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Fault code 178 Camshaft Adjustment Bank 1 issue in 1999 996 C4


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I've been searching for this the past couple of weeks, but I am not having any luck finding a solution. My CEL came on and when I ran my Durametric I got the following:

P1325

Porsche fault code 178 - camshaft adjustment bank 1

I searched the forums, but could only find help with bank 2. So, what I did was test the two banks with my Durametric. I found it interesting when I tested camshaft adjustment bank 1 by turning the solenoid off, there was a noticeable change in idle, but when I tested bank 2, there was no change in the idle. That makes me think maybe my Durametric is giving the wrong information and it is actually bank 2 that is the issue.

Has anyone run across this problem? Any ideas how I might fix it?

Thanks!

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I've seen a few typographcial issues in Durametric before, you should email them! They are very responsive and helpful.

That being said, if your testing shows that activating bank 2 variocam does not change idle, and you are getting a CEL code for that problem, then likely the variocam actuator and/or solenoid needs to be replaced underneath the camshaft cover.

There are a few corner cases that your DME could be fried and needs to be repaired, your wiring is damaged, or a camshaft position sensor is on the fritz.

Here is a thread with the details on that repair:

One thing I've noticed is sometimes Durametric will not activate variocam. Be sure everything is rebooted, your car is warm, A/C running and then start by activating bank 2 variocam (sometimes if you do bank 1 and then go to do bank 2 I've seen it not work before because of the software).

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  • 2 weeks later...

Happy New Year!

I tried activating Camshaft bank 2, but I keep getting an error from the Durametric telling me "Cannot send to sensor." So, nothing happens when I try to activate Cam 2. However, when I activate Cam 1 the engine idle changes dramatically. The values for the two banks are approximately -10.1 for cam bank 2 and -5.7 for cam bank 1. I'm not sure what those figures mean, however.

The link you sent was pretty scary, to say the least. I cannot imagine doing that sort of work myself. I wish I could! I think I am sunk with no easy diy fixes unless anyone has more suggestions. Otherwise, I will let you all know how much it cost for Porsche to fix it. :(

JC

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Bank 2 at -10 degrees retarded timing is definitely out of spec and could indicate a faulty variocam actuator.

Not being able to actuate variocam actuator by software could indicate a faulty actuator or solenoid.

There is a possibility the engine is too far out of time and therefore not able to activate variocam. You could have a shop retime the engine to see if that corrects the problem.

There is a remote possibility it is bad wiring, bad cam position sensor, or a bad DME (ECU). Swapping the cam position sensors between banks can eliminate that as a problem, but is difficult to do with engine in car. Isolating the DME can be done by applying voltage manually to the solenoid (which is what Durametric can do in software) and can rule that out. That can also rule out wiring. Apply 12v manually to the solenoid should produce a rough idle. It should also ohmed out at appx 13. If it does not, the actuator or solenoid are bad. In either case the camshaft cover has to be removed to fix solenoid or actuator and I recommend replacing both while you are in there.

If none of those things work (which all should be ruled out before opening the engine), I'm pretty sure you are looking at a shop to fix the variocam actuator and/or solenoid ($2500-3500). You should have them re-time the engine when they are done since -6 degrees for bank 1 is at the max acceptable range for camshaft timing.

There really aren't any "easy" DIY fixes so to speak on this... sorry to be bearer of bad news.

Good luck.

Oh, and did you try rebooting everything (car, laptop, durametric) and activating bank 2 variocam FIRST before anything else? That would rule out a problem with software.

Edited by logray
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I dropped my car off at the Porsche dealer two days ago and they called me this morning with the news. It turns out that the Camshaft Solenoid Bank 2 needs replacing and that Bank 1 is leaking oil and needs to be addressed as well. They also told me that the RMS needs replacement as does the IMS bearing and that it makes sense to address these issues while the engine is dropped. The quote to fix them all?

$6000

Double-ouch. I've never had any major work done to this car, so I really have no basis to go on. Does anyone know if this sounds appropriate? Any thoughts on whether I should have the dealer perform this or get an independent mechanic in the Boston South Shore area to do it? Any recommendations?

Thank you in advance for your support and advice.

JC

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Walk away! That is far too expensive. I've read similar work (cam solenoid, ims, rms, engine drop) that have been done for $3-4k range.

I would shop around, at independents and dealers. Make the dealer aware you are shopping around, they might drop their price.

The IMS ($600 part, 2 hour job once transmission is removed) and RMS ($20 part, 30 minute job once transmission is removed) are good "while you're in there" peace of mind items, but I wouldn't call them a requirement. If there is a large leak between engine and bellhousing however then you might want to address those. You might also want to read up on the IMS guardian instead of IMS bearing replacement.

I would also have them replace the AOS while you're in there.

