Skip to main content


Hoping for the best, Jimmy.

For better or worse, this is what these cars are all about. They offer the possibility of something unobtainable in mass production but with the uncertainty of one-off hand fabrication.

We've all been there to some degree - the weekend upgrade that turns into weeks of down time because of some detail we could never anticipate.

Keep the faith. The rebuild almost always comes together better than the first attempt. All it takes is patience.

And, well, occasionally some money is involved, too.


The engine is in the hands of the builder. He is going to tear into it and tell me what is what. I am really curious to hear what is broken.

I am thinking of going with a different cam since the case is going to be split. The 86a cam is a little mild for the heads I have (435/290). I am thinking of going with a split lift and duration Web cam 86B/86C Intake .500" lift 300 duration/ exhaust .507 lift 310 duration. Yes I am crazy.

Glad there was no accident. bummer on the motor Jimmy. Interested to here what the mechanic says.

I was cringing as I read the story, thinking that the nearly irreplaceable Puma front end would be the punchline

... but then, just the engine! You did everything right, shutting it down, etc. We'll see how bad the damage is, but mechanical stuff won't keep you down long.

Bodywork would have been no bueno.

Thank you all for the encouraging words. I haven't driven my Speedster in a few weeks because of being emerged in the Type 4 Puma project. I drove it to work this morning and was delighted by how nice the Suby Speedster drives and was wondering how I got pulled back into the torturous world of air cooled hell! I can't explain it, I thought at one time I was through with this but I got pulled back in. There is some inherent attraction of the air cooled engine. I have memories of a special type 4 engine I bought from a builder in New Jersey back in the late 90's and this engine was amazing and bullet proof. I ran this thing hard and the worst that ever happened from over revving trying to gain another 10th of a second auto crossing the car was having a rocker arm come loose from the push rod.

I am tempted to go straight to a Suby conversion and sell the Monster type 4 off once it is fixed, and there will be money involved in the fix. I should know how bad as early as tomorrow. My guy is covered up but I know he will be tempted to tear the engine down to find out what is broken. He said he was surprised something broke. The engine was built to take a lot of rpm's.Type 4 2.8L out of car to be diagnosed 3


Images (1)
  • Type 4 2.8L out of car to be diagnosed 3
Last edited by Jimmy V.

The synclink cable just hung up from the friction of the cable in the sleeve. The instructions said that most weber carbs shaft springs are strong enough but some may need an extra return spring on the bell crank arm. I drove for 2 days without issue. Then I had an issue.

The damage is inside the case. All the rocker arms are intact and riding on the pushrods and valves. It is going to interesting to find out what broke. As I said earlier, if he has to split the case I am going with a little more cam. The webcam 86b/86C split lift and duration. I think it will allow the ported heads to produce all the HP they can.

You'll get it all good and back to screaming around in no time.

I would recommend some kind of limiter on it this time, whether it's a rotor, an MSD box or whatever.

This is NOT an "I told you so" because I didn't and I've never even thought about the possibility of a stuck throttle blowing a motor up.

But it's a lesson we all are learning right now, at Jimmy's expense. We get the lesson for free, so take heed, people.

Last edited by DannyP

I have a 6500 rpm rev limit dist. rotor sitting on my work bench. I bought a new flame thrower 009 distributor and never got around to switching it to the rev limit rotor. Lesson learned the hard way. I have never owned an expensive engine that didn't have some type of rev limiter. This was the first and last time..It will never happen again! I have a feeling it will be at least a $1000.00 mistake. I am hoping for less though.

My engine builder is called this morning to let me know that the camshaft is broken and the cam gear is a little beat up but everything else is not harmed. He is going to split the case and replace the cam and lifters and check everything out. He ordered a new set of factory flywheel to crank bolts to replace the ones that came loose. I am going with the hotter cam to better match the 48/38 stage 2 ported heads. I am going with the Webcam 86b/86c dual duration cam which has the following specs.

