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New 4/23/05, 5/15/05,10/22/05
I'm glad you asked John,
No problems what so ever the temp gauge used to climb sometimes quite a bit, while climbing the Cajon pass at 80 mph. now it stays put where it's normally at any other time. I believe it idles smoother now than it ever has, used to be able to feel some vibration in the cab at a red light from motor vibration and now while looking under the hood it is dead still at idle whether in gear or not. I have regained some lost power, no doubt to the new plugs, and I drive without worry that it will leave me and my car poolies stranded on the side of the mountain.
I would recommend John Stoessel to anyone in the So Cal Area for a cam weld. and would recommend he be added to the web site's list of those trusted to do the work.
He does take the cams out of the car and which I 'm sure presents some pros and cons. I dropped my car off and went on vacation when I got back I had a car I could trust.
Bottom line he did a great job with my car.
Thanks a lot John.
Dr. Woodland Hills,
Here is breakdown of costs:
R&R cams - (includes labor for valve lash adjustment, replacing plugs,
insulating rear wire harness, clean intake system, flush PS)
Weld cams -
Spark Plugs (8 Motorcraft) -
Valve cover and timing cover gaskets -
Valve adjustment shims (10) -
Transmission aux. cooler - (parts and labor)
Prices intentionally deleted, you make your own deal with John His prices are not out of line.
97 120k WELDED
I live in the Los Angeles, CA area & recently purchased a 1999 Gen 3 SHO (manufacture date: 5/99) w/ 73K miles.
Knowing that I needed a cam weld, I contacted several V8SHO owners in my area to find out where they had their cams welded. Most indicated Chris Kepus in Northern California, while others said to go to the SHO Shop (SoCal) to get them pinned. However, one owner gave me the name & number of an excellent mechanic in Woodland Hills, CA.
His name is: John Stoessel (email@example.com or 818/225-7329). John owns two SHO’s and is extremely knowledgeable regarding the inner workings of all Ford products. On my V8, John pulled the cams completely out, inspected them, had them welded while out of the car, changed the plugs, checked & rotated the coils (we ended up installing 4 new ones in the rear), adjusted valves, changed oil, power steer flush all for a very reasonable price.
John discovered that one of my cam sprockets had moved slightly and was ready to blow!
He has performed the weld/service on many Southern California cars and follows the procedures outlined by "Captain Kirk".
I’m returning soon to get the front lights package & a tranny cooler.
I recommend that he be added to the list of “folks who will weld your cams”. He is excellent!
My cams are now officially welded.
I finally went for it about two weeks ago, and made the firm decision to get my cams welded. The odometer had past 100k miles about 4 months back, so I knew that I needed a 100k service anyway to see whether any valve lash adjustments were necessary. As a west coast residence, my options were to either drive up north near Sacramento, or head due east into Arizona for cam welds. However, after reading Bob Taylor's post from 4/11 about his cam weld experience with John Stoessel (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- All four cams would be removed, welded, and reinstalled.
- Partial power steering fluid change (since pump had to be moved during the disassembly phase) with Mercon V ATF for the P/S system
- Replacing my 50k miles old spark plugs with new Motorcraft plugs (I provide the plugs)
- Coil cold resistance measured and logged, then rotate rear coils to front and front to rear.
- Insulate rear wire harness
- Valve adjustments, if needed. John would provide log of measurements (before / after adjustments) and would provide shims, but I reimburse him for the number of shims that had to be replaced.
- Surge tank cleaned.
- Butterfly valve cleaned.
- Runners cleaned.
- Oil and oil filter change (I provide oil and filter)
- Replace cam seal (I provide seal)
- Digital photos of the entire process
After several email communication back and forth between myself and John, discussing what I wanted to have done, what I was going to provide, and how much it would cost, I finally made the trek to his home on a Friday evening after work, fighting the US 101 traffic to the western edge of L.A. county where John lives. After spending about 4 hours with John, myself, and a fellow coworker of mine talking about Taurus SHOs and cars in general, my coworker and I finally left late Thursday night, with me knowing that my car was in good hands.
Late afternoon Saturday, and I receive a call from John telling me that my car was almost done. After an uneventful drive to his place, I inspected the front cams to see how the welding was done before John reassembled the valve covers and coil packs on the front bank. John informed me that the welding went smoothly and that none of my cam sprockets were loose beforehand. (I guess I have been quite fortunate) He also had to swap out 10 exhaust valve shims that were found to be just outside-of-spec. Luckily, he had those shims available, so a special order wasn't needed.
In the meantime as John was reassembling the items on my SHO, I took his '97 SHO out for a spin, and came away impressed at what a customized SHO with a good exhaust system is capable of. (Note: asides from a transmission cooler, fog lights, and tinted windows, my '98 SHO is bone-stock) He had a friend, who was waiting on John to do some upgrades to his car that night, who had a black '97 SHO that was much more customized, and after a ride in his car, I came away even more impressed at how well a SHO can handle with the right suspension part equipped on it.
