VCT Solenoid Stuck Open What Should I Do?


This technology reduces emissions and improves engine performance. It also increases fuel efficiency. It seems more efficient than other engine oils with fixed camshafts.

It also has an electronically controlled hydraulic valve, allowing high-pressure engine oil to be directed into the camshaft phaser chamber.

You may find that the VCT solenoid has become stuck open, a problem that is consistent for many users.

The streets were ruled by American giants Ford and General Motors in the 1960s. They also dragged drag strips around the world.

With each new car that they made, the big two learned more about how the engine performed.

You can also manually extract every bit of horsepower from your drivers by simply adjusting the ignition timing and valve flash. An excellent breakthrough was the development of variable timing valves.

This new system applied advanced electronic technology to adjust variable electronic signals via a variable timing solenoid. It was connected to the ignition system. Today, virtually all American production vehicles can have variable valve timing.

How does the VCT Valve work?

You must note that every automotive manufacturer has a variable valve timing system. They rely on a VCT solenoid, which is fully functional to control oil flow to the variable timing system when it is engaged.

In most cases, the system activates when there is a substantial load on the engine. These include when a motor vehicle travels up hills or carries extra weight or when the throttle control accelerates.

However, if the variable valve timing is activated, the oil is sent to lubricate both the variable timing gear assembly and the chain. Oil is used to lubricate VCT gear assemblies in cases where the solenoid activates.

If the VCT solenoid fails or becomes blocked, it can cause the timing gear or chain to wear prematurely or break completely.

VCT Solenoid Parts Replacement

Here are some essential points to remember if you’re looking for a replacement part or a VCT solenoid.

The Replacement Camshaft Variable Valve Timing Solenoid, or VCT solenoid, controls the engine’s camshafts for your 5.4 V8 Triton. It can cause poor fuel economy, check engine lights (CEL), and other problems on your F-150, Expedition, and other vehicles if the factory VCT solenoids stop working.

What Should You Do When the Variable Valve Timing Is Not Working?

These are the symptoms when diagnosing a problem in the VCT solenoid. Many symptoms can indicate a damaged or worn-out VCT

1. Debris in or near the Solenoid

Sometimes, debris can block the solenoid. Sometimes, the solenoid can even break due to debris. It would be best if you inspected your solenoid for any debris.

2. Checking the Engine Light

First, check engine light is on. Today’s cars have an Engine Control Unit that monitors each component. When a part fails, the ECU stores a trouble code, allowing a mechanic to use a scanner tool to identify the problem.

Once the code has been generated, a lighting warning zone will notify the driver. When the VVT solenoid fails, the Check Engine Light is the most common light to activate.

Every automotive manufacturer uses different codes. In such cases, car owners need to contact certified mechanics for an inspection. To understand the source of the problem, the mechanic must also download the code using the appropriate diagnostic tool.

Once the initial information is available, the mechanic can solve the problem.

VVT solenoid malfunctions can cause the valve timing to stop moving or slowing down as required. The engine can experience poor acceleration and rough running as a result.

Faulty VVT solenoids can halt the VVT actuator from getting oil pressure, causing the engine to make a clicking or rattling sound. Some automakers (e.g., Ford) have technical service bulletins (TSBs) available for these concerns.

The engine control unit controls most modern cars, so the ECU monitors almost all parts. The ECU (engine control unit) is an electronic control module that controls several actuators on an internal combustion motor to achieve the highest engine performance and high-performance capabilities.

The engine control unit stores a trouble code to scan your engine and determine the cause of the problem. The engine control unit will display a light on the dashboard indicating a problem once the code has been generated. When a VCT solenoid fails, the most common light will come on.

Two stages depend on the severity of your engine light. The steady stage indicates a minor problem while flashing suggests that you need to stop driving immediately or visit a mechanic. The light will turn on when there is an issue with your car. It could be as simple as a loose fuel cap.

3. Dirty engine oil

Dirty engine oil is another sign. It is more often a cause than a symptom. If engine oil is clean, the VCT solenoid will work well and be free from debris.  If not adequately cleaned, engine oil can clog up with dirt, foreign particles, or debris.

If engine oil is not changed on time, it can cause damage to the VCT solenoid and gear to drive. To avoid this, make sure your engine oil is regularly changed according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Low oil levels can cause problems with timing components or the VCT solenoid.

Regular oil changes and maintenance are essential to avoid damage to the VCT Solenoid, chain, and gear drive.

4. Rough Engine Idle

Another symptom is engine idle. Most cases show that the VCT system is not activated until the engine is loaded with load-bearing situations such as uphill driving or higher RPM. If the VCT solenoid fails to function, adding engine oil to the gears can cause the engine to be rough during activation leading to premature wear of other engine components. It is essential to contact a certified mechanic immediately if your machine is experiencing rough idle.

The VCT system will not turn on unless the engine is running at a higher RPM or subject to load-bearing situations, such as when you tow a heavy object or drive uphill. If your VCT solenoid is not functioning at its optimal level or is malfunctioning, it can cause additional engine strain and oil damage to the VCT gears.

5. Fuel economy decreases

Variable valve timing is crucial because it allows the valve to close and open at the correct time, reducing fuel consumption and optimizing the engine’s performance.

When the VCT solenoid malfunctions, it can cause damage to the entire system leading to intake and exhaust valves opening and closing at inappropriate times. It can lead to a drastic reduction in fuel economy.

How to Replace a VCT Solenoid

After you’ve determined that your VCT solenoid is defective, you should have it repaired by a professional mechanic, or you can do it yourself. You can have further problems with your car if you don’t do the necessary maintenance and repairs.

You will need the following gear and equipment to fix the VCT solenoid: a service manual for your vehicle, pry bar and pick set.

You will first need to remove the engine cover and hood. You will need to disconnect the battery by unplugging both connections and terminals. Twist it and then pull it off. Keep the cables separate, so they don’t touch each other.

VCT solenoid is in the engine next to the valve cover and is used to identify the problem solenoid in your vehicle if you have the replacement solenoid. The connector will be visible at the VCT Solenoid’s exposed end. You can then use bungee cable to remove any wires, harnesses, or other parts.

Disconnect Mounting Bolts and Connectors

You will need to locate one bolt, although you might need two in some cases. To ensure they are out of harm’s way, remove the mounting bolts from the screws and keep them in a safe location. Next, take off the connector you can see on the solenoid. Pull gently on the connector until you remove the solenoid.

Clean Up Any Dirt or Debris and Lubricate VCT Solenoid

After removing the solenoid, you can inspect it and ensure that all the VCT Solenoids are out. Next, clean the solenoid mounting surface. Then, use the lithium grease to lubricate your new solenoid as well as the seals of the solenoid spinner. Next, insert the VCT Solenoid onto the mounting surface using the mounting screws. Finally, tighten the VCT Solenoid.

Grease the Connectors

Finally, you can use some dielectric greases to apply to the connector’s seal to prevent corrosion. You can also rearrange any items you may have previously put aside. Reinstall the engine cover, and then reconnect the battery. Now you have successfully replaced the VCT Solenoid, and your car will not need any more expensive replacements.


There you have it. VCT solenoid stuck open? It’s not a huge problem. Ford developed Variable Camshaft Timing, a valve timing technology used to lubricate VCT gear assemblies when the VCT solenoid activates.

If the VCT solenoid fails or becomes blocked, it can cause the timing gear or chain to wear prematurely or break completely.

Variable valve timing was one of the most significant breakthroughs. This new system used advanced electronic technology to use various electronic signals via a variable timing solenoid. It was connected to the ignition system.


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