Web Cam Type 4 Camshaft, 86B/86C Grind, 00-662 is designed for Type 4 engines, and it's specs are (In/Ex) .500/.507" Valve Lift with stock 1.3:1 Rockers, 300/310 degrees of advertised duration, and 260/272 degrees of duration at .050". This is an outstanding Type 4 camshaft, longer exhaust duration to aid with the pitiful Type 4 exhaust port! This has a fantastic midrange and top end, and is one of Web Cams best Type 4 grinds for big engines, with a powerband from 3500 to 7000 RPMs, the more headwork and carburetion the better the top end will be.

I think this cam will be perfect and I can't wait to see how it runs. The builder is going to sort out the suspected head to cylinder leakage. The engine was a brute  with the smaller cam and heads leaking, I really can't imagine what it will run like now.     

I have decided to hold off on buying the Red Puma. Too many things going on now to add that into the mix.     



Very good info, Jimmy. It sounds like a decent plan. I wonder if your engine guy will find an occlusion in the cam, which would explain the breakage.

Does the type 4 use a copper head gasket? Or does the head just interface directly with the cylinders? I always put some valve-grinding compound on the cylinders and hand-lap into the heads. No leaks yet.

He told me that it shouldn't have broke from the high RPMA and he is going to talk with Webcam to see what they say but he don't get your hopes up. Once the cam is out and we can look at the broken ends we will see if it shows any signs of defective material. I don't like the way this happened but I do like the chance to get this hotter cam into the engine. I have confidence it will be a good match to the heads and make the engine develop more power. 

Bill is going to check the heads to make sure the surface the cylinders seat on have been cut to the same depth, if they are not the same he plans to fly cut them until they are square and parallel and the same depth. He will use a copper ring gasket the thickness of the amount removed from the heads to keep the compression ration the same.



You know, Jimmy, it's really OK - you're among friends here.

There's no reason at all to be inventing this story about a run away throttle and a broken camshaft.

We all know what happened and can relate.

You're building the biggest, baddest mill ever and then, at the end, are having doubts about whether you're going too far. The hot cam sounds like the icing on the cake, but is it too much? Will you forever be stuck with a lumpy idle and a cold-nosed shrew that's impossible to start? You played it safe with the milder cam, figuring that was the adult thing to do.

But then the day of reckoning. The first time you backed it out of the barn and put your boot into it, you knew.

Coulda, woulda, shoulda.

It needed the hotter cam like chips need salsa.

I will grant you that this story you've made up does check most of the boxes. It neatly explains how nothing else in the innards got tweaked or busted and that the only thing needed for wholesome perfection now is - well, I'll be - a new cam!

What tipped me off was laying all the blame on the SyncLink - a work of godly perfection that might just as well have been handed to us by Moses on the mount. I think a more plausible fall guy would have been practically anything else in the linkage - you must have some crudely finished EMPI bits in there somewhere.

At any rate, the worst is behind you now. No one's seriously questioning your story, and we're all on your side.

Isn't it funny how we never lie awake at two in the morning sweating over the throttle response on the Camry? Could it be just a little crisper? Should I look into cleaning the throttle bodies?

Never happens.

But, ah, Jimmy, these funny little cars weigh on our minds, don't they?


Last edited by Sacto Mitch

Broken cam, huh?  Interesting. I guess he doesn't know where until he gets it apart?

When I was visualizing my broken push rod theory I considereded that the cam/gear flange had twisted off due to resistance in the valve train not being able to cope with the R's.

Fingers crossed they're going to rule it a defect in workmanship and, at least, give you a free cam.  

@Sacto Mitch posted:

.Isn't it funny how we never lie awake at two in the morning sweating over the throttle response on the Camry? Could it be just a little crisper? Should I look into cleaning the throttle bodies?

Never happens.

But, ah, Jimmy, these funny little cars weigh on our minds, don't they?

