How to Change a Crankshaft Sensor in Vehicles

by Contributing Writer

Crankshaft sensors monitor the rotational speed and position of the pistons in relationship to the crankshaft of a car engine. The car's computer uses the information that the crankshaft sensor sends it to control the ignition system timing of the engine. By sensing the position of the pistons in relation to the valves of an engine, the crankshaft sensor helps the car computer maintain the valve timing. When a crankshaft sensor fails, the engine will not time right and will stall out or not start Vehicles all.

Under The Hood:

 How to Change a Crankshaft Sensor in a 1996 Camaro

Raise the front of the car with the floor jack and support it with the use of jack stands. Unplug the electrical connector on the sensor body by lifting the tab and pulling it off.

Remove the 10-mm bolt securing it to the block, using a socket of the same size. Pry the sensor out of the block, using the screwdriver to lift it enough to grab it by hand. With a twisting motion pull it from the block.

Inspect the new crankshaft sensor and make sure that it has the spacer tab on the bottom of the sensor. This should always come with this type of sensor. It is to keep the sensor from contacting the reluctor ring and to create the proper air gap. Insert the new crankshaft sensor into the block with a gentle twisting motion, since the hole has a very close tolerance. Twist and push until the sensor bracket is flush with the block. Align the hole in the sensor bracket with that of the block and install the 10-mm bolt. Tighten the bolt securely to 100 inch pounds.

Plug the electrical connector into the head of the sensor. Lower the car.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Set of wrenches

  • Common screwdriver

 How to Change the Crankshaft Sensor in a Jeep Auto

Removing the Crankshaft Sensor

Park your Jeep safely away from traffic.

Open the hood and locate the (CKP) sensor to the left (driver side) of the transmission bell housing, where it meets the rear of the engine block. If necessary, shift the transmission to neutral (N), raise the front of your vehicle using a floor jack and safely support it on two jack stands. Chock the rear wheels.

Locate the CKP sensor pigtail connector to the right (passenger side) of the transmission bell housing. Unplug the CKP electrical connector.

Thoroughly clean the area around the crankshaft sensor using a soft brush and a shop rag.

Note whether the CKP sensor on your Jeep model is mounted with one bolt, two bolts or two nuts. If there is only one bolt, make a note of the exact sensor position, since it is adjustable and you will need to reinstall it in the same position.

Unscrew the sensor mounting bolt(s) or nuts using a ratchet, ratchet extension and socket of the appropriate size. If your Jeep model uses two mounting bolts, use the same bolts during the installation process. These bolts have been machined to provide the correct space between the crankshaft sensor and the flywheel. If you use bolts with a different configuration, your vehicle may not start or operate properly.

Remove the crankshaft sensor from your vehicle.

Installing the Crankshaft Sensor

Thoroughly clean the sensor-mounting surface on the transmission bell housing using a soft brush and a shop rag.

Clean the mounting bolt(s) or nuts using the soft brush and shop rag.

Check the new crankshaft sensor and make sure it has a piece of paper (spacer) glued to the bottom. This spacer serves as an electrical ground. Using the CKP sensor without the spacer will break the unit the first time you try to start the engine. If necessary, you may buy the spacer through your local auto parts store or dealership parts department. Ask for part number PN05252229.

Install the new CKP sensor into the transmission bell housing mounting hole.

Start the two bolts or nuts by hand and then tighten them to 9-feet lb. (12 Nm) using a torque wrench, ratchet extension and socket. If your model has only one mounting bolt, push the new sensor against the flywheel and then tighten the bolt to 60-inches lb. (7 Nm) using a torque wrench, ratchet extension and socket.

Plug the CKP sensor electrical connector.

Lower your Jeep if you had to raise it. Remove the chocks from the rear wheels.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack, if necessary

  • 2 jack stands, if necessary

  • 2 chocks, if necessary

  • Soft brush

  • Shop rag

  • Ratchet

  • Ratchet extension

  • Socket

  • Spacer number PN05252229, if necessary

  • Torque wrench

 How to Change a Crankshaft Sensor in a 1995 Dodge 1500

Shut your engine off and let it cool off for about 20 minutes for safety. Round up your tools and get prepared for the crankshaft position sensor removal process.

Remove the air hose attached to the air filter compartment in the center of the engine bay. Use your adjustable pliers to squeeze the clamp on the end of the hose and then pull the hose away to detach it. With the hose out of the way, you'll be able to reach the crankshaft position sensor underneath.

Locate the crankshaft position sensor underneath the air hose. It's directly next to the EGR valve. The sensor has an electrical connection attached to it. It's about the size of a spark plug. You'll be able to see two bolts next to it.

Push the tab on the electrical connection and pull it away to disconnect it. Remove the two crankshaft position sensor bolts with the appropriate-size socket wrench attachment. Pull the sensor off to remove it.

