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Tom, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Chrysler
Satisfied Customers: 864
Experience:  Chrysler Level 3 Technician, Chrysler Training Instructor
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Chrysler Pacifica: Could a bad mass error sensor cause the

Customer Question

Chrysler Pacifica: Could a bad mass error sensor cause the power for power steering to go out?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Chrysler
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Can a bad mass air sensor cause power to power steering to fail?
Expert:  Tom replied 1 year ago.

Hi my name is ***** ***** I'll try to help with your question.

Your Pacifica does not user a Mass Air Flow sensor, so it would not be an issue.

Could you describe the concern that you are having in more detail please?


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have a 2007 Pacifica, purchased used from a small used car dealer. It didn't have any issues during about an hour of test drives. It had to have its catalytic converter repaired before we took delivery of it. We took it home once that work was completed. The first day my wife drove it, she was taking a turn and had the following happen: the oil light came on, then the Traction Control light came on, then the rest of the lights came on and power to the power steering went out. She was able to put the hazard lights on, and after shutting the car off for a couple seconds, she restarted it, and everything was back to normal. I called the dealer and made them aware of the issue. We took it to them that evening, but they did not have a loaner vehicle for us at that time. The same issue happened again the following day. I dropped it off with them the following day, and they had there mechanic take a look today. I contacted them today and I was told that they had found and replaced a bad mass air flow sensor. I told them, that based on the symptoms, I had researched and found a possible cause of a TIPM module. The Mass Air Flow Sensor did not make any sense to me as a cause for the issue, as I can't understand why that would make the Power Steering to fail (unless it turns off the vehicle), so I wanted to get another opinion. Is there a device that is similar to the Mass Air Flow Sensor in the Pacifica that they could have been referring to?
Expert:  Tom replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the detailed response. They may have referred to a MAP sensor (manifold absolute pressure).

It sounds like the engine stalled and the lights coming on that you described are usually lit up when that happens. The power steering would stop working because the engine stopped running and turning the pump. A MAP sensor fault could cause the engine to stall, but it would normally set a fault code and turn on your check engine light.

Does your check engine light stay on when the car is running? If it does there will be a stored trouble code that will help with the diagnosis.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
None of the warning/indicator lights stay on after the vehicle is restarted. As I understand it, the engine stays running when all of this occurs. Just so I am clear, the engine runs the power steering pump, not the electrical system? Either way, assuming the engine is still running when the lights are on, would you have any other suggestions for probable/possible causes? I just want to be confident that when the repair is completed that the vehicle will operate well and safely. This is the car my wife and soon to be new born child will be using. As you can imagine, I am more than a little cautious.
Expert:  Tom replied 1 year ago.

Yes, the engine runs the power steering pump by the serpentine belt. The only way for the power steering to stop working abruptly would be for the engine to stall. The oil light comes on at 4 psi or lower. If the oil pressure was that low with the engine running, it would likely seize up. I think the rest of the lights coming on is similar to a bulb check that it does when it has key on but not engine running. I would have the oil pressure sending unit inspected for oil seeping into the wiring connector. I have seen this on a lot of chryslers and it interrupts the sensor signals to the computer causing the engine to stall.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Have you seen many issues with the tipm? I ask, because the symptoms for those issues so closely match the behavior we have seen.
Expert:  Tom replied 1 year ago.

There are many issues with TIPMs but I don't like to jump to that conclusion without a lot of diagnosis. TIPM modules are between $600-$700 and half to be programmed to the car by the dealer. If it doesn't fix the problem, you can't return it because once it is programmed to the car it can't be erased and used again. The TIPM controls a lot of systems on the car so I don't know what symptoms have pointed you to the tipm. Do you have any sources for me to look over?

Expert:  Tom replied 1 year ago.

Correction : $827.00 list price

Expert:  Tom replied 1 year ago.

I would suggest that you have the used car dealer take the car to a Chrysler dealership to have it diagnosed. Assuming it has a 90 day warranty from the dealer that you bought it from. This may be a diagnosis that is beyond the capability of the used car dealer's technician.