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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Camshaft Partially seized in cylinder head

we own a Fiat Ducato 1.9d 2001.  We bought it 7 months ago from a van dealer with no service history but had a mechanic check it out for us.  Along with a few bits and pieces we had the cambelt changed.  After 4 months use the gear box went and we were without it for 3 months while the garage attempted to get a part to fix it.  Fortunately it was still under warranty.  So the van in effect has only had 4 months use since we bought it.  We went to go out the other day and it started first time.  Hubby remembered he had left his wallet in the house so left it running while he went inside to get it.  I was sitting in the van while it was ticking over when it shuddered and cut out.  Hubby tried to start it again and there was just a click and nothing else.  This happened about 3 times.  He left it a while and then tried it again and there was a metallic scraping sound so he turned it off and we called the breakdown.  They said the cambelt had gone and we sent it back to the garage to look at.  I've now been told the cambelt hasn't gone although one of the teeth is marked but the camshaft has partially seized in the cylinder head of the engine and he wanted to know had it ever been starved of oil.  I had no idea.  It is now being looked at to see if the cylinder head can be repaired  but will also need to look at the oil pump etc.  This is as far as we know so far.  Can anyone shed any light of what might have happened or the likely outcome.


  1. many of the overhead cam engines have tiny oil holes to the cam bearings and use 5w-30 oil but people don't put that in, instead believeing that heavier oil provides better lubricant, so the cam bearings end up being starved for oil and this can cause scoring and locking up of the cam.. Check and see what weight oil is recommended for your engine and what weight oil is actually in it. Too thick oil could be the culprit. European engine makers especially are known for recommending 5w-30 oil.

  2. True. I bought my wife a new 1989 Lincoln (shudda bought the Lexus) and started to use 20w40 oil. Some time goes by and I started to hear a bottom end knock when starting the car. Maybe too heavy an oil. I drained the crankcase and filled it up with automatic trans fluid and drove it gently for about 35 miles. Brought it home and drained the crankcase and refilled it with 5w30 oil. Never heard another knock from then on.

  3. The classic story is the ford escort which had its engine made in Europe at first and came out with an overhead cam. It was supposed to get 5w-30 oil but no one used it and most put in 10w-30 or straight 30 weight because it was in the 70s when no one had ever heard of 5w-30 oil. The oil holes in the cam races were tiny and 10w-30 wouldn't go through in amounts large enough to lubricate the cam. So many many ford escorts burnt out their cams because of it.

    As far as your French van, yes, that is entirely possible that it may have too heavy oil in it right now, Im not sure how long it would take to burn out the cam bearings but if it was done in the past, it may contribute to the condition its in now. Im sure everyone will correct me on my story of the ford escort, I got it mostly blow by blow as it went down.

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