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Need help diagnosing an issue after Comp Cams install and Bama Tune

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Old 09-28-2011, 12:47 PM   #1
OhEightGT
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Unhappy Need help diagnosing an issue after Comp Cams install and Bama Tune

Having a bit of a problem!!

Several days back, I completed the installation of my Comp Cams Muth Thumpr cams. They didn't require springs, but I put in new springs, also the REQUIRED Cam Phaser Limiters, and set the Bama 91 Race tune into my car, specifically for the current setup. Everything was degreed, the timing is dead on. I have checked it all numerous times since this problem occured. NOTHING is wrong with the way any of the components were installed.

I am getting consistantly a P0345 code. The car drives great (my car is a 5 speed by the way), save for a few things. When I am coming to a stop, it tries to die, and shoots up to 1,000-1,500 rpm for a second or two, then drops to nearly stalling again, then bounces between 750-900 very erratically.(in neutral or with the clutch in, this isn't as if I am running it at too low an rpm in gear...) Sometimes it doesn't do it, often it does. Seems to be a crap shoot. I've looked up this code and it seems everyone suggests the alternator. I know for a fact the alternator is not the cause. Even if I had not tested it, would be an unrealistic coincidence for the alternator to fail right after a cam install. Have only seen a few people having issues after cam installs, never mentioning a code, but it seems to often have been the tune they received, and I worry that's the case with me.

Talked to a gentleman at Bama this morning, they said the tune looked perfectly suited for the setup. I've never had a problem with their tunes before, but right now my car is all over the map and I just want to figure out what the cause is. Talked to Comp Cams, they spent a great deal of time with me over the phone as I physically checked my work on the camshafts, the phaser limiters, etc. (very patient people, I am very happy with how far they went to help me!) They are suggesting that it's either the tune, or possibly the cam sensor(s). Can't really afford to just throw parts at the car, and I was curious if anyone else had any experience with this or any advice on what to check, or possibly who specifically to ask for at Bama as I am not completely convinced that the problem isn't the particular tune I recieved somehow having a bad fluke to it. It just seems odd that a cam sensor(s) would fail also, right after a cam install for no apparent reason. The car is really all over the place on this tune. Like I said, it can't even find idle. Not blaming Bama, the gentleman I talked to spent a good 15 minutes looking at the tune and said it was spot on for the setup I have. It could be anything, I am just lost at where to go from here.
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Last edited by OhEightGT; 09-28-2011 at 12:52 PM.
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Old 09-28-2011, 02:43 PM   #2
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it sounds like you've tried most of the easy things and done
some pretty good research on this......very nice.

as for the cam sensor....if i'm not mistaken, you should be able to
swap them (left to right) to see if the code changes, obviously if
the code stays the same then it's not the sensor.

if it's not the sensor and the connector is making good contact, i'll
have to go with it being a phaser issue on the drivers side. maybe
one of the phaser arms is bent just enough so that when it passes
by the sensor, it doesn't register consistently.

hang in there and i hope you get it sorted out soon.
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Old 09-28-2011, 03:07 PM   #3
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Agreed, swap the sensor from one side to the other see if the problem follows the sensor. It's not a CAM issue but somehow during the cam install you bumped or pulled the wire and/or connector for the CPS.
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Old 09-28-2011, 03:11 PM   #4
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Thanks for the tips guys! I will definitely swap them around and see what happens. Really hope I didn't cause any unseen damage to the phaser. If the sensors don't make a difference, and I get down in there again and see something I missed (a slight bend or something) is it possible/worthwhile to repair it or to replace just the phaser assembly on the driver's side? Or is it similar to brakes where you really want to just get it all at once?
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Old 09-28-2011, 03:27 PM   #5
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(also, I forgot to mention, it very rarely *maybe 5 times since the install* throws a P0349 as well. Just cleared the codes as I am about to swap the sensors and that code was there this time. It throws the original one I posted constantly, this one though like I said is pretty rare by comparison)
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Old 09-28-2011, 03:49 PM   #6
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Well, for better or worse (I guess depends how one looks at it) It's not the sensor itself. Swapped them around, the code stayed the same. Would appreciate any help on what to check next. Thanks again everyone!
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Old 09-28-2011, 04:00 PM   #7
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ok very good, you swapped sensors and can now rule out a
(CMP) sensor as the issue.

