Broken Crankshaft Position Sensor

I know I’m not the only one who’s done it. A Google search for “crank position sensor broken off in engine” and it’s pages upon pages of results are testament to a poor design that has pissed off many a mechanic. The sensor itself doesn’t fill up the entire bore in the engine block where it is installed. This leaves just enough room for a ring of rust to build up behind it, preventing it from being removed. Couple that fact, with the cheap, plastic construction of the sensor body, and you have a recipe for disaster. Specifically, the damned sensor body snapped after I tried for about an hour to coax it out of it’s hole.

So here I was with half a sensor stuck in the engine block, and now there’s nothing to grab on to in order to manipulate it out. I was half tempted to have the damned thing towed off to a professional mechanic and just pay to have him deal with it. Then I remembered that the bill for that would just piss me off more than doing it myself. I’ve built engines from the inside out. I’m not about to let a stupid plastic plug of a sensor beat me. I just needed to sleep on it and figure out a way to remove it. My Google search primarily suggested that I was going to have to drop the oil pan to push it out from the inside. I didn’t want to do that, so I decided to wait and see what ideas came forth.

My overnight brainstorm suggested that I might be able to get the Dremel in behind it with a small grinding stone and smooth out the bore so that it would come out. That didn’t work out so well. There was little room to work in there, and there was just enough of the damned sensor left that I had a hard time getting a clean shot at cleaning up the rust ridge. Next idea was to drill a hole in the center of it, run a screw into it, and pull on the screw. It sounds easier than it is, but ultimately this worked.

I had to use the Dremel to drill the hole, since there wasn’t enough room to manipulate my cordless drill in there. I ran the screw in as far as I could. What was left of the sensor started to spin, so I couldn’t get the screw very tight. I tied some twine around the head of the screw and attached the other end to a hammer. As I swung away with the hammer, the twine stretched and stretched and… SNAP! Still no good. Then I tried to double up the twine… and proceeded to snap that.

Instead of going through all the intermediate steps, I then decided to go for the gusto and try 8 strands of twine looped around a big-ass pair of vice grips. I didn’t snap that, but I still couldn’t get the sensor out with the hammer. I did manage to get it to start moving in the right direction though. It came out and got wedged on that rust ridge. I seized the opportunity to tighten the screw a couple turns, since the sensor obviously wasn’t going to spin anymore.

Next, I decided to take some advice from an old Greek friend named Archimedes. Leverage is your friend. I drilled a hole in a 2×4, ran the 8 strands of twine through it, and proceeded to use it as a lever against the frame.

When I heard that POP sound and everything went loose, I pretty much expected to see the head of the screw popped off or the vice grips slipped off or something that would piss me off even more. Instead what I saw was a hole where the sensor used to be!

No dropping of the oil pan for me. The screw in the sensor body method worked! So to anyone else out there with the same problem (and lets face it, I know this isn’t an isolated incident), you can remove what’s left of the sensor without having to get inside the engine. And to the Chrysler engineers who designed the 4.7L V8… fuck you.

129 thoughts on “Broken Crankshaft Position Sensor

  1. Haha – the last sentence is my feelings exactly, different engine though. I did the same pulling initially using lumber and old lawnmower throttle wire, worked it up slightly, but then it broke off nicely in the hole. I’m still working my CPS, using a soldering iron to melt away the perimeter plastic so I can grip the magnet out and then plan to drill a hole for tapping.

      • Wow… I wasn’t even aware that was possible since the flywheel should prevent it from going in that far. In that case, your only course of action would be to raise the engine up and drop the oil pan.

          • Once the old sensor is completely out, you should be able to see directly through to the reluctor ring on the crankshaft. If you can’t see a gear with square shaped teeth, then you may not have completely removed the old sensor housing. It’s also entirely possible that you may need to use some sand paper or emery cloth to remove any residual rust and smooth out the bore before the new sensor will go back into place.
            Good luck!

          • Hmm..I have a ’99 Chrysler that the crs came right out, but it seems that the hole in the bell housing has shrunk! The new sensor AND the old sensor WILL NOT go back in! Ideas?

          • Holy shit! Yes, you can do serious damage to the engine if you try to run it with anything other than oil in the engine. Once it falls inside, the only thing you can do is drop the oil pan and pull it out. Don’t, under any circumstances, try to run the engine with the remnants of the sensor still inside the engine. That’s a quick way to force yourself into buying a new engine.

