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Ceramic Cam Follower....

ROH ECHT

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Location
PDX OR
Car(s)
2007 MKV GTI
Just sharing this here...I do not know much yet. Still trying to find out if it can be ordered in the states. Skepticism is obviously present. I wondered about some of the what if's. Will this wear the tri-lobe of the cam...what happens if any ceramic wears and enters the engine oil, and is strong enough for the compression it would be under when tuned for a HPFP upgrade? The site does state they thickened the walls. They also say "This HPFP cam follower stops all wear to the cam lobe and will last for a VERY long time." This is the same material used in ceramic ball-bearings in turbos.

https://wasamotor.com/shop/vw-audi-...wSBwmhHASd5smnT_488IQJZmmntflsVLOwftNhFz9wGjQ

So yeah, just sharing it as it is for your engines as well...and for if y'all want to look into it further.
 

ROH ECHT

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Car(s)
2007 MKV GTI
Looks like if you want one...you'll need to order from the WASA site.
It comes out of Sweden and shipping will be pricey.
 

ROH ECHT

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Car(s)
2007 MKV GTI
I've replaced my CF ten times having the HPFP upgrade, the K04, and a target rail pressure of a 140 bar max. Around the eighth time replacing the CF, two of the three threaded holes for the hpfp bolts were stripped in the cover. Even though I torqued them at 7 lb*ft/10Nm each time...the threads seemed to bite into the chain cover and would make a pop sound when loosened each of the following CF replacements. So, I had to replace the chain cover (06F 103 107 G ) which the HPFP is mounted to and costs over $700. With the new cover I added the HPFP stud conversion. I might try the ceramic follower just because it may last the life of the car now...as I now only drive the MK5 about 2500 miles per year. My options way back when were to replace the CF many times or do the TSI roller CF conversion...I chose to replace the CF many times...and it cost me more than the roller conversion would've over time.
 
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socal87

Drag Race Newbie
Location
Lawrence, KS
Car(s)
2012 GTI, Sun/Nav
Well, someone has to be the guinea pig. Lol.

The science backs up most of their claims. Silicon nitride is extremely hard and extremely smooth; it has good shock resistance compared to other ceramics. It is extremely heat tolerant. Ceramic does not deform under load like steel does; ceramic ball bearings have a smaller contact area than similar steel, and therefore lasts much longer. It's also less than half the weight. The Space Shuttle's main engines use it in their bearings. Many engines already use it in rocker arm contact pads.

Typically, when used as a bearing, all of the contact surfaces are either made of or coated with silicon nitride; what this means is that the cam follower would last longer than the cam itself. Given its smoothness, I doubt it would cause increased wear to the cam lobes; it just means that the cam follower would still be serviceable at the point where you'd need to completely rebuild the engine due to wear. Hybrid ceramic bearings (steel races, ceramic balls) are in wide use, and generally wear better than full steel bearings; however, the cam follower is not a ball bearing and experiences more sliding wear than a ball bearing. Hybrid bearings do last longer than steel bearings; I imagine the same would be true in this context, although not as long as it would were the cam lobes coated in Si3N4 as well.

If you plan on keeping the car for a while, I'd say go for it. Less than $100 shipped, and will last the lifetime of the engine.
 
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TimS

Ready to race!
Location
Alexandria, VA
The problem that I see is that this is going to wear the cam lobe, since the basic function of the system hasn't changed. I'd rather just replace the OEM follower periodically.

As for the bolts stripping out, I recommend Time-Serts in the bolt holes over the stud kit. I had a stud kit for a while, and it made the job a real pain in the ass. Steel thread inserts are the way to go for me.
 

socal87

Drag Race Newbie
Location
Lawrence, KS
Car(s)
2012 GTI, Sun/Nav
The problem that I see is that this is going to wear the cam lobe, since the basic function of the system hasn't changed. I'd rather just replace the OEM follower periodically.
Silicon nitride is used in hybrid ceramic bearings, where the balls are Si3N4, and the races are regular bearing steel. Wear rates are lower than traditional all-steel bearings. The steel will wear faster than the silicon nitride, but at a slower rate than it would against steel. Honestly, I think this cam follower would be a solid bet. By the time the cam lobe wore down to the point where it's a problem, you would probably have already rebuilt the bottom end at least once. We're talking millions of miles, here.
 

