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Daniel, Ford Technician
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1998 ford escort zx2: cam sensor..timing belt..getting codes

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1998 ford escort zx2 p1380 and p1381 codes i changed cam sensor and variable cam timing sensor new timing belt fuel service plugs and wires still getting codes and now have no heat

Daniel :

Welcome to Just Answer. We are working on a fast accurate answer Based on the info you have provided. Your time and my time are both Very important.

Daniel :

1999-2000 COUGAR


The Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL) may illuminate with Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) P1380, P1381 or P1383 stored in continuous memory on some vehicles. Driveability concerns may or may not be present. This may be caused by engine oil contamination.


Refer to the following Service Procedure for diagnostic and repair procedures.


The Variable Cam Timing (VCT) sprocket retards the exhaust camshaft up to 30 degrees producing exhaust valve overlap. This controlled overlap allows exhaust gases to enter the combustion chamber, effectively providing Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) flow to the engine without the use of an EGR valve. The VCT holds the exhaust camshaft fully advanced by internal spring pressure in its normal, uncontrolled state. For example, if the VCT solenoid is unplugged. When retard is commanded by the Powertrain Control Module (PCM), engine oil pressure is directed through the VCT solenoid to overcome internal return spring force in the VCT sprocket.

Parameter Identification Displays (PIDs) Relevant To VCT:

CAMDCR (0 to 99%) is the on-time of the VCT solenoid as requested by the PCM.

CAMERR (0 to 30 Degrees) is how many degrees the exhaust cam is "out" from the requested position. Values "+" mean the cam is not retarded enough and values "-" indicate the cam is over retarded.

RCAM (-15 to +45 Degrees) represents actual position of the cam relative to the crankshaft.

Normal PID Values (Approximate):

Warm idle (exhaust cam fully advanced/no EGR effect): CAMDCR = 0%, CAMERR = 0 degrees, RCAM = -15 degrees.

Warm cruise: CAMDCR = 50%, CAMERR = 0 degrees, RCAM = 40 degrees.


P1380 - VCT Solenoid Malfunction: Indicates a VCT circuit failure between the PCM and the VCT solenoid, or possible VCT solenoid failure. Consult the appropriate Electrical and Vacuum Troubleshooting Manual (EVTM) for circuit location and description.

P1381 - VCT Over-Advanced: Indicates the exhaust camshaft would not retard to the position requested by the PCM.

P1383 - VCT Over-Retarded: Indicates the exhaust camshaft would not advance (return) to the position requested by the PCM.

Diagnosing DTCs P1380, P1381, Or P1383:

P1380 and P1381 stored together: Possible open VCT solenoid or circuit between the PCM and VCT. These conditions would not allow the cam to retard as requested by the PCM.

P1381 or P1383: Must NOT be set together and ONLY in Continuous Memory for the following to be accurate: Possible VCT sprocket is sticking intermittently while driving. Exhaust camshaft is out of desired position as monitored by the PCM.

This condition could be caused by engine oil contamination. Consult TSB 99-13-8 for further diagnostics.

P1381: Single DTC set. Must be a hard fault. Monitor the following PIDs, checking for these readings: CAMDCR reads 99%, CAMERR reads a high "+" value while driving, and RCAM reads -15% at idle. This condition may indicate a sticking VCT sprocket which is retarding the exhaust camshaft. TSB 99-13-8 may remedy this concern. If concern persists after the TSB flushing procedure, replace the VCT sprocket. Refer to Section 303-01 in the appropriate Workshop Manual for VCT sprocket replacement. If RCAM is ABOVE -15 deg at idle, suspect base cam timing. Check and adjust the timing belt per Section 303-01 in the appropriate Workshop Manual.

P1383: Single DTC set/hard fault/rough running engine. If RCAM reads +45 at idle, VCT sprocket is stuck in the retarded position (very unlikely due to return spring force acting on VCT sprocket). VCT flush procedure from TSB 99-13-8 may be effective. If concern persists, replace VCT solenoid. Refer to Section 303-01 in the appropriate Workshop Manual for VCT solenoid replacement. If RCAM reads other than +45 at idle, suspect base cam timing. Check and adjust the timing belt per Section 303-01 in the appropriate Workshop Manual.

Daniel :

Make sure there is no oil in coolant and no coolant in oil. with out having heat I worried about coolant being low and getting into oil.

Daniel :

It will be milky

Daniel :

The vct solenoid or sensor was replaced?

Daniel :

I hope this gets you on track.

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