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A. Penland
A. Penland, Ford Senior Master Technician, ASE
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 6169
Experience:  ASE Master Certified, ASE Advanced Gasoline Engine Performance
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2004 Ford F-150: 5.4L..the VCT Solenoid..check engine..runs fine

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I have a 2004 Ford F-150 5.4L that is throwing en error code of P0022. I replaced the VCT Solenoid but that did not cure the check engine fault. My truck however runs fine and does not exhibit the normal poor running, hard starting, or back firing that goes along with this code.


The code P0022 can be caused by the VCT solenoid body or the Cam Phaser itself. The Cam Phasers have been updated through the years to make them stronger and more durable. But you should also look at the VCT Solenoid body. This is where the VCT attatches. Dirt and debris can cause the same concern. You will have to remove the Solenoid body and inspect the housing for clogging from debris behind the gasket. Also inspect the Cam Phaser and make sure it is not coming apart. You will see this by the trigger wheel leaving away from the timing gear on the phaser. It will cause the code P0022 because the cam sensor reads off of the trigger wheel on the phaser. Below are pictures of the cam phaser and the solenoid body for the VCT.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.

If I hear you correctly I should remove the valve cover, remove screws (24 Pictorial) on drivers side, remove VCT Solenoid from (23) mounting plate, and clean the plate as well as debris behind the VCT housing. Also, inspect Cam Phaser to make sure it is not coming away from the timing gear. Would this entail one of the 5 spokes being bent on the Cam Phaser?


Thank you,



You cannot remove the VCT solenoid body without removing the front timing cover and the timing chains. You can inspect inside the housing by removing the VCT solenoid and looking into the hole. Make sure there is no debris on the screen for the solenoid. But to get the VCT solenoid body, the front timing cover, timing chains and cam phaser will have to be removed. If you have a bent tab on the phaser, it has hit the cam sensor and the cam phaser will have to be replaced, along with the cam sensor.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

I have already replaced the VCT solenoid so I should take it back out and clean the hole I removed it from. If that doesn't do the trick then I need to check tabs on cam phaser. What is the likelyhood of a bad cam phaser if the engine runs and sounds fine?

It is a possibility, it is controlled by oil pressure from the VCT and VCT housing body. If the passages are clogged or the Cam Phaser is not advancing and oil is bypassing through the Cam Phaser, the code will set, even if the engine is quiet and runs good. The best way to verify this is with a scan tool that can monitor what we call PIDs. The PID are the parameters that the ECU monitors and sees, basically inputs and outputs to and from the ECU. You will be able to actually see the advancing and retarding of the camshafts and the Cam Phasers. I have replaced several in that the engine ran fine, just a check engine light on. Several I have replaced the Cam Phaser, VCT and solenoid housing to correct the problem. Ford does have a special tool to assist in replacing the Cam Phaser without pulling the front cover off. It is a wedge that slides down between the chain to hold it into place to allow removal of the phaser without having to reset the timing chains. It runs about $70 through Ford for technicians and about $95 through the tool trucks that come around the dealerships. Snap-on, Matco, Mac Tools . The wedge is made by OTC. Tool #(NNN) NNN-NNNNWedge with handle.

Below is a link I found on the Internet for the tool.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Last Question. A PID analysis is not going to tell me definitively if the Cam Phaser or the VCT Solenoid Housing is clogged. I'm trying not to replace or clean the VCT Solenoid Housing because it entails removing the front timing cover. The PID analysis will show that the Cam Phaser is not working properly but that could also point to a clogged VCT Solenoid Housing. Thank you for all your knowledge and patience.
The PID viewing will show if a phaser is not working properly or is clogged. You can see how far it is commanded to advance or retard by the ECU. But yes, to replace it will require removal of the front timing cover.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.



I just returned from my local Ford Dealership where they just completed a diagnostic like you reccomended. This is the information on my print out;


Self Test :P0022

Datalogger Display: Found Bank 2 VCT System Error Approx 15-20 Degrees, Hooked Scope to Cam Sensors and #1 Coil found that Bank 2 is indeed off Approx 15-20 degrees, will need to dissassemble engine to diagnosis further.


The tech stated he could not tell from a PID code whether you can actually see the advancing and retarding of the camshafts and the cam phaser. Given the above information what are your thoughts? The trigger wheel is bent and the sensor is not reading correctly? What should I replace?


Thank you,



From just reading what you have typed, and not physically seeing the phaser, you can just replace the phaser. Which can be done without removing the front cover. But this job will require the wedge tool that I mentioned earlier. He apparently does not have a good use of the IDS tool and it's software. The PID showing that the phaser is not advancing or retarding properly can be seen with the PID. But I cannot speak for what he as actually done. To be honest, most of the time it is just a cam phaser issue, since they are oil pressure driven. The trigger wheel doesn't actually bend, it separates from the gear on the phaser which in turn allows oil pressure to leak past which causes the concern in.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Perfect. Is the Cam Phaser available without the gear?

It comes as an assembly. The gear and the trigger wheel are called the phaser. It is a sealed complete unit that bolts onto the end of the camshaft.



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