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Dan, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Car
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Experience:  Auto Technician
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Have 2006 Navigator. New timing guides, tensioners, phasers,

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Have 2006 Navigator. New timing guides, tensioners, phasers, bank 1 VCT actuator and am still getting P0012 code. Swapping cam sensors side to side made no change. This is the only code that comes up after doing a forced drive with the vehicle and after idling for an extended period of time.
JA: Which particular sensor are you asking about? And have any trouble codes been triggered?
Customer: P0012, I have swapped both camshaft sensors with each other and no change
JA: Are you fixing your Navigator yourself? What have you tried so far?
Customer: Already typed that. It's in my first message.
JA: Anything else you want the mechanic to know before I connect you?
Customer: No

Hello my name is***** am an ASE Master Technician and I am glad to help you with your question.

Have you changed the engine oil and are you using an aftermarket oil filter?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
New Motorcraft 5W-20 and filter. Changed it a second time when doing the phasers just to be sure.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I'm definitely not a novice here, but I'm pretty stumped. I'm about to start probing ECU connections to make sure the cam sensor wiring is good. (I served in the Submarine force in the US Navy, so I'm extremely knowledgeable)

Do you have the steps from the service manual to diagnose this code?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I don't have the FSM with me, have been trying to figure out a good starting point with the given circumstances.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Grounded the VCT actuator on bank 1 on a cold start and it starts running similar to how it does when warmed up, so clearly the new actuator is functioning as intended to a degree. What does this tell you?

I can send you the procedures to diagnose this code if you would like.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Not wanting to pay for fsm steps/diagrams as I've already covered much of those items. If I ground out the VCT solenoid on the affected bank, and the issue presents itself (stuttering/hesitation), would that not mean that the VCT system and phasers are getting proper oil pressure and making the change? Which would then mean the static timing essentially HAS to be off? I'm working on procuring an oscilloscope so I can compare cam sensor readings, but I'm not sure if/when I will be able to make that happen.

I have seen issues with clearances in the engine, this causes lower oil pressure on bank 1 because of the way the engine oil pump feeds the engine with oil and the bank 1 cam phaser is farthest away from the oil pump.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Yeah, I am aware it is the farthest and that's honestly what I'm worried about. Oil pressure shows good coming off of the filter housing, but unfortunately that doesn't mean there is not substantial pressure loss by the time it reaches the phaser on bank 1. In your experience, a clogged cat would in no way cause this code would it? Even if the cat were only clogged on the affected cylinder? That was another test I planned on running (Back Pressure Test).

I do not see a cat causing the p0012 code.


Description: The powertrain control module (PCM) monitors the variable camshaft timing (VCT) position for over-retarded camshaft timing. The test fails when the camshaft timing exceeds a maximum calibrated value or remains in a retarded position.

Possible Causes:

  • Camshaft timing improperly set
  • Continuous oil flow to the VCT piston chamber
  • VCT solenoid valve stuck open
  • Camshaft advance mechanism binding (VCT unit)

Diagnostic Aids: This DTC is a functional check of the VCT unit. Diagnose any base engine concerns related to the engine oil pressure or engine timing. Refer to the appropriate ENGINE SYSTEM - GENERAL INFORMATION article .

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Yeah I didn't think so about the cat, just exhibits very similar drivability issues. I know the VCT Solenoid is good, so I can definitely eliminate that. The oil in the old phasers was pretty clean and engine really didn't have much sludge at all when initial timing service was performed. Is it possible that on initial startup with the new tensioners that static timing jumped a tooth before oil pressure was built? Or is that essentially mechanically impossible with this motor?

It would be more likely that the initial timing was not set correctly.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Once I get a scope and find out if static timing is indeed incorrect, I could essentially block the chains and rotate the phaser/cam gear one tooth clockwise to advance it, correct? Wouldn't necessarily need to pull timing cover again. Then recheck with the scope?

I have never tried that, I prefer to line everything up to the timing marks with the marks on the chains.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I understand, but if I'm getting an over retarded code and it's simply from the cam being retarded by a tooth (or two) to begin with, advancing the phaser a tooth or two clockwise would theoretically bring it back to time and if the pulses from the cam sensors match up, then it is indeed in time.

The problem is making sure the chain does not move on the crank sprocket, there is a wedge that looks like a cheese wedge that holds the chain on the sprocket.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I am familiar and have that tool, so that wouldn't be an issue. It's a whole lot easier to pull the passengers valve cover than the whole timing cover again. That's for sure.

If you pull the valve covers you may be able to see if the timing marks on the cam phasers are lined up.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I won't be able to verify exact position of the crank mark, however. If I set the crank pulley notch to the TDC mark on the cover, would I be able to check each cam sensor hole for the reluctor? They should both be centered over the cam sensor hole, no?
Can you remove the crank pulley to see the mark on the crank sprocket?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
No because the reluctor sits in front of the crank sprocket.

That is right. Were you able to make any progress on this?

I am contacting you because the post has not been closed or rated.

This question is coming up on 7 days which means it will time out and close.

You have already paid to get this question answered, but you have not rated.

Let me help some more. Is there anything else I can help you with?

If I did not give you 5 star service, please let me know what I missed.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Ended up using a scope to determine that bank one jumped one tooth of static timing on initial startup. Pulled the valve cover, locked cam chain, and advanced the phaser one tooth. Put everything back together and the problem never came back. Vehicle did end up having a completely obliterated catalyst on that bank though which caused other drivability issues even after the repair was made. Now with new cats it purrs like a kitten and has zero issues whatsoever.

Glad to hear you got it running perfect. Hoping I was helpful with this, please kindly rate as this is how I receive credit for my time. Thanks and have a good weekend!

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