I got a 400 and I want to install new camshaft bearings but not sure how to do it. I got a junk 400 block to practice the installation and removal process before trying on the good block. I don't have the cash to take the good block to a shop. Any ideas on where to get a bearing installation tool? Is there anything I should be aware of as a newbie? Thanks all.
do you have access to a lathe???? or a friend with one??? who can carve one up for you...the cam bearings on pontiacs all use the same size driver...i had one made at a local machine shop one time.. had them thread the center for a piece of long shaft.. you may also need a bearing scraper tool on the end of a thick wooden stick.. as when you drive the bearings in.. the front gets a small mushroom effect.. so the triangular bearing scraper can carve the edge off the mushroom..some tool stores rent cam bearing drivers...why not take a look at goodson.com down load their engine rebuilding tool catalog.. look through it..this one is close to what i had made.. http://carshop.carshopinc.com/product_info.php/products_id/92542/cst1-Igoogle this term...cam bearing installation tool...there is a really good article on rebuilding the 350 pontiac but i don't recall if it covers the cam bearing installation..it does cover most of the stuff that you need to do to any pontiac motor rebuild...http://www.highperformancepontiac.com/tech/hppp_0712_small_bore_pontiac_engine_build/index.html
You need a cam bearing installation tool to do the job right then it's easy. I have lisle 18000 cam bearing installation set . Sometimes you can find a used set on ebay and there not in very used condition because they don't get used that often.I couldn't find any shops that would rent one out were I live . A new set is about $140 and a used one is about $78 if you can find one. I wouldn't install them without a good cam bearing tool ! A good tool uses rubber and doesn't mushroom the bearing at all . There is a mechanic on youtube showing how to install them. Just make sure you have the oil holes lined up .Just look down the holes from the crank side if that doesn't work use a piece of wire .
Getting the bearings in is the easy part. Fitting the cam is a different story as the bores in the block are not all in a alignment. This is due to a number of things, such as a 30 year old block has had some movement, but most of all when the factory drilled the block for the cam, the did it partially from the front, and then the rest from the back. As you can guess they never lined up even when new.Use a proper bearing install tool as you do not crush the edges. Once you have them installed with the oil holes lining up and making sure they are not cocked to one side, install the cam dry. You may feel resistance, but do not force. If it will not go into a bearing, get out some 80grit emery cloth and carefully sand the leading edge of the bearing with resistance. Once you have the cam in, it should rotate easily by hand. If you cannot, move it back and forth a bit and then remove. Check the bearings. Shiny spots are high points and need to be sanded for clearance. Once you have a good fit, remove and put some engine oil on the cam and set back in and verify the final feel. you should be able to turn using 2 ringers. Now you are ready for final wash of the block.Pontiac's are a *** for this, and I recommend any novice to have the machine shop install them. I would say 30% of first time builders will mess this up and have a spun cam bearing that will require a complete tear-down all over again. You may be able to find a shop with a flat rate to install, however most charge by the hour that know Pontiac's take anywhere from 2 - 8 hr just to fit the cam shaft. Think of what you are spending to build your motor. Is it worth the risk?
I agree with Ryan, if you've never done it before, save up your cash and pay to have it done right. The last place you want to be cheap and try to save money is with a critical component like bearings, one screw up can cost you the entire engine! I use a kit that centers the driver using cones in the other bearing bores. I'm not sure of the brand, it belongs to the dealership I work for and does everything from 4 cylinders to big 15L diesels with different mandrels.Steve
A little help... 'cause we don't all have to learn the hard way!
Have you ever rebuilt a engine before ? Or is it just the cam bearings you haven't done before ? It sounds like you want to learn,if you don't try you'll never learn,try and find someone that knows how help you.If you don't know how to install a cam you shouldn't be rebuilding a engine by yourself ! If it's just a money problem then save up and take the block to a machine shop and have it bored,cooked ,cam bearings installed and freeze plugs installed . If you want to learn how to do it yourself that's different.