About an hour or so later, after my two "joyrides" in a SHO other than my own, John was finally done. The car started up perfectly with no problems whatsoever, no leaks, and no strange noises. The only hitches in the experience that I found were
- New cam seal was not installed because an incompetent Autozone in my area never got the special-order seal in by the time I took my car to John,
- John did not have any Mercon V fluid available to put into my power steering system (had to resort to using Mercon III instead; I had previously flushed my P/S system with Mercon V at 90k miles, which is why I wanted Mercon V), and
- John lost the cap to the A/C low pressure line valve, and could not find it. Now why that cap had to come off in the first place, I still have no idea ...
Other than those three items, everything else went smoothly and as expected. John's associate did a wonderful job with the welds on the four cams' sprockets, while John did a very good and thorough job with reassembling the engine, cleaning the intakes, and doing the valve adjustments.
John offered to help me out in the future if I ever wanted any other work done on my car, and after this experience, I believe I will take him up on that offer. I'm sure that eventually in the future, I'll find myself missing the thrill that I got from trying out his SHO and his friend's SHO and how the car handles corners so much better with the proper suspension equipment. So, for any future suspension upgrades, or if there is a repair that I can't figure out how to do on the engine, I will definitely contact John for his assistance.
As for the exhaust system? After hearing what a V8 SHO *should* sound like on John's SHO and his friend's SHO, I am more determined now to make the switch to a set of Flowmaster 40 or Magnaflow mufflers in the near future. Granted, Ford did a hell of a job damping the V8 sound on our car to make the car "sound" like a family car, but heck, nothing beats the deep exhaust tone of what a V8 engine is capable of making.
As I left John's home, I felt at peace with my car, now knowing that the cams are welded and that the likelihood of them suddenly going bad on me has diminished significantly. In the past, I've been relatively gentle with the engine (e.g. not "rev-happy") because of the fear that the cam sprockets would spin themselves loose. Now that my cams are welded, I can wind up the engine a bit more: not just for the thrill, of course, but to let the secondaries do some work to keep its passageway clean. Long trips to the Sierra Nevada mountain range or to AZ, UT, or NV will be more worry-free.
So, if there are any fellow SoCal residents on this list who have been seriously thinking about getting your cams welded, drop John an email or give him a call to inquire about his service. The service he's providing is a true asset to the V8 SHO community in Southern California, and anyone who wants to keep his/her SHO for a number of years should definitely consider getting something done to your cams, whether it be welding or pinning. Anything is better than leaving the cams as is because for cheaper than the price of a valve adjustment at the dealer, you could get your cams welded and the valves adjusted by knowledgable SHO enthusiasts who knows how to work on this "exotic" 3.4L V8 engine.
'98 Vibrant White, 107k Miles, *Welded*
Living in the land we natives like to call "SoCal"
As you might have read I got my CAMs welded at the weekend by John Stoessel. But really it was a lot more than that, shims, sparkies, coils, power steering flush, cleaning intakes, surge tank, tranny cooler, new rims and tires and probably loads that I have forgotten (John please feel free to remind me) were done.
On top of all of that all the way through the work, John literally gave me an education on the SHO. I now know what a surge tank is and looks like, I know what the coils are and why we have them, I know what the crappy tranny cooler is and where it is, I know what the horns are, I know about torque converters, etc. John did this all with great enthusiasm and didn't feel put out by my stupid questions at all and in fact encouraged them.
What's even more John let me crash at his place, thus saving me the cost of the hotel. We actually had a mini SHO convention in the evening with four SHO's in the driveway (mine, John's, Jose's and Nate's) and had a real laugh. Nice to meet you Jose and Nate.
Took me six hours hard driving to get there and about the same back. I left Sat 3am and got there at 9am and left Sunday close to midnight and got back 7am. John was gracious enough to offer that if anything happened on the way home he would do whatever he could do to help.
I cannot speak highly enough of the way that John worked. Every bolt had anti-sieze put on it and torque as speced. It really was like he was treating my car as his own.
As you can see I was really impressed and would say that anyone considering getting their CAMs done, John really does a fine job. And I couldn't fault anything.
I am on my third SHO, a '99, that I plan to keep for some time. Thanks to the excellent work and advice from John Stoessel in Los Angeles I am certain I will be driving my SHO for may years to come. John performed a Cam weld, (adjusting the valves accordingly), added a tranny cooler, upgraded the front lamps (including a new wiring harness), flushed the tranny, replaced the rear pads and rotors and generally brought my car back up to speed. In fact, it is probably better than new. Having grown up in a family that owns a car dealership I have seen a lot of cars and many, many, mechanics. I had the pleasure of watching John work and am convinced he knows his stuff. Anyone on the west coast who has put off their cam weld should go see John. Please feel free to post my email address for anyone who would like to speak to me about my experience.
Michael Preiss, Los Angeles