Your 3.3L V6 Buick (Oldsmobile) comes equipped with a crankshaft position sensor (commonly referred to as the CKP sensor).
In this tutorial I'll answer some of the most commonly asked questions about the CKP sensor
Contents of this tutorial:
APPLIES TO: This tutorial applies to the following vehicles:
- 3.3L V6 Buick Century: 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993.
- 3.3L V6 Buick Skylark: 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993.
- 3.3L V6 Oldsmobile Achieva: 1992, 1993.
- 3.3L V6 Oldsmobile Calais: 1989, 1990, 1991.
- 3.3L V6 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera: 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993.
What Does The CKP Sensor Do?
In a nutshell, the crankshaft position sensor is tasked with informing the fuel injection computer the crankshaft's position as the engine runs.
Specifically, the fuel injection computer needs to know when the #1 piston is reaching its top dead center position.
With this information, the ignition control module (ICM) can now control the ignition coil pack and get it to fire off spark in the correct firing order.
And the fuel injection computer can now start injecting fuel into the cylinders.
What Happens When The CKP Sensor Goes Bad?
When the crankshaft position sensor fails, the ignition control module and the fuel injection computer will no longer receive crankshaft position information.
In the next section, I will explain some of the symptoms you'll see when the crankshaft position sensor fails.
What Problems Can A CKP Sensor Cause?
When the crankshaft position sensor fails completely, your 3.3L V6 engine is not going to start due to a lack of spark and fuel injection.
In some cases, the crankshaft position sensor fails intermittently. Which means that the CKP sensor works fine most of the time but every now and then it stops producing and sending a CKP signal to the fuel injection computer.
The end result of this intermittent failure is that the vehicle starts and runs most of the time, but every now and then it stalls or does not start.
Although the OBD I system is designed to register a CKP sensor trouble code when it fails, it rarely does. If it does set a trouble code, you'll see this one:
- Code 19: Crankshaft Position (CKP) Sensor Circuit Performance Problem.
How Can You Tell If The CKP Sensor Is Bad?
The only way to find out if the crankshaft position sensor has failed or not, is by testing it.
The cool thing is that testing the crankshaft position sensor is not a difficult nor a complicated thing to do.
In the next section, I'll explain what's involved in testing it.
How Can I Find Out If The CKP Sensor Is Bad?
To find out if the CKP sensor is causing the engine to not start, you'll need to test it.
This is the procedure required to test the CKP sensor:
- Checking for CKP sensor trouble codes stored in the fuel injection computer's memory.
- Check all spark plug wires for spark (if spark is present, then the CKP is functioning correctly).
- Making sure that the CKP sensor is getting power.
- Making sure that the CKP sensor is getting Ground.
- Making sure that the CKP sensor is producing a signal.
Can I Drive My Vehicle With A Bad CKP Sensor?
In the majority of cases, when the CKP sensor fails in your 3.3L V6 Buick or Oldsmobile, the engine is not going to start.
In those instances that the engine does start, you should not drive your vehicle since you risk being stranded wherever the CKP sensor decides to stop working.
More 3.3L V6 Buick, Oldsmobile Tutorials
You can find a complete list of 3.3L V6 Buick (Oldsmobile) tutorials in this index:
Here's a small sample of the tutorials you'll find in the index:
- How To Test Engine Compression Test (3.3L V6 Buick, Oldsmobile).
- How To Test A Blown Head Gasket (3.3L V6 Buick, Oldsmobile).
- How To Test The MAF Sensor (3.3L V6 Buick, Oldsmobile).
- What Does A MAF Sensor Do? (3.3L V6 Buick, Oldsmobile).
If this info saved the day, buy me a beer!