Vulcan Cam Synchronizer/sensor Replacement - Taurus Car Club of America : Ford Taurus Forum
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post #1 of 73 (permalink) Old 03-10-2007, 11:55 PM Thread Starter
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The cam synchronizer is a common failure item in Vulcans, with a working life typically between 80-100k miles. It usually doesn't seem to do any damage if caught in time, but as the gear at the bottom of the synchronizer drives the oil pump it could (worst case scenario) theoretically destroy an engine.

There are two causes for the failure. The first seems to be exclusive to the hall effect version of the sensor, (up to 1997), where a piece of the magnetic tab that sits on the underside of the top of the sensor breaks off and damages the vane (metal tab that sticks up out of the rotating assembly that the sensor reads) that is used to time the engine; this will throw a CEL as the sensor is no longer functioning. The second applies to all vulcans and is what actually causes the chirping, it seems that the rotating assembly in the synchro does not recieve proper lubrication and the bearings start to fail. In either case the synchro itself will have to be replaced, and it's usually a good idea to replace the (cheap) sensor while you're at it.

The problem manifests itself a chirping coming from the transmission (driver) side of the engine. It can be very hard to pinpoint, when mine started to fail the sound appeared to come from different places as I moved around the engine bay. When my mechanic took a stethoscopey thingy to my engine bay, he concluded that it was ghosts and I should "come back if it gets worse". From reading posts on here, and my own experience, the chirping responds to RPMs, most pronounced at idle and eventually drone out to a whine at driving speed. It also seems to be affected by heat and humidity. Mine stopped making noise (when it got cooler outside) the better part of a year before I replaced it, but I suspect that if I hadn't it would have started again when it got hot.

There's a cheap way to replace the assembly, and an expensive way. From what I've read on here, dealers/mechanics will charge $150-$170 for the assembly, as well as 3-4 hours of labor for the replacement. I found the part (Dorman#689-107 for my 02') on RockAuto for $40 and it took me an hour to install it. RockAuto's catalog will guide you to the correct part. For mine, it was listed under camshaft synchronizer, but I have read about it possibly being listed as a distributor for earlier years. The actual replacement of the part is as simple as undoing 1 clamping bolt, removing the old assembly and installing the new one. The most time consuming part for me was cutting the plastic tray that guided the wire bundle that ran directly overtop of the assembly so that I could even get to the synchro. Whether you are comfortable with doing this yourself will depend on how stubborn you are, and whether you think you're up to digging your way to the sensor/synchro. That's the hard part.

There is some risk to doing it yourself, but only if you do it incorrectly.
The cam synchronizer is integral to engine timing, and if the new assembly is not installed with the exact same orientation as the original some serious damage could occur. Luckily, it's not that easy to mess up if you pay attention. The teeth on the bottom of the synchronizer are big enough that the vane rotates approx 10 degrees for each tooth. After removing the sensor from the top of the assembly and before touching the clamping nut that secures the synchro; if you mark the relative position of the synchronizer body on the block, and mark the position of the vane on the synchro body you can install the new synchro in the exact same position. If you make accurate marks and pay attention, it will be obvious if you are off. I replaced mine with this method and have driven approx 150 miles since without a CEL to be seen, nor a squeak to be heard.


Good luck, I saved myself several hundred dollars doing this myself with information gleaned from the TCCA. Even if you choose to have a mechanic or dealer do the replacement, diagnosis and correction of this issue could save you some money and trouble in the long run.
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post #2 of 73 (permalink) Old 06-12-2007, 11:00 PM
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Great how-to. One question I have is regarding the positioning of the crankshaft during the operation. Every other bit I've read on replacing the synchronizer mentions (quite emphatically) that you need to be sure to position the no. 1 cylinder at the top dead center of the compression stroke. You didn't mention that, and I'm wondering if you got around that by marking the position of the synchronizer before you replaced it.

I'm getting ready to replace this myself, and wanted to get more info before I dive in.

Matt
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post #3 of 73 (permalink) Old 06-12-2007, 11:09 PM
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it does not need to be at TDC, as long as you put it in in the exact manner it came out, you will be fine. literally get out a ruler and use white out to draw 5-6 reference points, i did then on the intake manifold, head, block, and valve cover.

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post #4 of 73 (permalink) Old 06-14-2007, 08:03 AM
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Well, my problem was that I could never get it to the mechanic when my synchronizer would make noise. It always did it at home from work and always after hours. He thought I was crazy. I even left it at the shop for 4 days. I finally got it to him Monday when it sounded like 1000 crickets under the hood.

He first called a Ford dealership, they called it the synchronizer. After determining that was the problem, we called the warranty folks. The funny part is that the extended warranty people almost denied to pay for it, because in their book they call it the Crank Angle Sensor. Good thing I asked my mechanic to check around. He called NAPA, and luckily they called it the Crank Angle Sensor.

The total cost of replacement is only $345.


NEwayz, all I have to pay are shop fees and tax. Total of $20.

