The P0017 OBD2 code triggers when your crankshaft and camshaft aren’t aligned the way they should be. This is often an engine timing issue, which can be caused by everything from a loose wire to a faulty powertrain control module.
Identifying the source of a P0017 trouble code can take some time. Read on below to learn how to diagnose and fix timing issues in your engine.
Table of Contents
P0017 Code Definition (Generic)
Crankshaft Position – Camshaft Position Correlation (Bank 1 Sensor B)
What Does P0017 Mean?
There is a relationship between the movement of the camshaft and the crankshaft that will move smoothly together when the engine is running correctly. In turn, these movements ensure that fuel is injected and spark plugs fire at the right time.
There is a position sensor on each crankshaft and the camshaft. They both operate using the same basic principles. A redactor or tone ring is passed over a magnet, generating a voltage. Measuring this voltage tells the powertrain control module (PCM) where the camshaft or crankshaft is in its rotation.
When the crankshaft and camshaft position varies by more than 10 degrees, the P0017 trouble code will trigger. The key to fixing the P0017 trouble code is determining which of the components involved is the root of the problem.
The P0017 code relates specifically to the exhaust camshaft on bank 1. This problem will happen on the cylinder on one side of the engine and the cylinders’ exhaust side. You can use your vehicle’s manual to help guide you there if you’re having trouble finding it.
While this is a generic powertrain code, the fix can differ depending on your vehicle make and model. Cars made by GM, in particular, are known to have a service bulletin for this issue. Other manufacturers may, as well, so make sure you check for that before beginning your diagnosis.
What Are The Symptoms Of The P0017 Code?
The P0017 trouble code symptoms can vary depending on your vehicle and the source of the issue. Common symptoms include:
- Activation of the check engine light
- Reduced engine performance
- Failure to start
- Rattling from the engine
- Rough or erratic running, especially when accelerating
- Reduced fuel efficiency
What Are The Causes Of P0017?
- Stretched or skipped timing chain
- The timing chain is misaligned
- Faulty or damaged timing chain
- Slipped or broken tone ring
- Faulty or damaged wiring on the camshaft or crankshaft sensor
- Faulty or damaged camshaft or crankshaft sensor
- Engine timing issues
- Clogged oil passages
- Oil is of incorrect viscosity
- Crankshaft balancer improperly torqued
- Stuck CMP actuator
- Faulty PCM (rare)
How Serious Is The P0017 Code?
The P0017 trouble code is of moderate severity. Issues with your engine timing can lead to misfires and other erratic engine behavior. Over time, this can damage your engine. While you can drive for a short while with a P0017 code active, you should repair your vehicle as soon as possible.
How To Diagnose And Fix The P0017
If your vehicle is still under warranty, it’s advisable to take it to the dealer for repairs before attempting any DIY diagnosis.
Tools you’ll need:
- Scan your vehicle for other codes using the OBD2 scan tool. In certain vehicles, P0017 often appears in conjunction with P0008, P0009, P0016, P0018, or P0019. If these other codes are present, they can help you identify where the problem is happening in your engine.
- Visually inspect the wiring around the camshaft and crankshaft sensor. Replace any wires that are damaged or corroded, and make sure all connections are secure.
- Read the freeze frame data to see the conditions under which the code was set. Clear the codes, then test drive your vehicle.
- Use an oscilloscope to read the camshaft and crankshaft patterns. If there is no pattern, the problem is likely the tone ring.
- Inspect the alignment and condition of the tone rings. You’ll need to remove the harmonic balancer and the cam gear to do this. Replace them if they’re damaged, and make sure they’re in the correct place.
- Use an OBD2 scan tool to turn the oil control valve on and off manually. Check the readings from the camshaft sensor while you do this. If it doesn’t change, the sensor is not recording changes in the valve. Verify the problem isn’t with the wiring, then replace the sensor.
- Check the timing chain. If it’s out of alignment, inspect the tensioners. A damaged tensioner is often the cause of a misaligned timing chain. Replace the chain if it’s stretched or damaged. Otherwise, ensure it’s properly aligned, then test drive your vehicle. Recheck its position once the engine has cooled to verify it’s staying in place.
- Inspect your oil, verifying it’s the correct viscosity and quality for your engine. If it’s incorrect, replace the oil filter, flush your system, and then put in new oil.
- Test the camshaft sensor and crankshaft sensor using a digital multimeter. You can verify their correct readings by using your vehicle’s manual. Readings of infinite or null voltage indicate an open or short. Replace the sensor as necessary.
- If the code still doesn’t clear, take your vehicle to a professional for further diagnosis. A faulty PCM, though rare, can be the cause of the P0017 trouble code. Your mechanic will be able to tell you if this is the case.
Common Mistakes To Avoid While Diagnosing The P0017 Code
It is rare for a failed PCM to be the cause of the P0017 trouble code. If you suspect an electrical problem, make sure you thoroughly examine and test all the wiring in your engine. You should also carefully test the camshaft and crankshaft sensor. These are far more likely to be the root of the issue than a bigger electrical problem.
Tips To Avoid P0017 In The Future
One simple thing you can do to prevent the P0017 trouble code is to make sure you always use the right oil for your engine. The oil that’s too thick can clog valves and passages, leading to engine problems.