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Kingd3002

P1381 Vct Solenoid

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I have a 1999 ford contour 2.0 lx with 157,000 miles I purchased the car for $500 and I noticed the check engine light was on so I had it looked at and it came up as “VCT Solenoid Timing Advanced” but the car runs fine idles fine and gets real good gas mileage I was looking at the intensive labor for it and I don’t think it would be worth it I went to a mechanic whom i trust and he said it could possibly needing a new timing belt but how does a bad timing belt affect the VCT solenoid and I don’t think the timing belt had ever been changed on the car at least that I know of btw the car had been setting around for 7-8 months before I purchased it

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Honestly timing belts on Contour 2.0L engines don't last more than 120,000 miles. During the process of the timing belt replacement there are certain elements (Camshafts) that need to be locked in place and the crankshaft needs to be set on a specific point. The VCT hub and sprocket requires loosening so the timing belt can be properly installed. Once the belt is installed and the tensioner set correctly - The VCT hub sprocket then gets tightened onto the camshaft locking in the adjustment. If this step is skipped, more often than not the timing will be off. The PCM monitors the crankshaft and camshaft positions and can tell when they are out of sync. This leads to VCT Advanced error codes. Sitting around won't affect the timing, so it could sit for 2 years and that won't cause the issues you are having. The only other thing I have found in the past is if the engine hasn't been maintained properly sludge can build up in the oil passages (can be seen through the oil fill cap). If you see sludge, chances are it will affect the VCT Solenoid operation and timing.

 

Long story short - More than likely the timing belt has been replaced by someone who didn't follow the service manual instructions. This can lead to the Check Engine light on, and in some severe cases the engine running poorly. I've seen a lot of poor running engines from improper timing belt changes.  Depending on your own skill, you may purchase a manual and check it yourself. Otherwise it will need to go to someone who understands and can check it for you.

 

-Dominic

 

 

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