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P0013: Exhaust “B” Camshaft Position Actuator Circuit/Open (Bank 1)

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What is P0013?

The P0013 code stands for “Exhaust “B” Camshaft Position Actuator Circuit/Open (Bank 1),” or “B Camshaft Position – Open or Short in Oil Control Valve (OCV) (Bank 1).”

It’s a generic OBD-II code related to variable valve timing (VVT), also called variable camshaft timing (variable cam timing). The code implies that the engine control module (ECM) or powertrain control module (PCM) has detected that the bank 1 exhaust camshaft Oil Control Valve has an open circuit or short circuit.

The valve timing is fixed in a traditional engine. However, in an engine with variable valve timing, the camshaft position can be adjusted — as a result, altering valve timing. This mechanism helps improve performance, increase fuel efficiency, or both.

The VVT or variable camshaft timing system consists primarily of camshaft actuators (phasers) and variable valve timing solenoids (camshaft position actuator solenoid valves). The camshaft position actuator solenoid valve regulates the oil flow to the actuator, in turn advancing or retarding the camshaft.

The PCM controls the solenoid operation and sets the P0013 code if it senses an issue with the camshaft actuator solenoid or its circuit.

How Does The Camshaft Actuator Work?

The engine control module or powertrain control module sends a “pulse width” signal to the VVT solenoid, turning the solenoid on and off quickly. The longer the solenoid is on in each pulse, the more oil pressure is supplied to the actuator.

The camshaft sensor or cam sensor (CMP) on the bank closes the feedback loop so the ECM or PCM can determine:

  • How much camshaft advancement is required (depending on engine speed, load, etc.)
  • How well the camshaft is being controlled by the action of the solenoid.

The ECM or PCM sets a desired or target angle for the camshaft and then duty cycles the solenoid, supplying oil pressure to the camshaft actuator within the camshaft drive gear — changing the relationship of the gear to the camshaft.

If the angle change fails, the ECM increases the solenoid’s duty cycle to meet that desired camshaft angle target. If the duty cycle goes too high consistently, struggling to meet the target angle, the ECM sets the P0013 code.

Common symptoms

A faulty camshaft position actuator solenoid valve control circuit may trigger several different symptoms.

The earliest symptom of a P0013 engine code is often an illuminated check engine light.

Aside from the check engine light, here are the other signs you should watch out for:

  • The car may stall or experience difficulty starting the engine if the exhaust solenoid is badly worn or damaged
  • Performance issues like decrease in acceleration and overall engine power
  • Rattling noise from your engine
  • Engine may run rough or hesitate, depending on if you have a shorted or open OCV circuit
  • Engine will suffer a reduced fuel mileage if the oil flow control valve is shorted or open

Note: The symptoms can vary depending on the variable cam timing positions, like when the camshaft stopped advancing or retarding.

Can I still drive?

While you can drive with a P0013 trouble code for a short period, repair the P0013 trouble code ASAP, or it can lead to severe and irreversible engine damage. Driving your car with a shorted circuit can even damage the engine control module.

A DTC P0013 means your vehicle timing isn’t working correctly, which can lead to misfires and many other issues such as:

  • Deterioration of engine fuel efficiency 
  • Carbon fouling of internal engine valve components

The longer you wait, there may be severe damages, potentially leaving you stranded on the side of the road.

P0013 causes

Several conditions can cause the error code P0013.

The most common cause is the exhaust camshaft actuator solenoids not directing oil properly to exhaust the engine at an adequate rate. This is often caused by dirty engine oil blocking the VVT solenoid screen.

Other likely causes of code P0013 include:

  1. Oil Issues:
  • Low oil pressure
  • Dirty or low engine oil
  1. Wiring Issues:
  • An open or shorted exhaust camshaft position actuator solenoid harness (CMP actuator solenoid harness)
  • A bad electrical connection or connector in the exhaust camshaft position actuator solenoid circuit
  • An oil control valve with an open circuit or wiring harness
  1. ECM-related Issues:
  • ECM commanding the oil flow control valve to less than 80% duty cycle and output is 100%
  • ECM commanding the oil flow control valve up to 70%, and the output is less than 3%
  • A faulty engine control module or powertrain control module
  1. Other Issues:
  • A broken cam sensor or camshaft position sensor
  • Damaged timing components
  • Bad variable valve timing solenoid (or oil control valve)
  • A bad or clogged oil control valve

Diagnosis

Here’s how a mechanic will diagnose your code P0013 troubles:

  1. First, they’ll check for an electrical connector, wiring harness, or valve issue associated with the camshaft oil control valve for the bank 1 exhaust camshaft.
  2. Then they’ll scan the computer codes and use the freeze frame data to see when the code was triggered.
  3. Your mechanic will clear the error code or codes and retest your car to see if the DTC P0013 returns. (This is possible since P0013 isn’t a permanent code.)
  4. They’ll also check the oil flow control valve for the correct resistance of 6.9-7.9 ohms and the ECM connector for shorted wiring (that can cause a short circuit).
  5. If the code returns after all these inspections and repairs, your mechanic will perform a manufacturer’s specific test for code P0013 and repair it accordingly.

Possible repairs for P0013 & Costs

Here’s a quick list of repairs your professional mechanic may perform:

  • Identify the DTCs and conduct a road assessment
  • Change the exhaust camshaft oil control valve for bank 1
  • Replace the exhaust solenoid
  • Repair or change the bank 1 exhaust camshaft OCV wiring
  • Replace the engine control module (if it’s faulty)

This actual cost will depend on the make and model of your car. But depending on the problem, diagnosis, and labor, you can expect a bill of $300-$400 or more.

 

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