How to Install a Diesel Engine Camshaft

Cummins ISX Camshaft, Remanufactued | Highway and Heavy Parts

The camshaft. Its health is vital to the overall function of your engine, so it's important to know how to properly install it. Improper install techniques can wreak havoc not just on the camshaft, but on your entire engine as a whole. Don't let an improperly installed camshaft cost you money!

There are two main types of camshaft configurations: in the block (overhead valves) or in the cylinder head (overhead cam). This differs from engine to engine, as does the number of camshafts each engine make has.

Wear or damage on your camshaft can negatively affect your engine. Just .001 of an inch of wear can affect your valve timing by as much as 3 degrees. More significant damage, like considerable flaking or pitting, can even damage other engine components, leading to a much more costly repair. If you notice a loss in power or fuel economy in your engine, you should take a look at the condition of your camshaft. It might be time to replace it!


How to Install Your Camshaft

The exact install directions depends on your engine model, but here are some basic steps to get you started:

  1. Lubricate the inside of the camshaft bearings
  2. Ensure that the new camshaft is clean and well-lubricated
  3. Insert the camshaft carefully into the engine block
  4. Install new o-rings onto the retainer plates
  5. Install retainer plate and capscrews, tighten to manufacturer's torque specifications
    • Depending on the engine type, repeat the previous steps with other camshafts if necessary
  6. If removed, install the rear cover plates
  7. Install timing gears according to factory specification. Make sure the parts are well lubricated. It's important to pay attention to factory timing marks/instructions when fitting the timing gears. Improper timing can cause engine failure
  8. Install timing cover
  9. Reinstall the rest of the assembly. It's important to install new accompanying components, such as lifters or rollers, with a new camshaft to prevent uneven wear and future engine problems

Camshaft Installation Tips

The following are a few things to pay attention to as you install your new camshaft:

  • Be sure to follow manufacturer's instructions for proper torque during install
  • Make sure timing alignment is correct when removing and inserting the camshaft. This will differ between engine models, so be sure to follow factory instructions
  • Be careful not to scratch the bearings when the old camshaft is removed and the new inserted
  • Parts should be clean and free of debris to prevent dirt and other matter from entering the engine and causing larger problems


If you're in the market for a new camshaft, we can help you find the perfect one. Or, if you have any questions, give us a call at 844-215-3406, or you can always request a quote online.