Author Topic: DIY: Degree Your Camshafts  (Read 6280 times)

October 05, 2012, 11:59 PM #0

Eden Offline

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I posted this on Supraforums but perhaps some people here may want to learn, so here it is again for those on this board :)  This process was done with the Comp Cams degreeing kit I got from Summit on a 2JZGTE motor.  Some cams require you to measure with a different amount of lift, but that will be specified on your individual cam card that comes with your camshaft(s).  So, without further ado, I present to you a quick how-to on degreeing your GSC S1 camshafts...

This is assuming the motor is out of course, valve lash set to spec.

Have timing belt installed, set crankshaft and both cams to first cylinder TDC as per the repair manual.  So cams with their arrows pointing at the indentations on the backing plate and the crank sprocket indentation pointing to the dot on your oil pump.  You can leave the crank damper off for this.  You will need some kind of space between the crank bolt and the crank sprocket.  I used a huge aluminum washer/spacer.  Try to centre the degree wheel as best you can since it has a large inner diameter and you want it to be concentric with the crank.

You can see here the piece of copper wire bolted on to the water pump where you normally bolt down the timing cover.  Bend it with some pliers until it shows over the 0 degree TDC mark on your wheel.  It gets set to mark the 0 degree for true top dead centre in a moment.





Now to find number 1 piston TRUE TDC, get a piston stop (I was impatient so I used a ratchet extension and it worked fine) and put it down spark plug number 1.  A piston stop will ensure there's no wiggling but I found that with the piece I used, it was pretty obvious still where TDC was.  Use the depth gauge on top of the piston stop.  The big arm that comes in the kit threads perfectly into the small holes between the valve covers, over the spark plug holes.  I used the one behind  the first spark plug to give me room to work. 

Rotate the crank clockwise until you hit TDC, note where this is on the degree wheel.  Turn it some more, slowly until it's about to move away from this value on the depth gauge.  Note this spot on the degree wheel.  Go halfway between these two numbers on the degree wheel and you've got True TDC.  I did this a few times just to make sure I was measuring correctly.  Adjust your piece of wire or the degree wheel accordingly.  It doesn't hurt to double check.  I got lucky and was right dead on to start with. 





Now set up your rig to place the depth gauge over the first bucket on the intake side at TDC.  Have it compressed more than .040" because it will read negatively as the bucket moves away from the gauge.  Some say it's hard but It's actually pretty easy.  Use the inner front corner of the bucket so the cam lobe doesn't interfere and try to get the angle as close to the valve's path as possible.  Make sure you have the cam rotated such that it is not yet acting on the bucket (flat part of the cam facing bucket), then set this point on the dial to zero.

*Note:  In another thread, a member tried to use trigonometry (I think) to compensate for the angle of the dial not being perpendicular to the bucket.  I asked Greg at GSC about this and he told me not to bother.  In the grand scheme with thermal expansion, timing belt stretch, etc. the minute amount you would adjust for makes no difference.  ([COLOR="#ff8c00"]Edit:[/COLOR] Just make sure to have it straight on as possible to the lifter and check both your valve opening and closing events.  The closer you are to having your measurement straight on, the closer your duration will be to 228.  The worse your angle, the smaller the duration.  If you have a dial with a longer needle available, this can help get a better angle.)

*Note 2:  Some instructions make reference to setting the front bucket to zero lash.  Do NOT bother on these cams.  Kelford's site (who buys their blanks from the same foundry as GSC) addresses this point.  We are just interested in finding when the valve is .040" open so the lash isn't really important, and we found TTDC without touching the valves, so no need for zero lash. 



Turn the crank clockwise until the dial goes backwards to .060" (subtracting .040" from 0) and note where you are on the crank degree wheel. 

*Note: Always turn the crank clockwise because that's where the tension is on the belt.  If you wiggle "back and forth" you change the relation between crank and cams because you're loosening up on the tension and it won't just pull the cams back in sync.   

This is just for reference, but mine was at 4 deg BTDC.  The cam card specifies for 6 deg BTDC.  So set the degree wheel to 6 deg ahead of TDC like here...



