How to Remove a Camshaft

by John Stevens J.D.

An engine's camshaft features a number of lobes which run along the length of the camshaft. These lobes are designed to lift each valve within the cylinder head, as well as hold each valve open, at a specific interval and for a specific duration. The camshaft also features a gear at one end of the camshaft which tells the engine's distributor when to send a spark to the spark plugs. Over time, the camshaft's lobes wear down, resulting in poor performance and fuel economy. Once this occurs, the camshaft must be removed and replaced with a new camshaft.

Step 1

Drain and remove the radiator. The radiator can be drained by removing the plug on the bottom of the radiator with a wrench. Disconnect the upper and lower radiator hoses by loosening the hose clamps which appear at the end of each hose with a flathead screwdriver, then by pulling each hose away from the radiator. Disconnect the two transmission cooler lines located at the bottom of the radiator with a flare nut wrench if the vehicle is equipped with an automatic transmission. Remove the radiator's mounting bolts, located at each corner of the radiator, then pull the radiator out of the engine compartment.

Step 2

Remove the fan, the fan's pulley and the water pump. Remove the bolts located in the center of the fan with a wrench, then pull the fan away from the engine, followed by the fan's pulley. Remove the bolts which hold the water pump to the timing chain cover with a wrench, then pull the water pump away from the engine.

Step 3

Remove the distributor, followed by the intake manifold. The distributor is attached to the engine with a single bolt, located underneath the distributor. Remove this bolt with a wrench, then lift the distributor straight up to remove it. Withdraw each of the intake manifold's bolts with a wrench, then pull the manifold off of the engine to reveal the engine's valve lifters.

Step 4

Remove the valve covers, followed by the rocker arms, pushrods and valve lifters. The valve covers attach to the cylinder heads with several bolts located on the lip of the covers. Remove the bolts with a wrench, then pull the valve covers off of the cylinder head to reveal the rocker arms and pushrods. Remove the single bolt located in the center of each rocker arm with a wrench, then remove each rocker arm. Pull each pushrod out of the engine. Use the blade of a flathead screwdriver to pry each valve lifter out of the engine.

Step 5

Remove the harmonic balancer and the timing chain cover. Remove the large bolt located in the center of the harmonic balancer with a wrench, then attach a harmonic balancer puller to the balancer. The puller attaches to the harmonic balancer with three or more bolts, which are included with the puller. Tighten the threaded rod in the center of the puller with a wrench to pull the harmonic balancer off of the engine. Remove the timing chain cover's retaining bolts and pull the cover away from the engine to reveal the timing chain.

Step 6

Remove the timing chain by first removing the single bolt located in the center of the upper timing chain sprocket with a wrench, then pull the upper and lower sprockets off of the engine to remove the timing chain.

Step 7

Remove the thrust plate from the front of the camshaft by removing the plate's two retaining bolts with a wrench. Grasp the end of the camshaft and pull it out of the engine while simultaneously twisting it to complete the process.

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