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How to Install a Knock Sensor on a '96 Nissan Altima

by Christian Killian

You can replace the knock sensor on your 1996 Nissan Altima at home and save yourself some hard earned money while feeling good about completing the work on your car yourself. The knock sensor monitors vibrations within the engine from the outside of the block. The sensor sends information to the engine management computer, allowing it to try to compensate for any knocking caused from a lean or rich condition within the cylinders.


Open the hood of your Altima and locate the negative battery cable on the battery. Remove the retaining bolt from the cable end with a wrench, then remove the cable from the battery. Isolate it from the battery terminals while you are working.


Locate the knock sensor on the front of the engine, just below the center fuel injector. The sensor looks like a small black ring with a wire attached to it and has a bolt in the center. It mounts on the outer surface of the cylinder head.


Follow the wiring harness pigtail along its length until you find the connector where it meets the engine wiring harness. Release the locking tab on the connector and separate the two halves. Move back to the sensor and remove the retaining bolt with a wrench, then remove the sensor from the head.


Position the new sensor on the head and install the retaining bolt through the center of the sensor. Tighten the bolt with a socket and ratchet, then run the wiring harness pigtail to the engine wiring harness, following the same path the old pigtail used.


Connect the pigtail to the wiring harness connector, pushing the two halves together until they lock in place. Connect the negative battery cable to the negative battery terminal on the battery. Install the retaining bolt and tighten it with a wrench.

Items you will need


About the Author

Christian Killian has been a freelance journalist/photojournalist since 2006. After many years of working in auto parts and service positions, Killian decided to move into journalism full-time. He has been published in "1st Responder News" as well as in other trade magazines and newspapers in the last few years.

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Photo Credits

  • Zedcor Wholly Owned/ Images