Edited by logray
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That's good to know. Thanks for the tips. I'm shopping around for better prices. I'm even considering doing it myself. Heck, I even considered turning the car into an electric. Ha! But, I would miss the sound of the old petrol. Maybe one day though...

If I did decide to bite the bullet and do the work myself, it would take me a long time, but I figure I would not only save a ton of cash, but also learn how to really work on my car (or discover how to really screw it up).

First, I need to figure out what an AOS is... :)

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Here's the estimate list my dealer provided for the work. The dealer here in MA clearly likes to jack up their part prices (This is not the first time they have done this. The last time they tried to overcharge me for a new key remote, so I purchased one from Sunset and saved around $70 from what they wanted for the part). I asked Sunset for prices on these items and I would save around $550 purchasing the parts myself through them.

post-49697-0-75991300-1325862733_thumb.j

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  • Admin

Hmmm... Labor $4375 -- so at $150/hour that would be 29.2 hours?

Porsche book time:

RMS -- 1.6 hours

Cam solenoid (2) -- 2.6 hours

Transmission R&R -- 4.0 hours

Total Porsche book time: 8.2 hours

I would look for another Porsche shop.

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Loren is that book time for a 2002-2004? The OP has a 1999 C4, which means they've got to remove the camshaft cover.

Plus they wanted to reseal the camshaft cover on the other side.

Even still, with or without engine drop, $4300 of labor is just insane.

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Thanks for the info, Loren. It's too bad this dealer is doing this because they are so convenient to my home. I guess they charge these prices because people pay them. Bummer. I'll keep everyone posted on the other mechanic prices I find.

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Where can I find the Porsche labor information? That sounds interesting...

I just got a quote from an independent shop in the area. I'm interested in hearing what you all think about this price. For some reason they broke the work up into two parts, but the total is much less than Porsche wants.

post-49697-0-71463000-1325868190_thumb.j

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Loren is that book time for a 2002-2004? The OP has a 1999 C4, which means they've got to remove the camshaft cover.

Plus they wanted to reseal the camshaft cover on the other side.

Even still, with or without engine drop, $4300 of labor is just insane.

Yes, that is book time for a 1999 C4.

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Now that I have a quote from a recommended mechanic that seems more in line, I guess my question now is if you all think I could do this work myself? I have done all of the maintenance work on the car myself, I am patient and I research things like a madman before carrying though. The only engine I have ever removed and replaced was on my John Deere riding mower! Yeah, I know... How hard can it be to remove the exhaust and lower the engine a bit to get to the solenoids? Also, how much trouble is it to remove the transmission on a C4 and replace the RMS and IMS bearings? I know LN Engineering recommends having a pro do their IMS install kits.

Am I way out of my league here?

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Doing the solenoids requires a few special tools. With my big hands and arms I wouldn't do this procedure with the engine in car. A person with smaller hands and access to a lift could probably do the solenoid with engine in car. That being said, the engine drop is not as difficult as it may sound like.

If the following doesn't scare you then I would say go for it.

The camshafts must be locked prior to unbolting the camshaft cover. This requires a cam locking tool which you can fabricate. If you are doing this on your own I would replace the actuator ($700 incl solenoid) and 5th timing chain as well, since you are saving the money on the labor best to get it done.

To remove the actuator, you need another special tool, a threaded rod to compress the actuator and relieve tension on the chain. You can make your own.

Before removing the camshafts, you are supposed to use another special tool (hold down tool) to ensure the camshafts are secured while removing the hardware. Some have done this procedure without this special tool, however you can make your own.

If you chicken out you can just remove and replace the solenoid without removing the actuator, timing chain, or camshafts (and not have to retime the engine, but the timing should be checked regardless). It would be a shame though to replace the solenoid and after all this work the prolbem was actually the actuator, in which case you need to do it all over again (not to mention you would have missed out on an opportunity to accomplish preventative maintenance of replacing a timing chain and actuator pads which can fail).

Once you are done replacing the camshaft cover, it requires a 1 to 1.5mm bead of loctite 5900 or drei bond applied in a specific sequence, with new micro encapsulated bolts torqued to spec in a specific sequence. Otherwise your camshaft cover will leak or your cam bearings will not be the proper bore size (example too tight or too loose).

Removing the flywheel to get at the RMS and IMS requires a flywheel lock tool and TDC pulley lock pin (again these tools are possible to fabricate).

The RMS insertion requires a special tool, but you can make one.

The IMS requires tools which you have to buy from LNE (can't make them unless you happen to be an expert machinist/fabricator with several lathes at your disposal). And you must lock the cams with yet more special tools (provided by LNE or use the ones from your solenoid procedure) or at the very least without locking cams which is optional on your 5 chain engine - you must verify cam timing once you are done with the procedure to validate your chains did not skip during the procedure.

There, did I scare you?

