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P0011 code talk/advice thread

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long_w8 View Drop Down
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Joined: 14-May-2011
Location: Detroit, MI USA
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  Quote long_w8 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: P0011 code talk/advice thread
    Posted: 01-Nov-2013 at 23:13
I had a similar problem with my car, and if you have something stuck in the solenoid there is hope without dropping the engine. I was able to find a procedure for pulling the cylinder head and accessing the solenoids from the top.

My car had a small piece of metal stuck in one of the solenoids. Removing it and doing the electroshock/oil change routine got me sorted out and the engine stayed in the car. It's been over 20k miles since all of that happened.

I posted the procedure on this site. If you can't find it, PM me and I'll locate the post for you.

'03 Variant MT6 Sport Package
'91 Mazda MX-5 "Miata", supercharged
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billj3cub View Drop Down
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  Quote billj3cub Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Nov-2013 at 13:24
I am posting this across all occurrences of W8 cam adjustor/P0021/P0011 postings as I believe it to be the ultimate summation concerning the W8 cam adjuster/P0021 code and will show there is more to this than just shock treatment of the solenoids:

Note: You don't need to reverse polarity when doing the shock treatment. The plunger will extend out of the solenoid regardless of the polarity.
If the solenoid clicks when doing a solenoid test/shock treatment then it is probably good. If it does not click then pretty much guaranteed the valve is stuck depressed down in the valve body, the spring can't push the valve back up, the plunger is hanging fully extended out of the solenoid (it only moves 0.070"), and you will not hear a click because the solenoid is already fully extended. The solenoid is quite powerful, especially when applying 12 volts to it, but the return spring is weak by comparison so if the valve is going to get stuck, it will get stuck in the downward position. That is what I have always found. If all 4 solenoids click but you are getting cam adjustor codes then I would disassemble and inspect all 4 solenoids using the procedure below. The valve under the solenoid is the weak link that is most susceptible to sticking, the actual cam adjuster/sprockets are very tough and far more tolerant of wear, debris, gunk, etc.
I call the parts a valve and valve body because they are miniature versions of a automatic transmission valve and valve body. What has likely jammed the valve in the body are pieces of the super-fine mesh screen that was built into the solenoid holder and always comes apart over time. I have seen a new set of solenoids and their holder (big$$$) and the screen is a thicker more robust material than original but I would never reinstall that unit, new or old, without tearing the whole screen out regardless.

The following procedure should take about two hours from start of tear down to finish of reassembly:
Take the intake manifold off.
Remove the valve cover.
IMPORTANT: Disconnect the battery so you cannot mistakenly turn the engine over then stuff rags into the cam drive openings around the chains and gears quite thoroughly so nothing can fall down there. Get even the smallest item stuck down low in the chain/gears where you can't reach it and it is game over.
Remove the two Torx screws that hold the solenoid on. Use a strong pencil magnet to catch the screws even though you previously stuffed rags in the cam drive opening. Every caution you take will be worth it.
Using two flat bladed screwdrivers carefully pry the solenoid as straight up out of its holder as you can. If it does not come out perfectly straight don't worry. When prying out, one of two things will happen:
1) If the solenoid breaks off the valve body, leaving the valve body behind in the holder, then carefully clean out the 3 cracked or chipped edges of the valve body where they were crimped/staked around the solenoid. It will be obvious what I am talking about when you are looking at these parts.
You will see the valve in the valve body with an offset oil passage hole near the center. That oil hole delivers oil to the solenoid for cooling and lubrication purposes.
Stick a straight pick tool in that hole, cock it side ways gently then try to draw the valve out. If it stuck, and it will be, (remember why we are in there?) then try alternately (gently!) pushing, pulling and twirling until it eventually starts moving and you can draw it out. Take your time and don't force it. It will come out faster than you initially think. You don't want to unnecessarily score or chip the valve or the bore it rides in. Pull the spring out of the bottom of the bore with a pick tool and carefully set it aside. Every one I have taken apart that was stuck had either tiny bits of screen or large chunks of screen or something in between. The valve is really simple, just wipe it clean.
Cleaning the valve body is more difficult. I suggest you remove all those rags you stuffed in the cam drive area, hook up the battery, then have an assistant crank over the motor and let oil pressure flush out the debris until you are satisfied the body is clear.
2) If the solenoid and valve body pull out of the holder as an assembly then you will have to pry the valve body off the solenoid then follow the procedure outlined above after 1).

Disconnect the battery and again pack rags back around the cam drive to protect against dropsies then carefully place the spring back in the bore, shove the solenoid straight back down into position then carefully fasten the solenoid in place with the two Torx screws. Now would be a good time to drive the solenoid with battery voltage 50 to 100 times to hear that satisfying "click" and gain confidence that the valve is indeed free and not wanting to hang up.
Pull the rags out, install the valve cover, reassemble the rest of the intake, hoses and solenoid connectors. Drive the car around and be glad you did not unnecessarily have a shop remove the motor, replace the cam adjusters and solenoid assembly and blow $8,000 when all it takes is a few hours work to clean the solenoids. Think of it as regular maintenance (until all the screen material is gone) like cleaning the throttle body or replacing the spark plugs. The best part is you know exactly what you are doing and why you are doing it and can easily do it again if needed. No Fear, No Worry, No Sweat. The W8 lives again.

Editorial:
I am torn between the two: Had this clear understanding and procedure (and $300 verses $8,000 to have a shop do it) been known 5 years ago the W8 market would still be strong today and I would not have been able to get mine soooo cheep. But I do shed a tear for the untold millions of dollars unnecessarily thrown away and all the broken hearted owners that had to walk away from their dream car all from one unnecessary screen and one tiny valve that was easily cleaned.


'02 Passat Sedan W8 Automatic
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