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Richard
Richard, Chrysler Technician
Category: Chrysler
Satisfied Customers: 4141
Experience:  Over 24 years of experience as lead tech and shop foreman.
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2005 PT Cruiser: the Check Engine light came..pulling..Timing Belt

Customer Question

After replacing the Camshaft Position Sensor on a 2005 PT Cruiser 2.4 non turbo with 63k miles, the car drove fine for one trip and the Check Engine light came back on. My wife described the car bucking and bouncing, then after pulling over, shutting it off and restarting it, she was able to limp it home.

Is the next step likely to be Timing Belt or are there other, maybe simpler, things to check first? Known wiring issues maybe? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Terry
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Chrysler
Expert:  Richard replied 7 years ago.

Hello and welcome to Just Answer!

Lets start by checking the fault code that is setting!

Try this - Sit in the vehicle with all doors closed and starting with the key in the off position turn it to ON, OFF, ON, OFF, ON within 5 seconds and leave the key on and watch the digital odometer to see if it displays a fault code. It will be a P followed by 4 numbers example P0700. When it is done displaying codes or if there are no codes it will say done.

Thanks,

Richard

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Richard,

Checked the code. It said P 0344 (Intermittent Camshaft Position Sensor).

Thanks ,
Terry


Expert:  Richard replied 7 years ago.

I have never seen a timing belt/incorrect timing cause a P0344 fault code and I wouldn't be concerned about the belt at that mileage!

 

This code can be set by an intermittent glitch from the crankshaft position sensor!

Was the crank sensor ever replaced?

 

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Not yet. The code said Cam sensor and so far that is all I have done. Quite possibly the easiest sensor replacement on the planet! Didn't hurt a bit.
Should I suspect the crank sensor without a 0335 or 0339 code?
Expert:  Richard replied 7 years ago.

I wouldn't suspect the crank position sensor just yet! The PCM compares the crank and cam signals and if there is a glitch in either sensor it can cause the P0344 code and not cause any other codes especially if it is intermittent. I would have a look at the target magnet behind the cam sensor to see if it has come loose and moves around.

 

This type of problem is very difficult to diagnose without an oscilloscope! An oscilloscope is able to display the signal on a graph and you can check for missing/erratic signals from both the cam and crank sensors. You could waste alot of time and money by using trial and error. You can also perform a wiggle test when checked with an oscilloscope to see if there is a wiring problem.

I would suggest taking it to someone that has an oscilloscope and have them check the signal, if you want to diagnose this properly!

Let me know!

Thanks,

Richard

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Is this a common problem? Do you know of any other issues if the scope shows no obvious gap or spike? The light came on a couple times over a week and then went out for days, until today. I realize that is the definition of intermittent, but could it really be just a weak connection somewhere or should i maybe be looking for a bad wire or burnt insulation?
Expert:  Richard replied 7 years ago.

This is not a common problem, but I have seen a crank sensor cause this! I have also seen a loose or cracked target magnet cause this! I can't recall finding too many wiring issues with these, they have been good that way! Fault code P0340 is far more common than P0344!

Thanks,

Richard

Richard and 5 other Chrysler Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thanks for the help, I'll check the magnet and crank sensor and have it hooked up to a scope.

Thanks,
Terry
Expert:  Richard replied 7 years ago.

You are very welcome!

A dual channel lab scope works the best, XXXXX XXXXX you can see both cam and crank patterns on one screen and can pick up glitches easier!

Thank you,

Richard

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