Allpar Forums banner

Do 'Tona's tend to puke up rocker arms?

3962 Views 16 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  TurboPacifica
Short and skinny, the Daytona puked up it's no. 1 exhaust valve rocker arm. Doesn't look like anything got damaged or destroyed, the rocker just popped out. My inclination is to figure out how to stuff it back in, but what made it go in the first place and how do I avoid that happening again?
The car is a 91 4 banger (non-turbo) and has been driven by my wife's dad it's whole life, so yeah, the little old lady story, and it's only got about 76K miles on it.

If I can figure out what happened to the pictures that I was going to use for this post, I'll put 'em up. For now, use your imagination, the very first rocker on the passenger (timing belt) side of the engine, laying at the back of the head and everything else looking in order. A couple small scratches on the side of the cam, but nothing that I can see where the roller contacts the lobe.
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
The cam followers don't tend to 'fall out' normally. If it was over reved and the valves 'floated' then it's possible that it could have popped out. Another possibility is a collapsed lifter. The best way to reinstall this is to remove the cam and place the rocker back into position. If it's a follower and not a roller 'follower' then they 'must' be put back on the cam lobe that they originally work with otherwise the wear pattern will be different.

Once you get the cam out you can lift the lifters one at a time and measure their height against each other. They should all be about the same height. If that one lifter is shorter then you have identified your problem. Replace all the lifters just to be safe.
Ok, the pictures finally showed up from my phone.

See less See more
No, it wasn't over revved, I've been driving the car for the last several months and haven't thrashed on it at all--ever. So it didn't float the valves.
It made a really strange rattling noise last week when I started it to go to work, but settled down almost right away and ran good for the next week. Then when I started it to go to lunch the other day, it started popping and running rough, which is when I would think the rocker exited stage left.

How difficult is it to put the cam back in? I worked on my truck as a teenager but grew out of it as I became able to pay someone else who knew what they were doing--this was almost the same time I realized I didn't know what I was doing. I've got decent mechanical skills--just never been fond of working inside the engine. Can I just unbolt the caps for the cam, slightly tilt it up enough (gently) to put that rocker back in, then torque everything back down?
What are the "followers" that you mentioned?
Thanks for the quick reply.

BTW---just found that you're over in Tallahassee, we're in Niceville, just north of Destin. Are you in the Florida Mopar Club? We went to a car show in Panama City back in February, were you out there by chance? There was one 'Tona but I don't remember what it was other than black.
See less See more
I'm no longer in Tallahassee. So, that's a bummer for both of us. Maybe though I can trek up to join you all in the fall at an event. My grand kids are up there and I will be visiting once in a while for sure.

It now sounds like a lifter took a dump more than anything else.

To remove the cam (and change the timing belt while you're at it - why not?) pull the belts and untension the timing belt tensioner. Remove the timing belt and then there are (IIRC) five caps. Remove them and the cam lifts out. DON'T mix up the cam journals. They must go back in order. Order some seals for the cam if you want and replace them too while you're at it. It's easy to strip the threads if you over torque the bolts. Use a torque wrench and tighten them to the proper torque. I'll have to look up that value.

The reverse to reinstall. To 'time the cam' there is a procedure here on Allpar. We'll have to look for that link but if you look / search in the main site for cam timing of 2.2/2.5 you should find it. It is very well done and explains the process very well.

Let me know of you have any more questions. I am bummed that there's another 'tona in the panhandle. You probably need to get to know Jason. He has a second gen 'tona with a 440 wedged into the engine compartment.

Will you be coming to the show in Ocala in the fall? It would be nice to have more Daytonas there. Did you check out the photos of my car? Link in my signature.
See less See more
I was talking to a buddy earlier today about this and he was saying if I replace all the lifters I need to make sure to use break in lube or cam lube so I don't smoke the cam after installing new lifters. I don't think he had his mind wrapped around this engine set-up, pretty sure I can just soak the new lifters in oil and then install and put everything else back together?
I did a quick search and it looks like the new lifters will come in around $50-$80 for a full set? I was already planning on replacing the timing belt when we were in the early stages of "what the Heck went wrong". So I picked up a new belt when I decided to replace all the plugs, wires, cap n' rotor. Turns out the rotor's never been replaced on the thing--76K miles! Looked like it came off of the Titanic, I was amazed it was still firing and running as smoothly as it did. Anyway, all the belts will get replaced and i guess I'll get the cam gaskets and try to do this right.
The backstory on the car is my wife bought it new in 1991 and her dad pretty much wouldn't let her have it (they titled it in his name for insurance purposes and he became a dick about her ever taking the car). So he's had it at their house in Calgary until two years ago when he started talking about selling it. She decided it was finally time to take ownership and we brought it back to the States---drove it 800 miles and ran great. The car would probably be mint if he would have kept it in the garage, but even for 21 year old, it looks really good and the interior is in nice overall shape. It even still has the aftermarket Alpine cassette deck she installed in '91! She'd bought another Daytona several years later, 93 Iroc, so giving this one up to her dad wasn't as bad. We brought that one to the States 10 years ago but sold it in the heat of family life. It was also in really good condition.
Anyway--I'll get all the parts together and find a torque wrench and get this sorted. I did some searching and reading on the forums and found some stuff about the timing and replacing the timing belt, but I'm thinking I'll buy a repair manual as well. This is new to me as I never realized you timed these things from the back of the engine!
See less See more
Man, I just typed out a long reply and forgot to hit post!
So this will be way short.
I'll go ahead and get some lifters, $50-$80 is what I found them online for. I'll also replace the cam gaskets and timing belt, along with the other belts. Do I need to use cam lube, or break in lube on these, or just soak them in oil?
When this problem first popped up, we thought it might be a bad plug or wire, so we replaced those, along with the cap and rotor (cap and rotor never replaced in 76K miles/21 years!)
I tried looking for your pics earlier, but only found one of your 86. We just got back to Florida last July, so still not tuned in to the shows around here. I hadn't heard anything about Ocala, is that a good one? This is my wife's car, and she's big into the car shows, she sponsored a bunch over the last 5 years we were in Utah. So that's more her bag. She's wanted to put this car in some here since there really aren't many Daytona's driving around.
As for timing the engine, I did some reading on the forum and found some posts saying how to do it, I've never timed an engine from the back!
See less See more
You have a roller follower cam and followers. The lifters have nothing to do with the cam wear. If you pull the cam, pull the lifters and because they are roller they are not as prone to wearing the cam in a pattern as normal followers are. So the followers/rockers 'may' be put back in any order but number them just the same and install them back on the lobe they came off.

