How to Test the Crankshaft Position Sensor (1995-1998 2.4L Mitsubishi Galant)

The 1994-1998 2.4L Mitsubishi Galant comes equipped with an ignition distributor. This ignition system uses a camshaft position and crankshaft position sensor. This tutorial will help you diagnose the crankshaft position sensor that's located behind the crankshaft timing sprocket (the cam sensor is located in the distributor).

The crankshaft position sensor on your 1995-1998 2.4L Mitsubishi Galant is a pretty easy component to test without a scan tool. In this tutorial I'm gonna' show you how to test it (very accurately) with a multimeter.

Contents of this tutorial at a quick glance:

  1. Symptoms of a BAD Crank Sensor.
  2. What Tools Do I Need?
  3. Circuit Descriptions of the Crankshaft Position Sensor.
  4. Basic Operating Theory.
  5. TEST 1: Verifying the Crank Sensor Is Getting Power.
  6. TEST 2: Verifying the Crank Sensor Is Getting Ground.
  7. TEST 3: Verifying the Crank Sensor Is Creating a Crankshaft Position Signal.
  8. Where to Buy the Crank Sensor and Save.
  9. More 2.4L Mitsubishi Tutorials.

Symptoms of a BAD Crank Sensor

The most obvious symptom of a bad crankshaft position sensor on your 2.4L Mitsubishi Galant is that the engine will crank but not start.

Here are some more specifics:

  1. The vehicle will not start. The engine will turn over (crank) but won't start.
  2. Trouble code lighting up the check engine light (CEL) on your instrument cluster.
    1. P0335: Crankshaft Position (CKP) Sensor Circuit Malfunction.
  3. No fuel injector pulses (as checked with a Noid light).
  4. No spark at any of the spark plug wires (as checked with a spark tester).

Although your Galant's PCM is designed to register a crank sensor trouble code when the crank sensor fail, it rarely does. This is why it's a good idea to test the crank sensor with a multimeter to see if it's behind your ‘cranks but does not start’ condition.

What Tools Do I Need?

The cool thing about testing the crankshaft position sensor is that it can be very accurately tested with just a simple multimeter. That's right, no scan tool needed for the crank sensor test on your 2.4L Galant.

Here the specifics of what you'll need:

  1. A multimeter.
    1. Don't have a digital multimeter that can read Hertz frequency? Click here to see my recommendations: Buying a Digital Multimeter for Automotive Diagnostic Testing.
  2. A wire piercing probe.
    1. This tool is a handy tool to have. To see what it looks like, go to: Wire Piercing Probe.
  3. Hand tools to turn the crankshaft pulley by hand.

To get the most accurate test result, you'll need to turn the engine by hand and not with the starter motor.

Circuit Descriptions
of the Crankshaft Position Sensor

How to Test the Crankshaft Position Sensor (1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 2.4L V6 Mitsubishi Galant)

As you're already aware, the crankshaft position sensor on your Galant has 3 wires coming out of it. Each wire has a specific job to do. Here are the crank sensor circuit descriptions:

  1. Circuit labeled 1:
    1. Ground Circuit (provided by PCM).
  2. Circuit labeled 2:
    1. Crankshaft position signal (output to the PCM).
  3. Circuit labeled 3:
    1. Power circuit (12 Volts).

The crankshaft position (CKP) sensor is located behind the timing belt... but you don't have to remove the timing belt covers to test it. This is due to the fact that the crank sensor's connector is located on top of the engine and in plain view.

Basic Operating Theory

The crankshaft position sensor's job boils down to sending your Mitsubishi Galant's PCM voltage pulses. These pulses correspond to specific piston positions.

With this and the cam sensor position info, the PCM controls fuel injection, ignition timing, and of course the ignition coil's ability to create the spark your engine needs to start.

For our testing purposes, this is what happens (in a nutshell of course):

  1. As you turn the key and crank the engine. The crank sensor gets power and ground. With power and ground supplied, the engine rotation induces the crankshaft position sensor to start producing a crankshaft position signal.
  2. This crankshaft position signal is sent to the PCM, upon being received by the PCM along with other necessary sensor information... starts to do its little song and dance and sends back a Triggering Signal to the ignition power transistor (ignition control module).
  3. This Triggering Signal contains the instructions for the ignition power transistor (ignition control module) to start firing the ignition coils in the correct firing order.
  4. Each ignition coil then fires spark to two different cylinders at the exact same time (in what's known as the Waste Spark method).
    1. One cylinder is fed spark directly by the ignition coil.
    2. The other cylinder is fed spark thru' a spark plug wire (High Tension Wire).
  5. With fuel being injected, your Galant's engine starts and stays running.

Let's turn the page and get testing.