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83-84 L69 305 H.O. - Camshaft and Lifter Replacement

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Starting this thread to keep track of the process of replacing my flat tappet camshaft and lifters and to ask questions I will have a long the way.
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
So for starters, I'm doing this for two reasons...one is I don't know what camshaft I have in my engine. The other is the worn lifters and possible wiped out camshaft.

Here is a video of my engine tick:

Here is a video inspection of my lifters and camshaft:

Here is a city and highway driving video I shot today before the top end tear down:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I also want to state for the record that I am aware of the middle particles from the lifters/camshaft circulating through the engine.

I can say that I have changed the oil at least five times in the year that I have owned this car and that I have not found any metal shavings in the oil or oil filter.

I will be dropping the oil pan and checking the inside of the oil pan for metal shavings and replacing the oil pan gasket with a one piece blue steel core gasket. I may also replace the 2 piece rear main seal.

If there is excessive metal shavings found, then we will flush out the engine with diesel fluid and/or automatic transmission fluid. I will also inspect and possibly replace the oil pump.

Pulling the motor is absolutely not an option at this point in time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I just installed these intake manifold gaskets maybe no more than a week ago and I've only drove the car and maybe 50 miles...
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Can I reuse these gaskets or should I just go ahead and purchase new ones ?
 

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Never reuse intake gaskets. Once they have been torqued down and the intake has been removed then they would no longer seal correctly if you were even lucky to remove the intake without having the gaskets tear. Get new gaskets and do it the right way so you don't create yourself another problem and the gaskets don't have the chance to create vacuum leaks or worse yet leaking antifreeze into the intake valley. Good luck on your quest for your 305. Just out of curiosity what is your car?

My brother once owned a Chevy caprice with a 305 and it was no power house but it was a nice cruising engine for what it was.
 

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There is one additional thing that can cause a tick like that and it is valve guides in the heads. Not trying to imply this is the problem (cam is definitely bad by seeing the lifters), but you should probably check the guides before replacing the camshaft so you are not disappointed in a repair. I always personally checked them by standing a 12" or longer 3/8 extension on the exhaust manifold side of each valve spring (along side the spring) and then put some lateral pressure by prying the spring retainer towards the intake manifold side (a little) while the engine is running. This is to check if the valve is rocking in the guide. If noise disappears the valve guide is suspect. Yeah, its a real bubba check, but it works. Cost you nothing to do.

You cannot see the fine metal particles unless a new cam has suddenly destroyed itself - way too small. Let some oil ( very first first out of the pan) settle in a glass jar and then look at the bottom for different color.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Never reuse intake gaskets. Once they have been torqued down and the intake has been removed then they would no longer seal correctly if you were even lucky to remove the intake without having the gaskets tear. Get new gaskets and do it the right way so you don't create yourself another problem and the gaskets don't have the chance to create vacuum leaks or worse yet leaking antifreeze into the intake valley.
Ok good, I bought a new set with the Fel Pro one piece oil blue rubber steel core pan gasket, wasn't sure if I should cancel that order or not...
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Good luck on your quest for your 305. Just out of curiosity what is your car?
Thank you. 1984 Monte Carlo
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
There is one additional thing that can cause a tick like that and it is valve guides in the heads. Not trying to imply this is the problem (cam is definitely bad by seeing the lifters), but you should probably check the guides before replacing the camshaft so you are not disappointed in a repair. I always personally checked them by standing a 12" or longer 3/8 extension on the exhaust manifold side of each valve spring (along side the spring) and then put some lateral pressure by prying the spring retainer towards the intake manifold side (a little) while the engine is running. This is to check if the valve is rocking in the guide. If noise disappears the valve guide is suspect. Yeah, its a real bubba check, but it works. Cost you nothing to do.
Damn, wish I would've known this earlier. I've already started tearing the motor down since yesterday, I'm pulling lifters as I type.

You cannot see the fine metal particles unless a new cam has suddenly destroyed itself - way too small. Let some oil ( very first first out of the pan) settle in a glass jar and then look at the bottom for different color.
Now I haven't dropped the new oil currently in it but the older oil is still in my oil catcher, but it has some coolant and PB blaster from pulling the lifters last week.
 

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That being said the only way to check is to pull the heads right ? Damn... a head gasket set is sort of out my budget...[emoji2365]...
Best way is to take the spring off and wiggle the valve. But with the heads on you have to keep the valve from falling. Either air pressure or nylon rope as someone else suggested. Probably doesnt matter if your finances won't allow a $300-$400 valve job on these old 305 heads.

Why mess with oil pan on this old engine in the Winter. Let it drip until you replace it (if that is what your plans still are).

