Cam position sensor replacement
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HT4100 4.1, 4.5, 4.9 Discussion, Cam position sensor replacement in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; How do you change it, the mounting plate for the rotor button is RIGHT in the way....
  1. #1
    79malibuonblocks is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Cam position sensor replacement

    How do you change it, the mounting plate for the rotor button is RIGHT in the way.

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  3. #2
    Sevillian273's Avatar
    Sevillian273 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Cam position sensor replacement

    I beleive I used a 1/4'' socket by itself and gripped the socket with a small pair of pliers.

  4. #3
    kdcing is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Cam position sensor replacement

    You are referring to the sensor in the distributor, underneath the ignition rotor...correct? If yes, the distributor must be removed from the engine. Remove the roll pin holding the gear onto the bottom of the shaft by punching it out w/ a punch...then, I believe the bottom of the distriutor slides off freeing the sensor.

  5. #4
    79malibuonblocks is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Cam position sensor replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by kdcing View Post
    You are referring to the sensor in the distributor, underneath the ignition rotor...correct? If yes, the distributor must be removed from the engine. Remove the roll pin holding the gear onto the bottom of the shaft by punching it out w/ a punch...then, I believe the bottom of the distriutor slides off freeing the sensor.
    thats what i figured

  6. #5
    79malibuonblocks is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Cam position sensor replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by Sevillian273 View Post
    I beleive I used a 1/4'' socket by itself and gripped the socket with a small pair of pliers.
    i cant even get the socket under the mounting plate by itself

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    Sevillian273's Avatar
    Sevillian273 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Cam position sensor replacement

    I beleive kd is referring to the pick-up coil which encircles the distributor shaft in the bottom of the housing. You DO NOT need to remove the distributor to change the cam sensor. Trust me, Ive done it already. You just have to get creative with different tool combinations. Ive attached a picture of the sensor itself so everybody is on the same page. I cant remember 100% how I got mine outsince it was almost a year ago. It was either with a small socket or a T-25 or 20 torx bit and a pair of pliers. Grind the socket smaller if you can....

  8. #7
    gdwriter's Avatar
    gdwriter is offline Cadillac Owners 10000+ Posts
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    Re: Cam position sensor replacement

    I've changed mine out twice without removing the distributor. I couldn't figure out how to get a socket in there, but with an open-end 1/4" wrench, persistence and a lot of cuss words, I got it done. And I have very limited mechanical ability.

  9. #8
    kdcing is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Cam position sensor replacement

    Good catch...I was referring to the round/doughnut-shaped pickup coil in the bottom of the distributor.

    If it you need to remove the sensor shown in Sevillian's e-mail, then I yield to his experience as I do not have experience and do not recall seeing that sensor in my '93 Eldorado's 4.9L distributor.

  10. #9
    79malibuonblocks is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Cam position sensor replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by Sevillian273 View Post
    I beleive kd is referring to the pick-up coil which encircles the distributor shaft in the bottom of the housing. You DO NOT need to remove the distributor to change the cam sensor. Trust me, Ive done it already. You just have to get creative with different tool combinations. Ive attached a picture of the sensor itself so everybody is on the same page. I cant remember 100% how I got mine outsince it was almost a year ago. It was either with a small socket or a T-25 or 20 torx bit and a pair of pliers. Grind the socket smaller if you can....
    That is the culprit! I tried an open end but with no luck. I wonder if they make a 1/4 inch offset wrench like a distributor wrench? That would be ideal......if not i suppose i will have to sacrifice a socket.

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    79malibuonblocks is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Cam position sensor replacement

    i found a real short box end 1/4 wrench and FINALLY got her offa there! I did notice some play in the distributor tho..............

  12. #11
    Sevillian273's Avatar
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    Re: Cam position sensor replacement

    Good to hear that 79. Did the car run any better? Kdcing, you do indeed have a cam sensor in your 4.9. In fact I used a FSM for a 1993 4.9 to diagnose mine... ended up being the ECM.

  13. #12
    79malibuonblocks is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Cam position sensor replacement

    yea 273.......seems that the cam sensor AKA. "hall effect switch" is in the distributor, i changed it, no more spittin and sputterin......i thought most cam sensors were on the block, leave it to cadillac! But i looked at that damn diagram, and it was above my head man. So I figured if cam sensor do no good then i change the computer.....its all just $$$$$.lol

  14. #13
    kdcing is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Cam position sensor replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by Sevillian273 View Post
    Kdcing, you do indeed have a cam sensor in your 4.9.
    Since I've already replaced so much crap in my car, I certainly hope to not have to go back into the depths of my distributor. Thanks for the tips if I do find the need to dive in there!

  15. #14
    Joseppi is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Cam position sensor replacement

    While I've found answers to some questions in this forum in the past, I just registered today so I could provide some information on this subject that might be helpful to others. This information might already be here somewhere, but I didn't find it so I hope this helps someone else sometime.

    Recently the "Service Engine Soon" light came on so I took my car to a friend (retired ASE - GM mechanic) who changed the plugs, plug wires, distributor cap, and rotor. After all this, the service light stayed on but the car started choking. So, he then replaced the EGR; but the service light still stayed on and the car seemed to get progressively slightly worse. Not terrible, but not as good as before the tune-up.

    Searching the 'net, I learned how to check the on board computer and from that I learned that E41 meant a cam sensor problem.

    So, I found another shop to replace that and then the service light went out and the car ran great again ... for about one day, then the same problem came back. So, I took the car back and the replaced the cam sensor again (no charge -- good shop) and this time put some added insulation on the wires that attach to the cam sensor because the suspected that the wires may have shorted out and caused the new cam sensor to fail.

    Now, my favorite old car runs fine again.

    Just thought that this additional information might be helpful.

    BTW: The cam sensor part number is:
    WELLS DR179 -- $64.79 -- ($125 installed total).

    (PS: I would have inserted a photo of the cam sensor, but couldn't find a way to do that here.)

  16. #15
    daniel58 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Cam position sensor replacement

    So the cam sensor fixed the problem, sputtering and running bad in general? My 90, 4.5 has the same symptons, but no codes, I was told that the car would not run with a bad cam sensor, yours did but with a code set? I have replaced everything else in my 90 except the cam sensor and this sensor checks out per the (olming out) FSM tests. The Recluse is telling me that these things can fail in use even if they do check out, I'm wondering??? I have so much in this car now I hate to throw good money after bad. Trip to the junkyard in my future I guess.

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