Now go up to your cam bolts, loosen them, put a socket and breaker bar (the longer it is, the more control you will have) and carefully move it (clockwise in my case to advance timing) until your dial hits .060" lift (or drop, if you want to get technical.) Here you can hopefully see that the dial is at .060" and the degree wheel reads 6 deg BTDC.  Also, be sure to record your valve closing time.  You should have a duration (amount of degrees between opening and closing) that matches your cam card.  If not, the depth gauge is not on straight enough.



Blue loctite 242 your cam bolts and torque them down to spec.  You're done here.  Rotate it once or twice to make sure that when the dial hits .060" the crank degree wheel is hitting 6 degrees BTDC (which is 6 notches before the 0 TDC mark.)  Disassemble your dial rig and move it over to the exhaust side.

From straight up, my intake was 4deg BTDC, exhaust was 45deg BBDC.  The specs call for 6deg BTDC and 50deg BBDC, respectively so there was a change of 2deg on the intake side and 5deg on the exhaust side.

I'm not expecting huge gains here, but I paid good money for my cams and cam gears so I expect to get what the manufacturer intended for me to gain.  This should (in theory) make my car run and idle optimally as the cam manufacturer intended.  I'm not interested in a lopey idle setup that is sub-optimal.  This was my first time doing this and I didn't find it that difficult.  Hopefully, this helps someone else out and saves them the time I had to spend looking a bunch of stuff up.  The Comp Cams kit worked perfectly.  Greg at GSC is awesome for helping and responding to my emails about the cams/gears, etc.  Here is a link to the youtube video by TwinsTurbo that really gave me a good visual. 



Enjoy!

-Eden.
Last Edit: December 11, 2014, 10:53 AM by Ænimal
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    DIY: Degree Your Camshafts
    « on: October 05, 2012, 11:59 PM »

    October 06, 2012, 10:45 AM #1

    Nismoline Offline

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    wow great write up. thanks for the info!
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      October 15, 2012, 02:36 PM #2

      Coach Offline

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      That was awesome
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        November 05, 2012, 09:56 AM #3

        Eden Offline

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        No prob, and thanks!  The important thing I wanted from making this guide was to at least make people aware of cam degree'ing.  It's hard to find good information on it and most people don't do it when they upgrade their cam(s).  Especially in the Supra world, when people show videos of their cars idling with their newly installed cams, they idle very rough like a cam'd V8 muscle car and they all say "wow, I love the idle" etc. as if that's normal.  The problem is they're not degree'd and that's why they idle like that.  The cams that were installed in this guide were GSC S1 camshafts, that are actually fairly aggressive compared to the other cams out there for the Supra.  They're close to HKS 272 in duration (269), but mine also have more lift.  Every video I've seen of someone running 272s idled like crap.  I couldn't tell you what difference it made in power since there was no back-to-back dyno (waste of time and money) just to test that.  I can tell you, however, that my car idles like stock and unless I told you, you'd never know it had aftermarket cams.  If you're not doing all this then buying adjustable cam gears is a waste of money as well.  This is how you determine how much to adjust them.
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          February 03, 2014, 12:22 PM #4

          janz99 Offline

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          I know this is an old thread, but I just wanted to say great job on the write up.  This is exactly how I degreed my cams, and it always amazes me how many people dont take the time to properly degree their cams. 

            February 06, 2014, 10:53 PM #5

            Eden Offline

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            Thanks Ryan.  Hopefully I get to see your car run this year.  I'm not sure I'll be going crazy this year with the new torque converter, etc., because as much as I want to run that 9, I'd rather have a paint job and finish up the car otherwise.  If you go PowerCruise again, let me know.  I may want to come down and check it out!
            USDM MKIV Supra - 800BHP / 636RWHP at 20PSI on E70 through a Titan-built automatic.  3.2L stroker, Borg Warner S363

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              February 10, 2014, 12:31 PM #6

              janz99 Offline

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              As long as my car is done, and all the bugs are worked out, we will be heading down to powercruise.  I ended up ditching the TH400 and buying a v160, so now the process of swapping everything back over to manual begins. 

              I'll keep you posted. 

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                How-to Degree Your Camshafts
                « Reply #6 on: February 10, 2014, 12:31 PM »