ok....both the 0345 and 0349 are for bank 2 (drivers side) so
at least that is consistent. i would have to pull the drivers cam cover
next, to get a good look at the phaser. it might be obvious when you
look at it, now that you know you are looking for a slightly bent arm.
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Old 09-28-2011, 04:10 PM   #8
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Thanks! I will pull the cover later tonight and look at it. Will take some picss too, perhaps some trained eyes will notice something my untrained eyes miss. If the arm is slightly bent, might it be possible to bend it back? Or is this the kind of thing I'm just going to have to break down and order? (also, is there a way I could possibly test the connector to make sure the wire/connector were not damaged? Or are those codes proof enough the wire and connector are good?)
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Old 09-28-2011, 04:40 PM   #9
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as far as the phaser arm, yes by all means you can simply bend it
back so that it looks like the others.

it's a good question about testing the connector. if you pulled the
harness connector off the PCM and put an ohm-meter on the correct
pins, you might be able to tell if it's a good connection or not. i don't
know what you should see for resistance though and would it be worth
the risk.

i think in this case the simple approach is best.

Last edited by hammeron; 09-28-2011 at 04:48 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 09-28-2011, 05:15 PM   #10
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Good! Though I really can't imagine how I could have bent it at all, I was extremely gentle with it and took my time, but I suppose things happen! Yeah, I won't worry about testing the connection. I mean I didn't even really move the wiring much at all, I can't imagine anything being wrong there. Won't be able to take that side apart until after the baby goes to sleep (wife is with her sister tonight!) but I will post back with some pictures and what I find. Thank you so much again! I'm usually pretty good at picking this stuff up but this is new territory for me, haha.
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Old 09-28-2011, 09:06 PM   #11
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i could tell when i read your initial post that you pay close attention
to detail, i don't think you bent it at all. it's just that i have seen them
come right out of a shipping box with a slight bend and that's the only
reason i considered it could even be a possibility. i also figured you,
like me, are very careful while working in the engine bay and i just don't
see you disturbing the harness in any significant way during the cam job.

keeping fingers crossed that you see something, let us know how things
look.
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Old 09-28-2011, 11:02 PM   #12
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Thank you! I do my best. I am by no means a pro, but I take things very slow and am the type of person to read "how to's" endlessly before tackling a job, especially like this one. I opened up the driver's side, and I just can't see anything wrong with it. Everything looks spot on as best as I can tell. I can't find our camera right now, but it is too late to put the car back together, so I will snap a few pics in the morning, perhaps you might be able to see something I am missing. I've been studying this for the last days endlessly so maybe I am blind to something.

I thought for a moment maybe I somehow got the phaser limiters in wrong, but reading the directions again and looking at them, there's just no way to do that. It makes no difference how that is keyed, it's the same all around, even the guys at Comp said as much.Is it possible my timing chain could have a little slack? Or maybe it somehow even got off by a link or something? Everything lines up, I don't have the front cover off right now, but I did during installation and I made sure it was right, just can't see how that could have changed.

I'm lost. The car runs GREAT under throttle. Smooth, no problems at all. It just can't find idle, tries to stall when coasting in neutral or with the clutch in, and keeps throwing that damned code. Hell if I could get it to idle on it's own I'd be fine just ignoring the check engine light. It's honestly almost frustrating enough I'd just as soon lose the gains and go back to the stock setup. But I know when I finally get it sorted out it will all be worth it. Oh! By the way, Bama sent me three new tunes, they all do the same thing. So I suppose that eliminates the tune.

I really appreciate the help man, even though we haven't got it nailed yet, you've been a big help.
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Old 09-29-2011, 08:17 AM   #13
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Believe I found the culprit! I was racking my brain trying to figure this out. Just... Nothing was bent, out of place (I thought) or anything like that. Had my wife help me this morning. I was turning the motor over by hand slowly, and had her watch the arms to make sure she couldn't see a bend anywhere either.

Well, she asked a random question "Why is the back side of this link different than the front/others?"... Well, that caused me to look so I could explain it to her, and low and behold... Just the position everything was in... Let me see that one of the arms was VERY slightly bent towards the rear. I mean barely. (The reason I couldn't see it earlier I guess was because it was not lined up with anything good to reference it with, but in this position it was parallel to something else, and it stuck out to my eyes.)

