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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

My name is Niall and I'm based in Tucson, Arizona.

I recently bought a second hand, automatic 2005 V6 4.0 Litre. It has a little over 150,000 miles on the clock, but is overall in reasonably good condition.

When I bought the car, it had a check engine light on. I was told by the seller that it just needed the Camshaft Position Sensor changed. I then verified this by using a diagnostic tool, which confirmed two sensor error codes, both related to the Camshaft specifically.

The car, from the moment I bought it right up to the present moment, generally runs fine, however it does occasionally misfire, hesitate when switching gears or when the accelerator is pressed, or die after a few seconds when starting from cold.

The only other issues it has are a broken Tachometer (linked to the camshaft issue, no doubt), and a broken engine temperature gauge, which is probably just the result of a faulty stepper motor in the dashboard cluster.

A number of days after I bought the car, I went out and purchased a replacement Camshaft Position Sensor, and fitted it. The first time I started the car after fitting the new sensor, it instantly started more cleanly than normal, and the Check Engine light did not light up. So I thought the issue was fixed. However, only 10 minutes later when I started the car again, the Check Engine light once again lit up, and has remained on ever since.

About a week later, I took the car to a reputable mechanic in Tucson who examined the issue in further detail. The mechanic confirmed that the sensor itself is fine, the wiring around it is fine, and both the alternator and battery are running correctly.

He then discovered that the single tooth on the Camshaft Reluctor Wheel/Ring (which is read by the Camshaft Position Sensor), was damaged, and a piece of it had broken off at some point, meaning the sensor is further away from the surface of the tooth than it should be. This, in turn, is what is causing the sensor to misread the position of the Cam, and therefore the car to perform worse than it should.

The mechanic suspected that when the previous owner replaced the Head Gasket, the Reluctor Wheel/Ring was dropped in some way, causing part of the tooth to break off. Even with this damage, the camshaft was placed back in the engine.

I was quoted a price of well over $4000 to have the Camshaft replaced, as the labor costs are extremely expensive because the whole engine would have to be taken out of the car in order to do this. This is because the timing chains on this model of Mustang (for some ridiculous reason) are at the back of the engine and therefore very inaccessible.

Considering the price I paid for the car, as well as it's age, it simply doesn't make financial sense to replace the entire camshaft or timing chains at this point. The only two repair options I am currently considering are as follows:

1. Welding an extra piece of metal to the existing damaged tooth, and then filing this down until it's of the correct length for the sensor to read it properly again.
OR:
2. Filing down the plastic housing around the sensor bolt, so the magnet effectively sits closer to the broken tooth, which could potentially resolve the issue too.

Has anybody in this forum ever heard of anything remotely like this issue before?

Do you have any thoughts on my proposed repairs above, or any other different suggestions for a fix?

Apologies for the long message, but I just want anyone who reads this to have the full story.

Many thanks,

Niall
 

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Just get a replacement engine and swap it. The 4.0 is pretty cheap ($750 to $1200 -- one on ebay for example: 06 07 08 09 10 Ford Mustang 4 0L Engine Motor 96K | eBay) and the engine swap is easier and cheaper than trying to repair it.

I just checked car-part.com for Arizona and lots of engines are listed there from $775 to $1400 (should be able to pick one up though for around $1000)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi JimC,

Many thanks for replying so quickly.

While I appreciate the suggestion and the link, replacing the entire engine is not something I can consider right now, primarily because of the massive labor costs I would incur by doing so.

I'm also reluctant to buy and fit a second hand engine because, no matter how reputable the retailer is, you never know how well it will work until it's actually fitted. And that again, requires huge amounts of labor, particularly on this model of Mustang.

If you have any thoughts on my two existing potential fixes, or any different suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

Thanks again Jim,

Niall
 

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It will be cheaper to replace the engine than it is going to cost to pull the engine to replace the one tooth. $4000 is an awful lot to pay for something that you can replace for about $2,000 including the replacement engine and labor.

But your $$ and your car.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Jim,

To perform the two suggested repairs that I mentioned in my original post, there is no question of pulling the engine, all that's needed is to remove the coverings that sit above the camshaft itself in order to get more access to it and the reluctor wheel.

Also, I'm not suggesting replacing the tooth at all, as part of it still intact. I'm only talking about either welding an additional piece of metal on to the existing stub, or leaving that alone completely and just trying to shave some of the plastic off the sensor frame in order to bring the magnet closer to the existing tooth stub.

Carrying out the above involves no expensive parts, and considerably less labor than fitting a new (second-hand) engine, as you're suggesting.

Considering the age of the car, the amount I spent on it, and it's potential resale value, spending anything more than $500 to fix this issue now simply doesn't make financial sense.

That's why I created this thread - to see if anyone had encountered this issue before and come up with a simpler and less expensive solution than replacing the entire engine.

Thanks anyway,

Niall
 

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I wouldn't weld the teeth on the gear. That sounds like you could easily mess up more parts.

Replace the gear. That's your best option if you want to keep the car. Keep in mind, the labor costs go up a lot because they have to pull the engine to get to the rear camshaft. Try shopping around to other repair shops. Labor rates can vary. It's going to be pretty large no matter what.
 
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