Everybody looks at things a little differently, and especially cars. Because nobody (or at least nobody I run with) has room or money for the 50 different cool vehicles which would each be perfect for individualized applications.

A diesel dually quad-cab 1 ton truck for hauling the trailer. A Q-Wagon for hauling the kids to soccer practice. A Maserati Quattroporte for crossing time-zones in silky speed. A Maybach Merc to show those clowns in the boardroom who's boss. A Dodge Demon Hellcat Redeye widebody Rat-Fink cartoon edition thing to show everybody down at C&C who's really the boss. A Ferrari 250 SWB to drive down the PCH. A Harley Davidson Heritage Softail with beach-bars and 14 headlamps to crisscross Nevada and Utah in style. A Sopwith Camel for severe-clear evenings, when looking at the sunset from the ground just won't do. A front-engined Indy racer for vintage track racing.

Et cetera. I'd love 'em all.

Most folks must make do with one vehicle or two, and they try to make that vehicle everything they might hope all of the others would be. This is why we have pickup trucks with Hellcat motors and leather seats in them, and FWD ricers with flares and scoops all over them. It explains an entire segment of the vehicle market, which has no reason to exist (the FWD XUV)

... but no vehicle can be everything to everybody. Jim Ignacio has cleverly written about the folly of trying.

I think that by making the choice to just buy and drive a fragile, clunky, leaky, unreliable plastic Easter egg, all of us here have made a choice (wittingly or not) for specialization, at least to one degree or another. These cars are not any good at all for a lot of things, but they are perfect for their intended task. The guys who don't last want their cars to have a wider bandwidth.

So what does that have to do with Jimmy's 2786 or Mitch's quote above? The highlighted part got me thinking about people and cars, and why stuff matters to one guy and not another.

I tend to look at "normal" vehicles as tools. My white box hardware store on wheels doesn't say anything about me-- it just hauls tools and stock and ladders from one place to the next. I don't need cool wheels or sticky rubber or a V12 engine in it, because all that would do is make a big white box that much more expensive. I don't want to go faster or look cooler or corner deeper-- I want to haul stuff around as cheaply as possible. The truck has to work for me to make any money-- so it can't be a beater, which is why I buy new. I want A/C, cruise, power locks, and no breakdowns. Anything more is just fluff (although the driver's side slider is pretty nice to work out of, and something I'd pay for again). I don't think I've washed mine since I bought it in 2014-- the rain does an adequate job.

My wife drives a minivan. She wants seats that fold into the floor, heated leather seats, a heated steering wheel, DVD players in the back for the grandkids, and no breakdowns. I want A/C, cruise, power locks, and to never have to work on it. It is not an XUV, because an XUV is just a less functional, more expensive minivan that still looks stupid. I do not have the blackout trim package, because a minivan with blackout trim is still a minivan. The Pacifica crosses time-zones hauling all manner of junk with zero drama, adequate speed, and decent accoutrements. We keep it clean, because nobody likes to sit in Cheetos crumbs in clean clothes (by way of comparison, my trucks headliner has coffee stains, because I wear work-clothes when I work, and I don't care). When the last one got caught in a hail-storm, we named it Hail Mary, pocketed the $10K State Farm gave me and drove it another 50K mi before selling to my daughter.

Things are meant to be what they are-- no vehicle can be everything. "Cool" is probably the hardest thing to pull off, and offers the least return on investment. However-- I've always said that if a thing is cool to me (and nobody else), then it'll always be cool to me-- because my opinion of it isn't dependent on somebody else's whims.

So no, I don't obsess about the throttle response in either of the more utilitarian vehicle/tools. If they work for the intended purpose, then they are fine.

However... I understand that with my plastic-fantastic, everything is something to obsess about. I've dreamed (like, while I slept) about flame fronts moving across the top of pistons, and of oil squirters spraying the underside of piston domes. Obsession doesn't quite cover it. It's madness.

