaced. There is still the VCT unit on the actual cam. My assumption is that it's inert. Whether it's still applying pressure is a question I don't have an answer to. @hEaT


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Here are the timing notes from the original tuner


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When the motor is DCT the exhaust cam lines up with the bar and it's the intake that's out of alignment. Rotated further counter clockwise. Seems that intake is advanced @amc49. I can try your trick of locking the cam gears during the swap. Then I could individually lock the cams after with the bar tool in order to swap the actual gears over to adjustable ones (per Tom's advice) without losing the position one at a time.

However Toms advice carries the most weight. I can only assume the car will start and run with both of them in the 0 position to get it into a trailer and get it to a tuner after.


I can't verify with certainty that the intake came is a WebCam as the tune note indicates. After calling Webcams they didn't see any obvious signature marks, but I did say that it says 260 E on the back so the operator send me the information she had on an Intake 260 E cam for a Zetec

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The build sheet indicates that "fast road" cam was purchased, but it also states that there were 3 different cams tested throughout.


If none of this matters to a tuner in the future, I'll 0 them out, swap the HG, timing, cam gears and get it tuned after.

Thanks all!
 

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Great info, thanks for sharing.

I would agree with Tom in that if you set everything at 0*, it should run enough to get it on a trailer and tuned. Since those cam gears aren't adjustable, I am thinking they did some kind of adjustment with a degree wheel or similar and then locked them down (since they aren't keyed, you can do this with the stock gears).

If you want to make it easier to dial these in, I would assume you can install two adjustable cam gears (I have the Turbo Sport ones sold by Massive) and then adjust without having to remove the valve cover again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Great info, thanks for sharing.

I would agree with Tom in that if you set everything at 0*, it should run enough to get it on a trailer and tuned. Since those cam gears aren't adjustable, I am thinking they did some kind of adjustment with a degree wheel or similar and then locked them down (since they aren't keyed, you can do this with the stock gears).

If you want to make it easier to dial these in, I would assume you can install two adjustable cam gears (I have the Turbo Sport ones sold by Massive) and then adjust without having to remove the valve cover again.
Sounds good. I find it strange that they are out of sync with each other. I fully expected them to match before taking valve cover off. Not sure if it's on purpose or somehow intake jumped timing (I'll check the tension by hand when I get home, engine has had heating/overheating issues - see changing head gasket)

Just wasn't sure if I should be particularly trying to recreate this difference and it was on purpose or whether I should just go 0. You guys have answered this pretty well. Thank you.

I'll take measurements of this angle just in case for recreation/reference of last known "good" but will go to 0 to start.

I already have massive adj gears sitting waiting to install per Toms prior instructions.

Looks like I'll proceed with taking everything apart, swapping and trying to get my car down to Toms (he's a bit away but I'm willing to get it down there)

310737


First time messing with timing by myself and this was a bit of a speed bump running into issues where they don't match what I expect to see.
 

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Sounds good. I find it strange that they are out of sync with each other. I fully expected them to match before taking valve cover off. Not sure if it's on purpose or somehow intake jumped timing (I'll check the tension by hand when I get home, engine has had heating/overheating issues - see changing head gasket)

Just wasn't sure if I should be particularly trying to recreate this difference and it was on purpose or whether I should just go 0. You guys have answered this pretty well. Thank you.

I'll take measurements of this angle just in case for recreation/reference of last known "good" but will go to 0 to start.

I already have massive adj gears sitting waiting to install per Toms prior instructions.

Looks like I'll proceed with taking everything apart, swapping and trying to get my car down to Toms (he's a bit away but I'm willing to get it down there)

View attachment 310737

First time messing with timing by myself and this was a bit of a speed bump running into issues where they don't match what I expect to see.
I would expect them to match too, based on the notes (both are indexed the same amount). Also agree on measuring what you have now, so worst case you can recreate it.

I have those same gears (well, one on my SVT).
 

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Good eyes on somebody catching the VCT Contour parts. I have one of those. You can't simply 'inert' the exhaust; the sprocket MUST be positively locked to the cam in some way or the two can move separately to throw the timing off even if the VCT has been shut off. That needs checking for first thing. Maybe why the exhaust is not matching the intake and common if the VCT cylinder is not at the zero end stop and engine at exact TDC which still has not been verified here yet. If the sprocket/cam have not been locked and still running spring-loaded like OEM then the exhaust could hang back retarded just like the pic shows. Somebody needs to hold the exhaust sprocket and then take a wrench to the exhaust cam itself at the hex molded on it and pull forward toward front of car to see if the cam moves unlocked to hit the zero stop and then it should match the intake slot if that is true.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Good eyes on somebody catching the VCT Contour parts. I have one of those. You can't simply 'inert' the exhaust; the sprocket MUST be positively locked to the cam in some way or the two can move separately to throw the timing off even if the VCT has been shut off. That needs checking for first thing. Maybe why the exhaust is not matching the intake and common if the VCT cylinder is not at the zero end stop and engine at exact TDC which still has not been verified here yet. If the sprocket/cam have not been locked and still running spring-loaded like OEM then the exhaust could hang back retarded just like the pic shows. Somebody needs to hold the exhaust sprocket and then take a wrench to the exhaust cam itself at the hex molded on it and pull forward toward front of car to see if the cam moves unlocked to hit the zero stop and then it should match the intake slot if that is true.
How would VCT work when it's been replaced with a fixed gear, even if the solenoid is still in place? From what I've read on the forums, solenoid can't be on without oil pressure as well? Whether it gets a signal or not I don't believe it can play on the camshaft. However I can try to replicate your theory and try to move it. Maybe it's just permanently in the wrong position?

