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How to Replace Crankshaft Position Sensor 01-07 Toyota Highlander L4 24L

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How to Replace Crankshaft Position Sensor 01-07 Toyota Highlander L4 24L

Created on: 2018-03-28

This video has steps to remove the serpentine belt, alternator, and wheel to access and replace the crankshaft position sensor

  1. step 1 :Removing the Serpentine Belt
    • Loosen the 10mm negative battery terminal
    • Familiarize yourself with the route of the serpentine belt
    • Insert a breaker bar and 19mm socket into the tensioner
    • Slowly turn the tensioner clockwise to loosen the belt
    • Pull the belt off the alternator
    • Slowly release the tensioner
  2. step 2 :Removing the Alternator
    • Unbolt the positive cable bolt from the alternator with a 10mm socket and ratchet
    • Remove the 10mm bolt from the alternator bracket
    • Unclip the bracket with a flat blade screwdriver
    • Disconnect the alternator connector
    • Pop the harness mounts out of the brackets
    • Remove the 14mm bolt from the alternator
    • Remove the 12mm bolt from the alternator
    • Maneuver the alternator from the bracket with a pry bar
    • Disconnect the crankshaft position sensor connector
    • Loosen the wire from its brackets
  3. step 3 :Removing the Front Passenger Side Wheel
    • Loosen the lug nuts with the vehicle on the ground
    • Raise and support the vehicle
    • Remove the lug nuts
    • Pry off the center cap with a flat blade screwdriver
    • Apply rust penetrant to the wheel studs
    • Thread two lug nuts lightly onto the studs
    • Strike the tire with a rubber mallet or dead blow hammer to loosen the wheel
    • Remove the two lug nuts
    • Pull the wheel off the studs
  4. step 4 :Removing the Crankshaft Position Sensor
    • Remove the fasteners from the belt shield
    • Pull off the belt shield
    • Remove the 10mm bolt from the sensor
    • Remove the sensor
  5. step 5 :Installing the Crankshaft Position Sensor
    • Place white grease around the o-ring
    • Maneuver the sensor into place on the engine
    • Tighten the 10mm bolt
    • Manuever the wire up into place
    • Connect the connector
  6. step 6 :Installing the Alternator
    • Insert the alternator into place
    • Tighten the 12mm bolt to the alternator
    • Tighten the 14mm bolt to the alternator
    • Torque the 14mm bolt to 38 foot-pounds
    • Pop the harness mounts into the brackets
    • Connect the alternator connector
    • Insert the positive cable into place
    • Tighten the 10mm bolt to the positive cable
    • Place the boot on the positive cable
    • Insert the bracket into place
    • Tighten the 10mm bolt to the bracket
    • Clip the bracket on
  7. step 7 :Reinstalling the Serpentine Belt
    • Loop the belt around the crank pulley
    • Bring it around the power steering pulley
    • Bring it around the water pump
    • Bring it around the A/C Pulley
    • Bring it around the crank shaft pulley
    • Bring it around the belt tensioner
    • Slowly pull the tensioner clockwise with a 19mm socket and breaker bar
    • Pull the belt over the alternator
    • Release the tensioner
  8. step 8 :Installing the Wheel
    • Lift the wheel onto the studs
    • Start the lug nuts by hand
    • Lower the vehicle to the ground
    • Torque the lug nuts to 76 foot-pounds in a crossing pattern
    • Clip the center cap onto the wheel

Tools needed for replacement

  • Ratchets & Related

    Socket Extensions


  • Sockets - Metric

    12mm Socket

    14mm Socket

    19mm Socket

    10mm Socket

  • Wrenches - Metric

    10mm Wrench

Installation Video
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Hi, I’m Mike from 1A Auto. We’ve been selling auto parts for over 30 years!

Open the hood. We have to pull the release inside the car. It's just inside, right around your left knee on the driver's side. We need to release the secondary or safety release. Just kind of feel around for it. This one is right here. Squeeze up. Use a 10 millimeter wrench to loosen this. So you remove the negative terminal. This one's a little loose, just from being rusty. If you needed to, you could use an adjustable wrench, because that would probably fit better, and do the same thing - loosen it. Once it's loose, you should be able to wiggle it. Come free, and then you can just push it aside.

