12/25/02, updated 3/2/03, 1/11/2004, 1/19/2004, 6/21/05etc
There is SHO hope in Northern California....at least in
the Sacramento area which is only 2-3 hours from the SF bay area. I
posted the message below after “operation cam weld”. I
was contacted by a couple of prospective weldees but no one has taken advantage
of the duo mentioned below. If anyone knows V8 SHO owners wanting their cams
welded, please have them contact me at (530) 344-8088. Even
though Russ and Chris operate independently, they are willing to team up again
to do other jobs. Perhaps Tim could post something on the web site that would
direct any California SHO folk to contact me. I
will be happy to facilitate contact with Russ and Chris.
I had my cams welded by Russ and Chris in Placerville on 5/5/07. Chris Kepus helped to set this up. I was extremely pleased with the weld process. Russ Murphy
Did the mechanical work and had the car torn apart and back together within 4 hours. Chris Nedwick used a tig weld on the cams and I was very pleased with the
That process. I have knocked around cars and motorcycles most of my life and I have to say these two individuals did a fantastic job on my car. I also met Chris Kepus and I am thankful to him for setting this up. If you need a cam weld in California I highly recommend you use this team. My car runs wonderful!
From: Chris Kepus [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, October 21, 2002 8:55 PM
Subject: Cam Welding: Near Sacramento, California
First, a huge THANK YOU to everyone on this list who provided advice, ideas, logistics, and moral support as I went about the task of lining up people and parts to do the cam weld thing.
The operation started about 10:00 AM today and my ‘97SHO roared to life again about 4:00PM...
Russ, the Ford Technician / Chevy Big Block engine builder, had worked on some SHO V6s, but had never worked on a SHO V8 before today. Chris, the welder / 4X4 builder, has been TIG welding a long time but this was his first cam operation.
I can’t say enough about these two professionals....first time they ever saw one another and they worked like a team from the git go. When Russ finished bolting everything back up, he handed me the only bolt left over.....the one he found that had been left buried in the engine by someone less careful. When he said, start her up....I did. The engine came to life almost instantly and sounds WONDERFUL.....
When I told these two guys that there are probably more Left coast SHO owners out there who might want this done to their engines....well, Russ and Chris just looked at each other and smiled....they enjoyed what they accomplished and they are willing to do it again.
I will develop the pictures I took today, put a short story with them and send them to Buford for posting. If you want to know more about hiring Russ and Chris, send me a message and I will forward it to them.
’97 Ebony Satin
Welded cams 10/21/02
Out of the garage and into the light!
Just thought I would give you an update. My job requires that I drive into Sacramento each day so I am putting over 100 miles a day on my SHO. My cam weld was at 150K and now the odometer reads 156K. The engine is strong, responsive, and best of all, very very quiet. The cam welds have increased my pleasure with this car about 1000%. This is a great car to drive! I am attaching some photos of the cam weld team. Russ and Chris did a great job and while they charge a bit more ($700) than some of the east coast places, the peace of mind is worth every penny. I just hope the California SHO owners take advantage of their work before its too late.
I really miss the list banter and great technical advice but my schedule just doesn’t give me the time to absorb the volume of e-mails. I am very grateful to you for collecting the main topics and putting them on the web.
Absolutely! You already have my basic story under the “Northern California Cam Weld”. And, yes, they are still willing to do others but they are wondering where all the California folks are that I said would be pounding on their door.
BTW, I have about ½” of play in my steering wheel so I when I got my last oil change at the stealers I had them check it out. They checked everything and concluded that my problem was wear in the rack. I saw a post that you put on the site some time ago and said a rack and pinion change was economically unwise. The stealer quoted about $1200 for the part plus labor. Are you aware of a reliable source for these items new or salvage? I couldn’t find any reference on the site. I am not in a hurry as the only time I notice any play in the steering wheel is when the car is parked and the engine off. Otherwise no prob.
Any news on the class action?
Hi Uncl Lar,
Yep, it's me. Still kickin' but the nose is still to an unrelenting grindstone. The best part of my day is the 100 mile round trip to work and back in my SHO.
In my spare time, I continue to assist SHO owners get rid of cam anxiety. Our "Northern California Cam Weld" consortium has now done 11 jobs. We take great pride in the fact that we receive feedback like the message below from Bruce. Still, there are many SHO owners out here in California that are risking their rides by not getting their cams welded. Of the jobs we have done, only one was local....me. The rest are split almost equally between the Los Angeles area (400 miles south) and the San Francisco area (150 miles east).
