BMW 550i xDrive Camshaft Position Sensor Replacement Cost

Know what price you should pay to get your vehicle fixed.

Camshaft Position Sensor Replacement
The average cost for a BMW 550i xDrive camshaft position sensor replacement is between $655 and $851. Labor costs are estimated between $132 and $167 while parts are priced between $523 and $684. Estimate does not include taxes and fees.
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Camshaft Position Sensor Replacement

What is a camshaft position sensor?

The camshaft position sensor is an electrical component that sits close to the engine's camshaft. In monitors the position of the camshaft as it rotates, and sends information about this rotation to the engine control module (ECM), the engine's computer. This information is used to control ignition timing fuel injection.

How does the camshaft position sensor work?

As the camshaft spins, the camshaft position sensor magnetically reads its position. The sensor continually sends this information to the engine's computer for comparison with data from the crankshaft position sensor.

When the two signals reach the computer, they must match. If they don't, the computer will believe that an engine timing problem is occurring, and adjust settings in order to protect the engine.

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What are the symptoms related to a bad camshaft position sensor?

When the computer senses the engine is out of time, the check engine light will be displayed, and the engine may start and stall, or fail to start. Some models may prevent the ignition from attempting to start the engine. If the engine runs, it will experience loss of power, poor fuel mileage, restricted performance for engine and transmission, hesitation before accelerating and intermittent stalling. Lastly, OBD trouble codes will be stored for the crankshaft and camshaft position.

More camshaft position sensor symptoms

Can I drive with a camshaft position sensor problem?

It's a bad idea to drive a vehicle with a failed camshaft or crankshaft position sensor — in fact, it's usually impossible. 

How are camshaft position sensor issues diagnosed?

When the vehicle is connected to a professional grade scanner, the position of the crankshaft and camshaft are read, and compared to actual engine position. If the reading is inconsistent for camshaft or crankshaft sensor, the sensor will be tested, and replaced if necessary.

How is a camshaft position sensor replaced?

When replacing the camshaft position sensor, make sure that there are no obvious oil or coolant leaks that could ruin the new sensor. Replacement of the camshaft position sensor is completed by disconnecting any electrical connector, and unscrewing the sensor. If required, sealant will be applied before re-inserting the new sensor into the engine. Finally the electrical connector is connected, and the vehicle is tested to confirm the repair.

There are two common locations for the camshaft position sensor. These are summaries of how to replace each type:

The sensor is located in the timing cover, close to the timing chain

  1. Disconnect the negative battery terminal
  2. Remove the electrical connector to the camshaft position sensor
  3. Remove the holding fastener and the sensor
  4. Clean the hole where the old sensor was located
  5. Install the new sensor in the same position
  6. Tighten the fastener and reconnect the electrical connector and negative battery terminal
  7. Clear any PCM codes and perform a Drive Cycle Test Drive to verify the repair

The sensor(s) is located on or near the valve cover(s) of the engine

  1. Disconnect the negative battery terminal
  2. Disconnect the electrical connector, loosen the fastener, and remove the old sensor
  3. On some engines, the valve cover and timing cover may have to be removed for access
  4. Clean the mounting area of the old sensor
  5. Install the new sensor, tighten the fastener, and connect the electrical connector
  6. Install the valve cover(s) and timing cover if removed
  7. Connect the negative battery terminal
  8. Clear any PCM codes and perform a Drive Cycle Test Drive to verify the repair

Note: After replacing the camshaft position sensor, the powertrain control module needs to have the camshaft adaption reset. This is so the PCM can recalibrate itself to the new camshaft position sensor.

RepairPal Recommendations for camshaft position sensor issues

OEM quality sensors should be used as lesser products will likely cause a repeated repair. Also, the vehicle's timing belt should be inspected if crankshaft position or camshaft position trouble codes are stored. If the timing belt or timing chain has failed, the engine should be immediately placed out of service.

What to look out for when dealing with camshaft position sensor issues

OBD trouble codes related to the crankshaft and camshaft do not imply faulty sensors, but imply a fault in the engine. This can be narrowed down to the sensors, but replacing the sensor without testing may lead to unnecessary costs.

Can I replace the camshaft position sensor myself?

Replacing a sensor is only a DIY capable project if the issue can be positively diagnosed at home. If the issue cannot be diagnosed at home, a technician should be trusted with the issue before changing parts leads to excessive repair bills without a solution.