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Pelican Technical Article:
Crankshaft Sensor Replacement
Nick Czerula

 
Time: 3 hours
Tab: $130
Talent:  
Tools:
Set of sockets, 5mm Allen bit, flathead screwdriver
Applicable Models:
BMW 325i (2001-2005)
BMW 325Xi (2001-2005)
BMW 325Ci (2001-2006)
BMW 325ti (2001-2004)
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
 
   

   

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Need to buy parts for this project? Click here to order!
   
     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).
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
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 ¼ drive ratchet.
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
Once the Allen bolt is removed, pull the crankshaft sensor out of the engine block.
Figure 3
Once the Allen bolt is removed, pull the crankshaft sensor out of the engine block. Be sure the sealing o-ring comes out with the sensor. If it stays in the block, retrieve it with a small pick (yellow arrow).
Large Image | Extra-Large Image

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:
pauli Comments: The click to order parts takes you to a horn, not the sensor.
July 22, 2014
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  

Check out some other sample projects from the book: 

 

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  Applies to: BMW 325i (2001-2005), BMW 325Xi (2001-2005), BMW 325Ci (2001-2006), BMW 325ti (2001-2004)
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