1100-WW Camshaft Group

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Builders,

In our new manual numbering system, the camshaft group is #1100. Below are the numbers in the group. This story is about buying our cam package that includes all the parts listed below, ready to drop in your engine.

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Cam group (1100)

1101- Cam

1102- Thrust washer

1103- Key, hardened

1104- Cam gear

1105- Hydraulic lifter set -12 total-

1106- Cam lubricant

1107- ZDDP oil additive

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Above, the elements of the #1100-ww Camshaft group package. It contains every required part in the 1100 group in the new manual numbering system. Everything in this picture is made in the United States.

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I have put the cam that Harvey Crane designed for us in 1997 put back in production, because I have found a respected national manufacturer who can grind the pattern on original GM cam cores.

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The cam is Parkerized, checked for straightness and magnafluxed after processing. These cams come with  a new billet made in the USA gear already installed (#1104). The gear is correctly mated so there is zero play in the thrust washer (#1102), it is clamped tight and will not rotate.  A new set of HT-817 sealed power lifters (#1105)  The moly lube (#1106) and a bottle of ZDDP (#1107) all come wrapped up in one box that a builder can buy, and then just check “Camshaft Group 1100″ off his list.

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We extensively flight tested this cam pattern more than 15 years ago. In performance testing, this cam has a slight edge on an OT-10. I was motivated to do this because we kept having builders show up at colleges with cams they paid to have the gears put on which has the thrust washers sloppy loose. None of them wanted to hear that their brand new gear had to be trashed and a correct thrust washer and new gear had to be installed. Having the whole 1100 Group done, correctly and available precludes this from happening.

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I have had this project in mind for more than a year, and have had the actual cams here for several months going through testing and verification of the grinder’s ability to get the pattern right on the money. I had them independently magnafluxed here. I assembled about 10 of these into engines so far, and they work very well. They will be in every production engine we build from here on.

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To illustrate how long I have been having an issue with car parts suppliers who don’t put the cam gear down tight enough to capture the thrust washer as GM designed it to be, below is a 2008 post from our traditional website. It shows that the reason why car people could not put the thrust washer down tight is that they substituted a Chinese made thrust washer, that didn’t have the required bevel on it. It took about 60 seconds to correct this on a lathe, but if you don’t do it, and try to press the gear on tight, it knocks the gear out of alignment. I pointed this out to car people, they corrected it for a while, but in the last two years the problem has come right back. I am done with trying to have car people take this seriously.

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Discovering and solving that single issue and being able to type that short sentence about it cost me about $500 in cam gears and four days in the shop to learn, almost ten years ago. If you spent a weekend in my shop, I could literally show you 100 more items about Corvairs like this, all of which went into the knowledgebase in the new manual.

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At Oshkosh this year I had a guy stand in my booth and tell me he was part of an on line discussion group about Corvairs, and they were using an idea called “crowd sourcing” to come up with “new answers.” Because of my superior anger management training, I was able to calmly explain that 50 people who have never built a running Corvair speaking to each other on line is a form of the blind leading the blind, and it doesn’t work any better in Cyberville than it does in reality. I also said that Cyberville may seem great because everyone gets to have their own unicorn, but he should remember that even if he brings a lot of he video game “extra lives” from Cyberville when he heads to the airport, “Game over” has a different meaning in reality than it does in his pals in the Sony Play station world. He made a hurt face when I said “You can go ahead and press “reset” but me and my friends Physics Chemistry and gravity will still be here. Reality works like that.”

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(2008) Above are two cam thrust washers for a Corvair. On the lathe, I’ve cut a slight bevel to provide clearance on the side of the washer that touches the cam. My research into building Corvair engines is continuous and ongoing. The unbeveled washer is an aftermarket part supplied by several of the Corvair parts houses. When pressing on a new cam gear, this will make the cam gear walk slightly out of square at the last moment. After years of installing countless cam gears without problem, we’d recently had trouble getting several of them to seat on their cams and hold tight their washers. Ignoring this problem, people selling cams with gears on had been leaving the washer loose as a really poor fix. It took a while to determine what was causing this issue, but a slight relief on the washer makes the difference.

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(back to 2006 ) Cams are made of cast iron. They should never be subjected to compressive forces down their length. This tool holds the cam by the first bearing when the heated cam gear is pressed in place. In our shop, we always make sure the thrust washer is clamped tight by the cam gear. This requires holding it under pressure while it cools. I had a recent tech discussion with the staff at Clark’s Corvairs about this. They said that many car people prefer the thrust washer to be loose and rotate on the cam. I explained to them that for every aircraft engine, I want the washer tight.