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On truck replacement of Iron Duke timing gear possible?

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Old 09-09-2008, 10:16 PM   #1
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On truck replacement of Iron Duke timing gear possible?

Is it possible to replace the Iron Duke's camshaft timing gear without taking the engine apart? Once the grille, radiator, fan etc. are removed, there is plenty of room to work on the timing gear assembly while the engine is in the truck. But can anything be done except to admire the damaged parts?

Can the gear be pulled off and put on the camshaft without removing the camshaft from the engine?
Old 09-09-2008, 10:42 PM   #2
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Re: On truck replacement of Iron Duke timing gear possible?

My grandfather (retired GM mechanic) did it on my 87, dont remember how he did it (10+ years ago). I think he just used a gear puller and pulled the heck out of it (dont matter if you break it in 1/2 if it is bad.)
The Crankshaft gear usually just slips off.
Old 09-10-2008, 07:21 PM   #3
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Re: On truck replacement of Iron Duke timing gear possible?

I just had mine torn apart to check the timing gears. Pull off the grill, fan shroud top and bottom and pull the radiator then you can reach all the timing goodies through the core support no problem. If you pull the middle bracket off the core support it would be even easier to get to.
Old 09-10-2008, 09:51 PM   #4
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Re: On truck replacement of Iron Duke timing gear possible?

We've checked the timing gears by doing that. The problem is that about 1/3 of the teeth are missing from the composite gear on the camshaft. So the question was how to replace this gear with the least possible disassembly.
Old 09-11-2008, 09:41 AM   #5
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Lightbulb Re: On truck replacement of Iron Duke timing gear possible?

Quote: Originally Posted by tashirosgt
We've checked the timing gears by doing that. The problem is that about 1/3 of the teeth are missing from the composite gear on the camshaft. So the question was how to replace this gear with the least possible disassembly.
============================
tashiro--

When I replace my timing gears (it is a matter of when not if), I will use the Cloyes set of metal helical-cut gears.
I suggest you do the same. Keep the paperwork on the metal gear purchase in a zip-lock baggie, in the glovebox, as it is a positive re-sale plus. Changing the timing gear set in an Iron Duke is a messy, bad job, and one that you only want to do one time. Given a choice between two Iron Duke S-10s, one with the metal gears vs. one without, I'd buy the one that had the metal gears...any future buyer that knows anything about the Duke, would always jump on the one with the metal gear set.

"Best practice" says you should also buy the new timing gear cover, sold by NAPA, because it is flat and does not leak.

Also, while you are "in there", use a brass bottle-type brush and clean the be-jesus out of the oiling hole(s) that lube the gears..a maniac would also use a Dremel-tool to enlarge the hole(s) a bit, and radius the outer lip of the hole (funnel shape it) to increase oiling.

My two pesos...

Last edited by Steady Eddie; 09-11-2008 at 09:51 AM.
Old 09-20-2008, 10:33 PM   #6
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Re: On truck replacement of Iron Duke timing gear possible?

My friend decided to install an aluminum timing gear. We had the crankshaft out. He watched the machinst put it on the crankshaft. The machinist heated the aluminum gear on a hotplate (the directions with the gear say to heat it in boiling oil, but no local machine shops want to do this.) then it slipped on the crankshaft without using a press. I think you could do this with the crankshaft on the car. But you would have a hard time checking whether the clearance between the gear and the metal plate behind it was in spec. It would take a very long feeler gauge. (On the first installation attempt the clearance was wrong, much to big.)
Old 09-21-2008, 10:20 AM   #7
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Re: On truck replacement of Iron Duke timing gear possible?

The hard part is the CAMSHAFT GEAR, usually the Crankshaft gear pulls off and on by hand.
Old 09-21-2008, 11:22 AM   #8
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Re: On truck replacement of Iron Duke timing gear possible?

Ah! You're right. My error. I meant to say it was an aluminum "camshaft" gear. (An aluminum crankshaft wouldn't make much sense).
Old 09-06-2011, 07:30 PM   #9
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Re: On truck replacement of Iron Duke timing gear possible?

Reviving an old thread here... but when you replace the cam gear do you need to replace the crank gear?
Old 09-07-2011, 08:51 AM   #10
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Re: On truck replacement of Iron Duke timing gear possible?

Yes you do the gears wear as a set and are sold as a set. No point in having to pull it all apart some time later to do the same thing don't be cheap with this it keeps your engine running and happy.
Old 09-08-2011, 10:22 AM   #11
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Re: On truck replacement of Iron Duke timing gear possible?

