Understanding Variable Camshaft Timing (VCT)
Variable Camshaft Timing
With all of the gadgets on cars today, most of us find enough to boggle our minds inside of the passenger compartment let alone what's under the hood. Recently, many manufacturers have moved torward VCT's to improve performance, emissions and to eliminate other components. Let's start with the EGR valve or exhaust gas recirculation system. By installing a variable camshaft system on the exhaust camshaft, the manufacturers were able to eliminate the EGR valve, save money, and lower emissions.
VCT's have been installed on exhaust cams, intake cams, both cams and single overhead cams. The system is operated by using engine oil pressure to move a phaser that is mounted to the end of the camshaft and adjusts the camshaft timing while the engine is running. This is a brilliant system and the performance gained is amazing. The oil that is pressurized by the oil pump moves through oil channels to a solenoid that is controlled by the vehicles computer. The computer takes input signals from various sensors, processes the information and sends a signal to the solenoid that operates the cam phaser and in turn, adjusts the camshaft as needed.
How can I keep my variable camshaft system in good working order?
The best way to keep your VCT system is good condition is to perform regular oil changes and use a factory approved oil filter. Use of an aftermarket filter that is not factory approved can damage your engine. The material that makes up the internal portion of the filter must meet strict guidelines to assure that the material doesn't break away and enter the engines oil channels. This could block the oils path to the camshaft phaser and cause conditions such as rough running, noise and poor emissions/fuel economy. Dirty oil is a VCT's worse enemy. A few dollars extra can save thousands in repairs.
on Apr 12, 2011 | Ford F Cars & Trucks