Rick Anderson tells us that while his new Cam Chain Retention Tool will save hours on a Two-Valve cam swap, he cautions not to rely on the retention tool for any length of time since the tool is used to simply prevent the timing chain from losing tension. Rick recommends having the new cam laying within arms reach so that the other hand can hold on to the tool for an extra measure of security against the chain losing tension, because if the chain slips you'll be spending the next couple of hours tearing down the front of the engine.
There's no doubt that you simply have to take a look at a disassembled modular engine to see that there's more sophisticated technology used in the design and functionality of this engine than there ever has been in a Ford "small-block" engine. Dual timing chains, multiple cams, hydraulic chain tensioners, cross-bolted main caps, powdered-metal "cracked cap" connecting rods, and so much more. This technology is one reason why hard parts have been slow to the aftermarket. Over the last year or so, however, the Two-Valve 4.6 has started to see more and more aftermarket support. All the big cam companies are making new cams for the Two-Valve now and there are plenty of tuners and high-performance engine builders that have designed cam grinds on their own. So it's no surprise that Two-Valve owners are not chomping at the bit to throw some cams in and reap the benefits.
One look under the hood however and you'll quickly notice the 4.6 modular is a far cry from the small-block 5.0 powerplant in your Fox Mustang. Just looking at the sheer size of the timing-chain cover and the fasteners (some are different lengths than others), not to mention removing and resetting the chain tensioners, and the idea of doing a cam swap begins to give you second thoughts. Getting two cams and two chains set up properly to prevent engine damage and to ensure the car starts and runs properly is a daunting task for the backyard wrench. But what if a Two-Valve cam swap could be no harder than removing your cam covers? We've got your interest piqued now, huh?
This is the same thought that was running through the maze of synaptic nerves that make up Rick Anderson's impressive mind. Just like the lifter retainer tools he designed for pushrod motors (which save valuable time by allowing the intake to stay in place during a cam swap), Rick thought if there was some way to hold the tension on the timing chain via the top of the cylinder head, a user could easily swap a camshaft without any knowledge of chain timing. Rick's Cam Chain Retention Tool (PN AF0602; $29.99) is the perfect answer. Simply remove the cam cover, engage the tool to prevent loss of chain tension, and then swap cams. Wash, rinse, and repeat for the other cylinder head, and in an hour or so you'll have your new cams installed and be ready to hit the street. Rick was kind enough to snap a few photos for us in the dead of winter (what else is there to do in Clinton, Illionis, when it's 18 degrees out) and share some tips on successfully swapping Two-Valve cams with his ingenious tool.