Camshaft position sensor

  • 1995 NISSAN 240SX
  • 2.4L
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • 205,000 MILES
My local mechanic did scan and said camshaft position sensor was bad and it was in the distributor on my model. Said solution was to replace the distributor.
I wanted to know if it is necessary to replace whole distributor or can I replace just the sensor?
Do you
have the same problem?
Sunday, March 18th, 2018 AT 6:06 PM

1 Reply

Yes, the sensor can be replaced, but you will not find any mechanic willing to attempt the job. The people at the professional rebuilding companies have to replace these as part of the job, but that job is very tedious and time-consuming. Due to the design, there are plenty of things that can go wrong, meaning the mechanic would have to do the job over again for free. That makes him ornery, and too many customers would get angry for having the job take longer than expected. Mechanics are already unfairly blamed for much of what goes wrong with our cars. They are not going to invite more frustration. Also, the labor charge for the hours needed would exceed the cost of the distributor.

This is not a simple matter of removing the distributor cap and unbolting the sensor like was common on some older domestic distributors. On yours, a roll pin must be tapped out so the drive gear can be removed, then the shaft must be pulled out to allow removal of the sensor. It is not uncommon for the bushings to be worn which allows the shaft to wobble. That causes erratic spark timing and surging. The professionals replace those bushings. There is a seal around the shaft to prevent oil vapor from sneaking up there and condensing. Some camshaft position sensors use optical pickup assemblies. You do not want those becoming blocked by oil. That seal gets replaced too.

Once you get this far, you are not going to have an easy job even finding the sensor available. None of the sources I use for reference even list it because they know they will not sell any. Also, at the mileage you listed, consider how many times all the other components have fired. Can you imagine how you would feel if you were the mechanic who charged his customer three or four hundred dollars to replace the cam sensor, then some other part in the distributor caused another no-start problem a month later? Customers do not understand it is a different part. All they know is they are expected to pay for the same service a second time. The professionally-rebuilt distributor comes with a warranty. It is by far the best value for your dollars.
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Sunday, March 18th, 2018 AT 7:47 PM

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