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Old 12-15-2013, 02:16 PM   #1
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Question Problems with Remanufactured Sensors

I've become very frustrated at late with a specific brand of remanufactured sensors, and being that I've had the issues across 4 different vehicles, I can't place any fault whatsoever with the vehicle itself or wiring.

The brand I have all the issues with is BWD, or Borg-Warner.

On my '99 Intrigue 3800, I went through 5 BWD MAF sensors in about six weeks. My sixth MAF lasted almost a year (the warranty on the part was 1 year) and at that point, I was exasperated enough to buy a Cardone MAF and three years later, have not had a single problem.

My '94 Cavalier 2.2L 5-speed had a bad backup light switch, and so I purchased the only brand available from the Auto Parts Box Stores, which was BWD. A simple on-off switch lasted about 2 weeks, and at that point I installed a rocker switch to run the lights.

My '88 Cutlass Ciera 2.8 needed the oil pressure gauge sending unit. Again, the only part I could find was BWD. That sending unit worked flawlessly for a whopping 28 days, and then began acting more erratically than the original I replaced.

And now, on to my latest car, '87 Buick LeSabre 3.8L. The camshaft sensor acted up, so I replaced it with, again, the only part I could locate: BWD. This sensor lasted ALMOST a week, before my car stalled while on a highway exit ramp. Nothing quite like having to stop a stalled car from 40 MPH, and then crossing your fingers and hoping it'll restart. And as of now, two days ago I made it home successfully from work, and the car will now not start in my driveway. I finally did what I should have done in the first place: I ordered an AC Delco cam sensor from Amazon. I can't wait to go back to the Auto Parts Box Store to return the BWD piece of crap.

I've done some searches online, and all I can find is praise for BWD. Now, I know the name Borg-Warner, and I know they've made some incredibly bulletproof transmissions for GM (like manual transmissions in some *-10 Blazers). But their sensor-rebuilding division seems to lack any kind of QC.

Has anyone else had problems with their products? Or is it just my cursed perpetual bad luck?
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Old 12-15-2013, 03:22 PM   #2
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I know that many of the Bosch products don't fair to well in our application either (Not sure if it is part of the same group).

However you should also be aware that your symptoms don't fall in line with a typical cam sensor failure. The cam sensor is only used to reference where cylinder 1 is for injection timing. If it fails while the car is running, it will just flip on the MIL and set the code for it. The engine still runs perfectly fine without it once going. When starting, with no signal from the cam sensor, it 'guesses', and runs off of the crank sensor. It has a 1 in 6 chance of getting it right. If it'* wrong, shut it off and try it again. The worst driveability issue observed is that it may stumble off the line. Also be aware that on the LN3 the plastic holder that holds the interrupter magnet is known for breaking, flinging the magnet.
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Old 12-15-2013, 03:24 PM   #3
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May I ask why on earth would you buy a remanufactured sensor?
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Old 12-15-2013, 04:16 PM   #4
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As far as remanufactured sensors go... I have a $10k a year job, so I'm pretty limited in my parts choices. When something blows, I usually need to replace it immediately, and as cheaply as possible.

Unfortunately, the result is I have five Auto Parts Box Stores within a twenty minute drive of me, and they comprise of two different chains. Most of the sensors available from them are REMANNED ONLY. Which really annoys me, because I would rather buy new whenever possible (like why would I not pay $3 more for a brand new water pump versus a remanufactured one?)

My other alternatives are I either mail-order it or go to the third chain and order it (their initials have always stood for Never Any Parts Available, and that'* 18 years of experience of dealing with them) or two Mom-and-Pop stores, both which get their parts from the Box Stores and resell them (and one of them at a 300% markup, I once paid $28 for a $5 alternator belt in 1996 in an emergency).

The final alternative is a 25-minute drive in two different directions to two GM dealerships, with no guarantee that I can get the part either. LOL! It sucks finding parts sometimes, but I like my older cars...
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Old 12-15-2013, 04:41 PM   #5
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Default Cam Sensor Theory of Operation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rjolly87 View Post
I know that many of the Bosch products don't fair to well in our application either (Not sure if it is part of the same group).

However you should also be aware that your symptoms don't fall in line with a typical cam sensor failure. The cam sensor is only used to reference where cylinder 1 is for injection timing. If it fails while the car is running, it will just flip on the MIL and set the code for it. The engine still runs perfectly fine without it once going. When starting, with no signal from the cam sensor, it 'guesses', and runs off of the crank sensor. It has a 1 in 6 chance of getting it right. If it'* wrong, shut it off and try it again. The worst driveability issue observed is that it may stumble off the line. Also be aware that on the LN3 the plastic holder that holds the interrupter magnet is known for breaking, flinging the magnet.
Thanks. I already figured it was probably not the interrupter magnet, since I so rarely had a problem. The original one I replaced was 100% heat-sensitive, perfect starting except after long runs (over 30 minutes) and never set the check engine light except for one time, it bucked once, the light came on, went off a few seconds later. Five minutes later, I was home and pulled Code 41. I fully expected 34 (MAF) because, well, I've had issues with that earlier this year. The car would always restart if I let her cool down for 20 minutes.

