P0011 – Camshaft position (CMP), intake/left/front, bank 1 timing over -advanced/system performance (Nissan)

Reinier

By Reinier (Contact Me)
Last Updated 2018-07-03
Automobile Repair Shop Owner

Trouble CodeFault LocationProbable Cause
P0011 Camshaft position (CMP), intake/left/front, bank 1 timing over advanced/system performance Valve timing, engine mechanical fault, CMP actuator

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What Does Code P0011 Mean?

OBD II fault code P0011 is a generic code that is defined as “”A” Camshaft Position – Timing Over-Advanced or System Performance Bank 1”, and is set when the PCM (Powertrain Control Module) detects that the actual position of camshaft labelled “A” does not agree with the desired or target position. Note that the letter “A” typically refers to the intake camshaft on DOHC (double overhead camshaft) engines, and that “Bank 1” refers to the bank of cylinders that contains cylinder #1 on V-type engines.

While design specifics vary between manufacturers, most VVT (Variable Valve Timing) systems use pressurized engine oil to rotate the camshafts relative to a base setting in order to advance or retard the valve timing. Varying the valve timing at different engine speeds has the effect of increasing engine power and reducing fuel consumption over a wider range of engine operating conditions than is possible to do with a non-variable valve timing system.

As a general rule, the PCM uses input data from sensors such as the engine speed sensor, throttle position sensor, camshaft position sensor(s), and others to determine the desired degree of valve timing advance or retardation. If a change in valve timing is required, the PCM commands a dedicated oil control solenoid to pass pressurized engine oil into a mechanism that actually rotates the camshaft, with the degree of rotation depending on the current operating conditions. Note though that the position of the camshaft is monitored by a dedicated camshaft position sensor to let the PCM know that a change in the valve timing has actually occurred.

As a practical matter, the VVT oil control solenoid is activated in pulses when the PCM closes the solenoids’ ground circuit, and each pulse is calculated to bring about a set degree of camshaft rotation, with the degree of rotation being dependent on the length of the pulse. Collectively, these pulses are known as the solenoids’ duty cycle, and this varies between applications and solenoid designs.

In a fully functional system, the PCM will compare the position of the intake camshaft at any given engine speed with the position of both the exhaust camshaft and the crankshaft (via the crankshaft position sensor). When the PCM detects that the actual position of the intake camshaft does not agree with the desired or target position, it will set code P0011, and illuminate a warning light. Depending on the degree of variance between the actual and desired positions of the intake camshaft, the PCM may also initiate a failsafe or limp mode that may persist until the fault is corrected.

Why does code P0011 affect NISSAN applications more than others?

Although code P0011 can affect any application with variable valve or camshaft timing, many Nissan applications are far more likely to be affected by this cone than almost any other applications(s).  There are several reasons for this, including a known design flaw in camshaft position sensors that affected all almost Nissan applications in the early 2000’s.

However, a more serious problem that affects Nissan applications to this day is the fact that the VVT oil control systems on many, if not most Nissan applications are extremely sensitive to oil quality and viscosity. In practice, even marginally dirty/degraded oil can clog the oil passages in the engine oil circulation system leading to (and often, from) the oil control solenoid, which causes reduced oil pressure at the solenoid, and hence the setting of this code.

Where is the P0011 sensor located?

The image above shows the location (arrowed) of the VVT oil control solenoid on Bank 1 of an Infiniti/ Nissan V6 engine. Note though that the actual appearance and location of VVT oil control solenoids vary between Nissan applications, so refer to the manual for the affected application to locate and identify the VVT oil control solenoid correctly to avoid a misdiagnosis.

What are the common causes of code P0011?

It should be noted that while code P0011 typically refers to mechanical failure/issue in the VVT system, some electrical problems such as short circuits could also set this code. Therefore, all diagnostic procedures for this code should also include an inspection, and proper testing of all associated wiring.

Nonetheless, some common causes of code P0011 could include the following-

  • Dirty, degraded, unsuitable, incorrect, or contaminated engine oil (Most common cause of this code on Nissan applications)
  • Damaged, burnt, shorted, disconnected, or cored wiring and/or connectors
  • Defective VVT oil control solenoid
  • Defective camshaft phaser (rotating mechanism)
  • Defective camshaft position sensor(s)
  • Failed or failing PCM; note that this is a rare event, and the fault must therefore be sought elsewhere before any control module is replaced

NOTE: Note that oil pressure tests on Nissan applications often yield misleading results, unless the oil pressure is tested with the engine running close to the VVT oil control solenoid, which is often impossible to do on a DIY basis. If low oil pressure is suspected to be the cause of code P0011 on a Nissan application, refer the vehicle to the dealer or other competent repair facility for professional diagnosis and repair.

BAT Team Discussions for P0011

  • Mazda 6 3.0 liter Bog and not wanting to go
    I pulled the codes and found a P0011 and a P0012 Bank 1 cam over advance and over retarded. When you start it up it runs ok. But after it runs for about five minutes, it will idle ok but if you give it any pedal it spits and sputters. if you attempt to test drive it, you will get about a half mile d...
  • RE; Help, Please...Info on trouble code for Chevy Malibu SORRY 1st Posted to Imp
    P0013--This is a exhaust solenoid usually caused by the cam shaft phaser, it is at the front of the head on the passenger side it is pretty easy to change. It is usually the problem about 95% of the time, you may not have the tools required to do the test so replacement may be the only thing you c...
  • Pathfinder
    Thanks Kev I cranked it up and it ran good again for a couple miles and did it again. Codes: P0420 and P0430 P0011 and P0021 I guess my next question is.... which is causing which and where to start. *Fuel, oil, coolant all seemed good. No way to check exhaust or fuel pressure at the moment...
  • Rough idle and stalling
    Update: Dealer pulled code P0011, intake camshaft actuator. Performed diagnostic. Actuator out of spec. Should read 8 to 13 ohms. Was 45 and fluctuating. Replaced under warranty.(No cost) P/n 12655420. The one that was replaced in '11 was a different p/n. So it looks like GM changed something in the...
  • Yukon '10. 5.3 w/p0011
    End of the day problem comes in. CEL on and code p0011. Noticed that when driving the variance and demanded follow each other exactly, but the actual is at 0 or 1 degree all the time , on the cam vvt. Haven't had much time to check anything much more, but wondered what you guys would have to say? ...