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Old 07-13-2004, 12:47 PM
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Erson Gear Drive Woes

Hey everyone.

No questions this time, just wanted to vent a little frustration and share some experience with y'all.

So I don't have fingerprints on my right index and middle fingers now, and I'm about to tell you why:

I'm in the middle of a build that keeps dragging on and on because I keep running out of money, time, etc etc. At least I've kept my patience. It's a small block chevy and I'm trying to use this Erson solid aluminum single idler gear drive assembly that came out of an old motor I ran four or five years ago. I liked the sound of the single idler, it's much more tame than a typical dog bone style double idler, and it has all the benefits of a gear drive over a chain drive.

So I'm not using a full roller setup here, just standard hydraulic lifters, but since I'm using the Erson gear drive setup, it uses a combination cam gear brass thrust washer / cam button type setup to maintain proper camshaft end play. I set up my rear cam plug properly, nice and flush with the rear of the block. I toss in the cam, the thrust washer, the cam gear, the cam button, and then throw on a gasket and the cover assembly. Now I had some clay in there on the tip of the cam button, and when I pulled the cam cover back off, I check the clay and it's .054".

So I'm thinking "great, well the old cam button is too short" so I bought myself a new comp cams roller cam button. I get the thing and it's a different diameter than the erson unit! Now I'm really starting to get mad. The cam gear for the erson unit has a larger opening in the middle than the comp cams button, and the erson button i have is short by 54 thou. My options were to grind down the face of the comp cams unit by about .200" to get it at the proper height, but it would still rattle around since it was much smaller in diameter than the old erson one. On the other side, I could shim out the erson cam button and try to use it.

So I start looking on the internet for a thrust washer that's .375id x .750od x .050" thick. The closest things I could find were .032" and .062" thick. No luck. So now I start to think "what else can I do to shim out that cam button?"

I begin to speculate building up the surface of the inside of the cam cover. Too much effort. Then all of a sudden I glance down at my workbench and see this random washer that looks just aobut the right size... I measure it, and its .060" thick. So I start thinking.... crap, this thing will work, but it's too thick!

Ever wonder how long it takes to sand down a washer by .012"? A HECK OF A LONG TIME, MAN!!! Seeing as I didn't have a flat grinder, and this thrust washer needed to be perfectly flat, I taped some 150 grit paper down on my coffee table and started sanding. (I did this at the coffee table cause, I figured, if I was gonna spend a half hour sanding a washer down, I might as well catch an episode of the simpsons). Anyways, the simpsons finished, and I busted out my calipers to check the washer. .058". damn.

watched that 70's show. .0565" damn.

seinfeld .0550" dangit!!!

anyways you can probably guess how this went on for over FOUR HOURS, and I kept having my fingers slip off the washer and onto the 150 grit paper. Now I have no fingerprints left on my right index and middle fingers.

HOWEVER. It may have taken me a ridiculous amount of time, but I got that gosh darn washer down to .048", polished it up to 1500 grit, installed it in the cam button.... and voila!

I've got my .008" camshaft end play now!!! I never thought I'd get that excited over a stupid little thrust washer. I was so excited last night, I knew I'd end up sharing my sense of utter glee with you all this morning.

And yes, I know some of you are going to ask "why didn't you just go with a damn standard timing chain if you're just using a hydraulic lifter camshaft?" The answer to that unfortunately doesn't justify all the work I put in... at least not mechanically. Basically, I did this all because of that sweet sound that the Erson idler makes when the engine's up and running... It's this whirr that is reminiscent of a supercharger spooling up. It drives other guys nuts trying to figure out what I have under the hood. And if I can do something to my motor to set it apart from the others, and make that other guy go "huh?!?" then its all worth it for me.

If anyone actually read through this entire post, drop me a line with your mailing address and I'll send you a cookie or something I love this forum, it's the greatest place on the internet for sharing things mechanical in nature, and the people here are so knowledgeable, it puts a lot of mechanics I know to shame. I know that in the last year I've been visiting this forum, my knowledge of the four-stroke combustion engine has increased five-fold! THANK YOU, EVERYONE!!!

Cheers

the blonde weasel
san diego, CA

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Old 07-13-2004, 12:51 PM
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Sounds like you need a lathe.
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Old 07-13-2004, 12:52 PM
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paints everything flat black
 

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Yes, yes that would be nice
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Old 07-13-2004, 12:53 PM
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HA HA HA

man thanks for the afternoon chuckle

Keith
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Old 07-13-2004, 04:18 PM
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You can send the cookie to the return address on the box of pistons that you received.



tom
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Old 07-13-2004, 05:03 PM
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paints everything flat black
 

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Which, by the way are a BEAUTIFUL set of pistons tom. thanks again.
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Old 07-13-2004, 11:08 PM
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Great story!! I laughed my a-- off.

I'm sure glad I never do anything like that!!

This is truly a great forum!!!!!!!!!

Dave
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Old 07-13-2004, 11:43 PM
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cookie?

lathe?
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Old 07-14-2004, 06:23 AM
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cookies

Hey you just gave me an idea with the cookie deal,,,,

Maybe all the newbies can send all the old timers cookies when they help them out with the problems..... Just kidding, but it was a thought?????

I have to agree with bluesman,, this is the best forum on the net that i visit

Keith
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Old 07-14-2004, 10:53 AM
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paints everything flat black
 

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yeah you gotta be careful about sending cookies through the mail these days... never know when powdered sugar is going to start an anthrax scare.

tbw
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