Cam And Crank Position Sensors

TerryD

Total Tease
Supporting Member
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

11641eda6ad723c42dedce49cae6b840(1).jpg

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.

Original:
1541878279199.jpg

New:
1541878241322.jpg

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.

Thanks to:
@CAchief for the crank sensor pictures
 
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TheCrabby1

Lockers Installed
Supporting Member
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 !!!
 

AlbatrossCafe

First Fill-Up (of many)
Location
Western WA
Get the OBD2 ELM327 from Amazon and the Torque app if you use an android phone. It'll read codes and pull a lot of live sensor data.

This one has good reviews.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01HXGX8V6/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_S7cKFbBKMDN17

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.
 

ffxcores

[fully disclosed]
Supporting Member
Location
Virginia
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)?
 

outback97

First Fill-Up (of many)
Supporting Member
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)?

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.
 

AlbatrossCafe

First Fill-Up (of many)
Location
Western WA
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)?

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.

BFTq1YI.jpg
54wx725.jpg
8weR0tp.jpg
 
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ffxcores

[fully disclosed]
Supporting Member
Location
Virginia
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.

BFTq1YI.jpg
54wx725.jpg
8weR0tp.jpg

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.
 

CAchief

Bought an X
Supporting Member
My crankshaft failed at around 100k. Loss of power, check engine light. Let the X sit for a bit and I was able to drive home. It's actually the first code I ever read with my OBD2 reader and was an easy enough fix.

Great thread @TerryD, articulate and well explained.
 

Xterrorista

Lockers Installed
Supporting Member
Location
VAGABOND, usa
Yea @TerryD , good info. I haven't ordered sensors yet but I do have amazon bringing that code reader you mentioned to Crabby.

With 218k miles now and having OE suspension when I dug in and zero records, do you think mine have been replaced at some point already or could they be original too? I'm worried with everything looking original that I may have cat problems or timing, etc coming but it runs like a top..
 
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