Alternator is located here at the front of the engine, right on the top. You need to remove the belt from the pulley before you can remove the alternator from the engine. We use a serpentine belt tool to loosen the tensioner. It's not spring-loaded. It's got a shock on it. There's a 19 millimeter like welded on or it's a nut part, a hex drive, that's part of the tensioner, and when you pull down on this, you basically just have to slowly compress it. It's like a shock.

You can see, so you don't pull really fast and hard, because you'll break the tab off on the tensioner. You just sort of pull gently and slowly, and you'll feel it compress. The belt will get looser. See how the belt's getting loose? Then you can pull it off the pulley.

If you don't have access to a serpentine belt tool—take this out of here—you can use a breaker bar with a 19 millimeter socket. I'm using a 12-point to give me a little bit more range, or you can use a large ratchet, so you can have more movement. It's going to be a little bit trickier to get down here. So I'm going to feed the breaker bar with the socket down in there. You've got a bracket here, and there's this brake line that comes out. You just kind of have to be careful to not bend them too much.

You're going to do the same exact thing. Just reach in here and gently pull it, and it will compress. Going to push this out of the way a little bit. So you're pulling at the front of the engine. I'm going to carefully put a pipe over the end of this wrench, over the end of this breaker bar to give me some more leverage. Then just gently pull down and compress the tensioner. See the belt releasing? I think that's as far as it's going to go.

Reach down and walk it right off the pulley. Release the tensioner. Now you can remove the breaker bar from the tensioner and feed the belt off the rest of the pulleys. You need to unbolt the positive cable that goes to the alternator. It should be on a rubber cap. Just lift it up with your fingers. I'm just going to spray some rust penetrant on it. Looks a little corroded. Going to use a 10 millimeter socket extension and ratchet to remove it, and we'll lift it right up. Take the nut off.

This harness right here should be zip-tied to this metal bracket. The zip tie is broken, so it's loose. On our alternator, I can remove it with this bracket attached, because it's not attached to anything else.

However, if your harness is zip-tied to it still, you're going to need to remove this bracket before you take the alternator out. So just spray some rust penetrant on here. Bolt is going into the aluminum alternator, 10 millimeter bolt. That broke free pretty easily. I'll just unbolt it and pull it out of the way. Otherwise, it would stay zip-tied to this harness, but on ours, since it's already broken, I'm just going to take it out. You can actually see how it works here, if you wanted to unclip it. If you wanted to unclip this while it was still in the car. I'd spray some rust penetrant in here, because this bracket's kind of rusty. Take a flat-blade screwdriver, open up the tab, and then this should slide off. But, again, it's pretty rusty, and it might be stuck. Worst case, I'd just unbolt it and leave it. Not a big deal. You don't really need it.

We can put another zip tie around it from the outside. I'm not going to worry about it. The disconnect, the electrical connector, there's a lock on this side. Push in on the rubber boot. Pull straight off. So you're actually pushing in on this lock to open it up. Harness connects down to this bracket here. So by pushing up on the lock tab, I'm going to pop this harness mount out. This one's kind of worn out, and I think one of the tabs is broken. It's got a spring tab on one side and a spring tab on the other side. Yeah, it looks like it's broken. You could come in from this side and squeeze these two together with needle-nose pliers or try to do it with your fingers, and it should come out of this opening.

There's another harness mount that's right here on the metal bracket, so to unlock this, I'm going to use a flat-bladed screwdriver and kind of open up the tab and then pop this open. So I've actually pushed open the lock tab. I'm going to try to just walk it off the metal. So I didn't unlock it from here. I just unlocked it from the bottom and then walked it off the mount. So now all the wiring is loose from the alternator. You can start to unbolt it. There are two bolts holding on the alternator. There's one up here on top. It's got a 14 millimeter head on it. There's a smaller one down here, kind of underneath the pulley. It's hard to see.