  2. Thank you so much…I just broke a sensor off and trying to figure out what to do… gonna go get a big screw from the nut and bolt bin and give it hell. Thanks. Oh and is it a coincidance i’m also working on a 4.7 liter also made by dodge??? lol.

    • I’m glad I was able to help! Based on the number of times a day that this page gets viewed, I’d say there’s a definite design flaw going on here. I’m just glad that my experience could help someone else avoid a headache (and perhaps a mechanic bill).

      • The cam sensr just dropped out..sweet. now the crank sensor…son of a ….wont come out..I hate this vehicle..going to ut electrical connector back on and say fuk it. Its been one thing after another wih this jeep since new…2000 jeep Grand Cherokee 4.7
        the most gid aweful piece of shit ever built.

  3. Pingback: Sensor stuck in!!! - Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board

  4. My husband tried doing this and it kept breaking into smaller pieces. Now the head of the screw has sheared off and he is at his wits end.

    • Sorry to hear that. They’re a pain in the ass, no doubt. The key is to get that pilot hole drilled so that the screw can get in far enough to get a good grip on the sensor. Failing that, if it’s damaged to the point where it can’t be pulled out, the only other solution that I’m aware of is to drop the oil pan and push it through the hole.

      • Won’t fit thru plug hole bro. Gotta drop the pan. Not enough room to drol pan all the way. Look into dropping PAn. It’s a huge job. Done it.

    • Unfortunately, I can’t offer much help there. I’m not familiar with the 3.3L motor. If you have room to drop the oil pan, you’ll probably have some room to push it out from the inside. If not, the drill and screw method I used here worked for me.

      • It would depend on the motor. For the one I worked on, the 2006 Dodge 4.7L V8, the crank position sensor is in the lower passenger side of the block, and it gets its position information from a reluctor ring on the crank shaft.

  5. Thanks for the ideas. My 2.2L Cavalier has the same problem. After braking the sensor I proceded to remove the injector rail and intake manifold and all the other stuff that was in the way so I could access the darn thing. I think I’ll try the dremal idea first as you did maybe it helped some. Good ideas. Thanks

    • Afer removing the intke manifold, fuel rail and all the other stuff I was able to get better access to the sensor. The I had a 4′ long pry bar on mine and I I had to use everything I had to get it to move.
      The seal portion came out but the sensor part is still in there. I can move it around freely but there’s not much left to grip on to. It seems the sensor part is too big for the hole.
      Do you know if I pull the oil pan if the sensor will go through or will it hit the target. (Cavalier 2.2L)

      • Unfortunately, I haven’t had any experience with the 2.2L motor. From everything I’ve read, it sounds like dropping the oil pan is the sure fire way of getting at it. At the very least, you may be able to get something on the other side of it and push it back out instead if trying to pull on it. Best of luck to you!

  6. Wow, glad I seen this post. I have a 4.7 grand cherokee and was just ready to blow it up just trying to get the oil pan out let alone get the broken magnet out that broke off the CSS. Decided to give up today at the shop and sleep on it and google other ideas. Glad you posted this. I have virtually no room to work this out but will try. I will pull starter all the way out and try to lower exhaust and may have more room to drill a hole, put in the screw and try to get it out. Will lube up real good first and sand out the bore hole before i attempt and I think that may help. This is a real problem and design flaw. Thanks for the advice. Jeff Flathau All Speed Customs

  7. Well done, sir! I salute you and thank you. I did exactly as you described, with identical results on my ’98 Chevy S-10. SES light went off immediately, and I can get my e-check and registration. Huge relief for an amateur who got in over his head.

  8. Thanks for posting this. I was working on my kid’s PT cruiser when the sensor broke off. I looked at it in disbelief, like everyone else thinking I was the first to deal with this cluster F**k. Tried the screw route, That “space age” fiber epoxy Chinese material crap kept cracking like peanut brittle in February. Ended up using dremel and sharp bent nails and 3 hours to coax it out.

  9. What vehicle were you working on here? I am working on a 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and I am a perplexed as to how you had any room to get up in there and get a screw in what was left of the sensor. I just bought a right angle drill thinking that was the answer, but I’m still left with no room. It almost looks like your coming in from the wheel well. Am I wrong in that evaluation?

      • Well damn. It looks like you had a bit more room to work with than I do. I was going for the screw idea as well, but looks like i may have to drop the oil pan to get to it on this one. You live, and you learn I suppose 🙂 Thanks man!

