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JDM Super Street Camshaft Installation Overview

Discussion in 'How-To' started by Sielmo, May 26, 2017.

  1. Sielmo

    Sielmo Active Member Established Member

    Mar 23, 2015
    Ewa Beach, Hawaii
    JDM Super Street Camshaft Install Overview
    I decide to put this together to share my experiences with installing the JDM Super Street camshafts. This is meant as an overview with a few detailed techniques that I used to to complete this project and have posted this to prevent others from having to rediscover and problem solve. I am not a professional mechanic by trade but a patient back-yard mechanic who sought advice from seasoned mechanics while doing this installation. I attempted to use the correct terminology and part description but I'm sure there are few professionals who read this that may wince or eye roll. Finally, I attempted to load the dyno graph images but exceeded the amount I'm allowed to upload.


    This installation overview is for the JDM Super Street cam kit which also includes upgraded valve springs (Pac Racing high pressure valve springs) and ARP cam bolts. As recommended by JDM, I upgraded the oil pump gear to a billet version to mitigate the risk of failure as a result of the increased HP. All fluids (engine oil, engine coolant, intercooler coolant, brake fluid, and power steering) were replaced, as well as a few gaskets (water pump, valve covers, and a couple sensor O rings). To assist in smoothing out the idle, I opted to install a Low Vacuum Bypass Valve from L&M Engines. JDM recommended install a new stock Harmonic Balancer bolt vs the ARP equivalent as the stock head size is larger and preferred with their 1300hp applications. I also replaced both timing chain tensioners as a preventive measure since I had everything disassembled. For cosmetics, I took the opportunity to have my valve covers sandblasted and powder coated in the color Ford Blue, as well as replaced the coil covers with color matched specific to my cars color scheme (Alpine White, Grabber Blue). As this is not my daily driver, I did this build over the course of five weeks in my garage, and on jack stands for access.

    Modifications before this build:
    TVS Super Charger with 2.4” pulley
    Ford Racing Twin 65mm Throttle Body
    JLT Intake
    IDS 1000 Fuel Injectors
    Stainless Works Long Tube Headers, Cats removed, Borla Touring exhaust
    AFCO Intercooler

    Specialized tools used for this build:
    Euroexport Ford 4.6L 5.4L 4-valve Valve Spring Compressor Tool (kit includes magnetic screwdriver)
    How to use:
    Air compressor with hose adapter (to screw into the spark plug ports)

    Parts for this installation:
    JDM Cam kit (cams, replacement intake and exhaust springs, ARP cam bolts)
    5.4L TSS Billet oil pump gear
    New Harmonic Balancer bolt (stock)
    New Valve Cover gaskets
    Timing chain tensioners (X2)
    L&M Engine Low Vacuum Bypass Valve

    Permatex RTV Sealant
    Silicone automotive grease
    Cam shaft lube
    Blue painters tape
    Large cardboard panels (previously a TV box)

    Disassembly - Fluid Drain:
    As the entire front end of the motor was being pulled apart, I opted to drain the intercooler and engine coolant, steering and brake fluid, as well as the engine oil. Some of these are obvious when doing a “deep dive” into the motor but a few may not. Below are my reasons:

    Engine oil – One of the last parts to remove to expose the timing and cam chains is the timing chain cover. In order to do this, the oil pan needs to be lowered or removed (although removing would require dropping the K Member) to free up the bottom lip of the timing chain cover. I loosened all oil pan bolts and kept them in place to lower the oil pan to the required clearance in order to remove the timing chain cover and gain access/replace the oil pump and the bolts securing the oil pump pick-up. On a side note, a magnetic extendable pick-up tool is handy should a bolt get dropped into the oil pan.

    Brake Fluid - I followed a few threads that talked about various ways to remove the driver’s side valve cover without removing the booster pump and master cylinder; none of which worked for me in my particular project. My first attempt was to pull the driver’s side engine mount and lower the motor in attempt to gain extra clearance to remove the valve cover. My second option was to pull both motor mounts (with hope of also installing adjustable motor mounts) but in doing so, my long tube headers (Stainless Works) due to their width would have wedged against the bottom side of the firewall/frame. In either case, the valve cover still didn’t have enough clearance for removal. As a result, my only option was to pull the booster pump and master cylinder. Doing this did add extra time to the reassembly as I had to reinstall and bleed the ABS and brakes. (I’ll discuss the ABS bleeding steps later)

