How to Test the Crankshaft Position Sensor (1994-2004 3.0L V6 Mitsubishi Montero)

A failed crankshaft position sensor will cause your 3.0L Mitsubishi Montero to crank but not start. Fortunately, you can test the crank sensor with a simple multimeter to find out if it's good or bad.

In this tutorial, I'll show you just how in a simple step-by-step way.

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 3.0L Mitsubishi Tutorials.

Symptoms of a BAD Crank Sensor

When the crankshaft position sensor on your 3.0L Mitsubishi Montero fails, your engine won't start. Here are some more specific symptoms:

  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 Montero'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?

Testing the crankshaft position sensor on your Mitsubishi Montero doesn't require any expensive testing equipment or expensive tools. As mentioned at the beginning of the article, you don't need a scan tool.

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 (1994-2004 3.0L V6 Mitsubishi Montero)

The crankshaft position sensor on your Mitsubishi car is a three wire Hall Effect type sensor that can be easily tested with a multimeter. Below are the circuit descriptions that you'll need in the tests presented in this article:

  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 testing it is done without removing the timing belt or its components. This is due to the fact that the crank sensor's connector is located on top of the engine and in plain view (next to the ignition control module). In the photo below, the orange arrow points to the location of the crankshaft position sensor connectors (photo applies to: 3.0L 1997-2004 Montero Sport).

Location of the Crankshaft Position Sensor Connector (1994-2004 3.0L V6 Mitsubishi Montero)

Basic Operating Theory

The crankshaft position sensor is one of many key components your Montero's ignition system needs to start and keep the engine running. In a nutshell, this is how the crank sensor fits into the ignition system ‘scheme of things’:

  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 Montero's engine starts and stays running.

Let's turn the page and get testing.