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P0017 Code – What Does It Mean & How To Fix It

This is one of the most frequent OBD2 trouble codes. Read the full article below to know what it means, how to fix it, and what other codes may show related to it.

Definition

The definition of a P0017 generic DTC trouble code is the Crankshaft Position - Camshaft Position Correlation (Bank 1, Sensor B).

MEANING

A P0017 trouble code is a generic powertrain code, meaning that this code applies to the OBD-II that is equipped in certain vehicles. These vehicles include, but are not limited to:

  • Ford.
  • Dodge.
  • Toyota.
  • VW.
  • Honda.
  • Chevrolet.
  • Hyundai.
  • Audi.
  • Acura

And other makes and models as well. The crankshaft position sensor (CKP) and camshaft position sensor (CMP) work together to control the spark-fuel timing and delivery. They both consist of a reluctor or tone ring that passes over a magnetic sensor. This is what generates voltage, indicating position.

Causes

There are several common causes that will trigger a P0017 trouble code, which can include:

  • That there is incorrect oil viscosity or the wrong engine oil filter.
  • That your engine oil is contaminated or aerated.
  • That you are experiencing mechanical oil system failure.
  • That the camshaft and crankshaft position sensor signals are erratic.
  • The belt or distribution chain is worn-out.
  • The timing belt is misaligned.
  • The crankshaft or camshaft tone ring is defective.
  • There is bad wiring to the camshaft or crankshaft position sensor.
  • There is a shorted CMP sensor controller solenoid.

Any one or combination of these issues can lead to a P0017 trouble code.

Symptoms

There are a few common symptoms that a mechanic should be looking for when examining this trouble code:

  • The Engine malfunction indicator light is on.
  • That the engine is experiencing a reduction in performance.
  • That the engine has trouble starting or fails to start.
  • That the vehicle is experiencing reduced fuel mileage.
  • That the engine is running erratically or that it feels rough when accelerating.

Diagnosis

An experienced mechanic should run through a set of methodical steps when diagnosing this trouble code.

  • Run a visual check for issues with wiring or connecting of the OCV, crankshaft and camshaft sensors.
  • Verify the engine oil is clean, full, and the correct viscosity.
  • Scan and document the engine codes.
  • View and freeze-frame the data to see when each of the codes was set.
  • Reset the check engine light, and road test the vehicle again to see if the code returns.
  • Command the OCV on and off to see if the camshaft sensor indicates timing changes for the bank 1 exhaust camshaft.
  • Perform manufacturer’s tests for a P0017 trouble code to verify the root cause of the code.

Common mistakes

There are several common mistakes that mechanics should be aware of when working to properly diagnose a P0017 trouble code. The first is that they will not verify whether the failure and codes are active, during the diagnosis of the problem.

Another issue that mechanics will commonly make is not visually checking to see if the connections and wiring are damaged or not. They need to be sure that they follow all the pinpoint test steps in the correct order. Missing a step or following these steps in the wrong order can lead to an inaccurate diagnosis. Lastly, a mechanic should not repair or replace components that are not visibly damaged, or fail the pinpoint check.

How serious is this?

If this problem is not addressed, this can lead to carbon build up in the engine, leading to damaged spark plugs. This can also cause the engine to misfire. Timing chains can have guides that allow the timing chain to jump the gear teeth.

This can cause valves and pistons to hit together, leading to major engine damage. If you drive the vehicle for a prolonged period of time when it is having camshaft problems, it can start to cause other drive symptoms like no starts, misfires, and stalling.

What repairs can fix the code?

First, visually inspect the cam and crank sensors and their harnesses for damage. If you notice broken or frayed wires, you need to make sure to repair and recheck them.

If you have access to a scope, check the cam and crank patterns. If a pattern is missing, you can suspect you have a bad sensor or a slipping tone ring. Remove the cam gear and the crankshaft harmonic balancer and inspect the tone rings for proper alignment. Make sure they are not loose, damaged, and/or they haven't sheared the key that aligns them. If they are properly installed, you should go ahead and replace the sensor. If the signal appears normal, check the timing chain/belt for proper alignment. If the timing chain/belt is misaligned, check for a damaged tensioner. This may have allowed the chain/belt to slip a tooth or several teeth. Also, check that the belt/chain is not stretched. If it is, make sure that you repair and recheck it.

Related codes

None listed.

Conclusion

If a P0017 trouble code goes undiagnosed and untreated, it can lead to serious damage to a vehicle. Make sure that you use your OBD-II scanner to verify this code as soon as possible if you should experience any of the symptoms listed here.