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Wow. No wonder they can charge so much! The actual procedures don't scare me too much. It's the tools needed to do the work that gives me pause. The other issue is where do you stop? I'm one of those "as long as I'm in there" people who may end up with a totally rebuilt engine when all is said and done.

Here's a funny story. I told the Porsche dealer that I got a quote much less than theirs and pointed out that the book time listed for this work was about 8.5 hours, not the 39 hours they were estimating. They asked if I could send them my other estimate so they could try to match it. Well, within an hour they dropped their price from $6000 to $3700! A $2300 price drop just like that? Amazing. They are still $380 over the independent mechanic (and they won't budge from their "rock bottom price"), so I think I am going to go with the indy mechanic. He does about 12 RMS and IMS replacements a year and tells me he does the solenoid work much more frequently. My Porsche friends recommend him, too, which gives me some peace of mind.

I still may decide to do it myself. I'll keep everyone posted.

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HAH! I saw the same thing happen at a dealer in Chicago, dropped their estimate. I guess they are used to some customers who pay the "Porsche tax" without even thinking about it.

The tools for these jobs really aren't that frightening unless you have to buy them from someone, and then you're better off paying someone who already has them because they cost so much.

You could try renting or borrowing the engine tool kit from someone who has a set, post a wanted ad here and on rennlist. You can even borrow the IMS tools of course, I've seen these shifted around.

You can make most of the tools with a hacksaw, and the most complicated tool required for fabrication you might not have are some taps for the cam lock tool and a left handed die for the variocam actuator tool. The RMS insertion tool can be made with some PVC fittings. For the TDC lock pin you can use a drill bit or buy a steel dowel from home depot. The above of course assuming you've got a good set of sockets, spanners, torque wrenches, hammers, screwdrivers, files, etc. If your "normal" tool chest is lacking, different story.

One note with "home grown" tools is that you won't be able to get cam timing 100% spot on, but it would be acceptable for street use. If you can rent or borrow the genuine cam timing tool, then certainly that will be better.

Good luck.

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I just had it done to my '99 C2. After a 13 day fight with the extended warranty company and complaints filed with the Texas Attorney General and The BBB in Texas where the warranty company is located they paid the claim, $2800. Porsche North Scottsdale in Arizona did the job and loaned me a car for 13 days at no charge. It cost me $100 for the deductable.

If you have a warranty never accept, "We are denying your claim".

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So, the saga continues... My mechanic called today and told me it's the variocam adjusters, not the solenoids that need replacement. This hikes the job up pretty significantly. He tells me he would also like to replace the clutch while doing this saying it will only cost the amount of the part, but labor would be the same regardless. So, now the price is $6637 ($4484 in parts/$1575 labor) to fin the variocam adjuster units (x2), new IMS, new RMS, new clutch, new spark plugs, new ignition coil, oil/filter change and various other new fluids. I've attached the estimate for anyone interested. The only thing keeping me positive is knowing that the Porsche dealer doesn't have my car because they would have really charged me a small fortune!

I'm going to meet with the mechanic tomorrow before he starts working.

post-49697-0-09862600-1326411587_thumb.j

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That's a lot of heavy duty parts and will be good for the engine.

It does increase the labor because the actuators and camshafts must be removed, and engine re-timed. Maybe another 2-3 hours on top of just replacing the solenoids. I recommend replacing the 4th and 5th timing chains at the same time since the actuators are coming out, it's not in the parts list, they are cheap and they have to come out/go in any time you remove and reinstall an actuator. Also have him replace the spark tubes and o-rings, they are cheap.

You can source a genuine OE clutch kit on ebay for about $450.

And an actuator/solenoid combo can be sourced from a Porsche discounter for about $700 ish.

Also recommend a new AOS, $100 part.

If you want to save this money you might ask your indy if you can carry in the parts. Some are not open to this.

90037813100 1 liter, qty 24. These are exhaust manifold bolts. Your car only has 12. Why 24 and why does he call them "1 liter". Also, your bolts should be re-usable if they are not too badly rusted assuming they can be cleaned up..

99908405202 locking nut. These are not applicable to your model year. They should not be included.

mobil one oil. You can find discounted mobil 1 or castrol syntec on sale for $5 per quart most of the time.

Brake fluid. You can buy 2x the amount of fluid you need for about $10 at most auto parts stores.

Exhaust manifold gaskets, you only need 2, not 4.

99760210700 coil pack, you can get these at parts discounters for $50.

It looks to me like they are charging you more for parts, closer to what a dealer would.

But the labor is very reasonable.

edit, since you are only getting a variocam code in one bank (one side of the enigne), technically you only need to replace one variocam actuator and solenoid. That being said, if you are paying someone, it prob makes sense to do both while they have the engine out... even though it is a 700-900 part.

Edited by logray
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