I'm thinking about installing a new cam and want to know, what's better aluminum or fiber cam gears and why?
A fiber gear is silent and is usually acceptable in a non-generator application. It seems to be the consensus that modern fiber gears are not constructed from the same durable material as they were back in the day. If running a gear driven generator, a metal cam gear, whether aluminum, bronze or steel would be my recommendation.
There is also the "school of nylon" too !
The nylon ones have worked well for me, many times over. And you can buy them with their timing advanced, which will give you a bit more power. Back in the day, the cam timing needed to be retarded somewhat in order to burn the inferior gasoline.
I've never had nylon in a T, but I had a very bad (expensive) experience with a nylon gear in a Chebby. I would also steer clear of fiber, even in a pre-starter car. As long as iron, bronze, or aluminum gears are available, why go there?
One thing that is important to remember about fiber gears is that there are TWO distinct types: Woven fiber and pressed fiber. The pressed fiber is the type that Steve had trouble with. The woven fiber gear is no longer produced and is extremely durable and quiet. A woven fiber gear is identified by a woven appearance where the gear has been machined. Woven gears can still be found at swap meets and are, generally, very inexpensive. I use woven fiber gears in all of my engines, even the ones with a generator.
I hope this helps,
Thanks to all that have responded. It's great to hear some advise from members who have used the different types.