I would appreciate it if you could post this message to the list and on the web site as an update to our info. Also, please update my e-mail to email@example.com.
It is exciting to note that the annual SHO convention is going to be held in Vallejo, California, a relatively short distance away from us (130 miles). Attendees who still have not had their cams welded will have a chance to stop by and have it done on their way to or from the convention. Russ and Chris are willing to do a cam welding marathon and figure they could do three cars a day. After having their cams welded, the SHOs could whoop it up and head up the mountain to tour the fabulous Lake Tahoe area which is only an hour or so further east.
You're doing a great job as webmaster!! Keep it up.
As always, the best to you and to Tim.
97 Ebony Satin
For many reasons, mostly my time and my money, I recommend welding over pinning when you can find a good shop. If this place was in OK they could do a hell of a business. I don't know why CA SHO have not found them?
Thanks Again Chris
The following is my story. I know it's long; feel free to edit however you see fit. I hope to have pictures in another few days. I'll get those to you when I can. Please let me know if you have any questions.
David R. Flamer
I have recently returned from an outstanding road trip that included having my cams welded. This prose is to discuss my feelings and concerns regarding the cam welding process and how I came about to go forward on the project
My car is a 1999 Tropic Green (VIN1FAFP54NXA178439) with 73K on the clock and a Ford ESP good for another 11 months and 27K. I had been putting off the decision on the cam weld, mainly due to the fact that the car, still under warranty, should be fixed by Ford if the cams went. Clearly, the discussions on this site conclude with Ford not standing behind its products, or its warranties, both of which were purchased on good faith that they would perform as designed. Then, after the ESP replaced the transmission 2,500 miles ago, I determined that it was time to act.
After significant research, I concluded that pinning was out and that welding was the way to go. I had contacted several welders in my area (greater Los Angeles and Ventura Counties) but could not find someone with any experience in this area. Further, attempting to find a mechanic with any SHO experience was virtually impossible. I had seriously considered the concept of striking a deal with one of the several qualified Midwestern or southern shops. This would require that the vehicle be trucked there, serviced and then trucked back.
The only apparent alternative available to me on the west coast was the cam weld duo of Russ (Ford wrench) and Chris (ten-tenths welder), working out of Chris’ home in beautiful Placerville, California. California is a big state; this would require a one-way drive of 450 miles. Fortunately, business required me to be in Oakland, so I started to make my plans to have the work completed around my Oakland meeting. These guys were great in how they accommodated my schedule and the changes I requested of them
Chris Kepus (not the welder, but a V8SHO owner), the gentleman that has researched and assembled this truly dynamic duo, has done a fabulous job in preparing a documentation package for any V8SHO owner considering these guys doing the job. After a great conversation with Chris regarding his experience, he e mailed me a package containing contact information, a suggested list of parts and supplies (with estimated pricing), a list of close-by lodging, directions and payment instructions. Chris even provided me a very nice weld "certificate" he made up that includes my vehicle’s VIN, signed by Russ and Chris.
A relatively uneventful 6.5 hour drive up Interstate 5 put me into Placerville at approximately 3:00 PM Sunday. By 3:45 PM, I was at Chris’, the car cooling off. Russ immediately began disassembling the necessary components, every item and fastener being put on a bench in a special order. Once disassembled, Chris made his first four welds. Russ then rolled the engine over and Chris finalized the welding procedure.
Everything dirty was bathed in solvent until clean. Four rear coils and eight new plugs were installed. Everything went back together as it came apart, methodically and systematically. Once assembled, the engine was started by 9:00 PM (lit immediately) and ran perfectly. We changed the oil and we were done.
We did run into one small problem, as it appeared that a coolant temperature sender was damaged during the assembly or disassembly. (It is entirely possible that it was damaged prior to the work being started, but not coming to light until the job was completed) The sender being disconnected resulted in a "fail safe" operating condition (SES light and continuous cooling fan operation). With some ingenuity and patience, the guys repaired the sending unit so that it would function. However, not to want to put me on the road (remember, another 450+ miles) with an iffy component, Russ purchased a new sending unit for me the next day, Chris installed it, and there have been no issues ever since. These guys definitely stand behind their work and accept nothing less than a first rate job.
The drive back was no problem. There is no doubt that the car is faster and more responsive. Further, not worrying about a cam letting go definitely keeps my right foot "in it" much more of the time.
These two truly do operate as a team and I would highly recommend their services to anyone on the West Coast or even Mountain States that is considering this work. Chris Kepus does a tremendous job in coordinating their services and I cannot thank him enough for the effort he puts into making sure that the V8SHO community is well taken care of.
