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Cam Failure - Special Service Message

11/04/02, updated 11/06/02

Without divulging my resources as I do not want to cause anyone to lose their jobs, I am aware of a SSM (Special Service Message) at the dealerships to perform an inspection on the cam sprockets. Basically, the technician will remove the cam covers to inspect the sprockets and camshaft for evidence of slipping, or torsional lash. There is a "new" improved inspection method that is going to be released shortly. My source does NOT recommend welding the sprockets as this can adversely affect the metallurgy of the cams. Same goes for the "pinned sprockets". The sprocket fails due to the hole drilled for the pin, so the failure mode is different. FOMOCO claims that the failure rates are less than 10%. I am not saying that I agree with this claim or not...just that they have quantified it at some level.

I am a new member to this group, and I too and very concerned about this potential problem. I am the original owner of a 97 Toreador Red that just rolled to 102,000 miles last week. I have only had one problem with the car since I purchased it...the A/C unit fried and consequently had to be replaced at a cost of $1200. I love this car, and always have...but since the DFP article, I am very concerned about the longevity of the motor. I am going to take my SHO into the dealership within the next few days, and I will let everyone know what is done and said.

Rob -Indianapolis: 97 TR 102k

I didn't see that you mentioned if your SSM has a new "fix" for the cam sprockets if he finds that they're slipping. Since he doesn't recommend welding, or pinning, I hope he has an alternate fix in mind.

Steve Tatro
Red/Black '93 with 163k miles
Cincinnati, Ohio

So what does your "source" suppose we do to fix FORD's defect!?!


Duct tape

(these f'n 2500 dollars worth of mf'n pinned cams better not gd mf'n fail)

97 V8 SHO ES


And thank your for the news Rob. Some folks are emotionally invested in this issue and forget how to treat new folks and bearers of useful news, (good or bad)

Welcome and thank you for your contribution


Emotionally and financially. I did append my original response to thank him for the info Buford.

I didn't mean to slam you Rob, just FUDMOCO (and potentially the SHOSHOP from whence I bought this "only permanent solution" in the form of the pinned camshafts). That is very interesting information you bring, I can only hope it's flawed.

Btw: welcome aboard. I'm not the resident a$$hole, that self proclaimed distinction goes to someone else. Heh...


(I shot the messenger! The good news is that I only winged him... He's expected to make a full recovery! LOL)

Dave, I wouldn't be losing any sleep over it if it was my car. What's done is done. You also have a written warranty right on the SHOShop website stating expected longevity of their repair. I think an important point to note is that nobody has jumped on our list and stated that their pre-emptive repair has failed. With the number done even one or two parties jumping on list stating this would be very low failure rate in comparison to the motors that have not had this procedure done.

Rob, welcome and thanks for sharing as we get very little inside info wrt the corporate thinking on this.

BTW Dave, just keep that boombox down low so as not to shake, rattle and roll those pins loose.

John Hamilton (Hammy)
Ptbo, ON, CAN.

97 ES 105k km 91 Mocha/Mocha 150k km

Boom boom... It finally shook the spoiler off. I'm saving up for a BIG A$$ UGLY WING YAYYY!!!!

Not. heh


97 V8 SHO ES

Who was it at this years convention, I asked them if they MUST play something that F-ing loud, Play some music with F-ing notes. Call it what you will, it isn't music, it isn't high fidelity, it doesn't even have a melody or harmony.

Anything that causes sterility and insanity in cockroaches can't be good for you much less be called music

If you enjoy that sound sit in a trench in IRAQ and wait for the B52's to make a house call, boom, boom.

It isn't music, it's self prescribed shell shock.



<<Anything that causes sterility and insanity in cockroaches can't be good for you much less be called music>>

Amen...call it anything but music.  Music (and I have a degree) has melody, harmony, chord progressions, and rhythm. 


I'm skeptical of anything coming from anywhere close to Ford. I think we've got more collective effort in the SHO community then Ford has put together with respect to the issue at hand. I'm not going to lose any sleep over my welded cams.

Good luck with the SHO, Rob. I hope you got an extended warranty. I could have used one.

Ian Macoomb


I am a big boy and fully understand that it is frustration jumping out. Apparently, there are many of us that have invested in the 2 fixes listed, and completely understand the cause for concern if these 2 are found to be bogus or faulty. I will bring whatever info I can to this forum.

