Hello and welcome to Just Answer. My name is james.
VCT performance codes for sticking cam phasers often lead to phaser replacement, however the root cause is often ignored, so the problem returns. This code is rarely resolved with replacement of the solenoid.
Many times the code is accompanied by phaser ticking, or valve train clattering noise.
These engines are notorious for phasers and VCT solenoids sticking from oil feed problems to the cylinder heads. The bad or sticking phaser or VCT solenoid is usually the result of the problem not the root cause. Here is a list of what I check or replace on these every time I get one in with phaser noise, VCT codes, cam sensor codes or misfires caused by VCT issues. Before any disassembly the PCM data pids for VCT error correction should be monitored to confirm it is a VCT issue. If the vehicle won't run, a compression test can also verify the VCT problem.
- Oil Pressure. Any thing under 25 at idle will cause phaser issues. Oil pressure needs to be steady and not fluctuating. If low or fluctuating suspect crankshaft thrust bearing wear. This can be verified by a simple end play check. Also if engine is sludged in the least amount there could be oil starvation to the valve train which is also very common on these and can be verified by pulling a few cam caps on each side, it will be obvious if the there is an oil supply issue to the valve train by the condition of the caps and journals.
- VCT valve body/solenoids. Have seen many issues with solenoid plungers sticking and restrictions in valve body due to plugged or collapsed screens.
- Timing chain tensioner gaskets blown. This will cause oil pressure bleed to the valve train and affect phaser functionality.
- Camshaft phasers sticking due to contamination or low oil volume/delivery pressure.
- Crankshaft endplay, I don't bother fixing the engine if endplay is over .010
- Oil pump, I change if there was any evidence of sludge or varnishing. There are passages in the pump that clog and can cause oil starvation problems.
In short if I don't find oil pressure concerns and my cams are in good shape I usually replace the phasers, VCT bodies, oil pump and tensioners on every one of these. Ford has updated these part numbers several times with improved engineering designs.
If the noise is a pronounced tick, not a rattle then you could also have a roller follower that is seized. This would need to be pinpointed to which side of the engine then the valve cover removed to inspect the followers.