How To Test a Nissan Frontier Cam Sensor

How To Test a Nissan Frontier Cam Sensor


The Nissan Frontier Cam Sensor is responsible for informing your Nissan ECU of the specific camshaft position and speed of your 2.4 liter truck. This sensor is also known as the camshaft position sensor, and when it begins to go bad you’ll see a lot of issues with your 2.4 liter engine.

Because the Frontier Cam Sensor is located inside of your 2.4 liter KA24DE distributor, there’s a good chance that over time it will begin to fail. Due to the fact that this sensor is not a hall effect style magnetic type, you will not be able to measure the internal resistance. As such this How To DIY article will be focused on showing you how to test the Frontier Cam Sensor in the engine and on the car.

How To Test a Nissan Frontier Cam Sensor

Today I will be showing you how to test a Frontier Cam Sensor in a 2001 Nissan Frontier with a 2.4 liter engine in it. There are many different problems that can happen from a Frontier Cam Sensor that begins to go bad, let’s take a look at them below.

Symptoms of a bad Frontier Cam Sensor

Some of the more common issues can range from engine misfire to poor performance or sluggish acceleration. Because your Nissan ECU will not know exactly what position or speed the engine is at, it can lead to poor engine performance.

  • Bad fuel economy
  • Engine misfire
  • Slow to start
  • Truck will not start

When your Frontier Cam Sensor begins to go bad, you will see these symptoms. If left alone the camshaft position sensor will go completely bad, which will prevent your KA24DE engine from starting.

Testing your Frontier Cam Sensor for power

To begin testing your Nissan Frontier camshaft position sensor, you must first open your hood and locate your ignition distributor. This distributor is located on top of your engine and is connected by way of a six pin connector. You will be using an automotive multimeter to test for power at the distributor connector. If you are not sure what a voltmeter or multimeter is, check our handy guide here.

Turn your Nissan Frontier ignition key to the “ON” position to make sure that your sensors are receiving power. Then you can begin testing your sensor from your ignition distributor.

How To Test a Nissan Frontier Cam Sensor 2

To test for power in your Nissan Frontier Cam Sensor, you will be putting the black lead of the multimeter to the negative terminal of your battery. Now take the red probe and check PIN B which is labeled below.

How To Test a Nissan Frontier Cam Sensor 4

You should see a 12 volt DC signal at this wire, as this is how you camshaft position sensor gets power. Once you have a power signal at this wire, you can move on to testing the rest of your ignition distributor.

The next step to testing your Nissan Frontier Cam Sensor is to check for the two position signals that your ignition distributor sends out.

Testing your Frontier Cam Sensor for 1º Signal

There’s two position signals that your Frontier Cam Sensor will emit to your ECU. One is the 1º signal and the 180º signal. Testing for these two signals will let you know if the position sensor is working as it should.

To test for the 1 degree signal in your Frontier Cam Sensor, you will be testing for signal at wire C as shown above. This wire is the low point reference of your camshaft position sensor.

With the key turned to the “ON” position you can now manually turn the engine over. You are trying to turn the crankshaft a full six turns to complete a cycle. Within this complete cycle, you should see PIN C emit four pulses of 5 Volts of DC power.

Testing your Frontier Cam Sensor for 180º Signal

The next step after you have determined that your distributor is seeing the low point in your camshaft is to test the high point, which is the 180º signal. Repeat the testing procedure from above, manually turning over the engine to see the signal. The 180 degree signal is from PIN D.

Much like the previous test your Frontier cam sensor signal should emit a 5 volt signal, based on you turning the crankshaft over and rotating the engine. If you don’t see a signal wire from PIN C or PIN D, this means that the camshaft position sensor in your Nissan Frontier has gone bad.

Replace your ignition distributor with a OEMSPEC unit and restore the engine operation in your 2.4 liter Nissan engine. Have any questions about our How To DIY guide? Leave us a message below and let us know!