I'll start with the one on the top. I'm using a 14 millimeter box wrench. You're going to loosen it up. I'm gonna switch to a ratcheting wrench. You could also use a 14 millimeter socket and a ratchet. Before I take this bolt out completely, I'm gonna go and loosen this bottom one now. So the bolt underneath is 12 millimeter, so I'm using a 12 millimeter box wrench. I just have to reach down, and you kind of do it blind. You just find it, kind of directly below the pulley. Loosen it up. Now that I've got it loose, I'm going to use a 12 millimeter ratcheting wrench to help get it out quicker. All right. Now we've got it loose. Just pull it right out with my fingers. It's a pretty long bolt. Starting to get this one loose. Start to turn my hand. Here it comes, this long bolt. All right.

Now we just have to work the alternator off of the bracket. So just kind of grab it, both sides, and just wiggle it back and forth. It should slide right off. I may need to pry it. I'm going to use a pry bar and just gently push against the block, against the alternator. Just kind of wiggle it back and forth. At the same time, here it is. Now I just have to take it out of the engine compartment. Careful of the harnesses.

Let's see here. A little tricky to push them out of the way. Kind of guide it up and out, and there's our old alternator. With the alternator removed, you can see where the crank position sensor wire comes up from the sensor. It's routed behind the water pump pulley, and it's hard to tell because it's really dirty, but there's a metal bracket that the wire is sitting in. It's routed up and to the connector. So reach underneath and find the lock. Sometimes you push these in first and then unlock them. There it is.

I'm going to take a small flat-bladed screwdriver and work this plastic piece up. That's the lock. I'm just going to break it off, because we're not reusing this. Feed it out of the metal channel that it's sitting in. It did have a plastic clip that was clipped to the side of the block. It popped right out. I'll go underneath and unbolt it from the side of the engine. I'm going to use the 21 millimeter deep socket and a breaker bar.

Loosen the lug nuts with the vehicle on the ground. This way, the wheel doesn't move on you. Raise and support the vehicle. Remove the lug nuts. Take the tire and wheel off. We're using a two post lift, but you can use a jack and a jack stand. Use the socket and remove the rest of the lug nuts. Let's see if this wheel comes free. It is a steel wheel. Of course, the rotor that it is touching is also steel, so there's a good possibility that these have rusted together. Yeah, it's on there pretty good. So I'm going to do is pop this center cap off, take a large flat-bladed screwdriver. There's a little slot right here. It'll pop right out. This is the hub. Obviously, these are the wheel studs. There's a lot of corrosion and rust in here. That's basically where it seized up.

I will take some rust penetrant. I'm going to spray it along the edge here. I'm going to spray some into these lug openings to try to get some, hopefully, between the wheel and the brake rotor. Take two lug nuts. You can use one. I like to use two. Just thread them on real lightly, because now, to get this free, I'm going to take a large mallet, a dead-blow mallet. I'm going to hit on the tire and try to pop this wheel free, and the lug nuts are on there so the wheel doesn't fall off. Sometimes it takes one hit. Sometimes it takes 10 hits. You've just got to hit it until it breaks free. Now I can take the wheel off.

Normally, there's a plastic shield here to protect the belts. Ours is missing. If you have it, there would be two screws here, possibly some clips underneath. You'd remove it. Take it out of the way. Then you're looking at your crank pulley, and the crank position sensor is right here, sticking to the side of the engine block. This one's real greasy and dirty. It has a 10 millimeter bolt that is holding it in place. I'm going to use a 10 millimeter box wrench to loosen it, and then I'll remove it from the engine block. That came loose pretty easily. It's a small bolt. I'll take it out and put this aside.

I'm going to reach in here and just try to wiggle it back and forth and work. Now I'm pushing it in and out, just trying to break it free to get it out of the engine block. It does have a small rubber O-ring on it so it doesn't leak. Sometimes you can spin them and then just try to work them out. I'll use a flat-bladed screwdriver to gently pry this out, just to help me out. You just have to get it past that O-ring, and then it should come right out.

