Camshaft/Lifter Replacement -
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Unread 06-22-2011, 11:27 PM   #1
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ChrisHager's Avatar
2004 WJ 
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Camshaft/Lifter Replacement

Hello All,

To start, I have an 04 Grand Cherokee with the 4.0 I6 - 86,000 miles on the engine. I am experiencing engine issues which I have diagnosed with having a failed lifter. In short, I started getting a misfire code on cylinder #5 (P0305). I tried all the simple/obvious fixes which failed and led me to the lifter problem I discovered. You can read the entirety of this here:

Anyways, I know I need new lifters and I'm going to bet it's time for a camshaft as well. I figure, while I'm at it, I may as well replace the timing chain and be ahead of the game on maintenance.

So now I'm faced with two options:

1. Replace everything as stock.
2. Add a little performance with a better cam.

If remaining stock, should I buy the Mopar brand or can I get the oreilly/napa brand and be good to go?

If I go with the performance option, my 'wish list' is to do nothing involving modifying the head and nothing too aggressive causing computer issues or anything like that. Is there such a kit in which I just slap on a better camshaft and lifters and shazam, more power? I've worked on enough stuff that I'll be fine doing this myself. I just don't know much in the technical department of cam/lifter shopping. Would I need new springs? rockers? etc. I've been trying to do some homework on it but I know all of your knowledge will steer me in the right direction.

Any info/advice/suggestions are more than welcome.

Thanks in advance,


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Unread 06-23-2011, 08:36 AM   #2
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Never looked into the performance cams for the 4.0 myself, but there are a pile of them out there. Do some reading and see what you think.
With a mild performance camshaft, there will be no need to spend a fortune just to run it.
New cam, lifters and timing chain set, then call it good.

1998 XJ on 37's.JK Rubi axles with chromo shafts and ctm's, 4:1 transfer case, etc etc etc.The Cherylkee....
2003 Range Rover HSE, 4.4 Quad Cam.
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2000 4.7 4WD WJ with a rebuilt motor.
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Choose wisely!
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Unread 06-23-2011, 09:21 AM   #3
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Make sure you do not get a cam with too much lift for your head. Do some research on how much lift the stock valve springs can handle and find a cam right under that mark. Then you should be good to go!
1982 CJ5, Corvette 383... project
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Unread 06-24-2011, 05:09 AM   #4
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Sometimes putting in a performance cam, will get you better fuel economy. Most factory cams are ground to meet emissions, not fuel economy.
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Unread 06-24-2011, 06:27 AM   #5
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1) What was your diagnostic process that narrowed it down to a tappet? I'm only asking because, if you have the 6-242, swapping a tappet is not an easy job. You see, the engine needs to be decapitated...

2) It's not necessary to go with OEM parts, I rarely do. I've been meaning to try Rhoads tappets for the 6-242 next time I need a set and I'm not in a hurry - I've used them on V8 buildups with great results over the years. However, any qualify aftermarket part (I used to use a lot of TRW) will serve handily. Just like engine bearings - Clevite77 when I can find them, TRW when I couldn't, OEM was a weapon of last resort (going OEM doesn't make much of a difference in anything but your wallet, by the time you add it all up.)

3) It is correct that production camshafts are ground more to meet emissions than to help fuel economy or efficiency (differentiation later - they are different.) That's also why so many aftermarket bumpsticks have the caveat of "not for use on Emissions-Controlled motor vehicles.)" However, it should be noted that they often will pass emissions testing, it just can't be guaranteed and the manufacturer doesn't want to assume the liability. There are many reasons why a particular grind would not pass emissions. (Which is irritating. If California would get out of my way and let me do things right, I could eliminate nearly everything except the CCV setup and make the engine run cleaner thereby - including benefitting both fuel economy and fuel efficiency!)

Swapping a cam is a fair amount of work - not only will you need to pull the tappets out (it can be done without removing the head, but it takes effort and patience, and creativity to hold the tappets up out of the cam bore...) you will also need to disassemble the front of the engine and dismount the radiator (the AMC 6 camshaft is about two feet long, and iron doesn't bend very well. You Have Been Warned.) Therefore, swapping the cam is probably not something I'd do "just on account of 'cause" (you can, but it's a headache,) I'd rather do it as a core element of (and generally in concert with elements of) a comprehensive performance plan. Then again, that's also usually done on the engine stand, not in the vehicle.

