Newbie here with 2 questions- 92 Bonneville SE - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


1992-1999 Series I L27 (1992-1994 SE,SLE, SSE) & Series II L36 (1995-1999 SE, SSE, SLE) and common problems for the Series I and II L67 (all supercharged models 92-99) Including Olds 88's, Olds LSS's and Buick Lesabres Please use General Chat for non-mechanical issues, and Performance and Brainstorming for improvements.

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Old 04-30-2008, 03:26 PM   #1
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Default Newbie here with 2 questions- 92 Bonneville SE

My Dad has a 1992 Bonneville SE, 200,000 miles on it. We have replaced the crank sensor once. It failed and the car wouldnt start. That was about 2 years ago.

Now Im getting the Check Engine Light and code for "camshaft sensor".... The car isnt stalling like it did with the bad crank sensor, the only difference I can see is its a little rough at idle.

Is the cam and crank sensor the same thing? IIRC, the crank sensor that we replaced was behind a pulley. A friend replaced it for us, hes a tech at a Cadillac dealership so he was pretty familiar with the 3.8l and the crank sensor dilemma.... Luckily the bolt didnt break when he replaced the sensor.

So does the camshaft sensor code mean our crank sensor went bad already? Or is there a seperate crank/cam sensor? He'* been driving with the CEL on for a while now, not because he doesnt care but hes having significant money issues and cannot afford to get it fixed, hence where I come in. I see the cam sensor is $18.99 at Autozone. If it will get him by just a little longer until he gets a job, Im game.

How hard is it to replace the camshaft sensor, if it is in fact different from the crank sensor?

Thanks for helping out a newbie, I hope I didnt ask too many questions
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Old 04-30-2008, 03:31 PM   #2
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It'* different. The cam sensor is located above and to the left of the water pump pulley in the timing chain (front) cover of the engine (passenger side). Roughly between your alternator and water pump. You'll see the connector.

Remove the sensor and rotate the engine to verify the magnet is actually in the timing gear still. If it is, replace the sensor. If it'* not, get one and glue it in.
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Old 04-30-2008, 03:33 PM   #3
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The cam sensor is different than the crank sensor.

The cam sensor is very easy to change when compared to the crank sensor. If you're looking at the front of the engine, the cam sensor is at about 11:00 from the harmonic balancer. It'* held in place with two 10 mm bolts. It should take no more than 10 minutes to change the sensor. Given the mileage and age, the magnet probably fell off the end of the sensor.
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Old 04-30-2008, 03:44 PM   #4
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Do I have to remove the water pump pulley or any thing else to get to the cam sensor?

Its the original cam sensor, so for $18, Im going to replace it anyway and check for the magnet while Im in there. Is the magnet actually attached to the sensor or the timing chain sprocket??
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Old 04-30-2008, 03:54 PM   #5
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No, you don't need to remove the water pump to get to it. You'll probably have to move the splash shield in the fender well to see it, though.

The magnet should be connected to the sensor. It'* probably stuck to the side of the block just below the sensor hole. Don't be as concerned with finding the old magnet piece. It'* not connected to the timing chain.
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Old 04-30-2008, 04:48 PM   #6
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Not sure what Mark is talking about there, but the magnet is connected to the SPROCKET, not the sensor.
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Old 04-30-2008, 05:11 PM   #7
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Ok so this is about a 10-15 minute job? Today Im going to change the oil and spark plugs, hes driving the car from Macomb County (suburb of Detroit) to Nashville TN this saturday. The trans was rebuilt about 60,000 miles ago, so im going to siphon out as much fluid as I can, as I changed the fluid and filter about 30,000 miles ago.....I dont really feel like dropping the pan at this point and I have a lot of trans fluid from my Father (he rebuilds transmissions).

It looks like the sensor is pretty straightforward and easy to get at. Thanks guys.

OT: I was going to put in 6 Ac-Delco spark plugs. I dont remember what I put in last time, probably autolite. Any recommendations for spark plugs?
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Old 04-30-2008, 06:11 PM   #8
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wait, what does trans fluid have to do with anything? Its on the opposite side as the cam magnet/sensor
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Old 04-30-2008, 11:22 PM   #9
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Trans fluid has nothing to do with the cam sensor. It was OT (Off Topic).

Anyways! I replaced the cam sensor earlier, it did take me 10 minutes. In/out, very easy job. Check engine light went out, after an hour of driving never came back on. It would normally come on after 10 minutes or so of driving

I also replaced the spark plugs (it was time), replaced the oil pressure sending unit because the gauge would read 0 at idle and the minute you pressed the gas it would peg at 80. Replaced that, and now it reads good now Changed the oil, all of this took me 1 hour and 5 minutes. The Mrs. had grillables ready when I was done and a fresh cold beer. Ahhhhhh

I never did get to the trans fluid, but it didnt smell burnt and was still red in color, albeit not the nice "new" red color that I like to see.
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Old 05-01-2008, 08:45 AM   #10
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Glad to hear all went well. If you get into something more involved and need a hand, keep me in mind. I work in Troy and live in GB.
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