Then I ordered the sensor, paid more for rebuilt than the one I ordered last night on Amazon (which is AC Delco and NEW), and of course, it'* BWD brand (the only one I could get).

I replaced the sensor and didn't have issues for a few days. Even after more highway driving and extended driving/idling/driving cycles to thoroughly heat-soak this new sensor, the car ran flawlessly. Started first time, every time, and I was so happy...

One day, on the way home, the SES light came on again, but only at idle. A few days later, 500 RPM idle at a traffic light, I feather the throttle a tad, and the car stalls. Restarts immediately, drives fine. Now, it'* hit-or-miss whether the car will start, so I've been refueling on my way to work while leaving the car running, since I never knew when it would leave me stranded.

For a while, I had no problem simply turning the key off, then back on when I had a no-start. I immediately thought of my electronics background and thought, being a flaky sensor, it needed to be "reset," in other words, power needed to be completely removed from it before each attempt. It worked reliably this way until yet another snowstorm where my car conveniently finds a way to *NOT* go out in the snow. It was a cheap workaround until payday, when I could get rid of this BWD crap. I've had so many problems with their sensors, in so many cars, that I had to grit my teeth when I ordered the "new" one.

I've run the battery low attempting to start for two days. I gotta put it on to charge... If the 1-chance-in-6 theory proves true, there'* a lot of attempts I'd have to do to average that out. I was under the impression that the car would simply NOT start without the cam signal at startup.

Did I average out my 1-in-6 with all the times it started perfectly and didn't set the SES light? That might be true, it could be coincidence that I had a ton of perfectly successful times with the interrupter being off... But I just had a feeling it was the sensor itself, especially since it originally manifested as a heat-sensitive issue with the previous sensor.

Not discounting your theory... Just kind of doing a stream-of-consciousness thing. Sometimes I'll reread my own posts and it'll spark some other idea to try or theory of operation. It also gives me the opportunity to provide my theories and, if I am incorrect, I can learn from it to think more logically in the future. I've never been officially trained as a mechanic, although I've been employed as one. LOL
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Old 12-15-2013, 06:29 PM   #6
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rock auto and amazon have pretty good deals on delco and delphi stuff, those seem to work the best in gm stuff. the only thing i buy in parts stores anymore is brakes because the shipping kills the deal and its easier to take back if there is an issue
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Old 12-15-2013, 09:51 PM   #7
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Also you can check GM Parts online: GM Parts Online - GM Parts Direct
I would only recommend Delco replacement parts when it comes to sensors.
They meet the required specs and I want to keep the car running right the first time.
Anyone with a company account receives good discount on parts at the local dealers, know anyone with an account?
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Old 12-16-2013, 01:45 AM   #8
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Yeah... I think I'm going to stick with AC Delco/Delphi whenever I can. Some parts are more expensive than the other brands, but you DO get what you pay for. When I've had to use AC Delco, I've never had a bad sensor out of the box, and sometimes just the aggravation and wasted gas of bad sensors easily outweighs the higher price of the OEM replacement.

When I had to do the harmonic balancer early this year, I figured why not change the crank sensor while I had the crank pulley off? So I bopped over to Amazon, grabbed an AC Delco NEW crank sensor, and then found the AC Delco front and rear sway bar links dirt freakin' cheap as well, and then I did a tuneup with AC Delco plugs and Autolite wires from the Advance (I've had HORRIBLE issues with their Xact house brand). I figure this summer I'll do another tuneup and then put Accel or AC Delco wires on, and maybe I'll do the conversion from Magnavox to Delco Type-II, since the Delco system is much more reliable (and cheaper to change coil packs!).

Swapping your Magnavox Ignition to the delco Type II system : Performance

My mother even has 168,000 miles (ten years) on an AC Delco refurbished alternator in the Intrigue. And I can't tell you how many stinkin' OEM Delco radios I have hanging around my house that are pretty damn bulletproof (the 80s cassette mechanisms were made by Blaupunkt and would literally run FOREVER). Delco and Delphi just seem to be better-quality products for the most part.
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Old 12-16-2013, 03:32 PM   #9
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Old 12-16-2013, 06:42 PM   #10
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I only ever order parts online, only time I get from a store is if I am offered a discount.
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