    Disassembly – Prep:
    A technique that I picked up from a friend was to use large sections of cardboard and a sharpie (aka Knowledge Walls, I hung them on my garage walls) to rough sketch/label/attach what was being dissembled and attach to the cardboard for reference (bolts, timing chains, tensioners, etc). An additional method to keep all these parts properly labeled is to use blue painters tape and a Sharpie pen. For example, In order to remember where to reinstall all the pulleys, I marked the timing chain cover in an inconspicuous area and applied/labeled blue tape on the associated pulleys. Finally, take LOTS of pictures during the process. This was a frequent reference source for me to remember what went where. On a side note, I wanted to go the extra step for presentation, so I degreased and cleaned every single bolt, plate, and pulley (I had three weeks, my cams were on back order). The firewall access also had maximum exposure at this point of the disassembly so I cleaned and waxed those areas as well.

    upload_2017-5-26_15-0-8.png Knowledge Walls

    Disassembly Sequence:
    After the mentioned fluid draining, First step was to remove the easy access parts (ie air intake, throttle body, SC elbow, coil covers, spark plugs, etc). As discussed previously, I removed the brake booster and master cylinder in order to gain clearance to remove the drivers’ side valve cover. Access to the four bolts securing the booster is up behind the dash by the steering column and can be removed using a few ratchet extensions and a universal joint. There is also a clip and retainer pin securing the boost pump to the brake pedal which will need to be removed prior to pulling it from the firewall. Back under the hood, the air conditioning system radiator is attached to the coolant system radiator therefore; I removed the attachment bolts (four air conditioning radiator bolts to the coolant system radiator) and zip-tied the air-conditioning radiator to the frame before removing the coolant system radiator. This keeps the weight of the air conditioner radiator from stressing and bending its solid coolant lines. Next I removed all the coolant hoses, belts, pulleys, and steering pump reservoir. The steering pump fluid line is fixed to the pump and the line is a tight fight as it routes around the alternator but with some finagling, it can be pulled out with the alternator still in place. Next, I removed the Water pump, Harmonic Balancer, and alternator.

    Disassembly Sequence – Oil Filter Adapter:
    One of the last parts to remove was the oil filter adapter and attached oil cooler. The oil cooler has six small bolts which are difficult to reach and required the use of a ¼ drive with extension and universal joint. It was at this point that I discovered that the oil filter adapter could not be fully removed as a result of my aftermarket headers having a small hanger affixed by a small bolt to the oil filter adapter. The header hanger bolt could be fully backed out, but not removed as it backed up against one of the header pipes. Regardless, the oil filter adapter could be lowered in place enough to provide enough access to the #6 bolt on the timing chain cover which is normally obscured.

    Disassembly Sequence – Oil Pan:
    I chose to lower the oil pan vice remove (K member would need removal otherwise) and removed the four front oil pan bolts that attach to the timing chain cover. Lowering the oil pan frees up the bottom lip of the timing chain cover. Take note that the factory applies RTV sealant to several locations on the timing chain cover with two locations that attach the bottom of the timing chain cover to the oil pan and oil pan gasket. Carefully separate the timing chain cover and oil pan to prevent damage to the oil pan gasket. During the reinstallation process, you’ll need to reapply RTV sealant.

    Oil cover plate and Timing Chain cover
    Bolt #6

    Timing Chain cover removed

    Disassembly sequence - Timing and cam chain removal:
    I ensured #1 cylinder was at Top Dead Center before removing any the timing chain components. This really was for me to have additional peace of mind and give me a visual reference (photos) to the proper marking relationship to the timing/cam chains. I decided to lock in place the cam shaft chain tensioners first which can be carefully locked in place using a C-clamp and a straightened paper clip for both sides. Next, I removed the timing chain tensioners’ bolts first before removing the timing chain tensioners as resetting them in place before removal without special tools is nearly impossible. Once the timing chain tensioners were removed, I used a C clamp and a spare Allen Wrench to lock them in their full retracted position. On a side note, I opted to replace them both for the following reasons:

    1. Despite only 28K miles on the motor and components, being this far inside of the motor and replacing them now would avoid another tear down in the future (if required).

    2. JDM strongly recommended replacing them. With that said, a reputable shop is going to avoid potential liability by recommending this replacement. After all, mileage and wear and tear vary between vehicles.

    After removing the timing chain tensioners, (timing chains now have slack) the timing chain guides can be removed. I experienced some cam rotation afterwards which is due to the various valve spring loads on the cams and lack of tension on the timing chain. Not an issue as I already had taken a few reference pictures. Also to note, I spent some time looking for a missing oil pump bolt to realize later that one of the timing chain guide bolts (drivers’ side) also is one of four bolts used to secure the oil pump in place.