ROH ECHT

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PDX OR
Car(s)
2007 MKV GTI
As for the bolts stripping out, I recommend Time-Serts in the bolt holes over the stud kit. I had a stud kit for a while, and it made the job a real pain in the ass. Steel thread inserts are the way to go for me.
I did add heli-coils to the two that were stripped, but those also failed eventually.

With the stud conversion...I cut 8mm from them all which helps a great deal and it's no longer difficult to remove the HPFP. With the stud kit, you do need to disconnect the delivery hose, and so I swapped one clamp for a worm-gear clamp and disconnect the hose at the delivery tube rather than at the HPFP fitting. I actually made a vid cutting a stud but this was after the job on the studs was done and I just cut a fully threaded stud for the purpose of the vid:
 
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ROH ECHT

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2007 MKV GTI
Silicon nitride is used in hybrid ceramic bearings, where the balls are Si3N4, and the races are regular bearing steel. Wear rates are lower than traditional all-steel bearings. The steel will wear faster than the silicon nitride, but at a slower rate than it would against steel. Honestly, I think this cam follower would be a solid bet. By the time the cam lobe wore down to the point where it's a problem, you would probably have already rebuilt the bottom end at least once. We're talking millions of miles, here.
I will be ordering one before they are no longer available...should that happen.
 

TimS

Ready to race!
Location
Alexandria, VA
Silicon nitride is used in hybrid ceramic bearings, where the balls are Si3N4, and the races are regular bearing steel. Wear rates are lower than traditional all-steel bearings. The steel will wear faster than the silicon nitride, but at a slower rate than it would against steel. Honestly, I think this cam follower would be a solid bet. By the time the cam lobe wore down to the point where it's a problem, you would probably have already rebuilt the bottom end at least once. We're talking millions of miles, here.
Bearings that roll in a system designed for use with silicon nitride components isn't really a relevant comparison to a cam lobe wiping across the face of a follower. It's a totally different type of stress and wear.
Maybe I'm wrong And it will last a billion miles, but considering the repair cost if this thing does kill the cam, I'd rather do a roller conversion if I make any changes.
 

ROH ECHT

K04 PLAY
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PDX OR
Car(s)
2007 MKV GTI
Thank you for that link...I now have it bookmarked in case any other M6x1s strip out in the future.
 

socal87

Drag Race Newbie
Location
Lawrence, KS
Car(s)
2012 GTI, Sun/Nav
Bearings that roll in a system designed for use with silicon nitride components isn't really a relevant comparison to a cam lobe wiping across the face of a follower. It's a totally different type of stress and wear.
Maybe I'm wrong And it will last a billion miles, but considering the repair cost if this thing does kill the cam, I'd rather do a roller conversion if I make any changes.
I've looked a bit more into this.

According to this page, high quality steel ball bearings are considered grade 25 - that is, they are manufactured to a tolerance of 25/1,000,000th's of an inch, or 0.000025/in.
Ceramics on the other hand are typically grade 5 or higher - 0.0000003/in tolerance. This demonstrates a much higher smoothness.

There have indeed been studies performed on friction and wear characteristics of sliding steel vs ceramic interfaces, but all the papers I can find are behind paywalls.

For us gun guys, nitride finishes are generally favored over phosphate due to their smooth finishes, which require less lube and are easier to clean. They also cost a lot more than milspec, but the price is generally acceptable due to the necessity of a weapon that functions properly every time.

Given that ceramic is much harder than steel (Rc58 to 64 for steel, Rc75 to 80 for ceramic), accelerated wear of the cam lobe would indeed be an issue, but the smoothness of the ceramic mitigates this - if anything, the extremely smooth and hard ceramic surface will polish the wear surface of the cam lobe over time, which will have the effect of actually reducing friction, and therefore wear rates as the parts "wear in" to each other.

Thus, I believe it is safe to say that while wear and friction will inevitably be higher than a roller follower conversion, it will still be significantly lower than the factory design.

@Audiowright, if I may suggest, it would be a good idea to document this in detail as time goes on. Continue to remove the cam follower during each oil change and inspect the surface under a microscope - even better, see if you can find a way to inspect the cam lobe surface as well. It would be interesting to see "real world" results, though I have no doubt that this will be an overall improvement.
 
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