Home OBD Scanners P0017 code – Causes, information & Fix

P0017 code – Causes, information & Fix

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 The error code P0017 indicates a problem in the camshaft position correlation in bank sector I. In this article, we are going to look at what causes this problem and how diagnose and fix the problem.

When you connect the OBD II scanner and read error code P0017, it means that the engine camshaft and crankshaft are not properly aligned. These two important engine components work to control the timing in the engine.

They work with a reluctor ring that has a magnetic sensor. The ring generates power current to show the position. The error code P0017 also indicates a problem associated with the camshaft sensor. The camshaft position sensor (CPS) is part of the huge fuel system in cars.

When the internal combustion engine is running, fuel and air have to mix for ignition and this is where the camshaft sensors come in. The engine requires perfect timing of the fuel and air mixture during ignition and the camshaft sensors are responsible for this timing.

Wrong timing means the vehicle is going to experience misfires. For this correct timing to be achieved, the sensors work hand in hand with the onboard computer to determine the right timing.

This means that if the sensor is faulty or missing, the onboard computer is useless since it has been receiving wrong signals. Wrong timing leads to problems such as loss of vehicle power and difficulty in starting the car. These cause the engine light on the dash to come on.

The camshaft position sensor also records the rotation rate of the camshaft and sends this information to the onboard computer.

Symptoms of error code P0017

The signs and symptoms of the P0017 error code varies depending on the extent of damage and the cause of the problem. The following are the most common symptoms of the P0017 error code

  • The engine warning light comes on
  • Difficulty in starting the car
  • Rough vibrations and car movements when accelerating
  • Reduced fuel efficiency due to the camshafts being in the wrong positions
  • Poor engine performance that causes poor acceleration
  • The engine rattles noisily

Causes of error code P0017

The crankshaft and camshaft work to control the timing in the engine. When they are out of position for any reason, the vehicle’s performance is heavily affected. It is a serious issue and should be fixed immediately for a better ride and to prevent further engine damage that may end up being very expensive.

The following are reasons why the crankshaft and camshaft may misalign.

Worn out distribution chain

The timing chain or distribution chain is a series of links in the chain. The chain is located just in front of the motor. It is connected to pulleys and gears that control the movement of the system’s mechanical components such as the crankshaft and camshaft.

For the engine to fire properly, the distribution chain must move smoothly around the gears. Since the chain is susceptible to wear and tear, it may break from time to time.

Damaged crankshaft sensor

It is a problem associated with the camshaft sensor. The camshaft position sensor (CPS) is part of the huge fuel system in cars. When the internal combustion engine is running, fuel and air have to mix for ignition and this is where the camshaft sensors come in.

The engine requires perfect timing of the fuel and air mixture during ignition and the camshaft sensors are responsible for this timing. Wrong timing means the vehicle is going to experience misfires.

For this correct timing to be achieved, the sensors work hand in hand with the onboard computer to determine the right timing. This means that if the sensor is faulty or missing, the onboard computer is useless since it has been receiving wrong signals.

Misaligned timing chain

If the distribution chain is out of its line due to impact when driving, you might get a P0017 error code. This is because the timing in the engine is affected which in turn affects the camshaft and crankshaft.

Engine timing problems

Camshaft timing regulates the pistons and valves by the help of a timing or distribution belt. If the timing is off for any reason, the engine can suffer damage. In some vehicle designs, this problem is worse as the engine valves and pistons are located in the same area.

This means if you have a timing issue, you could have to rebuild the engine and replace it. This will cause the camshaft and crankshaft to fall out position leading to a P0017 error code.

Blocked oil pathways

Engine oil is required for a lot functions in the engine including lubrication and heat regulation. When oil is not flowing the way it is supposed to, the camshaft and crankshaft can easily overheat and fall out of their lines. This will cause a P0017 error code on the OBD II scanner.

How to fix error code P0017

To diagnose and fix your car, you will need the following tools: an OBD II scanner, a digital multimeter and an oscilloscope. Using the following steps, you can be able to diagnose your car and fix it in your own home garage.

  1. Use the OBD II scanner to scan the vehicle for other error codes. For some vehicle makes, the P0017 error code may appear together with P0009, P0016, P0019 and P0008. This is because these error codes represent almost similar malfunctions, all in around the camshaft and crankshaft. If the P0017 error code is present, it helps you identify where the problem is: in the camshaft and crankshaft.
  2. After now knowing where the problem lies, visually inspect the camshaft and crankshaft and all their components especially the wires. If you find any loose, damaged or eroded wires, replace them immediately as they might be the cause of the problem. Tighten all connections before moving to the next step.
  3. Use the OBD II scanner to read the freeze frame data. This will reveal the conditions that caused the code. Clear the code then do a test drive
  4. Use the oscilloscope to read and observe the crankshaft and camshaft patterns. There should be a regular pattern. However if there isn’t, the problem is likely to be in the tone ring.
  5. Check the tone rings and inspect their alignment. Also visually inspect and look at their condition. For this step, you will need extra equipment which are: a cam gear and a harmonic balancer. If they are broken or damaged, replace them immediately
  6. Check the timing/distribution chain and if it is out of alignment, check the tensioners that hold it together. If the tensioner is damaged, it means the distribution chain is misaligned. Replace it if it is damaged and reposition it.
  7. Check the oil for its viscosity ensuring it is the correct oil for your engine. If the oil is bad, drain all of it and replace it with fresh oil.
  8. Test the crankshaft and camshaft using the digital multimeter. Compare the readings to the correct readings in the car manual. The readings should be similar to ensure the error code is gone.

Conclusion

The camshaft and crankshaft are important components of the engine. When they are misaligned, it could cause serious engine damage. This is why it is important to get it fixed once you have identified a symptom.

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Steven Reilly is a qualified mechanic and his passion for cars goes beyond just the technical aspects. He is also an amateur racer and all round car enthusiast. When he is not driving them, he can often be found in his garage under the hood of a rare model. Steven Reilly has lost track of the number of hours he has spent setting up his fine collection of rebuilt models. He believes that cars can provide a constructive and fun opportunity to teach the youth important life skills. In line with this, he is developing a community outreach program, potentially dubbed ‘Cars for change'.

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