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VW B5 Passat TDIs This is a general discussion about B5 Passat(>98 (2004-2005 in North America)). Non TDI related postings will be moved or removed.

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Old August 31st, 2019, 08:27   #31
Franko6
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Sw Missouri
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kravt View Post

...However, aside from this current conversation I would like to ask you a neutral question just out of my own interest. In your opinion, what are the measurable values (surface hardness, geometry, roughness, material grade, etc) that most impact the longevity of a camshaft?
Kravt,

I certainly can appreciate the budget. Been there... done that.

The original cam was poorly designed. One of the most common responses from the cam companies that I approached to design my cam was, "I don't understand what they were thinking." The engineers were speaking directly to the point that the cam profile is a solid lifter profile. That is very hard on the hydraulic lifter, slapping the lifter open, instead what a smoother hydraulic profile demands. The solid lifter rise is too flat and sharp.

The second issue is that the aftermarket cams have a larger chamfer than the OEM cams. If the issue is already a cam width that is too narrow, why would the manufacturer further diminish the width by cutting a larger chamfer? We have seen chamfers on some of the low-end aftermarket cams reduce the lobe width another 10%. That lends itself to early failure.

Diminishing returns... The age of the vehicle does account for a reduction in the number of cams we continue to sell. However, the viability of the engine is for dramatic longevity, as we have several exceeding 500,000 miles. Our own BHW Passat sedan is purring along with almost 200,000 miles and since my entire rebuild of the engine, as we bought with a blown engine, is purring along nicely. Rebuilt at 59,000.

I expect another 250,000 (and more) without issue, besides normal maintenance.
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Lockwood, MO 65682
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'02 80k grey leather, 99.5 R.I.P 153k
'85A2 NA 375k, '91 A3 290k Always Silver, Always a Jetta
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Old September 4th, 2019, 01:52   #32
Franko6
 
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Dou8,

I went to look up two cams that I still have from the time I did my comparison. Dated as they are, some things don't change. Liars tend to continue to lie.

I am still in possession of an AMC and a Febi cam from the same era that my cam grinder made the determination that virtually all PD cams are billet cams. I know things change. They may now say they are made in Spain, but are now made in China. Who knows?

The box AMC claims is made 'In Spain', when the Febi, plainly marked, 'Made in Turkey'.

PD Cam Comparing Febi and AMC They are identical. Note the finish of the side of the cam profile and the cam face.
Note the side cut between the injector lobe and the cam lobes..

Detail of the tandem pump drive end, down to the finish and the dents..

A look directly into the sprocket end..

The sides of both cams and their woodruff key slot. If you covered the name, you could not tell them apart. The look is precisely the same.

In these two cams, the chatter from a stone that was not dressed properly is displayed equally into the product, for both the Febi and the AMC cam. I don't have the photo magnification to clearly show that, but examining under 10x will display it. This chatter must be worn away before you can expect the proper mating of cam and lifter to happen. Initially, the cam roughness must be ground off by the Nitrided cam follower.

Contrary to that chatter issue, our cams are finished with a 30 micron paper to smooth to a r.a. 3-4 finish...smooth as glass, then parkerized for an improved break-in.

Ok, so let's assume AMC was telling a lie for the time I bought this cam. What's the chances they would lie again? We once bought injector machinery that was 'Made in Turkey' only to find in truth, it was 'Made in China'.

Whatever your take might be, we continue to monitor effectiveness of our cam and the competition. Generally, you only hear of the failures, but from out personal use of an aftermarket cam when price has become an issue for one of our customers and the number of this particular AMC cam, life expectancy has been comparatively short.

We stand behind our modified cam. Sure, it's not the 'cheap' way to go, but it's a well known saying,"You get what you pay for."
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Frank's VW TDI's, LLC
1007 Olive St.
Lockwood, MO 65682
417-232-4634
FranksTDIs@sbcglobal.net

'02 80k grey leather, 99.5 R.I.P 153k
'85A2 NA 375k, '91 A3 290k Always Silver, Always a Jetta

Last edited by Franko6; September 4th, 2019 at 02:00.
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Old September 4th, 2019, 06:19   #33
Franko6
 
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Now, the rest of the story...

