GT Cam Swap- Need tips

Discussion in '1st Gen 1981-1990 CVH' started by cope, May 16, 2017.

  1. cope

    cope FEOA Member

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    Anyone have some tips or step by step instructions on how to change the cam out? Finally getting some time to swap out the cam on my 88 GL over to a factory NOS GT cam and lifters (non-roller)

    How do you do this with the engine still in the car? I changed my timing belt last year, so I have a good handle on that part of the work- but not sure what all else I need to do to swap the cam and have enough room to get it out over the fenderwell

    Thanks
  2. JOEG5982

    JOEG5982 FEOA Member

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    A little more involved than a cam belt change. You need to take the rocker cover off to get at the rockers and the lifters.

    I would recommend getting a shop manual. This can be done without removing the cylinder head, but it is a tight squeeze as the cam comes out the rear of the head.
  3. cope

    cope FEOA Member

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    so is the smart money on just pulling the head? I've never done this but can't imagine its that tough. I have a haines manual- but not a factory service manual.

    can you leave the intake and CFI all attached to the head and just remove the header before you pull the head?
  4. Tnashua

    Tnashua Gearhead / hot rodder with a soft spot for Scorts

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    I've never tried an in car (escort) cam swap...
    You may be able to remove a mount or thee & jack the cam gear end of the engine up far enough to accomplish it. Let us know how that works if you try it. ;)
    Just curious- why are you bothering with the Hyd. GT cam?
    It is a lot of money & time for so little gain. Are you still fixing on upgrading to the full GT setup? If so- that'd be the more practical time to swap the cam...
    I don't mean to be a sourpuss- just giving you my two cents worth.
    I'd save my money till you can afford the GT head, Pistons, Machine work, etc...
    I'm not ready to relinquish anymore of my GT heads, but I do have GT computers, wiring, NOS oversized pistons, etc... Message me if interested.
    If you are bent on doing the cam swap now- I'd suggest pulling the head. Bolts & a gasket aren't that expensive... Yes- you can leave the intake attached- you can leave the exhaust manifold on too- but the more you leave attached- the harder it is to lift/maneuver without catching on something. In order to remove the head- you'll have to pull coolant lines, wiring, fuel lines, EGR tubes, the alternator &/or PS pump (to get at the bracket bolts that connect to the head), the timing cover & belt (of course)... I am sure I am forgetting something. If it is truly a NOS Hydraulic (flat tappet) camshaft- you should also install NOS lifters to match. To pull the cam- you'll have to remove the rockers, the lifter retainers, the lifters, the cam retaining plate, etc... If your new cam has a gear already- you're set. Carefully pull the old cam out (using the gear as a handle), Lube up the new cam good & carefully slide it into place... If you need the cam gear swapped- you should probably have pulled that gear off long before you get to this point (or at least loosened the bolt with the engine still assembled). If you have to- you can use a punch to help hold the cam gear while prying against it with your breaker bar (or just use a good impact)- just be sure that you don't use the pry bar or punch against the valve cover sealing surface!
    This has gotten way longer than I intended when I started... Give it a go, take pictures- let us know how it went. :)
  5. nineteeneightyeight

    nineteeneightyeight FEOA Member

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    Don't pull the head at all at this time, it should come out fine, it is true that you will achieve little gain, but also should not be that much work either.
  6. cope

    cope FEOA Member

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    thanks guys. I don't have a roller tappet head- so this is just the regular GT cam and matching lifters. I have the header installed already= so figured I'd also add the cam at some point.

    Is there any trick to reinstalling the rocker arms once I have the cam back in? clearances or torque?
  7. todp71

    todp71 FEOA Member

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    I just want to clarify....the cam comes out the opposite side from the timing gear
    From the right side of the head....or distributor side towards drivers fender
  8. nineteeneightyeight

    nineteeneightyeight FEOA Member

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    Yeah I think you can pull it out after you take off the coolant overflow reservoir if I recall correctly.

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