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Camshaft Position Sensor

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When it comes to knowing if the air and fuel ratio is correct or not, knowing the position of your engine's camshaft can go a long way. That's because the camshaft's speed determines when the mixture should be ignited in the engine cylinders. When measuring camshaft speed, you can't rely on anything else except a device called the camshaft position sensor. As the name implies, this sensor detects the camshaft's speed, position, acceleration, and even deceleration. Information on these are sent by the sensor to the engine management system, which then makes the adjustments needed for the fuel injection's timing. With a properly working sensor, your engine can run smoothly and more economically. Meaning, you'll have less engine problems while you're able to save fuel at the same time. What's more, installing this cam sensor is far simpler than it seems. First, you just remove the oil and the silver unit. Then, you should be able to disconnect the old sensor using a small screwdriver. After removing the old sensor, simply insert the new sensor, securely bolting it along with the washer to stabilize it. Finally, reconnect the connector before linking the silver unit to the VANOS unit. So when your ride's own camshaft position sensor goes kaput, there's no need to push the panic button. That's because you can easily get a new one from Auto Parts Warehouse. Just click through our catalog, hit the right buttons to place your order, and your item will be on its way to your doorstep.

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Date Published: July 30,2014

Choosing the Right Camshaft Position Sensor

Many people tend to bulk all problems under the hood under that vaguest of catch-alls: "engine trouble". The truth is that there are many other parts involved in getting your ride going that are more likely to be at fault-a camshaft position sensor is just one of them.

What does a camshaft position sensor do?

Simply put, a camshaft position sensor determines the position and rotational speed (in RPM) of the crank. This is important because this information is used to control ignition timing and/or fuel injection timing. All of that allows your engine to function in the oh-so precise way, with the absolutely perfect timing, that it requires. Without it, you're not exactly dead in the water immediately, but you'll be limping quite a ways-making for a very uncomfortable drive.

How can I tell if I need a new one?

The absolute worst-case scenario with a faulty camshaft position sensor is that there is no spark in the cylinder-you'll be going nowhere real quick. The other things to look out for are:

  1. Excessively long cranking when starting cold: your car makes a crink-crink-crink sound without ever starting up.
  2. Frequent rough runs: you'll be driving along all right one moment and then things get inexplicably rough and your engine sounds like it is struggling.
  3. Poor idling characteristics: you'll notice that when you're stopped (and the engine is still running) that the engine sounds like it's gasping for air.
  4. Acceleration Stalls: you try to speed up and your engine suddenly dies.

Any tips for getting a good-quality camshaft position sensor?

Here are a few things that you have to look out for to make sure you get the perfect sensor for your ride.

  • Know thy ride: Camshaft position sensors differ greatly in size, appearance, and fit between automobile makes and models so make absolutely sure that you check for an exact fit for your vehicle

*NOTE* There is no such thing as a Universal camshaft position sensor-look for tags that state that it is Direct Fit or OEM Specified

  • Check for durability ratings: Specifically, you'll want a sensor that can withstand at least 300 degrees Fahrenheit, and is resistant to high humidity. Any sensors with a rating below that will likely break down far too easily.
  • Be Protected from EMI: Sensors that are affected by electromagnetic interference (EMI) won't be as accurate, if at all effective. Makes sure the one you are getting is tried and tested for resistance to EMI.
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Date Published: July 30,2014

Replacing Your Camshaft Position Sensor

So your engine won't start, it hesitates while idling or accelerating, it misfires too often, and you've finally figured beyond doubt that it's you ride's camshaft position at fault and nothing else-what's next? Unless you want to be driving on limp-about mode for some time, replacing that faulty sensor is in order. It should be mentioned that you could hypothetically repair a broken or damaged camshaft position sensor but it isn't advisable because you will not be able to vouch for the credibility of your repair job-you might end up spending more if you mess it up.

The following steps will walk you through the process of general replacement-it's a bit of a challenge, but it will certainly help cut down on costs. Just read through the steps carefully and you should be up and running in no time at all.

Difficulty: 6/10

Tools & Things You Will Need:

  • Your vehicle's original manual
  • Replacement camshaft position sensor
  • Flashlight
  • Adjustable wrenches
  • Flat/Philips screwdrivers
  • Pencil or chalk

General Tips:

  1. Always wear safety glasses/goggles and other protective equipment like gloves. Avoid open-toed footwear like flip flops or sandals.
  2. Keep a notebook or paper and writing implement handy-this will help you keep track of any wiring lay outs to avoid confusion later on.
  3. Before you chuck away your old sensor and put in the new one, compare the two to make absolutely sure you have the right one. Some stores do not allow you to make returns after you have attempted an installation.

Step-by-Step:

  1. Make sure your car is parked on a flat, level surface with the parking brake engaged and the wheels bolstered by something solid.
  2. Lift up the hood of your vehicle and make sure it is secured with the hood prop.
  3. Locate the camshaft position sensor. The appearance of the sensor varies depending on the specific make of your vehicle so refer to your manual to avoid confusion. Generally, however, you can find the sensor mounted at the front of the engine block with a wiring harness attached.
  4. Once located, mark the position and placement of any readily visible portion of the sensor. This will make it easier to put in the new sensor.
  5. Sketch the layout of the wiring harness-to make it easier to reattach later on-then carefully detach it. Again, the method of release varies with the specific of your vehicle: most are attached with release tabs that you simply have to push in while others can simply be pulled off. The trick is to carefully look over the surrounding area and the part itself with a flashlight.
  6. Remove the camshaft position sensor itself. Once more, look around it to see how it is attached-expect to find at least one nut or bolt that you need to loosen to get the part out. A good thing to try here is to jiggle the sensor gently after you unscrew a bolt or nut. If it comes off easily, you're in the clear. If it doesn't, then find where it is still attached and unscrew or pull as appropriate.
  7. Install the new camshaft position sensor-making sure to align it with the traced-out pattern from step 3. Reattach as appropriate (with nuts or bolts) and gently pull to test if it is securely attached.
  8. Replace the wiring harness using your sketch from step 2 and your vehicle's manual as a guide. Double check the connections to make sure that you have got it right.
  9. Test out your installation by starting your ride-if it roars to life, you're good to go!