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Camshaft Position Sensor Testing
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Camshaft Position Sensor Testing

Nick Czerula

Time:

1 hours1 hrs

Tab:

$150

Talent:

****

Tools:

Sockets 8mm, 18mm, flathead screwdriver, DVOM, backprobes, wrench, floor jack, jack stands, wheel chocks, safety glasses

Applicable Models:

R56 MINI Cooper Hatchback (2007-11)
R56 MINI Cooper S Hatchback (2007-11)

Parts Required:

Intake or exhaust camshaft sensor

Hot Tip:

Work with a cool engine

Performance Gain:

Car will run well

Complementary Modification:

Replace sensors in pairs

The digital motor electronics (DME) engine management system in MINI R56 vehicles uses 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. Camshaft position sensors that help synchronize fuel injection and ignition provide this signal. In addition, camshaft sensors serve as feedback devices for VANOS (variable camshaft timing) control.

When a camshaft sensor fails, the check engine light will illuminate and a fault code will be 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 before digging too deep. In this article, I'll go over the steps involved with replacing the intake and exhaust camshaft position sensors. MINI suggests replacing the sensor fasteners when removing. This is due to Loctite used at the factory. If you do not want to replace the fasteners, be sure to apply a small amount of blue Loctite on the fastener threads.

MINI R56 models come equipped with a few different engines. With each engine type the camshaft control varies and so does the number of camshaft sensors. On N12, N16 and N18 engines there are two camshaft sensors, intake and exhaust. On N14 engines, there is only an intake camshaft sensor. The sensor part numbers are the same, even on engines with two sensors. So you can swap them around for testing if needed.

In this tech article we will describe how to test MINI R56 camshaft position sensors on models. Other engines are similar, and the same test techniques can be applied. The exhaust camshaft sensor will be shown in the photos. Testing the intake camshaft sensor is similar. A faulty camshaft sensor will set a fault code and possibly create engine drivability problems such as rough idle, engine stalling and misfire.

During the tests you will see what a working sensor will show. If your readings do not match, replace the sensor.

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.

Use a MINI scan tool to identify the sensor with an issue.
Figure 1

Use a MINI scan tool to identify the sensor with an issue. On my subject vehicle, it is the intake camshaft sensor (red arrow).

Use a MINI scan tool to check if there is a current issue with the camshaft sensor.
Figure 2

Use a MINI scan tool to check if there is a current issue with the camshaft sensor. You can monitor camshaft actuation. Check if the camshaft actual angle (red arrow) matches the setpoint (green arrow). When a sensor is operating properly, this angle will change when engine RPM is raised and lowered. If this doesn't change, it indicates a fault. This test is best performed when you have a camshaft sensor code, as other DME system faults can cause camshaft angle not to change.

On R56 MINI models, the intake (inlet) camshaft sensor is located on the left rear of the cylinder head (green arrow).
Figure 3

On R56 MINI models, the intake (inlet) camshaft sensor is located on the left rear of the cylinder head (green arrow). The exhaust (outlet) camshaft sensor is located at the left front of the cylinder head (red arrow).

Locate the sensor with the fault code.
Figure 4

Locate the sensor with the fault code. In our case, a fault showed up with the intake sensor (green arrow).

Terminal 1 is the sensor supply voltage (green arrow).
Figure 5

Terminal 1 is the sensor supply voltage (green arrow). Terminal 2 is the ground for the sensor provided by the DME (yellow arrow). Terminal 3 is the sensor reference voltage / signal wire (red arrow). The wiring color and DME terminal locations may vary. Check your model against a wiring diagram. Turn the Key ON, but do not start the engine. Connect your DVOM black lead to battery negative. Place the DVOM on D/C volts. The red lead will be used to probe the electrical connector. Pin 1: 5 volts. Pin 2 Ground, around zero volts. Pin 3, sensor signal, zero or 12 volts.

It doesn't matter where you start testing, as long you test all the wires.
Figure 6

It doesn't matter where you start testing, as long you test all the wires. Here I began with the ground (red arrow) on Pin 2.

Then I moved to the supply voltage on Pin 1 (red arrow).
Figure 7

Then I moved to the supply voltage on Pin 1 (red arrow).

Next I checked the signal wire.
Figure 8

Next I checked the signal wire. It showed close to zero volts (red arrow). This was normal, to confirm that, I removed the fastener from the sensor and lifted it up, then lowered it. See the following step.

By lifting and lowering the sensor (red arrow) once it was unbolted, voltage changed to above 12 volts (green arrow).
Figure 9

By lifting and lowering the sensor (red arrow) once it was unbolted, voltage changed to above 12 volts (green arrow). The signal from the sensor changed. This shows the Hall-effect switch in the sensor is functioning and it is creating a good signal. Once you test the three sensor voltages, next rotate the engine by hand to see if the sensor is producing a signal.

