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Old 09-07-2013, 03:30 PM   #1
andersonmh
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Why P1381? (2004 SVTF)

Geez, if it isn't one thing it's another. I am now throwing a P1381 and I just finished working on the car.

History: I replace the timing belt, water pump and idler about 6000 to 8000 miles ago. No problems. Just recently (maybe in the last 500 miles) I was getting the P1518 code and then my alternator decided to start going bad. I took out the IMRC and cleaned the contacts, put thermal paste on, re-soldered the circuit board and put the IMRC and cable back on. While I had the hood up I also removed and replaced the alternator (watta PITA). I just took out the car for a test run and now I have a P1381. I did do a high-rev (7,000 RPM +) durning the test tun to make sure that the IMRC was working correctly. My CEL came on and I figured that I just got another P1518 but low and behold it's a P1381! The symptom that I notice the most is a very rough idle. BTW- I didn't experience and CEL before the high rev.

Any idea what I could have bumped or broken while I was working on the alternator (I doubt that the IMRC "fix" would cause this)? This seems too coincidental just to have the belt slip a cog all of a sudden. If anybody has some ideas before I start tearing the thing apart again, it would be most appreciated.

TIA - Mark

Update: I cleared the DTC and took the SVT for a ~25 mile trip. The CEL came on coming back home but other than a crappy idle I didn't notice any other performance change. When I was removing and replacing the alternator I had to undo and reattach some vacuum hoses connected to a vacuum canister on the passenger side firewall. I looked for something that maybe I forgot to attach but I see nuttin' wrong. Maybe someone smarter than me (which includes a very large percentage of the global population) can point me in the right direction. TIA - Again...



Last edited by andersonmh; 09-07-2013 at 05:03 PM. Reason: Update
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Old 09-09-2013, 07:22 AM   #2
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Timing could have jumped or possibly a bad VCT solenoid or contaminated VCT solenoid. Make sure the VCT solenoid is plugged in and the terminals aren't damaged prior to diagnosing the timing.
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Old 09-09-2013, 06:52 PM   #3
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I removed the solenoid and flushed it out with electronic printed circuit board cleaner and tapped it a few times on a piece of 2x4. I reset the P1381 and started the engine. It purrs at idle like it should. I didn't have time to make an extended test drive but I'll do that in two days. Right now I'm a happy camper.

Although I just recently started using some very good motor oil (Brad Penn Fully Synthetic) I still added a few ounces of Seafoam to the crankcase to help out with any old time sludge I had. Hopefully I have "fixed" this for the time being.

Thanks - Mark

Last edited by andersonmh; 09-10-2013 at 05:01 AM. Reason: Grammer
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Old 09-09-2013, 07:19 PM   #4
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Old 09-10-2013, 12:27 AM   #5
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You guys really kill me with the seafoam in the oil trick. If you really thought it cleaned crap out of the engine where do you think that crap ends up? It doesn't just magically disappear.

A little hint...............just came from another car site where a guy did it on a heavy sludged motor and the crap came loose and clogged oil pump pickup and tore up the motor.

You do NOT want to remove big amounts of sludge, it can be counter productive. Best to leave it in place and let detergents in new oil carry it away little by little.

The seafoam if done back a bit is why the VCT messed up.
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Old 09-10-2013, 09:38 AM   #6
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Well, this page explains all the possible causes of the code, maybe it will help you out a little --

http://www.hotrodlane.cc/New%20LS%20...TC%20P1381.htm
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Old 09-10-2013, 09:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amc49 View Post
You guys really kill me with the seafoam in the oil trick. If you really thought it cleaned crap out of the engine where do you think that crap ends up? It doesn't just magically disappear.

A little hint...............just came from another car site where a guy did it on a heavy sludged motor and the crap came loose and clogged oil pump pickup and tore up the motor.

You do NOT want to remove big amounts of sludge, it can be counter productive. Best to leave it in place and let detergents in new oil carry it away little by little.

The seafoam if done back a bit is why the VCT messed up.
  1. Isn't the oil filter there to pick up debris in the oil or is it just for looks?
  2. I doubt that this engine is a "heavy sludged motor".
  3. This is the first time that Seafoam has been in the crankcase and it was only 4 oz.
  4. "You do NOT want to remove big amounts of sludge, it can be counter productive. Best to leave it in place and let detergents in new oil carry it away little by little". - To quote you "...where do you think that crap ends up? It doesn't just magically disappear".
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Old 09-10-2013, 09:55 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ImFocusing View Post
Well, this page explains all the possible causes of the code, maybe it will help you out a little --

http://www.hotrodlane.cc/New%20LS%20Links%20Page/LS%20trouble%20codes/DTC%20P1381.htm
Thanks dude but that P1381 code analysis is for a Chevy/Geo. If I'm not mistaken, for a specific OBD code: if the first number after the first character (in this case a "P") is not a zero (in this case a "1") then the DTC is manufacturer specific. However, I appreciate your effort to help.

Thanks - Mark
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Old 09-10-2013, 10:14 AM   #9
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If your problem returns after your VCT cleaning, here is the definition from the Ford workshop manual.

"The comprehensive component monitor (CCM) monitors the VCT position for an over-advanced camshaft timing. The test fails when the camshaft timing exceeds a maximum calibrated value or remains in an advanced position."

"Possible causes
Camshaft timing improperly set
No oil flow to the VCT piston chamber
Low oil pressure
VCT solenoid valve stuck closed
Camshaft advance mechanism binding (VCT unit)"

Since your DTC has gone away(or so it seems) since you cleaned the VCT, I think there was something stuck in there causing it to stick in the over advanced position(hence the rough idle). You can get away with a small amount of seafoam in the oil to loosen any small deposits. You just can't go the typical 3,000 to 5,000 miles on that oil and filter. After about 500 miles I would change the oil and filter and inspect the filter and drained oil for debris.

If the debris clogs the oil pick up, then you had bigger problems that would catch up to the motor anyways.
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Old 09-10-2013, 10:58 AM   #10
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Gee guys! IF you are going to add Seafoam to your motor oil it should be done BEFORE an oil change, not AFTER. If this stuff really works at breaking down sludge and varnish in your engine, it would also begin to breakdown your oil. An oil change after a few miles would be appropriate, so why add it to new oil when the old oil could be used for this purpose?

Also, if used in the crankcase on a high mileage vehicle, you might end up with oil leaks.
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