    Cam Shaft Chain Tensioner locked (See paperclip)

    Valve Spring Replacement:
    This was very intimidating to me at first. I didn’t know how to use the specialized valve compression tool (noted above) and I was afraid of dropping a valve into the head. I watched the video from Euroexport (noted above) and borrowed an air compressor with a compression testing hose (to provide constant pressure) that seated into the spark plug holes. During the installation, I ensured each cylinder was at TDC when working with the associated valves as an extra measure to avoid dropping and having a completely irretrievable valve. I also learned to put the transmission in gear before pressurizing each cylinder otherwise the piston moved to the bottom. Another lesson learned (thankfully without disaster), was to stuff each oil drain return and spark plug hole in the head with a clean rag in order to prevent the Valve Spring Keepers from dropping into the motor…I dropped a few without incident.

    Valve Spring Replacement – In detail and my technique:
    I spent six hours replacing all 32 valve springs and had the technique mastered after six. With that said, there is a varying degree of difficulty accessing each valve which is a result of performing this procedure while the motor is still in the car. Compounding this difficulty, is attempting to reinstall the Valve Keepers dangling on the magnetic end of a screwdriver (without them spinning around) while steadily-handed, reaching in, around, and under valve train components without dropping the Keepers and properly seating them on the valve stems. The Valve Spring Compressor Tool kit includes a small sample size tube of silicone grease however; much more is needed in order to manipulate the Valve Spring Keepers back into position against the valves. The technique that I adopted in reinstalling these Valve Keepers is using silicone grease to do two things; prevent the Keepers from spinning around freely on the magnetic screwdriver by applying enough silicone to “cradle” on the magnetic screwdriver end, and providing adhesive to the valves stems. Specifically, I wiped the oil off the Keepers and valve stem, applied silicone on the inside of both the ridges of the Valve Spring Keepers, and ridges of the valve stems then steadily guided them in place before pressing them onto the valve stems. Next step is to slowly release spring tension and observe if the Keepers properly continue to seat themselves.

    Valve Stem Keepers, Valve Spring Compressor Tool and air compressor connected

    Cam installation:
    Follow the written instructions included or at least have corporate knowledge on hand to assist with this part as I did. I had a friend assist me who had done several of these installations as it was a bit of a learning process for me. JDM recommends “degreeing” the cams for race applications, otherwise not required. We installed them using the Ford spec recommendations which was basically ensuring all the proper cam sprocket markings were properly aligned with the crankshaft. There is some technique involved as seating the cams in the proper position with the various rocker arms will tend to cause the cams to rotate due to the tension. These cams have a section that I used a large wrench to hold the cams in place. Also these cams were labeled/etched (exhaust, intake, passenger vs driver side) so this was pretty much dummy proof. Finally, cam lube and proper torqueing sequence is mandatory. After everything was bolted in and secured, I manually rotated the crankshaft to ensure everything was operating as it should.

    After installing the cams, reassembly was in the reverse order. There are only a few areas (timing chain cover, valve cover) that require RVT sealant and as I labeled all parts, putting everything back together was a breeze. Installing the low vacuum bypass valve from L&M Engines is an easy installation although the included instructions are somewhat vague and the included hardware is only the valve itself. I had to source the other required parts to complete this installation. Specifically, I sourced my own vacuum line “T” connector, vacuum line plug for the EGR, and for the air intake (JLT). Of note, the instructions require plugging one of the EGR vacuum inlets which I did by using a similar diameter sized “O” ring cut to fit.

    Bleeding brakes and ABS:
    There is a three step process to bleeding the ABS and braking system. The first step is to conduct a manual brake bleed (passenger rear, drivers’ rear, passenger front, drivers’ front). The second step is an electronic bleed to activate the internal ABS valves to push the trapped air down the system. I didn’t have this tool and opted for the “vacant, sandy parking lot” method (getting the ABS to activate). The third step is another manual bleed.

    Final adjustments:
    Be prepared to do some tune adjustments. In my case, I had a very rough idle (would continually stall) accompanied with significant idle surge while driving under certain conditions (idle decay). Specifically, when coasting to a stop with the clutch in, the idle would surge between 500rpm and 1500rpm which ceased only when reaching a complete stop. Additionally, the Advanced Traction Control Service light would continually illuminate under most braking conditions which would reset when the ignition was turned off. Solving all these issues was a long trial and error process so patience is required. I went through a several step process with JDM (revised tunes, manual adjustments with the TPS screw) which solved many issues but in the end, I opted to use Lund Racing for a new tune and I couldn’t be happier with the results. The Lund Racing GT500 tuning package was an additional $1250 plus the cost of welding in an O2 wideband sensor, the time wiring in the Zeitronix ZT2 data-logger, nGauge, and vacuum sensor however; this provided a better data-logging feedback during the tuning process. To note, due to my location and time zone difference (Hawaii), on-site tune adjustments (JDM) was not an option. Remote tuning with JDM was a difficult option as well due to the time zone difference and schedule availability. In summary, listed are the two options used to tune (JDM vs Lund) and the associated steps:

    JDM Tune Adjustment Option:

    1. JDM revised the tune by bumping idle from 750 to 850 rpm

    2. Block off the air duct from the grill to the air filter box. The MAF sensor is sensitive to air disruption. Ambient air temperatures under the hood are warmer but not an issue rising to any considerable concern especially while the car is moving.

