A camshaft is one of the most critical parts of a vehicle. However, just like any other vehicle parts, a camshaft can go bad at a certain point. Did yours stop working? Are you wondering how much does it cost to install a camshaft?
The labor cost for installing a camshaft is between $880 and $1111. And for the part, which is the camshaft itself, you will be looking to spend around $504. So, the overall cost for the installation will be between $1384 and $1684.
But what does a camshaft do? And most importantly, why does it go bad, and what are the symptoms of a bad camshaft? Stick around if you want to know it all!
What Is a Camshaft?
At its core, the camshaft is a timing device. It is critical for the basic functions of the engine. There are mainly two parts: the shaft and the cams. Combined, the intake and exhaust valves can open and close at the right time.
The camshaft works by rotating. During the rotation, the cam lobe moves up and down. And in a half spin, a cam lobe pushes a valve down, which creates an opening in the cylinder. And the other half-spin makes the valve come up, forcing the opening to close.
Generally, the camshaft will be connected to the crankshaft. And it will rely on a timing belt or timing chain. In some engines, the mechanism might also depend on timing gears.
How to Install a Camshaft?
The cost to replace the camshaft can be lowered by installing it yourself. However, if you want to install camshafts properly, you need to go through the correct steps. And by the right steps, we are referring to these:
- Get the Right Tools and Materials
Before anything else, you need to grab the right tools and materials. Here is the list:
- Nut drivers
- Chise and hammer
- Camshaft removal tool
- Cleaning solvent
- Oil conditioner
- A new set of lifters
- Check Whether You Need to Pull the Engine
After getting all the necessary materials and tools, you need to determine whether the engine needs to be pulled out or not. It will basically depend on the type of engine the vehicle has. In most cases, you will have easy access to the camshaft.
However, if you are using an American-made V6 or V8 engine, you might need to pull the engine out.
- Gain Access to the Camshaft
You must first lower the oil pan and clear out the crankshaft snout to gain access to the camshaft.
Take the cover off the engine and then remove the timing-chain bolts. There should be three on the top. And if you have a new timing chain installed, take the lower timing gear out as well. Again, this process will vary from one vehicle to another.
But generally, first, you will need to disconnect the battery, remove the radiator cap, and release the valve under the passenger side.
When the coolant drains, remove the intake manifold bolts. It can get a bit hard to take it out. But you can use the chisel and hammer to pry the manifold out of the engine bolt. Use something flat to scrape the rear and front block rails clean.
- Work with the Valve Covers
Accessing the pushrods, lifters, and rockers will be easier when you remove the valve covers. However, make sure to keep the pushrods and rockers in order. And while you are working with the rocker nuts, you might need to turn the engine over a few times. That will allow you to lower the spring pressure.
- Mark the Top Dead Center by Rotating the Cam
Start turning the camshaft wheel. Stop only when you see the V-shaped timing mark. It should be at the top of the wheel. The camshaft will not be in phase with the crankshaft if the timing marks do not have the right alignment. Additionally, the valves will be damaged when they make contact with the pistons.
- Take the Camshaft Out
Using a camshaft removal tool is always a good idea to get the camshaft out. However, in case you do not have one, you can make the cam get out by twisting it slowly. Take precautions and carefully twist it. You can gall the bearings or leave scratches on them if you are not careful.
- Clean the New Parts
Now that the old cam is out, you will need to focus on the new parts. First, wash the valve gear components and camshaft with a cleaning solvent. Then, remove any of the dust or grease that might be on the surface of these parts. Finish the preparation process by drying everything thoroughly.
- Lubricate the Cam
After the parts are dry, get some oil conditioner and lubricate the bearings and cam lobes. While it is in the block, rotate the cam and carefully apply the oil. Make sure you are not over-lubricating the part. Also, avoid scratching the bearings.
- Assemble the Timing Chain
You can assemble the sprocket and the timing chain after lubricating the parts. Note that you should set the timing gear on the position you have marked in step 5. Otherwise, it will not have the right alignment. Check the specifications from the instruction manual and torque it according.
- Work with the Position Lower Part of the Timing Cover
You will need to position the lower part of the timing cover at this step. It needs to be right over the oil pan. But before that, ensure that there is no oil leak at the engine’s front. Also, apply silicone between the timing-cover seal contact points and the oil pan. Afterward, give it the right amount of tightening on the oil pan.
- Lubricate the Lifters and Install Them
It is always a good idea to use a new set of lifters. However, even with new ones, you will need to make sure that they can move unimpeded. If it does not, the lifter and the cam will be distributed incorrectly. And that will eventually result in failure.
- Reassemble Everything and Install the Rest of the Things
Work with the water pump and reinstall it. Make sure both the heater hoses are reconnected. Then, compress the belt tensioner, replace the drive belt, and reinstall the radiator. After putting all those in place, make sure to fasten all the hoses. In the fill neck, reconnect all the tubes.
- Check the Timing and Make Necessary Adjustments
Once everything is in place, ignite the engine and let it run for a few seconds. If there are no problems, connect the coil pack harness in place. Then, start the vehicle and check whether the oil pressure is stable.
Read More: Cost To Install A Car Stereo?
What Are the Symptoms of A Failing Camshaft?
So, before your camshaft fails, you will notice a couple of symptoms. Let’s go through them to give you a better idea:
- The Engine Check Light Starts Flashing
When your vehicle’s computer detects a potential problem, it turns the engine light. However, this light can come on for multiple things. So, you can not tell whether the camshaft has a problem by seeing it light up or flash. But it can be for camshaft too.
- The Vehicle Makes Loud Tapping or Ticking Sounds
A tapping or ticking sound usually means that the camshaft has gone bad. The odd noise starts to appear right when it starts failing. However, failing hydraulic lifters can also make loud ticking or tapping sounds. So, again, you can not just rely on this symptom.
- Metal Debris Ends Up in the Engine Oil
When the camshaft lobe wears down, metal debris starts to flow through the engine. Sometimes, you might not see any of the debris in the dipstick. But when you drain the oil, you will find metallic swirls in it.
- The Cylinder Starts to Misfire
The engine will offer lower overall performance if the camshaft is not working properly. And in most cases, the performance degradation will be for the cylinder misfiring.
- Your Vehicle Fails the Emission Test
As the engine starts to misfire, the emission rate of the vehicle increase. And when your tailpipe has a high emission rate, the vehicle will fail the emission test.
- Physical Sights of Damage or Corrosion
During the maintenance or regular checkup, you will notice visible signs of damage on the camshaft. The lobes will look worn, and the journals will seem scored.
Reasons for Camshaft Failure
A lot of things can make the camshaft fail. However, among all, these are the most common reason:
- Improper break-in
- Insufficient lubrication
- Worn down components
- Interior hardware
- The components not having the right amount of torque
- Mechanical interference
Are you still wondering how much does it cost to install a camshaft? The average price range for parts and labor is from $1384 to $1684. But, as you know by now, the camshaft repair cost can come down if you install it yourself. So, if you have the right amount of skill, knowledge, and tools, you can save about $1111.
Hello, I’m Michael Rosales an expert in cars. As a little boy, I have always loved cars. Over the years I became lucky to have the opportunity to work as a car dealer. It was at this stage I became vast in the knowledge of cars, things you need to know when buying cars and how to minimize cost while still getting your dream car.