I recall (from rebuilding and souping up several Ford flat-head V-8s) that 1930s-vintage flat -heads used a molded or pressed-on fiber camshaft gear. They were designed to be silent, but on occasion stripped their teeth or slipped on the camshaft, assuring a perfectly silent (dead) engine. Of course when modifying a flat-head, I installed a racing-type camshaft with a metallic gear.
Good design says that if position or rotation on a shaft matters, they must be keyed or splined or welded. So there are a number of options. I hope that the problem cost Ford enough so that they decide to never make that mistake again. At least I hope that they learned something. It is probably not possibe to lock the shaft to the gear if it has not moved yet, sometimes a bit of advanced maintenance is what is needed.
The "and 30 degrees" is included to stretch the bolt, giving a a very uniform clamping force. Once tightened in this manner, the bolt will not return to its original length if loosened. This permanent stretch is why manufacturers generally recomment against reusing TTY bolts. Will you likely get away with reusing the bolts? Sure, but a set of bolts doesn't cost that much when you look at the cost involved in redoing the job if a bolt fails or doesn't clamp correctly.
You can re-use the head bolts if they are not damaged, as long as you omit the "and 30 deg" part that is meant to crush the washer the first time. I did this during a head gasket replacement on a 6 inline engine, because I saw that the recommended replacement of the OEM headbolts was already done earlier and I did not want to spend more money than necessary to get this "mechanics special" running again. I drove it a year, then borrowed it for another year to a lady with young child who lost her car and when she returned it I finally sold it, the new headgasket and old bolts held up pretty well.
NOTE that for the pressed-on cam sprockets, the only thing that stands between you and disaster are the manufacturing tolerances of the interference surfaces!
Now go back and review how much interference (thousandths of an inch) is required, which interference is designed and how much accumulated tolerance you can get...
This is not the only place Detroit is up to something strange. I was working on a Malibu and the torque spec for the heads was x footpounds plus 30 degrees. Is that a spec? Where do I get a torquewrench that measures in footpounds and degrees?
These are called Torque-To-Yield (TTY) fasteners and are not unusual.
Many years ago I was engineering manager at a small company building a line of standard machines for manufacturing plants to use in their production. Our machine shop and fabrication people wanted to eliminate the keys I had designed in to keep two aluminum arms locked parallel to each other in a steel shaft. They felt that since there was little torque involved, it would be OK.
I made it known that we would continue to use the keys period! That may have been blunt and it caused a stink up and down the ladder but I never had to wonder when a maintenance man would put one back on too loose or out of parallel. Sometimes the person in charge of the product design has to put his foot down even at the risk of being fired.
Some 13 years ago an engineering friend of mine told me something that explains a bit of this. "Roy" was with Texas Instruments on the team designing the control system of the yet to be released f-22. I was visiting with him one day in his home and said I'd been getting unsatisfactory performance from newly purchased computer periferals, specifically printers. I said that it seemed to me that these things weren't tested before being released to the public. Roy replied that this wasn't just a perception, that it was true: new products weren't being tested any more, like we both remembered most products had once been. "That's because," he went on, "companies no longer have field testers or in many cases, no field testing department." If that's so, I replied, then how do they determine if a product is ready for general release? His answer: They don't; they use the consumer as the field tester. He doesn't know he's the tester, but he is. That's why they encouraged people to bring an item back to the point of purchase to be picked up by a company rep or ship it directly to them with specifics about the problem. Since the selling price actually covered the cost of making 3 or more, it was cheaper to just replace it with another item -- which by the time the problem was encountered may have been upgraded -- than to have an entire department on salary to do the field testing. In company field testing also increased the time in which a product would be rolled out. Time is money in most businesses these days. All important to get your "new" product on the shelves ahead of the competition even if not the best it can be. In short: If doing it this way saved even a few pennies on each item, even if it resulted in the loss of a customer, then that was the way to go. Your business was expendible. The market was always groing; they could always get more customers. It's still being done this way.
The issue of institutional knowledge is growing now that the baby boomers are starting to retire. Some companies are trying to capture that knowledge before they leave the building. In most cases, decades of knowledge will just walk out the door on retirement day.
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