We know something has changed with the cams. For one, we would equally buy Kolbenschmidt as Febi, made from the same Turkish company, until just about 4 years ago we got 'blue boxes'(KS) instead of what we expected, 'red ones'(Febi). The Kolbenschmidt cams we got were marked 'Made in China' and hardness checked 44rc on lobes and 20 on the journals, instead of 58-61Rc. To tell you honestly, we have no idea what AMC was doing at that time, because we only bought a single cam for our test.

As I stated in an earlier post, within the last few months, both KS, once again, and Febi are selling PD cams with boxes marked, 'Made in China'. There are still cams from 'old stock', which we have purchased from Febi or KS. To date, I am refusing any marked 'Made in China'.

The rules that US companies must (atually, are supposed to...) abide by is at least 51% of a product must be US manufactured before the claim 'Made in the US' can be on the product. But I will stand on my judgement, if AMC would pretend to have Spanish-made cam once, would they purchase from China, same as KS and and Febi, but still say it's made by AMC? Maybe... maybe not.

What do you think?
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1007 Olive St.
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417-232-4634
FranksTDIs@sbcglobal.net

'02 80k grey leather, 99.5 R.I.P 153k
'85A2 NA 375k, '91 A3 290k Always Silver, Always a Jetta
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Old September 4th, 2019, 06:49   #34
d0u8l3m
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Definitely appreciate the info you've shared. I would love to compare one from iDParts to see if they are identical, seems likely.

Side question then, where are your cams produced and why is there no specific BHW profiled cam? Wouldn't you lose a bit of performance with less lift?
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Old September 4th, 2019, 10:23   #35
Kravt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d0u8l3m View Post
Definitely appreciate the info you've shared. I would love to compare one from iDParts to see if they are identical, seems likely.

I will be getting a camshaft from iDparts sometime in the near future. I can post similar pictures and measurements to compare. I could even do surface roughness measurements/microscopy if that would be of interest.
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Old September 5th, 2019, 05:27   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kravt View Post
I will be getting a camshaft from iDparts sometime in the near future. I can post similar pictures and measurements to compare. I could even do surface roughness measurements/microscopy if that would be of interest.
Please do!
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Old September 5th, 2019, 12:45   #37
Franko6
 
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The BHW cam is as available as a BEW piston... it's not. However, the cam lobe shape and height is exactly the same for every single aftermarket stock PD engine. The difference is in the injector lobe height. So, your goal is to find a cam that is either the 038 109 101r or 101ah. We personally, prefer the R version in the BHW engine.

The thing I expect with AMC is that they change and do not necessarily tell it like it is. They have changed before and will change again. When you shop the International Market, what you bought 6 years ago, changed and then they appear to have hidden the truth about the source. It will happen again.

6 years ago, when Kolbenschmidt figured out they got a bunch of Chinese soft cams, I wonder what they did with them? The Chinese are notorious for reselling bad parts to the unsuspecting. Maybe China rebranded the KS and instead imprinted AMC. It's dispicable what happens out there... But about 2-3 years ago, the AMC cam was showing some exceptionally short life expectancy. Maybe the 44Rc cams came to bite them.

Some of what I say is speculation, but I stand behind my statement, when two cams look identical and the truth is at best, dubious, I will state the obvious.

Kravt,

You want to avoid problems, the FIRST thing you do is get the cam designed for the job. Hydraulic lifters... hydraulic cam design. So, since that's appears out of the picture...

You want to check out a cam? Check the cam for the following:
1. Chamfer cut wrong. Assuming the cam was 112mm wide, average. A chamfer that is 9mm like we have seen, takes it down to 111mm. Some lobes are 105mm wide. We have seen aftermarket cams after chamfer reduction were down to 92mm. The less cam lobe width, the greater the wear and the earlier the failure.

