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camshaft replacement or crate engine? (Read 142 times)
Aug 22nd, 2018 at 11:58am

scrappydog   Offline
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nj

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Hello, I am new to the forum and need advice. My 1980 L82, with 80,000 miles started missing and backfiring through the carb. I have it at a local shop. They told me the first lobe on the camshaft is shot (mostly gone in fact) and that I should consider replacing the motor with a crate motor because the missing metal is probably floating around in the engine anyway. They also said replacing the cam with a roller style cam would cost a lot anyway. They did not recommend putting the same kind of cam back in. They quoted me 5k for engine replacement with a 290 HP GM motor. They also quoted me about 2,800 for the roller cam replacement. I'm not sure what I should do. Thanks for any advice.
 
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Reply #1 - Aug 22nd, 2018 at 1:48pm

68-73-77   Offline
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Welcome to the forum. Those are pretty high figures. Where are you located?  I personally would have the engine rebuilt by an honest shop..put some flat top pistons in & a mild cam. No need to go to a roller cam. I would think you should be able to get this done for around 3K. You would end up with the original engine & have around 300 hp. The reason your cam wet is you need to have zinc in the oil to keep the cam from wearing away. Almost all the oil sold today doesn't have it so you just add it at every oil change.  If you are close to Delaware I know a great machine shop that is great. Metal particles in the engine is bull shit ...any engine rebuilder cleans the block before he installs new parts.
Alan Smiley
 
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Reply #2 - Aug 22nd, 2018 at 6:00pm

scrappydog   Offline
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I Love my Corvette!
nj

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Thank you for the reply and advice. I am in Southern NJ, near Atlantic City. I did not know about adding zinc to the oil. I have had this car for many years, but I hardly ever drive it. However, it never gave me any problems on the rare occasions that I did take it out. I got it about 25 years ago with 68k miles, and have put just 12k on it since. Last time I took it out it started the backfiring, but nothing serious. It only did it when I really got on it. So I made the appointment to bring it into the shop. However, driving it to the shop it started missing more and more. According to the mechanic, when they took off the valve covers, the forward most rocker, on the #1 cylinder was not moving. When they removed the intake manifold, they said the lobe was shot and the bottom of the lifter looked damaged too. I am pretty handy with this kind of stuff, maybe novice level mechanic I'd say, so I thought maybe I could just change the cam my self, although I've never done one.   
 

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Reply #3 - Aug 22nd, 2018 at 6:05pm

scrappydog   Offline
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I Love my Corvette!
nj

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That pic is after I went over the car after it had sat under a tarp for about 10 years.
 
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Reply #4 - Aug 23rd, 2018 at 7:57am

68-73-77   Offline
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I would imagine that the cam wore over time until the lob was to far gone. Others are probable the same. If you want to do it yourself I'd drop the oil pan & check for metal, if you see metal I'd  do a complete engine rebuild especially if you plan on keeping it. You are pretty close to me & I would recommend a machine shop that I use & who also is a good friend. http://aca-performance.com/default.htm
Ask to speak to Joe (he's the owner) tell him you got his name from Alan...he'll give you approx prices & can explain things much more than I can. They can do the engine seperate or take it out for you ..your choice.
Alan Smiley
 
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Reply #5 - Aug 23rd, 2018 at 8:44am

scrappydog   Offline
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I Love my Corvette!
nj

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Thanks Alan, i’m def. gonna give joe a call. Thanks for the reference
 
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Reply #6 - Aug 23rd, 2018 at 9:49am

68-73-77   Offline
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You are very welcome ...if you come over stop by & we can swap corvette stories Smiley my shop is about 1-2 miles from his
Alan Smiley
 
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Reply #7 - Aug 23rd, 2018 at 6:14pm

scrappydog   Offline
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I Love my Corvette!
nj

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Posts: 5
 
Alan, again, thank you for the guidance. Today I went back to the shop to make arrangements to get the car home. They convinced me to let them work up a price on replacing the cam with a new FT cam, lifters, timing chain, and gears. Although I didn't have time to actually look at the car (they had moved it out back pending my decision about the repairs), they showed me the lifter which was worn convex on the bottom. The pushrod was also bent. I also remembered I have a magnet plug as well as one of those sleeve magnets you stick to the oil filter, although they told me they hadn't drained the oil yet. They did say they thought they could see some fine metal particles in the oil when they pulled the stick. I left the car there as I figured it couldn't hurt to see what the price will be to have them do it.
 
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Reply #8 - Aug 24th, 2018 at 4:47am

Artsvettes   Offline
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New Jersey

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  Gm was known for soft cams for years. Lobes would go out all the time, some sooner then others. In any case that engine has to come out with a complete tear down, cleaning and inspect. Today I wouldn't even consider a FT cam, it's old technology and has been for years. Roller is the only way today.......jack
 

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Reply #9 - Aug 24th, 2018 at 4:50am

68-73-77   Offline
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Unless they are a machine shop they can not do that engine right. I would suggest that you call Joe  he'll be happy to explain everything in detail. I would not take a chance of metal  in a engine like you describe. The block has to be cleaned properly in a special cleaning oven with solvents ,then the crank should be checked & balanced if necessary & all bearings replaced. Do it right or you will kick yourself later.
Alan Smiley
 
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