    3. As per guidance, turned (carefully) the Throttle Position Sensor screw on the top of the throttle body in ¼ turn increments for a total turn of one turn. (mark your reference with a Sharpie) I have the Ford Racing twin 65mm throttle body where the screw may have Loctite securing it in place so don’t force it as it could break. Ford Racing and ACCUFAB strongly recommend not doing this for this reason however, this is part of the manual fine tuning process as recommended by JDM. As a result, idle is perfect, but idle decay remained under certain conditions.


    Throttle Position Screw (Turn carefully to the right, may have Loctite applied)

    4. As mentioned, I had a persistent Advanced Traction Control warning light that illuminated a week after this installation. A trip to the dealer and they re-bled my system, replaced my ABS control unit, HCU, and brake pedal switch and the issue persisted. In the end, JDM revisited my datalogs and made some adjustments to the wheel torque error tables. Problem solved!

    Lund Racing Tuning Option:
    1. Reset TPS screw back to the factory position, installed and wired the vacuum sensor and O2 wideband sensor. A local muffler shop welded in the extra O2 sensor bung for $50. To note, Lund recommends welding in the bung into the driver’s side header, before the catalytic convertor.

    2. Installed the Zeitronix ZT2 datalogger and nGauge. The nGuage is an “up-sell” but an added convenience as all sensor inputs (OBD II connector in conjunction with the wideband and vacuum sensors) are recorded in one location (nGauge) simultaneously. To note, the O2 wideband sensor is a “heater” thus requires a strong power source. This caused some issue for me as initially, I tapped a switchable power source from the radio which isn’t enough power for the ZT2 to read both the O2 wideband sensor and the vacuum sensor. To resolve, I tapped into a spare fuse in the cabin fuse box.

    3. Installed the first tune and followed the data-logging steps required from the tuner. I received two more updates (remote tunes) as a result of each data-log sent back to the tuner. The fuel tables started off rich in the first tune and to no surprise, fouled my spark plugs. As to the tuners direction, I completed at the datalogging steps and went to the dyno to get a full datalog up to 6500rpm.

    View attachment 91201


    The Results

    JDM Tune Dyno results (before and after cam installation)
    Before: 662 WHP, 651 TQ, 6500 RPM
    After: 731 WHP, 667 TQ, 6500 RPM
    Gains: +69 HP, 11 TQ

    Lund Racing vs JDM Dyno results (post cam installation)
    JDM: 731 WHP, 667 TQ, 6500 RPM
    Lund: 758 WHP, 680 TQ, 6500 RPM
    Gains: +27 WHP, +13 TQ, 6500 RPM

    Before and After cam installation gains
    Before: 662 WHP, 651 TQ, 6500 RPM
    Lund: 758 WHP, 680 TQ, 6500 RPM
    Gains: +96 HP, +29 TQ

    Attached Files:

    moncho and Pribilof like this.
  2. RBB

    RBB Well-Known Member Established Member

    Jul 3, 2013
    Stephens City, VA
    Awesome thread man. You picked up more power than I would have thought. I've got a set of these cams on the shelf, ready to go in this fall, but have neither the knowledge or the balls to try the install myself.
    Sielmo likes this.
  3. sdleo26

    sdleo26 Member Established Member

    Feb 8, 2015
    Port Jefferson NY
    Great write up!!
    Sielmo likes this.
  4. Sielmo

    Sielmo Active Member Established Member

    Mar 23, 2015
    Ewa Beach, Hawaii
    Thank you. I myself was very apprehensive but it wasn't my daily driver and had plenty of time for this installation. I also had a buddy who always answered my texts to my "What now?" questions. I am very confident I could do this now with ease with the exception of the actual cam installation....I'd still like to have some corporate knowledge around. Ironically, this was the quickest and straightforward phase of the build!
  5. gimmie11s

    gimmie11s Well-Known Member Established Member

    Jun 1, 2004
    so cal
    Outstanding write up!!
    Sielmo likes this.

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