Well, had Toda A3 cams installed this time last year and although the engine wasn't exactly noisy, I wanted to be on the safe side and get my valve clearances checked. This was duly carried out by Andrew Baird at Automek in E Kilbride who is a fantastic mechanic and has quite a lot of experience with FD2s.
After very careful checking, it was found that the exhaust cam clearances were a bit tight but generally OK, while the inlet cam clearances were not so great (some quite a lot over and some too tight). All the clearances were set to optimum but the really interesting (and a little bit scary) thing was what we observed on one of the lobes on the inlet cam:
OK, it looks a bit worse in the pic than in the flesh but the scoring/pitting clearly visible was definitely not right and suggests either a manufacturing defect or some other damage prior to installation. Weirdly, the pitting marks are on the return side of the lobe - ie not on the part of lobe under the greatest forces as the valve is opened. Also, all other 15 lobes of the inlet cam and all 16 lobes of the exhaust cam were completely pristine - impossible to detect any signs of wear whatsoever, even after 11,000 miles - what you might expect with Toda's reputation for quality.
Now the good news; TDI North installed the cams but since they came via TDI South and TDI South have been looking after the old girl these past few months, I emailed Mark at TDI South. Mark agreed that things didn't look right and he got straight onto Toda Japan. The upshot is that Toda want the cam back for analysis and are immediately air freighting a replacement to me. Meanwhile, TDI South are going to swap and set up the cams for me free of charge
They say that the real test of a company is not what happens when things go right, but how they treat you when things go wrong. So a very big thanks to Mark and the team at TDI South for being truly professional and thanks too to Toda, who obviously cares about the quality of its products!