Cam position sensor/transmission problem? Help!

New Topics Forums General Discussion 2004 – 2009 Nissan Quest Cam position sensor/transmission problem? Help!

This topic contains 25 replies, has 20 voices, and was last updated by  kcire 2 years, 9 months ago.

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    2004 model, no problems until 3 weeks ago. Came to a stop at church and the van died. Difficult to restart, then when it did restart, the transmission shifted hard as I moved the selector from Park to Drive, then it felt like it was in limp mode in Drive. Low gear had plenty of pull, Reverse had plenty of pull but Drive just didn’t. Almost like it started in 2nd gear. Check Engine light and VDC Off lights came on. I drove it home, shut it off and restarted a few times. Difficult to start, hard shift while going through the gears with the selector and limited pull in Drive.

    Took it to mechanic, they could not replicate the problem. Finally the replaced the relay and the service lights went out. They said it had been fixed, $50 and I’m done. Got in the van, and right away it was difficult to start. Shifted hard as I put it in Reverse and again, no pull in Drive. Parked the van, they kept a few more days, nothing. I got the van back and drove it a few days, then it did it twice on me. I took it back, and finally after 3 weeks they tell me they experienced the problem, pulled the code and it is the Cam 1 position sensor. I figure I’ll go ahead and replace both Cam sensors. Found them at O’Reilly’s for $50 each. Anyone see any problem with aftermarket sensors instead of the $100 for one sensor from Nissan?

    Anyway, the mechanic thinks there is a transmission issue too because of the hard shift. He’s not a transmission mechanic so he’s not trying to gouge me for money. But I’ve never had an issue before now. And the only time it shifts hard through the selector and goes into “limp” mode is right after it dies and/or when it’s hard to start. Other times it is fine. Is there any chance that this problem is related to the Cam position sensor? I really hope it’s not a transmission problem, but does anyone have any suggestions? Sorry for the long post, but I want to make sure I capture everything! Thanks folks!



    I am having your exact problem and hoping to get an answer through you or the mechanic


    First off don’t mess around with small mechanics, you’ll just end up having more problems and wasting more money than would by taking it to the Nissan dealership. DO NOT USE AFTERMARKET SENSORS for the sake of your Quest. I did myself and ran into big problems. Go with OEM because the Quest was designed to run with OEM sensors, not no other brand. Engine computers now a days are very sensitive to using different sensors. So I would just watch out for that.

    I was thinking this could be a crank position sensor cause you said it has hard starts right? First change the Cam sensors with OEM Nissan ones. If it still does it, check out the Crank position sensor.

    BTW was your service engine soon light flashing? Let me know how it goes cause this sounds like it could be the rusted ECM issue, but then again I could be wrong.



    Service engine soon light was not flashing, it was just a constant illumination. Guess I missed reading anything about the rusted ECM issue. My Quest has 138,000 miles, but an aftermarket warrant. Hope it will be covered if it is an ECM issue!



    +1 re DON’T USE AFTERMARKET PARTS on Nissan.

    I burned my fingers long time ago and for a decade now sticking with OEM parts.



    Check your ECU for rust.



    Thanks, I’m starting to fear the ECM is the problem! Can you tell me (in layman’s terms) where the ECM is located? I now know it’s in a bad spot for rust! But specifically, where is it? Thanks again for all the comments!


    The ECM is located beneath the black crowl on the passenger side near the strut tower in the engine bay area. It’s right above the power steering fluid reservoir. You really can’t miss it cause it has two huge cables connected to it.

    The problem with the ECM rusting out is that it was put in such a poor place where the black plastic crowl is at. Water constantly drips into it. I coated mine with an anti rust coating when I had mine replaced at 77,000 miles.

    Oh yeah I forgot to ask you something. Was the van shaking a little and did it feel like it was loosing power and wanted to turn off? If it did that is definately the ECM problem!! If it is get it to the dealer right away.


    Here are some pictures of what my rusted ECM looked like last year:






    I had the same problem yesterday. It made a noise when switching gear, then it became very slow as starting on 2nd or 3rd shift. the VDC Off light came on as well as the Service Engine Soon. I thought it needed transmission fluid, so I stopped at the nearest auto parts store, bought 1 quarter but didn’t fix the problem. it’s model 2004, 61000 miles. I’m taking it to a Nissan dealer to get a diagnosis.
    What finally fixed your van’s problems? a sensor? I’d appreciate your feedback.