PS...no blood, no foul! LOL

Rob Horvath

Their opinion is as flawed as their camshaft with what I perceive as one important distinction. I honestly believe that the joint flaw just falls under one of those "oh schyt" categories wrt design. I don't think it was intentional negligence of any sort. Run across this category many a time, although there are processes in place to prevent such situations not all can be prevented. That's just my opinion, don't shoot. However, having been chasing my Quality Assurance Certificate through the local bubble gum college, it's my personal opinion that FORD's handling of this flies in the face of just about all logic. Everything that should not be done, they're doing. It's their gun, and it's their foot. Nobody to blame but themselves. I wonder to what extent they know of the internal slaughter that this is causing their company's reputation?

I know, way too reflective. Just got up from a killer weekend of night shifts. Got to get that killer instinct going....Goooooo Packer's, gonna squish some little fishies tonight. Send them back to the land of blue hair in little frozen packages stating "Minced Fish".

John Hamilton (Hammy)
Ptbo, ON, CAN.

97 ES 105k km 91 Mocha/Mocha 150k km

What gets my dander up with Ford is "only 10%" line.

First I think it is wrong by half. Might be as high as 25%

Second if those guys shot only 14 guys in DC, not 10%. If the shot 10% of the folks in the greater DC area there would not be enough trees to make coffins. Those guys must have been one in a few millions but when your dead, the odds that got you there don't matter.

If only 10% of the 19,730 SHOs blow up that isn't good and if you engine does blow up you might as well call the vet and have 'em shoot your car. It is the same thing.

I would like to find the jerk who concluded that 10% is rare and hold his head under water for 10% of the day.

I guess Russian roulette would be about the same, one chance in 6.

How about if we shoot one out of every 10 fudmoco VPs, naw that is too rare.

Hit 'em in the fore head with a 1 # hammer, I got a 10# hammer but only want to give 'em 10%

Sorry, I needed that. (rant mode off)


Tim, you're EXACTLY right. I know for a fact that Ford uses the Six Sigma methodology in their assembly plants (there are two here in Louisville and I have MANY friends and family that work at both). Six Sigma is a statistical process control method where you literally strive for no more that 3.4 defects per million parts! That's like 99.9996% quality! Now, would ANY plant manager allow a 10% rejection/rework rate on ANY part of the assembly line? Would they take a $8000 loss on every 10th Explorer that runs down the line because it doesn't function properly? Then why in the heck (I don't curse) is an under estimated 10% failure rate acceptable enough not to correct when it comes to this issue???

Brian Moore - (spent a couple on months learning Six Sigma in '96)
'99 Black 55k
'90 Red 126K

I took my chariot into the local dealership so I could get an estimate as to what the SSM inspection will cost me...answer: $410. I should say approximately $410. I have since sent an email to my "contact" and have asked him to provide some guidance on what I should do in light of the fact that I was informed that welding will weaken the cams as will pinning. My guess is that I will be told that my only option is to replace the cams with new ones...over my dead body! If I am told that...I may have to park the thing in the lobby of FOMOCO's World HQ, naturally only after having driven it up the steps, through the glass and hopefully taken out a V8 design engineer or 12! I will advise the rest of you as to the response.

Rob Horvath
97-TR, 102k w/no problems...so far.

>> --
>> Bryan C. King

Naw, take hostages .........

(unsigned) ;-)

That's what I'm talking about!!!!!

Ramming speed!


Using an Iconnel or S.S. rod will not weaken the components. No carbon is sucked out, therefore grain structure remains as was. It will draw back a bit at the fusion points, and that is OK.

John Hamilton (Hammy)
Ptbo, ON, CAN.

97 ES 105k km

Interesting to note, for $450, FPS will weld your cams (in 4 hours). For only $40 less Ford will inspect but not repair your cams?

Is this a trick question?

So we pay some guy $100/ an hour who never worked on a SHO before to tell us, yes sir I checked and your engine DOES have cams,

Gee thanks.


Or send me $40 and I'll give you expert advise,  hey weld dem' cams....


The only redeeming possibility to the inspection I can think of is to really suspend disbelief and hope that Ford might be able to tell which cams will go bad by serial number???

I don't see any pigs flying outside, so they probably did just come up with a lame procedure to diagnose bad cams for the people who are lucky enough to get a warning ticking.

Sadly enough, that is an improvement on the "service" many have received.

Best Regards,


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