I did mine on the truck with the radiator in place. It was a bit of a pain but went back together well. I did have a hard time getting the timing cover off because it had been put on with oodles of sealant all round. I put it back on with new gaskets and sealant in the oil pan area only and it hasn't leaked. Went and bought a new cover for when it does leak.
Because my truck is a beater and I'm not too fussed about how long it lasts I used a bit of force to put the cam gear on but I've had no issues, except for what I think is a bad pickup coil.
Old 09-08-2011, 07:05 PM   #12
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Re: On truck replacement of Iron Duke timing gear possible?

My son has a '86 with 97K on the 2.5. It runs well but sounds like a little diesel. I've heard that the timing gears cause most of the noise. Is that correct? If so, does swapping the gears to the Cloyes set make a difference in overall noise? I don't want to take it apart if it's running okay but the noise is slightly irritating.
Old 09-09-2011, 12:04 AM   #13
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Re: On truck replacement of Iron Duke timing gear possible?

They do rattle around a bit, some upper end noise, lower end noise, and timing gear noise is all possible from an aged duke....
Old 09-10-2011, 03:04 PM   #14
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Re: On truck replacement of Iron Duke timing gear possible?

My Duke has 220K miles on it. It rattles a little on start up, but is totally quiet when running, unless I almost stall it. Somone changed the oil very regularly, I've had the Vcover off, it looks almost like new. The oil pressure is around 60 psi at anything above 1,500 RPM.
I guess I will change the timing set next time I'm home (aluminum gear set), I drive this truck all over the country. I am going to do the 'in frame' timing gear change, leaving the cam in the block. I know many have done it, I will take step by step pics and post. I plan on installing a new cover also, as well as a real harmonic balancer which I already have. If I get to it, I may install a performance cam.
Old 10-30-2011, 10:31 AM   #15
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Re: On truck replacement of Iron Duke timing gear possible?

Time for a thread bump. Mad Max, did you ever make a how-to for timing gear changes? I'm sure there are several of us, including myself, who would like to know how it's done.
Old 11-01-2011, 04:54 PM   #16
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Re: On truck replacement of Iron Duke timing gear possible?

JCase, I'll try to put some info in for this shortly. I'm sort of jammed up at work at the moment.
Raven, Willie, Lesterl, Booger, Steady E - do you have any input?
Old 11-01-2011, 05:14 PM   #17
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Re: On truck replacement of Iron Duke timing gear possible?

No rush, Max. Just curious. I wouldn't be able to do the job on my truck until Thanksgiving anyway, since I'm going to college in Kansas and the truck's back home in Illinois.
Old 11-01-2011, 09:59 PM   #18
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Re: On truck replacement of Iron Duke timing gear possible?

There are several variants on how to do it, but get it tore down to the point yer gears are xposed.....

plug the area on the front of the oil pan that is exposed with a large shop towel(s).......

use a 3 jaw puller or sumtin to split the gear apart and either use a grinder or dremel to take one side of the remaining ring down and chisel it loose........

New crank gear usually just slides on.......

Boil new cam gear in a qt of oil........ Well at least heat it good........

take a ziplock bag of ice and set it on the end of the camshaft that the new gear will go on......

The last two lines will expand the gear and shrink the shaft and you should be able to set the gear right onto the shaft, dont let too much time take place between the last two steps tho and be very carefull not to burn yourself.........
Old 11-01-2011, 10:06 PM   #19
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Re: On truck replacement of Iron Duke timing gear possible?

So browsing throught this thread it seems to me that my truck might not be normal. It sounds like a diesel, its so noisy and clattery. I just thought thats how the dukes were. It runs good and gets great milage, 28 on my last 200 mile trip. Its been like this since i bought it over 4 years ago. Is something wrong? or is it just how they are?

My next question is are these non-interferance? I wouldnt want the plastic timing gear to strip out and bend all my valves.
Old 11-01-2011, 10:29 PM   #20
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Re: On truck replacement of Iron Duke timing gear possible?

The valvetrain is usually noisy after some neglect and can be hard to quiten down with some work, regular oil changes with a good quality oil, etc.......

I would change the gears, wouldnt want to be stranded somewhere because they let loose.....
Old 11-02-2011, 10:35 AM   #21
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Thumbs up Re: On truck replacement of Iron Duke timing gear possible?

Quote: Originally Posted by lesterl
The valvetrain is usually noisy after some neglect and can be hard to quieten down with some work, regular oil changes with a good quality oil, etc.......

I would change the gears, wouldnt want to be stranded somewhere because they let loose.....
====

I am fairly happy with my engine's noise level.

It used to rattle, and now it does not. The only changes are the regular oil and filter changes. I did go to a full syn oil a bit thicker than OE, a 10W-30 blend.

How quiet is it?? It is quiet enough to hear the fuel injector ticking at idle. But I understand that they all do that....

I am no longer terrified by the thought of stripped out timing gears, but if this rig was my only rig (that I had to depend on), I might start gathering the parts for a metal timing gear swap..
Old 11-02-2011, 12:17 PM   #22
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Re: On truck replacement of Iron Duke timing gear possible?