Raise and support your vehicle.
Figure 10

Raise and support your vehicle. Working at the right side of the vehicle, loosen the two Phillips head splash shield fasteners (red arrows).

Rotate the splash shield (red arrow) and move it out of the way.
Figure 11

Rotate the splash shield (red arrow) and move it out of the way. This will give you room to work at the crankshaft pulley.

Rotate the engine clockwise by hand using an 18mm socket and ratchet (green arrows) on the crankshaft pulley bolt.
Figure 12

Rotate the engine clockwise by hand using an 18mm socket and ratchet (green arrows) on the crankshaft pulley bolt.

Monitor the DVOM for voltage to fluctuate from 12 volts to zero volts as the engine rotates.
Figure 13

Monitor the DVOM for voltage to fluctuate from 12 volts to zero volts as the engine rotates. If voltage stays at 12 volts or 0 volts while you rotate the engine, and does not fluctuate, the sensor is faulty.

Testing with sensor removed: You can also test the sensor with it removed from the engine.
Figure 14

Testing with sensor removed: You can also test the sensor with it removed from the engine. Turn the Key ON, but do not start the engine. Remove the sensor from the engine. See our tech article on camshaft sensor replacing. Connect your DVOM black lead to battery negative and place the DVOM on D/C volts. The red lead will be used to probe the electrical connector. Connect the camshaft position sensor electrical connector. Insert a backprobe into terminal 3. Then connect the red lead of your DVOM to backprobe. Hold the sensor while moving a wrench across the tip. Monitor the DVOM. The voltage should fluctuate just as it should when rotating the engine by hand. In this photo the wrench (green arrow) is away from the sensor (yellow arrow), so the DVOM reads 12 volts.

Testing with sensor removed: In this photo the wrench (green arrow) is close to the sensor (red arrow), so the DVOM reads 0 volts.
Figure 15

Testing with sensor removed: In this photo the wrench (green arrow) is close to the sensor (red arrow), so the DVOM reads 0 volts.






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Comments and Suggestions:
Ernesto Comments: I'm still getting P0014 and P0015 codes after a timing chain replacement. I double check my timing and still fine. Camshaft Position Sensors are fine as well, Terminal 1 is the sensor supply voltage 5 volts, terminal 3 is the ground for the sensor provided by the DME, and Terminal 3 is the sensor reference voltage / signal wire0 to 12 volts. I also have two new solenoids. What else could be wrong?
July 7, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: DME. You may have missed something, I would review your tests before condemning the DME. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Ernesto Comments: I have a 2007 MINI Cooper R56
For some reason my readings are different:
Terminal 1 = 5.66V
Terminal 2 = 12V
Thanks
June 29, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Confirm the wiring for your vehicle with a repair manual.

5.66 may display due to your ground connection. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Gabriel Comments: Fault code 2968, Inlet camshaft sensor. I complied with your troubleshooting guide above. Great help. I have 5VDC going in to pin 1, 12 volts to 0 as the engine rotates on pin 2 and a good ground on pin 3. The only thing i need now is to know wether or not the ECU is seeing that signal from the hall effect sensor. I ordered a repair manual from ebay but havent received it yet. Dealer claims car is out of timing, but you would have miss for codes along with it no?? Any idea what pin/s i should check on the ECU for continuity from the wires off the crankshaft sensor. Thanks for the help.
January 29, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Just locate the terminal at the DME and check for the same voltage as you have at the sensor. That or run new wires. Ohms is not a good test for wiring, as it is not dynamic. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
gabriel Comments: excellent info. Bought a 2007 mini cooper S and its been nothing but a night mare. What causes the half engine light to come on. 1 month ago i started my car and it shook, hesitated. Then finally got to idle. Turned it off and started just fine. Two weeks later every time i did a sharp turn, i was getting the oil light. A week after i got a check engine light. The code was P0341. Before I changed the sensor the check engine light went away. I decided to change the sensor, before reading this article kicking myself in the head now for throwing 35 dollars out the window. two-three weeks later i got the half engine check light. Any idea what i can check for. Mini dealer states a timing issue and before they continue they want 900$$. HELP
January 27, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: What fault code is currently stored? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
logan Comments: I'm still getting P0014 and P0015 codes after a timing chain replacement at the BMW dealership. Do these codes relate to these sensors? Would the dealer have missed this? Is there a chance that the solenoid could cause these codes? Thanks!
July 24, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, if the solenoids are dirty, theses codes could be set.

http://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticles/MINI_R56/14-FUEL-VANOS_Solenoid_Replacing/14-FUEL-VANOS_Solenoid_Replacing.htm

- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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