Install the new sensor in its place and tighten the two bolts with your socket wrench. Plug the electrical connection into the crankshaft position sensor.

Re-attach the air hose to the air filter box. Squeeze the clamp with the adjustable pliers to fit and secure the hose onto the connection.

Items you will need

  • Adjustable pliers

  • Socket wrench set

  • Replacement crankshaft position sensor

 How to Replace the Crankshaft Sensor in a Ford F-150

Insert the square tip of a 1/2-inch socket wrench into the square hole in the center of the serpentine belt’s adjustment pulley. The adjustment pulley is the smallest pulley the belt wraps around.

Pull the adjustment pulley toward the engine with the socket wrench to release the tension on the serpentine belt, then pull the belt off the air conditioning compressor’s pulley.

Remove the bolts which secure the air conditioning compressor to its mounting brackets with an open-end wrench, then position the compressor to the side of the engine compartment. Do not disturb the hoses that attach to the compressor.

Pull the electrical connection off the crankshaft sensor.

Remove the two bolts that secure the crankshaft sensor against the engine with an open-end wrench, then slide the sensor out of the engine.

Slide the new crankshaft sensor into the engine, then install and tighten the sensor’s two securing bolts with an open-end wrench.

Press the electrical connection onto the crankshaft sensor.

Position the air conditioning compressor against its mounting brackets, then install and tighten the compressor’s bolts with an open-end wrench.

Pull the serpentine belt’s adjustment pulley toward the engine with the socket wrench, then position the belt onto the air compressor’s pulley.

Items you will need

  • 1/2-inch socket wrench

  • Open-end wrench

 How to Replace a Crankshaft Sensor on a 2003 Dodge Ram

Park the 2003 Dodge Ram on a flat, level surface and set the parking brake. Pull the hood release lever located under the dashboard. Open the hood, and secure it in place with the hood prop. Disconnect the negative battery cable on both batteries.

Crawl under the vehicle on the driver's side, and disconnect the red cable from the starter motor with a socket wrench.

Remove the three bolts holding the starter motor to the engine with a socket wrench. Hold the starter engine in place when the third bolt is removed. Remove the starter engine.

Unplug the wiring from the crankshaft sensor. Remove the mounting bolt, and take the crankshaft sensor off the engine.

Install the new crankshaft sensor, and secure the bolt in place with a socket wrench. Plug in the crankshaft sensor wiring harness. Hold the starter motor in place, and replace the three mounting bolts

Replace the negative battery cables. Close the hood.

Items you will need

  • Socket wrench

 How to Replace the Crankshaft Sensor on a Nissan Altima

Remove the electrical connector from the crankshaft sensor. Push in on the green tap until it clicks, freeing the lock on the sensor connector and allowing extraction.

Remove the 10mm bolt in the crankshaft sensor bracket. The best thing to do here is to loosen the bolt, then remove the bolt by hand so it does not drop and get lost.

Grab the sensor and twist it to the left and right to free the O-ring inside the bellhousing. The sensor is a tight fit with the O-ring in the housing. Use a common screwdriver to pry gently under the bracket extension where the bolt was removed.

Insert the new crankshaft sensor using a drop of oil on the O-ring to ease installation. The sensor will go in up to the O-ring and from there on it will require a small amount of force to pop it in. To be on the safe side, push it in with a common screwdriver, putting the tip of the screwdriver on the bracket extension. Push it in far enough to get the hold-down bolt into the bracket with a couple of threads. Tighten the bolt and draw the sensor in.

Plug in the crankshaft sensor electrical connector and make sure that it locks in place with a click. Give it a little pull to see if it is indeed tight and will not come off. If it does come off, the vehicle will shut off immediately.

Items you will need

  • 1/4-inch drive ratchet

  • Screwdriver

  • 1-¼-inch drive 10mm socket

  • 1-¼-inch drive 6-inch extension

 How to Replace a Crankshaft Sensor for a Jeep Liberty

Disconnect the electrical connector for the sensor. Disconnecting the negative battery cable first is a good precaution.

Remove the crankshaft sensor's lone mounting bolt with a wrench and then carefully twist the crankshaft sensor to remove it from the engine. Remove and discard the O-ring.

Lubricate the new O-ring with a small amount of fresh engine oil and install the ring onto the replacement crankshaft sensor.

Push the crankshaft position sensor into place on the engine block until it is fully seated and then install the mounting bolt. If you have a torque wrench, most Liberty vehicles require the bolt torqued at 21 foot-pounds.

Reconnect the electrical connector to the crankshaft sensor, then reconnect the negative battery cable if you disconnected it, tightening the cable's clamp nut with the wrench.

Items you will need

  • Wrench

  • Engine oil

 How to Replace the Crankshaft Sensor on a 2005 Nissan Altima

Remove the hex or Allen head bolts and take off the plastic engine cover. Take out the air tube that connects the throttle chamber to the air filter box.

