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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got the 1383 code just before I had a chance to smog my focus. As far as I understand the VCT is spring loaded and should return to starting position without any hydraulic load on it. Mine seems to rotate freely, like there is no spring. Would this cause the 1383? If so, where can I buy a new VCT? Andhow much will it set me back? Thanks for any help.
 

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The usual cause is timing belt related rather than the VCT, virtually guaranteed if anyone has recently messed with belt timing.

Valvetrain friction can move the cam so that the VCT appears to be faulty. The friction can override the spring if the cylinder has bled down oil out of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The usual cause is timing belt related rather than the VCT, virtually guaranteed if anyone has recently messed with belt timing.

Valvetrain friction can move the cam so that the VCT appears to be faulty. The friction can override the spring if the cylinder has bled down oil out of it.
The code happened before I did anything with the timing belt. I took it as an opportunity to change the timing belt (I'm at alomst 80k miles). So there is a spring? I'd imagine it exerts quite a bit of force. When I moved the VCT ( with the belt off) it felt like there was no spring at all.
 

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Spring's pretty well known for not exerting much force, often not enough to overcome resistance from oil in the VCT. Most of the threads on setting timing mention manually ensuring the cam & gear are in the right position since the spring can't be trusted to do it.

("Should" move it to one end of travel, but known for not always doing it)
 

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The VCT relies on oil pressure to mechanically alter timing, but the system uses a solenoid (just like a fuel injector) to increase or decrease pressure to the VCT 'gear". And since engine oil and filters are basically designed to remove any damaging debris from the mechanical components, that stuff can potentially clog the electronic solenoid part of that system. But there is no specific filter for the VCT flow because it needs to instantly react, uses a relatively small volume of fluid.

Somebody else tell me to **** if I'm spreading disinformation or muddying waters here. Just trying to point out other aspects involved.

tl;dr I just caught myself spreading disinformation. Oil pressure is going to be basically constant under load, so there needs to be a solenoid to apply mechanical pressure, but since fluid doesn't compress and it's a recirculating system, there needs to be a return mechanism. Either a spring or a bypass hole/valve to precisely and mechanically regulate return flow.
 
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