Cam phaser lockouts are a quick and affordable solution to getting rid of engine click noise and engine performance. On the contrary, lockout kits may increase fuel consumption in high RPM. Let’s hop and weigh the cam phaser lockout pros and cons for once and all.
Cam Phaser Lockout Pros and Cons
- Completely eliminates knocking noise coming from the front
- Quick and Affordable
- Better MPG on low RPM
- Enhanced engine performance
- Increases efficiency of the car
- Lower maintenance cost
- Decrease in overall fuel economy
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What is the Purpose of a Cam Phaser lockout
An engine’s performance is measured by its overall ability to open and keep open both its intake and exhaust valves. In ancient times, a camshaft was used to control the valves’ timing of opening and closing manually. Today, a cam phaser, which is a modern adjustable camshaft, is used to control valve timing in an engine.
It uses a computer-controlled server to control the timing. Both the intake and exhaust valves have a separate cam phaser, which helps regulate the valves’ overlapping. The computer can either decrease the overlap, make the engine more efficient, or increase the overlap, increasing the engine’s horsepower. It also helps to improve fuel combustion and thus produces less emissions. See details here.
Pros of Cam Phaser Lockout
There are many advantages of using a cam phaser lockout. It is the most recommended option for quick cam phaser fixes.
Completely Eliminates Knocking
Lockouts in engines help to getting rid of the annoying knocking noises in the engines. Lockouts work perfectly in vehicles that have not had their engine exposed to prior severe engine damages that could have affected the cam phaser. Check detailed compatibility here.
Compared to other methods of reducing or preventing cam phaser problems, it is relatively cheaper. You can literally have it done for more than half, less the amount you would pay for the other alternatives. Compare online costs here.
For example, the cost of replacing an engine could range from $3500-$5000 to replace a low mileage engine in a ford. However, think of this, you can pay as low as $25-$100. This is less than a ⅛ of the amount you would use to replace an engine. And also, it is not only cheap but offers a long-term service.
Increased MPG on Low RPM
Mileage per gallon, abbreviated as MPG, indicates the fuel consumption of a car for every mileage. If your vehicle displays a 50mpg, this simply means that for every 50 miles you will drive, your vehicle will consume 1 gallon of petrol in the fuel tank. When using lockouts, the amount of gallon consumed reduces when the rpm is low because of the 20 plus degrees advance in timings. Here’s how to track your mileage efficiently.
Boosted Engine Power
As mentioned earlier, one of the importance of having a cam phaser is that it increases engine power. However, what happens when the phaser fails? The engine power reduces. Lockouts, in this case, increase the engine power ‘permanently’ by eliminating any chances of cam phaser failure. I do a quick scan every now and then to monitor engine power.
Improved Efficiency of the Car
When using cam phasers, you avoid any damage caused to the car or any part of the vehicle, such as the pistons, chain tensioners, and lash adjusters. This helps to maintain the car parts as well as the car in good condition. Regular monitoring is the key, here’s how to monitor.
Reduced Cost of Maintenance
Cam lockouts help to eliminate the failures of cam phasers. This will help you save money. It simply means that no cost will be spent for regular repair and replacements of parts that have worn out due to the cam phasers’ failure.
Cons of Cam Phaser Lockout
Follow me on this, when driving on low rpm, the mpg is increased. However, when driving on a high or regular rpm, then the GPM is reduced by 1. For example, initially, your f150’s mpg was 50mpg, which means, for every 50 miles, you will consume 1 gallon of fuel. After installation of lockouts, this would supposedly change to 49mpg when driving under normal or high rpm. Here’s my guide fixing on F150 wheel bearing noise.
How Does Cam Phaser Work
The cam phaser is housed inside a phaser compartment. When oil under high pressure is applied to the cam phaser, it accumulates and fills in the cylindrically shaped parts located next to the engine. The pressure is applied to either one side or both sides of the phaser, making it change position.
When no oil pressure is applied, the phaser is locked in position by a pin inside a hole. However, when pressure is applied, it moves the hole’s pinout, unlocking the phaser, making it rotate. The valve timing could also be adjusted depending on the engine load and speed using a Powertrain Control Module(PCM).
There are two types of cam-phasers; a vane-rooter and a lobed rooter. A vane rooter could result in a 20-30 degree change in valve timing, thus is more efficient.
Here’s why you should never use wrong oil grade for your vehicle.
What are The Symptoms of a Bad Cam Phaser
- Low warm-up mode
When you hear a noise and trace it to the front of the engine, it is probably a worn phaser. Other times, the noise could result from low oil pressure in the phasers caused by wear in the cylindrical heads. Read my guide on low oil pressure quick fixes here.
Low Warm-up Mode
In some extreme cases, the phaser could affect the idle, making it hard for the engine to warm up and quickly lose warmth. Here’s my guide on what to do when engine starts but won’t stay running.
Why do Cam Phasers Fail
Failures in cam phasers could be a result of low oil pressure in the solenoids. The engine’s oil pressure is maintained by the solenoids, which apply pressure on the phaser, making it change position, which results in timing.
