Cam And Crank Position Sensors

TerryD Sep 9, 2020

  1. TerryD

    TerryD Total Tease Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,772
    Location:
    Covington, Va
    These are very common failures on our aging Second Gen Xterras and I wanted to get the information out there for those who are in need of it.

    First and foremost: If you've changed one of these with an auto parts store or Amazon part and are still having issues or getting the same code, it's because no one has any luck with the cheap knockoff parts. Buy Nissan or Hitachi (OE part provider). Courtesy Nissan or Rock Auto have the best prices on them but your local dealer might match Courtesy and I've heard that AutoZone can get the Hitachi but have never tried to verify that.

    Signs of failure are VDC, ABS and CEL all illuminated and need to be verified with a code reader (I'm not responsible for you dumping a bunch of money into sensors because you won't buy a code reader). Generally the vehicle will run but suffers from loss of power, although a dead Crankshaft Position Sensor will cause a no-start condition.

    Camshaft Position Sensors:

    The cam sensors are on the rear of each cylinder head. I was able to change mine going over the top of the engine and using a 10mm wrench. I'll try to get some pictures to add when I have the hood up again.

    Being foreign designed, Bank 1 is the right or Passenger side in North America. Bank 2 is left or Driver side.

    Part Numbers:

    Bank 1:
    Nissan: 23731-9J90D
    Hitachi: CPS0008

    Bank 2:
    Nissan: 23731-AL61D
    Hitachi: CPS0005

    As far as I've found, everything from 05-15 with the VQ40DE uses the same sensors but there have been updates to them so the sensor you take out might not be EXACTLY identical to the one you replace it with.

    Crankshaft Position Sensor:

    This is a little trickier to get at and it is necessary to remove the right front inner fender liner to access it. If you haven't done this before, it takes a hand full of Phillips head screws and 1-3 push style fasteners depending on how many times it's been done before. Learn to do this because just about anything you do will require it in the future.

    The Crank Sensor is located on the side of the block, just behind the cylinder head above the catalytic converter flange. The connector is covered with a rubber boot. It's been a while since I did mine but I believe I used a deep well 10mm socket and stubby ratchet to remove the bolt. Others find a swivel socket on a short extension to be handy for this.

    You'll notice when you remove the sensor that there's no o-ring on it. This sensor is in the bell housing and doesn't need sealing but some people have ordered the o-ring and used it. Either way is fine. I did not use an o-ring when I did mine.

    Part Numbers:

    Nissan: 23731-EA20D
    Hitachi: CPS0017

    Nissan (and Hitachi I believe) have updated the Crank Position Sensor since most of our vehicles were manufactured. The new part comes with a metal sleeve over the lower portion and the connector is clocked 180° from the original. Gently twist your harness plug and it will work just fine.

    I like to use a light coating of dielectric grease on my connectors and o-rings when I install new sensors to seal moisture out of the connectors and help with installation.

    I'll try to add pictures as soon as I get some. If anyone has pictures I can use, pm me and I'll add them to the thread in the proper place.
     
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  2. ffxcores

    ffxcores [fully disclosed] Supporting Member

    Messages:
    125
    Perfect, thank you
     
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  3. ffxcores

    ffxcores [fully disclosed] Supporting Member

    Messages:
    125
    Thanks again. Finally ordered all three from Rockauto for a total of $122.
     
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  4. Mar10OR

    Mar10OR Test Drive

    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Burlington KY
    Excellent write up, good sir!
     
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  5. TheCrabby1

    TheCrabby1 Skid Plates Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,246
    Location:
    Burtonsville, Md
    Well I put the buggy n front of the horse's , I went ahead and ordered the 2 Hitachi cam sensor's before I ordered a code reader !! Lol Maybe next week . :confused:

    Thanx TerryD for the write up !!!
     
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  6. TerryD

    TerryD Total Tease Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,772
    Location:
    Covington, Va
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  7. AlbatrossCafe

    AlbatrossCafe Bought an X

    Messages:
    126
    Location:
    Western WA
    Ugh this is definitely a way better option than the $100 code reader I bought from the auto parts store that I now also have to find room to store in the vehicle. I pretty much only read codes, so there is really no reason for anything nicer.
     
  8. ffxcores

    ffxcores [fully disclosed] Supporting Member

    Messages:
    125
    Alright, they came in today. So what are the pros and cons of simply replacing them now instead of carrying them with me and waiting for them to die? I know the obvious is that if my current ones have 10k miles left I may be "wasting" parts before I have to, but other than that any reason? For example, is it the part itself that dies, or is something else happening somewhere else in the line that causes them to fail (thus making a new one fail anyway)?
     
  9. outback97

    outback97 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    117
    You could replace them and keep them as trail spares in case you or someone else in your group needs them.

    One benefit is that you're replacing them in a more comfortable setting at your leisure rather than on the side of the road or trail in who knows what weather conditions.

    Not that I've followed my own advice; I only have the crankshaft pos. sensor and haven't gotten around to buying the cam ones yet.
     
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  10. AlbatrossCafe

    AlbatrossCafe Bought an X

    Messages:
    126
    Location:
    Western WA
    What is your mileage? I hit 100k and had a cam and 2 crank sensor fails within 3000 miles afterwards. They are cheap-ish enough that honestly I would replace all and also keep another round as spares... haha. Coming from someone who had to change one at a truck stop, one in the middle of the bushes in a hole on the side of the road, and the last in a small town after pushing my truck through an intersection... you will welcome getting to do it in a less stressful environment.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2020 at 5:34 PM
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  11. Brunnie

    Brunnie First Fill-Up (of many) Supporting Member

    Messages:
    266
    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    ^^^ Did you lose a 10mm socket? Sure looks like you're having to do a deep dive to find one. ;) :D
     
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  12. ffxcores

    ffxcores [fully disclosed] Supporting Member

    Messages:
    125
    Your build (or repair haha) thread was my main motivation. I'm at 76k now. Maybe I'll just go ahead and do it at 95k.
     
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