I guess my eyes had just been staring too hard or something. I really don't know how I missed it now. Feel like an idiot, haha. Going back together with her this morning, we'll see (I really, REALLY hope...) that this fixes it. Thanks again!!!
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Old 09-29-2011, 09:50 AM   #14
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it would be real nice if that slight bend is indeed causing the
issue. however, just incase we find ourselves back at square
one after getting her all buttoned up and running her for awhile,
here's a backup plan.

if the code(s) return, i'll be leaning toward the alternator. the reason
is based on my assumption that 1) the noise supressors are both
hooked up to the wiring harness and 2) the cam position sensor
wiring is in good shape and the connector is making good solid
contact. the alternator may be generating just enough interference
which is being picked up on the cam position sensor wiring.
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Old 09-29-2011, 10:06 AM   #15
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Well. This is interesting. Got her all back together. Everything is great at first. Car actually IDLES and doesn't try to stall!! Took it for a spin, running smooth, everything seems great! Got home and parked it, still no light, I was excited as could be! Decided we'd take my GT to the store to get some errands done, and bam... A new f*cking code. P0018, which shows to be crank/cam position sensor correlation issue. NOTHING has been moved or changed. The original codes I was getting are gone and have not returned, car idles and drives great. I am at a loss, I have no idea what is going on. Starting to wish I never bothered with this deal.

What do you think it means? I find it interesting with the bend gone, that the original error codes I was getting are gone and the car idles and drives beautifully. But this new code out of nowhere, I can't figure out. Unless the timing chain somehow jumped itself a tooth as it ran, because it was spot on yesterday and I didn't move it at all today. didn't need to take anything apart aside from the valve cover to fix the bend, so timing wise nothing has changed even in the slightest.

My car doesn't seem to like to be modified!
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Old 09-29-2011, 10:20 AM   #16
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ok so if the car is idling and running smooth then that is
great and at least the car is driveable while you work out
the final kinks.

if you are confidant that engine timing (crankshaft/cams)
is good, I lean toward alternator.
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Old 09-29-2011, 10:28 AM   #17
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Right, it is running spot on as far as I can tell. I mean it actually idles now, and runs smooth (well, it doesn't idle smooth of course but it's not supposed to now, haha but the idle is stable and as it should be) But this new code... I am just now researching it but so far I haven't seen a case where it is related to the alternator. Do you think it can be? I find it really interesting that the original codes are gone and cannot be replicated, the car runs like it should now, but has this new code. If timing were off, would it run perfect like that?

I am confident in the timing. Unless like I said, it somehow jumped, but I really don't see that being even mechanically possible? I had the front cover off very recently trying to diagnose the original codes, and everything was spot on then. I guess I need to look into an alternator! It just seems so odd for it to very coincidentally cause issues the moment I changed cams. I really hope that takes care of it. I know when you start to modify anything, issues come up all the time as you're changing something that was engineered and built to do one thing, to doing something different. But man, when those problems come up, it can be frustrating
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Old 09-29-2011, 10:40 AM   #18
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if it were my car i would probably give it a few days, drive it
around and see what happens with the code(s). i know it
seems so unlikely that the alternator is the culprit, but there
are just so many reports of folks changing cams only to get
some code (in the 0340's) afterwards. i don't know how the
crank and cam sensors work but it seems they are magnetic
in some fashion? and that interference from the alternator
affects their signal somehow.
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Old 09-29-2011, 10:47 AM   #19
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Do you think even in the worst of cases that it's safe to drive it around like that? Only thing that scares me is that somehow if something is out of whack, I could be causing damage along the way the more I run it. I tend to think this isn't the case, as if things were THAT bad it would be very noticeable right? There are no ticks/rattles/weird sounds, the car runs fine, just the code...

It does seem possible reading how many people run into that. They are magnetic, yes. If you take them out, you have to be careful as they want to pull towards anything they get close to. I guess they use that magnetic field to sense the arms as they pass by. I'll drive it around for a day or two and see what happens, if this code won't go away, or the "normal" post-cam install codes come back, I will just throw an alternator in it and see what happens. Thanks so much for your help Hammeron! I really appreciate it! We got two of the codes whacked out, I'm sure we'll get this new one too!
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Old 09-29-2011, 11:09 AM   #20
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you are welcome OhEightGT, always happy to help a fellow
DIY'r. yes i'd drive it, but would stay relatively close to home
as i built up confidance that i'm not gonna get stranded out
in the boonies.

if you do an exchange on the alternator, i
would try to have the replacement unit bench tested to make
sure that AC ripple on the DC output, is minimal. or else we could
end up right back where we started, with codes and not being
sure if it's the alternator or not.

good luck and i'll be watching to see your updates
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Old 09-29-2011, 11:09 AM
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