David R. Flamer
99 TG, 74,500 miles
There truly is hope in Northern California for SHO owners. I like to express my appreciation and gratitude to everyone involved in getting the word out..V8 SHO.com, Chris Kepus who does an amazing job in coordinating things in Northern Cal., Russ the Ford Tech and Chris the welder. The quality and professionalism shown among this team is beyond expectation.
Let's get (and keep) the SHO on the road.
Citrus Heights, CA.
Through the very comprehensive guidance through the whole process of Chris Kepos, I had the cams on my 96 SHO welded by Chris and Russ on Sept 11, 04.I was impressed with their professional skills. Russ, who did the mechanical work of exposing the cams ( and did it very methodically according to a serviceable routine he's developed over doing 20 SHO's now), pointed out missing bolts and other sloppy work the SHO had encountered in the past.
Once the cams were welded by Christ, Russ replaced the back bank coils and when he attempted to install one of the new spark plugs he exclaimed: this is not good! In turns out that someone had most likely over tightened the old plug and stripped the threads in the head. Now what!Russ took the time to drive us in his car back the 20 minute drive ( winding roads) to Placerville to the Ford dealership to get the necessary equipment to install the new plug. This process took an additional two hours of his Saturday time. ( and he had plans with his lovely wife!). That's going the extra mile.
But finally is was all buttoned up and roared to life ( Shoshop full exhaust
package). No more cam worries!. Plus now it ran really smooth and even
better than before. So the drive home was a pleasure and every time I drive
it now I do with the assurance that I did the right thing and well-spent the
money that Chris and Russ deservedly earned.So my thanks to them for doing the excellent work and my thanks to Chris and
V8SHO for making me aware of the problem and leading me to the solution.
Hey, folks in California or even Nevada or Oregon!
We got our cams welded on March 12 by Russ and Chris In Placerville, California! Our thanks goes to Chris Kepus who we met and found very likable, for making this all possible. Without him, I probably would have panicked and sent my cams to Shoshop for pins! Yikes!
Russ Murphy the mechanic and Chris Nedwick the welder, what a pair of good guys, did a wonderful job in just 4 1/2 hours! Not only did they weld the cams but they put in a heat shield to protect the wire harness, they cleaned the butterflies, changed 8 spark plugs and 4 rear coils. Changed the oil and put in the valve cover and gaskets and removed surge tank and cleaned. (I don't even know what all that stuff is.)
Not only were excellent in their craft, but they had great personalities. Fun to talk too. I have to say that the chocolate Labrador dog was a hit with me. The overall experience was painless, well except for the 3 mile stretch of curvy road that led to the property, whew!
You all should get the weld. We are now experiencing 250 mile plus per full tank of gas. That's up from 180 before upgrade. I am not sure if that's because of the fuel change from mini mart cheap regular to shell regular or the coils and spark plug change.
Latecia and Ronald
V8 SHO 1997 White
Russ Murphy of Placerville just did some terrific work the SHO yesterday. Had leaking valve cover gaskets (burnt oil smell, yuck). He replaced them, and installed 4 new coils (purchased from Murphy's Auto Parts @ $59.99/ea) new Motorcraft plugs and new pre-cat O2 sensors (the car had thrown a "P1131" code - turns out one of the O2 sensors was loose in the exhaust, but now they're new). He also changed the oil, and did this work in 6.5 hours of hard work. Very meticulous and organized.
My car runs as good as new. Still love the SHO after 8 years of ownership - a new lifetime record for me, by a long shot. Thanks for all your good work on the website. Where can I send a check to contribute?
original owner, Sacramento, CA
'96 TR, pinned by SHOshop Feb. 2003 at 82,500 miles
From: Jared Russak [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Saturday, May 21, 2005 9:01 PM
Subject: RE: Ford SHO
I am writing to you about my Cam - Weld experience I had this morning at Russ and Chris' shop just east of Sacramento.
I have had my white 1998 V8 SHO for about 4 months now. It only had 41,000 miles on it when I pulled it into their garage. I met two of the most wonderfully knowledgeable mechanics that I have ever had the pleasure to speak with.. Chris and Russ began disassembling my SHO engine at 8:30 AM and quickly exposed the cams and talked to me each step of the way and answered all my questions that I had about my car. They both made several comments about how clean and well kept my car was .. But enough bragging. The welds were made very quickly and accurately. They had the whole engine back together in to time and would have been finished by noon (record time) except for they were waiting on a delivery for the heat shield. It only set us back a half hour but that gave me plenty of time to clean my car (a much needed task let me tell you).
