Cam timing verification without engine disassembly

Has any one ever used this method checking cam timing?

1.—Pull off the passenger’s side valve cover. Turn the engine to TDC, and ckeck #1 cylinder’s valves. If both of them are closed, you are at the ignition point. Turn the engine over 1 time, back to TDC, and both valves should be off the seat.

2.—Check the height from the top of the retainer to the spring seat, first on the intake, then on the exhaust. I recommend something like a Machinist’s 6" steel rule. Make sure you write them down, because you need to see which one is closest to the head.

3.—If the cam is in the engine right, the intake retainer will be .030" to .060" CLOSER to the head than the exhaust retainer is. If the cam is retarded, the exhaust will be closer.

This happens a lot, and a sure giveaway is very rough idle, very low vacuum, needing a lot of ignition advance to run, and coming alive about 35 mph.

Also sounds like a huge vacuum leak…like a pcv valve installed backwards . You can check for vacuum leaks around the carb or manifold with a propane torch…just turn on the cylinder , dont light the flame, and pass it around the carb and manifold. Much better than starting fluid or brake clean cuz it doesnt mess up the paint.

Sounds like the intake gasket is leaking badly. Try re-torquing the intake.

When I try the described technique it doesn’t work. The lifter bleeds down. Maybe it would work just measuring the push rod.

No, I have not. The first thing to do is verify that the piston is in fact at dtc. To do this the spark plug must be removed and using sight or dial caliper. Placing something through the plug hole and measuring is best. Making sure that it is the compression stroke then check to see if the balancer mark is in the proper location compared to the pointer. The reason for this check is that the balancer can slip position on the hub because of the rubber between them.
To know if the cam is advanced, neutral, or retarded, I think you would have to have the cam specs. The degrees are only 1-3 and you can have that much play in an old used chain to begin with. Rotating the crank by hand back and forth untill you feel the chain tighten can provide some information on how much it has stretched. If streached too much it can jump a tooth, but I don’t think you have that problem. 1 tooth is far more than a few degrees.
Once tdc is know and where the actual mark on the balancer is, only then should you continue with dial indicators at the top of the valves.
You could compare the travel of each valve to determine if all intake lobes and all exhaust lobes have the same lift. This rules out a worn out lobes. I know I didn’t answer your question exactly. I’ll think on it more.

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To the best of my knowledge lifters should not leak down like this… I just spoke with Royce and he verifies my thoughts… Ugh. Looks like a new set of lifters is next on the agenda.

And because it is me… While I am at it i might as well… this always ends up badly…

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From your previous post, it appears the pushrods are way to short for this application, causing the wearing on the stud radius

May be. However when the lifters are collapsing there is no way to know.

Or…are the heads origionally push in styds and some failed to the correct amount off the stud boss when installing this type of screw in stud
The only sbf experience was a sbf in an old waggoneer that liked to pull a stud now and then. The fix was to tap the head and screw in the o/s thread stud using double nuts

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I can’t even set lash. The minute I tighten it the lifter collapses and I have play in the push rod.

So soft I can push the lifter down with my fingers

Some of the screw in studs need double nuts like the ones you used. Others have hex nuts built in so they can be tightened. Every one that I have run across has 3/8-16 threads but apparently there are some with 7/16-14 TPI also.

I ordered a set of Elgin made in USA lifters. We will see. A couple of the other lifters are spongy. No way to set lash. I think the rockers were overnighted and bottomed out

I think the rockers were overnighted? Is that a auto-incorrect?

auto correct got me… over tightened

It just keeps getting better.

I finally got some time to remove the intake and front cover and pull the timing gears and chain which appear to be brand new. So finally I can see what cam is in this thing. But no joy. No markings at all on the end of the supposedly Comp Cam.

Has anyone seen a comp cam with no ID? I suspect that the engine builder probably substituted this unknown cam and lifters for the comp cams kit that was ordered by the PO

Never seen a Comp Cam like that. I would doubt any other thing the receipt says.

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If there is any single lesson I have learned from dealing with old cars it is that lots of things can happen. So maybe once upon a time it did have a comp cam. But today what you see is what matters. At least the timing gears and chain look good

Okay for any one that was keeping up with this. Turns out it was a Crane H-288