  10. I tried your method on my 2002 4.7 durango and still no budging. So re drilled a pilot hole to place a retaining screw. Then using my Dremel i proceeded to drill out the perimeter of the sensor. Finally after I loosened it enough I used a short handled claw hammer and pryed the damn thing out. Truck is now up and running. I have yet to find any easy repair on the 4.7

  11. I just ran into the same problem. I have a 1999 Grand Cherokee with the 4.7 I broke my sensor off and was ready to pull the engine. Then I got to looking at it and saw that there was a small hole in the unibody that went straight thru to the other side so I took my screw driver and pushed it thru to see were it came out, just about straight across from the broken off sensor so I took my air saw and cut a larger hole on the tire side and then drilled about 8 holes on the engine side and proceeded to make that hole bigger. At least now I can see what is going on. I am going to the hardware store in the morning for a long drill bit and drill a pilot hole for my slide hammer to screw into and try to pull it that way. I will let you know how it worked.

    • Well I broke one screw off in the sensor and then went to a larger screw to try and pull it out. it took 2 more screws before I got the old part out but the broken off screw never came with it so I am assuming that it fell in by the tone ring. Is that going to be a problem as I would think that it would fall straight down into the oil pan and just stay there.

      • Having a metal part like that unaccounted for would worry me enough to drop the oil pan, and hand-turn the engine a revolution or two just to make sure it’s out of there. I know a guy who had a little metal sliver get caught in the oil pump on his ’83 Bronco and seize it. It stopped the oil pump dead. the keyed shaft that ran from the distributor to the oil pump kept twisting and turning until it looked like a drill bit. That one left him stranded on the side of the road.

        Bad things happen when pieces of metal are left to hop around inside your motor. Even a good pothole could send it up into the works and wreck things up bad. Best to drop that pan and be sure it’s gone.

  12. Hey Dave! Having a quite different problem with my daughter’s 2002 Infiniti I35. I couldn’t get the plug off the sensor…so I just removed the one 10mm bolt holding the sensor..Sensor came out perfectly..but it won’t come off the plug..a mechanic told me to break the sensor..but I just don’t have enough room in there to break it…UGGHHH!!!

  13. I got to the part about putting the screw in then couldn’t figure it out on my own. Google’d “remove broken crank sensor” and here I find your wit and wisdom. Can’t wait to try the leverage to get the intended result. Thanks much for sharing!

  14. Well had this happen to me today, dodge ram 1500 w 3.7L anyways I used a dremel tool to drill a hole in it and small screw it would not budge or turn, put a pray bar on it, used a ratcheting tie down on the frame across and torqued it down putting a lot of pressure while kicking my pry bar. Didn’t budge,
    Tested a theory some people somewhere else suggested the might try using a torch and melting it out. I tested a touch on the broken off piece and it only burns and does not melt so DO NOT try this. Also some sigeted trying to break it up with a dremel this dod not work even with a side cutting bit the plastic is too dam hard….
    After I took the screw out wall-erd out the hole, by drilling a hole right next to the 1st grabbed a big C hook from Walmart and screwed it in when it got deep it broke free and began to at lest spin. I worked at it and a lot of bits from the upper half and part of a side broke. Got it moving in / out little less then 1/4 and wobbles, used a brush to work in Loctite rust dissolver (from menards) (a mix of acids that eats rust and anything for that matter be careful) around it and moved it back and forth to work it up in there….
    I’m so close I can almost taste victory been working on getting this bastard out far too long. should have it soon. I was thinking of greasing the hole so it wont rust up ever again but now I’m leaning on using a bit of permtex black gasket maker around the hole so there is a seal from the outside environment… I could not agree with you more regarding “Chrysler engineers fuck you” It happens with some fords but my search results where mostly all Chryslers vehicles with this problem by far.
    The sensor could easily be designed differently to make it more durable and a gasket kind of like whats on the coil boots could easily have prevented this. All who read this good luck!

    • Ouch! That sounds pretty bad! Well good luck getting it the rest of the way out. I really like the Permatex idea. I’m definitely going to use that next time I have to change one of those. Anything to keep that rust from building up behind the sensor. Thanks!

    • Chrysler sucks ass for this! My husband has been trying since 9 am to get the freaking cam sensor out of our Chrysler Pacifica, And like all of you it broke flush! Can barely get to the effing thing to fit a drill. He tried a tiny drill and screw blah blah blah it came out on him. I feel so bad for him this so friggen frustrating and it’s the only car we have right now. Wtf Chrysler!

