Engine Camshaft Buttons

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Camshaft Button
Camshaft Button

Camshaft buttons are used on many newer engines,in order to prevent the camshaft from coming loose. Almost every flat-tappet traditional camshaft has a slight angle on the lobe surface. This angle puts a slight load on the camshaft which keeps it wedged all the way back against the distributor. In the 1980’s, roller lifters started being used which allowed camshafts to be more aggressive. This added aggressiveness of the camshaft meant that the slight angle may not be able to hold the camshaft in place which is why the buttons were created. These new camshaft buttons were screwed into a threaded hole on the front of the shaft. This button would take up the extra space between the shaft and the timing cover which would help keep the shaft in place.

There are three basic types of camshaft buttons which include nylon, aluminum, and rollerized buttons. The nylon and aluminum buttons are standard buttons that need to be well lubricated to prevent wearing down quickly against the hard timing cover. Rollerized camshaft buttons have bearings in them which reduce friction causing them to operate more efficiently and have a longer life since it won’t wear down as fast.

Camshaft buttons that see excessive amounts of wear are suffering from too much cam play which is known as “cam walk”. Cam walk is caused by changes in ignition timing which happens when the distributor gears create a side load against the camshaft, pushing it away and changing the relationship between the distributor and the camshaft.

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