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Amedee, Former ASE Master Technician
Category: Honda
Satisfied Customers: 24127
Experience:  ASE certified tech advanced level specialist. Wisconsin certified emissions state inspector
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Honda Accord 2001 2.3 timing and balance shaft belts,

Customer Question

Just changed out timing and balance shaft belts, idler,tension pulleys and springs and water pump. ( all Honda OEM parts). Also changed out plugs (Denso OEM) .044 gap, wire set (NGK 7mm, OEM spec) and New not reman Distributor. Car starts fine, idles fine even drives fine for 10 min or so. After the car gets good and warm I start receiving the P1381 Cylinder Position Sensor code. I checked for loose connections (plugs and wireset) dis power plug ect.... It is a little better now after replacing plugs and wireset but still getting intermittent code. Am I over looking something? Could this be related to the balance shaft being off? I lined up the make on the shaft with the mark on the oil pump housing.... All other marks lined up as well @ TDC even after I adjusted the belt counter clockwise 3 teeth then tightened back up..... reallyhas me scratching my head.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Honda
Expert:  nabilc replied 5 years ago.

Billy :

Hello and thank you for using Just answer! I'm Billy and i will assist you with this. Feel free to ask if further info is needed.

Billy :

First i would check the timing marks (since work was done there), make sure the marks are on place....and then rotate manually two turns.....make sure these get back at same place.......and correct as necessary.

Billy :

If that is not the problem......marks being spot on, and given that the problem is intermittent.......the most likely cause would be some loose wiring....loose connector....or dirt build up on connector....

Billy :

I will include the checking details for this code, so you can check accordingly....and make sure the connectors (all related, mentioned in details) are good, clean and tight).....and makse sure the wires are good (continuity), between the distributor and the engine control module...

Billy :

Thank you for trusting JA and myself.......get back to me if further info is needed.....positive feedback and bonuses appreciated...


The distributor plug pic you sent does not look like what I have.... Mine is flat straight across. Timing marks are all spot on.... However that being said. Could the balance shaft be causing this? When I replaced the belts I did not use the locking pin procedure to lock the balance shaft in place..... The way I understood it was that this procedure is used for earlier engines that did not have the marks on the balance shaft. Mine did. I lined them all up properly before taking the belts off.

Billy :

Hello again,

Billy :

The balance shaft would cause issues......(it should not cause this fault code)....but still, it would cause issues...and it should be locked while removing and installing the belt......

Billy :

And since the info seems to be off (you have another engine)....then i will opt out, relist the question so other experts take a look........but i would still recommend that you check the wiring thoroughly......Good luck!

Expert:  Amedee replied 5 years ago.

Billy did a great job explaining everything in detail. I would agree with everything he said.

There is just a few things I can add.

The distributor assembly, crankshaft position sensor and ignition coil are usually the root cause of this code. Be sure that the shield is still mounted on the ignition coil as this could be the issue.

Also, sometimes the alternator goes bad and causes a charging system issue which will also cause this code.

Hope this helps!
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The pictures Billy sent did not represent my distributor. Am worried we were not talking about the same one. The motor in a 2001 Honda Accord 2.3 with the Hitachi distributor. The altenator was taken in and checked for bad diods. The distributor is brand new Hitachi unit not reman. new plugs and wires from NGK and Denso. My main concern is when I changed out the timing and balance belts I didnt lock in place the balance shaft with the 6mm bolt. Have makes on mine and didnt move while I was doing work. Car started up fine first try... Idles smoothly in driveway. Drives good going down the road for the first 10-15 min then after good and warm starts throwing the P1381 Cylinder Position Sensor code. The crank and cam sensors I have not checked yet. do not know where they are. and if bad, shouldnt the car not run at all?? pulling my hair out.
Expert:  Amedee replied 5 years ago.
The cam sensor is located inside the distributor and the crank sensor is located down by the crankshaft and crank sprocket in front of the engine inside the timing cover.

Even though this is a cam sensor code, it could be the wiring going to the cam sensor or even an issue with the crank sensor. There have been a few documented cases where the crank sensor is causing this code.

The cam and crank sensors can go bad in several different ways. It does not necessarily just have to go bad preventing the engine from starting.

One thing to consider is that chances are the crank sensor got soaked with coolant when you removed the water pump. This alone is enough o throw this code. Coolant is murder on electrical components.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
what about the balace shaft? think I messedsomething up or out of alignment since I did not lock it into place with 6mm bolt or small screwdriver? or would this cause a no start situation? I just figured lining up all the marks would be enough. Are these distributors pron to be bad right out the box? I want to eliminate all issue before diving back into the timing cover to check the crank sensor. Figured this crank sensor would either be good or bad.... any chance the electrical plug end of this crank harness could be wet or corroded with oil, dirt and such? this plug outside the timing cover?
Expert:  Amedee replied 5 years ago.
I do not think the balance shaft will cause this code or a no start condition. The computer does not even know where the balance shaft is in its rotation because there is no balance shaft sensor.

It is possible that the distributor is at fault. They usually are not bad right out of the box.. but it does happen.

YES.. oil, coolant or any sort of debris on the crank sensor wiring or connector could cause this code.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Do I have to pull the timing vover to get to the plug end of crank sensor as well as the magnet ends to both sensors? or isthe plug somewhere else up inside the engine bay... if outside the timing cover I would like the check this first before diving back into the timing cover.
Expert:  Amedee replied 5 years ago.
I believe you can get access to this connector right at the timing cover. You should be able to see where the wires and connector go in the timing cover. There will be a small plastic grommet.
Amedee, Former ASE Master Technician
Category: Honda
Satisfied Customers: 24127
Experience: ASE certified tech advanced level specialist. Wisconsin certified emissions state inspector
Amedee and other Honda Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
thanks for the info..... Give a a little direction. Billy the first tech opted out then I been talking to you since but when I accepted the answer it gave the credit to Billy and asked for me to rate him.... will this go to him or you? just want to make sure you get proper credit....... And thanks again.
Expert:  Amedee replied 5 years ago.
It looks like you accepted my answer. I did get credit. Thank you very much!

Please let me know if you have any further questions!

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