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post #5 of 73 (permalink) Old 10-27-2007, 12:33 PM
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Just had mine done and it was amazing how fast the mechanic got to it. He removed the air hose, the throttle cable, various sensors around the t-stat, in addition to one of the smaller coolant hoses in about 10 minutes. Made getting to the synchro MUCH easier. There is a good bit of room when you remove those pieces.

Sure enough, when it was removed, the shaft squeaked when it was turned (It was quite warm). When it cooled off however, it would not make noise. Don't let a mechanic tell you that if it doesn't make noise it's ok. The sensor was also coated in a nice coat of rust. Looked like moisture got in there so clean off the magnet if you aren't replacing it altogether.

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post #6 of 73 (permalink) Old 12-13-2007, 07:29 PM
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Thanks Earthsick. This a far easier job than most make it out to be. No more chirping. Life is good. For anyone needing the part right away and you end up going to a place like Autozone to get it, it's listed under "Distributor" in their system. If you buy at Autozone/Advance you'll understand why I have posted this tidbit.
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post #7 of 73 (permalink) Old 02-29-2008, 01:17 PM
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Howdy...
Just a friendly note from your Ranger Brethren:
The Dorman CPS Synchro assembiles are failing between 10 and 25K miles after replacement.
http://www.rangerpowersports.com/forum/sho...ad.php?t=222238

There are 2 issues:
1. The cam - rotate the crankshaft to determine if the cam teeth are good or if the cam is bent. If there are damaged teeth or the cam "wobbles", any repairs would be short lived. Replace the cam. If the parts are good...
2. The Dorman Synchro has a VERY thin thrust washer that is wearing out far too quickly. The rotation of the cam forces the synchro UP, against that washer and they just aren't holding up.

I recommned the Ford part and MAYBE the A-1 Cordone replacement, they seem to be lasting a while.

If you can, replace the CPS and Synchro every 100K miles as a preventative measure.

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post #8 of 73 (permalink) Old 02-29-2008, 01:56 PM
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https://www.taurusclub.com/forum/inde...howtopic=53152


There is a pinned thread at the top of this forum documenting the failing Dorman synchronizers.

Thanks Fredness. Your link confirms that this is not isolated to a few people or solely Taurii.

RIP TCCA

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post #9 of 73 (permalink) Old 05-24-2008, 11:39 PM
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Is the chirping noise always loud or does it depend on speed? Is it loud enough to hear it from inside the car?

Other than the chirping noise, what are other side effects you can experience from a cam synchronizer that is on it's way out?

What I'm experiencing is that when I start the car, especially on a cold start, I have to let it idle for a minute or two. Otherwise, if I put the car in Drive or Reverse shortly after I start it, the car starts to shake as if it is struggling to go, but after a minute, I can put it into gear and it will not stumble (sometimes, but it is not that noticeable and goes away quickly).

One time, I did start and immediately put it into gear and heard a loud chirping noise as I accelerated to proper speed on the road. It went away.

Afterwards I always let it idle for a minute or two before putting it into gear so that it doesn't stumble like before.

Now I can hear a chirping when I do a cold start, but it is somewhat subtle and not loud enough as if the serpentine belt was causing it.

I did check the serpentine belt just to be sure that was in good condition.

Now, if I were to do this. How long does it take to do? also, I am on a budget, so is the Cardone brand synchronizer almost as good or just the same as the Ford (especially the remanufactured ones)?

I'm at rockauto.com and just to make sure I'm on the same page, is this the part?


A-1 CARDONE Part # 30S2600 More Info {[Crank Angle Sensor] Reman.}
OHV; w/Step on Plug

Part Image
$41.79 $40.00 $81.79
Add to Cart
A-1 CARDONE Part # 30S2600L More Info {[Crank Angle Sensor] Reman.}
OHV; w/o Step on Plug

Part Image
$41.79 $40.00 $81.79
Add to Cart
CARDONE SELECT Part # 84S2600 More Info {[Crank Angle Sensor] New}
OHV
* Non-stock item--shipping delayed up to 12 business days

The new Crank Angle sensor is cheaper than the remanufactured one as it includes the core value.
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post #10 of 73 (permalink) Old 01-09-2009, 04:01 PM
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I just want to thank TCCA for this wonderful website and all of you that have posted regarding the Camshaft Synchronizer issue. It gave me the courage to tackle this issue myself instead of bringing it in.

When I got to the Censor and had taken it off, it was clean on the inside and no sign of wear and tear. Then I marked the position of the cam on the housing and the position of the housing to the engine block and took the Camshaft Synchronizer out. I could hear and feel the squeaking of the axle but other than that it was in good condition. For now I cleaned the part and oiled it with WD-40 and household oil. It stopped the squeaking for now and washed out a small amount of red rust that got dissolved by the oil.

I already had ordered a Dorman replacement part from Amazon for $30 incl. S&H before I found out about the problems with this part. I also emailed Dorman to find out if they have resolved this problem since it occurred in the end of 2007. So for now the old part is back in place and closely monitored.

One question came up in my mind though and that is how I will know if cylinder 1 in top dead center is at the end of it's compression stroke or it's exhaust stroke without removing the valve cover?
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