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Old 10-20-2012, 02:50 PM   #1
brokendown
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Default Camshaft Position Sensor :P

99 Saturn SL (sohc)

Last night I went for a late night walmart run and noticed the car was making strange sounds... almost a kind of a intermittent whistling, and the engine was running slightly rough. No "check engine light" I was aware of, and since it was cold and dark I didn't check into it further that night. Today I start the engine and the "check engine" light is on, although it is running just fine. Run to O'riellys and borrow the OBD2, and it tells me "camshaft position sensor" (I can give slightly more detail if needed). I erase the code, drive home, engine is running perfect. Light doesn't come back on.

Now needless to say i'm not trusting it. >_> I've never seen that code ever before in the life of the car, so i'm sure something is off. I don't know whether it's a loose/corroded connector somewhere, a slowly dying sensor, or what. But i'm curious, is it imperative to fix this immediately? Will not doing so risk engine damage/being stranded or is it more likely to just degrade slowly?

Could the sensor be fine but something else be the problem that I should check first? (like wiring paths) Would suck to swap out the sensor and still have the problem...

How hard is it to swap one out?

Where do I even get one? A run to O'rielly's shows they dont even have it listed as available to order.
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Old 10-20-2012, 02:55 PM   #2
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Default Re: Camshaft Position Sensor :P

Rather hard to replace a part that doesn't exist

Either the spark plug wires are bad, routed incorrectly, or there's oil in one of the plug wells screwing with the PCM's ability to fake the cam position sensor via wires 1 and 4 running next to each other.

edit; SOHC? Can't be the oil in the well problem..you don't have spark plug wells either
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Old 10-20-2012, 06:37 PM   #3
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Default Re: Camshaft Position Sensor :P

When I first got my 98 SL2 a few years ago, it threw the same code a couple of times. What seemed to be triggering it was a few bad grounds. I cleaned them up and it has yet to reoccur. Saturns seem to be highly sensitive to grounds. Dave
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Old 10-29-2012, 04:08 PM   #4
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Default Re: Camshaft Position Sensor :P

Quote:
Originally Posted by fetchitfido View Post
Rather hard to replace a part that doesn't exist

Either the spark plug wires are bad, routed incorrectly, or there's oil in one of the plug wells screwing with the PCM's ability to fake the cam position sensor via wires 1 and 4 running next to each other.

edit; SOHC? Can't be the oil in the well problem..you don't have spark plug wells either
Huh. O_o Well that's baffling... what is that code supposed to mean then, why would it say that thru the OBD 2??

Absolutely ZERO has changed on the car from the day before it gave that code to the day after... it just ran funny (as described, even if i'm not sure the whooshing and other sounds had anything to do with it or were some other fluke caused by the cold... it was the first really cold day in six months that I drove it on), hadnt touched plug wires or anything.

FYI i've been driving the vehicle around town for the last week almost every day, and it hasn't repeated the problem. Hasn't run funny, didn't throw the code back up or anything, been working just fine. I'm just always leery of getting stranded (esp with impending winters and how harsh MN winters are) so if any problem rears it's head I like to fix it early.

But how do I fix something that doesn't exist. :-/ Plug wires havent been touched or rerouted and you said I dont have plug wells so what else could it ever be...

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavesSaturn View Post
When I first got my 98 SL2 a few years ago, it threw the same code a couple of times. What seemed to be triggering it was a few bad grounds. I cleaned them up and it has yet to reoccur. Saturns seem to be highly sensitive to grounds. Dave
Could you expand a bit? Assume i'm an idiot (ignore the fact I changed my clutch successfully because I honestly didn't understand what I was doing the entire time, but I followed instructions and succeeded) and don't know what to do or look for... i'd like to either find something to recreate it hinting that was the problem, like if I find a dirty corroded or mouse chewed wire somewhere, or at least rule out potential trouble areas if there are any.

And yes i'm SOHC, SL-zero.
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Old 10-29-2012, 04:23 PM   #5
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Default Re: Camshaft Position Sensor :P

This may help.

The P0340-P0341 codes are the result of ignition problems only and nothing else.

OEM ICM and coils. Plain carbon fiber wires. NGK BKR5ESA-11 plugs for DOHC or BKR4ESA-11 for SOHC, correct wire dress and routing.

Room temperature coil resistance 8k ohm minimum. The DC resistance of the #1+#4 plug wires ~12k ohm max and the DC resistance of the #2+#3 plug wires ~12k ohm max and R#1+R#4 = R#2+R#3. No super expensive wires unless you want to buy Magnecor.

Ignition wire routing as seen when looking at the engine and coils from the front, hood open, your left to right.

Engine
1-2-3-4

4-1-2-3
coil towers

Connect the matching numbers with a plug wire.

The #1 and #4 plug wires must run parallel and adjacent to each other from the coil to the head.
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Old 10-30-2012, 02:18 PM   #6
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Default Re: Camshaft Position Sensor :P

A few month back i had the same thing happen it sounded like a whistle or flute it was the intake gasket its fairly common on sohc to check spray brake cleaner on cyc#1 intake where it meets the head
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Old 10-30-2012, 05:06 PM   #7
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Default Re: Camshaft Position Sensor :P

Old Nuc said "The #1 and #4 plug wires must run parallel and adjacent to each other from the coil to the head."

I just checked my SW2. I had #1 parallel with #2 and not #4.

I corrected to bring #4 parallel, but it must have been that way since I bought the car 50K miles ago!
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:43 AM   #8
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Default Re: Camshaft Position Sensor :P

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post

The #1 and #4 plug wires must run parallel and adjacent to each other from the coil to the head.
I'm curious, why this is? Is it specified somewhere or just a random suggestion ?
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Old 11-20-2012, 10:26 AM   #9
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Default Re: Camshaft Position Sensor :P

It is DIS design and required for the position detection.
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:42 PM   #10
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Default Re: Camshaft Position Sensor :P

Just sharing updates on things...

STILL getting the cam code periodically, sometimes twice in a row. Didn't notice any routing problems on my cam system, and this is after replacing my plug wires.

To be brief, in december the car started to run really horribly bad, but that problem went away when I replaced the plug wires - ran perfectly fine after that. But I STILL get the 'cam' code... the difference is that now there doesn't seem to be a trace of bad running. Sometimes i'll get it twice in a row, usually happens on startup and not at other times - ie start up, runs perfect on startup, yet 'check engine' is up. Run to Orielly's, shows two entries for the same cam sensor code.

I didn't replace spark plugs yet (wanted to wait til its warmer to clean a little underhood so I don't get dirt down an open hole or something) but my contacts were clean, and I used the dielectric grease or whatever it was suggested when changing the wires, on both sides (the ignition modules and the plugs) after which the car ran just fine. Runs fine, just still gives me that code. Plug wires running parallel like I assume they should.

Should I definately do spark plugs next before re-complaining or should I start measuring ohmage and such suggested above? >_> Is there any reason to change/suspect the ignition coil if it measures fine? Or any reason to change plugs out for that exact model number if the previous ones were recommended for the vehicle? (not sure what they were offhand but the work was done by the dealer, and I don't think too terribly long ago, 20k maybe? Although it's been several years if age matters. What should plugs last?)
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:37 PM   #11
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Default Re: Camshaft Position Sensor :P

Yes, change the plugs and use NGK BKR4ESA-11 plugs and do not use anything else. Advance or NAPA usually has them as well as O'Reily's. Both plugs and wires can cause this problem.
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