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98 Ford Contour needs new vct sensor


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Guest
Anonymous Poster
nbskid1@hotmail.com

May 17, 2009, 12:41 PM

Post #1 of 14 (7762 views)
  post locked   98 Ford Contour needs new vct sensor  

Ford Contour 98 GL
93,500 miles
Engine size-Don't know..not the huge kind though.


So, my 98 contour's check engine light is on. I took it to a dealer, the notes I got say that error p1381, "VCT over advanced testing found solenoid open"
wire shorted
rec replacing vct sensor

I was quoted for like 1200 bucks in parts and labor, since they have to take apart a lot of the engine. Yikes. I don't want my car to randomly die on me on the road, since I'm a giant worry wart. However, my car is only worth about 1500 bucks or so, so maybe it's time to look for a new car.

Anyway, what is someone's advice here? Should I get the piece fixed? If so, I'm definitely going to shop around for a cheaper quote, but I don't know how much cheaper I can get it (more than 500 bucks is basically why bother to me). Is this sensor really needed? My car drives fine so far, knock on wood, it isn't stalling or what not. What's the usual timeline before this part completely stops working, and then what happens?

Any help is appreciated. Thanks!


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

May 17, 2009, 2:22 PM

Post #2 of 14 (7754 views)
  post locked   Re: 98 Ford Contour needs new vct sensor  

This is the solenoid that controls the variable valve timing for the engine and yes, it is rather important. It's over 5 hours labor and you likely need to replace the timing belt and maybe even the water pump while your in there.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Loren Champlain Sr
Veteran / Moderator
Loren Champlain Sr profile image

May 17, 2009, 2:30 PM

Post #3 of 14 (7749 views)
  post locked   Re: 98 Ford Contour needs new vct sensor  

Probably not this simple, but what weight oil are you running? If other than 5W30, try changing it, maybe even a couple of times to give it a chance of 'cleaning things out'. The VCT is controlled by oil pressure. Debris or too heavy of an oil can cause problems.
Loren
SW Washington


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

May 17, 2009, 2:32 PM

Post #4 of 14 (7747 views)
  post locked   Re: 98 Ford Contour needs new vct sensor  

Loren, I would have suggested that but the dealer said the solenoid was open circuit.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Loren Champlain Sr
Veteran / Moderator
Loren Champlain Sr profile image

May 17, 2009, 2:37 PM

Post #5 of 14 (7741 views)
  post locked   Re: 98 Ford Contour needs new vct sensor  

>> but the dealer said the solenoid was open circuit.<< Yeah, I read that.Smile
Loren
SW Washington


Guest
Anonymous Poster

May 17, 2009, 3:16 PM

Post #6 of 14 (7738 views)
  post locked   Re: 98 Ford Contour needs new vct sensor  

Alright, thank you for your help.

Would you suggest getting this repaired Asap? They did say they would change the timing belt too, since they were in that section.

I'm highly considering just trading this one in and getting another car, but I basically want to know how soon I should act on this, how long do I usually have, and what will happen if I don't get this fixed in the next few weeks if the part starts going bad/gets even worse?

I use the cheap oil too, and just got an oil change last week! Sad.


Loren Champlain Sr
Veteran / Moderator
Loren Champlain Sr profile image

May 17, 2009, 4:38 PM

Post #7 of 14 (7734 views)
  post locked   Re: 98 Ford Contour needs new vct sensor  

Well, it's not something that you want to ignore. Fuel economy will suffer. What weight oil was used at your last change?
Loren
SW Washington


Guest
Anonymous Poster
nbskid1@hotmail.com

May 17, 2009, 7:26 PM

Post #8 of 14 (7731 views)
  post locked   Re: 98 Ford Contour needs new vct sensor  

Last week during my oil changed they used Castrol 530.


Loren Champlain Sr
Veteran / Moderator
Loren Champlain Sr profile image

May 18, 2009, 3:24 PM

Post #9 of 14 (7720 views)
  post locked   Re: 98 Ford Contour needs new vct sensor  

Cheap oil? Castrol is a very good motor oil. 5W30 should be just fine. Is this what you've been using? And changing oil and filter regularily (3,000 miles or 3 mos.)? The point I'm getting at, is, sludge buildup can cause the sensor to give an erroneous reading. The sensor may very well need to be replaced, but I'd want to eliminate the oil as a cause, first.
Loren
SW Washington


Guest
Anonymous Poster

May 18, 2009, 5:29 PM

Post #10 of 14 (7717 views)
  post locked   Re: 98 Ford Contour needs new vct sensor  

Yeah, I'm pretty OCD, so I change it every 3000 miles. It's a "cheap" oil to me, since I take it to Oil Can Henrys to get it changed.

That's interesting about the sludge build up thing. I wish I could figure out if that's the cause.

How long do you think I have before the sensor completely dies?


Loren Champlain Sr
Veteran / Moderator
Loren Champlain Sr profile image

May 18, 2009, 5:35 PM

Post #11 of 14 (7716 views)
  post locked   Re: 98 Ford Contour needs new vct sensor  

If you've been that diligent about changing oil, the diagnostics are probably correct. Unsure I know it's gonna be expensive, but should get it taken care of sooner than later. Other than poor performance and poor fuel economy, not sure what the long term affects would be.
Loren
SW Washington


Guest
Anonymous Poster

May 18, 2009, 5:50 PM

Post #12 of 14 (7714 views)
  post locked   Re: 98 Ford Contour needs new vct sensor  

I appreciate your advice, it has been rather helpful. Thanks!


don9084
New User

Feb 20, 2011, 11:27 PM

Post #13 of 14 (6841 views)
  post locked   Re: 98 Ford Contour needs new vct sensor  

The VCT on the exhaust cam controls the movement of the exhaust cam gear sprocket which can be retarded in timing to burn up emissions. The cam gear itself is always in the advanced position in case the VCT solenoid fails, so the car will still run. Your "open" means the VCT solenoid is not working. A new solenoid is around $250 a ridiculous amount. Best get a used working one. 5 hours of labor at least.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Feb 21, 2011, 5:48 AM

Post #14 of 14 (6836 views)
  post locked   Re: 98 Ford Contour needs new vct sensor  

Don9084,
This thread is 2 years old. Please check the dates before posting in old threads.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.







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