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What you are referring to is the cam synchronizer. All it is is a replacement for the distributor that was there years ago. Instead of now having a distributor, there is now a shaft, driven off of the cam, to spin the reluctor for the camshaft position sensor.
It is a common problem, as the bushings wear and allow "timing" to move. It requires a special tool to properly align the new synchronizer, and there is even a TSB on how to use a scope to check and see if the synchronizer is properly installed.