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Soooo.... I have 97,600 miles on my '06 Special edition Jetta TDI and decided to check the cam for wear before I put it in the shop to change the timing belt. Figured that I didn't want to start on the the timing belt change only to discover that I would have to order a camshaft. To my dismay, but not much surprise, I have found several lobes badly worn. The worst being #1 and #8 valves. The engine runs fine except fr a slight shutter at idle (I assume to to the valves not opening all the way). I purchased the car with 60k on the odometer and the previous owner and I both ran Valvoline VV966, synpower 5-40W meeting VW specifications, always changed at or before VW recommended oil change intervals. Just though I would let all you other PD guys out there know that this cam issue seems more prevalent than is generally though. My opinion (for what it's worth) is that the '05 - '06 VWs are just starting to hit the mileage necessary to start seeing external signs of cam failure (i.e. engine shutter, knocking, etc.). The cam issue seems quite widespread to me, not just a few mis-manufactured cams. I included a couple of pictures of my #1 and #8 cam lobes for everyone's viewing pleasure. Not the greatest pics, but you can definitely see the chamfer on the lobe disappear due to wear. I will try to post more when I actually replace the cam and timing belt.

I am thinking about ordering the cam kit from boraparts.com. From what I've read they seem like a good supplier. I also was contemplating a performance cam, not necessarily for the performance aspect, but more to get as far away from the OEM cam design as I can. Any suggestions?? would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!





 

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Some people have used BEW engine cams instead. It has slightly less duration which means less pressure on the tip. They have not reported any loss in mpg or power but yes, it gives slightly less power. Colt does cam regrinds for performance.

And Franko6 has a nice theory about increasing oiling to the cams and using a slightly lower torque on the rocker bolt caps. He can drill out your cam caps and modify the bearings to increase oiling to the bearings and lobes.

It's quite annoying but I still like the car. And I also rent the special camshaft and timing belt tools, send a PM if interested.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks. I have the timing belt tools, and I think that I am just going to remove the cam and sprocket assembly and separate the two when it's out of the vehicle.
I talked to Aaron at Boraparts on Monday and I am going with the BEW cam with new lifters,bearings, etc. Thanks for the reply.
 

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No problem, however, the cam bolt is tightened to around 79 ft-lbs and you don't want to use your new timing belt to counterhold that thing. That is the purpose of the cam pulley counterhold tool. I had a universal holder and it wouldn't fit around the hub.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ok, wanted to post an update. Changed the timing belt and associated pulleys, water pump, camshaft (BEW in place of BRM), bearings, bolts, and lifters. Ran it for about 100 miles and noted a lot of copper flecks in the oil. Made me concerned that something was going wrong with the bearings, so I pulled the bearing caps and come to find out all five bearings were wearing extremely fast into the copper layer. I have changed bearings on other engines with no issues, so this has me perplexed. I used the manufacturers tightening procedure for the cam, made sure that there was no debris or oil on the back side of the bearings before I installed them, and used camshaft assembly lube on the cam lobes as well as the bearing surfaces. I used a micrometer to check the new camshaft bearing surface for proper diameter (compared to the old cam) and the new bearings are the same thickness as the old ones (though not anymore since they worn down). All bearings are worn about the same except for #5 which is not worn very much. The cam lobes and lifters broke in well, and look great I have attached a couple of photos of the bearings for review.

Can anyone shed any light on this issue? It would be greatly appreciated.


Bearing Cap #3. You can see where it wore into the copper.




Bearings in the head. All bearings are worn, the #5 bearing is worn, but not badly as can be seen in the photo below.

 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yes, I can't think of what would cause this. Seems that if there was oil starvation that the cam lobes would have suffered during break-in as well, but they all look great. Looking for some insight into why this might have happened. If anyone has suggestions I would be eager to listen.
 

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I just went through the procedure at 85k. I did the Frank06 mod, he has a bearing kit and lots of knowledge. I went with a Colt cam (from billet steel) stage II from Kerma. I believe that this is a reground BEW cam. I also went with the black lifters from Kerma. I used Franko6 break-in procedure. I am convinced that all BRMs will experience cam bearing failure eventually and usually at 70-90k. Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I just went through the procedure at 85k. I did the Frank06 mod, he has a bearing kit and lots of knowledge. I went with a Colt cam (from billet steel) stage II from Kerma. I believe that this is a reground BEW cam. I also went with the black lifters from Kerma. I used Franko6 break-in procedure. I am convinced that all BRMs will experience cam bearing failure eventually and usually at 70-90k. Good luck
Did you use any special procedure to install the bearings? I've never seen this happen before.
 

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Just chiming in here. I tooam having to replace camshaft and timing belt.

125,000miles and having it done privately.

Mainly because last two times car has been to the dealer, I've specifically asked them to change belt and check cam.

Everytime they have said there's nothing wrong with it.

#1 posistion was so badly worn, it was basically square.

Hoping no serious damage was done driving car like this.

Sounds like a Massey Ferguson right now and puffing smoke like a river barge.
 

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Did you check the clearance between the camshaft and camshaft bearing before final installation? Or as i call it the squish test.

My 05 passat shows sign of wear as well at 150k. Hoping it will make it to 200k before i replace it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Just chiming in here. I tooam having to replace camshaft and timing belt.

125,000miles and having it done privately.

Mainly because last two times car has been to the dealer, I've specifically asked them to change belt and check cam.

Everytime they have said there's nothing wrong with it.