Remove the valve cover breather hose and the air tube it is attached to.

Set your drop light down under the rubber heater hoses, which are located near the firewall of the driver's side of the vehicle. Shine the light toward the back of the engine block. Below the intake runners on the driver's side you will see a valve cover and the throttle chamber. If you look straight down from the valve cover to the ground, you will see a black wire connected to a sensor that has a green tab on it. That is the crankshaft sensor. It will be secured to the engine block by a gold 10-millimeter hex bolt.

The green tab of the sensor is a plastic clip that holds it in place. Push the tab down by using a flat-head screwdriver. Push it down toward the engine while you pull the wire connector with your other hand until the wire connector clicks and pulls away.

Place the 6-inch extender on the ratchet and use it to remove the 10-millimeter bolt that secures the crankshaft sensor to the engine mount block. Use the needle nose pliers to grab ahold of the sensor's black housing and pull it out.

Take a rag and clean out the connectors on the engine block.

Insert the 10-millimeter bolt through the new crankshaft sensor housing and engine block. Use the ratchet to secure it into place. Insert the new crankshaft sensor into the housing. Re-install the black wire housing that connects to the crankshaft sensor until it locks with an audible click. Re-install the air hose and the engine block cover.

Items you will need

  • Allen wrench

  • Drop light

  • Ratchet

  • 6-inch ratchet extension

  • 10-millimeter ratchet socket

  • Flat-head screwdriver

 How to Replace a Crankshaft Sensor on a 1994 Olds 88

Remove the drive belt by lowering the belt's tension pulley with a wrench and lifting the belt off of the crankshaft pulley.

Lift the front of the car with a jack and then lower it onto jack stands.

Remove the front wheel on the driver's side of the car with a lug nut wrench to access the fender's splash shield.

Pry the splash shield's fittings away from the shield with a screwdriver and pull the shield away from the car to access the harmonic balancer.

Remove the harmonic balancer's retaining bolt with a deep-set socket wrench and remove the balancer from the crankshaft with a balancer puller to access the crankshaft position sensor's shield. Follow the puller's instructions closely as designs do vary.

Remove the sensor's shield by removing the shield's securing bolts and pulling the shield away from the engine to expose the sensor.

Unplug the sensor's wiring harness.

Remove the two bolts that secure the sensor against the engine and withdraw the sensor from the engine.

Insert the new sensor into the engine block and tighten the sensor's two securing bolts to between 14 and 28 foot-pounds of torque with a torque wrench.

Plug the sensor's wiring harness into the sensor.

Position the sensor's shield against the sensor and install the shield's securing bolts.

Position the harmonic balancer onto the tip of the crankshaft and tighten the balancer's bolt to 100 foot-pounds of torque. Tighten the bolt again an additional 7-degrees.

Install the drive belt by lowering the belt's tension pulley with a wrench and positioning the belt onto the crankshaft pulley.

Position the splash shield against the interior of the fender and press the shield's fittings into the fender until the fittings are secure.

Tighten the wheel onto the car with the lug nut wrench and lower the car to the ground.

Items you will need

  • Wrench

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Lug nut wrench

  • Screwdriver

  • Deep-set socket wrench

  • Torque wrench

 How to Replace the Crankshaft Sensor on a '98 Honda Civic EX

Open the hood and remove all three accessory belts by loosening the belt tensioners with a wrench and moving the tensioners away from the belts to relief tension. Remove the top timing belt cover using a 10 mm socket and ratchet.

Loosen the lug nuts one turn each on the left front wheel. Raise the driver's side front of the car with the floor jack and place a jack stand under the subframe. Lower the car onto the stand. Complete the removal of the left front wheel by removing the lug nuts.

Remove the inner fenderwell splash shield, using a 10 mm socket. Remove the center bolt in the crankshaft pulley, using a socket and pry bar. Remove the pulley. Remove the lower timing belt cover, using a 10 mm socket.

Disconnect the crankshaft sensor electrical plug. Remove the 10 mm bolt securing the sensor to the block using a socket. Remove the sensor.

Install the new sensor and tighten the bolt. Plug in the sensor's electrical plug. Install the lower timing belt cover and tighten all the bolts snugly.

Install the crankshaft pulley and tighten the bolt to 135 foot-pounds of torque. Install the inner splash shield in the fenderwell and tighten the bolts.

Install the wheel and lug nuts. Tighten them as much as possible, by hand, and snug them down with the lug wrench. Lower the car and torque the lug nuts to 105 foot-pounds of torque. Install the upper timing belt cover.

Install the three accessory belts and tighten the tensioners with a wrench until there is only ½-inch of deflection in each belt. Push on the center of the belt between the pulleys -- it should only move up or down ½-inch.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stand

  • Lug wrench

  • Ratchet

  • Breaker bar

  • Set of sockets

  • Set of wrenches