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Camshaft Sensor Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Camshaft Sensor Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$150 to $300

Talent:

****

Tools:

Set of sockets, 5mm Allen bit, 19mm, 32mm wrenches, flathead screwdriver

Applicable Models:

BMW Z3 (1996-02)

Parts Required:

Intake or Exhaust camshaft sensor, sealing O-rings

Hot Tip:

Work with a cool engine.

Performance Gain:

Car will run well.

Complementary Modification:

Change engine oil

The digital motor electronics (DME) engine management systems in BMW Z3 vehicles use the engine control module (ECM) to control fuel injection, ignition and other important drivetrain functions. The ECM sequentially triggers the fuel injectors to spray fuel into the intake ports and then, a split-second later, triggers the ignition coils to fire the spark plugs. This sequence of events is timed by using crankshaft position information. Using the signal from the crankshaft sensor, the ECM "knows" which cylinder is ready for fuel intake and then, later, for ignition. 

However, in addition to the crankshaft position signal, the ECM needs a signal to distinguish the crankshaft valve-overlap top-dead-center (TDC) position from the TDC just prior to the power stroke. This signal is provided by the camshaft position sensors that help synchronize fuel injection and ignition. In addition, camshaft sensors serve as feedback devices for VANOS (variable camshaft timing) control (if equipped). 

When a camshaft sensor fails, the check engine light will illuminate and a fault code is stored. I have seen faulty sensors cause engine stalling and poor engine drivability. If you have a camshaft sensor fault code and your engine isn't running right, I suggest replacing the sensor first before other trouble shooting.

In this article, I'll go over the steps involved with replacing the intake and exhaust camshaft position sensors. The procedures are different, so they will be described separately. 

To avoid marring the paint and trim, work with a plastic prying tool or wrap a screwdriver tip with masking tape before prying out body or interior items.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches. 

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you're working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability. 

Vehicle models change and evolve, as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Four cylinder models utilize a single camshaft position sensor.
Figure 1

Models with 4-cylinder engine - Remove the upper intake manifold. See our tech article on intake manifold removing. Four cylinder models utilize a single camshaft position sensor. (green arrow) It is located at the front of the cylinder head, in the timing cover.

The camshaft sensor electrical connector is the forward mounted connector at the electrical junction, the electrical junction is in the center of the lower intake manifold, accessible once upper intake manifold is removed.
Figure 2

The camshaft sensor electrical connector is the forward mounted connector at the electrical junction, the electrical junction is in the center of the lower intake manifold, accessible once upper intake manifold is removed. To disconnect it, press the wire release tab (green arrow), then pull the connector straight out to remove.

To make getting to the sensor easier, I like to remove the secondary air pipe at the front of the cylinder head.
Figure 3

To make getting to the sensor easier, I like to remove the secondary air pipe at the front of the cylinder head. Squeeze the release tabs (green arrow), then pull the pipe straight off the secondary air valve to remove.

Next, remove the intake camshaft sensor 5mm Allen fastener.
Figure 4

Next, remove the intake camshaft sensor 5mm Allen fastener. (green arrow)

Pull the camshaft sensor out of the cylinder head, catch any dripping oil in a rag.
Figure 5

Pull the camshaft sensor out of the cylinder head, catch any dripping oil in a rag. Be sure the O-ring comes out with sensor (green arrow).

Then you will have to lever the wiring harness of the mounting bracket.
Figure 6

Then you will have to lever the wiring harness of the mounting bracket. (green arrow) I like to use a flathead screwdriver. With the harness disconnected, feed the old wiring harness out of the intake manifold and remove from the engine. Install the new sensor wiring harness into intake manifold and plug in. Listen for the snap of the wire retainer to be sure it is properly engaged. Install the wire harness on the bracket on the front of the cylinder head, then install the new camshaft sensor and O-ring. When installing, lubricate O-ring with engine oil and push into cylinder head until retaining flange (where bolt fastens through) is flush with cylinder head. Install new fastener and tighten.

Remove the air filter housing assembly.
Figure 7

Models with 6-cylinder engine - Remove engine covers. See our tech article on engine cover removing.

Intake camshaft sensor -Remove the air filter housing assembly. Remove the 10mm fastener (green arrow), then disconnect air flow meter electrical connector (yellow arrow). Now loosen the air flow meter clamp (red arrow) and lift the air filter housing out of the engine compartment. 

Working at the left front corner of cylinder head cover, disconnect crankcase vent hose by squeezing the release tabs and pulling away from cylinder head cover.
Figure 8

Working at the left front corner of cylinder head cover, disconnect crankcase vent hose by squeezing the release tabs and pulling away from cylinder head cover.

Disconnect VANOS solenoid electrical connector.
Figure 9

Disconnect VANOS solenoid electrical connector. (green arrow) Squeeze metal release clip and pull straight off solenoid.

Then, using a 32mm wrench, loosen VANOS solenoid.
Figure 10

Then, using a 32mm wrench, loosen VANOS solenoid. If VANOS oil line prevents access to VANOS solenoid hex, remove oil line 19mm Banjo bolt. This will improve access to VANOS solenoid. Be prepared to catch dripping oil in a rag.

Remove the VANOS solenoid from cylinder head, be ready to any catch dripping oil in a rag.
Figure 11

Remove the VANOS solenoid from cylinder head, be ready to any catch dripping oil in a rag.

Remove the intake camshaft sensor 5mm Allen fastener.
Figure 12

Remove the intake camshaft sensor 5mm Allen fastener. (green arrow)

The camshaft sensor electrical connector is located below the throttle and behind alternator.
Figure 13

The camshaft sensor electrical connector is located below the throttle and behind alternator. Disconnect camshaft sensor electrical connector. Remove camshaft sensor from cylinder head, be ready to any catch dripping oil in a rag. Feed sensor wiring harness up and out of engine compartment. Feed new sensor wiring harness into engine compartment the same way it was previously routed. Install sensor in cylinder head and tighten. Connect camshaft sensor electrical connector. Reinstall VANOS solenoid and tighten. Install air filter housing, install engine covers and clear DME fault codes.

Working at right front of cylinder head, disconnect camshaft sensor electrical connector by pressing release tabs and pulling straight off.
Figure 14

Exhaust camshaft sensor - Working at right front of cylinder head, disconnect camshaft sensor electrical connector by pressing release tabs and pulling straight off. (green arrow)

Using a 5mm Allen bit, remove camshaft sensor fastener.
Figure 15

Using a 5mm Allen bit, remove camshaft sensor fastener. (green arrow)

Pull camshaft sensor out of cylinder head, be ready to any catch dripping oil in a rag.
Figure 16

Pull camshaft sensor out of cylinder head, be ready to any catch dripping oil in a rag. Install new camshaft sensor with new O-ring and fastener. When installing, lubricate O-ring with engine oil and push into cylinder head until retaining flange (where bolt fastens through) is flush with cylinder head. Install new fastener and tighten and reconnect electrical connector.




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Page last updated: Wed 12/7/2016 03:07:02 AM