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225 S Western Ave, Waupaca, WI 54981
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323 S Western Ave, Waupaca, WI 54981
201 Central Bridge Street, Wausau, WI, 54401

What Are Camshaft Phasers?

In newer vehicles with variable valve timing (VVT), the engine has camshaft phasers and a VVT solenoid.

This VVT system is designed to provide power when needed or to provide fuel economy when you don’t need the power. 

Overall, the VVT system increases fuel economy and engine efficiency.

However, it is not without fault. It can break like other solenoids and moving parts.

The camshaft phasers are part of the VVT system.

They adjust the position of the camshaft. They do so by advancing or retarding the timing in the engine based on whether you need power or fuel economy.

What are Cam Phasers? | Little Wolf Automotive in Waupaca, WI. Image of a camshaft on a car engine.

How Cam Phasers Work

The experienced mechanics at Little Wolf Auto knows how to diagnose which part of the VVT system needs to be replaced. 

Your vehicle might have a cam phaser only on the exhaust camshaft. It might have one on both the intake and exhaust camshaft.

The VVT system uses oil pressure supplied by the VVT solenoid to activate the cam phaser. The PCM (powertrain control module) uses inputs from various engine sensors to tell the VVT solenoid to advance or retard the timing.

Symptoms of a Bad Cam Phaser or VVT

A faulty VVT system is a problem commonly seen by auto repair techs. Ford and Ram trucks seem to have such issues. Symptoms include:

  • The engine light comes on. It might give a cam sensor or actuator code, telling you the camshaft is not in the expected position. This does not necessarily mean the sensor is bad. The camshaft may just be out of place, causing the sensor to send the wrong information to the computer.
  • The engine runs poorly. You will notice poor acceleration in some cases, especially when you ask for a lot of speed. In other cases, the engine might run rough.
  • You hear a tapping or rattling noise at idle when the engine is hot. You could also hear this sound in other instances, though it’s prevalent in this particular situation.

Diagnosing the Camshaft Code

Little Wolf Automotive in Waupaca, WI will diagnose the problem to determine whether the issue is with the camshaft position sensor, the VVT solenoid, or the cam phasers. 

The VVT solenoid has a screen to filter the oil. If the screen breaks, the vehicle could exhibit issues.

When repairing the VVT system, we recommend changing the VVT solenoid and the cam phasers. Since the timing chain must come off, we also recommend replacing the timing chain unless it has less than 60,000 miles on it.

The repair is expensive but not the timing chain replacement. Thus, we recommend the replacement while the intake and timing chain cover are off.

If you believe the VVT system is faulty or you need another auto repair in Waupaca, WI, contact Little Wolf Automotive for assistance.