These are hobby-cars, meant to be fussed over and pampered. We have a 4-page long thread every 2 months regarding motor-oil for crying out loud-- and I care about it! I've redone my transaxle more times than I can count, only to end up pretty much where a stock VW has the gear spacing (albeit with a 3.44:1 R/P). We don't just obsess about throttle response-- we build $10K, near 3L 4-cylinder engines we know are going to need torn down for this or that. A man tells us his tale, and we all offer encouragement, because we know we'd do the same thing.

This is not how most people think. They do not understand building a new house so that one can have a lift in the garage so that the car that always needs work has a place to have it done. They are content to tint the windows in their Ford Escapes, and to get the Titanium edition of same.

Jimmy is not that guy, and neither are any of the rest of us. That's why I stop in here several times a day, for 20 years now. It's pretty nice to not have to explain myself.

Last edited by Stan Galat

Sacto Mitch, Stan Galat and the rest of you with the same sickness as me, thank you for your support and comic relief, for without both this thing we do would not be nearly as fun. I love what both of you posted and couldn't stop laughing as I read your post Sacto Mitch.  I am not sure what you call that type of humor (satire) but it sure made me smile. Thank you both for helping me keep some semblance of sanity as I deal with the event I am now calling the "unplanned high RPM testing of my new engine".

More news from the engine builder. He has the engine torn down and the good news is nothing is damaged at all except the cam has broken right behind the flange that bolts to the cam gear. We both say it is a bad casting and would have broken sooner that later. The loose flywheel bolts are another thing. I have to look through my receipts but I supplied the new bolts and flywheel to the builder because the engine didn't come with them. I bought the bolts from the type 4 store or LN engineering either way the bolts are soft and not good. Bill said the had stretched. He has ordered German stock bolts. He also found that all 4 heads were leaking at the bottoms. He is going to investigate why the had leaked but told me regardless of the reason he wants to use copper rings that are machined to fit into a channel cut into the heads. He does this for turbo 911 engines that develop huge cylinder pressures. He has guaranteed they won't leak when he is finished. Just think, the engine ran strong with leaking heads, I am excited to think how strong it will be now with the leaks fixed and the stronger cam. Bill has all the parts ordered and will be working on the engine later next week.

This engine was going to have issues one way or another. The flywheel was on the edge and the leaking heads had to be addressed and the cam was probably defective. All part of the fun, really, no kidding!

type 4 2.8L broken cam 2type 4 2.8L broken cam 1type 4 2.8L broken cam 3


Images (3)
  • type 4 2.8L broken cam 2
  • type 4 2.8L broken cam 1
  • type 4 2.8L broken cam 3
Last edited by Jimmy V.

Interesting to me because I'm in the middle of a Type 4 build for my 914. I've looked at LN and a few other not-so-know vendors with skepticism -probably fine. my Street cam from CB and rods from Aircooled (if they ever get here). German crank was turned and balanced.  Not a religious man but when it comes to the case I'm bible-thumpin', hail Jesus screamin', show-me-the-way-to glory kinda guy.

Very Funny, but true. To answer Alan's cam question the engine had a webcam 86a cam which has .435 lift 290 duration. This was the cam of choice when I thought I was going to use the stock 1.8L heads with 42/36 valves and no port work. After the short block was together and the 86a cam already in I decided to go with new 48/38 stage 2 ported heads with matching intakes. I had second thoughts now that the cam was a little mild for the heads and I wouldn't get the full advantage of the big flow potential of the heads but I wasn't going to have the case split to change cams. The builder also convinced me that the 86a cam would be fine. Now that we have the opportunity I am going with the webcam 86b/86c dual duration cam. intake .500 lift 300 duration exhaust .507 lift 310 duration with a 106 lobe separation which aids in some additional lower rpm power as opposed to the 108 lobe separation. From what I have read this is the cam I want.

To answer someone else's question about springs, they are HD dual coil springs.

Post Content
Link copied to your clipboard.