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Old 08-04-2011, 01:06 PM   #1
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Variable valve timimg actuator issues

Hello All,
I have a 97 Boxster that I am in love with, but I am having some problems and need the forums help. I used to be rather good at working on old air cooled VWs, but I figured I am all grown up and I could work on a porsche. Umm sorta out of my leugue. Glad there are forums!

On start up there was a funny rattle sound coming form the engine that was similar to loose exhaust. It would only happen if the car had been sitting for 4 hours or so, so I assumed it had something to do with oil settling.
Upon further reading, it is suggested that it might be the cam chain tensioner.
I waited a little while to repair it, then the check engine light popped on and started flashing, and the car would barely idle.

We scanned for codes, and I was getting random misfires on the left bank cyl456?
My friend and mechanic is ASE but not a porsche mechanic specifically looked up the codes and suggestions and we decided to replace the tensioner. The chain tensioner came in and after 4 hours or so we replaced the tensioner. It starts and idles now, and runs far better than before the new tensioner, but the sound on start up is still there, and the cel is flashing still.

I posted a video for the sound on you tube. Cut and paste into browser..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyYaAmZ9dsY

I am recieving the following codes via Torque and an ELM bluetooth unit...

Current Fault Log
------------------
P0300: Random/Multiple Cylinder Misfire Detected
P0306: Cylinder 6 Misfire Detected
P0304: Cylinder 4 Misfire Detected
P0305: Cylinder 5 Misfire Detected

Pending Fault Log
------------------
P1319: [Seat/Audi/Volkswagen] Knock Sensor 1 Circ. Short to Ground

P1318: Unknown code - More information may be available on the web
P1316: Unknown code - More information may be available on the web
P1317: [BMW] B Camshaft Position Plausibility

I did some digging on all data and I am thinking it might be the VAr timing solenoid for Left bank? Do we really have to drop he engine to fix this? I am hoping someone can make a suggestion to see if I can fix this short of dropping the engine and replacing the var cam actuator solenoid... Anyone with ecperience on this please help!

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Old 08-04-2011, 01:46 PM   #2
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First, all the codes you have listed are individual cylinder misfire events. Secondly, get a better scanner, preferably one that it is relevant to Porsche; P1317 is not a camshaft position related code in a Porsche, it is a misfire in cylinder 5, and 1319 is a general “emissions relevant misfire” code.

If you had a diagnostic system specific to the car, such as the Durametric system, a PST II, or the vaunted PIWIS system; you can read the camshaft position and trigger the VarioCam system in real time with the engine running, allowing you to eliminate them as a source of your issues. As much as I hate to say it, you probably replace a tensioner that may have been worn, but otherwise was fine. Before you replace the VarioCam unit, get the car checked on a proper diagnostic system and find out if it really needs replacement......

Smart phones are not always as smart as you think they are..............and in your case appears to be misleading you……..
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Last edited by JFP in PA; 08-04-2011 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 08-04-2011, 04:35 PM   #3
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Thanks for the push in the right direction...

OK I broke down and ordered a Durametric kit online. Glad I have a laptop, would be funny dragging my pc out to the garage!

I didn't realize that the capabilities in diagnostic tools were so varied. It will be nice to know what issue is before we drop the engine. Thanks.

BTW did you by any chance listen to the yu tube engine start up below? are we at least on the right track so to speak?


I will know more when IO get my Durametric reader kit..
The right tools make all the difference in the world....
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Old 08-04-2011, 06:55 PM   #4
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I've learned not to always place a lot of faith in video or sound files, they can be very deceiving; we have had files sent to the shop that sounded like the car was at death's door, only to find something as simple as an idler bearing when we got the car into the shop.

I'd be interested to see what the Durametric generates; all the codes you have posted so far a simple misfires, none of which by themselves points to any major mechanical issue. When you get your system, be sure to look at your cam timing deviation values, they should be some odd +/- values like -1.38 or +2.53; but the critical reading should be that they are rock steady at an idle and do not jump back and forth (the red and blue lines below):

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Old 08-05-2011, 05:04 AM   #5
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The sound at start up is exactly like mine. Its sound like a diesel tractor for a second or two. I have been told its the tensionner that need to be clean. Too much dirt prevent it from good tension at start up. I had not taken yet the time to clean it, oil it too see if its only that. But sound like it for me too.

Chris
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Old 08-05-2011, 06:43 AM   #6
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I will let you know what I find when my durameter shows up. We changed out the tensioner to no luck. It runs better that it did before, but still CEL flashing and the codes below off my POS Elm unit. Total waste of time and money on our end both parts wise and diagnostic tool wise.

Getting to the 2nd bank tensioner was difficult, but relatively simple compared to replacing the actuator, which apparently need a motor drop. I miss my VW bus, I could drop the engine in 20 minutes flat...


Chris, I was steered towards Durametric by JFP in PA below, which will apparantly give you more abilty to test out the actual var timing solenoid that actuates the tensioner. The reader for a laptop and software was around $300 with shipping. From what I have seen spend the money on a good diagnostic tool.

We are betting the actuator is dead, but why pull an engine if you aren't sure.
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Old 08-05-2011, 08:17 AM   #7
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Your tensioners are "passive" (activated by oil pressure), while the VarioCam system solenoids can be activated by the Durametric system, allowing you to see the cams actually advance and retard in real time, as well as measure their deviation values. When you get your system, look at the "drive modes" which will list all of the function available for you to activate and test.
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Old 08-06-2011, 09:27 AM   #8
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JFP you rock for the guidance. May I call on in future if needed? I will do through the forum of course. Thanks.


Flat six engine smileys... HAH
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Old 09-16-2011, 09:32 AM   #9
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Can I ask what happened here? This is the noise my car makes. I had assumed tensioners, but you say you replaced yours to no effect?

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