  15. Just had the same problem with my 2001 dodge dakota 4.7 v8, I tried everything to get out the broken off sensor until I finally got pissed off enough to put a bolt in the center & hook it up to a car with a chain, the first tug pulled the truck off the jack & wood block it was sitting in, the second tug yanked out the remainder of the sensor leaving the bore hole intact.

  16. I have a 2000 Dodge Avenger (2.5L V6 Mitsubishi engine)that I pulled out the crankshaft position sensor with no problem, trouble is the magnet stuck to the end of the sensor body didn’t come with it! I was initially trying to determine if there is an O-Ring that fits within the hole the sensor body fits into, because Iv’e suspectted that I may have an oil leak coming from there but I put it back in without the magnet on the end and I may have pushed that magnet through too far, I started up the car and now it sounds as if something is rattling around in there, but it’s a magnet, it’s stuck somewhere and something is hitting IT, constantly! Please help!!!!!
    Does anyone have an idea of how I may retrieve this magnet? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    • Ouch! That sounds bad. I don’t know that engine specifically, but my initial guess would be that the oil pan would have to come off in order to find it. That’s the only way to expose enough of the inside of the engine to locate something like that.

  17. I am suffering Through this problem on a 1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse.. There is only about 6 inches of clearance to work with. So far, all attempts to extract the broken piece have failed. Dropping the oil pan seems to be my best bet; However, the heat shield covering my exhaust manifold wont budge due to rusty and fused bolts..

    Considering the numerous other instances of this broken crankshaft position sensor problem, I am curious as to whether there is grounds for a lawsuit due to poor craftsmanship and the ridiculous nature of not being able to extract a sensor that is designed to simply slide in and out of the engine block with minimal effort or problems.. I am thoroughly pissed…

    • I understand your frustration but there is no warranty on any vehicle that any parts of it should be easy to replace. This is one of those instances where it’s actually a better idea to pay the dealer for an hour of labor, and let THEM deal with the design. They’ve probably learned the tricks to get it done quickly anyhow.

  18. Okay, I’ve read your story first, and like myself you seem to be what I call a “Theorist”. Which means if the tools exist to implement an idea, it just might work.

    I’ve got a 2000 Durango with the 4.7L. Got the light which coded out as the CPS.

    Now once the ring broke off, I knew it’d be a B*tch to get out. Like you all the while cursing the design.

    It wasn’t till I hit the net for experiences that I found the sheer plethora of duplicate circumstances.

    So not having found your post yet, I tried my first solution. I have in my supplies wiring Pull string, which has a tensile strength of 250 ft lbs. I tied a knot over the sensor, got down and pulled manually with all my might. Resulting only in my string eventually fraying then breaking. I then redid my knot this time making an 11 turn cinch knot, slipping that over the sensor body and tightening it down.

    On the opposite side I tied a loop, 2 strands thick. Using a small sledge I pounded in the air straight out, which with the added weight broke in 2 minutes.

    Before I try the next, I’ll be prepping out as much rust as I can. Then,,,

    Tomorrow, having found your post I’m revamping my idea. I’ll be cinching 15 strands of this pull string over the sensor, then like your design, I’m twisting the twine in to one cable, then through the board. Finally I’m going to tie off to a Star lug nut wrench. Then turn till it either breaks or comes out.

    Let you know how it comes out.

    I’d also be interested in how the Permatex idea worked out.

  19. 2.5 liter sebring 97, same shit broke off at the hole ac hoses over the top and no room for the drill under the fire wall, i would love to meet the stupid idiot who thought a resin filled plastic coated sensor in a heat area aluminum hole would be something you could remove later, what a dumb ass, probably some pensil pushing manicured finger nails dishpan hand dumd fuck, no sence what so ever!!!

  20. Thanks for posting this. Same ordeal with 2001 Dakota 4.7. Flawwed design no doubt. I ended up with screw hooked to 18′ piece of 2×3 angle iron that was bending before I heard that relieving “pop”. Truck now up and running.

  21. Happened to me. 1997 2.2l chevy s10. Used a self-tapping screw and a slide hammer. I bought a $20 slide hammer from harbor freight. Didn’t have enough swinging room, went to HomeDepot and bought a 24″ piece of all thread. Out in a couple of whacks. Easy as pie. I did, however take out my wheel well to have access.

