Camshaft Question (4 Cyl)
Question: I think either my camshaft or timing gears broke. I'm assuming that I am going to have to remove the pan to verify any of this, correct?
Second, I was rather assuming that the bearings seized and that caused the extra strain on the timing gear which caused it's ultimate failure. Luckily it was at idle. The wear was not uniform on the timing gear and the engine had been a little rough at idle, sometimes more-so than other times.
Third, the "end play" was present from the time I removed the gear from the camshaft. Does that indicate anything to you?
Answer: Not really, as that won't give access to those possible problems. But, it would be wise to clean out the gear debris. It Can/Will clog up the oil pump screen leading to major engine failure.
It is not normal for the cam bearings to seize or spin. Timing gears fail due to them also being a vibration "damper" for crankshaft harmonics and being fiber against steel. 88 gears seem to last much longer due to the crankshaft balance shafts built into their oil pump assembly (but the shafts can break).
Cam retainer most likely broke upon initial gear removal (it is fragile). Inspect by removing the gear. If camshaft moves back into the block more then about 1/8th inch, it is probable the freeze plug in the bellhousing has moved/been driven out. That means the trans axle needs to be removed for verification (or start the engine and watch for a large oil leak).
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