Why Is My VCT Solenoid Stuck Open?
Variable Camshaft Timing is a technology developed by a Ford which uses automobile variable valve timing. The technology allows reduced emissions, more optimum engine performance, and increased fuel efficiency. Compared to other engines oil with fixed camshafts, it seems to be more efficient.
However, it also uses a hydraulic valve that is electronically controlled hence able to direct high-pressure engine oil into the camshaft phaser cavity. Sometimes, you may have an issue where the VCT solenoid is stuck open. If you are having this problem, read on.
Variable Valve Timing
In the early 1960s, American giants like General Motors and Ford ruled the streets. They would also drag strips across the globe. The big two learned more about the performance of the engine with every new car they produced.
They were also able to squeeze every ounce of horsepower manually out of their drivers by just adjusting ignition timing and valve lash. The development of variable valve timing is one of the most significant breakthroughs.
It was a new system that applied advanced electronic technology to apply variable electronic signals by way of a variable valve timing solenoid from the ignition system. Variable valve timing in today’s time can be virtually found in all production vehicles sold throughout the United States.
How Does The VCT Valve Work?
It is important to note that each automotive manufacturer has a unique variable valve timing system. In most cases, they also rely on a VCT solenoid that is fully functional to control the oil flow to the variable valve timing system as it is engaged.
The system, in most cases, typically activates in situations like when there is a significant load against the engine.
Some of these instances include while a motor vehicle is traveling up hills, carrying additional weight or when acceleration is expedited through throttle control.
However, in a situation whereby the variable valve timing is activated, then the oil is sent to lubricate the variable valve timing gear assembly and chain. In cases whereby the VCT solenoid is activated, oil is sent to lubricate the VCT gear assembly.
Besides, failure or blocking of the VCT solenoid and happens that there is a lack of proper lubrication, then it means that will cause the timing gear and chain to break entirely or prematurely wear.
What Happens When The Variable Valve Timing Is Broken
When a variable valve timing is broken or worn out, several other problems may occur, extending to complete engine failure. There are few warning signs that one should be aware of to reduce the potential of these severe situations occurring.
They help in indicating a problem with the VCT solenoid. Several symptoms can show a worn out or broken Variable Valve timing solenoid.
Symptoms Of Worn Out or Broken VCT Solenoid
1. Debris In Or Close To The Solenoid
Sometimes debris can cause the solenoid to become stuck open. Sometimes, debris can also cause the solenoid to break.
It’s important that you inspect the solenoid carefully for any debris that may be lingering about.
2. Checking Engine Light Comes On
The first one is checking engine light comes on. However, today’s cars are controlled by an Engine Control Unit whereby the ECU monitors all individual components. The ECU will store a specific trouble code when one part begins to fail hence letting a mechanic know using a scan tool where a problem exists.
The driver will be signaled once the code is generated by illuminating a specific zone warning. The Check Engine Light is one of the most common light to illuminate in situations where VCT solenoid fails.
The fact remains that there are different codes utilized by every automotive manufacturer. However, in such a situation, it is essential for a car owner to contact a local ASE Certified mechanic to do an inspection. The mechanic should also download the code through the correct diagnostic tool in order to be able to determine the common source of the issue.
For Variable Valve timing solenoid issues, there are dozens of individual codes for every automotive manufacturer. The mechanic can only begin to resolve the specific issue once has its initial information.
3. Dirty Engine Oil
Another symptom is when the engine oil is dirty. It is well known more of a cause than a symptom. However, if engine oil is clean, then the VCT solenoid is working well and is free of debris. If the engine oil is clogged with debris, other foreign particles or dirt, it tends to clog up the passageway to the VCT gear and chain from the solenoid.
The engine oil can damage the VCT solenoid, the gears drive, and the VCT chain if not changed out on schedule. However, to be able to avoid the same situation, it is vital to make sure the engine oil is changed regularly as recommended by the manufacturer. Problems may arise with the timing components and the VCT solenoid due to low oil levels.
4. Rough Engine Idle
The other symptom is rough engine idle. In most cases, you will note that the VCT system does not activate until the engine is introduced to load bearing situations like uphill driving and at higher RPM. It is possible when VCT solenoid is not functioning that will have to introduce extra engine oil to the VCT gears.
Moreover, this causes the engine to idle rough when the engine RPM fluctuates during activation of the system. It can cause wearing prematurely of additional engine components if not checked quickly. If your engine idle is rough, it is essential to call a certified mechanic to inspect it as soon as possible.
5. Fuel Economy Decrease
Lastly, a decrease in fuel economy is another symptom. The variable valve timing purpose is vital since it ensures that the valve can close and open at the right time to reduce fuel consumption and maximize the performance of the engine.
The entire system of VCT solenoid can be compromised when it malfunctions, resulting in exhaust and intake valves closing and opening at the wrong time. However, it leads to fuel economy drastically reducing.
So there you go. Vct solenoid stuck open? Not such a devastating issue right? Variable Camshaft Timing is a technology developed by Ford which uses automobile variable valve timing. In situations whereby the VCT solenoid is activated, oil is sent to lubricate the VCT gear assembly.
Also, failure or blocking of the VCT solenoid and happens that there is a lack of proper lubrication, then it means that will cause the timing gear and chain to break entirely or prematurely wear. The development of variable valve timing is one of the most significant breakthroughs. It was a new system that applied advanced electronic technology to use various electronic signals by way of a variable valve timing solenoid from the ignition system.