Author Topic: Distributor gear wear  (Read 1278 times)

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Jim Comet

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Distributor gear wear
« on: April 24, 2022, 12:25:58 PM »
Hey guys, I am seeing wear on my distributor gear after about 150 passes. The cam in the motor is a Bullit steel solid roller cam and I don't see wear on the cam gears, which is good. But my distributor gear does have quite a bit of wear. This gear is an MSD steel gear on an MSD distributor. I do have a Crane steel gear on the shelf, would you continue to run the MSD for a while or would you switch out to the Crane. My other option would be to get a bronze gear. I appreciate your thoughts. Jim

blykins

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Re: Distributor gear wear
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2022, 12:45:26 PM »
A couple of things....

When they wear the thrust surface of the gear, it could be that the gear was not installed properly.  There's a dimension that has to be held on installation. 

You look like you have a lot of wear everywhere.  Even the pilot portion of the distributor shaft that goes into the block has wear around the OD of it, which is not normal either. 

I see a whole lot of cam thrust plate bolts being supplied that are too long.  If the lower right bolt is too long, it will block off the oil supply from the cam bearing to the distributor.  The oil feed supplies oil to the ID of the hole in the block and then comes up to oil the thrust surface of the gear/block.

I wouldn't go to a bronze gear.  I'd find out why this one is wearing because steel gears with steel cams are the correct combination.
Brent Lykins
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1968galaxie

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Re: Distributor gear wear
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2022, 02:10:32 PM »
A bronze gear would last a heck of a lot longer than 150 passes.

Looks like the camshaft core from Bullet is a whole lot harder than the MSD steel gear.
I would be asking Bullet what they recommend as a compatible distributor gear.
Not all cam cores are made from the same alloys - and not all distributor "steel" gears are made from the same alloys either.


gdaddy01

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Re: Distributor gear wear
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2022, 02:37:56 PM »
I am just thinking out loud , have you tried turning your oil pump with a priming tool , to see if it is hard to turn for some reason? looks like the bottom of the gear has burrs rolling up on it . I would listen to Brent and others on here , lots of experience.

blykins

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Re: Distributor gear wear
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2022, 03:27:03 PM »
I have used billet cams from Bullet and Comp and have used steel gears and melonized gears from MSD, Crane, Mallory, and Morel....

You don't see wear like that unless there is not enough oil getting to it, or the gear was installed incorrectly.

Push all the end play out of the distributor.  Measure from below the flange to the bottom face of the gear.  If it's outside of around 3.045-3.050", then there's your problem. 

Brent Lykins
Lykins Motorsports
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My427stang

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Re: Distributor gear wear
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2022, 03:44:43 PM »
First, I'd check depth and compare it to the measurement on the block.  Easy to measure the block, it locates solidly in the valley and you can plunge a caliper in to the hole and get the exact distance for your block, then add some room for oil and you'll be there. Best to be on the loose side than the tight side. If the gear was too deep and rubbing hard, that could explain the gear wear, consider yourself lucky that you didn't shear a pin.

Second,  If the gear was correct, and probably even if it was wrong, if you don't have factory stock cam retainer bolts in it, pull the timing cover and check depth of the bolt in the drivers side hole.  As Brent said, almost every, if not every, aftermarket bolt is too long and guess what it blocks?...the distributor feed

As far as switching to bronze, if that got eaten in 150 passes, you may not get out of the trailer with bronze, with an oil or depth problem, they get ugly even faster.

I would replace that gear regardless though, the bottom wear is one thing but those teeth are a bit ugly for me
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Ross

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67xr7cat

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Re: Distributor gear wear
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2022, 03:49:43 PM »
 :)
« Last Edit: April 26, 2022, 11:02:00 AM by 67xr7cat »

blykins

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Re: Distributor gear wear
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2022, 03:53:23 PM »
Now that all said I do have a question what retainer are your using?  The stock ones usually are not hard enough for a billet cam.  Sometimes you get away with it, sometimes not. Best to use a bronze or roller bearing one.   