When the heat shield arrived, it had with it a hamburger! Yes you read that correct. Russ's wife had brought me a hamburger from in-and-out. It was absolutely delectable. How thoughtful was that?
While Russ and Chris had been putting my car back together, I noticed how intricately and meticulously they had the parts organized and I have never seen a more thorough assembly. They knew where every wire, bolt, clip etc went with out hesitation. I was very weary about having this done (especially from people I don't know, and people who live in the middle of nowhere) but I can 1000% assure anyone that these are the nicest people I have ever met and would strongly recommend them for anyone that needs cams welded.
Now I have my cam's welded and I have been "romping" on them all the way back home. I am so happy that this is out of my way and glad that I had probably the best experience with vehicle maintenance ever.
Thanks Chris K. (oh and I saw a guy driving a burgundy color SHO in Pleasanton on my way to the shop) Thanks V8SHO.com And last but not least, Thanks Russ and Chris. you guys rock.
From: Andi Magill
Sent: Sunday, June 19, 2005 8:46 PM
To: Chris Kepus
Subject: thank you for everything!
Here's what I'd like to say about Russ and Chris and the whole cam weld experience:
Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!
I can not even express how relieved I am to have my cams welded! I drove a round trip of 1,847 miles (from Whidbey Island Wa to Placerville Ca) to have it done and it was worth every mile! Chris and Russ are purely amazing! I am not a mechanic but I can recognize awesome work. They have this cam weld down to a science. A perfect organized science.
Chris Kepus was a wonderful coordinator and patient with this girl. I had been "on the fence" so to speak for the last two years now. I was frustrated and was going to sell the SHO. But when I'd get in to drive I knew couldn't sell. He always gave me any and all information I asked for. I knew I was pushing the limits on the cams failing and with an upcoming cross country move I was not willing to chance it. I had over 105K my SHO when I arrived. Once I finally made up my mind Chris' communication, information of parts needed, and directions was unbeatable! The support was wonderful. Being a woman, not so experienced in the fine details of mechanics, trust was a big issue. They came through with flying colors.
Once at the "shop" Russ and Chris took great care of my car. I had some unfortunate tranny trouble on the way up and they helped me with that to assure a safe trip home, especially since I was traveling alone. (I'm sure I owe Chris a coffee and a bag of kitty litter for the mess I made on his driveway) As other people have stated, these guys go 'above and beyond'. I can't say enough about this team! Any car is in the best hands with these guys. WOW!
As I was driving all those hours and miles in a quick weekend trip I couldn't help but wonder if I was crazy?!? Go to California for a weld, that I couldn't even properly explain to my friends!!??!! I can assure you I am more than pleased with the work and appreciative of their time and now I know I am one SMART and RELIEVED SHO owner! It can only get better from here!
A sincere thank you to Chris Russ and Chris,
Oak Harbor WA
'99 Black 106K
WELDED 6/18/05 WooooHoooo! Freedom!
From: Mike Bohn [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, June 16, 2005 7:20 AM
To: Chris Kepus
Subject: Northern CA Camweld
Dear Chris, Wow! What an experience it was. I must commend yourself along with Chris Nedwig & Russ Murphy for making my camweld absolutely painless. It was a pleasure to met & spend time with Chris Nedwig & Russ Murphy & learn about my beautiful SHO that I now truly admire. Chris & Russ really have a passion for what they do. I arrived about 6:45am on Saturday the 11th at Chris' shop. What a beautiful piece of property. An arsenal of tool's & machinery everywhere. I was blown away. I also love Russ' Z car as I used to have a 240Z myself. Russ took about an hour to tear down to the heads to expose the cams. Chris swiftly stepped in to make the welds. Russ installed 4 brand new coils on the back side along with gaskets, plugs oil, filter etc... My car was put back together & started about 11:30 or so. My SHO runs like a rocket ship now. My thanks go out to V8SHO.COM along with Chris Kepus who did a masterful job at coordinating & put this package together for me. Chris Nedwig who is an awesome welder who welded my cams. His work at his property shows. And finally Russ Murphy, a very intelligent mechanic who told me everything I needed to know about my SHO. He could of done this whole thing with his eyes closed, he's that good and very focused. You three are definitely a trio that I will always come to remember as this was truly a team effort. Please showcase this throughout the V8SHO world.
Regards Mike Bohn
1999 SHO-Welded & Happy