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Your fuel injection computer (DME) may output a code that indicates a faulty camshaft position sensor (CPS). This important sensor tells the car’s computer where the engine is in its rotation with respect to the combustion cycle. The DME takes the signals from the cam position sensor and crankshaft position sensor, and calculates when to fire the fuel injectors and spark plugs. If the camshaft position sensor is not operating properly, your car will run very erratically or perhaps not at all.
Replacement of the sensor itself is quite easy. First, remove the VANOS solenoid to gain access to the sensor (see Photo 2 of Project 18). Then, using a 5-millimeter Allen wrench, remove the sensor’s retaining bolt. The sensor should pull out of its location in the cylinder head. That’s the easy part. The tough part is disconnecting the electrical connectors located underneath the intake manifold. If you have really skinny hands, you may be able to reach under the manifold and disconnect it. However, I had to first remove the intake manifold (see our intake manifold removal article).
Alternatively, you may be able to reach in there once you disconnect and remove the oil filter housing. The housing attaches to the engine block with six bolts, but to access them you have to remove the alternator and alternator mounting bracket. Use a new gasket when you reinstall it. Even though this is a pain, it is much easier than removing the entire intake manifold. Now that you have a clear path, use a new O-ring when you install the new camshaft position sensor.
If you are doing a number of projects that require access under the intake manifold, I recommend removing it. While you have access, you can replace the knock sensors (Photo 22 of Project 17), the VANOS oil line (Project 18), the crankshaft position sensor (Project 15), and a host of other hoses and sensors that are normally hidden underneath the intake manifold.
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