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Cam Sensor Adjustments

Ford Cam Sensor Tips
What we need to know about injector timing.
Some cam sensors are adjustable. Some aren’t A maladjusted cam sensor can produce some weird
problems. If the injector delivers its fuel too early or too late, all sorts of surges, stumbles, and starting problems can
result. So how does the average mechanic set the cam sensor without special tools? Remember, on late model
Fords, the signal is supposed to be delivered exactly 24 degrees AFTER TDC, and adjust the sensor accordingly.
According to Ford’s program, the PCM needs to know when the fire has gone out from the previous burn to begin
timing the next fuel spray.

3.8L Cam vane 2

(Windstar): Here's
the Windstar
synchronizer in place
without and with the
tool installed (lower
left inset) and the
engine at TDC.
Notice that the vane
is always to the left
of the connector
when the
synchronizer is in the
proper position.

Synchro Tool 2:
This is the tool
for 4.2L
engines. When
using the tool,
the specs
generally call
for the engine to
be at TDC
stroke on #1, but
how do you set
it up when you
don't have the
Well, I measure
the distance
from zero to 24
degrees BTDC,
cut a piece of
masking tape
using that
measurement, then apply the tape to the ATDC side of zero. Presto! Now you have a mark. In many
cases, the deep notch on the balancer (if there is one) is found at 24 ATDC. Use the edge of the notch
closest to zero for your mark. In most cases the measurement will be from 31 to 34 mm, depending on the
diameter of the balancer, but make sure you get it right!

3.8L Timing Mark. Here's a

balancer with the tape in
place, providing the 24
ATDC mark. Note the
presence of the deep notch.
On the 4.2L balancer, a
piece of tape 32 mm long
puts you at 24 ATC. For
3.0L engines, the tape
should be 31 mm, and on
most 3.8L engines, 25 mm
does the job (this spec could
be different for Mustang and

Windstar, so be careful!. It’s best to measure for yourself, but these are a few measurements I came up
with in our shop. A math whiz can figure it out on a calculator using the diameter of the pulley.

Cam timing 1: Without the special

tool you can attach a logic probe or
a volt meter to the signal wire (the
wire in the center on the Cam
Sensor connector), mark 24 degrees
after TDC on the balancer (I did this
one with whiteout) and turn the
engine slowly to your mark. Now
turn the cam sensor synchronizer
the way you would a distributor
until you find the point where the
signal switches. Old timers will
remember setting ignition timing
this way when we still] had contact
points... Notice where the white
balancer mark is in the inset photo.
On this one I’m checking the Cam sensor alignment by moving
the crankshaft. If I was adjusting it I would put the mark
(which is at 24 ATDC) at the pointer and find the switch point
by moving the Cam Sensor.

3.0L Good and bad: Watch for the

magnet to fall out of the sensor on
97/up 3.0L Tauruses (see right hand
sensor in inset photo). If you get a
P0340 code on one of these, this is the
first place to look. The rotten part is
that about six times out often the
synchronizer is destroyed by the
magnet and has to be replaced. On the
one pictured, we got lucky. And if
you know how to adjust the
synchronizer after you've replaced it,
you're home free. If the synch is okay,
just bolt the sensor on and let it go.

Jeep Cam sensor 2:

On this 99 model
4.OL Grand Cherokee,
the Mopar men set
things up so that you
could set the
synchronizer with a
toothpick! The hole in
the housing lines up
with the hole in the
vane. Lock 'er down
and you're set. As with
Ford's procedure using
their confusing array
of tools, #1 TDC
compression is your
reference point on the