Low pressure in the phaser makes the pin drop into the hole holding the phaser in a fixed position. This could result in a knocking sound. Fixing a failed cam phaser is rather a simple process that does not require any complicated tools. You could also opt for a replacement of both the phaser and all its followers.
Read my guide on best engine oil here.
What Happens if you Don’t Replace Cam Phasers
A failure in a phaser doesn’t mean the end of you enjoying driving around. Machines, which are computers, have an ‘inbuilt antivirus’ program to help protect and maintain everything intact. In case of a failure in a cam phaser:
- The engine control module locks it. Doing this ensures that the valves are not in contact with the pistols and the engine is not damaged.
- Engine light blinks. The engine control unit will illuminate a ‘check engine sign’ indicating a problem with the engine.
- Reduces engine power and the revolutions per minute (RPM). The reduced revolutions per minute help to reduce the risk of potential damage.
- Slows speed. A slow speed reduces the combustion and rpm, thus mitigating any other damage to the engine.
Car computers are almost similar to your smartphone. See details here.
How do I Prevent Cam Phaser Problems
People often wonder whether cam phaser problems can be permanently solved. I have tried to provide different solutions to help solve your problem.
Don’t get panicked over a oil leak. Here’s my quick fix guide.
- Replace both the cam scanners and their followers, including the chain tensioners and its lash adjusters. However, this would be a rather expensive alternative since it might require full reconstruction of the engine. When a damaged cam phaser is left in for too long, it could potentially damage the pistons. In this case, you might need to replace the entire engine, which could be expensive.
- Using a phaser lockout that locks the cam phaser into a fixed position prevents any movements that could rattle. This is a cheap yet long term alternative.
The most reliable and recommended method would be to use a lockout kit, which permanently eliminates future problems.
Is your engine maintaining optimum temperature? Here’s my guide on correct antifreeze coolant ratio.
Cam Phaser FAQ
Here’s some common questions and answers about cam phaser.
You are probably tired of spending too much money on fixing and repairing problems caused by cam scanner failures, and you are now looking for a long-term solution. Lockouts also known as delete kits are by far offer both pocket-friendly and long-lasting services, and that is what all of us want for our vehicles; To be more of an asset and less of a liability. Lockouts are definitely long time investments worth your hard-earned money. I’ll be glad if this cam phaser lockout pros and cons list help you make better decisions. Read my post on camshaft phaser here.
Taking your car for repair at dealership? Don’t forget to ask for your loaner car (It’s free).
11 thoughts on “Cam Phaser Lockout Pros and Cons – Engine Click Noise?”
Do I have to have new cam phasers to put the lockout in since mine is already rattling or do I get this use the old ones thank you
Getting a new cam phaser may help. Can’t tell without proper inspection.
wow very informative helped a lot now know what to do after 6 different opinions, need my 2005 expedition with 103000 miles back, may have to pay a bit more but we are seniors and husband is disabled helped a lot. thanks
Pleasure helping you. Thanks and keep coming back.
Thank you for such a plain insight on this matter, my 08, I thought well maintained f150 has driven me crazy since March of this year, Firestone hit me for 1600 bucks for coil pack replacement, didn’t solve the issue so next a Ford dealer ship had it for 4days and couldn’t diagnose the problem, finally found a guy with a small shop and he got it before checking it out, wish you had a shop here in Memphis, TN. Thanks again firstname.lastname@example.org
You are welcome Ronald. I’m really glad that you’ve found peace.
If I on accident put the one screw that was supposed to be in one certain spot in the wrong spot what kind if problems would that cause on the cam phazer lock
If the size doesn’t match, there will be issues like things will not work properly, it won’t hold properly and the screw may wear off faster. It can worsen the situation. You should be careful when installing cam phaser lockout kits.
Does a lockout or delete kit have any impact on emissions? Want to ensure i wont fail my 2 year state mandated inspections
No, cam phaser lockout kit won’t affect emission. The cam phaser lockout kit is only designed for the timing of the cam phaser motor.
I think it will slightly affect your emissions, and they may be able to measure it depending on how they test your vehicle. If they simply check for a MIL and then a tailpipe sniff test at idle, you will likely pass. If they do a dyno emissions test, you will likely fail. The VCT replaced the EGR system on this engine. EGR isn’t active at idle, but it sure is at steady state cruise conditions. That’s also why you lose a little MPG by disabling the VCT- it also eliminates all EGR functions on this engine. By partially filling the cylinder with exhaust gas, you are displacing some of the oxygen that would otherwise be there. This means you don’t need as much fuel and so you can lean the engine (when comparing fuel injected v cylinder volume) without causing problems. Think of it as chemically altering the engine displacement.
Hope you pass the emission test. All the best.
Variable Valve Timing is garbage… Best not to buy a car or truck that utilizes it… All it is is bureaucratic bullshit that has been pushed on to the automobile manufacturers. The end result is unreliable engines that are expensive to fix… Just say NO to VVT!!!