  22. As soon as I realize Ive got a brittle tight crank shaft sensor , and the wires break off, I stop and use my heat srink gun to soften it up , until I can turn it easily with my fingers then you can pry it out alittle with a tiny flat screwdriver . Once you get it up far enough , you can drill a hole in it sideways for a scriber ,or wiggle it out with a long needle nose pliers . Of course this is hind sight , if youve already broken it off .Ford diesels arent much fun either .

  23. Dave,

    Have you or anyone (you’ve heard) tried putting heat (via torch) onto the surrounding housing and spraying in penetrating oil before trying to remove the sensor? This was my next try today before finding your post (identical issue on 09 Dakota 4.7L). I have just enough sensor left to grip onto still… Not sure if it will help since I could get the sensor to spin, but not come out…

    Also, after you finally got the bastard out, is there any advice you have before inserting the new one? Should it be greased or should the area be cleaned up with some sand paper (or similar)? Did you have any problems inserting the new one?


    • Jeff,
      I haven’t tried using a torch. The hardest part of this ordeal was the rust in the bore that I had to pull the sensor past. If you can get it to spin freely already, I don’t think penetrating lubricant is going to do you any good.
      I had no trouble putting the new sensor in. I did use some emery cloth to clean the rust out of the bore before putting the new one in. Light grease or oil on the new sensor body should be all you need.
      I had one reader suggest that he was going to put silicone sealant in behind the new sensor to prevent rust from forming behind it again. I haven’t had the opportunity to test that yet, but it sounded like a good idea. If you’re going to try it, make sure not to put it on the sensor before installing it – only use it to protect the back of the sensor after it is installed. If silicone were to get in between the sensor and the bore, you’d never get that sucker out again without drilling or dropping the oil pan!
      Good luck to you! Please let us know how it turned out.

      • Well, the penetrating oil and torch did not help. At this point I have barely anything left to grip on (two pieces of wire extending from the sensor), I can’t even fit my dremmel into the working space to drill into the sensor or grind around the housing to free it… I think I am going to just drop the oil pan.

        Are you 100% certain that with the oil pan off there is clear access to the back of the sensor? To the point where I’ll successfully be able to smack it with a hammer and free it?


        • I can’t be 100% certain of anything except that you absolutely will not have room to smack it with a hammer from the inside! If anything, you might be able to wedge a large flat-head screwdriver in there and carefully start to push it out. Be very careful not to damage the reluctor ring on the crank, or you’ll be in for a worse repair than you are now.

          • Just to finish my story:
            I probably had 5 hours on the struggle bus with this POS sensor. Eventually I used your method, Dave, and actually drilled a screw into the sensor, had steel wire (coat hanger) fixed to the screw, then out and through a 2X4, aligned as straight as I could eye-ball it. I pried and pried and the wire snapped in tension.

            Eventually, I got so ungodly frustrated that I pushed the truck out into my drive way, threw $65 at a flat bed driver to tow it to a dealer a mile away, and paid them to remove it.

            I talked to the mechanic there and he also said what a pain in the ass it was (made me feel a little better). He had better tools than I and had to drill out all around the sensor to finally get it free.

            At some point the immense frustration and my time is no longer worth the labor savings.
            This is the most POS CSPS design I’ve ever seen in my life. THANKS CHRYSLER!
            If anyone takes anything away from this blog, I hope it is: If you have a 4.7L Chrysler engine and want to change your CSPS, TAKE IT TO THE DEALER! It is not worth the hassle to save <$100.

          • Wow, thanks Jeff for checking back in. I totally agree, and had I known what I was getting in to when I started, I’d have paid a mechanic to do it while I could still drive it there! However had I done that, I wouldn’t have had such a story to write.

  24. try light coating in the hole with Bostik Never-Seez Anti-seize and lubricating compound.I us a little on spark plug threads and exhaust bolts and works great.If you can not find it any parts house sell it when you buy spark plugs in a little packet.

  25. An posting on the Jeep Forums clued me in that changing the CPS often turns into a PITA job. Yes, FU to the Chrysler dimwit who designed this. I did the same job on my Saab 9-5 in 25 mins. Anyway, I didn’t need a new learning experience, so your article persuaded me to take it to my local mechanic….I gave him the sensor and $80 later the job is done.
    Best thing I ever spent on the Jeep!

