The crank sensor on your 4.6L or 5.4L Ford pick up (SUV or car) is a two wire type crank sensor that you can easily and accurately test with a multimeter in Volts AC mode.
You don't need a scan tool to test the Ford 4.6L, 5.4L crankshaft position sensor (although a scan tool is a must have tool now-a-days).
This article will walk you thru' the whole thing step by step.
Here are the contents of this article at a quick glance:
You can find this tutorial in Spanish here: Cómo Probar el Sensor de la Posición del Cigüeñal (Ford 4.6L, 5.4L) (at: autotecnico-online.com).
TIP 1: The crank sensor is located on the timing chain cover. More specifically, it's located to the right (passenger side) of the crank pulley and behind the A/C compressor.
TIP 2: It's very important that the battery on your Ford car (pick up or SUV) must be fully charged for this test. The battery must have enough reserve power to crank the engine easily for several seconds.
TIP 3: You'll need to jack up the vehicle to gain access to the crank sensor. Use a jack stand to hold the car up in the air... do not trust the jack! Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from falling debris. Think safety all of the time!
TIP 4: When the crank sensor goes BAD, you'll get a No Spark- No Start Condition... so, if you're getting spark from the ignition coil pack or the Coil-on-Plug ignition coils.. the crank sensor is good and this test will not help you.
Since so many things can cause a ‘cranks but does not start’ condition, the following tutorial may give you some more diagnostic/troubleshooting insights:
The crank sensor is one of the most critical components to get the engine in your Ford car (pick up, SUV, van) started. Since it provides the signal the PCM needs to start injecting fuel and start creating spark.
Here are some specifics of the crankshaft position sensor:
The 4.6L, 5.4L crank sensor is a two wire variable reluctance sensor. What this means is that:
Coil Pack Ignition System: If your specific Ford vehicle has an ignition control module (4.6L coil pack vehicles):
Coil-on-Plug (COP) Ignition System: If your specific Ford vehicle does not use an ignition control module and is the Coil-on-Plug ignition system type:
In the next section, I'll go into some of the symptoms of a BAD crank sensor...
“This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living
on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were
suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned
with the movement of small green pieces of paper, which was odd
because on the whole it wasn't the small green
pieces of paper that were unhappy!”
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy