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Old 11-25-2011, 07:41 PM   #41 (permalink)
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Just wanted to add here that I just pulled my synchro and sensor out of my '97 3.0L Vulcan this weekend. My synchro had been squeaking off an on (mostly off) for about two years (mostly in cold weather and I live in a warm weather state) and I had the CEL on with the CMP code. I'd seen this all before at 79.5k miles with this car (in 2002) and I now have just over 200,000 miles on the clock.

Anyway, as expected, the magnet had fallen out of the sensor and destroyed the rotating vane of the synchro below (same old story). But unlike the destruction of the first (factory original) synchro, this unit's vane got mangled in such a way that as you rotated the gear at the bottom, a piece of it would contact the inner body cavity of the synchro - creating the squeak noise. In other words, I could make it squeak just by rotating it by hand! The original synchro's vane was destroyed more completely and never squeaked. Both synchros had plenty of (magnet) dust inside that completely came out simply by banging the head of the synchro against a block of wood.

Also, as with the original synchro (which I still have and kept to compare to the one that just failed - both Motorcraft, by the way), there doesn't appear to be anything wrong with the shafts on these things. I don't feel any looseness, nor any roughness when turning which seems to support my theory that the squeaking is caused by the magnet destroying the vane below and the mangled vane either contacting the synchro's body on the inside OR the metallic severed vane portion bouncing around inside causing the squeaking.

So - could a damaged Motorcraft synchro seize up, stop your oil pump and kill your engine? I guess anything's possible, but I've gone two years with this and the part came out of the car with no indication that that was about to happen.

But I'm talking about an original Motorcraft part here. Who knows about the rebuilts and the Dormans??? Probably a smaller margin for error there ...
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Old 11-26-2011, 08:24 AM   #42 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colt Hero View Post
So - could a damaged Motorcraft synchro seize up, stop your oil pump and kill your engine? I guess anything's possible, but I've gone two years with this and the part came out of the car with no indication that that was about to happen.
There have been posts of pics where the shaft bound up and destroyed the cam gear, so it doesn't necessarily "stop your oil pump" as much as it can destroy the driver of your oil pump, which would likely, in turn, sieze your engine. The squeak isn't necessarily the magnet destroying the vane, though that may be the case on yours, I can show you my old motorcraft squeaker and you won't see any damage to the vane and the magnet was still in the sensor.

Last edited by nytaurusabuser; 11-26-2011 at 08:33 AM.
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Old 11-26-2011, 10:21 PM   #43 (permalink)
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Who knows? Maybe if I would've pulled my synchro as soon as it started squeaking, my vane and magnet might've still been intact, too! But all I can say is - at least on my unit, the mangled vane was the source of the squeaking (this time). Last time, I just got the code and pull the synchro and sensor to find both destroyed - but no squeak.

And I wonder how audible a bearing squeak would be (above the noise of the engine itself) since this part of the synchro is bolted down inside the engine cavity.

Also wonder whether these cases of the shaft binding up were due more to driving the car with low oil levels. Leave the oil in there too long and you lose a quart or more by the time you drop it out.
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Old 12-02-2011, 04:37 PM   #44 (permalink)
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You can get a squeak from the synchro shaft riding up vertically until it rubs the magnet. Mine did that only during hard shifting. It sounded like a slipping belt except it came from the driver's side. (this is the second CPS failure on this car using Motorcraft parts) I see rub marks on the magnet and on the top of the shaft. It set P0340 when the housing spun 30*.

If you replace only the sensor thinking the magnet fell off, but the synchro portion is worn out, the synchro can hit the magnetic pole piece again and this part will break again. The magnet may have come lose because it touched the spinning shaft. If the magnet gets loose, it can jamb the shaft locked to the housing. Then the gear to shaft roll pin at the bottom will shear, leaving you without oil pressure. It could take out chunks of the cam too. I think it's a good idea to replace them as a set if you have a significant amount of miles on the synchro shaft when you get squeaking or P0340 code.
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:12 PM   #45 (permalink)
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I'd like to personally thank Earthsick for the detailed write-up in this post. I printed these directions off and had zero issues in replacing the Synchronizer and Sensor today. NO SQUEAKS and NO CEL's!

Thanks again!
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Old 03-14-2012, 08:19 AM   #46 (permalink)
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I'd like to post my 'How To' that I also posted on Amazon.