  26. So I got a 2000 dodge Durango with the 4.7 L V8 (I also live in Minnesota so every thing on the block is rusty and its a demo truck so I really don’t care what happens to it) I have a bad crank sensor so I went on line and I read your comments on how to get it out because mine too broke flush with the block. so I took my Dremel and drilled a hole in the middle just like you said you did then I took a 2 inch long wood screw and screwed it in the middle of the crank sensor. I then took my vice grip and clamped it on the screw head with half-inch thick rope, tied it to the vice grip and brought it back to my 4 foot long Prybar and pride against my fender as hard as I could. Like I said I don’t care about the body and yes I do leave a lot of Dents in the fender. The rope ended up breaking so I moved on to a cable. I tied the cable to the vice grip and brought it out to a 6 foot long prybar that I have and ended up breaking the cable cramps so I took a chain put the chain on the vice grip and brought it out to my 6 foot long prybar and wrapped the chain around the prybar. Then I took a 4 foot long tube and put it on the end of my prybar for more leverage. I ended up bending the 4 foot long tube and the plastic sensor is still in the block. I have no clue what I’m going to do next but will probably end up drilling out

    • Holy shit! The only advice I could offer would be to make sure you’re pulling straight out away from the block. If you’re pulling at an angle, it might cause it to bind up instead of coming out. Maybe that or try some dynamite. There are few problems in this world that can’t be solved with the proper application of high explosives.
      Good luck to you!

  27. 3.7 v6 is a fun job. Love the knuckles buster design from. The tards at crusty crystler… got it out thru dropping pan. Gasket design is a Lotta extra sh/#÷×it that don’t need to be.
    Had to lift engine. About 6 inches off mounts.

  28. Very helpful site as I’m going through the same thing, 2001 Dakota 4.7, crank sensor near the back on the passenger side. Broke it all off down to the block so it’s time to drill the hole and try to get a screw in to pull by. Looking at your photos it looks like your screw didn’t go straight in the center of the remains of the sensor… did you actually screw into the metal part of the sensor or just into the plastic right alongside it? Also is the metal part of the sensor a solid ‘bullet’ of metal or just a hollow ‘can’ shape?

    • Glad my experience could help out a little. The screw was only in the plastic. I tried my best to get it centered, but with little space to work that was the best I could do. The metal part of the sensor is just at the very tip as far as I can tell.

      • Great – thanks. I went and got a couple 1/8″ drill bits to use with my dremel tool, hopefully I can get the sensor out. Got the splash liner out and the sensor has been doused with PB Blaster a couple of times too.

  29. Hi im having the same problem but it’s a vss sencor on the top of my transmission on a 6.0 F250 ford I already broke one screw in it & im on my second screw I was wondering if it would be a wise idea to drop the tranny & separate the transfer case & try to push it from the inside out.

    • I wish I had a good answer for you, but as luck would have it, I haven’t had to replace one of those yet. Depending on whether or not the housing the sensor is installed in is easily removable, would dictate the answer to that question. If it’s easy to pull the housing off, then I don’t see why not. If it’s embedded in the transmission case itself, then I think the best solution would be to have a professional mechanic deal with it.

  30. I’m going through this right now with a 2005 4.7L and I’m to the point of vice grips and it’s spinning freely in the bore hole but just not coming out when I pull. Getting a big eye screw tomorrow and drilling it in and trying whatever I can to pull it out. My luck, it’s probably the PCM and I busted my ass for nothing.

    • Do yourself an enormous favor. I just finished mine a little while ago. Get a sheet metal screw (the kind where the bottom side away from the screw driver is flat) about 1/8″ by 2 or 3 inches. Drill a hole in the sensor and thread the screw in til it’s good and snug. Now go to your local harbor freight and buy their cheap slide hammer kit, it’s about $22. I used that and the screw in the sensor and the blasted thing came out in less than a half a minute.

      The truck is running again at last – if the original sensor had a metal tip on it like the new one I don’t know that I got it out but I think it’s magnetic and I don’t expect it to get into any mischief inside the engine. The idea of taking the truck in and paying a mechanic a few hundred bucks to drop the pan and look for that thing, forget it!

      The best idea of all is take in to the dealer, pay them the one hour of labor Chrysler probably allows for this job (ha ha) and don’t even mess with it. This is one time you don’t save money by DIY’ing at least if you count the aggravation and frustration into the cost.

      • I love the slide hammer idea. I wish I had thought of it when I was in the middle of this mess. I have one even… just didn’t cross my mind to use it! Very good advice!

