There's a couple of pieces involved here; The shaft and the actual position sensor. If you take it to Ford, they will want to change out both parts, so that might tell you something. The position sensor in my case is what I needed to replace.
There is a tool named the "syncro positioning tool" that is used to help realign the shaft when it has been removed from the car. It is used to align flat spots on the shaft with specific points on the lower intake manifold. As you point out, you can take measurements & not use the tool.
It is hard to get the sensor out, but not technically difficult. When my camshaft position sensor went out, this was the code I got. Engine should be idling strangely and irregular. What happened in my case was that there's a magnet inside of the sensor that got loose & basically shredded up the inside of the sensor. I finally found that NAPA stocks this part --- $30-ish.
Very easy fix; undo the two small bolts that hold it in place, pull it off. MAKE SURE THAT IF IT IS THE MAGNET THAT CAME LOOSE THAT YOU GET IT OUT. I didn't do that & ruined the new sensor. I used compressed air from Office Depot to blow the crud out of the area, & tightened up the bolts. Took about 10 minutes total. Akward to get to the bolts, but it is doable.
It's located on the rear of the engine behind the intake manifold. It's hard to see with out moving the wiring harness around that sits under the cover for the throttle and cruise control cables. It's a small circular thing with a plug coming out one side of it. Probably 2 inches in diameter. 4mm-6mm bolts holding it in place.
Why didn't you replace the synchronizer? The mechanic who ran my code said they usually do both because if one is worn out the other can't be far from it and they both work together. He said from the code you can't tell which one is bad either.