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Missing Camshaft Position Sensor

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Old 12-02-2011, 07:12 PM   #1
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Missing Camshaft Position Sensor

I recently bought a 1997 Toyota Tacoma with a 2.7L motor. The guy who sold it to me told me the CEL was because of an O2 sensor. I fixed the O2 sensor but was still throwing a code. Found out it was the Camshaft position sensor. I bought a sensor and took off my throttle body to replace it, and it turns out my motor doesn't have one.

There is a place on the cylinder head that sticks out where it is supposed to be mounted, but no holes and no sensor. I took it into a shop and had them look at it to try to puzzle it out. The mechanic told me that the engine had been replaced. The engine in it now originally had a distributor. But the distributor holes have been plugged and it has been wired for the distributor-less ignition system, but with no camshaft position sensor.

The CPU is getting all of its timing information from the crankshaft sensor, which is enough for it to run, but when pulling hills at high RPMs my truck starts misfiring really badly. Sometimes turning the ignition off and back on seems to fix the problem, other times it doesn't.

My question is, what are my options. As far as I've been able to figure out I have only a few, I would like to keep the repair as cheap as possible: I can remove the cylinder head and drill the holes to install the sensor, and hope that my camshaft has the teeth that the sensor needs to pick up its information. Or I can buy a new cylinder head complete with camshafts and install it. Does anybody know if all camshafts for this motor have those teeth? Were Tacoma's ever made with distributors or is it possible that I don't even have the 2.7L motor? Could a 22re or other motor still run on my CPU and be causing me all these problems? Sorry for the long post but I am at a dead end here and really need some advise.
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Old 12-02-2011, 07:20 PM   #2
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I don't have a solution to your problem but I can provide a workshop manual.

http://www.ncttora.com/fsm/1996/96_r...searchable.pdf
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Old 12-02-2011, 09:16 PM   #3
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Mostly just curious, but can you post some pics of your engine bay?
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Old 12-03-2011, 11:24 AM   #4
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I will try to get pics soon. Until then can anyone tell me how to find out what motor is actually in the truck? Is there an accessible ID# or something that will tell me? I think it must be a 2.7 because I can't imaging all my other equipment, intake manifold, water pump etc fitting another motor.
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Old 12-03-2011, 11:48 AM   #5
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Old 12-03-2011, 11:49 AM   #6
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Old 12-03-2011, 11:49 AM   #7
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Old 12-03-2011, 12:43 PM   #8
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Can you guys see the images? First time using photobucket and not sure if I did it right. I can see them so I assume everyone can.
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Old 12-03-2011, 12:52 PM   #9
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Old 12-04-2011, 03:36 PM   #10
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Did you look up the 97 Tacomas with distributors to check and see if their camshaft sensor is located in a different place? Maybe it is there, but hiding from sight. Also, check the 2.4s and see where there sensors are located.

There is no way that head is anything but a Tacoma head. They're too specific to assume another companies truck utilizes the same exact shape and bolt pattern.
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Old 12-04-2011, 03:42 PM   #11
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Also, if it looks too much like a hodgepodge, then its a safe bet to assume you're looking at either a 2.7 or 2.4 that was a distributor engine and converted over to ignition coils. The 97s were the last to utilize the classic distributor system. 97s also came out with the coil pack version too. It was a coil pack but fed off the cam like a distributor.
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Old 12-05-2011, 01:02 PM   #12
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I think it must be a 2.7 distributor engine converted into coil. I am pretty sure the sensor is supposed to be on the cylinder head beneath the fuel rail where I described in the images because when I had the throttle body off I found the wiring harness that fits the sensor. It is long enough to reach the spot described, but not long enough to reach anywhere else the sensor might be located.

Do you know if the cams on the distributor engine would be any different from those on the coil motor? If I take off the head and drill the holes I want to be sure that the sensor will be able to pick up its needed information from the cam. There should be some kind of teeth near the center of the cam for this purpose. Apart from removing the valve cover and looking at it I don't know how to tell if my plan will work.

Finally I have found some used cylinder heads online, but I was advised against purchasing a used head because tacoma heads are prone to cracking. Is there any truth to this?
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Old 12-05-2011, 02:37 PM   #13
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Judging from the factory service manual for both the distributor and coil motors, the intake camshafts look identical, as do the cylinder heads. The only difference is that the coil cylinder has a port for the sensor to be bolted into place, and on the distributor motor that port is not drilled out.

Would it be wise to try to drill and tap this port and try to install my sensor? I think it picks up its information from the camshaft gear, so the only variable would be if the sensor would be at the right depth to pick up the needed information. My sentiment right now is that as long as I am careful to avoid getting any metal shavings in the head I really have nothing to lose, because if the sensor does not work then I am right back where I started. Opinions?
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Old 12-06-2011, 05:45 AM   #14
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I'd tap that! If you know anyone with a 97, then I'd have theirs by your's just for research. I don't know if the all 2.7s utilize the same camshafts. I'll try to find something on that. I would assume they do. As far as tapping goes, you would need to be pretty spot on in location and especially depth for the sensor to actually work correctly.
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Old 12-06-2011, 06:14 AM   #15
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If in fact that is a 2.7 (your truck is a 4x4 ?)then i dont think you should even have a cam sensor.so that means that the ecm and wiring may be out of a 98 till when ever they went to coil on plug.
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Old 12-06-2011, 06:32 AM   #16
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Sorry I was wrong a 97 does have a cam sensor.97 was the first year for coils.so the motor could be a 95-96? I was a year off sorry.
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Old 12-06-2011, 06:58 AM   #17
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fix put the right motor in it that is all
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Old 01-10-2012, 08:01 PM   #18
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So I will be removing the cylinder head and drilling the holes for the sensor next weekend . . . Here is a picture of the cylinder head and the port that I will need to make in order to install my sensor. My cylinder is exactly the same except it does not have the holes on that little spur on the head. My new question is while I have the cylinder head off and access to the bare bones of the truck should I try to clean up the internals a little bit and how should I go about it?

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