Here's our original crank position sensor from our vehicle and our brand new one from Same exact style connector. Same style sensor. This'll bolt right in and work great. I'm going to put some white grease just around the O-ring, help it slide in place. We don't want the O-ring to tear. It'll cause leaks. The white grease will just dissolve in the engine oil. I'm going to put the new one back in place. Go through the opening. Push it in. Put the bolt back in. Get it started by hand. This has an aluminum engine block, so it's a steel bolt. You don't want to cross-thread it. It's also a very small bolt. It should go in easily by hand. Just tighten it up. You don't have to go too tight. I'm just using the box wrench. Once I feel it get tight, then I'll stop.

Reinstall the crank position sensor. That little clip right there is going to clip into the inside of the water pump. There's a little opening on the casting it snaps into. It keeps the wire from getting snagged in the pulleys. Then you'll run the wire up and put it back into place. Clip it back onto the metal tab. Plug it back in. It's keyed, so it only goes in one way. It will click when it goes back together. Take your alternator. Get it into position. Strap by lining up the top first. Slides in nicely. Take your top bolt. Reinstall it.

You may need to move the alternator around to line it up, and just thread it in by hand. I've got the top bolt threaded in pretty much all the way by hand. I don't want to tighten it yet, because I want to be able to move the alternator around. I'm going to take our lower bolt, and you just have to kind of feel around and line it up. Actually, it's going to go through the ear that's sticking out of the block and then into the alternator. The alternator's the part that's threaded.

I'm going to tighten up the lower bolt. It's a very small bolt. Torque is 15 foot-pounds, which can basically be hand-tight. So I'm just going to snug it up, and when I feel it stop and get tight, there, and I'll give it just a tad bit more. That should be good. I'm going to use a ratcheting wrench to snug the top bolt up. Since I can get a torque wrench on the top bolt, I'm going to use the 14 millimeter socket on here, and the torque is 38 foot-pounds.

I'm going to clip the harnesses back onto this bracket. So I'll take this one, and it should slide back onto the top, just like that. It'll click into place. Snap the bottom one back on. Got that one in. Plug the electrical connector back in. It's keyed. It will only go on one way. It'll click when it's in place. Now we need to attach the positive cable. So this got spun around. I'm going to push the cover down to remove the nut that's on here. This will sit right over it. Install the nut. Take a 10 millimeter socket and ratchet and just tighten it down. It's about seven foot-pounds.

You want to be careful not to break it, so once you feel it get tight, go a little bit more, and that should be good. Slide the rubber cover back over it. That has positive power when the car is running. You don't want that to ground out. That's why that cover is there. I'm going to take this broken zip tie out of here. I'm not going to worry about that. Your vehicle was equipped with this bracket, and it's still attached to the harness. Now you can bolt it back to the alternator. It doesn't have to be super tight. Once you feel it get tight, go a little bit more, and then stop.

Since our clip is broken, I'll use a cable tie and just attach this harness back down. Now I'll clip off the excess. Drive belt goes around the power steering pulley, up and over the alternator pulley, around the water pump, down around the AC compressor pulley, around the crank, and then up over the tensioner pulley. Got the belt lined up on the pulleys.

Put our bar back on here, and then gently compress the tensioner again. It feels like it's bottomed out, so I'll pull tight on the belt, slide it onto the alternator pulley. Pull the pipe off. Release the tensioner slowly to let the tension come back. It won't spring back, 'cause it's like a shock, comes out a little slower. Then the belt is on there perfectly.

Reinstall the wheel. Thread the lug nuts on by hand. They do have a cone seat. They'll line up the wheel. Tighten them down with the socket and seat them. Now I can lower the vehicle to the ground and torque the lug nuts. I'm gonna torque the lug nuts in a cross pattern to 76 foot-pounds. Now I can reinstall the center cap. It just clips into place. Reconnect the negative terminal. Tighten it down.

Thanks for watching. Visit us at for quality auto parts, fast and free shipping, and the best customer service in the industry.

Tools needed for replacement:

    Ratchets & Related

  • Socket Extensions
  • Ratchet

  • Sockets - Metric

  • 12mm Socket
  • 14mm Socket
  • 19mm Socket
  • 10mm Socket

  • Wrenches - Metric

  • 10mm Wrench

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