P1381 Variable Cam Timing question/help

I have a 98 zx2 and just last week had the service engine soon light pop on, I took it to Kal Tire. They said that I had a P1381 VCT Overadvanced alert pop on, and that I had to take it to a Ford dealership to get the low down on what was up.

So I dropped the $ 76 to the dealership so they could do a diag on the engine. Well they said in their report to me that the ;
“VCT appears to have stuck at 1 time, but is OK at this time, dirty oil can cause VCT to stick. Suggest Oil change, then monitor if VCT sticks again. If it does, it will have to be replaced”

So I had a hot oil flush, and put in 5w-20 oil in my engine. I’m about 112K km (im canadian) on the engine, and the timing belt is about that time to get replaced.

I was quoted $1500 by the dealership to get the VCT+ timing belt replaced… LOL. Well I went to Kal Tire, and they can replaced the timing belt for about 400ish, and said the VCT is only a $40-50 part… So I’m wondering why there would be such a price difference?

So I guess for my post, my real question is, what part is the VCT? I mean, i understand camshafts, timing belts, and such, but am still trying to understand what part the VCT (variable camshaft timing) is? Someone told me its a wheel of sorts, that is oilpressure driven and can gum up? Is this about right?

Anyways, I just want to know what a VCT actually costs (just the part, not the solenoid) and how hard it is to replace, if your doing it at the same time as the timing belt…

The guy at Kal Tire (where I take my car often, and I trust them w/ my car needs) made it sound like it wasnt a big deal to replace, nor that expensive…

Thanks, Chris

The VCT advance’s / retard’s the exhaust cam to help create fuel efficency. The debate is still out on this but I have read / heard that it oil pressure dependent also. therefore if your oil is dirty your VCT can stick, good reason to keep up the changes.

as far as the price difference…thats a good guess. Get the belt and right tools and do it yourself. You’ll spend probably less then half of what Kals quoted.

btw… Welcome to the board!

Agreed with Mark.

There is however, another solution. You can do a VCT delete and then never have to deal with the problems again. Zxtuner.com has all you need to complete a VCT delete. One other thing, make sure you check your local laws before doing the delete.

yep. vct delete then pull out the damn thing.

You actually have to leave it in. As far as I know. Even though you don’t use it if you get the vct delete adapter from zxtuner.

Yah doing it myself prob would be a good bet if I wanted to save some coin.

Problem about where I live is, we got aircare. Basically you have to get the emissions tested every 1-2 years before they let you re-insure your vehicle. If it fails the aircare, you dont get to drive your car.

Its a damn government money grab basically, but we gotta do it ;(

So any changes I make on my car, I gotta take into account what effects it will have on the emissions, and if it will screw me outta passing those emo tests heh.

OH and thanks guys for the good advice. I just have found these boards, and love my ZX2. I’m always looking for ideas to mod it and upgrade. I think I’ve gotten the bug lol.

  • Chris
OH and thanks guys for the good advice. I just have found these boards, and love my ZX2. I'm always looking for ideas to mod it and upgrade. I think I've gotten the bug lol.

Awesome :wink: and welcome to the boards :wink:

really? i thought u can pull out the VCT, but u have leave the wire harness plugged in so that you dont have a hole in ur valve cover. but i may be wrong :?

Most people put in a freeze plug in. I believe that is what they are called. Anyways, it just fills the void.

I think that’s what he meant.

  • Darron

P.S. Welcome to the board and congrats to me for my first use of the “quote” function.

first welcom to the boards . you could delete the vct if u want its up to you but i would put heavier oil into the car 5-20 is light. your better of w/ a little heavier oil w/ those miles i use 10w-30 gulf oil gulf is still made in the usa (bradford, pa.)

Well the check engine light did come on again after about a month + of driving alot of km everyday… I’m guessing its just the same thing as before, the VCT is sticking.

Is it something I should be really worried about? Will a VCT Overadvanced wreck my engine overtime? Or is it purely something to do with emissions?

I am looking at all the options before I spend anything, I just dont know if I should rush out and get this fixxed ASAP or if im able to leave it for the time being.

But to clarify, the VCT is just a gear right? And to replace it wouldnt be a huge issue if I was replacing the timing belt at the same time?

Again thanks to anyone who can give me some insight into this.

Get the code scanned to make sure. The VCT is actually a solenoid operated by oil pressure. It is an emmissions device but can wreck havoc on your fuel economy. If you can replace the timing belt you can replace the VCT. It really isn’t that hard and it sets itself once you put everything back together. The hard part about VCT is getting the little tab on the back of the gear to sit in the small hole in the cam. If you don’t get it in there and you bend the tab, then you will have to get a new one and try again. If you have a torque wrench and some ‘T’ bits, this is something you can do. Honestly, I can do a timing belt in less then an hour. It took me two hours the first time I did one. All these places charge too much to do the belt. This car is so easy to work on it shouldn’t be legal.

Thanks for the response ^^, I think I got my head around it now. I woulda figured it out if I had removed the valve covers and taken a look @ the exhaust cam.

I actually found a picture of the solenoid here;

[url=http://www.contour.org/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=zetecmaint&Number=418930&Forum=zetecmaint&Words=vct&Match=Entire%20Phrase&Searchpage=3&Limit=25&Old=allposts&Main=415970&Search=true#Post418930]http://www.contour.org/ubbthreads/showf ... Post418930[/url]

So this is the thing causing me the problems? I think if I really wanted to , I could look into removing this and doing the VCT delete. Else I can always try to find a replacement part.

I just like being informed before I do anything w/ me car :slight_smile:

That would be it. It slides over a center peice that then slides over the cam. You have to leave this insert on the cam since it supports the cam. You then have to plug the hole in the valve cover and the two holes where the bolts go through the head and to the VCT. And, of course, you need the delete insert that goes behind the cam gear, a new cam gear, and a new shorter bolt to hold the cam gear on.