I drive mine all over the country - literally. It has 222K miles on it. It is totally quiet at idle and the insides are spotless. I run Shell Rotella and a jug of Luas oil additive and change oil around 3K miles. It rattles a little on start up or if I almost stall it, but otherwise runs super. I am afraid that some day I'll be around the end of the world at 2 in the morning and the gear will hatch...
I am going to do the aluminum gear swap, Booger sold me a new timing cover and I may also run a hotter cam. I'll post a complete step by step with pics when I do it.
Old 11-02-2011, 11:17 PM   #23
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Re: On truck replacement of Iron Duke timing gear possible?

IIRC the gears usually go on startup or shutdown.......... You never know it untill you go to start it the next time basically.......
Old 11-02-2011, 11:19 PM   #24
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Re: On truck replacement of Iron Duke timing gear possible?

If that's true, it's probably not what happened to my truck. Mine got erratic about 3 miles down the road.
Old 11-03-2011, 09:40 PM   #25
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Re: On truck replacement of Iron Duke timing gear possible?

Sometimes they can jump time or can get really sloppy, check the slop in the distributor..... the gear on the dist drive can wear as well.......
Old 11-04-2011, 08:56 AM   #26
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Re: On truck replacement of Iron Duke timing gear possible?

I'm guessing when that gear goes I have to replace the whole distributor?
Old 11-04-2011, 06:55 PM   #27
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Re: On truck replacement of Iron Duke timing gear possible?

Not usually.......
Old 03-25-2012, 06:35 AM   #28
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Re: On truck replacement of Iron Duke timing gear possible?

Old school tricke make jack not a dull boy when it comes to mechanical stuff.
My first car was a 49 Chevy fast back with a striped Finalic timing cam gear so it was my introduction to mechanical repairs. My step Dad said we can fix thart,so I dug in and did this!
Removed all the matter in front of the cam and crank gear( H20 pump ect and trick was and is removal of the striped cam gear and replacing with OUT removing the camshaft. Like the other Gent said some careful thinking and actions to match will net one a complete job by Breaking ( or cutting) the bad cam Gear( finalic in thoes daze.) Grind a a fine cut groove matching the key way for best results till it "pops," then comes off easy.
Back on is a mater of tempertures opposit. Heat the cam gear( I use an old choke heater/cooler blower ,to heat the cam gear<) No one has these any more so heating oil is great and cooling as he said with ice will usually make it happen. I spray a bit of silacone just before inserting the cam gear( hopefully aluminum,) and one firm strike with the key way in the slot will insure a clean insertion. Make your move quickly as the two opposit temperatures equalize quickly . Usually a few blowsWith a soft blow hammer, after will seat the cam gear home. Hot and cold is the trick. I was raised in a machinist shop and my forte was taking apart stuborn gears and reassembly without breaking them so this heat and cool trick is the one that works along with patience.
Good luck.
Old 03-25-2012, 11:00 AM   #29
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Re: On truck replacement of Iron Duke timing gear possible?

I used to them a little differently as far as reinstall of the cam gear.Before I removed the cam gear, I would tap threads into the end of the cam gear with a special made tap , and press them on with a modified pulley installer. Sadly, my special tools got loaned out and were not returned.
Old 03-25-2012, 12:08 PM   #30
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Re: On truck replacement of Iron Duke timing gear possible?

Quote: Originally Posted by Hoosier Rick
I used to them a little differently as far as reinstall of the cam gear.Before I removed the cam gear, I would tap threads into the end of the cam shaft with a special made tap , and press them on with a modified pulley installer. Sadly, my special tools got loaned out and were not returned.
corrected
Old 03-25-2012, 01:38 PM   #31
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Re: On truck replacement of Iron Duke timing gear possible?

I plan on replacing my timing gears with the aluminum set sometime soon. I may wait until the ones on the truck break (I have other vehicles so no problem if this truck breaks down for awhile). Although id rather not pull the oil pan to pick out the broken timing gear parts.

When I do it I will heat the gear in the oven, or maybe a toaster oven right next to the truck. And I will do this in the winter, also maybe spraying the camshaft with some R134A I have laying around. And hopefully it goes back together! Maybe I will get lucky and the motor was really rebuilt and already has a new set of gears in it, maybe even metal ones, and I won't have to do this for a long time.

I am worried about that clearance thing though. I guess I will just take pictures of the old gear and kinda mark the camshaft where it was sticking out of the gear...
Old 03-25-2012, 10:07 PM   #32
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Re: On truck replacement of Iron Duke timing gear possible?

Instead of wasting R134a, unless you have extra laying around, use a can of air duster, turn it upside down, usually it contains R134a, some of the newer dusters dont use that either.
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