Good Luck, Steve

Probably not related, but that's a good tip for everyone buying roller cams.  I only use steel thrust plates with them. 
Brent Lykins
Lykins Motorsports
Custom FE Street, Drag Race, Road Race, and Pulling Truck Engines
Custom Roller & Flat Tappet Camshafts
www.lykinsmotorsports.com
brent@lykinsmotorsports.com
www.customfordcams.com
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Jim Comet

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Re: Distributor gear wear
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2022, 05:20:25 PM »
Good advice, thanks all. I did mention it to Blair before last year and he thought the MSD would be fine. I think I will talk with Bullit cams and see what they say. I went out today and looking down the distributor hole, the block does not appear polished like the bottom of the gear. I see not witness marks from gear wear. Again I think I will contact Bullit and most likely put on my new Crane gear while verifying the depth. Jim

blykins

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Re: Distributor gear wear
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2022, 06:37:14 PM »
Not trying to tell you what to do but before I called anyone or changed gears, I would verify the current dimension and then prime the oil pump while looking down the dist hole. 

The thrust collar has two holes in it, which means it’s been changed at some point.  I see a lot of guys just line up the holes on new gears without measuring and it ruins stuff pretty quick.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2022, 06:39:49 PM by blykins »
Brent Lykins
Lykins Motorsports
Custom FE Street, Drag Race, Road Race, and Pulling Truck Engines
Custom Roller & Flat Tappet Camshafts
www.lykinsmotorsports.com
brent@lykinsmotorsports.com
www.customfordcams.com
502-759-1431
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My427stang

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Re: Distributor gear wear
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2022, 06:39:45 PM »
Not trying to tell you what to do but before I called anyone or changed gears, I would verify the current dimension and then prime the oil pump while looking down the dist hole.

Very good advice and zero cost
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Ross

- 70 Fastback Mustang, 489 cid FE, Victor, SEFI, Erson SFT cam, TKO-600 5 speed, 4.11 9 inch.
- 71 F100 shortbed 4x4, 461 cid FE, headers, Victor Pro-flo EFI, Comp Custom HFT cam, 3.50 9 inch

Jim Comet

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Re: Distributor gear wear
« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2022, 06:39:24 AM »
I will do that. It was me that put the new gear and collar on. I'll try and post a couple of min and max photo's.

Faron

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Re: Distributor gear wear
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2022, 10:14:18 AM »
What Brent said !!! the gear distance is CRITICAL on Fords you really only have .010-.015 to play with , you dont want it to ram into the block when tightened or constantly be pulled down when its set to short on distance , NEVER Assume

Jim Comet

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Re: Distributor gear wear
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2022, 08:22:19 PM »
Hey guys, I measured tonight and sure enough my extended length is 3.1 and compressed is 3.05. I think at this point I will install my new Crane gear and make sure it falls in the specified 3.045-3.050 range. Thanks for the help. Jim

Jim Comet

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Re: Distributor gear wear
« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2022, 09:26:32 PM »
I found out my Crane gear is for a .531 shaft and my MSD is a .466 shaft distributor. So I contacted MDS and am going to send it to the to set up properly with a new steel gear. It is probably better to let a professional set it up anyway. Thanks for the advice. Jim

blykins

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Re: Distributor gear wear
« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2022, 05:03:28 AM »
Wait, wait, wait, wait.....

Your MSD *does* have a .531" shaft.  You can't measure the end that sticks down in the block, you measure the diameter of the shaft where the gear rides. 

If your Crane gear is a 52971, then pop that thing on there, or send it to me and I'll do it for you.