  1. Start by removing the throttle cable cover and disconnect both throttle cables and lay them back.
  2. Remove the small coolant hose attached to the t-stat.
  3. There will be a plastic cover surrounding a wiring harness laying on top of the cam synchronizer. Use a flat blade screwdriver to pry the two plastic half's apart. Removing the tape allows you to move the plastic guard/wires independently, which helps get them out of the way. I tied a knot around the wires/plastic guard and pulled the string back and tied it off on the windshield wiper.
  4. Disconnect the wire harness from the cam synchronize.
  5. Remove the cap from the cam synchronizer
  6. You will see a small tab sticking up. You want to rotate the motor so that the tab lines up with the opening on the top of the synchronizer. I did this by using a pry bar on the 4 water pump pulley bolts. You'll only be able to go one way.
  7. Once the tab is lined up with the notch, place the calibration tool on the synchronizer in the vehicle. Use a flat edge/ruler to draw a line on the intake manifold that lines up the arrow on the alignment tool.
  8. Remove the cap and remove the bolt/washer that is holding the synchronizer in.
  9. Drive a small flat blade screwdriver between the cam synchronizer and engine block and twist. Make sure you have removed the alignment cap because you will break it if when you pull out the synchronizer. The tab inside will rotate as it's pulling away from the cam. Remove the synchronizer from the vehicle.
  10. Place the cap back on the new synchronizer and set it in the approximate location, lining up the line you drew with the arrow on the cap while also being aware of sliding the tip of the synchronizer over the oil pump driving rod.
  11. Remove the cap, being careful not to twist the body of the synchronizer. Turn the tab slightly ahead of it's location. The tab will twist back into the proper position, lined up with the opening, as you finish setting the synchronizer into position. You may need to use a rubber mallet to make sure the unit is flush with the intake manifold.
  12. A properly inserted synchronizer unit will allow you to place the alignment tool cap back on the synchronizer in the vehicle and have the line you drew, line up with the cap's arrow. If the line does not exactly match up, you need to do it again.
  13. Promptly secure the synchronizer with the bolt/washer.
  14. Reconnect all wires and hoses.

Last edited by bigdogchris; 03-14-2012 at 08:23 AM.
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Old 11-25-2012, 09:40 PM   #47 (permalink)
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I hate to bump an old thread but i installed my new synchro today and the chirping did not go away, is just the sensor responsible? (new one on the way from rock auto right now)
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Old 07-27-2013, 09:22 PM   #48 (permalink)
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Sorry for the bump, but better than a new thread...

Replaced the cam synchronizer and sensor on our '97 Taurus today. 215K miles, the CEL popped on probably 3000 miles ago, didn't get to it too soon because at the time I didn't know the cam synchronizer had the important job of turning the oil pump.

Not too hard to do at all. I bought an alignment tool, which was a waste of money since it's easier to just mark the old piece's position and not worry about TDC.

I removed the air intake snorkel, the "snow shield" over the throttle cables, and the throttle cables and return spring. Also disconnected and moved the 1,2,3 spark plug wires. Removed the top of the wire bundle plastic housing, and held the wire bundle out of the way with a small bungee cord. I attempted to bend the bottom of the plastic housing but after 215K miles and 16 years, it was brittle and snapped. (When reassembling, the wire bundle and the top cover keep it in place well enough that I don't consider that a very big faux pas.) I didn't have to do anything with the coolant lines or temp sensors.

Removed the sensor from on top of the synchronizer shaft, and found the magnet gone, and the synchronizer's "blade" chewed to pieces.

Marked the position with a screwdriver on the block, and a Sharpie on a fastener on the block that lined up with the three grooves on the synchronizer, and did my best to discern where the edges of the destroyed blade were in relation to the grooves, to set the new one.

Removed the old one, and oiled up the new one. Set in down in the hole aligned in relation to the marks, and watched how far the blade moved as the gear engaged. Pulled it out, adjusted the blade position, and re-inserted it. It moved into alignment as the gear engaged, and I tapped it into place by using screw driver blade on the ridge that sits on the block, before tightening the hold down screw.

Put everything else back in place, and she fired up on the first turn of the key. Only put about 25 mile on the new sensor, but really haven't noticed anything except the absence of the CEL.

And that is what a cam synchronizer looks like after 215K miles.

Let me know if you have any questions. I found Spridget's and the other posts linked off of the topic finder a great help.
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Vulcan Cam Synchronizer/sensor Replacement-2013-07-27_16-03-18_509.jpg   Vulcan Cam Synchronizer/sensor Replacement-2013-07-27_16-02-58_407.jpg   Vulcan Cam Synchronizer/sensor Replacement-2013-07-27_17-11-38_168.jpg  
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Old 07-27-2013, 10:08 PM   #49 (permalink)
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Yup, yours did a pretty good job of destroying itself. Hopefully you don't have any issues with the alignment since it's difficult to see what position the vane should be in when it's all messed up like that. But if you have problems you still have the alignment tool so you can use that on it if necessary.
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Old 07-29-2013, 09:35 AM   #50 (permalink)
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I don't think I'll have any issues, but it did raise a question later when I was thinking about it... if you wanted to adjust the timing a bit later, isn't it technically possible to loosen the hold down bolt, and just turn the body of the synchronizer a small bit to move the magnetic pickup in relation to the "blade" on the center shaft? (Assuming you kept the photos you took, so you'd know which direction to turn it, etc. etc.)

If the car didn't have so many miles, and unfortunately so much rust (Cleveland, OH vehicle, rarely garaged, etc.) I would have sprung for the Motorcraft part, given this one was original at 214K+ miles before failure.
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