2. The profile is cut wrong. The fix is a slight arc in the ramp to the top of the lobe. Aftermarket does not do this. You probably will not do this either.

3. Poor RA, which should be 3-4. Close inspection on many aftermarket cams show chatter. This chatter must be worn off smooth, before the cam/ lifter interface will work well. In the mean time, you are beating your cam followers to pieces.

4. Rc 55 is below grade. Our cam grinder has a non-invasive hardness tester. Without damaging the cam, they can inspect hardness of the cam lobe, base circle and journal. We reject soft cams. Correct is between Rc59-61. Journals are supposed to be the same hardness, but we chrome-plate for smoothness, heat transfer and Rc75...harder than stock.

5. Look for casting marks on the sides of the cam, as this in today's market indicates an inferior cam. The cam should show machined surfaces throughout, with a high quality finish.

6. The cam, when struck, should ring like a bell; just not a cow bell. That would mean it's at very least, cast steel, not a cast iron 'cow bell'. Cast iron is relatively popular in Europe with some vendors, but not here.

You want to go price-conscious? Here you go...It looks a lot like the cams we have talked about. The bearings, lifters and bolts are stated as OEM. Save $$$.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/VW-Volkswag....c100290.m3507

Includes a 1-year warranty, which is better than most. Although I recently found out, if I sell this same cam in Kolbenschmidt brand, it's a 2-year, 24,000 mile warranty.

Choices...
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1007 Olive St.
Lockwood, MO 65682
417-232-4634
FranksTDIs@sbcglobal.net

'02 80k grey leather, 99.5 R.I.P 153k
'85A2 NA 375k, '91 A3 290k Always Silver, Always a Jetta

Last edited by Franko6; September 5th, 2019 at 13:05.
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Old September 5th, 2019, 17:48   #38
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4. Rc 55 is below grade. Our cam grinder has a non-invasive hardness tester. Without damaging the cam, they can inspect hardness of the cam lobe, base circle and journal. We reject soft cams. Correct is between Rc59-61. Journals are supposed to be the same hardness, but we chrome-plate for smoothness, heat transfer and Rc75...harder than
Is that a Microhardness tester that they used? If so could you tell me what the force of the test was? It varies depending on desired indent size.
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Old September 6th, 2019, 09:55   #39
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Quote:
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Is that a Microhardness tester that they used? If so could you tell me what the force of the test was? It varies depending on desired indent size.
If the test is non-invasive, there won't be an indentation size.
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Old September 6th, 2019, 18:42   #40
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True! I was thinking it might be small enough to blend in to the surrounding surface roughness. However if that were the case the values wouldn't accurately reflect the hardness due to that roughness.
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Old September 11th, 2019, 07:11   #41
Franko6
 
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The electronic testers are very accurate in the proper hands. That goes with anything, really. Non-invasive like an MRI; see without cutting. It does require a non-parkerized, smooth surface. The parkerizing is very soft and distorts the signal.

The electronic devices emit a ultrasonic frequency. The hardness will resonate and that's it's harmonics. Comparing results with more typical hardness measuring equipment will determine a frequency. With the proper electronic hardness tester, not only can hardness be determined, but the depth of hardness can also be determined, voids, some grain structure.

Hardness testers can go into tens of thousands of dollars, but some of the portable ones are almost worth the risk to see if they actually work. This one on Ebay, I might pull the trigger...
https://www.ebay.com/itm/113704067925

Anyone experienced with a portable hardness tester?
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Frank's VW TDI's, LLC
1007 Olive St.
Lockwood, MO 65682
417-232-4634
FranksTDIs@sbcglobal.net

'02 80k grey leather, 99.5 R.I.P 153k
'85A2 NA 375k, '91 A3 290k Always Silver, Always a Jetta

Last edited by Franko6; September 11th, 2019 at 09:07.
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Old September 11th, 2019, 09:52   #42
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I don't have access to anything other than standard testers like HRC and Vickers, though the Leeb hardness tester you linked seems like it would be super useful if accurate.
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