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Pelican Technical Article:

Crankshaft Sensor Replacement

Nick Czerula


3 hours3 hrs






Set of sockets, 5mm Allen bit, flathead screwdriver

Applicable Models:

BMW 323Ci Coupe/Conv (1999-00)
BMW 323i Sedan/Wagon (1999-00)
BMW 325Ci Coupe/Conv (2001-06)
BMW 325i/xi Sedan/Wagon (2001-06)

Parts Required:

Crankshaft position sensor, sealing o-ring

Hot Tip:

Work with a cool engine

Performance Gain:

Car will run well

Complementary Modification:

Replace your crankshaft

The crankshaft position sensor is used to synchronize the engine timing for fuel and ignition control. It is located near the starter motor, mounted in the engine block. The sensors read a toothed-reluctor wheel mounted to the end of the crankshaft. It then sends a signal to the DME used to identify cylinder location. If this signal is missing, for example from a faulty crankshaft sensor, then your engine will not start. You can consider the signal from the crankshaft sensor the RPM signal for the DME.

In this article, I''ll go over the steps involved with replacing the BMW E46 crankshaft position sensor. You can access the sensor from below vehicle, working on the left side. The photos in this article show the throttle housing removed from vehicle for clarity, you do not have to remove it to replace your crankshaft sensor.

First raise and support the front of your vehicle safely.
Figure 1

First raise and support the front of your vehicle safely. Remove the lower engine plastic splash shield. The BMW crankshaft position sensor is located below the starter motor (yellow arrow) at left side of engine - disconnect the crankshaft sensor electrical connector by squeezing the release tab and pulling it away from the sensor (green arrow).

Next, using a 5mm Allen bit, remove the crankshaft sensor mounting fastener.
Figure 2

Next, using a 5mm Allen bit, remove the crankshaft sensor mounting fastener. There is not a lot of room, so I used a short 5mm Allen bit with a 1" extension on my 1/4 drive ratchet.

Once the Allen bolt is removed, pull the crankshaft sensor out of the engine block.
Figure 3

I like to keep things clean so use a rag to wipe the area around the crankshaft sensor then install your new BMW E46 sensor and sealing o-ring. Torque the sensor to engine block to factory specs. Reconnect the electrical connector and install the engine splash shield. Start the vehicle and allow it to idle for about 1 minute. Check that the crankshaft sensor area is free of oil leaks. If your check engine was on, now would be the time to clear any DME fault codes using a BMW compatible scan tool or a code reader. Follow the instructions accompanying your code reader or scanner.
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Comments and Suggestions:
Tamim Comments: Hi. I have a 2003 325i. Two days ago my passenger window was stuck when i lowered it all the way, took it to my mechanic. Today he told me the window motor is okay but he thinks the crankshaft sensor is bad since the car did not start. he powered the window from outside which worked.
Also, i have the following codes from the engine light:P2240 heated oxygen sensor bank 2, P2237 heated oxygen sensor bank 1, P0174 system too lean bank2, fuel pressure or volume.
can you help explain all this please?
September 4, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The codes for the o2 sensors need to be dealt with first, then you can address the fuel trim fault if it is still present. CHeck oxygen sensor operation and replace as needed. Then clear the fault codes and see if the fuel trim fault returns. I do not see the correlation to a crank sensor. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
pauli Comments: The click to order parts takes you to a horn, not the sensor.
July 22, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for catching the link error. I will have it fixed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
emmanuel Comments: alright cool cool so should i remove the starter?
November 18, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If you need the space, yes. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
emmanuel Comments: where are you located maybe i can bring the car to you, and what kind of vise grip, the bolt looks chipped out, also were can i get another bolt n would i brake around the senor
November 18, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff:

Just a small vise grip, pretty standard. They come in all sizes. You can get a bolt from Pelican Parts, Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right bolt.

If you remove some of the sensor mounting material you should be able to get a better grip.

If there is any hope for the Allen fastener, you can also try to hammer a larger sized Allen bit into the fastener. I always go one size bigger in a fractional sized bit. if you use this method, do not hammer hard on the crankcase. The bit should go in with light tapping. You don;t want to damage the engine.- Nick at Pelican Parts
emmanuel Comments: a vise grip is to big to fit in there remember this is a bmw 323i its in a very tight spot and i do not have a extra bolt to replace it
November 18, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the bolt is rusty, you are going to have to replace it. I have small vise grips that would fit in the space, so that is an option. If you need to make room, you can remove the starter. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
emmanuel Comments: i am trying to replace my sensor on my e 46 but the thing is the bolt is rusted and stripped also chipped out what cant i do ???
November 18, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can use vise grips to grab and remove the bolt. Or break the sensor away from the bolt, the plastic portion of it. Then use vise grips to grab the bolt. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Wed 9/17/2014 02:20:54 PM