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When you pull the old cam out and put the new one in dont ding up the cam bearings with the cam lobes. Be careful. You can screw three 6" long or longer carriage bolts into the front of cam so you have something to hold on to and for leverage to keep the cam off the bearings as much as possible while it comes out. Slow and easy. Do you have enough clearance forward from the engine to get the camshaft out?

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Best way is to take the spring off and wiggle the valve. But with the heads on you have to keep the valve from falling. Either air pressure or nylon rope as someone else suggested. Probably doesnt matter if your finances won't allow a $300-$400 valve job on these old 305 heads.
Yea I can't afford that valve job...at least for a shop to do it...can I do it or does a shop have to do it ?


Why mess with oil pan on this old engine in the Winter. Let it drip until you replace it (if that is what your plans still are).
Because I want to be able to put the timing and cover back on correctly without the possibility of a leaking from that mating spot where it meets the oil pan...

When I replace my timing cover without removing the oil pan it caused a leak at the timing cover and I don't want that to happen again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
When you pull the old cam out and put the new one in dont ding up the cam bearings with the cam lobes. Be careful. You can screw three 6" long or longer carriage bolts into the front of cam so you have something to hold on to and for leverage to keep the cam off the bearings as much as possible while it comes out. Slow and easy. Do you have enough clearance forward from the engine to get the camshaft out?

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Roger that and thanks for that tip 👍🏾😎.

Yeah I pulled the radiator... With the radiator pulled I have room all the way to the grill of my SS front end... Should be more than enough room to pull out the camshaft without removing my SS nose..
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Right now I'm stuck with removing the harmonic balancer pulley.

I removed the serpentine belt and water pump before loosing the bolts on it...

I have a 20v drill, should I buy socket adapters and loosen them like that or wedge a crow bar somewhere to keep the harmonic balancer from spinning counter clockwise ?
 

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Looking at the pictures it’s possible to see the bottoms of several are gone. The rubbing surface needs to be convex on surface shape not flat nor concave which I see on some of them. air the lifter face is gone so is it’s mated cam lobe to some extent extent.

The way these cast iron parts wear is more like grinding the pieces are extremely small to microscopic. There isn’t going to be a flood of pieces big enough to be stopped at the oil pump pick up screen and probably small enough the average 30 to 50 micron filter won’t catch them. So to a large extent these partials are to small to do much damage, where they do it will look more like the mating parts were wet sanded rather than carved and gouged.

As for new cam you can put in anything you like with in the limits of having to change stall of the converter so the high idle RPM isn’t pulling hard against the brakes. That is a condition where even with power disk brakes it becomes physically tiring applying enough force such that the engine isn’t spinning the rear tires while standing still or drags you past the intended stopping spot. This is dangerous as one lapse in concentration or the slip of your shoe on the pedal will quickly put into a crossing pedestrian or cross traffic. So if your Monte has a 1350 stall converter the typical lopey cam with a 900-1000 RPM idle is going to be pulling very hard and the closer it gets to converter stall speed the harder it will tug against the brake till it exceeds the brake’s holding power then the rear wheels will spin if the vehicle is unable to move. The rear brakes being drum this they are not as powerful as the front disks. In the “good old days” doing this at the start of a drag race was known as “torquing it up”. In this condition when the brakes are released the vehicle leaps forward with a vengeance. As Paul Stookey a mid to late 20th century song writer, singer and humorist said in his routine of Mr Business Man meets the Kid at a stop light. A semi quote follows——The car is internally hemorrhaging as Mr. Businessman steps on the brake and floors the accelerator to get an extra fast start.

So to get a cam that provides a lopey idle the converter stall is the upper limit. So with the tight converter you have a 900 RPM idle engine will tug hard against that 1350 stall to get to the idle rpm it wants or the engine well constantly stall at these low in gear RPMs The more you speed the engine’s in gear idle to keep it running the harder the pull as the engine speed closes in on the stall speed. This is not an all or nothing situation. For the most part the factory sets the converter stall speed at about half the RPM of in gear hot idle speed of the engine. So your 305 has a cam that is designed for a 650 RPM idle against a 1350 stall. At this RPM the hydraulic transfer force through the converter is easily held with light brake application. From here the force output through the converter geometrically increases with RPM until the stall speed is met. At that point the hydraulic coupling acts like a solid connection. If the output is stalled as in locked then the engine‘s RPM gain is halted with all the twist force the engine is mustering contained in the converter. Needless to say this is nothing less than an oil filled bomb. A stock converter outer case at the least can balloon from the hydraulic forces, with a big enough power input the converter can be forced to explode in a gush of torn steel and scalding hot if not flaming oil.

So these are the constraints on your desire for a lopey cam. Without a converter stall change you can kind of press into the bottom limit of a cam where the idle picks up a little bit of stagger. That point is about has a cut off of about 215 degrees intake at .050 inch lift. If you tighten up the LSA so it is less than 110 degrees the stagger idle sound is more pronounced for that intake duration. After about 215 @.050 duration things get hairy very fast. While cams in this 215 degree range are sold as acceptable with a stock stall converter this is pushing hard on acceptable drivability.

