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Broken Camshaft

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Apr 21, 2010, 4:11 PM

Post #1 of 5 (2424 views)
Broken Camshaft Sign In


Recently had head gasket replaced and heads machined. All gaskets on top part of engine were replaced and new hoses with oil flush and coolant flush. Recently broke down on side of road had towed home and engine not turning over. Tried again once at home called mechanic who originally performed repair, he said to try again and finally two days later after towed tengine turned over. Making some top end internal engine noise. Mechanic originally performed head gasket told me to take to another shop.

Took to DEALER and they stated cannot diagnose without disassembly, but pretty sure camshaft is broken. Is the shop that originally done the head gaskets rightfully reponsible, since vehicle is still under warranty from head gasket repair.

Another words is camshaft break, likely caused by or related to head gasket repair?

(This post was edited by Turtleboy on Apr 21, 2010, 4:55 PM)

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Sidom profile image

Apr 21, 2010, 6:48 PM

Post #2 of 5 (2393 views)
Re: Broken Camshaft Sign In

If the engine ingested water when the head gasket went then that would be the culprit. Those are common for breaking the camshaft at the journal by the #5 cyl. The water reeks havoc with the bearings & they seize...

The main reassembly problem on those that I've seen is overtorquing the rocker arm bolts. It cracks the treads and pulls them out. Or mixing up the pushrods, they have different length intake & exhaust push rods but that would be obvious on start up.....

There was really nothing that needed to be done to the camshaft on a headgasket job but I am curious why he passed on the job........

I'm not sure of the mileage but at this point it might not be a bad idea to go with a short block (since the heads have already be done) instead of just a camshaft & bearing if you are planning on keeping the vehicle......... You still have the lower end to think about...........



Apr 22, 2010, 9:34 AM

Post #3 of 5 (2387 views)
Re: Broken Camshaft Sign In

Thanks Sidon very helpful.


Jul 1, 2010, 5:04 AM

Post #4 of 5 (2349 views)
Re: Broken Camshaft Sign In

Revisiting broken camshaft(4/10). Thanks for original comments.

Brief History. 1998 Pontiac van 99kmiles, exc. shape, blew head gasket. Seemingly no signicant water in crankcase. Had local mechanic repair head gasket. <2000miles later engine seemingly seized. Turned over the next morning, would not run. Had towed to dealer upon original mechanic's recommendation. Dealer suspected broken cam, suggested to take back to original mechanic. Two months later, original mechanic looked at van and determined broken camshaft.

He states he is unable to make the repair at his garage(lift limitations). Is this broken camshaft, something (with great certainty) that he should be responsible for repairing from the original head gasket repair (as mentioned in thread). Would you hold him completely, partially or not at all responsible for the repair? Briefly, SmileWhy or Why not?

The repair is still under a 12,000mile/1yr warranty.

Many many Thanks!

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Sidom profile image

Jul 1, 2010, 11:08 AM

Post #5 of 5 (2337 views)
Re: Broken Camshaft Sign In

There is no "briefly" answer to that due to so many different variables to this type of a job, but I'll try to answer that in way that makes sense...

To understand the answer there are a couple of things you need to be aware of 1st..... In the automotive world there is a misconception by customers that everthing is 100%. You hook up a machine and it tells you everything that is wrong with the car. A technician does an inspections and should easily be able to find every fault there is or is going to be before the repairs are done.

In reality that just isn't so. Granted there are a lot of jobs where this is true and you do know with out a doubt after the diag, what the problems are, all of them. But on the reverse there are failures like yours where there is a huge gray area than no one knows. In order for the 1st tech to have been able to spot this possible problem, he would've had to disassembled the engine, do a visual 1st & then plastigauge the bearings, mic the cam, crank and all the journals, along with about 100 other checks and it still wouldn't be a 100% but the odds would have been way higher on spotting a lower end problem. I'm sure you can guess what the costs of that would've been and no repairs would've even been started yet at that point.

This problem would be similar to a broken timing belt on an interference engine. The only way to know if there is damage or not is to put a new belt back on and check it. Granted there is tests a tech could preform before putting a belt on but those tests would cost double what it would cost of just putting a belt on and seeing if there is damage.

So to try to answer you question. Doing an upper end repair is a totally acceptable repair. There really isn't anything he could of done to the camshaft during the repair. Just so you know if I see enough evidence that the it was techincian error. I will say that (and have in few threads already). Right now, I haven't heard or seen anything that would suggest the shop is at fault.

Shops will bid these jobs differently. Some will just do the upper end repair to keep the costs down for the customer. Some don't want to risk a possible lower end problem that can go along with those repairs and estimate a complete engine.....


(This post was edited by Sidom on Jul 1, 2010, 11:08 AM)

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