#1 posistion was so badly worn, it was basically square.

Hoping no serious damage was done driving car like this.

Sounds like a Massey Ferguson right now and puffing smoke like a river barge.

Dealer here wanted $1,900 to change the cam, complain to VW america and maybe they will help you out a little. They offered to pay 50% of the cam change for me, but it was still cheaper for me to do it all.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Did you check the clearance between the camshaft and camshaft bearing before final installation? Or as i call it the squish test.

My 05 passat shows sign of wear as well at 150k. Hoping it will make it to 200k before i replace it.
Looking at the wear on mine, the lifters would not have lasted over 150,000 mi. I did not use plasti-tape to check clearance when I installed it. I did check it when i pulled the cam back out and it was 0.0015" after the bearings had worn. I am having the cam bearing surfaces polished at a local machine shop and am also having them check that the cam is not warped. If all checks out I am going to get another set of bearings and have another go at it. I will be sure to use plasti-tape to check the clearances this time and ensure everything lines up correctly.
 

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Repeatable Event

This type of cam bearing failure has been noted on several occasions. I believe there are two separate and distinct causes for the failure.

There was a cam that got into circulation by Boraparts for a short time. In total, there were about 19 cams, for which only a few were sold. Every single one of those cams is accounted for, as far as I know and none are currently being sold by Boraparts. They were a chill-cast cam that was very rough looking. The hardness was below 40 Rockwell. The journals also are suspect in those cams. The same cams are being sold under the brand name A/E. Those cams are to be avoided.

The other reason for the premature cam bearing failure is due to improper seating of the bearings.

When installing the cam bearings, wipe the shells and the cam caps and saddles clean. Many are installing the bearings using the tangs, although we recommend an oiling improvement that doubles the oil flow to the cam followers. I use an assembly grease made by Joe Gibbs. It will melt into the engine oil after start up. It doesn't take much, as the clearances are very close for the cam.

Install the caps. I prefer to use our engineered bolts instead of the VW torque-to-yeild (TTY) bolts. Quite honestly, $120 of bolts for a torque load of no more than 30 ft lbs is absurd. The VW TTY cam cap bolts are supposed to be torqued to 7 ft lbs (84in lbs) + 1/4 turn and the VW TTY rocker bolts are 15 ft lbs + 1/4 turn. Our engineered bolts are less than 1/2 the price. We use 15 ft lbs for the cam bolts and 30 ft lbs for the rocker and are reusable bolts; not throw-away.

When installing the cam cap bolts, lube the top and bottom bearings with assembly lube. Install the camshaft. Install the #2 and #4 caps and incrementally tighten the caps until the cam caps are seated.

Install the cam seal. If using the PTFE style seal (springless seal), tape over the woodruff key slot with a small piece of electrical tape. Push the cam seal into place. The #1 and #5 bearings require special attention. There is a slot cut in the bottom of the bearing cap and the outside surface past the slot should be coated with Hylomar sealant; the same stuff that is used for the oil pan.

1.Temporarily, install the camshaft pulley and tighten the cam pulley bolt. 2.Tighten all caps to 5 ft lbs. 3.Use a plastic dead blow hammer, strike the cam caps solidly. 4. Use the pulley to turn the camshaft to be sure that the cam does not bind. 5.Tighten each cap to 10 lbs, repeat steps 3 and 4. Tighten to 15 ft lbs, repeat steps 3 and 4.

Using these steps, I have never damaged a set of cam bearings.

I believe that I popularized the idea of using the BEW cam as a replacement for the BRM. When using the cam in it's stock profile, the BEW cam will lose about 30 ft lbs of torque compared to the BRM. For many people, this is an inconsequential loss. Given the comparative durability of the BEW cam over the BRM, we felt that change was appropriate.

As a footnote, when applying a chip-tune that maximized the use of the stock nozzles, we saw no loss in performance using the BEW cam in a BRM engine. HP gains when chip tuning were identical to gains using the BRM cam.

However, the advantages of the re-profiled cams that we are now producing will have both longevity and HP improvements. With an eye for cam-wear reduction, the re-profiled cams not only are easier on the cam followers, but also improve lift and duration for lower Exhaust Gas Temperatures (EGT's) and improved breathing. Torque curves start slightly earlier than with a stock cam.

There is the thought that the BEW cam profile will be as effective as the BRM. There will be reprofiled BRM cams available in a limited supply.

Any additional questions, you may contact me.

417-232-4634
or
[email protected]

Btw: I see that I'm a 'newbie'. Well, we rebuilt 4 PD heads this week. Some newbie...;)
 

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Cam Bearing Clearances

Ok, so I cleaned everything up, had the cam bearing surfaces polished at a local engine shop, took out the lifters and checked the radial clearances of the cam bearings. All the clearances are between 0.001" to 0.015" with the #4 bearing being slightly tighter than 0.001" (see picture). I then lubed up the cam and stuck it in without the lifters and torqued all the bearing caps so I could spin it over to make sure there was no resistance. I was able to spin it with little effort and no binding. Does anyone know what the cam bearing radial clearances are supposed to be??


Bearing #4


 

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im about to go through this myself... engine is knocking and "fluttering" pretty bad. Expecting to see really worn lifters, then to get em replaced :(
 

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My 2006 just had the timing belt service at 100K. Well respected TDI service provider in Marysville, OH performed the work. His verdict was that the cam looked good at this time. But it would eventually need changed. My question is how much mileage has someone got out of the stock cam?
 
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