As far as lifter life and spring strength limits are low the older factory cam designs of the 1960’s where durations are fairly long and lifts are pretty low. These old cams used a lot of ramp to ease the coming and going of the valve train with fairly low lifts so spring pressures didn’t eat cam lobes and lifters.

So basically you can’t have a rough idle cam without a lot of other changes.

Bogie
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Also, what size sockets do I need to remove the motor mount bolts ?

Need to lift and keep the engine up with 2x4 blocks between the engine block and motor mount brackets on the frame, to get the oil pan off...
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Looking at the pictures it’s possible to see the bottoms of several are gone. The rubbing surface needs to be convex on surface shape not flat nor concave which I see on some of them. air the lifter face is gone so is it’s mated cam lobe to some extent extent.

The way these cast iron parts wear is more like grinding the pieces are extremely small to microscopic. There isn’t going to be a flood of pieces big enough to be stopped at the oil pump pick up screen and probably small enough the average 30 to 50 micron filter won’t catch them. So to a large extent these partials are to small to do much damage, where they do it will look more like the mating parts were wet sanded rather than carved and gouged.

As for new cam you can put in anything you like with in the limits of having to change stall of the converter so the high idle RPM isn’t pulling hard against the brakes. That is a condition where even with power disk brakes it becomes physically tiring applying enough force such that the engine isn’t spinning the rear tires while standing still or drags you past the intended stopping spot. This is dangerous as one lapse in concentration or the slip of your shoe on the pedal will quickly put into a crossing pedestrian or cross traffic. So if your Monte has a 1350 stall converter the typical lopey cam with a 900-1000 RPM idle is going to be pulling very hard and the closer it gets to converter stall speed the harder it will tug against the brake till it exceeds the brake’s holding power then the rear wheels will spin if the vehicle is unable to move. The rear brakes being drum this they are not as powerful as the front disks. In the “good old days” doing this at the start of a drag race was known as “torquing it up”. In this condition when the brakes are released the vehicle leaps forward with a vengeance. As Paul Stookey a mid to late 20th century song writer, singer and humorist said in his routine of Mr Business Man meets the Kid at a stop light. A semi quote follows——The car is internally hemorrhaging as Mr. Businessman steps on the brake and floors the accelerator to get an extra fast start.

So to get a cam that provides a lopey idle the converter stall is the upper limit. So with the tight converter you have a 900 RPM idle engine will tug hard against that 1350 stall to get to the idle rpm it wants or the engine well constantly stall at these low in gear RPMs The more you speed the engine’s in gear idle to keep it running the harder the pull as the engine speed closes in on the stall speed. This is not an all or nothing situation. For the most part the factory sets the converter stall speed at about half the RPM of in gear hot idle speed of the engine. So your 305 has a cam that is designed for a 650 RPM idle against a 1350 stall. At this RPM the hydraulic transfer force through the converter is easily held with light brake application. From here the force output through the converter geometrically increases with RPM until the stall speed is met. At that point the hydraulic coupling acts like a solid connection. If the output is stalled as in locked then the engine‘s RPM gain is halted with all the twist force the engine is mustering contained in the converter. Needless to say this is nothing less than an oil filled bomb. A stock converter outer case at the least can balloon from the hydraulic forces, with a big enough power input the converter can be forced to explode in a gush of torn steel and scalding hot if not flaming oil.

So these are the constraints on your desire for a lopey cam. Without a converter stall change you can kind of press into the bottom limit of a cam where the idle picks up a little bit of stagger. That point is about has a cut off of about 215 degrees intake at .050 inch lift. If you tighten up the LSA so it is less than 110 degrees the stagger idle sound is more pronounced for that intake duration. After about 215 @.050 duration things get hairy very fast. While cams in this 215 degree range are sold as acceptable with a stock stall converter this is pushing hard on acceptable drivability.

As far as lifter life and spring strength limits are low the older factory cam designs of the 1960’s where durations are fairly long and lifts are pretty low. These old cams used a lot of ramp to ease the coming and going of the valve train with fairly low lifts so spring pressures didn’t eat cam lobes and lifters.

So basically you can’t have a rough idle cam without a lot of other changes.

Bogie
Going to come back to cam selection as soon as I get done tearing down and getting the old camshaft out...

The reason I say that is because it's going to be a minute before I can buy the camshaft and lifter kit, so once I'm done tearing down I'm not going to have anything to do but sit down and discuss what camshaft is going to be put in it.

I have so many questions regarding that and I want to make sure I have all the time to take in all the valuable information you have to give me.
 
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