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Tom, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Car
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Experience:  ASE Certified Master Technician
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1997 Ford Taurus Gl: a code reader on it..camshaft position sensor

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I have a 1997 Ford Taurus Gl and the check ebgine light is on. We put a code reader on it and it stated that it needed a camshaft position sensor and shift solenoid c. We have since replaced the camshaft sensor, but not the solenoid. The car is still coming up with the code for the camshaft sensor. Could the camshaft code be coming up because we have not addressed the solenoid? Right now the code reader has five different codes: p340 camshaft sensor A circuit malfunction: 761 shift selonoid C poor performance or stuck off: 401 EGR Flow insufficient: 420 Catalyst efficincy below threshold bank 1: 430 Catalyst efficiency below threshold bank 2. We have replaced all 4 o2 sensors, and replaced both cats and exhaust. This is the second camshaft position sensor we have put on. Does anybody have any ideas as to what I am facing with this car, and how to fix it?
The P0340 code is actually pretty common on those engines -- they seem to eat up camshaft position sensors. Here's an interesting insight...

First off, sometimes it's not as simple as just replacing the sensor. Usually, when these sensors fail, they fail through a physical separation of the Hall-effect core and coil from the sensor body. The core and coil assembly is by design magnetized, and as such, when it breaks free from the sensor body, it fall onto and clings to the (steel) sensor actuator rotor.

The actuator is a cup-shaped protrusion on the top of a rotating shaft. The cup has a section of its periphery removed so as to provide the "window" for triggering the sensor's Hall-effect switch. The actuator itself is mounted where the distributor used to go, is gear-driven off the camshaft, and in turn drives the oil puimp, just as the distributor used to do.

Often, when the sensor fails, its pieces fall into the center of the actuator's cup and stay there. The system throws a P0340 code and the MIL is turned on. The fix then is simple -- remove the old sensor, clean out the chunks of the old sensor, mount the new one, button it up, and clear the code.

However, it's not so simple when the pieces fall into the window in the cup. When that happens, the cup will be (at best) bent inward or (at worst) broken off the actuator shaft. This happens because the pieces then are wedged between the cup and the actuator body as the shaft turns, and something has to give. Either situation requires replacement of the actuator assembly. This job is not all that difficult, but it does require an alignment tool for proper placement of the new actuator.

The actuator is called a "camshaft position sensor drive" and is available from the Ford dealer for about $125.00. (To show how common this really is, my local Ford dealer has a stock level of 3 units on this drive.) The sensor is available in the aftermarket for about $30.00. The alignment tool is available through OTC/SPX for around $20.00. The entire procedure is spelled out in the various service manuals available -- Ford, Haynes and Chilton all cover it.

When buying the alignment tool, be sure to order the correct one for the engine size -- there are several different cam sensor alignment tools used on Fords

Id start here the shift sensor has nothing to do with the problem.

If it comtinues to give these codes the ecm is possibly bad
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
what is the ecm?
Under hood, drivers side near firewall
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
last question are the cat codes and egr codes a result of the camshaft sensor or shift selonoid problems
No these are all seperate issues ,the shift solenoide is for the transmission shift points the egr affects how the car breathes
Tom and 5 other Car Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
thanks for all your help, we were looking at the same thing but were just not sure we were looking inthe right direction. you confirmed what we thought the problem was.
No problem glad to help best of luck to you