        • It absolutely worked like a charm. The couple of pounds of weight when you slide it gives one hell of a briefl little pull on the sensor, and out it comes.

          And so ends an odyssey when I started this job in, oh, April I guess, and with other vehicles to drive and other things to worry about, it’s just been sitting til this weekend. The slide hammer was the last trick in my hat and it worked.

  31. Hey Dave, Thanks for your story. I was considering the dremel drilling and the screw into the hole. but there was a place in my brain telling the wrench side of me that I might fail. But, your story shut down the negative side of my brain and I pulled the broken CSS from the block of the 2.2 ecotech with a wood screw and 2 pair of vice grips. thanks for the success story.

  32. Sure fire way to remove badly rusted in crank sensor on 4.7 dodge very quickly. Get out your dremmel tool and select the largest drill bit that will fit into the chuck(this will still be quite small). Remove new sensor from box and determine what length you can drill into the sensor before going beond the end of the magnet. Draw a line on the bit with permanent marker at this depth. Drill into the sensor against the side of the hole then slowly pull the bit around the edge of the hole. Usualy half way around will be enough. The sensor will just about fall out when you have gone far enough.(do not try to go too fast or the bit will break off in there) You can then clean the rust ridge out of the hole with a round stone on the dremmel. Remove the o ring when test fitting the new sensor but remember to reinstall and grease the o ring once you are satisfied with the fit( the sensor should be able to be inserted and removed easily ) and yes a small amount of plastic dust will fall into your engine but your oil filter will take care of that. Change the filter if it bothers you. This process can be acomplished in about 15min if done correctly.

    • Call me old fashioned, but I don’t condone any action that’s going to put foreign matter in the oil pan and then rely on the oil filter to take care of it. I would recommend a bit more caution when pulling this thing out. A bit more time spent removing it carefully can save a lot of time pulling an oil pan down to clean up the bits that didn’t make it out.

  33. I recently replaced the crank position sensor on my Dodge Dakota, which was every bit the PITA everyone else has fount it to be. A couple of weeks later the engine hiccuped a couple of times on came the engine light and it’s showing the same code again! Has anyone else replaced one of these sensors and had the new one conk out soon afterward?

    • It’s entirely possible that you got a bad sensor. From what I’ve read, that’s the #1 reason to spend a little extra and get an OEM part from a dealer. However, another possibility exists: It may not have been a problem with the Crank Position Sensor. I have heard of Cam Position Sensors causing Crank Position Sensor errors. The error happens when the two don’t agree with eachother, but it doesn’t guarantee that the Crank Position Sensor is the one at fault. I would try replacing the Cam Position Sensor next. When I did mine, it wasn’t nearly as much a pain in the ass. Well, it didn’t prompt me to write an article about it anyway! Good luck!

      • Now that you mention it -this time I am getting both a cam and crank position sensor error. I’ll try replacing the cam position sensor and cross my fingers since this time I’m getting both errors. Is that cam position sensor as much a PITA to do as the crank sensor?

        • Cam sensor is way easier. It’s on the side of the cylinder head right up front on the engine. Way less corrosion on that bugger too. It took me less than 15 minutes to change it out.

          • I put off changing the cam pos sensor just because I was so burned out from the hassle of the crank pos sensor. Today I finally decided to change the cam sensor… jacked up the truck, got the connector off the old sensor, took out the 10mm bolt, grabbed the sensor with my fingers, wiggled it and it came out with a small ‘pop’, literally within two seconds. What a difference from the crank sensor! Now to hope the problem is actually fixed.

  34. Thank you for posting your method of removal! My dad and I just fixed his 2001 Dodge Durango with the 4.7 V8. It has the “No Bus” issue, died on the road and wouldn’t start. Replacing the PCM didn’t help.

    The crank shaft position sensor broke off as we tried to remove it with vice grips and pliers. We drilled a small hole using a dremel, and threaded in a screw just like you did. My dad got a vice grip tight on the screw, and was able to wiggle the sensor out part of the way with his hand just enough to see the O ring, but it was too stuck to remove the rest of the way by hand. We used the prying end of a crow bar that has a similar end to the back of a claw hammer on the rear of the vice grip (where you adjust the side of the bite), and pried against the frame to finally remove the sensor.

    We cleaned the hole, installed the new sensor, and she runs great now!

