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Understanding the Function and Importance of Crankshaft Position Sensors (CKP)
Unraveling the Engine's Essential Component: Exploring the Working Principles of CKP Sensors
If you're a petrolhead, grasping the fundamentals of a Crankshaft Position Sensor (CKP) can elevate your automotive knowledge. In this article, we delve into the intricate workings of CKP sensors, shedding light on their significance as a cornerstone of engine functionality. We'll illustrate these concepts using the Ford RQB engine (4 cylinders/1.8-liter injection/96 kW), as mounted in our vehicles, providing a comprehensive guide applicable to most combustion engines.
What is a Crankshaft Position Sensor (CKP)?
A CKP sensor is a magnetic marvel, generating voltage by interacting with a toothed wheel attached to the crankshaft. These teeth, strategically placed, provide crucial information to the Engine Control Module (ECM) about piston positions throughout the engine cycle. Whether in your Lotus Seven VM77 or a restored Mini SPI, CKP sensors play a uniform role in combustion engines, ensuring optimal performance.
CKP's Role in Ignition and Injection Systems
The CKP sensor's primary role encompasses two pivotal systems:
The Intricacies of the Target Wheel and Signal Generation
Within the target wheel, typically featuring around 58 teeth (varies by manufacturer), certain teeth are "missing." These voids, along with the remaining teeth, serve as reference points. When these gaps align with the CKP sensor, a voltage shift occurs, triggering a signal change sent to the ECM. Conversely, alignment with intact teeth results in a voltage rise, further modulating the signal.
Diverse CKP Sensor Types
Two prominent CKP sensor types exist:
Identifying Faulty CKP Sensors
A failing CKP sensor can lead to a range of issues, the most notable being an engine that cranks but won't start. However, this symptom is not exclusive to CKP issues. One distinctive sign is a non-functioning fuel pump, as the ECM, without a CKP signal, withholds power or ground from the pump. While exceptions exist, this symptom commonly points to a problem in inductive CKP sensors.
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