Brent Lykins
Lykins Motorsports
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Custom Roller & Flat Tappet Camshafts
www.lykinsmotorsports.com
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www.customfordcams.com
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Falcon67

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Re: Distributor gear wear
« Reply #16 on: April 27, 2022, 08:50:00 AM »
I got burned once on steel vs steel so I just use bronze and don't fret about it.  I've got way more than 150 passes on the bronze MSD unit in the door car and it looks fine.  At any rate, with a crank trigger it's even less effort to mark, pull and check the distributor gear.  Makes for an easier oil change when it's out too.  I bought a crank trigger MSD for the W based 427 engine build and it came out of the box with a bronze gear.  Steel on steel should work as expected.  Never figured out why I had a fail.  All dimensions were correct but the distributor gear and cam gear chewed the hell out of each other.  Replaced the cam, replaced the dist. gear with a bronze unit - no more problem.   There's a reason 100%, I just don't have it.

Agree - that gear in the pic has some problems.  Good info from Brent on the cam retainer fasteners, have to remember than when putting things together.  Especially with with steel retainers - to use the thrust bearing cam gears I have to countersink the plates and use the flat head fasteners.  Never considered how deep into the block they thread. 

pbf777

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Re: Distributor gear wear
« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2022, 11:49:55 AM »

Now that all said I do have a question what retainer are your using?  The stock ones usually are not hard enough for a billet cam.  Sometimes you get away with it, sometimes not. Best to use a bronze or roller bearing one.


Probably not related, but that's a good tip for everyone buying roller cams.  I only use steel thrust plates with them.


     Note, that it's not so much whether your incorporating a steel billet camshaft in ones' build as it is of what the cam timing gear material is!   ;) 

     And please think about it, before anyone starts throwing stones.   ::)

     But it is "off-topic", sorry.   :)

     Scott.

blykins

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Re: Distributor gear wear
« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2022, 12:33:55 PM »

Now that all said I do have a question what retainer are your using?  The stock ones usually are not hard enough for a billet cam.  Sometimes you get away with it, sometimes not. Best to use a bronze or roller bearing one.


Probably not related, but that's a good tip for everyone buying roller cams.  I only use steel thrust plates with them.


     Note, that it's not so much whether your incorporating a steel billet camshaft in ones' build as it is of what the cam timing gear material is!   ;) 

     And please think about it, before anyone starts throwing stones.   ::)

     But it is "off-topic", sorry.   :)

     Scott.

All of the items up there spinning around and touching each other should be the same material.   Steel thrust plate, steel cam gear, steel cam, steel distributor gear. 
Brent Lykins
Lykins Motorsports
Custom FE Street, Drag Race, Road Race, and Pulling Truck Engines
Custom Roller & Flat Tappet Camshafts
www.lykinsmotorsports.com
brent@lykinsmotorsports.com
www.customfordcams.com
502-759-1431
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pbf777

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Re: Distributor gear wear
« Reply #19 on: April 27, 2022, 04:38:04 PM »
All of the items up there spinning around and touching each other should be the same material.   


     Well, maybe, but remember that it's generally better to use dissimilar metals when in contact with units in motion in relation to one another and subjected to high load instances; as this reduces the natural adhesive attraction as may be experienced in like metals; this perhaps creating an accelerated wear scenario to one, but lessens to tendency of the otherwise resultant galling or friction welding of both surfaces which may provide an even shorter lifespan of functional service.    :o

     Now I might be splitting hairs here, but my participation here is solely to provide information that others may utilize, who may accept your statement literally, as I feel the value is the educational information of technical forums and I'm only attempting to clarify your terminology of "same material", as these items may very well all be of 'steel' material, just ideally better if not the "same material" which might if only just be incorporating different heat treatment effects so as to make them effectively 'not' the same material.     :)

     Scott.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2022, 04:43:30 PM by pbf777 »

Jim Comet

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Re: Distributor gear wear
« Reply #20 on: April 27, 2022, 07:43:35 PM »
Thanks for all the advice and Brent thanks for the offer. I messed up my shaft last night trying to disassembling it without a press, so I am going to send it to MSD for a new shaft and rebuild. Brent is correct that it does in fact use a .531 gear. Jim