As it sits without taking the head off yet, the engine is at approximate TDC at the same time that the exhaust cam has it's slot lined up with the tool.

In Caterham's case it's towards the side of the car to apply the pressure :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Went out there and tried to lock the cam and move the gear. Somehow the gear started free spinning and left the cam in place. Spun it back and it re-engaged again to spin with the rest. Now both are really misaligned.

Now I don't have a choice in the matter at all. Going to have to take everything apart without a reference measurement and then zero everything in and hope it works.

Not even sure how/why it was able to free spin. I might have to end up removing the VCT entirely if I stripped something.

Edit: The bolt holding the exhaust cam gear on was essentially finger tight after I gave it pressure. This allowed the free spin.

Maybe this is what caused them to get out of whack to begin with?

Either way, moving forward this weekend with head gasket removal and 0'ing them both back in after.
 

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If sprocket bolt was loose that could do it.

That VCT cam is spring loaded to the sprocket, you can hold the sprocket and spring should push cam one way and you go against the spring going the other way. The cam will move at least 22-23 degrees inside a held sprocket. Why if VCT not used you have to lock the two together, if not the cam can move all over the place.

No theory there, I have moved the exhaust cam on the sprocket way more than once. The procedure is in the service manual. VCT eliminators remove the oil cylinder to just lock the two parts together like a normal non-VCT engine.

I find myself wondering why the exhaust is advanced, that actually would be the wrong way to move it to me. Even more if the engine has a good header. But OP did seem to be saying the intake cam was not OEM. That might change that.

If engine in a RWD car then rotate VCT'd cam to the exhaust side of the engine instead to hit the internal zero stop.
 

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That bolt being loose may have blown the gasket FYI.............could have helped cause overheating too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
If sprocket bolt was loose that could do it.

That VCT cam is spring loaded to the sprocket, you can hold the sprocket and spring should push cam one way and you go against the spring going the other way. The cam will move at least 22-23 degrees inside a held sprocket. Why if VCT not used you have to lock the two together, if not the cam can move all over the place.

No theory there, I have moved the exhaust cam on the sprocket way more than once. The procedure is in the service manual. VCT eliminators remove the oil cylinder to just lock the two parts together like a normal non-VCT engine.

I find myself wondering why the exhaust is advanced, that actually would be the wrong way to move it to me. Even more if the engine has a good header. But OP did seem to be saying the intake cam was not OEM. That might change that.

If engine in a RWD car then rotate VCT'd cam to the exhaust side of the engine instead to hit the internal zero stop.
Every VCT Zetec deleted car still remains the solenoid though? It appears they just replace the cam seal essentially

I'm debating on ordering it but it doesn't seem like it will do anything I already don't have

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310742


It looks like it doesn't have the unit on cam but without taking everything apart yet, the solenoid and the cam unit look to be one big piece.

310743
 

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Every VCT Zetec deleted car still remains the solenoid though? It appears they just replace the cam seal essentially

I'm debating on ordering it but it doesn't seem like it will do anything I already don't have

View attachment 310741

View attachment 310742

It looks like it doesn't have the unit on cam but without taking everything apart yet, the solenoid and the cam unit look to be one big piece.

View attachment 310743
I also believe you're correct - At least on the SVT (which has the same gear on the intake side), all of the movement is done with the big VCT gear which has been removed in your case.
 

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I saw the solenoid but looks like you can see right through the cam gears so looked like he wasnt using the VCT gear on the Exh side , the massive VCT Elim I dont think will on the Contour Head ask Karl first

If head is coming off go back with a Focus head and get rid of the VCT the head and Focus intake will bolt right on and eliminate the VCT issues and you can run both cams performance

Tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I saw the solenoid but looks like you can see right through the cam gears so looked like he wasnt using the VCT gear on the Exh side , the massive VCT Elim I dont think will on the Contour Head ask Karl first

If head is coming off go back with a Focus head and get rid of the VCT the head and Focus intake will bolt right on and eliminate the VCT issues and you can run both cams performance

Tom
Thanks. Maybe in the future. At this time the head was built half decent. It has been ported and polished if I recall, with other work by the original dealer. If it aint broke I'm not going to fix it at this moment. Trying to get this whole thing back together in time for September 7's track day @ NJMP

If it works out, I'd like to get everything together 0'ed out and down to you for a tune.
 
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