This guide will focus on VCT solenoid, it’s symptoms, how to clean it and everything you need to know about this wonderful gadget. To get started, let’s consider what a VCT solenoid is and it’s functions.
What Is a VCT Solenoid?
Oil pressure enters the camshaft phaser by a VCT solenoid, which controls the timing of the camshafts through the PCM. It’s just a spool valve with an electronic control circuit. Oil pressure is allowed to retard camshaft timing or advance the phaser depending on the position of the spool valve. This is known as PWM and is controlled by the PCM via pulse width modulation. Changing the PCM several times per second allows for several timing modifications.
Once the VCT solenoids are energized, damage to the parts and low oil pressure might impede the mechanical and hydraulic processes. When in the default off position, the phasers are retained in an advanced position, with oil flowing into the advance side. A chain connects an outside component to a sprocket in a phaser. The inner component is connected to the camshaft by a banjo bolt. The direction in which the interior unit turns towards the outside unit is controlled by the center vane assembly.
Oil is fed straight from the camshaft center to the phaser through a banjo bolt. The block is actually the source of an oil supply. This supply passes through the camshaft front bearing, into the camshaft, and lastly into the phaser from the camshaft.
How Does The VCT Valve Work?
There are a few prerequisites that must be completed before the working process can begin. The device will only work if the engine oil temperature is normal and the engine speed is above 800 RPM. Otherwise, it will be inactive and default to the full advance position while the computer is idle.
The phaser’s front contains magnetic cam position sensors. This portion of the phaser has a return spring built in. And because it rotates in tandem with the camshaft, the engine is always aware of how the VCT affects the timing. If the phaser is disassembled, the return spring helps it return to its default full advanced position.
Each automobile manufacturer has its own variable valve system. The oil flow is controlled by a solenoid when the variable valve timing system is engaged. In general, the mechanism engages when the engine is under significant stress, such as when it is under a heavy load.
When moving up a slope, the car may accelerate more quickly. It’ll also work if you’re carrying extra weight or accelerating with the throttle. The variable valve timing oil is provided to lubricate the variable valve timing gear assembly and chain. When the VCT solenoid is activated, oil is applied to the VCT gears.
Read also: Signs Of a Bad Intake Air Temperature Sensor
Signs That Your VCT Solenoid Is Malfunctioning
When you see the following signs, you should know that your VCT Solenoid needs attention:
Check Engine Light Illuminates
The first red flag is the check engine light. As part of its control, the Engine Control Unit in today’s cars monitors all engine components. When a part fails, the ECU stores a trouble code in a unique method so that a mechanic may use a scan tool to figure out where the problem is.
The specific zone warning will glow on the dashboard after the code is created, informing the driver. The Check Engine Light is frequently illuminated when VCT solenoids fail to activate.
One thing remains the same, despite the fact that different automakers use different codes. An ASE Certified mechanic should be consulted to ensure that the vehicle is in good functioning order. The code should also be obtained through the appropriate diagnostic tool in order for the technician to discover the common source of the problem. Individual codes for Variable Valve Timing solenoids are assigned by manufacturers. When the mechanic has all of the essential information, he can start working on the specific issue.
Dirty Engine Oil
Furthermore, unclean engines may suggest an oil problem. Most people understand that it is a cause, not a symptom. If the engine oil is clean, the VCT solenoid, on the other hand, is totally working. When the engine oil gets contaminated with debris, the pathway between the solenoid and the VCT gear and chain becomes clogged.
When the engine oil is changed on time, the VCT solenoid, gear drive, and VCT chain are all protected. As a result, it’s critical to change the engine oil according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Low oil levels can cause problems with the timing components and the VCT solenoid. Solenoid timing When the mechanic has all of the essential information, he can start working on the specific issue.
By lubricating moving parts, engine oil protects and keeps them from tearing down. Friction and frictional wear are also reduced. Lubrication aids in the prevention of overheating of internal engine components. It also keeps the engine from rubbing against each other when it’s running.
Engine oil is necessary to keep your engine from being damaged by metal-on-metal contact. Metal-on-metal contact would cause substantial and costly engine damage if it didn’t exist. Engine oil is also required for your car to guarantee that overheated components are kept cool. The majority of the cooling is provided by coolant system components such as radiators and pumps.
Rough Engine Idle
A rough engine idle might also be a sign of a faulty VCT solenoid. When driving uphill or at higher RPMs, you’ll notice that the engine’s VCT system engages. When the solenoid fails, it’s possible that extra engine oil will need to be poured to the VCT gears.
Furthermore, the currents change during the system’s activation, resulting in an uneven idle. If it isn’t fixed right away, it could lead to premature wear of other engine components. If your engine is creating a rough idle, you should call a mechanic as soon as possible.
If your automobile has a rough engine idle, you’ll notice that it vibrates a lot, with bouncing and shaking sensations. This bouncing and shaking symptom might vary in severity depending on the vehicle, but it is easily identifiable by both passengers and drivers. You can hear a strange sound emanating from the engine, in addition to the shaking. If the engine idle is choppy, the RPM will be irregular when you accelerate.
In the vast majority of circumstances, a vehicle with a running engine idles at 1000 revolutions per minute. Your vehicle has a rough engine idle if it gets too low or too high. It needs to be rectified as soon as feasible.
Poor Fuel Economy
Another sign is a decrease in fuel economy. Variable valve timing is critical for lowering fuel consumption and increasing engine output since it enhances engine performance. The intake and exhaust valves may close at the improper timings if the VCT solenoid system malfunctions. Despite this, it results in significant fuel economy decreases.
If you see any of the indications or symptoms indicated above, you should contact a certified mechanic as soon as possible. If you catch an issue early enough, it may typically be rectified without causing more internal engine damage. If you see any of these symptoms, call a skilled mechanic in your area as soon as possible.
How much does it take to replace a VCT Solenoid?
You should expect to pay between $80 to $410 for a VCT solenoid replacement. The cost of labor should be between $30 and $155, and the cost of parts should be between $50 and $255.
What does VCT do?
VCT (Variable Camshaft Timing) is a Ford-developed variable valve timing system for automobiles. When compared to engines with fixed camshafts, it enables for more optimum engine performance, fewer pollutants, and increased fuel efficiency. (Engines with VCT on both camshafts are now referred to as Ti-VCT engines.)
Can you drive with a bad VCT solenoid?
You should never drive around with a defective VCT solenoid in your vehicle. If you’re not careful, it could be disastrous in some circumstances…. If you notice any problems with your VCT solenoid, you should take it to your licensed mechanic right away.
Are VCT and VVT the same?
VVT (variable valve timing) is a generic word for a valve timing system that is often designed to work in conjunction with the camshaft. A VCT system (variable cam timing) is a type of VVT system. Manufacturers modify the names to make the designs sound more “manufacture distinctive.”