Next, pump up the lifters manually before you install them to get them full of oil. Install them after you pull the old ones out. Be careful that the big cylinder is the same diameter and height as the ones coming out. Then, once it's all back together pour some oil on the cam just because and crank it. You should be just fine.

If you Facebook search 'Florida Mopars'. They Ron and Mel will hook you up with all the great places for shows etc.

Look at the bottom of my post here and you'll see some links. One is for my blue and the other for my Black Daytona.
See less See more
Same thing happened to my 2.5 except it was the #4 rocker arm. What happened with mine was the lifter collapsed and the spring got all gummed up with carbon. What we did was use carborater cleaner in the spring to losen it up again so we could push it down to put the rocker arm back in along with a new lifter. We didnt need to move the camshaft at all.
That's really tempting, and what my buddy suggested to do--just put in a new lifter and stuff the rocker back in. How did you get the valve spring compressed enough to get the rocker back on?
I'd love to just slap this sucker back together and keep driving it. If another lifter gives me fits, I can look to replace them all at that time.
Roller cams don't need the cam break-in stuff, but extra grease on the cam and roller rockers is aways a good thing at start-up, I like using simple moly wheel bearing grease, just wipe some all over everything and forget it, don't really care for that red "cam lube", just too thin for me. If you don't want the hassle of pulling the cam and all that, compress the valve and spring and slip the rocker in there. Rotate the cam so you are at the bottom of the lobe, but even before you do this, pull that lifter and make sure there isn't a problem with is, it is the pivot point adjustment to keep the rockers in place, if they get junk in them and go flat, that's when they will come off because the pivot point is not tight enough to keep them in place. Sure saves a lot of time pulling a whole came out, unless you want to do all that work.
See less See more
We had to use a pry bar lol
Nothing wrong with using a prybar. There is actually a pickle-fork looking tool to do it, gently pressing on the valve spring to get the valve down far enough to clear, the ends of the fork rest on the underside of the camshaft, just gently pry to compress the spring, slip the rocker in.
Wow, the Daytona's been sitting in the garage for a long time according to the start of this post! My buddy just asked for his spring compressor back so I got on the car last night and stuffed the new lifter and original rocker arm back in. It went in scary easy--made me nervous with how quick it went.
I decided to turn the engine over to make sure all was right before I put the valve cover back on and guess what----ping, clang, pow---it shot another rocker arm out! I'm gonna guess it froze up in the last couple months of sitting, so I'm going to order a new set of lifters and swap them all out.
I like that "pickle fork" idea for putting the rocker arm back in, the spring compressor was pretty tight in there.
I've been stalling on this project as we've been at the height of summer and working in the stifling heat has not been my priority, I've got another vehicle to drive. I've also been working on swapping out the timing belt--nothing I read prepared me for how bad that particular task sucks. I've taken out what I could up to the engine mount and stalled out there. No wonder people have "project cars" that sell with a spare box of bolts! Do I really need to pull the power steering bracket completely out? Also, should I put a new tensioner in while it's apart? A buddy highly recommended I replace the water pump while I have it apart, I just don't have the money to keep putting into this.
Thanks for the info so far!
See less See more
You do not remove the power steering bracket at all to do a timing belt on these engines. You remove the alternator, swing the A/C compressor aside, remove all 3 drive belts, the timing belt cover, the splash shield by the RF wheelwell, then support the engine with a piece of plywood on a jack, undo the engine mount. Remove the belt. Reverse the process. It's not hard, just takes about 4-5 hours the first time.

Replacing the water pump involves removing A/C and alt belt, alternator and A/C compressor, their mounting bracket, so, yes, it's worthwhile to buy a new $25 water pump while this is all apart.
Check your oil carefully for any signs of moisture or antifreeze. I can't understand what is causing these to freeze up but I suspect contaminated oil. I know of many cars that have sat for years without being started and they did not have this problem when they were started after sitting for a long time.
I vote yes on the water pump. as ,long as its taken that far apart allready.

plus clean and paint anything you remove.
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.