However, altering valve timing events (via a camshaft swap) is a viable method for gaining torque numbers and potentially moving the torque peak down through the RPM band - which can help significantly, depending on intended use! Playing with cam timing (within limits, natch) also has a beneficial planned effect on performance peak locations - I cover this in the camshaft chapter of The Jeep I6 Power Manual (check my site for info.) The only problem there is that cam indexing parts can be difficult to get, about all that can be available would be offset crankshaft sprocket keys that happen to fit other applications.

It really depends on what you want to do with the truck - but the biggest "bang-for-buck" driveway-doable mod is to take the crankshaft and connecting rods from the AMC 6-258 (4.2L) and install them - this kicks your total displacement up to around 270-280ci, and has a fairly major effect on low-end torque as well - more than the typical camshaft swap! (I cover this in the Strokers chapter in the Power Manual as well, giving examples of the various changes and changes in power output.)

Believe me, there's nothing at all wrong with wanting more torque from your truck's engine! However, just shotgunning parts at it often has negatively synergistic results; while if you plan it all out beforehand, you can usually note significant gains and dream out a plan you can either do all at once or do piecewise - depending on what you're trying to do. Anticipated use is very much a factor...

EDIT - forgot...

OK, so I didn't retain what I read in your OP. You have the 6-242. Rock solid engine, good performance basis, just a limited aftermarket. Workable (and preferable!)

"Fuel economy" - the unit quantity fuel burned per mile travelled, typically expressed in reverse as "miles per gallon." This is not the same thing as fuel efficiency, but it is a key factor in most vehicle purchases (don't confuse fuel economy with power - while the two are not strictly mutually exclusive, production vehicles in general take an "either/or" approach to the matter.)

"Fuel efficiency" - the unit power/torque produced per unit mass of fuel burned. High fuel efficiency and high fuel economy can be (and often are) coupled, as having the high unit power available can make it easier to travel per mile, and therefore reduce the unit mass of fuel required per mile.

Efficiency is simple to maximise on any vehicle - cruise at or near the peak torque crankshaft speed of the engine. When I stopped using fifth gear in my 88, I gained three MPG or so! Why? Because the way the vehicle is geared with the manual transmission and the 6-242 (3.07:1,) the engine ran entirely too slowly in overdrive at freeway speed with 30-31" tyres. By using direct drive (fourth gear) instead of overdrive (fifth,) I moved my cruising crankshaft speed from ~1900-2100rpm to ~2600-2800rpm, bringing it more in line with the torque peak output of the engine. Any piston-engine aircraft pilot or ship's engineer will tell you the same thing - to maximise cruise range, cruise at peak torque output of the engine. That's when the engine moves air the most efficiently (volumetric efficiency is highest,) which allows it to not only burn more fuel, but do so more efficiently. Fuel injection systems are responsive to engine loading conditions, so it knows to reduce fuel as necessary to improve economy at peak efficiency, if the production programmers and tuners paid attention to what they were doing...
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Unread 06-24-2011, 09:57 AM   #6
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Ok that's an awesome amount of accurate information. I dont know where to begin! Haha.

The only way I've diagnosed as a bad litter is that the rocker on that cylinder is torque down properly yet the push rod just flaps against it. I will admit I need to bump the engine and check it again as there is always the chance I checked it while it was in a closed state.

IF the lifters are bad, ill replace all of them. I've heard that a damaged lifter can lead to a damaged camshaft. The reason I'm thinking of adding a performance cam/more efficient cam is if I need to replace it, why not give it a little kick. As it stands right now, I really don't plan to do any major engine modifications. My only problem is I don't know where to begin for picking out a cam that will fit directly with everything stock!

Please feel free to set me straight if I need it! Thanks again for the wealth of information!
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Unread 07-05-2011, 07:13 PM   #7
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An awsome bit of info.

I have always run a Crane cam and lifters, there are others. I did look at the Crane web site and it says to contact them...It might be due to the computer.

I would visit my local, well you can visit your local engine shop, and ask for advice.

I have always changed lifters when I change a cam, just good practice.

I don't go with a lift much over .484 intake .512 exhaust for my jeep. The exhaust is a little much, had to doctor the locks and keeps on valves. (recomendation of local engine shop) I also change timing chain, again it is a wear and tear item, its apart, just change it.

Yes the L6 is a bear to work on, but it will be worth it. have fun
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Unread 09-14-2011, 09:29 AM   #8
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A couple of months after the lifter install, everything seems to be running great! Here is the write up for those interested:

Thanks for all the help!
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Unread 12-13-2011, 12:29 AM   #9
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I know, old thread, but I found this site for cams. Going to check into what's available.

I like the looks of the Crower 44243 as a good alternative to replacing my 4.0 with a stockie.

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