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Camshaft Adjuster Sole-what?

So I’ve been informed that I need to replace the camshaft adjuster solenoid (whatever THAT is) on my 2004 VW Passat wagon. Cost is $1,318; however I do have a drivetrain warranty (for another 6 months). My questions is, would this be covered on a drivetrain warranty?

Since we can’t read your warranty and don’t know who it is from I don’t see any way to tell.

I agree with oldtimer.
Although this part appears to be part of the adjustable valve timing mechanism for the engine, it is an electrical part. If the Drivetrain Warranty covers only mechanical engine parts & transmission parts, it will not be covered.

Only a careful reading (perhaps more than once) of that warranty will tell you whether it is covered or not. And, if that warranty is an aftermarket warranty from somebody other than VW, they will almost surely find a way to weasel out of paying.

Good point Oldtimer. It’s a 12 month - 12,000 mile Comprehensive Powertrain coverage includes seals & gaskets. Below is the very general coverage including camshaft and bearings. Do you think the camshaft adjuster solenoid would be included in that? I have a call into the dealership, but I was interested in getting outside feedback.

All iternal lubricated parts; Crakshaft, main bearings; connecting rod and rod bearings; Pistons, rings and pins; Camshaft and bearings; timing gears, chain or belt; intake manifold; Valves, lifters, springs, guides and pushrods; Cylinder block, cylinder liners, cylinder barrels and cylinder heads are covered only if damage by a mechanical breakdown of an intenal lubricated covered part; Rocker arms, shaft and supports and covers; flywheel; Water pump; Rotary engine shaft, rotors, seals (rotary engine only), bearings and case. Turbo charger housing and all internal parts. fluids are covered in conjunction with a covered repair

Thanks VDCdriver - it is an aftermarket warranty by a very reputable Toyota dealer, but I agree they’ll likely get out of it if it’s a grey area. I will comb and re-comb through my warranty this evening.
If anyone has advice on how I can better my chances of talking them into covering the fix, please let me know.

Unless you can find weasel words in the warranty to exclude it, it’s part of the drive train as much as are other internal engine parts. If it is not internal to the engine, then it should be quick and easy to change it for little money. If it is external to the engine but requires that part of the engine be disassembled, then ask for that portion of the repair to be covered by the drivetrain warranty. This is a game that you can play if the dealer attempts to play games with you.

PS, You may already know that you should not go into negotiations while mentally loaded for bear; that it’s best to stay cool to make your best effort for a reasonable deal.

Your warranty seems to cover internal lubricated parts of your engine or something damaged by the failure of an internal lubricated part. See if you can get them to tell you why it failed, if it was damaged by something else it may be covered.

If it’s an aftermarket warranty the dealer has nothing to do with it. If this is electrical, then they have their out. These warranties are often more trouble than they’re worth.

The warranty provider may also claim the problem was caused by an oil change regimen that was not strict enough (meaning oil sludging or coking) even if that is not the case.

As a mechanic, I’ve been on the outs with a few of those adjusters who seem to know very little about mechanical things and a lot about lame excuses.

My GM 100K drive train warranty covers anything touched by oil or trans fluid. I don’t think an electrical solenoid would be touched by oil.

Do you know which engine you have? Is it the 4 cylinder or 6? If it’s the 4 cylinder your car has both a timing belt and a timing chain, and the variable camshaft solenoid is at the rear of the engine inside the valve cover and the price you were quoted is reasonable. I would think that since this part is located inside the engine it would be covered by your warranty–minus deductible, etc.

By the way, I deal with a number of extended service companies and they are just like medical or dental insurance–never as clear or beneficial as they should be. They may only pay $75/hr labor when the shop charges $90, they may not cover the cost of coolants, oils, or fluids, they may not pay sales tax or environmental fees, they may only pay the number of labor hours their guides show rather than the shop’s hours, etc.

is this a dealer quote? dealer part price and dealer labor? try an independent garage. or even find a used part on the internet. lots of cars getting salvaged. putting on a used solenoid or elec part might save some money

"I don’t think an electrical solenoid would be touched by oil. "


That warranty apparently covers only, “lubricated”, parts, and I doubt very much if this is a lubricated part.

In modern vehicles, lubrication-related failure is…VERY rare, and if it occurs, it is almost surely caused by either running a vehicle too low on oil or going too far between oil changes. And, since either of those scenarios would be considered owner negligence (which voids the warranty), the chance of somebody actually collecting any money for a lubrication-related claim are almost nil.

Or, in other words, that warranty is virtually worthless, and–in this case–is very unlikely to pay the owner anything due to the nature of the problem.

it should be covered it uses the oil to adjust the cam timing

Be aware that a cam adjuster failure may be an early warning of the engine coking up from the effect of the heat of the turbo on the oil. There is a class-action suit that covers up to 120,000 miles on the 1.8T engine. I had mine fail at 150,000 miles and had to pay to have the whole head rebuilt.

@texases: The warranty was included with the purchase of the Passat (4 cylinder, 1.8T, 74,000 miles when purchased). I’ve kept up with oil changes (only one needed so far and stuck with synthetic as recommended). The car is at the dealer shop (where I bought the car) now and they will call me after they verify the code to let me know if it’s covered. @Stoveguyy: I took it to a trusted independent garage for the diagnostic prior to taking it to the dealer shop. @Oldtimer 11: Sounds like this falls into a grey area and that I should ask the cause of the failure – perhaps if it’s due to some type of lubrication or leak, then they may cover all or part of the repair. @Wha Who?: I agree – I’ll keep a cool head and stay friendly. And honestly, if they won’t cover it, I don’t have much of an argument except for those already stated. At least I can try. @asemaster: That’s pretty much what my mechanic said. His opinion is that it should be covered by warranty. @dgmcgaw: Very good information to have! I wonder how I can either avoid or catch when the engine is coking (did you mean choking?) up? Thanks everyone for your input. I’ll post an update later when I get the news.

" I wonder how I can either avoid or catch when the engine is coking (did you mean choking?) up?"

No, he meant, “coking up”.
This is what happens when cars go too long between oil changes, and the result can be…extremely expensive.

Even if you are changing the oil on schedule, if the previous owner(s) were negligent, there could be very large sludge deposits in the engine, and this could lead to failure of many internal (lubricated) parts, due to inadequate flow of oil.

Thanks VDCdriver - the dealer did a 118 point inspection and did all fixes prior to purchase. I had a 5-day money back guarantee so I took it to my mechanic for a used vehicle inspection (before the expiration). They found the car to be in great shape, and thought it was a good buy. I’m assuming they would have noted any sludge build-up… I guess unless it’s somewhere unseen.

If it’s a dealer warranty…THEY can tell you right off the bat if it’s a warranty covered item.
Once diagnosed, they go to the covered part number list .
and , BAM , there’s the answer .
Have they not done this ?
Knowing what’s wrong with it , why is it still a question ?

Melizza–Unless–at the very least–you remove a valve cover, it is not possible to get a really good idea about sludge build-up. Because of the added cost and time involved in removing a valve cover (and possibly having to replace the gasket), I tend to doubt if your mechanic went to that length.