    The weirdest thing is, the radio in the Durango had serious audio issues for weeks to where it was unlistenable, if not a few months before it finally died. After we replaced the PCM and crankshaft position sensor, it sounds fine now! Weird. Maybe it’s just a coincidence.

    Thanks again for all of the help. I hope my post and our slightly modified method helps anyone who runs into this issue. We agree this is horrible Chrysler engineering! We work on the big three US brands between what we all own, and I can say they all have their own problems.

    • You’re welcome! I’m very happy that my experience could help make it easier for you. Each of the big three definitely have their quirks, but Chrysler’s electrical and sensor quirks are some of the worst I’ve been up against.

  35. This was my 1st Chrysler and it is also my last. Christopher Columbus in 1492 could have engineered a better engine/crank sensor position

        • Same issues on 94 grand am gt…its the one in back of my block too…my question…am I supposed to get the magnet out also…leaving only a see thru hole for the new sensor..???

          • Yes, the magnet is the tip of the sensor. Once the sensor is out, you should be able to see the reluctor ring on the crank shaft.

          • I finally got the new sensor back in …checked everything I know of …Still won’t start ..??? Now what do I do ??

          • That’s pretty vague. I’m afraid I can’t be much help there except to suggest that perhaps the crank position sensor may not have been at fault to begin with.

          • Ok..let me go back …
            I just finished putting in a new crankshaft sensor earlier..i tightened it down pretty snug ..its seated good on the block ..made sure all fuses were good …checked all my plugs and things before I hit the key ….but did not run…i have always heard the prime for the gas not planning on a bad fuel pump…but I checked for spark after that by pulling one of the plugs..still no I checked the side of the coil pack ..its getting power ……What should mu next step be please..?

          • Ok I wasn’t being very clear may I say…after replacing new crankshaft sensor…i checked to make sure I didn’t leave anything unplugged or undone that I could see….not long after i find that im still not getting fire to the spark plugs …what should I do now please??

          • I am by no means a professional mechanic, so take my advice with a grain of salt. From what I understand, a modern, computer controlled engine waits until it has sensed a full revolution from both the crank position sensor and the cam position sensor before it will begin firing the ignition coils. The crank position sensor tells the computer where the rotating assembly is, but without the cam position sensor, it’s impossible to know if the cylinder is approaching top dead center at the end of the compression stroke or the exhaust stroke. I’ve also heard of instances where the ECU throws a code indicating that the crank position sensor is bad, when in fact the cam position sensor is actually the faulty part. If you haven’t already, you might try replacing the cam position sensor.
            You might also try clearing the ECU codes and try starting the engine. If it’s not getting any input from either sensor, it should throw a new code. Good luck!

          • Ok…thank you….how do I clear the Ecu codes on this 94 pontiac grand am …please

          • The two easiest way to clear the codes on most any vehicle are: 1) disconnect the battery cables and let it sit for a while, or 2) get an OBDCII code reader that can clear the codes through the diagnostic port.

          • Could it be a faulty crankshaft position sensor..just baught it brand new from auto zone ??

  36. How about this I got the “sensor” out, rather the guts of the sensor. I have a 2004 Chrysler Town and Country 3.8L v6. I pried the sensor after driving in a screw but only the guts came out. The housing is still stuck in the bellhousing, it also appears that the housing to the sensor is straight aluminum. Whereas the one I got from autozone is plastic with only a bit of aluminum at the end for the magnet reading. Any idea on getting the housing out? Gonna try an easy out and more PB blaster I soaked it last night but still wouldn’t budge with me pulling on it this morning. Think I might need a torch?


    • Alan, the EZ-Out and penetrating lubricant are the only things I can think to recommend. Sounds like you’re on the right track. I would hold off on the torch just yet. Unfortunately, aluminum expands more than cast iron when heated. When heated, it will likely expand more than the block will, and only jam itself in tighter. That, plus the fact that you’ll likely burn any oil that did manage to get between the sensor body and the block.

  37. Well I getting ready to start getting my crankshaft sensor out. Was going to change it and when I to the bolt out half of the sensor fell out. So I was looking for information on how to get it out. Thanks for the ideas. But I think I’ll try drilling the plastic around the magnet be for I start pulling . I’ll let you know how it goes.

  38. so i have the same problem except when i pulled on the screw the guts and only the guts came out . i was left with the plastic outside shell left in the fucking hole. well needless to say in still trying to get that shit out. what the fuck is wrong with those engineers. i have to say (except for JEEP) chrysler can kiss my black ass.

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