    I have a 2005 Quest 126000 miles and last week I experienced the same issues, van dying and my service engine, TCS off, and another transmission light came on. I checked the codes with a reader and it was just a generic Cam Sensor code so I replaced the #1 Cam sensor and still experienced the same problem so I went ahead and replaced the #2 Cam Sensor along with the Crank Sensor and it has solved my problems (Including the transmission lights) apparently the transmission lights are activated when the vehicle suddenly dies. The worst part about it all was I was 5 hours away from home on vacation so I did all of this work sitting in the parking lot of O’Reilly’s Auto Parts and it cost me total a big whopping 150 dollars and about 2 hours of work.



    They replaced the Cam position 1 and 2 sensors. Even though they got an error code for position 1, I went ahead and had them replace both of them since it seems many people experience continued failures after replacing just one sensor. I got the van back 3/23/10 and have driven it 90 miles per day, M-F in addition to weekend driving. NO PROBLEMS AT ALL!!!! I’m really glad it has not been an ECM problem yet. BTW, I saw that the ECM issue only affects certain 2004 VIN # cars. Any way for me to check mine, just to see if I may be in that category? Thanks to all for the help and advice!



    2004 Nissan Quest had a problem last week just out of the blue it had quit and was rough starting, and the service light and the VDC light came on,and once i did get it started and was taking off in drive gear was like the transmission was in safe mode it was in a high gear and it seem like the rpm didn’t go over 2000rpms and when u shifted it in to low or reverse gear it sounded like the transmission was going to fall out.

    Took it to O’reilly’s and plug it to the computer to read the code and it read cam sensor 1. So i bought a cam sensor which is located in front right next to the engine cover plate on the right hand side, and is really easy to exchange out.But what i didn’t know was there was a 2nd can sensor that had to be replace, witch is located on the same side as the 1st one but more toward the back of the engine under a few ac hoses,A little more difficult to replace but not to bad.From what i can tell the sensors have a green harness connection. once i replaced the 2nd cam senor it worked fine. The transmission worked fine and the VDC light went off but the service light stayed on, but that’s normal, i had to go to O’reilly’s and had them to hook it back up and erase the code.

    So over all it was 2 cam sensor that need to be replaced, and i didn’t have to change the crank sensor, at lease not yet!!!! witch from what my dealer said the crank was up front and down from the first cam sensor. Some where between the engine and transmission close to the radiator. but i guess i will face that later on. The sensor cost around $60 each, not bad compared to dealer that was $90 each.



    ok 2004 quest 3.5 se 5 speexd auto …
    car stalled in the middle of the rd ,limped it to autozone it coded bank 1 cam sensor so i bought both right ! problem solved
    not even close …..installed both sensors duralast brand drove van 10 miles stalled again so i surfed around the net and
    figured it might be the crank sensor and i saw the post about not using afteramrket parts so i bought a nissan oem crank sensor and installed di the same thing again engine stalls hard to restart go automatically into “limp” mode check the ecm for rust
    checked grounds all ok so please help any ideas ……..
    Im thinking take the aftermarket sensors out and buy nissan oem thas my last option unless anyone has a suggestion ?



    I had the same issue. 2004 Quest SE w/85000 miles. On Saturday I was with the family and after trying to start the car, the engine at first would not crank. Tried again and after a couple seconds the car cranks. I put the car in reverse and it felt like the gears were slipping like it was a transmission problem. AFter I backed out, I put the car in drive and it did the same thing. It felt like it was slipping, the car revving then jolting. I drove the car a little bit and could tell I did not have power like my transmission was broken. There was a slight hill that I was going up. In the middle of the hill there was a stop sign and after I stopped, the van would not go. Tried turning off the car and turning it back on but no dice. I had my wife and kids in the car so it was kind of scary in traffic. Luckily we were on the right hand side of the street so I called someone to pick them up and my friend who is a mechanic. He experienced the same problem but was able to put the car in low and drive it to a safe location when the check engine light now came on. I then brought the car to the dealer today and he said it was the Bank 1 Cam Sensor. I will pick it up later and hopefully that is the fix. If so I will be glad to pay the $300 he is charging me because I went in today thinking I was going to have to pay for a new transmission.

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