Camshaft Sensor Distributor Gear

Jan 24, 2013
Upstate NY
I have a 2002 Ford Taurus With a Vulcan 3.0 V6 OHV Motor

On this OHV engine, the camshaft position sensor is on top of a gear driven distributor. Crankshaft sensor is on the, surprise, crank.

If the gear of the distributor is worn enough to make its alignment with the gear it mates to off, by say a mm or so, this will have changed the position of TDC on the sensor and TDC of the camshaft, correct?

The computer will then be sensing TDC of the camshaft how ever much the slop there is in the mating of the gears, correct?

What happens if the sensor position is off by 1mm, of the true TDC of the camshaft?

Will I experience decreased performance? Or is it trivial a measurement that has very little effect on the engine's operation?

How does the computer use the camshafts position, what outputs will be affected, does it change the timing of the injectors operation?

Does the location of the camshaft sensor affect the spark timing?

Does the computer use both positions to control, or rather manipulate, both the injector output and spark timing?

Can a misaligned camshaft position ever cause damage to the engine, bent valve or something?

My car has been lacking power, and has been running like crap since this chirping noise started, I don't know if I'm imagining that though, can't remember.
Do you think that this distributor misalignment of the cams TDC cause driveability issues such as lack / losing power, idling rough...

So the Motorcraft distributor shaft assembly can wear and start chirping and making annoying sound, that sounds just like pulley issues, just like a failing pulley or a water pump.

When people buy the new sensor / distributor assembly there are quite varied in price. Dorman apparently made an assembly that was priced in the middle and it and when people purchased it, they did not notice that the distributor gear was made of aluminum. Not very long after installation, maybe six months, the noise started occurring again, if the were lucky to hear something. The cheap *** aluminum gears teeth were worn down to 45* degree angles, instead of two 90* angles. Dorman did replace their sensors, but the **** gear wore again. In the garbage.

I did order one with a steel gear, and I'll be installing it our next warm day here in the Northeast.

Thanks for any information!! I'll take take a picture if the gear comes out worn, it shouldn't though, I believe its the original motorcraft with the steel gears.
Dec 19, 2013
Fort Worth, Texas
The main job of the cam sensor is to tell the ECM when #1 cylinder is on it's Intake/Power stroke, From there it can figure out what to do from the crank sensor.

There are many a Vulcan running around with a mangled CMP Sensors, Never seen mechanical engine damage from it.
Sep 27, 2015
Yes that sensor is just to resolve the uncertainty of which group of cylinders will fire on this revolution of the crank. A complete cycle of a 4 cycle engine is two revolutions of the crank or one revolution of the cam. The crank sensor accurately determines the TDC of each cylinder to fire the spark. The spark will go to the proper cylinder as long as the distributor is roughly in time. The cam sensor is used to roughly synchronize the fuel injectors, otherwise the computer has to guess whether the cam is at zero or 180 degrees when the crank comes to TDC.